The Foxross Military Academy had taken her from her home when she was just seven years old. Her parents cried out for her as she was dragged away by men dressed in all black, with masks to match. Her little heart pounded with fear as the man held her from behind, his arms locking under her armpits. That's when she felt it, the man holding her had a heart of his own. It pounded in his chest to where she could feel it in her back, strong and constant. It wasn't human. His heart no longer new regret, fear, or remorse. He did as he was told and simply took Raven from her family.
When she arrived at the Academy she was the only child not crying. All the others cried for the loss of their parents, all freedom being stripped from them. Raven sat perfectly still, her gaze straight ahead. They thought she would be easy, they thought she was already broken. But they didn't know of the fear building inside of her. That unnatural heart beating against her back. That would be her fate, and everyone else's. Every night Raven would put her hand on her heart just to make sure it was still her's. They couldn't take it from her. They wouldn't.
Four years she spent there, training and sparring and studying battle plans. They were being programmed to be war machines. All of these things needed to be drilled into their skull before they took their humanity. Raven fought them every step of the way, and every punishment got worse. They would ask her if she'd had enough and she would just spit in their faces. After four years of fighting, they branded her on her lower right stomach near her hip. The pain was nothing she had ever experienced before, and with one final struggle she broke free of her bindings and grabbed the knife out of her torturer's sheath and buried it into his chest. Black oil spilled out instead of blood, so this is what they did when you graduated.
Raven took his keys and killed everyone in her way, dodging bullets and hands trying to grab her. By the time she made it out of the building she was covered in oil. Her feet traveled quickly across the sand and she ran and ran until the building was far off in the distance. She stopped when her feet could no longer carry her, and collapsed in the sand just as the sun was setting. That was where Scarecrow found her and took her to his hideout where he raised her as his own. The man was tall and was kind of crazy, but he was a wiz at electronics and had an almost fetish for fire. Even with his faults he had taught her how to survive and how to fight with her favorite weapons: twin swords.
That was seven years ago, and the sun was rising on another day in the desert. Over the years she had done many things and survived all the odds against the guards of the military academy that she affectionately referred to as Dogs. She couldn't remember the name her parents had given her, and in the Academy she was #5657, so Scarecrow had named her Raven. The eighteen year old girl stood up and stretched as the run rose higher into the sky. It was time to go hunting. She gathered her weapons, her swords, throwing knives, and arrows. The arrows were for prey and the swords were for the Dogs. She didn't bother telling Scarecrow she was leaving, since all he ever did was sleep during the day. The guy was quite the weirdo but she had learned to live with him.
Raven set out in search of foot, her years of stealth training with Scarecrow making her footsteps silent in the sand. Even though they were in the desert, it wasn't a wasteland. There were quite a few watering holes around which made for trees and grass and cover. It wasn't exactly easy to be sneaky when it is all just flat sand. She neared an abandoned fishing shop, the sign only hanging on by a thread and all the paint worn away. All that was left was four walls. That was when she heard footsteps. She ducked behind a cactus and watched carefully as someone turned the corner around the fishing shop, and instantly she recognized that uniform. Another Dog? This time she would have some fun with it.
Purposely she tossed a rock against a tree to make it turn around. The Dog turned to look at the sound as Raven came out from behind the cactus with her throwing knives. She threw two, which landed just above both his shoulders and buried into the wall, catching the fabric of his shirt and holding him there. Before he could react a few more knives were thrown until he couldn't move his arms. Raven approached her prey with a coy smile, holding one sword in hand. "My, my... Such a shame you became a Dog. You are quite the fine specimen." She chuckled and teased, taking the end of her sword and lifting his shirt to take a look at his sculpted stomach. That's when she saw it. A brand, the same mark she had on her hip. Instantly she looked at him with shock, letting his shirt fall back down. Without warning she less than gently places her hand on his chest, feeling his heart beat out of control. Fear. The same fear she had felt when she had been taken away.
Without another word Raven reached for his mask and removed it slowly. "So, your blood isn't black, then?" She asked as she removed the mask.
He had escaped quite some time ago, the process had been tedious and slow. Unlike his counterpart he had taken another route, simply studying the security systems they had in place he had managed to sneak out more or less unnoticed. Where he was going.. he hadn't been particularly sure. It had been close to a day of walking, legs were weak and he could feel the dehydration in his body. Nolan was tall, standing at just over six foot two with a pair of broad shoulders and short dirty blonde hair cut fairly close to his scalp. His physique was thin, though toned. Well conditioned with sunkissed flesh and quite a few scars to go along with it.
As the rock smacked against the tree he spun around quickly, obviously still fairly cautious having just broken out. He was rewarded with the feeling of steel slicing against his flesh, and while the throws were extremely accurate in pinning him against the wall.. his attacker managed to take a bit of skin with the fabric as well. As she spoke, eyes narrowed and fists clenched. He was half tempted to jerk an arm out and go for her neck.. however what she said caught him off guard. His shirt was lifted and the brand was shown, he simply stared in confusion.
As the mask was removed, bright blue eyes locked onto her with a quiet intensity few could match. He was handsome, though with the light scarring upon his cheek perhaps it made him a bit more intimidating, and older for that matter then was true. " Last time I checked.. I bleed just like everyone else.. " He cautiously moved his arm, tearing the fabric away of the uniform as his right arm moved to his left to remove the three knives that kept him pinned to the wall. For now, nothing else was offered.. however his confusion was mightily obvious.
She lifted the mask away to reveal a strong, chiseled face with an old scar along his cheek. But it was his eyes that surprised her. A bright and vibrant blue, nothing compared to the brown of her eyes she never liked, or the dull gray of Scarecrow. His eyes were piercing, but he didn't exactly intimidate her. She had dealt with men his height all her life and the bigger they are the harder they fell. He replied to her question and tore his shirt away from the knives and began removing them from the other arm. "No, those Dogs, like the one you dressed up as, don't bleed. They leak. Black and thick like sludge." Raven said as she took a step back and dropped his mask to the ground. She lifted her foot and stomped down onto it, and it shattered.
Raven put her sword away and did her best not to appear cold. She had no idea how to interact with others well. She reached into her back and pulled out a bottle filled with water Scarecrow had filtered with some contraption of his. She held out the bottle for him to grab, and left her other hand open, palm facing up, silently asking for her knives back. "I'm called Raven. Do you have a name?" She asked, wondering if that was the proper way to start a conversation. Scarecrow was never much one for a conversation. You could only get a few things out of him before he went on a tangent of complete nonsense.
It occurred to her that he might be wondering why it was she didn't kill him when she had the chance. "So, you're probably wondering why I didn't kill you.." She started awkwardly. How the hell did people interact, anyway? "It was because of your brand. Your mark. I have the same one." Raven tugged up her shirt just enough to reveal her mark, although faded it was still still visible. "That mark of the unbreakable spirit, that's what Scarecrow calls it." She said before letting her shirt fall. "I live near here. You're welcome to come, but I need to hunt something before we go back." Raven said, offering a tiny smile because she wasn't sure if a smile was appropriate. Raven turned her back to him and began walking away, leaving it up to him whether he was going to join her or not.
He stood there at this point, eyes remaining steadily upon her own.. eventually lowering to examine the branding. Only a small nod was offered as she spoke about why she let him live, and for a few moments it didn't seem as if he were going to say anything else. " I'm Nolan.. " He offered in a short pleasantry, however as she spoke of coming with it didn't seem as if he needed a whole lot of convincing.
Before he agreed however, the blades were hesitantly handed over. He felt a bit.. nervous about giving the girl those sharp buggers back, however if she had wanted him dead or mauled he had to assume he would be already. The water was taken, and immediately drained until it was bone dry. It seemed like he hadn't had a drop of it for quite some time. " Why.. stay so close? Why haven't you left? " Since getting out of the hell hole, that is the only thing he had thought about. Escaping, and running away. In reality had it not been for the cluelessness of his location he would have tried to high tail it out of here.
Raven did her best to seem approachable, but she could tell he was still very cautious of her. She could understand, and as she thought about it she would rather him be cautious than accept her with open arms. This was he would keep a careful distance, because she wasn't sure if this want to have other human contact would last. After interacting with only Scarecrow for seven years, this was her only chance to have someone even mildly sane to converse with. However, there was nothing saying that he wanted to converse with her. He had been in that prison for years, human contact might be the very last thing on his mind. He kept his gaze locked on her, only gazing away from her eyes to look at her mark. He nodded in reply to her explanation. He spoke his name; Nolan. She wondered silently if that was the name he got from his parents and remembered it or one he had given himself.
Nolan looked at her hesitantly when she offered him the water. Most of her throwing knives were in his possession, but she still had her sword, two more throwing knives, her bow and a dozen arrows, and a another hidden knife. If she had wanted him dead he already would have been. After a few moments of silence the knives were placed into her hand and she gave him the water bottle. He sucked it dry within minutes, and she allowed him to carry to water bottle as they walked. He followed her, asking why it was she lived so close to the academy. They still had a few minutes of walking before they reached the watering hole, so conversation wouldn't scare away any potential prey. "Scarecrow says there's not much out there. But the last time he traveled anywhere was almost twenty-five years ago. The reason we keep close is because close is where they lease expect us, but we have several dens." Raven explained, gently pushing tree branches out of her way as the brush thickened near the watering holes.
"I got out seven years ago, Scarecrow was the one that found me, he raised me. Taught me everything I know. But he's pretty bonkers. Always tinkering with electronics and gizmos." Raven continued, leading him through the brush toward her first snare trap. They approached the trap made from fishing line, it was tripped but there was no catch. She reset the trap and moved on to the next. The second trap had kangaroo mouse that had been caught around the next and was already dead. She quietly collected it, reset the trap, and continued. The two were moving to the next trap when she spotted something. Raven reached out and gently touched his chest to make him stop moving. Silently, she collected her bow and an arrow, and aimed it for a jackrabbit. She released the arrow and it buried itself into the creatures neck. She moved for it and collected it, and made her way back to Nolan. "Scarecrow should be up by now, I'll check the rest of the traps later." Raven said, cleaning off her arrow and placing it back with her others.