The Place That We Call Home
Disclaimer – I do not own Teen Titans, tough the idea to toss them all into a fantasy world was all mine. Woot, go me.
Author Notes – The pairings for this will probably be as follows: One sided Star/Rob, Rob/Rae, BB/Terra. Other things might appear as well.
Other Notes – I might have based a few things off the comics, but I am not going to use it all. And, this chapter is merely to introduce characters. So don't judge the rest of the story by this.
Raven – 19
Richard – 20
Victor – 23
Kori – 19
Komand'r – 20
Gar – 18
Tara - 17
- - -
Chapter One – Beautiful
Raven hated many things about her current situation. Among these things included the dress she was lashed into, the man sitting directly to her right, and the entire concept of these "peace treaty" meetings.
Not that she was against the idea of peace, but she knew that her father did not mean a thing he was saying. He would never keep to the terms of these arrangements, leaving this entire meeting to be useless. And Raven hated useless things.
She was sorely tempted to just walk out of the meeting entirely, but knew that though her father put up with something signs of disobedience from his only child, and therefore his heir, the King of Azarath would not put up with that.
Azarath had once been a peaceful kingdom. A religious state, once, it had been conquered by the demon-king and put under martial law. Though this had been before Raven's birth, she was a very intelligent young woman and could see it in her people's eyes.
She hated her father for putting that fear there.
Her expression darkened and a faint hiss filled the chamber. Startled, she swallowed hard and clamped down on that dark emotion. Cursing silently to herself, she was relieved when the foreign emissary seemed not to notice her slip up.
Her father, however, looked amused.
That galled her.
She turned her attention, instead, to the young emissary. His name was Ryand'r, and he was the youngest son of the royal house of Tamaran. A prince in his own right, Raven knew that he would probably never inherit, not with two healthy elder sisters fully capable of ruling.
By all accounts, of course. Rarely would any royal parties let slip if a member of their house was vulnerable; not when the demon-king might hear it.
Raven watched the young prince intently. He seemed confident and a little cocky. He was about seventeen years old, a few years her junior. He had probably never been sent on a mission like this one. The Princess of Azarath wondered if her father would let him leave alive.
She closed her eyes at that.
She hadn't been paying attention to most of the proceedings, so it was hard to know if this meeting was close to completion or not. From the expression on her father's face, she hoped so. That feral look always terrified her on some base level.
"I must return to Tamaran and gain the king's approval on these matters, of course, but I believe he will look favorably upon our terms." Ryand'r spoke up.
Ah, done then.
Trigon shifted in his chair and smiled. "Of course, Prince Ryand'r. Send Myand'r my greetings."
Raven shook, but Ryand'r didn't seem to notice the menacing tone.
"I will." he bowed slightly. "King Trigon." He turned to Raven and bowed with one hand across his chest. "Princess."
"Prince Ryand'r." she returned politely. As she watched the young prince stride from the chamber, she turned her cold eyes upon her father. "Will he live to reach our borders, my king?"
Trigon stared for a long time after the tousle-haired prince before answering.
"His death would not yet serve my purpose."
Raven let out a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding. Ryand'r would see Tamaran again.
When Trigon stood, Raven did as well. "Go, daughter, to your women. Embroider something, or whatever it is that women do. I will see you at evening meal."
And the King of Azarath strode from the room. Raven was alone; free until the evening meal. Free from her usefulness as a pretty bauble.
Looking down at her hands, and the crackling black energy there, she smiled to herself. This lady would not spend idle hours sewing. She would use the time to further her control.
"Time grows short. If I am even going to succeed..." She forced her eyes closed. Words of treason would not do to be spoken aloud while she still lacked the control and strength to throw down her father.
"Lord Richard, please be careful."
The dry tones of his uncle's steward brought only an impish grin to Richard Grayson's face. As he swung the longsword in a long upstroke, cleaving yet another straw dummy nearly in two, he felt the exhilaration fill him. Never did he feel so free as when he was free to be nothing more than a soldier.
Gotham was not a magically based nation like so many of it's neighbors. The soldiers of Gotham were almost exclusively human, with only a few mages or sorcerers in the mix at all.
And they were the best at it. No other nation could best Gotham on field of battle, soldier to soldier.
As he spun once more to finish the motion with more flourish than was absolutely necessary, he found himself being watched by more than the annoying steward, Alfred. His young brother, Timothy, also watched, very much enjoying the show.
"Amazing!" the younger boy chanted, in awe. Richard smiled down at his young "brother" before crossing to him and tousling his hair.
"If you keep at your lessons, you'll be just as good someday." the young prince of Gotham assured the boy.
With what can only be described as watery eyes of adoration turned on the older boy, Tim proclaimed: "I'll work really hard and someday I can go to war with you and Uncle Bruce!"
Richard's expression changed from exuberant to something much darker.
"Of course." he managed, shifting past the boy, and past the aging steward.
Alfred was not put off, however, and had a message to deliver. "Master Bruce requests your presence immediately, Lord Richard."
Richard's shoulders hunched before he nodded. He had been on his way to his chambers to draw a bath, but opted against it. His adopted uncle would be less concerned with appearances, and more concerned with how long it took his heir to answer his summons.
Richard knew he shouldn't feel ill will towards his mentor and, in no small part, savior. Bruce, the King of Gotham, had adopted the young boy shortly after his parents had been killed. Having no wife of his own, and no heir, he had named the boy Crowned Prince and had seen to his education in all matters of war, state, life, and on all sorts of scholarly issues.
He was grateful to the king, but lately had begun to feel oppressed by him. Locking that particular feeling away, he presented himself in the older man's presence.
As usual, King Bruce wasted no time on pleasantries, he simply began with the issue at hand.
"I had a courier this morning. It contained a proposition that is very hard to turn down."
Richard felt like something was crawling down his spine, and it unnerved him. He almost did not want to hear what would be said next.
"Myand'r of Tamaran. He proposes to wed you to his second daughter, forming a strong alliance. Apparently Trigon has been threatening to invade more than Gotham lately."
Richard scowled. "Trigon has always been threatening to take over the known kingdoms. Why should we think he means to do it this time?"
Bruce turned. "His daughter recently celebrated her nineteenth birthday. They say she has the same powers as her father."
That unnerved Richard. "Trigon is bad enough... but two demons?" he shook his head. "That's hard to fathom."
"That is what has Myand'r concerned."
Richard nodded. He did not much want to be married off to someone, but the idea of Trigon taking over Tamaran and Gotham did not appeal to him either.
"So if I marry Myand'r's daughter..."
"Then the alliance between our kingdoms is cemented and we stand as one."
Richard sighed silently. "What is the girl's name? I should at least know that of my betrothed."
She ran. She was barely ahead of them. Her assumptions that she could loose so many in the forest was apparently completely unfounded, because her pursuers seemed to gain ground instead of lose it.
Her long blonde hair flying behind her, Tara Markov barely caught herself from a tumble before plunging onward.
She was not entirely sure why they were after her either. It had only been an apple! One apple. Ok, so she realized that stealing was wrong, but to send six guards after her was what she would call a bit too much.
Damn, it was so dark, the trees so close that it was becoming treacherous to be at a full tilt run. She turned to look back over her shoulder, and saw only a gleaming blade in the gloom. Terror caught in her throat as she ran headlong into something.
Or someone, it seemed. Sprawed out on top of something warm, she feared that it might be one of her pursuers. But no, this person was barely taller than her, and while he was well built, it was in a slim, compact sort of way.
She moved to scramble off of what she guessed was a dark skinned boy near her age, grabbing his arm and dragging him up as well. If these people saw him, they'd kill him just on the assumption that he had helped her.
"Come on!" she managed, fear clutching at her. When he was on his feet, dark eyes shining in confusion and a bit of his own fear, she tugged at his arm. "We have to go, or they'll catch us!"
"Us?" he managed.
"They'll think you helped me." she managed, yanking harder this time. She only moved him a few steps, before he planted his feet.
"I can stop them." he insisted. She opened her mouth to ask what he thought he was going to do against six armed men but was shocked into silence when the slim boy shifted shape into a fierce jungle cat right before her eyes. Speechless, she watched him lunge at the six guards.
She stood, shaking a bit, but not completely dumbfounded.
'He's a shapechanger...' she thought absently. As he fought, with claws and teeth, she watched a sixth flank him, sword gleaming.
"No!" she screamed out, throwing her hand up. She watched, entranced, as the forest floor exploded, the bedrock climbing up to consume the man, dragging him to die underground.
The remaining guards saw that and ran for their lives.
The shapechanger turned back to her, shifting back to a more human form and approached her.
"If you could do that, why were you running from them?" he inquired, an impish grin on his face. She looked aghast at what she'd done, though, and turned away, clutching her head.
He approached and put a hand on her shoulder.
"No, don't touch me. I might.. I..." she trailed off, tears threatening at the corners of her eyes.
"Magic that powerful isn't a bad thing."he commented. A faint smile crossed his face when she looked up at him. "I'm Garfield."
She shook. "My name is Tara."
"Welcome to the forest, Tara."
The dark skinned young man in question was engrossed with the objects on his work desk, too fargone to hear his own name being bellowed through his home by a woman in a set of soot covered robes.
His door crashed open and the woman in question glared at her son. "Victor Stone, have you lost the ability to hear me!"
Victor muttered under his breath to the point of "one moment", but the woman would have none of that.
"Victor Stone, I am your mother! You will not tell me to wait!"
He started, and the crystals he was working with lost their glow and faded to normal. He turned and glared.
"What is so vastly important that you had to interupt my experiment?" he growled. She put hands on her hips and returned the glare.
"You are just like your father, too wrapped up in your precious experiements to realize that things like food and water don't magically appear." she retorted. "I asked you to go to the butcher today, Victor, and now he's closed up shop and we have no meat to go in the stew."
Victor sighed. "So we can eat something else."
"There is nothing else! You and your father are home all day, and cannot lift a finger to buy a loaf of bread or a bit of beef. I have responsibilities at the castle, I cannot be home all day, doing the shopping."
Victor took a long look and his mother and sighed. "Sorry, mother, it just slipped my mind."
"Just like everything else does!" she threw her hands into the air. Victor watched his mother and did feel bad. She was the Head Magician of Gotham. Though both her husband and son were also mages, they favored exploring other uses of their magic to actually doing anything useful, as she put it.
He shifted towards her and hugged her. "I am sorry, mother. I'll go and do the shopping tomorrow morning, early. I promise."
She sighed and gave her son a strong hug.
"I know you mean well."
"I am to be married, then."
Koriand'r watcher her parents for some sign that they regretted taking this action, regretted forcing her into a marriage without even consulting her first. She found sympathy in her mother's face; after all Luand'r had been marriaged to Kori's father against her own will. The two had not even met before the wedding day.
She paused and folded her hands before her.
"Yes, daughter, to the heir of Gotham. I am told that Prince Richard is a good man, and fit to be heir of a strong nation." So her father did feel bad, she noted. He only appearled to her like this when he did. "I have even heard that he is a very handsome young man."
She forced a smile, for her father's benefit.
"Can I be allowed to meet him before the wedding, father? To see what my future husband is like."
Myand'r should, by all rights, have denied it. It would be dangerous for her to travel to Gotham right now. Myand'r knew he couldn't spare many soldiers to guard his beloved second daughter, but he could not deny his darling Star anything within reason.
"I suppose that can be arranged."
Luand'r spoke up. "Perhaps Prince Richard could come here, if he has time to make the journey."
Myand'r smiled at his queen. Always a problem-solver. They had made a good match, though neither had wanted the wedding at the time it had occurred.
Kori still did not look happy but curtseyed to both of her parents.
"I have things I should see to. Father, mother." she turned and hurried from the chamber, trying not to run, but wanting very much to run and hide. When she crossed into the hallway, she stopped to steel her nerves.
"Darling sister, I heard the wonderful news. You are to be wed." Though the words could appear friendly and supportive, Komand'r's words towards her younger sister were very rarely anything but menacing and spiteful.
To compare Kori and Komand'r was nearly impossible. Though both were beautiful, that is where the similarities ended. Koriand'r had long, dark red hair and brilliant green eyes that shone when she was happy or blazed when she was angered. Her skin was tanned, like the sun has kissed her, blessing this child of day.
Komand'r was the night to her sister's day. Though older by a year, she and her sister were of much a similar height. Her long dark hair and dark eyes complimented her porcelin white skin. She also had one thing her sister did not: an awareness of her own beauty.
"I am to marry Prince Richard of Gotham." Koriand'r spoke up, trying to be defiant in the face of her sister's taunts.
"Oh, how lovely! I'm sure you will both be very happy together, dear sister." She fanned herself. "Of course, father wouldn't marry me off to anyone without my approval. I am the heir after all."
By right of age only. Kori knew better than Komand'r that their father had searched for a way to overlook the right-by-age law, and place Koriand'r as heir instead of her self-centered sister. But she said nothing. She would not rise to her sister's challenge.
"Of course, sister." was all she said as she slipped by her and walked stately down the hall.