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

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

  1. Threadmarks: Just Kidding! - Episode 39
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Feb 15, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Raven's Replacement, Episode 39

    I was right. Oracle warning. Tomorrow Woman needs us.

    Got it wrong, though.

    I'd predicted a Pure attack. Robin doing something stupid. Alien invasion. All three.

    Still, would've been nice to be disappointed...


    I'd hoped to find time for a ritual.

    We've got enough extra people, now, we're going to need to share Tower rooms, at least short-term. Unless Raven, Nurf, me, all pull some trick like sleeping in our personal dimension, Workshop or the med-lab. Shepherd's in what was Terra's room, in my previous time-line, Doctor Blue got the last spare room, who knows where Roshi sleeps?

    Yes, got to corner Roshi. Ask him about that. He's one of the team, really should have a Tower room.

    Thought we might do a 'Gay Deceiver'/Oz trick, like in Heinlein's 'Number of the Beast'. Except, instead of adding girl and boy bathrooms, to a 'flying car', we add extra suites. Probably dangerous-rituals room work, needing all three of us.


    Not really something you could do 'outside' time. Unless, of course, we could shift the entire Tower there.

    We're not ready to do that.



    'Zarry Zotter and the Philosopher's Stone'.

    Yes, I've read that classic of English Literature.

    I don't just read science fiction, you know.

    Well. All right.

    I mostly read science fiction. 'Harry Potter' stories, slight shortage of robots, after all.

    Please don't accuse me of racism!

    Nurf's read it too.

    During our 'Ship Year'. Quite liked it. Said she thought Sirus was 'really sexy'. Maybe we could go grab him when he goes through the 'Veil of Death'?

    We'd talked that through. Decided best not to risk upsetting the Lady with the Ankh. Zatanna's situation is making me think again...

    Another minor issue...

    Before Raven's Apprenticeship, I'd only read first three books. Finding the fourth book in Foyles, on my book-raid to other-worldly London, bit of a surprise.

    Published, just, after I'd left my Home world. Year 2000. Finding the fifth book, published 2003? That's asking for trouble!

    All right! I'll admit it! It's my favourite fantasy fiction book. Series. Whatever.

    Might've imagined myself as Hermione. I'm sure she'll marry Harry, mix science with magic, reform the Wizarding World. Yes, I know, that'd break the logic of the series.

    Hmm. Maybe I should write a fanfic?

    Guess I'm mixed-up in a few too many relationships, these days, to marry 'Zarry'... Also, Zatanna. I've still, possibly futile, hopes of living in a world not infested by supers...

    'Zander Zotter and the Renegade Robot'?

    Oh dear. I'm blushing.

    Main point.

    Do I tell Zatanna what her newly-adopted son's 'real' name, likely is? Tell he he's really...

    Harry Potter.


    "Here Flashy, Flashy, Flashy!"

    No. I'm not saying that.

    Hanging over the city. In accelerated time. About a million-to-one.

    Should means Pure's mind-numb wont affect us. Or, if it does, not for very long. And, very few people but The Flash should be able to spot us.

    Raven and me, we're around a dimensional 'corner'. Further out-of-sight, to non-dimension walkers, but OK for us.

    Just as I did, in my previous time-line, Shepherd is floating, cross-legged, apparently meditating. Cowl-up.

    Bait for The Flash.


    Kid Flash arrived.

    Let's see how this goes!


    "Excuse me, miss? What are you doing in the Speed Force?"

    "I'm meditating, waiting for the Flash. You're not him."

    He a bit taken-aback.

    "Are you a new speedster? I thought I was the only speedster who hung around the Teen Titans."

    "Been a speedster a long time, recent arrival in this world. Yes, I'm in the Teen Titans. I'm Shepherd, Raven's Apprentice."

    She looks at him.

    "You're Kid Flash. I've met a few different ones, over the years, in different worlds. I won't give any secret identities, but first Kid Flash was nephew of the second Flash, and they both got their powers in a lightning plus chemical lab accident. Second Kid Flash's from the Future, third one's grandson of the first one, and he's... Afro-American."

    Looks more closely.

    "You've not got the eye-lenses, Your costume torso and boots are yellow not orange, you're not Afro-American. But, you can reach this speed rather than being limited to only a bit over the speed of sound. I'm guessing you're the first Kid Flash, and either you've always been this fast, or you got your speed problem fixed. Maybe at the cost of health issues?"

    "You... know a lot about me."

    "I've travelled a lot. Would you mind if my teachers join us? They're just around that corner."

    She points. He shakes his head, blinks, hard.

    "Sure. Why not? Please don't do that with your arm, again. It really hurts me eyes."

    We join them.


    "Are we secure here?"

    Raven nods, gestures, the lack of sound around us doesn't change, but the night-time city, below, is more blurred.

    "I'm Sugoi, this is Raven. My personal name's 'Geo'. I'm guessing you're Wally, Flash's nephew."


    "Like Shepherd, I'm from another world. In that world I'm a member of the Teen Titans. We all knew each other's personal names. Even Robin's. Garfield, Beast Boy, says that in some worlds Kid Flash is a member, a founder, of the Titans, in some he isn't. I'm guessing in this world you aren't?"


    "Also, I read a lot. Are you a Titan?"


    Shakes his head, again.

    "This's a lot bigger than I thought, isn't it? Flash sent me because I've met the Titans, before, and no adults are supposed to mess with them. For... magic reasons, I don't understand."

    Raven and I look at each other.

    "We think that's fixed. Raven has an Apprentice, Shepherd, here. Zatanna, when she visited, said that fixed things. But, the Titans are still... in big trouble. With Raven's father."

    "Right. I tried to get into the Tower, but I bounced. So I scouted around the city. Then, I felt the Speed Force, up here, came to look,"

    Peers at Raven and me.

    "How are you in the Speed Force? Raven isn't a speedster, and you don't feel like one."

    "Raven's using magic. I'm using psychic powers. We don't think... the Speed Force is just for speedsters. It's part of a larger, dimensional, thing, and speedsters, the Atom, those who walk between dimensions, they're all using different parts of the same thing. The math is... tricky."

    "Wow! I guess that explains Jonny Quick's trick. I'd... like to know more about that, some time."

    "Sure. Drop-by, later. Best to walk-up to the Tower, not super-speed, ring the doorbell. That way Raven's wards wont bite you."

    He looks at Raven.

    "I'll... do that."

    "I'm guessing The Flash sent you for some particular reason?"

    "Right. Sorry. I'm used to having plenty of time to think things through. You've... rather thrown me. I'm to lead you to Hall of Justice, on the other side of the country, using my ability to grant speed to others."

    Raven speaks, for the first time.

    "While that sounds interesting, and is something I'd like to experience, how about you walk there, along the dimensional paths, with the three of us? We believe you'll find it... educational."

    He looks between us, still running on air, as he has all along. Shepherd still floating, cross-legged. Raven and I, standing on air, no visible means of support.



    AN: The Number of the Beast, very late Heinlein novel, where he manages to upset many of his fans and critics. Of course, 1980, science fiction was 'just that stuff read by geeks and nerds'... Though, 'Star Wars' in 1977 had started to change that...

    AN: Gay Deceiver; sometimes the disambiguation pages on Wikipedia are quite instructive...

    AN: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone; respect the Rowling. Single-handedly got British kids reading books again, after the UK had become 'post-literate', or so it's claimed. Even if you don't believe that, an amazing bit of 'mythological engineering' (creating a mythology), and brilliant for a first-published book.

    AN: Veil of Death; try and not trip...

    AN: Fanfic, did you know it'd been around since the 1960s? Apparently we should blame 'Star Trek'...

    AN: Jonny Quick; hopefully not too obscure for you! :)
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2020
    Lord Greyscale and Martin Rudat like this.
  2. Extras: Delayed Omake - Author Note 7 for 'Raven's Replacement'
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Feb 15, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Delayed Omake - Author Note 7 for 'Raven's Replacement'

    Author Omake 7, which was delayed, has now been posted. Thought you might like to know. :)
  3. Threadmarks: Family Reunion? - Episode 40
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Feb 15, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Raven's Replacement, Episode 40

    Walking On The Moon. With Kid Flash. Not what I expected to be doing.

    He's wearing one of my environment shields, a radio headset.

    Shepherd, who's been joined by Fang, is off having fun, somewhere. Last I saw of them was Fang making immense, highly-undignified, leaps, with the odd mid-vacuum manoeuvre. I wonder how many lambs have gambolled on the Moon?

    Why are we here? Shouldn't we be hurrying, along the dimensions paths, to the Hall of Justice, Metropolis?

    Well. Someone declared we were coming here. Gave the rest of us no choice. Who was that, seeing as it certainly wasn't Shepherd, or me?



    We're starting in the 'Speed Force'. As far as Kid Flash's concerned.

    For the other three of us? It's more the 'temporal two-step', we learned from Raven. Though, not the same Raven.

    To be fair, though, Shepherd got here, above Jump City, using her speedster powers. Her copy of The Flash, to be exact, that she obtained when Amazo Girl. We've proved to her, to our and her satisfaction, dimension-walking includes the Speed Force, as a small part of it.

    Of course, this means we could do similar tricks to The Atom, and that Raven's father's giant-size trick is also within our grasp. But, those experiments are for another time. Yes, Time Travel, so far, we've avoided the 'back in time' side. Consequences are... potentially devastating.

    Raven looked at Kid Flash, really hard. He squirmed.

    "Shepherd? You know his powers. I'm guessing he hasn't got anything that protects him from unbreathable air? From vacuum? Can't fly in vacuum?"

    Shepherd does the hand-rocking-from-side-to-side gesture.

    "Some of his powers surprise me, but he must have some sort of life-support interface, or he'd not be able to breathe while travelling quickly. I don't think it protects him from poisonous air, though. He relies on being able to hold his breath while ducking in-and-out of clouds of poison gas. Vacuum, that really messes him up."

    Kid Flash, he's doing the open-and-close-mouth bit, without any sound coming out. Guess he's not used to people dissecting his powers, in front of him.

    "So? Environment shield? Radio collar? Flight?"

    Shepherd looks thoughtful.

    "Yes on the first two. He'd have to learn how to use any flight device. Best if one of us just carries him."

    Kid Flash is looking between the two of them, rather confused. Suspect he's used to being able to out-think, or at least think faster, than anyone in the room.

    "Sugoi? Equip him."

    I do.


    Raven's taken us on a route I'm unfamiliar with. Figured it out, after a while.

    Yes, it's a friendly path, not a 'hellride', but we still go through sticky areas, where environment shields and flight are very useful. Between us, we carry Kid Flash, as required.

    Raven avoids most dimension walkers, though, we see a few. No demons.

    Kid Flash's a dedicated tourist. Head moving to see everything. We watch him try and use super-speed, once or twice, but he's problems, a low success-rate.

    "Don't worry, with a bit of practice you'll be able to speed as easily as usual!"

    A kind Shepherd comment.

    Our destination, Mountains of the Moon, Africa. As opposed to my Lunar route, via the Moon Watching site, Japan. Raven remarks this's the 'magical path', as the mountains are legendary, not completely in the normal world.

    "Why're we on the Moon? I thought this was a quick route to Metropolis?"

    Raven looks at him. He visibly braces himself.

    "I've had a bad day. A bad evening. Unlike some people..."

    I smile, sheepishly.

    "I did not get several holidays, or breaks doing other work."

    She sighs, deeply.

    "I am tired. I am annoyed. If I go to Metropolis in this state, the Justice League will likely end-up as sheep. No offence, Fang?"

    "Fang? Why does a little lamb get to be called 'Fang'?"

    She shows him the teeth. No, they couldn't possibly fit in her mouth. He gulps.

    "If you've finished? I'm going to meditate. Here. On the Moon. Regain my centre. Balance my power. When I am ready, we will go to Metropolis. Do not worry, no time is passing, relative to there."

    She looks firmly at him.

    "Go, play, bounce around. Take pictures. Sugoi will give you a camera. And, a sample box, if you want to take moon-rock, back with you, sealed in a vacuum. I'll call you when I'm ready."


    We enjoy ourselves.


    Tomorrow Woman's unconscious. Not at risk of dying. Just 'resting', thanks to Martian Manhunter.

    Apparently she'd overheard, possibly using her psionic powers, other members, quietly, discussing her problem. Tried to fix it, herself. Martian Manhunter stopped her before detonation. Apparently, it was a near thing.

    Raven and I look her over, explaining things, quietly, to Shepherd. Removing the EMP bomb looks... tricky. It's thoroughly booby-trapped. We start brainstorming approaches.

    Then, there's a cough, from near-floor level.

    "I couldn't see what problem was. I went to micro-time, went to where the bomb was, wrapped it in zero-time, brought it out. Where do you want it?"

    Fang is speaking clearly, ignoring the elaborate bomb-shaped mirror, that's twice her size, held in her mouth.

    Shepherd opens her mouth, holds up her crook, apparently thinks better, closes mouth, looks to Raven.

    Raven does a complicated gesture, says something which hurts my ears, and from the look of it, the others, including Martian Manhunter.

    Bomb is gone.

    Steps up, puts her hand on Tomorrow Woman, staggers, face goes pale. Then, colour slowly returns.

    "Didn't consider injury removing the bomb might cause, did you, Fang? That parts of her body might be deliberately dependent on it?"

    A small black lamb is blushing. But, just stares at us.

    "I'll let Shepherd discuss that with you, later. For now, I think it best we let Tomorrow Woman rest, sleep, recover naturally. Then, we'll check her, very carefully, with her permission, of course, see if she includes any other nasty surprises."


    In front of the Justice League. Flash seems to be Chair. They look... pleased.

    Except Batman, who's frowning.

    Martian Manhunter, who's expressionless.

    "Thanks for your help. Though..."

    Flash nods to Martian Manhunter.

    "We understand your lamb removed the bomb."

    "Yes. We'll be discussing that with her. Later."

    Raven is stoic.

    "We wish to make you associate-members of the Justice League. Is that acceptable?"


    Shepherd leaps in the air, punching-up with the hand not carrying her crook.


    Looks embarrassed.

    "Sorry. It's just... that's something very valuable to me. Thank you."

    Does a shallow bow, wipes a tear from one eye.

    Raven, carefully, pats her on the back. Fang rubs against her leg.

    "I understand, My Apprentice. Congratulations."

    League members are looking at each other, somewhat confused.

    Batman looks at Martian Manhunter. Who nods. Batman isn't frowning, quite so much.

    "Excuse me?"

    Tentative Shepherd.

    "If I'm an associate member, that means I'm part of the League?"


    Flash, and several others, like Wonder Woman, are watching Shepherd closely.

    "That means we are all one flock. Thank you. When do we go face those responsible for this... mess?"

    "Why not now?"

    We do.


    Belle Reeve prison. The authorities must be mad. Prof. Morrow and Prof. Ivo, in the same cell.

    Two men in a meeting room. Chained-up. Chained to chairs. Bolted to the floor. They know, we know, this is pointless.

    Ivo is raving.

    "Fools! This is all part of my brilliant plan! Now you are all here, I will be free!"

    Morrow shakes his head.

    "Like this. All the time. 'Amazo will come soon!' 'Amazo will rescue me!' 'Amazo is unstoppable, unlike your puny creations.' He Never Shuts Up!"

    Drops face into (chained) hands. Obviously not happy.

    "Excuse me? Why are the two of them kept in one cell?"

    The prison deputy-governor answers me.

    "Policy. Saves resources."

    Various members of the League are shaking their heads. Batman appears to be waiting for something.

    Amazo smashes through the wall.

    "Now! I will be free!"

    People ignore Ivo.

    "Amazo? You have the powers of all the Justice League?"

    Amazo looks at Shepherd. Fang is red-eyed, bearing her teeth at him.


    "I'm Shepherd. I'm in the Justice League. Does that mean you have my powers?"


    Amazo... looks confused. Sways. Falls flat on his face.

    Shepherd looks satisfied.

    Fang nudges him with her head. He doesn't stir.

    "How? How? He was invincible!"

    Ivo continues to be ignored.

    Shepherd walks up, inserts her hand into Amazo, looks thoughtful, feels around.

    "Ah. Older model. I can deal with this."

    Pulls-out something complicated-looking, which hurts the eyes to look at.

    "His main dimensional interface. Without this he can't access any of his copied powers, and can't copy any new ones."

    Ivo is suffering from dropped-jaw.

    Shepherd looks at him.

    "The problem with your designs is that they are... inflexible. You are scared of them, so you put in too many 'protections' to stop them turning on you. Strangely enough, that makes them turn on you."

    She turns, looks at Morrow.

    "You will be put in a separate cell. Out of hearing-range of Ivo."

    She tosses the thing that it hurts to look at, up-and-down, in her hand. Looks at the deputy-governor.

    He nods, urgently.

    "Yes! Yes! Policy will be changed."

    Batman nods to her.

    We go.


    AN: You know the drill, Walking On The Moon, by The Police, and the video. Watch the drummer, he's obviously the pilot. :) What was that? You thought (or, maybe hoped) I'd be bored with this, by now? :)

    AN: Vacuum, you get a lot of this, for free, along with Lunar gravity, on the Moon...

    AN: Mountains of the Moon, in Africa, a bit legendary...

    AN: Hellride; stealing from the greats, in this case 'The Courts of Chaos' by Zelazny.

    AN: Prof. Morrow, Prof. Ivo, only slightly mad scientists...

    AN: You might wonder why Shepherd/Amazo Girl/Mary doesn't say more to her 'grandfather'? She's read the Evil Overlord List, you see. :) Why does Amazo fall over? Can you say 'feedback'? :)

    AN: That's the end of the first Shepherd arc. There'll be more about her, of course.
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  4. Extras: Raven's Replacement, Author Omake 8
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Feb 15, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Raven's Replacement, Author Omake 8

    < 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 40, 'Family Reunion?'.


    My private room. Carver, Slippy, me. I've remembered. Carver and I didn't build it.

    It... existed, 'in potentia', because, it's tied to my spirit. Not my body. Was likely damaged when my spirit was damaged. We just... made it real again.

    It's... a pity...

    Didn't think to keep a copy of my Library, here. All my books. I wanted to... celebrate their uniqueness, having acquired them, as actual, physical, objects. Copying them, by magic, would've cheapened them.

    A conceit. Wont make that mistake, again.

    Slippy's, a red-haired boy, who grins a lot. Made of flesh-and-blood. Looks about eight-years-old. Dressed in well-cured skins.

    Carver's still made of wood, but flexible, sensitive, living, wood. I'd offered her a fleshy body, but she feels wood is more 'her'.

    I'm Raven, flesh-and-blood, no wooden princess, cowled. As is Carver.

    We've Work to do.


    This is the biggest, most dangerous, ritual we've done. Slippy's a critical part of this. He's no skill with magic, but is excellent at following instruction, and's deep wells of power we can draw-on.

    Initially, once we arrived, we'd permanently warded the place. Wards good enough to stop my father overlooking us. Without me noticing, anyway. Drained all our magical strength. And, no, as I feared might be the case, my father didn't attack, enraged at us hiding from his sight.

    We'd discussed things, carefully felt-out the limits of Slippy's power He's quite capable of taking the three of us, and the Titans, back to Jump City. Dancing around all my father's barriers. Laughing at his attempts to stop us.

    But. What would happen, then?

    My father had me, his Key, in his power, long enough to unlock the Door, all the barriers, tween him and Earth. He would likely follow, full-force. Earth would fall, become part of his empire. We would've lost.

    The prophecy?

    My Apprentice and I, together, can defeat him. Pull him down. How? I don't know, but I think, if we take a terrible risk, we could become a lot more ready to fight him.

    Also, I've become... attached to the people of Toyland.


    He was, in part, a gift from this World, in its fight against...



    First we go into each other's minds. Starting with mine, repair, strengthen, at the mid-level. Repeat for Carver, then, Slippy. Return to the physical. Thorough checks.

    All looks fine.


    Shape-shifting. We need to be able to confuse my father. At a really fundamental level. So, we must change our fundamental selves. I... shift into a man, a Native American, who's also a bird, called 'Raven'. Carver, a living tree, still female, though. Slippy, a red-haired girl; says it's 'easy'.

    The difficult part.

    Down, down, below the surface of Reality. Into Dream. Pay the toll, in stories, to the man with blue stars for eyes, who caries the bag of sand. Walk through Dream. To the Council of Tricksters. Petition them.

    A long wait, a few tests, we pass. They have no, and all, faces. We ask to grow, be granted access to larger selves.

    I'm to be Raven, Trickster. Carver, The Tree That Walks, she who shapes herself, a mobile child of Yggdrasil. Slippy, horse-child of Loki, though, this one's female.

    And we're... joining our spirits, so we'll be the 'Triple deity'. Daughter (Slippy), Mother (Carver) and Elder, as well as the Norns, the Fates, and many others.

    There's... terrible pain. I fight to recall, remember, every moment of this. I can feel that's terribly important.

    We wake.

    Back in the room. Looking the same, but we all 'know' each other, can feel where the other is. Carver's as deep wells of power as do I. We've all died, remade ourselves, restored ourselves to life. Are no longer fully mortal.

    Forever, joined.


    Carver could look my father in the eye, at his most terrible, not be harmed.

    We think...

    A good day's Work.


    AN: Great Work; generally alchemical, but can refer to other forms of magic. Transforms the mage as much as it 'makes' something physical.

    AN: 'Council of Tricksters'; as far as I know I just invented this, but I feel it fits-in with the DC Comics style of things.

    AN: Raven, Yggdrasil, Slippy. Triple deity.

    < Previous
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
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  5. Extras: Delays - Author Note 8 for 'Raven's Replacement'
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Feb 15, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Delays - Author Note 8 for 'Raven's Replacement'

    You probably noticed, episodes for last week were... delayed. As was the Omake, due to follow them. You know that alleged Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times"? That was last week, for me. But, now, three-days late, I've done last week

    Unfortunately, my episode buffer crashed-and-burned, last week. This means I'm three-days behind, this week. That means, Wednesday, Monday's episode isn't published. Obviously, I hope to catch-up. When will I? I don't know.

    So, delayed stuff is delayed. :)
  6. Extras: Retroactive Hiatus - Author Note 9 for 'Raven's Replacement'
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Feb 15, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Retroactive Hiatus - Author Note 9 for 'Raven's Replacement'

    I'm declaring a 'Retroactive Hiatus' for the week Mon 5th Oct - Fri 9th Oct.

    Delays have continued, and I currently have no episode buffer. The plan is to attempt to create an episode buffer over the weekend, and resume posting Mon 12th Oct.

    Your continued patience is appreciated!
  7. Threadmarks: Green Market - Episode 41
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Feb 15, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Raven's Replacement, Episode 41

    AN: This episode risks confusing you, unless you realise the previous 14 episodes were a flashback to earlier in the day. Episode 27, 'Hollow Consultant', was the last episode before the (long) flashback sequence started.


    Thinking back on the day we had, before meeting Animal Man... It was a 'Day from Hell'.

    Not that it was evil, but, in some senses, for me, anyway, it lasted for months. Though, the holiday was nice. And, we've a few new (Super) friends as a result. I... hope Robin hasn't done anything stupid.

    OK. I know he almost certainly has. Just hope the situation's recoverable.

    I'm guessing...

    Someone's trying to tell us something.

    Most likely candidate's the Man with The Book chained to him. We, Raven and I, possibly with Shepherd, will have to do a thorough review of what we've done and not done. It seems likely we've missing something important. But, that's for...



    "Give you good money, for the green monkey. Even buy that puppy. What say you, dearies?"

    Goblin Market. First port-of-call. Hope Animal Man knows what he's doing...

    We're in Faery, or Fairy, or some other similar name. My first visit, obviously not Raven's, or Animal Man's. Get some respect, the locals are... unsure of me. Heard one mumble, 'Dreams of iron'; a strange concept.

    Raven looks at goblin stall-holder with a... neutral expression. A small, round, woman, of late-middle years, green skin, short pointed ears, any hair hidden by scarf, many layers, of many-patterned, clothes. An air of... restrained menace.

    "You would buy Our puppy?"

    Frantic glances between us.

    "I thought she was the Iron Girl's?"

    That's enough.

    Release the bonds on some of my magic, look deeper into this... woman.

    "Iron Girl am I? Would you like me to Name you?"

    Grovelling ensues.

    We watch.

    Some of the other stall-holders shake their heads, or nod in a considering way.

    "Grumble didn't mean to upset the Great Ladies!"

    "You offered to trade with us. I accept that we will trade. Shall we retire to your tent?"

    She looks at Raven, hopefully.

    "Yes, Yes! Grumble will do that!"


    The tent is remarkably large within, though whe'd still to bow our heads on entry. Many strange things hang from hooks, are in baskets, some look to be still living.

    "Grumble. I am Raven. You know of my Father. This is our guide, I call him 'Animal Man'. This is my companion, Sugoi. I am not naming the monkey or the puppy. We thank you for your hospitality."

    "You want to buy something from Grumble?"

    "You've sold me books, before. This time we come in search of knowledge. I know you sell such."

    Cunning flits across green face.

    "Some knowledge is dangerous to share. Very... expensive."

    Her glance flits tween monkey, and Animal Man.

    "Yes, look more closely at the green monkey. We would know where such gain their power, what source they draw on."

    She walks-up, stares directly at our Beast Boy mommet. He stares back.

    "A strange one. Both mortal and not. Yes, young, still ignorant, but very powerful."

    Walks over to a travel-chest, not unlike some of Raven's. Opens. Rummages. Pulls-out an old, travel-stained, book.

    "No... No... Hmm. Must visit there again. No... I see your next stop. The Land of Birds."

    Turns. Looks between the three (or is it five?) of us.

    "I have dealt with you fair. Not bargained for my secrets. Gifted you. Will you gift me, in return?"

    "Of course. Though, that was not a gift, but your side of a trade. I give you, in return, this stone. When regarded, in the dark, from it will always shine the first star of evening, Mid-Summer."

    Grumble steps forward, takes the small stone. Cups hands around it. Blows... darkness? into her hands. Looks. Grins.

    "A fine... payment. I will gift you a warning, yes, a true gift. I ask nought, and will accept nought, in return. The Wolves are out. Hunting. The Huntsman is Cloaked. Some say they smell fear from him."

    Raven nods.

    "A generous gift. And, now, I, we, should leave."

    We do.


    We travel through mists. Along cliff-edges, with roiling mist below. Over invisible bridges, hung tween invisible pillars.


    It's weird.

    My mind trawls back. Things to be done. Forgetting Robin, there's Terra. Control Freak. Max, in Tokyo. 'Larry'. Many others. Pure, of course.

    Act of Faith: it's all do-able.

    More mist. We're walking on a firm surface, that we can't see, but it's pretty even. There's the sound of wind, or, maybe, deep, slow, breathing...

    Leaving the mist. Blue sky above. A desert scene, sand, warm air, and...

    A Sphinx.

    A mobile, living one. Big enough to swallow all of us, at once.



    Answer the riddle. Raven's good at this. Sphinx watches puppy, carefully.

    Rolling dunes turn to hills, then mountains. More mist, but this suits mountains. Slowly, distant sounds become clearer. Almost, crystallise.

    Calls, birds. All clearly separated, so all may be heard.

    I guess...

    Land of Birds?


    AN: Destiny; not someone you want to disagree with.

    AN: Goblin Market; probably a relative - note that a lot of different beings are called 'goblins'...

    AN: 'Land of Birds'? Doubt I just invented this. Not a 'Naruto' reference. Possibly slightly inspired by Greg Bear's 'The Infinity Concerto'? (BTW, strongly recommended.) Dunno.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
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  8. Threadmarks: Bird on the Head - Episode 42
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Feb 15, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Raven's Replacement, Episode 42

    "I am not a Norwegian Blue. Let's make that quite clear."

    Seeing as the parrot's a rather familiar shade of green, that's a entirely reasonable comment.

    "However, my name is 'Praline', which has caused a few... issues over the years."

    I can see that...

    "On the other hand, I can see the attraction of being a lumberjack..."


    It's one of those parrots.


    Land of Birds.

    None of us have been here before, so we're sort of feeling our way.

    I'd asked Animal Man how he was navigating. Thought for a few moments

    "I'm tempted to tell you it's 'instinct', but in truth I call on my bird aspect, internally, and that gives me a feel for direction."

    "I was a little surprised we didn't have to fly to get here."

    "Yeah. That throws a lot of people. You've got to realise birds are still animals, and animals need ground to live on. We could have got here a lot quicker if we flew, or were prepared to do some really nasty climbs, but walking here makes a sort of point with them. That we share their animal nature."

    "I... can see why that might be important."

    But, still, we got a parrot. In Beast Boy's colours. With his sense of humour.

    I'm choosing to believe that's a good sign...


    "Of course, you have to pass the test..."

    "Wasn't the Sphinx enough?"

    "You came that way?"

    He (yes, I'm guessing gender) looks us over, carefully. Eyes stop on Cosmo. Cosmo yawns, showing all her puppy teeth.

    "I can... understand that."


    "So, how can you claim to be connected with birds? I'll warn you now, keeping one, in a cage, as a pet. Probably not a good place to start."

    "My name is Raven."

    He looks at her.

    "So it is. Pass, friend."

    "I'm teaching a... friend how to get on better with her Owl spirit."


    How do I know he's smirking? Somehow it's just obvious.

    "'Friend'? Nudge..."

    "Complete that phrase and we'll be talking dusters."

    Stops. Looks at me more closely.

    "I see. One of those owls. Pass friend."

    Suddenly, without visibly changing, Animal Man is all the birds. Every Single One.

    There's silence, for a few moments, as we all, even the mommet, and Cosmo, Look at him.

    "OK. I know when I'm out of my depth. You're all Big Juju. What do you want?"

    The Hook.

    "Two things."


    No objections.

    "We've a friend called 'Robin', who needs help. And, we need to find the source of Beast Boy's power."


    On our way out of there. Pretty sure they want to get rid of us. The mommet turning into a precise copy of the parrot probably didn't help.

    We've got a tiny, robin, who's, I guess, about the size a robin normally is. He's riding on Animal Man's head, next to the mommet. A few muttered comments and the three of them seem to have come to an agreement.

    Yes. On our way.

    The next stop.

    The Land of Machines.


    Animal Man can't help. Raven's reluctant. My job.

    After all, I'm a robot.

    Was. Still am. Part of the time.

    Industrial landscape. Bend it, so it's a healthy one, with consideration for Life.

    No, isn't perfect. Nothing is. But, Life and Machine, working together, to find Balance.

    Turn aside from the obvious approach, to The Factory. Walk through City, strangely deserted.

    Reach deeper into myself, call on my roots.

    Made to work with humans, help bend the machines to fit human needs, help the humans understand, work with, the machines.

    I approached Life from the side of Machine.

    We all start to see movement, out of the corner of our eyes.

    At least, I guess that. Based on how heads suddenly move.

    Nothing direct. Just hints. Some on the ground, even among the bushes, trees, that green City. Some in the air.

    I swear one of the traffic lights winked at me...

    We're there. I think. Sort of a combined university-hospital.

    A place of learning and healing.


    For a moment the name 'Trurl' comes forward in my mind, then fades almost as quickly. I really need to research that... I think... it's connected with various things I can't quite remember...

    The Hall of Mechanism.


    AN: Norwegian Blue; best not to mix up your parrots.

    AN: Trurl; no one smart messes with him.

    AN: See! Marvel (or DC) at my restraint! No parrot puns! :)

    With free Lumberjacks!


    Probably not drunk...
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
  9. Threadmarks: Naked Machinery - Episode 43
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Feb 15, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Raven's Replacement, Episode 43

    "Strip." "How much?" "Everything."

    You know, sometimes I just think the universe wants me naked.,,,

    But, it wont win.

    Because, I'll be nude, instead.

    "The collar. On the puppy. The... clothes. On the monkey. Too."

    My, they are thorough, aren't they?

    "My name is 'Mac'. Short for 'Machine'. You are Geo. Raven. Buddy. Cosmo. Trix."


    "Why not? Let's go. With that."

    This is a very strange machine...


    I'm nude, Raven is nude, Buddy's...

    Not sure. Think he's managing 'nude', rather than 'naked'.

    Cosmo's turned-out not to be wearing a collar, instead a smug expression.

    Our... No. 'Tricks'. Tricks turns-out to be nude, when we checked.

    We're not even allowed footwear.

    "The floors are warmed. Free of things. Likely to damage your feet", was the, rather smug, comment, when I asked.

    The machine's... no clear shape.

    Every time you look there's a different machine. Once it (he?), was even a small burning fire, a 'fire bow' beside.

    Back of the university-hospital. A smoothed, possibly warmed, area.


    Junk-yard. Many dead, discarded, machines.


    The Machine.


    Static-shaped. Apparently male, given the general build. Not... 'anatomically correct'.

    Looks at us with interest.


    We need to start? Glance at the others. I'm elected.




    "My personal name is 'Geo'. Your... left little-finger seemed to know all our personal names, so I needn't introduce the others. May I know who I'm addressing?"

    The Machine thinks for a few moments.

    "Not a terrible start. But, you asked 'Who' I am, not what I'd like to be called. Still, you gave your personal name. Let's go for 'Trurl'."

    "The god Trurl? Lord of All Machines? The Great Constructor? He Who is both Horse and Rider?"

    Tilts his head, made of formerly-junked machines, to one side.

    "Yes, but. That last one... Ah. OK. I recognise it. That's from a long way off. You've really travelled, haven't you?"

    "If I hadn't been there I doubt I'd be the person I am today."

    He nods, neck being a rather interesting recycled ball-joint.

    "True of all of us, I think."

    "Why can't I recall you properly? I'm supposed to have a perfect memory."

    "Yes, but those aren't strictly your memories, they're the ones grafted on to you so you fitted the world you visited. Some worlds do that. Without asking your permission. Which, I think, is a little rude."

    "That would make sense. My father has a perfect memory, and he told me he'd consciously worked hard, all night, to recall as much of his local self's skills, as he could. Arguably, that made him the man he is today."

    "We are our experiences."

    "If it's not a rude question, is there a reason you present yourself as male?"

    He shrugs. Walks over. Picks out pieces of junk. Adds them. Becomes generously female.

    "Luke, I Am Your Mother!"

    "OK. Point made. Azar, my father's ex-wife, is my mother. And, I've come to realise, in a rather spiritual way. Without her suggestions, her inspiration, I wouldn't exist."


    She gestures. The added bits return to their piles. She is now He.

    "Did you have to use a toaster for one breast? I really liked that toaster, growing up!"

    He shrugs.

    "He was one of the ideas that made you who you are. Your mother is inspiration, ideas. It seemed appropriate."

    "Should we do some sort of social thing? Sit down? Eat? Drink?"

    "Good! You figured that out. Maybe there's a chance for you, after all!"

    We social.


    "I'm supposed to ask you the right questions?"

    We're sitting, on surprisingly comfortable, bits of no-longer-junk machines. We're sipping human drinks, nibbling human cookies/biscuits, our host is sipping what looks like machine-oil.

    "Correct. Nice meta-question."

    "Thanks. So, what have we done wrong, so far?"

    Because you can always guarantee that you've done something wrong, no matter how near-perfect things've been.

    "Hmm. I'll choose to answer that from what I believe is your perspective. You are on a quest to rebuild Beast Boy, after your first attempt failed. Mainly due to lack of the right parts. Everything you do on your quest affects how Beast Boy will be in future. Does that make sense?"


    I look at the others. Raven and... Buddy are looking worried.

    "You didn't negotiate your previous two encounters. You brute-forced them. Used a power-play. At least there was no direct violence. True, you've no 'formal' shamanic training, but the three of you should know better. Is that how you want Beast Boy to act, in future?"


    Three of us are shaking our heads. Cosmo's looking thoughtful. Tricks has grabbed a needle, is holding it aloft.

    "I Have The Power!"

    No. Just no. I think... I'm beginning to see what's going on. It's... worrying.

    "So, you're me? Next, Land of Cats? Then... Land of Animals?"

    "Excellent! You can learn. Correct on the first two. Last one depends on actions in the next one."

    "You're... about the nature of Machine, aren't you?"

    He looks... surprised.

    I take a deep breath. Prepare to work harder than I've ever before, in my recalled life.

    "Machine... is using mind to shape the material of the world, into something separate to you. In stripping we removed all our machines, our 'cyborg enhancements', tools we carry to manage the world."

    He nods, makes a 'continue' gesture.

    "I'm... the first 'natural' machine, in my world of origin, that's a... person. An AI that gets to make her own choices. That has a natural mind, as well as a spirit, which is something of all things."

    He's grinning. Widely.

    It's quite unsettling.

    "At base level... AIs and homo sap, we're both info-morphs, beings of information. Go deep enough, and everything is information. We're both bits of the universe that know we exist, can act on that knowledge..."

    "STOP! You're not ready for the next bit! Any further and you'll likely destroy yourself!"

    I... Stop. Sway.

    Fall over.

    Goes black.


    "Does she always overdo it?" "Yes, it's one of her bad habits." "Well, she needs to learn better!"

    Buddy, Raven, ending up with Trurl. Presumably discussing my, hopefully now-ended, unconscious state.

    "What hit me?"

    "You did."

    Thank you, Tricks.

    "Seemed best to let you sleep that off."

    A comment from the party healer.

    Open my eyes.

    On my back. Dressed again in my clothes. Others in theirs. A comfortable, but firm, bed.

    No, the others are standing around me, looking down. Not on the bed. With me.

    Cosmo's in (dressed) dark-haired girl-form. Looks worried. Reaches out. Grabs my hand.

    "Please don't do that again, Mummy! Mommy said you'd be alright, though."

    "I think you stopped in time. Likely no long-term damage."

    Rumbling of trash compactors, heavy machinery. Concealed concern.

    "What gifts might we reasonably accept from you?"

    "Good! You are able to learn!"

    Look at him.

    Same size, but a lot more effort's been put into appearance. Still obviously machinery, metal, but... more... elegant, better selected parts, not just anything that'd work.

    "Hold back on the deductions, the revelations, at least for a bit?"

    He nods.

    "At least until after you leave this place. It's too... close to you."

    "Right. You've already given me the gift of Insight, for which I thank you. Please tell me, more clearly, what was the third gift from the previous two places."

    "Cunning. I like that! Magic, the Market, you bought manipulation. Bird, you were gifted humour. So, tell me. What are your second and third gifts from here?"

    "The second gift is Self-Knowledge. Which's use of intelligence, and's different to the wisdom of Insight. The third we'll only learn after leaving this place."

    "Correct! Please, give my best to Cyborg. The path he treads is a difficult one. And now, I think you've kept some cats waiting, for far too long. And, you know how cats are about waiting..."

    I rise.

    Seem functional.

    We go.


    AN: Why nude isn't naked.

    AN: Green monkey, I wonder why this might be relevant? :)

    AN: Fire drill; a pretty basic machine...

    AN: Trurl; finny how this name keeps appearing...

    AN: The Brave Little Toaster; recommended!
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020 at 12:34 PM
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  10. Extras: Difficult Episode - Author Note 10 for 'Raven's Replacement'
    Ace Dreamer

    Ace Dreamer Questioning The Nature of our Realities

    Feb 15, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Difficult Episode - Author Note 10 for 'Raven's Replacement'

    Episode 43, 'Naked Machinery', is the most difficult one I've done, so far, Took me at least a week to get it straight in my head, so I could type it in. Why? Unsure, but it's about a major change to Geo, in how she sees the world. Tricky to get right.

    The most difficult thing, as always, is what bits to leave out...

    So, yet again, apologies for delays.