Fic is under heavy revision, some parts will get re-written.
The Thin Grey Line
Chapter: 1 – Titan Down
Song of the Grey Knight:
Between Good and Evil
A thin grey line
Will lead you not
To fields sublime
For Light will see you
Corrupt and weak
But Dark's embrace
You cannot keep
Through life and fire
You will wander
Head held high
But feelings somber
And so we wait
For your return
Till light within you
Again will burn
Lest Darkness claim
Your Light, will wane
Shine your good
For those in pain
For this one thing
I know, my brother
You are not one thing
The forest was thick and old, dense branches packed with leaves blocked what little light the moon and stars might have provided to the underbrush during the night, a low clinging fog took care of the rest which made the darkness cling to the forest in a suffocating haze. It was in this forest however that a single trail ran from a river on one end of the forest to a castle on the opposite end. The silence, however, was short lived as the sound of hooves pounding rapidly on the dirt trail broke through the night and atop a black steed the lone rider held his lantern high to light the way as both horse and rider sped through the darkness.
The rider was clad in heavy, chromed plate mail that had been specially made to preserve movement while offering maximum protection, on his site was strapped a simple short sword and over his back was strapped an ornate long sword that was his prize. As he raced through the darkness he was aware that he was being perused and that even if he made it to the river he would not escape the White Palace guards. He also was not able to acquire a phase gauntlet to accomplish his first goal so really, the only part of his plan that had gone right so far was that he was able to take possession of the Blade of Judgment – a new plan would have to be devised.
Pulling on the reigns the knight brought his steed to a halt and quickly dismounted, slapping the back of the animal's haunches as soon as his feet hit the ground so the animal kept running to safety, the guards wanted him not his horse. Running into the thick brush on the side of the road the armored man pulled back the shutters on his lamp so no light escaped and waited for his pursuers to appear. Fortunately he did not have to wait long for only a few minutes had passed before the knight heard the sound of approaching riders. Moving his long blonde hair out of his eyes the knight turned the wick of his lantern up to full but left the shutters closed, his timing now would have to be perfect if this idea was going to work.
As the sound of hooves grew closer he estimated by the sound that there would be guards after him, a number that he should be able to handle without much trouble. Then the riders came into view as three white knights on horses rounded the bend, clad in the very same armor he was wearing except with helms as well – pulling his arm back the knight in the bushes took one small step before hurling the closed lamp onto the trail in front of the riders.
Bright, brilliant flames erupted seemingly from the ground as the lantern broke. The sudden light in the darkness however was enough to stun the riders and spook one of the horses enough that it bucked the poor knight into a bush on the side of the trail before running off.
This was also when the Knight who threw the lantern made his move.
Running from his hiding place the knight rushed the closest rider to him yanked him off of the horse by his belt with one mighty pull while turning slightly and connecting his knee with the other riders helm enough to dent the hard metal and knock the rider out before he landed flat on his back on the dirt.
"Stop this madness Darius!" The third rider said as he jumped off his horse and drew a large claymore from his back.
"I cannot Thaylor, I have taken possession of the Blade of Judgment so that I might continue the crusade against demon spawn." Darius said and drew the legendary blade from his back, holding it in a high stance ready to deflect, "I hold myself still to the standard of the White Knights."
"If you truly hold thyself to those standards then ye would not have taken the Blade of Judgment when they council commanded ye against it!" Thaylor readied his sword – which had a good twelve more inches in length than Darius's – to strike. It was also then that Darius noted his former companion had a phase gauntlet on his left hand.
"I am fifteen years thy superior Thaylor, you must trust my instinct, and give unto me the phase gauntlet on thy hand." Darius suggested, "I trained thee in thy youth, I do not want to strike thee down unless ye give me no choice!"
"Then strike! You are no better than a traitor to our cause!" Thaylor yelled and attacked.
Darius could see right away that even though his former apprentice was now a knight that did not mean his combat skills had been perfected. The large claymore came down in a quick vertical arc that Darius easily side stepped.
"Too slow." He taunted and Thaylor, but the younger knight quickly recovered and stabbed at Darius, who deflected the blow with the armor on his forearm. "Keep your head up!"
"Your posture is horrible, keep your feet moving!" Darius barked and the younger, inexperienced knight gave into his feelings throwing himself into a rage, attacking furiously now Darius hardly had to try to dodge or parry the clumsy attacks.
Then Darius went in for the kill, blocking a stab he twisted his body inside the attack and brought the butt of his blade to Thaylor's helm, knocking the other knight to the ground with one blow. Walking over to his former apprentice Darius kicked the large sword out of Thaylor's hand and held the Blade of Judgment to his exposed neck.
"Give me thy phase gauntlet and I shall allow thee to live." Darius commanded, Thaylor glared at his former master and grudgingly removed the gauntlet from his left hand and held it up to Darius.
"Thank you." He said then said something in a language Thaylor recognized as the celestial language and suddenly the dark woods were filled with bright brilliant light as Darius stepped away, and by the time his vision adjusted to the darkness once more, Darius was gone.
"Blast it all!" Thaylor cursed and hit the ground with his exposed fist.
"Sir Thaylor, are you injured?" The knight that had been knocked out said as he sat up.
"No Marcus, are you alright?" He asked, and the knight was silent a moment before nodding he was alright.
"Come then, let is retrieve Jacob…he is still caught in the bush his steed bucked him into." Thaylor said as he stood up, "Darius has escaped, he stole my phase gauntlet accomplish this so I shall tell the Council and take full responsibility for this failure…unlike him I will setup up to my responsibilities."
Not much else was said as the two knights helped their friend out of the large juniper bush, and the ride back was equally as silent. Thaylor knew that in a matter such as this where a rogue knight was jumping around dimensions that the White Palace would not send anyone after Darius. They would instead let events play out as fate intended and Thaylor, for giving Darius his phase gauntlet would spend a month in the prisons of the palace as punishment, worse case.
Patiently, Thaylor waited for the time to come when he could face his former master again.
Beast Boy opened his eyes to the most awesome cool totally freekn' sweet day in the history of awesome cool totally freekn' sweet days.
Today he turned eighteen years of age.
This meant that now he was a legal adult in this country and all the cool things that came along with that, like personal responsibility, and voting, and he could even buy cigarettes now! Not that he would because of the whole hero thing and wanting to set a good example for kids and that it kills you and such.
Jumping down from the top bunk where he slept last night the changeling grabbed a clean pair of boxers and a clean uniform from his 'clean clothes' pile and headed for the shower. On leaving his room however he encountered something he hadn't expected as he plowed into something soft and warm sending both people to the ground. On looking up however he found his face in something that was somewhat large, very soft, and warm.
"Umm…do you mind?" Raven said as Beast Boy slowly realized his face was buried in her bosom.
"Eek! Sorry don't kill me!" Beast Boy squeaked and jumped off of her before offering her a helping hand up – blushing all the while.
"I suppose I have to forgive you since it's your birthday…this once…it was an accident right?" Raven smirked evily and took his hand to stand up, she had to meditate more than usual last night so she would be under complete control for his birthday party, his one request to her for his birthday was that she at least try to have fun and she would do her best to honor that.
"Heh, I suppose…" Beast Boy grinned and rubbed the back of his head.
"You mean you ran into me so you could stick your face in my breasts on purpose?" Raven raised an eyebrow, even at eighteen Beast Boy still left himself so open for verbal abuse Raven couldn't help herself. Besides, it was fun.
"I…Umm…we…the hallway…err…" The changeling squeaked again and Raven couldn't help herself and allowed and two syllable giggle.
"See you at breakfast." Raven said and walked past the still dumbfounded teen, stepping over his boxers and uniform to leave him alone once more in the hallway.
Beast Boy cleared his throat, retrieved his boxers and uniform from the ground and headed to the bathroom wondering how Raven held such power over him. It wasn't like the openly flirted with each other or anything but there was defiantly something there that wasn't there when they first met. Thinking back Beast Boy remembered how he looked when he was fourteen, and barely out of the Doom Patrol – no wonder Raven thought he was annoying back then he had done nothing but hound and try to get her to laugh regardless of his own safety. But it was during that phase of life when Beast Boy realized that he actually liked the dark girl and so as he grew up, he backed off little by little though still not entirely.
When he was seventeen his body finally decided to grow and grow it did. He now stood a good two inches taller than Raven and thus, no longer the shortest in the group – yay – and though he was still wiry in appearance, his muscles had toned up to fit his frame as he grew, making him appear quite buff when he had his shirt off but scrawny when it was on.
Not that anyone saw him with his shirt off.
On arriving at the bathroom Beast Boy started the water so it would get hot and locked the bathroom door. Stripping down to his big bad green self he flexed in front of the full length mirror that was on the wall opposite the sink. Let's see Raven try to resist these guns. He thought as he waggled his eyebrows. After showering Beast Boy turned off the water, shifted to the form of a dog and shook himself dry – there was just something satisfying about that – then dressed, and headed to the common room after dumping his laundry in a basket by the washer.
Walking into the common room Beast Boy was wished happy birthday by Cyborg and Raven, Robin and Starfire seemed to not be there though.
"Thanks guys, where's Robin and Starfire?" He asked as he opened the door to the pantry and looked in.
"Starfire insisted that the gift Robin got you wasn't good enough and dragged him to the mall to get a new one." Cyborg grinned.
"Ah…what did he get me?"
"Dunno, but apparently it wasn't good enough." The metal man chuckled, "Hey hang around here I'll be right back to smack you down in Ninja monkeys Vs. Pirate Samurai III."
"You're on!" Beast Boy grinned as he poured himself a bowl of cereal, he didn't feel like tofu this morning for some reason. Besides grains were just as good as beans, if not of the same food family. Picking up his breakfast Beast Boy walked over to the couch and plopped down next to Raven, who was reading a book. He never was really sure why but it always seemed to feel right to sit next to her, or even be near her. Beast Boy would never voice these thoughts or feelings he harbored for her, but it was nice to know that she didn't seem to mind his company. Smiling Beast Boy grabbed the remote, turned on the T.V. and preceded into channel surfing pattern delta three but being more mature now, kept the volume to a reasonable level-ish.
Raven meanwhile was still staring at her book but was focused on the single word 'the' instead of actually reading. For some reason whenever Beast Boy sat near her she couldn't concentrate on what she was doing. It wasn't the fault of his lame jokes or loud personality or even the T.V. Raven couldn't concentrate when Beast Boy was near her because she harbored feelings for the little green man-child. Feelings that she could never let free lest her powers have a heyday and destroy the universe sucking them all into a vortex of emotions from which there was no return. Stop that Ravens emotions chided you know that we can feel emotions on small levels.
But unfortunately for Raven any degree of love was out of the question as it was just too strong an emotion to control. One slip when kissing Beast Boy and…HOLD the phone there…why was I just thinking about kissing Beast boy? Raven stopped her thoughts in their tracks and told herself that the answer was simple, no love, ever – that was that. Bad Raven, no treats.
To quell the blood rushing to her face Raven had to excuse herself and get a drink of very cold water from the kitchen. She reached the glass down from the top shelf with her powers, but took it in her own hand once it was within reach and filled it form the faucet. Just because she could control everything with telekinesis didn't mean she would.
"Hey Raven." Beast Boy said as he turned the T.V. off, "I think today is the last day the Carnival is in town isn't it?"
"I believe so." Raven replied, wondering why he was asking her about the Jump City Carnival, once a year a full blown carnival would come in the town and every year Beast Boy would go either with someone else on the team or by himself. Or both.
"Well I just haven't gone yet this year is all." Beast Boy led her with his words, Raven had stated long ago that she wouldn't go to the Jump City fair but Beast Boy had other plans for the dark girl.
"Maybe you should go then." Raven replied and finished off her glass of water.
Common Beast Boy just ask her! It's not like it's a date or anything, you just want someone to hang out with. The changeling reasoned, Besides Cyborg is too big to go on most of the rides and Robin will be with Starfire the whole time.
"Do you umm…want to go to the fair with me?" Beast Boy offered, "Not anything weird…everyone else is coming too… I think."
Whatever Raven was thinking before that point didn't seem like it mattered all that much anymore, was Beast Boy asking her out? No he said he just wanted company, but why here? Why now? Why not?
"Is this the same fair that I said I did not want to go to?" Raven asked.
"Heh heh…yeah technically." Beast Boy rubbed the back of his head, the jig was up. "Could you please come with us though? Cyborg is too heavy to go on most of the rides and Robin and Starfire will be off in their own little world so it would just be…weird. I just want someone to hang out with…please?" He begged.
Raven knew that Beast Boy's logic was undeniable – a first – and who was she to deny him someone to hang out with at the fair on his birthday? She would be a bad friend, that's who.
"Fine I'll go – we're all dressing in civilian clothes right?" Raven sighed, Robin had mentioned something about going to the fair incognito. Which made sense since one did not want to cause a stir around so many things that could potentially be dangerous or attract the wrong kind of attention.
"Alright, go get changed I'll play games with Cyborg just come back up here when you are ready to go." Beast Boy grinned triumphantly as Cyborg entered the room again.
"What about you? Are you just going to wear that?"
"Rae I'm green, Cyborg's holo-ring will make me look normal without changing." The green man held back a laugh.
"You want my what?" Cyborg asked.
"Nothing." Raven glared, "I'll be back up in a few minutes." She said and phased out of the common room leaving Beast Boy who started laughing as soon as she left.
"What was that about?" he asked.
"Dude you'll never believe it, I asked Raven to go to the Carnival with all of us today because I haven't been to it yet this year and she said yes – not only that but I called her Rae and she didn't get mad at me!" Beast Boy squeaked.
"Nice!" Cyborg High fived his friend, "So you and Raven are dating now huh?" he teased.
"Wait! No, nonononono…no." Beast Boy said waving his hands in front of himself, "It's not like that were just going to the Carnival together as friends, your coming too remember?"
"Whatever you say man." Cyborg said and waggled his eyebrow. "You ready to get smacked down by a Pirate Samurai?" the metal man then made the classic karate kid pose.
"Only if you are ready to get bet by a super Ninja Monkey!" Beast Boy grinned eagerly and the battle commenced.
Twenty minutes later Raven stood in her room still in her uniform looking at the only two combinations of civilian clothes that she liked – one was a violet spaghetti string tank top that she would wear a short sleeved black t-shirt over that had a deep v-neck with black ladies slacks and black leather knee length high heel boots. The other option was a snug pair of light color jeans with a dark blue v-neck shirt and a black tank top underneath that so her cleavage wasn't immodest, with simple black leather shoes that had a slight rise to them.
Ultimately she decided she didn't need to fret so much over what to wear and chose comfort over fashion, going with the jeans combo. After all if she was going to be walking around all afternoon with Beast Boy and the others dressed in civvies she may as well be comfortable. After changing Raven looked herself over in the mirror silently wishing that there was at least some sort of makeup for her skin type but unfortunately no one made foundation for 'Demon ivory' colored skin.
Banishing that thought Raven settled on some simple eye liner and just a touch of mascara to highlight her eyes, and brushed her hair. It was rare for her to wear makeup but today was a somewhat special occasion as all of the Titans were now over the legal adult age. Thinking back on the past she realized how strange this would have seemed to her when she was younger, getting all done up just to go spend a day in the sun eating bad food and going on roller coasters. But that was before her friends had helped her through defeating her father, Trigon.
After his defeat and banishment, Raven was then free to feel emotions but at very least kept her emotions dampened in order for her powers to not become too volatile. Going to the Carnival was not going to help anything either and she would probably have to spend all night meditating – again – such is life she thought with a sigh, it was not going to get any easier from here out, but at least she realized that and accepted the fact.
At the very least she owed a day out with Beast Boy to him because it was his birthday though, so she would suffer through the ordeal and party like a good sport. Preparing herself mentally for what was to come, Raven walked out to the common room.
What she saw though was a far cry from an eighteen and twenty one year old, instead she saw Cyborg and Beast Boy standing up, whipping the controllers around as they furiously mashed buttons. The T.V. of course was turned up too high as a monkey in black garb with nun chucks tried to kill a man in samurai armor wearing a pirate hat. Glancing at the score on top she saw that Beast Boy was only narrowly behind Cyborg, and gaining fast. Walking up behind the couch Raven secretly cheered Beast Boy on as Cyborg won too much anyway, and it was his birthday. As the timer for the match ticked towards zero Beast Boy's score suddenly was even with Cyborg's.
"Is that all you got bolt brains?" Beast Boy taunted.
"You wish grass stain!" Cyborg retorted.
And so the battle continued to rage until finally…
The game station let out a little puff of smoke as it died but the image of the last second of the game was still stuck on the screen as it locked up – NinjaBeast 1443036, M3T4LM4N 1443036
"All of that for a tie?" Both said in unison, then collapsed on the floor laughing.
"I so had you by this much!" Cyborg grinned holding his finger and thumb together to indicate an inch.
"Whatever! I had you and you know it!" The changeling beamed, "So close! We totally need a rematch when we get a new game station…whenever that is."
"Seriously" Cyborg agreed.
"Ahem." Raven said, "Am I interrupting or are we not going to the Jump City fair? Because I would rather be doing something else if you changed your mind." Raven asked and wished she had a camera when Beast Boy laid eyes on her because she could have sword Beast Boy did a double take. Raven didn't try with her appearance too much but if she was going out looking as a civilian she reasoned she may as well look good.
"W-wow Raven, you look great." He stammered.
"Seriously girl." Cyborg whistled, "Maybe we should send you under cover more often."
"Thank you." She smiled inwardly, part of her loved the fact that two grown men were gawking at her.
"Anyway, I have these new holo-rings I made, should make those of us who need the help appear just like anyone on the street." Cyborg said proudly as he produced a pair of rings form a compartment on his waist.
"Really we can look like anyone in Jump City?" Beast Boy cocked his head.
"No, it means it will make us look like what we would look like if we didn't have our powers." Cy chuckled. "I thought it would be bad if I invented something that could make you look like anyone, something about impersonating the president didn't seem right."
"Hmm…do you have the older version of the ring still?" Beast Boy asked.
"No I upgraded them all why?"
"Nothing, nevermind, just let me see that." The changeling said and held out his hand.
Cyborg was oblivious as he handed his friend the holo-ring but Raven noticed Beast Boy hesitated before holding his hand out. Normally she would just write this off as the changeling just being weird but her empathic abilities were picking up some sort of turmoil that was being held back inside of him. She had sensed the very same feeling from him many times before as well but just as quickly as it was there the pain was pushed back so far it seemed ot disappear entirely. It was something that Raven had sensed about the lad for a long time, and had even been keeping mental notes about, but perhaps it was time she ask him about it.
Beast Boy meanwhile slipped the ring onto his finger and twisted it to turn it on – a few flashes of light later instead of the green changeling, Beast Boy looked like a normal eighteen year old with messy blonde hair and green eyes.
"Wow…you're a blonde." Raven stated before she could stop herself.
"Yep." Was all Beast Boy said about it though.
"Well common, Starfire and Robin can meet us at the fair so let's get going and have some fun!" Cyborg shouted trying to lighten the mood, and soon the three friends were in the T-Car – which was disguised as a normal SUV – and on the way to the fair.
Meanwhile in the back of an alley that was connected to another alley was a brick wall that had various trash cans and empty boxes stacked against or near it. On either side there was the back of various businesses or buildings. A simple cat that belonged to a family a couple buildings over walked through the alley looking for a mouse it had been hunting for half an hour now. The trail had gone cold a few minutes ago but the cat persisted because it wanted to bring back a treat for its masters.
But just then a strange light began to glow from the brick wall at the end of the alley. The cat stopped in its tracks and watched as a large ornate crucifix began to take shape from the light, the center of which opened up into a large oval portal big enough for a man to step through, which is exactly what happened next. The Cat watched as a man dressed in bright metal armor stepped through the portal and pressed something on his gauntlet that caused the portal to close a moment later. The man looked at the cat a moment before saying GIT! And the cat sprinted away.
Darius had arrived but didn't know where he was, all he knew was that Trigon's daughter was supposedly on this plane of existence. The knight smelled the air and exhaled slowly, satisfied that his quarry was at least in the city as he could smell the demons scent in the air. Half-demon or not he knew he would be able to find her though he had heard rumors that Trigon's daughter was not only half demon but also half Azarathian.
Those mystics and sorcerers had tried to prevent Trigon from taking over their plane but were unsuccessful and in the end had let their own world be destroyed while sending Trigon's spawn to another. But Darius was not out to stop Trigon from coming to earth as he had already heard of the great demon's defeat on this world, he was after his half demon spawn that had been left behind.
For a long time ago, Darius has warned the Priests of Azar of the coming doom but had they listened? Nay. Instead they fostered the child helping her gain power until their world met its inevitable doom. After that the White Council was ready to send knights after the girl to slay her but the supreme judge had ruled she should be given a chance to show her true self. It was in that chance that Raven had ultimately defeated her father and banished him to another realm forever which caused the White Council to give up any further efforts to punish the child for the father's sins.
But Darius was not as forgiving as the council, he knew that demon blood meant there was evil in her regardless of whether she acted like it or not – and eventually that evil would take over her soul as she fell to its power. Darius was not going to let that happen however, he was going to subject the girl to the Blade of Judgment and let fate make the choice on whether she lived or died. He was merely going to act as the bridge to her ultimate destiny and force her soul to choose darkness, or light.
Stepping forward, Darius began the hunt
Once they arrived at the fair Raven, Beast Boy, and Cyborg had met up with Robin and Starfire – who had apparently changed into their civvies before they left – and all decided to get a bite to eat before going their separate ways to have fun, with the exception of Raven and Beast Boy.
"I refuse to eat something if I'm just going to be stuck on roller coasters most the afternoon." Raven had told her friends as they ate, "And I refuse to sit by someone who has."
"But I'm so hungry!" Beast Boy complained
"Then let's eat, but no roller coasters for at least an hour, deal?" Raven held out her hand.
Beast Boy muttered and complained a moment longer before giving into his stomach and shaking Raven's hand, the two then stood from the bench the titans were sitting on and wandered off together to get some eats. The rest of the Titans watched them go from the picnic table they had claimed.
"I swear there's something between those two that we don't know about." Robin said once they were out of earshot.
"You're just noticing? Beast Boy has been in like with Raven since that Titans were formed man." Cyborg said and took a bite from one of five hotdogs on his plate.
"I do hope that they one day see what we do." Starfire added.
"Oh I'm sure they will eventually, it will just take time." Robin smiled and took a swig from his shake.
"So what did you get Beast Boy for his birthday?" Cyborg asked, "You guys were gone quite a while."
"Starfire and I found a large book with lots of different kinds of animals in it, Beast Boy probably hasn't tried to shift into many of them and I figured it would be useful." Robin admitted.
"That's cool, I got him Ninja Monkeys vs. Pirate Samurai III but you already know that, we were playing it earlier so hard the Game Station blew up, again." Cyborg said.
"Again? Really? I wonder if there is some manufacturing defect." Robin thought aloud.
"Well I think the game station blew up because my sheer awesomeness couldn't be contained." Beast Boy said as he and Raven rejoined their friends at the table.
"Yeah, because it would have nothing to do with you and Cyborg hitting buttons faster than the computer can react can it?" Raven asked.
"No of course not." Robin, Beast Boy, and Cyborg answered, Raven just rolled her eyes.
After they had eaten, each of the Titans went to find their own fun at the fair with the plan to meet up in a few hours by the food court again. Starfire and Robin headed for the acrobatic shows on the far side of the fairgrounds, Cyborg walked a ways with Raven and Beast Boy until they passed a poster for a Pie eating contest and was missing after that. So the two remaining Titans wandered their way to the area with the game booths to see what they could see.
"I don't believe I have ever seen a larger collection of people trying to hock worthless goods at other people." Raven commented.
"What's more amazing is that they make a living off of it." Beast Boy added with a grin, "How about we help the cause."
"Sure…" Raven couldn't come up with a reason not to waste a few bucks on some of these games.
"Hmm." Beast Boy looked around, trying to decide on a game when he saw it – hanging in the racks of one of the booths was an oversized stuffed purple gorilla. It was probably the size of his torso, it was ridiculous, and it was perfect. "This way!" The blonde haired boy said and led Raven over to a game that was a test of strength.
Players had to wield an oversized and heavy looking hammer and swing it down on a pad that would make a heavy metal ball fly up a tube, the goal apparently was to hit one of three bells towards the top of the tube which looked to be very difficult as it was about twenty feet high with the first bell at ten feet, the second at fifteen, and the third was on the very top.
"Step right up!" The owner of the booth shouted as Beast Boy and Raven got close, "How about you lad, win a prize for the lady!"
"You have got to be kidding me." Raven blinked as Beast Boy proudly took the challenge.
"Alright we have a contestant!" The booth man announced, "What's your name?"
"Uhh…" Beast Boy didn't expect this and should have. He didn't want to have to use his real name for many reasons other than being a super hero, "I just go by BB." He said.
Raven watched her friend as the booth owner explained the rules and prize options to him, her empathic abilities had sensed the near panic that radiated from Beast Boy over the emotional white noise that was being generated around her. She furrowed her brow and wondered why the thought giving out his real name would make him feel that way.
Filing those thoughts for later Raven stepped forward when the booth owner ushered her away from the platform.
"Alright ladies and gents we have our latest contestant BB up to test his strength against the ever present force, Gravity!" He announced to the small group that had gathered to watch Beast Boy try. The man then motioned to Beast Boy "Remember, one practice swing, and then the one that counts!" He smiled.
"Right." Beast Boy said and hefted the large mallet – which was almost as big as he was – over his shoulder, planted his feet on the dirt and swung the mallet. The head hit the small pad with a bang sending the metal ball inside the tube up to the first bell but not any farther.
"Very good very good!" the booth man said, "That means you're guaranteed at least one prize! Now go ahead and give it one more try!"
Beast Boy grinned and nodded, lifting the hammer for another swing. This time however Beast Boy concentrated on the muscles that would be swinging the hammer, willing his shape shifting abilities to make them stronger. When he brought the hammer down it hit the pad with an earsplitting WHACK!
"Oh my! He was just warming up folks! Good job BB you get to pick one of the grand prizes now!" The booth man laughed as the small group cheered for Beast Boy before dispersing to other parts of the fair.
Raven wasn't surprised when Beast Boy walked back over to her carrying a large purple gorilla but she was surprised though when he held it out to her.
"This is for you." He stated proudly, Raven blinked and her eyes got a little wider.
"Umm…" was all she could say, for some reason her mind seemed to have stopped working and it was like having an out of body experience watching her arms reach out and take the stuffed animal from him, "thank you." She said quietly.
"You're welcome!" he smiled and led her deeper into the games section as Raven allowed a small smile as she hugged the ridiculous gorilla.
As the day went on Beast Boy and Raven ended up blowing twenty dollars each on games at the fair, only five of which Beast Boy had won the rest of the victories belonged to Raven. Laden with prizes the two teens walked out to the T-car and dropped off their loot in the back before heading back into the fair to meet up with the others. As they waited on the same picnic bench in the food court they had eaten earlier Raven realized something, she had actually had fun. Not only that but she had fun with Beast Boy, Beast Boy! A part of her seemed to cheer while another part was afraid of what this might mean.
Before her mind could delve further into that thought however Cyborg walked up proudly holding three, first place eating contest trophies. He was followed by Robin and Starfire who advised the rest to stay away from the haunted house as it was down for maintenance due to an 'incident' that caused a pop out ghost to blow up in front of them. The Titans laughed as they shared their experiences during the day and walked back to the car. Even Raven couldn't help but chime in the multiple times she had almost lost some game or another, but at the last moment was able smack Beast Boy down to claim victory.
But the ride home was short lived as before they even got to Tower Lane their communicators began to flash red.
"Trouble!" Robin said from the front seat as he looked at his communicator, "Something is going down at Jump City savings bank and they are calling for us!"
Quickly the T-Car's disguise changed back to the normal vehicle as Cyborg, and Beast Boy deactivated their rings. Raven phased herself and Starfire back to the tower to change while Robin, ever prepared, simply took the civilian clothes that were over his uniform off.
"Do you have any information on what exactly is going on there?" Cyborg asked as Raven and Starfire teleported back into their seats.
"All the report says is that there is someone in a suit of armor breaking windows with a sword and when the police tried to apprehend him they were blown back by wind or something." Robin said scrolling quickly down the report on the communicator.
Raven wasn't sure why but she had a bad feeling about this mission because when she had phased Starfire and herself to the tower and back she could feel that something else between dimensions. Someone from another plane had come to this one and she wasn't sure why. But those thoughts had to wait as the T-car came to a stop and she hopped out with the rest of the team, but what they saw was something they didn't expect.
Facing them in the middle of the street was a man in medieval style, chromed plate mail. Each armor plate on his body had its own ornate golden crucifix etched into it in gold with the exception of his breastplate, which had a golden crucifix emblazoned onto it as part of the armor itself. His left gauntlet was the only thing out of place as it had a single round, red jewel set into the middle of the forearm.
"Welcome, I see I did not have to endure this plane long before you have shown thyself." He laughed and brushed back the blonde hair from his cold blue eyes set his gaze on Raven, "Demon."
Raven narrowed her eyes buy didn't dare say anything as Robin spoke.
"Hey! I don't know who you are or what you want with our friend, but to get to her you have to go through us!" Robin shouted.
"Do not concern thyself in the affairs of the White Knights boy lest I strike thee down as well. I am here only to force judgment on the daughter of Trigon." The knight said and drew an ornate sword off his back. "This is the Blade of Judgment when struck it will weigh the countenance of your soul and either let you breathe, or destroy you."
Raven looked the man over – she could tell from the sheer willpower she felt from him that his word was good. "I think he is telling the truth." She whispered quietly so the team could hear.
"Because thou art a demon, daughter of Trigon, thou wilt surly be destroyed." The knight then pointed the blade at Raven, "I am Darius of the Knights of the White Palace, by my word you shall fall."
"Titans, Go!" Robin commanded and the team sprung into action.
Cyborg and Starfire sent a hail of starbolts mixed with a sonic cannon at the knight but just before impact the knight suddenly wasn't there anymore.
"Thou art too slow." Darius said from atop a fence to the left and dodged a few explosive balls from Robin by leaping up three stories to the roof of the bank.
"Follow him!" Robin ordered and Raven teleported Robin and Cyborg to the roof while Starfire, Beast Boy and herself flew to the roof. The knight stood calmly in the middle of the roof and each of them landed in a different spot so he was surrounded.
Darius knew he was expending too much energy on these fools, leading them to the roof was the perfect way he could end this quickly.
"Give up, we have you surrounded." Robin said as he leveled his staff at the knight.
"Fools! Only the pure of heart can strike me!" Darius shouted and thrust his hand forward.
The spell was cast so quickly that Raven only registered that it was cast instead of countering it. Golden chains bursts from the ground where the titans stood and bound all but Raven to the ground in less than two seconds. But Raven noticed that the effort to cast that spell left the knight weakened considerably, her empathic powers however warned her of his gathering willpower.
"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Raven shouted and sent whole roof tiles flying at the knight.
Darius had not expected this but was swift enough with his sword he was able to cut through each tile until there were none.
"What do you want?" Raven said, keeping her glowing hands up.
"Thou would dare to show they demonic magic and use it against me, it shall be thy undoing." Darius stated.
"Get him Raven, we're fine!" Beast Boy encouraged from the ground.
Raven decided then that she had enough of this clown, gathering most of the power she could muster she stretched her hands forward and shot it at the knight in a large black beam of energy. Darius though was expecting this, even hoping for it. Holding up his phase gauntlet he let the energy strike the red jewel at the center and instantly the power was reflected back at Raven. The power plowed into the unsuspecting teen with enough force to knock her through the decorative wall on top of the bank and through the same style wall of the building next to the bank leaving her sprawled out on the roof of that building.
With a mighty leap Darius traversed the distance between himself and Raven quickly and landed next to the fallen teen roughly grabbing the back of her cloak and pulling her to her feet.
"Let Judgment be thine." He said as he thrust the sword to her heart.
For Raven though everything was like it was moving in slow motion. Through the haze of pain she could see that the large man was holding her up halfway by her own uniform and the blade was being thrust directly at her heart. It was then that Raven realized she was going to die. She wondered what would happen when her soul left her body – would she go to heaven or hell? It made her sad to know that her death would probably make it so Beast Boy would never celebrate a birthday again. Oh no come to think of it all her friends were going to be devastated by her death, she wondered if the team would even stay together with her gone.
But it was then that the blade began to pierce her skin and that is when something unexpected happened. But unfortunately for Raven unexpected did not make it any less painful. As the blade entered her body the magic of the sword activated and in that split second, judgment was made. The blade determined that while there was much demonic power in the girl there was an equal part that was pure as any knight from the White Palace. So the judgment was to revoke the half of her soul that was held by the demon and instead of killing the girl, the sword split Ravens soul in two as it went through her body without harming the physical part.
Now one could reason that having ones soul split in half would be painless for the physical form. But for a child of Azarath, empathic abilities granted her the ability to read not only hearts but the intentions of the soul as well. And so, Raven could only hold her mouth open in a silent scream as she watched what she assumed was her soul, garbed in white with four glowing red eyes be lifted from her body and twist around painfully as it was absorbed into a single black jewel on base of the blade. It was then however that the pain became too much for the young sorceress and the world, faded into nothing.
Darius withdrew the sword from the girls chest and noted that the blade instead of physically killing her had absorbed her soul instead into the soul gem at the base of the blade. Smirking, the knight released her body from his grip letting her fall to the rooftop and turned back to the fallen girl's comrades who each looked as though they were going to kill him but were too shocked to say it.
"Judgment has been served this day!" He announced as he sheathed the Blade of Judgment on his back. "I am sorry that she was killed however-"
That was enough for Beast Boy, he had just witnessed one of his best friends be killed at the hands of a maniac and now he was going to tell them why? With an unearthly howl of rage the Beast easily broke the golden chains that held it down and vaulted at the knight with the intention of feasting on his corpse.
The knight was surprised but not enough to catch him off guard. Darius threw himself backwards as the Beast flew over him and rolled back up to his feet while activating his phase gauntlet. A bright glowing crucifix appeared behind the knight and the portal swallowed him and closed just before the Beast was able to reach him again, sending the creature into the already damaged decorative wall. Recovering quickly the Beast looked this way and that, even smelled around before it shifted back to Beast Boy as he knelt next to Raven.
"Raven! Hang in there." He shouted as he scooped her up in his arms, "Please stay with me."
Apparently released when the knight left this dimension his comrades were there in an instant.
"Her heart is still beating, barely but it's there." Cyborg said as he wound a sensor back into his arm.
"Cyborg Beast Boy get her to the med bay as quickly as possible. Starfire go with them I'll get paramedics to the tower as soon as I can." Robin commanded and sprinted towards the hospital after firing his grappling hook and as Beast Boy carried the fallen Raven to the T-Car he prayed that she would be okay.