I started this a long time ago, before season four. So you'll have to take that into account. Forgive what ever formatting errors there are, I'm still getting used to this. This is a five-chapter story, by the way, with a BBRae pairing. Just not in this chapter. I'm assuming you can figure out who Rachel is. Oh, and the short dashed lines are to distinguish paragraphs. The long ones are between time periods. I'm still having formatting issues... UU

The Athar


They were born on one of the coldest days of the year. Twins were rare on Azarath, so they would have been a curiosity even if they hadn't been fathered by the demon-king Trigon. Arella, their mother, was choosing names for them when the Azar arrived. She'd named the boy Raistlin, after her father, and had just decided on Rachel for the girl when the knock on the door came. The midwife went to answer it, fully intending to shoo away the visitor. But one does not "shoo away" the Azar, even if she is Fei, King Ward's twelve year old daughter. Especially if the Azar is Fei.

Fei was remarkably mature for her age. She had to be, since she had become the Azar shortly after being selected as the last Azar's apprentice. She was the youngest Azar in history and also the youngest of the King's five daughters. She was not, however, one for formal small talk.

"The Athar is dead, Lady Arella."

In the corner, the midwife gasped. Arella frowned, not really understanding. "I am… sorry to hear that, your highness."

Fei sighed. "As you know, the child born an hour after the last Athar's death is Aura reborn, and the new Athar. The previous Athar died one hour and four minutes after midnight this day. When, may I ask, was your daughter born?"

Now Arella understood. "I'm not sure…"

"'Twas two hours and four minutes after midnight, to be sure, your highness!" the midwife piped up. "The boy was born six minutes later at two and ten, that's how I remembered." Arella glared at the talkative woman, but Fei smiled blandly. "Thank you, madam. Arella, that means your daughter is-"

"She cannot be the Athar."

Fei frowned. "May I ask why?"

Arella's gaze automatically went to the nearby cradle, where her precious- they were precious to her, despite their father- twins slept. "Her father…" Arella took a deep breath. "Their father is Trigon."

Fei was silent for a moment. Her gaze also went to the cradle. "All the better to serve the Darkness, then," the young Azar said quietly. She rose and left. Arella stood and looked down into the cradle at her children. Raistlin was asleep, his purple eyebrows furrowing his pale face in a distinct frown. Rachel- no, Aura, Arella corrected herself. That was what Death's ever-reborn servant was always called. The little girl was awake, and her violet eyes studied her mother carefully. Arella turned away. The child was no longer hers.


Six Years Later

The beat of the drums echoed in the early morning as the procession approached the Two Temples. They stopped at the crossroads. To the right was the road to the White Temple, home of the Azar and the other priests and priestesses. Straight ahead was the school, where all of the children of Gypsophila were taught. A young girl stood at the end of this road. She was small for her six years, and paler than most Azarathians. Her hair was purple and her eyes violet. She wore a black cloak over her dress that made her look even smaller and paler. The Azar, now a young woman of eighteen, stepped forward. The hood of her white cloak was down, allowing her chestnut curls to cascade over her shoulders and down her back. She addressed the girl. "Who are you?"

"I am Aura, the ever-reborn," the child answered without hesitation.

"Whom do you serve?"

"Death alone is my Master; I answer only to him."

The Azar paused before the next question, as the ceremony dictated. "Who are you?"

"I am the Athar."

The Azar nodded, then turned to their audience. "Let all of Azarath hear: The Athar has returned once more." The Azar bowed to the girl, and then led her retinue down the right road. The only people left now were the girl and a woman, also clad in black. Both of their expressions were somber. Arella held out her hand. "Come, Aura." The girl took her mother's hand, and they went down the road to the left, to the Black Temple.


Four Years Later

"Aura, did you hear? The Azar is reviewing all of the ten year old girls today!"


Her best friend's reaction somewhat dimmed Tarisia's enthusiasm. "I forgot. You don't have to go, do you?"

Rachel made a face. "Fei says I should. She wants my opinion."

Tarisia shook her head. "I still can't believe that you call the Azar by her first name. Where's your respect?"

"She hasn't any," a young male voice answered. A boy the same age as the girls stepped out of the shadows. His purple bangs hung into violet eyes covered by wire-rimmed glasses. "Death alone is her master," Raistlin continued. "Why should she show respect to any living thing?" Rachel glared at her brother. He didn't respond, just pushed his glasses back on his nose. Tarisia stuck her tongue out at Raistlin. "You sound bitter. C'mon, Aura, we're going to be late." The two girls walked away, leaving Raistlin with a self-satisfied smirk on his face.


"Oh, did I tell you? My cousin Crow's coming to our school tomorrow. His family's moving here." Tarisia giggled. "He's really handsome, and I know he'll like you. Aura? Are you even listening?" Rachel, in fact, had not been listening. She had developed a habit of studying people as they talked, and she had been studying her best friend. Her only friend, if truth be told. Tarisia Majere was typical of Azarathians in appearance, with black hair and blue eyes. (Fei's mother, Queen Sheila, was from another planet. That's why Fei has brown hair.) "Rissy?"


"Why… why aren't you afraid of me?"

Tarisia frowned. "What do you…oh. Aura, I don't care that you're the Athar or about what the other kids think. What matters is that I think you're smart and pretty and a much better friend than any of them could ever be. Now, come on, before we're late. You might not get in trouble, but I will." Rachel smiled and followed her friend to the White Temple. "And Rissy?"


"Would you call me by my real name? Please?"

Tarisia smiled. "Of course, Rachel."


"You saw the girls. What do you think?"

"I think that it isn't my place to decide the Azar's apprentice." Rachel said carefully. Fei laughed at the younger girl's reply. "Liar. You've already got one in mind." She flipped through the papers on all of the candidates. "Only a handful of these meet all of my requirements, but it helps if the Azar and Athar get along, even if you will both be old by the time my apprentice becomes Azar, the gods willing. So who should I pick?"

Rachel smiled slightly. "Tarisia Majere."

Fei pulled the file. "Hmm. Good family, good student and, I'm assuming, good friend." Rachel said nothing. The Azar grinned. "She'll do."


Three Years Later

"Tarisia Majere, Chromeros Blackbird, and Rachel Roth." Lady Rolias Noom sighed. "The Azar's apprentice, the King's great-nephew, and the Athar, and yet I should have known." The three teenagers looked back at the principal innocently, acting for all the world as if they'd done nothing wrong. Which they hadn't. That is, they knew no one could prove they'd done anything. Lady Noom shook her head. "You three get sent here more than any of the other students, and I-"

"Excuse me, Lady, but we do need to go back to class," Crow interrupted. The principal glared at the dark haired boy. "Not today you don't. Nor tomorrow. The three of you are suspended."

"For what?" Tarisia asked indignantly, her blue eyes darkening.

"For disfiguring my statue in the front garden," Lady Noom answered.

"But there isn't any proof!" Crow and Tarisia protested at the same time. Rachel was silent, which bothered the principal even more. "I don't need proof," she replied staunchly. "You three are the only ones who could have done it and there will be no further discussion. If you are not off the school grounds in ten minutes, I will call the police. I'm calling your parents as it is." Lady Noom sat down, and the three trudged out of her office, Crow and Tarisia giving her various venomous looks and glares.


"Two inexcusable, can't-make-them-up, completely missed days of school. Was it really worth it, Crow?" Tarisia asked. Crow grinned at his cousin. "You saw the statue, Rissy. You tell me." Tarisia laughed. Rachel smiled as well, though slightly. "I think calling it 'disfigured' is a gross understatement, considering the fact that it's now an extremely upright rabbit." They all laughed. "And to think the idea came from you three being bored to the point that you were making shadow puppets," Raistlin said, stepping from the shadows. He wasn't laughing, and the other three didn't notice the extreme sarcasm in his voice. "'Look, Raist, bunnies!'" Crow yelled. He and the girls dissolved into more fits of laughter. Raistlin simply shook his head. Rachel turned to her friends. "I'll see you tomorrow." They waved, and the twins headed down the road to the house behind the Black Temple.


"Raistlin, why don't you ever laugh at Crow's jokes?" Raistlin glared at his twin sister. "If Crow's jokes were funny, rather than idiotic, perhaps I would feel the need to laugh at them. As it is, I feel no such inclination." Rachel sniffed. "You're just jealous because he thinks of things first." Raistlin scowled. "You like him."

"Who?" Rachel asked innocently.

"Crow. You like him as more than a friend."

Rachel blushed. "I do not!" she cried. "Besides, I bet you like Rissy!"

Raistlin simply looked at his sister. "I have done nothing to support such a preposterous notion." Rachel glared at him. Raistlin was impervious to that look, as he could have easily returned it. "Now, if you have nothing sensible to say, I am going to bed." He turned away and went upstairs. Rachel continued to glare after him. "Just because Mother's never here is no reason for you to be such an insufferable, know-it-all, jerk!"

Raistlin turned around and looked calmly at his sister. "Nor is it any reason for you to hang out with a juvenile delinquent. You don't hear what the other children whisper about us, do you? You don't hear them say that you're creepy, and morbid, and you'll probably turn on them and destroy-"

"Stop it!!" Rachel shrieked. "I hate you! I don't care that you're my brother, you're horrible and I hate you! Next time the bullies are tormenting you, I'm not going to defend you! I'll probably help them!" She turned and ran to her own room. Raistlin continued up the stairs, a self-satisfied smirk on his face.


Tarisia quickly removed the note attached to the owl's leg. It was in Rachel's handwriting, as she'd suspected. Rachel was the only other person Spot would go to, much less carry notes for. "Meet me at the crossroads at midnight. Bring a cloak that isn't black." Well, that was cryptic. It meant that Tarisia would have to sneak out of the Temple. Again. She shook her head. "Rachel, you and Crow are the real reason I get into so much trouble."


Tarisia reached the crossroads just as the White Temple's clock began to chime. Rachel was waiting impatiently. "Did you bring it?" Tarisia held out the royal blue cloak she'd pulled from her closet. "All of my other ones are white, and I didn't think you wanted a white one." Rachel put on the blue cloak, and Tarisia took the black one. "Now what's this all about, Rachel?" The Athar looked at her best friend. "I'm leaving, Rissy." Tarisia rolled her eyes. "Well, yeah, you'd better. We'll both get in trouble if anyone catches us." Rachel shook her head. "No, I mean I'm leaving Azarath."

"What? Why?"

Rachel sighed. "Because I'm tired of being the Athar. I'm tired of just walking down the street while everyone stares at me like I'm a freak." Tarisia was silent for a moment. "Where will you go?" Rachel looked away. "I'm going to Earth. Tonight. The ship leaves in less than an hour." Tears began to fill the dark-haired girl's eyes as Tarisia leapt forward and hugged Rachel. "You're my best friend, you know that, right? I don't want you to go, but I know that I can't stand in your way." She released Rachel, who smiled sadly. "Thanks, Rissy." She turned and walked off into the darkness, leaving everything behind.

---End Chapter One---

Just in case you didn't figure it out (but I hope you did), Rachel will soon become Raven. The rest of the Titans will be in the next chapter. Review, please!