The Great Divide
Disclaimer: I do not own Batman, or Christian Bale, or anything related to either them or DC comics! I am not making any money off of this! It's merely for my own entertainment, and hopefully to entertain others in the process! Thank you!
...||January 30, 1985. Beijing, China. Home of Ra's al Ghul, hideout of the League of Shadows||...
"You have learned to bury your guilt through sorrow and self-sacrifice." Barbara attempted another punch which Ra's aptly blocked and used her hand to twist her into an arm lock. "I will help you face the truth."
Ra's let her go and Barbara stepped away, rubbing at the soreness in her arm. "And what is the truth?"
"All in due time, my dear." Barbara turned and attempted a surprise attack, however Ra's could read every move Barbara made and aptly defended her futile attempt.
"Enough." Ra's commanded and Barbara stood down. "Come. There is something I want to show you."
Barbara followed Ra's, who led her to a great room that was lined wall to wall, floor to ceiling with books. In the center was an alchemy and chemistry table. Barbara gazed wide eyed as she surveyed the room. In awe, Barbara approached a bookshelf and ran her hands over several of the spines as she read their titles. Science, philosophy, chemistry, poetry. The place was a literal heaven of literary knowledge and Barbara was almost overwhelmed to tears. Ra's definitely knew how to exploit her desire for knowledge and learning. "Last week, you had the knowledge and skills to protect seven people. With my teaching, together we can save thousands."
"Thousands? But, how?"
Ra's opened his arms wide and displayed the room around them. "Science. Medicine. With your knowledge and your gifts the possibilities are endless."
More than anything, Barbara wanted to know how to help or save the ones she loved, but more than that even she wanted to know how to save them from herself. Ra's called what she did a gift; Barbara called it a curse. With tears swimming in her eyes, Barbara turned to Ra's in sorrow. "My gifts? I can't... You promised you could help me control..." Barbara didn't know how to finish her thought until she heard a distant sound of a thunder crash. Barbara turned to gaze out the window at the end of the hall where the daylight had darkened slightly due to cloud coverage. She was feeling overwhelmed and desperate. "That... You promised you could stop that." Barbara was gazing at her hands as if she had never seen them before. "It can't happen again. I can't-"
Ra's took Barbara's hands in his and crouched down to her level. "The way of the Ninja is entirely about control, Barbara. I will
teach you that control. You will
learn how to harness that which you fear most."
Ra's moved his hand and suddenly one of the metal dishes on the lab table burst into flaming life. Barbara startled with a cry and tried to back away but was stopped by Ra's standing behind her. "What are you afraid of, dear Babs?" Ra's whispered in her ear. Ra's then took Barbara by the wrist and pushed her gently towards the flame. Barbara began to struggle, but Ra's would not let her go. Nearing the flame, Ra's stretched Barbara's hands toward it and Barbara turned her head to scream, waiting for her flesh to be seared, but nothing happened.
"Open your eyes, Barbara... Look." Barbara slowly peaked open one eye, then the other, where she saw her hand engulfed in the pit of the flame. Instead of setting her flesh on fire, the flames moved over her skin like little, dancing wisps. Barbara could barely breathe.
"To find the answer to that question, my dear, you'll have to uncover your past." Barbara turned to look at Ra's with sad but hopeful eyes. "If you allow me to teach you all that I know, if you fully devote yourself to this life, I promise I will do all in my power to help you find the answers you seek."
Barbara did something unexpected then; she suddenly turned and wrapped her arms around Ra's shoulders, giving him a tight hug. Temporarily stunned, Ra's did nothing; after a short moment, however, he returned Barbara's hug giving her a soft pat on the back.
Barbara leaned back and swiped at her nose and eyes. When she turned to look at Ra's, there was a newly dedicated resolve in her features. "When do we start?"
The corner of Ra's mouth tilted up in a smile that was just short of being a leer. Barbara would learn everything he had to teach her. Then, when she was ready, Ra's would introduce her to his plan and together they would lead the Shadow Assassins to Gotham and rid the world of its evil once and for all. With Barbara's abilities fully trained and developed and under his control, no one would be able to stop them.Two Years Later... Somewhere in the forrests of China...
Barbara's heart raced, threatening to beat from her chest as she ran aimlessly through the trees. She jumped over roots, rocks and branches as if she were the one to have placed them there. One might wonder what was driving her to run so quickly, but with five assailants pursuing her from behind and another six enclosing from her right, the answer may be obvious. Her pursuers were herding her towards the east and Barbara was loathe to follow their course for she knew exactly where it lead.
Once Barbara cleared the trees, it was an open run to the gorge ahead. Open meaning exposed, as Barbara had lost all the cover the trees had provided. The danger increased ten fold as she heard and felt ninja stars and spikes whizzing past her ear and burrowing in the ground at her feet. One or two even managed to slice her arm and her cheek.
There was a rope bridge that extended across the gorge but before Sabrina could reach it, four men garbed in black from head to toe climbed up the cliff wall and blocked her entrance. That only left Barbara one final option, and she dreaded it with every step. Quickly changing directions, Barbara headed straight for the gorge. Peering out over the side there was an entire row of rock pillars that reached up from the cavern floor and spread across the length of the gorge. Who knew how stable they were and it was a daunting and deadly drop to the cavern floor should she fall. The pillars were her only hope of escape, however, so she would use them.
Taking a deep breath, Sabrina dropped herself over the cliff face, grabbing onto the edge so she could slowly lower herself to the short ledge a few feet down from the top. Once there, Barbara stepped out onto the first pillar which barely had enough space for her to stand on both feet so she was forced to balance herself on one foot. After a moment, Barbara then hopped to the next pillar with pretty much the same result but she steadied herself quickly. Before long Barbara was aptly leaping from pillar to pillar with little stopping time between.
When Barbara dared a glance over her shoulder, she saw her pursuers following her path and gaining on her. Barbara's heart raced again and when she turned back around to look forward, her heart then plummeted to her stomach at what she saw; more assailants coming from the other side. Barbara was trapped; she had no choice now but to stand her ground and fight.
Barbara turned around and braced her feet on two opposite pillars and readied herself for the attack. The first man came at her with a sweeping kick to her legs. Barbara leaped over his kick, landing on one foot with her other leg raised for a counter kick, which the man aptly blocked by grabbing her leg and twisting to throw her behind him. Sabrina came down with her foot on one pillar, and her opposite hand on another, bracing herself mid-air. She found another pillar with her other hand and pushed herself to stand where she immediately had to defend herself from a flurry of punches from three different opponents.
The fight was something to watch as one lone girl was pitted against over half a dozen fighters at one time. The way they all danced over the pillars in a deadly but beautiful balancing act was dizzying. Barbara was tiring, though, and she knew she had to end this soon lest she fall or some other fate take her.
Donning a different tactic, Barbara began to use her opponents against each other. They were fighting in such close quarters that a perfectly timed dodge meant that a kick or punch that was intended for her, hit someone else. What was most frightening about the entire ordeal, however, was not the number of her opponents, but the fact that the pillars were beginning to sway and creak under the duress of the fight. On that line of thinking though, Barbara suddenly knew her way out; could see it playing out clearly in her mind.
With a perfectly aimed kick, Sabrina sent one of her assailants backwards, knocking him into his friends who all had to fight to save him and themselves from a deadly fall. Sabrina then jumped onto the shoulders of the one attacker left ahead of her, squeezing his head between her knees where she punched him hard in the face, successfully breaking his nose and blinding him at the same time. Barbara then flipped off his shoulders where she landed in a handstand on another pillar.
With a soft smirk playing on her lips, Barbara gripped her hands onto the edges of the pillar as best she could before she brought her body down with increasing momentum to bang solidly into the pillar. The force of her hit, plus her weight caused it to begin to topple forward. Just like she had thought it would, the pillar knocked into the columns behind it and the action would create a sort of domino effect.
Barbara rode the initial fall until she could run up the pillar she was on and and leap to the next, then the next and the next. Barbara ran and leaped as her very life depended on it, until with one final leap of faith, she went sailing through the air towards land. With a forceful expulsion of air from her lungs, Barbara's middle hit the ledge of the cliff and her hands futilely grasped for leverage, her feet scraping for purchase on the sheer rock face. Barbara cried out as her hands and feet slipped and she slid down the cliff face until her fingers were barely holding onto the edge. Barbara closed her eyes and prayed for salvation; she did not want to die.
One hand lost its grip and Sabrina cried out again as she was left dangling from a few fingers. Quickly, she moved her hand back to grip onto the ledge. Mistakenly, Barbara turned to look over her shoulder, making herself dizzy from the height. Barbara shut her eyes tight and when she opened them again her focus caught on a thick branch sticking out from the cliff face. Had God heard her prayers? Was this salvation? If it was, God had a sick sense of humour because the branch was a good ten or so feet off. There was no way could she make that distance like this.
Barbara was suddenly overcome with a determination, desperation and drive the likes of which she had never known before. Steeling herself as best she could, Barbara pushed herself off the wall, running her feet along the cliff face a few steps before she leaped outward. The world slowed to a snail's pace as Barbara closed her eyes and the wind whipped around her face and through her hair. She expected in all honesty to go careening to her death. Barbara expected to miss the branch and she expected to feel the solidness of Earth break he0r in moments... However, to her utter surprise, Barbara was jarred suddenly from these thoughts when her arms nearly dislocated from their sockets as her hands came into hard contact with the branch she had been aiming for.
Barbara opened her eyes and gazed upwards at her hands clasped around the tree branch and she cried out for joy. She threw her legs up to wrap around the branch and rather deftly pulled herself astride it. After pushing herself to balance and stand upon it, Barbara used the branch as a stepping platform to pull herself atop the cliff.
Once she had the feeling of solid ground beneath her, Barbara laid down flat on her back, panting hard in relief; her feet still left dangling over the edge of the cliff. A smile curved her mouth as she sat up to look at the obstacle she'd just conquered. In the distance she could see her pursuers retreating to the other side of the cavern.
"Yeah!" Barbara cried out in excitement followed by a loud whoop and a holler. Barbara had just done the impossible and come out alive.
Suddenly, Barbara was crying out for a different reason when a hand suddenly covered her mouth with a cloth that, judging by the smell, was heavily soaked with chloroform. Barbara was pulled forcefully to her feet and held in a strong arm lock which prevented her from being able to struggle with much else but her feet. That was, until Barbara successfully threw her head back, butting the man hard in the chest, knocking the air from his lungs, and her elbows then connected with his ribs; successfully freeing her from his grip. Though, even with this small victory, Barbara feared it may be too late as she was only able to take about a dozen steps before her limbs grew heavy and her world began to fade at the edges. The chloroform was already working its magic and Barbara sank to her knees before falling flat on her stomach where her face hit the ground; the thud echoing like drums in her ears.
A black clad pair of feet stepped into her view. "Always mind your surroundings..." The words flowed to Barbara as if on the wind, coming from very far away. Barbara attempted to get a look at this newcomer but her world went dark before her gaze could meet his face and she knew no more.