This is the story of how I died.
Dun, dun, duuuuuunnnn!
It sounds really grim, but don’t worry, this is actually a really funny story and I’m not even the main character. That honour goes to Richard Grayson, known as Dick to his friends.
I know, I know… I wanted to make those kinds of jokes as well.
Now, this story started years ago…. But not in a beautiful kingdom far away or anything… it started in Gotham. Now Gotham is one of the worst places ever to live; high crime rate, insane clowns, corrupt cops and a weird Bat-like vigilante who roams the rooftops at night.
You name it, Gotham’s got it.
Now, Gotham doesn’t have a royal family or anything, but it does have a Prince.
Bruce Wayne, billionaire playboy and owner of Wayne Industries… and the most eligible bachelor there ever was.
Women adored him but nothing ever happened.
CNN suspects he might be… you know, bent the other way.
Anyone, I’m getting off topic… no matter how Bruce Wayne swung, he was a really nice guy and did a lot for the community of Gotham, even the piss poor areas.
But being a nice guy wasn’t enough for everyone else, the Wayne family needed another heir… which is where Dick comes in. After a horrible accident in the circus that resulted in the death of his parents, Bruce took the young boy in, making him his ward and heir before anyone protest.
For a time, life was good.
Until there was an horrific accident.
Nobody quite knew what happened, but Dick was on death’s door and Bruce was losing his mind. For a while, it seemed like all hope was lost…. And then Bruce started talking about the Lazarus flower.
Now, I could talk forever about the Lazarus Pit, but to cut a long story short… League of Assassins got curious, wanted to know if the water from the pit would add extra properties to plants or crops. Only one flower actually managed to flourish, until a mercenary known as Deathstroke stole it right from under their noses.
No-one knows exactly where Deathstroke hid the flower, but Bruce Wayne hired Batman himself to try and find it.
Deathstroke wasn’t going to make it easy though…. He’d hidden the flower away from the rest of the world, refusing to share its power in order to keep himself as young and fit as Ras Al Ghul himself…. But hey, at least he didn’t have to sing a song to make it work, all he had to do was pluck a petal from the flower, mix it into some tea and Bob’s your Uncle!
Well, actually Barry’s my uncle, but we’re getting off track here.
The petals always grew back so he had an endless supply…. And over the years, he’d grown complacent, which led to the first mistake.
The mistake that led Batman straight to the flower.
He didn’t know only one flower would do the drink, so the whole flower was crushed and mixed in with tea, given to Bruce Wayne so that his ward could drink it.
It was a miracle, and very soon, Dick was up and running again, appearing at socialite parties (and it was mere coincidence that Batman’s side-kick showed up as well at the same time… coincidence).
To celebrate the fact that his son survived, Bruce Wayne threw the biggest party of the century, and at the end, he sent a flying lantern into the air, a tiny symbol of a bird painted on the side.
Everything seemed perfect.
Well, almost… the problem was, that Deathstroke was furious at the knowledge that the entire flower had been used, that he had lost the one things that was dearest to him.
And he wanted revenge.
One night, he snuck into Wayne manor, creeping into Dick’s bedroom, intending to stab the boy in the throat in revenge. When he pressed the knife against the boy’s throat, he woke up, instantly scared as a tiny tear-drop made its way down his cheek, and landing on Deathstroke’s hand… and all the wrinkles disappeared.
Dick’s body still contained the power of the Lazarus flower.
Deathstroke needed the child in order to remain young, forcing him to make a terrible decision. He stole Dick straight from his bed, and vanished into the night, even despite Batman being in control.
From that night on, Batman was seen at almost all hours of the morning from dusk until dawn and many believed he was going after the one who’d dared snatch the Wayne heir from his bed… but there was nothing that could be done.
Unknown to anyone, there was a tower just on the edge of Amusement Mile, right on the outskirts of Gotham. No-one knew it was there…. There was no paper trail, no computer trail, not trace of it ever existing.
And it was there, that Deathstroke kept the young Dick Grayson for his own…. He had his own Lazarus flower and this time, he was determined to keep it.
(“You can’t keep me here forever! Bruce will find me! And if doesn’t, then Batman will, and then you’ll really be sorry!”
“You’d rather be in Gotham? One of the most dangerous places in America, full of the worst of the worst? You are much safer here Richard… trust me.”
“Trust you? When you’ve shackled me to this place?”)
But the walls of that tower couldn’t hide everything. Each year, on Dick’s birthday, Bruce Wayne would hold the biggest gala of the year, where thousands of lanterns would be released into the sky, in the hope that his son would come home.