He had always lived in the knight's shadow. But, who could blame him? The very reason behind his being was that he was a shadow, which encompassed all and cast a shadow over everything below. But still, he wondered. His master used fear as his ultimate weapon, and appropriately, his symbol was a creature of the night; the very amplifier of fear, the substance of nightmares, the mask which hides the monsters that prowl through this sinful city. But, his student's symbol was one that summoned neither fear nor respect from his enemies or his allies. A helper at best, a source of cruel laughter at worst. No matter how much one tries to run, no matter how swift they think they are, they can never escape their shadow...

"You've gone insane!" Dick Grayson screamed at Bruce Wayne. "Ever since Todd died, you've went too far! He was an innocent man! He had a family!"

Bruce's face tightened with anger. "He worked for the Joker! He was the only lead we had!"

"In front of his children Bruce?"

"You could never understand"

"No, I do understand. What was it The Joker said? All it takes is one bad day to drive someone mad? Well, Jason was your bad day, and I don't want to be trained by a madman anymore"


Dick tapped a few keys on the ancient piano, causing the door to the Batcave to open. He walked down the stairs, the sound of each step echoing as he descended.

Dick slammed his head against the console of the Batcomputer, gripping his head in anger. "Dick...?" Bruce called out from the stairs, while he walked down. Dick's head was filled with nothing but rage and frustration. Bruce neither respected him, nor his city, nor the code he swore to stick to any longer. As far as Dick was concerned, Bruce was no more. Dick gazed upon the glass case where Jason's costume was preserved, a monument to Bruce's sins. Dick curiously lifted the case, and pulled out Jason's facemask. It looked like the mask that Dick once wore, when he was a boy, except sharper, and more angular in design. Dick saw Bruce at the bottom of the stairs. He shoved the mask into his pocket, and ran.

In case of emergencies, the Batcave had a hidden exit behind a nearly impenetrable metal door. Dick sprinted towards the exit, gracefully gliding across the floor with inhuman speed. He reached the door, and yanked at the handle with all of his might. The door flew open, letting light from outside flood in.

Before Dick could run away, without ever turning back, he felt Bruce's hand on his shoulder. "Dick, come on" Dick scowled. "Bruce, I'm not going to be a kid forever. I can't just stay in your shadow forever. It's time for Robin to leave the nest" Dick said as he stared at Todd's mask.

"So, what do you suggest?" Bruce asked

"I want to move to my own city. Become my own vigilante. Gotham isn't the only crime filled city on the planet. Somewhere else needs my help, but you don't need me, and I don't need you. So Bruce, this is goodbye" The two men shook hands, and Dick turned around, off to wherever he could help.

Dick walked through the streets of Gotham after night had fell, and the dim glow of the streetlights bathed all below. From the familiar shadows of the city came a figure, eerie and silent. His face was covered by a mask, and his body was clad in armor. This mask was split. One side was orange, with a white eye, and the other was completely black, with no facial features whatsoever. His armor was a dim, flat silver, covering a tight black suit. He wore a belt, and from it hung swords and guns of all varieties, each of which had taken several lives. His name was Slade, and he was about to change Dick's life forever.

Dick felt a cold presence behind him. He whipped around, and saw the shadow of Slade walked towards him. He was in an alley, so nobody would be able to notice if he were to be killed. Dick, without a weapon, held up his fists to defend himself. In a voice that crawled up Dick's spine, and unearthed nightmares from years he had pushed the the corners of his mind, he said "There is no need to be afraid. I've been watching you, Dick. I can help you" Dick flinched from the fact that he knew his name. "Who are you" he said, not lowering his fists. "Call me Slade. I heard that you need a new city? There's a place in the New York state called Bludhaven. It's a brutal, bloody city, full of corruption and death. I would show you the way there, but a little bird like you would be far to fragile to survive there for a day. But, I can strip you of your wings, and turn you from a little robin into a bird of prey. If, of course, you're willing to be trained" Dick lowered his hands. "I'll do it" he said, putting on Todd's mask.

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