Disclaimer: I do NOT in any way shape or form own the Lord of the Rings, or any DCU heroes. Lord of the Rings is the property of JRR Tolkien while Robin, Batgirl, the Teen Titans and all related character are the property of DC Comics. This story is simply in homage of their work.
The Book of Blood
"A medallion?" repeated Cyborg with a sigh as he pinched the bridge of his flesh nose, with a cybernetic thumb and index finger. "Why is it always a mystical piece of jewelry?"
"Um… because… it's cooler than a mystical jock strap?" supplied Kid Devil with a weak grin, which thankfully received a few equally weak smiles and chuckles from his teammates.
After receiving calls from Batman and the Oracle, both of whom had in their possession Merry and Pippin, Robin had reassembled the Titans in the conference room. His initial plan had been to find Merry and Pippin, but with that already accomplished it seemed the more important thing was to now figure out how the Hobbits had arrived in their world in the first place.
Now, nearly half an hour later, they all sat in silence as the hobbits finished relaying the full story of how they had managed to arrive in San Francisco, Metropolis and Gotham City. The large computer screen against the back wall there was Batman and Merry from that Batcave in Gotham. Merry looked uneasy about talking to their friends through a computer system and occasionally would tap their own screen nervously, at which the Dark Knight would glare and occasionally give a throaty growl. Meanwhile in the center of the conference table was a 3-dimensional hologram of the Oracle mask. Due to the Oracle's need for secrecy, she and Pippin were both set to speak over the com-link as oppose to the a video conference like Batman and Merry.
It was clear that the hobbits were still lost in a state of awe at finding themselves communicating with one another over the com-systems. Everything about this world seemed so… They couldn't' even think of a proper word to describe it. Modern might be the appropriate word, perhaps? Still, the idea of seeing Merry staring down at them from a giant glass window was very unnerving. The green holographic mask that seemed to be glaring at them didn't help any either.And they had only been in this world for less than a day. If this was what they had seen so far, they could only imagine what else there was in store for them.
Though as bizarre as the idea of digital communication was for the hobbits, what really surprised everyone was how well the Titans were taking everything. While the fact that hobbits had managed to land in their universe seemed to surprise and concern everyone, Frodo was still rather surprised at how blasé they seemed to take everything.
"Does this sort of thing really happen so often?" asked Sam, apparently sharing in this thought process.
"Oh yeah…" replied all six Titans at once, loftily.
"Yeah, like this one time, me and Zatar ended up in New Azarath and—" began Kid Devil excitedly.
Robin tapped his fist on the conference table, successfully grabbing everyone's attention. "Can we stay on topic people?" he said, casting Kid Devil a slightly pointed look, causing the demonic teen to grimace and slump back slightly in his chair.
"Agreed," grunted Batman. He leaned back in his chair, and pressed his fingertips together in a thoughtful manner, which made him look all the more foreboding. "I'm more concerned about this supposed medallion. Can any of your describe it?"
"Actually I've been working on that, Batman," replied the Oracle. "Since Pippin was the one to activate the medallion—"
"Yeah, good job on that Pip," muttered Merry aggressively.
"Ah told ye all Ah was sorry!" Pippin's voice could be heard over the Oracle's communicator. Unlike Oracle, his voice was not electronically masked.
"—I've asked Pippin to describe it to me," Oracle continued as if there had been no interruption, "at which point I've managed to create what we believe is a semi-accurate reproduction."
Wonder Girl frowned for a moment. "Um… out of curiosity, where IS the medallion?"
There was a long pause before Pippin replied in a quivering voice, "Ah dropped it."
"Of course ye did…" groaned Merry.
The Oracle hologram suddenly disappeared, being replaced by a hologram of a large medallion, on which a crude face with four eyes and a long tongue could be seen. As the image rotated for everyone to see, Robin, Cyborg and most noticeably Raven gasped and Batman tensed visible. "I'm judging by those gasps I just heard, the icon looks familiar."
"It can't be," gasped Raven.
All heads turned to her, as her violet eyes were wide with what they could only assume was shock. Before anyone could ask what was wrong, there was an explosion of black smoke as Raven made her trademark teleportation exit, after which there was a very awkward silence.
"What the hell was that all about?" Ravager asked, as he stared at the chair in which Raven had previously been sitting in.
"Guys look at the hologram. What do you notice about it?" Robin coaxed, his eyes fixated on the fore mentioned light projection.
"Um… its ugly?" offered Merry, Pippin and Eddie all at the same time.
"Well yes, but I don't think that's what Robin meant," said Cyborg, leaning across the table and pointing his index finger towards the hologram. "The four eyes."
"What about them?" Pippin asked over the com-link.
"That's the mark of Raven's father, Trigon the Terrible."
There was a long and terrible silent that followed this. Although only Cyborg and Raven had been Titans during the days of Trigon, all over them, even the hobbits had heard the stories of him and what he had been capable. And even Rose who was constantly ready with snide remarks and insults had become suddenly more somber.
"I thought… you said he was dead," Frodo said, looking at Robin fearfully.
"He is," Cyborg stated firmly as he crossed his arms and giving a scowl as emphasis. "The old Titans saw to that. I was there when it happened."
"It wouldn't be the first time an enemy of yours has returned from the dead, Stone," Batman stated flatly. "Raven herself is a prime example."
"Raven isn't an enemy," Cyborg snapped back while also shooting Batman a murderous glare.
"As far as you know."
"Should someone go… um find Raven and perhaps talk with her?" asked Frodo, in the hopes of defusing the clearly volatile situation. As soon as the question left his lips however, there was another explosion of black smoke. Raven stepped forward, her face hidden beneath the shadows of her hood.
"There is no need Frodo," she said, as she moved towards the table. Everyone stared at her questioningly.
Standing from his chair, Vic moved quickly to his long-time friend and looked at her worriedly through his brown human eye. "Rae?" he began. Raven held up a hand to stem any oncoming questions as she then pulled a large leather bound book from beneath her blue cloak and laid it down on the table.
Robin's eyes widened from behind his mask as he recognized the tomb. He quickly jumped to his feet and moved Raven's side. "Raven, is that what I think it is?" he asked darkly.
Raven gave a single nod of her head. "Yes, Robin. The Book of Blood."
"Umm… what are you all looking at?" asked Merry, who apparently couldn't see the book from the computer monitor.
"The Book of Blood," Robin repeated. "There's a cult in our world that worships Raven's father, Trigon the Terrible. They're called the Church of Blood. This here is their so-called 'Holy' Scriptures, their bible. And if my memory is right… this is the original book that Deathstroke, Starfire, Rose and I found when we were trying to save Raven from Sebastian. How did you get this?"
Raven sighed, and reaching back pulled back her hood again. "After I left the Titans last year, I did a great deal of traveling as you know. During which I returned to where I had been… reborn." There was obvious pain from the empath as she spoke, but she pushed on, nonetheless. "I was in search of answers as to what… I am. Unfortunately with Sebastian dead and the Church of Blood in disarray, I could only find this."
"I can't believe they would just leave their Bible behind like that," said Wonder Girl.
"Well you have to remember, Brother Blood's congregation was kinda… dead after he had Raven release the demons squad the first time around," Cyborg said reasonably. "There probably wasn't anyone left to take possession of the book."
Raven then opened the book to a page that had been marked with a silk ribbon. She then lay the book down in the center of the table. The book had been opened to a page, which happened to have an ink drawing of the amulet. Actually four amulets.
"These are the Keys of Trigon," Raven explained.
Frodo had moved closer to Raven so as to read the book, with a furrowed brow. "So… Trigon is connected to all this?"
"Yes, and no," replied Raven, receiving confused looks from everyone. "Do not be afraid my friends. My father is indeed dead."
The Batman's opaque eyes glared suspiciously from his computer screen. This was one of the prime reasons the Titans rarely asked for his help on their missions. He always made them feel like they were being suspected of something terrible. They could only imagine how it must have felt for Robin and Nightwing. They supposed that they had gotten used to it.
"How can you be so sure?" Batman half-asked, half-demanded.
"I would sense it if he were alive again."
"And we're just supposed to take your word on it? " Ravager asked, as she propped her feet on the conference table. "I mean, it wouldn't exactly be the first time you got used by Daddy-Dearest, would it?"
"Like you're one to talk," Wonder Girl shot back in Raven's defense.
Raven ignored the impending squabble and continued on. "My father and I were connected. Even with my training, I could never block out his presence and I could always feel him touching upon the corners of my mind, attempting to gain control. I have not sensed that presence since he died."
As the Titans spoke, the Hobbits all had remained somewhat quiet. None of them fully understood what the Titans were arguing about nor did they fully understand the details. They did however finally understand how Robin and Batgirl must have felt when they had landed in Middle-Earth and end up being neck deep in the War of the Ring.
"But what about at Alcatraz?" Kid Devil asked. "You said your sensed him."
Raven gave a very forced smile and shook her head. "I said that I sensed his power, Edward. His power, which is embedded in those amulets. When Trigon first set his eyes upon this dimension, he approached a man who would become the First Brother Blood. In exchange for giving Blood great power, Trigon asked for Life and Service. Blood of course agreed readily and began building his cult, which would worship my father. Yet Trigon could still not enter this world, for the Wild Magiks would not allow his evil entry. Trigon could not enter our world fully, and so he needed to create a doorway which was anchored to this plane of existence."
"You," realized Cassie.
Raven gave a single bow of her head. "Yet in order to do so, he needed a way in which to enter our world, if only for a short time."
"Then you're saying… Of course," said Robin thoughtfully. "After all, Trigon had to exist in a corporeal form inside our world in order to impregnate your mother."
"Correct Timothy. According to the Book of Blood, Trigon gave to the first Brother Blood four amulets. Individually would open a gateway between dimensions. And when the four medallions were brought together, they would allow Trigon to enter our world for a short time. Trigon used these medallions to rally forth his followers and thus prepare new worlds for his coming."
"Or in your case, to find a little slut to knock up with his demon seed," Rose sneered loftily.
"Shut up Ravager," muttered everyone in the room (including the Hobbits, Batman and Oracle).
Despite his fears, Sam reached out and taking Raven's hand squeezed it kindly, upon noting the colder expression on the empath's face. Raven looked momentarily surprised by the gesture, but she could feel kind understanding that both Sam and Frodo were giving off fill her like drink and allowed a smile of appreciation.
"The medallions are activated by, of course, blood," Raven went on to explained. "At which point, they will open a gateway to their primary location."
"Which means, they came from our Earth," concluded Cyborg.
"What I'd like to know is how did the Hobbits land where they did," said Wonder Girl with a furrowed brow as she leaned forward in his own chair. "I mean, doesn't it seem weird that of all the places they could land in our universe it's in our laps, literally?"
"I was wondering that myself," Robin commented. "Wouldn't the medallion have taken them to… whoever it was that assaulted the Gray Havens?"
"The return spell," said Batman suddenly, causing everyone to jump. "When Raven, Zatanna and Doctor Fate had cast the spell necessary to bring Robin and Batgirl back from Middle-Earth, they used many of us as anchors to this world. A focus point for Raven to follow back."
Raven pursed her lips in thought, but after a moment gave a nod of agreement. "That sounds possible. Since the Hobbits did not know how to control the magiks, the amulet itself searched for connection point. It then clung to the residual magiks left on Batman and the Titans, and thus brought them to us."
"Well thank goodness for that," said Pippin with a clear sigh of relief. "I dunno about the rest of ye guys, but I wouldn't want to end up with the bad guys." The other hobbits nodded in clear agreement.
"Does this mean that this Church of Blood is behind the attack of the Gray Havens?" asked Frodo.
"I don't think so," replied Oracle. "After the Titans and Kid Eternity took down that Brother Blood kid a year ago, Robin asked me to monitor the Church of Blood. Considering the fact that all of Brother Blood's human congregation were killed by his demon congregation which has since then been sent back to Trigon's dimension, there's been little activity from that group."
"But there HAS been activity?" asked Batman, arching an eyebrow.
"If you call a few of their old Cult members taking a few guns and attacking a school of kids saying it was in honor of their fallen leader 'activity' then yes," replied Oracle. "And that occurred seven months ago. They ended up killing twelve 6th graders and then they killed themselves. Since then there hasn't been so much as an evil bake sale rally from them."
"So that leaves us with two scenarios," Robin declared with a dark scowl. "Either the Church of Blood is rebuilding itself and doing a damn good job of covering their tracks, or someone else got their hands on the medallions."
"But who?" asked Sam, looking at Robin hopefully.
"That's what we need to find out," Robin replied. "Unfortunately, your description of the masked man who you found with the amulet doesn't give us much to go off of yet."
"Yeah, ninja killers are kind of a dime a dozen around here," laughed Eddie. Surprisingly though, Robin's eyebrows rose at this comment, as if something had clicked in his mind.
'Ninja?' he thought to himself. 'No… She couldn't…'
"So what's the plan Boss?" Ravager asked Robin as she gave him seductive smirk, that would make most men putty in her hands. Of course, it never worked on Robin.
Crossing his arms, Robin began to pace around the conference table, clearly in 'bat-mode' as the other Titans liked to call it. "Raven, I need you to keep researching what you can about the Keys of Trigon. See if you can find anything that can help us find them. Meanwhile, Oracle can you get us a list of old hideout for the Church of Blood. We'll start checking there for clues. Batman, mind if we lean on a few of your magical informants and see if they know anything about Middle-Earth or Trigon's Keys?"
The Titans were surprised when Batman nodded his head, and actually followed his partner's lead. The entire super-hero community knew that the Dark Knight was a major control freak. He normally took control of every situation he was involved in. So seeing him actually defer leadership to the Teen Wonder was… shocking to say the least. "Will you be needing any additional help?" Batman asked, clearly implying himself or the newly reformed Justice League.
Robin seemed to consider the offer for a moment before shaking his head. "No. We'll take care of things."
"Understood," Batman said with another nod of acknowledgement.
"What about us?" Pippin asked over the communication system.
"We'll have you guys transferred to Titans Tower," Robin said. "Oracle, can you establish transportation for them?"
"Not a problem, Boy Wonder," replied Oracle. "Lady Black Hawk will pick up Merry from Gotham, and deliver her and Pippin to the Tower first thing tomorrow. That work for you Batman?"
The Batman nodded. "I'll have coordinates sent, for the pick up. Until then, Batman out."
Merry upon realizing what the Batman was going to do, frantically called out. "Wait! Can't I say good-bye to them?" Batman scowled at the Merry who was doing his best to not cower away, and failing miserably. However after a moment, the Dark Knight muttered 'make it quick' to which Merry grinned brightly. "Good-bye everyone! Ah'll see you soon!" At this point, the screen went to black and was then replaced with a stylized letter 'T'.
"Is it just me or does Batman seem… nicer than he used to be?" Wonder Girl mused. She noticed the small smirk that monetarily appeared on Robin's face. She like many of the others often wondered what had happened to Batman, Robin and even Nightwing during their yearlong absence. Whenever anyone asked, they would only reply 'I went to train. To get better.' But the truth was, there was something else. Batman seemed… less intense than he used to be. Diana had even told Cassie that she had seen him smile at one point. Of course Batman would never admit to it.
It was a pity that Robin hadn't gone the same way as his mentor.
"This is unreal," whispered Sam. "Talkin' ter folks over boxes and floating heads…"
"Thought I was making all this up?" Robin asked the gardener with an arched eyebrow.
Sam blushed and shook his head. "No, we believed you, we just thought… I didn't mean…"
"Chill out," Rose chuckled. "The Bird boy is just bustin' your balls. So are we done here?"
Robin rolled his eyes and nodded as he moved to a nearby computer terminal and began shifting through assorted information. "Yeah, we're done. Oracle, contact me when you've got something. Pippin, we'll see you tomorrow."
"Good-bye Robin! Ah can't wait ta see y'all!" the hobbit called, as Oracle chuckled and then ended the connection. As the Titans stood to leave, Frodo and Sam followed suit, but pausing, shared worried looks.
"Um… Tim, what do Sam and I do now?" Frodo asked.
Robin looked up from the computer terminal. "We've got two guest rooms set up for you guys in the dormitory wing. You guys are probably feeling pretty spent after everything, so why don't you go up and get some proper sleep? Cassie, would you please escort them up?"
Wonder Girl and the Hobbits frowned at the Teen Wonder incredulously.
"And what'll you be doing?" Cassie asked a bit pointedly. She had not problem with the task, but she would have thought that Robin would have wanted to take them to their rooms so that they could talk. After all, they hadn't had much time to talk what with Batman and Oracle calling and then having this big meeting.
"I need to go over all this information," Robin said loftily as he turned back to his computer and back typing quickly. "See if I can find something we missed that'll help us find the other medallions."
"But Tim…" began Sam somewhat dejectedly. "We were hopin' that we could talk some more."
Robin didn't look away from his screen as he continued to work. "We'll talk tomorrow Sam. But right now, I need to get this work done. I'll see you in the morning."
The air of finality hit the two hobbits hard, as it did Wonder Girl who shot Robin another pointed scowl. That was the kind of thing she would have expected from Batman, but not from Robin. Tim had been been more than willing to put his work aside when friends needed his help. Cassie took a deep steadying breath, trying to keep from ripping Tim a new one in front of his friends.
Reluctantly, Cassie placed a hand on Frodo and Sam's shoulder and offered them a very forced smile. "Let's go guys."
Upon hearing the doors to the command center close, Robin leaned back in his chair and gave an inaudible sigh, falling deep into his own thoughts. After a few moments had passed, he leaned towards the computer console again and prepared to begin typing, when suddenly his stiffened. He had thought she had left with the others.
"I said you could go Raven," he stated, not turning away from the screen.
The Daughter of Trigon seemed to brush his subtle attempt at dismissal aside and stepped forward. "You can't hide like this forever Timothy," she informed him evenly.
Robin's shoulders tensed slightly, but beyond that he betrayed no other reaction. "I'm not hiding. I'm working."
"Timothy, you're friends are worried about you," Raven stated. "Frodo and Samwise… Their emotions are so honest and open. And I can sense their concern and their fear. They shall need you to help them through this new world."
"They're strong," Robin said, wincing at how much he sounded like Batman. "They saved their entire world."
"They had help Timothy," Raven shot back. "And they need help again."
Robin turned his chair to face the empathic Titan. He had never felt all the comfortable with Raven, to be honest. Yes, he trusted her implicitly and he liked her, but she always managed to make him feel uneasy. She was an empath. She could read people's emotions as easily as he read data on a computer printout. "I am helping them. I'm trying to find out who attacked our friends and get them back home."
"You have not told them about Cassandra, have you?" It was more of a statement as oppose to a question. Robin's eyes narrowed as he continued to look at his screen. He could almost feel Raven's empathic powers probing around inside him and searching.
Robin's expression turned ten degrees colder as he spun back to his computer. "No. They're not ready to know about her."
If Raven hadn't always worked so hard on properly controlling her emotions, she would have rolled her eyes and kicked the Boy Wonder's chair. "You said it yourself Timothy. They are strong. And they need to know. She was their friend."
"Exactly," Robin snarled, as he head snapped to the side so he could look at Raven. "She WAS their friend. Now she's…" Robin shook his head, letting his words trail off. Clenching his jaw tightly, he turned his head back to the screen and allowed his fingers to fly over the computer console again. "I've got work to do."
Raven watched Robin work for a few minutes, with a downtrodden expression. The pain and anger she could feel from him was over-whelming. Since the Titans had brought her back to the team, she had noticed a considerable change in the Boy Wonder. Where before he was always controlled and understanding, now he was angry and withdrawn.
"They will learn the truth soon enough, Timothy," Raven repeated. "And it is better they hear it from you, than from someone else. You owe it to them. You owe it to what you had with Cassandra."
The words cut into Robin deeply and he abruptly stopped typing. Breathing deeply, he turned in his chair, ready to say… something. Unfortunately, all that was left in the room was a cloud of black smoke.
Frodo and Sam had reluctantly followed Cassie out of the command center and the trip up the elevator from the sub-levels of the Tower into the upper levels had been done in silence. Both of them had gone from simple concern to pure worry as Robin had so coldly dismissed them after the meeting. During the War of the Ring, they had both seen periods at which Tim had been… intense about things. Commanding and decisive had seemed the appropriate terms. But he had never been like that.
As the two hobbits let their minds fixate on the Teen Wonder, they had barely paid much notice as Wonder Girl led them to one of the guest rooms normally saved for reserved Titans.
"And here you go, with the compliments of the Titans," Cassie told them with a smile as the doors to Frodo's room slid open. The hobbits entered the room and stared in awe. It was a rather sparsely decorated room, with only a desk and chair closet and bed. However, despite the lack of décor, the large bay window gave a magnificent view of the bay. On the bed Frodo saw his sword and elf cloak laid out. "Sam your room is right next door. I know it's not much, but if you need anything like some pajamas or a toothbrush, just let me know. We've still got some of Bart's old kid-sized stuff in storage, and they might fit ya guys."
"What's a toothbrush?" asked Sam with a frown.
Cassie looked at the hobbit wearily. "Please tell me your joking. Okay… Tomorrow we are sooo taking you guys shopping."
Frodo however had made his way over to the window and was now staring out over the bay as a starlit night hung overhead. His face looked pensive and almost sad.
"Is everything alright Frodo?" Cassie asked.
Frodo looked away from the window and nodded. "Yes, thank you," he told her. "It's just been so long since we've gone through something like this… We thought our adventures were over."
Wonder Girl didn't look like she really believed that, but nodded nonetheless. The probably didn't feel comfortable enough talking to her about whatever it was that was on their mind. She couldn't blame them. After all, they were in a strange land with strange people, and the one person they did know had all but snubbed them.
Still, Cassie couldn't leave without offering something. "Guys… you have to understand, Tim's had some problems lately." ('There's the understatement of the decade' she thought to herself.) "He'll come around."
Sam smiled and Frodo offered an appreciative nod as he turned back to look out the window. Cassie sighed, wishing that there were more she could do. But as good as it would feel to throw Robin into orbit for acting like such a… Batman… there wasn't much she could do.
"Miss Cassandra?" began Sam, casting Frodo a small side-glance. "What happened to Robin and… and Batgirl?"
Cassandra bit her lip and closed her eyes while at the same time, crossing her arms. What was she supposed to tell them? All she could manage to say in reply before leaving the room was: "A lot."
TO BE CONTINUED…
Author's Note: What's this? Did he actually post two updates that are within two weeks of each other? Madness! It's Madness! But I was inspired.And, after a long debate, I've decided that the story that will be going on hiatus will indeed be TITANIC GRYFFINDORS, the Teen Titans/Harry Potter Crossover. My writing muse just seems more fixated on this story for now. So please enjoy it and PLEASE feed a writer's ego with a nice review. Pwease!
Messiah91: Sorry you're finding the story to be slow, but frankly I absolutely loath it when a story moves too fast. Those stories always end up lacking in any sort of story and character development, and the plots end up feeling paper-thin because of that. Like many of my favorite writers, I like to take the time to properly develop everything so that my readers firmly understand and appreciate things. Especially when we start to reach the climatic points of the story.
Ladyofthebookworms:Actually, not everyone knows everyone else. After all, only Batman, Robin and Pippin know whom the Oracle really is. And of course I've read the new Teen Titans. I've actually made reference to it in both this story and my HP/Titans crossover. But I doubt that anything is going to come from it.
Batfan7: Rose is... an aquired taste. I'm not a fan of her as a person, but she does add for some great foil for Wonder Girl and everyone needs that person you love to hate. Thanks for the review.
Marcus S. Lazarus: Thanks for much for the lengthy review. And trust me, I have a very good reason why Cass has gone nutzo. While she has yet to appear in this story, she will of course play a MAJOR role in what's to happen. Can't say much beyond that, I'm sure you understand. And if you like how the Hobbits are reacting to their new world now, wait until you see the next chapter.
Iudex Acerbus: Thanks you, and I'm sorry, I know Batgirl is still MIA. But there is a reason for this. And yes, Superboy will be a topic of conversation as you'll see soon enough. But as for Superboy being using as a barganing chip... that's highly unlikely.
Special Thanks to: Theo Gary, Xephon, JME2, Coral Skipper, Alia G.L., Sandt21, Tony D.,