greatest_zatara: (showtime)
[personal profile] greatest_zatara
If you asked Zachary Zatara to ever choose between style and substance, he'd tell you you were a fool for thinking there was a difference. Nothing without style has any substance, he'd be happy to inform them. That attitude was reflected in his magic as well. Never cook up a spell with three components if you can squeeze in seven, that sort of thing. Between his house and Constantine's, he'd managed to concoct a suitable recipe for deception. Old metal, older than most countries, had enough provenance to serve as the basis for a fake Helm (and really the museums that had displaced them had had generations to find the weapons they used for material, and if they hadn't found them by now, they obviously hadn't cared enough). The various distortions of time and connection to one of the creation energies made Mister Garrick's blood another useful component, although Zachary's (however sass-laden) deference to his elders made him more cautious than usual in drawing the portion he needed, and he'd bid the old man get a snack and some juice afterwards.

The rest of it really came down to cosmetics and tailoring, areas in which Zachary excelled through no other virtue than study and repetition. Abdullah made a near flawless double by the time Zachary was done with him. Constantine's regularly scheduled disregard for his own health, and other bad decisions, would account for any nicks and dents here and there. Mundane skill covered everything the naked eye could perceive, and with the actual Helm and Constantine nearby, he could (with more effort than he liked to admit, truth be told) redirect any scrying or similar magical detections onto the decoy.

"So..." Zach circled the stand-in, "--where are we setting this hook?"
greatest_zatara: (arms folded)
[personal profile] greatest_zatara
"Just follow the red lady, just a matter of if your eyes are fast enough, lady and gentlemen." 'Z' addressed the small crowd in front of him and his folding table, as he flipped a trio of playing cards back and forth. He gave a flourish and showed the red queen for a moment before slipping it back into the mix. "She's not smart enough to get away for long. Can't be that smart if she named both her sons 'Jack'." He displayed the Jacks of Clubs and Spades without falling out of rhythm, before letting all three cards into their final place with a gently audible slap of coated paper on plastic.

Sure, these people were getting what would have been a 500 an hour treatment at any private engagement Zach attended, but it was always important to keep his skills sharp. He could have made the game foolproof with even the most basic illusion, but where's the glory in that? He was every bit the stage magician that Zanna was, after all, and that included the cosmetics he was currently sporting. Lightening the hair, making the cheeks a little more gaunt, and shabby-chic clothes. The perfect vision of a reasonably competent busker; not starving, but probably hadn't seen steak in a while. The growing stack of singles on the table looked like a very great achievement (and would make a nice addition to the charitable donations pile when he did his taxes next).
planetaryguide: (Mystery Archaeology)
[personal profile] planetaryguide

And then, the world turns, and they are somewhere else. Someplace impossibly old. It's a dizzying spin, even for the mightiest among them, but in an instant, Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner, Abdullah El-Amin, Black Adam, Freddy Freeman and Jay Garrick find themselves in the market of an ancient city, its towers reaching high toward the sky, it's buildings opulent and clean ... but empty.

At first, there appears to be no life in the city at all. But then, a cat appears, perched in a window. It is black and sleek, and it regards the visitors curiously, but makes no move to either run nor greet them.

Elijah takes a moment to take stock of the situation. The timely intervention of Shazam (note to self: Not the one he thought it was at first) seems to have quelled the fight between Jakita and Adam. Jakita looks a little banged up, but none the worse for wear. And then there's Abdullah ...

"Mr. Garrick," says Elijah. "It's an honor to meet you in person. I've followed your exploits since the '40s. In fact, I was in Keystone in '43, tracking down the Shade, and saw you two go at it. Quite inspiring."

He had actually interviewed the Shade, afterward, for that year's Planetary Guide. Both encounters caused him to believe that the number of superhumans would only escalate in the years to come. Still ... He shakes off the nostalgia, and turns to Adam.

"Lord Adam," says Elijah, cordially. "I apologize that this whole situation has gotten out of hand. We meant no offense. We were simply trying to make contact with this young man here."

He nods toward Abdullah, who is still wound tense, but seemingly not preparing to attack immediately. 

"
Abdullah El-Amin," he says, not making any sudden movement toward the boy. "My name is Elijah Snow. I've been looking for you for a long time now. We have some things in common."

Abdullah regards the man, but it's difficult to read his reactions beneath the mask.

"They call me the Ghost of the Desert, now" he says, levelly. Elijah chuckles, and nods.

"Heh. They call me the Ghost of the Twentieth Century,"  he says. "Maybe they're running out of cute nicknames."

planetaryguide: Elijah Snow (Default)
[personal profile] planetaryguide
 It's been a long time since I've been to Dubai. I was here in the '30s, while the British were chasing pirates. I was searching for other treasures entirely ... chasing rumors of a lost city, of mighty heroes that defended Kahndaq and Egypt in antiquity. Investigating names like "Shazam" and "Nabu." I never learned as much as I wanted, but I've heard the names resound since. 

I look out at the skyline while the local bureau chief, Shirazeh Nasser, explains to us some of what's been happening in parts of Syria and Iraq, the stories of a ghost who hunts and kills terrorists. Drums is unconvinced ... doesn't see how some anti-terror vigilante is our sort of mystery. I listen to them talk, but I'm captivated by the skyline, the way it stretches out into the desert, the way it reaches far into the sky. It's hard to imagine this was the same place I saw all those decades ago. It's almost unrecognizable.  

Shirazeh is a veteran bureau chief, and she doesn't flinch at having the field team in the office ... I hired her myself, after all, almost a decade ago. She's had a series of keywords to look for, a series of mysteries I've wanted to dig into for decades, but had to put on hold.

"You told me you wanted to look out for ghost stories, Mr. Snow," she says, and there's something almost mischievous in her voice, a sense that she knows I'm going to be interested in what she has to say. "You told me to look out for ghost stories, lost cities and teenagers with inexplicable abilities. You told me when I began to see those elements emerge, that I should hit the alarm. Well, they have, and now you are here."

 

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