DISCLAIMER: I don't own the Teen Titans
A/N: So here it is! Chapter 15! Thank you all so much for your reviews last chapter, please review on this one too! Much appreciated!
Tenderly Raven put each book her in her large stack back in their places. Each one had been a joy to read, she had devoured them in an insanely short time and now she was itching for something new. When her books were put away, she strode in between the high shelves, running her fingers over the spines of the books, pulling ones out at random. Her finger stopped when she saw a title she recognized.
Famous Cursed Objects: Myths and Legends
She pulled it from the shelf excited. She had been dying to read that book for awhile now, she had even hinted to Robin and Victor she wanted it for her birthday. At that thought she felt guilty, she ran her hand over the cover of the book sadly. She wondered how her brothers were…..safe at home, worrying about her, she was sure. She sighed sadly, missing them.
Since being rescued by the Beast after trying to leave the castle she hadn't tried to escape to her brothers again. It was only logical, she was almost killed out there….but that wasn't the real reason she hadn't left and she knew it. She wasn't scared….the thought of leaving just plain hadn't occurred to her since then and….when she thought about it now….she found she really didn't want to.
She wanted to see her brothers very badly, she missed them with every bone in her body, but if she left now……she would miss all her new friends in the castle almost as much and not only that but…..she would miss the Beast.
This came to such a shock to her that she physically had to get away from it. She walked quickly over to a reading chair and opened up her book. She read fervently, trying to distract herself, and surprisingly enough, it worked. The book was as interesting as she had hoped it would be. She flipped through the pages, fascinated when she reached a truly powerful cursed object called the Enchanted Rose. There was a detailed and beautiful illustration of a floating black rose, glowing a faint purple light. Raven stared at it mystified; wondering where she had seen this before. Quietly she read the passage.
The Enchanted Rose is one of the most ancient and powerful enchanted objects recorded in history. Its origins are unknown, but the nature of enchantments and the Rose's specific curse tell us many things about it. First of all it is very difficult and very rare for plant life to become enchanted. Because plants are living things, to lay an enchantment upon them is very hard to do. A curse can come about two ways, a powerful sorcerer laying an enchantment upon the object or powerful emotions of a human or, more commonly, multiple humans becoming impressed upon an the object in question. The later is more typically called a haunting because it usually deals with very intense negative emotions and the opposite and more rare case, of this, results in a blessed object. Because the Rose was not only a living thing to begin with and the fact that it's curse involves it's life cycle as a perimeter for the curse's lifting, it becomes clear that the Rose was created by a combination of the two methods. At what time in history the Rose was 'born' is unknown, but what is known is that it is very ancient and over time has become almost like a being itself, almost to the point of having conscious thought.
Like it's nature, the Rose's curse is a strange one, with many layers. Who ever wields the Rose chooses whom the curse shall be laid upon and what the sentence will be, what stays consistent is the time allotted for the curse to be broken. The bearer has until the last petal falls to break the curse, but the Rose takes roughly 7 years from blooming to wilt. That however, that is not the true nature of the curse. The Enchanted Rose can be most easily compared to a parasite; in the way it seeks out and latches unto 'hosts.' Though these 'hosts' wield the Rose's power, the Rose itself is really in the most control. It is attracted to and seeks out powerful negative and fearful emotions of people. It will seek out the most frightened and most powerful person they can find and in seemingly ordinary ways come into the possession of these people. How the Rose finds and latches unto it's 'host's' is one of it's most startling features. The most horrifying aspect though is that once it manipulates it's 'host's' fear and pain into anger, it forces the 'host' to unleash the curse in which ever way they see fit. Although at that point the 'host' is blinded by their rage and the curse that results is most likely their most feared nightmare, projected unto whoever they are tricked into thinking wronged them. The victims of the curse are most typically loved ones of the 'host' that the Rose has tricked the 'host' into thinking hurt them in some way.
The Rose uses the energy of the 'host' to bring itself to bloom. No one knows what happens to the 'host' after that, but not only after sentencing the victims to what ever the condition the 'host' invented it begins to suck away at their energy. Eventually killing them if the curse is not broken in time. Some speculate this is what prolongs the Rose's life to around seven years. If the curse is not broken then when the Rose wilts it finds a new host and the cycle continues.
None of the countless curses the Rose has placed upon innocent victims have ever been lifted and thus the Enchanted Rose 'lives' on to this day.
Horrified Raven shut the book. The heart was thudding loudly in her chest, she felt very strange. This….this was it. But…..it couldn't She threw the book on the table as if it was scalding hot.
She needed to check.
She knew she shouldn't be in the West Wing, but……she had to be sure. For all she knew she was getting herself worked up over nothing…..
She knew the Beast was in the training room with Speedy and Aqua-lad for the moment, now was her chance.
She stood up took a deep breath and concentrated.
I need to get up to the west wing she thought determined.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" she whispered, suddenly, and for once completely in her control, a black mass of her powers enveloped her. She took a deep breath and flew up through the floor and into the West wing. She opened her eyes and found herself right in front of the doors to the Beast's chamber.
Hesitantly she opened the door and looked inside. As she had thought, the Beast was not inside, and the dragon was peacefully sleeping. Or at least as peacefully as a dragon could sleep. Raven walked quietly into the room and shut the door, she tip toed over to the Rose, floating in its glass case by the balcony. Raven, distracted by the Rose didn't notice the one large yellow eye following her every move.
She stepped up to the table and took the glass cover off and set it on the floor. She stared at it mystified. She realized with a start that she had been holding her breath, she let it out but it sounded jagged and harsh. After a few deep calming breaths that Raven had down to an art she let herself look at the Rose.
As a part of her deep down inside knew was true all along, this rose was indeed the Enchanted Rose from the book. It looked just like the description, a black rose resonating its faint purple light, but it looked much closer to wilting than the illustration. Like a smack in the face she realized her friends didn't have much time left.
Raven stared at it with horror and gently put the glass case back on it, in some strange effort to distance herself from it's ancient evil. She had known there was an enchantment on the castle….she had known……but it hadn't seemed…so pressing before. She knew people had died, she knew there were people still hidden away in the castle in almost coma-like conditions, but…….
She had distanced herself from that information; it made it easier to handle, if she simply didn't deal with it. But no she couldn't just leave it alone. She knew these people now……she cared about them. They had said she could save them, that she gave them hope, but what could she do! No one had ever broken the Rose's curse before, what made them think that she could?
She nothing more than a lonely girl with dark, mysterious powers she could hardly control. What could she possibly do against something so ancient and so powerful?
What could she do?
Raven ran her hands through her short hair feeling overwhelmed.
"Yes….that's it little one…" a cold, sly voice said behind her. Raven turned sharply to find a very awake dragon. He looked at her maliciously with yellow eyes.
"That's right, get frustrated, get scared, perhaps those lovely little powers of yours will accidentally break my chains…."
Raven stared at this creature, this black dragon. Like the Beast he had been hit hard by the curse, transformed into a Dragon, not only that but a Dragon bound down by chains. How humiliating. She felt sad for it really, it…he had once been a great magician……
Raven set her shoulders, a determined light in her eyes, and walked toward the Dragon. It hadn't always been like this, like the Beast there was a human in there….. somewhere. She sat down, cross-legged, directly in front of the Dragon's snout. It's eyes changed from the bright yellow to a pale blue for a moment.
"No, please….leave….you'll be hurt…" The Dragon wailed in a different voice, clearly struggling. Raven stared, it had done that the last time.
"I'll be alright." She said reassuringly.
"Weeeell, what have we here?" the Dragon chuckled. It's eyes were back to yellow now and when it spoke it was with that oily, very Dragon like voice it had used to begin with.
"You're a brave little one aren't you? Rorik even managed to come out and warn you. And still you stay! Well that's good for me! The brave ones usually taste best!"
Suddenly the Dragon lunged at her, but using everything Raven could she put up a wall of her powers. The Dragon's claws clashed against it but could break through. When it finally stopped trying, Raven lowered the wall a bit.
"We do you say, Rorik even managed to come out? You're Rorik aren't you? You are the magician that was turned into a Dragon." The Dragon gave her a catty smile.
"I used to be Rorik. I am Malchior now. Rorik is the human I used to be, I am Malchior the dragon." The Dragon reached for her again with his sharp claws, but she was ready. In a flash the wall was up again, it met the long claws with a clang.
"You aren't a real dragon, you know." Raven informed him calmly, as the Dragon massaged his paw. He whisked his tongue at her.
"Dragons don't eat humans for one." Raven said, explaining what she had learned in her book. "For another if you were a real Dragon you would be dead right now. Dragon's lay on gold for a reason you know. By lying on piles of gold they absorb essential nutrients they need to survive. I've noticed you have no gold."
The Dragon laughed in a menacing way,
"Brave and smart huh? Humans usually only have one or the other."
"You don't have much faith in humans any more do you? You lost hope a long time ago haven't you?" Raven replied sadly, very calm for being only a foot or two away from a deadly dragon. She knew it was a long shot but she thought perhaps she could wake up the human inside this Dragon. It would be far from breaking the curse but it was something at least…….
The Dragon scoffed at her.
"Humans…..of course I have no faith in them, they are pathetic little things. Weak, stupid…."
Raven looked at him sadly, he really has lost all hope in ever being human again, and in the process completely lost his humanity.
"But Rorik, you are human." She said calmly. The Dragon's eye's glowed with rage.
"Don't call me that! It's Malchior! My name is Malchior!"
"Rorik. Please, there is always hope. Don't give up."
"I TOLD YOU! IT'S MALCHIOR!" The Dragon shouted at her, his anger increasing. Raven didn't put up her wall though, she just stared calmly.
Her words did seem to have done something. The Dragon looked at her, his eyes wide with anger, but no….maybe it wasn't anger. His eyes looked like a kaleidoscope, they were changing rapidly from blue to yellow, over and over. The Dragon moaned and shut its eyes and began clawing at its muzzle. Raven watched unsure what to do.
Without thinking she dropped her wall completely and walked up to the Dragon and put a comforting hand on its muzzle. Soothed by her touch it quieted and slowly it opened its eyes. Raven's heart stood still for a moment, realize how stupid she had been. If it's eyes were yellow she would surely be killed.
But the huge, grateful eyes that stared up at her were blue. Raven let out a sigh of relief.
"Thank you, Raven. Thank you." Rorik said, crying huge dragon tears. "I've been like that for so long now…. I couldn't bear it…I…I…. But Malchior is gone now…." He managed, soundly relieved.
"But you know now don't you?" Raven said softly to the Dragon. Sitting down next to its head, speaking into it's ear. "Malchior was…no…is part of you." Rorik looked up and nodded sadly.
"Malchior was the me that gave up hope. Malchior….he….no…that's what happens to people when they are consumed by desperation." Rorik sighed. "The Prince is much stronger than I. Even before you arrived he had managed to hold on to at least some of his humanity. He was able to cling to what was left of his sanity and hope…but I….I just gave up."
Raven looked at him sadly. She of all people understood how easy it was to give up, to give into that hopelessness. As a young orphan nobody hadn't wanted, it was easy to give up hope. She thought she was just to 'freaky' to ever be wanted….but she had been found. A loving family had found her and even though her adoptive parents were now gone, she had her brothers….and now she also had the residents of this castle.
"It's okay…." Raven said to Rorik soothingly, as he, ashamed of himself laid his head in her lap. "I understand."
Just then the door swung open to reveal the Beast. He looked at the scene with wide eyes. For a moment his anger flared to see Raven in the West wing, when he had told her she was NOT TO BE THERE! But before he had time to get worked up about it, the fact that she was standing directly next to the Dragon registered.
"Raven!" he called concerned for her safety, running towards her on all fours. Rorik hadn't been himself for years now, the only person he wouldn't attack was the Beast himself. The Beast had tried everything to bring his old friend back to normal, but he hadn't succeeded. Of course that was to be expected, Beast was trying to cling to his own humanity which was difficult enough, let alone restoring it in others.
Suddenly the Beast stopped. Not only was Raven not hurt and she was sitting calmly next to the Dragon, who……wasn't trying to hurt her. Instead it was crying softly, it's muzzle laid in her lap. Raven looked at him, startled. She hadn't expected him to be back so soon.
"I know you must be angry…." She began hesitantly, standing up and walking towards him trying to explain, but the Beast just ignored her. He was staring with wide eyes at the blue-eyed Dragon.
"Rorik!" he called joyfully. Raven stared, wondering if she had ever seen the Beast like that before. So happy. She hadn't.
"You're yourself again!" The Beast cried, throwing his huge furry arms around the gigantic Dragon's long neck. Gently the Dragon laid his clawed paws around the Beast.
"I'm sorry, Prince. I'm sorry for everything." Rorik said.
END OF CHAPTER 15
A/N: So as most of you know, this story is being written with my good friend Applehappy. I just wanted to take this opportunity to say she is really awesome and she is an awesome writer, so if you have the time please check out her stories!