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Grendel - Hunter

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There is a new Mask in Gotham. One that does not abide the vigilante's vaunted moral code. One who kills.

The most notable thing about him--or her--is their absence. No clue has been left behind. The victims are free of prints, skin flakes, hair follicles; the air has no cologne, aftershave, or smoke residue. The murders are committed with a blade, honed to such a sharpness that it cleaves flesh and bone alike without tearing or catching in the wound in any way. All that links the murders together, that suggests the work of a single operative, is their perfection. They are tableaus, stained glass portraits of fountainous blood, of bodies mutilated with a butcher's empty empathy.

There is a new Mask in Gotham, slicing through Gotham's underworld, filleting the underbelly of the city with the skill and precision of a vivisectionist. Thorne, Daggett, Falcone--all of them and more have gone to the mattresses, holed up in their rat's nests. They put out contracts on a shadow, frothing at their mouths, screaming at the unfairness, the inequity of this new threat. Gotham's vigilante worked with the system; they worked around it, kept their hands clean. That was the game. It’s not right that a new player upended the board and scattered the pieces.

There is a new Mask in Gotham, and the Commissioner can only sit in mute, humiliated horror as men--bad men, the worst of the gutter, but men--drop like flies around him. He cradles his Rule of Law and his Justice in his arms like emaciated infants. The questions fall upon him like rain: is this not the natural escalation, the end game, of allowing a vigilante and his brood free reign in your city?

There is a new Mask in Gotham, and the Painted Man laughs. It is his laugh of introspective admiration. He has seen the newcomer’s work and--a few minor nitpicks regarding composition aside--he is duly impressed. The new guy might just have a future in this city yet. Provided of course, he survive his inevitable first meeting with the Painted Man. After all, nothing happens in Gotham that he doesn’t ultimately allow. The Painted Man chuckles to himself, and daydreams of drowning this newbie like a basket of puppies.

There is a new Mask in Gotham. A hunter who rose, ascended, became the pinnacle of his own possibilities. He seeks a challenge, an adversary, a Moriarty against whom to test his mettle. So far, he is disappointed.