Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

Disclaimer: I do not own any DC characters or locations. All rights belong to DC Comics. I do, however, retain the rights to all characters and locations of my own creation, which include: Rebecca Chavez, Holly Sanders, Jeremiah Belmont, Michael Kubrick, Zaria (as well as her Celarian race), Shao Shen, Chief Gerald Palmer, Officer Stevens, Emilia Marconi, Francis Baldoni, Arnold Pavoni, as well as Silverstone City and all its interior locations of my own creation.

Rating: T+ (Maybe a few brief M moments, but that's about it)

Note: The seventh story arc sees Rose Wilson stepping out of her element, as she is thrust into a world of magic, myth, and the supernatural. After being bitten by the werewolf, Kubrick, lycanthropy is beginning to take hold of her, changing her body. Working with one of DC's biggest magic users, she must work to find a cure before her first full transformation, at which time she will be forced to live out the rest of her days as a werewolf herself, in constant danger of hurting those around her.

Side Note: So I've stopped doing chapter previews for the next chapter (except the last one), since there's no real point in doing that when I'm releasing multiple chapters at the same time. As always, I appreciate any and all comments and feedback, so if you read my fan-fic and you liked or, or even if you didn't like it, let me know! As for the next story arc, it's going to be a big one. Crossover big. That's right, I'll be writing out a big crossover event, involving a lot of big names from around the DC universe, not just Rose and her supporting cast. Should be quite a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it. Oh, and the last chapter in this arc is really, really long... almost the length of two chapters, actually. Couldn't find a way to break it down evenly enough to separate into two actual chapters, though, so it's just really long. You've been warned.

All Chapters: http://www.comicvine.com/forums/fan-fic/8/ravager4s-fan-fic-archives/660884/#1

Chapter #41

Int. Rose's Martial Arts Studio – Day

The building is mostly an empty shell right now. Rose only signed the lease on it a couple of weeks ago, and the process of cleaning it out and fixing it up has been a long one. By the time she's finished with it, though, it'll be her own martial arts studio, a place where she will teach others how to do what she does; well, not all aspects of what she does, just the fighting part. When trying to think of a new job to take on during the day, it only made sense to find something that she's good at. The martial arts, multiple styles of it, is probably the one thing she's best at. It's only been a part of her life since she was old enough to throw a punch, after all. Might as well get paid to teach it to others.

There is still quite a ways to go, though. Not only does she need to finish fixing up the building, but she also needs to start ordering equipment, setting up serious advertisements, organizing personal records, and a whole other manner of business aspects that she's still new at. Fortunately, she isn't in this alone. Becky has been incredibly supportive of this endeavor, even taking days off work to help with the building preparations. One of those days happens to be today, painting day. Both dressed in protective coveralls, the two women work ardently to apply the selected beige colored paint to the walls, using large, long rollers.

Rose: Thanks again for taking the day off to help.

Becky: Ah, not a problem. I'm burning through my sick days pretty quick, but it's worth it.

Rose: You'll still let me make it up to you, of course.

Becky: Won't hear any arguments from me.

Rose: I'm thinking dinner by candlelight, maybe a walk in the park, then back to my place for a little... after dinner entertainment?

Becky: Ha, aren't you the romantic one?

Rose grins a little, as she dips her roller back into the paint bin and starts spreading out another coat along the wall.

Rose: Only when I want to be.

Becky: Sounds lovely to me, but shouldn't you be making time to go out and beat up some crooks?

Rose: Hey, even superheroes deserve some time off. I think the city will survive without me for one night. Hasn't been a whole lot of activity lately, anyway. By the way, your sister can watch Holly tonight, right?

Becky: So long as you keep paying her, she'll watch Holly as many times as you need.

Rose: Good, then we're all set for tonight.

Becky: What's on the agenda for the rest of today, anyway?

Rose: Well, in a few hours I'll need to pick up Holly from school, then we're headed to the mall for a live demonstration.

Becky: A demonstration?

Rose: Yeah, just something I put together last week. Going to be showing off a few things, give people a taste of what they can learn from me. Just some advance publicity to get my name out there. By the time I open these doors, I want to have people already lining up.

Becky: And Holly's helping with this demonstration, is she?

Rose: Well, she is my only student so far, so it makes a lot of sense.

Folding her arms over her chest, Becky lifts an eyebrow.

Becky: And what about me, ah? You're teaching me, too.

Rose: True... but you're still a rookie. Holly's been learning from me for a year now.

Becky: Oh, a rookie, am I? Care to test that?

Dropping her paint roller, Becky raises her hands and takes a defensive stance, one that Rose had taught to her during the course of the past few weeks. For a moment, Rose just stares at her, studying the woman's posture.

Rose: Your back foot is way too far forward. Slide it back a bit.

Glancing down at her feet, Becky pushes her back foot farther behind her, then looks up again.

Becky: Okay, now let's go.

Rose: And your body is too open. Turn it more to the side.

Frowning, Becky turns her body more to the side.

Becky: That better?

Rose: A bit, but now your elbow is-

Becky: Oh come on!

Rose: Alright, alright, but you asked for it.

Without even giving Rose a chance to drop her paint roller, Becky lunges in with high kick. Though Becky's aim is fine and balance decent, Rose can see so many openings in the attack that she can't even decide which one to take advantage of. Bringing a hand up, she simply blocks the kick, then throws the leg to he side. Becky is forced off balance, catching herself after a brief stumble and then coming in with roundhouse elbow.

Stepping to the side, Rose catches Becky's arm, twists it around behind her, and forces it against her back. Letting out a small yelp, Becky stiffens up straighter, trying to escape from the hold. Unfortunately, she can't do anything to free her arm, as even the slightest movement causes the painful and uncomfortable hold to tighten.

Rose: So, what was that you were saying?

Becky: I can get out of this! Just... give me a second here.

Again, she attempts to spin and yank her arm away free. After failing multiple times, however, Rose decides to just end the futility. Sweeping her leg between Becky's, Rose knocks the woman face first to the floor. Becky lands on her stomach with a surprised groan, the air rushing from her lungs. Rose then mounts her from behind, sitting atop her and continuing to force her arm firmly against her backside.

Rose: I'm waiting for your miraculous comeback.

Uttering a frustrated breath, Becky pushes herself slightly upward with her free arm. She manages this for only a brief moment before collapsing back to the floor.

Becky: It's coming... just you wait...

Leaning forward a little more, Rose rests her chin against her free hand, now whistling quietly to herself. Becky continues to struggle, but to no avail. Eventually, she gives up entirely, letting out a long sigh.

Becky: Hijo de puta... fine, you win.

Releasing the hold, Rose lays herself down across Becky's backside now, pinning her to the floor.

Rose: Still got a lot to learn.

Becky: Yeah, yeah, I get it.

Rose: Come on, let's get back to work.

Before Rose can get up, however, Becky suddenly rolls over quickly. Rose is forced to roll in the same motion, ending up flat on her back, with Becky now poised over her, hands holding her wrists.

Rose: You realize I can think of at least twelve different ways to throw you off, knock you out, or otherwise incapacitate you from this position, right?

Becky: Probably.

Moving in closer, Becky brings their lips together for a deep kiss, one of passion and warmth that they hold for a long time. When Becky finally pulls back, she smirks knowingly.

Becky: But you won't.

Rose: And what makes you so sure?

Becky: Because, as much ass as you kick-

She's kissing along Rose's neck now.

Becky: -I'm still the lead in this relationship.

Exhaling a long breath, Rose reaches up her arms and wraps them gently around Becky's neck.

Rose: Mmm... so you are.

Int. Silverstone City Mall – Day

The live demonstration, which begins in roughly five minutes, ends up bringing in a fairly sizable crowd, some of whom saw the fliers and thought it would be interesting, and others still who are just curious about the stage set up just outside the food court. Dressed in a white gi, Rose stands off to the side doing a series of stretches to loosen up. Holly does the same nearby, also dressed the same. Though Rose will be the one doing a majority of the demonstration, Holly has her own small part to play. Aside from that, though, the only others involved are the few guys that Rose hired to hold boards and set up equipment; basically, the grunt workers.

Rose: Almost ready to go?

Holly looks up from the floor, as she's sitting down and stretching her legs out. She gives a couple nods, but also goes through several hand signs.

Holly: I think so... but I'm nervous.

Rose: Hey, relax, you'll do great. Just do what we practiced and they'll love you, promise.

People are suckers for talented kids, after all. Once they get a load of what Holly can do, they'll be lining up to register for her upcoming classes. At least, that's what she hopes.

Holly: Alright, I'll try to do good.

Rose: You'll do great.

Several minutes later, the announcer takes the stage and speaks into the microphone. He does a fine job of explaining what the demonstration is all about, what Rose is trying to accomplish through it, and giving out the general information for the future opening of her martial arts studio. By the time he's done speaking, the crowd looks genuinely captivated with anticipation. Time to give them what they want.

Announcer: And without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the owner herself, the lovely, the amazing, the powerful, Rose Wilson!

Okay, so maybe he didn't have to lay it on quite so thick. But he does his job. Taking in a deep breath, Rose walks out on stage and gives the crowd a wave, receiving a small applause in greeting. She begins the demonstration by going through various forms that she prepared. Sure, in a real fight, pre-planned forms are generally meaningless, but for a demonstration they sure do look good. Though starting off slow and basic, she soon mixes in a variety of quick and advanced moves, even showing off some impressive acrobatic techniques. Again, not the most practical moves to make in a fight, but it looks pretty. There's a time for teaching the proper way to fight, and a time for showing off. Right now, this is a time for showing off.

About twenty minutes into her forms, the crowd is really starting to get into it, clapping and whistling after each string of moves she makes. After finishing the last of her forms, she steps forward and takes a bow, allowing a few moments for everyone to get all the applauding out of their systems. Looking up, she spots Becky standing there in the front row and gives her a wink. Becky responds by briefly blowing a kiss back at her.

Next up is the board breaking demonstration, a lot of people's favorites for some reason. It really is a simple task, breaking a board, at least once you know what you're doing. Yet, it also looks cool and tends to impress those watching. The men she hired to hold the boards get into position. She had gone over this with them the day before, on how she wanted them to stand and where to move when they replaced the broken boards with new ones.

She doesn't just simply kick or chop these boards in half, though, no. She does it in style, unloading quickly, precisely, and gracefully on her targets. She flips herself around from board to board, each time leading with a new strike that breaks the plank in half. Within several minutes, she's broken two dozen boards in the most impressive fashion that she knows how, earning even more applause this time. Again, she walks up to he center of the stage and bows.

And then, it's Holly's turn. The announcer takes a moment to introduce her, calling her Rose's “only current student.” The crowd watches with intrigue, as the small, ten year old girl comes out on stage and bows to them, then begins going through her own forms. Though not nearly as stylish and advanced as Rose's performance, it's still an impressive sight for someone her age. Within moments, Holly has the entire crowd eating out of the palm of her hand. Once she finally finishes her demonstration, the crowd breaks out into cheers and applause. Holly is all smiles, bowing again and waving at everyone.

With the demonstration now coming to a close, the announcer returns to stage and brings the microphone up to his lips.

Announcer: Alright, ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for joining us today for this impressive live demonstration. Remember, Rose's Martial Arts Studio opens in exactly two weeks, so if you feel like learning a little something cool, be sure to sign up for classes in advance. More information is on the fliers being passed out to you now.

That's when a couple of snide, mocking voices call out over the the crowd. Two boys are standing off to the side, next to the stage, both dressed in black gis. One leans against the railing casually, while the other, the one voicing his opinion the loudest, stands straight with his arms folded.

Boy: Come on! Don't fall for that crap, that was lame! Just a bunch of flashy moves!

Announcer: Uh... just ignore the peanut gallery, folks, no need to-

Before he finishes his sentence, Rose walks up to the man and puts a hand on his shoulder

Rose: Now hold on there, give me the microphone.

Announcer: Okay, if you say so. Here you go.

Taking the microphone from him, she takes a few steps forward and sits on the edge of the stage, looking over at the two boys.

Rose: So, I believe you were saying something?

Boy: Heck yeah I was. Just stating how completely bogus that performance was.

Rose: And what makes you say that? Really, I'm curious.

Boy: Trust me, I know theatrics when I see them. I've been doing this for years, and all I saw there was a bunch of showing off. People, you really want to learn some serious martial arts, come to the White Tiger Dojo, right across from the food court.

Glancing behind her, Rose notices said dojo. Huh, quite the oversight to have a martial arts demonstration right outside another martial arts school.

Rose: White Tiger Dojo, huh? Must be some pretty skilled students there, if you're boasting this much.

Boy: Of course there are. Like me, for example.

Rose: Hmm, I see. And what's your name?

Jimmy: Name's Jimmy.

Rose: So, Jimmy, you're saying that I'm all show, no substance, that it?

Jimmy: You heard me.

Rose: And you'd be able to beat me in a sparring match, right?

Jimmy: Of course I would, but I don't fight girls. It's not respectable.

Rose: Sounds more like you're scared to fight one, if you ask me.

A few laughs come from the surrounding crowd, causing Jimmy to scowl.

Jimmy: I'm not scared! I just don't hit girls, that's all.

Rose: Well, that's good news, then, because I'm not a girl. What you see here is all woman.

Jimmy: I'm still not fighting you.

Rose: Tell you what, Jimmy. You face me in a spar right here, right now, and if you beat me, I'll publicly endorse the White Tiger Dojo. And, to make it fair, I'll fight blindfolded, with one arm tied behind my back.

Jimmy: You're insane, how's that fair?

Rose: Because then you might be able to hit me.

More laughter from the crowd. Jimmy's scowl grows.

Jimmy: And if I refuse?

Rose: Then I get to tell people how Jimmy, the loudmouth from the White Tiger Dojo, was too afraid to man up to a challenge.

At this point, Jimmy has no choice but to accept, lest he be scrutinized or made fun of for the foreseeable future. After all, with as much as he's boasting, backing down from an open challenge would look really bad for him. So, he lets out a reluctant breath and then walks up on stage.

Jimmy: So how do you want to do this?

Rose: Pretty simple, first on on their back loses.

Jimmy: And I thought this was supposed to be a challenge... Alright, let's get this over with.

Rose: Hold on just a second there.

At her command, one of the workers she hired hurries over with a blindfold. She takes it from him, then quickly ties it around her face.

Jimmy: Wait, you were serious? Geez, you're insane, lady. I mean, you're already missing one eye, that's enough of a disadvantage.

Ignoring his comments, she then takes her right hand and tucks it behind her back, holding it there firmly in place.

Rose: We can start whenever you're ready, Jimmy.

Frowning, Jimmy just shakes his head, then takes a fighting stance and rushes her. After all, with her handicaps, it should be simple, right? As he tries to grab her, though, he quickly realizes he's in over his head. Rose pushes his arms to the side, spins around him, sweeps her leg around behind his feet and causes him to stumble. Before he can recover his balance, Rose follows through with a spinning roundhouse kick straight to his back, putting a little bit more force into it than she probably should have. Jimmy goes down in a heap instantly, just lying there for a moment and blinking in surprise.

Jimmy: Wha- what the... how the hell did you do that?

Lifting the blindfold off, Rose stands over him and folds her arms.

Rose: Years of practice. Don't suppose you have anymore smart ass comments you want to make, huh?

Jimmy: No...

Rose: That's what I thought.

Taking the microphone again, the announcer comes forward, glancing back at Jimmy for a moment before speaking to the crowd.

Announcer: And there you have it, let's give a big hand for Ms. Wilson.

More applause, more cheers. Rose gives them all a parting wave, then finally heads off the stage to regroup with Becky, who greets her with a quick kiss.

Becky: Pretty fancy moves up there.

Rose: Yeah, well not just me.

She puts a hand on Holly's shoulder, giving the girl a warm smile.

Rose: Holly did great, too.

Becky: Si, she really did. Grats, girl.

Holding up a hand, Becky and Holly high five each other.

Becky: Now then, I think it's time we-

She suddenly stops mid-sentence, however, her gaze falling on Rose's arm.

Becky: Rose, you're bleeding.

Rose: Huh?

Glancing down, Rose notices that, indeed, her arm is bleeding, a bright red spot beginning to soak through the sleeve of her gi.

Rose: What the hell?

Becky: Are you alright? Did you bang into something?

Rose: I... no, I don't think so. Doesn't even hurt. Hold on, let me go clean this up. Wait here with Holly?

Becky: Yeah, sure thing.

Leaving them, Rose heads over to the nearby women's restroom. Once inside, she stands in front of one of the sinks and lifts up her sleeve, staring at her arm. It's the same arm that Kubrick bit over three weeks ago, when he was in his werewolf form. The wound had never really fully healed, completely out of the norm for her. An injury like that should have fully repaired itself in no more than a few days. The deep, burning pain had gone away a long time ago, sure, but some of the bite marks had yet to close up. This is the first time that the wound decided to spontaneously bleed, however.

Swallowing a hard lump in her throat, she thinks back to what Dick told her, how bites are what spreads the lycanthropy virus, in most cases. She had never given it much thought, though, after it happened. After all, to think that she could be turning into a werewolf... it's a laughable thought.

Isn't it?

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Night

Rose and Becky lie in bed, both taking in deep breaths. Rose wipes sweat from her brow, then lets her arm fall back limply against the mattress. She's actually exhausted, which is saying something for someone with her levels of endurance. Closing her eye momentarily, she sucks in a large breath of air and holds it for a second, then lets it out in a sudden puff. Her entire body is coated with a thin sheen of perspiration, a plain indicator of just how much she had exerted herself. Becky, equally exhausted, holds one of her hands out and lets it come down to rest on Rose's thigh.

Becky: Dios mio... you were... really aggressive tonight. What on earth came over you?

Rose: I, uh... I'm not sure. It just happened.

Becky: Well whatever the reason... I like it.

Sitting up straight, Rose utters a small sigh and rubs her forehead again. Then, she starts to slide out of bed and walk across the room.

Rose: Be back in a sec, bathroom.

Closing the door behind her, Rose swallows and leans against the sink, staring at her naked reflection in the mirror. She suddenly realizes just how much of a mess she looks, face pale and eye bloodshot. For a moment, she's surprised that Becky hadn't noticed or said anything, but then remembers that the lights were pretty dim. Turning on the faucet, she cups her hands, filling them with water and then splashing her face. It does nothing to clear her head or get her body to calm down.

She's still breathing heavy, chest heaving and struggling to gain air. But it's not just the exhaustion after a rough night of sex. There's something else... she feels almost ill. A fit of coughing suddenly ravages her throat. She holds a hand over her mouth, hacking into her palm and expelling several misty droplets of scarlet. Blinking at her blood covered hand in shock, she slowly turns her gaze back to her reflection, only to emit a surprised gasp in response to what she sees. Her eye, it's a different color. Not blue now, but bright red instead. And the pupil is slitted, elongated down the entire length of the iris.

Pulling her gaze away hurriedly, she brings a hand up to her eye and rubs it furiously, as if trying to scrub the monstrous change away. When she blinks back at her reflection again, she utters a relieved breath; her eye is back to normal. Still, though, she shrinks backwards slightly and clenches her jaw, panicked thoughts running through her head.

What the hell is happening to me?

Chapter #42

Int. Abandoned House – Night

The place is filthy, most surfaces caked with thick layers of dust and dirt, while most of the windows are broken. The lights don't work, either, leaving the dim moonlight as the only source of illumination. Sitting in one of these old, dirt rooms, is a young girl named Jennifer, just turned sixteen three days ago. She isn't there by choice, of course. No, she was brought here, snatched up right off the streets by some lunatic in a white van. She had then been gagged, bound, and thrown in this house where no one could find her.

Taking in deep, shaky breaths, Jennifer swallows and looks frantically around the room, as though she'll suddenly find something that can help her. Of course, it won't do her any good. She's already been here for hours, unable to get up and flee, crying and emitting muffled screams from behind her gag. By this time, her eyes are so red and puffy that they itch something awful, but with her hands and feet tied together behind her back, she can't rub them.

The man who kidnapped her has been gone most of the day, off doing whatever the hell it is he does. He hasn't been back to feed her, let her go to the bathroom, or otherwise take care of her in any way. Then again, why would a scum sucking, kidnapping b**tard bother with that? He doesn't care about her, he only wants her for... whatever he wants her for. Ransom, maybe... or something more twisted and sick.

As if her situation couldn't get worse, she suddenly hears the front door opening, then footsteps coming down the hallway. A small, muffled shriek emerges from her throat, as she tries to crawl backwards, closer to the wall. The man who kidnapped her comes into view, entering through the doorway and staring down at her. He just sort of tilts his head to the side, a sickening grin curling across his face.

Kidnapper: Well, well, almost forgot about you.

Coming forward, he closes the door behind him and kneels in front of her. Jennifer closes her eyes and turns away, sobbing and trying to scream out for help. But no one is going to hear her quiet, gagged voice. No one is going to help her. The kidnapper reaches forward now, grabbing at her clothes. Jennifer goes into full on panic mode, thrashing and struggling to get away, but he isn't having any of that. Winding up his arm, he whacks her square across the face and then forces her against the floor.

Kidnapper: The more you struggle, the harder this is going to be. Just relax.

A maniac chortle emerges from his throat, as his grin widens and hands begin to pull at her clothes. Jennifer can't hear anything over her sobbing and heart beating. She wants to be anywhere else but here, just wants this to stop! Why is this happening to her?!

And then, a loud crash fills the room. A shadowed figure busts through one of the few unbroken windows of the building (though now it's quite broken), and rolls across the floor briefly before popping up with a high kick that catches the kidnapper across the jaw. With a pained grunt, the man tumbles backwards, dazed. He doesn't get a chance for respite, however, as the attacker is on him again, lifting him up and slamming him into the wall several times, then brutally beating him across the face, and finally finishing him off with a whirling kick to the side of the head, knocking him out cold.

Jennifer watches the whole thing with wide eyes, hiccuping every now and then; a side effect of her frantic sobbing. She swallows nervously, as the attacking figure, a woman from the looks of it, turns around and approaches her. When the woman removes her gag and begins to untie her, Jennifer just blinks in surprise, trying to calm her breaths.

Jennifer: Y-you're the Ravager. I-I've... I've seen you on the news. Read about you in the papers.

Ravager: Yeah, that's me.

Jennifer: The people at school, th-they say you're a bad person.

Ravager: Sounds like the people at your school don't know what they're talking about.

After freeing Jennifer's hands and feet completely from their bonds, Ravager reaches down and helps pull the girl up. For a moment, Jennifer just stands there, staring at the woman across from her.

Jennifer: Y-you saved me.

Ravager: That's kind of what I do around here, in spite of some popular theories. I help people.

Uttering an elated breath, Jennifer then suddenly comes forward and throws her arms around Ravager in a tight hug. Ravager stands there, releasing a low groan, and then finally raising her own arms up to return the hug, albeit somewhat limply.

Jennifer: Thank you! Just... thank you so much! Oh my god, my friends are never going to believe this!

Ravager: Yeah, right, well... come on, let's get you down to the police station. I think your parents are waiting for you there.

Int. Silverstone Central Police Station – Night

Police Chief Palmer opens the door to his office and lets out a small yawn, walking over to his desk. It's getting late, near eleven o'clock, the time he normally heads home. Not tonight, though, with the sudden commotion at the station. A young couple came in earlier, saying that their daughter hadn't made it home from school that day, and that she wasn't answering her phone. When she didn't arrive back home by dinner, the parents came to the police station to report her missing. Of course, they technically couldn't file a missing persons report until 24 hours after the believed disappearance, but they were quite adamant and refused to leave the station until the police started searching.

Palmer had assured them that they would do what they could, though he hadn't actually expected anything to turn up. Lo and behold, though, Jennifer, the missing girl, shows up at he station a half hour ago, safe and sound, if a little roughed up. Not only that, but the man who kidnapped her was waiting right on their doorstep, tied up and unconscious.

Chief Palmer: Now I can only imagine how that happened.

As expected, the figure hidden behind the door steps out into the open, arms crossed over her chest. With a small nudge of her foot, she kicks the door closed.

Ravager: The girl okay?

Chief Palmer: Sure, she's fine. Parents are taking her home soon as they finish filing charges against the kidnapper.

Ravager: Good.

Chief Palmer: So tell me, how did you find her? She'd only been missing maybe eight hours.

Ravager: This gear isn't just a fashion statement, Chief. Comes with a whole slew of nifty upgrades, like enhanced hearing. I heard her cries while on patrol and investigated. Got there just in time, too.

Chief Palmer: Upgrades, huh? That the reason for the new costume?

Ravager: One of the reasons.

No longer does Ravager dress in her previous costume, which had always pretty much been a rip off of her father's, of Deathstroke's. Sure, the costume served her well for years, but it had been time to move on from it, time to get away from her father's colors. So, she'd had Batman help her design something new, not only a different style but also more protective and durable. Now, her armored costume is a sleek design of blue and black, with some red, white, and grey trim (Like her New 52 outfit, here).

The headgear now consists more of a helmet than just a cloth mask, offering much more protection to her head. The faceplate is still divided into two halves, like her old mask, one side black and the other white, with an eye hole covered in a red lens. In the very back of the helmet is a small opening that allows her long white hair to flow out of, which she keeps tied back in a ponytail. She can now accomplish much more than just night vision with her new equipment, and she's been putting it to very good use these past few weeks.

Chief Palmer: Well, in any case, good work. I have to say, I had my doubts about you when we first made this little arrangement... but, admittedly, you've been a big help these past weeks.

Ravager: Like I told you, I'm just here to do some good, in the best way I know how.

Chief Palmer: So you did. I'm just glad you're on our side this time. One less thing we have to worry about, not chasing you all over the city anymore.

Ravager: Works out for the both of us, believe me.

Chief Palmer: Right, well, keep doing what you're doing.

Ravager: I intend to.

On that note, Ravager heads over to the window, opening it and hopping outside.

Chief Palmer: Going back out on your, uh, patrol?

Ravager: For now. If something major comes up, you know how to contact me.

Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Night

Making her way back up to the rooftops, Ravager heads back towards the alley where she left her new ride, an even more advanced cycle specially designed by Batman. She tries her best not to think about just how much she's indebted to him, what with him pretty much bankrolling her entire operation in Silverstone. He insists that she doesn't ever have to worry about paying him back, but still, it's a thought that constantly nags at her.

As she hops onto the seat of her new bike, a brief hiss of static comes in over her built in headset, the following voice echoing crisply and clearly in her ear.

Becky/Comm: Nice work on the kidnapping, girl.

Ravager: All in a night's work, you know that.

Becky/Comm: Of course, of course. How much longer you plan on staying out, anyway?

Ravager: Couple more hours, at least. Might call it an early night if it's quiet.

Becky/Comm: Just let me know when you're on your way, I'll start us up a bath.

Ravager: Will do. By the way, how's the new command center working out?

The 'command center' she's referring to is actually a new, heavily secure panic room type setup that Dick had built in her penthouse. Not only does it function as a nearly impenetrable safe area, should anything like Riggs breaking in happen again, but it's also equipped with computer equipment and other technology that would rival Oracle's station. Granted, Becky doesn't exactly know how to use most of the stuff yet, but she's learning.

Becky/Comm: Like a dream. This stuff is pretty sweet, I gotta say. Though, I do have quite a lot of instruction manuals to read up on for half this gear...

Ravager: All in good time. Holly in bed?

Becky/Comm: Si, tucked her in a couple hours ago.

Ravager: You know, with how much time you're spending over my place now, maybe you should consider moving in for good? I mean, hell, you already sleep there most of the time.

Becky/Comm: Well, can't say I haven't thought about it... and it would be pretty fun, ah? Tell you what, you find time to come help me move my stuff out of my apartment, and I'll be happy to move in.

Ravager: I'm sure we can work out a time to do that. In the meantime, keep your eyes and ears on those scanners, let me know if any alerts pop up.

Becky/Comm: Ha, way ahead of you. Alarm just went off at Eastside Jewelers, and you're about five minutes closer than the nearest squad car.

Ravager: I'm on it.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Night

Uttering a long breath, Rose pushes inside her penthouse. She has already changed out of her costume and into her spare set of clothes, now lugging around her gear in a large duffel bag. Heading over to the living room, she tosses the duffel bag on the floor and collapses onto the couch, while putting her feet up on the coffee table. This is just what she needs, to kick her feet up after a long night and relax. Of course, she doesn't remain like that for long, as suddenly Becky is right behind her, arms coming around her neck and kissing her cheek.

Becky: Welcome back. Bath is ready when you are.

Rose: Thanks, I'll be right there. I just... need to sit for a minute. Feeling kind of weird.

Becky: Tiring night, ah?

Rose: Well, between the kidnapping, the robbery, the drug dealers, and being shot multiple times, yeah, a bit busy.

Becky: Ha, you're a tough girl, you'll live.

Rose: Yeah, yeah.

Becky: So come on, the water's getting cold.

Rose: Alright, I'm coming.

Becky gives one more gentle kiss to Rose's cheek, then stands up straight and starts heading back towards the bathroom. She only gets halfway there, however, when she hears a sudden, and rather loud, thud behind her. Glancing back over her shoulder, her eyes go wide in surprise, as she sees Rose lying there on the floor. Immediately turning around, she kneels at Rose's side, putting a hand on her shoulder.

Becky: Rose, what's wrong?

Rose: I can't... hurts...

Becky: What is it? What hurts?

But Rose can't utter another word, instead, holding her arms around herself and curling up into a ball. Groaning, she starts to quiver, while her shoulder muscles go into spasms. Becky watches in utter shock, having no idea what's going on or what to do. The first thought that goes through her head is to call the hospital, but what happens next make her strike that idea. For several brief moments, Rose's face contorts, taking on animal-like features. Becky lurches backwards, uttering a surprised gasp, but the strange transformation disappears almost as soon as it happens.

And then, without warning, everything is fine again, mostly. Rose lies there calmly, motionlessly, hands gripping the carpet. She breathes in deeply, slowly looking up and groaning, a far off look in her eye.

Rose: Becky... I think something's wrong with me.

Becky: Dios... you don't say. What's going on?

Rose: When I fought Kubrick... the werewolf, he bit me... I didn't think anything of it at the time, but now I-

Another sudden flare of pain goes through her body. She holds her stomach again, collapsing flat against the floor.

Becky: Oh Madre de Dios, you're kidding me. Wh-what do I do? How do we fix this?

Rose: Call... Dick... use the private line, he might... still be out.

Becky: Right, okay, just hold on.

Springing back up to her feet, Becky hurries back into the command room and puts on her headset, then places an immediate call out to Batman. The other line is silent for what feels like an eternity, but finally a voice answers.

Batman/Comm: Rose, is that you?

Becky: Di- uh, Batman! No, this is Becky. We have a problem here.

Batman/Comm: What is it?

Becky: It's Rose, I think there's something wrong with her. She just collapsed, and she's in pain and she's been changing, and I don't know what do do, and-

Batman/Comm: Rebecca, hold on, slow down. Deep breaths.

Taking in a deep breath, Becky calms herself and slowly lets out a puff of air.

Becky: Sorry, I'm okay, really.

Batman/Comm: Now explain again.

Becky: She was bitten. By Kubrick, the werewolf, you remember? She... she didn't say anything about it, but now something's happening and I don't know what to do. She's not... I mean she can't really be turning into one, right?

A long silence comes in over the other line before Batman finally answers.

Batman/Comm: I've contacted someone who can help, she'll be there shortly. But Rebecca, listen to me, if Rose turns completely... I mean, if she 'wolfs out', for lack of a better term, you need to get Holly and get out of there. Understand?

Becky: I... yeah, I think so. Thanks.

Batman/Comm: Just sit tight, help is on the way.

A sudden sound of thunder booms from the living room, nearly giving Becky a heart attack in the process, as she jumps a mile. Staring at the door for a moment, she finally forces herself to hurry back into the living room to find out just what the hell is going on... and then freezes at the sight of someone else standing in the middle of the penthouse, a woman dressed up in some kind of magician's uniform, complete with top hat, bow tie, magic wand, and fishnets.

Becky: Wha- who are... how did you...?

The woman smiles, then gives a bow in greeting.

Zatanna: Zatanna Zatara, mistress of the mystical arts, at your service.

Becky: Zat...Zatarn... what?

Zatanna: You can just call me Z, if you like.

Becky: Okay... Z. How did you get here so fast?

Zatanna: Magical teleportation, of course.

Becky: I'll pretend I understand that. So you can help Rose?

Zatanna: Naturally. Batman tells me she's been afflicted with lycanthropy, nothing I haven't cured before. Should have her good as new in a minute.

Breathing a sigh of relief, Becky plops herself down on the floor next to Rose, who seems to be in some kind of delirious daze, sweating and murmuring incoherently to herself. Zatanna comes forward, fixes the white gloves on her hands, then raises her magic wand and gives it a few fanciful waves. Pointing it towards Rose, she utters her magic incantation to deliver the cure.

Zatanna: Nrut ot snamuh yltnenamrep!

A bright white flash fills the room, forcing Becky to shield her eyes momentarily. When the light dies away, she opens her eyes again and looks back up to see Zatanna halfway across the room on her back, wisps of steam billowing from her body. After a brief moment, the magician sits back up and holds a hand to her head.

Becky: Uh... are you alright?

Zatanna: Sure, sure, fine. Just a little headache.

Becky: Well, did it work? Is she cured?

Zatanna: Afraid not.

Becky: What? But you said you've done this before!

Zatanna: I have done this before. Unfortunately, my magic isn't so effective against other magics of a higher power.

Becky: Wait, magics of a higher power? I thought we were dealing with a virus here.

Zatanna: So did I. But, apparently ,whoever afflicted the werwolf that bit your friend, here, did so through the use of a very powerful curse, powerful enough that I can't lift it... and that's saying something, because there aren't many many beings with that level of magic.

Becky: Qué mierda... you're saying that Rose is cursed, then?

Zatanna: So it would seem. This isn't just your average lycanthropy virus, this is something else entirely. I can't cure her with my magic.

Becky: But what do we do? There must to be some way to help her!

Zatanna: Of course there is. We'll just be needing a different sort of help, and I know exactly who to contact.

Becky: And who exactly is would that be?

Zatanna: An old friend of mine, another expert in the supernatural. He should know of other ways to cure lycanthropy, outside of magic. We'll just need to pay him a little visit, that's all.

Becky: Well, I can't go with you; there's a ten year old girl sleeping in the other room that needs looking after. I'm not leaving her here alone.

Zatanna: Of course, I wouldn't expect you to. In that case, though, I'll be going with just Rose, if I can get her back on her feet. Let's see what I can do for her...

Coming forward again, Zatanna holds a hand to her chin, thinking for a moment, and then waves her wand.

Zatanna: Niap eb enog!

Instantly, Rose's pained groans go away, and she slowly falls out of her delirium. Taking in a few deep breaths, she opens her eye and looks around, pushing herself up to her hands and knees.

Rose: What... what happened?

Zatanna: No ruoy teef!

And then, Rose inexplicably lurches upwards to her feet, as if pulled by an invisible hand. She stands there for a moment, blinking in confusion and turning her attention towards Zatanna.

Rose: I could have got up myself, thanks.

Zatanna: You probably could have, given a few minutes, but we don't have the time to wait around. There's no telling how far along your lycanthropy has spread, and scientific cures only work before your first full transformation.

Rose: How long do you think I have?

Zatanna: Oh, could be a few days, or a few minutes at this point. It's different for everyone, especially given the specific nature of your affliction.

Rose: Cursed, right... I heard you talking.

Becky: But you can help her, right? Or your friend, whoever he is?

Zatanna: He should, provided we get to him in time, so say your goodbyes.

Rose: Well, see you soon, I hope.

Becky: Just come back without fur and fangs, alright?

Rose: Yeah, no problem there. Take care of Holly, too, let her know what's going on.

Becky: Will do. Be safe, Rose.

Leaning in, Becky gives her a firm, parting kiss, holding it for several moments before pulling back. Zatanna then raises her wand, waving it around theatrically.

Zatanna: Ekat su ot eht emoh fo Drahcir Tlucco!

Another sound of thunder booms in the living room, followed by a bright white flash. When the light goes away, both Rose and Zatanna are gone, vanished into thin air.

Becky: Magical teleportation... right.

Chapter #43

Ext. Unknown Location – Night

When the two women reappear, Rose takes a moment to double over and lose the contents of her stomach on the ground. After several moments of coughing and spitting out every last remnant, she utters a small groan and straightens herself.

Rose: Uck... I hate teleportation...

Zatanna: Not experienced with that particular mode of travel, I see. You get used to it.

Rose: You say that like I'm going to have to.

Zatanna merely smirks, as she begins leading Rose up a long, winding road through what appears to be the middle of nowhere. As far as she can tell, there isn't any civilization nearby, just a lot of grass, trees, bushes, and dirt. Oh, and it's raining. Not just drizzling, either, but almost pouring.

Rose: I hardly think I'm dressed appropriately for this kind of weather.

Zatanna: Hmm, you may be right. Hold on, I can fix that in a second. I take it you don't enjoy bright colors?

Rose's unamused stare is enough to answer the question.

Zatanna: Right, anyway. Sserd Esor ni niar etairporppa eritta!

Instantly, Rose feels her clothing change. She can't really describe how it feels, though, having nothing to compare it too. One second, she's wearing jeans and a T-shirt, and the next she's garbed in sturdy hiking boots, leather pants, a turtleneck sweater, black trenchcoat, and a wide brimmed hat. For a moment, she just looks down at herself, trying not to cringe too much over the outfit. At least it's keeping her dry.

Rose: Not... quite what I had in mind, but I guess it works.

Zatanna: Good, now if you'll just follow me, we'll be at my friend's home in a minute.

Shoving her hands into her coat pockets, she hurries after the magician woman, traveling down the road. In spite of the rain, Zatanna doesn't appear to be getting wet... some kind of magical water repellent, perhaps?

Rose: So, why couldn't you just wave that wand of yours and transport us directly to his home, instead of having to walk there from the road?

Zatanna: I'm afraid he doesn't like visitors very much; he's gone and booby trapped his property. Were we to spontaneously materialize in his house, there's no telling what we might set off.

Rose: And walking there the old fashioned way makes the traps less of a threat?

Zatanna: It does when I can see and deactivate them with a few magic words.

Frowning slightly, Rose folds her arms across her chest and continues following Zatanna down the road. Eventually, they come to the front of a large iron gate, attached to a tall fence encircling what appears to be some kind of estate... one built in the middle of the wilderness. Quite the odd place to put such an elaborate and expensive looking home, but whatever.

Zatanna: Nepo!

The gates suddenly swing open, allowing them entrance inside the property. But she isn't finished there, waving her wand again.

Zatanna: Wolla efas egassap!

A small flicker of light bursts along the path leading up to the front door, followed by a high pitched hissing that slowly disappears.

Zatanna: And that should do it.

With that, she leads Rose up the walkway and to the door, which slowly glides open after two simple knocks.

Int. The Occult Manor – Night

The interior of the mansion isn't exactly what Rose expected. Instead of all the fancy, elegant décor, one might find in an ordinary home such as this, it is what can only be described as 'creepy'. For a moment, Rose half considers that they stepped into a completely different building altogether, as from the outside it looks like something out of the renaissance. From the inside, it looks like something out of a Gothic horror novel, complete with stone gargoyles peering down from the second story balcony. Medieval suits of armor line the sides of the main hallway, down the center of which is a long red carpet. Every now and then she spots a glass case sitting on a small table, inside of which are strange artifacts; she spots a jeweled scepter, an old, rusty helmet, some sort of serrated dagger, and a box made of shiny, black material.

Rose: Someone actually lives here?

Zatanna: Oh yes, this is pretty normal for him. Hell, you should see my place; much creeper

Rose: Right... so where is he, anyway?

Zatanna: Probably in the sitting room.

And so the two make their way down the long corridor, eventually coming to a large, heavy wooden door. Without having to physically open it, or even a word from Zatanna, it opens inwards, giving them access to the sitting room beyond. It's a warm, cozy area, with two arm chairs situated in front of a blazing fireplace, a table with books stacked on it between them. While one of the arm chairs is empty, a man sits in the other, his legs propped up on an ottoman and a pipe between his lips. He acknowledges their presence without even looking up from the old, leather bound tome in his hands.

Man: Ah, Zatanna, I thought that was you.

Zatanna: Greetings, Richard. It's been a long time. Rose, I'd like to introduce you to Richard Occult, otherwise known as Doctor Occult.

Finally looking up from his book, Doctor Occult glances over at them with raised eyebrows.

Dr. Occult: Rose, you say? I knew a Rose once... but that was a long time ago.

Rose: Your last name is seriously Occult?

Dr. Occult: Odd names come with the job. Such is how the world works.

Rose: I'm sure. So can you really help me, or not?

Dr. Occult: Well that depends, what's your problem?

Zatanna: She's been afflicted by lycanthropy.

Dr. Occult: Ah, werewolves. Haven't come across one of them in decades. Don't seem to be quite as prevalent nowadays as vampires, ghouls, and the like.

Rose: I don't really care what's prevalent or not, I just need a cure.

Dr. Occult: And you're telling me that your magic was unable to strip this condition from her, Zatanna?

Zatanna: Unfortunately, yes. Her affliction stems from a curse, rather than the traditional strain that I can usually to cure. Whoever delivered that curse on the werewolf who bit her possesses magics greater than my own; I can' touch it.

Dr. Occult: Intriguing... not a lot of beings in the world capable of that, now are there? And tell me, Rose, have you already suffered your first transformation?

Rose: Uh, no, not yet. I mean, I've been having these... episodes, I guess, where my body will start to change, but I suppress it back.

Dr. Occult: You're close, then, but not quite there. That means there is still time to administer a scientific cure... good.

Rose: What if I already had transformed?

Dr. Occult: If you'd already turned, it would be much more difficult... we'd have to find the being that handed out the original curse, and get him or her to lift it from you, which would likely be a serious pain to accomplish.

Rose: Alright, so what exactly is this 'scientific' cure you keep mentioning?

Dr. Occult: A rather intricate concoction with very specific ingredients.

Rose: And those ingredients are...?

Dr. Occult: Ah, hold on just a moment. I'll need to dig out one of my old books; memory is a little fuzzy on the subject.

Rising out of his chair, Doctor Occult walks over to the far wall, where several shelves of books line the walls. Running his fingers along the spines, he examines the titles carefully until finally finding the one he's looking for. Removing the book from the shelf, he flips it open and scans the pages.

Dr. Occult: Yes, here it is. We'll need a sprig of hemlock, a single ginseng root, aconitum, otherwise known as wolfsbane, a wolf's neck bone ground into powder, and a pint of blood from the werewolf that bit you. Mix it all together into a nice cocktail, and you have your cure.

At the listing of those ingredients, Rose cringes slightly.

Rose: And I'm supposed to... drink that?

Dr. Occult: That you are.

Rose: What was the other option again?

Zatanna: If you're worried about the taste, I know a spell that can give it the flavor of honeyed wine.

Rose: It's more the thought of having to down a cup of Kubrick's blood.

Zatanna: Yes, well, it's the best we can right now, unless you'd rather wait around until you turn?

Letting out a sigh, Rose folds her arms and glances off to the side.

Rose: So what do we go for first?

Dr. Occult: I have some of the easier ingredients lying around somewhere, if you'll give me a few minutes to gather them together. I know I have wolfsbane and hemlock... and I should have a ginseng root, too. I'll be just a moment.

As he leaves the room, Rose begins to pace around the room, tapping her fingers against her arm. Zatanna stands there, watching her closely, but says nothing. Eventually, Rose releases a distant sigh and holds a hand to her head.

Rose: So, what if this... I mean, if it doesn't work, if somehow I don't get cured... what happens, then?

Zatanna: Well, you'll have to learn how to live with your... condition.

Rose: And how the hell do I do that?

Zatanna: With practice. At first, your transformations will come and go, and you'll likely be uncontrollable while in animal form. In time, though, you'll learn to transform at will, and retain your normal consciousness. Of course... there will be the hunger.

Rose: Why don't I like the sound of that?

Zatanna: Because you shouldn't. Werewolves often possess voracious appetites, craving specifically for raw, red meat. Of course, this hunger can be curbed through simply buying and eating a lot of raw steaks, or something similar, but there are times when you could lose control, and when that happens...

Rose: When that happens, I'll satisfy the hunger with whatever, or whoever is around...

Zatanna: Exactly.

A long, silent pause comes between them, the only sound being the occasional popping of burning wood coming from the fireplace. Eventually, Rose sinks into one of the arm chairs and stares into the fire.

Rose: Then we'd better get this cure soon.

Zatanna: I'll do everything I can to help, don't you worry.

Doctor Occult returns several minutes later, carrying various jars of ingredients with him. He carefully hands them over to Zatanna, then begins to head back over to his arm chair.

Dr. Occult: Now, you have your ginseng, hemlock, and wolfsbane there. So, you'll still be needing a wolf's neck bone, and the blood of the werewolf who bit you, Rose. I'd love to accompany you myself, but I'm afraid I'm working on a case right now; nasty zombie uprising in eastern Romania, and I still need to figure out who the necromancer is raising them all. So, the best I can do is wish you luck.

Zatanna: Thank you for your help, Richard. It was good seeing you again.

Dr. Occult: And you, as well, Zatanna Zatara.

Zatanna: Come, Rose, no time to waste.

Ext. Unknown location – Night

A short few minutes later, and the two women are back out in the rain. A small shiver runs up Rose's spine, forcing her to pull her trenchcoat tighter over herself. She doesn't know where they are right now, but wherever it is, the temperature is much cooler than back in Silverstone.

Rose: So, which one are we going after first?

Zatanna: The easier of the two would make sense, I think.

Rose: And where would we find a wolf's neck bone?

Zatanna: From a wolf.

Rose: You plan on just slaughtering a random wolf? I mean, sure, I'll do it, but it just seems... excessive.

Zatanna: I didn't say we'd be killing anything, now did I?

Rose: But-

Zatanna: Shh, patience, Rose.

Staring out into the surrounding wilderness, Zatanna raises her wand, closes her eyes, and concentrates.

Zatanna: Dnes a gnorts tanvres fo eht noom ot em!

For several moments, Rose just stands there, arms crossed, waiting for something to happen. When nothing does, she goes to speak up and voice her concerns, when suddenly something appears in the distance, coming through the trees. Squinting, she makes the figure out to be a large, grey furred wolf, trotting right up to them. Stopping five paces from them, the wolf looks straight up at Zatanna and waits patiently.

Rose: How did you...?

Zatanna: Magic, remember?

Zatanna then moves forward and kneels next to the wolf, placing one hand on the creature's head, and pointing her wand at its neck.

Zatanna: Evig em ruoy htfif earbetrev.

The wolf the suddenly shudders and lies down, whimpering. Holding her hand up, Zatanna reveals a small bone, one of the animal's vertebrae, in her palm.

Zatanna: You see? Simple.

Rose: Uh... that's great and all, but is he going to be okay?

Without answering, Zatanna points her wand at the wolf again and speaks another spell.

Zatanna: Laeh lla sdnuow.

Instantly recovering, the creature pops back up to its feet and runs away back into the trees and shadows beyond. Zatanna watches the wolf disappear into the darkness, then stands up straight.

Zatanna: I thank you for your aid, dear friend.

Rose: Okay, so that's done... shouldn't we get a move on now? We have to find Kubrick.

Zatanna: Yes, of course. I just hope you're ready to give my methods of travel another try.

Rose: Fantastic...

Ext. Washington D.C. Streets – Night

With a small sound of thunder, Zatanna and Rose appear out of thin air again, landing on their feet in the middle of a back alley, surrounded by boxes, trash bags, dumpsters, and the like. Rose teeters on her feet momentarily, holding herself up against the wall of the building next to her and leaning forward, ready to puke if necessary. While that bout of teleportation hadn't been quite as bad as the first one, she still feels sick as a result.

Rose: Let's please not do that again.

Zatanna: No promises.

Rose: Ugh.

Zatanna: Should I give you a minute?

Rose: No... no, I'm fine. So, are you sure this is the right place?

Zatanna: My locator spell is never wrong. This is where Michael Kubrick resides.

Rose: Okay, well then that raises a pretty interesting question: what the hell is he doing in D.C.?

Zatanna: A different question for another time, perhaps. That isn't why we're here.

Rose: Right... we need his blood, and something tells me he isn't just going to hand it over.

Zatanna: I would tend to doubt that.

Rose: And we can't just outright murder him, even if we would be doing the local populace a favor.

Zatanna: We'll try to do this as peacefully as possible... if we can't, then I have other ways of accomplishing what we need.

Rose: This is the guy that put me in this predicament in the first place. If it's all the same to you, I think I'd rather skip ahead to the part where I ram a sword up his furry-

Zatanna: Calm yourself, Rose. Aggressive emotions maybe speed up your transformation process.

Narrowing her gaze, Rose folds her arms and stares back at the woman, unamused.

Rose: Probably something you should have mentioned sooner.

Zatanna: In any case, the hotel where Kubrick is staying should be just around the corner. We should hurry.

As Zatanna makes her way to the mouth of the alley, however, Rose just lifts an eyebrow at her.

Rose: Uh, it's probably not my place to say, but should you really be wandering down the streets dressed like a slutty magician?

Zatanna: A slutty... excuse me?

Rose: Well, I mean, with the no pants... and the fishnets... and the... It just seems like that would attract a lot of attention.

Zatanna: I wouldn't worry so much how others see me. A simple spell, and everyone out there views me dressed in normal clothes.

Rose: Oh... can you do the same to me?

Zatanna: Of course.

Rose: In that case, I want my gear.

Shifting her weight slightly to the side, Zatanna lets out a cool breath and utters another spell.

Zatanna: Sserd Esor ni reh elttab raeg.

In another instant, the heavier clothing and trenchcoat disappear, replaced by her new and improved Ravager costume, helmet and faceplate included, as well as her swords. She takes a few moments to examine herself, making sure everything is in order.

Ravager: This is more like it.

Zatanna: Now let us be going.

Chapter #44

Int. Helix Hotel – Night

Michael Kubrick utters a long breath, leaning up against the back wall of the shower and enjoying the feel of hot water on his tired body. He hadn't been expecting his new boss to be working him so hard right off the bat, but the man wants to push forward with his plans as soon as possible, which means Kubrick and Zaria have been quite busy lately. Of course, it hasn't been all bad. Coming back to the hotel room every night with Zaria, the little minx that she is, has made these last few weeks quite enjoyable. That, and they're even given a special 'meal' every now and then, when their boss comes across someone that needs to disappear. They are, of course, only happy to oblige.

Finishing up his shower, Kubrick turns the water off and grabs a towel to wrap around his waist. He's about ready to get a good night's sleep, after working so late and then handling Zaria. All things considered, it's almost three in the morning now. Letting out a long yawn, Kubrick enters back into the hotel room, where Zaria should already be asleep waiting for him. What he finds when he opens the bathroom door, however, causes him to go into a sudden, panicked rage.

Zaria is indeed in bed, but wrapped up impossibly tightly with the bed sheets, one section crossing over her mouth and preventing her from speaking. She turns her head to look at him, eyes narrowing; she isn't amused at the two women sitting on the edge of the bed. One of them he doesn't recognize, some woman dressed as a magician. But he other, he recognizes very quickly. Even if it is a different costume, her scent is the same.

Kubrick: You! What the hell are you doing here?

Ravager: Oh, you know, was just in the neighborhood and felt like dropping in to say hi.

Kubrick: Mangy b*tch!

Wasting no time in listening to further words, Kubrick lunges across the room, transforming into his werewolf form in mid jump. He doesn't get halfway before the mysterious magician woman waves her wand and utters complete nonsense – nonsense that grinds him to a halt.

Zatanna: Nruter ot namuh!

Instantly, Kubrick is shifted back into his normal, human form, losing his momentum and crashing straight into the floor at the edge of the bed. The magician woman again casts a spell, this time binding him.

Zatanna: Parw mih pu!

A second sheet swirls off the bed, gliding through the air like some kind of demonic snake. In a brief moment, the wide strip of cloth tightly ensnares Kubrick's body, tying him up and not not letting go. The hold is surprisingly strong, much stronger than an ordinary sheet should be, as it's being reinforced by the magic flowing through it.

Kubrick: The f*ck is this?

Zatanna: Just a little something to hold you still for a few minutes.

Kubrick: Yeah, and who the hell are you, huh? Can't say I mind the outfit, but this hocus pocus crap is really starting to piss me off.

Zatanna: My name is Zatanna Zatara, and it would be wise of you not to get on my bad side.

Kubrick: Ooh, I'm shaking. Screw off.

Ravager: Shut it, Kubrick. I didn't come here to fight and trade insults, even if I'd love to work out some of my stress right now.

Kubrick: You barge into our hotel room, attack us, tie us up, and expect us to believe that you're not here for a fight?

Ravager is standing now, jumping up to her feet and drawing one of her swords, pointing it at him. They can't see her face, but it's contorted into an expression of pure, vile anger.

Ravager: You're lucky I'm not cutting off appendages! With how many people you've hurt, how many lives you ruined, for what you did to me, I should gut you where you stand!

A sudden flare of pain and dizziness courses through her, causing her balance to shift and feet to stumble. Dropping her blade, she teeters back against the bed and falls into a seated position, elbows on her knees and hands clutching her head tightly.

Zatanna: Rose! You have to be calm.

Kubrick watches the two for a moment, an amused sneer forming across his face.

Kubrick: Ah, I see what's going on now. The curse is finally starting to take hold, right? You're almost there... almost the same as me. And now you've come to me for... what? To get your revenge?

Ravager: I came here for a cure, you ignorant b**tard! I won't live like this, like you!

Kubrick: A cure? Ha, ain't no cure for this, babe. I tried, believe me, but eventually I came to accept what I am. What makes you think I'd even know of a cure?

Zatanna: You might not know it, but there is a way of curing lycanthropy before the first transformation, though I requires very specific ingredients. Normally, I would simply cure her with my magic, but the curse placed on you is very powerful... and it has transferred to Rose.

Kubrick: Well ain't that just a shame? I'm in tears, really.

Ravager: I swear I'll start slicing off chunks, you miserable piece of-

Zatanna: Rose, shh, calm.

Groaning, Ravager drops her head back into her hands and tries to ignore the throbbing pounding inside her skull.

Kubrick: Then what do you need from me, huh? Go make your cure somewhere else.

Zatanna: We need you, Michael Kubrick, because the most important ingredient in this cure happens to be blood of the werewolf who bit her.

Frowning, Kubrick narrows his eyes and glares back at her.

Kubrick: No f*cking way. You're insane if you think I'm bleeding for you. Forget about the cure and just learn to live with it!

Rose: Not gonna happen. Either you do this peacefully like you're giving to the Red Cross, or my friend here is going to take it from you.

Zatanna: You won't even feel any pain.

Kubrick: Okay, now just hold on a second, ladies. I'm gonna let you in on a little secret-

Rose: Quit dicking around, Kubrick.

Kubrick: Not dicking around, no. Just wanted to let you know that, while you've been paying attention to me, you should've been keeping an eye on Zee over there.

Suddenly, a long blue tail, lined with sharp barbs, swings through the air and curls around Ravager's neck, pulling her upwards off the bed. The sheet wrapping around the Celarian then shreds into scraps, as she finishes transforming into her true, alien form. With a another wild swing of her tail, she sends Ravager flying across the room.

Sh*t, what the hell? Ravager slowly pushes herself up to her hands and knees, feeling woozy. Why didn't my precog go off?

It's because of her condition, she realizes, or at least her current delirium, as the moment of her first transformation draws closer. She needs Kubrick's blood for the cure, and she needs it soon. Of course, there is one very big, blue, toothy problem to take care of first. As she struggles to get back to her feet, she notices Zatanna raising her wand, prepared to cast a spell. However, Kubrick suddenly transforms again, ripping through the sheet binding him and slashing his claws outward. Pulling her now bleeding hand back in pained surprise, Zatanna is forced to release her wand, which goes spinning off to the other side of the room.

Before Ravager can do anything to assist her ally, she is quickly under attack again. Zaria jumps at her, claws outstretched and wide, fanged jaws open. Ducking beneath the Celarian attacker, Ravager rolls out of the way and goes for her sword, picking it up off the ground and ready to defend herself. Meanwhile, Zatanna flips herself back across the bed, avoiding another incoming slash from Kubrick.

Kubrick: Not so tough now, are you, you little b*tch? What are you going to do without your wand?

Zatanna: This: teg kcab!

Raising her hands, Zatanna casts the spell, instantly causing the massive werewolf to launch backwards through the air and into the far wall. But he doesn't stop there, actually crashing through the wall and into the next room, where a couple sits on their bed, watching television. As soon as the snarling monster lands in their room, however, they're off and running out the door, screaming in terror and surprise as they go.

Zatanna: The wand is just a prop, you know. My power comes from me.

Ravager lets out an agonized cry, as Zaria's razor fangs sink into her shoulder. The jaw strength on this alien being is astounding, teeth cracking straight through the upgraded armor and piercing into her soft flesh beneath. Bringing her leg up, she forces the monster back off of her, then slices up with her sword. The blade cuts through Zaria's side, opening a long, though shallow, wound. As the Celarian lunges in again, however, she suddenly goes flying backwards, head smacking hard against the wall and falling unconscious.

Zatanna: Thought you could use a hand.

Ravager: Thanks... I can normally take these guys no problem, but I can't... I can't... oh god.

Everything suddenly goes dizzy. Ravager takes a few steps, then collapses to her knees, trying to clear her head. Taking in deep breaths, she forces herself to push through it, eventually swallowing a large lump in her throat and rising back to her feet.

Zatanna: Are you alright?

Ravager: It's okay, I'm good. Where's Kubrick?

Zatanna: He's right over-

Ravager: Over where?

After stopping mid-sentence, Zatanna is staring now at the other hotel room, beyond the broken hole in the wall. Only, the room is empty. Kubrick, in full werewolf form, has already crashed through the third floor window (as well as half the wall surrounding it), and landed on the streets below, causing an abrupt panic amongst the citizens still up at this hour. Cars honk, passersby run and scream, and Kubrick begins bounding off through the city.

Ravager: Sh*t, he's getting away!

Zatanna: Not for long. I just hope you're more prepared for this method of travel than the last.

Ext. Washington D.C. Streets – Night

Ravager: Are you sure you know how to fly this thing?!

Zatanna: Please, I've done this before with a carpet, and that's much less sturdy.

Still, Ravager is unconvinced, as the hotel bed rockets through the air. Some kind of weird levitation spell caused the thing to start floating off the ground, and then Zatanna said something else and it shot off like a bat out of hell. Gripping the headboard tightly to keep from falling off the, uh, flying bed, Ravager carefully looks down at the ground speeding by below them, and at the occasional person looking up at them in shock.

Zatanna: I see him! Down there!

Ravager: Yeah, good, down. Take us down!

Ext. Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool – Night

Piloting the bed through the air, Zatanna brings the speeding, airborne furniture lower towards the ground, catching up to the fleeing werewolf. As it so happens, he ends up making it all the way to the Washington Monument, or rather, the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in front of the large obelisk. Leaping over the side of the pool, Kubrick races through the water, moving as fast as he can to escape his pursuers. He never has a chance, however, as Zatanna raises a hand as soon as she's in range, and casts her spell.

Zatanna: Pots!

Instantly, Kubrick seizes up, frozen completely in place, mid-stride. He plunges forward into the water, sliding several feet before coming to an abrupt stop after crashing into the siding. Slowly, he begins to change back into his human form, now lying naked in eighteen inches of water. The bed zooms in a moment later, coming to a careful landing next to the reflecting pool, allowing its passengers to jump off. Ravager does so rather quickly, very pleased to be back on solid ground.

Zatanna: We tried to do this the easy and sensible way. Now we'll have to do it the hard way.

Still unable to move his body, Kubrick shifts his eyes slowly up at the woman, scowling.

Kubrick: Stay the f*ck away from me, b*tch.

Zatanna: Oh would you relax, already? This won't take a minute.

Removing the top hat from her head, Zatanna reaches inside and pulls out a small jar. Where it came from, or what it was doing in her hat, is anyone's guess. Holding a hand out, she takes in a deep breath and raises the jar.

Zatanna: Llif htiw Leahcim S'kcirbuk doolb!

In the blink of an eye, the jar in her outstretched hand is suddenly full of a dark red liquid: Kubrick's blood. Uttering a small groan, Kubrick shuts his eyes, feeling suddenly woozy.

Zatanna: There, was that so difficult? You didn't need to run.

Kubrick: F*ck you.

Zatanna: In any case, I'd love to stick around and wait for the police to get here, but we're in a bit of a hurry. Rose? Are you ready to- Rose?

Turning to her companion, Zatanna suddenly pauses, as she sees Rose hunched over on all fours, her body quivering and twitching. Curiously, she wanders over and places a hand on the woman's shoulder.

Zatanna: Rose, are you alright?

Rose: Get off!

Without warning, Rose lashes her arm out, striking Zatanna in the shoulder and sending her flying through the air in a display of strength far greater than she should have. Zatanna crashes into the pool water and slides across the bottom of it, coming to a stop after several feet. She is slow to get up, dazed from the blow, and doesn't know where the jar of Kubrick's blood went after she lost her hold on it.

Meanwhile, Rose's muscles begin to spasm, while her bones pop and snap, rearranging themselves. A horrid scream of pain erupts from her throat, feeling as though her entire body is ripping itself apart. Kubrick begins to rise to his feet, as the blow to Zatanna severed the concentration necessary to keep the spell active. Seeing Rose's agony, he grins slightly, beginning to back away. He has no desire to stick around much longer.

Kubrick: Ah, I remember my first transformation... painful, isn't it? Don't worry, you'll get used to it.

Holding her a hand to her head, Zatanna looks up, realizing what is happening, that they're too late. Before Kubrick flees out of range, she extends a hand and utters one more desperate spell.

Zatanna: Laever ruoy sthguoht!

A moment later, Kubrick is gone. Zatanna sits up straighter, everything starting to spin slightly. She grits her teeth and looks over at Rose again, just in time to see the woman's armor burst apart, as her body grows to monstrous proportions. In mere moments, Rose is no longer standing there as the woman she had been, but instead a large, ferocious werewolf, covered in thick, white fur and bright red eyes. Curling back her lips, Rose arches her neck, opens her jaws, and unleashes an ear splitting howl.

Zatanna: Oh dear Hotath...

Reacting instinctively, Zatanna lifts her hands and opens her mouth to speak another spell, intent on returning Rose to her human form. They may be too late for the cure, but Rose can still be helped.

Zatanna: Nruter ot nam-!

The snow white werewolf acts too quickly, however, displaying astounding speed and charging straight at her. Before she can finish the spell, Zatanna is swatted aside like a fly, again sent flying through the air and landing hard in the shallow pool water. By the time she comes to her senses again, Rose is already long gone, sprinting back towards the streets and into the heart of the city.

Ext. Washington D.C. Streets – Night

At about three in the morning, activity on the streets isn't exactly booming, as it is during the day. There are, however, still plenty of citizens driving or walking along the streets. After all, a city never really sleeps, whether New York City or Washington D.C. That being said, there are plenty potential victims for the newly transformed Rose to come across.

Mindless and wild, the werewolf bursts out of an alley and bounds onto the sidewalk, snarling and looking around earnestly. She can feel a burning hunger deep inside of her, a hunger that must be quenched. Within seconds, people are running and screaming. Her heightened senses takes notice of them all; sights, sounds, scents. Gaze darting to the nearest person, a young woman in a black dress and pearl necklace, she charges.

Suddenly, however, she is forced to stop, as she runs straight in front of an oncoming taxi, tires screeching in attempts to brake before crashing into the beast. Uttering a loud growl, Rose extends her arms and catches the car, forcing it to a dead stop as metal crunches beneath her claws. Within the vehicle, the driver's face bounces off the airbag; he then falls back into his seat, dazed.

Darting around the side of the taxi, Rose rips off the door effortlessly and then yanks the man out, claws digging into the meat of his shoulder. Starting to come out of his daze, the man realizes what's going on and begins to panic, thrashing around and screaming. But it's futile, he can't get away. The beast is ready to tear him limb from limb and devour him... until several gunshots go off. Rose feels the bullets penetrate her stomach, but they barely tickle. Werewolf resiliency at its finest.

Turning her head, she notices a police officer standing outside of his squad car and taking aim at her with his pistol. Another couple of shots go off, these ones striking her shoulder; they only succeed in making her angrier. Lips curling back, she snarls again, then tosses the man in her grasp away. Unleashing another ear splitting howl, she begins racing straight at the cop, who begins to understand just what a dire situation he's in. The officer turns to flee, but he won't get away in time. The werewolf is too fast. Closing the distance, Rose lunges, claws outstretched and teeth bared, ready to sink into her meal.

Zatanna: Teg kcab!

Instantly, Rose launches backwards, sailing over a nearby car and crashing against the street. Zatanna comes forward, having followed the animal from the pool. While she is here, she will not allow Rose to uncontrollably harm innocent people.

Zatanna: Og ot plees!

Rose loses consciousness the moment that the spell erupts from Zatanna's fingers, entering into a deep slumber. Shortly thereafter, she slowly reverts back into her human form, now lying naked in the middle of the street with a crowd of people beginning to gather. Zatanna doesn't give them a chance to stare, though, once again casting a spell that transports her and Rose away in the blink of an eye.

Zatanna: Ekat su ym emoh!

Chapter #45

Int. Shadowcrest – Night

Rose slowly opens her eye, everything appearing blurry and watery. Quickly blinking the sleep away, she sits up and looks around, finding herself to be lying in a bed, in a room filled with even more books, occult objects, and downright weird ornaments than even Doctor Occult's home possessed. Holding a hand to her head, she tries to remember what happened, but the last thing she can recall before blacking out is Zatanna filling a jar with Kubrick's blood.

Zatanna: Ah, you're awake, good.

Entering into the room, Zatanna walks over and sets a tray of food on the beside table.

Zatanna: I figured you'd probably be hungry when you woke up; you've been out for nearly sixteen hours. Welcome to my home, by the way. Creepy, right?

Rose: What happened? Did Kubrick knock me out or something?

A distant, sympathetic looks comes over Zatanna's face, as she utters a long sigh.

Zatanna: No... I'm afraid that we were too late in acquiring the ingredients for the cure. You... transformed.

A nauseous sensation quickly bubbles up into Rose's gut. She holds her arms over her stomach, leaning forward and staring at the bedsheets, eye wide.

Rose: I... then I'm... you mean I'm stuck like this now?

Zatanna: In all likelihood, yes.

Her hands come up to her head now, gripping her her hair tightly in panic.

Rose: But I can't! How am I supposed to- I'll end up hurting people. Becky, Holly... I can't stay with them now. What... what am I supposed to do?

Zatanna: Well, I do still have one idea that may work.

Rose snaps her gaze over to the magician, a small flicker of hope rippling through her chest.

Rose: What is it?

Zatanna: Before Kubrick got away, I cast a spell that allowed me to read his mind. In those brief moments, I was able to learn who cursed him...

Her answer is slow, cautious, as if somewhat concerned or dismayed over the information. Rose, on the other hand, is sitting up straighter and leaning forward.

Rose: That's good, isn't it? We find this person and have him remove the curse from me. That is the plan, right?

Zatanna: Yes... unfortunately, things aren't that simple.

Rose: How so?

Zatanna: The one who cursed Kubrick is a being who goes by the name of Circe.

Rose: Should I know who that is?

Zatanna: Not unless you're familiar with the Greek mythos. Simply put, Circe is a sorceress of goddess level power, which explains why I can't break the curse myself. I may be powerful, but I'm no goddess. She also has a long history of turning men into animals, though I've never known her to afflict someone with lycanthropy before. Kubrick must have done something to severely anger her.

Rose: I get the feeling she won't exactly be willing to just lift the curse on command, either.

Zatanna: Very unlikely, but that's not even the worst of it. Circe's last known location is Hades, the Underworld. She was sent there by the Olympians to suffer for her crimes.

Rose: So... what you're saying, basically, is that she's dead?

Zatanna: As dead as an immortal goddess can be, but if you want to think of it that way, go right ahead.

Rose: And I don't suppose we can just waltz into the underworld to talk with her, huh?

Zatanna: Of course not, that would be far too simple.

Rose: But it can be done, right? We can get to her?

Zatanna: Yes, certainly. If I pull a few strings, make a few calls, I may just be able to arrange a meeting with her. Of course, meeting her and actually getting her to agree to cure you are two different things entirely.

Rose: We'll just have to cross that bridge when we get there. We're wasting time just sitting around here, though; let's get going.

Zatanna: Before we go, you may want to select a different attire. I don't think you want to be traipsing about the Underworld in your pajamas.

Blinking, Rose glances down at herself, just now realizing that she's been dressed up in bright pink pajamas pants and shirt.

Rose: What in the hell am I wearing?

Zatanna: Just something I thought you'd be comfortable resting in. Now, as I was saying, different attire?

Rose: Just give me my gear.

Zatanna: Later, maybe. You're going to want something you can wear out in public right now.

Rose: And why's that?

Zatanna: Because, we have to make a little detour first.

Int. The Pin Up Club – Night

Rose: I thought you said we had to go to a bar...

Zatanna: And so we do.

Rose: Then why on earth are we at a strip club?

Glancing around the dimly lit interior, Rose squints her eyes. The pounding music is bad enough, but the blinking lights on stage, where the current nude dancer is swinging around a pole to the delight of the half-drunken men eagerly throwing dollar bills at her, only adds to the suffocating atmosphere of this place. The smell of alcohol is thick in the air, too, almost choking her nostrils. Sighing, she follows Zatanna through the club.

I can see why Becky prefers The Fuego Lounge...

Zatanna: The entrance to the bar is in the back.

Rose: Wait, there's a whole separate bar in the back of the strip club? I didn't see any signs or anything for it... how do people even know it's there?

Zatanna: They don't, unless they're one of us.

Rose: One of you?

Zatanna: A being of magic. You see, the Oblivion Bar is a place where we magic folk go to... well, be away from everyone else. It's where we can come together to be among others of magic. Non magical folk, such as yourself, can only enter through invitation.

Rose: And I take it you bringing me along counts as my invitation?

Zatanna: Right you are.

The two push past the curtain dividing the front part of the club to the employee only section. Turning a corner of the hallway, Zatanna leads her beyond the dressing rooms, around a storage area, and finally to a small alcove in the very back of the building, where nothing but a simple wooden door waits for them.

Rose: Well... the entrance is a little less impressive than I thought. You know, for a super secret magical bar.

Zatanna: It isn't meant to be impressive. In fact, to anyone other than a person of magic, they will only find a storage closet on the other side of this door. To us, however, it opens into a pocket dimension, where we are welcome.

With that, Zatanna reaches forward and pulls the door open.

Int. Oblivion Bar – Night

The Oblivion Bar, a sanctuary for all sorts of magical beings to come and unwind away from non-magic society. It looks like any other bar, with a counter, a bartender, tables, a lounge area, a couple pool tables, etc. Rose even spots a dart board, currently occupied by Captain Marvel and someone she doesn't recognize. Something about the atmosphere, though, seems somewhat calming and inviting. Moving up toward the counter, Rose stands back out of the way while Zatanna does what she came here for. The man behind the counter looks up to see them approach, giving a wide smile.

Rook: Ah, Zatanna, been a while.

Zatanna: That it has, Jim. Good to see you again.

Rook: And you, as well. Who's your friend back there? Never seen her around the bar before.

Zatanna: This is Rose Wilson; she's here by my invitation. Rose, this is Jim Rook, otherwise known as Nightmaster.

Rook: Pleased to meet you, Rose.

Rose: Yeah, real pleasure.

Rook: So, what can I get you? The usual, or you looking for something special?

Zatanna: We're not here for a drink, actually. I need to speak with Fate, is he in?

Rook: Sure, he's in his usual spot, meditating or whatever it is he does in there. Want me to show you to him?

Zatanna: I know the way, thanks, Jim.

Rook: Always a pleasure, Z.

Moving away from the bar, Zatanna brings them down a side corridor lined with many doors. She stops at the third one on the left and knocks three times, no more, no less. After three seconds, the door swings open. Rose probably should have been paying attention when she entered the dark room, then maybe she wouldn't have made such an incredible fool of herself.

Surrounding them is nothing but dark, empty space, with no discernible walls to mark the confines of the room. Tiny twinkles of countless stars flicker in the distance, along with a couple of eerily glowing purple and green nebulas. Rose, however, realizes this too late, lurching in mid stride, as if afraid she's about to fall through space. What she doesn't know is that there is still solid ground beneath their feet, albeit invisible ground. Thus, she ends up losing her balance and toppling to her hands and knees.

Rose: Uh... I'm okay.

But no one is paying attention to her, anyway. Zatanna stands in front of her, looking at a man in a bright gold helmet and cape, who is floating cross-legged in mid air. Several glowing ankhs circle him, spinning round and round in a methodical pace.

Zatanna: Fate, it's been a long time.

Dr. Fate: Indeed it has, Zatanna. Why have you come here?

Zatanna: I have a request to make. My friend here is suffering from a unique form of lycanthropy, the result of a curse cast by Circe. Our other attempts at find a cure have failed-

Dr. Fate: And now you seek the one who cursed her in order to lift it from her.

Zatanna: That's right. The problem is, she's sort of... well, suffering in the Underworld.

Dr. Fate: And one does not simply walk into Hades.

Rose: You stole that line from a movie.

A brief pause passes, as both Zatanna and Doctor Fate slowly turn their heads to stare at her.

Rose: What? I watch movies like normal people, too.

Turning their attention away from her again, they resume their conversation.

Zatanna: I was hoping that you might be able to arrange a way for us to meet with Circe, whatever it takes and however it needs to be done. You have a lot of pull in these areas.

Dr. Fate: Circe will not merely agree lift the curse, even if I can arrange it, you realize. She will want something in return.

Zatanna: You let us worry about that little detail. We just need a meeting.

Another pause, as Doctor Fate appears to be considering the request. Eventually, he lowers his legs from his floating position and stands on his feet.

Dr. Fate: Very well, I will arrange it.

Int. The River Styx – Night

Rose stands with her arms folded, glancing around the impossibly large cavern. She isn't exactly sure where they are, only that, according to Zatanna, they're underground and at the barrier between the Underworld and the living world. And right now, they're waiting. Tapping her fingers against her arm, Rose slowly moves her gaze over to the third woman, the strange one accompanying them, dressed in a toga, a blindfold wrapped around her eyes, a broadsword in one hand, and scales in the other. Themis, that's what she calls herself. Or Justitia, as the Romans call her.

Zatanna: Thanks again for agreeing to help us out.

Themis: I did as Fate requested of me, in hopes that some small amount of justice may be done here today.

Rose: So, what's with the blindfold, anyway? I mean, are you actually blind or what?

Themis: It is symbolic.

Zatanna: Themis embodies divine order, law, and custom. In the western world, she's better known as Lady Justice. The blindfold-

Rose: Blind justice, yeah, I got it. Lame as hell.

Themis: I doubt you would fine hell 'lame', were you to experience its torment.

Rose: Uh, it's just a saying, but sure, whatever.

Themis: Quiet, the ferry approaches.

In the distance, a small wooden boat appears in the waters of the River Styx, pushed along by a cloaked and hooded ferryman with a skull for a face. In the back of the ferry sits the passenger, another cloaked figure, with long purplish-pink hair coiling out from beneath the hood. Her body is one of near perfection, quite befitting a goddess, though her face remains hidden. When the ferry pulls up to the dock, the ferryman leans against the long stick he uses to push the ferry, then waits. Zatanna, Rose, and Themis, step forward up to the edge of the dock.

Themis: Circe, you have been granted these few moments away from torment so that you may participate in this meeting. Use them wisely.

The hooded woman slowly turns her head, face still veiled by the cloak. Still sitting in the boat, she crosses her legs, then finally reaches up to pull the hood down. Her face is normal, gorgeous as always... except her eyes, which are gone, instead replaced by empty, bloody sockets.

Rose: And I thought I had it bad, missing just the one eye.

Circe: Caught me at the end of my daily suffering. Oh, they'll grow back, of course. Just in time for the vultures to pluck them out again tomorrow.

Rose: Remind me never to get sent to the Underworld for eternal damnation.

Circe: It's excruciating at first, but after a while... it just gets old. Now, tell me, why have you asked to see me?

Zatanna: We understand that you cast a werewolf curse on a man named Michael Kubrick some time ago.

Circe: Ah, yes, the name does sound familiar. The fool, thought he could force himself upon a goddess? Ha! He got what he deserved, living the rest of his life as a monster in constant hunger.

Rose: That's great and all, but he bit me, and now I have the same curse.

Circe: Oh? Such a shame. But I'm not sure why you came all this way just to tell me that.

Rose: Because I want you to remove it.

A loud, shrill cackle laugh erupts from Circe's throat, her face looking quite amused. Rose scowls, waiting for the woman to finally calm down enough to respond.

Circe: And now why would I go and do something like that? Your problems are no concern of mine.

Rose: Listen to me, you little-

Zatanna: Ecnelis.

Suddenly, Rose's lips close, refusing to open again. She mumbles through her shut mouth, glaring at the magician and folding her arms across her chest.

Zatanna: What Rose means to say, is that we would like your help with this. Your assistance won't go unrewarded, of course.

Themis: I am prepared to grant you the removal of five hundred years from your sentence, if you cooperate.

Circe: Ha, five hundred years? Honey, that barely puts a dent in my sentence. I'll still be here when your grandchildren's grandchildren are long dead and buried. You want my help, make me a better offer.

Zatanna: What about a thousand years? Can we do that?

Themis is quiet for a moment, glancing down at her scales. It slowly tilts to the left.

Themis: It is doable, yes.

Circe: Sorry, kids, but you're not going to buy me out by scraping away a few fractions of my infernal suffering.

Zatanna: Is there anything you do want?

Circe: Of course there is. I want out of here for good, to be free, but that isn't going to happen.

Zatanna: Then, is there nothing that will get you to help us?

For several moments, Circe, glances off to the side. She can't see anything, obviously, but she still doesn't wish to be facing them. Silence drags between them, as the sorceress remains silent.

Themis: Speak freely, Circe. If it is a reasonable request, and within my power to grant, it will be done.

Circe: You really want to know what I want more than anything?

Zatanna: Come on, just shoot it out there.

Circe: I want what any mother wants: to be with her daughter.

Zatanna: You have a daughter?

Circe: Yes, her name is Lyta. But she was taken from me by her father... until he was killed. Now, my daughter is... I don't know where. Lost in her father's domain, somewhere. Scared. Alone. In pain...

A genuine hint of sadness and grief emanates from Cirice, as she shrinks back in her seat on the ferry. Though a twisted, evil sorceress, she is still a mother, and only wants for her daughter to be safe. Raising a hand to Zatanna's shoulder, Rose begins to mumble something, still unable to speak. Zatanna glances back, then smacks her own forehead.

Zatanna: Whoops. Nepo ruoy htuom! Sorry about that.

Finally, Rose's lips part, enabling her to speak again. She gives Zatanna another long glare, then turns her attention to Circe.

Rose: Okay, so you're telling us that if we find your daughter and rescue her from... wherever, then you'll lift the curse?

Circe: Honey, you do that for me, and I'll grant you anything you want.

Rose: Fine, then we'll do it.

Zatanna: Rose, are you sure?

Rose: If it's to get this curse off me, then yeah, I don't care what I have to do. Just tell us where she is and we'll go get her. What exactly is her 'father's domain'?

Circe: Well, her father, the being I conceived her with, is known as Ares.

Lifting an eyebrow, Rose gives a curious expression.

Rose: Wait... like the god of war, Ares?

Circe: That's right. His domain, at least the one he used to rule over, and where you'll have to retrieve my daughter from, is right back the way I came: Hades, the Underworld.

Rose: Okay, hold on. My knowledge on Greek mythology is a little shaky, so correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Lord of Hades, um, you know, Hades?

Circe: So he is and was. Ares usurped rule of the Underworld by stabbing his uncle in the back. When he was defeated and killed at the hands of your Wonder Woman, however, he went from ruler to denizen and fellow sufferer. Leadership was then returned to Hades himself.

Rose: Of course...

Clearing her throat, she turns back to Zatanna.

Rose: So... I take it venturing into the Underworld isn't exactly the smartest thing to do, is it?

Zatanna: Not even close.

Rose: But can it be done? Surviving in there, finding this Lyta girl?

Zatanna: Well... I suppose, though not without a guide and a way to return still alive. But Rose, are you certain you want to attempt this?

Rose: I am not living my life as a cursed monster, knowing that any day I could end up killing the people I care about by accident. Either I go back cured, or I don't go back at all.

Zatanna lets out a cool breath, crossing her arms across her chest and nodding.

Zatanna: Alright, I understand. But like I said, we'll need someone to guide us into the world of the dead, and a way to keep our mortal souls rooted with the living.

Themis: I believe I can arrange that. Give me a short while, and I will return with the necessary preparations.

In a flash of white light, Themis disappears, leaving Rose and Zatanna to stand there at the edge of the docks with Circe and the skeletal ferryman.

Journeying into the land of the dead... not the brightest thing you've ever done, Rose. Let's just hope it's not the last.

Chapter #46

Int. The River Styx – Night

His name is Hercules. Well, technically, it's Heracles, but his Roman name is far more recognizable. Regardless of what one calls him, however, the fact remains that he is a near immortal demi-god, with strength to match the mightiest heroes on earth. And he is also serving as their guide into the Underworld, at the request of Themis made to the Olympians. Having committed heinous crimes in the Greek world in ages past, Hercules now loyally serves the gods to atone for his sins.

Rose stands in the back of the ferry, as Charon, the ferryman, paddles them down the River Styx. Zatanna stands next to her, arms folded and keeping an eye on Circe, who remains in her seat in front of them. Hercules, on the other hand, stands at the bow of the ferry, leaning forward with one leg raised up on the low railing. A Xiphos sword hangs from his belt, at his left side, while his large, round shield rests against the railing to his right.

Hercules: Put some back into it, great Charon! There is no time to waste!

The ferryman, of course, ignores the command and continues paddling at the same pace. Leaning close to Zatanna, Rose whispers, keeping her voice low.

Rose: Would you look at him? Now I know where the phrase 'body of a Greek god' comes from.

Rose's gaze hasn't left the demi-god's backside since they boarded. Indeed, Hercules is a magnificent physical specimen, his body practically sculpted to perfection. The flowing brown hair, gorgeous face, and simple breastplate with leather skirt that he wears, also doesn't hurt.

Zatanna: Down, girl, you have a significant other waiting for you back at home, remember?

Rose: Of course I do, and I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize that, either.

Tilting her head slightly, Rose leans back against the rail of the ferry and lets out a long breath, still staring.

Rose: But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the sight of a natural wonder when I see it.

The boat ride doesn't take much longer, soon reaching the very end of the Styx. As the ferry docks, dark, cloaked figures approach. Circe rises from her seat and steps onto land, being escorted back to her torment in Tartarus. Before she leaves, however, she looks back over her shoulder at them.

Circe: Please... find my daughter.

When she is gone, Hercules turns from the bow and walks over to Charon. He pulls out four silver coins, one for each passenger, and pays the ferryman. Then, he turns his attention to the two women.

Hercules: Fair maidens, prepare yourself, for beyond these docks lies the Underworld, land of the dead. I will do my best to guide you to safety and find the girl you seek, and protect you when need be, but know that not even I am invincible here.

Rose: Appreciate the sentiments, but I assure you that we can protect ourselves.

Hercules: Of that, I have no doubt. I see great strength in both of you, and am honored to be making this journey with you.

Rose: Flattery, huh? Now that I can get used to.

Hercules: Before we step off the ferry, however, I must give you these.

Reaching into a small pouch attached to his belt, he pulls out two vials containing blue liquid and hands one to each of them.

Rose: What's this?

Zatanna: Some kind of potion, it appears.

Hercules: It is called the Draught of Undeath. It will keep your souls alive from the pull of death, while you traverse the Underworld.

Uncorking the vial, Rose gulps down the mouthful of liquid. It tastes something like stale beer; not the most pleasant favor in the world, but it could be worse.

Hercules: Very good, now we can begin our quest!

Rose: Just one more thing. Z, if you please.

Zatanna: Oh, right. Sserd Esor ni reh elttab raeg!

And in an instant, Rose's attire changes to her new Ravager gear, fully repaired from when she tore it apart during her transformation.

Ravager: Alright, now we're ready.

???. The Underworld – ???

The Underworld can't exactly be compared with any other place. With a blood red sky, black clouds, trees made of flesh with twisted, screaming faces jumbled along the bark, a dirt ground that oozes bloody puddles with each step, and eyeless crows watching them from the tree limbs above them, it is truly something out of a person's worst nightmares. Ravager can't even tell if it's day or night, or if they're outside or inside. There is a sky, yes, but they had been in an underground cavern not long ago. It stands to reason that the Underworld is not a domain of their world, instead in another dimension entirely, separated from the living.

Explains the need for the Draught of Undeath to keep us alive... This places reeks of the dead and rotting.

Ravager: So, do we have any idea where to even begin looking for this girl?

Zatanna: All we know is that Circe's daughter was taken by Ares to live with him here. Once Ares fell as ruler, there's no telling where Lyta ended up.

Hercules: If I had to make a guess, I would say she was sent to live in the Asphodel Meadows, the region where neutral souls reside upon death.

Zatanna: What makes you say that?

Hercules: My uncle may be a twisted, corrupt god, but he is fair when it comes to the rule of his domain. He would not have sent her to Tartarus to suffer with the damned souls of Hades, for she has done nothing deserving it. Perhaps to the Elysian Fields, if virtuous in nature, to be among the blessed heroes of legend, but unlikely for a soul yet to be claimed by death.

Ravager: Then take us to these asthma fields.

Hercules: Asphodel.

Ravager: Whatever.

Hercules: There is always the possibility that Hades took it upon himself to keep the girl in his own personal kingdom, though. We will have to ask around to be certain.

Ravager: Ask who, exactly? There's no one else here.

Hercules: Of course there is. You need only know where to look.

Ravager: Well then, lead on.

Moving forward through the twisted forest of dead, fleshy trees, Hercules leads them beyond into a barren land, with nothing but soot and rocks as far as they eye can see. Nearby stands an old, stone building, small in stature and falling to pieces. Outside this building, two statues have been erected, one on either side of the entrance. These statues are of people, men more specifically, both in the exact same, tortured pose, agony on their faces. Hercules walks straight up to one of them, hands on his hips.

Hercules: Excuse me, oh noble soul, I might have a word.

Suddenly, the statue's head slowly and awkwardly beings to turn, the expression of anguish shifting into one more of curiosity.

Statue: Nothing noble about me, I'm afraid. Just a lost soul in a lost world.

Ravager: It talks? The statue talks.

Statue: Not a statue, but the last remnants of the man I once used to be, chosen to become a piece and fragment of the realm you see before you. It is as much a part of me as I am of it.

Hercules: Which is exactly why I must speak with you. You know things, see things that go on in this domain.

Statues: Yes, all things.

Hercules: We were hoping you might know of a young girl brought here not long ago, a couple years at most. Raised by Ares, during his time in rule, purple hair, strong of heart. Goes by the name of Lyta.

Statue: Ah, yes... the girl. She does sound familiar.

Hercules: Might you know where we can find her?

Statue: Let me see... my memory is fuzzy, muddled. So many thoughts all melded together into a seamless flow. Give me a moment to recall...

The statue, or lost soul, rather, suddenly stiffens up and freezes into a motionless object once again. Hercules remains in his stance, hands firmly at his hips, and waits. Ravager and Zatanna, on the other hand, begin to grow slightly impatient.

Zatanna: How long is he going to be like that?

Hercules: Shouldn't be long. It is difficult for souls merged with the Underworld to remember things after having their memories wiped with the waters of Lethe, even those memories gained after.

Ravager: Well, he'd better hurry. I'd really rather not stay in this place any longer than I have to.

As if on cue, the statue begins to move again, once more turning to face them.

Statue: The girl, Lyta, yes, I remember now. When Ares took over rule here, he brought her to live at the Palace of Hades. There, he raised and cared for her, until his untimely demise. After that, the young girl was left without a caretaker and wandered these unforgiving lands, tired and alone. Once Lord Hades returned, however, he found her, brought her back to the palace. She is still there, to the best of my knowledge.

Ravager: Alright, good, let's go.

Hercules: We thank you for your assistance and cooperation. May you continue to rest in peace.

And with that, Hercules proceeds into the barren wasteland.

Hercules: Come, the Walls of Erebos are just beyond these hills. Once past that, we begin our true journey into the Underworld.

Ravager: You mean we're not actually in the Underworld yet?

Hercules: Not quite. These grounds are more akin to Hades' front lawn.

Zatanna: This place just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?

Ext. Walls of Erebos – ???

The giant, three headed monster canine snaps its jaws at them, standing guard in front of the main entrance with lips curled back and teeth bared. It doesn't attack, however, not as long as they keep their distance.

Ravager: Alright, how the hell are we supposed to get past that?

Hercules: Relax, this won't be any trouble at all. Cerberus and I have a history together; I once borrowed him to complete one of my many labors. He'll let us by once he remembers me.

Stepping forward, Hercules raises a hand as if to calm the beast.

Hercules: Be at ease, noble Cerberus. We have come meaning no harm, and wish only to speak with your lord and master, Hades.

The only response he receives is three very large, very vicious jaws lashing out at him. Quickly, he jumps back out of the way in a near panic.

Ravager: Smooth.

Hercules: He does seem to be a bit more aggressive than last we met.

Rolling her eyes, Zatanna steps forward this time.

Zatanna: This is wasting time, let's do this the easy way. Og ot peels!

Within moments, the great furry beast begins to teeter on its legs, soon falling forward and landing against the ground with a thunderous impact. Taking in deep, steady breaths, Cerberus swiftly slips off to dreamland.

Hercules: My, that is effective.

Zatanna: Can we keep going, now?

Ext. Asphodel Meadows – ???

The next stop on the way to Hades' place is the Asphodel Meadows. As described to them already, it is a place where neutral or unimpressive souls end up upon death, if not chosen to merge with the world itself, as the lost soul they spoke with previously. It is a ghostly place, of bleakness and sadness, nothing more than an expansive, empty field of flowers where the pale shades of departed souls wander aimlessly. Ravager glances to either side of her as she walks, eying the wispy hands of forgotten souls reaching out to her. Frowning, she blows out a breath of air, causing the smoky figure to disperse.

Zatanna: I can... feel them. It's like they're calling out to me, yearning for me to stay with them.

Hercules: Listen not to the voices of the departed, for they will whisper sorrowful persuasions into your ear. If they have their way, you will never leave this place.

Zatanna: So just... ignore them? Right, easy...

Several more ghostly arms claw up at them, reaching and pulling. Zatanna waves her arms around through the air, dispersing them.

Ext. Plains of Judgment – ???

Hercules: The last place between us and the dividing roads, which we can follow to the Palace of Hades. This is where newly departed souls are judged, then sent off to their final place of rest.

As with the Asphodel Meadows, the Plains of Judgment consist of wide open fields. However, there are no flowers, only tall grass, in which colorless figures shuffle forward in seemingly endless lines, waiting to be judged. These figures are much more solid in appearance than the wispy shades in the Meadows, but do no give the passing three even a brief glance, their attention solely on their destination in front of them.

Ravager: Ya know, I'm starting to be really glad I'm not Greek. This whole afterlife of yours is just... depressing.

Hercules: One of the bleaker afterlifes, it is true, unless of course you are judged virtuous enough to be allowed into Elysium, a true paradise for the deceased.

Ravager: Something tells me I wouldn't qualify.

Zatanna: I think you may be surprised.

Ravager: Either way, I'd rather not have to find out the hard way.

Hercules: Hopefully, you never shall. Now come, we are almost there.

Ravager: Next stop is the big guy, right?

Hercules: Almost, yes. We do still have one more stop to make along the way first, but I doubt it will take long.

Ext. Palace of Hades – ???

The enormous, obsidian carved palace looms high above them, with pointed spires stretching towards the sky. The jagged edges of these spires give the palace an appearance as though covered with countless, razor sharp knives, truly a fitting home for the ruler of the dead.

Ravager: So... you're sure your plan will work?

Hercules: It should, yes. I would rather not have to find out for, sure, however. It is merely a backup, should words fail.

Zatanna: And how likely is that, exactly?

Hercules: I estimate it at thirty-seventy.

Ravager: With the seventy being...?

Hercules: That Hades attempts to destroy us for intruding upon his domain.

Ravager: Fantastic...

Hercules: But that is why we have a plan. Now, let us enter and-

Before he can finish his sentence, the earth beneath them suddenly bursts open, as thin, skeletal hands begin to claw their way to the surface. At first, there are only a few pairs, but they are then joined by dozens of others. Within moments, an entire squadron of bone warriors, dressed in full battle gear, including armor, swords, shields, spears, and even maces, stand between them and the entrance to the palace.

Zatanna: That's quite the welcoming committee.

Hercules: I'm afraid my uncle is not very fond of visitors. These are his personal guards, sent to keep us out. We must fight through them to get inside.

Ravager: Now that I can live with. And with them already being dead-

She smirks, drawing her swords and preparing herself, as Hades' guards begin to advance towards them. Beating them to the punch, she sprints at them, leaps forward into the middle of the group and begins hacking with expert skill, going straight for decapitations.

Ravager: -means I don't have to hold back!

Hercules smiles at Ravager's enthusiasm, then draws his own sword and shield, beginning to charge.

Hercules: Shall we join her?

Zatanna: Be my guest; I'll be doing this from a distance. Yfirtcele!

Holding a hand forward, a web of lightning bolts from her fingertips, striking one of the skeleton warriors and turning it to ash. The lightning then leaps out from its initial target and jumps to several others in a long chain effect, vaporizing those, as well. Normally, she is not so lethal with her spell casting, but as Ravager said, these foes are already dead.

Hercules rams into a guard, battering it with his shield and then swinging out his sword, splitting it in half. Spinning wildly, he strikes several others close by with his shield, launching them backwards and breaking them to pieces. These enemies may be undead, but they are quite fragile, it seems. Still, their numbers are great, and that is their biggest advantage. Ravager weaves around enemy attacks, evading them with ease and countering with whirling strikes meant to take off empty skulls, cleave apart bony legs, and otherwise maim these skeletal guards.

But even as the guards fall in droves, with each one defeated, another two seem to rise from the ground to take its place. The three fight hard and valiantly, but make little progress in pushing forward to the palace entrance. As time goes on, all their effort goes into trying to keep from being skewered by their enemies.

Ravager: This isn't working! We're not getting anywhere this way!

Hercules: I fear you are correct. We must attempt a different tactic! Can you two keep them off me for a minute?

Another chain of lightning rips through a small group of warriors, frying them. Zatanna backs up, coming closer to Ravager, as the bone guards begin to surround them.

Zatanna: We can try, but hurry up!

With a mighty yell, Hercules swings his shield forward again, smashing apart the three guards in front of him. He then lowers the shield and charges forward, using it as a battering ram and pushing his way through the crowd, all the way up to the massive doors that open into the palace. Ravager and Zatanna follow him, beating back their foes every step of the way. Sheathing his sword, Hercules reaches forward and places his hands on the doors, pushing with all his might. It takes a mere moment before they begin to groan and creak, slowly giving way and opening. When the gap between the doors is wide enough, Hercules waves his allies in.

Hercules: Quickly!

Zatanna casts one more spell to drive the guards back, then slips inside, followed by Ravager and lastly Hercules, who pushes the doors closed behind them. Letting out a deep breath, Hercules places his hands on his hips and gives a merry laugh.

Hercules: I've not fought in a battle like that in ages! Ah, it feels good to stretch my sword-arm again. Now then, let us proceed. Hades will be waiting in his throne room.

Chapter #47

Int. Palace of Hades – ???

The interior of the palace is not much different from the outside, with walls all carved from jagged obsidian and no windows. The only light within is provided from flickering torches lining the walls, which cast eery, dancing shadows. Along either side of the central corridor are more statues, just like the ones they met when first arriving in the Underworld. These ones, however, look far more tortured and anguished.

Ravager: Well, this is... homey.

Zatanna: Not exactly my first choice in décor, I'll admit.

Hercules: Come, the throne room is right up this way.

They follow him down the central corridor to another set of double doors, these ones far smaller in size than the palace entrance. Pushing them open, Hercules steps inside and walks forward a few steps, then stops. The other two remain just behind him. The room within is massive, nearly as tall as it is long, with the ceiling so high above them that the torchlight does not reach, instead casting it in shadow. At the end of the room rises a large throne, the seat also carved out of the same black obsidian as the rest of the palace. Seated upon this throne is a large figure dressed in flowing black robes and armor, with equally dark, stringy hair: Hades. Leaning to the side of the throne, Hades holds his head up with his hand, looking somewhat bored and unamused as he eyes the three before him.

Hades: Nephew... why have you returned to my domain? And why have you brought these intruders with you? They reek of the living, an insult to the realm of dead.

Hercules: Dear uncle, we have come to make a request of you.

Hades: A request. Really? And what makes you think that I would grant you such a thing?

Hercules: You have aided me before, during one of my many labors in ages past. I humbly ask for your assistance once again.

Hades: That was a very long time ago, Heracles. But go ahead, make your request. I am... curious.

Pushing past Hercules, Ravager comes forward this time.

Ravager: We’ve come for-

Hades: Remove your mask, woman. I will not be spoken to by a person who would hide when giving words.

Pausing briefly, Ravager glances back at the others for a moment before finally reaching up and removing the faceplate to her costume's helmet.

Ravager: There, happy now?

Hades: I would choose your words more carefully. You stand in the presence of a god, and the proper respect will be shown.

Frowning slightly, she clears her throat and tries again. It almost physically pains her to try and contort her words into something a god would find respectful

Ravager: Lord Hades, we have come to your domain to request the freedom of the girl known as Lyta, daughter of the sorceress, Circe. Our information tells us that you have been raising her within your palace.

Hades: Ah, you come for the girl, how very intriguing. Tell me, woman, what purpose would one such as yourself have in doing this favor for that insufferable wench?

Ravager: To complete my part of a bargain.

Hades: A bargain with a treacherous sorceress... what would compel one to agree to that?

Ravager: That is my own business.

Hades: Perhaps. But why should I give up the girl? She is happy here, she is cared for, she is safe.

Ravager: She belongs with her mother.

Hades: Her mother suffers in Tartarus for her sins! You would condemn a girl to a life of eternal torment simply to be with her mother?

Ravager: You let me worry about that. We'll figure something out.

Hades: Your lack of conviction is uninspiring, I'm afraid. I have no reason to believe she would be better off going with you.

Ravager: Because this place is so good for her, right? Looks like something out of a bad Hellraiser flick.

The air around them seems to instantly chill, following her words. Hades rises from his throne, glaring hotly at her with a look that could pierce diamond. Even Hercules takes a small step back.

Hades: You dare to insult a god?!

Another chilling silence. Zatanna eases herself forward and whispers.

Zatanna: Tread lightly, Rose... tread lightly.

Ravager: Just calling it how I see it.

Hades: I should cast you into Tartarus!

Ravager: Please, if you were going to, you'd have done it already.

Hades does not respond, but continues to glare, his gaze narrowing even more.

Ravager: Tell you what, you show us the girl, and if we're satisfied at how she's being treated, then we'll leave.

Hades: And if unsatisfied, exactly what do you intend to do about it?

Ravager: We'll just have to come up with a different solution, now won’t we?

Another long stare from Hades, until finally he raises a hand. A flash of white hot light sears the ground in front of him, and when it disappears, a young girl with purple hair is standing there, though she's dressed like a high school goth reject, with a lot of leather, straps, eyeliner, and the like. Her expression seems empty and sullen, as if not noticing what is happening around her. Upon seeing this, Ravager frowns.

She's no older than Holly... what the hell has this b**tard done to her?

Hades: My dear Lyta, explain to these people how happy you are here, with me.

Lyta: I... am happy here. This is... my home.

Ravager: This isn't your home, Lyta, this is a prison. We've come to take you back to your mother, where you belong.

The girl slowly glances up at them, her expression still void of any real emotion. Her voice, too, is hollow and empty.

Lyta: I don't... I have no mother... I have never had a mother. This has always been my home, I have always... been here.

Ravager: What do you mean you've never had a mother? Of course you do; her name is Circe.

Lyta: Circe... I don't know that name.

A triumphant smirk slashes across Hades' face.

Hades: You see? She does not even know her mother. She knows only my domain, and her happiness here.

Zatanna: Something feels off... what's wrong with her? Why doesn't she remember- oh dear Hotath.

Realizing the indication at the same time, Hercules comes forward, an angry scowl on his face.

Hercules: You forced her to drink from the waters of Lethe! She has no memory of her past life, none of it! That is how you keep her here!

Hades: Such a simple solution, don't you think?

Giving her full attention to the young girl, Ravager takes a knee, coming to eye level with her.

Ravager: Lyta, snap out of it. You do have a mother, and she misses you very much. Everything this monster has told you is a lie, none of it is true. This isn't your home, and you do not belong here.

Hercules: Bother not with words, dear Rose. It will take much more than that to remove the forgetfulness inflicted upon her mind. Uncle, we're taking the girl.

Hades: You will do no such thing. Not a single one of you will leave this room alive. Lyta, be a good girl and come to your master's side.

Seating himself back on his throne, Hades watches as the girl turns from the others and obediently walks to the side of the throne. She just stands there, waiting and doing nothing else. Ravager clenches her hands to fists, scowling; at this point, Lyta is no more than a trained pet at Hades' beck and call. Rising back to her feet, she begins marching towards the twisted god.

Ravager: You demented b**tard... I swear, I'll-

Hades: You will do what, exactly? I am a god, and you forget your place, mortal!

With a wave of the hand, more of Hades' minions begin to crawl their way out of the floor, though these ones are covered with bloody musculature, skin removed from their bodies. Not all of them are humanoid, either, some resembling great, hulking monstrosities of nature, animalistic beasts with gaping jaws and piercing eyes.

Hades: Do try to put up a good fight; at least then you might provide some entertainment before your bodies are ripped to pieces.

Zatanna: So, is this part of the plan?

Hercules: A minor issue. As soon as we deal with this lot, we will be able to-

His words are cut off, however, as one of the monstrous, sinewy beasts attacks from behind, swatting away the demi-god like a fly. Hercules quickly recovers, however, rolling back up to his feet and then sprinting at the creature. With a mighty lunge, he tackles the monster and begins grappling with it. Ravager and Zatanna, meanwhile, have their own problems.

Ravager: Z, get back to safe spot, hit them from afar!

Zatanna: Way ahead of you!

As Ravager leaps into the fray, whirling her blades around in a wild frenzy, Zatanna retreats backwards a ways, then brings her hands up.

Zatanna: Edolpxe!

Instantly, one of the undead warriors bursts apart in a bloody mist, no trace left behind except for a red stain on the floor. She enjoys not having to hold back almost as much as Ravager does, whose swords cleave a bloody swath through the undead guards. It feels... empowering, being able to let loose the full might of her magic for a change. Of course, doing so also has its drawbacks. She can feel her power draining slowly, gradually, the more she uses it. Her magic tires her over time just the same as her more physically combative allies lose stamina during combat.

Leaping over one of the large, monstrous creatures, Ravager comes down on the other side while slashing along its backside with her blades. The sharp edges slice cleanly through sinew, spraying blood and dropping the creature to the floor. Following her sharp skills and reflexes, she continues cutting her way through these new enemies. Meanwhile, Hercules has torn apart several of the larger monsters with his bare hands, though now fights again with sword and shield. He does more than is fair share of cutting down their foes.

There is a problem, however. As with the skeletal guards outside the palace, the numbers of these new enemies do not dwindle, no matter how many of them are defeated. Within minutes, they begin to swarm and overtake the heroes, far too many to properly fight and keep track of.

Ravager: Do these things ever stop coming?

Hercules: Not as long as Hades wills it! He means for us to fight until we are too exhausted to continue, at which point his guards will cut us apart!

Zatanna: Well, that's a bit of a downer, huh? Teg kcab!

A small group of the sinewy creatures fly backwards through the air, allowing the heroes some breathing room. This doesn't last very long, however, as the numbers continue to grow, enemies closing in on them. Taking in a deep breath, Zatanna raises a hand again, preparing to cast another spell. Hades, on the other hand, appears to have other ideas, pointing a finger at her.

Hades: Silence, witch.

Instantly, Zatanna's mouth closes up, her lips no longer able to open. She lets out muffled cries, trying to cast a spell, but nothing works. A moment later, one of the guards comes forward and thrusts its spear, the metal tip ripping into the her side. A quiet scream of pain gurgles in her throat, as she falls to the floor.

Ravager: Zatanna!

Cutting through the enemies in front of her, Ravager jumps over several others to reach Zatanna before the attacking guard can finish off the downed magician. Swinging her blades viciously, she cleaves off both the creature's arms, then finally its head, and kicks the body backwards. She quickly steals a glance down at Zatanna, who, though injured, is still breathing and alive.

Ravager: Just hang in there, Z. Herc! Now would be a good time for the plan!

Bashing a few of the guards back with his shield, the demi-god turns to her.

Hercules: We'll need a distraction!

Before Ravager can answer, she is forced to whirl around again and cut down another attacking guard. However, at the same time, three others come in with their blades. She manages to twist herself out of the way of two of them, but the third cuts deep into her backside, going through her suit like butter. Her earthly armor is apparently of no defense against these otherworldly weapons. Scowling, she spins around and cuts the guard apart.

Ravager: Now I'm really pissed.

She can feel that burning beginning to spread through her, the pain of growing muscle and shifting bone.

Ravager: You need a distraction? I think... I can give you one!

As her emotions run wild, so does the more animalistic side of her. Though still not in total control, she concentrates, gets angrier, forces her body to transform. She suddenly feels... very hungry. The next time she opens her mouth, a deep, intimidating roar erupts from her throat. In seconds, her body grows further and completes the transformation, furry muscle bursting apart her armor from the inside out.

Her suddenly enhanced senses pick up another incoming attack. With agility far greater than her human form, she turns around and grabs the thrusting spear, then breaks it in half with little effort. Pointed ears flicking back, lips curling, spittle dripping from her jaws, Ravager roars again, this time slashing out with her claws and ripping the squishy guard to shreds. And then, the snow white werewolf is off and tearing through the Hades' troops, cutting them to ribbons and tearing meaty chunks out of them with her teeth. The hunger burning inside her must be sated.

Hercules: By Zeus...

The demi-god stares and watches the massacre for several moments, before his eyes shift carefully over to his uncle. Hades is standing now, as if ready to act himself, though his attention is drawn fully to the rampaging werewolf eviscerating his guards. Snapping out of his surprise, Hercules cuts down a few remaining stragglers not occupied with Ravager, then runs over to Zatanna's side.

Hercules: Young magician, can you hear me? Are you alright?

Though bleeding from her side, Zatanna nods. Her lips are still shut tightly, unable to cast anything. Reaching into his hip pouch, Hercules pulls out another vial, this one filled with a transparent liquid.

Hercules: Can you still do your part?

Again, Zatanna nods. As Hercules uncorks the vial, she pulls her hand away from her bloodied side and begins to rub her fingers across the ground, writing a spell on the surface. There is no stronger magic than blood magic, yet it is to be used only under the most dire of circumstances, as each spell cast in blood siphons away a small amount of the user's life force. Right now, however, the situation calls for it.

Suddenly, the water inside the vial begins to float up into the air. It hovers there briefly, quivering and undulating, then begins to fly off in a long stream, heading straight at Hades. During this time, Hades has come forward off his throne, glaring at the werewolf, as it continues to rip apart his minions. Finally losing his patience, he raises a hand. Instantly, Ravager flies through the air and crashes against the wall, pinned there by an invisible force.

Hades: Enough of this! You will burn in Tartarus, wretched beast!

Before he can continue his assault, however, the airborne stream of water abruptly forces its way down his throat in an instant. Coughing, he takes a step back and scowls, then glares over at Hercules and Zatanna.

Hades: What foolish attempt was that? What did you hope to... to... what did you... who... what's going on? Who are you people? Where are we?

With the hold over her lips releasing, Zatanna breaths out a sigh of relief.

Zatanna: Laeh em.

Her wound instantly closes up, healing completely.

Zatanna: I can't believe that actually worked. Good call on hitting up Lethe on the way here.

Hercules: The danger has not yet past, I'm afraid. The waters of forgetfulness do not last forever on gods. We must retreat and leave this place before Hades remembers who he is. Attend to the girl, make her sleep for now if you must. We'll need to take her to Mnemosyne, the river of memory. Its waters will counteract what Lethe has done to her.

Zatanna: Right, on it.

As Zatanna heads over to Lyta, Hercules hurries over to Rose's side, who has now come out of her werewolf transformation. During this entire time, Hades looks around, as though confused, unable to remember anything about anything.

Holding herself up against the wall, Rose lets out a small groan and straightens herself, then stretches out her arms. Hercules suddenly freezes in place, however, realizing that, after shredding her costume, she is fully nude. Either not noticing this, or simply not caring (most likely the latter), Rose walks forward and gives him a congratulatory pat on the shoulder as she pushes past him.

Rose: Good work.

Hercules just blinks, his gaze following her. Finally, Rose apparently acknowledges the situation and glances back over her shoulder, smirking.

Ravager: Take a good long look, muscle-boy, because you won't be touching.

Hercules: Great Zeus...

Zatanna, now carrying the sleeping Lyta in her arms, turns to them and notices Rose's... predicament. She blinks, her gaze following the naked woman to the exit.

Rose: What are you all waiting for? Let's blow this joint.

Zatanna: That girl has no shame.

Int. The River Styx – Day

A short while later, Rose, Zatanna, and Hercules have returned to the shores of the River Styx, about ready to leave the Underworld for good. One matter does need to be taken care of first, however, a matter for which Themis has rejoined them. Soon, Circe appears, being led by cloaked and hooded figures. Chains are around her hands, and empty sockets still where her eyes should be. Because of her current blindness, she does not notice her daughter, not until the girl runs forward.

Lyta: Mother!

Circe's face instantly shifts into surprise and then softens. A brief moment later, mother and daughter embrace.

Circe: My girl... oh, how I missed you.

Lyta: I missed you, too.

Taking in a deep breath, Circe then tilts her head towards the others.

Circe: Please, my eyes... let me see her.

Themis gives a slow nod, granting permission for Zatanna to cast a spell.

Zatanna: Laeh S'ecric seye.

Once the spell is cast, Circe lets out a small gasp as her eyeballs begin to reform in their sockets. Within seconds, she blinks and can see once again, the image of her daughter appearing before her. Lyta is no longer dressed in the horrid attire that Hades had given her, now in a much more simple and traditional Greek toga, with her hair tied back out of her face. No atrocious eyeliner to speak of, either.

Circe: Lyta... you're beautiful.

The girl smiles back widely at her mother.

Lyta: And so are you.

After giving the two a couple more moments together, Rose, now fully dressed again, after Zatanna took the liberty of casting some clothes on her, steps forward and folds her arms.

Rose: There, I completed my end of the bargain, now remove the curse.

Circe's gaze slowly shifts over to Rose again.

Circe: Before I do, I want something else.

Rose: Are you kidding me? We just went through hell and back for your daughter! Now you want something else from us?

Circe: Not from you, no.

She looks over at Themis, now.

Circe: From her.

Themis: You are not in a good position to be making demands, Circe.

Circe: It is not a command, just a request.

Themis: Then make your request, though I make no promises in granting it.

Circe: I want parole, so I can raise my daughter.

Themis: Circe, you are sentenced to four thousand years in Tartarus, without the possibility of parole. That is something I cannot grant.

Circe: You cannot expect me to take Lyta back with me to Tartarus. I can't raise her there. Please, have mercy on a mother and her daughter.

Themis: The same mercy you showed to all of your victims throughout the years? Or, should I say, lack thereof?

Circe: Put me under guard, lock me up, have Zeus himself keep an eye on me, I don't care, just... please, anywhere but Tartarus. I want to be with my daughter, whatever it takes.

Themis goes quiet, apparently considering the words, though her expression doesn't shift. Rose glances between the two for a moment, then utters a long sigh.

Rose: Just do it.

Themis: You are not the one to decide this, Rose Wilson. Parole is not something I can grant to one of the most powerful criminal sorceresses in this world.

Rose: There isn't any way you can make an exception? She just said she didn't care what it took. Shut her up somewhere else and just let her raise her daughter.

If Circe doesn't get parole, the backstabbing b*tch might not cure me. I am not letting that happen.

Themis: There may be one way in which I can grant parole.

Circe: I don't care what it is.

Themis: Very well, allow me to consult the scales.

Raising her scales up, Themis waits a moment. Eventually, it tilts heavily to the left, the right side coming all the way up.

Themis: I see... it can be done. Circe, you are hereby granted parole-

Circe's face instantly lights up in relief, a smile coming over her face.

Themis: -on the condition that you give up your magic. You will hereby be stripped of all your power, and your immortality. You you live a normal, mortal life to raise your daughter.

Circe's elation suddenly turns to shock and disappointment, a distant frown forming on her face.

Themis: And you will be watched very closely. Should you ever give reason, the gods themselves will drag you back to the deepest pits of Tartarus, where you will spend eternity. Are these conditions acceptable to you?

Breathing in a deep breath, Circe slowly looks down at her daughter. Lyta returns the gaze, eyes meeting. Eventually, Circe closes her eyes and nods.

Circe: I accept.

Themis: Then you are free to leave with the others. When you return to the living world, your power will be gone.

Rose: But before that happens, you owe me something.

Circe: Of course... in thanks for bringing me my daughter.

Walking forward, Circe brings her hands to Rose's temples, then closes her eyes and takes in a deep breath. Rose feels a cold ripple run through her body, followed by a strange warmth.

Circe: The curse is gone.

Rose: Good... thanks. Now let's get the hell out of here.

Ext. Cape Tainaron – Day

Bright sunlight greets them, as they walk out of the cave entrance and return to the surface. Hercules steps forward and breathes in a deep breath, holding his arms up to the sky.

Hercules: Ah, a glorious day!

Turning back to the others, he smiles and holds out his hand.

Hercules: It was a pleasure and honor to fight by your sides, young maidens.

Rose and Zatanna extend their own hands, giving Hercules' a firm shake.

Zatanna: My sentiments are the same. It was an honor.

Rose: Yeah, you do pretty good. I mean, for a demi-god and all.

Then, Hercules looks over to Circe, who holds her daughter's hand gently. He walks up to her and points a finger, glaring.

Hercules: And you, witch, do not squander this opportunity you have been given. Atone for your sins, as I have done, and live a good life. Your daughter deserves that much.

Circe says nothing in response, simply glancing down at Lyta and tightening her grip slightly. Lyta looks back up at her and returns the squeeze, smiling.

Hercules: And with that, I must be off. Farewell, and good luck in your future adventures!

With a parting wave, Hercules turns away from them again and heads down the hill, disappearing from sight soon after. Once he is gone, Circe holds her free hand up, staring at it. She splays her fingers, turns her hand over, then clenches them into a light fist.

Circe: It feels... very strange, being mortal. No magic, no power...

Rose: You'll get used to it, eventually. Just remember what Herc said: don't you dare screw things up after what we went through for you. You take care of your daughter, got it?

Circe: At this point, I want nothing more. Once we figure out a place to go and find a home, I will raise her well.

Rose glances back briefly at Zatanna, who merely shrugs. Releasing a soft breath, she turns to Circe again.

Please don't let me regret this...

Rose: Look, if you don't have anywhere to go, I... know of a place. Silverstone, the city where I live. It might take some adjusting, but it might be a good fit for you. I look after girl named Holly, too; she's about your daughter's age. They... could be friends.

Circe stiffens up slightly, raising her chin, as if trying to show her pride. She doesn't respond, at first, simply staring. Eventually, however, she utters a breath of her own and holds a hand to her hip.

Circe: Very well... but do not think this makes us friends. I have no need of people like you to call friend.

Rose: Oh sure, no problem. I only fought the minions of Hades for you, saved your daughter, and got you freed from four thousand years of pain and suffering, but no, you're right, you wouldn't a friend like that, now would you?

A long pause passes between them, before finally Circe crosses her arms and purses her lips.

Circe: Let's just go, already.

Rose: In a minute. Just hang tight for a sec, kay? Good.

Turning away from Circe, Rose walks back over to Zatanna, holding an arm around her shoulders.

Rose: Gotta say, Z, you're not half bad.

Zatanna: Well, I do have experience. I will say the same of you, though; I'd only heard about you in passing from Dick, every now and then, but you've impressed me.

Rose: Hey, you're not they only one with experience. Now, I just, uh... I have one question before we head home.

Zatanna: Shoot.

Rose: Back there, when you healed Circe's eyes... could you heal the same type of injury on anyone?

Lifting an eyebrow, Zatanna tilts her head and gives a curious look. Her gaze focuses in on Rose's eye patch.

Zatanna: Yes, I could. I can heal most injuries, in fact, past or current. You want your eye back?

Breathing outwardly, Rose glances towards the ground and slowly nods.

Rose: It's the last, constant reminder I have of my father; you know him. I want it gone.

Zatanna: Then just hold still, this will only take a moment.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Day

Zatanna's magic transports them just outside the door to Rose's penthouse. Circe and Lyta are with them, dressed in normal, casual clothes now. Reaching forward, Rose pushes the door open and leads them inside.

Rose: I'm back! Anyone home?

A moment later, a familiar figure appears out of the kitchen. Upon seeing Rose, Rebecca lets out a heavy, relieved breath, then runs up and gives a warm embrace.

Becky: Dios mio, I was getting worried. You were gone for days!

Rose: Yeah, I know, I'm sorry. But I'm back now, and one hundred percent normal... well, for me.

Becky: That's great news, I can still hardly believe that-

Suddenly, Becky stops mid sentence, blinking in confusion and staring. Her hand comes up, clutches the side of Rose's cheek.

Becky: Rose, your eye...

Rose: Yeah, I got it back. Kept the scar, though; I think it looks cool.

Becky: That's... I mean.... I don't believe...

Unable to formulate her thoughts into complete sentences, Becky instead responds with a firm kiss, pressing their lips together for several moments before pulling away. Her gaze then moves over to Zatanna, who gives a wave in greeting.

Becky: Thanks for helping her, Zar... er... Z, was it?

Zatanna: That works fine, and you're welcome. It was my pleasure.

Becky: And who are they?

She's looking at Circe and Lyta now.

Rose: Oh, these are... sort of friends. That's Circe, and her daughter Lyta.

Becky: Well, good to meet you both.

She extends her hand to them, and though Lyta quickly shakes it, Circe just folds her arms and sort of glares.

Rose: Er... don't mind her. She's adjusting.

Becky: And where did you meet them?

Rose: That's a rather long story... I'll tell you all about it later.

Another figure then appears, wandering out of living room. Holly's eyes light up when she sees who's there, then rushes forward and hugs Rose. Looking up to her, she then begins rifling through a series of hand signals, while mouthing the words at the same time.

Holly: I'm so glad you're back!

Rose: I'm glad, too, honey, believe me.

Putting a hand on Holly's back, Rose eases her forward and turns to the side, showing her to Lyta.

Rose: Holly, I'd like you meet Lyta. She's your age, I think.

Lyta walks forward now, giving Holly a long look. She then holds out her hand.

Lyta: It's nice to meet you.

Before Holly answers, Zatanna mutters a backwards whisper under her breath. Holly then reaches forward to shake Lyta's hand and smiles.

Holly: It's nice to meet you, too.

That's when everyone's eyes go wide.

Rose: What the-

Becky: Qué mierda!

Holly: I- I... I'm talking? I can... I- I can talk again! I can talk!

The poor girl is nearly in tears of joy over this sudden occurrence, a broad smile on her face that isn't going away. Rose glances towards Zatanna, meeting her gaze. The magician simply smiles, then gives a very small nod. Rose can't help it; she smiles, too.

Holly then suddenly reaches out and grabs Lyta's hand, bringing the girl farther inside the penthouse.

Holly: Come on, I'll show you my room! Oh my god, I'm talking again! This is so awesome!

Circe blinks, watching as her daughter is dragged away.

Circe: Hey, wait a minute!

Rose: Relax, they'll be fine. Let them play. In the meantime, come inside. We need to figure out where you'll be staying.

Closing the door behind her, Rose leads the group of women into the living room.

Becky: Anyone want a drink?

Zatanna: Oh, I'll have something. What do you got?

Becky: Well, aside the hard stuff, there's some beer in the fridge-

Circe: Uck, beer. Vile stuff, the drink of curs. Please tell me you have wine.

Rose smirks slightly and lifts her eyebrows. Circe may be mortal now, but she really has to work on her people skills.

There's some irony for you, Rose. You thinking someone else needs work on people skills.

Rose: We'll see what we can find. Just make yourself comfortable; we have a lot to talk about.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #48 Preview: It's Christmas time, and merriment is in the air! As is a failed police escort, when a highly dangerous metahuman prisoner is freed en route to a high security prison. In the next issue, Rose deals with the holidays, an explosive prisoner, and a familiar face, as the big crossover event kicks off!

#1 Posted by Time_Phantom (536 posts) - - Show Bio

Great as always. Lots of guest characters I see, waiting for the crossover event. (I'd really like to write something with you... jus saying) On to the review!

Your settings really help the story along (that being the part most fic's fail at) and not one character is under used in the slightest. You handle all of them really well. I do think Holly should take her time getting used to talking. Yeah she'll be a chatter box for weeks, but with the way Rose lives I can see her falling back into sign language when things get bad around her. Becky is starting to become more and more important, seems to me you're building her into an Oracle type character. I don't think she'd be ok with that forever. I think next we should see some definate ware and tear on their relationship becuase of the Ravager. Because being utterly useless when Rose was turning, would has a bit of a damaging effect for both of them.

Anyways this is just my oppinion. This is your story, you do what you want, because you do it well. Keep up the great work!

#2 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@Time_Phantom said:

I do think Holly should take her time getting used to talking. Yeah she'll be a chatter box for weeks, but with the way Rose lives I can see her falling back into sign language when things get bad around her.

That's actually a good point. I can see her slipping back into sign language during bad situations, or when she's in trouble, etc.

Becky is starting to become more and more important, seems to me you're building her into an Oracle type character. I don't think she'd be ok with that forever. I think next we should see some definite ware and tear on their relationship becuase of the Ravager. Because being utterly useless when Rose was turning, would has a bit of a damaging effect for both of them.

Right you are, actually. In the next arc, this is addressed (and sort of already is being addressed, what with Rose training her now and all. Becky really doesn't want to be stuck behind a computer forever), which leads to something special happening for Becky. Obviously won't be giving details away, but she'll be heavily involved in the coming crossover, and will soon be able to help in much bigger ways.

Thanks for the comment, as always. Glad you're still enjoying it, haha. Was a little worried about this arc, since it's so much different from the past ones (magic, gods, the underworld, etc.), but I guess it worked out. As for writing something with me, I can't say it wouldn't be interesting, but I'm leaning on no if only for the purpose of not wanting to give away spoilers xD my stories have a much better impact when you don't already know what's going to happen. Well, all stories work better than way, actually, but yeah.

#3 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

friendly bump

#4 Posted by batkevin74 (11212 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4: Can't remember where I was up to so I just picked up this new 'trade' and started here at #41 @Ravager4 said:

Swallowing a hard lump in her throat, she thinks back to what Dick told her, how bites are what spreads the lycanthropy virus, in most cases. She had never given it much thought, though, after it happened. After all, to think that she could be turning into a werewolf... it's a laughable thought.

Int. Palace of Hades – ???

The interior of the palace is not much different from the outside, with walls all carved from jagged obsidian and no windows. The only light within is provided from flickering torches lining the walls, which cast eery, dancing shadows. Along either side of the central corridor are more statues, just like the ones they met when first arriving in the Underworld. These ones, however, look far more tortured and anguished.

Ravager: Well, this is... homey.

Zatanna: Not exactly my first choice in décor, I'll admit.

Hercules: Come, the throne room is right up this way.

They follow him down the central corridor to another set of double doors, these ones far smaller in size than the palace entrance. Pushing them open, Hercules steps inside and walks forward a few steps, then stops. The other two remain just behind him. The room within is massive, nearly as tall as it is long, with the ceiling so high above them that the torchlight does not reach, instead casting it in shadow. At the end of the room rises a large throne, the seat also carved out of the same black obsidian as the rest of the palace. Seated upon this throne is a large figure dressed in flowing black robes and armor, with equally dark, stringy hair: Hades. Leaning to the side of the throne, Hades holds his head up with his hand, looking somewhat bored and unamused as he eyes the three before him.

Hades: Nephew... why have you returned to my domain? And why have you brought these intruders with you? They reek of the living, an insult to the realm of dead.

Hercules: Dear uncle, we have come to make a request of you.

Hades: A request. Really? And what makes you think that I would grant you such a thing?

Hercules: You have aided me before, during one of my many labors in ages past. I humbly ask for your assistance once again.

Hades: That was a very long time ago, Heracles. But go ahead, make your request. I am... curious.

Pushing past Hercules, Ravager comes forward this time.

Ravager: We’ve come for-

Hades: Remove your mask, woman. I will not be spoken to by a person who would hide when giving words.

Pausing briefly, Ravager glances back at the others for a moment before finally reaching up and removing the faceplate to her costume's helmet.

Ravager: There, happy now?

Hades: I would choose your words more carefully. You stand in the presence of a god, and the proper respect will be shown.

Frowning slightly, she clears her throat and tries again. It almost physically pains her to try and contort her words into something a god would find respectful

Ravager: Lord Hades, we have come to your domain to request the freedom of the girl known as Lyta, daughter of the sorceress, Circe. Our information tells us that you have been raising her within your palace.

Hades: Ah, you come for the girl, how very intriguing. Tell me, woman, what purpose would one such as yourself have in doing this favor for that insufferable wench?

Ravager: To complete my part of a bargain.

Hades: A bargain with a treacherous sorceress... what would compel one to agree to that?

Ravager: That is my own business.

Hades: Perhaps. But why should I give up the girl? She is happy here, she is cared for, she is safe.

Ravager: She belongs with her mother.

Hades: Her mother suffers in Tartarus for her sins! You would condemn a girl to a life of eternal torment simply to be with her mother?

Ravager: You let me worry about that. We'll figure something out.

Hades: Your lack of conviction is uninspiring, I'm afraid. I have no reason to believe she would be better off going with you.

Ravager: Because this place is so good for her, right? Looks like something out of a bad Hellraiser flick.

The air around them seems to instantly chill, following her words. Hades rises from his throne, glaring hotly at her with a look that could pierce diamond. Even Hercules takes a small step back.

Hades: You dare to insult a god?!

Another chilling silence. Zatanna eases herself forward and whispers.

Zatanna: Tread lightly, Rose... tread lightly.

Ravager: Just calling it how I see it.

Hades: I should cast you into Tartarus!

Ravager: Please, if you were going to, you'd have done it already.

Hades does not respond, but continues to glare, his gaze narrowing even more.

Ravager: Tell you what, you show us the girl, and if we're satisfied at how she's being treated, then we'll leave.

Hades: And if unsatisfied, exactly what do you intend to do about it?

Ravager: We'll just have to come up with a different solution, now won’t we?

Another long stare from Hades, until finally he raises a hand. A flash of white hot light sears the ground in front of him, and when it disappears, a young girl with purple hair is standing there, though she's dressed like a high school goth reject, with a lot of leather, straps, eyeliner, and the like. Her expression seems empty and sullen, as if not noticing what is happening around her. Upon seeing this, Ravager frowns.

She's no older than Holly... what the hell has this b**tard done to her?

Hades: My dear Lyta, explain to these people how happy you are here, with me.

Lyta: I... am happy here. This is... my home.

Ravager: This isn't your home, Lyta, this is a prison. We've come to take you back to your mother, where you belong.

The girl slowly glances up at them, her expression still void of any real emotion. Her voice, too, is hollow and empty.

Lyta: I don't... I have no mother... I have never had a mother. This has always been my home, I have always... been here.

Ravager: What do you mean you've never had a mother? Of course you do; her name is Circe.

Lyta: Circe... I don't know that name.

A triumphant smirk slashes across Hades' face.

Hades: You see? She does not even know her mother. She knows only my domain, and her happiness here.

Zatanna: Something feels off... what's wrong with her? Why doesn't she remember- oh dear Hotath.

Realizing the indication at the same time, Hercules comes forward, an angry scowl on his face.

Hercules: You forced her to drink from the waters of Lethe! She has no memory of her past life, none of it! That is how you keep her here!

Hades: Such a simple solution, don't you think?

Giving her full attention to the young girl, Ravager takes a knee, coming to eye level with her.

Ravager: Lyta, snap out of it. You do have a mother, and she misses you very much. Everything this monster has told you is a lie, none of it is true. This isn't your home, and you do not belong here.

Hercules: Bother not with words, dear Rose. It will take much more than that to remove the forgetfulness inflicted upon her mind. Uncle, we're taking the girl.

Hades: You will do no such thing. Not a single one of you will leave this room alive. Lyta, be a good girl and come to your master's side.

Seating himself back on his throne, Hades watches as the girl turns from the others and obediently walks to the side of the throne. She just stands there, waiting and doing nothing else. Ravager clenches her hands to fists, scowling; at this point, Lyta is no more than a trained pet at Hades' beck and call. Rising back to her feet, she begins marching towards the twisted god.

Ravager: You demented b**tard... I swear, I'll-

Hades: You will do what, exactly? I am a god, and you forget your place, mortal!

With a wave of the hand, more of Hades' minions begin to crawl their way out of the floor, though these ones are covered with bloody musculature, skin removed from their bodies. Not all of them are humanoid, either, some resembling great, hulking monstrosities of nature, animalistic beasts with gaping jaws and piercing eyes.

Hades: Do try to put up a good fight; at least then you might provide some entertainment before your bodies are ripped to pieces.

Zatanna: So, is this part of the plan?

Hercules: A minor issue. As soon as we deal with this lot, we will be able to-

His words are cut off, however, as one of the monstrous, sinewy beasts attacks from behind, swatting away the demi-god like a fly. Hercules quickly recovers, however, rolling back up to his feet and then sprinting at the creature. With a mighty lunge, he tackles the monster and begins grappling with it. Ravager and Zatanna, meanwhile, have their own problems.

Ravager: Z, get back to safe spot, hit them from afar!

Zatanna: Way ahead of you!

As Ravager leaps into the fray, whirling her blades around in a wild frenzy, Zatanna retreats backwards a ways, then brings her hands up.

Zatanna: Edolpxe!

Instantly, one of the undead warriors bursts apart in a bloody mist, no trace left behind except for a red stain on the floor. She enjoys not having to hold back almost as much as Ravager does, whose swords cleave a bloody swath through the undead guards. It feels... empowering, being able to let loose the full might of her magic for a change. Of course, doing so also has its drawbacks. She can feel her power draining slowly, gradually, the more she uses it. Her magic tires her over time just the same as her more physically combative allies lose stamina during combat.

Leaping over one of the large, monstrous creatures, Ravager comes down on the other side while slashing along its backside with her blades. The sharp edges slice cleanly through sinew, spraying blood and dropping the creature to the floor. Following her sharp skills and reflexes, she continues cutting her way through these new enemies. Meanwhile, Hercules has torn apart several of the larger monsters with his bare hands, though now fights again with sword and shield. He does more than is fair share of cutting down their foes.

There is a problem, however. As with the skeletal guards outside the palace, the numbers of these new enemies do not dwindle, no matter how many of them are defeated. Within minutes, they begin to swarm and overtake the heroes, far too many to properly fight and keep track of.

Ravager: Do these things ever stop coming?

Hercules: Not as long as Hades wills it! He means for us to fight until we are too exhausted to continue, at which point his guards will cut us apart!

Zatanna: Well, that's a bit of a downer, huh? Teg kcab!

A small group of the sinewy creatures fly backwards through the air, allowing the heroes some breathing room. This doesn't last very long, however, as the numbers continue to grow, enemies closing in on them. Taking in a deep breath, Zatanna raises a hand again, preparing to cast another spell. Hades, on the other hand, appears to have other ideas, pointing a finger at her.

Hades: Silence, witch.

Instantly, Zatanna's mouth closes up, her lips no longer able to open. She lets out muffled cries, trying to cast a spell, but nothing works. A moment later, one of the guards comes forward and thrusts its spear, the metal tip ripping into the her side. A quiet scream of pain gurgles in her throat, as she falls to the floor.

Ravager: Zatanna!

Cutting through the enemies in front of her, Ravager jumps over several others to reach Zatanna before the attacking guard can finish off the downed magician. Swinging her blades viciously, she cleaves off both the creature's arms, then finally its head, and kicks the body backwards. She quickly steals a glance down at Zatanna, who, though injured, is still breathing and alive.

Ravager: Just hang in there, Z. Herc! Now would be a good time for the plan!

Bashing a few of the guards back with his shield, the demi-god turns to her.

Hercules: We'll need a distraction!

Before Ravager can answer, she is forced to whirl around again and cut down another attacking guard. However, at the same time, three others come in with their blades. She manages to twist herself out of the way of two of them, but the third cuts deep into her backside, going through her suit like butter. Her earthly armor is apparently of no defense against these otherworldly weapons. Scowling, she spins around and cuts the guard apart.

Ravager: Now I'm really pissed.

She can feel that burning beginning to spread through her, the pain of growing muscle and shifting bone.

Ravager: You need a distraction? I think... I can give you one!

As her emotions run wild, so does the more animalistic side of her. Though still not in total control, she concentrates, gets angrier, forces her body to transform. She suddenly feels... very hungry. The next time she opens her mouth, a deep, intimidating roar erupts from her throat. In seconds, her body grows further and completes the transformation, furry muscle bursting apart her armor from the inside out.

Her suddenly enhanced senses pick up another incoming attack. With agility far greater than her human form, she turns around and grabs the thrusting spear, then breaks it in half with little effort. Pointed ears flicking back, lips curling, spittle dripping from her jaws, Ravager roars again, this time slashing out with her claws and ripping the squishy guard to shreds. And then, the snow white werewolf is off and tearing through the Hades' troops, cutting them to ribbons and tearing meaty chunks out of them with her teeth. The hunger burning inside her must be sated.

Hercules: By Zeus...

The demi-god stares and watches the massacre for several moments, before his eyes shift carefully over to his uncle. Hades is standing now, as if ready to act himself, though his attention is drawn fully to the rampaging werewolf eviscerating his guards. Snapping out of his surprise, Hercules cuts down a few remaining stragglers not occupied with Ravager, then runs over to Zatanna's side.

Hercules: Young magician, can you hear me? Are you alright?

Though bleeding from her side, Zatanna nods. Her lips are still shut tightly, unable to cast anything. Reaching into his hip pouch, Hercules pulls out another vial, this one filled with a transparent liquid.

Hercules: Can you still do your part?

Again, Zatanna nods. As Hercules uncorks the vial, she pulls her hand away from her bloodied side and begins to rub her fingers across the ground, writing a spell on the surface. There is no stronger magic than blood magic, yet it is to be used only under the most dire of circumstances, as each spell cast in blood siphons away a small amount of the user's life force. Right now, however, the situation calls for it.

Suddenly, the water inside the vial begins to float up into the air. It hovers there briefly, quivering and undulating, then begins to fly off in a long stream, heading straight at Hades. During this time, Hades has come forward off his throne, glaring at the werewolf, as it continues to rip apart his minions. Finally losing his patience, he raises a hand. Instantly, Ravager flies through the air and crashes against the wall, pinned there by an invisible force.

Hades: Enough of this! You will burn in Tartarus, wretched beast!

Before he can continue his assault, however, the airborne stream of water abruptly forces its way down his throat in an instant. Coughing, he takes a step back and scowls, then glares over at Hercules and Zatanna.

Hades: What foolish attempt was that? What did you hope to... to... what did you... who... what's going on? Who are you people? Where are we?

With the hold over her lips releasing, Zatanna breaths out a sigh of relief.

Zatanna: Laeh em.

Her wound instantly closes up, healing completely.

Zatanna: I can't believe that actually worked. Good call on hitting up Lethe on the way here.

Hercules: The danger has not yet past, I'm afraid. The waters of forgetfulness do not last forever on gods. We must retreat and leave this place before Hades remembers who he is. Attend to the girl, make her sleep for now if you must. We'll need to take her to Mnemosyne, the river of memory. Its waters will counteract what Lethe has done to her.

Zatanna: Right, on it.

As Zatanna heads over to Lyta, Hercules hurries over to Rose's side, who has now come out of her werewolf transformation. During this entire time, Hades looks around, as though confused, unable to remember anything about anything.

Holding herself up against the wall, Rose lets out a small groan and straightens herself, then stretches out her arms. Hercules suddenly freezes in place, however, realizing that, after shredding her costume, she is fully nude. Either not noticing this, or simply not caring (most likely the latter), Rose walks forward and gives him a congratulatory pat on the shoulder as she pushes past him.

Rose: Good work.

Hercules just blinks, his gaze following her. Finally, Rose apparently acknowledges the situation and glances back over her shoulder, smirking.

Ravager: Take a good long look, muscle-boy, because you won't be touching.

Hercules: Great Zeus...

Zatanna, now carrying the sleeping Lyta in her arms, turns to them and notices Rose's... predicament. She blinks, her gaze following the naked woman to the exit.

Rose: What are you all waiting for? Let's blow this joint.

Zatanna: That girl has no shame.

Int. The River Styx – Day

A short while later, Rose, Zatanna, and Hercules have returned to the shores of the River Styx, about ready to leave the Underworld for good. One matter does need to be taken care of first, however, a matter for which Themis has rejoined them. Soon, Circe appears, being led by cloaked and hooded figures. Chains are around her hands, and empty sockets still where her eyes should be. Because of her current blindness, she does not notice her daughter, not until the girl runs forward.

Lyta: Mother!

Circe's face instantly shifts into surprise and then softens. A brief moment later, mother and daughter embrace.

Circe: My girl... oh, how I missed you.

Lyta: I missed you, too.

Taking in a deep breath, Circe then tilts her head towards the others.

Circe: Please, my eyes... let me see her.

Themis gives a slow nod, granting permission for Zatanna to cast a spell.

Zatanna: Laeh S'ecric seye.

Once the spell is cast, Circe lets out a small gasp as her eyeballs begin to reform in their sockets. Within seconds, she blinks and can see once again, the image of her daughter appearing before her. Lyta is no longer dressed in the horrid attire that Hades had given her, now in a much more simple and traditional Greek toga, with her hair tied back out of her face. No atrocious eyeliner to speak of, either.

Circe: Lyta... you're beautiful.

The girl smiles back widely at her mother.

Lyta: And so are you.

After giving the two a couple more moments together, Rose, now fully dressed again, after Zatanna took the liberty of casting some clothes on her, steps forward and folds her arms.

Rose: There, I completed my end of the bargain, now remove the curse.

Circe's gaze slowly shifts over to Rose again.

Circe: Before I do, I want something else.

Rose: Are you kidding me? We just went through hell and back for your daughter! Now you want something else from us?

Circe: Not from you, no.

She looks over at Themis, now.

Circe: From her.

Themis: You are not in a good position to be making demands, Circe.

Circe: It is not a command, just a request.

Themis: Then make your request, though I make no promises in granting it.

Circe: I want parole, so I can raise my daughter.

Themis: Circe, you are sentenced to four thousand years in Tartarus, without the possibility of parole. That is something I cannot grant.

Circe: You cannot expect me to take Lyta back with me to Tartarus. I can't raise her there. Please, have mercy on a mother and her daughter.

Themis: The same mercy you showed to all of your victims throughout the years? Or, should I say, lack thereof?

Circe: Put me under guard, lock me up, have Zeus himself keep an eye on me, I don't care, just... please, anywhere but Tartarus. I want to be with my daughter, whatever it takes.

Themis goes quiet, apparently considering the words, though her expression doesn't shift. Rose glances between the two for a moment, then utters a long sigh.

Rose: Just do it.

Themis: You are not the one to decide this, Rose Wilson. Parole is not something I can grant to one of the most powerful criminal sorceresses in this world.

Rose: There isn't any way you can make an exception? She just said she didn't care what it took. Shut her up somewhere else and just let her raise her daughter.

If Circe doesn't get parole, the backstabbing b*tch might not cure me. I am not letting that happen.

Themis: There may be one way in which I can grant parole.

Circe: I don't care what it is.

Themis: Very well, allow me to consult the scales.

Raising her scales up, Themis waits a moment. Eventually, it tilts heavily to the left, the right side coming all the way up.

Themis: I see... it can be done. Circe, you are hereby granted parole-

Circe's face instantly lights up in relief, a smile coming over her face.

Themis: -on the condition that you give up your magic. You will hereby be stripped of all your power, and your immortality. You you live a normal, mortal life to raise your daughter.

Circe's elation suddenly turns to shock and disappointment, a distant frown forming on her face.

Themis: And you will be watched very closely. Should you ever give reason, the gods themselves will drag you back to the deepest pits of Tartarus, where you will spend eternity. Are these conditions acceptable to you?

Breathing in a deep breath, Circe slowly looks down at her daughter. Lyta returns the gaze, eyes meeting. Eventually, Circe closes her eyes and nods.

Circe: I accept.

Themis: Then you are free to leave with the others. When you return to the living world, your power will be gone.

Rose: But before that happens, you owe me something.

Circe: Of course... in thanks for bringing me my daughter.

Walking forward, Circe brings her hands to Rose's temples, then closes her eyes and takes in a deep breath. Rose feels a cold ripple run through her body, followed by a strange warmth.

Circe: The curse is gone.

Rose: Good... thanks. Now let's get the hell out of here.

Ext. Cape Tainaron – Day

Bright sunlight greets them, as they walk out of the cave entrance and return to the surface. Hercules steps forward and breathes in a deep breath, holding his arms up to the sky.

Hercules: Ah, a glorious day!

Turning back to the others, he smiles and holds out his hand.

Hercules: It was a pleasure and honor to fight by your sides, young maidens.

Rose and Zatanna extend their own hands, giving Hercules' a firm shake.

Zatanna: My sentiments are the same. It was an honor.

Rose: Yeah, you do pretty good. I mean, for a demi-god and all.

Then, Hercules looks over to Circe, who holds her daughter's hand gently. He walks up to her and points a finger, glaring.

Hercules: And you, witch, do not squander this opportunity you have been given. Atone for your sins, as I have done, and live a good life. Your daughter deserves that much.

Circe says nothing in response, simply glancing down at Lyta and tightening her grip slightly. Lyta looks back up at her and returns the squeeze, smiling.

Hercules: And with that, I must be off. Farewell, and good luck in your future adventures!

With a parting wave, Hercules turns away from them again and heads down the hill, disappearing from sight soon after. Once he is gone, Circe holds her free hand up, staring at it. She splays her fingers, turns her hand over, then clenches them into a light fist.

Circe: It feels... very strange, being mortal. No magic, no power...

Rose: You'll get used to it, eventually. Just remember what Herc said: don't you dare screw things up after what we went through for you. You take care of your daughter, got it?

Circe: At this point, I want nothing more. Once we figure out a place to go and find a home, I will raise her well.

Rose glances back briefly at Zatanna, who merely shrugs. Releasing a soft breath, she turns to Circe again.

Please don't let me regret this...

Rose: Look, if you don't have anywhere to go, I... know of a place. Silverstone, the city where I live. It might take some adjusting, but it might be a good fit for you. I look after girl named Holly, too; she's about your daughter's age. They... could be friends.

Circe stiffens up slightly, raising her chin, as if trying to show her pride. She doesn't respond, at first, simply staring. Eventually, however, she utters a breath of her own and holds a hand to her hip.

Circe: Very well... but do not think this makes us friends. I have no need of people like you to call friend.

Rose: Oh sure, no problem. I only fought the minions of Hades for you, saved your daughter, and got you freed from four thousand years of pain and suffering, but no, you're right, you wouldn't a friend like that, now would you?

A long pause passes between them, before finally Circe crosses her arms and purses her lips.

Circe: Let's just go, already.

Rose: In a minute. Just hang tight for a sec, kay? Good.

Turning away from Circe, Rose walks back over to Zatanna, holding an arm around her shoulders.

Rose: Gotta say, Z, you're not half bad.

Zatanna: Well, I do have experience. I will say the same of you, though; I'd only heard about you in passing from Dick, every now and then, but you've impressed me.

Rose: Hey, you're not they only one with experience. Now, I just, uh... I have one question before we head home.

Zatanna: Shoot.

Rose: Back there, when you healed Circe's eyes... could you heal the same type of injury on anyone?

Lifting an eyebrow, Zatanna tilts her head and gives a curious look. Her gaze focuses in on Rose's eye patch.

Zatanna: Yes, I could. I can heal most injuries, in fact, past or current. You want your eye back?

Breathing outwardly, Rose glances towards the ground and slowly nods.

Rose: It's the last, constant reminder I have of my father; you know him. I want it gone.

Zatanna: Then just hold still, this will only take a moment.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Day

Zatanna's magic transports them just outside the door to Rose's penthouse. Circe and Lyta are with them, dressed in normal, casual clothes now. Reaching forward, Rose pushes the door open and leads them inside.

Rose: I'm back! Anyone home?

A moment later, a familiar figure appears out of the kitchen. Upon seeing Rose, Rebecca lets out a heavy, relieved breath, then runs up and gives a warm embrace.

Becky: Dios mio, I was getting worried. You were gone for days!

Rose: Yeah, I know, I'm sorry. But I'm back now, and one hundred percent normal... well, for me.

Becky: That's great news, I can still hardly believe that-

Suddenly, Becky stops mid sentence, blinking in confusion and staring. Her hand comes up, clutches the side of Rose's cheek.

Becky: Rose, your eye...

Rose: Yeah, I got it back. Kept the scar, though; I think it looks cool.

Becky: That's... I mean.... I don't believe...

Unable to formulate her thoughts into complete sentences, Becky instead responds with a firm kiss, pressing their lips together for several moments before pulling away. Her gaze then moves over to Zatanna, who gives a wave in greeting.

Becky: Thanks for helping her, Zar... er... Z, was it?

Zatanna: That works fine, and you're welcome. It was my pleasure.

Becky: And who are they?

She's looking at Circe and Lyta now.

Rose: Oh, these are... sort of friends. That's Circe, and her daughter Lyta.

Becky: Well, good to meet you both.

She extends her hand to them, and though Lyta quickly shakes it, Circe just folds her arms and sort of glares.

Rose: Er... don't mind her. She's adjusting.

Becky: And where did you meet them?

Rose: That's a rather long story... I'll tell you all about it later.

Another figure then appears, wandering out of living room. Holly's eyes light up when she sees who's there, then rushes forward and hugs Rose. Looking up to her, she then begins rifling through a series of hand signals, while mouthing the words at the same time.

Holly: I'm so glad you're back!

Rose: I'm glad, too, honey, believe me.

Putting a hand on Holly's back, Rose eases her forward and turns to the side, showing her to Lyta.

Rose: Holly, I'd like you meet Lyta. She's your age, I think.

Lyta walks forward now, giving Holly a long look. She then holds out her hand.

Lyta: It's nice to meet you.

Before Holly answers, Zatanna mutters a backwards whisper under her breath. Holly then reaches forward to shake Lyta's hand and smiles.

Holly: It's nice to meet you, too.

That's when everyone's eyes go wide.

Rose: What the-

Becky: Qué mierda!

Holly: I- I... I'm talking? I can... I- I can talk again! I can talk!

The poor girl is nearly in tears of joy over this sudden occurrence, a broad smile on her face that isn't going away. Rose glances towards Zatanna, meeting her gaze. The magician simply smiles, then gives a very small nod. Rose can't help it; she smiles, too.

Holly then suddenly reaches out and grabs Lyta's hand, bringing the girl farther inside the penthouse.

Holly: Come on, I'll show you my room! Oh my god, I'm talking again! This is so awesome!

Circe blinks, watching as her daughter is dragged away.

Circe: Hey, wait a minute!

Rose: Relax, they'll be fine. Let them play. In the meantime, come inside. We need to figure out where you'll be staying.

Closing the door behind her, Rose leads the group of women into the living room.

Becky: Anyone want a drink?

Zatanna: Oh, I'll have something. What do you got?

Becky: Well, aside the hard stuff, there's some beer in the fridge-

Circe: Uck, beer. Vile stuff, the drink of curs. Please tell me you have wine.

Rose smirks slightly and lifts her eyebrows. Circe may be mortal now, but she really has to work on her people skills.

There's some irony for you, Rose. You thinking someone else needs work on people skills.

Rose: We'll see what we can find. Just make yourself comfortable; we have a lot to talk about.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #48 Preview: It's Christmas time, and merriment is in the air! As is a failed police escort, when a highly dangerous metahuman prisoner is freed en route to a high security prison. In the next issue, Rose deals with the holidays, an explosive prisoner, and a familiar face, as the big crossover event kicks off!

Rose Wilson: the Rava-Wolf? The Weravager? Nice idea...I smell a crossover with Zatanna

@Ravager4: #42 "So, she'd had Batman help her design something new, not only a different style but also more protective and durable. Now, her armored costume is a sleek design of blue and black, with some red, white, and grey trim (Like her New 52 outfit, here)" Nice...I like how you've kinda accepted that 52 is now the norm (don't worry I hate it too) and making it your own.

@Ravager4 said:

Zatanna: Magical teleportation, of course.

The interior of the palace is not much different from the outside, with walls all carved from jagged obsidian and no windows. The only light within is provided from flickering torches lining the walls, which cast eery, dancing shadows. Along either side of the central corridor are more statues, just like the ones they met when first arriving in the Underworld. These ones, however, look far more tortured and anguished.

Ravager: Well, this is... homey.

Zatanna: Not exactly my first choice in décor, I'll admit.

Hercules: Come, the throne room is right up this way.

They follow him down the central corridor to another set of double doors, these ones far smaller in size than the palace entrance. Pushing them open, Hercules steps inside and walks forward a few steps, then stops. The other two remain just behind him. The room within is massive, nearly as tall as it is long, with the ceiling so high above them that the torchlight does not reach, instead casting it in shadow. At the end of the room rises a large throne, the seat also carved out of the same black obsidian as the rest of the palace. Seated upon this throne is a large figure dressed in flowing black robes and armor, with equally dark, stringy hair: Hades. Leaning to the side of the throne, Hades holds his head up with his hand, looking somewhat bored and unamused as he eyes the three before him.

Hades: Nephew... why have you returned to my domain? And why have you brought these intruders with you? They reek of the living, an insult to the realm of dead.

Hercules: Dear uncle, we have come to make a request of you.

Hades: A request. Really? And what makes you think that I would grant you such a thing?

Hercules: You have aided me before, during one of my many labors in ages past. I humbly ask for your assistance once again.

Hades: That was a very long time ago, Heracles. But go ahead, make your request. I am... curious.

Pushing past Hercules, Ravager comes forward this time.

Ravager: We’ve come for-

Hades: Remove your mask, woman. I will not be spoken to by a person who would hide when giving words.

Pausing briefly, Ravager glances back at the others for a moment before finally reaching up and removing the faceplate to her costume's helmet.

Ravager: There, happy now?

Hades: I would choose your words more carefully. You stand in the presence of a god, and the proper respect will be shown.

Frowning slightly, she clears her throat and tries again. It almost physically pains her to try and contort her words into something a god would find respectful

Ravager: Lord Hades, we have come to your domain to request the freedom of the girl known as Lyta, daughter of the sorceress, Circe. Our information tells us that you have been raising her within your palace.

Hades: Ah, you come for the girl, how very intriguing. Tell me, woman, what purpose would one such as yourself have in doing this favor for that insufferable wench?

Ravager: To complete my part of a bargain.

Hades: A bargain with a treacherous sorceress... what would compel one to agree to that?

Ravager: That is my own business.

Hades: Perhaps. But why should I give up the girl? She is happy here, she is cared for, she is safe.

Ravager: She belongs with her mother.

Hades: Her mother suffers in Tartarus for her sins! You would condemn a girl to a life of eternal torment simply to be with her mother?

Ravager: You let me worry about that. We'll figure something out.

Hades: Your lack of conviction is uninspiring, I'm afraid. I have no reason to believe she would be better off going with you.

Ravager: Because this place is so good for her, right? Looks like something out of a bad Hellraiser flick.

The air around them seems to instantly chill, following her words. Hades rises from his throne, glaring hotly at her with a look that could pierce diamond. Even Hercules takes a small step back.

Hades: You dare to insult a god?!

Another chilling silence. Zatanna eases herself forward and whispers.

Zatanna: Tread lightly, Rose... tread lightly.

Ravager: Just calling it how I see it.

Hades: I should cast you into Tartarus!

Ravager: Please, if you were going to, you'd have done it already.

Hades does not respond, but continues to glare, his gaze narrowing even more.

Ravager: Tell you what, you show us the girl, and if we're satisfied at how she's being treated, then we'll leave.

Hades: And if unsatisfied, exactly what do you intend to do about it?

Ravager: We'll just have to come up with a different solution, now won’t we?

Another long stare from Hades, until finally he raises a hand. A flash of white hot light sears the ground in front of him, and when it disappears, a young girl with purple hair is standing there, though she's dressed like a high school goth reject, with a lot of leather, straps, eyeliner, and the like. Her expression seems empty and sullen, as if not noticing what is happening around her. Upon seeing this, Ravager frowns.

She's no older than Holly... what the hell has this b**tard done to her?

Hades: My dear Lyta, explain to these people how happy you are here, with me.

Lyta: I... am happy here. This is... my home.

Ravager: This isn't your home, Lyta, this is a prison. We've come to take you back to your mother, where you belong.

The girl slowly glances up at them, her expression still void of any real emotion. Her voice, too, is hollow and empty.

Lyta: I don't... I have no mother... I have never had a mother. This has always been my home, I have always... been here.

Ravager: What do you mean you've never had a mother? Of course you do; her name is Circe.

Lyta: Circe... I don't know that name.

A triumphant smirk slashes across Hades' face.

Hades: You see? She does not even know her mother. She knows only my domain, and her happiness here.

Zatanna: Something feels off... what's wrong with her? Why doesn't she remember- oh dear Hotath.

Realizing the indication at the same time, Hercules comes forward, an angry scowl on his face.

Hercules: You forced her to drink from the waters of Lethe! She has no memory of her past life, none of it! That is how you keep her here!

Hades: Such a simple solution, don't you think?

Giving her full attention to the young girl, Ravager takes a knee, coming to eye level with her.

Ravager: Lyta, snap out of it. You do have a mother, and she misses you very much. Everything this monster has told you is a lie, none of it is true. This isn't your home, and you do not belong here.

Hercules: Bother not with words, dear Rose. It will take much more than that to remove the forgetfulness inflicted upon her mind. Uncle, we're taking the girl.

Hades: You will do no such thing. Not a single one of you will leave this room alive. Lyta, be a good girl and come to your master's side.

Seating himself back on his throne, Hades watches as the girl turns from the others and obediently walks to the side of the throne. She just stands there, waiting and doing nothing else. Ravager clenches her hands to fists, scowling; at this point, Lyta is no more than a trained pet at Hades' beck and call. Rising back to her feet, she begins marching towards the twisted god.

Ravager: You demented b**tard... I swear, I'll-

Hades: You will do what, exactly? I am a god, and you forget your place, mortal!

With a wave of the hand, more of Hades' minions begin to crawl their way out of the floor, though these ones are covered with bloody musculature, skin removed from their bodies. Not all of them are humanoid, either, some resembling great, hulking monstrosities of nature, animalistic beasts with gaping jaws and piercing eyes.

Hades: Do try to put up a good fight; at least then you might provide some entertainment before your bodies are ripped to pieces.

Zatanna: So, is this part of the plan?

Hercules: A minor issue. As soon as we deal with this lot, we will be able to-

His words are cut off, however, as one of the monstrous, sinewy beasts attacks from behind, swatting away the demi-god like a fly. Hercules quickly recovers, however, rolling back up to his feet and then sprinting at the creature. With a mighty lunge, he tackles the monster and begins grappling with it. Ravager and Zatanna, meanwhile, have their own problems.

Ravager: Z, get back to safe spot, hit them from afar!

Zatanna: Way ahead of you!

As Ravager leaps into the fray, whirling her blades around in a wild frenzy, Zatanna retreats backwards a ways, then brings her hands up.

Zatanna: Edolpxe!

Instantly, one of the undead warriors bursts apart in a bloody mist, no trace left behind except for a red stain on the floor. She enjoys not having to hold back almost as much as Ravager does, whose swords cleave a bloody swath through the undead guards. It feels... empowering, being able to let loose the full might of her magic for a change. Of course, doing so also has its drawbacks. She can feel her power draining slowly, gradually, the more she uses it. Her magic tires her over time just the same as her more physically combative allies lose stamina during combat.

Leaping over one of the large, monstrous creatures, Ravager comes down on the other side while slashing along its backside with her blades. The sharp edges slice cleanly through sinew, spraying blood and dropping the creature to the floor. Following her sharp skills and reflexes, she continues cutting her way through these new enemies. Meanwhile, Hercules has torn apart several of the larger monsters with his bare hands, though now fights again with sword and shield. He does more than is fair share of cutting down their foes.

There is a problem, however. As with the skeletal guards outside the palace, the numbers of these new enemies do not dwindle, no matter how many of them are defeated. Within minutes, they begin to swarm and overtake the heroes, far too many to properly fight and keep track of.

Ravager: Do these things ever stop coming?

Hercules: Not as long as Hades wills it! He means for us to fight until we are too exhausted to continue, at which point his guards will cut us apart!

Zatanna: Well, that's a bit of a downer, huh? Teg kcab!

A small group of the sinewy creatures fly backwards through the air, allowing the heroes some breathing room. This doesn't last very long, however, as the numbers continue to grow, enemies closing in on them. Taking in a deep breath, Zatanna raises a hand again, preparing to cast another spell. Hades, on the other hand, appears to have other ideas, pointing a finger at her.

Hades: Silence, witch.

Instantly, Zatanna's mouth closes up, her lips no longer able to open. She lets out muffled cries, trying to cast a spell, but nothing works. A moment later, one of the guards comes forward and thrusts its spear, the metal tip ripping into the her side. A quiet scream of pain gurgles in her throat, as she falls to the floor.

Ravager: Zatanna!

Cutting through the enemies in front of her, Ravager jumps over several others to reach Zatanna before the attacking guard can finish off the downed magician. Swinging her blades viciously, she cleaves off both the creature's arms, then finally its head, and kicks the body backwards. She quickly steals a glance down at Zatanna, who, though injured, is still breathing and alive.

Ravager: Just hang in there, Z. Herc! Now would be a good time for the plan!

Bashing a few of the guards back with his shield, the demi-god turns to her.

Hercules: We'll need a distraction!

Before Ravager can answer, she is forced to whirl around again and cut down another attacking guard. However, at the same time, three others come in with their blades. She manages to twist herself out of the way of two of them, but the third cuts deep into her backside, going through her suit like butter. Her earthly armor is apparently of no defense against these otherworldly weapons. Scowling, she spins around and cuts the guard apart.

Ravager: Now I'm really pissed.

She can feel that burning beginning to spread through her, the pain of growing muscle and shifting bone.

Ravager: You need a distraction? I think... I can give you one!

As her emotions run wild, so does the more animalistic side of her. Though still not in total control, she concentrates, gets angrier, forces her body to transform. She suddenly feels... very hungry. The next time she opens her mouth, a deep, intimidating roar erupts from her throat. In seconds, her body grows further and completes the transformation, furry muscle bursting apart her armor from the inside out.

Her suddenly enhanced senses pick up another incoming attack. With agility far greater than her human form, she turns around and grabs the thrusting spear, then breaks it in half with little effort. Pointed ears flicking back, lips curling, spittle dripping from her jaws, Ravager roars again, this time slashing out with her claws and ripping the squishy guard to shreds. And then, the snow white werewolf is off and tearing through the Hades' troops, cutting them to ribbons and tearing meaty chunks out of them with her teeth. The hunger burning inside her must be sated.

Hercules: By Zeus...

The demi-god stares and watches the massacre for several moments, before his eyes shift carefully over to his uncle. Hades is standing now, as if ready to act himself, though his attention is drawn fully to the rampaging werewolf eviscerating his guards. Snapping out of his surprise, Hercules cuts down a few remaining stragglers not occupied with Ravager, then runs over to Zatanna's side.

Hercules: Young magician, can you hear me? Are you alright?

Though bleeding from her side, Zatanna nods. Her lips are still shut tightly, unable to cast anything. Reaching into his hip pouch, Hercules pulls out another vial, this one filled with a transparent liquid.

Hercules: Can you still do your part?

Again, Zatanna nods. As Hercules uncorks the vial, she pulls her hand away from her bloodied side and begins to rub her fingers across the ground, writing a spell on the surface. There is no stronger magic than blood magic, yet it is to be used only under the most dire of circumstances, as each spell cast in blood siphons away a small amount of the user's life force. Right now, however, the situation calls for it.

Suddenly, the water inside the vial begins to float up into the air. It hovers there briefly, quivering and undulating, then begins to fly off in a long stream, heading straight at Hades. During this time, Hades has come forward off his throne, glaring at the werewolf, as it continues to rip apart his minions. Finally losing his patience, he raises a hand. Instantly, Ravager flies through the air and crashes against the wall, pinned there by an invisible force.

Hades: Enough of this! You will burn in Tartarus, wretched beast!

Before he can continue his assault, however, the airborne stream of water abruptly forces its way down his throat in an instant. Coughing, he takes a step back and scowls, then glares over at Hercules and Zatanna.

Hades: What foolish attempt was that? What did you hope to... to... what did you... who... what's going on? Who are you people? Where are we?

With the hold over her lips releasing, Zatanna breaths out a sigh of relief.

Zatanna: Laeh em.

Her wound instantly closes up, healing completely.

Zatanna: I can't believe that actually worked. Good call on hitting up Lethe on the way here.

Hercules: The danger has not yet past, I'm afraid. The waters of forgetfulness do not last forever on gods. We must retreat and leave this place before Hades remembers who he is. Attend to the girl, make her sleep for now if you must. We'll need to take her to Mnemosyne, the river of memory. Its waters will counteract what Lethe has done to her.

Zatanna: Right, on it.

As Zatanna heads over to Lyta, Hercules hurries over to Rose's side, who has now come out of her werewolf transformation. During this entire time, Hades looks around, as though confused, unable to remember anything about anything.

Holding herself up against the wall, Rose lets out a small groan and straightens herself, then stretches out her arms. Hercules suddenly freezes in place, however, realizing that, after shredding her costume, she is fully nude. Either not noticing this, or simply not caring (most likely the latter), Rose walks forward and gives him a congratulatory pat on the shoulder as she pushes past him.

Rose: Good work.

Hercules just blinks, his gaze following her. Finally, Rose apparently acknowledges the situation and glances back over her shoulder, smirking.

Ravager: Take a good long look, muscle-boy, because you won't be touching.

Hercules: Great Zeus...

Zatanna, now carrying the sleeping Lyta in her arms, turns to them and notices Rose's... predicament. She blinks, her gaze following the naked woman to the exit.

Rose: What are you all waiting for? Let's blow this joint.

Zatanna: That girl has no shame.

Int. The River Styx – Day

A short while later, Rose, Zatanna, and Hercules have returned to the shores of the River Styx, about ready to leave the Underworld for good. One matter does need to be taken care of first, however, a matter for which Themis has rejoined them. Soon, Circe appears, being led by cloaked and hooded figures. Chains are around her hands, and empty sockets still where her eyes should be. Because of her current blindness, she does not notice her daughter, not until the girl runs forward.

Lyta: Mother!

Circe's face instantly shifts into surprise and then softens. A brief moment later, mother and daughter embrace.

Circe: My girl... oh, how I missed you.

Lyta: I missed you, too.

Taking in a deep breath, Circe then tilts her head towards the others.

Circe: Please, my eyes... let me see her.

Themis gives a slow nod, granting permission for Zatanna to cast a spell.

Zatanna: Laeh S'ecric seye.

Once the spell is cast, Circe lets out a small gasp as her eyeballs begin to reform in their sockets. Within seconds, she blinks and can see once again, the image of her daughter appearing before her. Lyta is no longer dressed in the horrid attire that Hades had given her, now in a much more simple and traditional Greek toga, with her hair tied back out of her face. No atrocious eyeliner to speak of, either.

Circe: Lyta... you're beautiful.

The girl smiles back widely at her mother.

Lyta: And so are you.

After giving the two a couple more moments together, Rose, now fully dressed again, after Zatanna took the liberty of casting some clothes on her, steps forward and folds her arms.

Rose: There, I completed my end of the bargain, now remove the curse.

Circe's gaze slowly shifts over to Rose again.

Circe: Before I do, I want something else.

Rose: Are you kidding me? We just went through hell and back for your daughter! Now you want something else from us?

Circe: Not from you, no.

She looks over at Themis, now.

Circe: From her.

Themis: You are not in a good position to be making demands, Circe.

Circe: It is not a command, just a request.

Themis: Then make your request, though I make no promises in granting it.

Circe: I want parole, so I can raise my daughter.

Themis: Circe, you are sentenced to four thousand years in Tartarus, without the possibility of parole. That is something I cannot grant.

Circe: You cannot expect me to take Lyta back with me to Tartarus. I can't raise her there. Please, have mercy on a mother and her daughter.

Themis: The same mercy you showed to all of your victims throughout the years? Or, should I say, lack thereof?

Circe: Put me under guard, lock me up, have Zeus himself keep an eye on me, I don't care, just... please, anywhere but Tartarus. I want to be with my daughter, whatever it takes.

Themis goes quiet, apparently considering the words, though her expression doesn't shift. Rose glances between the two for a moment, then utters a long sigh.

Rose: Just do it.

Themis: You are not the one to decide this, Rose Wilson. Parole is not something I can grant to one of the most powerful criminal sorceresses in this world.

Rose: There isn't any way you can make an exception? She just said she didn't care what it took. Shut her up somewhere else and just let her raise her daughter.

If Circe doesn't get parole, the backstabbing b*tch might not cure me. I am not letting that happen.

Themis: There may be one way in which I can grant parole.

Circe: I don't care what it is.

Themis: Very well, allow me to consult the scales.

Raising her scales up, Themis waits a moment. Eventually, it tilts heavily to the left, the right side coming all the way up.

Themis: I see... it can be done. Circe, you are hereby granted parole-

Circe's face instantly lights up in relief, a smile coming over her face.

Themis: -on the condition that you give up your magic. You will hereby be stripped of all your power, and your immortality. You you live a normal, mortal life to raise your daughter.

Circe's elation suddenly turns to shock and disappointment, a distant frown forming on her face.

Themis: And you will be watched very closely. Should you ever give reason, the gods themselves will drag you back to the deepest pits of Tartarus, where you will spend eternity. Are these conditions acceptable to you?

Breathing in a deep breath, Circe slowly looks down at her daughter. Lyta returns the gaze, eyes meeting. Eventually, Circe closes her eyes and nods.

Circe: I accept.

Themis: Then you are free to leave with the others. When you return to the living world, your power will be gone.

Rose: But before that happens, you owe me something.

Circe: Of course... in thanks for bringing me my daughter.

Walking forward, Circe brings her hands to Rose's temples, then closes her eyes and takes in a deep breath. Rose feels a cold ripple run through her body, followed by a strange warmth.

Circe: The curse is gone.

Rose: Good... thanks. Now let's get the hell out of here.

Ext. Cape Tainaron – Day

Bright sunlight greets them, as they walk out of the cave entrance and return to the surface. Hercules steps forward and breathes in a deep breath, holding his arms up to the sky.

Hercules: Ah, a glorious day!

Turning back to the others, he smiles and holds out his hand.

Hercules: It was a pleasure and honor to fight by your sides, young maidens.

Rose and Zatanna extend their own hands, giving Hercules' a firm shake.

Zatanna: My sentiments are the same. It was an honor.

Rose: Yeah, you do pretty good. I mean, for a demi-god and all.

Then, Hercules looks over to Circe, who holds her daughter's hand gently. He walks up to her and points a finger, glaring.

Hercules: And you, witch, do not squander this opportunity you have been given. Atone for your sins, as I have done, and live a good life. Your daughter deserves that much.

Circe says nothing in response, simply glancing down at Lyta and tightening her grip slightly. Lyta looks back up at her and returns the squeeze, smiling.

Hercules: And with that, I must be off. Farewell, and good luck in your future adventures!

With a parting wave, Hercules turns away from them again and heads down the hill, disappearing from sight soon after. Once he is gone, Circe holds her free hand up, staring at it. She splays her fingers, turns her hand over, then clenches them into a light fist.

Circe: It feels... very strange, being mortal. No magic, no power...

Rose: You'll get used to it, eventually. Just remember what Herc said: don't you dare screw things up after what we went through for you. You take care of your daughter, got it?

Circe: At this point, I want nothing more. Once we figure out a place to go and find a home, I will raise her well.

Rose glances back briefly at Zatanna, who merely shrugs. Releasing a soft breath, she turns to Circe again.

Please don't let me regret this...

Rose: Look, if you don't have anywhere to go, I... know of a place. Silverstone, the city where I live. It might take some adjusting, but it might be a good fit for you. I look after girl named Holly, too; she's about your daughter's age. They... could be friends.

Circe stiffens up slightly, raising her chin, as if trying to show her pride. She doesn't respond, at first, simply staring. Eventually, however, she utters a breath of her own and holds a hand to her hip.

Circe: Very well... but do not think this makes us friends. I have no need of people like you to call friend.

Rose: Oh sure, no problem. I only fought the minions of Hades for you, saved your daughter, and got you freed from four thousand years of pain and suffering, but no, you're right, you wouldn't a friend like that, now would you?

A long pause passes between them, before finally Circe crosses her arms and purses her lips.

Circe: Let's just go, already.

Rose: In a minute. Just hang tight for a sec, kay? Good.

Turning away from Circe, Rose walks back over to Zatanna, holding an arm around her shoulders.

Rose: Gotta say, Z, you're not half bad.

Zatanna: Well, I do have experience. I will say the same of you, though; I'd only heard about you in passing from Dick, every now and then, but you've impressed me.

Rose: Hey, you're not they only one with experience. Now, I just, uh... I have one question before we head home.

Zatanna: Shoot.

Rose: Back there, when you healed Circe's eyes... could you heal the same type of injury on anyone?

Lifting an eyebrow, Zatanna tilts her head and gives a curious look. Her gaze focuses in on Rose's eye patch.

Zatanna: Yes, I could. I can heal most injuries, in fact, past or current. You want your eye back?

Breathing outwardly, Rose glances towards the ground and slowly nods.

Rose: It's the last, constant reminder I have of my father; you know him. I want it gone.

Zatanna: Then just hold still, this will only take a moment.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Day

Zatanna's magic transports them just outside the door to Rose's penthouse. Circe and Lyta are with them, dressed in normal, casual clothes now. Reaching forward, Rose pushes the door open and leads them inside.

Rose: I'm back! Anyone home?

A moment later, a familiar figure appears out of the kitchen. Upon seeing Rose, Rebecca lets out a heavy, relieved breath, then runs up and gives a warm embrace.

Becky: Dios mio, I was getting worried. You were gone for days!

Rose: Yeah, I know, I'm sorry. But I'm back now, and one hundred percent normal... well, for me.

Becky: That's great news, I can still hardly believe that-

Suddenly, Becky stops mid sentence, blinking in confusion and staring. Her hand comes up, clutches the side of Rose's cheek.

Becky: Rose, your eye...

Rose: Yeah, I got it back. Kept the scar, though; I think it looks cool.

Becky: That's... I mean.... I don't believe...

Unable to formulate her thoughts into complete sentences, Becky instead responds with a firm kiss, pressing their lips together for several moments before pulling away. Her gaze then moves over to Zatanna, who gives a wave in greeting.

Becky: Thanks for helping her, Zar... er... Z, was it?

Zatanna: That works fine, and you're welcome. It was my pleasure.

Becky: And who are they?

She's looking at Circe and Lyta now.

Rose: Oh, these are... sort of friends. That's Circe, and her daughter Lyta.

Becky: Well, good to meet you both.

She extends her hand to them, and though Lyta quickly shakes it, Circe just folds her arms and sort of glares.

Rose: Er... don't mind her. She's adjusting.

Becky: And where did you meet them?

Rose: That's a rather long story... I'll tell you all about it later.

Another figure then appears, wandering out of living room. Holly's eyes light up when she sees who's there, then rushes forward and hugs Rose. Looking up to her, she then begins rifling through a series of hand signals, while mouthing the words at the same time.

Holly: I'm so glad you're back!

Rose: I'm glad, too, honey, believe me.

Putting a hand on Holly's back, Rose eases her forward and turns to the side, showing her to Lyta.

Rose: Holly, I'd like you meet Lyta. She's your age, I think.

Lyta walks forward now, giving Holly a long look. She then holds out her hand.

Lyta: It's nice to meet you.

Before Holly answers, Zatanna mutters a backwards whisper under her breath. Holly then reaches forward to shake Lyta's hand and smiles.

Holly: It's nice to meet you, too.

That's when everyone's eyes go wide.

Rose: What the-

Becky: Qué mierda!

Holly: I- I... I'm talking? I can... I- I can talk again! I can talk!

The poor girl is nearly in tears of joy over this sudden occurrence, a broad smile on her face that isn't going away. Rose glances towards Zatanna, meeting her gaze. The magician simply smiles, then gives a very small nod. Rose can't help it; she smiles, too.

Holly then suddenly reaches out and grabs Lyta's hand, bringing the girl farther inside the penthouse.

Holly: Come on, I'll show you my room! Oh my god, I'm talking again! This is so awesome!

Circe blinks, watching as her daughter is dragged away.

Circe: Hey, wait a minute!

Rose: Relax, they'll be fine. Let them play. In the meantime, come inside. We need to figure out where you'll be staying.

Closing the door behind her, Rose leads the group of women into the living room.

Becky: Anyone want a drink?

Zatanna: Oh, I'll have something. What do you got?

Becky: Well, aside the hard stuff, there's some beer in the fridge-

Circe: Uck, beer. Vile stuff, the drink of curs. Please tell me you have wine.

Rose smirks slightly and lifts her eyebrows. Circe may be mortal now, but she really has to work on her people skills.

There's some irony for you, Rose. You thinking someone else needs work on people skills.

Rose: We'll see what we can find. Just make yourself comfortable; we have a lot to talk about.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #48 Preview: It's Christmas time, and merriment is in the air! As is a failed police escort, when a highly dangerous metahuman prisoner is freed en route to a high security prison. In the next issue, Rose deals with the holidays, an explosive prisoner, and a familiar face, as the big crossover event kicks off!

Ha ha ha I was right! Rose & Zatanna is a nice combo. It reminds me of when Selina & Zatanna teamed up

#43

Rose: Uck... I hate teleportation...

Zatanna: Not experienced with that particular mode of travel, I see. You get used to it.

Rose: You say that like I'm going to have to.

Int. Palace of Hades – ???

The interior of the palace is not much different from the outside, with walls all carved from jagged obsidian and no windows. The only light within is provided from flickering torches lining the walls, which cast eery, dancing shadows. Along either side of the central corridor are more statues, just like the ones they met when first arriving in the Underworld. These ones, however, look far more tortured and anguished.

Ravager: Well, this is... homey.

Zatanna: Not exactly my first choice in décor, I'll admit.

Hercules: Come, the throne room is right up this way.

They follow him down the central corridor to another set of double doors, these ones far smaller in size than the palace entrance. Pushing them open, Hercules steps inside and walks forward a few steps, then stops. The other two remain just behind him. The room within is massive, nearly as tall as it is long, with the ceiling so high above them that the torchlight does not reach, instead casting it in shadow. At the end of the room rises a large throne, the seat also carved out of the same black obsidian as the rest of the palace. Seated upon this throne is a large figure dressed in flowing black robes and armor, with equally dark, stringy hair: Hades. Leaning to the side of the throne, Hades holds his head up with his hand, looking somewhat bored and unamused as he eyes the three before him.

Hades: Nephew... why have you returned to my domain? And why have you brought these intruders with you? They reek of the living, an insult to the realm of dead.

Hercules: Dear uncle, we have come to make a request of you.

Hades: A request. Really? And what makes you think that I would grant you such a thing?

Hercules: You have aided me before, during one of my many labors in ages past. I humbly ask for your assistance once again.

Hades: That was a very long time ago, Heracles. But go ahead, make your request. I am... curious.

Pushing past Hercules, Ravager comes forward this time.

Ravager: We’ve come for-

Hades: Remove your mask, woman. I will not be spoken to by a person who would hide when giving words.

Pausing briefly, Ravager glances back at the others for a moment before finally reaching up and removing the faceplate to her costume's helmet.

Ravager: There, happy now?

Hades: I would choose your words more carefully. You stand in the presence of a god, and the proper respect will be shown.

Frowning slightly, she clears her throat and tries again. It almost physically pains her to try and contort her words into something a god would find respectful

Ravager: Lord Hades, we have come to your domain to request the freedom of the girl known as Lyta, daughter of the sorceress, Circe. Our information tells us that you have been raising her within your palace.

Hades: Ah, you come for the girl, how very intriguing. Tell me, woman, what purpose would one such as yourself have in doing this favor for that insufferable wench?

Ravager: To complete my part of a bargain.

Hades: A bargain with a treacherous sorceress... what would compel one to agree to that?

Ravager: That is my own business.

Hades: Perhaps. But why should I give up the girl? She is happy here, she is cared for, she is safe.

Ravager: She belongs with her mother.

Hades: Her mother suffers in Tartarus for her sins! You would condemn a girl to a life of eternal torment simply to be with her mother?

Ravager: You let me worry about that. We'll figure something out.

Hades: Your lack of conviction is uninspiring, I'm afraid. I have no reason to believe she would be better off going with you.

Ravager: Because this place is so good for her, right? Looks like something out of a bad Hellraiser flick.

The air around them seems to instantly chill, following her words. Hades rises from his throne, glaring hotly at her with a look that could pierce diamond. Even Hercules takes a small step back.

Hades: You dare to insult a god?!

Another chilling silence. Zatanna eases herself forward and whispers.

Zatanna: Tread lightly, Rose... tread lightly.

Ravager: Just calling it how I see it.

Hades: I should cast you into Tartarus!

Ravager: Please, if you were going to, you'd have done it already.

Hades does not respond, but continues to glare, his gaze narrowing even more.

Ravager: Tell you what, you show us the girl, and if we're satisfied at how she's being treated, then we'll leave.

Hades: And if unsatisfied, exactly what do you intend to do about it?

Ravager: We'll just have to come up with a different solution, now won’t we?

Another long stare from Hades, until finally he raises a hand. A flash of white hot light sears the ground in front of him, and when it disappears, a young girl with purple hair is standing there, though she's dressed like a high school goth reject, with a lot of leather, straps, eyeliner, and the like. Her expression seems empty and sullen, as if not noticing what is happening around her. Upon seeing this, Ravager frowns.

She's no older than Holly... what the hell has this b**tard done to her?

Hades: My dear Lyta, explain to these people how happy you are here, with me.

Lyta: I... am happy here. This is... my home.

Ravager: This isn't your home, Lyta, this is a prison. We've come to take you back to your mother, where you belong.

The girl slowly glances up at them, her expression still void of any real emotion. Her voice, too, is hollow and empty.

Lyta: I don't... I have no mother... I have never had a mother. This has always been my home, I have always... been here.

Ravager: What do you mean you've never had a mother? Of course you do; her name is Circe.

Lyta: Circe... I don't know that name.

A triumphant smirk slashes across Hades' face.

Hades: You see? She does not even know her mother. She knows only my domain, and her happiness here.

Zatanna: Something feels off... what's wrong with her? Why doesn't she remember- oh dear Hotath.

Realizing the indication at the same time, Hercules comes forward, an angry scowl on his face.

Hercules: You forced her to drink from the waters of Lethe! She has no memory of her past life, none of it! That is how you keep her here!

Hades: Such a simple solution, don't you think?

Giving her full attention to the young girl, Ravager takes a knee, coming to eye level with her.

Ravager: Lyta, snap out of it. You do have a mother, and she misses you very much. Everything this monster has told you is a lie, none of it is true. This isn't your home, and you do not belong here.

Hercules: Bother not with words, dear Rose. It will take much more than that to remove the forgetfulness inflicted upon her mind. Uncle, we're taking the girl.

Hades: You will do no such thing. Not a single one of you will leave this room alive. Lyta, be a good girl and come to your master's side.

Seating himself back on his throne, Hades watches as the girl turns from the others and obediently walks to the side of the throne. She just stands there, waiting and doing nothing else. Ravager clenches her hands to fists, scowling; at this point, Lyta is no more than a trained pet at Hades' beck and call. Rising back to her feet, she begins marching towards the twisted god.

Ravager: You demented b**tard... I swear, I'll-

Hades: You will do what, exactly? I am a god, and you forget your place, mortal!

With a wave of the hand, more of Hades' minions begin to crawl their way out of the floor, though these ones are covered with bloody musculature, skin removed from their bodies. Not all of them are humanoid, either, some resembling great, hulking monstrosities of nature, animalistic beasts with gaping jaws and piercing eyes.

Hades: Do try to put up a good fight; at least then you might provide some entertainment before your bodies are ripped to pieces.

Zatanna: So, is this part of the plan?

Hercules: A minor issue. As soon as we deal with this lot, we will be able to-

His words are cut off, however, as one of the monstrous, sinewy beasts attacks from behind, swatting away the demi-god like a fly. Hercules quickly recovers, however, rolling back up to his feet and then sprinting at the creature. With a mighty lunge, he tackles the monster and begins grappling with it. Ravager and Zatanna, meanwhile, have their own problems.

Ravager: Z, get back to safe spot, hit them from afar!

Zatanna: Way ahead of you!

As Ravager leaps into the fray, whirling her blades around in a wild frenzy, Zatanna retreats backwards a ways, then brings her hands up.

Zatanna: Edolpxe!

Instantly, one of the undead warriors bursts apart in a bloody mist, no trace left behind except for a red stain on the floor. She enjoys not having to hold back almost as much as Ravager does, whose swords cleave a bloody swath through the undead guards. It feels... empowering, being able to let loose the full might of her magic for a change. Of course, doing so also has its drawbacks. She can feel her power draining slowly, gradually, the more she uses it. Her magic tires her over time just the same as her more physically combative allies lose stamina during combat.

Leaping over one of the large, monstrous creatures, Ravager comes down on the other side while slashing along its backside with her blades. The sharp edges slice cleanly through sinew, spraying blood and dropping the creature to the floor. Following her sharp skills and reflexes, she continues cutting her way through these new enemies. Meanwhile, Hercules has torn apart several of the larger monsters with his bare hands, though now fights again with sword and shield. He does more than is fair share of cutting down their foes.

There is a problem, however. As with the skeletal guards outside the palace, the numbers of these new enemies do not dwindle, no matter how many of them are defeated. Within minutes, they begin to swarm and overtake the heroes, far too many to properly fight and keep track of.

Ravager: Do these things ever stop coming?

Hercules: Not as long as Hades wills it! He means for us to fight until we are too exhausted to continue, at which point his guards will cut us apart!

Zatanna: Well, that's a bit of a downer, huh? Teg kcab!

A small group of the sinewy creatures fly backwards through the air, allowing the heroes some breathing room. This doesn't last very long, however, as the numbers continue to grow, enemies closing in on them. Taking in a deep breath, Zatanna raises a hand again, preparing to cast another spell. Hades, on the other hand, appears to have other ideas, pointing a finger at her.

Hades: Silence, witch.

Instantly, Zatanna's mouth closes up, her lips no longer able to open. She lets out muffled cries, trying to cast a spell, but nothing works. A moment later, one of the guards comes forward and thrusts its spear, the metal tip ripping into the her side. A quiet scream of pain gurgles in her throat, as she falls to the floor.

Ravager: Zatanna!

Cutting through the enemies in front of her, Ravager jumps over several others to reach Zatanna before the attacking guard can finish off the downed magician. Swinging her blades viciously, she cleaves off both the creature's arms, then finally its head, and kicks the body backwards. She quickly steals a glance down at Zatanna, who, though injured, is still breathing and alive.

Ravager: Just hang in there, Z. Herc! Now would be a good time for the plan!

Bashing a few of the guards back with his shield, the demi-god turns to her.

Hercules: We'll need a distraction!

Before Ravager can answer, she is forced to whirl around again and cut down another attacking guard. However, at the same time, three others come in with their blades. She manages to twist herself out of the way of two of them, but the third cuts deep into her backside, going through her suit like butter. Her earthly armor is apparently of no defense against these otherworldly weapons. Scowling, she spins around and cuts the guard apart.

Ravager: Now I'm really pissed.

She can feel that burning beginning to spread through her, the pain of growing muscle and shifting bone.

Ravager: You need a distraction? I think... I can give you one!

As her emotions run wild, so does the more animalistic side of her. Though still not in total control, she concentrates, gets angrier, forces her body to transform. She suddenly feels... very hungry. The next time she opens her mouth, a deep, intimidating roar erupts from her throat. In seconds, her body grows further and completes the transformation, furry muscle bursting apart her armor from the inside out.

Her suddenly enhanced senses pick up another incoming attack. With agility far greater than her human form, she turns around and grabs the thrusting spear, then breaks it in half with little effort. Pointed ears flicking back, lips curling, spittle dripping from her jaws, Ravager roars again, this time slashing out with her claws and ripping the squishy guard to shreds. And then, the snow white werewolf is off and tearing through the Hades' troops, cutting them to ribbons and tearing meaty chunks out of them with her teeth. The hunger burning inside her must be sated.

Hercules: By Zeus...

The demi-god stares and watches the massacre for several moments, before his eyes shift carefully over to his uncle. Hades is standing now, as if ready to act himself, though his attention is drawn fully to the rampaging werewolf eviscerating his guards. Snapping out of his surprise, Hercules cuts down a few remaining stragglers not occupied with Ravager, then runs over to Zatanna's side.

Hercules: Young magician, can you hear me? Are you alright?

Though bleeding from her side, Zatanna nods. Her lips are still shut tightly, unable to cast anything. Reaching into his hip pouch, Hercules pulls out another vial, this one filled with a transparent liquid.

Hercules: Can you still do your part?

Again, Zatanna nods. As Hercules uncorks the vial, she pulls her hand away from her bloodied side and begins to rub her fingers across the ground, writing a spell on the surface. There is no stronger magic than blood magic, yet it is to be used only under the most dire of circumstances, as each spell cast in blood siphons away a small amount of the user's life force. Right now, however, the situation calls for it.

Suddenly, the water inside the vial begins to float up into the air. It hovers there briefly, quivering and undulating, then begins to fly off in a long stream, heading straight at Hades. During this time, Hades has come forward off his throne, glaring at the werewolf, as it continues to rip apart his minions. Finally losing his patience, he raises a hand. Instantly, Ravager flies through the air and crashes against the wall, pinned there by an invisible force.

Hades: Enough of this! You will burn in Tartarus, wretched beast!

Before he can continue his assault, however, the airborne stream of water abruptly forces its way down his throat in an instant. Coughing, he takes a step back and scowls, then glares over at Hercules and Zatanna.

Hades: What foolish attempt was that? What did you hope to... to... what did you... who... what's going on? Who are you people? Where are we?

With the hold over her lips releasing, Zatanna breaths out a sigh of relief.

Zatanna: Laeh em.

Her wound instantly closes up, healing completely.

Zatanna: I can't believe that actually worked. Good call on hitting up Lethe on the way here.

Hercules: The danger has not yet past, I'm afraid. The waters of forgetfulness do not last forever on gods. We must retreat and leave this place before Hades remembers who he is. Attend to the girl, make her sleep for now if you must. We'll need to take her to Mnemosyne, the river of memory. Its waters will counteract what Lethe has done to her.

Zatanna: Right, on it.

As Zatanna heads over to Lyta, Hercules hurries over to Rose's side, who has now come out of her werewolf transformation. During this entire time, Hades looks around, as though confused, unable to remember anything about anything.

Holding herself up against the wall, Rose lets out a small groan and straightens herself, then stretches out her arms. Hercules suddenly freezes in place, however, realizing that, after shredding her costume, she is fully nude. Either not noticing this, or simply not caring (most likely the latter), Rose walks forward and gives him a congratulatory pat on the shoulder as she pushes past him.

Rose: Good work.

Hercules just blinks, his gaze following her. Finally, Rose apparently acknowledges the situation and glances back over her shoulder, smirking.

Ravager: Take a good long look, muscle-boy, because you won't be touching.

Hercules: Great Zeus...

Zatanna, now carrying the sleeping Lyta in her arms, turns to them and notices Rose's... predicament. She blinks, her gaze following the naked woman to the exit.

Rose: What are you all waiting for? Let's blow this joint.

Zatanna: That girl has no shame.

Int. The River Styx – Day

A short while later, Rose, Zatanna, and Hercules have returned to the shores of the River Styx, about ready to leave the Underworld for good. One matter does need to be taken care of first, however, a matter for which Themis has rejoined them. Soon, Circe appears, being led by cloaked and hooded figures. Chains are around her hands, and empty sockets still where her eyes should be. Because of her current blindness, she does not notice her daughter, not until the girl runs forward.

Lyta: Mother!

Circe's face instantly shifts into surprise and then softens. A brief moment later, mother and daughter embrace.

Circe: My girl... oh, how I missed you.

Lyta: I missed you, too.

Taking in a deep breath, Circe then tilts her head towards the others.

Circe: Please, my eyes... let me see her.

Themis gives a slow nod, granting permission for Zatanna to cast a spell.

Zatanna: Laeh S'ecric seye.

Once the spell is cast, Circe lets out a small gasp as her eyeballs begin to reform in their sockets. Within seconds, she blinks and can see once again, the image of her daughter appearing before her. Lyta is no longer dressed in the horrid attire that Hades had given her, now in a much more simple and traditional Greek toga, with her hair tied back out of her face. No atrocious eyeliner to speak of, either.

Circe: Lyta... you're beautiful.

The girl smiles back widely at her mother.

Lyta: And so are you.

After giving the two a couple more moments together, Rose, now fully dressed again, after Zatanna took the liberty of casting some clothes on her, steps forward and folds her arms.

Rose: There, I completed my end of the bargain, now remove the curse.

Circe's gaze slowly shifts over to Rose again.

Circe: Before I do, I want something else.

Rose: Are you kidding me? We just went through hell and back for your daughter! Now you want something else from us?

Circe: Not from you, no.

She looks over at Themis, now.

Circe: From her.

Themis: You are not in a good position to be making demands, Circe.

Circe: It is not a command, just a request.

Themis: Then make your request, though I make no promises in granting it.

Circe: I want parole, so I can raise my daughter.

Themis: Circe, you are sentenced to four thousand years in Tartarus, without the possibility of parole. That is something I cannot grant.

Circe: You cannot expect me to take Lyta back with me to Tartarus. I can't raise her there. Please, have mercy on a mother and her daughter.

Themis: The same mercy you showed to all of your victims throughout the years? Or, should I say, lack thereof?

Circe: Put me under guard, lock me up, have Zeus himself keep an eye on me, I don't care, just... please, anywhere but Tartarus. I want to be with my daughter, whatever it takes.

Themis goes quiet, apparently considering the words, though her expression doesn't shift. Rose glances between the two for a moment, then utters a long sigh.

Rose: Just do it.

Themis: You are not the one to decide this, Rose Wilson. Parole is not something I can grant to one of the most powerful criminal sorceresses in this world.

Rose: There isn't any way you can make an exception? She just said she didn't care what it took. Shut her up somewhere else and just let her raise her daughter.

If Circe doesn't get parole, the backstabbing b*tch might not cure me. I am not letting that happen.

Themis: There may be one way in which I can grant parole.

Circe: I don't care what it is.

Themis: Very well, allow me to consult the scales.

Raising her scales up, Themis waits a moment. Eventually, it tilts heavily to the left, the right side coming all the way up.

Themis: I see... it can be done. Circe, you are hereby granted parole-

Circe's face instantly lights up in relief, a smile coming over her face.

Themis: -on the condition that you give up your magic. You will hereby be stripped of all your power, and your immortality. You you live a normal, mortal life to raise your daughter.

Circe's elation suddenly turns to shock and disappointment, a distant frown forming on her face.

Themis: And you will be watched very closely. Should you ever give reason, the gods themselves will drag you back to the deepest pits of Tartarus, where you will spend eternity. Are these conditions acceptable to you?

Breathing in a deep breath, Circe slowly looks down at her daughter. Lyta returns the gaze, eyes meeting. Eventually, Circe closes her eyes and nods.

Circe: I accept.

Themis: Then you are free to leave with the others. When you return to the living world, your power will be gone.

Rose: But before that happens, you owe me something.

Circe: Of course... in thanks for bringing me my daughter.

Walking forward, Circe brings her hands to Rose's temples, then closes her eyes and takes in a deep breath. Rose feels a cold ripple run through her body, followed by a strange warmth.

Circe: The curse is gone.

Rose: Good... thanks. Now let's get the hell out of here.

Ext. Cape Tainaron – Day

Bright sunlight greets them, as they walk out of the cave entrance and return to the surface. Hercules steps forward and breathes in a deep breath, holding his arms up to the sky.

Hercules: Ah, a glorious day!

Turning back to the others, he smiles and holds out his hand.

Hercules: It was a pleasure and honor to fight by your sides, young maidens.

Rose and Zatanna extend their own hands, giving Hercules' a firm shake.

Zatanna: My sentiments are the same. It was an honor.

Rose: Yeah, you do pretty good. I mean, for a demi-god and all.

Then, Hercules looks over to Circe, who holds her daughter's hand gently. He walks up to her and points a finger, glaring.

Hercules: And you, witch, do not squander this opportunity you have been given. Atone for your sins, as I have done, and live a good life. Your daughter deserves that much.

Circe says nothing in response, simply glancing down at Lyta and tightening her grip slightly. Lyta looks back up at her and returns the squeeze, smiling.

Hercules: And with that, I must be off. Farewell, and good luck in your future adventures!

With a parting wave, Hercules turns away from them again and heads down the hill, disappearing from sight soon after. Once he is gone, Circe holds her free hand up, staring at it. She splays her fingers, turns her hand over, then clenches them into a light fist.

Circe: It feels... very strange, being mortal. No magic, no power...

Rose: You'll get used to it, eventually. Just remember what Herc said: don't you dare screw things up after what we went through for you. You take care of your daughter, got it?

Circe: At this point, I want nothing more. Once we figure out a place to go and find a home, I will raise her well.

Rose glances back briefly at Zatanna, who merely shrugs. Releasing a soft breath, she turns to Circe again.

Please don't let me regret this...

Rose: Look, if you don't have anywhere to go, I... know of a place. Silverstone, the city where I live. It might take some adjusting, but it might be a good fit for you. I look after girl named Holly, too; she's about your daughter's age. They... could be friends.

Circe stiffens up slightly, raising her chin, as if trying to show her pride. She doesn't respond, at first, simply staring. Eventually, however, she utters a breath of her own and holds a hand to her hip.

Circe: Very well... but do not think this makes us friends. I have no need of people like you to call friend.

Rose: Oh sure, no problem. I only fought the minions of Hades for you, saved your daughter, and got you freed from four thousand years of pain and suffering, but no, you're right, you wouldn't a friend like that, now would you?

A long pause passes between them, before finally Circe crosses her arms and purses her lips.

Circe: Let's just go, already.

Rose: In a minute. Just hang tight for a sec, kay? Good.

Turning away from Circe, Rose walks back over to Zatanna, holding an arm around her shoulders.

Rose: Gotta say, Z, you're not half bad.

Zatanna: Well, I do have experience. I will say the same of you, though; I'd only heard about you in passing from Dick, every now and then, but you've impressed me.

Rose: Hey, you're not they only one with experience. Now, I just, uh... I have one question before we head home.

Zatanna: Shoot.

Rose: Back there, when you healed Circe's eyes... could you heal the same type of injury on anyone?

Lifting an eyebrow, Zatanna tilts her head and gives a curious look. Her gaze focuses in on Rose's eye patch.

Zatanna: Yes, I could. I can heal most injuries, in fact, past or current. You want your eye back?

Breathing outwardly, Rose glances towards the ground and slowly nods.

Rose: It's the last, constant reminder I have of my father; you know him. I want it gone.

Zatanna: Then just hold still, this will only take a moment.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Day

Zatanna's magic transports them just outside the door to Rose's penthouse. Circe and Lyta are with them, dressed in normal, casual clothes now. Reaching forward, Rose pushes the door open and leads them inside.

Rose: I'm back! Anyone home?

A moment later, a familiar figure appears out of the kitchen. Upon seeing Rose, Rebecca lets out a heavy, relieved breath, then runs up and gives a warm embrace.

Becky: Dios mio, I was getting worried. You were gone for days!

Rose: Yeah, I know, I'm sorry. But I'm back now, and one hundred percent normal... well, for me.

Becky: That's great news, I can still hardly believe that-

Suddenly, Becky stops mid sentence, blinking in confusion and staring. Her hand comes up, clutches the side of Rose's cheek.

Becky: Rose, your eye...

Rose: Yeah, I got it back. Kept the scar, though; I think it looks cool.

Becky: That's... I mean.... I don't believe...

Unable to formulate her thoughts into complete sentences, Becky instead responds with a firm kiss, pressing their lips together for several moments before pulling away. Her gaze then moves over to Zatanna, who gives a wave in greeting.

Becky: Thanks for helping her, Zar... er... Z, was it?

Zatanna: That works fine, and you're welcome. It was my pleasure.

Becky: And who are they?

She's looking at Circe and Lyta now.

Rose: Oh, these are... sort of friends. That's Circe, and her daughter Lyta.

Becky: Well, good to meet you both.

She extends her hand to them, and though Lyta quickly shakes it, Circe just folds her arms and sort of glares.

Rose: Er... don't mind her. She's adjusting.

Becky: And where did you meet them?

Rose: That's a rather long story... I'll tell you all about it later.

Another figure then appears, wandering out of living room. Holly's eyes light up when she sees who's there, then rushes forward and hugs Rose. Looking up to her, she then begins rifling through a series of hand signals, while mouthing the words at the same time.

Holly: I'm so glad you're back!

Rose: I'm glad, too, honey, believe me.

Putting a hand on Holly's back, Rose eases her forward and turns to the side, showing her to Lyta.

Rose: Holly, I'd like you meet Lyta. She's your age, I think.

Lyta walks forward now, giving Holly a long look. She then holds out her hand.

Lyta: It's nice to meet you.

Before Holly answers, Zatanna mutters a backwards whisper under her breath. Holly then reaches forward to shake Lyta's hand and smiles.

Holly: It's nice to meet you, too.

That's when everyone's eyes go wide.

Rose: What the-

Becky: Qué mierda!

Holly: I- I... I'm talking? I can... I- I can talk again! I can talk!

The poor girl is nearly in tears of joy over this sudden occurrence, a broad smile on her face that isn't going away. Rose glances towards Zatanna, meeting her gaze. The magician simply smiles, then gives a very small nod. Rose can't help it; she smiles, too.

Holly then suddenly reaches out and grabs Lyta's hand, bringing the girl farther inside the penthouse.

Holly: Come on, I'll show you my room! Oh my god, I'm talking again! This is so awesome!

Circe blinks, watching as her daughter is dragged away.

Circe: Hey, wait a minute!

Rose: Relax, they'll be fine. Let them play. In the meantime, come inside. We need to figure out where you'll be staying.

Closing the door behind her, Rose leads the group of women into the living room.

Becky: Anyone want a drink?

Zatanna: Oh, I'll have something. What do you got?

Becky: Well, aside the hard stuff, there's some beer in the fridge-

Circe: Uck, beer. Vile stuff, the drink of curs. Please tell me you have wine.

Rose smirks slightly and lifts her eyebrows. Circe may be mortal now, but she really has to work on her people skills.

There's some irony for you, Rose. You thinking someone else needs work on people skills.

Rose: We'll see what we can find. Just make yourself comfortable; we have a lot to talk about.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #48 Preview: It's Christmas time, and merriment is in the air! As is a failed police escort, when a highly dangerous metahuman prisoner is freed en route to a high security prison. In the next issue, Rose deals with the holidays, an explosive prisoner, and a familiar face, as the big crossover event kicks off!

Nice! Now Dr Occult's name is Richard? Really? I never knew that! I looked it up, very cool. Another great chapter especially this "Rose: Uh, it's probably not my place to say, but should you really be wandering down the streets dressed like a slutty magician?"

@Ravager4 said: #44 WOW! This is really, really good writing! More people NEED to read this

Kubrick: Not so tough now, are you, you little b*tch? What are you going to do without your wand?

Zatanna: This: teg kcab!

Raising her hands, Zatanna casts the spell, instantly causing the massive werewolf to launch backwards through the air and into the far wall. But he doesn't stop there, actually crashing through the wall and into the next room, where a couple sits on their bed, watching television. As soon as the snarling monster lands in their room, however, they're off and running out the door, screaming in terror and surprise as they go.

Zatanna: The wand is just a prop, you know. My power comes from me.

Int. Palace of Hades – ???

The interior of the palace is not much different from the outside, with walls all carved from jagged obsidian and no windows. The only light within is provided from flickering torches lining the walls, which cast eery, dancing shadows. Along either side of the central corridor are more statues, just like the ones they met when first arriving in the Underworld. These ones, however, look far more tortured and anguished.

Ravager: Well, this is... homey.

Zatanna: Not exactly my first choice in décor, I'll admit.

Hercules: Come, the throne room is right up this way.

They follow him down the central corridor to another set of double doors, these ones far smaller in size than the palace entrance. Pushing them open, Hercules steps inside and walks forward a few steps, then stops. The other two remain just behind him. The room within is massive, nearly as tall as it is long, with the ceiling so high above them that the torchlight does not reach, instead casting it in shadow. At the end of the room rises a large throne, the seat also carved out of the same black obsidian as the rest of the palace. Seated upon this throne is a large figure dressed in flowing black robes and armor, with equally dark, stringy hair: Hades. Leaning to the side of the throne, Hades holds his head up with his hand, looking somewhat bored and unamused as he eyes the three before him.

Hades: Nephew... why have you returned to my domain? And why have you brought these intruders with you? They reek of the living, an insult to the realm of dead.

Hercules: Dear uncle, we have come to make a request of you.

Hades: A request. Really? And what makes you think that I would grant you such a thing?

Hercules: You have aided me before, during one of my many labors in ages past. I humbly ask for your assistance once again.

Hades: That was a very long time ago, Heracles. But go ahead, make your request. I am... curious.

Pushing past Hercules, Ravager comes forward this time.

Ravager: We’ve come for-

Hades: Remove your mask, woman. I will not be spoken to by a person who would hide when giving words.

Pausing briefly, Ravager glances back at the others for a moment before finally reaching up and removing the faceplate to her costume's helmet.

Ravager: There, happy now?

Hades: I would choose your words more carefully. You stand in the presence of a god, and the proper respect will be shown.

Frowning slightly, she clears her throat and tries again. It almost physically pains her to try and contort her words into something a god would find respectful

Ravager: Lord Hades, we have come to your domain to request the freedom of the girl known as Lyta, daughter of the sorceress, Circe. Our information tells us that you have been raising her within your palace.

Hades: Ah, you come for the girl, how very intriguing. Tell me, woman, what purpose would one such as yourself have in doing this favor for that insufferable wench?

Ravager: To complete my part of a bargain.

Hades: A bargain with a treacherous sorceress... what would compel one to agree to that?

Ravager: That is my own business.

Hades: Perhaps. But why should I give up the girl? She is happy here, she is cared for, she is safe.

Ravager: She belongs with her mother.

Hades: Her mother suffers in Tartarus for her sins! You would condemn a girl to a life of eternal torment simply to be with her mother?

Ravager: You let me worry about that. We'll figure something out.

Hades: Your lack of conviction is uninspiring, I'm afraid. I have no reason to believe she would be better off going with you.

Ravager: Because this place is so good for her, right? Looks like something out of a bad Hellraiser flick.

The air around them seems to instantly chill, following her words. Hades rises from his throne, glaring hotly at her with a look that could pierce diamond. Even Hercules takes a small step back.

Hades: You dare to insult a god?!

Another chilling silence. Zatanna eases herself forward and whispers.

Zatanna: Tread lightly, Rose... tread lightly.

Ravager: Just calling it how I see it.

Hades: I should cast you into Tartarus!

Ravager: Please, if you were going to, you'd have done it already.

Hades does not respond, but continues to glare, his gaze narrowing even more.

Ravager: Tell you what, you show us the girl, and if we're satisfied at how she's being treated, then we'll leave.

Hades: And if unsatisfied, exactly what do you intend to do about it?

Ravager: We'll just have to come up with a different solution, now won’t we?

Another long stare from Hades, until finally he raises a hand. A flash of white hot light sears the ground in front of him, and when it disappears, a young girl with purple hair is standing there, though she's dressed like a high school goth reject, with a lot of leather, straps, eyeliner, and the like. Her expression seems empty and sullen, as if not noticing what is happening around her. Upon seeing this, Ravager frowns.

She's no older than Holly... what the hell has this b**tard done to her?

Hades: My dear Lyta, explain to these people how happy you are here, with me.

Lyta: I... am happy here. This is... my home.

Ravager: This isn't your home, Lyta, this is a prison. We've come to take you back to your mother, where you belong.

The girl slowly glances up at them, her expression still void of any real emotion. Her voice, too, is hollow and empty.

Lyta: I don't... I have no mother... I have never had a mother. This has always been my home, I have always... been here.

Ravager: What do you mean you've never had a mother? Of course you do; her name is Circe.

Lyta: Circe... I don't know that name.

A triumphant smirk slashes across Hades' face.

Hades: You see? She does not even know her mother. She knows only my domain, and her happiness here.

Zatanna: Something feels off... what's wrong with her? Why doesn't she remember- oh dear Hotath.

Realizing the indication at the same time, Hercules comes forward, an angry scowl on his face.

Hercules: You forced her to drink from the waters of Lethe! She has no memory of her past life, none of it! That is how you keep her here!

Hades: Such a simple solution, don't you think?

Giving her full attention to the young girl, Ravager takes a knee, coming to eye level with her.

Ravager: Lyta, snap out of it. You do have a mother, and she misses you very much. Everything this monster has told you is a lie, none of it is true. This isn't your home, and you do not belong here.

Hercules: Bother not with words, dear Rose. It will take much more than that to remove the forgetfulness inflicted upon her mind. Uncle, we're taking the girl.

Hades: You will do no such thing. Not a single one of you will leave this room alive. Lyta, be a good girl and come to your master's side.

Seating himself back on his throne, Hades watches as the girl turns from the others and obediently walks to the side of the throne. She just stands there, waiting and doing nothing else. Ravager clenches her hands to fists, scowling; at this point, Lyta is no more than a trained pet at Hades' beck and call. Rising back to her feet, she begins marching towards the twisted god.

Ravager: You demented b**tard... I swear, I'll-

Hades: You will do what, exactly? I am a god, and you forget your place, mortal!

With a wave of the hand, more of Hades' minions begin to crawl their way out of the floor, though these ones are covered with bloody musculature, skin removed from their bodies. Not all of them are humanoid, either, some resembling great, hulking monstrosities of nature, animalistic beasts with gaping jaws and piercing eyes.

Hades: Do try to put up a good fight; at least then you might provide some entertainment before your bodies are ripped to pieces.

Zatanna: So, is this part of the plan?

Hercules: A minor issue. As soon as we deal with this lot, we will be able to-

His words are cut off, however, as one of the monstrous, sinewy beasts attacks from behind, swatting away the demi-god like a fly. Hercules quickly recovers, however, rolling back up to his feet and then sprinting at the creature. With a mighty lunge, he tackles the monster and begins grappling with it. Ravager and Zatanna, meanwhile, have their own problems.

Ravager: Z, get back to safe spot, hit them from afar!

Zatanna: Way ahead of you!

As Ravager leaps into the fray, whirling her blades around in a wild frenzy, Zatanna retreats backwards a ways, then brings her hands up.

Zatanna: Edolpxe!

Instantly, one of the undead warriors bursts apart in a bloody mist, no trace left behind except for a red stain on the floor. She enjoys not having to hold back almost as much as Ravager does, whose swords cleave a bloody swath through the undead guards. It feels... empowering, being able to let loose the full might of her magic for a change. Of course, doing so also has its drawbacks. She can feel her power draining slowly, gradually, the more she uses it. Her magic tires her over time just the same as her more physically combative allies lose stamina during combat.

Leaping over one of the large, monstrous creatures, Ravager comes down on the other side while slashing along its backside with her blades. The sharp edges slice cleanly through sinew, spraying blood and dropping the creature to the floor. Following her sharp skills and reflexes, she continues cutting her way through these new enemies. Meanwhile, Hercules has torn apart several of the larger monsters with his bare hands, though now fights again with sword and shield. He does more than is fair share of cutting down their foes.

There is a problem, however. As with the skeletal guards outside the palace, the numbers of these new enemies do not dwindle, no matter how many of them are defeated. Within minutes, they begin to swarm and overtake the heroes, far too many to properly fight and keep track of.

Ravager: Do these things ever stop coming?

Hercules: Not as long as Hades wills it! He means for us to fight until we are too exhausted to continue, at which point his guards will cut us apart!

Zatanna: Well, that's a bit of a downer, huh? Teg kcab!

A small group of the sinewy creatures fly backwards through the air, allowing the heroes some breathing room. This doesn't last very long, however, as the numbers continue to grow, enemies closing in on them. Taking in a deep breath, Zatanna raises a hand again, preparing to cast another spell. Hades, on the other hand, appears to have other ideas, pointing a finger at her.

Hades: Silence, witch.

Instantly, Zatanna's mouth closes up, her lips no longer able to open. She lets out muffled cries, trying to cast a spell, but nothing works. A moment later, one of the guards comes forward and thrusts its spear, the metal tip ripping into the her side. A quiet scream of pain gurgles in her throat, as she falls to the floor.

Ravager: Zatanna!

Cutting through the enemies in front of her, Ravager jumps over several others to reach Zatanna before the attacking guard can finish off the downed magician. Swinging her blades viciously, she cleaves off both the creature's arms, then finally its head, and kicks the body backwards. She quickly steals a glance down at Zatanna, who, though injured, is still breathing and alive.

Ravager: Just hang in there, Z. Herc! Now would be a good time for the plan!

Bashing a few of the guards back with his shield, the demi-god turns to her.

Hercules: We'll need a distraction!

Before Ravager can answer, she is forced to whirl around again and cut down another attacking guard. However, at the same time, three others come in with their blades. She manages to twist herself out of the way of two of them, but the third cuts deep into her backside, going through her suit like butter. Her earthly armor is apparently of no defense against these otherworldly weapons. Scowling, she spins around and cuts the guard apart.

Ravager: Now I'm really pissed.

She can feel that burning beginning to spread through her, the pain of growing muscle and shifting bone.

Ravager: You need a distraction? I think... I can give you one!

As her emotions run wild, so does the more animalistic side of her. Though still not in total control, she concentrates, gets angrier, forces her body to transform. She suddenly feels... very hungry. The next time she opens her mouth, a deep, intimidating roar erupts from her throat. In seconds, her body grows further and completes the transformation, furry muscle bursting apart her armor from the inside out.

Her suddenly enhanced senses pick up another incoming attack. With agility far greater than her human form, she turns around and grabs the thrusting spear, then breaks it in half with little effort. Pointed ears flicking back, lips curling, spittle dripping from her jaws, Ravager roars again, this time slashing out with her claws and ripping the squishy guard to shreds. And then, the snow white werewolf is off and tearing through the Hades' troops, cutting them to ribbons and tearing meaty chunks out of them with her teeth. The hunger burning inside her must be sated.

Hercules: By Zeus...

The demi-god stares and watches the massacre for several moments, before his eyes shift carefully over to his uncle. Hades is standing now, as if ready to act himself, though his attention is drawn fully to the rampaging werewolf eviscerating his guards. Snapping out of his surprise, Hercules cuts down a few remaining stragglers not occupied with Ravager, then runs over to Zatanna's side.

Hercules: Young magician, can you hear me? Are you alright?

Though bleeding from her side, Zatanna nods. Her lips are still shut tightly, unable to cast anything. Reaching into his hip pouch, Hercules pulls out another vial, this one filled with a transparent liquid.

Hercules: Can you still do your part?

Again, Zatanna nods. As Hercules uncorks the vial, she pulls her hand away from her bloodied side and begins to rub her fingers across the ground, writing a spell on the surface. There is no stronger magic than blood magic, yet it is to be used only under the most dire of circumstances, as each spell cast in blood siphons away a small amount of the user's life force. Right now, however, the situation calls for it.

Suddenly, the water inside the vial begins to float up into the air. It hovers there briefly, quivering and undulating, then begins to fly off in a long stream, heading straight at Hades. During this time, Hades has come forward off his throne, glaring at the werewolf, as it continues to rip apart his minions. Finally losing his patience, he raises a hand. Instantly, Ravager flies through the air and crashes against the wall, pinned there by an invisible force.

Hades: Enough of this! You will burn in Tartarus, wretched beast!

Before he can continue his assault, however, the airborne stream of water abruptly forces its way down his throat in an instant. Coughing, he takes a step back and scowls, then glares over at Hercules and Zatanna.

Hades: What foolish attempt was that? What did you hope to... to... what did you... who... what's going on? Who are you people? Where are we?

With the hold over her lips releasing, Zatanna breaths out a sigh of relief.

Zatanna: Laeh em.

Her wound instantly closes up, healing completely.

Zatanna: I can't believe that actually worked. Good call on hitting up Lethe on the way here.

Hercules: The danger has not yet past, I'm afraid. The waters of forgetfulness do not last forever on gods. We must retreat and leave this place before Hades remembers who he is. Attend to the girl, make her sleep for now if you must. We'll need to take her to Mnemosyne, the river of memory. Its waters will counteract what Lethe has done to her.

Zatanna: Right, on it.

As Zatanna heads over to Lyta, Hercules hurries over to Rose's side, who has now come out of her werewolf transformation. During this entire time, Hades looks around, as though confused, unable to remember anything about anything.

Holding herself up against the wall, Rose lets out a small groan and straightens herself, then stretches out her arms. Hercules suddenly freezes in place, however, realizing that, after shredding her costume, she is fully nude. Either not noticing this, or simply not caring (most likely the latter), Rose walks forward and gives him a congratulatory pat on the shoulder as she pushes past him.

Rose: Good work.

Hercules just blinks, his gaze following her. Finally, Rose apparently acknowledges the situation and glances back over her shoulder, smirking.

Ravager: Take a good long look, muscle-boy, because you won't be touching.

Hercules: Great Zeus...

Zatanna, now carrying the sleeping Lyta in her arms, turns to them and notices Rose's... predicament. She blinks, her gaze following the naked woman to the exit.

Rose: What are you all waiting for? Let's blow this joint.

Zatanna: That girl has no shame.

Int. The River Styx – Day

A short while later, Rose, Zatanna, and Hercules have returned to the shores of the River Styx, about ready to leave the Underworld for good. One matter does need to be taken care of first, however, a matter for which Themis has rejoined them. Soon, Circe appears, being led by cloaked and hooded figures. Chains are around her hands, and empty sockets still where her eyes should be. Because of her current blindness, she does not notice her daughter, not until the girl runs forward.

Lyta: Mother!

Circe's face instantly shifts into surprise and then softens. A brief moment later, mother and daughter embrace.

Circe: My girl... oh, how I missed you.

Lyta: I missed you, too.

Taking in a deep breath, Circe then tilts her head towards the others.

Circe: Please, my eyes... let me see her.

Themis gives a slow nod, granting permission for Zatanna to cast a spell.

Zatanna: Laeh S'ecric seye.

Once the spell is cast, Circe lets out a small gasp as her eyeballs begin to reform in their sockets. Within seconds, she blinks and can see once again, the image of her daughter appearing before her. Lyta is no longer dressed in the horrid attire that Hades had given her, now in a much more simple and traditional Greek toga, with her hair tied back out of her face. No atrocious eyeliner to speak of, either.

Circe: Lyta... you're beautiful.

The girl smiles back widely at her mother.

Lyta: And so are you.

After giving the two a couple more moments together, Rose, now fully dressed again, after Zatanna took the liberty of casting some clothes on her, steps forward and folds her arms.

Rose: There, I completed my end of the bargain, now remove the curse.

Circe's gaze slowly shifts over to Rose again.

Circe: Before I do, I want something else.

Rose: Are you kidding me? We just went through hell and back for your daughter! Now you want something else from us?

Circe: Not from you, no.

She looks over at Themis, now.

Circe: From her.

Themis: You are not in a good position to be making demands, Circe.

Circe: It is not a command, just a request.

Themis: Then make your request, though I make no promises in granting it.

Circe: I want parole, so I can raise my daughter.

Themis: Circe, you are sentenced to four thousand years in Tartarus, without the possibility of parole. That is something I cannot grant.

Circe: You cannot expect me to take Lyta back with me to Tartarus. I can't raise her there. Please, have mercy on a mother and her daughter.

Themis: The same mercy you showed to all of your victims throughout the years? Or, should I say, lack thereof?

Circe: Put me under guard, lock me up, have Zeus himself keep an eye on me, I don't care, just... please, anywhere but Tartarus. I want to be with my daughter, whatever it takes.

Themis goes quiet, apparently considering the words, though her expression doesn't shift. Rose glances between the two for a moment, then utters a long sigh.

Rose: Just do it.

Themis: You are not the one to decide this, Rose Wilson. Parole is not something I can grant to one of the most powerful criminal sorceresses in this world.

Rose: There isn't any way you can make an exception? She just said she didn't care what it took. Shut her up somewhere else and just let her raise her daughter.

If Circe doesn't get parole, the backstabbing b*tch might not cure me. I am not letting that happen.

Themis: There may be one way in which I can grant parole.

Circe: I don't care what it is.

Themis: Very well, allow me to consult the scales.

Raising her scales up, Themis waits a moment. Eventually, it tilts heavily to the left, the right side coming all the way up.

Themis: I see... it can be done. Circe, you are hereby granted parole-

Circe's face instantly lights up in relief, a smile coming over her face.

Themis: -on the condition that you give up your magic. You will hereby be stripped of all your power, and your immortality. You you live a normal, mortal life to raise your daughter.

Circe's elation suddenly turns to shock and disappointment, a distant frown forming on her face.

Themis: And you will be watched very closely. Should you ever give reason, the gods themselves will drag you back to the deepest pits of Tartarus, where you will spend eternity. Are these conditions acceptable to you?

Breathing in a deep breath, Circe slowly looks down at her daughter. Lyta returns the gaze, eyes meeting. Eventually, Circe closes her eyes and nods.

Circe: I accept.

Themis: Then you are free to leave with the others. When you return to the living world, your power will be gone.

Rose: But before that happens, you owe me something.

Circe: Of course... in thanks for bringing me my daughter.

Walking forward, Circe brings her hands to Rose's temples, then closes her eyes and takes in a deep breath. Rose feels a cold ripple run through her body, followed by a strange warmth.

Circe: The curse is gone.

Rose: Good... thanks. Now let's get the hell out of here.

Ext. Cape Tainaron – Day

Bright sunlight greets them, as they walk out of the cave entrance and return to the surface. Hercules steps forward and breathes in a deep breath, holding his arms up to the sky.

Hercules: Ah, a glorious day!

Turning back to the others, he smiles and holds out his hand.

Hercules: It was a pleasure and honor to fight by your sides, young maidens.

Rose and Zatanna extend their own hands, giving Hercules' a firm shake.

Zatanna: My sentiments are the same. It was an honor.

Rose: Yeah, you do pretty good. I mean, for a demi-god and all.

Then, Hercules looks over to Circe, who holds her daughter's hand gently. He walks up to her and points a finger, glaring.

Hercules: And you, witch, do not squander this opportunity you have been given. Atone for your sins, as I have done, and live a good life. Your daughter deserves that much.

Circe says nothing in response, simply glancing down at Lyta and tightening her grip slightly. Lyta looks back up at her and returns the squeeze, smiling.

Hercules: And with that, I must be off. Farewell, and good luck in your future adventures!

With a parting wave, Hercules turns away from them again and heads down the hill, disappearing from sight soon after. Once he is gone, Circe holds her free hand up, staring at it. She splays her fingers, turns her hand over, then clenches them into a light fist.

Circe: It feels... very strange, being mortal. No magic, no power...

Rose: You'll get used to it, eventually. Just remember what Herc said: don't you dare screw things up after what we went through for you. You take care of your daughter, got it?

Circe: At this point, I want nothing more. Once we figure out a place to go and find a home, I will raise her well.

Rose glances back briefly at Zatanna, who merely shrugs. Releasing a soft breath, she turns to Circe again.

Please don't let me regret this...

Rose: Look, if you don't have anywhere to go, I... know of a place. Silverstone, the city where I live. It might take some adjusting, but it might be a good fit for you. I look after girl named Holly, too; she's about your daughter's age. They... could be friends.

Circe stiffens up slightly, raising her chin, as if trying to show her pride. She doesn't respond, at first, simply staring. Eventually, however, she utters a breath of her own and holds a hand to her hip.

Circe: Very well... but do not think this makes us friends. I have no need of people like you to call friend.

Rose: Oh sure, no problem. I only fought the minions of Hades for you, saved your daughter, and got you freed from four thousand years of pain and suffering, but no, you're right, you wouldn't a friend like that, now would you?

A long pause passes between them, before finally Circe crosses her arms and purses her lips.

Circe: Let's just go, already.

Rose: In a minute. Just hang tight for a sec, kay? Good.

Turning away from Circe, Rose walks back over to Zatanna, holding an arm around her shoulders.

Rose: Gotta say, Z, you're not half bad.

Zatanna: Well, I do have experience. I will say the same of you, though; I'd only heard about you in passing from Dick, every now and then, but you've impressed me.

Rose: Hey, you're not they only one with experience. Now, I just, uh... I have one question before we head home.

Zatanna: Shoot.

Rose: Back there, when you healed Circe's eyes... could you heal the same type of injury on anyone?

Lifting an eyebrow, Zatanna tilts her head and gives a curious look. Her gaze focuses in on Rose's eye patch.

Zatanna: Yes, I could. I can heal most injuries, in fact, past or current. You want your eye back?

Breathing outwardly, Rose glances towards the ground and slowly nods.

Rose: It's the last, constant reminder I have of my father; you know him. I want it gone.

Zatanna: Then just hold still, this will only take a moment.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Day

Zatanna's magic transports them just outside the door to Rose's penthouse. Circe and Lyta are with them, dressed in normal, casual clothes now. Reaching forward, Rose pushes the door open and leads them inside.

Rose: I'm back! Anyone home?

A moment later, a familiar figure appears out of the kitchen. Upon seeing Rose, Rebecca lets out a heavy, relieved breath, then runs up and gives a warm embrace.

Becky: Dios mio, I was getting worried. You were gone for days!

Rose: Yeah, I know, I'm sorry. But I'm back now, and one hundred percent normal... well, for me.

Becky: That's great news, I can still hardly believe that-

Suddenly, Becky stops mid sentence, blinking in confusion and staring. Her hand comes up, clutches the side of Rose's cheek.

Becky: Rose, your eye...

Rose: Yeah, I got it back. Kept the scar, though; I think it looks cool.

Becky: That's... I mean.... I don't believe...

Unable to formulate her thoughts into complete sentences, Becky instead responds with a firm kiss, pressing their lips together for several moments before pulling away. Her gaze then moves over to Zatanna, who gives a wave in greeting.

Becky: Thanks for helping her, Zar... er... Z, was it?

Zatanna: That works fine, and you're welcome. It was my pleasure.

Becky: And who are they?

She's looking at Circe and Lyta now.

Rose: Oh, these are... sort of friends. That's Circe, and her daughter Lyta.

Becky: Well, good to meet you both.

She extends her hand to them, and though Lyta quickly shakes it, Circe just folds her arms and sort of glares.

Rose: Er... don't mind her. She's adjusting.

Becky: And where did you meet them?

Rose: That's a rather long story... I'll tell you all about it later.

Another figure then appears, wandering out of living room. Holly's eyes light up when she sees who's there, then rushes forward and hugs Rose. Looking up to her, she then begins rifling through a series of hand signals, while mouthing the words at the same time.

Holly: I'm so glad you're back!

Rose: I'm glad, too, honey, believe me.

Putting a hand on Holly's back, Rose eases her forward and turns to the side, showing her to Lyta.

Rose: Holly, I'd like you meet Lyta. She's your age, I think.

Lyta walks forward now, giving Holly a long look. She then holds out her hand.

Lyta: It's nice to meet you.

Before Holly answers, Zatanna mutters a backwards whisper under her breath. Holly then reaches forward to shake Lyta's hand and smiles.

Holly: It's nice to meet you, too.

That's when everyone's eyes go wide.

Rose: What the-

Becky: Qué mierda!

Holly: I- I... I'm talking? I can... I- I can talk again! I can talk!

The poor girl is nearly in tears of joy over this sudden occurrence, a broad smile on her face that isn't going away. Rose glances towards Zatanna, meeting her gaze. The magician simply smiles, then gives a very small nod. Rose can't help it; she smiles, too.

Holly then suddenly reaches out and grabs Lyta's hand, bringing the girl farther inside the penthouse.

Holly: Come on, I'll show you my room! Oh my god, I'm talking again! This is so awesome!

Circe blinks, watching as her daughter is dragged away.

Circe: Hey, wait a minute!

Rose: Relax, they'll be fine. Let them play. In the meantime, come inside. We need to figure out where you'll be staying.

Closing the door behind her, Rose leads the group of women into the living room.

Becky: Anyone want a drink?

Zatanna: Oh, I'll have something. What do you got?

Becky: Well, aside the hard stuff, there's some beer in the fridge-

Circe: Uck, beer. Vile stuff, the drink of curs. Please tell me you have wine.

Rose smirks slightly and lifts her eyebrows. Circe may be mortal now, but she really has to work on her people skills.

There's some irony for you, Rose. You thinking someone else needs work on people skills.

Rose: We'll see what we can find. Just make yourself comfortable; we have a lot to talk about.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #48 Preview: It's Christmas time, and merriment is in the air! As is a failed police escort, when a highly dangerous metahuman prisoner is freed en route to a high security prison. In the next issue, Rose deals with the holidays, an explosive prisoner, and a familiar face, as the big crossover event kicks off!

You've captured Zatanna perfectly in my opinion, great fight scene. Very well done indeed!

Right: now you may have read this...if you haven't you need to start! This is an awesome series that needs more that just TWO people commenting on it (hence the reason I have done this mass shout out on Ravager4's behalf) It's written in trade like chunks so GET TOO IT!!! :)

Okay ranting over, breathing resuming, smile returning.....

#5 Posted by batkevin74 (11212 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4: Can't remember where I was up to so I just picked up this new 'trade' and started here at #41 @Ravager4 said:

Swallowing a hard lump in her throat, she thinks back to what Dick told her, how bites are what spreads the lycanthropy virus, in most cases. She had never given it much thought, though, after it happened. After all, to think that she could be turning into a werewolf... it's a laughable thought.

Int. Palace of Hades – ???

The interior of the palace is not much different from the outside, with walls all carved from jagged obsidian and no windows. The only light within is provided from flickering torches lining the walls, which cast eery, dancing shadows. Along either side of the central corridor are more statues, just like the ones they met when first arriving in the Underworld. These ones, however, look far more tortured and anguished.

Ravager: Well, this is... homey.

Zatanna: Not exactly my first choice in décor, I'll admit.

Hercules: Come, the throne room is right up this way.

They follow him down the central corridor to another set of double doors, these ones far smaller in size than the palace entrance. Pushing them open, Hercules steps inside and walks forward a few steps, then stops. The other two remain just behind him. The room within is massive, nearly as tall as it is long, with the ceiling so high above them that the torchlight does not reach, instead casting it in shadow. At the end of the room rises a large throne, the seat also carved out of the same black obsidian as the rest of the palace. Seated upon this throne is a large figure dressed in flowing black robes and armor, with equally dark, stringy hair: Hades. Leaning to the side of the throne, Hades holds his head up with his hand, looking somewhat bored and unamused as he eyes the three before him.

Hades: Nephew... why have you returned to my domain? And why have you brought these intruders with you? They reek of the living, an insult to the realm of dead.

Hercules: Dear uncle, we have come to make a request of you.

Hades: A request. Really? And what makes you think that I would grant you such a thing?

Hercules: You have aided me before, during one of my many labors in ages past. I humbly ask for your assistance once again.

Hades: That was a very long time ago, Heracles. But go ahead, make your request. I am... curious.

Pushing past Hercules, Ravager comes forward this time.

Ravager: We’ve come for-

Hades: Remove your mask, woman. I will not be spoken to by a person who would hide when giving words.

Pausing briefly, Ravager glances back at the others for a moment before finally reaching up and removing the faceplate to her costume's helmet.

Ravager: There, happy now?

Hades: I would choose your words more carefully. You stand in the presence of a god, and the proper respect will be shown.

Frowning slightly, she clears her throat and tries again. It almost physically pains her to try and contort her words into something a god would find respectful

Ravager: Lord Hades, we have come to your domain to request the freedom of the girl known as Lyta, daughter of the sorceress, Circe. Our information tells us that you have been raising her within your palace.

Hades: Ah, you come for the girl, how very intriguing. Tell me, woman, what purpose would one such as yourself have in doing this favor for that insufferable wench?

Ravager: To complete my part of a bargain.

Hades: A bargain with a treacherous sorceress... what would compel one to agree to that?

Ravager: That is my own business.

Hades: Perhaps. But why should I give up the girl? She is happy here, she is cared for, she is safe.

Ravager: She belongs with her mother.

Hades: Her mother suffers in Tartarus for her sins! You would condemn a girl to a life of eternal torment simply to be with her mother?

Ravager: You let me worry about that. We'll figure something out.

Hades: Your lack of conviction is uninspiring, I'm afraid. I have no reason to believe she would be better off going with you.

Ravager: Because this place is so good for her, right? Looks like something out of a bad Hellraiser flick.

The air around them seems to instantly chill, following her words. Hades rises from his throne, glaring hotly at her with a look that could pierce diamond. Even Hercules takes a small step back.

Hades: You dare to insult a god?!

Another chilling silence. Zatanna eases herself forward and whispers.

Zatanna: Tread lightly, Rose... tread lightly.

Ravager: Just calling it how I see it.

Hades: I should cast you into Tartarus!

Ravager: Please, if you were going to, you'd have done it already.

Hades does not respond, but continues to glare, his gaze narrowing even more.

Ravager: Tell you what, you show us the girl, and if we're satisfied at how she's being treated, then we'll leave.

Hades: And if unsatisfied, exactly what do you intend to do about it?

Ravager: We'll just have to come up with a different solution, now won’t we?

Another long stare from Hades, until finally he raises a hand. A flash of white hot light sears the ground in front of him, and when it disappears, a young girl with purple hair is standing there, though she's dressed like a high school goth reject, with a lot of leather, straps, eyeliner, and the like. Her expression seems empty and sullen, as if not noticing what is happening around her. Upon seeing this, Ravager frowns.

She's no older than Holly... what the hell has this b**tard done to her?

Hades: My dear Lyta, explain to these people how happy you are here, with me.

Lyta: I... am happy here. This is... my home.

Ravager: This isn't your home, Lyta, this is a prison. We've come to take you back to your mother, where you belong.

The girl slowly glances up at them, her expression still void of any real emotion. Her voice, too, is hollow and empty.

Lyta: I don't... I have no mother... I have never had a mother. This has always been my home, I have always... been here.

Ravager: What do you mean you've never had a mother? Of course you do; her name is Circe.

Lyta: Circe... I don't know that name.

A triumphant smirk slashes across Hades' face.

Hades: You see? She does not even know her mother. She knows only my domain, and her happiness here.

Zatanna: Something feels off... what's wrong with her? Why doesn't she remember- oh dear Hotath.

Realizing the indication at the same time, Hercules comes forward, an angry scowl on his face.

Hercules: You forced her to drink from the waters of Lethe! She has no memory of her past life, none of it! That is how you keep her here!

Hades: Such a simple solution, don't you think?

Giving her full attention to the young girl, Ravager takes a knee, coming to eye level with her.

Ravager: Lyta, snap out of it. You do have a mother, and she misses you very much. Everything this monster has told you is a lie, none of it is true. This isn't your home, and you do not belong here.

Hercules: Bother not with words, dear Rose. It will take much more than that to remove the forgetfulness inflicted upon her mind. Uncle, we're taking the girl.

Hades: You will do no such thing. Not a single one of you will leave this room alive. Lyta, be a good girl and come to your master's side.

Seating himself back on his throne, Hades watches as the girl turns from the others and obediently walks to the side of the throne. She just stands there, waiting and doing nothing else. Ravager clenches her hands to fists, scowling; at this point, Lyta is no more than a trained pet at Hades' beck and call. Rising back to her feet, she begins marching towards the twisted god.

Ravager: You demented b**tard... I swear, I'll-

Hades: You will do what, exactly? I am a god, and you forget your place, mortal!

With a wave of the hand, more of Hades' minions begin to crawl their way out of the floor, though these ones are covered with bloody musculature, skin removed from their bodies. Not all of them are humanoid, either, some resembling great, hulking monstrosities of nature, animalistic beasts with gaping jaws and piercing eyes.

Hades: Do try to put up a good fight; at least then you might provide some entertainment before your bodies are ripped to pieces.

Zatanna: So, is this part of the plan?

Hercules: A minor issue. As soon as we deal with this lot, we will be able to-

His words are cut off, however, as one of the monstrous, sinewy beasts attacks from behind, swatting away the demi-god like a fly. Hercules quickly recovers, however, rolling back up to his feet and then sprinting at the creature. With a mighty lunge, he tackles the monster and begins grappling with it. Ravager and Zatanna, meanwhile, have their own problems.

Ravager: Z, get back to safe spot, hit them from afar!

Zatanna: Way ahead of you!

As Ravager leaps into the fray, whirling her blades around in a wild frenzy, Zatanna retreats backwards a ways, then brings her hands up.

Zatanna: Edolpxe!

Instantly, one of the undead warriors bursts apart in a bloody mist, no trace left behind except for a red stain on the floor. She enjoys not having to hold back almost as much as Ravager does, whose swords cleave a bloody swath through the undead guards. It feels... empowering, being able to let loose the full might of her magic for a change. Of course, doing so also has its drawbacks. She can feel her power draining slowly, gradually, the more she uses it. Her magic tires her over time just the same as her more physically combative allies lose stamina during combat.

Leaping over one of the large, monstrous creatures, Ravager comes down on the other side while slashing along its backside with her blades. The sharp edges slice cleanly through sinew, spraying blood and dropping the creature to the floor. Following her sharp skills and reflexes, she continues cutting her way through these new enemies. Meanwhile, Hercules has torn apart several of the larger monsters with his bare hands, though now fights again with sword and shield. He does more than is fair share of cutting down their foes.

There is a problem, however. As with the skeletal guards outside the palace, the numbers of these new enemies do not dwindle, no matter how many of them are defeated. Within minutes, they begin to swarm and overtake the heroes, far too many to properly fight and keep track of.

Ravager: Do these things ever stop coming?

Hercules: Not as long as Hades wills it! He means for us to fight until we are too exhausted to continue, at which point his guards will cut us apart!

Zatanna: Well, that's a bit of a downer, huh? Teg kcab!

A small group of the sinewy creatures fly backwards through the air, allowing the heroes some breathing room. This doesn't last very long, however, as the numbers continue to grow, enemies closing in on them. Taking in a deep breath, Zatanna raises a hand again, preparing to cast another spell. Hades, on the other hand, appears to have other ideas, pointing a finger at her.

Hades: Silence, witch.

Instantly, Zatanna's mouth closes up, her lips no longer able to open. She lets out muffled cries, trying to cast a spell, but nothing works. A moment later, one of the guards comes forward and thrusts its spear, the metal tip ripping into the her side. A quiet scream of pain gurgles in her throat, as she falls to the floor.

Ravager: Zatanna!

Cutting through the enemies in front of her, Ravager jumps over several others to reach Zatanna before the attacking guard can finish off the downed magician. Swinging her blades viciously, she cleaves off both the creature's arms, then finally its head, and kicks the body backwards. She quickly steals a glance down at Zatanna, who, though injured, is still breathing and alive.

Ravager: Just hang in there, Z. Herc! Now would be a good time for the plan!

Bashing a few of the guards back with his shield, the demi-god turns to her.

Hercules: We'll need a distraction!

Before Ravager can answer, she is forced to whirl around again and cut down another attacking guard. However, at the same time, three others come in with their blades. She manages to twist herself out of the way of two of them, but the third cuts deep into her backside, going through her suit like butter. Her earthly armor is apparently of no defense against these otherworldly weapons. Scowling, she spins around and cuts the guard apart.

Ravager: Now I'm really pissed.

She can feel that burning beginning to spread through her, the pain of growing muscle and shifting bone.

Ravager: You need a distraction? I think... I can give you one!

As her emotions run wild, so does the more animalistic side of her. Though still not in total control, she concentrates, gets angrier, forces her body to transform. She suddenly feels... very hungry. The next time she opens her mouth, a deep, intimidating roar erupts from her throat. In seconds, her body grows further and completes the transformation, furry muscle bursting apart her armor from the inside out.

Her suddenly enhanced senses pick up another incoming attack. With agility far greater than her human form, she turns around and grabs the thrusting spear, then breaks it in half with little effort. Pointed ears flicking back, lips curling, spittle dripping from her jaws, Ravager roars again, this time slashing out with her claws and ripping the squishy guard to shreds. And then, the snow white werewolf is off and tearing through the Hades' troops, cutting them to ribbons and tearing meaty chunks out of them with her teeth. The hunger burning inside her must be sated.

Hercules: By Zeus...

The demi-god stares and watches the massacre for several moments, before his eyes shift carefully over to his uncle. Hades is standing now, as if ready to act himself, though his attention is drawn fully to the rampaging werewolf eviscerating his guards. Snapping out of his surprise, Hercules cuts down a few remaining stragglers not occupied with Ravager, then runs over to Zatanna's side.

Hercules: Young magician, can you hear me? Are you alright?

Though bleeding from her side, Zatanna nods. Her lips are still shut tightly, unable to cast anything. Reaching into his hip pouch, Hercules pulls out another vial, this one filled with a transparent liquid.

Hercules: Can you still do your part?

Again, Zatanna nods. As Hercules uncorks the vial, she pulls her hand away from her bloodied side and begins to rub her fingers across the ground, writing a spell on the surface. There is no stronger magic than blood magic, yet it is to be used only under the most dire of circumstances, as each spell cast in blood siphons away a small amount of the user's life force. Right now, however, the situation calls for it.

Suddenly, the water inside the vial begins to float up into the air. It hovers there briefly, quivering and undulating, then begins to fly off in a long stream, heading straight at Hades. During this time, Hades has come forward off his throne, glaring at the werewolf, as it continues to rip apart his minions. Finally losing his patience, he raises a hand. Instantly, Ravager flies through the air and crashes against the wall, pinned there by an invisible force.

Hades: Enough of this! You will burn in Tartarus, wretched beast!

Before he can continue his assault, however, the airborne stream of water abruptly forces its way down his throat in an instant. Coughing, he takes a step back and scowls, then glares over at Hercules and Zatanna.

Hades: What foolish attempt was that? What did you hope to... to... what did you... who... what's going on? Who are you people? Where are we?

With the hold over her lips releasing, Zatanna breaths out a sigh of relief.

Zatanna: Laeh em.

Her wound instantly closes up, healing completely.

Zatanna: I can't believe that actually worked. Good call on hitting up Lethe on the way here.

Hercules: The danger has not yet past, I'm afraid. The waters of forgetfulness do not last forever on gods. We must retreat and leave this place before Hades remembers who he is. Attend to the girl, make her sleep for now if you must. We'll need to take her to Mnemosyne, the river of memory. Its waters will counteract what Lethe has done to her.

Zatanna: Right, on it.

As Zatanna heads over to Lyta, Hercules hurries over to Rose's side, who has now come out of her werewolf transformation. During this entire time, Hades looks around, as though confused, unable to remember anything about anything.

Holding herself up against the wall, Rose lets out a small groan and straightens herself, then stretches out her arms. Hercules suddenly freezes in place, however, realizing that, after shredding her costume, she is fully nude. Either not noticing this, or simply not caring (most likely the latter), Rose walks forward and gives him a congratulatory pat on the shoulder as she pushes past him.

Rose: Good work.

Hercules just blinks, his gaze following her. Finally, Rose apparently acknowledges the situation and glances back over her shoulder, smirking.

Ravager: Take a good long look, muscle-boy, because you won't be touching.

Hercules: Great Zeus...

Zatanna, now carrying the sleeping Lyta in her arms, turns to them and notices Rose's... predicament. She blinks, her gaze following the naked woman to the exit.

Rose: What are you all waiting for? Let's blow this joint.

Zatanna: That girl has no shame.

Int. The River Styx – Day

A short while later, Rose, Zatanna, and Hercules have returned to the shores of the River Styx, about ready to leave the Underworld for good. One matter does need to be taken care of first, however, a matter for which Themis has rejoined them. Soon, Circe appears, being led by cloaked and hooded figures. Chains are around her hands, and empty sockets still where her eyes should be. Because of her current blindness, she does not notice her daughter, not until the girl runs forward.

Lyta: Mother!

Circe's face instantly shifts into surprise and then softens. A brief moment later, mother and daughter embrace.

Circe: My girl... oh, how I missed you.

Lyta: I missed you, too.

Taking in a deep breath, Circe then tilts her head towards the others.

Circe: Please, my eyes... let me see her.

Themis gives a slow nod, granting permission for Zatanna to cast a spell.

Zatanna: Laeh S'ecric seye.

Once the spell is cast, Circe lets out a small gasp as her eyeballs begin to reform in their sockets. Within seconds, she blinks and can see once again, the image of her daughter appearing before her. Lyta is no longer dressed in the horrid attire that Hades had given her, now in a much more simple and traditional Greek toga, with her hair tied back out of her face. No atrocious eyeliner to speak of, either.

Circe: Lyta... you're beautiful.

The girl smiles back widely at her mother.

Lyta: And so are you.

After giving the two a couple more moments together, Rose, now fully dressed again, after Zatanna took the liberty of casting some clothes on her, steps forward and folds her arms.

Rose: There, I completed my end of the bargain, now remove the curse.

Circe's gaze slowly shifts over to Rose again.

Circe: Before I do, I want something else.

Rose: Are you kidding me? We just went through hell and back for your daughter! Now you want something else from us?

Circe: Not from you, no.

She looks over at Themis, now.

Circe: From her.

Themis: You are not in a good position to be making demands, Circe.

Circe: It is not a command, just a request.

Themis: Then make your request, though I make no promises in granting it.

Circe: I want parole, so I can raise my daughter.

Themis: Circe, you are sentenced to four thousand years in Tartarus, without the possibility of parole. That is something I cannot grant.

Circe: You cannot expect me to take Lyta back with me to Tartarus. I can't raise her there. Please, have mercy on a mother and her daughter.

Themis: The same mercy you showed to all of your victims throughout the years? Or, should I say, lack thereof?

Circe: Put me under guard, lock me up, have Zeus himself keep an eye on me, I don't care, just... please, anywhere but Tartarus. I want to be with my daughter, whatever it takes.

Themis goes quiet, apparently considering the words, though her expression doesn't shift. Rose glances between the two for a moment, then utters a long sigh.

Rose: Just do it.

Themis: You are not the one to decide this, Rose Wilson. Parole is not something I can grant to one of the most powerful criminal sorceresses in this world.

Rose: There isn't any way you can make an exception? She just said she didn't care what it took. Shut her up somewhere else and just let her raise her daughter.

If Circe doesn't get parole, the backstabbing b*tch might not cure me. I am not letting that happen.

Themis: There may be one way in which I can grant parole.

Circe: I don't care what it is.

Themis: Very well, allow me to consult the scales.

Raising her scales up, Themis waits a moment. Eventually, it tilts heavily to the left, the right side coming all the way up.

Themis: I see... it can be done. Circe, you are hereby granted parole-

Circe's face instantly lights up in relief, a smile coming over her face.

Themis: -on the condition that you give up your magic. You will hereby be stripped of all your power, and your immortality. You you live a normal, mortal life to raise your daughter.

Circe's elation suddenly turns to shock and disappointment, a distant frown forming on her face.

Themis: And you will be watched very closely. Should you ever give reason, the gods themselves will drag you back to the deepest pits of Tartarus, where you will spend eternity. Are these conditions acceptable to you?

Breathing in a deep breath, Circe slowly looks down at her daughter. Lyta returns the gaze, eyes meeting. Eventually, Circe closes her eyes and nods.

Circe: I accept.

Themis: Then you are free to leave with the others. When you return to the living world, your power will be gone.

Rose: But before that happens, you owe me something.

Circe: Of course... in thanks for bringing me my daughter.

Walking forward, Circe brings her hands to Rose's temples, then closes her eyes and takes in a deep breath. Rose feels a cold ripple run through her body, followed by a strange warmth.

Circe: The curse is gone.

Rose: Good... thanks. Now let's get the hell out of here.

Ext. Cape Tainaron – Day

Bright sunlight greets them, as they walk out of the cave entrance and return to the surface. Hercules steps forward and breathes in a deep breath, holding his arms up to the sky.

Hercules: Ah, a glorious day!

Turning back to the others, he smiles and holds out his hand.

Hercules: It was a pleasure and honor to fight by your sides, young maidens.

Rose and Zatanna extend their own hands, giving Hercules' a firm shake.

Zatanna: My sentiments are the same. It was an honor.

Rose: Yeah, you do pretty good. I mean, for a demi-god and all.

Then, Hercules looks over to Circe, who holds her daughter's hand gently. He walks up to her and points a finger, glaring.

Hercules: And you, witch, do not squander this opportunity you have been given. Atone for your sins, as I have done, and live a good life. Your daughter deserves that much.

Circe says nothing in response, simply glancing down at Lyta and tightening her grip slightly. Lyta looks back up at her and returns the squeeze, smiling.

Hercules: And with that, I must be off. Farewell, and good luck in your future adventures!

With a parting wave, Hercules turns away from them again and heads down the hill, disappearing from sight soon after. Once he is gone, Circe holds her free hand up, staring at it. She splays her fingers, turns her hand over, then clenches them into a light fist.

Circe: It feels... very strange, being mortal. No magic, no power...

Rose: You'll get used to it, eventually. Just remember what Herc said: don't you dare screw things up after what we went through for you. You take care of your daughter, got it?

Circe: At this point, I want nothing more. Once we figure out a place to go and find a home, I will raise her well.

Rose glances back briefly at Zatanna, who merely shrugs. Releasing a soft breath, she turns to Circe again.

Please don't let me regret this...

Rose: Look, if you don't have anywhere to go, I... know of a place. Silverstone, the city where I live. It might take some adjusting, but it might be a good fit for you. I look after girl named Holly, too; she's about your daughter's age. They... could be friends.

Circe stiffens up slightly, raising her chin, as if trying to show her pride. She doesn't respond, at first, simply staring. Eventually, however, she utters a breath of her own and holds a hand to her hip.

Circe: Very well... but do not think this makes us friends. I have no need of people like you to call friend.

Rose: Oh sure, no problem. I only fought the minions of Hades for you, saved your daughter, and got you freed from four thousand years of pain and suffering, but no, you're right, you wouldn't a friend like that, now would you?

A long pause passes between them, before finally Circe crosses her arms and purses her lips.

Circe: Let's just go, already.

Rose: In a minute. Just hang tight for a sec, kay? Good.

Turning away from Circe, Rose walks back over to Zatanna, holding an arm around her shoulders.

Rose: Gotta say, Z, you're not half bad.

Zatanna: Well, I do have experience. I will say the same of you, though; I'd only heard about you in passing from Dick, every now and then, but you've impressed me.

Rose: Hey, you're not they only one with experience. Now, I just, uh... I have one question before we head home.

Zatanna: Shoot.

Rose: Back there, when you healed Circe's eyes... could you heal the same type of injury on anyone?

Lifting an eyebrow, Zatanna tilts her head and gives a curious look. Her gaze focuses in on Rose's eye patch.

Zatanna: Yes, I could. I can heal most injuries, in fact, past or current. You want your eye back?

Breathing outwardly, Rose glances towards the ground and slowly nods.

Rose: It's the last, constant reminder I have of my father; you know him. I want it gone.

Zatanna: Then just hold still, this will only take a moment.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Day

Zatanna's magic transports them just outside the door to Rose's penthouse. Circe and Lyta are with them, dressed in normal, casual clothes now. Reaching forward, Rose pushes the door open and leads them inside.

Rose: I'm back! Anyone home?

A moment later, a familiar figure appears out of the kitchen. Upon seeing Rose, Rebecca lets out a heavy, relieved breath, then runs up and gives a warm embrace.

Becky: Dios mio, I was getting worried. You were gone for days!

Rose: Yeah, I know, I'm sorry. But I'm back now, and one hundred percent normal... well, for me.

Becky: That's great news, I can still hardly believe that-

Suddenly, Becky stops mid sentence, blinking in confusion and staring. Her hand comes up, clutches the side of Rose's cheek.

Becky: Rose, your eye...

Rose: Yeah, I got it back. Kept the scar, though; I think it looks cool.

Becky: That's... I mean.... I don't believe...

Unable to formulate her thoughts into complete sentences, Becky instead responds with a firm kiss, pressing their lips together for several moments before pulling away. Her gaze then moves over to Zatanna, who gives a wave in greeting.

Becky: Thanks for helping her, Zar... er... Z, was it?

Zatanna: That works fine, and you're welcome. It was my pleasure.

Becky: And who are they?

She's looking at Circe and Lyta now.

Rose: Oh, these are... sort of friends. That's Circe, and her daughter Lyta.

Becky: Well, good to meet you both.

She extends her hand to them, and though Lyta quickly shakes it, Circe just folds her arms and sort of glares.

Rose: Er... don't mind her. She's adjusting.

Becky: And where did you meet them?

Rose: That's a rather long story... I'll tell you all about it later.

Another figure then appears, wandering out of living room. Holly's eyes light up when she sees who's there, then rushes forward and hugs Rose. Looking up to her, she then begins rifling through a series of hand signals, while mouthing the words at the same time.

Holly: I'm so glad you're back!

Rose: I'm glad, too, honey, believe me.

Putting a hand on Holly's back, Rose eases her forward and turns to the side, showing her to Lyta.

Rose: Holly, I'd like you meet Lyta. She's your age, I think.

Lyta walks forward now, giving Holly a long look. She then holds out her hand.

Lyta: It's nice to meet you.

Before Holly answers, Zatanna mutters a backwards whisper under her breath. Holly then reaches forward to shake Lyta's hand and smiles.

Holly: It's nice to meet you, too.

That's when everyone's eyes go wide.

Rose: What the-

Becky: Qué mierda!

Holly: I- I... I'm talking? I can... I- I can talk again! I can talk!

The poor girl is nearly in tears of joy over this sudden occurrence, a broad smile on her face that isn't going away. Rose glances towards Zatanna, meeting her gaze. The magician simply smiles, then gives a very small nod. Rose can't help it; she smiles, too.

Holly then suddenly reaches out and grabs Lyta's hand, bringing the girl farther inside the penthouse.

Holly: Come on, I'll show you my room! Oh my god, I'm talking again! This is so awesome!

Circe blinks, watching as her daughter is dragged away.

Circe: Hey, wait a minute!

Rose: Relax, they'll be fine. Let them play. In the meantime, come inside. We need to figure out where you'll be staying.

Closing the door behind her, Rose leads the group of women into the living room.

Becky: Anyone want a drink?

Zatanna: Oh, I'll have something. What do you got?

Becky: Well, aside the hard stuff, there's some beer in the fridge-

Circe: Uck, beer. Vile stuff, the drink of curs. Please tell me you have wine.

Rose smirks slightly and lifts her eyebrows. Circe may be mortal now, but she really has to work on her people skills.

There's some irony for you, Rose. You thinking someone else needs work on people skills.

Rose: We'll see what we can find. Just make yourself comfortable; we have a lot to talk about.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #48 Preview: It's Christmas time, and merriment is in the air! As is a failed police escort, when a highly dangerous metahuman prisoner is freed en route to a high security prison. In the next issue, Rose deals with the holidays, an explosive prisoner, and a familiar face, as the big crossover event kicks off!

Rose Wilson: the Rava-Wolf? The Weravager? Nice idea...I smell a crossover with Zatanna

@Ravager4: #42 "So, she'd had Batman help her design something new, not only a different style but also more protective and durable. Now, her armored costume is a sleek design of blue and black, with some red, white, and grey trim (Like her New 52 outfit, here)" Nice...I like how you've kinda accepted that 52 is now the norm (don't worry I hate it too) and making it your own.

@Ravager4 said:

Zatanna: Magical teleportation, of course.

The interior of the palace is not much different from the outside, with walls all carved from jagged obsidian and no windows. The only light within is provided from flickering torches lining the walls, which cast eery, dancing shadows. Along either side of the central corridor are more statues, just like the ones they met when first arriving in the Underworld. These ones, however, look far more tortured and anguished.

Ravager: Well, this is... homey.

Zatanna: Not exactly my first choice in décor, I'll admit.

Hercules: Come, the throne room is right up this way.

They follow him down the central corridor to another set of double doors, these ones far smaller in size than the palace entrance. Pushing them open, Hercules steps inside and walks forward a few steps, then stops. The other two remain just behind him. The room within is massive, nearly as tall as it is long, with the ceiling so high above them that the torchlight does not reach, instead casting it in shadow. At the end of the room rises a large throne, the seat also carved out of the same black obsidian as the rest of the palace. Seated upon this throne is a large figure dressed in flowing black robes and armor, with equally dark, stringy hair: Hades. Leaning to the side of the throne, Hades holds his head up with his hand, looking somewhat bored and unamused as he eyes the three before him.

Hades: Nephew... why have you returned to my domain? And why have you brought these intruders with you? They reek of the living, an insult to the realm of dead.

Hercules: Dear uncle, we have come to make a request of you.

Hades: A request. Really? And what makes you think that I would grant you such a thing?

Hercules: You have aided me before, during one of my many labors in ages past. I humbly ask for your assistance once again.

Hades: That was a very long time ago, Heracles. But go ahead, make your request. I am... curious.

Pushing past Hercules, Ravager comes forward this time.

Ravager: We’ve come for-

Hades: Remove your mask, woman. I will not be spoken to by a person who would hide when giving words.

Pausing briefly, Ravager glances back at the others for a moment before finally reaching up and removing the faceplate to her costume's helmet.

Ravager: There, happy now?

Hades: I would choose your words more carefully. You stand in the presence of a god, and the proper respect will be shown.

Frowning slightly, she clears her throat and tries again. It almost physically pains her to try and contort her words into something a god would find respectful

Ravager: Lord Hades, we have come to your domain to request the freedom of the girl known as Lyta, daughter of the sorceress, Circe. Our information tells us that you have been raising her within your palace.

Hades: Ah, you come for the girl, how very intriguing. Tell me, woman, what purpose would one such as yourself have in doing this favor for that insufferable wench?

Ravager: To complete my part of a bargain.

Hades: A bargain with a treacherous sorceress... what would compel one to agree to that?

Ravager: That is my own business.

Hades: Perhaps. But why should I give up the girl? She is happy here, she is cared for, she is safe.

Ravager: She belongs with her mother.

Hades: Her mother suffers in Tartarus for her sins! You would condemn a girl to a life of eternal torment simply to be with her mother?

Ravager: You let me worry about that. We'll figure something out.

Hades: Your lack of conviction is uninspiring, I'm afraid. I have no reason to believe she would be better off going with you.

Ravager: Because this place is so good for her, right? Looks like something out of a bad Hellraiser flick.

The air around them seems to instantly chill, following her words. Hades rises from his throne, glaring hotly at her with a look that could pierce diamond. Even Hercules takes a small step back.

Hades: You dare to insult a god?!

Another chilling silence. Zatanna eases herself forward and whispers.

Zatanna: Tread lightly, Rose... tread lightly.

Ravager: Just calling it how I see it.

Hades: I should cast you into Tartarus!

Ravager: Please, if you were going to, you'd have done it already.

Hades does not respond, but continues to glare, his gaze narrowing even more.

Ravager: Tell you what, you show us the girl, and if we're satisfied at how she's being treated, then we'll leave.

Hades: And if unsatisfied, exactly what do you intend to do about it?

Ravager: We'll just have to come up with a different solution, now won’t we?

Another long stare from Hades, until finally he raises a hand. A flash of white hot light sears the ground in front of him, and when it disappears, a young girl with purple hair is standing there, though she's dressed like a high school goth reject, with a lot of leather, straps, eyeliner, and the like. Her expression seems empty and sullen, as if not noticing what is happening around her. Upon seeing this, Ravager frowns.

She's no older than Holly... what the hell has this b**tard done to her?

Hades: My dear Lyta, explain to these people how happy you are here, with me.

Lyta: I... am happy here. This is... my home.

Ravager: This isn't your home, Lyta, this is a prison. We've come to take you back to your mother, where you belong.

The girl slowly glances up at them, her expression still void of any real emotion. Her voice, too, is hollow and empty.

Lyta: I don't... I have no mother... I have never had a mother. This has always been my home, I have always... been here.

Ravager: What do you mean you've never had a mother? Of course you do; her name is Circe.

Lyta: Circe... I don't know that name.

A triumphant smirk slashes across Hades' face.

Hades: You see? She does not even know her mother. She knows only my domain, and her happiness here.

Zatanna: Something feels off... what's wrong with her? Why doesn't she remember- oh dear Hotath.

Realizing the indication at the same time, Hercules comes forward, an angry scowl on his face.

Hercules: You forced her to drink from the waters of Lethe! She has no memory of her past life, none of it! That is how you keep her here!

Hades: Such a simple solution, don't you think?

Giving her full attention to the young girl, Ravager takes a knee, coming to eye level with her.

Ravager: Lyta, snap out of it. You do have a mother, and she misses you very much. Everything this monster has told you is a lie, none of it is true. This isn't your home, and you do not belong here.

Hercules: Bother not with words, dear Rose. It will take much more than that to remove the forgetfulness inflicted upon her mind. Uncle, we're taking the girl.

Hades: You will do no such thing. Not a single one of you will leave this room alive. Lyta, be a good girl and come to your master's side.

Seating himself back on his throne, Hades watches as the girl turns from the others and obediently walks to the side of the throne. She just stands there, waiting and doing nothing else. Ravager clenches her hands to fists, scowling; at this point, Lyta is no more than a trained pet at Hades' beck and call. Rising back to her feet, she begins marching towards the twisted god.

Ravager: You demented b**tard... I swear, I'll-

Hades: You will do what, exactly? I am a god, and you forget your place, mortal!

With a wave of the hand, more of Hades' minions begin to crawl their way out of the floor, though these ones are covered with bloody musculature, skin removed from their bodies. Not all of them are humanoid, either, some resembling great, hulking monstrosities of nature, animalistic beasts with gaping jaws and piercing eyes.

Hades: Do try to put up a good fight; at least then you might provide some entertainment before your bodies are ripped to pieces.

Zatanna: So, is this part of the plan?

Hercules: A minor issue. As soon as we deal with this lot, we will be able to-

His words are cut off, however, as one of the monstrous, sinewy beasts attacks from behind, swatting away the demi-god like a fly. Hercules quickly recovers, however, rolling back up to his feet and then sprinting at the creature. With a mighty lunge, he tackles the monster and begins grappling with it. Ravager and Zatanna, meanwhile, have their own problems.

Ravager: Z, get back to safe spot, hit them from afar!

Zatanna: Way ahead of you!

As Ravager leaps into the fray, whirling her blades around in a wild frenzy, Zatanna retreats backwards a ways, then brings her hands up.

Zatanna: Edolpxe!

Instantly, one of the undead warriors bursts apart in a bloody mist, no trace left behind except for a red stain on the floor. She enjoys not having to hold back almost as much as Ravager does, whose swords cleave a bloody swath through the undead guards. It feels... empowering, being able to let loose the full might of her magic for a change. Of course, doing so also has its drawbacks. She can feel her power draining slowly, gradually, the more she uses it. Her magic tires her over time just the same as her more physically combative allies lose stamina during combat.

Leaping over one of the large, monstrous creatures, Ravager comes down on the other side while slashing along its backside with her blades. The sharp edges slice cleanly through sinew, spraying blood and dropping the creature to the floor. Following her sharp skills and reflexes, she continues cutting her way through these new enemies. Meanwhile, Hercules has torn apart several of the larger monsters with his bare hands, though now fights again with sword and shield. He does more than is fair share of cutting down their foes.

There is a problem, however. As with the skeletal guards outside the palace, the numbers of these new enemies do not dwindle, no matter how many of them are defeated. Within minutes, they begin to swarm and overtake the heroes, far too many to properly fight and keep track of.

Ravager: Do these things ever stop coming?

Hercules: Not as long as Hades wills it! He means for us to fight until we are too exhausted to continue, at which point his guards will cut us apart!

Zatanna: Well, that's a bit of a downer, huh? Teg kcab!

A small group of the sinewy creatures fly backwards through the air, allowing the heroes some breathing room. This doesn't last very long, however, as the numbers continue to grow, enemies closing in on them. Taking in a deep breath, Zatanna raises a hand again, preparing to cast another spell. Hades, on the other hand, appears to have other ideas, pointing a finger at her.

Hades: Silence, witch.

Instantly, Zatanna's mouth closes up, her lips no longer able to open. She lets out muffled cries, trying to cast a spell, but nothing works. A moment later, one of the guards comes forward and thrusts its spear, the metal tip ripping into the her side. A quiet scream of pain gurgles in her throat, as she falls to the floor.

Ravager: Zatanna!

Cutting through the enemies in front of her, Ravager jumps over several others to reach Zatanna before the attacking guard can finish off the downed magician. Swinging her blades viciously, she cleaves off both the creature's arms, then finally its head, and kicks the body backwards. She quickly steals a glance down at Zatanna, who, though injured, is still breathing and alive.

Ravager: Just hang in there, Z. Herc! Now would be a good time for the plan!

Bashing a few of the guards back with his shield, the demi-god turns to her.

Hercules: We'll need a distraction!

Before Ravager can answer, she is forced to whirl around again and cut down another attacking guard. However, at the same time, three others come in with their blades. She manages to twist herself out of the way of two of them, but the third cuts deep into her backside, going through her suit like butter. Her earthly armor is apparently of no defense against these otherworldly weapons. Scowling, she spins around and cuts the guard apart.

Ravager: Now I'm really pissed.

She can feel that burning beginning to spread through her, the pain of growing muscle and shifting bone.

Ravager: You need a distraction? I think... I can give you one!

As her emotions run wild, so does the more animalistic side of her. Though still not in total control, she concentrates, gets angrier, forces her body to transform. She suddenly feels... very hungry. The next time she opens her mouth, a deep, intimidating roar erupts from her throat. In seconds, her body grows further and completes the transformation, furry muscle bursting apart her armor from the inside out.

Her suddenly enhanced senses pick up another incoming attack. With agility far greater than her human form, she turns around and grabs the thrusting spear, then breaks it in half with little effort. Pointed ears flicking back, lips curling, spittle dripping from her jaws, Ravager roars again, this time slashing out with her claws and ripping the squishy guard to shreds. And then, the snow white werewolf is off and tearing through the Hades' troops, cutting them to ribbons and tearing meaty chunks out of them with her teeth. The hunger burning inside her must be sated.

Hercules: By Zeus...

The demi-god stares and watches the massacre for several moments, before his eyes shift carefully over to his uncle. Hades is standing now, as if ready to act himself, though his attention is drawn fully to the rampaging werewolf eviscerating his guards. Snapping out of his surprise, Hercules cuts down a few remaining stragglers not occupied with Ravager, then runs over to Zatanna's side.

Hercules: Young magician, can you hear me? Are you alright?

Though bleeding from her side, Zatanna nods. Her lips are still shut tightly, unable to cast anything. Reaching into his hip pouch, Hercules pulls out another vial, this one filled with a transparent liquid.

Hercules: Can you still do your part?

Again, Zatanna nods. As Hercules uncorks the vial, she pulls her hand away from her bloodied side and begins to rub her fingers across the ground, writing a spell on the surface. There is no stronger magic than blood magic, yet it is to be used only under the most dire of circumstances, as each spell cast in blood siphons away a small amount of the user's life force. Right now, however, the situation calls for it.

Suddenly, the water inside the vial begins to float up into the air. It hovers there briefly, quivering and undulating, then begins to fly off in a long stream, heading straight at Hades. During this time, Hades has come forward off his throne, glaring at the werewolf, as it continues to rip apart his minions. Finally losing his patience, he raises a hand. Instantly, Ravager flies through the air and crashes against the wall, pinned there by an invisible force.

Hades: Enough of this! You will burn in Tartarus, wretched beast!

Before he can continue his assault, however, the airborne stream of water abruptly forces its way down his throat in an instant. Coughing, he takes a step back and scowls, then glares over at Hercules and Zatanna.

Hades: What foolish attempt was that? What did you hope to... to... what did you... who... what's going on? Who are you people? Where are we?

With the hold over her lips releasing, Zatanna breaths out a sigh of relief.

Zatanna: Laeh em.

Her wound instantly closes up, healing completely.

Zatanna: I can't believe that actually worked. Good call on hitting up Lethe on the way here.

Hercules: The danger has not yet past, I'm afraid. The waters of forgetfulness do not last forever on gods. We must retreat and leave this place before Hades remembers who he is. Attend to the girl, make her sleep for now if you must. We'll need to take her to Mnemosyne, the river of memory. Its waters will counteract what Lethe has done to her.

Zatanna: Right, on it.

As Zatanna heads over to Lyta, Hercules hurries over to Rose's side, who has now come out of her werewolf transformation. During this entire time, Hades looks around, as though confused, unable to remember anything about anything.

Holding herself up against the wall, Rose lets out a small groan and straightens herself, then stretches out her arms. Hercules suddenly freezes in place, however, realizing that, after shredding her costume, she is fully nude. Either not noticing this, or simply not caring (most likely the latter), Rose walks forward and gives him a congratulatory pat on the shoulder as she pushes past him.

Rose: Good work.

Hercules just blinks, his gaze following her. Finally, Rose apparently acknowledges the situation and glances back over her shoulder, smirking.

Ravager: Take a good long look, muscle-boy, because you won't be touching.

Hercules: Great Zeus...

Zatanna, now carrying the sleeping Lyta in her arms, turns to them and notices Rose's... predicament. She blinks, her gaze following the naked woman to the exit.

Rose: What are you all waiting for? Let's blow this joint.

Zatanna: That girl has no shame.

Int. The River Styx – Day

A short while later, Rose, Zatanna, and Hercules have returned to the shores of the River Styx, about ready to leave the Underworld for good. One matter does need to be taken care of first, however, a matter for which Themis has rejoined them. Soon, Circe appears, being led by cloaked and hooded figures. Chains are around her hands, and empty sockets still where her eyes should be. Because of her current blindness, she does not notice her daughter, not until the girl runs forward.

Lyta: Mother!

Circe's face instantly shifts into surprise and then softens. A brief moment later, mother and daughter embrace.

Circe: My girl... oh, how I missed you.

Lyta: I missed you, too.

Taking in a deep breath, Circe then tilts her head towards the others.

Circe: Please, my eyes... let me see her.

Themis gives a slow nod, granting permission for Zatanna to cast a spell.

Zatanna: Laeh S'ecric seye.

Once the spell is cast, Circe lets out a small gasp as her eyeballs begin to reform in their sockets. Within seconds, she blinks and can see once again, the image of her daughter appearing before her. Lyta is no longer dressed in the horrid attire that Hades had given her, now in a much more simple and traditional Greek toga, with her hair tied back out of her face. No atrocious eyeliner to speak of, either.

Circe: Lyta... you're beautiful.

The girl smiles back widely at her mother.

Lyta: And so are you.

After giving the two a couple more moments together, Rose, now fully dressed again, after Zatanna took the liberty of casting some clothes on her, steps forward and folds her arms.

Rose: There, I completed my end of the bargain, now remove the curse.

Circe's gaze slowly shifts over to Rose again.

Circe: Before I do, I want something else.

Rose: Are you kidding me? We just went through hell and back for your daughter! Now you want something else from us?

Circe: Not from you, no.

She looks over at Themis, now.

Circe: From her.

Themis: You are not in a good position to be making demands, Circe.

Circe: It is not a command, just a request.

Themis: Then make your request, though I make no promises in granting it.

Circe: I want parole, so I can raise my daughter.

Themis: Circe, you are sentenced to four thousand years in Tartarus, without the possibility of parole. That is something I cannot grant.

Circe: You cannot expect me to take Lyta back with me to Tartarus. I can't raise her there. Please, have mercy on a mother and her daughter.

Themis: The same mercy you showed to all of your victims throughout the years? Or, should I say, lack thereof?

Circe: Put me under guard, lock me up, have Zeus himself keep an eye on me, I don't care, just... please, anywhere but Tartarus. I want to be with my daughter, whatever it takes.

Themis goes quiet, apparently considering the words, though her expression doesn't shift. Rose glances between the two for a moment, then utters a long sigh.

Rose: Just do it.

Themis: You are not the one to decide this, Rose Wilson. Parole is not something I can grant to one of the most powerful criminal sorceresses in this world.

Rose: There isn't any way you can make an exception? She just said she didn't care what it took. Shut her up somewhere else and just let her raise her daughter.

If Circe doesn't get parole, the backstabbing b*tch might not cure me. I am not letting that happen.

Themis: There may be one way in which I can grant parole.

Circe: I don't care what it is.

Themis: Very well, allow me to consult the scales.

Raising her scales up, Themis waits a moment. Eventually, it tilts heavily to the left, the right side coming all the way up.

Themis: I see... it can be done. Circe, you are hereby granted parole-

Circe's face instantly lights up in relief, a smile coming over her face.

Themis: -on the condition that you give up your magic. You will hereby be stripped of all your power, and your immortality. You you live a normal, mortal life to raise your daughter.

Circe's elation suddenly turns to shock and disappointment, a distant frown forming on her face.

Themis: And you will be watched very closely. Should you ever give reason, the gods themselves will drag you back to the deepest pits of Tartarus, where you will spend eternity. Are these conditions acceptable to you?

Breathing in a deep breath, Circe slowly looks down at her daughter. Lyta returns the gaze, eyes meeting. Eventually, Circe closes her eyes and nods.

Circe: I accept.

Themis: Then you are free to leave with the others. When you return to the living world, your power will be gone.

Rose: But before that happens, you owe me something.

Circe: Of course... in thanks for bringing me my daughter.

Walking forward, Circe brings her hands to Rose's temples, then closes her eyes and takes in a deep breath. Rose feels a cold ripple run through her body, followed by a strange warmth.

Circe: The curse is gone.

Rose: Good... thanks. Now let's get the hell out of here.

Ext. Cape Tainaron – Day

Bright sunlight greets them, as they walk out of the cave entrance and return to the surface. Hercules steps forward and breathes in a deep breath, holding his arms up to the sky.

Hercules: Ah, a glorious day!

Turning back to the others, he smiles and holds out his hand.

Hercules: It was a pleasure and honor to fight by your sides, young maidens.

Rose and Zatanna extend their own hands, giving Hercules' a firm shake.

Zatanna: My sentiments are the same. It was an honor.

Rose: Yeah, you do pretty good. I mean, for a demi-god and all.

Then, Hercules looks over to Circe, who holds her daughter's hand gently. He walks up to her and points a finger, glaring.

Hercules: And you, witch, do not squander this opportunity you have been given. Atone for your sins, as I have done, and live a good life. Your daughter deserves that much.

Circe says nothing in response, simply glancing down at Lyta and tightening her grip slightly. Lyta looks back up at her and returns the squeeze, smiling.

Hercules: And with that, I must be off. Farewell, and good luck in your future adventures!

With a parting wave, Hercules turns away from them again and heads down the hill, disappearing from sight soon after. Once he is gone, Circe holds her free hand up, staring at it. She splays her fingers, turns her hand over, then clenches them into a light fist.

Circe: It feels... very strange, being mortal. No magic, no power...

Rose: You'll get used to it, eventually. Just remember what Herc said: don't you dare screw things up after what we went through for you. You take care of your daughter, got it?

Circe: At this point, I want nothing more. Once we figure out a place to go and find a home, I will raise her well.

Rose glances back briefly at Zatanna, who merely shrugs. Releasing a soft breath, she turns to Circe again.

Please don't let me regret this...

Rose: Look, if you don't have anywhere to go, I... know of a place. Silverstone, the city where I live. It might take some adjusting, but it might be a good fit for you. I look after girl named Holly, too; she's about your daughter's age. They... could be friends.

Circe stiffens up slightly, raising her chin, as if trying to show her pride. She doesn't respond, at first, simply staring. Eventually, however, she utters a breath of her own and holds a hand to her hip.

Circe: Very well... but do not think this makes us friends. I have no need of people like you to call friend.

Rose: Oh sure, no problem. I only fought the minions of Hades for you, saved your daughter, and got you freed from four thousand years of pain and suffering, but no, you're right, you wouldn't a friend like that, now would you?

A long pause passes between them, before finally Circe crosses her arms and purses her lips.

Circe: Let's just go, already.

Rose: In a minute. Just hang tight for a sec, kay? Good.

Turning away from Circe, Rose walks back over to Zatanna, holding an arm around her shoulders.

Rose: Gotta say, Z, you're not half bad.

Zatanna: Well, I do have experience. I will say the same of you, though; I'd only heard about you in passing from Dick, every now and then, but you've impressed me.

Rose: Hey, you're not they only one with experience. Now, I just, uh... I have one question before we head home.

Zatanna: Shoot.

Rose: Back there, when you healed Circe's eyes... could you heal the same type of injury on anyone?

Lifting an eyebrow, Zatanna tilts her head and gives a curious look. Her gaze focuses in on Rose's eye patch.

Zatanna: Yes, I could. I can heal most injuries, in fact, past or current. You want your eye back?

Breathing outwardly, Rose glances towards the ground and slowly nods.

Rose: It's the last, constant reminder I have of my father; you know him. I want it gone.

Zatanna: Then just hold still, this will only take a moment.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Day

Zatanna's magic transports them just outside the door to Rose's penthouse. Circe and Lyta are with them, dressed in normal, casual clothes now. Reaching forward, Rose pushes the door open and leads them inside.

Rose: I'm back! Anyone home?

A moment later, a familiar figure appears out of the kitchen. Upon seeing Rose, Rebecca lets out a heavy, relieved breath, then runs up and gives a warm embrace.

Becky: Dios mio, I was getting worried. You were gone for days!

Rose: Yeah, I know, I'm sorry. But I'm back now, and one hundred percent normal... well, for me.

Becky: That's great news, I can still hardly believe that-

Suddenly, Becky stops mid sentence, blinking in confusion and staring. Her hand comes up, clutches the side of Rose's cheek.

Becky: Rose, your eye...

Rose: Yeah, I got it back. Kept the scar, though; I think it looks cool.

Becky: That's... I mean.... I don't believe...

Unable to formulate her thoughts into complete sentences, Becky instead responds with a firm kiss, pressing their lips together for several moments before pulling away. Her gaze then moves over to Zatanna, who gives a wave in greeting.

Becky: Thanks for helping her, Zar... er... Z, was it?

Zatanna: That works fine, and you're welcome. It was my pleasure.

Becky: And who are they?

She's looking at Circe and Lyta now.

Rose: Oh, these are... sort of friends. That's Circe, and her daughter Lyta.

Becky: Well, good to meet you both.

She extends her hand to them, and though Lyta quickly shakes it, Circe just folds her arms and sort of glares.

Rose: Er... don't mind her. She's adjusting.

Becky: And where did you meet them?

Rose: That's a rather long story... I'll tell you all about it later.

Another figure then appears, wandering out of living room. Holly's eyes light up when she sees who's there, then rushes forward and hugs Rose. Looking up to her, she then begins rifling through a series of hand signals, while mouthing the words at the same time.

Holly: I'm so glad you're back!

Rose: I'm glad, too, honey, believe me.

Putting a hand on Holly's back, Rose eases her forward and turns to the side, showing her to Lyta.

Rose: Holly, I'd like you meet Lyta. She's your age, I think.

Lyta walks forward now, giving Holly a long look. She then holds out her hand.

Lyta: It's nice to meet you.

Before Holly answers, Zatanna mutters a backwards whisper under her breath. Holly then reaches forward to shake Lyta's hand and smiles.

Holly: It's nice to meet you, too.

That's when everyone's eyes go wide.

Rose: What the-

Becky: Qué mierda!

Holly: I- I... I'm talking? I can... I- I can talk again! I can talk!

The poor girl is nearly in tears of joy over this sudden occurrence, a broad smile on her face that isn't going away. Rose glances towards Zatanna, meeting her gaze. The magician simply smiles, then gives a very small nod. Rose can't help it; she smiles, too.

Holly then suddenly reaches out and grabs Lyta's hand, bringing the girl farther inside the penthouse.

Holly: Come on, I'll show you my room! Oh my god, I'm talking again! This is so awesome!

Circe blinks, watching as her daughter is dragged away.

Circe: Hey, wait a minute!

Rose: Relax, they'll be fine. Let them play. In the meantime, come inside. We need to figure out where you'll be staying.

Closing the door behind her, Rose leads the group of women into the living room.

Becky: Anyone want a drink?

Zatanna: Oh, I'll have something. What do you got?

Becky: Well, aside the hard stuff, there's some beer in the fridge-

Circe: Uck, beer. Vile stuff, the drink of curs. Please tell me you have wine.

Rose smirks slightly and lifts her eyebrows. Circe may be mortal now, but she really has to work on her people skills.

There's some irony for you, Rose. You thinking someone else needs work on people skills.

Rose: We'll see what we can find. Just make yourself comfortable; we have a lot to talk about.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #48 Preview: It's Christmas time, and merriment is in the air! As is a failed police escort, when a highly dangerous metahuman prisoner is freed en route to a high security prison. In the next issue, Rose deals with the holidays, an explosive prisoner, and a familiar face, as the big crossover event kicks off!

Ha ha ha I was right! Rose & Zatanna is a nice combo. It reminds me of when Selina & Zatanna teamed up

#43

Rose: Uck... I hate teleportation...

Zatanna: Not experienced with that particular mode of travel, I see. You get used to it.

Rose: You say that like I'm going to have to.

Int. Palace of Hades – ???

The interior of the palace is not much different from the outside, with walls all carved from jagged obsidian and no windows. The only light within is provided from flickering torches lining the walls, which cast eery, dancing shadows. Along either side of the central corridor are more statues, just like the ones they met when first arriving in the Underworld. These ones, however, look far more tortured and anguished.

Ravager: Well, this is... homey.

Zatanna: Not exactly my first choice in décor, I'll admit.

Hercules: Come, the throne room is right up this way.

They follow him down the central corridor to another set of double doors, these ones far smaller in size than the palace entrance. Pushing them open, Hercules steps inside and walks forward a few steps, then stops. The other two remain just behind him. The room within is massive, nearly as tall as it is long, with the ceiling so high above them that the torchlight does not reach, instead casting it in shadow. At the end of the room rises a large throne, the seat also carved out of the same black obsidian as the rest of the palace. Seated upon this throne is a large figure dressed in flowing black robes and armor, with equally dark, stringy hair: Hades. Leaning to the side of the throne, Hades holds his head up with his hand, looking somewhat bored and unamused as he eyes the three before him.

Hades: Nephew... why have you returned to my domain? And why have you brought these intruders with you? They reek of the living, an insult to the realm of dead.

Hercules: Dear uncle, we have come to make a request of you.

Hades: A request. Really? And what makes you think that I would grant you such a thing?

Hercules: You have aided me before, during one of my many labors in ages past. I humbly ask for your assistance once again.

Hades: That was a very long time ago, Heracles. But go ahead, make your request. I am... curious.

Pushing past Hercules, Ravager comes forward this time.

Ravager: We’ve come for-

Hades: Remove your mask, woman. I will not be spoken to by a person who would hide when giving words.

Pausing briefly, Ravager glances back at the others for a moment before finally reaching up and removing the faceplate to her costume's helmet.

Ravager: There, happy now?

Hades: I would choose your words more carefully. You stand in the presence of a god, and the proper respect will be shown.

Frowning slightly, she clears her throat and tries again. It almost physically pains her to try and contort her words into something a god would find respectful

Ravager: Lord Hades, we have come to your domain to request the freedom of the girl known as Lyta, daughter of the sorceress, Circe. Our information tells us that you have been raising her within your palace.

Hades: Ah, you come for the girl, how very intriguing. Tell me, woman, what purpose would one such as yourself have in doing this favor for that insufferable wench?

Ravager: To complete my part of a bargain.

Hades: A bargain with a treacherous sorceress... what would compel one to agree to that?

Ravager: That is my own business.

Hades: Perhaps. But why should I give up the girl? She is happy here, she is cared for, she is safe.

Ravager: She belongs with her mother.

Hades: Her mother suffers in Tartarus for her sins! You would condemn a girl to a life of eternal torment simply to be with her mother?

Ravager: You let me worry about that. We'll figure something out.

Hades: Your lack of conviction is uninspiring, I'm afraid. I have no reason to believe she would be better off going with you.

Ravager: Because this place is so good for her, right? Looks like something out of a bad Hellraiser flick.

The air around them seems to instantly chill, following her words. Hades rises from his throne, glaring hotly at her with a look that could pierce diamond. Even Hercules takes a small step back.

Hades: You dare to insult a god?!

Another chilling silence. Zatanna eases herself forward and whispers.

Zatanna: Tread lightly, Rose... tread lightly.

Ravager: Just calling it how I see it.

Hades: I should cast you into Tartarus!

Ravager: Please, if you were going to, you'd have done it already.

Hades does not respond, but continues to glare, his gaze narrowing even more.

Ravager: Tell you what, you show us the girl, and if we're satisfied at how she's being treated, then we'll leave.

Hades: And if unsatisfied, exactly what do you intend to do about it?

Ravager: We'll just have to come up with a different solution, now won’t we?

Another long stare from Hades, until finally he raises a hand. A flash of white hot light sears the ground in front of him, and when it disappears, a young girl with purple hair is standing there, though she's dressed like a high school goth reject, with a lot of leather, straps, eyeliner, and the like. Her expression seems empty and sullen, as if not noticing what is happening around her. Upon seeing this, Ravager frowns.

She's no older than Holly... what the hell has this b**tard done to her?

Hades: My dear Lyta, explain to these people how happy you are here, with me.

Lyta: I... am happy here. This is... my home.

Ravager: This isn't your home, Lyta, this is a prison. We've come to take you back to your mother, where you belong.

The girl slowly glances up at them, her expression still void of any real emotion. Her voice, too, is hollow and empty.

Lyta: I don't... I have no mother... I have never had a mother. This has always been my home, I have always... been here.

Ravager: What do you mean you've never had a mother? Of course you do; her name is Circe.

Lyta: Circe... I don't know that name.

A triumphant smirk slashes across Hades' face.

Hades: You see? She does not even know her mother. She knows only my domain, and her happiness here.

Zatanna: Something feels off... what's wrong with her? Why doesn't she remember- oh dear Hotath.

Realizing the indication at the same time, Hercules comes forward, an angry scowl on his face.

Hercules: You forced her to drink from the waters of Lethe! She has no memory of her past life, none of it! That is how you keep her here!

Hades: Such a simple solution, don't you think?

Giving her full attention to the young girl, Ravager takes a knee, coming to eye level with her.

Ravager: Lyta, snap out of it. You do have a mother, and she misses you very much. Everything this monster has told you is a lie, none of it is true. This isn't your home, and you do not belong here.

Hercules: Bother not with words, dear Rose. It will take much more than that to remove the forgetfulness inflicted upon her mind. Uncle, we're taking the girl.

Hades: You will do no such thing. Not a single one of you will leave this room alive. Lyta, be a good girl and come to your master's side.

Seating himself back on his throne, Hades watches as the girl turns from the others and obediently walks to the side of the throne. She just stands there, waiting and doing nothing else. Ravager clenches her hands to fists, scowling; at this point, Lyta is no more than a trained pet at Hades' beck and call. Rising back to her feet, she begins marching towards the twisted god.

Ravager: You demented b**tard... I swear, I'll-

Hades: You will do what, exactly? I am a god, and you forget your place, mortal!

With a wave of the hand, more of Hades' minions begin to crawl their way out of the floor, though these ones are covered with bloody musculature, skin removed from their bodies. Not all of them are humanoid, either, some resembling great, hulking monstrosities of nature, animalistic beasts with gaping jaws and piercing eyes.

Hades: Do try to put up a good fight; at least then you might provide some entertainment before your bodies are ripped to pieces.

Zatanna: So, is this part of the plan?

Hercules: A minor issue. As soon as we deal with this lot, we will be able to-

His words are cut off, however, as one of the monstrous, sinewy beasts attacks from behind, swatting away the demi-god like a fly. Hercules quickly recovers, however, rolling back up to his feet and then sprinting at the creature. With a mighty lunge, he tackles the monster and begins grappling with it. Ravager and Zatanna, meanwhile, have their own problems.

Ravager: Z, get back to safe spot, hit them from afar!

Zatanna: Way ahead of you!

As Ravager leaps into the fray, whirling her blades around in a wild frenzy, Zatanna retreats backwards a ways, then brings her hands up.

Zatanna: Edolpxe!

Instantly, one of the undead warriors bursts apart in a bloody mist, no trace left behind except for a red stain on the floor. She enjoys not having to hold back almost as much as Ravager does, whose swords cleave a bloody swath through the undead guards. It feels... empowering, being able to let loose the full might of her magic for a change. Of course, doing so also has its drawbacks. She can feel her power draining slowly, gradually, the more she uses it. Her magic tires her over time just the same as her more physically combative allies lose stamina during combat.

Leaping over one of the large, monstrous creatures, Ravager comes down on the other side while slashing along its backside with her blades. The sharp edges slice cleanly through sinew, spraying blood and dropping the creature to the floor. Following her sharp skills and reflexes, she continues cutting her way through these new enemies. Meanwhile, Hercules has torn apart several of the larger monsters with his bare hands, though now fights again with sword and shield. He does more than is fair share of cutting down their foes.

There is a problem, however. As with the skeletal guards outside the palace, the numbers of these new enemies do not dwindle, no matter how many of them are defeated. Within minutes, they begin to swarm and overtake the heroes, far too many to properly fight and keep track of.

Ravager: Do these things ever stop coming?

Hercules: Not as long as Hades wills it! He means for us to fight until we are too exhausted to continue, at which point his guards will cut us apart!

Zatanna: Well, that's a bit of a downer, huh? Teg kcab!

A small group of the sinewy creatures fly backwards through the air, allowing the heroes some breathing room. This doesn't last very long, however, as the numbers continue to grow, enemies closing in on them. Taking in a deep breath, Zatanna raises a hand again, preparing to cast another spell. Hades, on the other hand, appears to have other ideas, pointing a finger at her.

Hades: Silence, witch.

Instantly, Zatanna's mouth closes up, her lips no longer able to open. She lets out muffled cries, trying to cast a spell, but nothing works. A moment later, one of the guards comes forward and thrusts its spear, the metal tip ripping into the her side. A quiet scream of pain gurgles in her throat, as she falls to the floor.

Ravager: Zatanna!

Cutting through the enemies in front of her, Ravager jumps over several others to reach Zatanna before the attacking guard can finish off the downed magician. Swinging her blades viciously, she cleaves off both the creature's arms, then finally its head, and kicks the body backwards. She quickly steals a glance down at Zatanna, who, though injured, is still breathing and alive.

Ravager: Just hang in there, Z. Herc! Now would be a good time for the plan!

Bashing a few of the guards back with his shield, the demi-god turns to her.

Hercules: We'll need a distraction!

Before Ravager can answer, she is forced to whirl around again and cut down another attacking guard. However, at the same time, three others come in with their blades. She manages to twist herself out of the way of two of them, but the third cuts deep into her backside, going through her suit like butter. Her earthly armor is apparently of no defense against these otherworldly weapons. Scowling, she spins around and cuts the guard apart.

Ravager: Now I'm really pissed.

She can feel that burning beginning to spread through her, the pain of growing muscle and shifting bone.

Ravager: You need a distraction? I think... I can give you one!

As her emotions run wild, so does the more animalistic side of her. Though still not in total control, she concentrates, gets angrier, forces her body to transform. She suddenly feels... very hungry. The next time she opens her mouth, a deep, intimidating roar erupts from her throat. In seconds, her body grows further and completes the transformation, furry muscle bursting apart her armor from the inside out.

Her suddenly enhanced senses pick up another incoming attack. With agility far greater than her human form, she turns around and grabs the thrusting spear, then breaks it in half with little effort. Pointed ears flicking back, lips curling, spittle dripping from her jaws, Ravager roars again, this time slashing out with her claws and ripping the squishy guard to shreds. And then, the snow white werewolf is off and tearing through the Hades' troops, cutting them to ribbons and tearing meaty chunks out of them with her teeth. The hunger burning inside her must be sated.

Hercules: By Zeus...

The demi-god stares and watches the massacre for several moments, before his eyes shift carefully over to his uncle. Hades is standing now, as if ready to act himself, though his attention is drawn fully to the rampaging werewolf eviscerating his guards. Snapping out of his surprise, Hercules cuts down a few remaining stragglers not occupied with Ravager, then runs over to Zatanna's side.

Hercules: Young magician, can you hear me? Are you alright?

Though bleeding from her side, Zatanna nods. Her lips are still shut tightly, unable to cast anything. Reaching into his hip pouch, Hercules pulls out another vial, this one filled with a transparent liquid.

Hercules: Can you still do your part?

Again, Zatanna nods. As Hercules uncorks the vial, she pulls her hand away from her bloodied side and begins to rub her fingers across the ground, writing a spell on the surface. There is no stronger magic than blood magic, yet it is to be used only under the most dire of circumstances, as each spell cast in blood siphons away a small amount of the user's life force. Right now, however, the situation calls for it.

Suddenly, the water inside the vial begins to float up into the air. It hovers there briefly, quivering and undulating, then begins to fly off in a long stream, heading straight at Hades. During this time, Hades has come forward off his throne, glaring at the werewolf, as it continues to rip apart his minions. Finally losing his patience, he raises a hand. Instantly, Ravager flies through the air and crashes against the wall, pinned there by an invisible force.

Hades: Enough of this! You will burn in Tartarus, wretched beast!

Before he can continue his assault, however, the airborne stream of water abruptly forces its way down his throat in an instant. Coughing, he takes a step back and scowls, then glares over at Hercules and Zatanna.

Hades: What foolish attempt was that? What did you hope to... to... what did you... who... what's going on? Who are you people? Where are we?

With the hold over her lips releasing, Zatanna breaths out a sigh of relief.

Zatanna: Laeh em.

Her wound instantly closes up, healing completely.

Zatanna: I can't believe that actually worked. Good call on hitting up Lethe on the way here.

Hercules: The danger has not yet past, I'm afraid. The waters of forgetfulness do not last forever on gods. We must retreat and leave this place before Hades remembers who he is. Attend to the girl, make her sleep for now if you must. We'll need to take her to Mnemosyne, the river of memory. Its waters will counteract what Lethe has done to her.

Zatanna: Right, on it.

As Zatanna heads over to Lyta, Hercules hurries over to Rose's side, who has now come out of her werewolf transformation. During this entire time, Hades looks around, as though confused, unable to remember anything about anything.

Holding herself up against the wall, Rose lets out a small groan and straightens herself, then stretches out her arms. Hercules suddenly freezes in place, however, realizing that, after shredding her costume, she is fully nude. Either not noticing this, or simply not caring (most likely the latter), Rose walks forward and gives him a congratulatory pat on the shoulder as she pushes past him.

Rose: Good work.

Hercules just blinks, his gaze following her. Finally, Rose apparently acknowledges the situation and glances back over her shoulder, smirking.

Ravager: Take a good long look, muscle-boy, because you won't be touching.

Hercules: Great Zeus...

Zatanna, now carrying the sleeping Lyta in her arms, turns to them and notices Rose's... predicament. She blinks, her gaze following the naked woman to the exit.

Rose: What are you all waiting for? Let's blow this joint.

Zatanna: That girl has no shame.

Int. The River Styx – Day

A short while later, Rose, Zatanna, and Hercules have returned to the shores of the River Styx, about ready to leave the Underworld for good. One matter does need to be taken care of first, however, a matter for which Themis has rejoined them. Soon, Circe appears, being led by cloaked and hooded figures. Chains are around her hands, and empty sockets still where her eyes should be. Because of her current blindness, she does not notice her daughter, not until the girl runs forward.

Lyta: Mother!

Circe's face instantly shifts into surprise and then softens. A brief moment later, mother and daughter embrace.

Circe: My girl... oh, how I missed you.

Lyta: I missed you, too.

Taking in a deep breath, Circe then tilts her head towards the others.

Circe: Please, my eyes... let me see her.

Themis gives a slow nod, granting permission for Zatanna to cast a spell.

Zatanna: Laeh S'ecric seye.

Once the spell is cast, Circe lets out a small gasp as her eyeballs begin to reform in their sockets. Within seconds, she blinks and can see once again, the image of her daughter appearing before her. Lyta is no longer dressed in the horrid attire that Hades had given her, now in a much more simple and traditional Greek toga, with her hair tied back out of her face. No atrocious eyeliner to speak of, either.

Circe: Lyta... you're beautiful.

The girl smiles back widely at her mother.

Lyta: And so are you.

After giving the two a couple more moments together, Rose, now fully dressed again, after Zatanna took the liberty of casting some clothes on her, steps forward and folds her arms.

Rose: There, I completed my end of the bargain, now remove the curse.

Circe's gaze slowly shifts over to Rose again.

Circe: Before I do, I want something else.

Rose: Are you kidding me? We just went through hell and back for your daughter! Now you want something else from us?

Circe: Not from you, no.

She looks over at Themis, now.

Circe: From her.

Themis: You are not in a good position to be making demands, Circe.

Circe: It is not a command, just a request.

Themis: Then make your request, though I make no promises in granting it.

Circe: I want parole, so I can raise my daughter.

Themis: Circe, you are sentenced to four thousand years in Tartarus, without the possibility of parole. That is something I cannot grant.

Circe: You cannot expect me to take Lyta back with me to Tartarus. I can't raise her there. Please, have mercy on a mother and her daughter.

Themis: The same mercy you showed to all of your victims throughout the years? Or, should I say, lack thereof?

Circe: Put me under guard, lock me up, have Zeus himself keep an eye on me, I don't care, just... please, anywhere but Tartarus. I want to be with my daughter, whatever it takes.

Themis goes quiet, apparently considering the words, though her expression doesn't shift. Rose glances between the two for a moment, then utters a long sigh.

Rose: Just do it.

Themis: You are not the one to decide this, Rose Wilson. Parole is not something I can grant to one of the most powerful criminal sorceresses in this world.

Rose: There isn't any way you can make an exception? She just said she didn't care what it took. Shut her up somewhere else and just let her raise her daughter.

If Circe doesn't get parole, the backstabbing b*tch might not cure me. I am not letting that happen.

Themis: There may be one way in which I can grant parole.

Circe: I don't care what it is.

Themis: Very well, allow me to consult the scales.

Raising her scales up, Themis waits a moment. Eventually, it tilts heavily to the left, the right side coming all the way up.

Themis: I see... it can be done. Circe, you are hereby granted parole-

Circe's face instantly lights up in relief, a smile coming over her face.

Themis: -on the condition that you give up your magic. You will hereby be stripped of all your power, and your immortality. You you live a normal, mortal life to raise your daughter.

Circe's elation suddenly turns to shock and disappointment, a distant frown forming on her face.

Themis: And you will be watched very closely. Should you ever give reason, the gods themselves will drag you back to the deepest pits of Tartarus, where you will spend eternity. Are these conditions acceptable to you?

Breathing in a deep breath, Circe slowly looks down at her daughter. Lyta returns the gaze, eyes meeting. Eventually, Circe closes her eyes and nods.

Circe: I accept.

Themis: Then you are free to leave with the others. When you return to the living world, your power will be gone.

Rose: But before that happens, you owe me something.

Circe: Of course... in thanks for bringing me my daughter.

Walking forward, Circe brings her hands to Rose's temples, then closes her eyes and takes in a deep breath. Rose feels a cold ripple run through her body, followed by a strange warmth.

Circe: The curse is gone.

Rose: Good... thanks. Now let's get the hell out of here.

Ext. Cape Tainaron – Day

Bright sunlight greets them, as they walk out of the cave entrance and return to the surface. Hercules steps forward and breathes in a deep breath, holding his arms up to the sky.

Hercules: Ah, a glorious day!

Turning back to the others, he smiles and holds out his hand.

Hercules: It was a pleasure and honor to fight by your sides, young maidens.

Rose and Zatanna extend their own hands, giving Hercules' a firm shake.

Zatanna: My sentiments are the same. It was an honor.

Rose: Yeah, you do pretty good. I mean, for a demi-god and all.

Then, Hercules looks over to Circe, who holds her daughter's hand gently. He walks up to her and points a finger, glaring.

Hercules: And you, witch, do not squander this opportunity you have been given. Atone for your sins, as I have done, and live a good life. Your daughter deserves that much.

Circe says nothing in response, simply glancing down at Lyta and tightening her grip slightly. Lyta looks back up at her and returns the squeeze, smiling.

Hercules: And with that, I must be off. Farewell, and good luck in your future adventures!

With a parting wave, Hercules turns away from them again and heads down the hill, disappearing from sight soon after. Once he is gone, Circe holds her free hand up, staring at it. She splays her fingers, turns her hand over, then clenches them into a light fist.

Circe: It feels... very strange, being mortal. No magic, no power...

Rose: You'll get used to it, eventually. Just remember what Herc said: don't you dare screw things up after what we went through for you. You take care of your daughter, got it?

Circe: At this point, I want nothing more. Once we figure out a place to go and find a home, I will raise her well.

Rose glances back briefly at Zatanna, who merely shrugs. Releasing a soft breath, she turns to Circe again.

Please don't let me regret this...

Rose: Look, if you don't have anywhere to go, I... know of a place. Silverstone, the city where I live. It might take some adjusting, but it might be a good fit for you. I look after girl named Holly, too; she's about your daughter's age. They... could be friends.

Circe stiffens up slightly, raising her chin, as if trying to show her pride. She doesn't respond, at first, simply staring. Eventually, however, she utters a breath of her own and holds a hand to her hip.

Circe: Very well... but do not think this makes us friends. I have no need of people like you to call friend.

Rose: Oh sure, no problem. I only fought the minions of Hades for you, saved your daughter, and got you freed from four thousand years of pain and suffering, but no, you're right, you wouldn't a friend like that, now would you?

A long pause passes between them, before finally Circe crosses her arms and purses her lips.

Circe: Let's just go, already.

Rose: In a minute. Just hang tight for a sec, kay? Good.

Turning away from Circe, Rose walks back over to Zatanna, holding an arm around her shoulders.

Rose: Gotta say, Z, you're not half bad.

Zatanna: Well, I do have experience. I will say the same of you, though; I'd only heard about you in passing from Dick, every now and then, but you've impressed me.

Rose: Hey, you're not they only one with experience. Now, I just, uh... I have one question before we head home.

Zatanna: Shoot.

Rose: Back there, when you healed Circe's eyes... could you heal the same type of injury on anyone?

Lifting an eyebrow, Zatanna tilts her head and gives a curious look. Her gaze focuses in on Rose's eye patch.

Zatanna: Yes, I could. I can heal most injuries, in fact, past or current. You want your eye back?

Breathing outwardly, Rose glances towards the ground and slowly nods.

Rose: It's the last, constant reminder I have of my father; you know him. I want it gone.

Zatanna: Then just hold still, this will only take a moment.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Day

Zatanna's magic transports them just outside the door to Rose's penthouse. Circe and Lyta are with them, dressed in normal, casual clothes now. Reaching forward, Rose pushes the door open and leads them inside.

Rose: I'm back! Anyone home?

A moment later, a familiar figure appears out of the kitchen. Upon seeing Rose, Rebecca lets out a heavy, relieved breath, then runs up and gives a warm embrace.

Becky: Dios mio, I was getting worried. You were gone for days!

Rose: Yeah, I know, I'm sorry. But I'm back now, and one hundred percent normal... well, for me.

Becky: That's great news, I can still hardly believe that-

Suddenly, Becky stops mid sentence, blinking in confusion and staring. Her hand comes up, clutches the side of Rose's cheek.

Becky: Rose, your eye...

Rose: Yeah, I got it back. Kept the scar, though; I think it looks cool.

Becky: That's... I mean.... I don't believe...

Unable to formulate her thoughts into complete sentences, Becky instead responds with a firm kiss, pressing their lips together for several moments before pulling away. Her gaze then moves over to Zatanna, who gives a wave in greeting.

Becky: Thanks for helping her, Zar... er... Z, was it?

Zatanna: That works fine, and you're welcome. It was my pleasure.

Becky: And who are they?

She's looking at Circe and Lyta now.

Rose: Oh, these are... sort of friends. That's Circe, and her daughter Lyta.

Becky: Well, good to meet you both.

She extends her hand to them, and though Lyta quickly shakes it, Circe just folds her arms and sort of glares.

Rose: Er... don't mind her. She's adjusting.

Becky: And where did you meet them?

Rose: That's a rather long story... I'll tell you all about it later.

Another figure then appears, wandering out of living room. Holly's eyes light up when she sees who's there, then rushes forward and hugs Rose. Looking up to her, she then begins rifling through a series of hand signals, while mouthing the words at the same time.

Holly: I'm so glad you're back!

Rose: I'm glad, too, honey, believe me.

Putting a hand on Holly's back, Rose eases her forward and turns to the side, showing her to Lyta.

Rose: Holly, I'd like you meet Lyta. She's your age, I think.

Lyta walks forward now, giving Holly a long look. She then holds out her hand.

Lyta: It's nice to meet you.

Before Holly answers, Zatanna mutters a backwards whisper under her breath. Holly then reaches forward to shake Lyta's hand and smiles.

Holly: It's nice to meet you, too.

That's when everyone's eyes go wide.

Rose: What the-

Becky: Qué mierda!

Holly: I- I... I'm talking? I can... I- I can talk again! I can talk!

The poor girl is nearly in tears of joy over this sudden occurrence, a broad smile on her face that isn't going away. Rose glances towards Zatanna, meeting her gaze. The magician simply smiles, then gives a very small nod. Rose can't help it; she smiles, too.

Holly then suddenly reaches out and grabs Lyta's hand, bringing the girl farther inside the penthouse.

Holly: Come on, I'll show you my room! Oh my god, I'm talking again! This is so awesome!

Circe blinks, watching as her daughter is dragged away.

Circe: Hey, wait a minute!

Rose: Relax, they'll be fine. Let them play. In the meantime, come inside. We need to figure out where you'll be staying.

Closing the door behind her, Rose leads the group of women into the living room.

Becky: Anyone want a drink?

Zatanna: Oh, I'll have something. What do you got?

Becky: Well, aside the hard stuff, there's some beer in the fridge-

Circe: Uck, beer. Vile stuff, the drink of curs. Please tell me you have wine.

Rose smirks slightly and lifts her eyebrows. Circe may be mortal now, but she really has to work on her people skills.

There's some irony for you, Rose. You thinking someone else needs work on people skills.

Rose: We'll see what we can find. Just make yourself comfortable; we have a lot to talk about.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #48 Preview: It's Christmas time, and merriment is in the air! As is a failed police escort, when a highly dangerous metahuman prisoner is freed en route to a high security prison. In the next issue, Rose deals with the holidays, an explosive prisoner, and a familiar face, as the big crossover event kicks off!

Nice! Now Dr Occult's name is Richard? Really? I never knew that! I looked it up, very cool. Another great chapter especially this "Rose: Uh, it's probably not my place to say, but should you really be wandering down the streets dressed like a slutty magician?"

@Ravager4 said: #44 WOW! This is really, really good writing! More people NEED to read this

Kubrick: Not so tough now, are you, you little b*tch? What are you going to do without your wand?

Zatanna: This: teg kcab!

Raising her hands, Zatanna casts the spell, instantly causing the massive werewolf to launch backwards through the air and into the far wall. But he doesn't stop there, actually crashing through the wall and into the next room, where a couple sits on their bed, watching television. As soon as the snarling monster lands in their room, however, they're off and running out the door, screaming in terror and surprise as they go.

Zatanna: The wand is just a prop, you know. My power comes from me.

Int. Palace of Hades – ???

The interior of the palace is not much different from the outside, with walls all carved from jagged obsidian and no windows. The only light within is provided from flickering torches lining the walls, which cast eery, dancing shadows. Along either side of the central corridor are more statues, just like the ones they met when first arriving in the Underworld. These ones, however, look far more tortured and anguished.

Ravager: Well, this is... homey.

Zatanna: Not exactly my first choice in décor, I'll admit.

Hercules: Come, the throne room is right up this way.

They follow him down the central corridor to another set of double doors, these ones far smaller in size than the palace entrance. Pushing them open, Hercules steps inside and walks forward a few steps, then stops. The other two remain just behind him. The room within is massive, nearly as tall as it is long, with the ceiling so high above them that the torchlight does not reach, instead casting it in shadow. At the end of the room rises a large throne, the seat also carved out of the same black obsidian as the rest of the palace. Seated upon this throne is a large figure dressed in flowing black robes and armor, with equally dark, stringy hair: Hades. Leaning to the side of the throne, Hades holds his head up with his hand, looking somewhat bored and unamused as he eyes the three before him.

Hades: Nephew... why have you returned to my domain? And why have you brought these intruders with you? They reek of the living, an insult to the realm of dead.

Hercules: Dear uncle, we have come to make a request of you.

Hades: A request. Really? And what makes you think that I would grant you such a thing?

Hercules: You have aided me before, during one of my many labors in ages past. I humbly ask for your assistance once again.

Hades: That was a very long time ago, Heracles. But go ahead, make your request. I am... curious.

Pushing past Hercules, Ravager comes forward this time.

Ravager: We’ve come for-

Hades: Remove your mask, woman. I will not be spoken to by a person who would hide when giving words.

Pausing briefly, Ravager glances back at the others for a moment before finally reaching up and removing the faceplate to her costume's helmet.

Ravager: There, happy now?

Hades: I would choose your words more carefully. You stand in the presence of a god, and the proper respect will be shown.

Frowning slightly, she clears her throat and tries again. It almost physically pains her to try and contort her words into something a god would find respectful

Ravager: Lord Hades, we have come to your domain to request the freedom of the girl known as Lyta, daughter of the sorceress, Circe. Our information tells us that you have been raising her within your palace.

Hades: Ah, you come for the girl, how very intriguing. Tell me, woman, what purpose would one such as yourself have in doing this favor for that insufferable wench?

Ravager: To complete my part of a bargain.

Hades: A bargain with a treacherous sorceress... what would compel one to agree to that?

Ravager: That is my own business.

Hades: Perhaps. But why should I give up the girl? She is happy here, she is cared for, she is safe.

Ravager: She belongs with her mother.

Hades: Her mother suffers in Tartarus for her sins! You would condemn a girl to a life of eternal torment simply to be with her mother?

Ravager: You let me worry about that. We'll figure something out.

Hades: Your lack of conviction is uninspiring, I'm afraid. I have no reason to believe she would be better off going with you.

Ravager: Because this place is so good for her, right? Looks like something out of a bad Hellraiser flick.

The air around them seems to instantly chill, following her words. Hades rises from his throne, glaring hotly at her with a look that could pierce diamond. Even Hercules takes a small step back.

Hades: You dare to insult a god?!

Another chilling silence. Zatanna eases herself forward and whispers.

Zatanna: Tread lightly, Rose... tread lightly.

Ravager: Just calling it how I see it.

Hades: I should cast you into Tartarus!

Ravager: Please, if you were going to, you'd have done it already.

Hades does not respond, but continues to glare, his gaze narrowing even more.

Ravager: Tell you what, you show us the girl, and if we're satisfied at how she's being treated, then we'll leave.

Hades: And if unsatisfied, exactly what do you intend to do about it?

Ravager: We'll just have to come up with a different solution, now won’t we?

Another long stare from Hades, until finally he raises a hand. A flash of white hot light sears the ground in front of him, and when it disappears, a young girl with purple hair is standing there, though she's dressed like a high school goth reject, with a lot of leather, straps, eyeliner, and the like. Her expression seems empty and sullen, as if not noticing what is happening around her. Upon seeing this, Ravager frowns.

She's no older than Holly... what the hell has this b**tard done to her?

Hades: My dear Lyta, explain to these people how happy you are here, with me.

Lyta: I... am happy here. This is... my home.

Ravager: This isn't your home, Lyta, this is a prison. We've come to take you back to your mother, where you belong.

The girl slowly glances up at them, her expression still void of any real emotion. Her voice, too, is hollow and empty.

Lyta: I don't... I have no mother... I have never had a mother. This has always been my home, I have always... been here.

Ravager: What do you mean you've never had a mother? Of course you do; her name is Circe.

Lyta: Circe... I don't know that name.

A triumphant smirk slashes across Hades' face.

Hades: You see? She does not even know her mother. She knows only my domain, and her happiness here.

Zatanna: Something feels off... what's wrong with her? Why doesn't she remember- oh dear Hotath.

Realizing the indication at the same time, Hercules comes forward, an angry scowl on his face.

Hercules: You forced her to drink from the waters of Lethe! She has no memory of her past life, none of it! That is how you keep her here!

Hades: Such a simple solution, don't you think?

Giving her full attention to the young girl, Ravager takes a knee, coming to eye level with her.

Ravager: Lyta, snap out of it. You do have a mother, and she misses you very much. Everything this monster has told you is a lie, none of it is true. This isn't your home, and you do not belong here.

Hercules: Bother not with words, dear Rose. It will take much more than that to remove the forgetfulness inflicted upon her mind. Uncle, we're taking the girl.

Hades: You will do no such thing. Not a single one of you will leave this room alive. Lyta, be a good girl and come to your master's side.

Seating himself back on his throne, Hades watches as the girl turns from the others and obediently walks to the side of the throne. She just stands there, waiting and doing nothing else. Ravager clenches her hands to fists, scowling; at this point, Lyta is no more than a trained pet at Hades' beck and call. Rising back to her feet, she begins marching towards the twisted god.

Ravager: You demented b**tard... I swear, I'll-

Hades: You will do what, exactly? I am a god, and you forget your place, mortal!

With a wave of the hand, more of Hades' minions begin to crawl their way out of the floor, though these ones are covered with bloody musculature, skin removed from their bodies. Not all of them are humanoid, either, some resembling great, hulking monstrosities of nature, animalistic beasts with gaping jaws and piercing eyes.

Hades: Do try to put up a good fight; at least then you might provide some entertainment before your bodies are ripped to pieces.

Zatanna: So, is this part of the plan?

Hercules: A minor issue. As soon as we deal with this lot, we will be able to-

His words are cut off, however, as one of the monstrous, sinewy beasts attacks from behind, swatting away the demi-god like a fly. Hercules quickly recovers, however, rolling back up to his feet and then sprinting at the creature. With a mighty lunge, he tackles the monster and begins grappling with it. Ravager and Zatanna, meanwhile, have their own problems.

Ravager: Z, get back to safe spot, hit them from afar!

Zatanna: Way ahead of you!

As Ravager leaps into the fray, whirling her blades around in a wild frenzy, Zatanna retreats backwards a ways, then brings her hands up.

Zatanna: Edolpxe!

Instantly, one of the undead warriors bursts apart in a bloody mist, no trace left behind except for a red stain on the floor. She enjoys not having to hold back almost as much as Ravager does, whose swords cleave a bloody swath through the undead guards. It feels... empowering, being able to let loose the full might of her magic for a change. Of course, doing so also has its drawbacks. She can feel her power draining slowly, gradually, the more she uses it. Her magic tires her over time just the same as her more physically combative allies lose stamina during combat.

Leaping over one of the large, monstrous creatures, Ravager comes down on the other side while slashing along its backside with her blades. The sharp edges slice cleanly through sinew, spraying blood and dropping the creature to the floor. Following her sharp skills and reflexes, she continues cutting her way through these new enemies. Meanwhile, Hercules has torn apart several of the larger monsters with his bare hands, though now fights again with sword and shield. He does more than is fair share of cutting down their foes.

There is a problem, however. As with the skeletal guards outside the palace, the numbers of these new enemies do not dwindle, no matter how many of them are defeated. Within minutes, they begin to swarm and overtake the heroes, far too many to properly fight and keep track of.

Ravager: Do these things ever stop coming?

Hercules: Not as long as Hades wills it! He means for us to fight until we are too exhausted to continue, at which point his guards will cut us apart!

Zatanna: Well, that's a bit of a downer, huh? Teg kcab!

A small group of the sinewy creatures fly backwards through the air, allowing the heroes some breathing room. This doesn't last very long, however, as the numbers continue to grow, enemies closing in on them. Taking in a deep breath, Zatanna raises a hand again, preparing to cast another spell. Hades, on the other hand, appears to have other ideas, pointing a finger at her.

Hades: Silence, witch.

Instantly, Zatanna's mouth closes up, her lips no longer able to open. She lets out muffled cries, trying to cast a spell, but nothing works. A moment later, one of the guards comes forward and thrusts its spear, the metal tip ripping into the her side. A quiet scream of pain gurgles in her throat, as she falls to the floor.

Ravager: Zatanna!

Cutting through the enemies in front of her, Ravager jumps over several others to reach Zatanna before the attacking guard can finish off the downed magician. Swinging her blades viciously, she cleaves off both the creature's arms, then finally its head, and kicks the body backwards. She quickly steals a glance down at Zatanna, who, though injured, is still breathing and alive.

Ravager: Just hang in there, Z. Herc! Now would be a good time for the plan!

Bashing a few of the guards back with his shield, the demi-god turns to her.

Hercules: We'll need a distraction!

Before Ravager can answer, she is forced to whirl around again and cut down another attacking guard. However, at the same time, three others come in with their blades. She manages to twist herself out of the way of two of them, but the third cuts deep into her backside, going through her suit like butter. Her earthly armor is apparently of no defense against these otherworldly weapons. Scowling, she spins around and cuts the guard apart.

Ravager: Now I'm really pissed.

She can feel that burning beginning to spread through her, the pain of growing muscle and shifting bone.

Ravager: You need a distraction? I think... I can give you one!

As her emotions run wild, so does the more animalistic side of her. Though still not in total control, she concentrates, gets angrier, forces her body to transform. She suddenly feels... very hungry. The next time she opens her mouth, a deep, intimidating roar erupts from her throat. In seconds, her body grows further and completes the transformation, furry muscle bursting apart her armor from the inside out.

Her suddenly enhanced senses pick up another incoming attack. With agility far greater than her human form, she turns around and grabs the thrusting spear, then breaks it in half with little effort. Pointed ears flicking back, lips curling, spittle dripping from her jaws, Ravager roars again, this time slashing out with her claws and ripping the squishy guard to shreds. And then, the snow white werewolf is off and tearing through the Hades' troops, cutting them to ribbons and tearing meaty chunks out of them with her teeth. The hunger burning inside her must be sated.

Hercules: By Zeus...

The demi-god stares and watches the massacre for several moments, before his eyes shift carefully over to his uncle. Hades is standing now, as if ready to act himself, though his attention is drawn fully to the rampaging werewolf eviscerating his guards. Snapping out of his surprise, Hercules cuts down a few remaining stragglers not occupied with Ravager, then runs over to Zatanna's side.

Hercules: Young magician, can you hear me? Are you alright?

Though bleeding from her side, Zatanna nods. Her lips are still shut tightly, unable to cast anything. Reaching into his hip pouch, Hercules pulls out another vial, this one filled with a transparent liquid.

Hercules: Can you still do your part?

Again, Zatanna nods. As Hercules uncorks the vial, she pulls her hand away from her bloodied side and begins to rub her fingers across the ground, writing a spell on the surface. There is no stronger magic than blood magic, yet it is to be used only under the most dire of circumstances, as each spell cast in blood siphons away a small amount of the user's life force. Right now, however, the situation calls for it.

Suddenly, the water inside the vial begins to float up into the air. It hovers there briefly, quivering and undulating, then begins to fly off in a long stream, heading straight at Hades. During this time, Hades has come forward off his throne, glaring at the werewolf, as it continues to rip apart his minions. Finally losing his patience, he raises a hand. Instantly, Ravager flies through the air and crashes against the wall, pinned there by an invisible force.

Hades: Enough of this! You will burn in Tartarus, wretched beast!

Before he can continue his assault, however, the airborne stream of water abruptly forces its way down his throat in an instant. Coughing, he takes a step back and scowls, then glares over at Hercules and Zatanna.

Hades: What foolish attempt was that? What did you hope to... to... what did you... who... what's going on? Who are you people? Where are we?

With the hold over her lips releasing, Zatanna breaths out a sigh of relief.

Zatanna: Laeh em.

Her wound instantly closes up, healing completely.

Zatanna: I can't believe that actually worked. Good call on hitting up Lethe on the way here.

Hercules: The danger has not yet past, I'm afraid. The waters of forgetfulness do not last forever on gods. We must retreat and leave this place before Hades remembers who he is. Attend to the girl, make her sleep for now if you must. We'll need to take her to Mnemosyne, the river of memory. Its waters will counteract what Lethe has done to her.

Zatanna: Right, on it.

As Zatanna heads over to Lyta, Hercules hurries over to Rose's side, who has now come out of her werewolf transformation. During this entire time, Hades looks around, as though confused, unable to remember anything about anything.

Holding herself up against the wall, Rose lets out a small groan and straightens herself, then stretches out her arms. Hercules suddenly freezes in place, however, realizing that, after shredding her costume, she is fully nude. Either not noticing this, or simply not caring (most likely the latter), Rose walks forward and gives him a congratulatory pat on the shoulder as she pushes past him.

Rose: Good work.

Hercules just blinks, his gaze following her. Finally, Rose apparently acknowledges the situation and glances back over her shoulder, smirking.

Ravager: Take a good long look, muscle-boy, because you won't be touching.

Hercules: Great Zeus...

Zatanna, now carrying the sleeping Lyta in her arms, turns to them and notices Rose's... predicament. She blinks, her gaze following the naked woman to the exit.

Rose: What are you all waiting for? Let's blow this joint.

Zatanna: That girl has no shame.

Int. The River Styx – Day

A short while later, Rose, Zatanna, and Hercules have returned to the shores of the River Styx, about ready to leave the Underworld for good. One matter does need to be taken care of first, however, a matter for which Themis has rejoined them. Soon, Circe appears, being led by cloaked and hooded figures. Chains are around her hands, and empty sockets still where her eyes should be. Because of her current blindness, she does not notice her daughter, not until the girl runs forward.

Lyta: Mother!

Circe's face instantly shifts into surprise and then softens. A brief moment later, mother and daughter embrace.

Circe: My girl... oh, how I missed you.

Lyta: I missed you, too.

Taking in a deep breath, Circe then tilts her head towards the others.

Circe: Please, my eyes... let me see her.

Themis gives a slow nod, granting permission for Zatanna to cast a spell.

Zatanna: Laeh S'ecric seye.

Once the spell is cast, Circe lets out a small gasp as her eyeballs begin to reform in their sockets. Within seconds, she blinks and can see once again, the image of her daughter appearing before her. Lyta is no longer dressed in the horrid attire that Hades had given her, now in a much more simple and traditional Greek toga, with her hair tied back out of her face. No atrocious eyeliner to speak of, either.

Circe: Lyta... you're beautiful.

The girl smiles back widely at her mother.

Lyta: And so are you.

After giving the two a couple more moments together, Rose, now fully dressed again, after Zatanna took the liberty of casting some clothes on her, steps forward and folds her arms.

Rose: There, I completed my end of the bargain, now remove the curse.

Circe's gaze slowly shifts over to Rose again.

Circe: Before I do, I want something else.

Rose: Are you kidding me? We just went through hell and back for your daughter! Now you want something else from us?

Circe: Not from you, no.

She looks over at Themis, now.

Circe: From her.

Themis: You are not in a good position to be making demands, Circe.

Circe: It is not a command, just a request.

Themis: Then make your request, though I make no promises in granting it.

Circe: I want parole, so I can raise my daughter.

Themis: Circe, you are sentenced to four thousand years in Tartarus, without the possibility of parole. That is something I cannot grant.

Circe: You cannot expect me to take Lyta back with me to Tartarus. I can't raise her there. Please, have mercy on a mother and her daughter.

Themis: The same mercy you showed to all of your victims throughout the years? Or, should I say, lack thereof?

Circe: Put me under guard, lock me up, have Zeus himself keep an eye on me, I don't care, just... please, anywhere but Tartarus. I want to be with my daughter, whatever it takes.

Themis goes quiet, apparently considering the words, though her expression doesn't shift. Rose glances between the two for a moment, then utters a long sigh.

Rose: Just do it.

Themis: You are not the one to decide this, Rose Wilson. Parole is not something I can grant to one of the most powerful criminal sorceresses in this world.

Rose: There isn't any way you can make an exception? She just said she didn't care what it took. Shut her up somewhere else and just let her raise her daughter.

If Circe doesn't get parole, the backstabbing b*tch might not cure me. I am not letting that happen.

Themis: There may be one way in which I can grant parole.

Circe: I don't care what it is.

Themis: Very well, allow me to consult the scales.

Raising her scales up, Themis waits a moment. Eventually, it tilts heavily to the left, the right side coming all the way up.

Themis: I see... it can be done. Circe, you are hereby granted parole-

Circe's face instantly lights up in relief, a smile coming over her face.

Themis: -on the condition that you give up your magic. You will hereby be stripped of all your power, and your immortality. You you live a normal, mortal life to raise your daughter.

Circe's elation suddenly turns to shock and disappointment, a distant frown forming on her face.

Themis: And you will be watched very closely. Should you ever give reason, the gods themselves will drag you back to the deepest pits of Tartarus, where you will spend eternity. Are these conditions acceptable to you?

Breathing in a deep breath, Circe slowly looks down at her daughter. Lyta returns the gaze, eyes meeting. Eventually, Circe closes her eyes and nods.

Circe: I accept.

Themis: Then you are free to leave with the others. When you return to the living world, your power will be gone.

Rose: But before that happens, you owe me something.

Circe: Of course... in thanks for bringing me my daughter.

Walking forward, Circe brings her hands to Rose's temples, then closes her eyes and takes in a deep breath. Rose feels a cold ripple run through her body, followed by a strange warmth.

Circe: The curse is gone.

Rose: Good... thanks. Now let's get the hell out of here.

Ext. Cape Tainaron – Day

Bright sunlight greets them, as they walk out of the cave entrance and return to the surface. Hercules steps forward and breathes in a deep breath, holding his arms up to the sky.

Hercules: Ah, a glorious day!

Turning back to the others, he smiles and holds out his hand.

Hercules: It was a pleasure and honor to fight by your sides, young maidens.

Rose and Zatanna extend their own hands, giving Hercules' a firm shake.

Zatanna: My sentiments are the same. It was an honor.

Rose: Yeah, you do pretty good. I mean, for a demi-god and all.

Then, Hercules looks over to Circe, who holds her daughter's hand gently. He walks up to her and points a finger, glaring.

Hercules: And you, witch, do not squander this opportunity you have been given. Atone for your sins, as I have done, and live a good life. Your daughter deserves that much.

Circe says nothing in response, simply glancing down at Lyta and tightening her grip slightly. Lyta looks back up at her and returns the squeeze, smiling.

Hercules: And with that, I must be off. Farewell, and good luck in your future adventures!

With a parting wave, Hercules turns away from them again and heads down the hill, disappearing from sight soon after. Once he is gone, Circe holds her free hand up, staring at it. She splays her fingers, turns her hand over, then clenches them into a light fist.

Circe: It feels... very strange, being mortal. No magic, no power...

Rose: You'll get used to it, eventually. Just remember what Herc said: don't you dare screw things up after what we went through for you. You take care of your daughter, got it?

Circe: At this point, I want nothing more. Once we figure out a place to go and find a home, I will raise her well.

Rose glances back briefly at Zatanna, who merely shrugs. Releasing a soft breath, she turns to Circe again.

Please don't let me regret this...

Rose: Look, if you don't have anywhere to go, I... know of a place. Silverstone, the city where I live. It might take some adjusting, but it might be a good fit for you. I look after girl named Holly, too; she's about your daughter's age. They... could be friends.

Circe stiffens up slightly, raising her chin, as if trying to show her pride. She doesn't respond, at first, simply staring. Eventually, however, she utters a breath of her own and holds a hand to her hip.

Circe: Very well... but do not think this makes us friends. I have no need of people like you to call friend.

Rose: Oh sure, no problem. I only fought the minions of Hades for you, saved your daughter, and got you freed from four thousand years of pain and suffering, but no, you're right, you wouldn't a friend like that, now would you?

A long pause passes between them, before finally Circe crosses her arms and purses her lips.

Circe: Let's just go, already.

Rose: In a minute. Just hang tight for a sec, kay? Good.

Turning away from Circe, Rose walks back over to Zatanna, holding an arm around her shoulders.

Rose: Gotta say, Z, you're not half bad.

Zatanna: Well, I do have experience. I will say the same of you, though; I'd only heard about you in passing from Dick, every now and then, but you've impressed me.

Rose: Hey, you're not they only one with experience. Now, I just, uh... I have one question before we head home.

Zatanna: Shoot.

Rose: Back there, when you healed Circe's eyes... could you heal the same type of injury on anyone?

Lifting an eyebrow, Zatanna tilts her head and gives a curious look. Her gaze focuses in on Rose's eye patch.

Zatanna: Yes, I could. I can heal most injuries, in fact, past or current. You want your eye back?

Breathing outwardly, Rose glances towards the ground and slowly nods.

Rose: It's the last, constant reminder I have of my father; you know him. I want it gone.

Zatanna: Then just hold still, this will only take a moment.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Day

Zatanna's magic transports them just outside the door to Rose's penthouse. Circe and Lyta are with them, dressed in normal, casual clothes now. Reaching forward, Rose pushes the door open and leads them inside.

Rose: I'm back! Anyone home?

A moment later, a familiar figure appears out of the kitchen. Upon seeing Rose, Rebecca lets out a heavy, relieved breath, then runs up and gives a warm embrace.

Becky: Dios mio, I was getting worried. You were gone for days!

Rose: Yeah, I know, I'm sorry. But I'm back now, and one hundred percent normal... well, for me.

Becky: That's great news, I can still hardly believe that-

Suddenly, Becky stops mid sentence, blinking in confusion and staring. Her hand comes up, clutches the side of Rose's cheek.

Becky: Rose, your eye...

Rose: Yeah, I got it back. Kept the scar, though; I think it looks cool.

Becky: That's... I mean.... I don't believe...

Unable to formulate her thoughts into complete sentences, Becky instead responds with a firm kiss, pressing their lips together for several moments before pulling away. Her gaze then moves over to Zatanna, who gives a wave in greeting.

Becky: Thanks for helping her, Zar... er... Z, was it?

Zatanna: That works fine, and you're welcome. It was my pleasure.

Becky: And who are they?

She's looking at Circe and Lyta now.

Rose: Oh, these are... sort of friends. That's Circe, and her daughter Lyta.

Becky: Well, good to meet you both.

She extends her hand to them, and though Lyta quickly shakes it, Circe just folds her arms and sort of glares.

Rose: Er... don't mind her. She's adjusting.

Becky: And where did you meet them?

Rose: That's a rather long story... I'll tell you all about it later.

Another figure then appears, wandering out of living room. Holly's eyes light up when she sees who's there, then rushes forward and hugs Rose. Looking up to her, she then begins rifling through a series of hand signals, while mouthing the words at the same time.

Holly: I'm so glad you're back!

Rose: I'm glad, too, honey, believe me.

Putting a hand on Holly's back, Rose eases her forward and turns to the side, showing her to Lyta.

Rose: Holly, I'd like you meet Lyta. She's your age, I think.

Lyta walks forward now, giving Holly a long look. She then holds out her hand.

Lyta: It's nice to meet you.

Before Holly answers, Zatanna mutters a backwards whisper under her breath. Holly then reaches forward to shake Lyta's hand and smiles.

Holly: It's nice to meet you, too.

That's when everyone's eyes go wide.

Rose: What the-

Becky: Qué mierda!

Holly: I- I... I'm talking? I can... I- I can talk again! I can talk!

The poor girl is nearly in tears of joy over this sudden occurrence, a broad smile on her face that isn't going away. Rose glances towards Zatanna, meeting her gaze. The magician simply smiles, then gives a very small nod. Rose can't help it; she smiles, too.

Holly then suddenly reaches out and grabs Lyta's hand, bringing the girl farther inside the penthouse.

Holly: Come on, I'll show you my room! Oh my god, I'm talking again! This is so awesome!

Circe blinks, watching as her daughter is dragged away.

Circe: Hey, wait a minute!

Rose: Relax, they'll be fine. Let them play. In the meantime, come inside. We need to figure out where you'll be staying.

Closing the door behind her, Rose leads the group of women into the living room.

Becky: Anyone want a drink?

Zatanna: Oh, I'll have something. What do you got?

Becky: Well, aside the hard stuff, there's some beer in the fridge-

Circe: Uck, beer. Vile stuff, the drink of curs. Please tell me you have wine.

Rose smirks slightly and lifts her eyebrows. Circe may be mortal now, but she really has to work on her people skills.

There's some irony for you, Rose. You thinking someone else needs work on people skills.

Rose: We'll see what we can find. Just make yourself comfortable; we have a lot to talk about.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #48 Preview: It's Christmas time, and merriment is in the air! As is a failed police escort, when a highly dangerous metahuman prisoner is freed en route to a high security prison. In the next issue, Rose deals with the holidays, an explosive prisoner, and a familiar face, as the big crossover event kicks off!

You've captured Zatanna perfectly in my opinion, great fight scene. Very well done indeed!

Right: now you may have read this...if you haven't you need to start! This is an awesome series that needs more that just TWO people commenting on it (hence the reason I have done this mass shout out on Ravager4's behalf) It's written in trade like chunks so GET TOO IT!!! :)

Okay ranting over, breathing resuming, smile returning.....

#6 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@batkevin74: wow, thanks for all the feedback xD that reminds me, point me in the direction of some of your recent stuff so I can give it read!

#7 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

kudos to you batkevin for shouting out someone elses work! Makes me proud to be a part of this particular corner of the forum.

Regarding commenting on

#8 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

Oh, loved this particular 'trade collection' by the way and am still a firm believer that a petition needs to be put together for DC to just give you the Ravager character and all that entails. I'd buy it monthly.

#9 Posted by batkevin74 (11212 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4: There's a few, whenever.

#10 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio
@feebadger @batkevin74 thank you both very much!
#11 Posted by Veitha (3362 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4: Nice work! I like it a lot :)

@batkevin74: Thanks for letting reported :)

#12 Posted by batkevin74 (11212 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4: Just finished the arc, very nice work. Eye regrowth (which was great btw), curse lifting, child rescue from Hell: AWESOME! Really good work, engrossing and enjoyable all round.

#13 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@batkevin74: *bows humbly* thank you as always, good sir.