Raven's Blood: Chapter 5

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Raven Demarco grew up living a sheltered life. When she starts University to get away from that she is caught up in the world of the paranormal. Secret organizations, magic, creatures from myth and legend, and worst of all her own legacy and the demons who want her blood.

 

Raven's Blood
Chapter 5: Testing

By
Amethyst

Thanks to my readers for reading my work and patiently waiting for new chapters and to the Big Closet team who give so much of themselves to keep this site going


Chapter 5: Testing

The training room was a very large room with high ceilings and an indoor running track along the outer edge. In the center of the track there was gymnastics equipment, various weights and workout equipment I didn’t know the names of, and a large area with mats on the floor that I assumed to be some sort of sparring area, judging by the padded equipment and wooden practice dummies. It was there that a tall silver haired man, perhaps in his mid to late fifties, in a charcoal grey suit waited for us. Lila led me straight to him and was quick to introduce us. ~Raven, I would like you to meet our resident magic expert, Peter Grayson. Peter this is Raven Demarco, one of the two challenges we have for you today.~

The man chuckled and shook my offered hand. “It’s nice to meet you Raven, but I’m afraid what Lila said is a bit misleading. Saying I’m a magic expert makes it sounds like I have magic of my own at my disposal. I am not a Mage and I have no magic of my own whatsoever. However, I will be able to help determine what magic you and your friend may have.”

I let go of his hand after giving it a gentle shake, I actually let him do the gripping so I wouldn’t accidentally crush his hand or something, I was wondering what exactly he meant by what he said though and asked, “Don’t you need to have magic to know about it?”

He nodded in agreement. “Yes, you do need to have some inherent magic or magical ability to know as much about magic as I do. I have what we call Magesight. When I hit puberty I started to see strange things and everything seemed to be covered in colored lights. I came from a family of normal humans and my parents thought I had some sort of mental disorder. They took me to a lot of different doctors. One of those doctors was a Mage who discovered my gift and put me in touch with the PDA to train it. I can’t use magic, but I can see it in a way magic users can’t. I can see spells, auras, and magical creatures for what they really are and sense things about the nature of people and things.”

“I guess that must be pretty useful,” I responded.

He winked at me. “To be honest, more often than not, it’s a pain in the ass, but it does help me earn a ridiculous government salary.”

I decided that I liked this man and his sense of humor. “So what do you sense from me then?”

He stared at me for several minutes, appearing to be deep in thought. “I knew your parents and I can see that you’ve gained something from both of them, but you appear to be aligned to the Divine element only. It’s somewhat surprising since Nick’s father was an arch Demon and his mother was a Death Mage. However,” he added, “I don’t sense any potential for magic use from you at all. It’s a shame; your mother was a truly gifted Divine magic user, possibly the most powerful I’ve ever met. There is something, a Divine ability, but I can’t determine its nature. It’s similar to something I sensed from her while she was alive, but different as well. It could be something inherent to Valkyries, but your mother never talked about her people much, let alone their abilities, other than to say that they were warriors.”

“I guess that’s more than I knew before,” I said with a shrug.

“I wish I could tell you more,” he replied, looking disappointed. ”You may not be able to use magic itself, but I believe you have inherited some inherent magical abilities from your parents. We’ll test you for all the abilities that they were known to have. Have you noticed anything yourself?”

I shook my head as I responded, “Aside from my wings’ ability to get in the way whenever it’s least convenient and not knowing my own strength, no. You might want to put my father’s regeneration and my mother’s resistance to sharp pointy things in the yes column though, Dr. Jennings discovered those earlier.”

“That does shorten the list,” Peter replied thoughtfully. “Your mother could fly and I think it is more than likely that you can as well, or else why would you have such an impressive set of wings?”

“I’m beginning to think they’re here just to annoy me, “I retorted, “that or for comic relief.”

“As good as those reasons are, let’s see if we can find a practical use for them,” he suggested with a smile. “Perhaps they would be less annoying that way. Can you control them? Try spreading them for me please.”

“I just got them last night and I’ve been trying to get them to obey my commands ever since,” I muttered. I tried focusing on them, thinking of them as another pair of arms, but I just couldn’t seem to get them to do anything. It was like giving a snake hands and telling it to play video games, my brain just didn’t seem to have a proper frame of reference to work from. I spent twenty minutes trying to get them to do something, anything, consciously, but I was still trying when Dr. Jennings brought Erin in to join us.

“Maybe we should wait until you’re more used to them before we try flying,” Peter offered. “I see your friend is here, let’s see what I can make of her and then we’ll test your physical limits.”

It turned out that Erin was connected to the spirit world, like Jake had thought. The mist cat that had materialized when we were attacked was a physical representation of Erin’s spirit animal, the lynx, that Peter called an avatar. She could summon this avatar at will, but it required her to push her consciousness into it to have it do anything. The downside to this was that it left her body extremely vulnerable while her consciousness was elsewhere. Peter also thought that she could speak with and command cats since her avatar was feline.

“So basically I’m the crazy cat lady,” Erin joked.

Peter smiled but only replied, “You should be able to do more with spirits, but we will have to hope that you can find some way of discovering exactly what. Currently we have nobody qualified to teach you.”

“Well at least I have a starting point,” my friend said before sighing. “I really hope Grandfather’s journals have something useful in them. Otherwise this will be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, while blindfolded.”

Still feeling a bit disheartened by my inability to even consciously use my wings, let alone fly, I nodded in agreement. “I know exactly how you feel.” Then I turned back to Peter and looked toward the training area at the center of the room. “You mentioned something about testing our physical limits? Maybe we can find something I can do.”

* * *

Once we had gotten changed into some workout clothes that Lila provided us with; Peter, Dr. Jennings, and Lila spent the next several hours attempting to push us to our limits, and beyond, in every physical test they could conceive of. Erin’s physical abilities didn’t seem to have changed much from before she Manifested. Her strength, speed, and stamina were all normal for a human girl her age in decent physical shape. It wasn’t until she started on the gymnastics equipment that our testers found anything unusual physically. Erin was able to do things on the balance beam, and some of the other equipment, that I wasn’t able to until my third year of gymnastics. Her agility, reflexes, flexibility, and sense of balance were all way above average.

My testing wasn’t quite as revealing as Erin’s. We weren’t able to test my balance or agility very accurately because I was still getting used to having wings and it kept throwing me off. In fact, it was making it hard to get an accurate measure of any of my attributes. My stamina proved to be well above average while at a run and the consensus was that this was because I would need it for flying. Dr. Jennings believed that once I actually learned to fly, that I would burn energy a lot faster and need to eat more often. Running had also revealed that I was faster than normal, but whether this was my strength fueling my speed, or something inherent to Valkyries, was inconclusive.

My reflexes also seemed to be well above normal, and again the consensus was that it was needed for flight. Dr. Jennings said that the shape and size of my wings indicated that they were built for maneuverability and speed, thus the need for good reflexes. My claws, both those on my fingers and toes, proved to be very durable. They were also very sharp, sharp enough to leave deep gouges in a steel plate.

Finally we tested my strength, and we were all in for a surprise there. My mother had been strong, but nobody knew how strong since she tended not to reveal much about herself, outside what was needed on the job. Demon strength is nothing to sneeze at either and, even as only a half Demon, my father was quite a bit stronger than the average human. When we tested my strength I hadn’t even started to feel any strain yet when we ran out of weight to add.

“Are you sure you’re reading that right?” I asked Dr. Jennings in disbelief.

The doctor nodded, looking as stunned as I felt. “I’m sure Raven. You’re bench pressing close to two metric tons. I think that extra weight we noticed may be due to slightly denser bones and muscles, or else you’d break or pull something under the strain of trying to lift something that heavy, let alone hit something with that kind of strength. I don’t know whether it’s the Demon influence, the Valkyrie, or the mix of both. What I do know, is that I don’t want to be the person to piss you off.”

“Yeah, I think I’m going to need to remember to pull my punches. No wonder I sent that Demon flying last night and have been breaking things all day.” I stood up and stretched as I looked to Dr. Jennings and her ever present clipboard. “So, is there anything else you need me to do? I’m starting to get hungry.”

“Since we don’t know any of your mother’s abilities other than those we have already tried or confirmed in you, we should test you for shape shifting and various Demon abilities,” Peter suggested. “We know that you have regeneration and some physical features with those teeth and claws, so it’s possible that you may share some of your father’s Demon abilities as well. Most of these abilities are as natural to those of Demon blood as breathing, so we should be able to find out fairly quickly whether you have them or not.”

I wanted to get this over with and eat something, but I also knew that I needed to learn what I could do in case those Demons came back, so I gave in. “Okay, let’s do this. What’s first?”

“Let’s try shape shifting first,” Dr. Jennings suggested. “We believe that your mother had ability similar to Mermaids and Lamia to retract some of our mass and shift the non-human parts of us into something more human. Your father had Demon shape shifting which, in addition to making him look human, would allow him to alter his appearance so long as his mass stayed the same. Hopefully you’ll have one or both, if not we may need to help you find another way to hide those wings.”

I nodded in agreement, hoping that I had some way of hiding my new features. “What do I do?”

Lila smiled at me. ~It takes both energy and concentration to shift and retract our mass and change its appearance the way we do. When I started teaching Alice, I had her start by trying to shift one scale at a time and work her way up to the full shift gradually. I’m going to get you to do something similar. Look at the claw on the thumb of your right hand.~ I held my hand out in front of me and looked at the claw in question as she continued speaking. ~Now picture that claw becoming shorter, pulling inside your thumb, until it’s the length of a regular thumbnail.~

My gaze remained fixed on my right thumb as I concentrated, willing it to pull itself inside me. I was uncertain at first, but it seemed to be working. Finally my claw had a more nail-like appearance and was roughly the length I had kept my nails before my change. It was still black, but most people would just think I was wearing black nail polish. In my excitement at my success I lost my concentration and it reverted back. “Damn! I had it!”

The Mermaid put an arm around my shoulders. ~Don’t worry; it looks like you have something to work with at least. It will take a while before you can shift and maintain human form without concentration, but all we have to start somewhere.~

“I guess so,” I agreed, feeling a bit disappointed. “So how do we test for the Demon shape shifting?” I was hoping that maybe this would be a bit more productive.

“If you have that ability it should come naturally to you,” Peter replied. “Just think about one of your features and think about how you would like to change it. Your father’s ability made him a great undercover operative. He had dozens of different looks even with the mass restriction. Try changing your skin tone, it was a favorite of his.”

I looked at my arm and the pale skin on it and concentrated, trying to darken it. I thought of Dr. Jennings and her olive skin, willing mine to match it. I spent several minutes like that, trying to change first my skin tone, then my hair color, and then anything else I could think of, but nothing changed. Finally Peter put a hand on my shoulder. “I think that’s enough Raven, If you had the ability it would have come naturally, Let’s move on to the other Demon abilities.”

First they turned out the lights to test me for night vision and I proved without a doubt that I didn’t have that, when I knocked over a good deal of the objects I was supposed to avoid. Next we tried the various mental abilities that Demons could possess. They had me try to contact Lydia or the Demon who had led the attack on me telepathically, then they had me try to force my way into Erin’s mind and take control of her. I was beginning to get frustrated when Peter decided to move on to test the next ability. “Don’t worry about it Raven, it was unlikely you had the mental abilities. If you had you would have noticed last night or this morning, and we would probably be teaching you how to keep from picking up other people’s thoughts right now.”

“Why can I hear Lila and Alice speaking telepathically then?” I asked.

~Merfolk are projective and receptive telepaths,~ Lila explained. ~You don’t need to have telepathic abilities to hear us and we can hear your thoughts if they’re directed to us, so long as we know the person and they are within our telepathic range.~

“Well I’d really rather not be hearing anyone else’s thoughts anyway,” I replied. Then thinking that that may offend Lila I quickly corrected myself. “I meant everyday thoughts, not direct speech like you and Alice do.”

~It’s alright Raven, I knew what you meant.~ She looked at the clipboard Dr. Jennings was holding and frowned. ~Do we really need to test that Peter? That seems a bit cruel, even with her regenerative ability.~

He sighed. “If she’s not it’s better for her to find out now rather than later. We’ll just do a small area test.”

I looked at the pair uncertainly. “Do I want to know what you’re talking about?”

“Most demons are fireproof,” Peter finally said after a long silence.

I stared at him, my eyes wide. “You want to set me on fire?!”

Erin was quick to step between me and the trio. “No way! That is not happening while I’m here.”

Dr. Jennings and Lila weren’t any more enthusiastic about the idea, as they both shook their heads and gave their co-worker a stern look. ~This girl has been through enough in the past day without adding more trauma.~

Peter was quick to raise his hands in surrender. “I’m not suggesting we douse her in gasoline and toss her a match. As I said before, I’m just suggesting testing a small area.” He turned to me, still holding up his hands. “It’s your decision Raven. We don’t have to test it if you’re unwilling, but I feel it would be a good idea to know all your limits. “

“Just how small an area are you talking about?” I asked dubiously.

He pulled out a lighter and held it out to me. “That’s up to you.”

I stepped past Erin to snatch the lighter from Peter with my right hand. “Fine, let’s get this over with.” I very carefully flicked the lighter and once the flame caught I moved my opposite hand over the flame, wincing as I felt the heat, but holding my hand in place until the pain was too much. “Damn that hurts!” I cursed, dropping the lighter. Erin took my injured hand in both of hers to look at it in concern. I had what looked like a second degree burn, but it began to heal as we both watched. In just over a minute there was no proof that I had ever been burned.

“Holy shit,” Erin said in barely a whisper, as she continued to stare at my hand.

“Fire burns me, and it hurts like hell, so I guess that means I’m not fireproof. But at least it doesn’t hurt for long. Is there anything else you want to put me through or can I eat now?” I grumbled.

“Just one more thing,” Peter admitted, “but it’s not likely to take long. As you discovered last night, Demons have the ability to shift between our physical plane and the infernal plane to move from one place to another instantly. Your father sometimes used that ability to get his team members into hard to reach places. The place had to be in sight or he had to know the place and be able to visualize it in his mind though.”

“So what do you want me to do then, go home and bring something back?”

He shook his head. “No, I want you to walk about twenty feet away, and then concentrate on the spot you’re standing in right now.”

With a shrug I turned and walked away and when I had walked far enough I turned around and concentrated very hard on the area beside Erin, where I had been standing only a moment before. When I had it firmly in my mind I felt a rush of air around me and then I was standing right beside Erin again. “Do I pass?” I asked as the world began to spin and I fell to the floor unconscious.

* * *

I groaned as consciousness returned and opened my eyes to find that I was in an unfamiliar room, with Erin and Alice both looking down at me in concern, while Erin gripped my hand like a vice. Erin was back in the clothes she had worn when we left the house so I assumed I had been out for a while. ~Are you alright Raven?~ Alice asked.

“We have got to stop meeting like this,” I joked in an attempt to lighten the mood. “I’m fine. What the hell happened, and how long have I been out?”

Erin let go of my hand and gave me a weak smile. “You scared the shit out of me, that’s what.”

~It’s almost dinner time, you’ve been unconscious for nearly five hours,~ Alice said in answer to my question. ~Peter said you passed out right after teleporting. Dr. Jennings looked at you but she couldn’t find anything wrong so we moved you here hoping that you would wake up on your own.~

“Where is here?” I asked in confusion. “For that matter where is everyone else?”

Alice gestured to some of the monitoring equipment in the room and I was suddenly thankful that none of it was on. ~We’re in one of the rooms Dr. Jennings uses to care for people who need a little more than just ‘patching up’. She thought it best we make you as comfortable as possible. Mom and Dad had to go investigate a disturbance downtown, so I volunteered to watch over you with Erin. As for everyone else, Peter didn’t think he would be a welcome sight for you to wake up to, so he and Dr. Jennings went out to get some takeout about half an hour ago. They thought you would probably be pretty hungry when you woke up.~

I managed to get myself into a sitting position without hurting my wings. “They were right, I’m starving. Do they have any idea why I passed out like that?”

“Dr. Jennings thinks it was your mixed heritage,” Erin answered. “She believes that your alignment to the Divine makes passing through the infernal plane a lot harder for you than for the Demons. It takes an insane amount of energy for you to do and leaves you weak when you reappear in our plane.”

“Tell me about it,” I muttered. “I don’t plan on doing that again anytime soon, once was bad enough.”

Erin breathed a sigh of relief. “That’s good to hear. Peter thinks it could be dangerous for you to do it again anyway.”

“What? Is he afraid I’ll reappear in a wall or something if I’m not careful?” I asked.

She shook her head soberly. “No, that’s not it; he believes you should have a built-in awareness of space that prevents that. He’s more concerned that with the amount of energy it takes for you to pass through the infernal plane; you could be stuck there unconscious if you don’t have enough energy to make it back to our plane. That would leave you easy pickings for any Demon wanting a piece of you.”

“Well that’s just one more reason for me to never do that again,” I agreed. Then I promptly changed the topic to something less ominous. “If it’s almost dinner time then Lydia must be getting worried.”

Alice nodded her head. ~She did come in to check on you earlier. She claimed it was because she was getting bored of keeping watch from the roof of the warehouse. It was pretty obvious that she was on edge though. She’d probably still be here if she didn’t need to be at your house to supervise moving in my things and all your stuff from the dorms.~ She picked up my purse from atop the bundle of my clothes sitting atop a small cabinet and offered it to me. ~Here’s your purse if you want to get your phone out and give her a call.~

“Thanks Alice,” I replied as I took my purse and opened it to fish inside for my cell phone. Once I had it in hand, I very gently selected the number for home and hit send.

There were four rings before the call went through and a little girl’s voice answered, “Hello.”

At first I thought I had dialed the wrong number, and it was several seconds before I remembered Lydia showing us her preferred form in the morning. “Lydia? I’m just calling to let you know I’m okay.”

I heard a sigh on the other end before the Imp answered. “Good, you had us all worried. Are you heading home then? Should I prepare dinner?”

“No, Dr. Jennings and Peter went out to get some takeout for us, we’ll head home after we eat,” I replied. “Did the agents manage to get our stuff?”

“Yes, I was just starting to put everything away and prepare the rooms for Alice and Erin. Your friends were all concerned, but I was told that with some mental nudging they all believed the story. On Monday the agents will return to the school and get you both withdrawn from your classes.” The Imp paused before adding tentatively, “I’m sorry things worked out this way, I know how much you wanted a normal life.”

“It’s not your fault, you did your best, and this would have happened sooner or later,” I told her, trying to reassure her that I didn’t blame her for any of this. “I’ll let you get back to work and we’ll head back once we’ve eaten.”

“I’ll see you later then, make sure you get an escort to follow the van,” she cautioned before hanging up.

I put the phone back in my purse and looked down at my clothes distastefully. “Ugh, I’ve been lying in these sweaty clothes for hours. Is there anywhere I can wash up a bit and change clothes before I eat?”

Erin chuckled at that and pointed at one of the room’s two doors. “I felt the same way earlier Raven. There’s a bathroom over there, it’s not much, but you can wash up a little and change without having to go all the way back downstairs to the training area.”

~For someone who felt so dirty, she sure didn’t want to leave this room. Dr. Jennings had to order her to leave your side to go take a shower and try to relax a bit,~ Alice’s musical mental voice chimed in. ~I had to promise to come get her if you woke up.~

“Thanks both of you for being here,” I said. “I’d hug you, but I’m all gross from lying in these clothes.” I quickly took my pile of clothes and headed into the bathroom to freshen up.

“We’ll still be here to hug when you come back out,” I heard Erin say as I shut the door.

Getting changed in a small bathroom was not easy. As I tried getting out of my clothes my wings kept bumping into the walls, the mirror, the sink, the toilet, and anything else they could manage. When I was finally out of the exercise clothes, though I practically ripped them apart in the process, I took a wash cloth and tried to wash off as much of the grime as possible in the confines of the room. Then I patted myself dry with a towel and began the arduous task of getting dressed without destroying my clothes, while my wings did everything they could to make it more difficult.

When I finally emerged from the bathroom, Dr. Jennings and Peter were back with six large pizzas and two six packs of Coke. Once Dr. Jennings was sure I wasn’t going to fall on my face from a short walk, they escorted us to a small dining area where agents on duty took their meals. We were seated, and Peter was passing out cans when he said, “I’m sorry about what happened there Raven, I was just trying to be thorough with the testing, I had no clue that shifting between planes would be that taxing for you. Given your lack of most of the other demonic abilities, I was doubtful that you could do it at all.”

I shrugged it off. “Like you said, we needed to test everything, and you couldn’t have known that would happen. Let’s just put it behind us and eat. What kind of pizzas did you get?”

Dr. Jennings smirked at her co-worker. “I told you she wouldn’t blame you, you old worrywart.” Then in answer to my question she said, “We weren’t sure what you girls would like so we tried to get a bit of everything. There’s vegetarian, meat lovers, seafood, pepperoni, Hawaiian, and barbeque chicken.”

I shuddered at the last choice. “I’m not touching that last one; I don’t think I’ll ever eat anything that once had wings again,” I said as I helped myself to a large slice of pepperoni.

Alice giggled at that. It was weird, I could see her physically giggling, but there was no sound coming from her mouth. Instead I heard in my mind what sounded like the tinkling of tiny bells. When she managed to stop herself she offered, ~You can have my share of the seafood pizza.~ She took a piece of Hawaiian.

“I’d have thought that as a Mermaid you’d like that sort of thing. I kind of pictured you as someone who eats a lot of sushi,” Erin said, looking a bit confused as she took a slice of the vegetarian.

~I don’t hate seafood,~ the Mermaid admitted as she nibbled at her pizza. ~But when I Manifested last year I had trouble learning to turn back to a human form, especially getting used to breathing air again. I had to live under water in English Bay for six months before I could maintain a human form for long enough to live on land again. When you live under water and eat raw fish and seaweed for every meal for that long, sushi kind of loses its appeal.~

“I can see how that would make you want to eat other things,” Erin replied, making a sour face. “Do you still have problems changing form? You seemed to do it fine on the boat last night.”

Alice shook her head in reply. ~No, I can do it fine now. One day it just suddenly clicked and I was able to do it without a problem. I have really good control over my form and abilities now. Mom says I’ll be as good with Water magic as she and Dad are soon. It’s why they’re letting me help out with less dangerous cases.~

“I don’t think I’d like to see what you consider dangerous,” I put in between mouthfuls of pizza. “Those were Demons last night. How did you take them out anyway?”

~They were only minor Demons,~ the Mermaid stressed. ~Lesser Demons are mostly cowards, and they’ll run if they don’t think they can win. When Erin Manifested and your seal broke they knew they had their hands full. When we showed up, we used some high pressure water blasts to let them know we meant business and they decided the odds were no longer in their favor, so they went back to the infernal plane.~

We spent the next hour eating and talking about the Demons, our abilities, and how Erin and I could train ourselves, until Alice’s parents returned from downtown looking worn out. Once they were both sure that I had eaten enough to recharge my batteries, we left PDA headquarters and I climbed back into the rear of the delivery van. As Alice drove us home they followed behind to ensure our safety, and so that one of them could return the van to the warehouse once we were all safe inside.

© 2013-2014 Amethyst Gibbs
All Rights Reserved
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Comments

"When going through hell, keep going."

Hope Eternal Reigns's picture

Maybe if Raven remembers Churchill's quote she could translocate more often??? It is a good quote that I wish I could remember more often.

Thanks for more chapters sweety.

with love,

Hope

Once in a while I bare my soul, more often my soles bear me.

Very applicable to Raven

Amethyst's picture

She probably wouldn't have been so drained if she hadn't gone through all that testing first and wasn't hungry at the time as well. Still she probably isn't too eager to try that again soon. We'll see what may happen though ;)

*big hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3

Interesting story,

Wendy Jean's picture

Even short teleportation can be useful, like through jail bars and what not.

Handy skill

Amethyst's picture

It would be useful if she needs to use it as a last resort

*hugs*

Amethyst

ChibiMaker1.jpg

Don't take me too seriously. I'm just kitten around. :3