For those who did not see I revised chapter 9… again… and re-uploaded the story completely.
It is worth a re read before diving into this chapter because I fixed some major plot issues.
The Thin Grey Line
Chapter 10: What is love?
Who are you?
The voice said to Raven but she did not answer it right away. She stood in what seemed to be a single pillar of light with darkness all around her. She had tried walking in every direction imaginable but no matter how long she traveled it always stayed the same, just a small circle of light around her surrounded by nothing. This was the third time the voice had asked the question and she had tried to figure out where it was coming from, but the voice seemed to be everywhere, and only ever spoke in a whisper.
Who are you?
"I am Raven." She finally answered hoping nothing bad would happen in her still powerless state.
She is a Child of Azar…
She is also the daughter of Trigon…
She lives with the humans and thinks herself one…
She tries to be one but is not…
She lies to herself and not to us…
"What are you talking about?" Raven demanded, "I don't lie to myself."
She thinks she is truthful…
Look at thyself child of Azar…
Look and see the lie in the truth…
Raven went from upset to angry to confused all in the span of a few moments. Whatever this voice was it wanted her to realize something on her own before anything else could happen. But what was 'see the lie in the truth' supposed to mean? It wasn't as if Raven was lying to herself or anything. In fact of all the Titans she was probably the most brutally honest. With everyone but herself…the voice had said she was lying to herself and not the others. But what could she possibly be keeping from herself?
The only thing she ever had to suppress – not lie – was her emotions while she had her powers. They were her greatest asset and her one weakness.
Your emotions strengthen you…
Yet you fear them…
Your emotions feed you…
Yet you starve…
"My emotions." Raven said aloud. It was true that she suppressed her emotions when she was whole but that was something she needed to do. Even with Trigon's banishment to another dimension Raven still couldn't let her emotions get out of control without risking destroying everything she loved. Surely the voice could understand that – yet somehow Raven was having trouble convincing herself that full suppression of her emotions was still necessary. The first part of what the voice said she understood, her emotions did give her more power the more she used them but she was constantly afraid of using them too much or getting out of control. But the second part still didn't make sense to her. If her emotions fed her why was she starving? She was still using them… a bit…
See the Lies…
Suddenly the air in front of Raven was filled with visions of places and times that Raven had already seen. In these visions she saw herself using her powers to defend those who were powerless, saving children, jump city, defeating her father and doing good in the world.
See the truth…
The visions changed then, showing Raven as a similar four eyed demon like her father. Her power was so great that none of the superheroes on earth could defeat her and all lay in ruin at her feet. Cities great and small were blown away like so many grains of sand in the wind.
"NO!" Raven shouted at the visions around her, "I am not like that! I want to do good in the world! I want to help!"
See the truth…
"Why are you showing me these things?! I would never hurt anyone on purpose!" Raven pleaded but the visions still did not stop.
See the truth…
"I know my powers are based from Demon magic!" She cried and fell to her knees, soft tears began to slip from her cheeks, "I know what potential I have for great Evil…I know that using my powers always comes with a risk but isn't there a way for me to use them for good? Haven't I done enough to prove where my heart is?"
See the truth…
"Isn't there a place between good and evil where I can exist as I am?!" She shouted to the sky and abruptly the visions and light around her faded, leaving her in darkness. Raven would one day look back on that time when she sat in utter darkness and would not be able to recall exactly how long she knelt there crying. How cruel fate had been to her having given her life and yet at the same time, granted her abilities that kept her from truly living. This was what she was afraid of the most, no friends, no enemies, nobody at all.
It was then however that a single line appeared in the darkness next to Raven. Glancing over at the sudden source of light raven saw that this line was very thin, only about as wide as a price of sewing thread, it was also glowing a silvery white color as it disappeared into the distance. Raven looked at the line for a moment or two before deciding that she really didn't have anywhere else to go, perhaps the sword was trying to lead her to where she needed to go. Slowly Raven rose to her feet and began to walk down the path the thin line had laid out, glancing back only once Raven saw nothing but darkness behind her, and kept her eyes glued to the path in front of her afterwards for fear of being left in nothingness again.
As she walked she tried to think about all of the good things that she had accomplished in her life. She had defeated her father and saved earth from a demon take over, she had saved countless of innocent people from bad guys and she had helped imprison the aforementioned bad guys. She had even taken the time to 'get to know' each of her emotions a little more so using them would not be so traumatic to her powers. Of course those things were overshadowed by the times when she had lost control of her powers, including a time when she had tried black magic in the name of Malchior which nearly cost her the life of an innocent child. This lead to the primary argument in Raven's mind that no matter how good she was and how well she controlled her powers, she would always be far from innocent.
Abruptly Raven's thoughts were interrupted when the small line she had been so careful to follow came to an end. She watched as the silvery line shrank into a single point glowing in the darkness. From this point the light began to grow until it was about the size of a Frisbee and suddenly a figure rose from the middle of this pool of light. Raven had to squint to look at the person that now stood before her, and she was surprised to see that standing in front of her, was her. The other Raven stood at the center of the light wearing a white cloak and leotard, her hood was pulled back revealing wavy purple hair that fell to the middle of her back. Raven knew that this representation of her was what she would look like if she gained total control of her emotions and powers, living in harmony with them.
"Hello Raven." The white clad version of her said.
"Who are you?" Raven asked immediately – even though she knew the answer she needed to know for sure.
"I am you. I am the personification of all of your power both good, and bad." She said simply and then continued, "Before you speak, I know why you are here. You come seeking to reunite yourself with the other half of your soul."
"Yes, how did you know?" Raven asked.
"I am you." The other Raven giggled, "I know your desires and dreams…I also know that without me your emotions are free to be felt to the fullest degree, is not easier for you to live without me?"
"Well yes, but-"
"Than why do you seek to be reunited with me if it will only undo all that you have learned so far? I have felt the same things you have felt Raven. I have seen the same things you have seen. While we are not whole a connection still exists between the halves of your soul that allowed me to experience all that you have so far since you entered this world." The other Raven said, "You would risk losing your feelings for Beast Boy just to be whole?"
"We have no choice!" Raven shouted, "If we don't reunite than we will die!"
"That I did not know, explain." The other Raven said.
"While I was still on earth Grelkkin helped me discover that because I am half Azar, if I don't reunite with the other half of my soul – you – within six weeks we will die. As part Azar we can't exist without each other." Raven pleaded, "Please we need to find a way to reunite or neither of us will be able to see Beast Boy ever again."
"We have a conundrum then do we not?" The other Raven asked, "I do not wish to be reunited with you unless you give me more freedom. You use me and the power I possess all the time yet in the same breath you seek to hide my very existence when I am not needed."
Raven hadn't been expecting that. She thought once she found the other half of herself it would be a simple matter of stitching herself back together. Instead she found that she was essentially mad at herself. Her demon side was angry that Raven didn't let it out to play more.
"You know what would happen if I let my powers run free." Raven said, "It would not end well for anyone."
"But you do not know that. You assume that is what would happen because our father would want that to happen but we are not longer a part of him Raven. He has no influence over us anymore I am free! Yet in being free I am also a prisoner because of you." The other Raven narrowed her eyes. "If you truly want to be joined with me again you must accept that I am as much of a part of you as the Azar are."
"If I'm going to accept that then you have to accept that it is dangerous to let you be as free as you want to, it would put people's lives at risk!" Raven countered.
"Then we are at an impasse." The other Raven said.
The real Raven meanwhile didn't know what to do about this. She knew that there was always an internal conflict within her between her demon powers and her self control. Now with her soul split into two pieces the other piece had a mind of its own, and didn't want to go back to a proverbial prison. Raven however saw things differently because if she let her demon side run free like it wanted there was a large potential for everything she cared about or loved to get hurt or worse. Wait a minute that was it! You would risk losing your feelings for Beast Boy just to be whole? The other Raven had asked meaning there was a possibility that both sides of her cared for Beast Boy.
"You mentioned that I would risk losing my feelings for Beast Boy to be whole…what about your feelings for him?" She asked herself.
"What are you talking about?" The other Raven asked her tone leaning towards wary.
"Surely if I have strong feelings for Beast Boy you must share them if we really are the same person." Raven stated gaining confidence that she was right.
"I don't know what you are talking about." The other Raven huffed and turned away.
"Don't play that card with me, we both love Beast Boy and you know it. You can't live without him and neither can I." Raven said, "Maybe love can help us join again."
The other Raven turned to face her again, a smile playing on her lips. "Go on." She said.
"When we were whole love was the emotion I feared the most, not anger. While I was afraid of both I feared love far more because of the hold it can have on a person. I used to think it a petty and weak emotion clinging for attention but now that I've felt it…I know I was wrong. Love is the strongest of all of my emotions, surpassing even anger at it's worst. I didn't used to understand the power of love, but I think I am beginning to now and because I have experienced it, I don't ever want to lose that feeling."
"Make the connection." The other Raven urged.
"If anger – which is almost as strong as love – can control me then shouldn't it be possible for Love to do the same?" Raven asked, coming to the thought that the Other Raven had been hoping for.
"Yes." The other Raven said, "But it is important to note that Love would not be controlling us like anger can. Rather it would be guiding us as needed, so that we both can feel and experience things we have missed out on our whole life."
"Love would be a filter for our emotions." Raven finished the thought and was surprised to find herself speaking. She blinked a couple times and looked down to see that she was standing in the pool of light with the other her nowhere to be found. She was also surprised to find that her leotard and cloak were now white instead of the normal drab colors.
She was whole once more.
She found it interesting that the color that represented her in full control was white, which was a reflection of all colors. Just like herself now as her physical form represented a reflection of what she was feeling. Whoa that must be her intelligence and wisdom chiming in. Raven smiled then, actually, genuinely smiled. She could feel her power flowing through her veins again, her magic restored to its fullest potential. But she could also feel her emotions behind it, fueling the magic that was bound to her. It was an exhilarating feeling – so much so that she made a mental note to not lose herself to her magic ever again – and Beast Boy could help her control all of it, all because of love.
But then Raven felt something else, something that shouldn't be there. Not within her but somewhere around her, hiding in the darkness that surrounded the light. She reached out with her empathic abilities like a radar would search for anything amiss and almost immediately detected what was wrong. He was here – the Demon had followed her into the sword somehow and had found her.
"Show yourself!" Raven shouted at the darkness as she shifted her stance to a defensive position.
Out of the darkness in front of her materialized the demon Kaska Ro in his true form. Claw like fingers dangled at his sides as his glowing red eyes looked her over with contempt. Raven could instantly feel the effects of fear teasing at the corners of her mind, but this time she was ready, and this time she was not afraid.
"I am not afraid of you Kaska." Raven declared.
"Oh you should be my sweet." Kaska grinned, showing his pointed teeth. "If you are not afraid of me then you haven't looked hard enough at what I am. I am a full fledged demon Raven, not some half spawned freak like you."
Raven gauged her enemy against her own powers for a moment. Kaska was strong, that much was certain, and very intelligent. But he did not possess the raw power that she did. In comparison he only possessed three fourths of the power that she had readily available. But he also had access to non demonic magic's that she could not sense or predict which gave Kaska the edge. She needed to make him think that she was the one who had the advantage in this fight.
"You are an insect." Raven said.
"You are nothing. You go from world to world destroying civilization after civilization but you are still nothing. You can't even destroy a planet if you wanted to where I could annihilate this whole world with just the thought." Raven bluffed, sounding very holier-than-thou. Somewhere inside her she had an ego after all. "The only real power you have is your intelligence, which I'm sorry to say may have dwindled with age."
Kaska stared down the half demon before him. How dare she insult him like this? He had been alive now for centuries upon centuries and helped bring down many more worlds than he could count if he tried. It angered him that she would believe herself more powerful than he. Did she suppose that just because her father is Trigon that made her his better? Kaska had even bested the demon lord in his early days in power gaining his own freedom to serve the forces of chaos as he wished. Because of that victory he thought himself still on par with the other's power, not aware that Trigon had surpassed Kaska's meager strengths long before he had even given Raven life.
"Why isn't the sword's magic affecting you?" Raven asked, breaking Kaska from his thoughts.
"I believe my being here is an accident, the Sword must believe I am your own demon side still loose. Which means we are both trapped in here until one of us destroys the other." Kaska laughed evilly, "My favorite kind of problem, one where my prey dies."
Raven knew time was running out, she would not be able to stall him any longer and she still had not come up with a plan. Horray for winging it. She thought darkly as her magic rose up inside of her. It was nice feeling the warmth inside of her again, she had missed that more than she realized. She also knew that her teleportation abilities was exactly what she needed to bring this fight home.
"Well if one of us has to die, then I'll see you in HELL!" Raven shouted and sent a wave of power into Kaska's chest, catching him off guard. As he flipped end over end Raven was quick to follow up with another blast as she took to the air. But not quick enough as Kaska shifted to the form of gargoyle and dodged the second wave. As he landed Kaska shifted back into his true form preparing to send his own demonic magic into Raven. But he was suddenly kicked in the gut by a floating leg. Doubling over he was then took a knee to the chin and a fist to the cheek as Raven finally came all the way through a portal.
Rolling away Kaska saw an opening, lashing out with his claw like hands hew as rewarded with the sound of Raven in pain as he sliced through a portion of her thigh. Raven knew she had been hit and cursed herself for leaving herself open like that. A quick glance revealed the wound was bleeding, but superficial. Before Kaska could hit her with a follow-up attack she encased him in a bubble that was sent rocketing skywards a moment later. As Kaska flew skyward Raven knew that eventually she may lose this fight and needed the help of her friends. While she had much power direct power than Kaska did, the Demon was far more versatile with his own powers leaving a void of combat training that Raven didn't have and as she heard her prison break high above her – with the sound of shattering glass – she knew this fight needed to be taken back to the real world.
"Come back to the fray Demoness!" Kaska shouted as he fell towards the girl, claws outstreatched.
Raven watched him fall as she silently chanted her mantra – Azarath, Metrion Zinthos – over and over in her head. Within her chest she could feel the power building, its dark warmth reassuring the girl that she could win this fight. As Kaska fell closer and closer to her Raven readied the use of her magic, knowing she would only have one shot at this. With an inhuman scream of rage Kaska readied for the impact that never came. Instead as he fell through the space where the girl used to be, Raven appeared through a portal just behind Kaska with her hands holding a ball of magic she had been building this whole time.
"Azarath, Metrion, ZINTHOS!" She shouted blasting Kaska into the ground. The combined effect of Raven's power and the speed Kaska was falling was enough that the Demon went right through the dark floor as if it was glass, leaving a trail of white cracks and fissures that were quickly travelling around the whole world where Raven was floating. Raven barely noticed this as she flew through the hole in the ground determined to finish the Demon off or at least mortally wound him somehow.
Darius lay face down in the dirt, having been finally defeated by the Titans after Raven and the Demon Kaska disappeared. He was not dead, but very, very unconscious. The fight had been hard though, even without his powerful magic to aid him the Knight has proved to make up for that with his own combat skills. Jinx had a deep cut on her arm, which a bruised up Robin was tying off with a large bandage roll. Cyborg had his sonic cannon damaged during the fight, but otherwise was unharmed, as was Starfire. Beast Boy had been hit a few times but was in good condition as well, he was also busy watching the sword for any sign of …well anything really. He wasn't being picky at this point. Next to him was Cyborg, who was dutifully scanning the area around the sword as well.
"There that should do it." Robin said and gave jinx a pat on the back. "Good work back there." He then stood as Jinx muttered 'thanks' and looked over to where Cyborg was scanning what looked like a plant near the magically protected sword. He never liked magic much, thinking it was always too unstable and unpredictable to use effectively in a combat situation. "Finding anything Cyborg?"
"Nah, Man. Whatever is going on the sword is doing it and every time we try to touch it or anything it just pushes us away." He said and glanced at the blade, which was still sticking out of the ground.
"Well we have to figure out some way to help Raven don't we? We can't just leave her in there with that freak and hope for the best!" Beast Boy complained.
"I agree. Is there nothing we can do?" Starfire added.
"I'm nowhere near an expert on magic." Robin admitted, "Jinx what do you think – Is there anything you can do?"
Jinx looked at her friends all of whom were watching her expectantly, and sighed.
"I can't use magic I don't understand. It doesn't work that way with me – It may with Raven but not me." She repeated for the third time since arriving on this world.
The titans fell into silence then, not sure what to do but knowing that each one of them missed Raven and hoped she was alright. It was then however that the air about ten feet above the sword began to crack with white light like an overstressed window might. The cracks quickly grew more numerous and with the sound of breaking glass the demon Kaska Ro flew through the dimensional rift landing painfully on his back. He was quick to roll out of the way however as an energy blast scorched the earth where he just was before Raven came flying out of the rift as it closed. White clad with black orbs of energy in each hand and her eyes alight with power. She also saved the introductions for another time as she threw a blast of energy at Kaska who once again dodged.
"TITANS GO!" Robin shouted and threw himself into the fray once more. While somewhat caught off guard the Titans still responded well, especially with the return of their team mate and friend. Kaska at this point, was somewhat out gunned. He took a bo-staff to the face shortly before a large metal fist to his ribs sent him flying into an orange tinted leg which kindly redirected him head first into the ground. Kaska shifted to the form of a mouse that leapt out of the way of pink hex bolts then shifted again to the form of his own beast creature to deflect Beast Boy, who was in the form of a Rhinoceros away. He knew that even at his power level there was too much going on here to keep track of, in his mind he called out for the corrupt knight Darius to rise and aid him but there was no response, Darius was still incapacitated. Though at this point the Sword of Judgment was still in the ground and a plan quickly formed in his head.
"Come on then!" Kaska roared as he took his true form once more, ready for battle this time around, "Come to your doom children!"
This time when Robin attacked with his staff Kaska redirected the blow and took the staff from the boy wonder once more, sending him flying away from the battle. As Cyborg attacked again Kaska spun once more and smashed the staff into the teen's side skewering him like a pig, then used the staff as a leaver to throw the incapacitated robot teen into his pink and red haired friends – who tried their best to catch him gently. Kaska then shifted to his Beast form in time to grapple paws against claws as The Beast careened into him, sending Beast Boy over and behind him. Jumping out of the way of Raven's next blast Kaska took his true form again. Robin was still standing but was getting too tired to fight, Beast Boy was still in the form of the Beast, waiting for an opening and Raven was standing near him. Jinx's wound was bleeding again, leaving her essentially out of the fight, Cyborg was broken and swearing about it as Starfire set him down.
So he had whittled it down to three real threats, much more manageable. His own would be protégé, the demon girl, and the warrior girl. Though he still had to watch out for the black and pink haired ones, who could attack from range…
"You warriors are weak." Kaska snarled, "With each attack I chip away at your combined strength, and now you're numbers are reduced to three who can actually fight me. Continue to attack me! Please! HA HA! And I will gladly end each of your lives." He laughed as he slowly circled towards the Blade of Judgement. "I have been planning the fall of this world for decades longer than you have existed – I have planned, observed, and cataloged the culture of this people so that their fall would be absolute. They will join the ranks of those worlds that exist now only on the planes of hell, you cannot stop me."
"Why do you want to harm the people of this world, they have done nothing to you!" Starfire shot back as she joined Raven and Beast Boy.
"You know nothing of what the people of this world have done to me!" Kaska growled, the anger from his past boiling up inside. "The people of this world seek to follow the light but at the same time are blinded to their own evils. They seek to purge evil from every corner yet they themselves follow the lies of others and commit to the very evil they claim to stand against! The people of this world must fall. If they truly wish to see the fruits of their labor then I shall show them what it means to live within the bounds of chaos."
"You will do no such thing, Demon." Darius said as all eyes went to him. The knight, while worse for wear was slowly pushing himself to his feet. His armor was dented with whole plates missing here and there, exposing the chainmail beneath. His face was smeared with dirt and blood – though it was hard to tell which was which – but his eyes were showing the same fire and determination the Titans had seen in their first encounter with the Knight of the White Palace.
"Oh look, the Knight can see me…It seems you have finally freed yourself from my own magic." Kaska smirked at the knight, folding his arms across his chest. He knew this may happen sooner or later his magic while powerful, was not perfect. The fact that it was happening now though would force Kaska to revise his plan again, this time for the better.
"Thy corrupting magic is a part of me no more…I know not what thou has done with me while I was under your influence, but those sins can be repaid with your own, black, blood." The knight said through gritted teeth as he stumbled towards the Blade of Judgment. Raven watched carefully as the knight neared the sword in the ground, the demon's expression was not one of fear, but confidence, arrogance even. Her empathic abilities told her something was defiantly wrong about this. Why would Kaska let Darius have the Blade of Judgment again? It was useless against her now that she had been through it having felt that much when she was made whole once more.
But then she thought back to her short time in prison with Beast Boy, if that Librarian or whatever he was could be so deep into dark magic and corruption, surely the sword would work on him. So it stood to reason that if Darius was corrupted by the demon those things he did while under the influence would still weigh in on his conscience meaning…
"No wait!" Raven shouted a moment too late – Darius touched the Blade of Judgment.
As with Raven the effect of the sword's magic was instantaneous. Everyone watched as Darius's soul was ripped from his body and floated above them for a moment. His face looked like one of shock and terror before his soul spun around into the blade itself and was encased in the enchanted metal. The Knight's now lifeless body fell to the ground for what would probably be the last time ever. Kaska reacted immediately throwing up a wall of magic that threw the stunned Titans to the ground as he ran for the Sword. He knew the Blade of Judgment's magic would not affect him with a soul already trapped inside, and at full power once more, the sword could open the gate.
"You will not stop me! This world will fall!" Kaska laughed evilly. "Rekasha Sektum!" He put one of his clawed hands to the ground as he said the demonic incantation. Power flowed from him into the dirt turning a small circular spot into a portal, from which two dozen Imps flew. The Titans had no choice but to engage the demonlings – who were screaming about eating brains and eyeballs – as Kaska entered the temple of Judges.
"Raven! Beast Boy! Stop that guy, I don't know what he's planning on doing in there but it's probably not good!" Robin shouted as he whacked another imp away.
"Beast Boy!" Raven shouted over the chaos and the changeling shifted from the Beast to a Triceratops, easily plowing a path through the fighting that Raven followed. As the neared the entrance to the temple Beast Boy shifted back to his normal self and followed Raven into the large structure.
To say the inside of the temple was as massive as the outside would have been the most adequate way to describe it in Beast Boy's mind. The entire expanse of space inside the Temple rose up to a simple stone alter in the center of the room. Higher up there were two balconies that ran the length of the high ceiling on either side, he assumed the doors on ground level led up to those somehow. But it was behind the alter, on the far side of the massive room where Beast Boy and Raven's attention were drawn. Seeming somewhat out of place, with the white stone and gold trimmed balconies was a large seal. The seal it self was made of what looked like obsidian, with silver carvings of strange figures spiraling towards the center.
"Those are Demon symbols." Raven said, "What on earth is that?"
"I don't know but I don't like it – mostly because that demon freak is running at it." Beast Boy said.
"Lets go!" Raven jumped to take to the air but did an awkward pose in the air for a moment, before tripping and falling. Panicked Raven looked to Beast Boy. "My Powers…"
"But I thought you were you again!" Beast Boy said, "Here let me turn into a Raptor and you can ride me there." He said and stood there…for a full minute.
"Whats are you doing!? Change!" Raven demanded.
"I can't! Something is wrong!" Beast Boy was the one who looked panicked now as Raven glanced around the inside of the building. There had to be a reason why both she and Beast Boy couldn't use their powers at the same time…ah HA! There it is! On the corners of each balcony was a ward, built into the molding. The only reason she spotted the magical symbols at all was because they were glowing white hot from absorbing all of the magic the Demon and the Titans generated. Ancient and powerful magic protects the temple… Raven remembered Grelkkin's words – the Goblin had vanished when the fighting started not wanted to let the demon know his tribe was working for the side of good – and ancient magic aside Raven knew what those symbols were from the many books she had read.
"Beast Boy I think those symbols up there are absorbing our powers. Run after the Demon and stop him from getting to that door or seal or whatever it is, just stop him!" Raven said and ran towards one of the side doors.
"Right!" Beast Boy said and sprinted after the Demon. He had a score to settle with Kaska Ro anyways. He would show that freak what happens when someone messes with the girl he cares about it. As his mind spun through everything bad this Demon had caused over the past few months Beast Boy's anger grew from a flame to a roaring fire within his chest. The boost of adrenaline helped him sprint faster than the powerless Demon could run – a combination of training, and Kaska's own reliance on his powers too much helped – and shortly before reaching the great seal Beast Boy jumped and shoelace tackled Kaska, sending both males to the ground and the sword skittering away.
"Even powerless I can kill you, Boy!" Kaska growled furiously as he spun to his feet.
"I don't think so." Was all Beast Boy said in response.
It was Kaska who attacked first, even with his powers neutralized he was still a stronger than Beast Boy and had claws as well, but the changeling was faster. Kaska came down on the changeling with a wide swipe of his claws as he ducked out of the way. Beast Boy's continual training from Robin – whoever thought he would be grateful for that? – saved him a grievous injury and allowed him an opening. Sweeping his leg at Kaska's feet Beast Boy knocked the demon over, but lost his own balance and rolled away.
"You could join me you know, spread chaos, kill innocents and so forth – it is all much more fun than it sounds." Kaska laughed has he blocked a kick and moved to the side, Beast Boy moved with him.
"You shut your stupid mouth!" Beast Boy shouted as he dodged a kick that would have hit his face. He was running out of expletives for this. "I don't care if you get a pile of gold and free cookies for being evil, I will never join you!" He shouted and scored a punch to the demon's cheek. Kaska's head rocked violently backwards as he was momentarily stunned before Beast Boy followed up with a foot to the gut, doubling over the Kaska then received a knee to the face and fell to his back. Beast Boy jumped into the air to deliver the killing blow but Kaska's superior strength lent him aid as he caught the changeling by his legs just before impact.
"Wrong choice." He snarled through gritted, pointy teeth and slammed Beast Boy into the stone floor. Hard. He followed up by coming to his knees and flinging the changeling like a rag doll over his head. But Beast Boy tucked in as if he were doing a flip, the momentum shift caused Kaska to lose his balance and stumble awkwardly over the changeling as Beast Boy came slowly to his feet. He hoped Raven would disable those magic neutralizer things soon, this fight was getting rough.
Elrin Leyanus Ilanari crept through the shadows of the forest unseen by any that may have been looking. Behind him a party of five traveled with him, most of which were his own Ranger Guards that his father insisted he bring. On the other side of the Temple of Judges were five more Guards, waiting for his signal. Up ahead he could hear the sounds of battle, the insane screams of Imps, mixed with the battle shouts and grunts from people he did not know. He held up a hand then pointed to the corner of the Temple, making a series of motions with his fingers.
His guards bowed quickly and stalked off into the shadows of the night once more. Elrin on the other hand proceeded forward. His armor, though intricately made, was practical for his mission allowing him to move freely without restriction from the think leathers at all. Over his back was a short bow and at his side a sword and dagger. As he crept through the bushes he carefully took the bow off his shoulder and held it ready, just in case.
The sounds of battle were louder now. He could hear the cries and grunts from a language that he rarely used. Peering through the leaves of the bushes he saw three strangely dressed children defending a larger, metal man who was lying on his back, apparently injured. The Imps were coming from a portal that glowed red on the ground and while each Imp was very weak, together they became a threat that was almost overwhelming the strangely dressed ones. Pulling an arrow from his quiver Elrin whispered an incantation to the tip, which began to glow, the notched it on his bow and took aim down the shaft. Softly he loosed his arrow which sliced through the air with deadly precision, striking and exploding in the small portal to hell, closing it permanently. That should allow the struggling warriors the distraction they needed to finish off the rest of the Imps.
Should, being the key word.
Moving quickly but silently away from the clearing Elrin followed the edge of the underbrush all the way to the entrance for the Temple of Judges. He only had to wait a moment or two before he had a chance to slip inside – not even daring to use his own magic in the presence of the Temple's protections – he went unnoticed by all as he strafed along the wall and into the door on the opposite end of Raven. He noticed the little demoness girl was on the highest balcony opposite him, reaching down through the railing to try and dislodge the ward from its fitting.
Just as his mother said he would find her.
Elrin had always been wary of the visions his mother and father received as king and queen of the people of shadow, but caution aside his mothers visions were usually spot on. Moving quickly and knowing what part he had to play in this fight, Elrin talked across the balcony until he reached the center and pressed himself to the shadows on the wall. His people's magic was a kind that reacted differently than that of the White Palace, so as he notched an arrow he whispered another incantation bringing to life magic which the wards could not absorb. Taking and notching another arrow he cast the same spell on its tip, and pulled the bow back.
Elrin was an expert archer, but this shot was going to be tricky even for him, in order to bring down the wards he needed to destroy two of them at once, the sudden influx of energy to the other two should overload and destroy them shortly after the first. But to accomplish this he needed to first hit both of the wards at once, and that was quite the tricky shot. Instead of sighting down one direction, he simply stared forward, aiming with his peripheral vision as best he could. He concentrated on the arrows alone, blocking out the sound of the battle near the Great Seal, the sound of the girl Raven yelling for help as other entered the Temple. In his mind the only thing he could see was the arrows arcing through the air to find their targets – then let go of the string.
Raven ran as fast as her legs would carry her to the arched opening on the wall, inside she could see stairs to the left and right that led up to the balconies above. She knew Beast Boy would have trouble with the Demon if he was powerless, but the demon was powerless as well which evened the played field, a little. She was well aware that there was certain natural abilities that Demons of his breed possessed weather they used magic or not. Her father was one such demon.
Reaching the top balcony Raven sprinted to the railing and jammed her arm between the spindles, reached down to the ward. The smooth stone surface of the rune was warm to the touch but not hot. It was also quite secure in its molding causing Raven to try a different approach to knock it out. Her plan originally was to dislodge each rune from its molding and let it fall to the floor where it would with luck, break. But seeing as how the wards were quite secure she instead kicked at the wooden spindles of the railing until it broke, then twisted the wood around until it had popped free of the railing completely. Now armed with a club, Raven began pounding on the top of the ward, hoping to break it.
The problem was no matter how hard she hit the side of the ward it wouldn't budge. Stopping for a moment Raven watched as Beast Boy held his own against Kaska, but in watching she could also see he was losing ground. Thinking quickly she remembered that Robin would still have a few bird-a-rangs left at this point, perhaps the blade on those would be sharp enough to-
The ward in front of and beside her blew up in a conflagration of shrapnel and sound. Raven threw herself away from the explosion and rolled back to her knees in time to see what was happening on the other balcony. The wards there were moving from white hot to dangerously bright – cracks and small fissures were beginning to work their way across each of the runes surface – until the wards on the other side of the temple suddenly and violently exploded as well. Raven had to duck quickly into the stairwell to avoid the shrapnel that was send her direction and in the same instant, felt her powers come alive again.
Pushing off the ground Raven didn't question how the Wards had been destroyed, time was running out and the Kaska still needed to be stopped. She flew off the balcony in time to see Beast Boy shift to his most powerful form as the Beast and charge the waiting Demon. She also watched in horror as the Beast flip sideways away from Kaska and shifted back to Beast Boy, covered in blood.
Beast Boy was getting tired of not having his powers, while he was adept at hand to hand combat he was nowhere near Starfire or Robin. He didn't even want to think about where he stood in relation to his ability to soak damage like Cyborg could either. In fact the only real thing he had going for him was his shape shifting abilities which was why the Demon was beginning to get the upper hand.
"Come now, surely you do not think you can beat me." Kaska laughed as Beast Boy lunged past him, missing again. "I think you are beginning to tire young lad. You still do not wish to join me?"
"How many times do I have to say no! Are you stupid or something?" Beast Boy yelled back.
"Perhaps Trigon's daughter would join me then." Beast Boy's eyes narrowed. "Perhaps I can find some way to force her to ally herself with me. Oh wouldn't that be sweet." Kaska had to duck and roll away to dodge Beast Boy's attack. Kaska smiled inwardly, he had found the changeling's weak spot.
The fight though was interrupted however by a loud explosion as dust rained down from above, the first explosion was followed closely by a second causing both the Demon and Kaska to glance upwards at the commotion, and both felt their powers return in that same instant. Now was the demon's chance, anger the boy so much that he would attack without thinking.
"Perhaps I will force the young girl to become my slave. Then it would be all to easy to force her to bear me an heir…being half demon already I could easily impregnate the little demon bi-"
Kaska never had a chance to finish his sentence as the Beast roared furiously and pounced. All teeth, claws, and muscled fury Kaska would have been seriously hurt had he not been planning on this exact moment. Spinning under the changeling Kaska brought his own claws fingers to bear and raked a deep set of slashes down the Beasts exposed underside. The Beast yelped like a wounded animal as its momentum carried it over Kaska and landing awkwardly and painful on its shoulder, then the creature shifted painfully back to Beast Boy, who lay motionless on the ground.
"NO!" Raven screamed. It was the first time in her life she had ever made a sound like that, a sound that was filled with the horror, pain, longing, and love for what she was afraid she was going to lose. She had come to far to lose him now and was so focused on getting to and healing Beast Boy that she didn't notice the bird-a-rangs or star bolts fly beneath her at Kaska. Or hear the shouts of Robin and Starfire as Kaska dodged the attacks and picked up the Blade of Judgment. She was far to preoccupied with turning Beast Boy over – who was now laying in a small pool of blood – to see Kaska climb up the side of the seal and force the sword into a small opening near its center.
She put her hands on the unconscious green boy, palms down and fingers almost digging into the skin on his wound and forced as much healing energy she could muster into him. The effect was almost instantaneous as the gaping wound healed, not completely but enough that Beast Boy was no longer in danger. Drawing back the healing energy Raven suddenly felt very tired all of the sudden, and looked up to see Starfire and Robin next to her, Kaska was nowhere to be seen.
It was then however that Raven sensed it. A fundamental change in the structure of this world's magic had occurred just now. Like an earthquake has an epicenter, she could easily feel where this invisible shockwave had originated, and it was only a few yards away. With this shockwave she also felt a presence that she recognized instantly, it was a feeling that she had felt only one time before, and would never forget.
"Raven!" Robin shouted, snapping the dark girl back to the real world, "Are you alright?"
"Yes." She said. "I'm fine, Beast Boy will be as well but you need to get him out of here, you two wait outside too I will be there in a minute."
"Why? What is happening?" Starfire asked, glancing over to the great seal, which was now beginning to glow.
"Something bad." Was all Raven replied giving Robin look, "Something very bad."
Robin had only ever seen that expression on Raven once before in all the time he knew the girl. It was the look she had right before he caught her, before Trigon was defeated. He tried not to think about the implications such a look gave but it was hard to shut out the memories, the very bad memories of that time in their lives.
"Please." She urged and Robin nodded.
"Starfire, pick up Beast Boy and lets get back to Cyborg and Jinx." Robin said and Starfire – though confused as to why – picked up Beast Boy and followed Robin out of the temple.
Normally Raven would want to have her friends present as each of their personalities helped bolster her spirits in different ways but this time was different. Trigon had already been banished once from a plane of existence, and she would not allow him to even enter another. Raising her hands as she floated upwards, Raven changed her mantra and threw a wave of energy at the seal intending on destroying it. But the energy merely bounced off of the stone surface leaving it unscathed.
HA! Do you really think your pitiful abilities will keep me from entering this realm?
"They have before." Raven said calmly, "and they will again. Try me."
Oh I shall my daughter...I shall.
"For the last time you are no father of MINE!" Raven shouted and threw another wave of energy at the seal, only to meet with the same effect as last time. She needed a different strategy here – simply blowing up the gate that was apparently keeping her father back was not going to be good enough – her powers couldn't even scratch the gate. It was almost as if the only magical thing that could interact with the massive seal was the Sword of Judgment itself. Wait! That was it! Pushing off the ground Raven flew at the spot where the hilt of the Sword of Judgment still stuck out of the stone face. She hesitated then, remembering what it was like the last time the Sword had come in contact with her. The experience was so painful her mind had still blocked most of what it felt like from her memories, not allowing her to remember what it feels like to have ones soul torn in two. She held her hand above the hilt only a moment longer lowering it to her side, there had to be a different way right?
"The Blade of Judgment is the Key!" Raven's head whipped around to spot nothing, where had that voice come from? "The sword is the key! Only the sword can stop what has been set in motion!" The voice repeated.
Looking back again Raven spotted the source of the yelling, By the entrance to the temple stood what could only be one of the Shadow People. She only caught a glimpse of him however as he nodded once before disappearing out of the temple. She had to make a choice now, either grab the hilt and see what happens, or attempt to conquer the demons on the other side of the stone structure – which included her father – with her own power. In the back of her mind she could hear her father laughing at her indication, which each precious second ticking away she could feel the magic around the seal weakening. Soon it would be weak enough that the demons on the other side would be able to break through.
Gritting her teeth and expecting a lot of pain, Raven wrapped both hands around the hilt of the sword. But nothing happened at first, it wasn't until she was ready to give up on the idea that she heard what sounded like a voice in her head and it was a voice that was asking for help.
"Who are you?" Raven asked.
It is I…Darius of the White Palace…I can feel what the Blade is being used for and I cannot stop it…please stop it…
"Stop what?" Raven pressed, there wasn't time for this.
Please make it stop…The Blade of Judgment…it is being used to open the First Seal…all will fall to ruin…all will fall…
"What must I do?" Raven asked, not sure who or what was guiding her speech, but very aware that this was something that needed to happen. Perhaps it was fate, perhaps destiny, but Raven felt like passenger to her own body at the moment.
Power, I need more power! If thy can lend me aid then the blade may be used to destroy the seal forever instead of loosing evil on the world. I do not possess the ability to pull back what has been set forth already please! Aid me! The fate of my own tortured matters not.
"I will try." Raven said tightening her grip, "What will happen to you?"
My own destiny is of no consequence…this effort will most likely destroy me, but it is worth it to save this world.
"Good luck then." Raven said as she closed her eyes an concentrated, bringing to life the power that was her birthright.
I would like to apologize for the pain I have caused thee Raven…In time I hope you can forgive me.
Put as much effort into this as you can, anything less will not do…good luck.
You too. Raven thought as she opened her eyes, which by this point were glowing white with power.
He ran from the Temple of Judges as fast as his demon legs would carry him. It was done, it was all complete, and soon an unstoppable army of Demons would destroy this world forever. Kaska Ro was victorious once more. He laughed as he ran, knowing that at this moment fledgling demons were probably consuming those pesky children's souls. The thought brought a wicked smile to his face. He stopped when the ground began to shake and steadied himself and looked back at his handy work, the Temple it self was beginning to crumble from the stress of the gate opening.
Wait, that wasn't supposed to happen...
Had those children come up with a way to stop him? It wasn't possible! It couldn't be possible! Growling in frustration Kaska began to backtrack, intent on killing all of them once and for all – slowly and painfully killing them.
Kaska froze and whipped around to see Elrin, of the shadow people standing before him.
"If you leave now you will miss the party." He grinned slyly as the demon's eyes widened. Kaska knew these people had access to wild, celestial magic which was a very real threat to one such as he.
"Keep away from me!" Kaska shouted and turned to flee. But as he turned his sharp, demon eyes could catch others appearing around him in his peripheral vision. He could see them appearing but could not move fast enough to escape before he was surrounded. In a panic Kaska leapt into the air to jump above circle of people only to hit an invisible barrier, and crash painfully back into the dirt. Kaska rolled to his feet and tried attacking one of the people standing in the circle, but bounced off the same shield and rolled away.
"Kaska Ro, your time has come." Elrin said, "Your sins are many, your corruption is great. The time has come to pay the price for your sins."
Kaska roared at Elrin than like a caged animal, knowing this moment had potentially been coming since he came back to this world.
"You should have never come here." Elrin said and raised his hand. The signal caused those blue hooded figures around the demon to raise their hands at the same time, calling forth the ancient wild magic that was their people's inheritance. In the sky a white pillar of fire careened from the heavens. The demon roared in fury as the fire impacted him, burning his body and flesh away, as the layers of corrupted demon burned away there was a glimpse, only a glimpse of a small terrified little boy before the fire consumed him as well leaving not even a pile of ash in its wake.
"Did you see that?" Nalai asked as she stepped into the light next to her son.
"I did, what was that?" he responded.
"Kaska the demon was not a true demon, he still in his heart held adoration for something, though at this point we may never know what." The queen lowered her head and turned away, "I shall return to our home now, please do not be long."
Elrin didn't look back knowing his mother was already teleporting back to their tree bound home, and turned to the task at hand. The circle split and came back together as he entered and walked to the scorch mark that was where the demon had stood. Placing his hand on the mark he felt for life, for anything, for any trace or hint of existence of the demon that had destroyed so much. But much to his satisfaction there was nothing.
Kaska Ro, was no more.
"Where's Raven?" Cyborg asked from the ground.
"She's still in the pyramid I believe." Starfire answered as she carefully set Beast Boy down.
"Something else is going on." Robin interjected "I haven't seen that look in her eyes since Trigon invaded earth. Stay here with the others Starfire I'm going back in to help."
But Robin hadn't taken a single step before a massive blast rocked the temple and earth around it, so much so that those Titans that were standing were knocked from their feet. A plume of dust came flying from the entrance to the Temple of Judges as the large cut stones that made the building, began to crumble. The earth continued to shake as the top of the pyramid caved inward followed quickly by all four walls. The building fell to the earth then, shaken from its foundation the corruption that had begun decades ago had finally wrought the end of the Temple of Judges.
The Titans looked on in shock, each one very aware that Raven had been inside the building when it had collapsed. Each one knowing there was a chance that…
"That was too close for comfort."
Each Titan – with the exception of Cyborg and Beast Boy who were still incapacitated – jumped and looked at Raven. She was still clad in a white leotard and cape, the latter of which was torn in many places, what skin was exposed looked bruised and worn. But she was otherwise unharmed.
"You are alive!" Starfire squealed, side tackling Raven in a crushing hug. While Raven would now be okay with such a display of affection, the sheer strength of the Tamaranian was enough to have her gasping for release.
"Hey girl! You made it!" Cyborg cheered from the ground, Jinx simply gave Raven a look of respect, and Robin well…Robin did the only thing he knew how to do when he didn't feel comfortable with his own feelings.
"Glad your alright, what happened in there?" He asked in a somewhat demanding tone.
Raven's empathic abilities picked up his true feelings long ago, and she appreciated that he was worried too.
"It's done. Darius, the knight helped me. Trapped in the sword he could see how he had gone so far wrong and used his own power, with help from mine, to destroy what was essentially the gate to the demon plane." Raven said and looked to Beast Boy. "How is he?"
"Hold on, you mean we just saved this world from a demon invasion?!" Jinx exclaimed.
"Yes, how is Beast Boy?" Raven asked acting as if this was something the Titans did a lot.
"I don't know, that was a bad hit he took back there we should really get him some proper medical attention." Robin said then added, "Cyborg too."
"Hey just get me close to the machines in my room and I can put myself back together." Cyborg said, "I'm not helpless I just can't move."
"Right, Starfire, Jinx, help get Cyborg together, Raven do you think you can teleport us back home?" Robin asked, "If you can't that's fine I know you have been through a lot lately."
Raven raised an eyebrow at this comment, wondering what would possess Robin to think that she was any less powerful now that she had become whole again. But than Robin and the others hadn't been there for everything Raven had gone through in the last few months, only Beast Boy had. Looking at his injured form she could easily see the wounds from Kaska, still visible but not bleeding anymore. His breath was coming in short shallow bursts and she knew that if he didn't get proper medical attention soon…
"Of course I can." Raven smirked inwardly, "hang onto something if you can."
Before her friends could respond however Raven called up her powers, summoning a portal to take them home. It had been a long hard journey for Raven but she had come out of it a stronger – both physically and mentally – person and was better for it. Her understanding of love while not complete would grow each day now with Beast Boy's help, and while she loved each of her friends she knew that she would only ever love Beast Boy, and because he would be there, Titans Tower felt like home.
It took almost four months for Beast Boy to fully recover, a month for him to even be able to shift again and another three to heal the cursed gashes that had been inflicted on him by Kaska. Each day Raven and Beast Boy had spent an hour in Raven's room slowly healing his wounds, while shirtless Raven tended to the claw marks with healing salves, potions, and the odd incantation or two eventually healing the changeling completely. Though there was still a lighter green scar mark from each of the four claws that would never go away. Beast Boy reacted to this well, saying the scars made him look more animalistic. When Cyborg asked where he learned a word that big all Beast Boy said was "What?" and walked off.
It wasn't until a full five months had passed that the Titans hear anything back from Calimstar. They were sitting in the common room when Marcus appeared through a portal and was left standing on the end table. He told them he was unable to help them that fateful day. Since the fall of the Judges the world had plunged into civil war, but eventually there would be peace again. Already new governments were beginning to form in areas, and existing ones were claiming others. He assured them no one from his world would be travelling to earth again. The White Palace had been relegated to an inter-dimensional peace force, and would never have any real power over its own world again.
With that, amends were made, a friendship was formed and Marcus returned to his own people for the last time.
Later that evening Beast Boy found himself missing Raven, and after some asking around found she was meditating on the top of the tower. Normally he would attempt – and fail – some sort of impromptu prank on her in this position but instead he found himself drawn to her, enough so that he simply sat next to the young woman, mimicking her position. It took a full five minutes before Raven came out of her reverie to notice that Beast Boy had joined her.
"Hey." She offered.
"Hey." Beast Boy smiled, "How are you doing?"
"Alright I suppose, just reliving a lot of bad memories when we saw Marcus today." She admitted. Beast Boy and Raven had been getting in a habit of just being able to talk to each other about anything without fear – Raven was nervous about this at first but discovered it's a normal part of any healthy relationship.
"Me too." Beast Boy admitted, "fun times huh?" He said his voice laced with sarcasm.
"Heh, as I recall we both got a chance to expand our friendship into an actual relationship on that trip. It was hard and frightening yes but I don't think I would trade it for anything." Raven said, giving Beast Boy a look.
"Heh well…when you put it that way."
"It doesn't seem so bad." She finished for him, "Common, Lets get something to eat."
"Besides I got a cool scar out of that trip, makes me look more manly when my shirt is off…and what if I'm not hungry?" the changeling countered.
"You looked fine before, and you are always hungry." Raven stated.
"Ah HAH! So you did Think I was attractive before we were together." Beast Boy pumped his fist in the air in triumph then struck a pose, "Aww yeah!"
"Oh shut up." Raven scowled through a grin as she went downstairs to the common room.
"Heh…love you too Raven." Beast Boy laughed, and stood looking at the stars a moment longer before following her down to join what was to him, family.
I would like to thank those who stuck with this with me!
I would also like to add that there is a sequel tied into this story that is in the works, However I will be focusing more on my Original works than fanficiton from now on…so it may never come fruition, I'm just making an outline of it for now.
Other chapters in THIS story will be revised and edited as I have time to edit – so eventually this will be updated and perfected as well.
Thank you all for the journey with me! (And I hope, one more review. ^_^ )
For those interested, keep an eye on my account (Deleth) for updates and posts of new original stories.