Author’s Note: These characters have been after me to let them tell their story, so I’m obliging them. This is 793 words.
For the first time in two centuries, I, who was Ra’s al Ghul, stood thunderstruck, as my son’s Herald fought his nemesis, The Time-Wasp. My son, Al Sah-him, had repeatedly assured young Allen that nothing short of his enemy’s utter demise would suffice. Allen, being the willfully naive child savant that he is, thought he knew better. Couple my son’s indulgence with the woeful security at the laboratory his young friend had lately called home, and I stood thunderstruck, as my son’s Herald fought his nemesis, The Time-Wasp.
When all seemed lost, my son employed the Shards. (My son thanked General Eiling for their use before he had him executed.) My daughter, Nyssa, who is just as indulgent with this Speedy, as she is with her new sister, fretted: “Husband, shouldn’t you have sent The Shards to Ramone for counter-programming?”
“They can’t be programmed or counter-programmed, Wife,” he replied. “They respond to hyper-kinetic energy indiscriminately.”
“What is to prevent your Herald from sustaining grievous injuries?,” she asked.
“Nothing,” my son replied.
A minute later, both Herald and Time-Wasp were writhing in their blood. My son’s Horseman, Sarab, dragged the offending future-dweller away, finishing him in his weakened state with copious ax blows. Nyssa rushed to the Herald, cooing: “Do not worry. We have the recording that will exonerate your father safe, and a cabin has been prepared for his recuperation.”
Half an hour later, I watched as my little savant physician (whom I named Frost rather than Snow) tended the Herald’s wounds. She bit her lip, and I knew she was pensive. “Fear not, child. Evil has been replaced with death.”
“Yes, Sir,” she answered quietly. “In time, though, death must be replaced with evil.” Chilled, I took her small hands in mine and commanded her to explain. She complied: “When Al Sah-him first fought being your heir, he wasn’t just running from his fate, he was running from Barry’s too.”
The situation was no clearer to me, as she continued: “According to Professor Stein before his death…” Her beloved Prometheus had become Icarus. The deaths of her husband and all-but-father, resulting from “matrix destabilization” still haunted her. “Your prophecy was subsumed by the time loop in which Barry and Thawne were trapped.”
“…When my son and the Herald first crossed paths,” I said, realization dawning. Frost perceived how the existential shock numbed my senses, and she bade me sit.
“Yes,” Frost confirmed. “Al Sah-him came to understand what Barry would require of him as Ra’s al Ghul. Thawne’s death would only close the loop in the present. He will still enter the loop in the future.”
“…And only Ra’s al Ghul,” I said wistfully, “aided by longevity granted by the Lazarus Pit, will live to see the Time-Wasp’s future, prevent collateral damage, and bear witness for the unavoidable dead as the Time-Wasp closes the loop.”
“Yes, Sir,” she verified. “Time travel, the long way. Al Sah-him was overwhelmed.”
“Christ Jesu,” I invoked softly. “Then, Al Sah-him threatened Star City, and young Allen agreed to become his Herald in an alternative ascension covenant.”
“Exactly, Sir,” she replied. “Barry saved the city in which their destinies became fixed, and he ensured that Al Sah-him would have company for part of his journey toward Thawne’s future.”
“He shall have company for all of it.” I addressed the Herald, who had remained respectfully silent, while I conversed with Frost. “I will grant you the boon of the Lazarus Pit.”
The young people exchanged cryptic glances, and the Herald rose from his convalescence. Frost handed him a white rat, and the Herald asked me to escort him to the Lazarus Pit. Once in the chamber, he explained: “Al Sah-him graciously allowed Caitlin a small supply of the water for experimentation. She discovered that non-human bio matter caused the water to react.” The Herald placed the rat in the Lazarus Pit, and the liquid fizzed.
“Yes,” I said, “the water notes different species, but it has no effect on them.”
In response, the ever empathetic Herald, who acted always to spare pain, caused me pain by taking off his glove and placing his hand in the water. The liquid fizzed. The water did not recognize him. My son would not have his company for the whole journey. I was unaccustomed to having my will thwarted. I realized, however, that in this new age, in which old dark magic mingled with even older dark matter released by new science, incongruous experiences must be borne.