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Teen Titans Fan Fiction Jeweled Eyes: Emeralds (C(Rated for safety))

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by Anima, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

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    Jeweled Eyes: Emeralds (C)[Update 5-06]

    Hello all you people out there! Are you ready to rock??!!! ... alrighty then! Well this is my first ever series and I'm really looking to improve over it's course, so any and all constructive critisism is well appreciated. And worth it!! See the cookies? So please leave a review before you virtually leave.

    Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans, but this chapter takes place before Starfire was born on Tamaran so they aren't even in the chapter!!



    Jeweled Eyes: Emeralds

    Prolouge ::Fortold::

    Tr’eena. Every aspiring and ambitious reader knew this name, ‘reader’ being the formal name to those gifted with foresight. Tr’eena, to those few, was more than a name. For them, Tr’eena was a name synonymous with hope.

    To a group, almost a separate race, of people persecuted, feared, and isolated; to see one of them at the peak of Tamaranian politics was uplifting. Because of this one name, because if Tr’eena, the readers were not so heavily persecuted for their “sight.” They were safe in society for once. They could live in peace for once.

    Old in age and wise in mind, Tr’eena shuffled about her small cottage-like house. Slowly, patiently, she set her small kettle onto the stove and started to boil water. Some of it would go toward her evening tea, while the rest would go into her heating pad for the night. The present Grand Ruler, Emperor Myand’r, had long ago offered her a room in the palace, but she refused, preferring the intimate, little house. There she lived out her days, peacefully, as the Emperor’s personal reader.

    She knew that one complaint would be enough for the Emperor to give her a new room, or even a new house, but she loved her little house. She found that the small confines kept her in touch with the mystic forces that told her what she needed to know. She even kept with her an old pad of paper and a writing pen at all times, should the forces catch her unawares.

    As she waited for her water to boil, Tr’eena took her pen and pad to her porch so that she could perform her nightly survey of the stars. The Emperor would want to know the secrets they held the next morning.

    With patient eyes, Tr’eena watched the heavens above. The found that when she waited for her messages to come, they did so willingly. She could not force it.

    “The Spear of Grouth points east tonight,” she mumbled in her low, gravely voice. A small grin spread across her wrinkled face. “How the Queen will be pleased,” she mused. The Spear of Grouth represented the bearing of strong children, strong in will and mind and soul and spirit. Usually the stars that formed this constellation were skewed, breaking the spear at **** tip. This was an occurrence that upset Tr’eena, for she felt that no matter the times, the world was always in need of the strong.

    Having the spear in tact and pointing east meant that the child would be born to great power and she had heard that the Queen was with child.

    Tr’eena slowly and carefully wrote this down in her native script, an ancient form of Tamaranian. She had just finished recording a rough estimate of the crop turnouts when a sudden sense of foreboding and fear washed over her. The night sky, which had formerly seemed so peaceful and welcoming, now stared down at her with hatred, sorrow, and hostility. The sky was on fire. It was twisting and writhing, not with flames, but with pain. But she hardly saw that. She could hardly see anything anymore. But she heard. She heard, in the voices of a thousand readers, all gripped at the same moment with the same prophecy.

    Now rages, a war, between Heaven and Hell,
    Which only a mortal can conquer, can quell.

    Three beings shall come, all worlds to protect,
    For if the war is lost, each world it affects.

    The test shall be the final front of the war
    And throughout the galaxy its result shall pour.

    The advocate for Hell has since been chosen
    And shall this side win all life shall be frozen.

    But Heaven chooses not one life, but three,
    And on the terms of Hell they agree.

    The champions chosen shall each pay Hell’s price
    And go without Heaven’s grace and advice.

    One, two, three prices to pay.
    All has been agreed on this very day.

    Each payment shall be acknowledged in the form of a mark
    And when three marks are present the final battle may start.

    And the final battle between Heaven and Hell,
    Shall be fought in the place where the mortal first fell.

    Finally, after what seemed like hours, the spirits released Tr’eena and she slumped back into her rocking chair. Her eyes fell to the pad in her lap and she noticed that she had recorded the prophecy. She also noticed her trembling hands. Suddenly, Tr’eena heard quick steps coming closer. She looked up, clutching the pad to her chest and shielding it from view. This was unnecessary since only the eldest even remembered the ancient form of the language.

    “You there, Witch!” a small palace boy shouted, “Have you heard the news?” Tr’eena, too upset to comment on the rude name, just shook her head numbly. The boy smiled happily. “The queen has found that she will birth twins! Joyous news!”

    Slowly, the events clicked in Tr’eena’s mind. The Queen already had an older daughter and two more made three. She wanted to jump up and warn the planet of the ensuing struggle, but some force kept the words from coming out.

    So instead she forced a wise smile and told the boy something about reading the Queen’s palm. The boy seemed satisfied with this answer and turned to run back inside the castle. Inside her own hut, the kettle started to whistle, startling Tr’eena.

    Slowly, she stood and shuffled back into the hut. She moved the kettle off of the stove, but did nothing with it. She pulled out some incense and a match. With reverence she lit the incense and placed them around her small shrine to X’hal. She kneeled down and instantly fell deep in prayer.

    It was a long time before Tr’eena struggled to her feet and filled her heating pad with hot water. She did not have the appetite for tea. She carefully tore out the page with the prophecy and hid it in one of her drawers. She then slipped wearily into her bed and tried in vain to calm her swirling mind. Finally, she fell asleep, dreaming of bejeweled eyes.

    ---

    So that was the prolouge! The rest of the chapters look like they're about 5,000 words each, so it will be longer, don't worry. Please review!
     
    #1 Anima, Aug 3, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2007
  2. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

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    Well, that was a little strange. Even in fan-fics, not much gets said on Tamaranian society, so having a story that seems to be embedded in it is an interesting move. Then again, with talk of Heaven and Hell and all things Apocalyptic, it might not be. This being but a prologue, I'm not sure. I mean, though both the phrophecy, the setting and the story's title suggest Starfire's major involvement in things, you could well have a completely different lead (though, if Star is indeed one of the three Heaven reps, I can gues who the Hell one is;)). But what isn't so nice in reality is often great fun in fiction: I don't like surprises in real life, but I love stories where I don't know what's going to happen next.;)

    One way or another, I get the feeling this is going to be an interesting ride. I await more.

    -Matt A-
     
  3. Pun-3x

    Pun-3x Member

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    Well, it's definitely an interesting setup. The first thing you do is go through your memories of the comics and recap the cartoon to see what exactly this may all lead to. Eventually, I think you have to figure that we really aren't going to know where this is all going until the story REALLY gets started. At the very least, people will want to come back just to see where it goes.

    The prologue is well written. It seems silly to have to say so, but sometimes you read a story and its first chapter can indicate if the story will read smoothly or if we'll have to wade through grammar and spelling errors. It's always nice to see well-constructed writing, though on this board it seems to be much more prominant than on others.

    So now we must figure out exactly where you're leading us to. The primary character(s) has/have been put into play. We'll just have to see what the plot is all about.
     
  4. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

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    HI, I'm sooo sorry for long wait. Basically, my computer decided to die and I had to wait until it got fixed to update, but the good news is that I got a chapter and three-fourths waiting in reserve so updates will be regular until I run out of pre-made chapters. The bad news is that I am now in eigth grade and have science fair comming up so I probably will only have time on weekends.

    Sadly enough, I have little to no knowledge about the comicbooks of Teen Titans, so most of my references come from the show, although I do know a few key facts, so it won't be ridiculous or anything. I made a few changes to Tamaranian society, but other than that, it's straight.

    Before I start the full fledged story, I know that a lot of stories(even some of mine) have aged the Titans slightly. The show doesn't have a set age or anything but here's my take:

    Cyborg: 17
    Robin: 16
    Raven: 17
    Starfire:16(roughly)
    Beastboy: 15

    So that's the ages in my story. So, without further ado, here's the first chapter of the first story of four!!!

    Chapter 1 :Not a Kiss:


    Starfire shook her head hard twice. The first was to shake the sweat from her forehead as it was starting to get into her eyes. The second was to convince her mind that focusing now on her battle with Robin would be a very nice favor to her and her pride.

    “Come on, Starfire. I know you’re better than this!” Robin grunted harshly as he assailed her repeatedly with his fists and feet. Starfire ducked and dodged, slipping just out of his range to give herself some breathing room.

    Starfire sucked in air through her nose. Normally, she wouldn’t be this out of breath this early in the fight. Granted, she and Robin had been sparring for a while, but she usually had stamina enough to last this long without being out of breath.

    Robin advanced with a short, quick, combination of punches and kicks. He smiled inwardly as Starfire blocked them all excellently and returned with a flying kick of her own. He blocked her kick and dropped to sweep a leg under her, fully expecting her to avoid him in some way.

    He did not, however, expect Beastboy to dash into the gym followed by Cyborg, both shouting at the tops of their lungs.

    Apparently, Starfire did not expect this either as she looked up, startled, at the completely wrong second. Instantly, she was in the air, her head and feel having switched positions. Having only a split second to act, Starfire twisted her body hard and landed on her feet in a squat. The landing would have been perfect, had she not lost her balance, falling on her butt with a grunt.

    Starfire quickly let go of her hopes of maintaining her dignity, while at the same time, setting some new goals, most of which involving Beastboy and Cyborg’s immediate futures.

    “Beastboy, you better come back here! Face me like a man, you little twerp!”

    “Ahhh! Get away, Cy! It was for your own good!”

    Robin regarded the irritated Tamaranian as she closed her eyes and rubbed her temples gently. “You could have beaten me,” he said with a light frown as he extended his hand toward her.

    Starfire sighed inwardly as she grasped his hand and let him help her up. “Cyborg and Beastboy distracted me,” she replied levelly. She knew that the excuse was not one at all, but she also knew that Robin was capable of hounding her on this for hours on end.

    Robin rolled his eyes, though he knew that she couldn’t see it through his mask. “If you were focusing, they wouldn’t have distracted you,” he shot back. His tone held a stern edge, though Starfire noticed that he was still holding her hand. She groaned softly and massaged her temples again.

    “I need a shower,” she mumbled.

    “As does Robin,” came a soft, even voice from behind them. The pair turned to find Raven looking bored as ever. Noticing the sudden silence, Starfire looked up toward the ceiling on instinct. Sure enough, Beastboy and Cyborg were both suspended there in twin bubbles of (soundproof) black magic.

    “You know, you’re really demeaning sometimes,” Robin replied airily. Raven arched an eyebrow.

    “Is that so? Well, I suppose it takes all kinds. You’ll heal in time,” she replied, with a smirk. Done with her amusement at the Boy Wonder’s expense, she shifted her attention to the reason she had bothered to venture into the gym.

    Turning to face Starfire, Raven suddenly felt her aura spike and dim and level out again in quick succession. Raven jumped in surprise at the sudden spiritual activity, noticing that Starfire winced at the same moment.

    “Is something wrong, Raven?” Starfire asked, noticing her startled movement. Raven stared into her eyes intensely, not saying anything. She could sense the girl’s mood clearly, but it was almost as if there were two conscious Starfire’s inside of one. One presence was confused and worried, but the other was…

    Shadow?’ Raven thought, bewildered. Somehow, that was the only word for the presence. Dark, shapeless, in place, yet out of place.

    Starfire blinked, becoming agitated by Raven’s continuous staring. “Rav—”

    “Are you alright?” Raven asked suspiciously. Starfire looked back, bewildered.

    “I am fine. Why?” she asked.

    “Are you sure?” Raven pressed.

    “Yes. I mean, I have somewhat of a headache, but it is nothing damaging,” Starfire replied. Raven stared at her a moment longer and felt the shadow dissolve slowly, until she could not feel it at all. Darkly, Raven wondered if the loss was a positive thing, before letting it drop.

    “The reason I came, it looks like Galifore was trying to call, but no one was in the room to answer,” Raven said. “You might want to call him back.”

    Ever since Starfire had given the crown to Galifore, he had taken to calling her on the Titan mainframe instead of the private on that only she had access to. He had said that he wanted to get to know the friends that the princess spoke to highly of, all the while shooting significant glances at Robin.

    Starfire smiled brightly, if not a bit puzzled. “Thank you, Raven. I will call him back, then,” she said. Raven nodded.

    “I’ll be in my room if you need me, but,” she paused to wave her hand absently at the ceiling. Cyborg and Beastboy both came plummeting from the ceiling, screaming shrilly, before hitting the floor with a dull thud. “You won’t really need me,” she concluded as she disappeared through the sliding double doors.

    A confused silence reigned in Raven’s wake, punctuated only by Cyborg and Beastboy’s groans as they hauled themselves off of the floor. Starfire watched in a twisted sense of amusement, deciding that Raven had extracted enough revenge for her. They promptly left the gym, much quieter than they had entered.

    Robin looked at Starfire. “What was that about?” he asked, referring to Raven’s strange behavior. Starfire shrugged her shoulders.

    “I am not very sure, but Raven did not seem overly worried,” she replied. “I will be taking a shower, seeing as my fearless leader is quite demanding during training,” Starfire declared, glancing over her shoulder at Robin as she started toward the small set of showers just for Raven and she.

    Wanting the last word, Robin tightened his grip on her hand and spun her back to him. She ended up with her back pressed firmly against him with his arms secured around her waist. “Maybe I should come with you,” he murmured.

    Starfire smirked, envisioning the look of pure shock she would get if she actually said yes to him. That would serve to amuse her for a few days.

    Thinking better of if, Starfire laughed and looked at him over her shoulder. “You speak as if I would actually become clean that way,” she laughed. She turned to face him, without breaking his grip on her waist. “I am sorry, Boy of Wonder, but you are quite a distraction while one is showering,” she stated matter-of-factly, crossing her arms over her chest.

    Robin smirked, allowed himself a brief kiss, and released her. “Fine, fine, go do your shower thing,” he said with fake exasperation. Starfire laughed and stepped away lightly, heading to the shower.

    --!--

    Starfire sighed as she felt the steaming water run down her body. It certainly was a satisfactory jump start for her foggy mind.

    She smiled as the familiar smell of her watermelon scented body wash filled the room, perfuming the air heavily. Letting her mind wander, Starfire placed a small amount of the wash onto her cloth and began to wash. And, of course, her mind wandered right back to the object of her affections.

    It had been a happy, sad, and confusing two and a half months since they had both admitted to loving one another. Afterwards, Cyborg had told them, smugly, “I always knew it’d take a couple of buses and a gorilla to get you two together.”

    Rather, it had taken a near death experience and psychotic villain. Starfire shivered, remembering how helpless she had felt; how weak she had felt when confronted with pure agony. To make a long story short, Slade struck, for once, repeating one of his old moves. He planned on infesting Robin’s body with probes which would attack the pain receptors of his brain and cause agonizing pain which would cause too much stress for his system and eventually kill him. Unfortunately, his robots missed and hit Starfire.

    For two excruciating hours, Starfire was forced to endure the agony meant for Robin while her friends tried to disable the probes. And, just as predicted, when the clock struck zero, she died. Starfire smiled absently, thinking of her reaction to this news. According to Cyborg, she did die, clinically. Her heart stopped and she stopped breathing, but something shocked her heart into starting up again.

    Namely, Robin.

    From what she could gather, she had weakly and desperately confessed her own love for the blushing boy in… red… and fallen into a half unconscious state. Robin, panicking, had kissed her desperately, and Starfire, being a girl (clinically dead or not), felt her heart flutter. Which was enough to make it beat.

    Starfire was quite surprised to wake up and find Beastboy elated that he knew a real live zombie and Robin unable to keep his eyes off of her. Starfire laughed, knowing that her first kiss with her current boyfriend had been shared while she was mostly unconscious and under extreme physical pain. Needless to say, the new couple wasted no time in making up for the less than perfect first kiss.

    They broke up shortly after that.

    After getting over the initial shock of a near death experience the two had to admit that a personal relationship couldn’t be the safest thing in their line of work. With crooks, thieves, and villains running rampant in the city, the last thing either wanted was to give all of them a weakness. So they ended it, much to the shock and confusion of their teammates.

    They did, however, overlook one variable. You cannot cancel love. Even when the two had made the decision mutually and for the good of both, they couldn’t simply stop caring that way, especially when they knew that the feeling was shared.

    Needless to say, the next few weeks were awkward, to say the least. Robin avoided Starfire while Starfire avoided Robin. Neither could stand the smallest brush of the hand. All the while, Robin was pushing Starfire harder during training, thinking that if he couldn’t always be the one to save her then she damn well would.

    But then, after about two weeks, everything reversed. Not only did the awkwardness stop, but the pair could hardly stand to be in a room without the other. Light brushes happened so often that they could hardly be considered accidents and accompanied by the rare kiss on the cheek or forehead. After all, just because they weren’t “together” didn’t mean that they weren’t friends. Best friends, in fact.

    And then, one day, it was just over. They woke up in each other’s arms (courtesy of a late running movie night); their love being the first sight of the day, and knew that it couldn’t be done anymore. They couldn’t go through life pretending not to feel. Not to love.

    After that, it had been a world of surprises, for both. They tried to keep public displays of affection confined to inside the tower, but beyond that, Starfire discovered that Robin was not very shy. Of course, they both tried to be sensitive to the others, but in Robin’s words, “If I want to kiss you, I’m gonna kiss you.”

    Starfire turned off the water and began to dry, thinking of this and that. She almost didn’t notice that she was fully clothed in her usual outfit. Smiling to herself, she exited the showers, almost immediately catching sight of Robin, waiting for her against the opposite wall.

    “You waited just for me? I am touched,” she said, taking his hand. Robin grinned.

    “Come on, I’m hungry and you need to call Galifore,” he said.

    Starfire nodded. “Yes, but I think I will eat first. I do not think Galifore would mind.” Robin shrugged and kept walking.

    “I’ve got a sub left over from yesterday. It’s way more than I can eat. Do you want some?”

    Starfire shot him a look. “I assume that you are not speaking of the submersible in the basement,” she said. By now she was used to people saying things that seemed completely illogical. Her newfound motto was: If it sounds too incredible (or stupid) to be true, then there is a very good chance it isn’t. Robin smiled.

    “No, well it does get its name from that. Remember yesterday we got those long skinny sandwiches? They’re called submarine sandwiches, but really people only call them subs.”

    Starfire shook her head with an amused smile. “Yesterday they were simply sandwiches. I have never known a language as full of idioms and double meaning words. Actually, I believe that there are quite a few triple meaning words too. I do not know how you come up with all of it.”

    “Hey, it wasn’t me. How many languages do you know anyway?” Robin asked, curiously.

    “Um,” Starfire scrunched up her nose, counting. “I know six in all, I think. Two of them are from Earth.” They had reached the kitchen by then and entered. The sound of explosions reached them and Robin looked over to see Beastboy jumping in a circle as Cyborg pouted on the couch. He smirked, thinking that it was about time the cybernetic teen tasted defeat.

    “You know a human language other than English? What is it?” Robin asked with his head in the refrigerator. He pushed some things aside, looking for the long white carton that held his sandwich.

    Starfire had been waiting for him to come out of the refrigerator before answering, but he did not look like he would be soon. “I do not know the name. There are maybe two or three channels on the television that speak it exclusively, but I never thought to find out the name,” she said as she leaned against the counter.

    Robin glanced at her as he open the freezer, annoyance welling up inside of him. He doubted that the sandwich was in there, but there was always the chance that someone had taken it out to get something behind it and the put it in the freezer by accident (the switch was usually made by late night snackers). “It sounds like Spanish that you’re talking about. Por favor and gracias and things like that?” he asked, distractedly.

    “Please and thanks. Yes, that is it. Spanish.” She nodded. She could hardly do anything else if she did not want to start laughing. She watched in ever-growing amusement as he moved everything in the freezer around and still did not find the sandwich.

    “How’d you learn Spanish?” he asked, hardly paying attention to what he was saying. Starfire hopped up to sit on the counter and rested her elbows on her knees with her chin in her hands.

    “I am not completely sure, but I think it is because you know Spanish. You do know it, do you not?” she said, her eyes following his every move. Robin stopped his search to look at her.

    “Yeah, I know it. I had to learn it to get my high school diploma and after that I just kept up with the classes. How did you know?”

    Starfire shrugged. “Because I know it. You remember when I absorbed the language from you when we met? Well I think that because you spoke both languages fluently, I absorbed both. That may be why I had such problems communicating. I tended to want to use the Spanish style of grammar in English, hence the room of bathing instead of the bathroom.”

    Robin paused to consider this information, his attention already beginning to turn again. But suddenly his eyes snapped back to her. “Wait, you absorbed English from me? When did this happen?” Starfire looked back at him incredulously.

    “When we met! Well, in hindsight, I guess it could not be called a meeting, but it does count for something. Tell me you have not forgotten,” she said, anger threatening in her tone. Robin quickly shook his head.

    “Of course I remember us meeting. You tried to smash everything, including me, then I unlocked your arms and you kissed me and pushed me on my butt,” he said in a rush, eager to avoid her irritation. Starfire tilted her head slightly. Her anger having been replaced with confusion.

    “I never kissed you, Robin, not when we first met,” she said.

    “Yeah, you did. Are you telling me that you’ve forgotten how we met?” Robin replied with a smirk, moving closer to her. Starfire frowned slightly and tilted her head back in thought. Robin placed his hands on either side of her on the counter and waited.

    Suddenly, Starfire let loose a peal of laughter. Robin, caught off guard, just smiled wider. “What’s so funny?” he asked, leaning forward.

    “Robin,” she giggled, “That, um, kiss that we shared, did it feel anything like this?” she asked and then pressed her mouth firmly over his. Robin smiled and kissed her back. He seemed to overlook the fact that Starfire did not seem to be kissing him. After only a few moments of this, he pulled back, frowning.

    “What’s wrong?” he asked grumpily. Starfire laughed again.

    “That was not a kiss.”

    “I’ll say,” Robin grumbled. Starfire grinned and pressed her forehead to his.

    “That would have been me, if I did not already know your language. That is the way you absorb a language from an organism from another planet. That is how I learned English. I never kissed you,” she chuckled. Robin looked at her with his mouth open in shock and then frowned.

    “Well what does a kiss feel like?” he asked suspiciously. Starfire pulled away from him and swatted his shoulder playfully.

    “I think you know what a kiss is like,” she said, her eyes narrowed. Robin advanced into the space she left when she pulled back, trapping her between him and the counter. Starfire smirked, but leaned back further, turning her head away.

    “Well, now that I know what a not-kiss feels like, I need to compare it to a real kiss. Now, I can’t go getting that from Raven…”

    “You would not dare!” Starfire exclaimed, her eyes sparkling in amusement. Robin shrugged and looked back at her innocently. Starfire smiled coyly back at him and draped her arms loosely around his neck.

    “Well, when you put it that way…” She let the sentence trail into silence as she barely brushed his lips with her own. Robin rolled his eyes and mumbled something before surging forward and firmly kissing her. He hated that way she loved teasing him with stupid brushes like that. Starfire giggled at his impatience and tilted her head, allowing the kiss to deepen.

    Robin kissed her hungrily. His arms moved from the counter to Starfire’s lower back, his fingers gently caressing the skin exposed by her uniform. He kissed her harder as a throaty moan reached his ears and then switched their positions, so that he was leaning against the counter and she was leaning against him.

    Starfire gasped as Robin moved away from her lips, along her jaw, and down her neck. Pleasure rippled through her body and burning skin followed where his touch had been. She felt a cloudy haze descend on her mind. At first, she believed it to be one that she was used to with Robin, but she quickly rejected this assumption. The confused, distracted feeling that had plagued her during their training session was back now and somehow worse. She felt short of breath and grabbed at Robin’s arm. The combination of the haze and Robin’s touch was making her dizzy and weak on her feet.

    Robin’s ego swelled as he felt Starfire’s hand tighten around his arm. He smirked against her neck and kissed it softly, before he opened his mouth and exhaled slowly, letting his breath fan her neck. Starfire shivered, only serving to encourage him more.

    By now, Starfire had discovered that something was wrong. She tried to tell Robin, but all that she could manage was a soft whimper. She was already disoriented, but every kiss he laid on her skin only served to push her farther away from reality. She could scarcely move, torn between positively needing his kiss and caress, and wanting to push him away and find out what was wrong with her. Her eyes were half-lidded and somehow, she could not find the will to open them fully. Robin was everywhere. Robin was everything. She had to have him. She had to…

    No!’

    Starfire stumbled back from Robin’s embrace, her hands clamped over her mouth, trying desperately to keep the voice that was not hers from saying anything aloud. Her eyes were round with disbelief and she did not notice that she was still backing up until her back hit the opposite counter. Robin was starring at her anxiously as he stepped forward slowly.

    “Starfire, what’s wrong? You’ve been acting weird for days now. What is going on?” he exclaimed, loud enough to draw the attention of Beastboy and Cyborg. Both of the boys stood up, peering over the back of the couch and into the kitchen.

    Starfire hardly heard him through her own panic. She could not understand why she was breathing so rapidly, yet she did not seem to be receiving any oxygen. Irrational tears sprang into her eyes and spilled down her cheeks as her eyes darted to Robin, then Beastboy, then Cyborg, and back to Robin. She noticed her hands trembling just before she noticed that there was barely any part of her that was not shaking uncontrollably.

    Robin’s face paled as he watched one of the strongest women he knew break down right before his eyes. He had no idea what had caused her sudden panic attack, but a dull guilt gnawed at the pit of his stomach. Gently, but firmly, he grabbed her arm, pulling her toward him. “Tell me what’s going on. I can help if you tell me. We can help if you tell me,” he said softly. He had no idea if he could really help her, but at this point he was willing to say anything to get her calm again. The terrified look in her eyes only served to alarm him more, especially when the terror did not subside, but increased, when her eyes met his. He lifted a gloved hand and gently stroked her cheek, hoping to still her frantic emotions.

    Starfire’s eyes went wide as she felt him touch her cheek. She immediately started to thrash violently. Robin clutched her arms tighter, not knowing what she would do if he let her free. He hoped that he would not leave a bruise. “Stop! Stop it!” she screamed, never pausing in her desperate attempts to struggle away. “Let me go! Do not touch me!”

    Robin looked over his shoulder to see Cyborg and Beastboy already sprinting toward them. “Cyborg, come and help me hold her. Beastboy, go and get Raven, she might know what’s going on,” he shouted over Starfire. Beastboy sprinted out of the room without a word and Cyborg grabbed Starfire’s wrists and pulled them behind her back. Robin stepped back, confident that Cyborg could hold her for the moment. His eyes scanned the kitchen for the cause of her outburst, or for a solution to the problem.

    “Please, do not touch me!” Starfire cried again, the tears flowing freely now. “That is what he wants! Can you not see? That is only what he wants! Cyborg!”

    Cyborg shifted so that he held her hands in from of her with his arms holding her to his chest. He hoped that the position would both offer her comfort and keep her from hurting herself trying to get away from him. The latter worked, but the new position only seemed to threaten her more. He could hear her whimpering to herself, over and over, “This is what he wants, this is what he wants.”

    “Come on, Star. Snap out of it. Nobody wants anything from you! No one is here except for Robin and me. You’re fine,” he said to her. He kept his tone low and soothing. The tactic did not seem to work.

    Starfire trembled uncontrollably now, not knowing what was about to happen. Suddenly, a silky voice penetrated her thoughts, whispering to her where no other voice should be able to speak.

    “Such a big, strong man. I bet you feel the same pleasure from his touch that you do from that one over there. Maybe we should share. I promise, you will feel it too.”

    Starfire’s eyes went wide and she let a sudden burst of emerald flames erupt from her hands. Cyborg shouted in surprise and his hands loosened for about three seconds. Starfire did not need anymore time. Desperately, she sprinted forward, trying to find a way out, any way out.

    Suddenly, to her right, she caught sight of the main doors sliding open to reveal Raven and Beastboy, both heading toward her. Raven’s glance fell on Starfire and her hands were immediately enveloped in pure white smoke.

    “Let. Her. Go,” Raven growled, staring straight into Starfire’s eyes. The silken presence seemed to smirk.

    Tell your friend it is too late,” he gloated. Starfire stood completely still and looked back at Raven, her eyes pleading.

    “Help me,” she begged, her voice barely a whisper.

    And then, the world exploded.

    ---

    whew! Please leave a review on the way out. Thanx!
     
    #4 Anima, Aug 18, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2006
  5. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

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    I'm assuming the end of the world is only a metaphorical thing. Either way, it's still one bastard of a cliffhanger.:eek:

    That was an interesting chapter, it must be said. It opens with an amusing training/muck-around secene, then shifts abrupty to a surprisingly romantic couple scene, and then shifts even more abruptly to...well, it just gets plain freaky. It's the lightness of the first two-thirds that makes the heaviness of the final third all the more dramatic, though having the panic attack from hell coming out of nowhere is dramatic enough in itself, but it is a credit to you that the opening "filler" actually holds its own weight. I mean, hindsight tells me that it's obviously the set-up for the "panic attack", but the training session and everything else would work just as well without that in there. As anything involving the Teen Titans should be, there's plenty of funny moments to be found, my favourite being
    And then there's the romance. In my (admittedly limited) experience, a lot of writers treat the Robin/Starfire relationship as an excuse for vomit-inducing syrupiness and the odd voyage into borderline/open pornography. To be completely frank, there was a little of that in there (the kitchen make-out session, notably), but it was countered by what was really necessary: the sense that this was a real burgeoning relationship, perched on that knife-edge between romance and awkwardness. I also have to give you credit for the way the relationship was introduced: without warning, and having come about through what would've been an excellent story in its own right (though I had to laugh at "Starfire, being a girl (clinically dead or not), felt her heart flutter. Which was enough to make it beat."), and whilst being a damatic tale, is also completely irrelevant. Probably. Either way, you need stones to try something like that - "that", it must be said, also extending to the entire chapter - and it is both for the attempt and the success that I must give you full kudos.:anime:

    But as important as all this is, it still doesn't distract me from the big question: what in the merry hell is going on here? I await some answers.;)

    -Matt A-
     
  6. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

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    Uh-oh. Well it wasn't until I read that review that I realized that I forgot a very important point. I know that part in the middle was random but it wan't meant to be. It is actually a oneshot that I wrote some time ago on fanfiction.net. I put it in the story because I really didn't want Starfire and Robin to be just together with no reason to be. So if anyone wants to read it its called A Life for a Life and is linked here: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2547218/1/

    So other than that, a giant THANK YOU to Matt A. and Pun-3x. Long review that really made me think. So this chapter is dedicated to you two. Huzzah!!!(<--- hehe, that's my new word ^_^)



    Chapter 2 :Short Notice Exorcism:

    The world was on fire. It was one huge bomb that just kept exploding, over and over and over with no relief in sight. She could not stand anymore. Her knees buckled and she hit the floor, hardly knowing it. It was just too much.

    “Starfire!”

    Raven’s eyes snapped from Starfire’s agonized form to Robin who was sprinting toward her. Her eyes wide, Raven quickly mumbled her mantra and opened a small portal under her. She knew it was almost a waste to teleport herself the few feet, but it was essential that she reach Starfire before Robin did.

    Raven dropped into the portal and appeared again, an instant later, crouching in front of Starfire. Again reciting the words, she threw up a black barrier around both she and Starfire. She watched as Robin skidded to a halt and winced when he hit the wall with his fist, creating a delicate pattern of thin, white cracks. She assumed that he was acting on adrenaline and ignored the show of violence.

    “Raven, what the hell are you doing?” Robin shouted, frustration and worry flowing out through his words. Through the wall, he could see her turn away from him and stare at Starfire critically.

    “There isn’t time. All of you be quiet.” Her voice seemed to come from the wall instead of her, inside. Robin bit his tongue to silence all of the things he wanted to say back, telling himself that Raven knew how to help Starfire better than he did. Cyborg laid a hand on his shoulder, silently lending him strength. Beastboy had yet to move, watching the display with a blank expression.

    Raven still did not dissipate the barrier. She turned her attention to Starfire, who was panting with a whimper now and then.

    Something exploded. Again. A rush of water that tore across her ears followed each explosion and she was sure that they were bleeding. It took her a long minute to realize that the explosions were her own heartbeat.

    “Starfire.”

    Her name, though spoken so softly, threatened to implode her head if she had to endure it much longer. As irrational as it was, everything was one volume, painful. But she recognized the voice, though magnified. She recognized the slightly scratchy sound of a voice not very used. It was Raven.

    “Raven,” she panted, “I need your help. Please.” Her voice cracked and she pressed her hands harder to her ears. Suddenly, the skin on the center of her forehead began to burn harshly. She did not move or flinch, knowing that she was feeling the touch of another on her oversensitive skin. Tenderly, her own hand curled around Raven’s wrist, feeding off of the power she offered. She knew what she had to do to make her body hers again. Her mind receded halfway into her subconscious.

    Starfire opened her eyes, ignoring the near-blinding light she encountered. Her eyes locked onto Raven’s and Raven looked back at her. Both knew exactly what was happening, the only two who did. Raven’s eyes were questioning, but determined. ‘Are you ready?’ they asked. Starfire nodded and let her eyes slide closed. With some difficulty, she opened her mind to the force asking entrance. Everything went black, and the pain was gone.

    Beastboy watched worriedly as the wall Raven had put up melted into nothing. Raven and Starfire were completely still, Raven with two fingers on the center of Starfire’s forehead and Starfire with her hand around Raven’s wrist. Both of their eyes were glowing with an eerie white light, though Starfire’s was tinged with green while Raven’s was tinged with blue. He approached the pair cautiously and reached for Raven’s hair. He jerked his hand back though when he felt something like a bad static shock hit his finger.

    Looking over his shoulder, Beastboy took in his two remaining conscious friends. “I guess we have to wait now, huh?” he asked, trying to sound calm and in-control. The two nodded dumbly, silence holding their voices.

    -!-

    Raven was completely still as she took in her surroundings. Knowing Starfire, she had always thought that her mind would be some field of flowers, or a forest clearing, or something utterly fluffy. Of course, she had overlooked the obvious.

    She was in the palace, Starfire’s home on Tamaran. The floor was made of large slabs of sapphire and green marble, swirled and mixed intricately, shining and freshly polished. The walls were a smooth, sanded, green stone. Everything was perfectly clean and in its own spot. The room radiated Starfire and her aura.

    But it did not have a door.

    Raven did not move. She stared hard at the room she was in, thinking hard about her visit to Tamaran. She had taken care to remember every aspect of the otherworldly visit, knowing that she probably would not get the chance again anytime soon. She could remember every detail, as if recorded in a picture, and the two pictures she compared did not match up.

    Concentrating, Raven waved her hand, as if pointing out the flaws to someone else. Slowly, but with gaining speed, each of the things her eyes landed on changed, until she was left in a room totally different than the one she began with.

    The floor, which was formerly so beautifully maintained, was cracked and scuffed and dulled beyond the ability to recognize it as marble. Some of the walls were knocked down completely, while the others bore deep fractures and craters. Tables and chairs were strewn everywhere, along with bits of scrap wood and a cotton-like material.

    Raven was standing in a battlefield. The fact did not seem to influence her and she moved toward the largest hole in the wall, incidentally, the one closest to the door. She walked quickly and though her steps were light, they echoed in the broken, empty room.

    “Starfire?” She took a chance and called out to her friend. This being her mind, Starfire would have gotten there a good five minutes before her, giving her time to have found the intruder in her mind and attack.

    A shadow to her right caught Raven’s attention and she spun, holding her hand in front of her, incased in black. “Who’s there?” she asked clearly, keeping any emotions off of her face. She stared hard at the shadow cast by a large column, one of the few still in tact. She could see the eyes staring back at her. Deep, crystal blue eyes.

    “You saw through the mask.” A movement followed the statement. Slowly, a man stepped from the shadows, though Raven was not sure whether it could be described at that. Long, blue hair flowed from his head while a pair of triangular ears sprouted from the top of his scalp. A furry, blue tail protruded from his backside and hung down, a few inches of it heaping elegantly on the ground. The rest of his features left him looking like a tall, tanned, human male.

    Raven stared at him silently, before nodding. “I did. Are you the one who has trespassed here?” The man smiled at her.

    “That, I could ask you, but I will not. You are an ally, like me.” He seemed completely sure of himself and her silence did not seem to affect him in the least. Raven wondered if this could be one of Starfire’s emotions, maybe calm or serenity. It was unlikely. To have spilt emotions the way Raven did was something that was both hard to maintain and hard to initiate. People’s emotions tended to want to mold together to be one identity and to keep them separate took a thorough knowledge of many spells and their theories. It was possible that Starfire could have done it, but Raven was sure she would have sensed such an amount of power in use.

    “Where’s Starfire?” Raven asked, lowering her hand. Whatever she was facing was a part of Starfire’s mind, which meant that it knew where the conscious Starfire was. She had to find Starfire, hopefully, before Starfire found her intruder.

    Her guide grinned, turned without a word, and began walking. Raven took this as a sign that he was going to lead her to Starfire. For a few seconds the walk was uneventful, until her guide began to change.

    The ears on top of his head crawled down to normal placement and reshaped themselves. His tail faded and disappeared completely and he shrunk in stature to her height. His tanned skin paled to almost a gray color and his hair rose to about chin length. Subtlety, his features morphed from male to female and his clothes reshaped around him.

    Raven stared in shock as she watched herself walk away. She stopped walking in her surprise. Her new twin turned and tapped her foot impatiently, her arms crossed in annoyance.

    “What?” he(she?) asked, irritation evident in her voice. In his transformation, he seemed to have taken on her persona as well as her looks. Raven promptly closed her mouth and shook her head, though her eyes were still wide. She wanted to ask a question, but she did not have time. She began walking again and her clone turned and led the way.

    The pair was walking for a good five minutes and in that time Raven had time to wonder if her cape really made her shoulders look so wide, while her mirror image took the time to become Robin, Galifore, a Tamaranian looking male, Beastboy, and Cyborg, and start all over again. He was striding along in Robin’s form when the sounds of explosions began echoing along to them. Raven’s senses sharpened and she took to the air, flying out in front of the incredible changing guy.

    Raven turned the corner and was suddenly confronted with a fierce battle. The green energy blasts that Raven associated with Starfire were flying toward one end of the room, with Starfire flying around the other end.

    Raven had seen Starfire furious before. It had not happen very many times, but once, when a guy at the supermarket grabbed her backside, the Titans got a taste of Starfire’s rage. Strangely, this rage had never come out in battle. When Robin turned on them, when Slade held their lives in his hand, even when her sister and she fought, they had never seen this rage. But the moment someone violated her, she snapped. The guy was thrown clear to the other side of the store and Starfire was speaking five different languages for about an hour.

    There, Raven watched Starfire become furious. Her eyes glowed a fierce green and tinged white and she shouted incomprehensibly in a language that Raven suspected was made up. Raven shook her head, hardly keeping the smile off of her face. After seeing Starfire crippled with pain, it was satisfying to see her fighting like she was the only one who could save herself.

    Raven flew in beside her, pulling power into her hands. She watched in awe as Robin became the Tamaranian male and flew up beside them both.

    “Starfire, I see you’ve found the intruder,” she commented though her eyes lingered on the flying male beside her. Starfire’s eyes closed briefly as she regained enough calm to speak understandable English.

    “Yes, I believe he is almost ready to leave,” she growled. She gave the other Tamaranian a meaningful look and he flew down, into the smoke. A few seconds later, he emerged, holding an unhealthily thin man by his collar. The man was humanoid, with bloodshot eyes and thin, pasty skin. He wrung his thin, bony hands nervously and his eyes darted to all corners of the room. Starfire flew forward, glaring down menacingly at the pasty man. He seemed to shrink under her fuming gaze.

    “Ah, your…” he paused to swallow nosily. “Loveliness,” he panted. “How long has it been? Are you going to give me a hug, hmm?” He had a high, whining voice that immediately made Raven want to back up. Starfire snarled.

    “I see you are much more complimenting now that you have no power. You should have known better, seeing as I was taught by the best.” She floated all around him, surveying him from every angle, while the morpher alternated between the Tamaranian, Raven, and the dog-man. Raven supposed that these were the only forms he had that flew.

    “I come with a message, your wrathfulness,” he whimpered. Starfire glowered down at him.

    “Which would be?”

    “Your great and powerful birth giver and sustainer requests a meeting,” he said in a rush. Starfire’s eyes blazed with emerald fire and she lunged at him. Luckily, the morpher backed up a few feet clearing its throat. Raven did the same, touching Starfire’s arm. This seemed to remind her of Raven’s presence.

    “The great and powerful— such complete— Ella es como gran y poderosa como la suciedad que mancha el palacio que ella destruyó!” Starfire hissed. Raven blinked, wondering when Starfire learned Spanish. She pushed the thought away, just thankful that she was calm enough to keep her sentences in one language.

    “Her powerfulness realizes that you are busy with your,” he sent his shifty gaze toward Raven before his eyes darted back to Starfire, “friends and would be happy to come to you in your home.”

    Starfire’s eyes narrowed dangerously and she grabbed him away from the morpher. “Get out, now,” she growled and dropped him. He fell a few feet before blinking out of view. Raven felt his presence vanish with him and breathed a sigh of relief. She shot Starfire a sideways glance.

    “Didn’t look like you needed me that much, huh?” she asked. Starfire, who had been massaging her temples in irritation, looked over at her in surprise.

    “No no, Raven. I do not think I could have come here without your help,” she said, gesturing to the palace. “I usually come here only in my dreams. I have never come here without going to sleep first. It is quite a strange feeling.” Raven nodded.


    “It can be. Can you answer a question, though?” Starfire looked at her warily.

    “Maybe,” she answered carefully. Raven gestured at the fake Robin who was watching them both with an almost hidden smile.

    “What is that?”

    Starfire studied him carefully. She was never really sure how or when that had come to her mind, but she did know that it only took the shape of a few select people. It had not been there her whole life, but well before she came to the titans. It was very protective of her though. Whenever she found herself in her mind when she slept she would find him and tell him about her days, her fears, her hopes. It would always tell her to stay there, with him, away from all of the negativity.

    “That is my guardian. It takes the form of those who would protect me,” she said. Raven seemed to accept that answer. They watched him become a few different people before Starfire cleared her throat. “We need to leave. The boys will be worried for us.” She felt a twinge of guilt, but immediately pushed it away. She knew that she would really feel it later, but she had no time now. She had too many things to do and too little time to do it in. A thousand plans and tactics were already playing themselves out in her head. Risks, probabilities, all of them presented themselves and moved to the back of her mind. She was analyzing the best way to get what she wanted. It was almost too easy to do it. That was what she hated.

    Almost two years she had not had to use that part of her mind, but the moment she had to it was back and working like she had never stopped. The moment it became necessary, she became who she was before the Titans. She had secretly praised herself for shedding the mindset of a warrior princess and acquiring one of a decent individual, one whose manipulative skills were lacking because they hardly ever used them. She had always wanted to be someone like that. She had never wanted to be the person she was.

    When she arrived on Earth, she saw her chance. It was her chance to be someone else. The people there had never known her, and what was more, never asked about her past. On Earth, she could be anything. She could be anyone. She did not have to be what she was.

    She thought she had changed.

    “Yeah,” Raven answered. She ignored the gentle nudge she felt in the back of her mind, meaning that Starfire wanted her out, whether she was aware of it or not. Starfire did not meet her eyes, but instead stared at the ground, as if deep in thought. “I’ll make a way for you too,” she added before her eyes slid closed. She lifted her arms to her sides and then out in front of her. Her finger twitched once before a thin, white-blue disk appeared before her.

    Raven looked up at Starfire once more, only to see soft disappointment replace the normal cheerful glow. She let her eyes linger on her friend as her fingers barely grazed the disk and transported her through the portal into reality.

    If she had stayed for only a minute longer, she would have seen Starfire’s guardian morph once more, into a new form, one it had not assumed in years. Starfire watched with mixed feelings as a younger, thinner, battle-scared, and ruthless form of herself watched her with contempt and suspicion.

    -!-

    Their eyes went out. Cyborg was not sure whether he liked that result or not, but it was the most excitement the three boys had seen in the last five minutes. They all had been sitting, ever so silently, since the wall Raven had put up went down. No one moved and no one spoke, although some fly somewhere in the room did not seem to have picked up the somber mood. The stupid thing was just buzzing away, so happy to be alive. How could it not see the two people sitting right in the middle of the room who had ceased any and all movement for an entire five minutes? They did not even seem to breath they were so still. And that damn fly just kept buzzing.

    Robin flinched as the stupid thing flew into his left temple. It flew into the same spot again.

    And again.

    And again.

    With a quiet grunt, Robin tried to grab the idiot insect but it zoomed away, swerving drunkenly. He tried to follow it with his eyes, watching for if it came back, but he lost in the shadows of the couch. He settled back into his spot grudgingly. His eyes went back to monitoring his two teammates for any sign of movement, though this activity had been in vain for the last few minutes since he started. His nerves were tight and he had no idea how much longer he could take— THAT GOD-DAMN FLY AGAIN!

    Again, it hit the exact same spot. Counting to ten, Robin hoped that the brain-dead fly would just buzz away like any other crushable being, but again, it seemed to want to force its way into his brain. Again. And another time for good measure.

    Buuzzzz—Ptt.

    Buuzzzz—Ptt.

    Robin breathed deeply, determined not to let this insignificant bug push him over the edge(PTT!). He was the leader of the Teen Titans(PTT!). His team depended on him to be collected at all times(PTTPTT!), not just when times where rough(PTT!). He would not be broken by some idiotic fl—

    SLAP!

    Robin clutched the side of his face, more in surprise than pain. Beastboy stood over him with his head bowed in irritation, his hand poised for another attack on the offensive creature. Robin jumped up and tried to hit him back but he ducked, oblivious, but looking for the fly.

    “What on Earth did you hit me for?” Robin snarled. Beastboy, who remained unaware to his anger, kept looking for the fly.

    “Stupid fly was driving me crazy!” he exclaimed. A vein pounded on Robin’s forehead, but he tried to contain his anger.

    “Did you at least get it?” he asked through gritted teeth.



    Buuzzzz—Ptt.



    “…” Robin stood completely silent, desperately hoping that something, anything would happen to relieve the tension in his muscles before they twitched and ended up with his hands around Beastboy’s neck. His prayers seemed to be answer, though not in his ideal way.

    The lights that had replaced the two female Titans’ eyes snapped off and were replaced by the delicate skin of their eyelids.

    “Hey, they stopped glowing!” Cyborg exclaimed, coming closer to the pair. Robin’s head snapped up, just as he heard Starfire gasp. He watched as her eyes flew open and she lost her balance, falling back on her backside, not for the first time that day. Raven smirked, despite herself.

    “Sorry. It can be a little disorientating the first time,” she said, offering Starfire her hand. Starfire took it, this time, having no time to think of her bruised dignity(or butt). Once she was on her feet, she looked up at each of her friends before her gaze came to rest on Robin. Of all of them, he would be the one she needed to concentrate on the most. The others would trust her with little to no persuasion. Robin, however, was exponentially more protective. After what he had seen, he was not going to let her go anywhere until he had an explanation, something she could not give him just yet. Sighing, she began her task.

    “Listen to me, quickly, I must go to meet someone and you must let me go alone,” she said, stepping forward and looking mostly at Robin. As she had expected, Robin frowned immediately and opened his mouth to protest. She did not expect for Cyborg to be the one to beat him to it.

    “After what we just saw? All of that and you want to go off by yourself? Sorry, but I don’t think we can do that,” he said, crossing his arms. Starfire looked at him, surprised. Honestly, she had expected him to be the most supportive of her declaration.

    “Please, do not do this,” she pleaded, hoping that she may not have to lie to them this time. “I am,” she paused looking away from all eye contact, “sure that you will know everything soon, perhaps even more than I would have you know, but now I need you to trust me just a little longer.” Trust. That had been one of the keys to her freedom. None of her friends wanted to be accused of not trusting her and she knew it. She added another few pangs of guilt to the reserve she was to feel later.

    “Starfire, this isn’t about us trusting you. This is about you trusting us. What are you hiding and why are you hiding it from us?” Robin asked. Starfire looked up in shock. Robin was not supposed to see her secrets. He was not supposed to sense the half of the truth that she was leaving out. Her frustration began to show through.

    “Listen to me,” she said, and edge to her voice. “My life is not the one at danger here. If I do not go, alone, without you, then innocent people will be hurt. People who have nothing to do with what I need to do.” She did not tell them the names of these innocents. She left out the fact that those in danger were in her presence at that moment.

    Robin opened his mouth to protest once more, and once more he was interrupted, this time by Raven.

    “Let her go,” she stated. Her eyes pierced Starfire for a moment before she turned to look at Robin. “We can’t keep her here anyway.”

    Robin gritted his teeth. With Raven against him he could almost feel himself loosing that battle. On one level, he had a feeling that he had to let her go. Something was telling him that letting her go would be more beneficial that keeping her, but his protective side wanted to keep her in his sight.

    Starfire stepped forward, not wanting to waste Raven’s words. “I have my communicator. You have my frequency. Give me two hours and if I have not returned, I will need you to follow my signal.” She looked into his eyes for a moment. The statement was meant to reassure him. She was not running away from anyone.

    She quickly took to the air, before anyone could stop her. Within minutes she was gone, leaving behind a tense silence.

    “Cyborg, pull up her signal and track it,” Raven said, as soon as she saw Starfire out of the window. It looked like she was headed toward the city, but Raven did not want to follow her too soon.

    “Why? You were just saying that we needed to let her go,” Cyborg questioned with a scowl. Raven gazed back at him stoically.

    “We do. If we had kept her here we would not have learned anything. She’s going to meet someone and we’re going to follow her. It’s the only way we’re going to at least start getting answers,” Raven replied. “So get her signal before she gets too far away.”

    -!-

    Starfire finally came to a stop in a small clearing in the forest. She had taken great pains to be sure that the spot she picked was far from the city limits. She hoped that the distance was enough to keep the ones she was here to see from thinking of damaging the town. It had certainly been through enough traumas without her bringing her past into the mix.

    Starfire almost snorted. How ironic that the place that she used to run from her past now needed her protection from it. She found that it was not the amusing kind of irony either. More the cruel kind that made you sick to your stomach. She was definitely feeling sick.

    She stood still for a moment, listening to the sounds of the forest. The sun was only just beginning to set, but it would be dark soon. She had noticed that once the sun started to set, it did so quickly, almost too quickly for her tastes. She knew she would not meet anyone until the sun was at least half way down the horizon.

    It was a cowardly tactic, but one she knew they would use. Her power was drawn from the rays of the sun and she was much more powerful during the day. Of course, they would not want to fight her while she was in her element, while she had even a chance at being powerful.

    Starfire looked up, surveying the sky. The first few stars were beginning to peak out. She was expecting them in maybe ten minutes. When they would be sure that she was weakened. Starfire sighed and sat in her spot in the center of the clearing. She remained alert though. Sometimes it was more dangerous to fight a coward than someone brave. Cowards fought dirty.

    Her mind was absolutely closed to any and all. The intrusion earlier had put her on edge and she had no intention of letting it happen again. She berated herself. Her guard had been down, something that she thought was up at all times. ‘Although,’ she reasoned with herself, ‘it was not as if I had to protect myself from Raven. Over the years it was just wasted energy. They were not supposed to find me.’ Starfire sighed. Funny how things were not working the way they were supposed to lately.

    Starfire’s eyes snapped upward as a whooshing sound caught her attention. She dived to the right, landing in a graceful roll and onto her feet. The space she had previously occupied exploded in a rush of heat and light. The hit would not have injured her, but it would have hurt.

    Emerald power encompassed both of her hands and took over her eyes. Sure enough, she felt the last rays of the sun leave her skin and with it her sense of security. She would have appreciated any and all advantages, the sun being the first on her list. Or maybe second, coming after her friends at her side.

    Starfire mentally shook her head. The sun had gone down and her friends were not there for the protection of their lives. ‘Or is it the protection of your secrets? Perhaps, your sins? Maybe your shames?’ a small voice, completely hers, asked in a rough voice. Starfire’s eyes glowed brighter.

    No matter the reason, she was on her own. She was to fight this battle herself, as she felt she should.

    A swirl of darkness suddenly manifested itself before her, the black tendrils whipping around in a tornado, almost cutting her arm. She watched the isolated storm as it lessened in ferocity and from it stepped two forms. The first stepped forward straight and tall. Flaky white skin stretched thin over bones with little to no actual flesh. Taller than average, he gazed almost longingly at her with red, bloodshot eyes, no pupils in sight. His pale skin made his jet-black eyebrows look almost sharp. He was clothed in a thick, black, velvet material very much like a robe. Black boots barely were visible under the long garment. His hands poked out of the black material, clasped together in front of him almost nobly.

    This man stepped forward a few steps, but another immediately moved in front of him. Starfire scowled deeply, a profound hatred balling in the pit of her stomach as the figure took shape.

    She was a tall shapely woman, holding a good two inches on Starfire. Her curves were accentuated with the black skin-tight shirt with soft black pants to match. Her sleeves were made of a sheer material that draped regally from her arms, showing off the orange-tinted tanned skin, characteristic of most Tamaranians. Her scarlet hair cascaded over her shoulders in waves and she smirked at Starfire with darkly gleaming indigo eyes which Starfire had to convince herself were not black. Her stance, her eyes, everything about her radiated a playful sensuality which never hinted at the immense power or black soul Starfire knew was there.

    The woman smirked playfully at her. “What a reunion, you see Xuun? My long lost baby. Dear child, what did I tell you about wandering away from my side at the market?” her silky voice almost purred out. Her voice was soft and voluptuous, with an edge of danger, the epitome of femininity. Starfire knew of many who had fallen pray to that voice, to those eyes. The ball in her stomach clenched.

    “Quickly, quietly, and never look back?” Starfire answered, her voice thick with a Tamaranian accent. A soft chuckle floated to her on the cool night air.

    “Hostile as ever. I suppose I may always count on you. However, is a hug just too much to ask?” she asked with a mocking smile. Starfire snarled.

    “It is. I doubt my skin could withstand the sting of a traitor, a murderer, a torturer, let alone all three at once,” she snapped. The light smile from the older woman dimmed some and her eyes flashed.

    “Have it your way,” she said, raising her hands. Around them appeared a pool of pearly fire. Her eyes reflected the pure glow. “Pleasantries aside, answer me a question.”

    Starfire dropped into a fighting stance and pulled one of her hands back, ready to fire a projectile forward. Her other hand rose, ready to shoot one straight if she decided to surprise her. “Would it really be worth it?” Starfire asked quietly.

    “How close can I bring you to death, without you actually leaving us? I plan on having that pleasure later. Sweet child, exactly how much can you take?” Starfire clenched her jaw, but remained silent. For once, the smirk completely departed the lovely woman’s face.

    “No matter, I will find out myself” And with that statement, the vixen released a flurry of white-hot fire. Starfire watched motionless as the wall of fire burned toward her and she tilted her head back. She quickly came to the conclusion that irony was her new recipient of her eternal hatred.

    -----------------
    And so ends chapter 2! Things are getting warmed up as you can see. In the next chapter expect the appearance of my original character, the first one I've ever created. Don't worry though, this story is about The titans(Starfire in particular). My OC is a side-character, though important to the plot. So.. thank you for reading and please leave a review on the way out!

    bye!!
     
  7. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

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    And just when things were starting to get insane, you suddenly find a way to ramp up the weirdness even further. There's a creepy thin dude who can invade Starfire's brain, and seemingly piss everyone else off in the form of a fly (a brilliant piece of black comedy, by the way). There's a psychotic alien woman with not insignificant powers, first of which is the ability to wind up Starfire before she even opens her mouth. There's the diabolical plot bearing down on planet Earth, with Stafire as much the cause as the solution, and us not having a clue what either might be. And there's even an interesting piece of psychology, in the form of Starfire's "guardian": the way I see it, the implication is that she wants that level of protection, though I'm currently not sure what from.

    So, after a confusing prologue, and an even more confusing first chapter, I'm now left with even less a clue about what's going on here. And in a story, that's no bad thing.;):anime:

    -Matt A-
     
  8. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

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    Hi people. Um, I just wanted to start out saying that if you are reading this then I really really apreciate a review.

    Thank you to Matt A. cause he has reviewed every chapter.

    I just noticed that there are a lot of views and not quite so many reviews:sad: . I'm just asking that before you click the back button after you read the chapter that you leave a little review. It doesn't have to be eally detailed, just a simple, 'doing good', 'doing bad', will do. REmember that if you leave a review, the more detailed you are about what you like and don't like, the better I can make the fic since you told me the good and bad things. :D

    Unfortunately, after this one, I don't know if chapters are going to be quite as regular as they have been. Next week alone, I'm starting my volenteer job, beginning a dance class and a theatre class, and trying my best to keep up with honors geometry... pray that I don't fall over and die of exghaution... agh!


    that said... CHAPTER TIME!!!!! *guy in big shiny pants comes out and starts dancing*

    Chapter 3 :Confusion:

    The Titans crouched down together in the surrounding foliage. They had arrived shortly after Starfire and had refrained from approaching her, instead opting to wait and find out exactly what she was doing there. So far the team was beyond shock. Starfire simply watched the lethal barrage of fire come toward her for what seemed like too long. Raven was seconds from throwing a shield around her when Starfire suddenly threw her arms up and fired straight into the center of the attack, leaving behind a hole in the almost inescapable assault.

    She shot through the opening and immediately returned just as much firepower to the woman on the ground. The woman rose into the sky, her rose-colored hair fanning out around her. The two traded shots until white blended with green and the titans wondered if even the two opponents could tell the difference. Raven in particular was in awe at the grace and style with which the two battled. Starfire seemed to have transformed, the titans had never seen her fight this way.

    Starfire shouted as she released two large starbolts at her opponent, but these were dodged easily and before she knew it, Starfire felt something hit her in the stomach with tremendous force. She flew back but quickly caught herself. Her adversary was just as fast, though, and Starfire found herself in a hand-to-hand game, with her on the defensive. She barely had time to block each blow before there was another coming at her. That same chuckle reached her ears.

    “Sloppy, sloppy. I see now how you failed your tuuymolvf, K’trina,” she mocked. Robin looked at his friends, wondering about the name. She was definitely talking to Starfire. It looked as if they were not interested in it, though, and did not even look at him. They continued to watch the fight, though Robin could see the confusion and slight frustration in their eyes. He knew the feeling.

    Starfire growled and took a forceful punch with her shoulder in order to kick towards her opponent’s head. It seemed that the woman was not expecting this and hastily raised her arms to block. Starfire took advantage of this by dropping out of the air a few inches mid kick to catch her in the stomach. This sent the woman only a few feet back, which she held, simply hanging in the air, glaring at Starfire. Her coy nature seemed to have evaporated and only then did Starfire see what she knew to be true.

    “Hmmm, you are losing your touch also, Luand’r. Perhaps sitting up in that glorified starship has softened your ability. Or maybe the last few people you betrayed made it easy. I assure you that my skills are greater than theirs,” Starfire replied in a low voice. The woman, now revealed as Luand’r, swooped forward and re-engaged their battle.

    “I do remember that attitude. It seems that there is no hope for a normal life after slavery. Let me put you out of your misery,” Luand’r grunted. Robin’s eyebrows shot upward.

    “Slavery?” he breathed. Beastboy, who was closest to him, looked at him.

    “What?” he whispered.

    “I’ve never heard anything about slavery, have you?” Robin asked turning to him. Beastboy stared at him strangely.

    “Robin, what are you talking about?” he whispered back, eyes wide. Robin raised an eyebrow.

    “Don’t you pay attention at all? That Luand’r woman just said it,” he snapped quietly. He was annoyed that Beastboy did not seem to be taking this seriously. He should have been listening to every word.

    “I’m paying attention fine, but I’m not exactly fluent in Tamaranian. I’ll tell you when they call one of each other a chlorbag varblarnelk,” Beastboy replied on the defensive. By now the side conversation had caught the attention of Cyborg, who was just on the other side of Beastboy. He stared at Robin worriedly, wondering if maybe whatever had happened to Starfire was rubbing off.

    “Robin, are you okay, man? I mean, you know that they’re up there talkin’ Tamaranian, right? This is just a badly placed joke?” Cyborg asked slowly. Robin looked back in shock and slight agitation. He could not find any reason for them to be claiming they could not understand the conversation taking place above them, which, to him, was as clear as it could be. Robin shook his head and turned resolutely back to the fight. Whatever was going on had to be taken care of later.

    Robin’s gaze unknowingly went to the male; Xuun was what Luand’r had called him. He watched the two fighters in the air, silently shaking his head. He made a tutting sound and raised his hands. “Lovely ladies should never fight so,” he said, apparently to no one. His eyes were staring straight at the dueling pair and he waited silently.

    Suddenly a glass wall erupted from the ground, separating Starfire and Luand’r. Apparently, the two did not notice the barrier right away because just as soon as it appeared there were several deep cracks in its surface. Luand’r turned her furious gaze on her pale companion, demanding an explanation. He immediately cringed, almost feeling the heat of her wrath. Before he could blink he found himself being held up in the air by his thin, scrawny neck.

    “Explain your actions,” she hissed, “before I find you dispensable.”

    “My g-great and powerful lady, m-may I suggest that we did not wish to k-kill the ungrateful one, just y-yet?” he stammered clutching at his neck. He took care to not brush Luand’r’s skin with his own though. For a moment, the two locked eyes, or as much as they could with Xuun’s pupil-less eyes. Without notice, Luand’r dropped him and slowly put her hand to her temple.

    “Of course, it must have slipped my mind. Yes, yes, thank you for that reminder.” She seemed to have regained some of the calm she had previously held. She lowered her hands gracefully to her sides and breathed deeply. When her eyes opened they had lost their pearly white glow and were, once again, a disturbingly dark shade of indigo. They were dangerously sweet, once more. The barrier faded and Starfire stepped forward. She remained powered up.

    “You see what you do to me K’trina? You almost made me kill you,” Luand’r admonished. Starfire fired at her unexpectedly, but she dodged it effortlessly.

    “Learn it, speak it. My name is Koriand’r. Koriand’r is my name, do you understand that?” she shouted. She felt another ounce of her control slip away from her. She quickly let the collected energy fade away until she stood without a glow. Luand’r’s eyes flashed.

    “Of course, the name I chose was inadequate. You choose your name, not your mother. How ridiculous of me,” she sneered.

    “Finally, you understand!” Starfire exclaimed, knowing full well that the comment had been sarcastic.

    “Silence!” Luand’r shouted. “Just be quiet, you little brat! I made you! I clothed you, fed you, sheltered you! Accept it, you ungrateful little prick in my side,” her voice dropped down in volume to a dangerous level, “I own you!”

    Throughout their exchange, Robin had been distracted. For some reason, the faint sound, like an argument in the next room over, kept hitting him. It would fade and then grow, but each time it was only enough to barely grasp his attention. But now it was steady. He could just barely hear it, but it was there. It seemed like a female voice shouting and another male voice shouting back. It was not loud enough for him to hear what they were saying.

    Beastboy’s head turned slowly to him. “Robin, please tell me that you hear that,” he whispered. Robin was careful.

    “Hear what?” he whispered back.

    “That sound, like there’s someone arguing.” Cyborg looked over at the two with wide eyes.

    “Thank God!” he exclaimed in a whisper. “ I swear I thought I was going paranoid like Star—FIRRRRRREE!”

    His whispered admission had been transformed into a cry of surprise, mid-word. The rest of the Titans watched in shock and horror as Cyborg was propelled from his hiding place and straight toward Luand’r. It looked like an unknown girl had collided with the cybernetic hybrid, sending them both flying toward certain injury.

    Starfire watched, her mind numb with surprise. She was frozen to the spot and could do nothing but watch as her mother turned, on reflex, and fired a rather weak blast by her standards, but powerful enough to cause horrible burns. Her shock only doubled as she saw the rest of her team appear from the same area as Cyborg, calling his name fearfully.

    Suddenly, there was a brown blur as the blast was mysteriously deflected, exploding somewhere in the middle of the forest. Cyborg thudded to the ground with a grunt and looked up. The girl who had hit him was standing over him, looking livid.

    “D**nit! Where the he** am I?” she demanded of no one. She was looking around her angrily with her fists balled and her muscles tensed. All of the Titans’ mouths hung open and no one seemed to know what to do. Except for Luand’r.

    A single, perfectly cared for, eyebrow raised itself curiously. She stepped forward and was soon circling the new girl, getting a good look at her. She was just about Starfire’s height with dark chocolate skin. A single black braid hung to the center of her back, whipping from sided to side as its owner watched Luand’r’s circling. What stood out about her were her piercing, electric-blue eyes, her hard glare cutting through everything. A reddish-black halter-top and matching shorts clothed her, both made of a leathery material. A long, wooden, staff hung from her back by a long, thin strip of beige cloth.

    “What have we here?” Luand’r asked coming to a stop, facing the newcomer. “One of your little friends? Tell me, what is your name, dear?” Luand’r watched as her gaze moved from the forest surroundings to meet her eyes. She was taken aback as she scowled at her. She had expected fear, shock, or at least apprehension. What she saw was annoyance.

    “Excuse me, but I was wondering why that was your concern.” Her voice was biting and sarcastic. Luand’r blinked, surprised, but quickly regained her composure. Her eyes narrowed, though her smile remained in place.

    “You hide your emotions well, but I believe silence would accommodate you best at the moment,” she advised quietly. The girl narrowed her eyes back and stepped forward to everyone’s surprise. Her face was inches away from Luand’r who did not move back, but watched her in stunned curiosity.

    “I’m sure. Well how about a trade? I’ll be silent as soon as you get away from me,” she snapped, before whirling on the spot and storming away angrily. Luand’r watched, with a small smirk on her face. She chuckled softly.

    “Hmm, no. Wrong answer,” she answered softly to the girl’s back. She quickly summoned an energy bolt to her hand and sent it hurtling toward her. The girl’s back was turned and she appeared unaware of the imminent danger. Starfire’s voice quickly came back to her and she shouted a warning. The girl turned her head, just in time to see a pure white orb whistling toward her head.

    With one fluid motion, the strap suspending the staff to her back was whipped over her head. The girl held the staff firmly and swung it in a diagonal arc, toward the rapidly approaching attack. Again, the explosion was deflected and thrown away toward a different section of the forest. Again, the Titans were speechless at the display of raw power. Cyborg was remaining very still; frantically trying to find a way to escape what was swiftly becoming a battlefield without drawing the attention to himself.

    “What is…” the girl’s eyes suddenly went wide and her mouth hung wide. Suddenly, she whipped around and fixed Raven with her angry gaze and then Starfire. “I hate that damned angel,” she muttered, looking off to the side. Her eyes came back to Luand’r. “I guess I actually have to give a da**.” She straightened and turned her back on Luand’r calmly walking to where Starfire was standing, pausing to glance in disdain at Cyborg who was dusting the dirt off of himself. Starfire watched her approach with apprehension but only watched as she moved toward her, passed her, and then settled herself on the ground behind her. Somehow, Starfire did not feel threatened in the least and turned her attention to more pressing matters.

    “What are you doing here?” Starfire asked quietly, the first distinguishable sentence she had said since her team’s appearance. Her gaze shifted from one member to another, and each felt the full brunt of her betrayed feelings. Luand’r finally decided to forget about the strange female behind her daughter and instead took in the rest of the newcomers.

    “Of course, they are here to see with their own eyes, the almighty mistress who tamed the great Koriand’r.” Starfire winced as her name scraped across her ears like a filthy swear. She decided to ignore her mother for the moment and focused instead on her friends. She had asked them to trust her and here they were, watching just out of sight.

    “Ah, but my great lady, it seems that she has neglected to mention… just about everything.” Xuun turned his vacant stare on Starfire. “A double life she lives. Most dishonest.” Starfire turned to him with a sneer.

    “Do not speak to me about honesty and dishonesty.”

    “Keep your temper, K’trina. I think that it is very unfair for your friends to be kept out of the loop. And I take it upon myself to give them the information that you so thoughtlessly denied them,” Luand’r said righteously. She sent a significant look to Xuun. Starfire’s eyes went wide, as a feeling of helplessness stole over her. The emotion hit her forcefully, almost making her physically weak. She stumbled, but quickly caught herself and looked at Xuun, though she could not find the strength to hold her body erect.

    “Stop. I am not yours any more. I am no longer yours to punish and reward as you see fit! Now, I am free,” she asserted, still managing to sound strong despite her weakness. Luand’r smiled.

    “Dear child,” she said softly, approaching slowly. She chuckled as she watched Starfire finally fall to her knees, a single tear slipping from her eyes. The titans lunged forward and fought to get to their teammate’s side, but suddenly found themselves immobile. Robin’s vision went red as Luand’r let the back of her hand trail across Starfire’s cheek. Starfire pulled back as if burned and refused to turn in her direction.

    “Get away from her!” he shouted. His outburst went ignored.

    Luand’r watched her daughter fight to resist the pull of pure desperation. She hid her surprise as the defeated aura took a turn and she turned and glared heatedly at her. It was too late, of course. Luand’r promptly took hold of the delicate neck and lifted her, not concerning herself about being gentle. Starfire winced and clutched her wrist, though did not do much to free herself, knowing that with a simple gesture her neck could be snapped.

    “Let me tell you something,” she said, her voice gentle and caressing. “You will always be mine.” With the last words hers, Luand’r threw her straight into the air where she was held, her body straight and rigid. Starfire bit back the moan rising in her throat. Every muscle in her body was tensed, stretched thin to the point of tearing. She screwed her eyes shut against the pain. The titans struggled more aggressively.

    “Now, let the lessons begin,” Luand’r said, moving to stand authoritatively in front of them. She looked over at Xuun again who was grinning in excitement. The new girl who had been sitting so quietly behind Starfire suddenly stood. Her eyes moved from Xuun to Starfire, watching closely. Starfire cried out loudly as a thin blue stream burst forth from her right temple. It coiled tightly before the captive audience before it contracted into a small sphere. It pulsed once, twice, and suddenly exploded outward.

    It enveloped them all before anyone could move, plunging them in absolute darkness. Robin continued to pull against whatever kept him bound, although it remained apparent that it was futile.

    “What are you trying to accomplish?” Robin heard, echoed in Starfire’s voice. The exclamation held a note of desperation that more than anything else chilled Robin to the bone. Never, in the entire years of knowing Starfire had he ever heard such deep fear and such dark torture. “What do you want from me?” The horrible, whispered question echoed back to Robin over and over.

    Two voices, one old, dried, and male, while the other was young, fresh and undeniably feminine, merged into one sinister laugh. “How about your soul?”

    Suddenly, as if released by the menacing exclamation, the darkness shattered around them and gave way to the image of a huge, circular room. It resembled an arena or coliseum with rows and rows of seats. All seats, however, were empty as the crowd roared energetically, all on their feet.

    All focus was down below, on the large concrete field. It was about half the size of a football field, but shaped rectangular, like a tennis court. Instead of green grass, there was harsh gray concrete and no markings. Robin quickly caught sight of the source of the excitement.

    About twelve men, all with Xuun’s complexion and eye color, raced about the field, all trying to capture the same girl. They seemed to have been divided into teams of four and fought each other just about as much as their prey. Robin unconsciously leaned forward, wanting a better look at the girl. His wish was immediately granted as the point of view glided down to rest on the arena floor.

    The battle raged fiercely as the crowd above then jeered and shouted. Each team seemed to be competing to capture the girl first, for when one man from one team caught the girl in a tight spot, another would free her and pursue her himself.

    The girl herself was keeping up a good fight, taking advantage of the disunity around her. Her appearance, though, was nothing short of alarming, with her form unhealthily thin. Most of her skin was scraped and bruised, most likely from colliding with the concrete ground, to the point that her complexion was unrecognizable from a bruise or scar. Her hair was long, but very uneven, with the longest reaching to the middle of her back and the shortest barely brushing her shoulder. The ruby coloring in her hair boasted darker, redder spots of blood, indicating a bleeding wound somewhere on her head. Despite all of this, her eyes remained stunning and defiant. Her body looked no older than eleven, but her eyes showed someone who was weary. The kind of weariness associated with both an old age and a full life. There was no way that the small, unhealthy girl had experienced either.

    Despite her looks, she was saving herself. She was easily a better fighter than any of the surrounding men. She was quick and agile and, judging from the horrible cracks that occurred when she hit anything, she was strong. One on one, or possibly even four on one, she would have easily won. However, she was outnumbered to the point that Robin was impressed that she continued to last on her own.

    Suddenly, though, she was taken down as a metal looking pipe slammed against her scull. Robin had seen her take at least two such blows. Before she would crumple briefly, but each time, regain her footing quickly and escape her pursuer’s clutches. This time, however, she hit the ground and remained there a moment too late. She attempted to roll away, but one of the men quickly snatched at her hair, yanking her to her feet. Her face was twisted fiercely and she shouted something at him while clutching at his hand.

    Seeing this, the man grabbed her and threw her bodily to one of his teammates. She would have been caught safely, but one from another team shoved the receiver roughly, leaving her to hit the ground, skidding almost two feet. She whimpered softly, feeling the sting of shredded skin on her upper arm and thigh, but, she instantly had a palm on the ground, struggling to get up.

    She was, again, too late to escape as one of another team plunged a knee into the middle of her back, effectively pinning her to the ground. She grunted in pain and struggled violently, but it was worthless. She was outweighed. With a glint of triumph, her captor quickly reached back and pulled out a knife with the same sign etched into the hilt as the back of his shirt, apparently indicating his team. The crowd drew a collective breath at the appearance of the knife, though the girl seemed unaware as sparks of some kind continued to go off around her hands.

    Then, almost in slow motion, the crowd began to roar as the tip of the sword made a downward arc toward the girls back. Her eyes went wide, and then closed tightly as just about four inches of the stainless steel plunged deep into her shoulder.

    “Kori! Kori, no! Kori!” someone, somewhere shouted desperately as the girl screamed. Her scream shook the arena as it blended with the desperate cries. It shook it so much that it started to fade, parts of it flickering here and there.

    “No… no… NO!”

    Suddenly, there was a flash of green and a hiss of pain and everything was gone. All of the titans were replaced back in the forest clearing, suddenly free. Luand’r was faced away from them and toward Starfire as Xuun kneeled on the ground, clutching his face in pain. An angry red welt was visible through his thin fingers.

    “You will not do this to me.” All heads turned toward the low voice, surprisingly calm, like someone just realizing the answer to a simple problem. There, Starfire stood, framed by long streamers of emerald flame that sprouted from her back and danced and wreathed around her, like dolphins at play. Starfire watched the banners of energy with eyes that mirrored their light. She gazed at them with mild fascination as they brushed against her almost affectionately and coiled before her, almost threateningly. Hesitantly, Starfire raised her hand and watched as one of the streams raised with it, bending to her will. She looked up and fixed Luand’r with her burning gaze.

    “This is my home,” she said, “All of it; the entire planet. And you are not welcome here. Leave.” With this said, she threw her arm forward, releasing the stream of energy like a whip. Luand’r dodged easily, but was not prepared for the second band flicking toward her. She barely avoided the attack and rose into the air, her eyes darker than ever.

    “Until we meet again, fair K’trina,” she sneered as Xuun rose to her side. The glowing tendrils followed her several feet into the air, but quickly dropped back down to the ground as the two figures disappeared in a swirl of black.

    The silence left in the small clearing was interrupted only by Starfire’s rough pants. She held her arm around her stomach, as if in pain, and did not meet her teammates’ eyes. No one moved for a moment, which felt like an eternity, until one lone figure moved toward Starfire.

    The chocolate-skinned girl approached her with something akin to boredom in her eyes. She halted in her deliberate paces about two feet from Starfire and regarded her critically. Finally, she spoke.

    “You will lose consciousness if you go on like this. Release or retract your power, if you can,” she said, crossing her arms. Her voice was condescending at best and her eyes were narrowed viciously. Starfire nodded mutely, ignoring her tone. The lights of her eyes were extinguished as she let her lids slide closed.

    All at once, the energy around her halted its constant motion and flared brighter. Quickly, the power rushed toward Starfire, plunging itself into any skin exposed to it. Starfire gasped and kneeled, sitting back with her legs tucked under her, clearly in pain. She leaned forward with her hands on her knees, panting as the last shreds of power disappeared. However, even as the power evaporated she continued to pant, a low moan passing through her. The new girl looked down at her in thinly disguised disgust.

    “Surely this is what friends are for,” she murmured, turning her back on her and retreating to the line of trees. Starfire leaned lower to the ground as the intense strain inflicted on her body finally began to affect her and her stomach heaved. Fortunately or not, she had not had her dinner and only a vile burning liquid came from her, though that did not eliminate the wretched feeling in her stomach. This seemed to awaken the rest of the team and they sprang from their frozen states and to her side.

    Cyborg gently gathered her hair and held it back as she finished, wiping her mouth on the back of her hand. She lifted her head, though the fatigue was already closing in around her. These symptoms were ones she would expect from all that she had been through that day. She’d exerted entirely too much energy, coupled with the fact that she had not been sleeping well for the past few days, undoubtedly, the days that Xuun had occupied in her mind. She managed to lock eyes with Raven. It was not a long look, but it was enough to convey the disappointment she felt.

    “I asked you to trust me,” she whispered with her last strength. That said, Starfire closed her eyes and let her body go limp. Raven pressed her lips into a thin line and looked away, toward the new girl, who was lounging comfortably against a tree. She let out an ‘hmph’ and pushed away from her support.

    “I told her she would fall unconscious,” she said as she faced them. She held her weight centered, unlike most females who preferred to alternate sides. Now that she had calmed, her electric-blue eyes seemed to pulse steadily as she took in their appearances and vice versa. Finally, she rolled her eyes at them. “I would think that she would appreciate a bed right now. Or maybe you will leave her here?” she questioned irritably. Robin stood and approached the girl confidently.

    “Who—”

    “Dude, your clothes are disintegrating!” Beastboy exclaimed, interrupting Robin’s questioning. The girl’s eyes went wide and looked down at her stomach, which was slowly exposing itself as the leathery material floated away like smoke. Narrowing her eyes, she swore viciously. She whirled around and looked toward the sky, her body tensed with anger.

    “Would you like to fix this?” she shouted to no one, making the Titans’ stare. Her angry question seemed to be answered, however, as the disappearing clothing was instantly replaced by some of a completely different type. She turned staring critically at her new attire. The leather shorts had been replaced by soft, baggy, black, knit pants that cuffed tightly at her ankles. On her feet were black sneakers. A form fitting black T-shirt took the place of the halter top, with the word ‘Sunshine’ spelled out in pink.

    “A sense of humor, how charming,” she muttered, reading the shirt. She looked up at them, this time grudgingly. “You waste time, staring like that. It’s getting cold. Let’s go.”

    Raven stood and helped Starfire into Cyborg’s arms. “Whoever she is, she’s right. Starfire should wake up within an hour or two. We need to talk to her.” She turned to look at the new girl. “And you… I have questions for you.”

    “My name is Keenyara. Remember it.”

    Beastboy snorted. “What an ego.” He grumbled. Keenyara’s eyes seemed to cut straight through him as she glared.

    “I’d rather you had no idea I existed, though as it is,” she paused and grudgingly bent at the waist, a reluctant bow, “I serve the chosen ones, Princess and Portal.”
    ---------------------
    wow! Who is this mysterious girl? Who was the girl the Titans' saw in that vision? Why could Robin understand the entire conversation and no one else could?? These questions and more are all to be answered on the next installment of... JEWLED EYES!!!
    (hehe, I kinda felt like doing a commercial today...:anime: )
     
    #8 Anima, Sep 3, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2006
  9. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

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    I have to give you full credit for Keenyara. I didn't think any one person could contain that amount of anger and hate: as Beast Boy (kinda) said, not hate driven by self-loathing, but hate driven by ego, by the knowledge that absolutely everything is beneath her. She's the kind of evil-hearted caustic b*tch who you'd cross a whole continent to avoid in real life, yet when present in fiction, never ceases to be entertaining. There's a certain magnetism to people that openly unpleasant, and Keenyara has it in spades: after all, it's a very special kind of person who'd walk into a battle just to berate the combatants. We don't even know what she's here for yet, but just with this introduction, she's already a magnificent creation.:anime::evil:

    And that's not the only thing worthy of credit. Luand'r is truly a brilliant villainess, a seductively repulsive distortion of anything even remotely resembling a mother-figure, so callous and self-obsessed that even her own daughter is just another pawn. A pawn in what, I'm not yet sure (the prologue not giving as many hints as it seemingly should), but if this is merely her opening gambit, then things are going to be mighty interesting. On that note, I liked the use of the "projector": we know Luand'r hates Starfire enough to reveal her secrets, and we also know just enough of said secrets to understand why this would be painful. Just as with the forest encounter, I sense that the deeply unpleasant gladiator match (what twisted society gets off on putting a kid through such stuff?:eek:) is just the tip of the iceberg...so this should be a fun ride.:anime::evil:

    As you said, there are many questions that need answering. I know you said you won't have so much writing time from now on, but please, do try to be quick about the next chapter.;)

    -Matt A-
     
  10. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

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    YES! I'm back with a new chapter and I'm not dead either!! Not much to add to that so... ENJOY.


    Chapter 4 :The Night of Answers(Pt.1):

    Ever since she had arrived on Earth, Starfire had been enchanted with fairy tales. It was this, in part, which caused most of the media and public to deem her the ‘innocent and naive alien.’ She had always been fascinated by their portrayal of life, of places where life was eternally happy and everyone you met was charming and witty and loving. Their view of people, too, had always intrigued her, with everyone separated into two distinct groups: the beautiful, inside and out, and the ugly, with hearts of black. If you were good in those stories, then you were beautiful. If you were good, then you were wonderful, the essence of benevolence and love. In those stories, if even a shred of goodness lived in your heart, then it was never a question. You would go to the moon and back for the hungry man on the corner, or the crying child at the market.

    Most of all, Starfire studied the princesses. They alone seemed a different race when compared with the people of reality. A princess of the fairy tales had no faults, and if they had, then the fault was made to make her unique or one who struggled above it. If one was a princess of the Kingdom of Far Away(because the kingdoms were never close by) one was always in a loving and cheerful mood. But if, by chance, you were not, the only other acceptable emotions were devastatingly sorrowful or silent bravery.

    Princesses were always beautiful, and if they were not, they became that way. A princess was the love of her country with every available male absolutely begging for her hand in marriage. But she did not accept the most handsome or strong or richest of suitors. She only had eyes for the one with the purest heart. Princesses were never superficial and princesses were never deceived. Princesses were the light, and when they gracefully floated into their ballroom, everything else dimmed so that they may shine even brighter.

    For all of these reasons and more, Starfire found fairy tales to be immensely captivating and entertaining. Sometimes she found it funny, the way she was considered naive on a planet with such stories. Many days she lay in her room with a large book of such tales and compared reality and fiction. The results were enough to make her laugh out loud at the delightfully incorrect little stories.

    She had heard of princesses, known throughout the galaxy for their unbearably hideous features. She had seen her sister, first in line for the crown, storming about the palace in a terrible rage and taking it out on innocent servants. She herself had had seven guards, more than enough for such a small child as herself, solely to protect her from the thousands of people who hated her, only because she was she and they were not. And everyday she heard of princesses and young girls married off to seal deals with other planets and kingdoms. When a real princess stumbled into her first ball, everyone in attendance did all that he or she could to subtly steal the spotlight and make the princess look dim in comparison.

    Her mother was notorious throughout the galaxy for her stunning beauty and throughout half of the same galaxy for her malice.

    Despite all of this, Starfire found fairy tales comforting. The idea that people in the world believed that the place of a princess was such a noble one somehow warmed her and she longed to be the kind of princess depicted in the stories. So, with fairy tales holding such a special place in her heart, it was hardly surprising that Starfire began her difficult and painful story with a ‘Once upon a time.’

    “Once upon a time, on a metal ship lost in space, there lived a girl, though what she endured throughout her days could hardly be deemed a life. She lived with her sister and brother. Everyday she woke up and washed herself, dressed herself, and ventured alone to the training room for the day. Everyday, she was tested. Sometimes it was her strength, sometimes it was her agility. Sometimes she had to fight her sister, who was two year older than her, and sometime her brother, who was her twin. And everyday she did it without complaining and with only one protest. ‘I am not K’trina. My name is Koriand’r.’

    Starfire was seated in the very center of the large curved couch with all attention focused on her. Robin sat next to her with his hand on the small of her back, silently encouraging her. On her other side Cyborg was facing her, not saying anything and keeping his features even. Beastboy was on the other side of him, watching her face carefully, as if he was ready to begin comforting at the first sign of tears. Raven was on the other side of Robin, not looking at her, but straight in front of her. Starfire knew she was listening, as she was very still. Finally, the one who had appeared and spoken to her earlier was on the other side of Raven. She had been introduced as Keenyara and was sitting cross-legged with her wooden staff laid across her lap. She stared intently at the pole, very quiet.

    “So one day, her mother said to her, in a rage, ‘Fine, you wish to be Starfire then I will give you Starfire. You will be Starfire and I will make you that way!’ So the next day, she was taken from her siblings and they began to test her body instead of her. They found out how much her body could take. They found out what magics could force it to take more. And after six months of the medical experiments, they took her and a rather large sample of the nuclear fusion from a nearby star and poured it into her veins.” There was a pause as Starfire’s eyes seemed to glaze over as she gazed at nothing in particular. Reality seemed to fade away as the memories of her life took their place. She closed her eyes, hoping very much that it would keep her in touch with what she knew to be real.

    “It hurt so much,” she whispered, her story more speaking her than the other way around, “and I screamed so hard. I begged her, ‘Turn it off, turn it off. I will be good, I will be K’trina, I will do anything you say. Just please turn it off.’ And the entire time… she just listened. She just stood there and let me suffer. I wished I could fall unconscious; I wished it would kill me, but it did neither. And my mother watched while I was trapped there, reduced to wishing for my death.” Suddenly, Starfire lowered her head, almost ashamed. “And then I wished for hers.

    “Finally, it was over and they put me in a cell until the next morning. When I woke up,” she raised a hand and summoned a starbolt, regarding it, “I had truly become Starfire.” She fell silent, seemingly done. Almost without knowing it she leaned closer to Robin, hoping for some kind of comfort. Gently, Robin ran his hand upward until it rested on the base of her neck, rubbing his thumb in small circles, equally unconscious of the action.

    “But I still don’t get it. What was that thing we saw in the forest, when we couldn’t move,” Beastboy asked, his voice and features serious. Starfire paused to reflect on the unnaturalness this presented.

    “It was a memory of a test. A test that I failed. A test that I could not afford to lose and I lost anyway.” Starfire looked away, refusing to say more. Robin felt a strange feeling well up inside of him. It was something like anger, but so much less severe. Annoyance, agitation, maybe. He looked at Starfire with a frown.

    “Starfire, why didn’t you ever tell us this before? You still aren’t giving us the entire story, even now. Why all of the secrets?” he asked quietly. Starfire looked at him hard, before shaking her head. Tiredly, she stood, and combed her hand through her hair. She could not stand sitting anymore. She knew if she was still for too long her muscles would stiffen and she would regret it.

    “Because the chance was given to me. I will be truthful with you. If this had not happened now, the way it did, I do not know if I ever would have revealed my past. It may have remained a secret for years more, or maybe forever,” she said. She looked at Robin with a look he could not quite decipher. “When I came to earth, I decided who I wanted to be and how I wanted to act, something that I had never had before. Do you really think that I would give that up?”

    Robin felt that feeling in his chest surge upward again, stronger than before. The urge to snap overcame him, always being impulsive as he was.

    “How would you be giving it up? Telling your friends about you, would that really serve to do anything but to help us understand you better? I’m not getting it!” he snapped, before he cold catch up with his mouth. He knew his tone had been wrong as soon as he finished saying it, but it had been what he felt. He had meant the words and the question had been pulling at him the since he first kneeled in the bushes listening to stories that were not revealed to him by the one they should have.

    Starfire’s eyes went narrow as she glared at Robin. Her nerves had already been stretched thin by the confrontation with her mother. Her stress had been elevated by the reliving of her making. That particular comment from the one she had expected so to be her support and not to question her was just too much for her at the moment.

    Her eyes did not glow, but Robin felt that he would have been less afraid if they had. She stood straight with her body rigid. “Did you not even hear what I said?” she asked, her voice low with danger. Robin did not move. “You do not get it, yes? Then I will make you understand.” Her voice rose to a shout, something foreign to Robin in particular. “She is the princess and will act accordingly! The girl is a weapon and this is her fate! The brat is my experiment and I will make her act this way! The stupid ***** is my property and her behavior will be this way!”

    All sound in the room seemed to stop as Starfire got louder, first storming away from them and then closer. In her rage, she could hardly decide where she wanted to be, but she settled for the middle of the room with her glare fixed on Robin. “For my entire life, I have been defined by other people, by titles that they gave me! Since the moment I was born it was planned for me what I would do, how I would do it, my attitude, my disposition, my mind, all of it was decided for me.

    “And then I stumble onto this planet and as I was with you more I noticed the way you waited for me to define who I was,” she yelled, pointing at herself for emphasis. “For the first time in my life, you looked to me to show you who I wanted to be. You do not understand that that was the single greatest relief of my life? You do not understand that that alone was the freedom I had always yearned for? You do not understand that by adding a label to myself, whether it be princess, experiment, or slave, that I would be freely inviting you to define me? You do not understand it?” she questioned harshly, tears threatening to fall, however she did not let them. Turning her back on Robin, she retreated away from the couch and toward the double doors leading to the hallway. She paused, halfway through the doors and turned her cold gaze on Robin.

    “Then understand this. The freedom to decide what I wanted to be and who I wanted to be was a freedom that I refused to jeopardize, whether or not that meant keep some of the facts of my life a secret, and I will not be made to apologize for that.” She stepped through the door and let it slide shut behind her, leaving a dazed group of Titans, a slightly interested young woman, and a red-faced Robin in her wake.

    -!-

    Robin pounded away at the punching bag that swung from the ceiling. He had retreated to the gym almost immediately after Starfire’s outburst without a word to his friends. His face was still red with embarrassment at his reaction to her story. He had known as soon as he formed the words that he would be in trouble, but he had disregarded it. He had said it anyway and Starfire had put him right back in his place.

    But what bothered him most was the fact that he was no where near sorry he asked his question, just sorry it had come out so wrong. If her past had been something that she had simply never mentioned then he would not have been so hurt, but the fact that she had straight up and down lied to them was just too much.

    Robin was interrupted in his thought as he heard the doors to the large room hiss open and unfamiliar steps approach him. He stopped his punches, stepped away from the bag, careful of the backswing, and turned, fully expecting to see Raven with a stern look, or maybe Cyborg with a smug all-knowingness about him. He received a shock as he instead saw the dark-skinned young woman looking at him with subdued interest.

    He took a moment to note her face, which was pretty, in an odd kind of way. She had a kind of foreign, exotic look, but one that did not remind him of any country on earth. In a way it was close to Starfire’s alien brand of beauty, though with only a bit more humanity to it. Robin carefully logged this information away, knowing that every observation about this newcomer thrust into their lives was important.

    “No one would really send you, so what are you doing here?” he asked, without preamble. She seemed to ignore his frosty tone and continued her obvious observation of him, seeming to be taking the same attitude as he did.

    “No. Somehow, wherever I go, there is always someone stupid enough to hits things when things don’t go their way. I thought I’d take advantage of someone already fighting, although,” she eyed the swinging punching bag disdainfully, “if you’d like to go on hitting that sack, I don’t think I can stop you. Doesn’t seem like a fair fight though.” Her voice was blatantly challenging and mocking at the same time and she pulled the wooden staff out of its bond and tossed the strip of cloth to the side.

    Robin was silent, considering the offer. On the one hand, he did not know who this girl was or if she was really an ally (though she still made no claim to be), or what she could do. Alternately, he needed to work of some excess stress if he wanted to get anywhere near sleep that night, and help was only a button’s push away if things got out of hand. Furthermore, the mystery that the girl presented was driving him crazy. I spar could get some answers out of her.

    Robin drew his own bo-staff out of his tool belt and extended it, moving away a few feet. The girl seemed to take this as a yes and smirked, shifting her weight experimentally. “I’ve never worn these kind of shoes before, so let’s not assume that this is my best,” she said, twirling her staff idly in her fingers. Robin rolled his eyes, her cocky attitude starting to get to him.

    “Gonna power up?” he asked making sure to keep the resemblance of calm. She seemed to snort at the thought.

    “Don’t pretend to know all about me. You just worry about getting yourself ready.” The two stood impassively for a few seconds before they both sprinted forward as if an invisible green light had flashed between them.

    The pair met in the center of the gym with the clack of wood on metal. Robin made two or three swipes at her, testing just how quick she was. She blocked each of them and deftly maneuvered around him and sung a tip of the pole toward his left side. Robin, hardly putting his whole self into the fight was caught off guard and froze with the wooden edge pressing firmly against his side.

    “Finished playing?” Keenyara asked annoyed. Of course, she did not expect him to fight to his fullest at first. But she wanted him to know that she would. Robin slowly reached into his belt, and pulled out a single smoke pellet, making sure that she did not see him.

    “I guess,” he muttered and quickly spun throwing the pellets to the ground and releasing a small cloud of smoke into the air. The resulting pop caught Keenyara enough off guard to make her back up a few paces, but to Robin’s surprise the smoke was gone with a flick of her wrist. Her eyes darted in search of him and found him, a little too late as he swept her legs from under her.

    Quickly, Keenyara leaned back farther, just managing to catch herself on her hands and barely able to tip her weight to land on her feet again. Knowing that Robin was ready for her, she quickly kneeled onto one knee and slapped both palms flat against the floor. A wave of wind radiated from her like a ripple in water, tripping Robin on its way outward. Robin fell forward but managed to catch himself in a graceful roll and came to a stop, kneeling not far from Keenyara.

    Neither moved as kind of silent truce reigned. “So you control wind, huh? We had an earth mover like that once,” he said thoughtfully. Though his tone was light, his thoughts were anything but as he thought of Terra and her betrayal. Keenyara rolled her eyes.

    “Don’t lump me in with any manipulators from this dimension. I’d be surprised if any wind movers within fifteen miles could create so much as a gentle breeze once I got here. The problem with control,” she continued, “is that it is very possible to lose it.” She suddenly lunged at Robin, pushing him to the ground and continuing with a graceful round-off to her feet. She looked at him lying flat on his back, surprised by the attack. “There is never complete control when dealing with the wind.”

    Robin rolled over and got to his feet. He charged without warning at her and made a single swing at her stomach. He did not, however wait for her to block the blow before he changed marks and swung at her temple, halting his staff a mere inch from her crown. The two were frozen again.

    “But I’ve seen them do it. Element manipulators seem to be pretty popular around here. I know there’re at least two around the city. The wind is tamable from what I can see. You certainly have it under your power.” The comment only seemed to annoy her more and she quickly pushed the staff away with her hand.

    “Please,” she said with a hint of scorn, “your wind movers are nothing compared to me. I do not control the wind, I am the wind.” She said this, crossing her arms as if it were obvious. “So ask whatever questions you have so that I can be on my way and get some sleep. Your long chair will be good enough for tonight.”

    Robin retracted his staff as Keenyara retrieved the strip of cloth and carefully wrapped it around the middle of the staff. She was done promptly and replaced her weapon to its place hanging from her back.

    Robin watched her, wondering if it was normal to dislike her so quickly. “What makes you think you’re staying here?” he asked. Keenyara shot him a look.

    “Oh, please,” she huffed, pushing stray strands of hair out of her face, “don’t make my job any harder. I am very sure that intervening with divine intervention is enough to get you into hell.” She reached behind her and began to undo the single braid she wore. She obviously did not deem him worthy of all of her attention.

    “What do you mean, ‘divine intervention’? Are you some kind of angel?” he asked, half joking and half serious, just in case it was true. Raven was, after all, a half demon. Part of him was completely used to the abnormally that counted as his life.

    For the first time since entering their home, Keenyara’s eyes’ rhythmic throbbing increased slightly and became more erratic. She narrowed them at Robin. “Angels are a bunch of jackasses. Now, I’ve been called a few things in my life, but a jackass? Not yet,” she snapped as she combed through her hair a couple of time and began to re-braid it again.

    Robin found himself torn between dislike and intrigue. “Un-huh, get back to the divine intervention part,” he commanded briskly. She glared at him reproachfully.

    “To put it simply, I make sure your girls don’t die. Apparently, the fact that I’m not a jackass qualifies me for the job. So do me a favor.” She paused, finally done with her hair and pushed it over her shoulder, again bored. “Do your protective thing all you want, I really don’t give a crap, but if you get one of them killed, don’t think I’ll take it lightly. Nothing personal of course.”

    Robin narrowed his eyes and pushed past her roughly. “You can stay the night, until we get the chance to talk about the situation. Don’t mistake that for our trust though,” he said, keeping his voice as level if he could. Of course, he was offended (and angry) at the insinuation that his leadership skills could get someone killed. He was in the act of storming out of the room when she called out to him.

    “Hey,” she called, her face completely serious, “Don’t mistake my staying here as an offering of mine.” Robin merely nodded and left her, she hoped in search of Starfire.

    Heaving a sigh, Keenyara sat on the wooden floor, hoping for a moment of peace in the stupid building. Leaning back on one hand, she used the other to tiredly rub her face. She was still recovering from the slight shock of being flung into an alternate dimension and given responsibility for the lives of two girls.

    To say that she had been angry would be a lie. Truthfully, she had been enraged. One moment she had been arguing forcefully with some high ranking angel, the next he was talking about her being assigned as the guardian to some children in some other dimension, and then she was in that dimension, unnervingly near the center of the battle between good and evil. Apparently, the fact that she had just tipped the scales in favor of good in her own dimension was not enough. She had been reduced to chaperoning a couple of juveniles across an unfamiliar galaxy.

    ‘I refuse to be a damned babysitter,’ she thought fiercely. Unfortunately, she did not have much of a say in the matter. It had been forced on her, and no matter how much she disliked it, she would do the job. If anything could be said about Keenyara, she always made well on her agreements. Even the involuntary ones.

    Truthfully, if anything, it was her fierce assertions that had gotten her into this mess in the very beginning. She had never been the kind of person who socialized very well, and whether that was the cause or effect of her solitary life, she was not sure. She had been outspoken for as long as she could remember. She had blatantly disregarded all rules of courtesy for just as long, if not longer. She found a certain peace in pointing out the stupidity of others.

    So of course when the arch angel of the Heavens had asked she and her friends what she thought of her trip she had told him, or rather what she thought of him. She told him how she had not appreciated the weight of saving the worlds on her (and her friends, which she had added as an after thought) and she basically thought he was an ass.

    In her mind, respect was to be earned, but in order to be respected you must first be trusted. To first have trust you must show that you deserve it. In her life of eighteen years, she had given her trust to only six beings, and one was a hawk. She had never in her life given up her true respect and those who knew her did not ever expect her to.

    ‘Which doesn’t make it good odds for these bunch,’ she mused, hauling herself off of the floor and out of the room, intent on asking someone about a blanket. Sure, she had slept outdoors without one most of her life, but outside had never been as cold as it was in Titan’s Tower.

    -!-

    Starfire almost jumped, hearing the knock at her door. She had been sitting quietly, thinking staring sadly at her hands. Her room was dark and she was dressing in a too-large T-shirt and silky pajama pants. She had intended to try to sleep, but she was soon consumed with guilt and had been reflecting on her behavior over the last few hours, and even since she met them.

    Though she was reluctant to admit it, she had heard Robin’s words and she had understood them to an extent. Around the marker of her first year with the Titans, Robin had called a meeting and asked, quite understandingly, that there be no secrets between them. He asked that they reveal all of their pasts to each other and had started this by going first. When it came Starfire’s turn, she had panicked and told some made up story of being the prize of another alien race. At the time, the concept had seemed romantic and dramatic, much more glamorous than her actual past. Starfire knew it had been difficult for all of her friends to tell their stories aloud, and she could certainly understand Robin’s anger at being lied to.

    Because of this, she was very surprised when she found Robin at her door, looking almost lost. She watched him silently as he shifted nervously and scratched the back of his neck, something she spotted instantly. Finally, he met her eyes timidly with a mumbled, “I, um, do you think I could come in?” Starfire looked down at her feet and stepped aside, responding to him with a silent nod.

    For a moment the pair was silent, both avoiding eye contact. Then Robin broke the calm with a tired sounding sigh. He sat on the edge of Starfire’s bed, motioning for Starfire to join him. Starfire complied and shifted until her back was against the headbord of her bed, facing Robin, still not saying anything.

    “I suppose that I owe you an apology.”

    “I guess I need to say sorry.”

    The two looked at each other, confused by the admission. Robin seemed to recover first. “You’re sorry? Why? I thought you were mad at me,” he asked softly. Starfire shot him a sideways glance.

    “Oh, I was. I believe that I still am, but I should not have lost my temper that way, no matter how insensitive you have been,” she said, though he voice held no anger that Robin could hear. To him, she actually sounded sad, something that was worse. Robin hung his head.

    “Star, you know I’m sorry about that. You know I didn’t mean for it to come out like that, but I swear I can’t understand it.” He looked up and held Starfire’s gaze. “You know that we wouldn’t do anything but support you, that I wouldn’t do anything but treat you the same!” Starfire found that she did not have to try hard to keep her temper this time. The fact was that she was simply too tired to be very angry.

    “Did I? Did I really know that, Robin? Think about it for a moment, if you had been me; if you had lived my life, would you truly know that?” she asked, leaning her head back. She did not look at him and instead stared at the bed spread between them. More and more, she was feeling the guilt of her lies, seeing his point of view. Her own reasons were starting to fade to her and she could hardly believe herself now.

    Robin interrupted her thoughts by lifting her chin gently, forcing her to look him in the eye. The movement was less effective in the fact that he still wore his mask and she still could not see his eyes. Nonetheless, the gesture did have an effect on Starfire. “Think about what you just told me,” Robin replied softly. “That’s what I mean. How can I imagine what I would do if I were you if I don’t even know about the life you’ve lived? It’s not even that really,” he said, releasing his grip on her chin and looking toward the ceiling as if he would find the right words there. He paused only a second before he looked back down at her. “Star, we,” he sighed, “we’re together now. I just… don’t have a good feeling about that. About having so many secrets between us.” He pronounced the word ‘together’ strangely, as if the two rarely defined their status to one another.

    Truthfully, the definition of what they were in relation to each other was something that was not discussed often. They had never really spelled it out for their teammates. They had let them draw their own conclusions about it. Their days were not littered with I-love-you’s or anything of the sort and the words ‘girlfriend’ and ‘boyfriend’ both seemed juvenile. In fact, neither had heard the dreaded ‘L’ word more than once or twice in their two months of being a couple. Both being in a field of work where what you did meant life or death, they tended not to think of classifications, or mere words all that much all that much. Starfire knew that if anyone were to ask her how Robin felt about her, she would be able to tell them that he loved her and Robin knew the same.

    Starfire forced herself to keep eye contact with him while flinching inwardly. It was in that moment that she knew that he would win this one. She was too tired and too insecure at the moment to continue this argument. The realization was hard for her. With it came the definite knowledge that Robin had significant influence over her, something that she had been denying to herself for a year at the least.

    “If I did tell you,” she began almost too quietly to hear, “you would understand that I am telling you because you want to know. This is not an easy story for me to tell and I would rather not tell it more than once. If you feel that the others must know then tell them yourself, but do not make me do it more than once,” Starfire almost begged. Robin’s eyes softened dramatically and he moved so that he was sitting more comfortably alongside Starfire. He reached up and pulled his mask off and laid it beside him before letting Starfire fall more comfortably against him.

    “I know, I understand,” he murmured, hoping that she understood his reasons for his insistent questioning. He expected that she knew that with one word he would shut up about it. But without knowing why, he had to know all there was to Starfire, no matter how unglamorous she thought it was. It was everything that made her what she was and something told him that it would be better for them if the truth came out sooner rather than later.

    Starfire sighed and leaned against him, closing her eyes. Without her sight, the reality of where she existed was even more real. She heard the unwavering hiss of the air in the vents, she felt Robin’s chest moving up and down with his breathing. Collecting herself for only a moment, she finally opened her eyes, hoping that she was ready.

    “What do you want to know?”
    ----------------------

    Comming up in the next chapter:

    'Um Raven? Do you think you could drop in before you turn in? We've got something of a problem going on in here.' Raven wished she could ignore the voice, but the plea from her emotions was entirely too alarmed for her tastes.
    -
    The newcomer in her mind looked almost as weary as Raven felt. "I know she's a bit**, but you're stuck with her, or rather, she's stuck with you. Luckily, you've got a certain amount of power over her."
    -
    "It was a game for them, a stupid sport! But it was no where near that trivial for me. Either I won or I lost, either I was safe or I was taken. And as you saw, I did not win."
    -
    Our people want you for the negotiations. They believe that you would know them better. Therefore, it is imperrative that we request your prescence on Tamaran, soon.
    -
    Robin seemed extremely pained at the mere mention of a trip to the watch tower, though if the Dark Knight noticed, he did not show it. "So we'd appreciate it if you dropped by before you leave. We need a few questions answered."
    --------
    Stay tuned!!!!!
     
  11. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

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    Answers, you say. coughcoughyeahrightcoughcough

    :p

    Actually, that's not such a bad thing. When it comes to stories, I'm a firm believer in the "withhold answers for as long as possible" school of plotting (or, as I like to call it now, the "Lost" school). We keep reading a story because we don't know what's going to happen next, turning each page in the vain hope that the answers to our questions will be found there: ergo, if you give all these answers right at the start, most of the reader's interest goes away.

    So I'm glad you've only given us part of the story. With the last chapter, and now this one, it seemed like you'd give us everything right here, but we only have enough info to answer our most immediate questions (namely, the very basic basics of Starfire's past and Keenyara's role). Better yet, you let us know that this is what you're doing: the extra info isn't withheld through clever cutting, but through characters keeping secrets and being generally evasive. There's enough answers to quash any potential irritation, but not only are there enough questions left to keep us reading, we're also left curious as to how these new answers will change the characters and the story itself.

    In other words, I'm hooked more than ever. With Keenyara's brilliantly perverse "divine mission", Starfire's traumatic past rapidly becoming present and mayhem seemingly just around the corner, this story can only get more interesting from here. Well done, Anima.:anime:

    -Matt A-
     
  12. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

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    Wow. really long wait... You have no idea how frustrated I was. I never have enough time when I get home.

    well here's the chapter. it's shorter than I thought it'd be, but it happens... ENJOY!!

    --------

    Chapter 5 :A Night of Answers(Pt.2):

    Raven sighed in exhaustion, finally able to lie in her own bed. It had taken thirty minutes to get Starfire from the forest, two hours for her to wake up, a thirty minute break, and then another hour to find and situate Keenyara, who was incredibly open to sleeping on a couch for someone so arrogant, though the comment that it would not work long term did not serve to decrease the ever increasing amount of questions surrounding the girl.

    Personally, Raven accepted Starfire’s explanation without question. She of all people understood the need for a certain amount of privacy, and if Starfire preferred her past experiences private then Raven would not ask questions. She also accepted the fact that Robin was like Beastboy in the fact that both were annoyingly stubborn when kept from certain information. She had the feeling that Robin was with Starfire at the moment, pulling the truth out of her, one way or another.

    Tiredly, Raven slipped under her slight covers, hardly believing that it was only eleven. She closed her eyes, and was asleep before she could think of anything more.

    -!-

    Raven looked around her, barely surprised at what she saw. She was standing on nothing, only black space all around. It was as if she was standing in the screen of a television that had been turned off. The surface she stood on was indistinguishable from any walls or sky, if they did exist at all.

    “So, someone’s found a way to pester me even when I sleep.,” she mused quietly, “Why is the world suddenly taking on a Beastboy-like habit?” She hardly suspected an answer, but one came just the same.

    “You know when they said that fate was cruel? It really is more of a bittersweet annoyance.” The reply had come from a young woman about Raven’s height. She was dressed in an elegant lime green dress and plain sandals. She shared the dark chocolate skin that Keenyara had, but looked slightly more cared for and not quite so thin. Her black hair reached a few inches past her shoulders and was separated into what looked like hundreds of tiny braids. Her dark green eyes looked nervous as she watched Raven.

    Raven ‘hmph’ed and looked the girl up and down. “Who are you?” The girl crossed her arms and sighed deeply.

    “Aara. I’m Aara. But we’re not here to talk about me. We’re here to talk about your new houseguest. Please tell me she’s behaving herself.” Aara looked at Raven, looking worried. Raven narrowed her eyes.

    “I understand that the two of you come from a different dimension, so let’s just say that her manners aren’t quite up to par here. In fact there are a certain few people around here who would use some very unflattering words to describe her.” Raven paused and crossed her arms over her chest, looking faintly irritated. “You mentioned minor annoyances?” Aara seemed taken aback and stepped forward, also narrowing her eyes.

    “I don’t think you’re being fair!” she exclaimed, “Keenyara can be a little arrogant sometimes, and I know she puts things bluntly, and yeah, she doesn’t think before she says anything, but… she…” she trailed off, awkwardly and looked at Raven whose skeptical gaze could not have been more disbelieving. “God, damnit she’s a *****…” she mumbled, burying her face in her hands. “She’s a *****, and everyone who knows her knows she’s a *****. Even she knows she’s a *****.” Pushing one of her braids behind her ear, she looked up at Raven, looking almost a weary as Raven felt. “It’s just one of those passing traits you have to overlook.”

    Raven arched an eyebrow. “Uh huh. And next you’ll tell me that when you get to know her she’s a sweet and caring person and her hard exterior is just an act she uses to keep herself from getting hurt. Excuse me, but where I come from, that’s called cliché.”

    Aara dropped to sit cross legged on the floor. “Actually, when you get to know her, you find that she’s even more of a ***** than you originally thought,” she muttered lowly. “I doubt that she would put up an act for anyone, including herself. She’s never found it worth the effort to try to say anything to please people, and if there is only one thing true about Keenyara, it’s that she doesn’t do anything that isn’t worth it.” She looked up at Raven. “Please, sit,” she said, waving a hand at the barely-there floor. Raven did.

    “Keenyara was born a slave, which is why she’s so smart, but she escaped when she was twelve, when she finished her training, using her power. You have to understand that she made herself everything that she is now, which is quite a lot. Of the five of us, she was the strongest, as much as I don’t want her to know that. Not only that, but all of her skills are self taught, which means that she will never forget how to do what she does. For all of her bragging she’s pretty true to reality.”

    Raven blinked, trying to work out more than one of the facts she had just heard. Hating her own curiosity, she picked the most impersonal question. “Why are you telling me this?” she finally asked slowly. Aara sighed and leaned back on her hands.

    “Because Keenyara was sent to your dimension for a reason, though I’m not sure how much of that reason I can tell you. You and your other female friend are crucial to a major battle coming up, and Keenyara’s job is to make sure that nothing happens to you two in the meantime. She has an attitude problem, I’ll admit, but you’re stuck with her, or rather she’s stuck with you.” Her drained frown suddenly split into a wide grin. “Luckily, you've got a certain amount of power over her.” Raven’s interest prickled some, though she refrained from showing it.

    “You know, if the universe would stop speaking to me in riddles I would really appreciate it. Maybe you’d like to start the trend.” Aara rolled her eyes.

    “If you two don’t get along then you’ll kill each other, I swear,” she muttered crossly. “Keenyara was assigned to you unwillingly, so there is a bit of safeguard on her. She’s bound to you and the other one. All you need is a direct order and she has to obey it.”

    Raven crossed her arms, unconvinced. “How direct?” Aara tilted her head.

    “Say her name; state the command, that kind of direct— being specific helps too,” she said thoughtfully. “If she can find a way around it, trust me, she will. And I’d stay away from things like, ‘Tell me this’ or ‘believe that.’ If you do, there’s most definitely going to be a backlash like hell.”

    Raven nodded, knowing about such things from her many books. “Anything else I should know? Should I expect you to be dropping by in the physical world anytime soon?” she asked, standing slowly. Aara laughed.

    “Ah, well, you’ll see me again one day, but no where in the near future. I should be dropping by in a decade or two. Don’t back down off of Keenyara. She’s like an abused dog. Right now, she’ll snap at anything, but once you wear her down… well you won’t get bitten as much.”

    The words seemed to be the end of their little chat and Aara was gone just as instantly as she had come. Raven had time to reflect on what the next few decades could hold for them all, before she faded to herself and returned to true sleep once more.

    -!-

    “What do you want to know?”

    “I want to know about the past you left out in the common room today. Why were you out in space at all? Who was K’trina?”

    Robin held Starfire around her waist while she leaned against him comfortably. Although, she had tried to ready herself for whatever questions Robin would ask, Starfire still felt herself no where near as at ease as she would have been had they been talking about anything else.

    Starfire took a silent breath and plunged into her story. “I and my brother Ryand’r, or Bluefire, were both born on the same night. I was born a few minutes before him. For a while, everything was normal. We learned to walk and talk and run and laugh. We played with Blackfire and were each given knorfkas to see to our well being. Until I was four, I was a normal little girl, albeit a little spoiled,” she added with a faint blush. Robin cocked his head to one side.

    It was a little hard for him to think of Starfire as a toddler wanting her way in everything and most often getting it. Starfire was usually so willing to give up things for others. He tried imagining her having a temper tantrum and found that he just could not do it. He gave up for the moment and listened to her explanation.

    “Then, a few months after I became four, something important happened. It was all very official and I took no notice of it really, except to know that someone had been keeping information from my father and mother, the Grand Ruler and Queen of Tamaran, and one of the first things that had been taught to me as a child was that you always tell the Grand Ruler everything. Keeping secrets was not tolerated.

    “What ever did happen, it changed everything for my brother, sister, and I. For some reason we ceased to be children and instead became weapons and powers to be trained and refined. Our entire lives were being planned out. Entire plots to conquer empires hinged on us and our skills. We began to train everyday in every subject. Everything was a lesson. Playtime was for practicing cleverness and tactics. Even during meals we were expected to be learning the manners we would have to exhibit once we ‘defeated the evil and ruled all that was.’

    “The new expectations we were bound to were hard enough, but we soon enough found that it got even more complicated. Both my mother and my father wanted control of us, wanted the knowledge that they would have all of the power that we would have. Their dispute became a fight that almost destroyed the castle we lived in. For days we took shelter in various rooms of the palace, hoping that they would not kill one of us by accident.

    “And then, one day it was over. The fight came into the great room where we were and,” Starfire shook her head, dismayed, “she killed him. She had been known throughout the galaxy for not only her beauty, but her seductions and charms. What she was not famous for was her skill and grace when fighting.” Starfire looked up, meeting Robin’s eyes for the first time. “She is deadly. She has always been deadly. And what makes her deadly is the fact that only she knew of her skill.

    “She then turned to us. We had been hiding with Galifore, Blackfire and Bluefire’s knorfkas having gone to find help. She attempted to take us from Galifore. You may have noticed the scar along his right eye. I am quite sure that that is a scar from that battle, but he refuses to tell me. She did not kill him only because we begged her to spare him. We went with her willingly in exchange for his life. She must have planned it out for some months because there was a ship belonging to Psions waiting for us at the edge of the atmosphere. It was there that we spent the next years of our lives. Once we were on the ship, she changed our names. She decided that I was to be K’trina, Power for Destruction.”

    Starfire silently waited for Robin’s reaction. She was surprised at her own reaction. While she had expected tears, or at least depression to come to her with the retelling of her story, what she felt was actually a bit of release. She had never spoken the story out loud to anyone. Somehow, she wondered if it brought her closer to Robin.

    Robin was more speechless than anything else. “I’m sorry,” he finally blurted out, feeling his cheeks flare. “About your father,” he quickly added. Starfire shook her head wistfully.

    “It hurt to watch him die, but,” she paused guiltily, “I believe I would have been much more devastated if it had been Galifore or my sister or brother. It was one of the reasons royal children were given knorfkas. A king and queen were much too busy running the planet or making sure that their children will marry well. I hardly knew him.” She looked up at him again. “You still have questions.” Robin had not expected it to be a question.

    “What was that vision thing that we saw?” Robin asked. He remembered the girl he had seen, fighting so hard. He remembered her hair. He remembered her eyes. “That girl… that was you, wasn’t it?”

    “Yes, that was me. Me when I was younger,” she paused thoughtfully, “I was not as I am now.” Robin nodded, but kept quiet, not wanting her to have to stop for him. “After they found that their experiment was a success, they began to see the value and genius of it.” Starfire smiled ruefully. “The perfect soldier. A built in cannon is easy to carry around and hard to detect.

    “Once they saw the usefulness of it, they began changing Blackfire, and then my brother, Bluefire. That was when they found that most males did not take to the change the way females did.” Starfire noticed the pain welling up inside her. She had been beginning to think that she may have been over the pain, but she found the truth now. “He did not die,” she said, more to console herself than for Robin’s benefit. “But, unlike my sister and I, the pain did not stop after the machine was turned off. The fire continued to burn him and it drove him mad after only two years. He was still only a child.” Starfire tried to push forward with her story, hoping that it would drive the vision of her only twin out of her mind. Her stomach clenched.

    “When they finished with us they began kidnapping young girls from all over the galaxy. They only took girls, both because they did not know if males would have a reaction similar to my brother’s, and believing that a woman would be even less suspicious than a man. I am also sure that their preference of gender had something to do with a pact that my mother made with them. A deadly disease long ago killed all but a few of the females on the Psion planet and the species was sure to die out if there was not a large supply of females to be given to them soon. So my mother devised a plan.”

    Starfire looked up and Robin and debated just how far into her own musings she should go. She thought carefully about her next words. “You see, Robin, my mother is not stupid in any sense of the word. She is not like any other females, she does not think with her heart or with her emotions. I do not think that her battle was one she just fell into in a moment of rage. She had been planning it and our kidnapping for some years, and therefore she was in control from the beginning. From the way she interacted with the Psions I think that she had been in contact with them for longer than anyone really knows. So you see, she knew all of the problems and how they each should be resolved.

    “She knew that she would be a hunted woman as soon as she turned on Tamaran, so she hid with the Psions, a species said to have died out. She knew that the Psions never did anything without payment, so she brought us, ‘chosen ones with immeasurable power’. She knew that she would never be able to take Tamaran without an army, and that she could not have a surviving army with only a group of males or with only a group of females. So she went to the Psions’ king and created the ‘sport’ of Kaie.

    “The rules were simple. Twelve men divided into teams of four would fight each other for a girl. The team that wins wins that girl for one night. The man who actually captured her, the one who drove the knife into her, he wins her completely. He must allow his teammates use of her for that on night, but after that she belongs to him and him only. Any daughters that she would have would either be born with the starbolts or would have them ‘given’ to her. Any sons would become soldiers or generals or something of the sort. You understand Robin, she was literally, breeding an army.

    “What you saw was a memory of my own Kaie. As I told you once, I could not afford to lose that battle, but it is not a competition between the girl and the men. The game was not designed to allow a victory for me. I could not afford failure, but failure was inevitable.”

    Starfire winced suddenly, brought out of her quiet remembrance by Robin’s vice-like grip on her hand. She looked up at him inquiringly, only to see him with his eyes shut tightly and his mouth was pressed into a thin line. His face was white like a sheet and he breathed slowly and gruffly. Starfire could almost taste his fury, his fear, his disbelief. Her eyes were wide with wonder. She was in awe at the amount of emotion he felt for her. She was not sure what to say to him, whether to be flattered or saddened, so she blurted out the first thing she could form in her mind.

    “That hurts,” she muttered, her eyes stuck to their entwined hands, her fingers quickly turning purple. Robin did not move, seeming not to hear her. Gently, she began to pull at his fingers, hoping to relieve the pressure, but only succeeding in awaking him from his own mind. He grabbed her chin, the movement no where near his usual gentleness, and locked his gaze with hers. His eyes were bright with fury.

    “They didn’t do that to you,” he stated, his voice harsh and clear. Starfire was astonished once again. “Tell me that they didn’t do that to you.” Starfire closed her eyes briefly, trying to protect herself from the memories, but Robin’s hand tightened considerably, causing them to fly open once more. “Don’t— please don’t. Look at me. Tell me,” Robin said his voice softer.

    Starfire smoothed her knuckles against his cheek consolingly. “I— they— they came close. They came so close. But I did not let them. You saw what happened tonight in the clearing, the starfire that came from me and bent to my will. It happened then, for the first time. I was not in control of myself. The entire ship was destroyed and my sister and brother escaped. But I was too weak.”

    Robin’s grip on her relaxed and his eyes slid closed in relief.

    “Eventually, a household ship belonging to a group of Gordanians picked me up. They had seen what had happened and found the power I possessed pretty,” she uttered, disgust evident in her voice. “I was so badly hurt and so weak that I could not escape. They put me to work as a performer. Every night I was to unleash the power once again. After doing this for such a long time, I learned to manipulate the fire, creating patterns and things. As long as my performance was satisfying, I was not harmed very much.” Starfire saw Robin perk up, noticing her careful wording. She took his hand in both of hers, looking at him intently.

    “But I am alive, Robin,” she said, before kissing him lightly. Her eyes pleaded with him to forget his anger at her past foes. “I have lived through it. And how agreeable do you think I would be had I been left on Tamaran and spoiled as they wanted to spoil me,” she added trying to smile for him. It struck her as odd that she was now trying her hardest to keep him calm, while in the beginning it was reversed. She let the thought go. “Please, please, don’t do this to yourself. I have… learned to deal with it,” she murmured, looking away again.

    Robin frowned and pulled her face toward him. He kissed her gently and pulled her against him. When he pulled back, he looked at her intensely.

    “That doesn’t make it right. That doesn’t make it fair.” He slid his hands around her waist. “You didn’t deserve it,” he whispered.

    Starfire smiled wryly, hugging him close, her mind calming a bit with the comfort of his embrace. “We never want to believe we deserve it.”
    ------------
     
  13. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

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    At the risk of being flippant, I think it's pretty much a given that Starfire has had a rough past. I mean, with the comics, the fan-fics, those few episodes that had the stones to look at it, there seems to be a certain tendency to shovel on the pain and misery. But you...

    ...Well, you just take the biscuit. Reading that story, my reaction was only a step or two down from Robin's: shock, horror, revulsion, anger, all those wonderful things. The Kaie in particular is one of the most stomach-churningly repulsive things I have ever come across, a masterful creation of pure, undiluted nastiness. And, of course, a sign of just how wrong in the head Luand'r really is, coming up with a plan that convoluted and that unpleasant just so she could get her hands on the Tamaran throne. Then again, I have a nasty feeling she actually intends to go a little further than that, but we shall see.

    Considering what I said after the previous chapter, I must admit I was feeling a little wary of Starfire spilling her entire past all at once and this early on. Still, you've done a good job of it here: we were told no more than we needed to know, and in the detailed-yet-general way people really use when telling such stories. We can understand why Starfire kept it hidden this long, why she only tells all now, and why both people reacted the way they did: crucial for keeping suspension-of-disbelief in such a circumstance. Besides, whilst this gives us a good understanding of Luandr's mental processes, it doesn't ruin the story by telling us what she's planning now.

    Oh yes, and then there's Aara. The exchange between her and Raven was very enjoyable, full of the twisted witicisms I love so much: I'd quote a few, but that would take far too long. Needless to say, it goes a long way to explaining why Keenyara is the way she is, and what purpose she's here to serve (which, interestingly, don't seem to be mutually exclusive). On the whole, someone who has such little compulsion about popping egos is ideal for a situation like this, where the stakes in a game we don't know are already getting higher than we can understand.

    In other words, fun is coming.:anime::evil:
     
  14. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

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    Hoorah. I got the chapter in early this time. I am proud of me. I'm hoping that my teachers will ease up since the first nine weeks is over.

    enjoy the chapter!

    __

    Chapter 6: Bonding Time:

    “God, do you people even know what you’re doing?” Keenyara exclaimed before she tilted her head back and let out an exasperated sigh. Beastboy slowly peeled himself from the wall that he had so enthusiastically run into. He had been aiming for Keenyara, but she refused to stand still, much to his dismay.

    “You suck,” she said, looking at him from the corner of her eye, “just like the hybrid. At least the Duke of Colors over there can move. What have you been doing?”

    Robin ground his teeth together in an effort to keep his temper. He was not sure what made him angrier, the fact that neither Beastboy, nor Cyborg, could defeat her, or that the reason they could not defeat her was because she was good.

    “Keenyara, we all have been introduced to each other and we are quite happy to call you by your name. Perhaps then, you could honor us by calling us by ours,” Starfire said courteously as she struggled to hide her amused grin. Robin was in awe at her diplomacy in such a situation. Keenyara just did not seem to be getting to her the way she got to… everyone else.

    Keenyara considered this briefly and was about to answer when Cyborg’s raucous laughter interrupted her. “‘Duke of Colors’? I should have gotten that one on tape!” he exclaimed from the floor, where he was reattaching his left leg. Keenyara smirked a smirk of approval and stretched lazily.

    “What now? Is it Bluebird’s turn? Or am I finally gonna— ha!” This time she interrupted herself with a triumphant shout. She dropped down into a controlled fall, adding an unnecessary twist on the way down so that she finished lounging on the gym floor with her hands behind her head. Beastboy hurtled through the space where she had been in the form of a large green wolf.

    “Ugh, come on Beastboy. Wouldn’t that have been an unsportsmanlike shot?” She rolled her eyes. “You people are so lame,” she snickered, laughing at the absurdity of it all.

    Really, it was not that she was so much better than the two male titans. More, it was that the style of fighting that she was using focused more on agility and speed. Beastboy and Cyborg used more brute strength than anything else, Cyborg with his mechanical muscles and Beastboy with his larger animal forms. Truly, she would have a harder time fighting against the girls’ long range fighting styles and Robin matched her blow for blow.

    Keenyara thought it was more fun to bait Robin than to point that out.

    Robin slapped his hand over his face as Beastboy slid past the doors into the gym. He was in the act of wishing for something to put the arrogant girl back in her place when the doors slid open to reveal the only Titan who refused to attend Keenyara’s training session.

    Raven raised an eyebrow silently as Beastboy finally managed to come to a complete stop and become humanoid once more. Her eyes then slid to Keenyara who was regarding her from her spot on the floor. She rolled her eyes.

    “Get up,” she said to Keenyara as she moved where Beastboy had been and stood calmly. Keenyara contemplated ignoring her or saying something biting, but instead decided to humor her.

    “You’re up next? Hmm, okay. You first,” she said gracefully rising to her feet and dusting herself off. Raven crossed her arms.

    “No. I have a point to make. Attack.” Raven was still impassive. Keenyara narrowed her eyes, sensing a trick, but again decided to be gracious for the moment.

    Picking up her staff, she sprinted toward the impassive Raven, full force. Raven did not seem to be readying herself in the least and only gazed at Keenyara blankly.

    Suddenly though, a black glow flashed in her eyes and she smirked, feeling the boost of power. “Keenyara, sit,” she commanded simply.

    Keenyara’s eyes went wide as her muscles jerked involuntarily backward and her backside hit the floor. She did not, however, waste time gawking before she was up again and running.

    Raven looked surprised at the time frame it took for the ‘spell’ to wear off. She dodged one first one and then another swipe toward her before launching into the air. She was surprised to find that Keenyara was following her, not by flying, but by a series of flips and rebounds against what she could only imagine were powerful gusts of wind. Her eyes flashed again.

    “Keenyara, sit and remain seated until told otherwise.” The irate teen plummeted downward and hit the ground with a groan. This time she did not get up no matter how much she struggled. She cried out in frustration as Raven touched down onto the floor. The Titans were watching in shocked awe.

    “Ah, you d*mned witch! What did you do to me?” Keenyara growled as a brisk wind began to pick up in the room.

    “It’s a safeguarding enchantment they put on you since you’re here involuntarily. A kind of obedience spell. Apparently, you are going to have to obey a direct order from one of us. Oh, and Aara says ‘hi.’”

    Keenyara’s eyes went wide before she covered her face with both of her hands. “*****ing hell!” she shouted as she moved her hands. “That d*mned—”

    “Hey chick, what is with you and that mouth of yours? Didn’t you live alone? You swear like a sailor or something!” Cyborg exclaimed, frowning.

    “Shut up, Cyborg,” Beastboy cackled as he darted into and out of Keenyara’s reach. “We’ve got unbound powers at our fingertips here and you’re going into a lecture on manners? Dude, when does your husband come home?” Keenyara glared at him, provoked by his taunting, and then whipped around to stare at Raven. Raven nodded graciously.

    “Do as you wish,” she said, shrugging. Keenyara was up in record time and stalking toward Beastboy. Beastboy just laughed again.

    “Okay, are you dumb or something? I can stop you in your tracks at any moment I please!” he crowed. Keenyara grabbed her staff from the floor as her eyes seemed to throb faster and the wind began to pick up speed.

    “Try me,” she hissed, breaking into a dead run. Beastboy smirked and crossed his arms across his chest.

    “Keenyara, don’t move.” Beastboy was somehow the only one surprised when he hit the opposite wall with such force. Keenyara was pushing a few strands of hair out of her face. The air stilled gradually until quiet reigned in the large room.

    “Oh yeah, I thought you knew, it only works for Starfire and I. I thought that would be kind of implied.” Raven said, looking over her shoulder to where Beastboy had decided to stay down. “Sorry,” she said. She turned back to find Keenyara staring at her.

    “When did you talk to Aara?” she asked. Raven faced the stare unflinchingly.

    “Last night. It was one of those lucid dreaming things. Why?”

    Keenyara tilted her head curiously. “What did she tell you?”

    Raven rolled her eyes. “Stuff about where you came from and why you’re so socially inept.”

    Keenyara snorted and retrieved the cloth she used to keep her staff secured. “You idiot, I could have told you all of that.” Raven glowered at her back as Keenyara motioned toward Cyborg. “You, Cyborg, come fix something to eat before stupid over there wakes up and tries to shove a tree down my throat.” Cyborg was up quickly and engaging Keenyara in a conversation about Beastboy and his ludicrous food choices as the two headed toward the kitchen. Robin rested his head against Starfire’s shoulder and groaned quietly. Starfire giggled and tugged on his hair playfully.

    “I do not think she is so bad,” she said while Robin and Raven stared at her incredulously. She just giggled back at them and moved to help Beastboy up.

    “Sure, like a paper cut,” Robin muttered.

    Raven snorted. “Or a power drill drilling into your scull.” Beastboy rubbed his head and glared toward Raven.

    “Or maybe like running into a wall over and over again. Thanks, Rae,” he snarled, his voice dripping sarcasm. Raven crossed her arms across her chest.

    “It was a momentary memory lapse. On the upside, now Cyborg and Keenyara can make some real food in peace.” Beastboy’s eyes went wide. Raven raised her hand to her mouth in mock surprise. “Oh my, did I just say that out loud? Well, you better leave quietly to stop them.”

    “Cyborg! Put that garbage down! It’s my turn to cook lunch! CYBORG!” Raven winced as Beastboy sprinted out of the gym shouting.

    “Somehow he never hears the words having to do with silence,” she muttered heading out of the room and to lunch. Starfire looked at Robin who shrugged and grabbed her hand, leading her the way everyone else had gone.

    The two had fallen asleep not long after their talk. Robin had remained with her for the entire night while Starfire slept quietly. Both had underestimated the extent of her exhaustion. She woke much later than was her normal. Robin had been up for a few hours, enough to introduce each of the Titans to Keenyara formally and to be called about three different species of bird, none of which had anything similar to a robin.

    “Excuse me, Mockingbird, but could you get your brave soldier to fix his own lunch and leave ours alone!” Robin’s fists clenched as Cyborg grabbed Beastboy by the back of his collar.

    “Get you dirty green paws off of the hamburgers!” he shouted. Keenyara was tapping her staff impatiently against the kitchen island.

    The noise level was ascending rapidly with Cyborg’s and Beastboy’s normal argument which Keenyara seemed happy to join. Cyborg was elated to have someone else that was just as scandalized with Beastboy’s die-hard vegetarianism.

    Robin kneaded his forehead agitatedly. “Hey!” He shouted finally. All motion and arguments stopped and all eyes came on him. “Shut. Up. Beastboy let them have their food and get your own. You two have this dumb argument every single day. You should have worked it out by now! And I would thank you to not instigate,” he snarled at Keenyara. The youth simply turned her attention back to Cyborg who was teaching her how to cook on the stove, though not before giving Robin a good view of her middle finger over her shoulder. Robin’s eyes went wide with shock before going narrow. He started around the island toward her, cursing angrily.

    Starfire quickly grabbed his arm. Raven turned away and tried to hide her smile. Beastboy was cracking up, watching Starfire struggle to keep Robin next to her. Cyborg shook his head and flipped a burger expertly. “Shortie, I think you’re gonna fit in alright,” he mused, grinning.

    The light atmosphere was interrupted by an authoritative sounding beep coming from the large computer. Starfire went toward it after making sure that Robin was in control of himself. She pressed a few keys on the keyboard before her and the black screen was replaced with Galifore’s huge face, looking worried. Starfire looked up at him, confused.

    “Galifore?” she said, rising from the floor to be eye level with his image. His face immediately melted into relief upon seeing her unharmed, but he still looked agitated. Robin turned and watched.

    “Princess Starfire, I am so glad to find you unharmed!” he exclaimed. Starfire tilted her head.

    “Why would I not be fine? What is wrong?” Galifore’s eyes darted from Starfire to the rest of her team behind her band back again. Starfire’s eyes widened as he began to speak rapid Tamaranian.

    “I have been attempting to contact you through your private communicator for days now, but it seems to have been offline. I have even tried on this one once already! I was afraid for you,” he admonished. Starfire looked off to the side.

    “I apologize. I knew that you tried to contact me through the main computer, but I became…distracted,” she answered, trying to avoid the truth.

    Galifore looked suspicious. “Distracted by what exactly?” he asked. Starfire looked at the scar over his eye.

    “Luand’r.”

    Galifore’s fists clenched. “Princess, I was hoping I could warn you before they found you. Please, you friends are well?” He peered behind her and toward her friends, looking for any visible injuries there. Only Robin looked back, while the others continued with their mealtime rituals.

    “They are undamaged. I would not let them into a fight with her, but she has revealed me and my past. Robin at least, knows everything.” Galifore looked surprised and looked at Robin, who quickly tried to look like he was not listening. Starfire had not even told him everything about her absence from Tamaran. It was years after her kidnapping before a transmission was sent to him with her face on it. He almost did not recognize her as the toddler he used to care for.

    “I see,” he remarked carefully. “I… am not sure how to tell you this.”

    Starfire started. “What are you talking about?” she asked carefully.

    “Princess, the Psions have returned.”

    Starfire dropped from the air in her shock. “What? When? What do they want from us?” she asked, without giving Galifore time to respond.

    “About a ‘week’ ago. They have not declared war, but they claim that we are harboring an escaped servant and one of their soldier’s wife. Do you know what they speak of?” Starfire paled.

    “They want Blackfire and I,” she whispered angrily. Now it was Galifore’s turn to pale.

    “You and Blackfire are not wed! You are both untouched! They did not marry either of you!” he exclaimed, slightly hysterical. Starfire held her hands before her.

    “Please, calm yourself Galifore. We are not married by our standards and neither of us has been…violated,” she detailed uncomfortably. Galifore seemed comforted to a point, but still was not his normal good natured self.

    “That will have to be elaborated on at a later time. But I am sorry to say that our people feel that you would know them best. Rik has taken a vote and they want both you and your sister for the negotiations. It is imperative that I request your presence back on Tamaran quite soon.” Rik on Tamaran was a kind of watered down Parliament. It had started out as a group of advisors to the Grand Ruler, but eventually became a very powerful group in Tamaranian politics. They took care of the things that the Grand Ruler refused to be bothered with, such as choosing sufficient knorfkas, setting taxes, attending to the current king or queen, and always advising the Grand Ruler. While the Grand Ruler remained the absolute ruler and power, most took the advice given to them by Rik seriously and after the royal family, members of Rik were most powerful.

    Starfire bowed her head obediently. “Yes, Emperor Galifore. I will come as soon as I am able. It may be a day or two, but I will come.” She secretly had no idea how that would work out with the Teen Titans, but she tried not to let it show. They had understood so far. She hoped that it would continue.

    “Good day, Princess. Good day, Titans.” The transmission cut quickly and Starfire touched down on the floor. Robin was looking at her strangely while the rest of the group sat and ate hamburgers, or tofu hamburgers in Beastboy’s case.

    “When are you going to leave?” Robin asked somberly. Those eating looked up in surprise at the question. Starfire was surprised too.

    “Wha- how did you know that?” she stuttered, caught off guard. She knew for a fact that her conversation with Galifore had been complete Tamaranian. Neither of them had slipped. Robin gave her a strange look in return.

    “You two weren’t whispering or anything. I couldn’t help but overhear,” he answered shrugging.

    “That’s exactly what happened last night. It’s like Robin knows Tamaranian, but he doesn’t know how he knows. I don’t even think he knows he knows!” Beastboy piped up, chewed up tofu falling out of his mouth, much to Raven and Keenyara’s disgust.

    “I think it goes chew then swallow,” Keenyara declared, looking at the pre-chewed bits. “There’s usually not a conversation between the two.” She looked over at Raven. “Right, you highness?”

    Starfire took no notice of the impending argument. She tilted her head and moved closer to Robin. “You understood what I said to Luand’r last night?” she asked in Tamaranian. She expected a blank look more than an answer, but she got the latter.

    “Yeah, but you weren’t speaking Tamaranian last night, were you?” Robin asked casually. He didn’t really believe that Starfire had been speaking Tamaranian. More likely it was one of Beastboy’s jokes that he refused to let go. Starfire eyes got wide.

    “Our… the argument that we had was in Tamaranian, Robin, as was my conversation with Galifore.” Starfire moved forward again and peered at Robin strangely. “As is what I am saying now.”

    Robin’s eyes went wide. Once it had been pointed out to him, he could hear a slight accent in the words she said.

    “What? How? I mean, it’s not like I can speak Tamaranian or anything!” he exclaimed, perplexed. “Why would I be able to understand it?” Starfire tilted her head.

    “I am not sure I would expect you to,” she answered. She blushed suddenly. “However, I do have a few theories, now that I think of it,” she stuttered. Robin arched an eyebrow at her sudden shyness. The table behind them was still relatively quiet.

    “Well?” Cyborg prompted, his mouth also full. “Lay ‘em on us!” The table was silent, all of them sensing Starfire’s discomfort. They all waited anxiously for her answer. Starfire went even redder.

    “Oh, well, it hardly matters at the moment, agreed?” she said in what she hoped was an offhand way. “What does matter is that I am being summoned back to Tamaran, as Robin has noticed.” She turned to Robin. “I need to leave soon,” she said, trying to be calm and rational about it. She remembered the way it was when she had been summoned back for her marriage. They had come with her. She had wanted anything but then. She had been horribly afraid of marrying someone that was not, in a word, Robin. Now, no matter how much she berated herself about it, she hoped feebly that they would come with her again.

    “Why do you have to go back anyway? I thought you told them that you didn’t want to be their queen,” Beastboy said loudly. He stood from the table and stretched, leaving his dirty plate behind. Keenyara shot a sideways look at Raven who only shook her head slowly. Keenyara shrugged and sat back. No one seemed to notice the interaction but them.

    “I did decline the throne, yes, but I am still princess. Technically, I only said that I did not want the throne at that time. With Blackfire banished I would become Grand Ruler, should Galifore become unable to rule,” Starfire answered, sitting on a stool at the counter and resting her head in her hand. Cyborg too left his seat, heading toward his beloved GameStation. Again, Keenyara gave Raven a look. Raven lifted a single finger in a ‘wait’ gesture. Keenyara faced forward again and crossed her arms, blowing hair from her face. Some of her hair was apparently too short to stay in place in her braid and she was forever pushing hair out of her eyes or unbraiding and re-braiding her hair.

    “So when do you think we should leave?” Cyborg asked, settling on the couch with the good controller, delighted that he had gotten it before Beastboy. Raven stood and slid from the table, motioning for Keenyara to do the same. Keenyara did so with an exasperated sigh. Starfire looked at him, taken aback.

    “’We’?” she questioned. Robin also looked at him while Beastboy sullenly grabbed the only other controller and plugged it in. Cyborg looked at her over the back of the couch while he waited for Beastboy to key in.

    “Well yeah. I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but the last visit we took to Tamaran didn’t give me a chance to check things out all the way. I mean, did you see all of those lamps? I did not see one single wall outlet either!” he elaborated. Robin inspected him closely as he said this, wondering if that was his real reason. Robin knew what it was like to be protective of Starfire. One usually wanted to be as discreet as possible.

    “If Cyborg’s going then I’m going. I refuse to be left here with Raven and Robin! They both have an unhealthy habit of wanting to hit me in the head as much as possible. And between you and me, I’m thinking that Keenya over there is evil,” Beastboy added, sneaking a look at Keenyara. Keenyara scowled and gestured strongly toward the ceiling and then toward Beastboy. A left over hamburger jerked into the air on the strong stream of wind, flying to smack against the back of Beastboy’s head.

    “Watch it, you stupid green bean, before I blow something heavier and sharper in your general direction,” she snapped as Beastboy glared back. Beastboy stuck his tongue out at her as Cyborg fell over laughing. Robin smirked, wondering if he could overlook his dislike of the girl if only he could enjoy moments like these. He held up two fingers.

    “Well that makes two of the team that’s going with Star. Raven? Are you going to sign up with everyone else?” he asked, looking back at her. She was busily trying to hide her smile as Beastboy frantically wiped the cooked meat from himself. She looked up.

    “I better go if Beastboy’s going. Knowing him, he’ll probably hit on one of Star’s relatives and end up on death row.” Robin turned back to Starfire.

    “Well with the entire team on a different planet, I won’t be much use here. I guess you can count me in. I don’t know what we’re going to do about Keenyara, though,” he wondered. Keenyara planted one hand on her hip, biting the inside of her cheek to keep more than one statement from leaving her lips.

    “Silly duck, I go where those two go. Do we need to have another talk?” she allowed herself to say. Robin scowled and ignored her, not wanting to humor her with a response. He was starting to see that she normally had the last word, a fact that was beginning to irritate him. Starfire interrupted his dark musings.

    “This means that you all intend to accompany me back to Tamaran?” she asked lightly. In actuality, she was feeling anything but. Robin nodded. She took Robin’s hand in hers gratefully. “Well then, I believe that we should pack. I would like to leave soon, if that is fine with everyone else,” she said, before kissing Robin’s cheek. She stood and retreated toward her room. Keenyara looked at Raven expectantly. Raven nodded and chanted.

    “Azarath Metrion Zenthos,” she said mechanically, and stepped back as Cyborg and Beastboy both dropped from two portals onto the floor. Raven fixed them with an icy glare. “It’s your turn for dish duty. I covered for both of you at least once, so you can pay me back together. Get to work.” Keenyara smiled at Raven.

    “Very handy. I approve.” Raven rolled her eyes, though a tiny, barely there smile peeked through.

    “Thanks. Now that my life’s wish has been fulfilled—”

    “No one likes a smart*ss,” Keenyara snapped suddenly, though she too bore a small sign of amusement. The two continued to snap at each other quietly as they headed toward the couch and Keenyara grabbed the remote and inspected it briefly. She pushed a few buttons experimentally before she found the ones that changed channels and occupied herself with soaking up some pop culture.

    Her learning was disrupted as the television began another long sequence of beeps before it cut to yet another transmission. Keenyara ‘humph’ed and crossed her arms grumpily as a tall man clad in black and grey appeared on the screen. A black mask covered the top portion of his face and ended in two pointed ears. A gold belt was looped around his waist and a black bat could be seen on his chest.

    Batman.

    Keenyara looked him up and down a moment. He looked back at her. A single eyebrow raised and a condescending smirk formed on her lips.

    “Aren’t you a little old to play dress up?” she asked loudly, knowing that he would hear her from the way Starfire had interacted with the earlier one. She watched his reaction carefully, secretly approving his control. He only looked back at her skeptically, seemingly unaffected by her rude comment.

    “Cute,” he commented, somehow looking just as patronizing as she, even without the easy access to his eyes. “
    Tell me, is there someone… better around I can talk to?” Keenyara only smirked wider.


    “You remind me of someone, somehow. Let me see… ridiculous costume, don’t touch me attitude, strange fixation with masks… of course! Hey, Bluejay, you’ve got a message,” she called over her shoulder before hopping over the back of the couch and heading off to somewhere in the Tower. Being as anti-social as she was, she did not invite anyone to go with her and left without another word. Robin kneaded his forehead again and stepped into the monitor’s line of view.

    “Batman,” he greeted unceremoniously.

    “Robin. I see you’ve got a new member. She’s you people person, right?” Robin groaned quietly.

    “Not funny. What do you want? I assume it’s an emergency if you actually sent a live transmission.” ‘Though the site of Keenyara talking to a recording would do me some good,’ he added mentally. Batman nodded.

    “Yes. There has been some strange activity going around in your area. I was wondering if you could clarify some of it,” he remarked back. Robin crossed his arms.

    “I don’t know. We’re going on a road trip and we’re leaving soon. Starfire has some business back on Tamaran. We’re leaving as soon as we can get the Titans East to cover for us,” he said, gaining a kind of pleasure from denying the legendary Batman.

    “I’ll tell you what. We’ve got some new recruits coming in who are claiming that they’ll drop dead any minute unless they get a ‘serious’ assignment. Why don’t you stop in the watchtower before you head out and let them city-sit for you while you’re gone? We’ve heard about the situation on Tamaran. We need a conversation with your resident princess too.” Batman crossed his arms.

    Robin’s eyes narrowed in annoyance. He would much prefer to have nothing to do with the watchtower or the Justice League, but he did not have a good enough reason to refuse. If the Dark Knight noticed Robin’s apprehension at the prospect, he did not show it. Robin took a deep breath.

    “Fine,” Robin muttered. “We’ll be there.”
    -----
    TADA!!
     
  15. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

    Joined:
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    First and foremost, I have you give you maximum respect for the double-team that is Raven and Keenyara. This unholy union (well, metaphorically speaking) of two truly evil-hearted witches has produced that most darkly amusing of relationships: they loathe each other for their arrogance, yet adore each other for their cruelty. It's perhaps no surprise that Keenyara has now descended even further into misanthropism, but Raven managed to show a surprising level of malice here, clearly head-over-heels at the prospect of literally being someone else's master. This produced a veritable avalanche of comic moments, far too many to quote here (though I do have to note Raven's first order: there's nothing like poetic justice to bring a smile to your face), but there were also a few moments of notable shock: namely, Raven not telling Beast Boy that he couldn't order Keenyara until after he'd tried, thus deliberately and publicly robbing him of any chance of getting his own back on the woman who'd humilliated him. 'Course, Raven being unpleasant is what makes her so much fun, so being shocked by her actions is no bad thing, but I thought I should point out just how deliciously spiky those two women have become.:anime::evil:

    Though Raven and Keenyara are undoubtedly the scene-stealers of this story (Keenyara especially: gotta love a girl who's first reaction to Batman is to rip the piss out of him :anime:), all the other key cast certainly keep their grip on the limelight. Starfire not feeling able to count on her friends' loyalty was touching, as was their readiness to provide it without either question or baiting: everyone's roundabout way of doing this made their thoughts clear without piling on the syrup, a trick that is always difficult to achieve. And let's not forget, the full gang is certainly going to be needed, what with a full interplanetary political crisis going down, an event that's clearly a precursor to something way more unpleasant. The times, they are a-bringing trouble...which, as I've said before, is a good thing in a story.;):evil:

    But before that, it'll be interesting to see what use the Watchtower will be. I mean, the Justice League get used surprisingly rarely in TT fics (personally, I've never done it, or even found a place for it), and the sheer level of Robin's disregard for his former mentor and foster father is going to have some engaging results. If only to see just how far you can get Robin's stress levels to rise.:p:evil:

    In case none of the above makes sense - it doesn't to me, and I've just spent over half an hour writing the flipping stuff - then just rest assured that this story is going from strength to strength. And, as always, I'm gagging for just that little bit more.;):anime:

    -Matt A-
     
  16. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

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    Oh my GOD!!! It feels like I've dropped off of the face of the Earth, even to myself!! I've just bend so bogged down with school work alone! I finally got this chapter done though.

    Chapter 7 :Welcome Back:

    “So you called us here because of a disturbance in Earth’s wind currents?”

    “Yes.”

    “And because all of your element benders are at least a little weaker, and some of the wind ones can’t do squat?”

    “The fire manipulators are getting it too.” Robin arched an eyebrow skeptically under his mask. Most of the team was, in the case of Raven and Keenyara, regarding the view of Earth stoically, or, in terms of Cyborg and Beastboy, gawking and marveling at it as if they had never been off planet before. Starfire had gazed for a moment, but quickly became bored and wandered over to where Robin was conversing with Superman. While she found each and every sunset on Earth to be unique in some way, the inky vacuum of space was far too monotonous for her.

    Superman stood taller than she had originally expected. While she had seen pictures of him numerous times and had seen many news feeds of his heroic deeds, they were guilty of making a lot more human that he was in person. The media seemed to wish to paint Superman as an ordinary man with extraordinary powers. In reality, he was an ordinary Kryptonian with ordinary powers, but among men, extraordinary was the word you would use.

    On television, Superman was maybe a four or five inches taller than the average man, daunting, it was true, but not an amazing height. He was broad shouldered and muscled, it was true, but his boyish face and baby blue eyes it was easy to discount him as a healthy American boy.

    In person, Superman stood taller than any man ever could. He held himself in such a way that he radiated wisdom and power, a general largeness. While his eyes were soft and friendly, the clear blue somehow were sharp enough to show the clever mind within. Superman was not a lightweight.

    Starfire found herself much more interested in the problem they were here to solve once she had adjusted herself to Superman’s image. Apparently, the at least vaguely reliable wind patterns of Earth had suddenly been thrown off late the night before last. The phenomenon had quickly righted itself, but the effects seemed to be lingering around still.

    “How would this situation pertain to us?” Starfire asked politely. Superman turned his attention to her and then down toward the Earth, looming in the distance.

    They were standing in a kind of observatory at the very tip of the watchtower. The room was almost a circular hallway with a ceiling to floor window wrapping around it. Superman had invited them there, thinking that they would like the view and nothing more. He had not expected to be prompted about the reasons behind the Justice League’s invitation so quickly, but it seemed that Robin was foregoing the small talk.

    “The severity of the effect increases and decreases in a pattern that looks like a circle. What ever is happening, it’s radiating from Jump City. Seeing as that’s your—”

    “Superman, it’s moved. Look!” A teenage boy had sprinted up behind them and shoved past them rudely. He moved his hands in a complicated looking motion and then pushed them toward Superman. Nothing happened for a moment. “It’s the same thing for Jenna and Rod! Nothing!” The youth looked panicked as he repeated the motion over and over.

    Suddenly, all four members of the little group were knocked down (though Superman merely stumbled slightly, caught off guard) by what felt like a hurricane strength gust of wind. They all looked up to find Keenyara shaking her head frantically.

    “What the h*ll are you doing over there?” she exclaimed, her staff still in her hand. It had clearly been her who had attacked them. Her eyes throbbed erratically, something that the Titans had come to read as distress. “D*mn! I can’t leave you idiots alone for two minutes without somebody touching something they shouldn’t…” she muttered, though still clearly speaking to them. Superman looked at her, confusion clear in his eyes. Robin, Starfire, and the teenager all stood up. Robin stalked over to Keenyara and snatched her staff from her while she was still ranting.

    “Do I need to take this from you until you earn it back? Or do you think you can manage acting your age for a while?” he growled. Keenyara darted a quick jab at his chin without prelude. Surprised, but not lacking in reflex, Robin raised the stolen staff to deflect the blow. Keenyara grabbed it and tapped it against his scull, surprising even herself with her compassion. After all, he was not dead.

    “Back off, Gooseman. You have your toys and I have mine,” she snapped. Superman, who had been looking on with surprise, quickly separated the quarreling pair, knowing the preludes to teenage super-fights. Both shrugged off his hand, equally roughly.

    “Wait a second. I was under the impression that the Teen Titans only had five members. I thought the sixth member was in some kind of accident,” Superman remarked. The teenage boy, once again, pushed past Robin, gawking at Keenyara.

    “Forget that, you still have your power. You must be at full strength to produce a current that strong! Haven’t you felt the blackout?” he questioned. The boy was small and stocky, with a thick neck. He watched Keenyara with wide blue eyes and from under long brown bangs that needed a cut. Keenyara wrinkled her nose.

    “I don’t like you. Get away from me,” she stated, inspecting her staff critically. She sent a glare toward Robin and began to wipe at the center of it with her shirt. Robin stubbornly refused to look at her. Confusion clouded into the boy’s eyes and he backed up a few steps, looking stunned. Starfire sighed and stepped forward, laying a hand on the boy’s shoulder.

    “Please, excuse her. She is…” she struggled for a plausible excuse “dealing with a new living arrangement. Very stressful.” The boy looked skeptical, but only offered a small ‘oh,” in response. Raven shook her head.

    “Stressed, that’s it,” she mumbled. “Stop being so useless, Keenyara and tell them why wind manipulators are losing their powers. It is strange seeing as you are above average power. And why fire manipulators of all people are having the same problems.” Keenyara smiled sweetly.

    “Sorry, boss, but that wasn’t the right combination. You’re going to have to work a little harder if you want to be a quality slave driver,” she said pleasantly. Ever since she had found out about the “Jack*ss Clause” as she called it, Keenyara had been ‘casually’ mentioning her enforced enslavement. Raven narrowed her eyes. She could take only so much of Keenyara’s relentless mockery.

    “Do it of your own free will. We’ll even put a sticker on the good behavior when we get home,” she retorted, leaning back against the window behind her. Keenyara rolled her eyes.

    “Idiot,” she murmured before addressing the boy and Superman. “Is that what you people dragged me up here for? You really don’t have to b*tch about every little thing. I mean, God d*mn—”

    “A point, Keenyara! You started out with a point!” Raven snapped, making Keenyara smirk smugly.

    “Maybe I was making a point,” she said before turning back to the, by now, thoroughly taken aback Superman and company. “You’ll get you power back within a few days. It’ll take me a while to adjust my presence, grabby power, you know. I’ll tone it down though,” she said shrugging. She suddenly smirked. “You idiots were running around here in a panic just because I hadn’t watered it down enough? Great job,” she complimented dryly.

    The short youth crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes. Cyborg consulted a clock embedded in his wrist. It seemed to take Keenyara less than five minutes to alienate people enough to get them to dislike her. Less if you started counting from the moment she started talking. “So, you’re basically saying that you are powerful enough to accidentally hold hundreds of elementals powerless for hours?” the teenager queried skeptically. Keenyara crossed her arms back.

    “No. I’m saying that because of my elemental nature and the fact that I’m used to being the only wind elemental on the planet, I’m not used to letting wind currents move freely and out of my control. Although,” she paused, looking thoughtful, “I probably could if I needed to. It’d be annoying as h*ll though.” Superman stepped forward authoritatively.

    “And the fire benders? Why would they be under the same affect if you’re a wind manipulator?” he asked, trying to assert his calm authority. Keenyara smirked.

    “It’s an old grudge. That’ll pass too.”

    The boy still looked disbelieving and tried his hand motion again. Keenyara flinched horribly and her hand was tight around her staff before she stopped herself.

    “Ok, but you can’t do that anymore! Or at least not until I’m out of range. This isn’t about my preference or not. When you do that it hurts.” She proceeded to rub her temples furiously. While she did that the elevator doors leading up to the main level of the Watch Tower hissed open to reveal two more members of the Justice League.

    Batman was first to step out, Keenyara’s halfway-to-gleeful smirk appearing instantly. Behind him was a tall African-American man garbed in a green and black body suit. His eyes were an almost-luminous green, set into a stoic expression. Keenyara snickered loudly. Raven’s eyes flashed.

    “Keenyara, down!” she snapped. Keenyara hit the ground hard in her surprise. She glared back at Raven.

    “You’re a b*tch,” she hissed, hauling herself from the floor, but she was quiet afterwards, sulky as the silence was. The second male to appear arched an eyebrow in surprise, which had rapidly become the standard response to such teen behavior. Seeing as most of the members of the Justice League were either adults or eerily mature young adults, they were not very used to witnessing the interaction between multiple juvenile superheroes. It was a sight that they had had to rapidly adjust to once they opened up the organization to the younger generation, along with a vast array minor accidents that seemed to follow teenage fights.

    Batman, however, did not seem to want to let it go that easily. He eyed Keenyara’s shirt skeptically. “’Sunshine’?” he read, with quiet incredulousness. Keenyara glared back.

    “Yes, Muffin?” she replied scathingly. Batman snorted.

    Robin stepped forward, deciding that Keenyara’s free reign had gone on long enough. He extended a hand to Batman, who took it and shook it, loosely enough.

    “Batman, we’re here and it seems like we’ve solved whatever problems you’ve been having. You can credit Keenyara with it,” he said authoritatively. “But only if you have to,” he added quietly.

    “I heard that,” Keenyara decided to mention, leaning casually on her staff, her mood having changed just as quickly as a breeze, strengthening and dying at the most unexpected moments.

    “I don’t think I’ve met any of you. I’m John Stewart, or the Green Lantern. I’m sure you all know Batman,” the black man said as Batman nodded. Robin gestured to the Teen Titans behind him.

    “This is my team, the Teen Titans. That’s Beastboy, Starfire, Raven, and Cyborg. Keenyara is staying with us,” he said, pointing to each one in turn. John’s eyes caught on Starfire.

    “We were actually hoping to have a private word with you,” he said, indicating Starfire. She looked startled. She had not been in the room when Batman had called for them and Robin had forgotten to mention it to her. She looked toward Robin, not exactly knowing why, but eventually chalking it up to habit. She had always been taught about the military and its rules. No matter the status of their relationship, he would always be her commanding officer.

    Robin nodded, not flustered in the least by her questioning gaze. He had at least that much insight into her mind. She nodded graciously and stepped forward, ready to follow. “Okay,” she said. John gave her a small smile and turned, leading both her and Batman back towards where they had come. Keenyara began to follow.

    John frowned. “Sorry, um, Keenyara. We just need Starfire,” he said, with polite authority. Keenyara rolled her eyes at him.

    “I assure you, I don’t care at all, but I’d rather leave her,” she jerked her head back at Raven, “with at least some protection than let you take this one off to who knows where.” Raven crossed her arms and shook her head.

    “Keenyara, remain here until they get ba—” suddenly, before she could finish her command, Raven twitched as Keenyara had. She blinked a couple of times as the sensation of having been hit in the face began to fade. Keenyara’s sneer was infuriatingly superior.

    “Oh, rejected! It seems that that command directly conflicts with my duty to protect you! It’s clause in the Jack*ss Clause! You people call that irony,” she taunted. Raven gritted her teeth.

    “Just, let her come. She won’t get in your way,” Robin declared, his eyes rolling toward the ceiling as if to say, ‘It had to be on my team.’ Batman looked at John, silently asking if he had any objections. John shrugged and looked at Starfire. Starfire also shrugged, feeling the strange connection she had been feeling since Keenyara’s appearance in the forest. She had a sneaking suspicion that Raven felt it too.

    The four of them promptly disappeared into the elevator, leaving a mostly whole set of Titans, a Superman, and a wind manipulator. The boy suddenly made his hand motion once more, grinning upon the sound of Keenyara’s vehement cursing.

    -!-

    “So, your highness, have a seat.”

    Starfire blushed furiously. “Oh, please do not. I prefer Starfire much more,” she stuttered. John looking surprised shot a look toward Batman. Starfire tilted her head in confusion. “What is it?” she inquired. John shook his head.

    “Nothing. It’s just that I’ve never heard of a princess who didn’t want to be addressed by her title,” he said, taking a seat.

    “Or, for that matter, one who would willingly give up her rights to her planet’s throne. You are unique, Starfire,” Batman added, still standing. Starfire’s breath caught as she took her own seat and she wondered just how much of her political history he knew. Her seat was a comfortable black one, one of about ten around a small table. The room they had taken her to was small, intimate, and perfect for the chat between the three of them. Keenyara had seated herself in a chair in a corner. She was still and unblinking, making Starfire wonder if she had gone into a trance of some kind.

    “You seem to know very much about me,” she said, slowly moving into a diplomat’s mind frame. “But, surely you did not call me here to discuss my abdication of the throne,” she concluded. John nodded, locking eyes with her.

    “You are correct. We are more interested in the present than the past. We’ve heard about the situation on Tamaran, undoubtedly the reason you are going back there now.” Starfire’s insides began to freeze and she closed her eyes briefly. When she opened them they were calm and measured. She thought of her answer carefully.

    “It is. The Grand Ruler has summoned me back there for talks of compromise,” she said. “I am fortunate enough to have friends who wish to accompany me there.” She took care to emphasize the word “wish” hoping to let them know that her friends’ involvement in this conflict was voluntary. “I plan to send them back should war erupt. I doubt that greatly, however.” John raised his eyebrows.

    “Why is that?” he questioned.

    “The Psions are a familiar to my people and I.”

    John concealed his surprise at the pithy, yet polite, answer. He found that he had underestimated her. “Of course,” he answered before leaning forward. “Starfire, we wish to be quite frank. We also know of the Psions from the few aliens enlisted here. Through you, Earth is directly linked to Tamaran and Tamaran is approaching a global war.

    “You must understand our world just accepted the fact of life on other planets a relatively short time ago. A war with another planet would throw the planet off balance. The people wouldn’t be able to handle it. As the Justice League it’s our duty to protect this planet. You know that don’t you?” Starfire nodded, speechless and not quite sure what they were implying.

    “We do not know what kind of role you play in negotiation talks, but as a resident of Earth, we are trusting that you keep the planet out of the confrontation between Tamaran and the Psions.” Starfire’s eyes narrowed slightly. Now she leaned forward.

    “I understand this organization’s purpose to this world and my own responsibilities to it. I also understand that I am quite young in relation to the amount of power I possess over a planetary army, but I assure you that I am competent. Our planet will be safe.” John nodded graciously, disregarding her slightly narrowed eyes. He had known that it was going to be a tense conversation, but necessary. He pushed his chair back from the table and stood. Batman shook his head.

    “I guess we’re done then,” he commented. Starfire also stood.

    “Yes, I guess we are. Keenyara?”

    Keenyara looked at her with a smirk. “I’m coming,” she said, nodding toward the door and indicating that she should go ahead. Starfire nodded and smiled politely toward the two superheroes, her insulted feelings already fading.

    “It was a pleasure meeting you both. I hope that we may meet again under less dire circumstances,” she declared, smiling. She swept through the exit as Keenyara stood from her seat. She laughed softly under her breath.

    “That one just sends shivers down your spine, huh?” She winked at Batman as she passed. “The costume is sickening. It must be terrifying at night.”

    “Feel free to stay on Tamaran permanently,” Batman commented back.

    -!-

    The Titans were well within view of Tamaran. There had been something of a problem with the seating arrangements on the way there, but it had been quickly resolved, though all parties could not be described as happy about it. Seeing as the T-ship was only built for five, the problem was obvious.

    On the way to the Watchtower Raven had been the one to give up her place, instead teleporting directly to the space station, but apparently this could not be done again with the constantly changing coordinates of a planet circling a star. Therefore, Starfire had volunteered her place, claiming that if was better for her to fly outside the ship anyway. “After all,” she had said, “Tamaran is on alert. Having me fully visible and outside the ship will most likely make our entrance much easier.”

    Starfire was no where in sight as the white orb that was Tamaran loomed into view. None of them could describe the sight as comforting, with the pure, featureless surface only marred by gashes of deep red, as if the planet itself was bleeding. Robin had always meant to ask Starfire what caused this illusion, but somehow the question always seemed a little too personal.

    A lack of Starfire’s presence was also something the Titans had had to get used to. In the airless black of space, it was easy for her to drift away at times. The entire trip she had steadily drifted in and out of their sight, often staying a ways away so that she would not be caught in the propulsion of the ship.

    A crackle sounded through the headsets that they all wore as Robin gratefully interrupted one of Beastboy’s long and complicated stories. “Alright, team, we’re approaching Tamaran. Starfire, can you hear us?” he asked. Only once or twice had Starfire pulled far enough away to lose connection with the T-ship, but it had happened and it had been quite a shock the first time.

    In order to stay in touch with them on the way to Tamaran, the Justice League lent them a helmet for Starfire, one that they used often for their members with the ability to travel through space without a suit. The helmet contained air particles, but just enough to vibrate her words to the small microphone. The air was not meant for breathing.

    There was a responding crackle before Starfire’s faint voice filtered through. “Yes, but barely. I believe that we may be on opposite sides of the planet. I am heading toward you now. Please remain where you are now and I will be there shortly.” The transmission cut and Starfire’s voice went silent. Robin nodded thoughtfully, running a checklist in his mind.

    “Cyborg, are we ready to land?” he barked.

    “As soon as we get the landing site coordinates,” Cyborg responded, keying some things into the console before him.

    “Good, Beastboy, have you—”

    “What’s that?” Raven interjected, nodding toward the planet where the shape of an advancing star ship was slowly growing. It was the undiluted image of science fiction with its smooth oval shape and gray steel color. A row of spotlights zeroed in on the T-ship as a thin hissing voice intruded on their private communication’s link.

    “Approaching ship, you will, within ten seconds, follow one of two procedures: one, you will vacate the surrounding space immediately, or two, you will present valid identification and access codes. If these warnings are not followed, you will be attacked at full force. You have ten seconds.” The voice proceeded to count down icily.

    “Wait, we’re friends of Princess Starfire!” Cyborg shouted.

    “No, stupid, her name’s not Starfire here, it’s Cory-something!” Beastboy shrieked back.

    “Oh, man!” Cyborg moaned, “Where’s Starfire when you need—” Starfire suddenly flew into view, floating in front of the T-ship. “—her,” he finished lamely. The ship before them powered down, but Starfire did the opposite, summoning the essence of star to her hands and eyes.

    “Who are you?” she asked edgily. There was silence from the ship. “As a direct representative of the Grand Ruler of Tamaran, I demand your identification,” she snapped. The Titan’s eyes widened at her fierce tone.

    “Starfire, what are you doing? Aren’t these guys your guard?” Raven asked. Starfire’s eyes narrowed angrily.

    “That is not a Tamaranian craft,” she asserted. Suddenly, the ship fired a high power shot toward them. Starfire threw herself at the T-ship, shoving it out of the way just in time. She felt the heat graze her upper arm as it sailed past. Cyborg had the engines up and at full power in record time as the rest of the Titans (with the exception of Keenyara who had decided that it would be best for everyone if she just refrained from pushing anything.) powered up their individual weapons.

    “No!” Starfire shouted at them. “Do not fire back. Head to the castle and inform Galifore of our arrival. I will be there shortly. If anyone stops you, tell them that you are friends of the Princess Koriand’r.” Dodging warning shots, Starfire weaved her way closer to the enemy ship.

    “Starfire, we aren’t leaving you out here alone!” Robin reasoned. Starfire still did not look back.

    “Go! Please!” Robin watched her weave through the net of shots, now that two more ships had joined the skirmish. He considered her words and her knowledge in such things. For a moment he said nothing, knowing that Cyborg was waiting for his command. He tore his gaze from Starfire, turning his eyes toward the planet below them.

    “Cyborg, to the surface, same coordinates as our last visit,” he declared. The ship turned immediately and began to descend. Robin looked back once more to see Starfire floating close to the glass windows of one of the two larger ships, gesturing wildly at herself and the T-ship.

    As soon as the ship touched the planet’s surface, the Titans were out of their seats and looking into the midday sky. There was no sign of Starfire, but they could neither see anything that looked like laser blasts. Still, the clear sky was no consolation. Keenyara tilted her head toward Robin.

    “This is starting to go bad,” she murmured. Robin did not look at her. She had slept most of the way there, a fact that probably contributed to her easy mood.

    “She should be fine. The shots have stopped at least,” Cyborg reasoned. Keenyara shook her head.

    “I’m not worried about her. We seem to be having the problem.”

    “What are you—” Robin stopped, mid-sentence, as he caught sight of the immense blade in his face.

    “Who are you, stranger,” demanded the soldier holding the blade. Sheets of steel lined his shoulders, arms, legs and torso. On his feet were boots of thick leather. He was tall, a few inches taller than Robin and his emerald eyes stared down at the Titans intensely. He had brown hair, cut short. A small group of similarly dressed men and women stood, grouped behind him, their own weapons drawn.

    Robin groaned inwardly as he recognized the underlying accent of the soldier. He had been expecting someone to stop them at some point, but not one that did not speak English, or at least not without Starfire. He took a deep breath to calm his already stretched thin nerves. Maybe the man did speak English, but had not used it on them.

    “I am Robin, leader of the Teen Titans. Princess Koriand’r is our friend and brought us to help with the war,” he said, keeping his voice calm and polite, despite the weapon still pointed at him. The soldier’s eyes widened and Robin breathed a sigh. He must have understood him.

    “If you came with the princess, then where is she now? Surely, you needed her in order to get this far.” Robin’s gaze flickered toward the sky once again and once again Starfire was not there.

    “I could have sworn she was right behind us,” Beastboy chuckled nervously. “Any time, Star,” he murmured. The soldier did not seem amused. His grip tightened on his weapon.
    “You lie. The princess did not accompany you. Tell us the truth.”
    “No really! She did come with us!” Cyborg asserted.

    “Oh really well if you are telling the truth then she will be here in the next five-” At that moment Starfire appeared in the sky and flew down to land beside Robin.

    “Is there a problem?” she asked with a warm smile. Cyborg laughed.

    “Dang, Star! That’s the second time today you got here at the last minute. Having an off day?” he joked, poking her in the middle of the back. Beastboy cracked a grin.

    “Yeah, more like we’re having a lucky one,” he commented back. Starfire blushed lightly, but did not respond. She looked instead at the blade still leveled threateningly at Robin.

    “Corrai’n, what is the problem. Would lower your weapons and ask your troops to do the same?” The soldiers straightened at her words and their spears instantly dropped. The one Starfire had called Corrai’n bowed to her.

    “Our apologies, your highness. We were only following orders,” he mumbled lowly. Starfire dismissed his apology with a wave and a chuckle.

    “Do not think of it. I know of our situation. We know that times are hard. I do have a request, however.” The soldier straightened and stood at attention. Starfire blushed, not sure what to make of such respect. “Uh, the Psions, they seem to be interfering with ships trying to land on Tamaran. They were the reason of my absence just now. Are Galifore and the war counsel aware of this?” Corrai’n tilted his head thoughtfully and the Titans were given sudden insight into that one of Starfire’s habits. He turned to the group behind them and conversed with them quickly in Tamaranian.

    “No, princess,” he said, turning back to her, “if they were, then we were not told.” Starfire nodded.

    “Then, I would be very appreciative if you would inform them. I would myself, but I do not know when I might be able to have a private word with him.” Both Corrai’n and the group behind him bowed again and saluted before turning and heading back toward the castle. Starfire blushed again and turned back to her friends.

    “Well, um, the Psions are regretful of the mix-up. They were in violation of the temporary truce instigated for peace talks.”

    Raven arched an eyebrow skeptically. “So, they apologized?” she asked. Starfire snorted.

    “Hardly. They do regret though.”

    Robin almost laughed. Almost because Keenyara suddenly barked out, “Heads down, now!” Cyborg shook his head.

    “You’re almost as bad as Starfire. It’s heads up!” he corrected. Rolling her eyes, she clapped her hands together, releasing a wave of wind outward from her. The Titans looked upward from the ground as she leapt into the air, her staff held firmly. A lavender projectile hurtled toward her, but she deflected it easily, dropping back to the surface.

    “D*mn it, a little cooperation everyone in a while would be greatly appreciated!” she snarled. The Titans ignored her, more interested in the form descending toward them. Her shining black hair flowed down her back and brushed at her waist, swaying with the movements of her hips. Her deep indigo eyes watched them with exotic amusement as she came to a stop.

    “Dear sister, how long has it been?” asked a deep, sultry voice. Starfire stood with wide eyes and approached the young woman, only a few years older than herself.

    “Perhaps too long, perhaps not long enough. Tell me, how is it that you have returned?”

    She chuckled. “You’d be surprised what a planet, desperate for peace, would do for you. They would even go so far as to invalidate the banishment of a former princess.”

    Starfire nodded and bowed slightly. “Then welcome home, Princess Kormand’r”

    She laughed again, resting a hand on Starfire’s shoulder. Her eyes glinted with something hidden. “Sister, it will be Blackfire, forever more.”
    --------
    HAHA and thus ends the kinda sorta part one! Tamaran is where the real conflict is going to start! *rubs hands together* I swear, I'm insane, but I swear I like it!!
     
  17. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

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    I've said this many times before, but I just need to say it again: Keenyara has a truly unmatched talent for alienating people. Even when she isn't central to the scene, you find your attention gravitating to whatever she's up to...and when she is a big player, there's this strange compulsion to reach through the monitor and belt her one. Well, there is with me, anyway. As the Watchtower section showed, it isn't just that she's selfish, rude, vicious, spiteful and cruel: it's that no one has the power to stop her being any of these things, and she wastes no time in waving this in people's faces. With fiction, I usually admire the more unpleasant characters, and it's very rare for me to actually hate a fictional creation: I have to congratulate you for pulling that one off.;)

    Anyway, with that off my chest, I can focus on this chapter's developments. This is where, despite the stakes already being stratospherically high, you've just managed to make them even higher: if Tamaran falls, which looks likely, then Earth falls too. That's some problem.:eek: Oh yes, and then there's Blackfire's sudden reappearance, which I guarantee is going to result in fun. And, as well as being highly unexpected, it tells you a great deal about Tamaran's current predicament: recalling a banished ex-empress is not the action of people who have faith in peace talks. Like I said, this is going to be fun.:evil:

    That, I think, is about all I need to say. This story continues to fly along at its usual incredible pace, and is as evilly entertaining as always. Keep up the good work.:anime:

    -Matt A-
     
  18. Wolffriend87

    Wolffriend87 New Member

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    My First Comment Ever!

    as you can guess, this i my first post ever, so congratulations!!!!:)
    Now, I love this story and I can't wait to see where you go with this. So all I can say is, Keep up the good work.


    P.s I'm new so don't make fun of anything I write:shrug:
     
  19. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

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    Back from the dead. hope you enjoy.

    Love Anima!
    ---
    Chapter 8 : Different Than How I Left It:

    “Oh, yes, Galifore’s been expecting you for some time. He was pretty worried about you.” Blackfire was leading them through one of the many hallways of the palace, apparently toward the great hall. Starfire was following almost hesitantly, not knowing what to make of the starbolt that would have hit her had Keenyara not spot and deflect it. Blackfire seemed to be just as “friendly” as ever, though.

    Almost as if reading her mind, Blackfire caught Starfire’s eye as they kept walking. “Oh, and in case you’re worried about that tiny little bolt, don’t. I’m over that silly fight we had over the throne and I’m back on Tamaran.” She threaded her arm through Starfire’s who only watched her, bewildered by her affectionate behavior. “I’ve always felt bad about the way we’ve fought, especially now. After all, sisters are forever, right?” Blackfire looked at her, intensely as Starfire stammered out a confused, “I suppose.” Blackfire smirked and released her sister with a small chuckle.

    “Good. Now, I have to go and get ready for mother dearest. Ta.” And with nothing more, she swept away. The Titans watched her, dumbstruck. Keenyara only rolled her eyes, annoyed with the delay.

    “Attention losers, now we move on with our lives,” she said, poking Beastboy, who was closest, in the back of the head. Beastboy turned and fixed her with a glare.

    “You just wait, evil un-identical twin of Raven, one of these days I’m going to beat you at something and you’re going to totally rue the day you ever messed with the Beastboy!!” he proclaimed, raising his hand to point at her accusingly. Keenyara snorted and turned to Raven.

    “Like hell I’m related to that witch!” she said, crossing her arms over her chest. Raven arched a single eyebrow.

    “I’m in awe of your maturity, really I am,” she stated. Keenyara sneered, but said nothing. It seemed that Raven, like Starfire, had developed immunity to Keenyara’s grating personality. Her approach, though, was more centered on putting the caustic female back in her place rather than disregarding her behavior and returning it was cheery kindness. Raven’s way was also much more fun for the rest of the Titans to watch.

    Starfire turned to the soldiers standing guard before the large doors Blackfire had left them in front of. She spoke with them briefly before turning back to her friends.

    “Galifore is inside, eating the lunch. He will, of course, speak privately with us later, but for the moment he only wants to know that we are here and safe. Keenyara,” Starfire paused, looking uneasy. “Perhaps it would be best if you would just not speak for the moment. At all.” Keenyara opened her mouth to deliver an outraged rejection, but Raven cut her off.

    “No Star, that was way too polite. It has to be a firm command, like so,” Raven let a triumphant smirk crawl across her face. “Keenyara, do not make any sound at all from the moment we pass through these doors until you are in the presence of only the Teen Titans again.” A shudder passed through Keenyara as the command took hold. She glared daggers at Raven.

    “Getting creative with this thing, huh?” Robin commented in amusement. Keenyara was poised with a retort before she clamped her mouth shut tightly. She shoved hair out of her face stiffly.

    “I don’t give a damn. I’ll just save it until later, when my free will has been restored,” she muttered. Starfire did not look happy about the solution, but she could not deny that was an infinitely better guarantee than if she had simply asked and had faith in her.

    Cyborg rubbed his hands together and began to stretch, opening his mouth as wide as it would go. “Alright then, I’m ready for Extreme Tamaranian dining. Let’s go!” he exclaimed, heading toward the door.

    “Wait,” Starfire interrupted. Her face went red and she fidgeted, looking pointedly at Robin. “I was actually hoping to have a word with you, privately,” she said in a rush. Robin blinked and then shrugged, and took her hand, letting her lead him a small distance away from the group. The soldiers looked at them and then each other uncertainly, but a look from Starfire seemed to make up their mind. They let the two pass unopposed.

    “What’s up with them? What happened to the ‘Other-worlders are not allowed to touch the princess!!’ thing?” Robin asked. Starfire blushed and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear.

    “Oh, that is not exactly a real law. There is a law that is very similar to it, but that was just Galifore being overprotective. But that is beside the point. I need to tell you something.” Robin’s mask arched upward as he watched Starfire shift her weight nervously. He squeezed her hand slightly and stepped closer.

    “Okay. What is it?” he said quietly. Starfire struggled for a way to phrase what she wanted to tell him. There had been a reason why she had pulled him away from the rest of their friends and that reason was sheer awkwardness. She was having a hard enough time as it was without a small squad of crime-fighting, and therefore quick-thinking, teenagers coming up with clever comments.

    “You and I… some… Galifore… There will be those who will want to date me,” she blurted out suddenly. The idea of the direct approach had dawned on her quite suddenly. I had seemed like a good idea at the time, but as she watched Robin’s jaw tighten and eyes narrow she began to second-guess herself. Positive: There had yet to be a smart-ass remark.

    “Want to date you? Like who, some snob prince? What, am I just supposed to step off to the side and play puny Earth leader while some jerk comes and—”

    Eyes wide, Starfire quickly clamped a hand over Robin’s mouth, shushing quietly. His outburst had not been as private as she had wanted and the rest of her friends were watching the, some trying in vain to be inconspicuous, others almost going out of their way to be obvious about the fact that they were listening. Robin rolled his eyes and peeled Starfire’s hand away from his face. “What? I think I have the right to be angry even if I can’t be with my own—”

    “Robin, that is not what I want!” Starfire all but shouted, trying to get through Robin’s indignant rant. Her cheeks flared brighter as she noticed that the Titans and Keenyara had edged closer in order to hear better. Taking a deep breath, she resisted the urge to snap at them. Positive: Robin had become silent. She quickly tried to make her point, just in case he started raving again.

    “I do not want you to give in to them, just the opposite actually. Robin,” she leaned closer to him, “the strength of our relationship on Tamaran is dependant mostly on you and the way you present it to others.” She smiled slightly. “You see, I am just the pretty princess with a rather large inheritance. They tend to disregard the things that I say.” Her voice was devoid of any bitterness or spite, a fact that relaxed Robin some. He was still confused, though. Not to mention a bit embarrassed at his outburst.

    “Oh,” he muttered. “Well then, what do you need me to do?” he asked quietly, scratching the back of his neck awkwardly. Starfire almost giggled despite herself. She touched his shoulder reassuringly.

    “Just to show them that the Princess already has a suitor, one who would not be pleased if another man were to try to ‘make a move’ as is the phrase on Earth.” She blushed lightly once more as she leaned closer so that she could lower her voice. “Or,” she spoke in quiet Tamaranian, “to be perfectly blunt, that I am yours solely. My rights when it comes to love are rather foggy and bendable, in my favor and against, however there is no stricture on how… adamant my love interest may be in my well being.” She leaned back and looked at down at the floor, suddenly feeling shy with the realization of what she was asking of him. “However, if it is too much trouble then—”

    “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it,” Robin reassured her as he tapped her chin, getting her to look at him. He kissed her forehead lightly and winked, before turning back to their friends, though Starfire was sure she heard him mumble something that sounded like, “It’s not like it’s far from the truth, anyway.” She smiled faintly. She had at least gotten through that with a fair amount of dignity. Sure, the Titans had heard, but they had the good grace not to bring it up with her.

    She knew she was possibly being a little too sensitive, but being on Earth had allowed her to notice the drastic differences between her culture and the culture of Earth, which she was rapidly coming to regard as a part of the mixed up person she was becoming. Her life as a princess had always been avoided in Titan conversation and her dating habits had never even been touched upon. The truth was that she did have some freedoms, despite most of the propaganda about royalty. A love-struck queen of long ago had made a law stating that every citizen of the Tamaranian Empire was free to choose their own husbands and wives, including the royal family.

    Of course, Rik had quickly amended this law within reason. After all, royal children were a government’s most powerful bargaining chip. If that were to be taken away then the entire system was likely to fail with no clear-cut way to make alliances with other administrations. Sure, there were treaties and bargains made with cattle or some other form of property, but marriages were always much more binding and trusting than any vegetable deal could be.

    As a result, Galifore or any other Grand Ruler were not allowed to arrange a marriage if she were already engaged or involved in a serious and approved relationship. Of course, this meant that most of the eligible and available males were encouraged to court the young girls early and pursue them aggressively.

    But the very few months that they had been together had not erased Starfire’s prior memories. She knew how protective Robin could be of everyone on his team and she knew how possessive he could be of her in particular. Even as good friends, Robin had always been disapproving of her wealth of fanboys. If she knew anything, it was that the harder the noble boys pushed to get at her, Robin would always push them back harder.

    Shaking her head, Starfire shared a look with Raven as the soldiers on either side of the grand doors pushed and held them open for them to pass. An electric shimmer passed through Keenyara’s eyes and she glared icily at nothing in particular.

    “X’hal, help us,” she murmured with a smile.

    -!-

    “Galifore!” Starfire exclaimed as she flew into her former k’norfka’s arms. Galifore released his booming laugh and hugged Starfire eagerly. He then turned to the Titans and Keenyara and nodded a bow, pounding his fist to his chest.

    “Why, Princess, you did not mention that you would be bringing the rest of your team with you! As always, Titans, it is quite a pleasure,” he added to them. Lunch had passed without much incident. It turned out that meals were to be much more tame and respectful when the Grand Ruler was present and so the Titans and Keenyara did not have to fight for their meal. Keenyara was still bound to silence at the moment and was therefore sulking over by Cyborg, the only member of the team in whom she had not found a reason to hate. She was sure it would come to her later, though.

    Robin stepped forward and offered his hand to Galifore who shook it the best he could with the huge difference in size. Robin grinned despite himself. Galifore’s huge smile could bring that out in people. “Same here.” Galifore smiled at him and surveyed the rest of the Titans who all made their own greetings. His eyes, however, caught on Keenyara who refused to meet his gaze.

    “And you have brought with you a new addition to your team,” he observed. Starfire touched down next to Keenyara.

    “Yes, Galifore, this is Keenyara. She is staying with us for a time. Keenyara, this is my knorfka, Galifore.” Biting the inside of her cheek, Keenyara raised her head and gave Galifore a curt nod of acknowledgement. If Galifore was taken aback by the short treatment, he did not show it and instead beamed just as eagerly at her as he did at the rest of the Titans.

    “So, Galifore, how’s it going, ruling the planet and stuff?” Beastboy asked, in a would-be-casual voice. Galifore’s smile dimmed some, but did not extinguish. He shook his head slightly.

    “Until recently it was going as well as could be expected. Rik has been lobbying for more power lately, but other than very successfully. The Psions’ intrusion on this peace was quite sudden. I do not have to tell you that Rik is quite frightened by them. You saw Blackfire. They have pardoned her of all crimes and welcomed her back to the planet. Of course, she is not one to simply forgive and let go. It was not until her position as first-in-line to the throne was reinstated that she accepted the invitation to coordinate and initiate the peace talks,” he said, somberly. Starfire nodded with mixed feelings.

    On one hand, she had absolutely no urge to govern the planet. Sure, when she had been little, she had dreamed of sitting up on her father’s “Business Chair” and doing whatever she wished and having other’s do her will also, but there came a point in her life when she realized that this dream was nothing but child’s imaginings. She had no want whatsoever for power. However, she could hardly say that she was comfortable knowing that Blackfire had power over her. As second-in-line Blackfire’s control over her was close to the power that Galifore had. She wondered briefly how selfish that made her seem. She did not want power, but neither did she want Blackfire to have it.

    “So, when are there negotiation supposed to start?” Raven asked. Galifore suddenly looked sheepish.

    “Ah, Princess, I had meant to tell you. The Psions wanted to move on with whatever was to happen as soon as possible, and to them that was as soon as you had arrived.” Cyborg gave a low whistle.

    “So they basically waited just for Starfire to get here?” he asked, incredulously. Galifore nodded, torn between pride and worry. The Psions had demanded that the discussions take place with the two princesses in charge of all proceedings, virtually commanding Galifore to hand over his power to the two, normally quarreling, sisters. Giving them power over the negotiation was also, indirectly, giving them power over the following military actions and quite frankly the fate of the people on the planet (and the people of Earth, Starfire constantly reminded herself.).

    “Therefore, it will commence at midnight tonight. My soldiers tell me that you had a conflict with them while getting here so that they will know of your arrival.” Robin looked at Starfire questioningly.

    “Why wait until midnight? If they want it done so quickly then why wait?” he asked.

    “The only reason I can think of would be that they want Blackfire and I to be without the advantage of the sun while dealing with them. It is similar to what Luand’r did back on Earth, waiting until the sun went down to present herself,” she answered thoughtfully. Galifore nodded approvingly.

    “It is not a tactic unknown to the Tamaranian race. Solar energy has always strengthened our warrior, be it in mind, spirit, or strength. A star’s power warms our blood.”

    Starfire stifled a flinch at his words, suddenly remembering that Galifore had never been told exactly what she was made to be. The words could not have been purely accidental, could they? She looked intently up at her knorfka and king. His face did not hold any secret meanings, but only a righteous pride in his people. She decided to let the statement pass for now, but promised herself that Galifore would know about everything if she had to have one of the Titans force it out of her. He especially deserved that much.

    Starfire suddenly flew upward and hugged Galifore tightly around his neck, as if to seal the promise to herself. He smiled wanly, if not a bit confusedly, and hugged her back gently. When she touched back down on the ground Keenyara thought she caught sight of a bit of pink on her cheeks, but remained silent (to Raven’s credit). She also discovered that she was feeling irritatingly restless from the long journey and bored from the conversation. She coughed loudly and looked pointedly toward the door.

    Starfire heard the cough and looked over to find Keenyara staring at the door as if she would be able to transport herself through it with her mind. She realized that her friends might be tired from the long journey. She bowed from the waist toward Galifore as she said, chuckling, “I believe that I may need to show my friends where their rooms will be. May we talk later, once my friends have been settled in?”

    Galifore smiled, but then frowned thoughtfully, “Of course, we may speak later, but before you go, I know that the Core Leaders had requested to see you immediately after you got here. I believe they want to know exactly what Earth has done to you,” he added, his frown deepening. Starfire’s eyes clouded in confusion. She wondered exactly what that meant, but decided not to discuss it then. She smiled brightly at Galifore.

    “Please, would you let them know that I will meet with them once I have my team comfortable? They will understand, I am sure,” she said. Galifore agreed and let them go with another booming laugh and a comment on how pleasing it was to see them all again.

    -!-

    The first thing she did once her enforced silence was lifted was to ask about a training ground of some kind, “preferably outdoors.” The Titans had seemed taken aback by this sudden willingness to perform physical labor, but she ignored them. She had been working feverishly on a new technique before being launched into this new conflict and she was curious to know how much the new set of natural laws would set her back, and then how much more she could pout about her predicament.

    The arrangement would have been perfect: she in the center of a rather large field with targets and such at one end with the open sky all around her. There was hardly anyone there at the moment, all soldiers either on post or relaxing after their lunch. Yes, she had the entire thing completely to herself, with the exception of Raven.

    Luckily, Raven seemed more inclined to sit quietly on the ground with her eyes closed, muttering something under her breath. Keenyara found this slightly annoying, but then she thought that the mere fact that she had come was annoying. She would be useful, at least.

    Standing away from the other woman, Keenyara cupped her hands together in front of her. Her eyes slid closed in concentration and she planted her feet firmly. A small sphere of wind pushed against her palms, but she kept her hands tightly cupped, letting the small ball of movement whip faster and faster until it was a small hurricane in her hands. She concentrated fiercely on the feel of the wind against her hands. She could feel the change taking place.

    The air around her gradually began to stir restlessly. ‘Quiet’ she thought, even her thoughts a bare whisper. The air stilled some, but she could feel it pressing at the back of her mind. It would be easy to do what she wanted if there was a great tornado whipping around her. What she was working on was a tool she intended to use on endeavors requiring stealth. She had a feeling that a severe cyclone would be conspicuous to say the least. She confined the movement to the air between her hands. She let the feel of such ferocious kinetic energy seep into her skin and rush through her being.

    Suddenly, Keenyara’s eyes snapped open and she flung her arms wide and turned gracefully on the spot, disappearing from view.

    About twenty yards away, Raven’s eyes slid open calmly just in time to see Keenyara turn and vanish. A bare moment later, she felt a brisk breeze sweep over her and Keenyara appeared not five feet away. Raven faced her curiously. She had a look of confusion and (‘Azarath help me,’ Raven though upon seeing this,) absolute arrogance.

    “Huh, it actually works better in this dimension,” she commented to herself. Raven stood.

    “Nice trick. What’s it for though?” she asked. Keenyara held up her right hand, revealing an ornate silver mirror. Raven immediately recognized it as the one she had just put away, having finished her meditation for the day. Keenyara hid her smirk.

    “Stealing,” she said with forced airiness. Raven’s eyes went wide despite herself, though she narrowed them just as quickly, snatching the mirror back.

    “Sometimes I wonder why I get so surprised. Do you realize that you are now living in the home of a team of crime fighters, don’t you? Is it really worth it to be working out your thief tricks?” she questioned. Keenyara rolled her eyes.

    “You’re so naïve. How do you think I got by all of those years on my own? I stole. And if I hadn’t stole I would have died. And if I died, you would be deprived of the stunningly sexy and brilliant thing you see before you. I would never be so irresponsible as to take that treat away from you,” she said mockingly. Raven simply raised an eyebrow, wondering how one person could encompass so many undesirable emotions.

    “I now can add modesty to the list of things to command you to have. Anyway, you really don’t seem like the kind of person to go with actual work in order to get by. It seems to me that you would be perfectly comfortable taking handouts,” she commented, moving as if to leave the field, but watching for Keenyara’s reaction from the corner of her eye. She heard something like a growl come from behind her and suddenly Keenyara was walking next to her, glaring at her without looking at her directly. Raven considered doing a mental victory dance before dismissing it as overrated. ‘Score to Raven,’ she thought smugly. Just to seal the deal, she let a tiny amount of her thoughts show through her eyes, knowing that Keenyara would see.

    “Oh, shut up!” Keenyara snapped. She crossed her arms huffily. “I don’t, and you know I don’t too. You and your friends all think the same thing: that I’m a stuck-up, high-strung little b*tch. Now, we all know that high-strung people don’t do handouts. Anyway,” she paused to flip her braid over her shoulder with a haughty toss of her head, “All of you are over complicating things. That Robin thought I was just being arrogant when I told him that I was literally wind, but I wasn’t. I am moving air and open sky in its personified form. Independence, arrogance, confidence, all of that, it’s instinctual. I’m a lot easier to figure out than a b*tch. I don’t have a horrible past that I’m trying to mask,” she had lost the angry walk some time ago and was now walking with swaying hips and a superior look. She suddenly turned and stood in front of Raven and Raven had to stop quite suddenly in order to keep from crashing into her. Keenyara peered at her with a condescending smirk.

    Raven rolled her eyes before finally taking the bait. “Fine, what, oh wonderful Keenyara makes you a b*tch?”

    Keenyara almost laughed. “Ah, it’s because deep down I know, I’m soo much better than all this sh*t.” And with those parting words, Keenyara spun on her heel and moved purposefully toward her temporary room, taking her braid out as she went. Raven saw her begin to re-braid it again before she turned a corner and was gone. Raven made a disbelieving sound in her throat.

    “Yeah, sure,” she snorted and began toward her own room. She could not help, however, remembering what Aara had said that night in her mind. “If you two don’t get along, you’ll kill each other.” The memory made her frown. It looked as if it was going to be some mix of the two. So far they seemed trapped in a weird cycle of hatred and… a less intense form of hatred.

    -!-

    Starfire pulled uncomfortably at her long formal dress. The presence of so much fabric made her nervous. It made her wonder what would happen if a fight broke out. It would be so easy for one of the Psions to reach out and take hold of the skirt of her dress. She wondered if she would feel that way if she had remained on Tamaran, with normal parents, without insane plots to take control of the world. Would she still be made so nervous by the strategic weak point of too much fabric?

    She shook her head, as if that could rid her of the thought. Her meeting with the Core Leaders had upset her significantly. The Core Leaders were a group of the leaders of the different departments that assisted the Grand Ruler. Going to Earth, where there were so many different types of government had opened Starfire’s eyes to how truly complex the Tamaranian government was. It was a kind of mix between complex bureaucracy, and absolute monarchy. She knew enough of these types of government to know that they were completely opposite. She knew enough to know that along with the recent power struggles that had been going on within Rik (Galifore had told her about them), her government was balancing precariously and only good manners and tradition were, at the moment, keeping it level.

    Unfortunately, it was that same tradition that had shaken Starfire so thoroughly. The Core Leaders had not been as understanding of her decision to, ultimately, brush them off as she had thought. She had been coldly commanded to recount to them all vital things that had happened to her while on Earth. This alone was alarming. As a princess she was used to gentle suggestions and beseeching requests, not commands. She had wondered exactly what Galifore would had said if he had heard their tone.

    She surprised herself, though, when she found that she was unwilling to recount to him their behavior. She left out the news of their cold commands and conveniently forgot to mention the foul accusations they made, both to her face, formally, and when they thought that she was not listening. She could still hear the whispered insult ringing in her head.

    ‘Is that really what I have become?’ she asked herself mentally.Haglotii…?’


    “Your highness, it is time,” a small servant girl said as she pocked her head into Starfire’s room. Starfire smiled at the girl and thanked her. She turned back to her reflection in the mirror, knowing exactly what outrage she would face if she decided to cut back the skirt. With a sigh and a last pluck at the harmless, yet foreboding, detail, Starfire straightened the simple silver ring that sat atop her head, the one reserved for second-in-line, and walked out of the door.

    It was a short walk over to the great meeting room. When she entered, she was greeted with the sound of hundreds of bodies, shifting restlessly. Blackfire was already there and seated at the center of a long table, as was her right as crown princess. She took her own seat on Blackfire’s right side and Galifore sat on Blackfire’s left. Across from the broad table was a line of the Psion army, most likely generals and such. Directly across from Blackfire was Luand’r, who maintained a quiet mockery. Xuun was sitting on Luand’r’s right side, apparently holding the equivalent of Starfire’s position in the Psion military. There were arena style seats all around them, for citizens who wished to watch their leaders make their decisions. This time, however, most of them had come to see whether to prepare themselves fore war. Starfire suppressed a shiver.

    The titans had been given honorary seats in the first row around at the head of the table, so that they would be able to see both sides clearly. Starfire was determined to make them proud of her. Her goal, all of their goals really, was to deter a war at all costs. After all, the Psions were looking for she and Blackfire, and they sat before them, in defiance.

    Blackfire raised her gaze to the crowd sitting around them and the quiet murmuring hushed swiftly. Starfire had for a while been envious of the way Blackfire could command a room’s attention so easily. It was that kind of trait that Blackfire would need if she really wanted to become Grand Ruler. When the room was silent Blackfire stood and surveyed first her audience and then her opponents. Starfire kept her gaze straight in front of her.

    “My humble subjects, we are here to receive our opponents and to, perhaps, bid them goodbye as they leave our planet in peace. We are here to reach a compromise. Princess Starfire, shall we commence the Peace Talks?” Starfire bowed her head before looking back up into Blackfire’s eyes.

    “Your highness, we shall,” she said clearly for the rest of the arena to hear. It was important that she show her respect for Blackfire as her superior and just like most of the situations she had been experiencing since returning to Tamaran, it felt strange. Blackfire nodded her approval and looked over at the Psions side of the table.

    “Our demands are simple. We want you away from our people, our resources, and our planet. What is it that you want?” Blackfire sneered. Luand’r laughed loudly and turned to Xuun with a significant look. She stood and Starfire saw conflict pass through Blackfire’s eyes. She was did not know if she should sit or not. Luand’r saw this and bowed her head graciously.

    “I humbly request permission to speak from the crown princess and the second-in-line,” she said, sweetly. Starfire held back a snort and stiffly nodded her head. Blackfire did the same and sat down. Luand’r raised her head proudly to survey her former people. She grinned as she saw the older generation shrink back from her gaze. They remembered her. She looked back at Blackfire and Starfire.

    “I have heard that you wish for us to leave in peace, however it was not in war that we came here. We came here only to retrieve our servant and my soldier’s wife. Tamaran is harboring runaway slaves and citizens of the Psion Domain. What are we to do but come in with our warships? Tamaran is housing them, why would they not fight to keep them from their home?” Luand’r let her words sink into the room and sat as the rustle of whispers swept the arena.

    From the corner of her eye, Starfire could see her sister’s eyes flash in anger. She knew what she was feeling. Starfire stood firmly. At first, she was uncertain about whether or not the people would recognize her authority, but the whispers stopped immediately, if not a bit hesitantly, as if the crowd was not sure if they really needed to quiet themselves. Starfire turned her gaze onto Luand’r and raised her voice.

    “Because Tamaran is not harboring anyone. The people of whom you speak are first and foremost citizens of the Tamaranian Empire! They were bon here, they were raised and taught here, and then they were taken from their home, Tamaran, and taken to your Domain. If any state had the right to advance with warships forward it is Tamaran,” she declared vehemently. As she sat once again she saw Blackfire nod slightly in her direction, in approval. Luand’r’s eyes were dark. Then Galifore stood.

    “Anyone born on Tamaran may maintain their citizenship unless it is given up or stripped from them in exile. Neither of the girls that you speak of have lost their right to live freely here under my rule. You, Luand’r iy And’nia, and your army are out of bounds by coming here with the intent of war.”

    The buzz that swept that time through the room was decidedly more confident and spirited. They felt that they were winning this verbal battle. They felt that they were putting this treacherous ex-Queen back in her place. Luand’r knew this and stood sharply.

    “Silence,” she hissed and silence crashed down onto the large room. Starfire winced at how readily the people obeyed her, out of fear no less. “ ‘And’nia’ you say. ‘Moonfire of the house of Fired Night Sky,’ as your human friends would say,” she sneered, clearly enraged. She unlike most of the people she knew actually got quieter with the rising of her anger. “Your pitiful titles mean nothing to me, just like Tamaran and its idiotic rules, set on tradition and foolishness. Listen close your highnesses, for our demands are simple.

    “My army has been rallied and they will eagerly accept my signal to attack at the very moment. They want blood and as their leader, they would not be happy if I were not to give them that signal. At the very moment, my ships are targeting the rural areas on the planet, places where there is no guard, however there is enough for our lasers to burn. There are resources in danger. There are families in danger.”

    Her words were met with the largest reaction yet. Furious conversation broke out and Starfire heard many cries and gasps of horror. Luand’r’s eyes were bright with smug satisfaction. She had gotten what she wanted.

    Luand’r had been underestimated.

    With a growl, Blackfire smacked her palms against the tabletop and stood, her composure at its breaking point. “Quiet! I want SILENCE!” she shouted, her head whipping from one side to the other. The noise died some and then rose again to an even higher volume. Blackfire looked down at Starfire who was stunned. “Do something,” she hissed. Starfire looked at her, startled, and then stood up. Looking around, she suddenly let her eyes and hands flare sharply before dimming down to nothing. One, two, and three times she did this before there was complete silence. Blackfire was sitting down by then, breathing hard. Starfire waited a few moments to think. There was no alternative left for them to pursue.

    “War, however, is not profitable for any side. No matter how much property and life you destroy while we are here in this meeting, there will still be a significant amount of casualties on your side. You forget that we too have defensive and offensive ships in orbit and would be able to send them signal to attack and defend at any time. We did not come to this meeting unprepared. I therefore suggest that we do as we had intended to do when we first got here, which is to reach a compromise.” Of course, Starfire realized that she had probably just made the biggest bluff of her life and proceeded to frantically pray that Blackfire and Galifore would go along with it and the Luand’r would buy it.

    Luand’r chuckled. “Of course. And my compromise is this. These,” she motioned to Xuun and the other Psion man on her left side, “Are my most loyal and trusted generals. They shall both have the honor of fighting the chosen ones for their lives,” she said with a large smirk. “We challenge crown princess Kormand’r and Princess Koriand’r to a match.” Starfire went pale and she could see that Blackfire did too.

    “What does that mean?” Galifore asked quietly. Luand’r’s smirk got larger.

    “It means that we are willing to base our decision to war on a match. If you win the match then we will leave Tamaran peacefully. You will never hear from us again. This I swear on X’hal herself.” The promise sent a shiver through everyone present (with the exception of the Titans, all of whom were listening to Robin’s sketchy translation of what was happening.). It was common knowledge that a promise made on the spirit of X’hal was binding directly through the goddess. A promise of that magnitude that was broken was said to send you directly to The Suffering Place, dead or not.

    Starfire watched wide-eyed. “And if you win. What is it that you want then?” she asked, shakily.

    “We simply want what is ours. We want those that are being housed illegally here on Tamaran. We want them returned to us and we want them to come quietly or there will be war. Either way, there is no war on Tamaran if both sides of the bargain are honored. Do we have a deal?”

    Blackfire snarled, “Of course not. We are not idiots. You have named three warriors to fight for you, while Princess Koriand’r and I are only two. You must drop one man,” she commanded angrily. Luand’r’s look got, if possible, even more gleefully haughty.

    “Wrong. I hold the bargaining chip here and I’ve found myself in a strange little grudge with another planet that is also represented here. I want only one specific warrior.” And to the horror of every being in the room, Luand’r turned to point one slender finger at the group sitting at the head of the table.

    At the Teen Titans.

    At Keenyara.
     
    #19 Anima, Dec 19, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2006
  20. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

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    And now Luand'r has just shot herself in the foot. Surely, she must realise that challenging Keenyara to a fight is Stupido Act #1? If not, I imagine she'll be finding out the hard way.;):D

    I know that I'm always going on about Keenyara in these reviews, so I'll just quickly say what I need to on her. Mainly, her profoundly unpleasant attitude is now making a whole load of sense: being a literal personfication of natural forces (wind, in this case), she is, in the strict Classical sense of the term, a goddess...and divine beings, in the strict Classical sense of the term, are a notoriously arrogant and tempestuous bunch. This understanding of her, truth be told, only makes it even more funny when she gets put in her place.:p:D

    Anyway, back to more key issues. The Tamaran presented here is, I must say, an even more surreal and complicated place than the show itself could've possibly achieved. The Rik, the Core Leaders, the all-too-public "peace talks", everything: this place is the very definition of an archaic and self-destructively complex world. On the other hand, for all its excessive formalities and perverse customs, such oddness gives it a fairly hefty dramatic potential that you aren't failing to make use of. After all, when the day can only be saved by returning Blackfire to full power, you just know things have reached that dramatic stage.;)

    This, I think, just about leads us back to my starting point. Namely, the Starfire/Blackfire/Keenyara vs Luand'r/Xunn/Other Psion match-up, and just how great that's going to be. Luand'r is no idiot, so I can tell she's got some devious trick up her sleeve (on top of invading a planet during peace talks: just genius :eek:), but all the same...well, this isn't going to be pretty.;):D

    -Matt A-
     

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