1. For prospective new members, a word of warning: don't use common names like Dennis, Simon, or Kenny if you decide to create an account. Spammers have used them all before you and gotten those names flagged in the anti-spam databases. Your account registration will be rejected because of it.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Since it has happened MULTIPLE times now, I want to be very clear about this. You do not get to abandon an account and create a new one. You do not get to pass an account to someone else and create a new one. If you do so anyway, you will be banned for creating sockpuppets.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. If you wish to change your username, please ask via conversation to tehelgee instead of asking via my profile. I'd like to not clutter it up with such requests.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Due to the actions of particularly persistent spammers and trolls, we will be banning disposable email addresses from today onward.
    Dismiss Notice
  5. Welcome back to QQ. The search function will be unavailable for some hours until the index has been rebuilt.
    Dismiss Notice

[DC] Raven's Replacement (Raven Lunacy sequel; OC in Teen Titans)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Ace Dreamer, Aug 8, 2020.

Loading...
  1. Extras: Late Omake - Author Omake 4
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Late Omake - Author Omake 4

    Robots kidnapped my brain, held me hostage, didn't have time to publish Author Omake 4 before Episode 21. So, I put a 'place holder' in. While that was only there for a few hours (11?), you might've read that and been confused. The real Omake has now been posted.
     
  2. rdfox

    rdfox Getting sticky.

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2019
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    361
    So, was I the only one expecting the classic "whole lotta lumps" gag here? x3
     
  3. Threadmarks: Small Issues - Episode 22
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Raven's Replacement, Small Issues - Episode 22

    I've 'lost the plot'. This isn't good. What should I do?

    OK. Think. Where are we?

    We've dealt with Slade. Run around trying to ensure there's no loose ends. That we're ready for Pure to attack.

    But, is that wise?

    Being purely (sic) defensive isn't that smart. We're giving him time to get ready, probe our defences, find more allies. There're people we really don't want to fight, like the Brotherhood of Evil, old Doom Patrol enemies. And, Robin, the Titan's tactical leader, ... isn't very well.

    Yes, we've got Doctor Blue (Nurf), but she's a medic. Roshi, though he's really for support. Oracle giving a helping hand. And, I suppose, Amazo Girl. Though, she's really a bit... untested.

    Looked at from another point of view we've got a lot of raw power. Just... not very good focus.

    Maybe it's not that bad?

    ---

    Raven's checked, at my request. Found there's a very subtle magical attack on the Tower. Carried in by the air, we're breathing.

    Seems to encourage irrational fear, self-doubt. Her remark was, "That's clever", as she reworked the wards to stop it, while trying to make it appear that it was actually affecting us.

    Where does it come from? Someone seems to have placed enchanted stones on the seabed, around the Tower. Probably over several days. Placing the last stone started the... miasma. Raven's ward-tinkering will have to be very careful.

    I'm... annoyed.

    So, I grab Amazo Girl, drag her off to go book shopping, in that other-England, with the Foyles bookshop. The other-England that in my previous time-line I'd thought was actually in this world.

    ---

    We're going as 'civilians'. But, walking there along the dimensional paths, hidden within our robes. Her robe isn't the defensive wonder mine is, as she's not anything like as 'squishy'.

    But, it does help her disguise who she is, and helps her act a role, rather like my 'secret identity' glasses. Probably it's major feature is that it's very difficult to destroy. And, it's a 'modular' design, intended to have new capabilities easily added, later. 'Module one's her robe's robe-scarf capability.

    As we travel, when we're unlikely to be overheard, I explain my interest in Asimov. That, maybe as a constructed being, she might share an interest in our 'culture'. And how a lot of it was pretty negative, starting from 'Frankenstein' then R.U.R. and Metropolis, Colossus and HAL 9000, then through Terminator's Skynet and Battlestar Galactica's Cylons.

    The Cyberiad, Asimov's robots, Star Trek's Data - the positive stuff was far less common. Data hadn't yet appeared in 'Warp Trek'. I'd seen no serious sign of any of the positive side in our world of super-powers. Outside Japan.

    We're reasonably secure, so I point-out how she could probably get pretty wealthy by selling 'Bleed batteries', based on the tech of her Bleed armour. Rename them to something like... 'dimensional torsion' (DT?) cells and very few could figure-out what was going on. Quite expensive to make, but immense storage capacity.

    She's... willing to think more about it. And, yes, she'll think more about her 'native culture'.

    And, I carefully point-out the subtle dimensional twist, which confused me, first time around.

    ---

    We find somewhere quiet, after our bookshop visit. A pleasantly-shaded graveyard. Also spend a little time looking around London. Time's not a problem, I've used a trick which means we'll be away for roughly a hundredth of the time, compared to the Tower.

    The quiet place is for my ritual, where I place our 'bounty' in my dimensional pocket. Yes, she wants one of those, and, yes she wants to grasp this subtle non-combat magic stuff.

    I... ask her a few probing questions about her powers. Whether she can alter them, learn to use them more effectively, even in new ways. If she knows the mechanics behind her copying abilities. If she could repair her power-copying ability, if it got damaged.

    Whether... Professor Ivo is one of her 'templates'.

    She's in considerable pain.

    "Please, remember for me. I want to get to the bottom of this, fix things."

    She goes blank. Her eyes close, open. A killing machine looks around, for threats. I sit very, very, still.

    Blank again. A lost child looks around, confused. Then, she recognises me. Slowly returns to herself.

    "That was a... moderately bad one. I've had worse, but not that often. This is part of what I think'll kill me, sooner or later. ... What were we talking about?"

    I... prevaricate. Say I want to Raven-consult. That's accepted.

    For now.

    ---

    We're... back at the Tower. Special training.

    Our apprentice is going to enter as deep a trance as she can, using any help we can provide. Seeing as she's immune to most drugs that wont help, so it's meditation and hypnosis, with some careful mind magic. Takes more than an hour-and-a-half. Before Raven's satisfied.

    She... directs me a dimensional step away, into a private dimension, I've not visited, before. Asks I keep it a secret. That I'm the first person bar her and... Cosmo to visit the place. Cosmo followed her here.

    We leave our physical bodies, then return, astrally, to... Mary. Now for the delicate bit. Getting her out of her body, on to the astral.

    There's... traps. One obvious one, and a pair of more subtle unpleasantnesses. The massive energy discharge isn't an issue, because we're not physical. The catch-trap, that's nasty, a dimensional snare. And, there's an infinite mind-mirror to deal with mentalists. All these are deep within her, at a level near her core.

    She's, her spirit's, scrunched-up, folded, within her core. We have to carefully press, tug, slide her in strange directions. Finally, she's free. A braided cable, wire and crystal, leads back to her body. It looks more like a binding than a spirit-mind-body tether.

    Looking down at her. She's slowly becoming conscious. Likely experience of using many strange super-powers. A (naked) red-headed girl child. She's... a metre, about three-and-a-quarter-feet, tall

    Ah.

    ---

    "You're tall." She looks up.

    "Your... growth was probably restricted, based on where you were."

    "I feel... free. Do I have to go back?" She bounces on her toes.

    "Generally people who don't suffer from... this minor issue called 'death'." Is Raven's voice a little dry?

    "Oh. Can you show me how to be more comfortable?"

    "Let's go look at your 'spirit house'. If we move around, through certain higher dimensions, we can look in ways your designer probably didn't anticipate."

    We do.

    ---

    There's... some really nasty bits around her core. She'd probably reached the limit, maybe gone a bit beyond, what would fit in there. It's... designed to prevent her learning, doing, certain sorts of things. My tech-vision is enhanced by Raven magic so we can get the desired details. I narrate my discoveries, as I make them.

    Mary's... looking a bit sick.

    "I... don't want to be Amazo Girl, any more. She's... a twisted machine created for revenge."

    We're taking a break. Amazo body looms over us, a hillside at least. Raven serves spiritual tea, which helps us relax.

    "It's... not that bad." I try and console.

    "If Raven targets her magic right we can remove a couple of the big constraints. Give you room to go on growing. Some of the others you can likely train-away. Looks a survivable and fixable situation."

    She's dubious.

    "Yes?"

    Raven and I hug her.

    "Yes. And, we're here for you."

    ---

    AN: You might wonder what's going on at the start of this episode. Hopefully it'll become clearer, later, but Geo is effectively fighting-off a subtle magical attack. Though, you might suspect not completely...

    AN: R.U.R.; because TLAs can be rather... opaque. :)

    AN: OK, Metropolis, while I'm at it - you're looking at 'False Maria'. Colossus is likely better known by the film (The Forbin Project). And, Cylons.

    AN: Because it deserves its own reference, The Cyberiad.

    AN: This episode fought back, a lot...
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
    Lord Greyscale and Martin Rudat like this.
  4. Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Nice idea, but Raven's running on the ragged edge of her power, here. All she's got is what she's managed to wrench from the bindings Trigon's put on her. She hasn't even got her own body, with her monk-trained combat reflexes.

    Basically she's mixing social skills (learned from the Titans) with probably a few bad tv shows. Anything involving physical violence could backfire on her terribly. You might also consider who she might suspect is watching all this...

    Yes, though. We should learn from the wabbit. :)
     
    rdfox likes this.
  5. Extras: Author Note 3 for 'Raven's Replacement'
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Author Note 3 for 'Raven's Replacement'

    If you're worried about 'spoilers'...

    That might be why you're not reading the 'Doll Raven' Author Omake. Generally, reading those is 'safe' between a day and a week after they're posted. The latest one spoiler'd something in Episode 21. The previous one was 'safe to read' after Episode 20.

    I think.

    They vary. :)
     
  6. Threadmarks: Crooked Planning - Episode 23
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Raven's Replacement, Episode 23

    Lunch. Upmarket restaurant. Raven, Zatanna, me.

    We've things to discuss.

    "Good to meet you, Raven. The prophecy meant I couldn't, before, even though I really wanted to help."

    "I know about the prophecy, one of the things I learned from Sugoi. Early on, before any... mysterious meetings. The business of 'Raven's Apprentice', that I learned about the same time. I'm guessing you know I have taken one?"

    "You have?"

    "Yes. An off-worlder, as is desirable. Uses the name 'Shepherd'."

    "That's... surprising. Though, it explains why certain magical signs... occurred. Are we likely to meet?"

    "Unfortunately Shepherd's family have a long-running feud with the Justice League of her world of origin. She doesn't agree, but, things you learn at a young age..."

    Raven shakes her head.

    "Shepherd. Might she be the young lady, in the robe, sitting at the table over there? The one with a crook leaning against the wall? And, a lamb under her table? Who's been glaring at me, then, stopping, closing her eyes, doing something like meditation?"

    Shucks.

    She spotted her.

    ---

    Another early morning caller, though at least this one waited till after breakfast. A human-sized figure in an all-enveloping robe. Carrying something apparently wrapped in a sheep-skin. Tapping on the Tower's wards with a crook.

    The wards say... powerful magic, but no obvious hostility. Full-alert, though. Titans go down, I lurk in the background, with... Mary. Ever since we... helped her, she's refused to answer to 'Amazo Girl'.

    Door is opened, Titans go out, woman throws back her hood. Revealing the horned-demon shepherd, who we helped with her... husband problem. She flicks aside edge of the fleece, revealing a (black) lamb.

    Who glares at everyone.

    Ah.

    ---

    Hospitality. Sharing of food and drink. The basis of civilization.

    "I was impressed how well-hidden your trail, from home to here. Took me this long to riddle it."

    Nods to Raven.

    "But, I had good reason to find you. The one you healed, now she refuses to eat. Will do nothing but glare at people. Bites them if they get too close. Only wrapping her in her mother's fleeced-skin calms her."

    "Her mother's skin?"

    Beast Boy's quite alarmed.

    "Aye. Our sheep breed in a strange way. They are immortal till they have young. Young that are healthy and likely to survive. So, for this lamb to be born, live, her mother had to die. It is the way of things. Only once in a century is one born whose mother doesn't die. Our flock grows slowly."

    She nods.

    "This one has decided to part from the flock. Her destiny lies elsewhere. So I bring her here."

    She puts the lamb down. Unnamed One moves-up, sniffs at each of the Titans. Gives Cyborg a bit of a strange look. Shakes her head. Moves to me. My heart's in my throat. Sniffs. Turns away. To... Mary.

    Sniffs her. Looks at her. Sniffs her, again.

    Mary holds out a hand. The lamb sinks its teeth in. Not very deeply. Mary's skin's too tough.

    "She likes me!"

    Demon shepherd moves-up. Looks Mary over.

    "You're a strange one. And, you need a name. I'll share mine with you. It wont diminish me."

    Holds out her crook. In a way that hurts the eyes there's now two. Hands one to Mary.

    "I name thee 'Shepherd'. May you guard your flock well."

    Mary takes the crook, rather in a daze.

    "Now, name your lamb."

    ---

    Shepherd seems to have come to a decision. Picks up her crook. Walks over to our table.

    Followed by her (black) lamb. Which, honest, does not flash red eyes at us, or show a hint of unsheepish teeth.

    "May I join you? I think my self-control is sufficient. And, I'm the one who knows of 'Tomorrow Woman's problem."

    Zatanna looks at the pair of us. We don't react. Nods to... Shepherd.

    "Please do."

    ---

    Shepherd explains that she's walked many worlds, seen Tomorrow Woman, and the Justice League, more than once. Seen her sacrifice herself to save them. Done some research. Discovered what might be going on.

    Tomorrow Woman is an unknowing trap for the Justice League. Two mad scientists have... equipped her with a bomb designed to wipe the minds of all the League members.

    But, she finds out about the bomb, uses it to save them from a unbeatable enemy, instead. Dying in the process.

    Shepherd's of the opinion that if the League are warned of this enemy they'll be able to prepare. And, that if it's done with sufficient care and surprise, Tomorrow Woman can be de-bombed, without anyone dying.

    Maybe she can then go, with the League... discuss things with the two scientists.

    Shepherd says she'd like to see that.

    Zatanna... approves of this. Thinks it fits with the aims of the League.

    We plan.

    ---

    A minor detail. Our plans look good. Simple but with enough flexibility.

    Zatanna... asks to be introduced to the lamb. While carefully staying out of easy lunging range.

    Shepherd looks a bit embarrassed. Plays with her fingers as she holds crook in both hands. Looks down.

    "Please don't laugh. I know it's a silly name. But she seems to like it. It's..."

    She pauses.

    "Fang."

    ---

    Afterwards, back at the Tower, I ask Raven to raise her best wards. Totally block magic from a small area, a ritual circle. In which we'll meditate.

    Tis done.

    Within the circle my mind slowly clears. The wards sucking all magic away from me. Raven looks more alert, too. We look at each other.

    I break the silence.

    "He is clever, isn't he?"

    "Yes."

    We think for a while.

    "We never asked The Boys what they knew of Pure, did we? Never thought of grabbing some more demons from the dimensional paths, questioning them? We're... not being allowed to think clearly about Pure, are we?"

    "No."

    More thinking.

    "We need to do some planning, away from the city, probably off-plane. Where whatever influence he's using doesn't reach. Is... it clever enough to prevent people from using magic to reveal its presence?"

    Raven's thoughtful.

    "I don't think it's 'clever' in the sense of being intelligent, more two subtle workings woven very carefully together. There's tricks like this used in the defences of some temples. This is just being done on a much larger scale."

    "We make clear, firm, decisions here? Then, we'll be able to stick to them?"

    Even more thinking.

    Raven grins.

    "I'm pretty sure Pure has no sense of humour. So, we make our decisions. Then. We encode them in a dirty limerick."

    We grin at each other.

    ---

    AN: I think it's a nice name. Why? Honest, a lamb isn't looking at me in a meaningful way. :)

    AN: Limerick; should we hold a competition, for the best (worst) limerick about Pure's plans, and how to defeat them? :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Lamb-bush? :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
    Lord Greyscale and Martin Rudat like this.
  7. Threadmarks: Tina, Kawaii, Naked - Episode 24
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Raven's Replacement, Episode 24

    "You called me 'Tina'. Tell me why. Now"

    I may have just upset Oracle, while she was being Barbara.

    Oops?

    ---

    "I'm going to have to tell you a story..."

    "I'm listening..."

    "About a man, who, when he was a boy, had his parents murdered in front of him. Who swore an oath to fight crime. And to, never, never, kill."

    Blank face.

    But, I can read some of her other 'tells'. I'm pretty sure she's deeply shocked. And, I've now got the full attention of a deadly, upset, red-head.

    Better hope my storytelling abilities are up to it, hadn't I?

    ---

    "... and so, when he asked the family butler how could a normal human gain skills to match those with super-powers, said butler drew on his vast experience of the stranger places of the world. Introduced him to a man, who knew a man. Who might be prepared to train the boy."

    I pause.

    "As a shaman."

    She's now shocked in a different way. But, I've got her thinking. Which is what I wanted.

    "What does this story have to do with... 'Tina'?"

    "Unfortunately the boy's teacher was unable to complete his training. Probably due to something like a nasty case of death. The boy brought his killer to justice, though. Got him tried by a jury of his peers. Which included the spirit of his dead teacher. I don't know what the punishment was, but I doubt it was... nice."

    I pause.

    She gestures for me to continue.

    "His teacher's peers were... less liberal. Unwilling to complete his training. And, there're rules about the dead training the living. Might set bad precedents. So, there he was, maybe three-quarters trained. And, the books he could get were just not enough. He had to... improvise."

    I look at her. Still blank-face.

    "When he came to train his own pupils, a boy and a girl, he knew what to do. He'd even found ways to... improve things. But, mostly he kept to the traditional stuff. From the books. Fasting. Not sleeping. Special drugs. A 'spirit quest'. His innovation was the wings tattooed on their backs, using a special ink that would be invisible."

    She swallows. Blank-face is under a lot of strain.

    "I wont speak of the boy. His secrets are his own. The girl had blue owl-wings as her tattoo. She saw a vision of an owl, come to teach her how to fight, how to gain wisdom. The owl is a symbol of the Greek goddess Athena, Goddess of War, Wisdom and Handicraft. Who has oracles. 'Tina' is a pet name based on shortening Athena."

    "You've been thinking again, haven't you? I'm guessing that story is based on knowledge gained outside this world. And, you'd be... very wise to avoid adding any names to any of the characters."

    "Yes."

    "On a totally different subject, Robin has a problem due to his teacher never having finishing his training, doesn't he?"

    "Yes."

    She thinks, for a bit.

    "I'm going to have to do some careful research. I'm assuming this ties-in with the 'annoying priest'? The one you told me that you'd had to take previous-Robin, to Japan, to see?"

    "Yes. You might want to ask Raven if you can borrow some of her shamanism books."

    That gets me a... disbelieving look.

    Then, a polite nod.

    "Apology accepted. But..."

    Gulp. Good job I don't have a weak heart or that look would've stopped it.

    "We're going to be talking more about this."

    She mutters.

    "Pet names!"

    I think... she's slightly blushing.

    ---

    "Friend Geo? Would you do the shopping with me? Show me where you enjoy in the city?"

    I can't really refuse that, can I?

    "Let's go and see Raven. If a certain pattern is followed there'll be a magical attack at our destination. It'd be polite to warn her about that."

    We do. Raven gives a nasty grin.

    "Yes, I recall that incident from your memories. This time we may be able to use it to track-down Pure."

    So, we shop.

    ---

    Japantown, San Francisco.

    I get to practice my Japanese, Kory enjoys the 'kawaii'; people will get presents. We get gifted, and being a princess still seems to help Kory handle it better than me. We take our break, eat and drink.

    And, yes, the welcome banners have the 'bad luck' runes.

    I touch the small talisman Raven gave me. A wash of shadow, and she's here. In all her grey-skinned glory. Bottled evil shadows. Slightly frustrated Kory, that Raven stole her fight.

    Rather confused shopkeepers and shoppers. Who all want photos and/or autographs.

    Yes, small-girl asks me for mine. Signed 'Sugoi'.

    I'm not wearing my 'secret identity' glasses, you see.

    Back to the Tower.

    ---

    Of course, as we expected, bottled shadows give no lead to Pure. But, we had to make the attempt. Anything else would've been suspicious.

    Ritual time.

    We start in the 'dangerous rituals' area, in the basement. Permanently improve the wards and defences, there. Then, do as thorough a cleansing ritual as Raven, Shepherd and I can. Rest. Check the results.

    The basement now seems to be free of Pure's mind-bending magic.

    We can think about the problem clearly. Further improvement of the wards on the area, fixing little details we weren't clear-enough headed to notice before.

    Looks... good.

    Lock the door.

    Strip.

    Sky-clad ritual, to ward the whole Tower. It... looks good. All three of us are exhausted. There was an awful lot of power behind Pure's magic. We'll have to find-out how he managed that.

    Assuming we got it right there shouldn't be an obvious hole in his coverage. But, if he tries a subtle enough probe he'll know what we've done. Got to hope his paranoia doesn't serve him too well. We are out to get him.

    "You know", remarks Raven, "we could've probably done all this work from the med-bay?".

    "Med-bay? What's that?"

    We both look at Shepherd.

    I knew we'd forgotten something...

    ---

    AN: Shaman; because I'm nice like that. :)

    AN: OK, this is the modern-day version of San Francisco's 'Japantown', but it may give you the general idea.

    AN: Kawaii; just in case. :)

    AN: I think this's SFW, but skyclad ritual nudity seems to offend some...
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2020
    Martin Rudat and Lord Greyscale like this.
  8. Threadmarks: Remotely Demonic - Episode 25
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Raven's Replacement, Episode 25

    Demons. Raven's explaining them. Wont this be interesting?

    Everyone's invited, but Beast Boy and Cyborg explained they were 'busy'. Apparently they've just got a new video game. And, it must be played. Now.

    No one knows where Robin is. Maybe he's out in his Red X suit?

    Starfire is here. And we've been joined by Roshi and Doctor Blue. Oracle's interested, and, she's dragged The Boys, Shem and Shad, along. The line-up's completed by Shepherd, with her lamb, Fang. Gina and Cosmo are also with us. Being dogs.

    "First, one issue is that 'demon' is a technical term, among magi. The Boys are that sort of demon. Then, there's the common use of the term. Which is mixed-in with... certain religion's attitude to intelligent non-humans. Complicating things is that there's beings of immense power referred to as 'demons'. Some far above the gods."

    She looks around. So far, no questions.

    "Having a humanoid form that's 'weird' used to be enough to cause a being to be called a 'demon'. Some of the Fae got very annoyed about this. Having horns, goat-like legs and feet. Satyrs and fauns got annoyed. Then, beings that looked human but had strange powers. Homo Magi got annoyed. You hopefully get the general idea."

    There's nods.

    "Go back in time, to before the monotheistic religions of The Book, as some call them. Yes, that's the Old Testament of the Bible. 'Daemon' meant 'helpful spirit', and that term's been re-used in computer technology. A daemon was either made by a shaman, or later a priest or magi, or, sometimes, after death a mortal human or animal spirit might become one."

    "So, that's where The Boys came from?"

    "You'll have to ask them that, yourself, Oracle. That's their personal, and possibly private and secret, history. Given long enough some 'made' demons can become as complex as those based on born-spirits. It depends."

    "I'm sure everyone and his dog knows our story." Yes, that grumble came from Shem. Shad elbows him in the ribs. Reasonably gently. Doesn't stop him rubbing the spot and looking aggrieved, though.

    Raven ignores the sideshow.

    "That deals with the ones roughly on the human-level. If you look at demons like my father, he's more powerful than many greater gods. Being evil makes him a 'demon', not the colour of his skin, his horns, his six-eyes."

    She... changes. Now has red-skin, horns, six red-eyes, but is otherwise unchanged.

    "This is another one of my shapes. If I look to my father's side of my ancestry. It isn't by its nature evil, but, might not be advised for shopping in the mall."

    Kory looks a bit sceptical.

    "I think with the right accessories it would work. Or, with a little effort you could be just another sort of 'alien'. As long as there's no aura of evil. And you are not carrying your flaming pitchfork."

    "I do not own a pitchfork", returns Raven, with great dignity, "Flaming or otherwise".

    She coughs. Concentrates for a moment, and her skin goes pink-ish. No more horns, only the single pair of (human) eyes.

    "This shape follows my mother's line. Shape-shifting isn't uncommon among..."

    She stops speaking.

    Cosmo, grinning widely, dressed in just her robe, otherwise a dark-haired with pink-ish skin human child, is being chased by a snarling girl apparently about her five-year old look.

    We've not seen this girl, before, and she has black skin with dark-red hair. Horn-buds.

    Oh, and glowing-red eyes. Carnivore teeth. Is dressed in animal skins.

    "Fang! Stop that!" Shepherd calls out.

    A crook reaches-out and snags the second girl by the neck. She stops, Turns. Stomps back to Shepherd. Her eyes fading to dark human, hair covers horns, teeth less-pointed.

    "She started it! She kept staring at me!"

    "As I was saying. Shape-shifting isn't uncommon among those of... unconventional ancestry."

    ---

    Leaving the presentation, I take Roshi to one side.

    "I thought you should know... there's a 'off switch' for your swear filter."

    He grins.

    "I know. I found it while meditating. I quite like the swear filter. It gives me something to complain about. And, encourages me to be... creative in what I say. One of the nicer gifts I've got."

    I pause, briefly just look at him. Shake my head, regather my wits.

    "Also, if you've got any curses that you've not lost by dying and acquiring a new body, Raven and I'd be willing to try and fix them for you?"

    Deep thought for a few moments.

    "I'm... quite attached to my remaining curses. They're part of my history. All of them have a good reason for being what they are. Someday, I may be done with them. But, thank you. Not yet."

    Oh.

    ---

    I'm wearing a goatee beard. Because I'm 'evil'. And I'm not happy.

    Nurf got Nurse to put it there with a 'cos mod' (cosmetic modification), which Nurse complained was an abuse of her medical facilities. I wanted it just glued-on, but, oh no, it had to be 'authentic'.

    Beast Boy's idea. Enthusiastically supported by Cyborg. Came out of their brainstorming session, on how best to deal with Control Freak.

    We're going to bribe him.

    But, to get the bribe, I have to go visit previous time-line Control Freak.

    Convince him to supply the goods.

    ---

    "I'm not convinced you're an 'evil twin'."

    Out of my dimensional pocket a ready-to-wear handlebar moustache. Twirl one end. Control Freak does a bit of a double-take.

    "How about like this?"

    He sighs.

    "You're just not taking the game seriously. The 'Spock' ears don't help, either."

    My shoulders slump.

    "Those were alternate-universe Beast Boy's idea. He said they'd make me look 'more realistic'. Fit the whole 'Warp Trek' theme."

    He purses his lips.

    "I like the way he thinks... But, no. You're not an 'evil twin'. And, I won't help you 'destroy your enemy', my super-hero alternate."

    "Pity. It was a nice story. Cyborg and Beast Boy had so much fun thinking it up..."

    I sigh.

    "OK. Truth. We want to avoid the fight in the video store with your earlier self. When my 'twin' was in this universe she was told what happened. I don't think anyone really enjoyed themselves, much. But, if your earlier self had a copy of your tv dimension remote control, in that first Titan's encounter..."

    "Hmm."

    He's obviously thinking about it...

    "How about we agree to have a chase scene through the tv dimensions? Your alternate chases the Titans, they chase him, everyone has fun. And... I'll tell you where to get that training Raven can't give you, because she'd away... saving another universe, and's been replaced by a stunt-double."

    "I thought she was looking a bit grey, lately. And, your replacement after your... local self got banished, she's... a bit... of an understudy."

    He thinks a bit more.

    "It's a third-season switcheroo, but I'll do it! As long as you promise to send me a video of the chase."

    "Done!"

    We shake hands. I pass him a business card.

    "There's this Buddhist temple in Japan, you can get directions there from the Great Shrine at Ise. The priest is an expert at fighting evil spirits, and has all sorts of strange skills... I have to warn you, though..."

    I look directly at him.

    "He's very annoying."

    ---

    "Harcourt Fenton Mudd."

    There. I said it. He forced me to.

    "Harry Mudd? That episode? Could be a bit tricky..."

    Suddenly, he tries to look cunning.

    "What's in it for me?"

    "You were the one who said I should 'get something out of this for myself'."

    "OK! I was just asking. My psychiatrist said I should 'consider the needs of others'."

    "Would this psychiatrist be called 'Sonya'?"

    He goes a little red. Then, whispers in a small voice, "yes".

    "You might want to ask her what she likes. Ask her about... men who tie women to railway lines. What sort of... role-play she might enjoy..."

    I twirl the end of the moustache I'm still wearing in a meaningful way.

    "I'll... do that."

    He looks thoughtful. Then, claps his hands.

    "How much... detail do you want? A whole android?"

    "You know, while the one I want to get a really good look at, full work-up, design notes, copy of the AI, is Norman, a spare Stella might be nice. And, I'd like a chance to do a thorough bio-scan of a... female gormagander. For... a friend."

    "You really know your Warp Trek, don't you?"

    "I'm a fan of Gerrold. You might like 'When HARLIE Was One', though... bits of it are rather X-rated."

    "Right. Let's get on with the fun, then!"

    ---

    AN: Goatee; but you likely knew. :)

    AN: Switcheroo; all these strange words. :)

    AN: Harry Mudd; nuff said. :)

    AN: Yes, When HARLIE Was One does exist...

     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
    Lord Greyscale and Martin Rudat like this.
  9. Extras: Raven's Replacement, Author Omake 5
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Raven's Replacement, Author Omake 5

    < First
    < Previous

    AN: This is an 'Author Omake', this one happens to be 'canon', but shouldn't (greatly) impact the overall story, so you can skip it if you want to. It falls after Episode 25, 'Remotely Demonic'.

    AN: Do you believe in 'spoilers'? If so, do not read this Omake. You've been warned.

    ---

    .

    .

    .

    AN: Still here? OK, read on.

    ---

    Miss Carver. My maid. My Apprentice.

    My 'hostage to fortune'.

    All I had to do was say the wrong thing to the wrong person, and she would be dead. Or worse. 'Or worse' was a definite possibility.

    She's a wooden doll, a Toy, like me. Possibly made by a rebel against my father, to be my companion, that rebel being her father. But, while flesh-and-blood was involved in me existing, though I currently have none of that, she was carved into existence. From wood.

    I think.

    That's one of those things I need to confirm, for myself. Without revealing any more of my possible plans than I'm happy with.

    ---

    "Meeting my brother was... difficult."

    "Yes, My Teacher and My Princess. But, I did what you asked. Hid from him. And, someone who tampers with the bed of a Princess is taking a big risk. So, I hid under it."

    Did I mention she's... a work in progress? And, rather naive.

    While my half-brother was being cautious, I doubt wrecking my possessions would greatly concern him. Though, if he thought our father was watching it all, maybe...

    OK. She could have a good point.

    "I'm glad we both survived. And, the experience was very useful in a number of ways. Confirmed what my father said of my brothers. Let me test that tiny private dimension we exhausted ourselves creating. Let me push my power to the limit."

    What I don't tell her is I should have added 'and beyond' to that last statement. Exactly what would happen if I pushed myself too far, I don't know. I've got, I believe, immense reserves, locked away. But, if I reach the limits of even those, go beyond?

    I might... permanently injure myself. My spirit. My essential self.

    "Come. I want both of us to leave our bodies, without that 'special trick'. Leaving our bodies meditating, levitating. Then, I believe I've devised a way that might improve your power. But, I suspect it will be very painful. Are you willing to attempt this?"

    "Yes."

    ---

    I think... her spirit is now as large, as powerful, as an average human.

    I'm working from memory, here. And, she's far more skilled with her spirit than that human. But, my father, my brothers. They'd defeat her with no effort at all.

    Yes, it did hurt her. And, my empathy meant I felt that, too.

    I'd been afraid I'd lost my empathy, my gift from my mother, with my physical, fleshy, body. Which, maybe rests back in the Tower, by Jump City. Or, maybe is dead and buried. Cremated. I just don't know.

    Another possibility, it's being worn by another. Who is maybe pretending to be me. Then, there's that desperate half-done ritual I did, as I clung to my body. Who knows what resulted from that?

    But, I feel my empathy trickling back. The psychic powers connected to it. My shadow, which is oh so useful. Feels like it was all... injured, but is now slowly healing.

    I'm... a lot stronger. I willed a pot-plant into existence. While I was astral, with my Apprentice. Then, I reached across the dimensional barriers, to the physical. Forced the plant, and its pot, to exist physically. I'm... pretty sure it's stable, will last as long as a normal one would, in Toyland.

    A major achievement, though, hopefully to an observer, trivial.

    I'd considered creating a living body of some sort for myself. A copy of my original one would be the obvious choice. Maybe one for Miss Carver. But, the risks...

    That observer, I suspect my father's watching. Or, he has someone else watching, for him. Instructed to call him when I do 'something interesting'. He might have set one or more of my brothers to the task. Though, if the visitor was representative, probably not.

    He'd... cheat. Lie. 'Slack off' as Beast Boy would call it.

    So, more likely an, observant and skilled, reliable minion.

    But, we've more work to do...

    ---

    I've worked with my Apprentice, on the astral.

    We've crafted protective amulets, for both of us. To guard our wooden bodies, while we're away. When we return to them we'll be carving the physical forms of those amulets, tying the astral part to them.

    It's... something I've invented. New, as far as I know. When I get home, to my library, I'll check. Probably an ancient trick.

    I anticipate it being particularly effective.

    Then, astral amulets made, I talk my Apprentice through the major ritual working we're both doing. Creating the framework of our own, personal, defences. Permanent wards that'll cloak us all the time, whether we're physical or astral. Tied to our spirits, not those wooden bodies.

    My Apprentice... struggles. Fails, this time.

    I've got my personal one in place. It... looks good. Solid and reliable. Strong but flexible, gives me plenty of room to grow inside it. I think I've invented the spirit defence that I spent so long searching for in ancient books.

    Reminds me to balance book and practical research. I've none of my beloved library, here. So, it's all practical.

    I've... noticed how the other Toys, and Fae, and talking animals, stuffed and fleshy, seem to be reacting to her. They... show her respect. Nod politely to her. I don't think there's any fear. Just she's... more real. Has a stronger presence.

    Soon, I hope. Soon she'll be strong enough to travel with me in our dreams. To the Tower, by the Sea, with the Great City, loomed over by the Royal Castle. I want to show her the Titans, no matter their pitiful reduced state.

    Teach her something of the size of problem we face. How large, how monstrous, is my father.

    Hmm. That's a thought. Maybe my father has a library I can loot?

    But, no, I don't want her to see him, yet. Maybe I can find an estate, or something, where one of my brothers rules. Let her glimpse one of them. See the power they wield.

    Because, if she saw my father, it would...

    Destroy her.

    ---

    AN: Hostage to fortune; thought you might like to know.

    AN: Still here? OK, read the above.

    .

    .

    .

    ---

    AN: Do you believe in 'spoilers'? If so, do not read the above Omake. You've been warned.

    Next >
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
  10. Threadmarks: Robot Oracle - Episode 26
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Raven's Replacement, Episode 26

    I've been polite. I've been 'funny'. Now, it's time to get physical.

    Not that you really can, when you're astral...

    But, she agreed to this, I'd done my best to ensure she made an informed decision, now we'd have to live with the consequences.

    Astral Oracle.

    ---

    We'd discussed her study of shamanism.

    She'd not realised it was so widespread, and fundamental. To both magic and religion. Not that, originally, there was any difference between the two. Nor, originally, was magic divided in categories, like 'elemental', or 'blood', or 'divine'.

    It just was.

    The conclusion she came to was that, even though it was not something she was comfortable with, she needed to know more about it. Know enough that she didn't make mistakes like... Robin has. The whole business of previous-Oracle's notes on dealing with the Joker (and sidekick). She wanted to understand that.

    "Owl influence. Wisdom of Athena."

    She made a face when I said that. But, reluctantly, acknowledged that the logic seemed to fit together.

    So, she needed to know more about the astral than she could get from books.

    She needed personal experience. Tonight. In her dreams. With someone she trusted.

    Me.

    ---

    Talking to her, while I was astral hadn't worked. Telling bad jokes, tickling her, feet and sides, nothing. One last thing to try before I have to use force. The Raven Special.

    I've never experienced it myself, but my glass of ice-cold astral water just gave her a little shiver. I'd politely explained I was going for something scaled-up next, if she didn't cooperate.

    Nothing.

    So, a whole bucket of (astral) ice-cold water.

    On her sleeping form.

    So comfortable in her nice warm bed.

    Hope she lets me live...

    ---

    Naked Oracle.

    Except for her green mask, and the tiny, blue, owl wings, on her back. In this form there's red-hair around the mask, not a fuzzed-out blur. And, my eyes are very firmly on her face.

    Wordlessly I hand her the extra-fluffy (astral) towel. She dries herself. I'm reasonably sure from the way sinews're standing out on her neck those're death-glares coming my way. But, mask makes it hard to tell.

    "You... seem to be lightly-dressed. Robin had the same problem, first time. When the annoying priest kicked him in the... fork. Bucket of ice-cold water was something Raven regularly experienced, in the middle of the night. As part of her combat-readiness training. She then had to fight for her life. At least your bed isn't wet."

    Suddenly. Dressed in comfortable-looking jeans, a fluffy jumper, slippers. And the mask. I guess she'd never really established a costume for Oracle. Hands me back the towel, turns, looks at her sleeping body, lying on the bed.

    "That's... me? My... body? Looks... peaceful."

    "Yes. I'm pleased you seem to be fully conscious. Starfire and Cyborg weren't, without a lot of training. Beast Boy we never got to be properly conscious in astral form. Robin, he was like you. Though, he chose a Robin costume, not comfortable house-clothes."

    She holds-up her arm, runs her other hand over the fluffy sleeve. Looks down at her legs, in jeans, lifts the front of her jumper, to reveal what I'm guessing is an exercise leotard, below.

    "I... feel real. Is this all fake?"

    "This is how your mind thinks of your body. Clothes are a sort of extra layer of body. Optional, unless they are trained, drilled into you, as something part of you. I noticed your mask was there, even though you were otherwise unclothed. That means it's pretty fundamental to you."

    "I... didn't even realise I was wearing it."

    She reaches-up, removes the mask. It fights back, sticks to her face. But, she's stubborn. It's now in her left hand, she shakes her hair loose. It's Barbara. I think. She's... trying expressions, feeling them on her face, with her right hand.

    "Would you like a mirror?"

    "Yes please."

    We're only a step from the physical, but I give it a go. Nothing. Then, I concentrate on this being her room, and she wants a mirror here. Reluctantly, an astral mirror forms. Full-length. Bottom end on the floor.

    "Thank you."

    She moves before the mirror, examines her face, multiple expressions. Dons, removes the mask, again. Does slow exercises, watching herself.

    "Looks... realistic."

    "You've got a strong will. You're making it realistic. Try a little meditation. Listen to your breathing, your pulse. See if you can mentally feel every part of your body. If any of the tiny pains we feel... 'in the flesh' are present. Scrapes, bruises, strains."

    She focuses, relaxes.

    "There's... nothing. It's... all perfect."

    "That's because your astral body is being created by your expectations. Are you ready for any more?"

    "Yes. Bring it."

    "We're going to experiment, see if you can make your hand penetrate objects you know to be solid. Then, maybe, work-up to you walking through closed doors. If you do really well, maybe a little levitation. Ready?"

    "Yes!"

    ---

    With Max's permission I've taken... Mary along to see him.

    We walked the dimensional paths, to Tokyo, Japan, wearing our robes, as anonymously as we could manage. Then, found a quiet place (always a good trick in Tokyo), stepped-out into the physical, with our robes-as-scarves.

    Went book-shopping. Well, manga, really. Got myself some more robot ones. Some on martial arts and magic, while I was at it. I... realised I'd been stupid.

    "Do you have Japanese?"

    "I... cheat. There's a surface-telepathy trick. Learned it... long ago. As long as there's open minds around that know the language that I don't, I can tap their expertise. Sense the associated images, flashes of linked concepts. It isn't perfect, but it mostly works."

    "You've... permission to skim my surface mind if that'll help you. Making language mistakes... could be bad. Try and not tread on the local culture, too, if that's possible."

    She nods.

    "Thank you."

    ---

    "This is Mary. She's working with me, learning more about a wide range of things. Including, in my opinion, robots. So, I thought of you."

    "So kind." Was that sarcasm? There's hope for Max, yet.

    "Does she need to be tested?"

    He gazes off, communing, I suspect, with the bear.

    "Apparently no. You're, as her teacher, responsible for whatever she does."

    My joy is unbounded.

    ---

    Nothing went horribly wrong.

    Talked Max and Mary through some of the robot repairs. I'm pretty sure Mary was skimming my mind to help her understanding. I guess... that's acceptable.

    Max had a special treat. He's brought-in some of the stranger tools his cousin had, that he couldn't figure-out himself.

    I study them. Make a few notes.

    "There's... at least three different sets of technology here. Come from different development paths. Possibly highly alien. One of the tools has been heavily modified to make it human-usable. I... suspect the original user was... inorganic."

    I indicate a tool that looks like a human-style handle, with a power connector, attached to something made of flowing metal.

    "Looks like the original user could generate their own power, the power connection and converter handles that. Then, I suspect the information flowed straight into their nervous system. From some sort of detailed magnetic scan. There's another converter, a summary screen, an external signal feed. Not... bad work."

    "How did you know?"

    "I've... a talent for figuring-out strange technology. An 'eye', my teacher called it."

    I cough, rather embarrassed.

    "Here's my notes on the required power and signals interface."

    "Thanks! How can I pay you back?"

    "Well... do you have a junk pile? Simple robots you've got too many of? Suitable for a student to mess with?"

    I nod towards Mary.

    "I... think I can find something. It'll take me a couple of days to sort out. Document, crate-up."

    "I did wonder... Did you visit that temple."

    "Yes, you were right. He can help me. Has already fixed a couple of major issues. But, there's one thing I feel I must tell you."

    "Yes?"

    "He's annoying."

    ---

    AN: Shamanism; you know the drill. :)

    AN: Astral projection, because...
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2020
    Lord Greyscale and Martin Rudat like this.
  11. Extras: Late Omake - Author Omake 5
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Late Omake - Author Omake 5

    I'm afraid this is the third time in succession I've put a 'place holder' in because I'd not time, over the weekend, to write an Omake before the next Episode. I'm not very fond of that pattern, or the fact I've no current Episode buffer. It's not sustainable. I... may have to re-think things.

    There wasn't time to publish Author Omake 5 before Episode 26. While that was only there for less than a day, you might've read that and been confused. The real Omake has now been posted.
     
  12. Threadmarks: Hollow Consultant - Episode 27
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Raven's Replacement, Episode 27

    Beast Boy is broken. It's quite clear. So we've called-in a consultant.

    Animal Man.

    ---

    Initially it looked like Beast Boy was OK.

    He talked a good talk, seemed to be behaving like his previous self. Was going along with the training regime. Learning, practising, meditation. Using his animal shapes. His spirit looked OK when we examined it astrally.

    But, when you looked at the whole picture, something he'd said about Cyborg seemed to ring true. He was 'trying too hard'. He always wore his costume, never casual clothes. There was a... slightly desperate air to his video gaming.

    And, his off-the-wall humour. Strained, rather lacking in off-colour jokes. No strange references to animals, his weird past, with the Doom Patrol.

    Beast Boy Lite, as Cyborg would say. And, very rarely, Garfield.

    He was using the same shapes, again and again. Mostly the smaller, simpler, ones. None of the big stuff, nothing more than about a couple of hundred kilos, 440 pounds. We had to look...

    Inside him.

    It didn't help that both Raven and I rather found his spirit form scary. But, even that, was far more human-scale that the lumbering elemental force he was before.

    It was scary, yes, but man-in-a-rubber-suit scary, not power-of-all-Nature scale.

    Yes, we were still scared.

    ---

    We'd got his permission. Cheerfully given. To walk his dreams.

    We made it clear we might learn things about him, his deepest secrets, things he wanted no one to know. He waved a hand, told us to go ahead, maybe we could help him write his autobiography, someday.

    So, we 'girded our loins'.

    Dived-in.

    ---

    Not much is known about Animal Man.

    In the super-hero community, that is.

    Usual origin of powers gained from interaction with aliens. But, animal powers? That's... a bit weird.

    Raven says he turned-up when she was researching shamanism. His power looks to be... spiritual, not physical, though it manifests in a physical way. Rather like Beast Boy's.

    He... reminds me, in a way, of John Constantine.

    The street magician, the city shaman. Someone Raven's told me I should do my best to avoid. Because he's heavily involved with Hell, the mostly Christian-styled one. And, he's under a demonic curse where all his friends die.

    Also, Constantine's, supposedly, not a very nice man. Maybe well-meaning, but foul-mouthed and cynical. Doesn't 'play well with others'.

    We don't know much about Animal Man, but he's supposed to be a pretty nice guy. A vegetarian activist, someone pushing for animal rights. Again, Beast Boy parallels.

    So, probably someone willing to help. Someone we'd be willing to work with. Someone, in more than one sense...

    A hero.

    ---

    Beast Boy's... hollow.

    The green monster? Sort of a shell. Inside there's something that looks a lot more like my mind. A library, with two harried attendants. Raven and me. There's fragments of our spirits, running around, consulting a medium-sized library which seems to be exclusively about Beast Boy.

    And, the attendants aren't happy.

    They're doing their best but they look worn, frail. I... get the strong impression they don't like their job. That they're doing it out of duty. And, they've little more still to give. They're... dying.

    With them dies Beast Boy. His body will very likely follow the death of his spirit. Not so much 'keeping him healthy for the return of his true self', there. Certainly going to make our 'business as usual' facade fail.

    Yes, we could stuff his body in the med-bay. Put him 'on ice'. But, doing that, that'd mean...

    We'd failed.

    ---

    We've talked to Animal Man.

    He introduced himself as 'Buddy Baker'. Not normal superhero practice. Most guard their secret identity with a fanatic fervour. He... just gave us his. Is his family OK with that?

    I... ask. He shows me his... bill-fold? American for 'wallet'. Pictures of wife, two kids, an older boy, younger girl.

    Weird.

    Explaining the problem. He's... puzzled by Beast Boy. Associates having a green skin more with plants. There's something called 'Swamp Thing'. A... plant elemental.

    But, he says, anything he can do to help. He'll do his best to act as an astral guide, to the source of Beast Boy's power.

    But, he's really concerned. We're dabbling in things he doesn't understand. Messing with spirits, the fundamental nature of humans, all creatures. Do we know what we're doing?

    We explain, we feel there's little choice. Sketch the shape of the battle with Pure. Reveal... that the spirits, the souls, of all the Teen Titans have been stolen. That, if he realises what's going on, Trigon'll know he's already won.

    Will walk-in, take-over, as physical and spiritual ruler of Earth.

    That, we're running a desperate bluff. With the world on the line. Outside him, and Oracle, only the Justice League knows how bad the mess is.

    He's... impressed. Says that just makes it more important he helps us. Like I said.

    He's a hero.

    ---

    We've got a hunk of Beast Boy's hair.

    And, some of his saliva, finger-nail parings. We've even some of his blood. Yes, I know that's risky. All made up into a mommet, like Zatanna had of Raven.

    We've done our best, ritually enchanted it. It... looks pretty good. Based on straw, but now it looks like a tiny version of Beast Boy, costume and all.

    Animal Man got to watch the ritual, Raven thought that best. Seeing as he'd be involved in using the tool. He, later, said he was... impressed. That we made magic look more... natural, part of the world, than he'd seen before.

    We're in the astral.

    Animal Man easily joined us. Said it was nice to work with other heroes who knew something of the place. And, the doll's become a tiny Beast Boy. One who spoke, said was willing to help our quest.

    And, he's riding on Animal Man's head.

    I've... got a puppy, now a little large for this sort of thing, in my robe pocket. Guess we weren't going to get to leave Cosmo behind. Not many cosmic-powered puppy-sitters in our address books.

    Where next?

    Who knows?

    ---

    AN: Vertigo; sorta not-quite-sideways DC Comics, for 'mature readers'. Warning, some of it gets pretty violent and sexual. In ways some adults can't take. So, NSFW.

    AN: Loins; not sure what lions would do if you tried to gird them... :)

    AN: Mommet, AKA 'poppet' Maybe you wondered if we'd see any more of these?
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
    Lord Greyscale and Martin Rudat like this.
  13. Threadmarks: Ritual Medicine - Episode 28
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Raven's Replacement, Episode 28

    Tonight. In his dreams. We're going to check Beast Boy.

    But, before then, we're looking over Raven's tools.

    Trying to figure-out if any of them might help. Not only help the Titans, including Beast Boy, but help solve the larger problem. Pure having stolen the spirits of the Titans, and we having no way to find where they've gone.

    More precisely...

    Where is Raven's spirit?

    ---

    The Raven who's here, the one sitting with me. She's the child of Raven, and me. Raven provided the body, I the spirit.

    But, where did I come from?

    Best as we can tell Raven's summoning... copied me. From my original self, just as she arrived... Home. Not just my physical body, but also my spirit. So, I'm Raven's child, created by her summoning of someone who might be her Apprentice.

    And I, in turn, created Raven-who's-here, now.

    I'm Raven's child. And mother of the Raven who's sitting in front of me.

    Bit of a strange realisation. Though, CMO Nurf called me, and her, 'Raven's daughter' when she claimed her CMO role. I thought that a... bit strange. Her psychic powers, I guess.

    Making... Raven-who-is-lost both mother and grandmother of Raven-who-is-here.

    My head hurts...

    ---

    The disconnect is the summoning spell.

    That magic created my spirit. No normal magic, summoning or otherwise, should be able to do that. Except, blood magic, spirit magic.

    So, Raven and I, we're studying the books Raven-the-summoner used to create the spell, the summoning ritual. She was in a terrible hurry, used... short-cuts. Things... you're strongly advised never to do.

    Used her own blood to draw the ritual circle, around her. To power the summoning.

    Wow.

    ---

    Raven... faintly remembers this, now we've worked it out.

    That time's blurred in her memory. Magical overload, she thinks. When I entered her spirit-empty body it was unwounded. Raven thinks sealing the ritual circle, around her body, healed those wounds.

    Though, there's other possibilities.

    We think... the details're unimportant.

    ---

    Drawing out the ritual circles.

    In Raven's carefully cleansed and purified room. Not using anyone's blood.

    We're using the books, corrected based on my allegedly perfect memory. Raven... made mistakes, some of the drawn symbols are wrong, or blurred. That changed the meaning of the ritual. Potentially, disastrously.

    From my memory of previous-Raven, in my previous time-line, the ritual she used to summon her potential Apprentice, there's some interesting differences. I've carefully sketched her ritual diagram.

    Raven, in that world, was in a summoner's triangle. Her (potential) apprentice, the summonee, in a binding ritual circle.

    The local ritual, both in circles. The summonee circles match, pretty exactly, looks like both Ravens had those already drawn. The triangle matches the books, with some clever alterations. We note these, for future reference.

    The circle local-Raven, my summoner was in... That's a mess. A drawn-with-blood hurried mess. Honestly, it shouldn't have worked.

    At all.

    ---

    From Raven's memories, her mother, her grandmother, brute-forced the summoning. Burned her remaining magic, threw her psychic powers, everything at it. Held nothing in reserve.

    Almost certainly damaged her spirit. Maybe fatally. If she survived it would be as someone... maybe with no magical power at all.

    We just can't know.

    However. That's speculation. We've figured it out. We've got what we wanted, what we'll need. The tool used to draw her blood, that she used for her ritual circle. Raven's...

    Ritual knife.

    ---

    Nice idea. We've got the knife. But, we can't use it.

    The... dimensional flows aren't right.

    A bit of a walk around, in the appropriate local dimensions, I can see, with Third Eye magic-sight, things wouldn't work. We'll need to wait, probably a day or two, for any chance of success. Longer if we want the best chance.

    Annoying.

    Still, we've plenty to do.

    Raven's got more research, book acquisition. I need to liaise with Oracle, check Robin's not doing anything too stupid. Check our honey trap, for Lex Corp, in Metropolis. Spend some time with Nurf, I've been rather neglecting her.

    And I guess, some time, I need to track-down Terra.

    I'll... do that now!

    ---

    Robin's... OK, but looking a bit shifty.

    I'll ask Oracle to check on what he's been doing, whether we need to take any... measures. Last time I checked he was moving ahead with his Red X suit plans. Now he's 'acquired' the material to power it.

    I'm... concerned.

    There still far too little we know about that suit.

    ---

    Kuro Industries seems OK.

    There's a big press conference, in a few days. A product launch of our robo dogs. An invite to appear on tv. Will need to decide if I'm the one on stage, what's planned with the show producers.

    It'll be... fun.

    I don't think.

    ---

    Nurf... wants to take a trip.

    Invite Oracle along. To my previous time-line. Make a few explanations. Maybe smooth a few, ruffled, feathers.

    Oh. And, she wants Shepherd along. Says she'll be 'needed'.

    I'm not worried.

    Not. One. Little Bit.

    ---

    "I've managed to get an invite. To the local university. Medical department. As a... 'foreign doctor'."

    Shepherd and I... look at Nurf. What's she up to?

    "I'm taking the pair of you along. You're my nearly-graduated student, Geo. You're my just-started student, Mary. We'll have so much fun!"

    She grins, widely, at us. Mary and I swap uncertain smiles.

    Switches to serious.

    "We need access to the university, on multiple levels. The library, the labs, the bookshop. I smell Pure there. Yes, I listened to the tales of your visit. I'm reasonably sure we'll need a relationship, in this world, too."

    She coughs, hand before mouth. Not forced. At all.

    "And... all the dynamics are different. Geo, you're one of the teachers of the Apprentice. Mary, you, of course, are Raven's Apprentice. Geo... I'm sorry. I'm... pretty sure you'll have to give the Ship to Mary. Train her enough in astral projection, dimension walking, so she can make it her home."

    I'm... not happy. I'm got a lot of emotional investment in my version of the Ship. My Workshop World. Yes, it's currently... unfurnished, but I was really looking forward to using it, again.

    "We need to do... some preparation. That's why we need to visit your previous time-line. The paired Oracles provide a solid link. Raven, here, is your link back. I think... we'd better get her to keep an eye on Cosmo. It... might be bad if she followed you."

    Nurf's... been listening carefully to descriptions of how dimension walking works. Then, deducing details I'd not told her. She couldn't learn it, herself, but she knows my restrictions.

    "We use one of your no-time tricks, so not to interfere with your... busy evening. I'd... advise you're well-rested for when you return. We're visiting the hospital, after lunch."

    More of her visions of possible futures?

    We go. Explain to Raven. Watch her grab Cosmo. And Fang. Leave Shepherd's crook. Grab a slightly-bemused Oracle. Pack.

    Mary... obviously wants to tell us something. She looks... guilty.

    I feel... I'm forgetting something. But, hopefully it'll keep. So, we...

    Leave.

    ---

    AN: I wonder what Geo's forgetting. Can you work it out? :)
     
    Lord Greyscale and Martin Rudat like this.
  14. rdfox

    rdfox Getting sticky.

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2019
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    361
    This section just instantly made me remember a classic comedy song.

     
  15. Threadmarks: Double Trouble - Episode 29
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Raven's Replacement, Episode 29

    "Let's get this right. You're me. And she's Captain Geo."

    "Yes. And no."

    "Could you confuse that for me a bit more?"

    "I'll do my best..."

    ---

    We're in my previous time-line. In the Tower. In the med-bay.

    We arrived outside the door. Apparently the defences are so good that even if you really know what you're doing you can't arrive in there.

    Ring the 'doorbell'. Get answered by Nurf. Local Nurf. Doctor Blue. CMO Nurf, just as my Nurf is, but CMO for the med-bay we're standing outside.

    For extra confusion we've got a couple of Oracles with us. One from home, who we'd dragged along with us, and the local one. They're both wearing identical green masks with otherwise fuzzed-out heads. Generously, one, who came with us, has pinned-on a badge marked 'Visitor'. They're otherwise both in... engineering clothes.

    So, visitors, Nurf, Oracle, Mary and me.

    And, for (I think) their mutual amusement, visitor-Nurf's describing the situation to local-Nurf.

    ---

    "You may recall Geo and you exchanged backup crystals?"

    "Yes..."

    "I'm a product of that crystal and a servitor provided by our version of Nurse, from our version of the med-bay from the 'Seed of Life'. All mixed-together via magical ritual performed by our Raven, our Cyborg, and this Geo."

    "Right. So, you're not a servitor-avatar of your Nurse? Changed to human-size by Raven splashing magic around? Like me?"

    "No. Also, I've not spent a year on the Ship. Except my memory of the time you spent there."

    "This is making a little more sense, now. I think I get who you are. Who's the Geo? She... feels, psychically, a lot like my Geo. Though... maybe more powerful?"

    "I'm unsure how much your Oracle..."

    Visitor-Nurf indicates the Oracle not wearing a 'Visitor' badge, who nods.

    "... has told you about our... mess?"

    "Not a lot, except you seemed to be from an earlier time than us. And, you'd not yet de-Joker'd your world."

    "Joker situation's handled. Using information your Oracle gave. Things're... more complicated, though. Pure's earlier attempt on the Titan's, via Puppet King... succeeded. Geo arrived after he'd won. The details are... messy, but, in essence, this isn't your Geo, but she's got her memories."

    "Someone else made from a backup crystal? Far as I know no one's used the crystal Geo trusted me with."

    "Not sure I fully get it, myself. But, let's keep it simple. Fortunate magical accident."

    "My Geo, my captain, got... Home? Been reunited with her family? Got her life back?"

    "We... believe so. What Geo saw looked that way. Safe arrival, at her workshop. Tokyo, Japan."

    "That's... good. Right. Why are you here? Who's the red-headed young lady I don't know?"

    "This's Mary. She's..."

    Our Nurf pauses, looks at each of us, nods.

    "Raven's Apprentice."

    ---

    The med-bay. Tea and a light snack. Nurf hosting, a large flat-screen over the med-hub also showing her, drinking tea and snacking.

    Being socially 'human'.

    "Just to be quite clear. Geo isn't Raven's Apprentice. Mary's it, instead?"

    "Yes."

    "Mary's... someone summoned by Raven?"

    "No. Arrived under her own power. Got... a crude way of travelling the dimensions. And, effectively, an unfortunate past which is... cursed."

    Mary speaks up.

    "I've actually been magically cursed, more than once. Most of them I've been able to shrug-off, break. One that's sticking, I think, from my dealings with the lizards, an 'interesting times' curse."

    I recall how much trouble that curse caused me. All the fun we had...

    Oh. I've a nasty feeling I know what I forgot.

    "Mary? Did you... do a magical ritual? To... unlock your non-combat magic? Did a mini-Robin appear? Say his name's 'Larry'?"

    "Yes... Thought I might tell you before we left, but everyone seemed in a terrible hurry."

    I look at our Nurf. She does a double-shoulder gallic-type shrug.

    I sigh.

    "We're, which probably means me, going to need to track-down our Control Freak. Make the offer, the deal, I agreed with the Control Freak of this world. Ah. By the way..."

    I look at local Nurf.

    "Something I should know?" That's a particularly aggressive eyebrow raise.

    "I... needed something to trade with him. So I told him... Sonya might like men who tie women to railway-lines. While twirling the ends of their handlebar moustaches."

    (Local) Nurf thinks. Carefully.

    "You sliced that one rather finely, didn't you? I'll let you off. After all, I'm 'Sonya', so I can make that judgement. Maybe Sonya should tie him to a railway-line while twirling her moustache?"

    I shudder. Not an image I like.

    "In payment, I got a thorough bio-scan of a space-whale. Low-animal intelligence, capable of acting as life-support for human space-travellers. Here's your copy."

    Hand-over a (large) recording crystal.

    Our Nurf coughs.

    "Yes, I've a copy for you, too. Was you I thought of, when I made the request to Control Freak."

    I turn back to local-Nurf.

    "Thanks. But, you still haven't told me."

    She looks, forcefully, at our Nurf.

    "Why Are You Here?"

    ---

    There's... some Hmm-ing and Haa-ing.

    Then...

    "I wanted to show Mary what success looks like. How you're one with the med-bay, the med-hub. How you're your own CMO, Chief Medical Officer."

    "Riiight. That's not the case on your world?"

    "No. Nurse... doesn't trust me. Didn't have time to get used to magic, the Titans. The month, alone, with Kory and Geo, the second half with just Geo. She's... also younger than us. A couple of hundred years, I think. Didn't have time to think-over Raven's offer. Yanked from her world straight to the med-bay."

    "I... can see how that'd be a problem, Culture shock. Lack of agency. I'm... guessing you offered to sync minds with her? That... she refused?"

    "Yes. She doesn't like or trust me. Doesn't believe we're basically the same person, no matter how much I show knowledge of our history. I think... she thinks it's all some sort of... trap."

    "Geo's", she nods at me, "her captain?".

    "Yes. I think we're going to have to transfer the captaincy to Mary. CMO role as well. I'm training her in doctor-ing, but, unsure it'll be quick enough. We may need to... use some sort of trick, speed things up."

    "Mary gets to take your Nurse, after you stuff her into a human-sized servitor-avatar, to your version of the Ship? Perform year-long anal-stick-removal surgery?"

    "Yes."

    "There's more, isn't there?"

    "Yes. We need to meet your... Geo-substitute. The one your Control Freak told our Geo about. I... feel she's part of the puzzle."

    "One of those feelings?"

    "Yeah. So, can we?"

    "She's in Tokyo. At... Kuro Manor. Raven's transported her here, for visits, then home again. She's making good progress, but mainly astral projection."

    Our Nurf looks at me.

    "We'll have to help her, then, wont we?"

    ---

    "You're the Geo who got banished Home? By the Raven who's off saving the universe?"

    I'm... at 'stately' Kuro Manor. In my opinion, somewhere, there's a higher-power laughing her head off.

    No, I haven't asked to see the 'Bat Cave', hidden below the manor. Or looked for a bust of Shakespeare in the library.

    I'm talking to 'Geo Kuro', who seems to be pretty rich. And's, according to Control Freak, my 'understudy'. She seems... naive, unfinished. But, quite determined. And, wearing Best Boots.

    "It's complicated, I'm a version of her that didn't actually get Home. Got sent to a different Raven. An earlier one."

    "Oh. That must've been sad for you."

    "I've... got used to it. There's work to do. Guessing you're enough like me to understand that."

    She nods.

    "I'm proposing to show you how to dimension walk. Then, if you agree, Mary copies your powers, including that new understanding. Should mean she can do the job she needs to. Are you willing?"

    She thinks, carefully. Then nods.

    "Yes. I trust you."

    We do it.

    ---

    AN: Gallic shrug; though I don't think Nurf intends it to be rude.

    AN: Handlebar moustache; you need to know.

    AN: Lack of agency; tends to affect your decisions, how you see the world, a lot.

    AN: You might like to look at a few Raven Lunacy Omake. This one might interest. Also, the final episode, the Epilogue.

    AN: Think this makes sense, but there's more than one of a few too many characters. :)


     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2020
    Martin Rudat and Lord Greyscale like this.
  16. Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Yeah...

    I might also have been thinking about the classic Heinlein short, '--All You Zombies--', which is old enough you can legally read it online.

    Just to be clear, though, there's no marriage producing daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, or grandmother-in law, or 'step' anything, in this story. Also, no time-travel. And, for that matter, no biological reproduction. Or, men. It's all purely spiritual. :)

    Except when Nurf and Garfield start describing it. With the eyebrow wriggling. And the nudge-nudge, say no more, Vicar! And the giggling. Sorry, some of that's 'manly chuckling'. :)

    But, yes, I do like the Muppets Henson-ing the song.

     
    rdfox likes this.
  17. Threadmarks: Doctor Moon - Episode 30
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Raven's Replacement, Episode 30

    Walking On The Moon. Doing it again. This time, I've brought two Oracles.

    I can remember walking, on this Moon, with local Oracle. But, that's memories of Geo-who-got-Home. Arguably, I didn't do it. Visitor-Oracle, walked the Moon orbiting our Earth. Not this one.

    Different, don't have a Raven. I think. Instead we've a couple of (CMO) Nurfs. My 'understudy', Geo Kuro. Completing the group, Mary. No strange animals.

    Which is... pleasant.

    Raided local-Nurf's stores, for environment shields. Also, I've Raven's shield bracelet, local-me's one from her Raven.

    It's... always possible local-Raven (the substitute) is lurking about. Somewhere. Too shy to join us. Which, if that's the case, is a bit sad.

    Then, there's our excuse for being here...

    ---

    Total speculation, but I'm guessing...

    Man with Book, chained to him? Associate, Lady with Ankh? Could he be pulling a our strings?

    That's Nurf's reasoning, for trying to 'follow the plot'. You don't want it to roll-over you, instead. Her 'mysterious' psychic powers say, 'Play The Game'.

    I'm... not completely happy, with this. But, no one controls all elements of their life. You fit-in, with changing times, those around you. Stop moving? That's because you're dead.

    Nurf says I'm 'Too cynical'.

    But. Why we're here.

    This's payment/reward, for Geo Kuro.

    ---

    We'd meditated, together.

    Done a magical ritual to boost her fledgeling Third Eye, help her figure-out 'the walk'. As we go dimension walking.

    Then, she tries it, herself. Should've guessed. Third-time a charm.

    Maybe I'm soft-hearted, but didn't want her to be... 'trained' by someone like Master Roshi. Have a near-death experience. Yes, it worked, I inherited the results, but I didn't have to like it.

    Also, teach her, get Mary to copy the results. Two birds with one stone!

    Occurred to me, seeing her study-room, she's a lot of medical books. Maybe Mary'll pick-up some doctor-ing?

    Next, just to make sure, three-way ritual. Miss Kuro and Mary agree what'll be copied, write a description, the three of us attempt to tweak Mary's copying ability. It... all seemed to go pretty well. Need to test things, get Mary grilled by Nurf. But, apparent success!

    So. Reward. And, major test.

    Follow the Japanese Moon Watching path, Lunar-wards. Local Nurf with Geo Kuro. Our Nurf with Mary. I take the two Oracles, run around, check no one gets too lost. Easy!

    Well. Not 'easy', but nothing disastrous happened. Only slight burns. Med-bay'll easily fix them.

    ---

    On The Moon.

    Bounce-walking. Gunpowder-smell. If you force some dust through your shield. Photos of Earth.

    Actually...

    That's not the right Earth. Radio collar strongly suggests we're somewhere else. Maybe Earth with no superheroes?

    No problem. Pretty sure can get us back. But... no one to target. And, no (obvious) Raven to turn-to for help.

    Hmm. Local Nurf is linked to her med-bay. Look closely enough, follow that.

    Begs the question... What's our Nurf linked to? Need to carefully check. Might've... unfortunate consequences.

    Still. On The Moon.

    Nothing can kill that good mood. Happy grins both Oracles are wearing, under their masks. No Moon Cheese (I checked). It's...

    A Grand Day Out.

    ---

    Back in the med-bay. There's (shy) Raven lurking in the background. Geo Kuro's... standing pretty close to her. Huh. It's their life.

    Two Nurf's team-up on Mary. Watched by two Oracles. It's... gruelling. Sometimes, an Oracle will throw-in a forensic-style question.

    I... wouldn't want to be in Mary's shoes.

    She's... obviously a student, but seems to have a solid grounding. Not... bad. Obviously more work to do. Probably enough to keep Nurse happy, even if she doesn't learn any more, before Ship Year.

    Mary's not looking too bad, afterwards.

    Something strikes me. Did she get any alchemical technology skills? Careful questions, and, yes, she's got the basics. Presumably cross-over with medical matters. That'll... be interesting.

    Go out for a meal, in the city. Locals in secret id, visitors heroic. I'm 'Sugoi', Geo Kuro. Geo. We've a Raven, mostly hiding in her robe, as well.

    Nice round-off to our visit.

    Having a good memory, I pay, book us into a hotel.

    For a good night's sleep.

    ---

    "So, you're a foreign doctor? Your English is very good."

    Medical administrator. Needs politeness lessons. That was Garfield-quality.

    "I'd... prefer not to say where I'm from. There's... still bad feelings."

    Nurf's done pretty well, so far. She's dark-haired, Middle-Eastern skin-tone. Maybe North Africa. Not an area I know much about, but, I think, 'Third World'.

    "How wide is your medical experience?"

    "I've got good genes. A lot older than I look. Yes, worked with advanced medical tools. Some... weird science stuff, too. I've done surgery. The hard way."

    "Miss Brown? I'll take-over."

    An older teacher and doctor, I recognise from my previous time-line. He's obviously had enough. Up till now just quietly watching, listening. No longer.

    By the way.

    Yes, we're back home. Our afternoon university appointment.

    "Thank you for your assistance. I'll handle the rest of their visit."

    She gets up, slowly sinking-in she's... made a mistake. Forced smile, head-nod, she's gone.

    "I'll admit I'm curious, myself. But, if you don't want to talk about it..."

    "Yes, it was a bad time. I'd refused to help torture someone, an 'Enemy of the State'. They'd... got upset, about that. Then, a bomb exploded. Lucky to survive with just a couple of broken arms. Half-trained nurse. Talked her through field-surgery. Stopped a... policeman dying. Interesting day."

    He nods, "Thank you for explaining".

    "So, what do you think of my students? Geo? Mary? Prepared to fit them in, somewhere?"

    "Pretty sure they can, informally, sit-in on lectures. Watch practical sessions. I'll see what I can arrange, later in the term. We've generally a few drop-outs by then, so, spare resources."

    "I'd... rather more to do with weird science that I might've implied. May I make a donation? For... research?"

    His eyebrows raise. "Certainly!"

    "Geo, the bag!"

    "Yeth, Math-ter!"

    People look at me. Give a weak grin. Open the (cricket) bag.

    Pull out what looks like a rolled-up body bag, with something high-tech, quite heavy, at the top.

    Nurf narrates.

    " 'Sus an' unit. Self-contained. Self-powered. By... weird science. Put terminally-injured, or freshly-dead, in, they don't get any worse. Breathing and heart stops, but also, any decay. No biology in the bag, very little chemistry, normal physics. As long as the bag's closed."

    "I'm assuming there's a downside?"

    "Yes. Open the bag, there's a good chance shock will finish the dying process. Unless an opening process involving a larger, more elaborate, externally-powered, weird science device, is used. Yes, I'm donating one of those to you, as well. Once it's been thoroughly checked-out."

    Pretty sure I know who's checking...

    "How many of these... 'sus an' bags?"

    She counts on her fingers.

    "Five to start with. They're reusable, just give them a thorough warm soapy water clean, rinse. Maybe another two bags, later. Again, I want them thoroughly checked, first. Once you seal the bag, they're air and water-tight. Don't try and damage them and they're good at room-temperature, indefinitely."

    "Good lord. Amazing. I'm assuming they'll stretch the 'critical hour' indefinitely?"

    "Yes. But, I'm guessing you'll only use them on..." She has a look-round. "Trainee corpses?"

    He grins at her.

    "Correct. See you understand medical humour."

    He gets up.

    She holds out a hand.

    "You'll want to test them. I recommend inserting a live lab rat, close the bag. Open the bag, good chance you've a dead rat, no obvious cause of death. Sooner or later, you'll get a shaken but live one. Same should apply no matter how long you leave the bag closed. I don't recommend testing it on medical students."

    They grin at each other.

    "We can do the tour now. I'll say, now. Don't see any problem with your two students coming here."

    There goes a lot more of my time...

    ---

    AN: Walking On The Moon; worth another listen, I think. (And, I quite like the video. :) )

    AN: Here's a fun list of phrases for you...

    AN: Could Geo be referencing this? :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
    Lord Greyscale and Martin Rudat like this.
  18. Extras: Raven's Replacement, Author Omake 6
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Raven's Replacement, Author Omake 6

    < First
    < Previous

    AN: This is an 'Author Omake', this one happens to be 'canon', but shouldn't (greatly) impact the overall story, so you can skip it if you want to. It falls after Episode 30, 'Doctor Moon'.

    ---

    A doctor wants to call. At my Royal Tower. He's sent me his card.

    "Doctor Az. Physician to the Noble, and All In Need."

    Yes, I'm guessing it's a 'he'.

    A little... unusual. Probably not from my father's court. They'd just barge-in. I think. Though, after what I did to my brother, maybe not. I'm... curious.

    Send back a note.

    "Please visit."

    ---

    "Call me 'Uncle Az'."

    Maid's hiding in the next room. What's she to do if doctor turns nasty? Don't know.

    But, at least, might give her a chance to run-away.

    She's... more powerful than when we started. Her Apprenticeship. How powerful? Not sure. Nothing to compare with. Except memories.

    I think... she's, maybe, as powerful as I was, when first started teaching myself magic. I'd sneaked in, to the Temple of Azar, back in Azarath. I was... eight? Nine?

    No seasons in Azarath, but that fitted with my ceremonial birth-days. Call it nine.

    Found myself dreaming bout Azarath.

    Woke, a few nights ago, recalling my combat training. Bucket of ice-cold water, middle of the night. Out of my soaked bed. Fight for my life.

    The martial monks were strict. But, they wanted me to live. Have a chance to fight, for my life.

    When Trigon came.

    Everyone knew you couldn't fight Trigon with your fists, weapons. You needed to use your mind, your spirit. So, physical training, education, spiritual training. Meditation. Learning to use everything you had.

    For me, that included... magic. And, the empathic powers I'd gained from mother.

    Monks taught me to read and write. Ignited my love of books. Taught me basic arithmetic. How bodies worked, inside and out. Sensing the ills of animals. Healing them.

    Azarath, priests of Azar healed humans. At the temple. Or, if patient couldn't be moved, where they lay injured.

    I saw a priest at work, one day. Draw injury out of a monk, near-dead from a training accident. Too ill to move. Then, resisting the pain. Obviously meditating, as they, themselves, healed.

    I had to learn. Needed to. First times I'd chosen to do something, I'd not been instructed to.

    There's an aura about the priest. As they leave the training yard. Of... accomplishment. I stepped forward, reached out a hand. Was brushed past. Ignored.

    But, I touched her robe. Felt... the power. The power of healing. Of Azar.

    Kneeling before me, down on one knee. A dark-red robed figure, hood-up, head-bowed. Waiting for my attention. I sensed, tasted, felt, knew...

    The Power of Azar.

    ---

    "Rise."

    Figure gets-up. Robe hides all, bar golden-glow of a pair of eyes, hint of a face, below.

    "How do you have the Power of Azar?"

    Golden eyes look into wooden painted ones. I'm... inspected, judged. Weighed... And, I can feel, accepted.

    "Niece. I'm glad you look well. Your spirit appears much healed, from when I last saw you. Would you have me speak of that time?"

    I swallow.

    How? Don't know. Wooden dolls don't have throats. But, recently, physical sensations of my lost body have returned. Almost as though the doll... is an illusion. A cloak worn to keep those around me... happy.

    "Do."

    Raises his head. I see his face, better. He... resembles my father. Trigon.

    "You were a doll. As you seem now. But, hardly anything but a doll. A flicker of spirit. Maybe dying. Your father... Trigon. He was furious. Tore the demon, who delivered the dolls, in two. Then into quarters. Ever smaller pieces. Stamped on the pieces."

    "I seem... quite healthy, now. My... visiting brother seemed impressed. Did... father send you here?"

    "No. I wander the lands. Only going to court if summoned. There, typically, I work to heal one he's injured. I refuse to stay there, watching him injure others. I... stayed, in the hope that I could heal you."

    "Tell me more."

    "Three days and nights, I wrestled with Death. Bargained. Plead. She... stepped back. Said it was not yet your time. But, mine would come, soon. And, she would be there. I... thanked her for her kindness."

    "You saved my life?"

    "I believe so. I'd never seen someone so badly injured survive. I think... you were not yet ready to die. That's why I fought so long and hard. And, yes, I had other reasons. After all, you're..."

    "Yes, yes?"

    "My Niece."

    ---

    We eat, and drink. He consumes food reasonably normally, drinks. Chewing, sipping, swallowing. I bring food near my painted mouth. Bits disappear. Cup gets emptier. I... feel better.

    "How can I have an Uncle? Are you my mother's brother?"

    He pushes his hood back, a little. Shows his red-skinned face, two sets of closed eyes, on his forehead, neatly filed-off horns.

    "No. I'm from your father's side."

    He sighs.

    "I'm... the touchy, feely, part. The bits of the power of Azar, his father, that he's not comfortable with. Cast out, given my own body. To walk-around in. To... heal. He wont, can't, harm me. I'm part of him. But, long as I don't speak, act, against him, I wander the lands, freely."

    "I must ask... how was I injured? Did... my father do it?"

    "No. There's no mark of his power on you. Or, power of any but yours. Twas as if you... drained yourself, near death. Doing... some great work of magic? I don't know."

    He shakes his head.

    I... Remember.

    Frantic ritual. Fighting to hold on to my spirit. Resist it being ripped from my body. The magic, the power draining from me. Into the ceremony. My, last, final, attempt. A summoning.

    Drawing on every ounce of my strength, magical, spiritual. A ritual to summon....

    My Apprentice.

    ---

    < Previous
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020 at 8:03 AM
    Lord Greyscale and Martin Rudat like this.
  19. Extras: Hiatus - Author Note 4 for 'Raven's Replacement'
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Hiatus - Author Note 4 for 'Raven's Replacement'

    I'm declaring a 'Hiatus'. Not something I wanted to do, but the last couple of weeks have been... unpleasant. I've had no Episode Buffer since the start of this month, September 2020, so, write one episode a day, often immediately before it's posted.

    I'm two weeks behind with the per-episode Character Sheet updates. They drive the logic of some episodes, check things are going OK, give me episode ideas. I've done no Omake except for the 'Doll Raven' ones for... three weeks? Don't know. And, messed-up sleep is impacting the rest of my life.

    So. Hiatus. Need to build my Episode Buffer to at least three episodes, before I start posting, again, Write at least one episode or Omake which isn't 'Raven's Replacement', or a 'Doll Raven' Omake. I'm hoping that means next episode will be posted Monday 21st September 2020.

    This story is important to me. Helped kick-start my creative energies, survive the Covids. Makes me happier. But, I can't let it wreck the rest of my life. So, sorry, need this hiatus. And, during it, I'll try avoid falling under a bus. :)
     
    Lord Greyscale likes this.
  20. Threadmarks: Ravens Lunacy - Episode 31
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Raven's Replacement, Episode 31

    "Holiday. With colourful people. Now"

    Raven seems very firm.

    "What are you waiting for?"

    ---

    Raven's room.

    Attempting to read her entire library. Never-ending task. Keeps adding more books. But, my reading speed's increasing.

    Raven looks... haggard.

    Drained. About to collapse. I... use my Third Eye on her.

    Defences look pretty solid, far better than last time. They're good enough to hide her chi from me, which is new. Certainly can't see her magic, or spirit. As usual, tech-sight sees nothing.

    Door opens.

    Raven walks-in, carrying puppy.

    Ah.

    ---

    Tired Raven looks at me.

    "You're not My Apprentice. And you're not her... replacement."

    Looks at other Raven.

    "You're not Neo Raven."

    Looks around the room.

    "This isn't my room."

    Turns back to me.

    "Who are you? Where am I?"

    ---

    I'm making tea.

    Raven is looking at Raven. Both are sitting-down. Looked like was really needed. Raven's looking back. As is puppy. I'm pretty sure that's my Raven, and Cosmo. They... feel right.

    So, who is Tired Raven?

    Tea is made, four cups placed-out. Which... seems to puzzle visiting Raven. Three cups are poured. Tea is sipped.

    "I... think you're Raven. Your defences are so good I can't tell. Did you escape from your father? We still hadn't managed to locate you."

    She frowns, looks between us. Then, looks around the room. Then, more widely, as if looking through the walls.

    "You've got a few books, I think, that I never obtained. And, there's novel defences on this Tower. Clever design, looks like a three-fold ritual. One of the participants looks like me, one... Sugoi, I... don't recognise the third."

    She pauses, sips.

    "I'm guessing this is a different time-line to mine, though quite similar. But, I followed the link back that my Apprentice has to me. You're not my Apprentice. Who are you?"

    I look at my Raven. I'll have to take the risk.

    "I'm guessing that you're the Raven who went off to deal with Trigon's empire, after banishing your Apprentice home destroyed him?"

    "Yes. I ask again. For the third and final time. Who Are You."

    Beginning to feel very dangerous...

    "I think... I'm your granddaughter."

    Her jaw drops.

    ---

    More tea is poured. We look at each other.

    "Could you... please expand on that?"

    "You sent... Sugoi, who considers herself your daughter, Home. But, in the moment before she arrived another Raven, in another Titan's time-line, summoned a potential apprentice."

    "That would be you?" She raises an eyebrow at my Raven.

    "Noooo... That would be my mother, Raven. Who's currently missing."

    She looks confused.

    "You... look remarkably like your mother."

    "One of them. Sugoi, here, is my other mother."

    Raven looks between the two of us. Shakes her head.

    "I'm going to regret asking this aren't I?" She addressed the air.

    "Simple explanation please?"

    "My mother, Raven, her spirit was stolen by Puppet King's doll. I'm her body, infused with Sugoi's spirit. That makes local Raven my body-mother, Sugoi my spirit-mother. Oh, and Cosmo got mixed-in along the way."

    She hefts the puppy.

    Who promptly wriggles out of her hands, tumbles to the floor, morphs to a maybe eight-year-old girl, dressed exactly as both Ravens. Though, her looks are a mixture of Raven's and mine.

    Oh, yes. Guess I should mention. She's wearing my Best Boots.

    Cosmo looks between the Ravens, dodges her mother's attempt to grab her, runs to other Raven, wraps arms around her.

    "Great Grandma!"

    ---

    Raven looks down at the small girl.

    Tentatively pats her on her head. Looks over at the pair of us.

    "I'd... no idea my family was so extensive. You've... been busy."

    I blush.

    "Cosmo's our... spirit-child. Unexpected, but we love her very much."

    Her eyebrows raise.

    "You've been doing spirit magic?"

    "Mostly accidentally. I was summoned into Raven's just-emptied body. My, not-previously-used, empty body was in the summonee circle. All the Titans lacked spirits. Raven had... hurried her ritual. Just did my best to... fix things."

    "I... see. My apologies. I burst in here, demanded things of you. I'm guessing you're in the middle of a war with... local Trigon. I'm lucky you didn't attack me. My only excuse is that I'm at the limits of my... sanity. I really need that holiday. And, my Apprentice promised to take it with me."

    I look at my Raven. My daughter. At Cosmo, my daughter and granddaughter.

    Magic, it can really mess-up your family tree.

    "I'll cheerfully fulfil that promise, that my mother, your Apprentice, made. Assuming Raven has no objections?"

    She shakes her head.

    I think for a few moments.

    "Would you object to Raven's Apprentice joining us? And her... adopted daughter?"

    "Someone else's your Apprentice? Not Sugoi? And she has a daughter?"

    "Yes, she's 'Shepherd', her daughter's 'Fang'."

    Raven looks back to me. Raises one eyebrow.

    "It's going to be an interesting holiday."

    It was.

    ---

    AN: Story's On Hiatus, 23:00 UCT Sunday 13th Sep 2020 to 23:00 UCT Sunday 20th Sep 2020.

    AN: Hope you don't mind another trip to the world of the colourful people? :)

    AN: Originally the above was just the first half of an episode. But, I thought it worked best on its own.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020 at 1:11 AM
  21. Extras: Hiatus End - Author Note 5 for 'Raven's Replacement'
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2019
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    2,192
    Hiatus End - Author Note 5 for 'Raven's Replacement'

    The hiatus, declared a week ago, has ended. Thought you might like to know. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020 at 1:53 AM
Loading...