And here it is, the sequel to Teen Titans: the Corruption! Just so you know, I plan to make this story even darker than the last one, so expect plenty of gruesome and bloody deaths in future chapters (reason for the 'M' rating). But so you also know in advance, I won't be updating as fast as with my last story (I goy plenty of other stuff to deal with now). It will probably be a while before you see a second chapter.
Chapter 1: Darkest night
Three years after Raven's death
A storm was raging tonight; lightning pierced the dark skies, raging winds whipped the buildings while the rain pounded upon the city below it. The unrelenting storm drove the city's inhabitants to seek shelter indoors and hope that it would pass soon. But deep underground, there were two people who were unaffected by the weather. They were in a pitch black room with the only source of light shining down upon a young girl, looking to be around 20 or something, kneeling on the floor. Her shoulder length hair was of a bright red color, matching her left eye. But her right eye was of a dark green color. Her clothes consisted of a black skin tight bodysuit with a bronze colored utility belt around her waist. Her gaze was firmly locked on the floor right under her, she would only look up when her master told her to. Somewhere in the darkness, the sound of cogs turning could be heard.
"You've had doubts in the past. Made mistakes" a smooth yet chilling voice said from the darkness. The girl could just make out something moving at the edge of her vision, but she did not look up.
"But all that is behind you, isn't it" the voice asked.
"Yes" the girl whispered out, knowing that she did not need to speak loudly for the man to hear her.
"You belong to me now, don't you?" the man asked.
"I do" the girl answered quickly and without a single hesitation. She already knew that she belonged this man, who had saved her from a life of pain.
"From this day forward, will you serve me and me only?" he asked. This was it for the girl, months of training under this man's tutelage and finally her time to pledge her loyalty to him had come.
"I will" she answered without missing a beat.
"Will you obey my every command?" he asked again.
"I will" she answered again. She suddenly found a pair of boots in her line of vision. She looked up slightly, but not enough to see his face. The man was also dressed in a black body suit, but his had armor plates on it.
"Will you fight at my side forever?" he asked as he held out his right hand to her, holding an "S" emblem made of metal and a two toned mask with two eyeholes in it. Half the mask was black and the other was of an orange/bronze color. She accepted the items without hesitation.
"I will" she answered as she fastened the "S" on her uniform before putting on the mask, hiding all of her features save for her eyes.
"And will you destroy the Titans?" he finally asked with great deal of malice. Under her mask, the girl smiled a sinister smile. Those brats had been a thorn in her new master's side for years, and she would make him proud by defeating them in his name.
"I thought you'd never ask" she answered. She could hear a dark chuckle from her master.
"Then rise. Rise not as the pathetic and weak-willed Alice Waterstone, but rise as my apprentice Ravager" the man said proudly. Ravager was instantly on her feet again, looking into the face of her master, or rather his mask that her own was designed from. His single eye was gazing at her empty of emotions and as cold as ice, but Ravager did not mind it.
"Thank you… Slade" she said.
While many did prefer to stay indoors this night, there were four people who refused to seek shelter from the raging storm. They were all arrayed on the rooftop on one of the highest skyscrapers in the city, dressed in heavy raincoats that concealed all of their features. A snort escaped the one to the far right.
"So this is Jump City? Man, what a fucking dump!" he exclaimed irritably, his voice like rocks grinding against each other.
"Calm down Carnifex, the place isn't so bad. Besides, the people living here are quite tasty" the one standing next to him said in a silky voice. He was the tallest one in the group, standing at least two heads taller than the others, but he was surprisingly thin. Carnifex growled irritably at him.
"Whatever. I just want to kill something, and really soon" he grumbled out, causing the one to the far left to let out an audible sigh. Carnifex immediately whipped his head around to glare at that person, an insane rage shining in his blood red eyes.
"You got something to say, woman?!" he demanded of her. She did not even look in his direction as she answered.
"Always thinking about killing something. Isn't there anything else inside that brutish mind of yours?" she asked in a condescending tone. Carnifex was now boiling with rage, but at least he had enough self-control not to attack his partner.
"It's not like you're any better, Krystal! You're as bloodthirsty as I am!" he nearly shouted at her. Krystal did not look even the slightest troubled.
"Please, do not even try to compare the two of us. You're nothing more than a mindless butcher, slaughtering everything without care or thought" she said disdainfully "I seek to create beauty in death, a way to give my victims a meaning at the end. What I do is art" her voice gained a dreamlike tone in the end, and only aggravated Carnifex more. But any fighting that may have occurred between these two was promptly stopped by the fourth person.
"Patience, mes amis, patience. There is no need to combattre amongst ourselves, we have plenty of ennemis to kill before this quest is over" he said as he gazed out at the city, letting his mind wander. Three years since he was here last and the place still looked as boring as then. So now it was up to him and his merry men to liven up the place.
"Et si ça recommence" he said just as lightning stabbed down not too far from him, illuminating the iron mask he wore underneath his hood.
Two hours later
The storm had finally passed and the skies grew calm. The clouds dispersed to finally allow the moon and the stars to shine down on the sleeping world below them. But there was one person at least who was not sleeping soundly, and was in fact not even in his home. His name was John Summer, he was nineteen years old and he just knew that he was in deep trouble. He had been out partying with his friends when the storm had struck so he had been forced to wait it out before going home, of course he already knew that his girlfriend would not accept that apology. Honestly, that girl reminded John too much of his mother in how she would constantly worry and get mad whenever he was gone too long. So now he was running as fast as he could to get home while thinking of what to say to calm her down.
He suddenly stopped running when he reached an alley, the sound of childish giggles echoing down it. Looking down the alley, he could see what looked like a small child standing there. He squinted his eyes to get a better look, but the shadows were too thick for that.
"Hey kid, what are you doing here so late?" he asked in curiosity. The child just giggled even more before walking out of sight. Now normally you would just ignore it and keep on walking, but curiosity and chivalry forced John's legs to follow after the child. But as he moved into the darkened alley, he could not help but slow down his steps in fear. On some instinctual level, he could feel that something was watching him in the shadows. Wherever he turned, he could feel eyes drilling into his neck. But like all modern men, he dismissed the feeling as nothing more than an imagined fear conjured up by his own paranoia. After all, it was impossible for something to hide in the shadows without revealing something. Modern people, so narrow minded they could be.
He finally caught up to the child, who had run up to a fence that blocked the alley. The child had its back turned to John and was staring off into the shadows. John began to slowly move closer towards the child, all the while his primal instincts were yelling at him to run as fast and as far away as possible. Sweat had already begun to gather on his brow as the feeling of being watched returned tenfold.
"Easy there kid. I'm not going to hurt you" he said while holding his hands in a non-threatening gesture. Still the child refused to even acknowledge his presence and John was getting a little aggravated. His fear was working as a fuel to drive him to just get this over with as fast as possible and get the hell out of this oppressing alley. He was now within arm's reach of the child and his hand was already reaching for the left shoulder.
"Hey, do you even hear what I'm saying?" he asked a little harshly as he forced the child to turn around, his blood turning as cold as ice the moment he laid his eyes upon the child's face, or rather where it was supposed to be. It was nothing there, just a pitch black void where a face was supposed to be residing. John's face turned as white as sheet as his primal urges finally won over the rest of his brain and he tried bolting back the way he just came from. Key word was "tried" as his escape route was now blocked. A mysterious figure, cloaked in the shadows, was standing in his path, glaring at the terror-stricken John. His eyes were wide in fear, looking like they might fall right out of his head at any moment. His whole body was shaking as he began to back away from this new creature that matched each step he took backwards with one step forward. The whole world around John lost importance and focus as his terror-filled brain was solely fixated on the source of his fear. He never even noticed that the child from earlier had disappeared into thin air, the only thing he did notice in his fear induced panic was when his back came into contact with the fence. Realizing that his escape route was cut off, John began to openly cry in despair.
"W-who a-a-are you? What d-do y-you w-w-want?" he managed to stammer out fearfully. But the figure did not answer him, it just kept coming ever closer to John. He was now whimpering and babbling out some barely understandable words about mercy, even sinking to his knees as the fear inducing aura radiating from this figure pressed down on him like the weight of a thousand agonized souls. As the figure moved closer towards John, the shadows trailed after it like an ominous cloak that swallowed up all light. The figure was now standing right in front of the still kneeling John, who had even dropped down on all fours and was crying like a baby. John just wanted this to be over now, he fervently wished that this was just a bad dream and that any minute now he would wake up in his cozy bed. Such salvation never came to him.
"Look at me" John suddenly heard. It sounded like it had spoken in his head, but he just knew on some basic level that it was in fact the mysterious figure who had spoken. Slowly and with a trembling body, he raised his head to stare at the thing in front of him. He stared deeply into the dark abyss that served as this creature's face, even though every fiber of his being was begging and screaming at him to look away from this unholy monstrosity. And suddenly, he caught sight of a single part of his assailant; its right eye. But it was no normal eye, it was barely even what you could call an eye. What he saw was an eight-pointed star with a serpent's eye at its center, glowing an infernal red down on him.
John could not take anymore of this, and he finally screamed in utter terror. His scream echoed through the alleys before it ended with the unmistakable sound of a sharp object piercing soft flesh, followed by a wet tearing noise as something organic was ripped out. It suddenly grew quiet after that, as if the night had swallowed up all sounds, until soft footsteps were heard leaving the scene.
One hour earlier
Silence reigned in the ancient hallways while darkness held it in its cold and mysterious grip. But the reigning forces were dispelled when heavy footsteps began to echo in the halls, originating from a robed figure holding a torchlight in his left hand. A golden cross hanged by a silver wire around his right arm. He walked in silence, only making sounds with his footsteps. Onward he walked through the dark hallways until finally he reached a massive door guarded by two knights dressed in shining white armor and wielding golden halberds. Without a single word spoken, the two knights stepped aside to allow the robed man entry while pushing the door open for him. The robed figure kept his eyes firmly locked on the floor as he stepped in, lest he becomes blinded from the sudden and overwhelming light bathing the room within.
He had entered a circular chamber with ten balconies set high into the wall. On every balcony sat a person, but the robed man did not look upon them, both because it would be considered blasphemous for someone like him to behold such holy men and because the blinding light originating from these men would surely destroy his eyesight if he were to look upon them.
"Welcome warrior" one of the men said, his voice weighted down by old age and spoken like the words of a kind grandfather. Where the voice originated from, no one could tell. For while it was only one man who spoke, his voice rang out from all around the hall. It was a defense mechanism to prevent any would-be assassins from pinpointing the source. The robed man kept his head bowed to these messengers of the Lord.
"We have much we need to discuss" another one said, this one sounding more gruff. The robed man remained silent, waiting for either his masters to speak or to give him permission to speak.
"The shadows of evil are stirring yet again, the sins of the past are returning" the words held an ominous meaning to them that put the robed man on edge, but he refused to give a physical reaction.
"The Heartless is rising from the shadows, and destruction is following in his wake" a weak and raspy voice spoke "But in His divine wisdom, the Lord has come before us with a task" now the robed man was listening with even more intent.
"By our decree, and that of His holy words, it is time to call upon new warriors to stand among the honorable ranks of the Templar" For the first time, a sense of anticipation and excitement entered the robed man. There could only be one reason for these men to reveal such glorious news to him, and he had to struggle with all his might not to bounce in happiness.
"As you might have already concluded by now, we have called you here to bestow you with an offering; to join God's most stalwart warriors on Earth" a deep, booming voice announced "But this is an offering, we will not force it upon you. So, do you accept?"
The robed man could now feel their gazes of expectancy weighting down on him. He knew why, because he was the most talented swordsman in his generation. He was also a deeply spiritual man that his teachers held in high regard for his pious personality. In his eyes, they did not even have to ask him to join. It was God's will that made him a warrior, and it would be like spitting him in the face to decline the chance to fight evil and wickedness in his holy name.
"I, Zacharious Vespus, accept this offer gladly. With God by my side, I will purge the evil that festers in this world" he said proudly and without hesitation. The moment the words had left his lips, a section of the floor in front of him opened up and a claymore sword rose up to hover in front of Zacharious. The blade was of a strong silver color while the hilt was of a bleach white color. He stared at the claymore in wonder and pride, for this was no ordinary sword. It was forged with the very essence of light and purity, making it into the ultimate tool to purge the damned and the wicked.
"The Heartless has once again dared to show his cowardly face after a year of absence. His return bode ill tidings, for he would have never dared to draw our attention again unless he knew that he could stand up to us. Yet as always, the cowardly snake hides in the shadows, biding his time for the perfect time to strike at us with his venomous fangs" whoever it was that spoke sounded like he was experiencing great pain and anger from his own words.
"But he has made a grave mistake resurfacing again. This time, he will not escape his judgment" Another voice took over, speaking with greater strength "The blade you see before you belonged to one of our brave warriors, a veteran of fifty years of battling daemons, spending his last years of service in his country of birth America before joining our Lord. We still don't know what befell him, but his death has given us a clue as to where to search. We have already gathered a small force of your brethren in order to send them to America in an effort to track the Heartless and his cohorts down. Your mission will be to lead them in this quest" a shiver of anticipation crept up Zacharious's spine. That they trusted such an important mission to him was a sign of great respect and faith.
"Now, Zacharious Vespus, take up this sword and assume the position of captain among the Templars" the order boomed through the chamber and with the confidence to move mountains he swiftly rose to his feet. He reached out with hand and reverently grasped the sword handle. Gravity suddenly tried to reclaim the sword that had hovered in defiance to its power but Zacharious easily held on to the sword, giving it a few experimental swings to test its weight and balance.
"Where exactly will we go?" Zacharious suddenly asked. His answer came swiftly, obviously they had expected that question all along.
"To the western coast of America, in the area called California. A city by the name of Jump City" Zacharious expertly swung the blade so its tip pointed to the ground before giving a grateful bow to the still hidden leaders. 'Beware Heartless, for the Templars are now coming for you. And no amount of devilry will save you this time' Zacharious thought with righteous anger burning in his eyes.
Titans Tower, home of the legendary team of superheroes known as the Teen Titans, or rather the Titans these days since none of its members were really 'teens' anymore. For years it has stood as a watchtower over the city and as a symbol of justice. Though both the tower and its inhabitants paled in comparison to the rapidly expanding Justice League, they were still recognized for their hard work, particularly during the Brotherhood of Evil crisis, and the inhabitants of Jump City adored them. The city's inhabitants slept peacefully this night, safe in the knowledge that they have their own guardian angels watching over them.
Though the same could not be said for all of the Titans, since one of them was not finding much sleep on this night. So he stood at the massive windows in the living room, dressed in his full uniform consisting of a black bodysuit with a blue colored bird emblazoned on his chest along with a domino mask covering his eyes. This was the leader of the Titans, Robin. Or as he called himself these days, Nightwing. The title of Robin had already passed down to a younger person, currently being tutored by Batman back in Gotham City. Nightwing had undergone several changes during these years, his hair for example was no longer spiky and he had developed quite a lot of muscle during the years.
As his gaze traveled across the peaceful city, he could not help but feel a sense of uneasiness about it. The ever famous line of "it's quiet. Too quiet" came to his mind. Nightwing could not explain it, but he just had a nagging feeling that something was not right. It was almost like he could smell trouble brewing in the city, and it was constantly nagging him in the back of his head and thus ruining any sleep for him this night. He let his gaze wander from the sparkling city to the star covered sky. 'At least it's a beautiful night tonight' he thought absentmindedly. He suddenly heard a door open behind him.
"Nightwing, is everything alright?" a sweet and innocent voice asked from behind him, originating from his girlfriend for two years Starfire. She too had developed over the years and had now become a striking young woman. Nightwing turned around to give a reassuring smile to her.
"Yeah, I'm alright" he said, now of all times thankful that he was wearing a mask, otherwise Starfire would have seen the lie in his eyes. Though it did not matter in the end, since Starfire had not been convinced either way, obvious by the delicate eyebrow she raised while giving him a flat look. Being romantically involved with someone for two years tends to develop your skills to deduce your partner. Nightwing did not want to bother her with his own unexplained hunches, so he walked over to her and lovingly draped an arm around her.
"Let's go back to bed" he said before giving a quick kiss on her cheek and leading her out of the living room. He cast one last glance over his shoulder at the sleeping city, hoping with all his might that his hunches were nothing more than paranoia created by overworking. As he would discover in the future, they would have been more and worse than that.