The will-o-wisps, they flowed with the wind—
Ebbing into the dark smoggy skies of the city,
Tendrils from the dawn skies, feeding like locusts
On a land marred by smog, smoke, pollution's sinister brand.
Their feast, survival was at hand.
New Gaslight, her darkness cut by the light—
Hathor's Star, shines, piercing focus.
Goddess' candle light, hocus-pocus.
It was in this morning embrace
The feather-faced phantom emerged.
A mask of gold, tribute to Hoo-Ahkoo—
An identity concealed, now revealed.
Arsene Lupin, once Robinhood, now renegade.
Whispers of strawbloom tea perched upon his lips—
Exhaustion, a lengthy evening of thievery.
Sunrising, the rooftops gleaming, the garden approaching.
"Man in the Bottle" Antiques, a sanctuary, a humble home—
A backdrop of poverty, ramshackle spaces, hopeless places.
Finally, the scent of home—
A single leap from above, a boundary crossed.
Safety achieved, a garden relief.
A place for the fae, a place to weather the fray.
He stood, the garden a small marvel.
This world, this city—place of decay,
But here, a respite—the mold at bay.
Chingachgook, elderly mentor, stood amidst the thrimble's bloom,
A frail, aging body scarred—
A century of life, and a rebel son left marred.
He had prepared a warm welcome, a man who cared—
A smoke for Manna, and Strawbloom's soothing brew, the two men shared.
Sat amongst the garden, the two men engaged in diatribe.
A small painting, many hundreds of thousands of dollars—
A fruit of the thief's labor.
Nephren-Ka client, enigmatic, mostly silent.
The reward, funding. For the schools, for the kitchens—
Another challenge to the dystopia.
A pittance compared—to what is reaped.
Arsene Lupin, swift hands, hardened soul.
Face adorned—markings of callous.
A permanent etching, the skull—
Loyalty to the Robinhoods once unrelenting,
Now excommunicado, a renegade.
The two smoked, and their discussion reverberated
In the lush back garden,
Its morning dew celebrated,
An amphitheater of salvation.
Echoed plans—a film reel—
One of great value,
Was not spoken.
Munchausen, icy emblem of greed.
For what could he need?
An archaic Opere artifact indeed.
The force of death, a storm,
Stolen goods for broken fools.
Lupin, revolver tucked, to undo the scorn.
Steal back the reel with bereft.
Tragic moment bore peaceful principles.
The phantom will not slay again.
The smoke had cleared, the two men,
Their stature now unbound,
—flowers among filth—
Rose to open the shop.
The shop, bronze hues, priceless statues, candles lit,
A beacon of intrigue in the deep eastern murk.
Garlic, sulfur, onions of the boglands beyond,
Burnt smells of the Maggot Cleaners at work—
A place of few wonders, save—
Soothsayer's Square and antique plunders.
Chingachgook, ever the archivist,
A plan already bare,
Sketches, schemes, schematics—
Sparse customers, curtain veil,
The heist must prevail.
An icy maiden, personal guard,
Kin of the north—Jacqueline Frost.
Onryo, natural allies of the Baron,
His mysterious transformation,
His feathered skin—
These things make for struggle in this hot abyss,
Much like these ice witches, his habitat remiss.
The slick talker Lupin, his words lashing like a whip,
Had many a time, in many so-called secure places,
Employed an epistemological flip.
A finesse, perhaps even Jacqueline would confess.
A smirk, Jacqueline had her beauty, but the heist,
The reel, and the high paying Opere client—
Those things were truly gorgeous.
Reflection, a time to repent,
A young man, born into the deepest coal pits,
Forced into the abyss at a tender age.
The scars, which filled the mirror,
The tattoos, which marked the skin.
It was these things—and the ever-present etching,
A skull tattoo, a consuming mask, a foreboding tale,
Of a man once loyal,
These are the things—
That truly told Lupin's story.
The shower quenched the skin,
The grime, the grit, the blood of the city,
Washed away in the clawfoot tub.
Morrigan's Ravens, seldom company outside,
A bird on the wire—
Much like the phantom, now for hire.
Rest, a daytime retreat.
Tonight, the estate of the bird,
With its gaudy statues and Rotspawn servants,
This orifice of greed,
It would be plundered.
The witching hour, the great-grandfather clock,
The pendulum ever swinging—
Like the moon in the smoggy night sky—
And the sun creating darkening daylight.
The clock, with its watchful eye—
It had finally rung, alerting the phantom thief
To the night that was to come.
The thief awoke to a kitchen table,
The tactics and plans prepared,
Chingachgook, ever the strategist.
Thunder trinkets for the Rotspawn,
Those foul spawn of the leper messiah,
Who worship the lightning that gave them life.
Blueprints of the opulent estate,
Where humanity's greed blared unashamed,
The sour stench of ill-gotten wealth—
This was the space the devils shared,
Where unnamable things lurked with pride.
With a swift sweep of his coat, the thief made his departure.
Street car ride, twisting tracks of a maze-like city,
A dash, a twist, and a scry of what fate might hold.
The undetected path was ripe with danger.
RatHench, the foul stench permeating—
Festered tunnels of filth,
Discarded lands, built from the want-not,
Humanity's discarded debris,
Merging in unholy matrimony,
A new ecosystem, of rat creatures,
Of maggots and molds and decay,
The beginnings of humanity's everlasting legacy.
Tunnels weaved and sewers flowed,
Miles upon miles of trash,
Garbage labyrinth, mazes like paths.
The phantom thief, entered his mind palace,
A twisting stage of stages—
Layers of stairs, pathways, gates—
Chains and twisted gold threads,
Lavender rice, its purple hue,
Each dot on the slate floor,
A map within a map—
The feathered mask of the heistman,
His peacock visage—the jet black turtleneck,
And the leather holsters—
Moving like a blur along the well-lit streets,
The yellow brick road, this site of opulence,
obelisk of gold woven,
Boulevards built of oppression.
The emerald lined palace,
Munchausen's hubristic estate—
Had finally entered sight.
A reel, a woman, an escape,
His ghostly mission tonight.
Dough from Hathorian seed, tonight Lupin was a baker—
His bread? Intimate thievery of a film reel,
Once thought lost.
Now his to steal
Opere client, mysterious folk,
Masked rejects of art and music.
A schoolhouse slaughtered—
Munchausen's men of a cruel kin,
Stolen collage, now marred with blood.
The Opere scholars will be nevermore again,
Free from sin.
The ghastly halls of their coven,
Well-covered catacombs of music and art.
These half-masked Hoo-Ahvoovians—
These art magicians.
Four Devils they seek, why? Well—
That is of a certain mystique.
The phantom renegade, his shadowy vestige,
Dances with his light-footed physique.
The Mardi Gras mask glittering—
A rainbow in the dark, his figure
Dances along the fence line—
This ballet of stealth. The leather-clad,
Ever armed watchers, the Rotspawn,
Lack the artistic eye to detect such a performance.
Peering into his mind palace,
This ever-shifting layout of stairs,
A nonsensical design on the exterior.
A string of formulas—
Sacred geometry, creating a detective-like memory.
Grasping, pulling, the shimmering threads—
The nimble steps of this elegant dancer.
A skylight, unsecured,
And a steel safe below.
Slipping through with dainty grace,
the safe, its steel shimmered—
a faint outline appeared.
Before he made his play, deduction led the pace.
Feet perched atop the grand bookcase,
scanning took place, channeling the once great Sherlock,
it became clear the safe was already unstocked.
Dashing across the rafters, the faint creak seldom heard,
scanning the parlor, like a poacher in a preserve.
The faint whirl of the projector clicked,
and then, a twirl as the ghostly thief descended.
The projector still running,
left open for his peculiar cunning.
The parlor, musty,
fetid smells of chummy Antarctic fish,
traces of the beaked Baron.
The reel stood solemn in the center of the parlor,
its light flickering against the backdrop.
Uncaring grace, for such a rare film,
could it have been left here for him?
It was then—
A snake slithers—a tail rattles.
Suddenly! A chill—a blizzard—Jacqueline Frost,
her ink etched, ethereal grace had appeared.
Onryo sigils and fine silk kimono,
adorned with a sleek witch's cap—Frost.
Leader of Onryo, daughter of legend,
sword drawn, her words lashed out at Lupin
like Cat o' nine tails against an eager back.
The two's words danced as this finesse,
a charismatic distraction—
Her charge of the blade,
a nimble, falconic attempt to reclaim—
lest the icy mission be staid.
It was then, a steadfast trick-shot,
a chandelier chain, a revolver round.
Together a piercing, crashing sound!
A leap of faith, a thunder trinket deployed,
deafening courage and boundless faith.
The bushes below allowed for a daring escape.
The thief had prevailed,
yet the chase had only yet begun.