Bruce is no longer broken but he is still in the pit. “Prisoner,” the only English-speaking guy in the place, warns him against escape, although everyone else in the pit seems really excited about it, they become a positive choir of helpful animals as he climbs the wall. (I still don’t know why he doesn’t pull the rope up after himself, tie a hook to it and use it as a grapple — where is Batman when you need him?) (However, major props to Bruce for taking a major fall with a rope tied around his waist after suffering a broken back.)
When pressed, Prisoner reveals an ooch more about the love-child of the mercenary and the warlord’s daughter — the child, he says, was “no ordinary child, a child born in Hell.” Bruce, he says, is not qualified to escape from the pit, he is a child of privilege, born in the light. Prisoner does not know, perhaps, that falling down a hole is old news to Bruce, although, to be fair, he was rescued from that original hole by his wealthy father. (I’m a little more concerned that Bane claims to have been “born in darkness,” since, as the reader must know by now, Bane is not the child of the pit. Was he, too, born in the pit?)
While Bane’s army pillages Gotham City, Broken Bruce Wayne, in the pit on the other side of the world, is given some rough-hewn physical therapy and told the legend of the child born in the pit. Actually he is told two stories, one about the mercenary who falls in love with the warlord’s daughter, and another about the child of that union, the warlord’s daughter’s child, which is the child born in the pit. We have been told earlier that Bane was born in the pit, and so we latch on to that factoid, because Bane is super-weird, with his accent and his mask and his rage, so we want to know who that guy is. The Dark Knight honored tradition by keeping the identity of the Joker a complete mystery, but Rises is happy to give us a background for its bad guy — even though, we will find out, not the bad guy we’re thinking about.
So Bane, the story will have us believe, is the product of the union of a mercenary and a princess — true love, no doubt, true love punished by a cruel father in a harsh, fairy-tale land with an open-pit prison. A mercenary, by definition, has no dog in a fight, owes no one allegience, but Bane has been perfectly clear about his allegience to Ra’s Al Ghul, a man he thinks of as his spiritual father.