She ran down a long, all too familiar hallway. Her feet thudded against the dark grey stone of the floor, and the sound was thrown back by the vaulted ceiling and absorbed by the bright tapestries on the walls. The sound pressed on her and made it hard to think, but she knew she had to get somewhere, stop someone, do something.

Her hands were clenching fabric. The same cloth was wrapping around her legs and fluttering behind her, making a loud rustling. She was wearing skirts, she realized, immense, billowing skirts of the kind that she had always hated and hoped never to wear again. They tripped her up and she swore as she fought to keep her footing.

The end of the hall was looming closer. She reached it and careened around the corner. Now she could see a long mirror on the right wall, the torchlight gleaming off its surface. She rushed past, but not before catching a glimpse of her reflection. Four eyes shone back at her.

Raven was suddenly and completely awake. She sat up in bed, her rasping breath tearing at her throat. She tried to find her center, but her emotions were in a flurry and she could feel her power sizzling in response.

Pale, trembling fingers slowly reached up and touched her face. Through the cold layer of sweat there Raven felt smooth skin. Her fingers moved up to her eyes and ran over the curve of her lids. Two eyes were there, only two. Assured that a new pair of eyes had not grown on her face, she was able to calm her power, and with it her pounding heart.

Rising from her bed, for she knew that she would not be able to fall asleep again, Raven smoothed out the creases in nightgown. The black satin reached to just above her knees. The nightgown had been a Christmas gift from Beast Boy a year or so back, and she had sent him a killing glare over it, but later on she had to admit to herself that she liked it. Black was, after all, her color, and it was the perfect length. She hated long skirts that fouled up her feet, skirts like the kind she was wearing in her dream.

She shuddered at the memory of her vision. It had been so clear, so detailed. Even for a moment after waking she had been convinced that she was back... back there.

At the thought of it her powers surged up again in a crackling wave inside of her.

"But I'm not there," Raven whispered to herself. She held a hand over her chest and could feel her heart thumping against the black satin. "I'm in Titan Tower. In Titan Tower, not there. Not there. I'll never be there again."

At last she dropped her hand to her side. She was herself again; calm, steady, stony-faced Raven unfrightened by the fiercest of villains and monsters. Her hand groped on the bedside table for her clock. Instead, her fingers touched cold metal. It was her mirror, her own meditation mirror with its frame of twisted bronze set with purple stones. It was also the only thing she had kept from her old home. Normally, holding the mirror and remembering where it came from gave Raven strength, because it reminded her that she was stronger than that... place. Now, however, with the image of herself running down the corridor still haunting her mind the mirror merely made her fingertips feel cold. Quickly, she fumbled for the drawer handle. For a moment it seemed to be stuck, but finally it slid open with a faint creak. Stuffing the mirror in, she slammed the drawer shut and turned away, putting the mirror and all it represented out of her mind.

It was pitch black in her room, but Raven didn't mind. She could see fine in the dark, better than any of the Titans but Cyborg, and he had an infrared eye. She had no trouble crossing her room in the dark, weaving around the various pieces of furniture and twisted statues to the bookshelf standing in the corner beside the door. She could not read the titles in the dark, but she didn't need to in order to find the book she wanted. Her hand went to it without thinking. Drawing the book from the shelf, she held it to her nose and breathed in, relishing the musty smell of leather and paper. The scent of good, dark poetry always helped her find her center, especially Edgar Allen Poe.

Suddenly, Raven felt a need for hot chocolate. She had a weakness for chocolate that she kept carefully hidden, and the idea of reading "The Raven" while sipping a warm cup of cocoa seemed very appealing at the moment.

With a light touch the door swished open, revealing the shadowed hallway. She stepped out of her room, holding her treasured book to her side. Already the eerie feeling left behind by her dream was almost erased. As she walked down the hall toward the kitchen, she felt only barely off balance. She wasn't quite normal yet, but a few hours of reading followed by meditation should take care of that.

Raven rounded a corner, and stopped so suddenly her bare feet squeaked against the polished floor. She had heard sounds coming from the floor beneath her. They were faint sounds, so she had to listen hard to hear them, but they were there. Rustling, shuffling, an occasional thump. There was someone in Titan Tower.

She considered waking up some reinforcements. Getting past the Tower's defenses was a difficult task, so the intruder would probably be tricky to defeat, but... What was that greenish glow in the corner of her vision? Raven spun around, her hands raised, her tongue loose and ready to utter her Words.

Starfire was floating in front of her, surrounded by an emerald halo and eyes shining like green Christmas lights. A delicate white lace nightgown drifted ghost-like around her ankles.

"It is only me, Starfire," said the girl in her typical, too loud voice. "Did you hear the noises as well, Raven?"

"Yes, I did," Raven hissed. "Now be quiet and shut off that light or else whoever's down there will see us before we see him."

Obediently, Starfire stopped glowing and fell to the floor with a faint thump. Raven winced, but the sounds from below went on uninterrupted. Whoever was down there seemed not to have heard.

Raven suddenly realized she was still holding her book. She set it on the floor, propped against the wall. By then Starfire had gotten to her feet. And was beckoning for Raven to come on.

The two girls reached the staircase and tip-toed down it, side by side. Now, with Starfire so close beside her, Raven realized that she was glad that she was with her and not one of the other Titans. The auburn-haired beauty's flying and alien super-strength would be useful, and Starfire was also the only one that knew Raven's past. Or, at least, most of it.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a crash from down the stairs, followed by a muffled curse. They rounded the last turn of the stairs, and Raven could finally see the dark form causing the noise.

"Why does he not require a light?" Starfire whispered.

Raven waved one hand for silence, then whispered back to her companion, "I'm going to turn on the light. As soon as it's on, I want you to fly out and tackle him. I'll block the exits." Starfire made an affirmative noise as Raven placed her hand on the wall and slid it over until her fingers touched the light switch. With a deep breath, she flicked it on.

Golden light flooded the room at the same time that a green bolt shot past her. Raven reached into herself and whispered, "Azerath, Metrion, Zinthos." She felt power sizzling around her hands and the world seemed to glow as it sparked in her eyes. From her hands she sent the power in a jagged, white-rimmed black ray to lift a heavy table and move it in from of the door. She then blocked the other exit with Cyborg's massive armchair.

Meanwhile, Starfire was wrestling with the black clad intruder. They appeared pretty evenly matched, the girl almost securing the stranger's arms behind his back before he turned and slammed her into the wall, only to see her bounce back and grab hold of him again. Raven was about to step into the room and help when the intruder opened his mouth and yelled. "Azerath."

A surge of black white sparks sizzled to life around him. Raven suddenly felt very cold.

"Kuruk," continued the man as he tried to push Starfire away. The power around him strengthened, but it was still faint and glowing all over him, not focusing on his hands and eyes, like Raven had trained her own power to do. She knew, in the back of her mind, that poorly controlled power like that could cause serious problems, and yet her feet remained fixed firmly on the bottom step.

"Tel--mmmph!" The stranger had begun the last word of his chant, but was cut off by Starfire jumping on his back and clamping her hand over his mouth. That was quick thinking, Raven thought sluggishly, she hadn't thought Starfire had it in her. The intruder shook Starfire violently, clawing at the hand still covering his mouth, but she held tight and refused to slide off of his back. Finally, though hampered by having only free hand, she forced him stomach down to the floor, his wrists held tightly behind his back.

"It is very impolite of you to come into our home without of our permission," she told the back of his head. "Of course it is also impolite of me to keep you from having your turn talking. So I will let go of your mouth, if you promise not to say any more magic words. Promise?"

The man stopped struggling and seemed to consider for a moment. Finally he raised his head in a way Raven guessed was the best nod he could manage on the floor with an arm around his neck. Starfire promptly released his mouth, though she kept her hold on his wrists.

"Could you please roll me over," he gasped.

"Why would you wish it?" asked Starfire with a puzzled expression on her face.

"Well, not that I'm not perfectly comfortable on my stomach with a knee shoved into my back, but I really should get a closer look at you." He spoke in dripping, sardonic tones one wouldn't expect from someone in such a helpless position.

"Why would you wish to 'get a closer look at me'? Surely you have seen me already?"

"Regrettably, I was unable to focus on your undoubtedly pretty face, being too preoccupied with our little dance."

Starfire was even more puzzled now, and a deep furrow had appeared between her eyes. "But we were not dancing. We were fighting. You are a very good fighter by the way. Very few would have lasted as long as you did."

"Thanks, but just move already."

"That is not very polite of you."

"Please. Just move already, please."

Starfire smiled brightly. "That is better." She grasped each of his shoulders with a hand, and so quickly Raven could hardly see it happening, she had him turned onto his back and was straddling him with a hand planted firmly on each of his arms.

If the man had been hoping to escape while Starfire turned him over, he didn't look disappointed at failing. Instead he grinned broadly, looking up at Starfire's face only inches from his, her reddish hair tumbling down to the floor on either side of his head. "Now this is much more comfortable.

"What?" asked Starfire, the crease reappearing in her forehead. "I don't understand..."

"Of course you don't," he cut her short. "Don't worry about it."

Raven now noticed that the trespasser was a very young, with a tumble of blue-grey hair. He was also, now that she had a look at him, rather good looking.

At the moment, his eyes-pitch black in contrast with his light hair and skin- were fixed on Starfire., but he then dropped his head back so that it bumped on the floor. "No, you're definitely not her. I suppose I should be grateful for that."

Starfire was clearly still confused but seemed to have given up asking him to clarify his statements. "Who are you talking about? Who is 'her'?"

Raven, however, thought she knew who 'her' was. She knew, and oddly enough, the thought didn't terrify her. Perhaps all those years learning to suppress emotion had payed off.

"I'm looking for Lady Aleran," he said, "can you tell me where she is?"

Despite having expected it, Raven couldn't stop herself from reeling. She held one hand to the wall to steady herself. Apparently she hadn't lost all feeling on the subject.

"I'm sorry," said Starfire, "but I know no one by that name."

The man sighed. "Somehow I was expecting it." He let his head roll to one side so that his eyes were directed at Cyborg's armchair where it lay on it's side blocking the door. His black eyes narrowed at it. He spoke, and his voice, though steady, hinted at barely controlled frustration. "I was so sure she was here." At the last word his palms slapped the floor, and the armchair exploded in a burst of black light.

Starfire jumped slightly but nothing else, having been used to outbursts like that from Raven, and, for a brief period a few months ago, herself. The man, however, looked dumbfounded. "How? I don't understand. That hasn't happened in years. That never happens to anyone older than six."

"You'll find that your powers are amplified in this world." Raven stepped out of the shadows and slowly walked over to the two people lying on the floor. "It takes more discipline to control it."

The man looked up at her and smiled, just as he had smiled at Starfire. "Milady Aleran, I have been sent to find you, to take you home. Azerath needs you."