"So why was it you decided to hunt us all down instead of playing hide and seek?" Kyle asks as he looks up from his melon as he, Raven and two of the other Lanterns are sitting on the beds, with Katma and Kilowog sharing one. After Ganthet left John had left them as well, to sulk somewhere in peace, as Katma expected him to do.
"That decision was made after I woke up from my crash landing here, and getting my leg un-impaled." Raven replies.
"Explains the blood we found, but you don't appear injured" Kilowog notes, distinctly remembering her using both legs in the cave.
"I can heal myself and others, but I had to get somewhere safe before I could do it. Wasn't sure if there are any larger predators around here that would use the chance and eat me."
"That small cave with the winter clothes?" Katma asks and Raven nods.
"How bad was it?" Kyle continues.
"Bad enough so I couldn't use my leg before I got it healed. I hope it is not standard procedure for you guys when you drop people off?" She asks.
"It's not, John thought you could fly on your own?" Katma guesses.
"Well I can, but I need a little time to focus to do it, and we were moving at speed back then."
"I'll make sure he remembers it till the next time." Katma says reassuringly.
"So what did Sinestro do to end up like that?" Kyle continues.
"I wanted information I was sure he had, mainly on how to fight you people. At first he of course just seethed at me, when I thought he was dehydrated enough and I tried to be nice by offering him water, he spat me in the face for it. After that I found a hive of ants I dumped on him. After that your superiors wanted a talk and believe me, having Ganthet invading your head is not fun. After getting sent back, I was pissed, to put it mildly, and Sinestro was the closest candidate." Raven explains while grabbing a fresh fruit.
"I will report under the generally clueless banner, but what exactly is it you can do. Besides making noises and yank me into the swamp?" Kyle asks, while Kilowog throws another whole melon into his mouth.
"Generally it is telekinesis I rely on and something I call my soul-self, where I detach a part of myself to form shapes and objects." She says, while demonstrating by letting her shadow animate into a raggedy shape of a bird that swoops down and carries off one of the fruits she levitated.
"Nice, is it like an inbuilt power ring?" Kyle says while watching the circling bird.
"Well kinda, but I doubt it's quite as powerful or versatile. Just curious, just how much has John told you about me?" She asks wondering if John had deliberately neglected to mention how her powers worked, or if he genuinely expected it to be a game of hide and seek.
"Nothing really, just that you were here and we had to go find you." Katma says, while resting her head on her fist.
"He told me you are half-demon, whatever that is, after we lost contact you two poozers." Kilowog says while nodding at Katma and Kyle.
"You're kidding, there's no such thing as demons." Kyle says as he waits for Kilowog to agree with him.
"Unfortunately Kyle Rayner there are such things, if you go over the list of people the Justice League has on its rooster you will find one. But if you want proof, here." Raven says, halfway amused by the man, as she changes. Kilowog gets some of his remaining melon stuck in his throat and begins coughing, the others look shocked. "This is what I looked like when I beat the crap out of Sinestro."
"That is real?" Kyle asks, apparently not believing his eyes.
"Very real." Raven says matter-of-factly while letting the still circling bird drop its fruit into her waiting hand.
"Hold up, let me run a scan." Kilowog says before letting his rings green light wash over Raven.
"Detected, subject; Unknown. Species: human-infernal hybrid. Place of origin: Earth, space sector 2814 and other dimensional realm termed Inferno. Capabilities, unspecified. Threat index, range: minor to extinction level event. Updates required." Kilowog lowers his ring again thinking it was done, before it speaks again. "Updates received, subject updated. Subject: Raven, Species: human-infernal hybrid. Place of origin: Earth, space sector 2814 and other dimensional realms known as Azerath and Inferno. Capabilities; vast psionic abilities, physical projection of consciousness termed Soul-Self, shapeshifting. Human form at beyond human physical capabilities, skilled at unarmed and combat with staffs. Infernal form; greatly increased physical and psionic capabilities. Threat index: major to extinction level. Notes: Access to super science termed; magic. Host of deceased dimension of Azerath and its population. Recent inductee of the Earth based Amazons warrior-tribe. Offspring of infernal overlord known as Trigon, deceased. Referred to as The Gem of Trigon, see file 15697642, cross index 'prophecy, Trigon'. Subject is a potential candidate for recruitment, into the Green Lantern Corp and others based on the emotional spectrum." As the ring finally finishes, the group is overcome by an odd silence, as they try to digest it all, the subject, of course, is the first to break it.
"Isn't it nice being dissected and categorized while you are listening in?" Raven says flatly. Kyle whistles a long note, clearly impressed.
"Quite a sheet you got there. Only other time I've seen an extinction event level threat was when Kat took me out to see a Suneater. Wait, did it say Amazons? Like Wonder Woman Amazons?" He asks.
"Well I guess the event that the ring is referring to is a suicide on my part. At least that what it takes if I wanted to bring Trigon into the world. And yeah, it did say Amazons, but don't tell John, it's a secret between me and Wonder Woman till I get back."
"So the rhyme is real?" Katma ask, Raven notes a tint of fear has crept into the woman.
"Unfortunately. Do you mind if I ask, are you from the same planet as Sinestro by any chance?" She asks, not failing to notice how she shares the skin color and pointed ears.
"Skin gives it away, huh?" Katma sighs. "He casts shame on all of us from Korugar, and wherever I go I know people give me the strange looks because I am his immediate successor in the Corp. Even my own people hate me now because I was chosen; no one there understands that Sinestro became our despot due to his own personality while he was still a Green Lantern, they think he did so with the Corps blessing." Raven can sympathize with the woman.
"Sorry I asked, I know what that's like." Raven say as she changes back while smiling weakly.
"It's ok, I'm used to it." Katma sighs; they all know she is lying.
"So what was it you asked the Guardians?" Kilowog asks, changing the subject.
"I asked him about something regarding the Vega system and its inhabitants, but you don't need to know any more than that. Maybe at another time."
"You're are going in there aren't you?" Kilowog guesses.
"Yes, I am, I have a close friend who is a native of Tamaran that lies in the Vega system. One a few friends and I intend to retrieve when I get back. I know you guys aren't allowed inside and Ganthet told me you don't know why exactly, but is there anything you can tell me about the place?"
"Not really, but in the past couple of years traffic in and out has increased, mostly the bad sort like mercenaries, pirates and the like, place is a refuge from those running from us. We can't confirm anything, but we hear rumors of wars being fought inside the system. Something about a sudden shift in rulership on one of the planets seems to have sparked it all a few years ago." Kilowog says, noting Raven is nodding slowly. "You know something?"
"It just confirms what I know; a few weeks ago a battalion of residents from the Vega system came to Earth looking for something. We are going to attempt a trade off, but it would help to know what the place is like. Thanks for the info."
"No problem, just be careful when ya go in, that place is one of the worst we know of." Kilowog says. "Hmm seems there is one who would like to talk to you." Kilowog says while pointing to the opposite cliff, where they can see a small figure waving at them.
"Who's that?" Raven asks wondering how Kilowog knows.
"Mogo, seems he's found away to address you in person, but he will tell you more." Raven nods at them before she flies over.
As she comes closer she sees the figure is actually much bigger than Kilowog and obviously a construct, as it is only vaguely humanoid, when she lands in front of it she sees it consists of nothing but rocks, dirt and the vines that keep it together. What at a distance looked like its head proves to be a featureless rock.
"Mogo?" Raven ask, not sure if she should be silly for asking something that is clearly not alive.
"Gree…tings." The thing huffs and wheezes with a voice that tells Raven someone is going thought an awful lot of trouble to manipulate the thing to speak. "Peased…to…eet…you." She notes it is not capable of making all the sounds a human throat is capable of.
"Pease…lower…uor…dehences." It says.
"Excuse me?" Raven asks confused by the request. It slowly raises a muddy arm with roots sticking out of its end and gently touches Ravens head.
"Hard…talk…like…this." Raven blinks a few times, as she understands what it means, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath she relaxes her mind. "Thank you, I must confess I am used to communicating by my fellow Lanterns rings." The deep voice echoes in her head.
"Well, um, glad I could help, but who are you? I have heard your name mentioned a few times, but I got confused when I thought they were meaning the planet. Is there anywhere where we can meet in person perhaps?" Something like a chuckle answers Raven.
"I am Mogo, largest of the Green Lanterns and unknown to you, your host for the past couple of days."
"You live here?" Raven sends back, receiving another chuckle.
"I am here; while you have been here you have walked my forests, taken shelter in my caves and slept in my trees." Raven blinks a few times when she realizes what Mogo means.
"You are the entire planet." She gasps out loud.
"I am." He confirms. "Since you woke up from your rough landing, I have attempted to contact you, without success."
"But why did you want to, I mean it's not like we can trade experiences." She asks.
"One grows lonely when one cannot socialize and it's been a while since I've had visitors from outside the Corp. But let me explain my function, as you may imagine being in the Corp can be stressful and filled with traumatic experiences. When the burden becomes a problem that affects the Lanterns, they come here for a chance to relax and to receive guidance." Mogo explains.
"So you are like a therapist?" She asks.
"That word holds no meaning to me, but I help when Lanterns hurt in places doctors cannot heal. Green Lantern John Steward asked that I merely observed while you interacted with my curative powers, but your unfortunate landing and subsequent decision to hunt my fellow Lanterns prompted me to contact the Guardians."
"My powers allow me to conjure those beings the Lanterns need to hear comforting words from, but I need to be able to scan their thoughts and your mind is fortress." He explains.
"My mind is just a private thing, and it has had too many visitors recently." A sudden thought strikes her. "You don't get many psychics in the Corp?"
"Alas, it has been ages since I last encountered one outside of the Guardians. But I remember him being an open minded fellow. But tell me, now that you have the offer, would you like to talk to someone?"
"Thank you, but no. Asides from my friends, I literally carry my home town around. I don't really need to talk to phantoms."
"I understand, friends are a good thing to have." Mogo replies with an undercurrent of disappointment lining his voice. "Maybe one day you will accept my offer, you are of course welcome to visit."
"I will, if I can find you." She replies, knowing even if Mogo is huge, he is a dust mote in the universe.
"Just ask your local Green Lantern for directions." He replies with a little cheer in his voice.
"Raven, when you are ready, we will be heading back to Earth." John Steward says as he hovers over the cliff, to him Raven has been walking around the mud construct in silence.
"Perfect timing. Mogo is there anywhere around here where one can take a shower without risking someone peeking?" Raven sends to the planet, guessing John is not hearing them.
"At the foot of the cliffs there is a small cave, but the water is quite cold." Raven nod at this, a cold shower would be nice considering the heat.
"I will go catch a quick shower then I'll join you."
"Sure." John says before flying over to the other Lanterns.
"Hey poozer, finally done moping?" Kilowog greets as John touches down, in the distance as small speck seems to fall off the cliff and into the abyss, John just grunts at him. "I tell ya, that girl of yours has a beefy sheet working for her."
"So I guessed, so what do you think?" John asks.
"I think she's cute." Kyle says while watching the clouds, Katma rolls her eyes at him. "But I am not sure if I'd take her home to mom."
"Do you have a slightly more useful thought?" John asks.
"I'm just the rookie offering my opinion." Kyle replies, completely unbothered by John's sour reply.
"Well, if ya ask me, she's ok. She changed the rules for payback, and could have served us all up for bacon if she wanted to. Heck, we could be searching for Sinestros parts right now." Kilowog interrupts, diverting John's attention away from Kyle.
"It's easy to beat up someone when you massively overpower them, do we even know what happened to his ring?" John asks, not wanting trust too easily.
"I had a look at those scans we made from the plateau last night; there was residue from his ring present. The way I figure it Siniestro got his ring back somehow and the two ended up in a slugging match." Kilowog continues.
"You are quite correct Senior Lantern Kilowog. When she returned from Oa, Raven gave Sinestro his ring back so she wouldn't accidentally kill him, perhaps also to allow herself a little more freedom. And to your unanswered question John Steward, Ganthet destroyed Sinestro's ring." Mogo sends.
"Thank you Mogo, Kat?" John asks his old teacher.
"If she is like this good without a ring, I'd like to see what happens if she actually gets one." John sighs; he is alone with his distrust. "Care to tell us why you think she is so bad you have to ask four other Lanterns and one Guardian for confirmations?" Katma says, noticing Johns sigh.
"Because of her, I've seen a Leaguer cry wolf twice, both apparently being fake. And then the Leaguer did something I'd never thought I would see her do, call me paranoid, but when trusted colleagues start acting funny because someone pops up, I get suspicious."
"Think ya have been lookin at this too much from one side poozer. If ya friend has stared herself blind on the bad spot, she may have wanted to believe she can't be wrong. Think about it poozer." Kilowog says while patting John on the shoulder, clearly indicating he thinks John has done the same.
"You know I thought you'd be completely lost in a jungle?" John says as he and Raven let Mogo grow smaller behind them.
"I didn't mention I spent around two months in South-East Asia while I was looking for something." Raven replies while sitting cross-legged besides John, this is his first attempt at an actual conversation.
"Hmm, did you find what you were looking for?" He asks.
"I did, thankfully."
"So what did the Smurf Brigade want?" Raven quirks an eyebrow at the name, guessing he means the Guardians.
"They can probably hear you." She notes, thinking the Guardians would be listening in on whatever was going on near the rings.
"They don't really care, besides they know we are joking." John replies with a smirk. "So what were they after?"
"While you guys were out, Ganthet told me they considered me interesting, at first because Mogo caught wind of what I planned to do. When I began considering forcibly looking into Sinestro's head, they apparently decided to have a closer look at me."
"So they pulled you in for a friendly chat." John speculates.
"More like a friendly invasion of my mind."
"Yeah they like to do that, they think it's more efficient than just talking. Usually they do it without one noticing, but I guess you did."
"I tried keeping him out; when that failed I returned the favor." Ravens reply gets John to look at her with a strange look. "What?"
"You went into Ganthet's head?"
"Like I said, I returned the favor. But while he got to know everything, I got billions of years of memories. To me it was like crashing five cars into a single car garage, while they were doing 90. I can't make sense of most of it, some day I might. You look surprised." She notes.
"I'm surprised they didn't throw you into a cell for doing that, it's hard enough for us regulars to get a meaningful conversation with them." John says with a disbelieving look on his face.
"They keep that tight." Raven nods, from her short interaction with the entire council, she guessed as much. They remain quiet for a while before John opens again.
"What was Kyle doing when you jumped him?" He asks wondering what it was Kyle had seen that distracted him so much Ganthet had to mention it.
"He was considering taking a small crocodile-like reptile with him home."
"Hrmpf, still a rookie." He grunts while covering a smirk.
"He should have seen its mother." Raven says off handedly.
"Yeah, there's not much large wildlife on Mogo, but the reptiles tend to get huge. So you don't like rats?" He asks.
"Like any sensible person, I don't like the wild sort. You?"
"Hate them, as a kid I used to live in a place where we had to check the drains a lot for them. You?"
"One of the first weeks we had after moving into the Tower in Jump City, Beastboy found it funny to jump up my leg while changed into one."
It's late afternoon in the Tower on a quiet day, Robin is casually reading the paper by the dining table. Starfire is exploring the contents of the kitchen. Cyborg is off somewhere in the Tower installing something. And Raven is quietly sitting in the semi-circular couch reading one of her books, with no one to play games with Beastboy wandered off to find something else to amuse him with some time ago, so the room is oddly quiet.
Unseen by all is the green rat sticking its head around the corner of the couch, the corner closest to Raven who has found a favored spot a little to the left of the center.
"This is going to be soo sweet." Beastboy thinks. "She's so moody, this will get her to loosen up." Counting to three he races across the floor and jumps up Ravens bare leg.
"ARG!" Raven shrieks and jumps at the sudden contact, seeing the offender she does the first thing that comes to mind and swats the green rat with her book before jumping up on the couch. The blow is hard enough for Beastboy to go rigid and lands limply on the ground with all legs in the air before changing into himself as the others rush over.
"Raven, what's the matter?! Beastboy?" Robin asks, Starfire rubbing her head, which she hit on the way up.
"Friend Raven, why is friend Beastboy on the ground?" Starfire asks.
"Uuuh…dude that hurt!" Beastboy says as he sits up while rubbing his head. "What was that for?"
"I don't like rats." Raven says flatly, having had the time to regain her composure. Later they found out the TV was broke; the repairs came out of Beastboy's account.
End of flashback.
"Can't blame you for that reaction, doesn't he know people don't like that kind of stuff." John says, vividly imagining what had happened.
"He is carefree and for some reason thought I was the best target for his pranks when he couldn't pull them on Cyborg. Guess he thought I needed cheering up." She speculates.
"On the outside you do seem like you need it." John notes.
"Probably true, but it beats breaking stuff wherever I go." Raven replies. "You know Starfire and I once switched bodies?"
"You're serious?" John asks, even if he does know it has happened before to some Leagues.
"Yup and Starfire is the opposite of me, while I take effort to hide my emotions, she wears hers on her sleeves and is dependent on being able to express them to make her powers work."
"So while she got your powers and had trouble controlling them, you had problems accessing hers?" John speculates.
"That about sums it up, but here's the full story." At this she begins retelling the first encounter the Titans had with the Puppet King. The two continue to swap stories for the remainder of the journey home.
"So Bats, what do you think of Supes' idea?" Flash asks the man next to him, the pair having drawn monitor duty, Batman is busy reading the Financial Times, while Wally is sitting with his feet up, Bruce having long ago given up trying to stop him.
"Hmm?" It was quiet usual for the silent and usually brooding man to completely tune Wally out, only to suddenly latch onto something that was serious.
"You know the recruitment drive amongst the Titans?"
"There is a lot of potential in that group." Bruce says without looking up from his paper.
"I feel a 'but' coming."
"Some are too young and some need more training." Batman continues.
"And Kara and Courtney are the same age as most of the Titans." Flash continues mentioning the two youngest Leaguers.
"Keeping Supergirl near Clark makes her manageable and the same with Stargirl and her stepfather."
"I'm guessing it is not now I suggest you could have brought Dick up here as well?" Batman finally looks at him. "Sorry."
"One, he doesn't have powers. Two, he still had much to learn back then and finally we were not on speaking terms when he got old enough for consideration." Batman says quietly before returning to his paper.
"So are there any of them you know won't pass?" Flash asks after letting a few moments pass in silence, which was like hours to him.
"Obviously Starfire will be of questionable quality after four years of her sisters hospitality. The Guatemalan twins are too young. Kole and the caveman Gnark have reasons to remain hidden. Also Jinx has a troubled past I am not certain she is free of. Other than that, I'm open to the potential of the rest. But it is their job to prove they have what it takes."
"So are we going to have them all following us around?" Flash asks with smirk.
"No, Raven is a special case. We will have to figure out some kind of test for the others."
"We could just have them fight each other for the spots, or have a meet-greet and demonstrate event?" Flash suggests, under his cowl Bruce rolls his eyes at the first suggestion. "Hey, look who's back." Flash notes a certain access code being used to open the hangar airlock.
"I'll let the Titans know she is back." Batman says while dialing a number.
10 minutes later the Titans are teleported onto the station and are directed by the Flash down to one of the meeting rooms. As they enter the room they find the backpack occupying one of the seats with a tall back arranged around the round table and Raven dozing off in one of the others, with her left hand and elbow supporting her head. Even though she took a shower in Mogo's natural waters, her clothes are still smudged with mud. Apparently she is so close to falling asleep that she doesn't even notice them entering. The four are surprised to say the least; for one thing, she never fell asleep anywhere outside of her room in the tower. The second; she is still missing her cloak and the midsection of her leotard and most of her sleeves.
"Umm…welcome back Rae?" Nightwing greets, like the others a bit worried if she would grow angry at their intrusion. She half-opens her right eye before opening the left. "Long flight?" He continues with a smirk, if she is annoyed she is hiding it.
"Very, and thanks." She says, blinking a few times trying to coax her mind back into action.
"Well that's a nice outfit Raven." Speedy notes with a smirk, Nightwing nudges him with his elbow for it. "What?" Raven stands up and looks down at herself somewhat surprised.
"Thought I changed that." She mumbles before letting the fabric join the two parts again. "It got a little uncomfortable in the jungle."
"What happened to your cloak?" Cyborg asks, knowing Raven never went anywhere without it, if she could help it.
"Green Lantern ruined it sadly and he is getting a new." Raven replies matter-of-factly.
"Soo…have you been mud wrestling or something?" Beastboy asks, getting a frosty stare form Raven as the only reply. "Sorry."
"You will hear all about it when the founders get here." Raven says while sitting down again. "John knows we are in a hurry to get to Tamaran and he hopes we can get everything cleared shortly." The others take seats as well, deftly avoiding taking any with symbols on the backs.
"So they expect to have you all sorted out today? You look bushed." Cyborg notes.
"Jet lag, what time and day is it by the way?" Actually Raven feels exhausted, and there is no clock in the room for her to tell the time by.
"August the 17th and its 3:00 AM in Gotham right now." Nightwing says as he rolls up a sleeve and checks his watch.
"The 17th? And I left the 10th? Has it really been a week?" Raven asks, struggling to remember more than three nights on Mogo.
"Guess the planet you ended on had a slower rotation than ours." Roy adds, having tried it once before, only that one had a faster rotation. "How many nights did you sleep?" He asks.
"One, where I got a full night worth, I was kind of busy the other two I remember." Raven replies in a tired voice.
"I'll go see if the cantina has something that looks like herbal tea." Nightwing says before getting up and walks out of the room.
"So how was camping in the wilds with GL?" Beastboy ventures.
"He dropped me off then went to some other planet, then came back to get me, so I don't know how he is at camping." Cyborg jaw drops onto the table.
"WHAT! He left you alone on a strange planet?!" He shouts while waving his hands in the air.
"Calm down Victor." Ravens tired stare is enough to get him to obey.
"Is it safe to enter?" John asks as he walks through the door followed by the other founders. Cyborg grumbles silently as they all take their seats and Raven banishing her backpack to the wall near the door.
"Raven if you would take the center seat please." Superman says motioning at the seat directly in front of him. "And Roy, I'm sorry, but Oliver wants you." Roy opens and closes his mouth a few times wanting to protests, but finally gives up with a sigh.
"Well, good luck Raven and bring back Starfire will you?" Roy says while getting up. "See you guys later."
"Later man." Cyborg calls after the retreating ginger head.
"Where is Nightwing?" Batman asks, as Raven takes the designated seat, with Cyborg and an empty seat on her left and the vacant seat for Nightwing and Beastboy on her right. The symbolism of the arrangement in front of Raven is not lost on her, Superman is directly across the table from her, with Batman on his right and Wonder Woman on his left. Next to Batman is first the Flash and then Hawkgirl, and on Diana's left is J'onn and John.
"He is out getting a cup of tea for Raven." Beastboy says.
"We will wait then." Batman says as he notices the slightly vacant look in Ravens eyes. "Must be exhausted."
"So is there a set order we get to hear all of this in?" Cyborg asks, having calmed himself down enough talk without shouting.
"We go through the list backwards in the order Raven was with us." Superman says, the others had noted that Diana had almost insisted on going last. "We are skipping Batman as he already told us of her time with him." After this the room falls into a strange silence, except for Flash's finger tapping. Raven is almost falling asleep in her seat, while she was used to late hours, a week with almost no sleep is pushing it.
"Should we wait with this for a few hours?" Superman asks as he notices it as well.
"No, I'll sleep on the flight or the cell; I don't want Starfire to suffer any more than she has to." Raven replies willing herself to be more awake. Internally Batman notes down he needs to send a shipment of herbal tea with them when they leave.
"I have to agree with her on this one." Nightwing says as he enters the room with a large cup of tea. "Here you go Rae." He says while handing Raven the plastic mug.
"Thanks." She says as she receives the cup, Superman clears his throat as Nightwing sits down.
"Ok, we all know you are eager to get Starfire back, so John will you begin?" He asks the man on his far left.
"Well, my test was to bring Raven to the functioning psychiatrist of the Green Lantern Corp, a sentient planet called Mogo, he has a power that allows him to help Lanterns when the job becomes too tough for them. I asked for his help without informing my superiors, since they generally disapprove the use of Corp material or personnel for purposes not directly linked to it or its mission. I had to leave Raven there alone because Mogo's powers won't work properly if more than one is in the target area. But my plan went wrong from the start, when I dropped Raven off; since I thought she could levitate instantaneously like a Lantern. And I think Raven knows better what happened next, since I flew off to Oa after seeing her disappear amongst the trees." He gets a few looks at this admission before they turn to her.
"Since John let me drop while we were moving forwards, I slammed into a tree and was knocked out. When I woke up I had several compressed ribs, a few bruises and a small branch impaling my leg." The room changes suddenly, with jaws figuratively dropping and angry stares being sent at John. "It wasn't that bad. After I freed myself I sought shelter where I could heal without risk, after I managed that, I decided to change the game John had told me we were playing." Raven says, sending the ball back to John who is beginning to look uncomfortable.
"Yeah…I told her we were playing hide and seek, that I would come back after a few days with some other Lanterns, I didn't tell her Mogo is alive. So from what I was told afterwards; Raven set out to give us a warm welcome."
"I planned to subdue and capture as many as I could." Raven ads, getting a few nods in understanding.
"She did, but her plans were overheard by Mogo, who notified my superiors who set a watch on her. I was told Raven could sense someone watching, but proceeded with her plans and set up several sites she intended on ambushing us at. As we can see, I asked Mogo to slow his rotation during the day, so Raven only saw three nights there. She spent the first day scouting and the second on preparing traps and setting up track for us to follow. On the second night, Sinestro decided to show up." John continues, Raven can tell he has gone into a mode where he is burying his emotions like a soldier bringing news to his superior.
"The red skinned guy with the yellow ring?" Flash asks, remembering the encounter he had with the yellow lantern.
"Yeah, he has apparently come to the conclusion that he cannot get his revenge, as he calls it, while he is one man versus the Guardians and the entire GLC. So he wanted to make his own Corp, and he wanted Raven in it. Raven did the right thing and declined, Sinestro retaliated but was captured."
"He told me he had a beef with the Lanterns I was going to be ambushing, and I wanted to know how to get around their rings." Raven adds. "Figured he might know something useful."
"So you capture one of their greatest enemies to get information." Batman notes with a small amount of surprise in his voice. The Titans figure being Sinestro during that time was not fun if he resisted.
"You invaded his mind?" J'onn asks, wondering if Raven had crossed her own boundary.
"No, I would only do that as a last resort since it hurts me if I have to fight my way into someone's head. Also I wasn't sure if he had any form of mental defenses." Batman nods at the explanation, it concurs with what Raven told him weeks ago.
"When Sinestro decided to play though and apparently spat Raven in the face, she dumped an ant hill on him." The room shifts to Raven at the mention.
"I offered him water and he decided to spit it at me instead. Pulled half his mustache off as well." She says mentions in an offhanded fashion.
"Anyways after this the Guardians decided to pull Raven off to Oa for a closer inspection. I haven't been told what they saw, but one of them entered her mind and she retaliated by peeking inside his. They green lighted her and her plans, knowing she would not really harm us, which was their primary concern. The one who entered her head even went with her back to Mogo to make sure there were no hard feelings."
"You realize most psychics consider it a gross violation of their person at such an intrusion?" J'onn asks.
"I do, now. But as some of you know, my superiors are for the most part no better than robots when it comes to feelings outside of willpower. And Ganthet, who did the intruding, decided to let Raven work out her anger on someone else before addressing her in person." After saying this, John lets his ring make a 3D image of Sinestro, as John saw him in his mauled condition, appear in the center of the table.
"I freed him and gave him his ring back before that." Raven adds before taking sip of her tea.
"Was it necessary?" Shayera asks.
"Necessary? Maybe not, but the anger I got from what the Guardian did would not go away. If it had not been Sinstro, it would have been one of the Lantern's or most likely Ganthet." Raven replies. "And I will like to say that Ganthet was watching the whole thing and did nothing." The table shifts back to John for confirmation.
"It's true, but he would have intervened if he thought Sinestro was in mortal danger. Anyways after she was done, Ganthet introduced himself and proceeded to mend fences by giving Raven the information she needed and alerted her we were coming before making himself scarce. When we arrived the first thing we found was the crash site and a small cave Raven had initially stayed in. Finding a set of winter clothes and six trails, I ordered Kilowog, Katma and Kyler to split up and look for Raven. Katma was the first to get ambushed at a site where Raven had hid Sinestro. Kyle was the next to go as she pulled him into a swamp having used her backpack as bait. It didn't do Kyle any favors that he was distracted by the local wildlife."
"A small reptile; which would eventually grow to be much bigger than a car." Raven adds, Beastboy gets a strangely pleased look in his eyes.
"By that time Kilowog and I had finished our sweeps, with Kilowog finding a camp site and several snares and me with nothing. Following a trail leading from the camp, Kilowog found the place Raven fought Sinestro only hours before. We found the energy residue from his ring there and decided to contact Mogo to get answers to what was going on, since we had lost contact to Katma and Kyle. Mogo directed us into a series of caves where we finally found Raven, only to get flattened in a direct confrontation. After we woke up, Ganthet appeared and explained it all to us. The Guardians had found out I was doing this and saw it fit that we get bush wacked for it, even called it good training since he knew we would try to improve ourselves because of it. So to sum it all up, I messed up, Raven strung me up for it. But she has my superior's approval and that is enough for me." He finishes.
"J'onn?" Superman asks.
"The test I exposed Raven to was a tradition from Mars, a ritual where two people walk each other's minds so they can get to know each other better. While Raven walked my mind and experienced Mars as I remember it, I walked hers with a guide sent from Azerath, the city I mentioned seeing. I cannot tell you everything that I saw while in there, but Raven is a complex person, a mosaic made of many emotions living within their own realms inside her mind. At first I was taken aback by what I saw, but my guide took time to explain it all to me. I've seen the things that make Raven happy; I've seen what makes her sad and I have seen what her unrestrained fury would wish on the world. And I have seen the person that comes into being when all of these things come together for the time they are able, before having to separate for the safety of others. I have no doubt anymore that Raven is a good person, and deeply whishes to be seen as one. But I must inform you of the evil that still lingers in her anger, as I was told, it is still bound to the will of her father." J'onn concludes.
"So what did she do in your head?" Shayera asks, mentally gearing up for her turn, which she was quietly feeling wasn't going to have much support from the others unless she came forth with something deeply incriminating.
"She saw a communal singing event and had lunch with my family." J'onn says, Raven could tell it hurt him a little to say it so she decided not to add that his boys thought she was a Martian with a different color.
"Thank you J'onn, Shayera?" Superman passes the imaginary torch to the winged woman.
"I initially asked Dr. Fate to prepare something that would be able to tell us which Raven is the dominant one. Unfortunately, as Raven pointed out after regaining consciousness, the spell used wasn't made for her kind. Fate tried, like J'onn, to enter her mind but was violently ejected. Later that night I was assaulted by Dr. Destiny, while I was told both Fate and Raven helped wake me, I have a hard time believing it was mere coincidence that he choose to strike at that time. I can't prove anything but I believe Raven and Destiny have a link." This raises a few quirked eyebrows and two questioning looks from the assembly. Nightwing raises his hand; Superman's nod allows him to speak.
"I was there when we caught Destiny; he was hiding in a warehouse at the Metropolis docks, one of Luthors. I took the ground floor while Raven took the first; she had changed shape while up there and while I was making my way up the stairs Destiny came running down. We collided and rolled down the stairs, resulting in Destiny breaking his arm. If I am any judge of anything, he seemed genuinely scared when Raven followed him down."
"So I heard, anyways Fate decided to terminate my testing round after Destiny was caught. After that I began looking into the Raven everyone else knew. Visiting Slade Wilson and various sites in Jump City, all which gave me nothing that said Raven has ill motives, besides from the Jump City tabloids. Most of those I asked would actually be happy if she came back, including one of the former Titan adversaries." The three male Titans turn to Raven in question.
"Rancid, he joined the police after I smacked him over the head with his bike. Apparently he thinks I'm cool." Raven says, with her tiredness slowly creeping into her voice.
"So what is your decision?" Batman asks.
"I am still not happy, but I have nothing to prove my distrust with." Shayera concludes while crossing her arms and leans back in her seat, even more annoyed that Fate didn't find anything to support her either when she finally asked him to be either for or against.
"Guess it's my turn then." Superman surmises. "As most of you know, I took Raven on patrol of Metropolis, to get to know her better we engaged in small talk. I learned she has a sharp wit as she guessed my profession merely by observing me. Also as some of you know, she saved me when Metallo showed up. It is by this that I will vouch for her, with the incident in question she could have just stepped aside and let Metallo finish me off, she did not." Superman finishes his tale, motioning for Flash to begin his part.
"Well as you know I tried thinking up all kinds of things that would work, where I came up short. Raven gave me an idea thought and I remembered Kid Flash is still dating Raven's old adversary; Jinx. And I thought, "Those two must have fought a lot in the past, she must know what Raven is like." So off to Chicago we went, I was surprised when Jinx was actually overjoyed to see Raven again, as was the Kid when he showed up. And they continued to scold us for thinking Raven is a bad person and letting me know twice that she can't control people's minds." He sighs and shrugs, while John rolls his eyes.
"Diana?" Superman says, knowing Flash's tales has ended; Raven lets on a tiny smirk as Diana begins.
"My test was originally simply to have a few rounds of sparring with Raven on Themyscira, working on the principle that you only really know someone until you have fought them. When we arrived, my original intentions were immediately overwritten by those of my mother who had worked out her own test after her visit here. I was not to actually have any direct contact with Raven, while she was put under Artemis' command."
"The grumpy red-head?" Flash interrupts, getting an elbow in his side from Hawkgirl. Partially for interrupting but also because he had often drawn a comparison between Shayera and Artemis and their attitudes.
"Yes, Raven was to train under her with a group of other Amazons; Io the smith. Antiope the finest archer, Penelope the unarmed combat trainer and Philipus, our magicians apprentice. Raven was allowed to use her powers during her stay and the others had orders in case she did use them. My own role in all of this was left to merely being an observer. On the second day there was an incident; Raven was under orders on not to be left alone at any time, but had separated from the others after playing a prank on Artemis. Left alone, Raven encountered Ares, who had come to Themyscira specifically for her. His goal was to persuade Raven to become his own champion by diving her mad with rage, to do this he forced memories and experiences upon her; memories of living the life of an Amazon at the time when Heracles, the demigod, enslaved them all. The army of Themyscira assembled when Ares was detected and we went into the military quarter in search of him, as you all know, my people have a troubled relationship with the God of Bloodshed. We found him when one of the barracks exploded, in the midst of the dust and rubble we found him fighting off Raven, who had turned into her other shape. Before we could give any orders, Raven revealed that she no longer saw the world as it is, but as it was. She thought she was buying the rest of us time to escape the mainland, while she distracted Ares whom she thought was in league with Heracles. I was able to prevent Raven from falling into Ares' claws and before she passed out, she declined his offer. When Raven woke up, she revealed she had experienced everything my sisters went thought those dark days." A strange silence seems to fill the room as Diana lets the information sink in, Cyborg stares at Raven in mute horror, Beastboy dumbfounded. The uninitiated Leaguers echo Beastboy's look after a few seconds Diana continues.
"When offered the possibility, Raven declined having the memories removed, saying no matter who removed them, they would still be there, waiting for the chance to return. When asked by my mother, Raven insisted on continuing the trials put before her, as the memories granted her a deeper sense of understanding the Amazons. After that I was allowed to join the troop with Raven, while into our second week we learned that the sky-father Zeus also has an interest in Raven. As he appeared before us and apologized for Ares' behavior, also he revealed that he had instructed our magician, Magala to change Raven's normal water to what we call godswater. Godswater is what we give to those we want to mold into true Amazons and right now Raven is running on a third of what is needed for the full transformation. After the visit by the Sky-Father, my mother decreed it was time for the group to show what they had learned. In the great arena on Themyscira, we saw Raven draw for an overall first place with Artemis after contests of archery, armed and unarmed combat. Afterwards I challenged Raven to the rematch I wanted, many bruises were traded between us, but I was the victor after a close fight that could have turned either way. After the fight, my mother praised Raven and wished to reward her." Diana looks to Raven. "Raven will you show them?" Raven nods at the request and undoes the wristwatch before peeling off her sleeves, revealing the silver bracelets hiding underneath them. "In front of most of the Amazon nation, my mother accepted Raven as one of us; she is now an Amazon of Themyscira. Correct sister?" Diana asks with a smirk.
"Correct, sister." Raven replies with her own smirk. Beastboy's and Cyborg's jaws hits the table as they stare wide-eyed at Raven, who continues to remain as if nothing exceptional is happening. Shayera is staring wide-eyed along with Flash while John and Superman is shocked while Batman, J'onn and Nightwing all remain quiet, though they are silently enjoying the emotions on display.
"I think it is safe to say that Raven has proven to the majority of the Founders, that she has what it takes to join our ranks." Batman says, breaking the silence. "On behalf of the Justice League, I would like to welcome Raven as our latest member."
"Thank you, I will try my hardest to live up to it." Raven says while actually giving them all a broad smile, it is after all a great day for her.
Authors note: This chapter concludes Book 1 of Raven Rising. Join me again to read about Starfire's rescue pans out, how the plans of others begin to tingle into existence and how our dark bird becomes lost in a place of horror in Raven Rising, Book 2; Scars.