Of course it's raining. The thought made Carter chuckle darkly. This earned him a few odd looks, from the people beside him. Probably wondering why I'm not... grieving. Guess that means they didn't know Charles all that well. Always going on about useless emotions.
"Anger. Sadness. Fear. All they do is cloud your judgement. They make you sloppy. Ineffective."
Carter was glad it'd been peaceful. A swift, lethal injection, before the suffering of disease could set in. It was what he'd wanted, even if the old man had expected to go out fighting 'til the end. Everyone else here... former colleagues, he supposed. Plenty of them were about as old as Charles had been. Others, members of his staff from when he'd worked in government. Still, Hudson had been reserved. Carter was fairly certain he was the closest living person to him- if he'd had a lover or another apprentice, they were dead or disappeared.
The funeral didn't take long. Charles hadn't really been much of religion, so nothing was read. Carter briefly considered saying a few words, but what wasn't classified, was private enough he saved his breath. After, everyone went their separate ways. Some lingered at the fringes of the cemetery, chatting, but Carter headed straight for his car.
The driver was a member of his team- the 'Black Squad' he'd personally trained and outfitted. His job wasn't chauffeur, but the man had offered, and Carter was glad for the opportunity to drift off in thought during the long drive. He'd flown in from the SUN, to the nearest Icarus base, but that wasn't where they were headed. No, their destination was Charles' home, in upstate New York. If there was anything he'd left to Carter, it'd be there.
Walking through the old house was disorienting, to say the least. He'd been here plenty of times, to talk with the old man. Sometimes, they'd talk work, sometimes just chatting over tea. Everything seemed as it had always bee, but Carter was sure that his mentor had left some contingency, for this eventuality. Of course, there was only one place where it could really be. The study.
Pushing open the door cautiously, ever-wary of traps, Carter glanced around at the room. Everything remained the same- mostly-empty desk, filing cabinet, ornamental katana, hidden wall panel with actual katana... and the bookshelf. Carter strode over to it immediately, and examined it. Charles. you didn't... But alas, he did. One of the books' places had less dust on it than the rest, the classic sign that it was secretly a lever. Carter chuckled- the book was one of Huxley's.
With little hesitation Carter pulled the lever, and the book-case swung around, letting the Black Phantom into Charles' secret room. It was actually quite small. A single armchair, a table, and a wall panel with the original Abaddon armor inside. Carter pressed a hand to the glass, gazing at the tattered suit, before turning back to the table. He sat down on the chair, sinking into it.
The table had a few things on it. One, a letter. Hand-written, not typed. Two, a bottle. Three, a wooden box. Carter picked up the letter first.
If you're reading this, I'm dead, etcetera. As you've likely already surmised, I am actually dead, not faking my own death. I would tell you, otherwise.
In all honesty, I've been putting telling you this off. The one thing that's difficult about actually being friends with someone, is that it's difficult to tell them hard truths. But nevertheless, it needs to be said.
Abaddon is holding you back.
You're clever. You know what I mean. Don't let the myth I created force you into a role you're not suited for. Make your own damn myth.
Charles Hudson. Abaddon."
Carter put the letter down, feeling vaguely numb. Not from shock, so much as just trying and failing to process what he'd written properly. As he'd almost begun to think it through, he remembered with a start he hadn't looked inside the box. He leaned forward his seat, and removed the lid.
Inside was a note, pinned with one of Charles' bat-shaped shuriken. It had one word, written on it, and Carter could half-hear it, in the old man's smug voice, when he revealed he'd pulled one over on his apprentice.
At around that time, the Second Shadow fell backwards into the chair, and passed out.
When Abaddon awoke, the first thing he noticed was that he was wearing the suit. Not because it felt uncomfortable, but because what he'd been wearing before did. The next thing he noticed was his surroundings. It was a large cave, vast and silent, save for the sound of bats' wings flapping.
Instinctively, he dropped into a combat stance. Whatever had happened, whoever had brought hm here and changed him, it was possible their intentions were nefarious. Unless it's Charles. Unless this is a test, and-- He dismissed the thought.
When noting immediately presented itself, Carter began walking. He picked a random direction- nothing seemed to be a 'critical path' for him to follow. As he walked, he turned the words Charles had written him over in his mind.
No. I am Abaddon.