Raven walked in corridors of shadow and darkness. She'd been walking for who knew how long and hadn't seen so much as a glimpse of the other Titans. She had no idea where she was; this could have been some sort of construct and they were still in the ruins or this could be some otherworldly dimension, far removed from space and time. She continued to walk; there was nothing else for her to do, but to go forward.
Even though the corridor was completely dark and visibility was almost zero, she could have sworn she saw someone in the dark, beckoning her forward. Could it have been one of the Titans? Raven doubted it; if it was one of her friends, then they would have waited for her instead of running off whenever she got close. It could be a trap, except this was the heart of enemy territory, how much more trapped could she be? With no way of knowing where she was or where she needed to be, teleporting was out of the question. All she could do was to keep walking.
She exited the corridor into a huge room and nearly fell as she found herself on the edge of what appeared to be a cliff at the end of the corridor. She looked down and saw that she stood on some sort of gigantic statue bust of the goddess Pallas Athena, which was perched on the top of an immense doorframe. This room looked like some giant's library, made of shadow and darkness. The scene seemed somewhat familiar, but Raven couldn't quite place it.
"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'" A voice said.
Now Raven recognized the scene; it was almost amusing in a way, but more annoying than anything.
"Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made she; not a minute stopped or stayed she;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more." The voice continued.
The room shifted, the shadows changed and Raven found herself in front of the door with in the chamber, not perched upon it. There in the center of the room was a large chair facing away from her.
"Prophet!' said I, thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven…" The voice said in absolute monotone.
"Nevermore…" Raven finished.
It wasn't that she hated that particular work of Edgar Allen Poe, but it was rather that when they had first met Beast Boy had attempted to quote the poem. He had done so rather poorly and Raven had pelted him telekinetically with tomatoes to get him to stop. This, on the other hand, was perfectly quoted, if a shortened version of the original. The chair turned and there sat Crow, waiting for her apparently.
"Well, I suppose you've probably heard that one before. It's rather well known after all." Crow said as he stood.
"What are you doing?" Raven demanded.
He still had a second pair of eyes on his forehead, Trigon eyes, but they were closed. He smiled, almost gently.
"What do you think I'm doing? I'm saving this world from encroaching doom."
"By killing the world? Your shield will block out the light; it will kill everything." Raven hissed.
"Don't be ridiculous, my shield will protect everyone from Him." He said, his face darkening.
The Trigon eyes opened a crack, crimson light flowing out of them.
"You aren't strong enough to fight Him, I'm the only one who can protect you and the world." He stated coldly.
"And if we don't want to be protected by you? What if I want to fight Him?" Raven retorted.
"Don't be foolish. I told you, you're not strong enough to fight Him."
"So it's your way or no way at all? Are you going to use force to stop me? That's just like our father you know; if someone doesn't agree with you, destroy them, is that it?" She shouted.
"Don't compare me to him… EVER." Crow growled.
"Or what?" Raven demanded.
His Trigon eyes were now half-way open and a small smile snuck onto his face as those demon eyes opened wide. Shadow and darkness coalesced in his hand, solidified into a scimitar. Crow brought the blade up to an attack position and charged. Raven was barely able to make a shield with her power in order to defend herself. His face approached hers.
"Tell you what; you defeat me and I'll leave you to protect the world from our father. You lose and you let me protect you, deal?" He asked as he pressed his blade down on Raven's shield.
Raven grunted and pushed Crow back. He smiled and charged again, this time being more aggressive, raining blow after blow down upon Raven with incredible speed. Suddenly he created another scimitar sword for his other hand and thrust the point towards her. She barely blocked it; the force of the blow knocked her to the ground. Crow danced back a few steps, his blades at the ready.
"If you keep fighting defensively like that, you'll never defeat me and if you can't beat me how will you ever defeat Trigon?" He said coldly.
Shadow spikes began to pop out of the ground; Raven rolled to dodge them and then flew up off the ground. A large shadowy hand reached from the walls and grabbed her legs and brought her crashing to the ground.
"Ugh… is this your idea of a fair fight?" She demanded as she struggled to free her legs from the hands' grip.
"At no time did I ever promise a fair fight and do you think Trigon would fight fair? Even if you were to fight on your turf, you'd still be fighting on his terms. I suggest you learn to deal with it." He held his blades in a defensive pose.
Raven's eyes glowed and she motioned towards the shadow hands holding her down. Her power destroyed the hands and she then flew up and struck out at Crow; he easily blocked the attack.
"Better." Crow said calmly. "But you'll have to do far better than that if you even hope to defeat me."
Raven went on the offensive, attacking like a whirling dervish, a berserker, but she could not penetrate his defences. Crow's movements seemed slow, lethargic, but he was always able to block her, as if he knew exactly how she was going to move before she did. He pushed her back with little effort.
"Not strong enough, not powerful enough, not fast enough. Accept it, dear Raven; you can't defeat me. Stand with me, help me to protect the world, help me face him when the time comes. We are kin and in this world we are alone, so shouldn't we stick together?" He asked.
The sabre in his right hand vanished and he extended a hand towards her. Raven hesitated; Crow was like her, he understood her, he was of her blood and he was right, wasn't he? They were the only ones like each other in the entire world, shouldn't they fight side by side and not against each other?
"You've made one mistake, Crow." A voice said from the shadows behind Raven. "She's not alone, she has us."
Robin leapt out of the darkness and threw some small orbs at Crow. The balls exploded in light and Crow cried out in pain. Starfire flew out of the darkness, pelting Crow with starbolts, followed by Beast Boy, in the form of a tiger, who slashed at Crow, spinning him around. Cyborg fired off his sonic cannon, nailing Crow in the back, causing him to fall to the ground. Crow got back to his feet, half-blind and enraged and he turned to face the Titans.
"Raven, the amplifier, take it now!" Robin ordered.
Raven hesitated once again, but cast out her power towards the device fixed to Crow's chest. She muttered a barely audible 'I'm sorry' as she tore the device off of him, tearing it to pieces. The Trigon eyes closed, the citadel, the room around them began to melt and dark energy erupted from a point on his forehead. Crow screamed in agony as he fell back. The room quaked and shifted, the Titans and Crow loosing their balance. When Crow fell, the ground he hit did not appear solid as he began to sink into it. The darkness around them wavered and Raven rose into the air and flew towards Crow, trying to save him. The structure shuddered and quaked and Raven fell to the ground, just out of reach of Crow. He was still screaming, tears of agony and fear coming from his eyes, a pillar of dark light coming from his forehead. Raven could hear his mind his screaming, she wanted to help him so she reached out with her powers, trying to pick him out of the shadows telekinetically. The instant her powers touched him, she found herself on a mindscape, standing before him. He smiled gently, almost as if he were proud of her and then she found herself jarred back to reality.
The darkness around them was being drawn into whatever sinkhole Crow was caught in and he was almost gone. Raven scrambled to her feet, trying to reach Crow, but it was too late: he was gone, swallowed by darkness.
"NO!" Raven Screamed as she clawed at the darkness.
The shadows, the structure the Titans were in were drawn into that hole and they found themselves at the ruins, the sun just beginning to dawn on the world once again. The Titans approached Raven who was kneeling over the spot where Crow had been.
"Raven… Are you okay?" Robin asked.
Raven was hunched over the spot. Was she okay? Of course she wasn't, the one person who could have understood her, who knew all the bad things associated with her, the one person who would have accepted her, was gone. But these were emotions, her emotions were dangerous, so she would suppress them and forget about Crow and any possibility of kinship; it was all she could do really.
"I'm fine." She said as she stood.
In Slade's hideout, the great criminal mastermind sat awaiting news of his pawn. Crow suddenly fell from the ceiling and landed hard on the ground.
"You failed, I see." Slade said, standing over Crow. "Not unexpected."
Morgan rolled onto his stomach and reached a shaky hand to his forehead.
"You did, however, surpass my expectations. You almost succeeded in destroying the Titans. Most impressive, you've past my test. I'll be retaining your services for some time, you're still in my debt after all."
Morgan felt the gem, the charka that was now embedded in his forehead, barely paying attention to what Slade was saying.
"Welcome to Tartaros, mister Crow."
Raven Facts: After many events in the DC universe, Raven was free to explore the world in her golden spirit body. However, she encountered a great evil as she traveled: the Cult of Blood. The cult captured her and forced her soul into a new flesh body. You may wonder why the Cult of Blood was so interested in Raven. Well the fact is, and this is a spoiler, that the Cult of Blood worships the Eighth Devil, Trigon. They also have a prophecy in their version of Revelations that goes like this: "When the eighth generation of Brother Blood arrives, he will wed the daughter of Trigon. On that day, Trigon's army will travel through his daughter and cleanse the Earth of those without faith."
Well the Titans were able to defeat that Brother Blood, with Raven's help and they took her back among them. Raven has begun expressing herself more, she got a cool looking Raven tattoo, and even plans on going to high school under the name Rachel Roth. But I fear trouble is far from over for our Dear Raven.
Author Notes: Dear readers, I hope you've enjoyed reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope that you will continue to read my works, as 'Birds of a Feather' is a part of a series of related stories, as well as other Teen Titans stories I plan to write.
One of the reasons it too me so long to finish this story is that I had asked a friend of mine to draw a picture of Morgan Crow and he only recently finished it. I posted a link to his online gallery as well as to the picture of Crow in my profile. I suggest you go check it out as soon as possible.
See you next story!