June 4th, 2005
(Opening shot: the machine room Slade set on fire during his face-off with the Titans in "Birthmark." As his implacable form rises at the far end, Raven races up a flight of stairs toward the camera, just before the giant pistons lining the walls start to collapse.)
Slade: It has begun.
Robin: (from o.c.) Freeze!
(The image jumps a bit and goes still as the camera pulls back. What we have just seen is a video clip playing on the window/screen in the operations center of Titans Tower. It is nighttime, and the lights are low here. Shots from other angles fill the rest of the panes; Robin stands before the display, studying it intently.)
(The click of a remote is heard; cut to a head-on shot of him and Beast Boy, who is sprawled wearily on the couch with the remote in his hand. Pictures of Slade and the glowing S-mark on his forehead, also Trigon's brand-lie on the coffee table.)
Beast Boy: Dude, we've been looking at this thing all day. I'm telling you, there's nothing else there.
Robin: There has to be. Play it again.
Beast Boy: (groaning) "Slade Kicks Butt," take three hundred and four. (Click; Cyborg comes in.)
Robin: Cyborg. Anything? (Close-up of him.)
Cyborg: (picking up one picture) I cross-matched that symbol with every database on the planet.
Robin: (from o.c.) And?
Cyborg: Nothing. (Pull back to frame both.) Whatever it is, it's not from Earth.
Robin: New powers? Cryptic threats? Targeting Raven? (approaches the screen) Slade's playing a whole new game now.
(The frozen image of the covered face flickers a bit as he eyes it up and down. Zoom in on the forehead, putting him out of view.)
Robin: (from o.c.) And this symbol is the key. We will find out what it means.
(Dissolve to a close-up of it, chiseled into a patch of rock, and pull back to show this area as a wide, jagged island in a lake of lava. Raven steps up to a ridge on the far shore; in close-up, she is just as pensive and worried as when she had her apocalyptic vision four episodes ago. Behind her, the sky has gone blood-red and Jump City stands in ruins as Slade made it appear. The sound of his voice snaps her out of the reverie.)
Slade: (jumps into view among buildings) Tick-tock, Raven. Time is running out.
Raven: I'm not afraid of you! (He materializes behind her.)
Slade: Silly girl. (moving closer) I'm not the one to be afraid of.
(He continues his advance, forcing her to back up, and the camera shifts to show them on the roof of another smashed structure.)
Slade: You know that.
(Lightning whites out the view; when it clears, she is alone atop the wreckage. Her respite lasts only the fraction of a second before huge fireballs start to rain down from the sky and a terrible, booming, familiar voice speaks up.)
Voice of Trigon: What you have concealed, you shall become!
(Two of the missiles curve in and collide at her position, throwing flames in all directions. Through the inferno, a hemispherical black shield emerges, she has used her powers just in time, and she takes it down as the fire swirls around her.)
Raven: It's a lie! I won't let this happen. I'll find a way. (Slade walks through the fire.)
Slade: Your optimism is really adorable, but you're forgetting one thing, Raven.
(A lick of flame wipes him off the screen and leaves her staring at the ravaged shore and the remains of Titans Tower.)
Voice of Slade: This is what you were born to do.
(Another lick; now the scenery pans across the other Titans, frozen in stone and dragged down by the ghouls in her previous vision.)
Voice of Slade: You were sent here to destroy the Earth.
(Another lick: she finds herself looking across the lava-filled bay at more devastation. From here, cut to a close-up of her. On the next line, the ground goes black and violet waves radiate out from her feet and mirror her image.)
Voice of Trigon: Your destiny will be fulfilled. (His four eyes open on the ground.) The portal must be opened!
(Lightning strikes, fading out to show a close-up of the troubled Titan. She gasps sharply as the camera pulls back to show her floating just above the floor in her room amid stacks of books. Superimposed on her forehead gem is Slade's/Trigon's mark. The past forty-five seconds have been part of a vision achieved during meditation, and from her expression, she would rather have been subjected to every unfriendly spell she knows. She struggles to catch her breath for several more seconds before the view fades to black.)
(Opening shot: the exterior of the Tower, seen from above roof level. Zoom in slowly and dissolve to Raven's room, near the door; pan to her on the next line, open books floating around her in a circle.)
Raven: It's my destiny. There has to be a way to change it. I know there is! (flips pages with her powers) I just need a little help finding it.
(A hand gesture shifts all the books to bring another one in front; more pages turn, stopping on a large illustration of that jagged S. She gasps and the camera zooms in on the page, putting her out of view.)
Raven: (from o.c.) No. (Pull back; she grabs the book and the others hit the floor.) This has to be wrong.
(She closes the volume and clutches it to her chest. Knocking is heard from the direction of the door; cut to it.)
Robin: (from outside, through door) Uh...any luck finding the symbol? (She pushes the book under her bed with her powers.)
Raven: No. It's not in any of my books.
(She puts her hood up, hiding the glow on her forehead, just before he opens the door partway to look in.)
Robin: Are you okay, Raven? (She moves toward him.) You look a little...well...paler. (Cut to his side.)
Raven: It's nothing. I just haven't been able to meditate lately. (Cut to him; she continues o.c.) That's all. (Zoom in slowly.)
Robin: Look. I know Slade scared you, but we'll find out why he was after you. (Back to Raven.)
Raven: Slade doesn't concern me.
(The alarm and red flashers choose this particular moment to go off.)
Starfire: (over the intercom) Friends! Come quickly!
(Robin is off and running, but his genuinely worried teammate stands in the doorway as the camera zooms in slightly. Finally, she opens the door the rest of the way and moves down the hall, letting it close behind her. Dissolve to the kitchen, where Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Starfire have gathered at the counter around a large copy of Trigon's mark; the other two join them very shortly. The alarm has stopped.)
Starfire: Cyborg was correct. This symbol is not of the Earth. (Pan across the others; she continues o.c.) And what I have discovered is most disturbing.
(Raven's eyes pop slightly out of fear that her secret has been found out, then shift back to Starfire, who extends a pointer rod. On the next line, tilt down slightly to put the drawing in view; she indicates a spot in the upper left.)
Starfire: Please, give your attention to this quadrant.
(Beast Boy leans in for a closer look. Back to the young lecturer; pull back as the scenery behind her dissolves to an alien landscape under a green twilight sky. One axe-wielding fighter stands ready for battle, while a second rides a huge, rhinoceros-like beast.)
Starfire: In the folklore of the Zargac nomads... (The kitchen again; overhead view.) ...markings such as these were used as a prelude to the Goulding.
(On the second half of this line, everything but the symbol fades to black and the camera pulls back to show it on the back wall of a cavern. Robed Zargac figures hold torches aloft on either side of a flight of steps leading to an altar; behind this sits a very broad one with no robe. Back to the kitchen after the line is finished.)
Beast Boy: Actually...
Starfire: A savage ritual that requires all Zargac warriors to consume vast quantities of bortha worms and...
(During this line, as the green Titan is heard and seen waving to get her attention, the camera cuts back and forth between her and the cavern. A large bucket of the aforementioned worms, green, bulbous, writhing, is set before the Zargac at the altar. The final shot in the sequence is a close-up of the drawing; Beast Boy reaches over, peels up the spot she pointed out, and holds it up in full view.)
Beast Boy: It's tofu calzone. (Robin's eyes pop.) My bad.
(He tosses it over his shoulder, where it is intercepted by Silkie's very neat midair chomp.)
Starfire: (deflated) Oh...never mind.
(Alarm and flashers. Tilt up from the Titans to the window/screen, which shows a map of one part of Jump City; Slade's insignia is displayed next to a glowing spot. Cut to a close-up of the stylized S, then to Robin.)
(Cut to a view of the night sky, the camera angled up between two rows of buildings. A few bits of newspaper blow past in a very forlorn manner before a huge belch of fire rips across the screen, setting off explosions in the upper stories. Tilt down to ground level; more flames roar up from the pavement, and here comes Slade through it all, having had a new bit of fun.)
Slade: I do love my job.
(He wreathes both hands in fire, but before he can do his torch impression again, a sonic cannon blast tears the air and extinguishes him.)
Robin: (from o.c.) Vandalism? (Cut to the Titans, just down the way; Slade's arm is in view.) I'd say you hit an all-new low, Slade.
Slade: (from o.c.) The Teen Titans. Nice of you to drop by, (Back to him.) but as you can see, I'm right in the middle of something. I'll deal with you in a few minutes.
Robin: No. (All warm up; Beast Boy becomes a grizzly bear.) We'll deal with you now.
(Close-up of Slade; pull back.)
Slade: You can't always have what you want, Robin.
(Re-igniting his fists, he bangs them together to open a burning fissure in the pavement that sends all five Titans diving for cover. When they regroup, Beast Boy has become a crane.)
Robin: Titans! Split up and take him down!
(They move in again; now Slade leaps from one building to another and does a little high-energy renovation as he goes. Cyborg is brought up short by a red-hot stone column crashing down in his path.)
Cyborg: Doesn't Slade know this whole block is already slated for demolition? (Beast Boy lands on a ledge and resumes human form.)
Beast Boy: Since when did Slade need an excuse to wreck stuff?
(He becomes a cheetah and is off as fast as his legs will carry him. The armored pyromaniac, meanwhile, has perched on a rooftop and taken to shooting jets of fire from his hands. After a couple of shots, he dives toward ground level, only to be kicked aside by the swinging Robin after touching down. A stack of oil drums and a wall stop Slade's momentum, whereupon the Boy Wonder leaps in for another go.)
Robin: Why did you come back? (Close-up of Slade; he continues o.c.) Where did you get these powers?
Slade: (points at own forehead) You want to know about this, don't you? (crosses to Robin; his footprints flare up) How many sleepless nights have you had, trying to uncover its secret? Well, let me put your mind at ease. It's called the Mark of Skath. And it's about to become very popular.
Robin: What are you planning?
Slade: I'm not planning anything. (draws the Mark in the air, within a fireball) I'm simply providing a valuable public service. (He gestures it upward.) Illumination.
(The ball is propelled forward and erupts into a blazing jet. Robin hurls himself away from its approach just in time to avoid instant barbecuing and finds himself looking up at that expressionless steel mask. Before Slade can finish the job, a starbolt rockets into view and plows him aside; without missing a beat, Starfire moves in with every juiced-up pitch she can think of. None of the shots hits Slade, who easily sidesteps them all and then leaps up past her to land on the boom of a construction crane parked nearby. It breaks under his weight as he bounds nimbly away, leaving a wrecking ball to swing up from the severed end and bash Starfire full in the face.)
(Slade is on the move along a rooftop ledge, but stops short when something green dives past him. After a moment of trying to balance on one foot, he gets himself under control and finds that Beast Boy has become a flying squirrel to harass him. The distraction lasts long enough for Cyborg to train his cannon on the spot from ground level.)
Cyborg: Fire in the hole!
(His shot blows out the patch of ledge under Slade's feet, dropping him to the concrete, but a savage flaming onslaught puts the big man suddenly on the defensive. When he looks up, he sees a shower of rubble thundering toward him from the building struck by Slade's blows. Fade to black as the slabs fill the screen, then snap to a long shot of the masked madman near the smoking impact site. As Slade sets off running, the rodent Beast Boy swoops down and disappears into the pile with a tiny puff of dust. It is followed by a much larger one and his re-emergence as a brontosaurus; the wreckage is flung everywhere by his sudden growth, and Cyborg sits up woozily on his back.)
Cyborg: (as Beast Boy roars) Yeah, you better run!
(Cut to a quick pan across the decrepit blocks and stop in front of a particular building, where Slade touches down from his quick escape. Steel-gloved fists blaze anew, but whatever he has in mind gets put on hold when Raven's "soul-self" materializes at the door and resolves back into her usual form.)
Raven: What do you want?
Slade: Only what any messenger wants, Raven. For their message to be heard. (She descends to the steps.) It's time your friends learned the truth. And if you don't tell them, I will.
Raven: Leave them out of this.
Slade: I didn't bring them into this. You did, the day you came into their lives. Tick-tock, Raven. (backs up) Time is running out.
(He is swallowed up in a fiery tornado that erupts from the street; it slices toward Raven, who creates a shield to stop the flames but quickly takes it down again as a lost cause. The maelstrom dies down, leaving her staring in disbelief at a fault that has sealed itself almost perfectly. Cut to Robin, communicator in his hand amid the architectural inferno.)
Robin: Titans! (A beam collapses in front of him.) Do you read me? (Cyborg addresses his forearm comm.)
Cyborg: I read you, but I don't see you! (Starfire, in midair, has hers out.)
Starfire: I see you all, and something else.
(Cut to an overhead shot of the area and pull back slowly. Below her, broad swaths of fire trace out the Mark of Skath on a truly grand and terrible scale. Fade to black.)
(Opening shot: an overhead view of a single building standing at the center of an empty, burned-out crater hundreds of yards wide. Zoom in.)
Robin: (voice over) Everything in a three-block radius has been destroyed...
(Cut to the front door; this is a library, and the Titans stand at the front door. Beast Boy is back in human form.)
Robin: ...except this. Slade left it standing for a reason.
Cyborg: (checks his forearm panel) According to the city's master plan, this is the original town library. But it's been abandoned for decades.
Beast Boy: No wonder. This place is a dump.
(He kicks at a column, which promptly falls over, scaring a yell out of him and nearly putting him in traction. Tilt quickly up to the sign over the entrance; fresh cracks race up the facade, and most of the stonework crashes down just short of the Titans' location. Dust boils up and clears to show a close-up of the Mark, etched in red on a wall.)
Robin: (from o.c.) The Mark of Skath.
(Pull back. Said wall, exposed by the big-time wipeout, now looms before the Titans above the library doors, and Raven's eyes bug out-the secret she came across in her books is now all the way out in the open.)
Robin: Slade told me the name. (He prepares to head in.)
Raven: (rattled) Wait! (Her perspective of the others.) We shouldn't go in. (Back to her.) It's probably a trap.
Robin: It's also our only lead. We'll just have to chance it.
(At a nod from him, Starfire hauls on the barred doors and manages to force them open. Cut to inside the library, at ceiling level near the domed skylight, and tilt down to floor level as the heroes move in with the help of Cyborg's shoulder flashlight. Bats flutter in the upper reaches of the long-disused facility.)
Beast Boy: Dudes, even without the creepy librarians, I'm not digging this place.
(During this line, cut to among the stacks; they advance into view among them. The walk brings them to a blank wall at the end of a passage.)
Robin: It's a dead end. (Cyborg puts his flash away.)
Raven: There's nothing here. Can we go now?
(Close-up of her. The hood of her cloak is up, but it does not block out enough light to keep the Mark from appearing, clear as day, right between her eyes. She looks worriedly up at it, it fades out, and the camera pans quickly to Beast Boy by the unlit wall of this dead end. As if on cue, shafts of white light pierce the gloom, forming a door on which the Mark begins to burn. The whole thing falls away, exposing a passage, and the green goofball jumps backward with a scared little yelp before all lean in closer.)
Beast Boy: Uh...I mean...cool! (Weak chuckle.) Secret passage! (to Cyborg) You go first.
(Out comes the flash to illuminate a flight of steps leading downward; he then breaks with precedent and does as the little guy says. Cut to a close-up of a sculpture that depicts a cloaked, hooded skeleton; the beam plays over it, and the camera pulls back to show it as one of several at the wall of a chamber. Here come the Titans, off the stairs and into this place. Close-up of Robin; pan to Starfire on the next line.)
Starfire: I did not realize your libraries housed such unpleasant sculptures. (The flash is put away.)
Cyborg: (checks his forearm panel) They don't. This part of the building is old. I mean, old old. (Overhead view of the boys.) Like before the city was built.
(Pan to Raven, bringing up the rear and just now reaching the bottom of the stairs. Again the Mark pops out on her forehead; this time, the response is a quick spreading of incandescent red runes on the chamber walls, similar to the ones that appeared on her body in "Birthmark." The others can only gape at the emergence, which culminates in the Mark writ large on the far wall facing them. Pair by pair, the empty eyes of the stone figures' skulls flare white and a spirit emerges from each.)
Spirits: The gem was born of evil's fire. The gem shall be his portal. He comes to claim.
(Close-up of Raven's feet; tilt up to her face as the marks appear all over her clothing and skin.)
Spirits: (from o.c.) He comes to sire (She gasps and covers herself; cut to the others.) The end of all things mortal.
(She wraps her cloak even tighter and hustles back up the stairs, stopping to rest only when the underground chamber is well out of sight. Cut to her feet and tilt up to her face; the cloak has fallen open to show those scarlet inscriptions again, and soon she is on the move, but now, Robin is coming up fast.)
(She stops short, staring up toward the library with sudden mute fear, and he closes the rest of the gap as the camera cuts to her foot level.)
Robin: Are you okay? (Tilt up; she turns to him.)
Raven: This place...it's...I shouldn't be here. It's all wrong.
Robin: What's going on, Raven? What aren't you telling me? (He advances slowly; she backs up.)
Raven: I can't explain. I just need to leave. (transforms to her human "soul self") I can't go back in there. (She disappears through the ceiling.)
(Cut to an image of the spirits, a hologram projected by Cyborg's forearm panel, and pull back as they repeat the previous chant and Starfire speaks. She is eyeing the playback worriedly. The runes on the walls have faded out.)
Starfire: It appears to be some kind of...prophecy.
Cyborg: Whatever it is, it doesn't sound good. (Pan to Beast Boy on the next line.)
Beast Boy: This is some serious evil, even for Slade.
Robin: (from o.c.) Not Slade. (descends the stairs) Whoever he's working for.
Robin: (crossing to them) "The gem shall be his portal." (crossing chamber to inspect Mark chiseled on wall) Skath is coming, and this gem is how he gets here. If we're going to stop him, we need to find it and destroy it.
(A sudden, savage kick reduces that particular stone slab to gravel, but Starfire pays it only a moment's notice before looking off elsewhere.)
Starfire: Robin, where is Raven?
Robin: She's not coming.
(He dashes into the total blackness of a passage exposed by his attack on the masonry. Dissolve to Raven's room, the books stacked all over the place as when this whole circus began. Candles light themselves as the door opens and she stands in the hall, surveying the area; the marks on her person have disappeared again. With the help of her powers, she retrieves the book she hid under her bed in Act One, then clears a wide section of the floor.)
Raven: You might be able to stop me from meditating...
(She raises one hand, causing two flasks filled with sand on a nearby bookshelf to pop their corks and float over to her. The contents pour out in a circle, putting her within.)
Raven: ...but you can't stop me from leaving!
(Candles arrange themselves around the ring and light up as she sits cross-legged. Cut to a close-up of the book in her lap; she places the fingertips of one hand on the cover, and the camera tilts up to her face with eyes closed.)
Raven: (chanting with building intensity) Azarath Metrion Zinthos...Carazon Rakashas Endere...Vaserix Endrien Azarath...Azarath, Azarath!
(During the second part of the incantation, flecks of bluish light begin to pop from the ring of sand and form into a cylindrical barrier that reaches all the way to the ceiling. On the third part, she floats clear of the floor and opens her eyes, which now glow brilliant white, and the camera tilts up to show a newly opened, swirling vortex in the tiles overhead. A few loose scraps of paper then fly past as Raven is pulled up into the portal, and with a blinding flash the sheet of light disintegrates into flickering shreds at floor and ceiling before the portal seals itself.)
(Another flash, and we are looking straight down into an immense circular shaft whose bottom disappears into the complete dark. The walls are lined with a spiral staircase, and a camera shift reveals the other four Titans at the top of it. This is the space Robin uncovered after smashing the carving of the Mark of Skath, and all peer cautiously over the landing's edge.)
Cyborg: So, how far down do you think it goes?
Beast Boy: Only one way to find out.
(He snorts in every last bit of air his lungs will hold and, as the other three recoil in pure disgust at they realize what he is about to do, hocks up a loogie and fires it straight down. The sound of the spit dissipates into the vast space and is met only his little sniffle and total silence: three pairs of ears straining to hear the splat, along with a little satellite dish extending from Cyborg's head. The expected sound does not come until a full seven seconds after Beast Boy let fly.)
Cyborg: (awed) That's far. (He puts the dish away.)
Robin: (heads for the stairs) Then we better get started. (Cut to the other three; Robin continues o.c.) I'm willing to bet that gem is down there. (The others start down.)
Cyborg: Yeah, but what else is down there with it?
(Dissolve to a flow of energy that streams down like a waterfall. After a second or two, Raven pulls into view, flying against its current; the camera is now within the passage she opened with her spell, and wearing the most single-mindedly determined expression she has ever sported up to this point. As she ascends, bat-like, screeching apparitions pass her going the other way; when she looks down after them, she finds that the lower end has gone bright red-orange. The spirits disappear into the lurid radiance, which begins to expand so fast that she has to put it in overdrive. The acceleration is barely enough to keep her ahead, though, and flames from the pit lick at her heels; finally she gasps in shock and is swallowed up in the inferno. Fade to black.)
(Fade in to the other Titans on their way down the winding staircase in the measureless underground shaft. A low, distant moaning, as of wind blowing somewhere farther down, brings them up short.)
Robin: Sounds like we've got company.
(As they strain to make out any details of what might be causing the disturbance, a tiny blue spot flares up in the gloom and begins to grow, rising rapidly toward them. Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Starfire cry out in fear, and all four set off again, only to stop with a round of surprised gasps as the specters that passed Raven start to emerge from the steps. They can now be seen in more detail: skeletal, beaked creatures, armed with fearsome bladed weapons, whose bat wings have had their webbing torn away.)
(The four heroes scatter as soon at those keen blades hiss toward them. Robin is first to mount a counterstrike, but his fist merely swishes through the ethereal body with no effect.)
Robin: I can't hit them!
(Another one thumps Cyborg, who nearly goes over the edge and finds himself looking at a horde of these ghastly things.)
Cyborg: But they can hit us!
(A diving tackle sends him into the wall; he opens fire with his cannon, Starfire matches his effort with starbolts, and Beast Boy becomes a kangaroo and kicks through an attacker. The momentum carries him into space, so he becomes a falcon and swoops back up, barely staying ahead of a ghost. Now all four have their hands full, Robin laying about with his fighting staff. He is forced to break off the fight when a knot of spirits begins to chase him up the stairs, but Cyborg sends a cannon shot down to disperse them. What happens next is a double blindside: Robin gets pinned to the wall by ghosts coming up over the edge, while others float up through the stone stairs and do their best to seize Cyborg's legs, forcing a terrified scream from him. The empty eye sockets now glow bright red. He yanks himself away and blasts away with a supremely frustrated roar, wiping out a broad section to cut off the way down.)
Beast Boy: Uh-oh.
Robin: Follow me!
(He makes tracks for the center of the shaft and hurls himself into empty air, whereupon gravity asserts itself forcefully and he is lost from sight. Beast Boy and Starfire trade a very puzzled look, "has this kid gone out of his gourd?", and follow his lead; the shape-shifter becomes a pterodactyl as he drops. The bionic Titan is left at the precipice, waving his arms angrily as the camera pulls back and down.)
Cyborg: Uh, maybe you didn't get the memo, Robin? You and me can't fly!
(The spirits certainly can, though, and several of them get in his face to reinforce the point. Within seconds, they have boxed him in both upstairs and down, so he takes a deep breath, holds his nose, and goes over the edge after the others. Four Titans hurtle into the abyss with a plethora of murderously angry souls hot on their heels and are buffeted this way and that by their close approach.)
(As Robin tumbles along, he catches sight of the Mark of Skath on a patch of wall and fires a grappling hook, scoring a hit and being yanked back up when the line snaps taut. Here comes Cyborg, with no such help readily available; Starfire gasps, steps on it, and catches him just short of a spectral brigade. The two Titans race back up the shaft. At the location of the Mark, Robin climbs onto the stairs while Beast Boy comes in for a landing and resumes human form. The Boy Wonder hauls on the line he came up on, tearing the Mark's stone free of the wall and exposing an opening beyond. Cut to its other side.)
Robin: Another passage! This way!
(He dives through, Beast Boy goes after him, and Starfire tosses Cyborg in before bringing up the rear, and, right on cue, here come all the ghosts. Now everyone is going flat out down this new passage, but Robin skids to a stop and hurls a disc toward the pursuers. The throw is so low that it scrapes along to the floor; it explodes with terrific force as soon as it stops, and he is off again. As the smoke and glare clear, cut to within yet another new doorway; he enters and the camera pulls back to show the other three Titans looking up in total shock.)
Beast Boy: Uh...which way is the gem?
(Cut to behind the group and pan slowly across this place. High arched ceilings mark the entrances to several unlit corridors, and a zoom in on the keystone of one of them shows the Mark carved into it.)
Robin: (points) Follow the Mark!
(They go in the indicated direction, as do the relentless apparitions; Robin, now in the rear, has to dodge one strike after another or parry with his staff. The other three rush ahead down a flight of stairs and stop at another multi-faceted fork in the road.)
Beast Boy: There's no Mark! (Robin tumbles down and kicks away an attacker.) What do we do?
Robin: Pick one!
(He is immediately waylaid anew as Beast Boy ponders the dilemma very hard. Close-up of the keystone in one arch, which has an eagle-head carving set in it. After each word of the next line except the first, cut to a similar feature on another arch: a distorted human face, a wolf, a dragon.)
Beast Boy: (from o.c.) Uh...eeny...meeny...miney...
(Back to him; he points at one of the corridors.)
Beast Boy: ...moe!
(He charges ahead as the spooks mount a fresh assault and the others retaliate. Cut to just outside the passage he chose; a tiny figure appears with something blue glowing behind it. A close-up reveals this to be Beast Boy, chased by a new detachment of souls and ready to wet his pants from sheer panic.)
Beast Boy: NOT MOE!! NOT MOE!!
(He dives back into the junction chamber, letting the spirits fly overhead, and straightens up as the others back up toward him. Cannon and starbolts "pulverize" one enemy after another, but Robin takes no part in the melee; instead he looks up at the dragon keystone.)
Robin: This way!
(All rush toward it, the four Titans making it in with almost no time to spare. Cut to just inside; the specters give chase, but a large stone slab slides down to cut them off and black out the screen.)
(Fade in to the interior of the tunnel Raven was flying in. The flaming energy has entirely enveloped her and continues to surge upward at an alarming rate, but her powers slice out through the surface as if it were an orange being sectioned. The whole thing finally disintegrates, leaving only the "soul-self" that resolves into her normal form, and she zooms on ahead to stop at the upper end of the tunnel. Here she finds herself facing a large circular pattern traced in pink light-arcs and triangles at the center, with runes inscribed around the perimeter. Inner and outer portions rotate slowly in opposite directions.)
(Raven backs up a bit as if working up a head of steam, then charges headlong toward this display. When she is nearly close enough to touch it, a flare of light brings her up short and she strains as if trying to push through a barrier. Close-up of her face, zooming in; the gem on her forehead glows bright red.)
Raven: Let me in!
(A huge flash fills the screen and clears to show Cyborg and Starfire at the door that slammed shut a moment ago. He has his flashlight trained on it, while she inspects the rock mass very closely for a second.)
Starfire: It appears we cannot get out. (He turns off the light.)
Cyborg: Yeah, but at least those things didn't follow us in.
Beast Boy: (from o.c.) Uh, guys?
(Pan a short distance to show him and Robin down the way a bit, at the mouth of a cavern. Close-up of the two boys.)
Beast Boy: You kinda need to see this.
(Pull back into the space; they are standing on a small ledge overlooking the area, and Cyborg joins them while Starfire floats out past the drop-off. The camera then cuts to behind them and pulls back to show exactly what stopped Beast Boy cold: a large stone pillar, topped by a hand with palm upward and fingers splayed, set in the center of a wide open chamber. A shaft of brilliant light shoots upward from the palm, and large arched structures are arranged around the walls.)
Cyborg: I'm getting a serious déjà vu vibe here.
Beast Boy: Not only that, but something about this place seems really familiar.
(They are referring to the literal head trip they took into Raven's mind during "Nevermore." Starfire moves closer to one of the wall structures; now it can be seen as a huge copy of the raised hood of Raven's cloak, with a faceless head set within.)
Starfire: Yes. It looks like...Raven.
(Palm level. She lowers Robin safely to the surface, while Beast Boy in pterodactyl form brings Cyborg in and them resumes human form.)
Robin: The gem!
(Close-up of the central area, pulling back. There is only an empty hole at the base of that pencil of light.)
Robin: (from o.c.) It's gone!
(On the next line, tilt up to the fingers of the massive hand. Everyone's favorite masked psychopath is standing casually atop one of the fingers.)
Slade: You must be disappointed.
Robin: Where's the gem?
Slade: Not here. (He jumps down to them.) But...much closer to you than you think.
Robin: Who is Skath? Tell me who you're working for!
Slade: Mmm...I'd love to introduce you, but unfortunately, you won't be around that long.
(He raises both hands to the foursome and gets them red-hot. The glow blazes up to white, wiping out the entire view, then subsides to show Raven huddled on an expanse of bare rock under a sunny, orange-tinted sky. She looks up after a moment, still half-stunned by the journey she has undertaken, and the camera cuts to a long shot of her position and pulls back slowly. It s a colossal floating monolith, the approximate size of a respectable asteroid, and a sprawling city dotted with many minaret-like structures covers nearly the entire upper surface. At the center of it, all is an imposing, broad-based tower.)
Raven: (from the surface) Azarath. (Close-up; she gets to her feet.) My last hope.
(She has arrived at the place she used to call home after crashing the intricately designed gate. Fade to black.)
(Opening shot: Slade, doing his human-flamethrower act in the subterranean chamber. As Starfire floats clear, the three boys dive over the edge of the huge hand sculpture and land on a small ledge farther down on its supporting pillar. The move gives them only an instant's respite, though; Slade throws himself down that way as well and lands a blow that sends Beast Boy and Cyborg screaming toward the floor. Robin ends up in a backward skid, Starfire pulls in next to him, and together they survey the dust clouds and rubble that marked the crash site. Through the haze, Cyborg emerges with one unconscious green buddy slung over his shoulder. Close-up; he smiles to himself, but a pan to his unoccupied shoulder shows Slade on his way over and wipes that grin off in a hurry.)
Slade: Now, Titans, you're just delaying the inevitable.
(With an easy swing of his arm, he tosses both brawlers aside like rag dolls; next, Robin jumps in for a little face time.)
Robin: We're not leaving without that gem!
Slade: You don't understand. You're not leaving at all.
(One fed-up Tamaranean launches herself at his neck, trying for a headlock, but settles for kicking him across the room with enough force to wipe out a decent bit of the stonework. A follow-up eye blast hits home on one of the faceless hooded statues, bringing the head down right on top of Slade, and the four Titans regroup briefly before she closes in to check her work. She looks here and there, then upward with a small gasp, and the camera follows her gaze to show that the seemingly invincible foe has climbed onto the fallen head for another round. A jet of fire from one armored hand drives her to the floor; as she drags herself up with a weary little groan, he jumps down and gets ready to sock her one in the back. Before he can make good, a cannon blast drops him where he stands. Cyborg throws a hard glare at Slade, who again comes up fresh as a daisy and closes in.)
(Both Titans stare in total disbelief for a moment, trying to figure out how on earth one person could survive this much punishment, and Cyborg unleashes a new salvo. Slade avoids every shot with a series of impossibly quick sidesteps, then immediately has to dodge Robin's punches. He ends this bit of the combat by grabbing the Boy Wonder's cape, slamming him into the fallen rock, and throwing him far across the chamber. Now a tremor shakes the floor; Slade looks off to one side, and the camera cuts to the source, Beast Boy, charging as a triceratops. One fireball after another breaks harmlessly against the tough green hide, but he slam of a fist against the floor throws up a fountain of flame that hurls the Titan off his feet. Finding himself squarely in Beast Boy's graceless flight path, Cyborg has just enough time for one gasp before the behemoth crashes down on him.)
(Slade moves toward the impact site, but a starbolt barrage makes him think better of it. The one Titan still on her feet lets him have both barrels; he merely stands his ground, catches one shot, and turns it into a fireball to fling right back at her. Its unearthly glare plays over her stunned, slack-jawed face before she is blasted into the wall and dumped flat. Now Robin struggles to lift his head and seize the birdarang that has fallen loose nearby, but Slade's boot slams down to crush the device.)
Slade: You know, I actually like working for someone else. It lets me be a little more hands-on.
(On the last word, he extends one palm toward Robin and warms it up, filling the screen with its red glare. From here, fade in to a long shot of Azarath, zooming in slowly, then dissolve to a slow pan across the intersection of two of its streets. Another such transition shows a different patch of road under an overhead walkway. Not a living person has been seen in either of these shots; finally Raven walks into view.)
Raven: (echoes) Hello?
(She makes her way along the thoroughfares, her steps ringing in the silence, and eyes her reflection in a red plate-glass window at ground level. Finally, she stops to think things over.)
Raven: Not like I expected a parade, but...
(A dove flies past just in front of her; letting the sentence drop, she sets off after it and quickens her pace. After a few turns through the deserted streets, she stops to see where it might be headed next. Cut to the base of a tower and tilt up to follow the dove toward its peak; emblazoned on the front is a huge gold bird with wings spread toward the sky. On a high balcony, the creature lights on the hand of a figure clad in a white cloak whose hood is up. A turn of the head reveals the melancholy face within; a woman's, with hair colored and styled like Raven's and a gem set in the same position on the forehead. This is Arella, her human mother.)
(Stroking the dove's feathers gently, Arella moves away without a word; Raven flies up toward the balcony. When the woman speaks, her tone of voice is a perfect match for her gloom-saturated countenance.)
Raven: Arella! (She gains the peak; Arella is about to go inside.) No, wait! I've come back. Mother, please help me.
Arella: You always had a home here, my child. (looks toward Raven) But help we could not give. (A flutter of doves.)
Raven: The prophecy...it's happening. (holds up her book) You have to tell me how to stop it.
Arella: Nothing could be done. The promise of your birth was absolute.
Raven: (angrily) I don't believe you. There has to be a way. (softer tone) I don't want to be this. I don't want to help him.
(She turns her face away and drops her eyes.)
Arella: You forever had the love of your people, Raven, even knowing what you would become, and what that would bring.
(By this time, the balcony is covered with doves.)
Arella: It was too late for Earth, just as it was too late for Azarath.
(The flock scatters as the view fades to white. Fade in to a scene of utter devastation, Azarath now lies in smoldering ruins under an awful crimson sky, just as Jump City appeared in Raven's earlier visions of the future. She stares in bug-eyed horror at the citywide catastrophe, unable to tell if this is real or another nightmare.)
Raven: (whispers) No.
(Slow pan across the debris; a stream of lava courses sluggishly down what used to be a street, and Trigon's rumbling laughter reverberates in the air. Cut to the base of the aviary tower and tilt up slowly along its height, or rather what is left of it. The upper half has been ripped away and the golden bird is now only a formless mass of slag. Above the remains of the structure, Trigon's four red eyes shine through the haze of smoke and ash.)
(Zoom in on these, then dissolve to an extreme close-up of Slade's face. Pull back to show that he has snared the other four Titans in burning tendrils that extend from his hand. Beast Boy is back in human form, and all strain against the bonds to no avail. Cut to Robin, who is lifted higher next to Starfire, then to Slade on the start of the next line.)
Slade: Struggling only makes it worse, and how I hate to see you suffer. This won't hurt a bit. (He warms up his other hand.)
Raven: (from o.c.) Wanna bet?!
(The armored walking Zippo lighter is hit broadside with a huge slab of stone under her control and sandwiched between it and the wall before he can blink. His prisoners, now free, start to come around from the pounding they have taken, and Robin looks off across the chamber. Cut to the base of the central pillar and tilt up to the hand. Raven stands in its shaft of light, having returned from her visit to Azarath, and a close-up reveals the inscriptions that have surfaced all over her body. Her face, with its burning white eyes, is twisted into a look of undiluted fury.)
(The rock slab she smashed into Slade stands quietly against the wall for a second, then glows brightly around the edges and explodes in a shower of fragments. Up he comes, still very much in one piece and ready to break a few other things if he can get his hands on them. As he steps toward the pillar, Raven descends to face him.)
Raven: (menacingly) I told you to leave them out of this!
Slade: How sweet. You've come back to save your friends. But you're only delaying their pain... (warms up both hands) ...and yours.
Raven: Well, what are you waiting for? (crossing to him) Aren't you going to attack? Reduce me to ashes? Or did your master forbid you from hurting me? (He recoils a bit at this.) Did he order you to keep his gem safe?
Cyborg: (to the others) So Raven has the gem?
Robin: (putting it together) No. (Back to her; he continues o.c.) Raven is the gem.
(He has just figured out what Slade told her in "Birthmark", that she will become involved in a chain of events intended to bring about the destruction of the world. The infernal errand boy cools down the fireballs he has been holding in check.)
Slade: (drops slowly out of sight) I'll be sure to give him your regards.
(A camera shift to floor level shows that he is sinking through it, with fire licking up around his form. After he has disappeared entirely, Raven speaks up.)
Raven: I'm not finished yet!
(Dropping to her knees, Raven thrusts one black hand through the stone; after a shoulder-wrenching effort, Raven gets to her feet and levitates Slade right back up into the chamber.)
Raven: This time, I have a message for you.
(Her eyes blaze and her powers extend themselves over every square inch of the steel-sheathed supervillain. A moment's pause is followed by a series of vicious heaves that sends him crashing into the ceiling, then the floor, then to the far wall in a shower of dust.)
Raven: (floats past the others, all dumbfounded) You tell him that he'll have to destroy me before I help him!
Slade: You can tell him yourself. (Close-up.) The hour is near.
(His eye widens as he notices a wide shadow falling over him; its source is a huge mass of stone that thunders down on him from the ceiling thanks to Raven. A few deft swings of her arms break him loose and bounce him all over the chamber like a pinball, after which she closes one Mark-emblazoned hand into a fist. This gesture brings up a few tons of fragments and crashes them together on Slade, who has been suspended in midair, and her "soul self" manifests itself right behind her. This makes his eye widen in pure surprise; with a primal yell, she sends the black bird figure straight at him and scores a direct hit. What comes next is an explosion that hides half the chamber in smoke clouds and leaves the other Titans struggling to hold their ground.)
(When the haze dissipates, Slade stands up from the huge crater blasted into the wall, showing his head to be twisted at an angle usually only seen in a corpse with a snapped neck. If anything, it is even more severe than the result of the beatdown Robin laid on him in "Birthmark," and it takes him perhaps a bit longer to put himself right. The crackling of vertebrae is heard just as clearly now as it was then; when he is back in order, Raven floats closer.)
Raven: I'm not afraid of you anymore!
Slade: You might not fear me, but look who's afraid of you.
(As she turns to look over her shoulder, he disappears into the smashed wall. Her eyes go wide with shock, and the camera cuts to the other four: their own eyes ready to pop from the sockets, making the point clear beyond any doubt. Long pause.)
Beast Boy: Raven?
(She has no immediate response and turns away from the group. Dissolve to the exterior of the Tower, then cut to the operations center and zoom in slowly. Raven sits huddled on the couch, Beast Boy alongside, and the other three are ranged in front and behind. Her marks have disappeared.)
Raven: The ancient order used the name "Skath" to protect the true identity of their master. We know him as Trigon.
(This is the first time to date that her father's name has been mentioned on camera. Cyborg recoils in shock upon hearing it.)
Cyborg: Are you serious? That's who we're up against? Oh, man!
Starfire: His cruelty is legendary, even on my world.
Beast Boy: So, what makes you go all glowy in the dark?
Raven: It's a warning. It means Trigon is coming, and the way he gets here is through me. I'm not just a person. I'm a portal.
Robin: (sitting next to her) But, Raven, why you?
Raven: Because...Trigon...is my father.
(Cut to Robin, Cyborg, and Starfire, whose eyes are now ready to jump loose and go into orbit at this bit of news, then back to Raven. Beast Boy is equally flabbergasted, he and Cyborg have just realized that they made his acquaintance in "Nevermore" without even knowing it.)
Raven: Bad things are going to happen soon. (crosses to the windows) Really bad things. And it's gonna be my fault. I thought I could handle this alone. I tried...but...I was wrong.
(Starfire's hand lands on one shoulder and turns her away from the glass.)
Starfire: For confiding in us, we are most humbled. (Robin and Cyborg join the pair.)
Cyborg: I only have one question. How do we stop him?
Raven: We don't. (Beast Boy approaches, smiling.)
Beast Boy: But that doesn't mean we still can't try.
(All five gaze out the window at the sun rising over Jump City Bay; daybreak has come. Cut to just outside the upper stories, pulling back to frame the blue sky, then fade to black.)
(On the next line, pan to bring a river of lava into view; flames at the far end of a truly immense underground cavern, and Slade kneels at one bank, facing the flow. Behind him is a monolith bearing Trigon's mark.)
Slade: The prophecy has been revealed. The portal has accepted her fate.
(Cut to just behind him; he looks up at Trigon's eyes, floating in the hideous glare of the flames.)
Voice of Trigon: You serve me well, Slade. Continue to please me, and I shall honor our deal. (Cut to Slade.) I shall return what you have lost.
Slade: (forehead Mark flaring) I am depending on it.
(Everything but that brand fades to black; it shines redly in the dark for a long moment before fading away as well.)