I've finally seen Spellbound! Woot! I must say, Malchior is a very intriguing character. I mean, I've read and seen "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets", and I still didn't think he was evil until the end (to my credit, I thought something was up when Raven found out about the dark magic, but…Mal was just so damn charming!) My look at what may have happened if Malchior truly was just misunderstood, and Rorek was really the bad guy! Enjoy! Till next time…cheese it!
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fic depicts Malchior as a human who learned the art of changing his form into a dragon and just decided to stay that way (let's face it…humans suck!). Fans of Mal the Dragon are gonna have to look elsewhere, I'm sorry! Also most Malchior's dialogue is based off of Argyone, the Black Archmage in Stephen Donaldson's novel, The Killing Stroke.
Hesberek Admoriney Gostwenthin Verbusnex. Indobrium Bispendruay Haransicortis Rex!
Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans
Dark, Or Just Misunderstood?
CHAPTER I: Justifications of the Light and the Dark
Where am I? Raven asked herself.
She honestly didn't know; one moment she had been in her room and the next, she was here. She observed her surroundings, as though hoping she could understand exactly where she was, but it was no use. She knew that she had never been here before.
The landscape was a barren wasteland of cracked clay. It was night, but the stars twinkled in the heavens and the moon shone with such brightness that she could see as though it were day. The only other thing she noticed was the ruins of an ancient castle in the distance. Even though part of the damage to the castle had been caused by the ravages of time, Raven could see that most of the castle itself had been destroyed by some great impact, as though some gigantic creature had torn the walls asunder in a rage…
That thought made her father's face briefly surface in her mind and she quickly dismissed it before taking to the air, swiftly flying towards the ruins, hoping that there might be some clue as to why she was here.
Raven slowed her descent and landed lightly. Now that she was at the castle, she was having second thoughts about going in. The ruins themselves gave a sense of eerie abandonment and, despite the bright moonlight, the castle's opening was dark, and gave the impression of walking into some beast's gaping maw. Then, without even knowing why, Raven closed her eyes and began to concentrate…
The sounds of someone crying a curse…
The beating of powerful wings…
A great explosion…
An almighty roar…
"YOU'RE FINISHED! YOUR REIGN OF EVIL ENDS HERE!"
"NO! IT IS YOUR TREACHERY THAT IS DOOMED!"
The sound of someone screaming in agony…
Raven opened her eyes and ran her hand against the scorched stones of the wall. Something terrible happened here, a long time ago. In those brief flashes, she had sensed powerful emotions: hate, fear, despair. And loneliness, a cold empty loneliness. That had been the strongest of all. Raven shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts. This was no time to be worrying about what had happened here. She had to find out exactly where she was so that she could get back home. She wondered if the other Titans had-
Believing herself alone, Raven was slightly startled at the sound of someone speaking her name. Raven turned to look behind her, not knowing who had found or her, or, to put it another way, who had been following her.
It was Rorek.
Raven blinked in stunned surprise. It was Rorek. Rorek of Knoll, the wizard who had once sealed the Dread Dragon, Malchior, into a spellbook. Except he couldn't be Rorek. Rorek had white hair, but this boy's hair was as black as ebony. And instead of Rorek's ice-blue eyes, the eyes looking at her were crimson, like fire. It probably wasn't important, but even his armour was different. Instead of the shining silver armour Rorek wore, the armour that this boy wore was black, dimly reflecting the shine of the moon overhead. Raven just didn't understand.
"Raven…" he said again, and this time she recognized his voice. That voice. Looking into his red eyes, she finally knew…
But…I SEALED him! I sealed him away, God damn it! It's not POSSIBLE!
"You…" she whispered venomously, hatred beginning to burn in her eyes.
"Raven…please…" Malchior whispered, his hands outstretched in a beseeching gesture.
"You lied to me…" she said, speaking slowly and clearly, each word like the stab of a dagger. Malchior bowed his head and almost seemed to cringe.
"Raven, you don't understand…" he said in that same imploring whisper, tinged with urgency. "I was desperate. I was trapped in a book for over a thousand years, in Hell's name! Like any caged beast I snatched at the first chance to escape I received…"
"Was that all you saw me as?" Raven asked him, her anger beginning to turn into grief, grief she thought that she had finally overcame. "A chance to escape?" Malchior sighed.
"You don't understand…" he said gently, as though she were just a small child. "Sweet Raven-"
"DON'T YOU DARE CALL ME THAT!" she screamed at him with sudden fury. "I DON'T CARE WHAT ELSE YOU DO, BUT NEVER CALL ME THAT AGAIN!" Dimly, Raven was aware that she had begun to cry; tears were rolling down her cheeks to spatter against the cracked clay ground. "YOU LYING…YOU EVIL…HOW CAN YOU STAND THERE AND TELL ME I DON'T UNDERSTAND?! WHAT CAN YOU POSSIBLY HAVE TO SAY TO ME THAT I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU ALREADY?!"
"Little enough," Malchior said. He did not shout, and yet his voice matched Raven's resounding anger, for it held an edge of savagery – of rage prolonged and constricted beyond endurance; Malchior had nurtured his fury until it had filled him.
"Everything they say about me is true," he continued, his voice bitter. "I studied darkness. The Seven Hells were once my domain. Rorek couldn't turn himself into a dragon. I could. And I did rain violence upon Knoll. But not until he forced me to do it. Not until Rorek declared anathema against me…"
Raven's anger was now partially clouded with uncertainty. "What do you mean?"
"Rorek-" In Malchior's mouth, the word was a curse. "He didn't just think I was wrong. He thought that I should have been killed. Because my magery wasn't like his. He wanted to destroy me because I looked for power in places he feared. He wanted to destroy my knowledge. Not because of anything I did. Because of what I was. And what I knew. Until he started our war, I had commited no crime he could hold against me…"
Raven's anger had now completely vanished. She looked at Malchior, wondering if he was lying. His crimson eyes, however, were dark with memory, and she knew that he spoke the truth.
"Rorek believed he was in the right! IN THE RIGHT!" Malchior cried in wild vehemence. "As if being in the right has anything to do with knowledge! 'Right' and 'Wrong' have to do with how knowledge is used, not the knowledge itself…"
Just because your powers are evil, doesn't mean that you are…
Malchior swiftly moved over to Raven and clasped her hands in both of his. "Raven," he said, his voice softening. "I swear on my soul, if there were fifty wizards of my kind in the world, I would not have formed an alliance with them against Rorek. I didn't want Rorek dead. I didn't even want him hurt. But I would not stand by while my knowledge and my life were erased as though they never existed."
Raven opened her mouth to speak, but Malchior overrode her. "That was not a claim Rorek could make," he insisted. "He did wish me dead. He wished my knowledge destroyed. Because he believed he was in the right
"Oh, Rorek was as pure as sunlight," he raged on, "and just as cruel. Do you think he cared about Knoll? Can't you see, Raven? He could have ended our enmity whenever he chose." His voice rose to a shout. "He could have stopped! But then I would have been able to keep my life and my power. All the land would have seen that I attacked no one except in my own defense. And that," Malchior cried, "Rorek couldn't tolerate because he was in…the…RIGHT!"
His litany finished at last, Malchior fell silent, breathing heavily. Raven was shocked. She didn't know what to say or do.
He's lying, her mind screamed at her. He's trying to deceive you again, juts like he did before. He's trying to justify his own sins by making Rorek look evil.
But, if that was true, then why hadn't he wantonly tried to kill Raven? He had destroyed her room, and partially demolished the roof of the Tower, but, now that she thought about it, he hadn't actually tried to kill her friends until they had actually caught up with him. And he hadn't tried to kill her, not until she had made it clear that she wanted to seal him back inside the book.
The book. She wondered what it would be like, trapped in there for countless years, never to feel the wind through your hair or the sun upon your face…
Could it be possible that Malchior – the same Malchior who had drawn her to him with lies, trickery and deceit – was telling the truth?
All she could do was stare into those two red eyes. Who did she see behind those eyes? A monster? Or someone who had been greatly wronged, a creature who had been forced to walk a path he had not chosen and could not refuse, a path of hate, fear, despair…and loneliness…
"It was you," she whispered, turning backwards to look at the ruins of the castle, remembering the visions. "This was where you were first sealed…"
Malchior, silent tears carving runnels down his face, nodded. "Rorek realised that he was not powerful enough to kill me, so he decided to seal me and my knowledge away forever, hopefully to never be found again…"
"But it was found again," Raven said. At this, Malchior leant in close and embraced her. Raven hesitated for a moment, then gently wrapped her arms around him.
"I'm sorry…" he whispered. "I am so sorry, Raven…"
And this time, he meant it. She could tell he did. She could feel him trembling in her arms, while he wept.
"I didn't mean to hurt you," he whispered again. "I didn't want to hurt you. But…you were going to seal me again. I couldn't let that happen, not when I had just tasted freedom for the first time in centuries…I wasn't thinking…I was heedless, heartless…I'm so sorry…"
Raven finally broke their embrace. Backing away from Malchior, she asked him that one simply question that he had not yet answered…
"But why?" she asked him, staring into his eyes. "If that is really what happened, then why didn't you tell me the truth?" Malchior laughed bitterly.
"Would you have really let me out, had you known what I was?" he asked her, a sad smile upon his face. "Wasn't I the Dread Dragon, Malchior, who had been banished by the great, good, Rorek of Knoll? You would have closed the book in my face and consigned me to darkness for another thousand years."
Raven tried to speak, but didn't. He nodded knowingly, as though confirming what he had just said. "There once was a time when I may have told you the truth," he said finally. "But when you are confined to solitude for centuries, the truth and the lies seem little more than hollow words and empty concepts."
"No…" Raven said at last, wariness and hurt had begun to creep back into her eyes. "You're lying to me, just like before. You're not sorry at all. As soon as I released you, you said that you had got what you wanted…and that you didn't need me anymore. YOU SAID THAT!" she screamed at him.
"I'm not proud of it," Malchior said quietly. "But-"
He broke off suddenly, and looked to the night sky, as though hearing something only he could hear. Raven listened very carefully and, after a few seconds, she could hear it too: a rushing sound, something approaching them with incredible speed…
"Damnation!" Malchior's eyes darkened and seemed to flash. Quickly, he drew Raven to him, pressing her against his chest, shielding her with his arms as though he meant to protect her. Raven followed Malchior's gaze upward.
A star seemed to be falling. A massive ball of burning white energy, rapidly descending from the night sky.
Heading right toward them.
Raven turned to Malchior, about to demand that he let her go, but there was no time. The star struck the ground less than ten metres away, contacting heavily with the cracked clay ground. The shock wave from the impact swept over both Raven and Malchior, stinging their eyes with dust and threatening to blast them head-over-heels. However, Malchior stood his ground, firmly setting his feet into a strong stance. Raven didn't think that she could have withstood the gale alone; she was sure that she was only kept on her feet because Malchior held her.
As the dust and wind began to recede, Raven could make out a lone figure clambering over the edge of the crater that the "star" had made. By the time he stood upon the edge of the crater, Raven had realised who he was…
"So, Malchior," Rorek said, folding his arms over his armoured chest. "I have found you once more, and I see that you are as damned for new crimes as for old…"
"Rorek…" Malchior said, smiling sardonically at his one-time arch nemesis. "You are indeed fortunate to catch me. In another hour, we would have been gone from this place."
At Malchior's words, Rorek seemed to notice Raven for the first time. "Who is the girl?" Malchior finally released Raven from his arms and turned to face the wizard.
"Her name is Raven, Rorek," Malchior replied. "You shall address her as 'my lady'. Regardless of your contempt for me, you will show her courtesy."
Raven looked from Malchior to Rorek just in time to see the latter flinch. He was Rorek of Knoll, the powerful wizard who had sealed Malchior away the first time…and still he feared his enemy.
"Show her courtesy yourself, Malchior," Rorek said, regaining his composure. "Why don't you tell her the truth? Why don't you tell her exactly who and what you are?"
"That has already been done," Malchior said heavily, as though ashamed of the consequences through which the truth had been revealed. "Raven shall not believe your lies now."
"My lies?!" Rorek spat. "Bah! I suppose you told her of your black magic, and how it is merely misunderstood, as you always put it." At these words, Rorek's eyes lit up with sudden realisation. "Oh, you didn't," he said slowly, looking at Raven. "You cur! That's how you escaped! You taught her your foul spells and fed off of their energy to break the seal of the curse. You have tainted this innocent girl with your evil…"
Before Malchior could reply, Rorek lifted his hands and let loose two bursts of white energy. One slammed into Malchior's chest, sending him flying backwards to land in a crumpled heap on the ground.
The other sped towards Raven. She summoned her powers and called up a shield to defend herself. The spell bounced of harmlessly and for a moment it looked as though it had worked. But then the white light grew. It became a long trailing stream which circled the ground where Raven stood. There was a flash of brilliance which mometntarly blinded her.
Opening her eyes, Raven could see that she was surrounded by a circle of white flames. Raven concentrated, focusing all of her energy to break the spell.
Nothing happened. That's when she noticed the strange emblem underneath her feet. She looked at the symbol, studying it, trying to figure out what it was. Realisation finally dawned on her. A pentagram with an arcane symbol in each of it's five points, surrounded by arcane scripture…
She was trapped within a Devil's Trap. The flaming Circle of Protection shielded her from magic, both inside and out, and the Devil's Trap completely neutralized her powers.
Malchior had regained his feet. "Rorek!" he cried, dark energy crackling to life in his clenched fists. "What have you done? Release her this instant! Your battle is with me!"
Almost sadly, Rorek shook his head. "No," he said finally. "You have laid your mark upon her, and she must be purged of your black sorcery. When I am finished with you I shall then redeem the girl."
Malchior laughed harshly. "If you lay one finger on her," he snarled, "then that will just be one more reason I have to kill you, you self-righteous bastard! You know! You know that she is a demon, and you are going to try and kill her just as you did me! You think that just because she is a demon she is evil! You're pathetic. You views of what is good and what is evil are so twisted that you act like the hero to ease the guilt of your actions. You're just a coward…"
White light began to manifest in Rorek's hands. "I…am not…a coward!" he said, emphasising each word. Malchior sneered.
"Yes, you are," he said. "Because you fear what you don't understand. You fear it, and so you call it evil. You fear me. You fear her. And that is why you sought to destroy me…"
"ENOUGH!" Rorek screamed, flinging shafts of light at his enemy. Malchior deflected these with an almost negligent flick of his wrist, but Raven could sense that this was just a cheap shot on Rorek's part; he had not been aiming to kill.
"Very well, dragon," Rorek said. "Then let us battle." He pointed over to Raven. "The enchantments that I have placed upon your precious Raven will remain as long as I live. If I win, I shall kill you and then remove your taint from the poor girl's soul…even if it means her destruction."
Destruction? Raven thought. Oh my God. Was Malchior right about Rorek?
"But, if you win…well, that's not going to happen," Rorek finished, glaring at his opponent, his blue eyes glinting like a threat.
Malchior matched his foe's gaze, his crimson eyes unfathomable. Black energy crackled and coiled around him, like serpents waiting to strike.
"We shall see…" he whispered. He raised his hands to the heavens above, the dark night sky. "HAVE AT YOU, ROREK!"