Taking a break from my usual posts:
I thought I'd do a little crossover with Teen Titans and Legend of Korra. Note: no pairings involved in this. This idea came to me when I was thinking about Terra and how much she wanted to rid of her earth moving powers so she could lead a normal life. I began to think: what if she found out about Amon's campaign? And this is what came out of it.
Read, review, whatever. Just enjoy this drabble for what it is :P
She couldn't be sure of how—or at whose hand—it was that she had been set free of her rocky imprisonment. Terra could only be certain that one moment she was certain of her impending internment set in stone, and the next—she was set free of it.
The cavern she recalled sacrificing herself in lay dark and foreboding around her; silence so thick a knife could have been used to slice through it. She ambled her way through that complete and utter darkness, the sound of her movements acting as the knife to that intensely quiet atmosphere surrounding her.
She eventually made her way through the last turn toward a shaft of light. The first she had seen in what felt like an eternity.
Terra was contented by that, contented indeed—
Terra managed to find a place to stay, got enrolled in the local high school under the façade of a normal teen. That what the young ground-shifter wanted the most in her new lease on life. It's what she needed.
The terra-shifter had been freed of her earthly imprisonment for a week, and in that week she'd learn a good deal about what had happened in the city during her absence. Her former opponents turned allies—the Teen Titans—had departed the city for a time, on some global freedom fight against evil or something.
Terra wanted nothing to do with the crime-fighting business anymore; she still feared that her powers were unstable, and to use them even remotely might lead to her accidentally wrecking havoc on the city she'd sacrificed herself to protect in the first place.
The lump that formed in her throat every time she thought about the consequences of using her powers brought her to fervently search for a solution to her ailment—a way to bottle up those powers so they would lay dormant until a time was deemed where she could control them, or a way to eliminate their burden from her shoulders permanently.
She sought out any source she could across, from what she could uncover in Google searches online, to searches made in the library database. She couldn't expect the Titans help in the matter; she was sure that at least one of them might try to convince her to reconsider, and Terra couldn't deal with that. Besides—they were all off fighting some evil force on the other side of the world; they were too busy to deal with her issues right now anyways.
She searched and searched and searched, and she felt like she was at the end of her rope. Terra worried about how she'd manage her unstable powers long term if she didn't find an answer; there had already been a few seismic shakes the city brushed off as business as usual when it came to earthquakes in the region. But Terra knew—she knew that those quakes had not been merely coincidental or natural; she knew they were of her own making.
And that what had her worried in the long term.
Terra held the hand-printed note with the address up into view, double-checking that she got the address right.
In front of her loomed a luxurious Victorian era structure, its exterior a crisp indigo blue with navy trimming. As was typical of that era-styled architecture, one section to the side curved out to form an oval structure similar to the likes of a modernized tower—enhanced by its squat, rounded spire.
"Just as it described in the ad," Terra muttered to herself as she spied the address numerals on the front gate leading into the property. This blue hued Victorian standing before her with the neatly trimmed outer rimming bushes and the well maintained lawn was her last resort. An ad online had read that the owner of the business run in this old house had the solution to practically any problem—large or small, simple or complicated.
Terra assumed that was exaggeration in advertizing, but at the moment—it was all she had.
The advertisement claimed that the one who ran it—a graceful woman with ageless and somewhat exotic features, cinnamon eyes hidden behind neatly trimmed bangs, her straight jet-black hair running down past her waist—was a medium gifted with many other unique talents. Terra was always a little dubious about these types, but after witnessing what Raven was capable of she didn't take the practices for granted.
Taking a deep breath and then letting it out, she opened the entry gate and made her way up the walk to the entrance.
She spotted an ornate doorbell next to the entryway. Hesitantly, she reached out to press it. In the expanse that lay beyond the closed door she heard the reverberations of the tinny ringing noise continuing on for what seemed like an eternity. She then heard the mingling of footsteps approaching.
The door parted not two moments later.
"May I help you?" an older woman answered the door, a cheery looking round-faced woman who reminded Terra of her grandmother. The ground-shifter nodded, quiet at first, and then getting up the nerve to vocally respond.
"Is Lady Azalea in?" Terra spoke in a cracked voice. The old woman brightened up, nodding eagerly.
"Are you here for her services?" the woman inquired jovially. Terra again nodded.
"I have a one o'clock appointment," Terra replied.
"Ah, yes—you must be that lovely young girl, Tara from the phone the other day," the old woman stated. She opened up the entryway for the ground-shifter, giving a hand gesture to show herself in. Terra responded without another word.
"Her work room is just down this hall," the old woman spoke as she led the way to the top of the staircase to the second story.
"Okay." Terra's eyes were focused on the fixtures all around. The old woman drew her attention back towards her in an instant.
"What problem do you wish for Lady Azalea's help with?" the woman asked brightly, ginger hued eyes focused intently on the ground-shifter. Terra grimaced at the question.
"I'd—rather not say," Terra responded. The older woman frowned for an instant, but let it slide away as her smile returned to her face.
"If it is a matter you wish to keep between you and the Lady of the house, I shall respect your decision and ask no more," the woman assured her, continuing to lead the way.
The room Terra was left to wait in was dark, with blood rouge draperies drawn over the picture windows to block out the midday sunlight—or so it seemed. The room was lit by candle illumination—the flames of six squat, round candles forming a circle on a round wooden table in the middle of the room. In the center of the circle of candles rested a clear crystal ball on it's perfectly polished silver pedestal.
Terra took to one of the chairs surrounding the table, sick of standing on her feet for so long. She wasn't sure how much time had passed since she'd been left alone in this room, but it surely felt like an eternity.
She heard the doorknob being jiggled as she took her seat, her eyes aimed at the doorway as it slowly opened. Once the door was fully parted, in stepped a woman fitting the image on the website—the one Terra presumed was the Lady Azalea.
"Apologies for making you wait, I had to take an emergency call," the tone of the raven-haired woman sounded apologetic. Her scarlet lips curved up in a smile, she took her place across the table from Terra. "So, what may I help you with?"
"I read in your advert that you can solve about any problem," Terra began, shifting in her chair as her eyes met with the crystal ball at the center of the table. "I'm not sure you'll be able to help me, but—I need to find a way to deal with these unstable powers I have."
"What kind of powers?" Terra looked up to see Azalea's cinnamon eyes focused on her.
"Elemental," Terra responded. "Earthmoving powers to be precise."
"What do you wish to do with them? Learn to control them better, or...just—rid of them permanently?" Azalea inquired curiously, elbows resting on the table.
"I'd rather get rid of them—lead a normal life," Terra answered honestly. She looked at the Lady across the table almost pleadingly. "Is that something you could help me with?"
"Let me consult with my crystal ball to see if I have an answer to that for you." Terra rolled her eyes slightly as Lady Azalea concentrated all her attention on the crystal globe at the center of the table. Terra immediately bit back her disdain when the crystal globe became animated before her very eyes.
At the center of the globe a scene played out before her and the medium. Terra's eyes were fixated on the scene—that of a man wearing a mask over his face to conceal his identity and heavy clothing to block out any other possibly distinguishing features. The mask looked like something that had come from the movie V for Vendetta, with a large red circle painted at the center of the mask by the forehead. The sight brought back memories of her time as Slade's apprentice, but she held them back and continued to observe the scene playing before her uninterrupted.
"My fellow Equalists, the time has come to bring down the bending regime and restore the balance amongst the people!" the masked man announced to his shadowed crowd, their many voices rising in the background. Terra could hear the chorus of Amon, Amon being chanted by the masked man's gathering.
"Uh—can you explain to me what's going here?" Terra arched one eyebrow up above her question filled ocean blue eyes.
"I believe you are looking at the answer you seek," Lady Azalea answered. Terra shot her a questioning glance.
"A crazy man in a mask?" Terra remarked incredulously. "What good is some crack job in a mask gonna do me? Been there—done that. Nothing gained from the experience but misery."
"I believe this situation is different from the former," Azalea answered. "This man, I believe, has the answer for which you seek, unlike the man—I believe he was known as Slade—from before who only wished to exploit you for the use of your earthmoving gifts." Terra's eyes widened in surprise in response.
"I didn't tell you about the other man—um…Slade," Terra stuttered, voice betraying her slight shock. Azalea acknowledged with a mysterious sort of smile.
"You didn't have to," Azalea stated. "I could read it from you."
"I, uh—" Terra's mind was racing with a lot of thoughts she'd like to express, but she shrugged them off with a sigh. "Okay—so…what can this crazy masked man do for me that Slade couldn't?"
"He is capable of stripping away an individual's elemental ability," Azalea informed her. "In this realm you are seeing here, it's referred to as bending. You would be an Earthbender by their standards I believe."
"What's the masked man—this Amon's—method to doing just that, a wave of a magical wand, saying a few magical phrases, and poof! My pesky powers are gone?" Terra remarked critically. A small, amused smile slipped from the Lady's scarlet lips.
"From what I am able to determine from what I see—it's a matter of a certain maneuver he does with is hands, how he positions his thumb over the individual's forehead and the like," Lady Azalea informed her. "It looks very uncomplicated—rather simple, actually."
"That's it? The guy puts his thumb on my forehead and poof—bye bye earthquake inducing abilities?" Terra looked at the woman particular, eyes narrowed some. The Lady nodded. "If that's all it takes, how do I find this masked man—this man his fans are calling Amon?"
"It's a long and difficult journey that requires transporting between two realms, and it comes with a cost," Lady Azalea told her. Terra eyed her critically.
"What kind of cost?" Terra questioned her.
"Something of great value—but something you in particular won't mind parting with," Azalea told her.
"Does it have to be something physically existing, or can it be something that's not?" Terra asked her curiously.
"It can be anything, as long it is specifically given over from you to me," Azalea replied. "A memento, a thought, a past memory—as long as it is uniquely yours, its acceptable."
"How about my past memories as Slade's apprentice?" Terra asked her. "Those are memories of time I'd much rather put behind me—and I can't move forward while I'm still stuck thinking about them."
"Will you not miss the good memories that came along with the not so pleasant during that experience?" Lady Azalea inquired. "Memories of the friends you made, the budding romance between you and the young shapeshifting boy? Could you sacrifice those along with the others?"
Terra thought long and hard about it, and then nodded grimly. "If that's what it'll take to have a normal life—I'll make the sacrifice."
"If you are content with the price—I'll accept your exchange," Azalea told her. "Give me a day to prepare the portal between the two realms for you. I will have it set for you by noon tomorrow."
"I can agree to that." Terra got to her feet. She extended her hand towards the Lady. Azalea took it and shook it firmly with her own. "Thanks. You really don't know how much your help means to me. If this is a success—I'll forever be in your debt."
"Your memories will be enough to cover it," Lady Azalea expressed a crimson-lipped smile, teeth white and reflecting candlelight. "I expect your presence tomorrow?"
"Definitely," Terra rushed to the door. "See ya!"
Terra sunk into the depths of her school studies to pass away the next twenty-four hours. She spent the evening out with classmates of hers—a couple girls she soon grew to acknowledge as her friends; normal friends—friends that were oblivious of her terrible secret, her curse. Terra relished what could develop with their friendship and what could be further developed beyond that in the future. She had a strong sense of renewed hope—a sense that there was a promising future spreading out in front of her.
That thought made her happy—and it made those twenty-four hours pass quickly.
She stood in the entryway of the large Victorian at just the turn of noon. The plump grandmotherly woman showed Terra in and cheerfully brought her to where Azalea expected her.
The room Terra entered looked like a place for practicing witchcraft—what with relics of ritualistic nature adorning the walls, walls lined with shelves containing contents varying from worn books with indicative titles to aged glass vials filled with odd ingredients—both solid and liquid. One wall in particular was decorated with a chalked design in intricate and distinctive detail—lined with what appeared to be magical runes and written incantations.
Off to the side of all this stood the Lady, charms in hand and garbed in a simple yet elegant white robe that hung open and cut low in front. Her long raven-black hair hung luxuriantly down her back, contrasting with the ivory of her robe. The effect reminded Terra of the yin yang—an effect that seemed to carry to the whole of Azalea's presence. Lips painted scarlet along the heavy curves, cinnamon irises glowing with intensity, surrounded by an ageless and angelic face seemingly untouched by decades—centuries even—of living.
Terra hadn't noticed it before, but something seemed—otherworldly about the Lady. Like she didn't belong within the bounds of natural reality. She shrugged off that thought though, thinking it completely ludicrous. Azalea was of course a little different; she had the power to give her the answers she sought, help her out with a dilemma in a way nothing else could. Terra trusted in this thought and approached the Lady.
"Are you ready to make your journey?" Azalea's singsong voice resonated in the young ground shifter's ears as she looked directly at her. Hesitantly, Terra nodded. "Here, take this." The Lady hand her a charm. Adorned on it's front were four symbols—separated by four distinctly varying hues. The one surrounded in blue looked like a circle with wavy lines running through the middle; another—surrounded in a reddish hue—looked like a simplistically designed flame; the one in green looked like a rounded triangle with a swirly line in the middle; the last one had three of those same swirly lines clumped together and backed by an amber hue.
"What's this?" Terra indicated the charm.
"It's your passage into the realm Amon resides in," Azalea began to explain. "The four symbols represent the four existing nations in that realm—the four bending talents that exist there. You possess what they would call earthbending there. Bending is the manipulation of the four elements, as I mentioned before—water, fire, earth and air—and it's become Amon's mission to remove those properties from the world he exists in. He sees them as a threat in much the same way as you see your own ability—he will be the one who can help you achieve what you've always wanted."
"What do I do with it?" Terra looked at the charm oddly.
"Press it against the middle of the drawn doorway over there on the wall," Azalea pointed to the chalk-lined design with runes etched around it. "It will activate the portal required to pass through the two realms. There should be a similarly designed doorway on the opposite end in the other realm. Remember it—that doorway will be your portal back here, back home."
Terra examine the etching closely, noticing that the designs weren't drawn on the wall; rather, they were carved into it. She traced over every detail with her gaze, memorizing every loop, turn, curve and line of the design. "I'll remember that."
"Just step up to it and do just as I said, and you're set," Azalea stated, red lips curving into a secretive sort of smile. Terra followed her instructions without a rebuttal, pressing the elemental charm against the wall. In an instant, the wall framed within the carved drawing glowed with swirling incandescent blue light. The ground shifter stared at the blue illuminated before, took a deep breath, and then stepped forward.
And then—everything changed.
She stood towards the back of a row of arena seating. Nobody seemed to notice her presence there; Terra looked around at her surroundings of what appeared to be some sort of sports arena.
In the middle, beyond the rows of seats filled with cheering people, rested a platform island elevated above a watery moat. Atop that platform stood six individuals—three garbed in uniforms of varying degrees of gray and brown, the other three in uniforms in shades of cream and scarlet. Each player wore a helmet; two figures—one from each opposing team—distinctively stood out from the other four. One was the only girl in the bunch—a dark-skinned girl wearing her hair up in a ponytail. The other had his luxuriant raven-hued locks spilling over the front of his helmet.
Terra watched casually as the two teams duked it out against one another, water splashing, earthen disks flying and fireballs flashing forward. The ground-shifter didn't get the rules of the game, nor did she care. It looked like something Robin or Cyborg might find an interest in, but it certainly wasn't her cup of tea.
She leaned against the back wall, bored and wondering why she was here, watching this throw down between two teams of three. It didn't have anything to do with what was on her agenda—and it certainly didn't appear that this man she was looking for—this Amon—was present either. She yawned in boredom, her gaze glazed over as she only somewhat watched the activity going on in center stage.
She half acknowledged two teammates from the brown garbed trio mixing their elements in their attack tactics—hearing some bald guy towards the front of the crowd call the two out for cheating, and an authoritative woman comment in response. Terra yawned as the rocky water mixture struck a member of the over team.
After what seemed an eternity, the brown-garbed guys were declared the winners. Terra noticed the trio gloating over the win; she rolled her eyes at the display. She was thankful the event was over; maybe now she'd be able to move onto her real purpose for being there.
Just as she was about to press forward and ask somebody where the exit to the arena was, she heard electric static filling the air. Startled members of the audience were being electrocuted all of a sudden, crackling blue lines of electricity running from gloves that some members were wearing into their marked victims.
Terra was surprised she had not realized that some members had garbed themselves in preparation for this attack, how they half concealed their faces and went on a rampage through the crowd. The ground-shifter uttered a startled gasp of her own, almost attempting to use that ability she'd refrained herself from using to help hold off these attackers, when she made the startling realization that she couldn't interfere in what was going on. She'd tried to physically block one attacker from tackling the bald man from earlier, but the attacker passed right through her, and she stumbled and rolled out of the way, yelping as she made impact with the concrete floor below.
She got off to the side of the activity when she realized she'd be of no use to these people under attack. Instead, her eyes wandered towards the island platform, towards the trio who'd been gloating just mere moments earlier.
Now—now the trio looked uncertain—frightened. Of what? They were separated from the fiasco going on in the stands by a wide margin, a pool of water and some distance up in the air. And then Terra understood.
A platform rose up to meet the level of that trio, a group of individuals armed with shock gloves and electric sticks. Front and center of that group, one man stood out from the rest. Terra couldn't make out one distinguishing feature about their leader as an individual as he was garbed from head to toe, a mask covering the entirety of his face. The air of the man's presence was reminiscent of another masked man she'd worked under and fought against, the memory bringing a shiver up her spine. She stood there watching, steady on her legs, observing events as they occurred.
There was a short yet brutal battle between the trio and their new opponents. What made it brutal was that their elemental strikes made no mark upon their target, showing no threat to these new opponents, especially against the masked leader. The water manipulator made a futile attempt with his particular element before being apprehended and taken prisoner on center stage, brought to kneeling on his knees by force.
Terra watched as the young man, the one who'd looked so suave and arrogant a moment before up there on the platform, resorted to pleading to be spared the masked man's wrath. The ground-shifter, even recalling the way the raven-haired boy was before, started to feel sympathy for his plight now. Especially as his narrow eyes widened to unexpected extents while his whole ordeal continued.
After the masked man was finished with the trio, his subordinates tossed them off the side of the platform into the moat surrounding it. In the process the masked man made his declaration, his goal for the city—something he referred to as Equalizing—or something like that. Somewhere during his speech, his name was mentioned; the masked man was Amon.
After that the action picked up, and a chase of sorts began; and then—time stopped, everything just—stopped. Terra did an involuntary twirl around, investigating the origins of the temporal pause.
"Hey! What's going on?" Terra called into the stillness, nothing but silence. "I thought I was going to meet up with that masked man! What gives?"
"I thought it would be good for you to see a demonstration of what Amon aims to achieve beforehand," Terra couldn't see her, but she heard Azalea's disembodied voice, slicing through otherwise dead silence. "Test your determination in the goal you are seeking to accomplish. After what you have seen—do you still wish to proceed?"
Terra ran the scenario through her mind again: the game involving two teams duking it out against each other using elemental abilities, the win, the gloating, the chaos that followed in the stands—the arrival of the masked leader of some form of resistance calling themselves Equalists, a man calling himself Amon. As she recalled the accounts, she couldn't shake the eerie similarities the masked man had to Slade. It sent a shudder through the very fabric of her being. There was something very frightening about that man, Amon—
But, even so—if that man was the only one who could help her out with her predicament—she was willing to chance the meeting and get it done and over with. As long as there were no strings attached like there were with her short encounter with Slade—she was more than willing to meet with this Equalist Amon.
"Yes—I still want to go through with what we originally planned!" Terra shouted. "What I saw—it changes nothing!"
"If you are certain—" Azalea stopped in midsentence.
Terra waited for her to continue, but the Lady didn't. She wasn't prepared for it when reality began to blur and shift around her, and everything changed yet again—
All of a sudden, Terra awoke. She didn't recall falling asleep or fainting, or how she could've done either one. Terra shakily got to her feet, realizing as her eyes wandered around her surroundings that she didn't recall being where she currently was either.
Wherever she was—it was underground, in some intricate tunnel system somewhere—somewhere unfamiliar—almost alien. She heard feet shuffling nearby; she braced herself for whoever's presence might appear, instinctively setting herself up with relying on her inborn abilities without thinking about it.
She didn't know where she was or who might be approaching, but something in her instincts automatically jumped into survival mode. Protect, protect—defend. Do whatever it takes to accomplish that. Strike if the moment calls for it.
Finally, the approach of footsteps was met with a physical presence. A man in peculiar garb standing at the bend in the tunnel up ahead, he turned the corner, and caught sight of her. His voice rose in alarm, calling out to her, his words not registering in her consciousness at first. Finally, the words made sense, and Terra acknowledged that the man was questioning her presence. When she didn't respond, and instead took up a defensive stance, he charged at her.
With a battle cry, Terra let her abilities run loose. Her fists clenched, her eyes glowing amber, she felt the earth shift and tear apart, chunks of the rocky wall breaking free and launching in the charging man's direction. The man barely avoided colliding with stray pieces of stone aimed in his direction, managing to maneuver with the grace, speed, and flexibility of a cat as he continued pressing forward in her direction. She released a surprised gasp as he tackled her, sending a shockwave of electricity through her.
The ground-shifter crumpled to her knees before even they fell out from underneath her and she struck the cement, face first. The impact was painful, but not as much as the electrical current that struck her was. Before her vision faded on her, she noticed etchings on the wall, a circle of intricate line carvings and runes taking on the shape of a doorway. Her consciousness slipped away with that being her last lingering thought.
As she came to a second time, Terra felt a wave of pain rush through her. After it passed, she tried getting to her feet. That was when she realized she was shackled, hands chained to the ground. The ground-shifter fought against her restraints, letting out a frustrate snarl as she struggled. From somewhere off to the side she acknowledged the approach of footsteps. She looked up, noticing now how she was confined to a small space, behind a line of bars.
Terra continued to fight against her restraints until the footsteps stopped in front of her cell and their culprit came into view. She stopped, her blue eyes focusing heavily on the figure standing there, vision blurry for a moment. When it cleared she recognized, in shock, whom her visitor was.
"Amon," Terra uttered, her voice sounding harsher than she intended. All the while the masked man's gaze was upon her, shaded eyes drilling into hers. She froze up, uncertain of what to do, what to say.
"One of my people discovered you down here, said that you used your earthbending on him." The masked man's voice was deep, gruff—familiarly resonating. "Had to take you out to prevent further damage." He paced a bit, stopping once more to look her way. "It's people like you—benders that use their abilities to attack others without due cause—that has driven me to take on my campaign in the first place." He paced again for a bit, stopping once more to drill into her with his gaze. "I haven't removed your bending yet—but don't think I didn't intend to eventually. It's probably best you don't struggle and accept your fate, my dear—your shackles are constructed of platinum—a form of metal not even the best of you kind can bend."
"Don't worry—I wasn't planning to," Terra stated calmly. "I wasn't planning to escape either. Actually—I came down here looking for you, because—there's something I think you might be able to do for me."
"I don't do favors for benders," Amon replied curtly. Terra released a short burst of laughter.
"I think you'll do this one," Terra stated confidently.
"Why would you think that?" Amon questioned her sharply.
"Because—" Terra paused a moment, continuing with an extra added dramatic effect. "This earthbending ability that I posses…I want you to remove it for me."
The man had mirrored so many of Slade's mannerisms; it took her aback when her claim seemed to rattle him. It was hard to tell what he was expressing facially behind that ugly mask of his, but she could tell by the sharp intake of breath—the way his limbs for instant appeared to be putty underneath him as he swayed slightly on them, that she'd taken him off guard.
"You benders are so attached to your abilities—why would you want to lose your bending?" Amon's voice was under control, mostly, but there still existed a hint in it that she had him startled.
"You've got it wrong there," Terra claimed, continuing with, "I think of this ability as a curse—my curse. It's made my life difficult and made me struggle more to lead a normal existence than it's worth. I'd much rather lose it than keep it." She looked up at him, azure eyes calm and assured. "Is that something you could do for me—Amon?""
"I'd be more than happy to do that my dear," Amon replied. "But I do have to wonder if this isn't some form of trap? I've never encountered a bender that so willingly wanted their abilities removed like you do, and I do have to question your intentions."
"No trap—I'm deadly serious," Terra claimed, adding with emphasis, "My case isn't like any other earthbenders'. I can't control my bending, and it's been the bane of my existence. I'm afraid…if I keep them any longer…it might lead to some disaster that'll be my fault. I can't handle dealing with that ever again—not ever. I need this ability gone—and the sooner, the better." Her eyes met firmly with his, never wavering a moment as she spoke. Something about the masked man disturbed her, but she wasn't going to let this chance slip away from her. She was determined to get Amon to do what she came there for—and she wasn't leaving until he did.
"Why did you attack my man with your bending then?" Amon questioned her.
"I was acting on pure instinct," Terra informed him. "I woke up not knowing where I was or how I got there, and my defense mechanism kicked in."
"Very well—if your claim is true, and that is what you want—I'll grant you this favor," Amon told her. "First—can you give me confirmative proof that you mean what you say? I could release you from your shackles, or approach you to go through the debending maneuver, and you could strike me down while I'm preoccupied."
"How about this—if I dare make a strike at you while you're caught off guard, you have the right to call in your supporters to give me a beating—even kill me if they choose to," Terra offered. "I'm serious about my claim, and you have my word that I mean what I say."
"Your claim seems sound enough," Amon reached up to unlock the door to her cell. "Up for tackling it right now, my dear?"
Terra looked up, her ocean blue eyes bright. "More ready than you can even know."
The masked man approached her without hesitation and reached for her chin. He tilted her head upwards with his hand, their eyes meeting up. He then went forward with her proposal, going through the motions of the debending process.
She felt a shiver run through her as he compressed his thumb gently against her forehead. She closed her eyes as he went through with it, feeling relief at the sense of a heavy burden being released. She felt awash in sudden weakness as he continued, but even in that sense of weariness, she felt relief—thankful.
Her weariness sent her crumpling to the floor. Before she could harshly impact with the solid surface below her, she felt arms restraining her fall, setting her gently down. Her head came to softly rest against the floor, her eyelids droopy. She heard the rattling of chains and felt her wrists released from their restraints. She felt her arms being drawn in front of her in a more comfortable position, hands taking her up and carrying her. Her eyelids closed and her mind shut down as she was lifted off the ground and carried off to somewhere.
Where that might be—she wouldn't be able to determine until she came to.
It seemed to her a dream. When Terra's eyelids shot open, she was laying in the same place she'd awoken before. The tunnel was the same—unfamiliar, almost alien, and definitely underground. She struggled to her feet, feeling unexpectedly weak. Just as she got upright, she sunk back down to the ground. She waited a few moments before attempting it again, achieving success the second time around.
When she stood on her own two feet, she looked around, spying etching craved into the wall not too far down the way. Curious, Terra approached it, gasping in surprise as she realized the designs were familiar. The lines, swirls, runes—she knew this design.
"My doorway home—" she felt a lump in her pocket. She dug whatever it was out and brought it up to examine it. It was that charm she remembered Azalea handing to her. The charm that activated the portal that brought her here, and would open it for her return home.
She thought about that dream that was fresh in her thoughts as she awoke. Her confrontation with the masked man—with Amon—did it really happen? Did he really take her accursed powers away from her? She thought it might be good to test out a theory to be certain.
Terra attempted to call up her powers—pull apart the stone walls across the room and move the rocks themselves. Nothing happened; the stone wall remained intact, unwavering. She tried again, and again—until she could no longer doubt that it was real—that it was all real.
"They're gone, they're really gone—" She could barely contain her excitement. Her curse—Amon had lifted its burden off her shoulders. It worked!
Once she recovered from her excitement, she thought rationally. Terra needed to return home—the charm in her grasp was her ticket home. She called up what Azalea told her to do, remembering that she had to press the charm against the surface of the wall inside the circle of runes carved into it. As she thought it over she physically did it. The charm clanged as it struck the wall, and—just like before—a portal of incandescent blue swirling lights greeted her. Taking one last quick breath, she stepped forward, and entered the doorway that would take her home.
"Thank you for your help. I'll be forever grateful to you for it."
The young blond girl had hugged the Lady once she passed through this end of the portal.
"So—how do we go about handling the payment I owe you? How do you go about erasing my memories of the past—of my powers, Slade—and the Titans? "
"I will just take your memories from you, and you shouldn't face any repercussions in the process. The procedure is rather simple—it only requires me placing my fingers over your eyebrow ridge for a matter of moments. From there your memories will be drawn from your conscious mind up through my fingertips and into me. After that—those memories will never burden you again. They will be wiped clear of your thoughts completely."
"Well, if it's that simple—do you want to do it right now?" The girl's bright blue eyes looked up at her.
"If that's what you want—"
"It is." The girl's voice was confirmative.
"In the process of removing those memories, I will also be removing those of you recent encounter with the masked man, Amon," she informed the girl. The girl—she'd called herself Tara—took a moment to consider her options—think over the proposal. It didn't take long for an air of clarity to return to Tara's face, an assured smile crossing the girl's face.
"I'm okay with losing that memory too," Tara confirmed. "It's probably better that way. The less I remember about my burdened past…the better."
Azalea knew there was no convincing the girl, Tara, of reconsidering her decision. Tara was set in her decision, and there was no turning back.
When Tara left, she barely spoke a word to the Lady. With the loss of all her memories of her sordid past, she lost all recollections of her purpose in being there in the first place. She just stared at the woman with eyes spying a stranger, and Azalea showed her out.
Azalea wasn't her real name, and California wasn't her home either. She was more ancient than any living could believe—a few centuries had passed since she came into existence—even thought she obviously didn't look it. But this isn't Azalea's tale, and it isn't about who she is, was or will be.
As the Lady stood in the doorway, she heard a voice coming up from behind her.
"Her mission was a success, I take it?" The voice was rich, masculine. Azalea didn't have to turn to recognize the identity of the man—to know that it was the man encased in rust and black metal armor that was standing behind her.
"Yes—she has no recollections of her powers or her past with you," Azalea turned to face the man who had introduced himself as Slade.
"Just like we agreed," Slade stated. "Is the portal still open?"
"Yes—I believe it is."
"Good. I look forward to examining this new world you have opened up for me."
Something in the masked man's grasp caught Azalea's eye. Light reflected off its shiny, rounded surface, bouncing off the four symbols embellished on its front. Symbols backed with four different colors—blue, red, green, and amber.
Yup, open-ended. Not sure if I'm going to write anything further beyond this point, although I think I've got ideas I could use for it. In case you're wondering-Lady Azalea is modeled after XXXHolic's Yuko. I'm not sure if she should be her under a new alias or just have her remain modeled after. Whatever; I wasn't trying to be creative with her anyways, so don't get on my case if she drives you mad.
Hope you enjoyed this. The second half was rushed, so it's not best. Mostly written in one day. I had the beginning typed up a while back. but another project put it on the back burner.
Anyways, thanks for reading!