Disclaimer: Since I obviously don't own the copyright to Teen Titans, I'm taking advantage of the Fair Use Clause of the Copyright laws to write a story with them in it. Who knew the government would protect the little guys? Anyway, I hope you enjoy.
Prologue: She Who Is Its Daughter
She Who Is Its Daughter Shall Be Covered By Its Marks…
And She Who Is Its Daughter Shall Journey Its Path, The Path Of Hellfire…
And She Who Is Its Daughter Shall Find The Altar Of Darkness In Its Church…
And She Who Is Its Daughter Shall Be Covered In The Light Of The Blood Red Moon...
And She Who Is Its Daughter Shall Unleash It Upon The World.
The shining red metal hovered above her, trembling in the same manner as the two shaky green-gloved hands that held it. Raven stared up at Robin, "DO IT!" She growled. His face was a mask of pain, uncertainty, it was the first time she had ever seen him like this, and hopefully it was the last. "I SAID DO IT!"
Gritting his teeth, Robin lifted the birdarang above his head and closed his eyes, "Raven, there has to be another way."
"IT IS THE ONLY WAY!" She growled, struggling against the bonds trying to push herself off the stone altar she was shackled to. The runes on her skin were glowing a violent blood red, there wasn't much time left before…
Tears trickled from the edge of his mask, "I can't…"
The pain arched within her, another spasm of power burned its way through her body, causing every inch of her skin to crawl and the runes to spread. She winced at the tremendous pain as her father's markings etched their way into her body, into her soul. There wasn't any time left. She trembled and threw her head back against the stone slab as her body writhed in agony. Releasing a horrible yell she looked back up to Robin. Taking in a ragged breath, she looked at him, stared at him, piercing the mask and the eyes behind them, starring directly into his soul, "Robin… please… kill me…"
Robin raised the birdarang as high as he could, "Raven… forgive me…" with one deft motion, he threw his hands down towards her heart with all his power. Raven watched the sharp points head for her chest. But the clouds moved out of the way first revealing the moon and its rays. The moonlight hit her first; the light of the blood red moon covered every inch of her body.
It was too late.
The world stopped around her for a second, and then the energy released itself from her body. White light poured from her eyes and mouth, her head was thrown back with such a tremendous force that the solid rock beneath it cracked and shattered. Her arms and legs seemed to be pulled down as the shackles pulled themselves taut, while her chest arched forward, trying desperately to someway, somehow relieve the agony that wracked her body.
In the last recesses of her mind that weren't overwhelmed by the twin agonies of physical pain and knowing that her friends had just been doomed there was a single thought: How had she let this happened?
Raven knew it all to well. Raven knew what was happening, knew the prophecy was coming to pass, but didn't tell anyone, didn't say a word to Robin when he asked her, didn't tell Cyborg when he came to talk to her, didn't mention it to Starfire when they were meditating, didn't reveal it to Beast Boy. It was her fault they were all gone, that the world was being thrown into chaos and ruin.
It had been just under two weeks, thirteen days to be precise, since Slade had returned and put her father's markings on her, that the accursed red runes that composed hell's language reappeared all over her and became permanent. She had woken up, and found herself covered by them. She had tried to cover it up when they re-appeared, the first time she donned something resembling pants, as foolish and as pathetic as it was. She knew it was the first sign. 'She Who Is Its Daughter Shall Be Covered By Its Marks…'
Beast Boy had seen her first and asked her what was wrong. She hadn't told him… a mistake. She had always mistreated the green miscreant. Sure he was irritating, and at times ignorant… more often than not actually, but he had a good heart, and he was loyal to her, and the team. He was the one who was kindest to her…
Beast Boy had just finished cooking his meal when the door to the operations room opened and Raven walked in. "Hey Rave… Raven?" Beast Boy's jaw nearly dropped, was he seeing things? He rubbed his eyes and took another look at Raven. He wasn't hallucinating. Raven was wearing black jeans. He didn't even know she had jeans. "Raven, are you wearing jeans?"
Cyborg and Robin perked their heads up when he said that, looking away from their video game and turning to look at her. Raven shifted uncomfortably as they stared at her. She had her cowl up, preventing them from seeing the expression on her face, but Beast Boy was sure she wasn't happy at him.
"Yes I am wearing jeans, what is it to you?" She said indignantly.
"It's just… I've never seen you in pants before… I didn't even knew you had any…" Beast Boy scratched the back of his head a bit confused and sorry he had commented on it.
"It's winter, it's cold, and I'm wearing pants." She said quickly, as if to stop the conversation then and there, still they watched her. Her hands clenched into the room and she stormed out, leaving them in the now darkened room as the light bulbs overhead burst.
Raven had run into the hall, she could feel the runes burning; they had begun to glow and were becoming visible even through her clothing. The door to the operations room opened and Beast Boy walked out, "Raven I… didn't… what's wrong?"
Raven stood there for a moment, then finally turned to face him, he took a step back, startled as a bright red light shown from her brow, illuminating her face. She stared at him, watching him as he was bathed in a sickly red light. She saw him, as he would be, frozen in stone, permanently recoiling in terror as demons latched onto him and changed him as he could not himself change. He was to be stuck in stone forever looking like the coward she knew he was not. "I need to be alone." She murmured, lowered her head, looking at the floor, then turned and walked away.
Raven could remember, barely, that she had felt afraid. More afraid for herself and what would happen than for those around her. She had been irrational, stupid, she had let her emotions and fears get in her way and cloud her vision. Why hadn't she just told them? Given them, given anyone warning of what was to come? Instead she had kept silent, letting them act as if everything was normal until the bitter end, when it was far too late to stop it. Oh, she had tried to find a way to escape her destiny, but she had been doing that her entire life. What made her think she'd be able to do it in little under a week?
Then Slade, the messenger of Trigon, the soulless monstrosity empowered by Trigon and given new life to revel in the world's destruction as he led her down her path, had returned. Even worse, he had done it in Titan's Tower, while they slept. The emergency alarm that Robin had hooked up to her door had been the only thing that kept Slade from reaching her while she slept. She remembered Slade entering her room, and the overwhelming fear as he bathed her in the flames. She had tried to stay as her room burned to cinders, but, against her will, the second sign was fulfilled. 'And She Who Is Its Daughter Shall Journey Its Path, The Path Of Hellfire…'
Starfire had flown in and grabbed her, dragging her kicking and screaming from the burning room. Raven had struggled but Starfire was far stronger than her… Starfire had always been stronger than Raven, or any other person Raven knew. Not only physically, Starfire had a spirit, a pure soul that had always defied corruption even at the worst and darkest times. Raven had thought the girl naïve, and in some respects she was right, but Starfire's heart was truer than any other…
The alarm in her room screeched, an unearthly noise that it only made in one instance. Someone had already bypassed other Titan security; it was a special alarm that was made for her room. Raven's eyes went wide and she tried to sit up, not bothering to reach for her cape. Still, it was too late as Slade was standing over her. She had barely moved inches away from her pillow when he grabbed her by her jaw, covering her mouth entirely, and pushed her back into her pillow. His eye narrowed, "You have to walk the path."
Raven almost cried as she saw his hand catch fire, the second sign, the Path of Hellfire. She couldn't see what Slade was doing behind his mask, but she was certain he was smiling. Without looking away he moved his hand and shot gouts of flame into her bookcases. The books exploded into fire, ancient pages withered and burned, their ancient knowledge and wisdom destroyed forever as they were enveloped by the blaze. Raven pushed back against him, grabbing his hand and trying to wrench it off her mouth, but to no avail. His grip tightened and her jaw felt as if it was about to shatter. Slade moved his arm to the other side of her room, throwing a wall of fire into her curtains and wall. The windows shattered as the flames struck, whether it was from the atrocious heat that emanated from the unnatural flames or simply from force that struck them that shattered them, she would never know.
The runes covering her body burned, scorching her clothing, as if they were desperate to reveal themselves to the unholy flames. She wanted to scream, wanted to yell for help, wanted to use her powers to crush Slade or put out the flames, none of that was possible as Slade held her tightly down to her bed. That's when his arm finally aimed down at her. She couldn't scream as the flames covered her, burned her, and destroyed everything surrounding her. She knew this wasn't the end… it couldn't be the end. She was right, the flames had wreathed around her, her entire bed was burning, and the flames licked her but did not burn her, she was immune to their effects. "The path, Raven, is here and now." Slade said, and disappeared.
She sat up untouched by the raging inferno, "AZARATH! METRION ZINTHOS!" She screamed at the top of her lungs and the entire room was blanketed in darkness… but the flames didn't die, they burned and sizzled and kept traveling despite her desperate attempts to stop it. She looked around desperately, trying to find some way to escape the flames, to escape the nightmare, but there was no way out. The ceiling above her began to buckle as the flames burned away the support. She heard a yell from her doorway and Starfire flew in at top speed, barely ducking as a chunk of the ceiling gave way and came crashing to the floor. Raven stared at the flames, which seemed to follow her friend, spreading more rapidly in the direction Starfire was moving. "Starfire! NO!" But Starfire didn't listen, throwing herself between two gouts of flame that shot up and flying into her friend, nearly throwing her off her bed.
"Friend Raven! We must leave!" Starfire looked around and saw the fire spread towards her, dodging another pillar of flames that formed in another attempt on her life.
Raven shook her head, "No, you don't understand… I can't…"
Starfire didn't seem to notice, grabbing her friend and flying from the room as the entire room began to collapse in on itself, "We must leave!"
Raven watched in horror as the flames parted in front of them, she struggled, trying to pry herself from Starfire's grasp, "Starfire! NO!" But Starfire held her friend tightly and threw herself through the wall of flames that materialized at the doorway. She had held Raven back, trying to protect her friend from the flames. Temporarily blinded as she went threw, Starfire flew all the way into the opposite hall.
Outside the others stared at them wide mouthed in shock. Starfire drew in ragged gasps, wincing at the burns she had received from the wall of fire she had flown through. Raven looked back into her room, she could see the line they had traveled, the fire had cleared from the path, the fire covering the door had disappeared as soon as they had passed threw it. The second sign had been fulfilled… Raven took a step towards her room. At that moment the ceiling collapsed and any chance of avoiding her fate disappeared…
At first the others were amazed that the flames hadn't touched Starfire. Raven knew better. Mortal flames hadn't burned her; she had been burned by hellfire. Raven cringed inside knowing the internal effects. Hellfire rarely left physical marks, instead leaving a burn on the soul. Starfire would be physically fine, but the damage done to her spirit and soul… Raven had tried to talk to her, but she had turned away. Raven had blamed herself for this horrible fate, but not so much as she blamed Slade. Slade had hurt her friend in the worst way possible, had damaged her in a way that might never be fixed. Inwardly she had steeled herself, Slade would pay for this, pay in ways that only her and her father could truly understand. She was so filled with anger that her demonic side had broken free during combat when she faced him again. Cyborg managed to save her from that evil state, but the fight with Slade took a disastrous turn as in the process she fulfilled the third sign. 'And She Who Is Its Daughter Shall Find The Altar Of Darkness In Its Church…'
Cyborg was the one who, possibly, understood her best. Where she looked human, but struggled to retain her humanity, Cyborg didn't have that advantage. Cyborg had always seen the vulnerability to corruption and fought against it, he had fought back until he had been completely incapacitated by Fixit and Brother Blood, and even then he continued to fight for his humanity. He had fought to save her, not only her physical self but her soul as well…
The Titans weren't sure if Slade still controlled him, but Cinderblock had become far more dangerous since his master's death. They weren't sure what caused it, perhaps Cinderblock's intelligence had been hindered by Slade's control or perhaps Cinderblock had somehow learned from fighting them, but now, more than ever, he had become dangerous. The truck that flew by Raven at a tremendous speed proved that in and of itself.
Cyborg yelled and lunged, shooting a beam into its chest, but Cinderblock didn't even take a step back, instead swatting Robin into burst before he had been able to land a hit. Starfire gasped and threw more Starbolts at him, while Raven looked for something heavy to hit him with since mailboxes didn't seem to cut it and there were no cars left on the street. Cyborg stopped firing and rushed to his companion's aid as Beast Boy charged in the form of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The sound of teeth scratching across rock filled the air, and Cinderblock roared, grabbing Beast Boy by the neck and pulling him off, leaving several teeth imbedded in his stone chest.
Cinderblock lifted Beast Boy, still in Tyrannosaurus form, and pulled him close, trying to crush him. Beast Boy's sudden disappearance caused Cinderblock to roar again, and swat at the small bat that hovered around him. Starbolt after Starbolt rained down upon his stony frame with no real effect. Starfire launched herself at him and smashed him in the chest, sending him tumbling backwards a few steps… the perfect distance he needed as he swung his hands together with remarkable speed and smashed Starfire between his hands.
Cyborg was lifting Robin up when he saw Cinderblock pull his hands apart and watched Starfire fall. He fired another sonic burst at Cinderblock's chest, throwing off its follow up blow to the Tamaranian, "Raven! Get Starfire out of here!" Raven was snapped from her search for weaponry and used her powers to envelope her friend in dark energy, then dragged her away from combat. Starfire was unconscious… and heavier than Raven had expected. With a little strain, she kept Starfire aloft, and then started to fly her to safety. Looking about desperately, she found a roof to place her friend on, and then flew back to battle, but not before finding a truck to have Cinderblock play catch with.
Cinderblock was finally being pushed back, another savage set of marks marred his body and Beast Boy was biting him from behind. Robin was throwing explosive disks, and Cyborg was hitting him with sonic beams. Raven's used her powers to speed the truck up as it headed towards the stone mammoth. Beast Boy released his hold and disappeared turning into another animal, while Robin and Cyborg held their fire to keep him disoriented. The truck being hurled into his chest was just too much for him; Cinderblock stumbled back a few more steps and collapsed.
Raven was still far away and barely heard the cheer come from Beast Boy and Cyborg. She did, however, see Robin turn and look at her. She couldn't tell what he said but she assumed it was about Starfire. She moved closer to hear him but never had the chance. The blast of flames hit her directly in the back and sent her spiraling earthward. The world spun, she was falling, she couldn't stop, she had to regain focus, she had to… the earth was speeding towards her at a dizzying speed. She put her arms in front of her face and tried to brace for impact.
It never came as Robin swung and grabbed her mere feet from the ground; the wind was knocked out of Raven's lungs as the sheer force came to such a sudden halt. Robin lowered her to the ground where she stayed for a moment, looking up at the roof to see Slade standing there… holding Starfire. She cursed herself for her foolishness, how could she have left Starfire so vulnerable?
"It seems you have misplaced something." Slade said and tilted his head to the side, holding Starfire over the edge of the building, "Let me return it to you." He said and dropped her unceremoniously over the edge. Robin immediately shot his grappling hook and swung towards her. He was about to grab her when the cable disappeared, utterly destroyed by a massive burst of flame. Robin plummeted earthward with Starfire, managing to reach her just as he lost the ability to save her. Raven threw her hand forward, creating a solid black shield beneath them. They slammed into it and it nearly shattered under the pressure, but Raven managed to hold it.
Beast Boy took the form of a Pterodactyl as Cyborg started to fire on Slade, running towards him. Raven quickly lowered Robin and Starfire to the ground in front of her. They were both unconscious. She looked up in time to see Beast Boy get hit by a wave of flames and get sent spiraling from the skies, landing on a nearby roof with a thud. Raven felt a cold rage growing within her, he had hurt her friends that soulless bastard had tried to kill her and her friends and she wasn't going to let him get away with it. Using her powers she threw black claws at Slade as he perched himself on the rooftop.
Slade ignored them and leapt from the roof, landing on the street with such force that the ground shattered. He stayed on a bowed knee looking at the circle of stone that had been pushed down into the earth by his fall. "I was hoping that your friends would be more of a challenge." Slade said, and stood up.
"You forgot about me!" Cyborg yelled, and launched himself at Slade. Slade looked over at the wall of metal and took a step back, letting Cyborg miss him entirely. Cyborg barely had time to turn around before the flames struck him, sending him flying back against the wall, his shinning metallic 'skin' scorched.
"You're not worth remembering." Slade said, and then turned back to Raven.
Raven couldn't control the change; the power coursing threw her body as her weakened mental state let the demon run loose inside her mind. Had she been in control, she might have realized that was exactly what Slade wanted, but she was far from being in control. She grew to double, and then triple her normal size, dark tendrils creeping out from beneath her massive cloak, and the ominous color of red that already shown from the mark on her forehead intensified as it was joined by two red eyes. "DIE!" The infernal hiss crawled from her throat in a tone far raspier and disturbed than anything that could naturally be produced by a human voice.
For the slightest second, Slade's eye went wide, and then he threw his arms forward, wreathed in flames to spew fire at the tendrils that struggled to reach him. Still they surrounded him, ignoring the flames and grabbing him, pulling his arms and legs apart. Raven pulled herself forward, inches from Slade's face, and started to pull his limps apart, "Am I worth remembering?" the unnatural hiss was doubly eerie as the sounds of bones popping from their joints echoed from within Slade.
His eye watched her impassively, ignoring or not feeling the excruciating pain a normal human would feel if in his position, "Only until you release your father…" his hands re-ignited and burned away the black tendrils causing Raven to pull away, shrieking in rage and pain. The tendrils on his feet released him, trying to avoid the flames that spilled from his hands, but they were disintegrated before they could get away. Raven uttered a guttural scream as she was nearly crippled by the precision strikes. "You really are a foolish girl." Slade said, grabbing his arm and snapping it back into it's socket, "Your father told me all about your little tricks." He snapped the other arm back into its socket then walked towards Raven who still towered over but glared at him with impotent rage.
The blast from Cyborg's sonic cannon hit Slade heavily in the side but didn't so much as knock him down. "Raven! Get out of here!" Cyborg yelled and fired another burst, Slade used a wall of flames to simply stop the blast before it hit. Another pillar of fire shot towards him, but Cyborg leapt away. Raven stood still, anger and rage still overwhelming her. Cyborg looked up at her, "RAVEN! Get out of here now! I'll hold off Slade!" He fired another burst at Slade, who simply accepted the blow to his chest and continued walking unfazed. Cyborg had nowhere left to run, pinned between the wall and Raven. Slade grabbed him by the throat and lifted him from the ground, squeezing so hard that the outer layer of metal bent inwards. "Raven!" Cyborg shouted just as Slade's fingers dug through and cut of his ability to breathe. His eye widened and he looked at Slade desperate for air.
The desperate look on his face was what finally snapped Raven out of it. She sank to the ground, taking in ragged gasps as she finally rested control from the beast in her mind. She couldn't let Slade kill Cyborg; she would never forgive herself, "Azarath! Metrion! Zinthos!" She nearly screamed in a hoarse voice. The bursts of black energy struck Slade and he stumbled backwards, releasing Cyborg who fell to the ground clutching his throat. Raven ran to her friend and grabbed him, trying to get him away from Slade before he recovered.
"You can't avoid your fate." Slade said, standing back up and walking after her slowly as she desperately helped Cyborg hobble away. He was dragging in breaths, but seemed to lack the air he so desperately needed. She stopped and looked into his throat, where the metal had been pushed threw like mere paper. A bit of the metal was pushing up against his windpipe, depriving him of air. Still dragging him she used her powers to pull it the shard of metal away. His eyes went wide as relief finally came, "Raven… get out of here…" Cyborg said, trying to push her away from him. Slade continued following them in a leisure pace, watching this in a slightly amused fashion.
"I can't just leave you here!" She said, trying to pull him away from Slade. They were so vulnerable, yet Slade didn't attack; he was enjoying this game of cat and mouse far too much. "Loose some weight!" Raven growled to Cyborg and stumbled forward, dragging him as best as she could, which wasn't easy even with her powers.
"You can't escape your destiny Raven. You're doomed to face it." Slade said, not looking away from her.
It had been the first time Raven had ever seen Starfire use stealth. Usually the girl let out a battle cry as she flew at an opponent, giving them some warning. Raven didn't know if it was an affect from the Hellfire or the hatred she had of Slade, but Starfire didn't make a sound until she hit him from behind. Slade was driven forward and into a solid stone wall as Starfire punched and threw Starbolts into his back with such ferocity that the wall itself shattered and Slade collapsed in a heap on the shattered rock. Raven had never seen Starfire attack with such fury. After a full minute Starfire stopped her shoulders heaving from the strain, Slade wasn't moving.
Robin walked over to Raven, hand held to his head, "What are we going to do with him?"
"I…" Raven never got to finish as Slade slowly pushed himself up from the rubble.
"No… way…" Was all Robin could say, taking a step back. Slade turned around and was hit in the jaw with a savage punch from Starfire. His neck cracked and his head bent to an odd angle… but with another crack, he looked back at her. The Tamaranian princess barely had time to register what happened before Slade slammed his fist into her stomach sending her flying backwards into the air, landing and rolling until she was mere feet away from Raven.
Cyborg pulled himself away from Raven, looked to Robin and then they nodded in unison. Simultaneously they launched themselves at Slade, Cyborg powering his sonic cannon and Robin pulling out some explosives. Slade took a defensive stance, spreading out his legs and setting his hands ablaze, waiting to absorb whatever they threw at him and return it ten fold. Robin flung his explosive forward, Cyborg held for a moment longer, and then fired a sonic blast to compliment the explosive's force.
The explosion was amazing, and when the smoke cleared Slade was nowhere in sight… and neither was the wall. Raven gasped at what she saw. The building Starfire had thrown Slade into was a church, the church, Its church… and the dark altar stone lay at the center now completely revealed from the blast that had destroyed it's outer wall. Inside, in the center of the church was a black stone covered in glowing red runes. Raven gasped, it was the Dark Altar Stone. The red runes covering it vibrated wildly and black tendrils not so dissimilar from her own appeared and then shot at Raven at a blinding speed. She didn't have time to turn and run let alone speak her magic words before they grabbed her and pulled her into the church.
The self-loathing hit her, knowing she had so easily fallen to the prophecy, had fallen for Slade's tricks. Raven knew this was destined to happen, and knew it was impossible to truly resist it, but it still felt so wrong that she hadn't avoided it somehow. The other titans didn't even know what was happening and the danger she, and everyone else was in. Had she told them things would have been different, had she told Robin, he might have done it sooner, he would have understood before it was too late. He would have stopped it before the fourth and final sign was fulfilled… 'And She Who Is Its Daughter Shall Be Covered In The Light Of The Blood Red Moon...'
Robin… had known something was coming, but he never knew the magnitude or malevolence of what was to be unleashed upon the world. She had rarely understood her teammates, but Robin was one she understood and liked. He was solid and dependable, a rock for people to their fears and doubts against. He was the only one who knew something was coming, but she refused to tell him what… and it had doomed him and the world.
Raven could hear the fighting outside but couldn't see it. The church was completely dark, and even though she could see out through the hole in the wall the sonic boom attack had created, no one was there to see. Slade had appeared behind Robin and Cyborg and attacked them and she had last seen them trying to drive him off. All Raven could do was lye still in the darkness. Outside of a few grunts and the sound of the sonic cannon being fired, it was completely silent as well.
The church itself looked like a normal church, or it had been before Slade had corrupted it in the most obvious manner. He had burned it… with the parishioners still inside. The charred pews held people who were scorched beyond any recognition. The looks on their faces, black masks of pain and agony as they screamed and burned. The spirits that dwelled here, the angry spirits of those poor people told her so. Their angry whispers haunted her, telling her about her damnation for bringing such evil upon them and soon, the world.
Tears streamed down Raven's face, she had failed utterly. She had never done one thing to prevent this. She had allowed this blasphemy to happen and so many innocent die before they even had a chance to call for help. Her entire life was a lie and she knew it all too well, and so did the people who were stuck here. The demon in her mind, while drained, laughed at what was happening, it was winning without even having to fight.
The dark altar stone vibrated and the glyphs and runes pulsed with energy. They surged with power and it burned her back and gave her images of what was to come. Raven gritted her teeth trying to push the thoughts out of her mind. It wasn't working. Trigon smashed the stony bodies of those who had been affected by his curse; she was seated next to Slade, the priestess of Trigon next to his messenger. "NO!" she screamed trying vainly to pull herself from the bonds. The tendrils tightened, squeezing so tightly her skin started to break and blood leaked from her wrists and ankles.
The blood soaked into the altar like a sponge, immediately her blood was sucked into the glyphs as if some monstrous void greedily drank her blood. Raven groaned it was trying to kill her to feed off her and to gain power from her. Her head lolled to look up at the sky. The clouds were blocking out the moon, but she could see it was beginning to change color, it would change from it's natural whitish hue to a sick blood red and then the world would be doomed. Outside she heard another massive explosion, she wasn't sure who had done what, but it really didn't matter, it was far too late…
"Raven?" The sound came from just outside, Raven quickly looked to the newly made 'entrance' to find Robin clutching his side.
"Robin, please get me out of this!" It was then she noticed she was crying. The spirits swirled around her screaming at her, that she was a traitor; that she was a murderer that she was the spawn of evil and unfit to live. She wasn't sure if they were telling the truth…
Robin nodded and made his way into the church, he saw the people, what was left of them, on the pews and paled visibly. Raven winced, "Robin, there isn't time!" Her voice was weaker, filled with fear. Robin nodded and steeled himself, slowly walking down the aisle between the charred bodies.
He was almost halfway there when the altar pulsated and a wave of red energy exploded from its sides, shooting through the room, passing through the pillar, the pews, the corpses and Robin. Robin looked himself over making sure there were no ill effects, but then the groans started. Robin's eyes widened as he saw where they came from.
The charred bodies of the parishioners rose, some crumbling into dust from their newfound mobility. The spirits had ceased speaking to Raven and had returned to their former bodies. "Uh… Raven… please tell me I'm hallucinating…" Robin looked to her after taking a look at the near horde of burnt bodies that shifted and shambled towards him. Raven bit her lip, tears coming down her face and shook her head. "Oh… well then… this is new." Robin glanced back to find his escape route cut off, but he wasn't truly planning on running, he had to help Raven get off that altar.
Robin tapped on his belt, a small coin like disk popped into his hand and extended into a full Bo staff. With a bit of apprehension he charged, smashing into one of Slade's victims, which promptly exploded into a cloud of black dust. Robin just stared as the black plume appeared where seconds ago there had been a charred body. Raven looked shocked as well, it couldn't possibly be that easy…
Robin's sense of urgency overwhelmed his pessimistic guarded and he launched himself into, and through several of the shambling monsters. He reached Raven in mere moments, completely covered in black hacking and coughing in a desperate attempt to breathe out the remnants of what had once been human. Raven watched him, the soot was chocking him, that's what they were for! They hadn't been awakened to attack him, they had been sacrifices to hinder anyone who had been sent to help her. Robin sank to the floor clutching his throat and trying to drag in air, but dragging in only more black soot.
"Robin… no!" Raven pulled and twisted, trying to look at her fallen friend but only seeing him sinking lower to the floor gagging on the smoky black filth that filled his lungs. He clawed desperately at the dark altar stone, trying to reach Raven. More of them advanced, a few exploding into a thick cloud that sank down around Robin, completely cutting off any air he would have even if he could breathe. Robin disappeared in the black smoke and Raven closed her eyes trying to shut out the world. Mere inches away and she hadn't been able to help him, he was so desperate for breath for air, and she couldn't save him. The spirits had been right, she didn't deserve life, not now…
The light of the moon started to filter into the church, shafts of sickly orange light pouring in between the breaks in the clouds. Raven could feel the glyphs pulsating with energy again as the moon's light touched it. It was readying for its purpose. Soon it would open the portal and let her father through, unleashing him and his horrendous reign upon this world. The thought of it made her cry even harder. The sounds of battle outside became more and more faint, Slade had either driven them away or had moved away and the Titans had followed him. It didn't matter…
When the hand grabbed her wrist she nearly screamed. Robin was standing above her completely covered with grimy black soot, but she could make out a breathing apparatus. How he had cleaned out his lungs she didn't know, but he was holding a mask to his face and was able to breathe threw it. Her mouth moved, but no sound came out, relief, happiness and complete surprise kept her from saying anything. He smiled behind the mask, and without looking slammed his staff into one of the advancing zombies, reducing it to a black cloud, "Don't worry Raven, I'll get you out of this."
For even the slightest second, hope seemed to glisten within Raven. Robin might actually be able to get her out of her, save her from her fate. Then the light of the moon fell on her face, it was growing a deeper color. "Robin, hurry, cut me loose." Raven's voice trembled, there wasn't much time, she had to get off the altar now!
Robin nodded, took out a birdarang and began hacking at the black tendrils that held her. Nothing happened outside of their tightening again causing Raven to growl as it bit farther and farther into her skin, sending more blood from the wounds it had already opened. The moon grew darker and darker; the light orange became darker orange, closing the gap to becoming a full red. Robin slammed the birdarang into the tendril but it sank in without having any real effect.
"How am I supposed to get through these?" Robin growled, slicing and stabbing at it with the open bladed birdarang. It was sharpened to the point where he had nearly cut his own hand through the glove several times already, but it had no effect on the squid like tentacles that held Raven.
Raven was silent, looking up at the sky, the moon was turning color more rapidly, the color was nearing a red. She closed her eyes and slammed her head back against the obsidian slab. "You can't."
"I can and I will!" Robin shouted, ignoring the black cloud that had nearly enveloped him. He struck at it again and again, each hit landing where it had seconds before, but nothing happened. The tendrils remained, not weakened in the slightest.
"You can't…" Raven repeated, and bit her lip, hope had slipped away from her, their time was running out, the world's time was running out, and she knew Robin couldn't get her free, "Robin… I need you to listen to me."
"I'll get you out of here Raven! Don't worry!" He kept attacking the twisted blackness without looking to her.
"LISTEN TO ME!" Raven shouted as loud as she could and Robin looked up at her. Her pale gray skin was glistening a sick red color; he looked up to see the moon had changed color completely.
Robin looked down at her confused, "Raven… what is going on here?"
Raven turned away, shaking her head, this was it, and there wasn't enough time, "Robin, the prophecy at my birth… I am doomed to end the world."
"Then we'll just have to stop it." He said assuredly and attacked the chain of darkness that bound her.
"You CAN'T cut through that! It's hopeless!" He continued despite her, and she growled, "ROBIN LISTEN TO ME!" He perked his head up looking at her solemnly.
"I am not just going to let you give up, you just said the entire world is at stake."
"It is! That's why you need to listen to me. There is only one thing that will stop this…" Raven's voice faltered and she stopped looking up at him while a tear fell down her cheek.
"What is it Raven?"
"I… need to die before it happens." She stopped and looked away.
Robin's eyes widened for a second and then he glared at her, "Unacceptable."
Raven shuddered, "DAMNIT! LISTEN TO ME! IT IS THE ONLY WAY!"
"There is another way! I will get you off this thing!"
"Robin, do it, there isn't any other way." She said as calmly as she could despite the fear that grew within her.
Robin looked up at her just as the clouds moved in front of the moon. Raven, her gray skin stained by black dust and blood, lay still on the black stone. She stared at him with all seriousness she could, ignoring the physical pain, but even now he could see the fear in her eyes. "You… I can't… I can't kill you."
"You have to. Robin, if you don't before the light of the blood red moon covers me, the entire world, every man, woman, and child will be turned to stone. My father shall be released from Hell and he shall destroy all of humanity. This is the only way." Her voice had stopped trembling, returning to its normal monotone sound. How could she ask him to do this? He couldn't just kill her, she was his friend, perhaps his best friend.
"Robin, you told me we shared a bond, not just as friends, but that you and I could read each other. You know me better than anyone else, you know what needs to be done here."
She turned and looked back at the sky, "The clouds wont keep the moon from showing down on me for long. You have to do it, and you have to do it now."
She turned and glared at him, "DO IT!"
He nodded slowly, lifting the birdarang above her, "I don't think I can…" His voice was shaking, he was shaking; Raven had never seen him like this.
"I am not asking you, this is not a request Robin. I don't care if I'm not team leader, I am ordering you to kill me." She said stolidly, watching him.
"I… can't…" His hand lowered ever so slightly.
The shinning red metal hovered above her, trembling in the same manner as the two shaky green-gloved hands that held it. Raven stared up at Robin, "DO IT!" She growled. His face was a mask of pain, uncertainty, it was the first time she had ever seen him like this, and hopefully it was the last. "I SAID DO IT!"
Gritting his teeth, Robin lifted the birdarang above his head and closed his eyes, "Raven, there has to be another way."
"IT IS THE ONLY WAY!" She growled, struggling against the bonds trying to push herself off the stone altar she was shackled to. The runes on her skin were glowing a violent blood red, there wasn't much time left before…
Tears trickled from the edge of his mask, "I can't…"
The pain arched within her, another spasm of power burned its way through her body, causing every inch of her skin to crawl and the runes to spread. She winced at the tremendous pain as her father's markings etched their way into her body, into her soul. There wasn't any time left. She trembled and threw her head back against the stone slab as her body writhed in agony. Releasing a horrible yell she looked back up to Robin. Taking in a ragged breath, she looked at him, starred at him, piercing the mask and the eyes behind them, starring directly into his soul, "Robin… please… kill me…"
Robin raised the birdarang as high as he could, "Raven… forgive me…" with one deft motion, he threw his hands down towards her heart with all his power. Raven watched the sharp points head for her chest. But the clouds moved out of the way first revealing the moon and its rays. The moonlight hit her first, the light of the blood red moon covered every inch of her body.
It was too late.
The world stopped around her for a second, and then the energy released itself from her body. White light poured from her eyes and mouth, her head was thrown back with such a tremendous force that the solid rock beneath it cracked and shattered. Her arms and legs seemed to be pulled down as the shackles pulled themselves taught, while her chest arched forward, trying desperately to someway, somehow relieve the agony that wracked her body.
Raven's memories faded from view, the white light disappeared from her view, and she could feel her hand and legs fall limply to the dark altar stone. The shadow shackles were gone, their duty done. It didn't matter, she couldn't move anyway, all the energy drained from her as the cataclysmic spell took affect.
Everything hurt, her head was in agony, surrounded by flakes of stone. Robin stood above her, cemented in place, a look of abstract horror covering his face as he had realized, just too late, that she had meant what she had said, that killing her had been the only way. The birdarang hovered mere inches above her chest, cemented in stone, as was her friend. The world had been destroyed…