Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Titans.
A feeling of dread, as if they were watching a horror movie at its most climatic scene, stretched to everyone in the room as Aqualad's voice, which had deepened considerably over the years, continued his story.
"When these rules are broken… terrible, terrible things can happen. Things that people will still feel the effects of many years later." Aqualad's eyes were shadowed as he said darkly, "Kale Aster is one of those effects."
Kale ran over buildings and across water. Her lungs stung as she sucked in cold air as fast and as hard as she could. Something terrible had happened. She hated everything. The sky, the ground, the universe. She wished it would all be sucked up into a horrible black hole.
"There are four lands that normal people don't know about. Those that do know about them, choose to ignore that knowledge. The four lands represent the four core elements, water, fire, earth and air. There is Atlantis, of course, and another realm at the center of Ring of Fire in the Caribbean. The other two are more spread out, having one singular capital city, but citizens that you could in any human town or city. These people either follow the Law of the Land, founded deep in the jungles of Brazil, or the Zephyrian Courts, which are based in the mountains in the Himalayas, at the highest peaks."
"Each of the four lands is governed by a group of people. Unfortunately, this group of people is a royal family with absolute power, meaning there is nothing stopping any royal family from decreeing war against another. A few hundred years ago, the Ring of Fire and the Law of the Land people were locked in a battle which started as an argument between princesses over a boy."
Aqualad paused until Beast Boy's and Starfire's cries of indignation quieted down.
"So, as expected, all of the unsaid laws are followed almost religiously." A pained look crossed Aqualad's face. "But… teenagers will be teenagers. You remember how some of our friends were, going out by themselves, quitting the team?" Everyone nodded. "Well, the royal sons and daughters were always taught that had a divine right to do and have whatever they want. Naturally, when the families throw lavish parties for each other, the princes and princesses are bound to meet."
"The people of the Ring of Fire are… less than attractive. Atlantis produces, in my opinion, very beautiful people but some may find us… a little too feminine. The Zephyrian people are… gorgeous. Unearthly in their beauty; perfect bone structure, perfect skin, and very interesting, beautiful eyes," Aqualad met eyes with each of his friends. The nodded understandingly. "The Brazil lineage is known to produce very rugged, very handsome manly men."
Aqualad's face darkened and he refused to look at his friends, instead glaring at his clenched fists. "It is said that the first time the princess of the Zephyrians and the prince of the Law of the Land a hush went over the entire room."
Honestly, how could one be burning and freezing at the same time? Kale's leg muscles screamed as she ran across the city, yet her chest felt like a giant, icy hand had reached in and squeezed.
She ran across the buildings of the city, unsure of where to go. She could not go home, wherever that meant anymore. She jumped, an impossible distance, to another building. Tears flew out behind her. Maybe she could just keep running. Running forever, into oblivion.
"Rumors say that Kale was conceived that night. Logically, of course, that could not have been the case until at least six months after. Mind you, having a child between countries is neither against the written or unwritten rules, though it is frowned upon."
"But there are some things that royalty just don't do. And having a child (who is frowned on in the first place) out of wedlock is one of those things. Normally, anything that would have brought strain between countries and shame to a royal family is taken care of discreetly and everyone else simply turns the other way and pretends it never happened."
"However, the Zephyrians, for all their beauty, are a very frail people. Their bones break easily and they catch rare diseases faster than you can imagine. So, when the princess' little problem came about, there were complications and nothing could be done. Kale Aster would be born."
This was it. She was running over the river. She hurt all over; physically and mentally. She could not go any farther. Her legs would give out. Her heart would stop any minute now. This was it…
"Things could have been fine, but the young prince was betrothed to a noble woman back home and the princess was… less than friendly. The first few months were okay, but rumors say that as the princess's pregnancy developed, and she became more difficult. The prince began wandering around the palace, and, being the man that he was, taking full advantage of his fiancée's absence."
"Arguments began to break out between the prince and princess and the Council (a group of very wise men and women from all four of the countries) decided it would be best if the young prince was sent home. For awhile, everything went smoothly, though the people of the Zephyrian Courts and those that followed the Laws of the Land were expectantly cold to each other."
"Then they began to ascend to the throne. The princess was first, and she began to throw extravagant parties, to show off her new daughter and to see if the father would come. He did, every time and, every time, they would begin arguments. Sometimes over petty things, and sometimes over Kale."
"See, Kale, like many born from two different tribes, had attributes from both sides of the family. Bones of the Land and eyes of the Courts and powers from both. Each side argued over where she would live because that is who she would fight for during a war. Everyone wanted her, not just the Zephyrians and those that followed the Law. She could be an amazing ambassador and keep wars from breaking out. But the stress was too much for a preteen and teenager. When she was old enough, perhaps nine or ten, Kale started running away."
"Most of the time, the Zephyrian guards would catch her and bring her back in a calm and gentle way… or as gently as one can expect to be with a preteen with supernatural powers. Then, once, her father's men caught her, and they were not so gentle."
"There was a bad scuffle, and Kale's powers matured before she was ready; she was out for thirty six hours. Needless to say, the Zephyrian princess was, well, pissed. And, as expected, she started a war with her ex-lover's country. The war raged on for years, until Kale was a young teenager."
Kale kept coughing. Her face stung where tears had dried. Her teeth ground together until her gums stung. Between her pants and coughs, she hiccupped. She felt as if her head was on fire with all the thinking she was doing and trying to get away from.
Her feet would drag against the ground every so often, and once she tripped. She knew she could not keep going for very long, but she did not want to stop. Maybe she could run until she died…
"It is said that Kale and a few of her friends, from all sides of the four countries, formed a group that protested the war by rising anger in the lower parts of their country. Some say she did it by herself and people followed her example. Personally, I think it is a mixture of the two. Regardless, when it seemed that her mother was going to march on her father's capital, Kale gathered her team. In numbered in the hundreds, though it was nowhere near the size of the either the Zephyrian army or the army of the Forest."
"Still, they marched, hoping to stop the battle. All were young and foolish. The Law of the Forest murdered all the children of the other countries on sight and dragged away the people of their own country, to be tortured and exiled later. As for Kale, she was left immobile; the word is that her arms and legs were broken as she was beaten badly. Regardless, she was left on the hill and could not stop what happened next."
"The Zephyrian army advanced on the Forest army, who, though more vicious, was at a major disadvantage. The Zephyrians, should they get into a fight they could not handle, could fly away and they had more updated technology. The Forest dwellers did not have a chance, but they were too hard-headed to retreat and call and end to the war."
"A great tradition within the Forest peoples' culture is for the governing king of the country to lead them into battle. Not one to break tradition (excluding his little escapade that started this whole mess), Kale's father entered battle. However, he saw his daughter and began to move towards her, possibly to save her from the fighting that was going on around her broken body. However, turning your back on a battle that is going on right behind you is not the wisest of ideas. As he came closer to Kale, a Zephyrian soldier noticed him from the air and attacked. He never stood a chance."
"Kale saw her father murdered in front of her very eyes by a soldier she had probably gone to school with. Within hours, she had lost everything; he home, her people, her followers and now her father. Rage built up within her until her powers bubbled to the surface, bringing tornados from all directions and causing mudslides. No one was spared."
Kale fell at the edge of a cliff. She could not take it anymore. Moonlight glinting off her tears, she took in her last shallow breath and let out a long anguished scream.
Cyborg opened his eyes. Sleep was good for a stressed mind. He stretched and jumped up from his steel bed, feeling as if he could take on the whole world. Cracking his neck, he exited his room and made his was down the hallway.
As he entered the living room he yawned, "Evening, guys."
Immediately he stopped short. The air in the room was tense. Everyone was sitting on the couch except for Aqualad, who was sitting on the table. Robin was holding a crying Starfire and Beast Boy was hanging his head. No one looked at him. Cyborg felt his stomach drop.
"Guys?" he asked quietly.
Finally, Beast Boy stood and turned around to look at him. His face looked miserable, and just a little teary.
"Cyborg, dude. We've got something to tell you."