Book 2 of Changing Futures series
Disclaimers – I don’t own anything from Buffy, Mutant Enemy or J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m just borrowing them for a while. I’m not making any money off this either.
Authors Note – This story is set late in the First Age, about 1 year prior to the War of Wrath (FA 563) and the destruction and disappearance of Beleriand.
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Moving closer against Faith until she was spooned up against her, Buffy snuggled deeper under the blanket trying to keep warm. It was then that Buffy heard footsteps running towards their tent. A few seconds later a young woman charged into the tent, skidding to a halt inside and Buffy saw it was Kimi Ishihara, the most powerful of the Seers who’d come through the Gate with them.
“Buffy-sama, I am sorry for the intrusion. But I must speak with you.”
Sliding quickly out from under the blanket, Buffy quickly dressed in front of Kimi. “Okay Kimi, what’s the sitch?”
“I had another Vision tonight…”
“We must head East, there is a darkness coming. One that we must outrun or be destroyed.” Kimi said, trying to have Buffy understand the urgency that they move east now, before it was too late.
“Which is what we are doing, Kimi.”
“But this time the Vision was different, in this dream the darkness was locked in a battle to the death with the light and everything ‘here’ will be destroyed Buffy-sama, including us…”
Looking at Kimi carefully, Buffy saw the fear in her eyes. “And this is coming sooner than we thought I’m guessing…yes?” And Buffy saw Kimi nod. “Okay then, it’s a couple hours till dawn and we can’t go before then. But 2 hours after sunrise we’ll be moving. Will that be soon enough for you?”
Nodding again, “I am sorry, I do not mean to presume….”
Buffy held up her hand to hush Kimi. “Kimi, you are not presuming anything. You’re coming to me with a warning about our safety. I’d rather lose a little sleep, then die in my bed.” Putting her hand on Kimi’s shoulder, “You did good.” Buffy said with a smile and watched as Kimi bowed deeply before leaving the tent.
Three days later…
Buffy called a halt to the column as she saw two of the scouts returning, nodding at Faith Buffy trotted out to meet them. Both girls were breathing heavily and covered in dust. “Found something?”
“Yes,” Kailee said before taking a deep drink of water from a waterskin. “There’s a forest about 10 miles east of here, it’s pretty big. But there’s a settlement or a village of some sort there.”
“There’s a problem though,” Sabra added. “There’s a large battle taking place, I couldn’t see who or what. Just lots of them, and there’s a second group bypassing the main fight and going towards that settlement.” Sabra accepted the waterskin Kailee was holding for her and took a small swig of water before rinsing her mouth out and spitting the water out.
“Okay, good job you two. Go grab yourself some food.” Buffy said dismissing her two scouts.
Heading back towards Faith Buffy signaled for the war council. By the time Aiesha, Willow, Rainne, Sachiko and Yi-min had arrived Buffy already had a plan forming in her mind.
"Saw Kai and Sabra are back, what'd they find?" Faith asked.
“Settlement of some kind and a big battle going on." Buffy answered.
Shaking her head, a tall, young brunette spoke up, "We aren't in any shape to get down and dirty Buffy." Rainne said firmly. "We're no where near to full strength and we're short weapons..."
Looking at Faith who nodded back, "Agreed. I wasn't planning on any fights today Rainne," Buffy chided Rainne who blushed in embarrassment.
"Then what we do then?" Yi-min asked in broken English.
"Avoid them, send the children, wounded and the Witches across the river and continue east along with the 3rd to cover them. The 1st and 2nd will come with Faith and me towards the settlement. Maybe we can barter for some goods and animals there, which we need badly..." Kneeling down Buffy used rocks and sticks to create a map on the ground. "Here's where we are and there's the settlement and the battle just over there. Yi-min, you'll swing wide around here and continue on, this way you're out of the line of fire. Faith and I'll go into the settlement and see if we can get anything. Worst comes to worst we break up and fade away."
“And then what? Get killed piecemeal?" Willow asked angrily.
Buffy was taken aback by Willow’s anger. "Uh, not quite Will. We'll slip through the forest and meet you guys on the other side, by the river."
"No Mistress Buffy," Aiesha Bond, a dark skinned Witch and second only to Willow in Power spoke. "I do not think that is wise. We should avoid all contact for now until we have ourselves back up to strength. The Coven took many losses as well as the Slayers...."
Shaking her head 'no', "I disagree Buffy, we need supplies, draft animals, wagons even. But we can't hide forever here." Sachiko Yomura, a tall, lithe and deadly fast young woman.
"Faith?" Buffy asked.
"Chiko's right. We don't know this world any and we can't keep hiding, not when we're running out of supplies. I say we go with your plan, B."
"Alright then, Sachiko, Rainne get the 1st and 2nd ready. Yi-min, take the your people and start moving everyone else East along the river." Buffy stood up, an eager gleam in her eyes.
Willow waited until everyone else was gone, "And I suppose you're going to lead this little expedition from the front, right?"
One eyebrow went up, "No, my solo days are behind me Will." Buffy said as she stepped in towards Willow and put her hand on Willow's shoulder, giving it a light squeeze.
Willow watched as Buffy walked away, "Don't get yourself killed on me Buffy," Willow whispered.
30 minutes later…
Walking up to the top of the small rise just outside the settlement, Buffy smelled something just on the wind and pulled out a pair of Zweiss binoculars from the case on her hip, looking towards the forest settlement. Focusing them Buffy saw smoke and flame coming from the settlement and then an ugly creature with black skin, patchwork armour and a sword chasing a little girl. A moment later Buffy saw the demon cut the girl down and almost dropped the binoculars. "God, no!" Stuffing the binoculars in the case and moved back down to where the Faith and Sachiko were waiting for her.
"Change in plans. Some demons are slaughtering the children over in that settlement. Faith, I want you and Rainne to take the 2nd and move them North just in case anyone else comes in." Turning to Sachiko, "Drop everything except the weapons, we're going to kill every demon we find. I'm not leaving anyone to be slaughtered, especially children." Buffy's tone brooked no discussion as she turned away, dismissing them and stripping off her own gear.
Walking to the front of the 1st, "We don't know who those people are, but I know one thing, children are being hunted down like rabbits and slaughtered over there! ARE WE GOING TO LET THAT HAPPEN?!?"
"NO!!" came the massed reply.
“THEN LET'S GO KICK SOME DEMON ASS!!!!!!" Buffy roared and drew the Katana she'd carried with her during the entire war. Buffy and the 1st, which had 100 Veteran Slayers moved into a fast run towards the settlement, with each Slayer looking forward to doing what they were born to do, kill demons and protect the innocent.
Grishmalk paused as he felt the ground rumbling and pulled the sword from the Elvish woman's back before looking around when he saw a cloud of dust coming towards them. "FORMATION YOU MAGGOT RIDDEN SLIME!!! GET INTO FORMATION!!" Grishmalk roared as he fought to get his unit ready for the Elves that were headed this way.
He had just started to get some of his fellow Orcs to stop when he saw that they weren't Elves at all, but women, girls really and Grishmalk laughed as he realized he'd get to play with some more females.
Buffy ran into the settlement and saw fires and smoke everywhere. But just ahead Buffy saw about 20 demons in a laughable formation and charged towards them. "KILL THEM ALL!!!!!!!!" Buffy yelled and drew her Katana back, her first victim was a demon who was laughing hysterically right until her Katana sliced through his neck and his head flew off. Then Buffy was too busy to pay attention as she crashed into the formation of demons with the rest of the 1st right behind her. Her blade flashed out left and right and each time a demon fell...
Sachiko watched as Buffy charged headlong towards the only formation of demons and cursed, [How was she supposed to be Buffy’s 'unofficial' bodyguard if she ran into the thick of trouble all the time!] "Come on!!!" Sachiko drew her ancestral katana in a fast draw, disemboweling the first demon she came to, her second swing severed the arm of a demon that was about to hit Buffy from behind and everything became a chaotic jumble of images as she fought to kill every demon she saw and protect Buffy.
1 Hour Later
A hand fell on her shoulder and Buffy started to bring her sword up, only to see it was a gore covered Sachiko. "Sorry 'bout that." Buffy said tiredly and looked for a clean cloth to wipe her sword clean before sheathing it. "I think you need a bath Sachiko." Buffy said with a grin. "We need..."
"Already being done Buffy. I've detailed one platoon to cleaning up the mess and gathering up the weapons and armour as well. Faith's reported the main army is moving this way and that they'll be here in a little over 2 hours."
"How many?" Buffy asked as she leaned against a broken wall.
"A lot," Sachiko replied.
"Okay, get the survivors out of here and moving towards the column. Detail a squad to lead them. Well this didn't work out exactly as planned..." Buffy admitted.
"You had a plan?" Sachiko asked dryly.
"Ha ha!" Buffy said before sticking her tongue out. "Seriously though, have...." Buffy paused as she tried thinking of the Witch’s name.
"Rasha" Sachiko prompted.
"Yeah, have Rasha contact Yi-min and move the 3rd here along with Aiesha, Willow and the rest of the Coven."
Willow had fumed as she felt Buffy go into a berserker rage, "Damn stupid, stubborn, predictable, beautiful, sexy Slayer!!!" Willow cursed under her breath. Fortunately she'd kept the Coven together along with the 3rd to dig Buffy out of whatever trouble she was going to find. By the time Rasha had contacted them, Willow already had every one moving towards the settlement and she was only 30 minutes away.
Aiesha heard Willow's mutterings. “Something you want to tell me Willow?”
“Huh?” Willow asked not understanding her fellow Sisters sometimes. “No, should there be?”
“Just wondering if you were going to finally hit Buffy over the head and drag her into the bushes the way you're constantly undressing Buffy as you watch her.”
“And you have a mind that lives in the gutter Aiesha,” Was Willow's reply.
“My boyfriend used to say that too!” Aiesha said with a waggle of her eyebrows. “And he never complained either!”
“So what are we looking at Faith?” Willow asked, now that all the leaders of the war council were present.
“At least 1500 demons, what looks like a clan of rock trolls and some sorta big dragons, but without wings and they've got them wearing chains." Faith said. “There's something else further back, but we couldn't get a good look at it. But I’m betting it's whatever is leading those demons.”
“It could be worse,” Buffy said cheerfully.
“Goddess, and how could that happen?” Willow asked.
“We could be surrounded.”
“I feel so much better now B, thanks.” Faith said dryly, knowing that this was Buffy's way of dealing with the stress.
“So what can we do to even this out?” Sachiko asked.
“Pull back into the forest and set up traps in the town and slow them down. We can't take them all on at once, but if we break them up, they'll just be easier bites for us to swallow.” Turning to Yi-min, “Yi, do you still have those claymores?” Buffy asked and saw Yi-min nod ‘yes’. “Good, set up the claymores inside the town, it's open enough that we'll get more of them than if we used them in the forest. Sachiko,” Buffy said to the tall commander of the 1st. “Have Shannon open up her little magic bag of tricks and start setting up some traps in the forest. Pit traps, bungee pits, whatever she can get done. We've got 2 hours to get a nice welcome setup for these demons.”
Willow waited for everyone to leave before speaking her mind, “You need to let Dawn go, Buffy. You're going to get yourself and a lot of people killed if you don't.” Willow said as Faith closed the door to the room leaving them alone.
“I don't have time for this Will. I have a demon army coming in less than 2 hours.”
“That's a load of crap Buffy, those girls will follow you into hell if you ask them to, but if you don't let go of your anger over losing Dawn you're going to get them all killed one day.” Willow watched as Buffy turned away and grabbed Buffy by her arm, pulling her around. “Damnit Buffy Summers!! I have loved you for over 12 years and you will not walk away from me!” Willow yelled before pulling Buffy against her and kissing her for all she was worth. When she broke the kiss off finally, Willow left the room.
Buffy was shocked at first when Willow kissed her and easily deepened the kiss, when Willow pulled away Buffy felt a little numb. “Wow! Some kiss that was Will!” Buffy said to an empty room.
Faith walked back in the room to find Buffy with a silly look on her face and hid a smile. “You coming or do you have a date?”
“Uhmm, no. I'm good.” Buffy took Faith's hand in her own as they walked out of the room. [I can't feel that way about Willow, I'm in love with Faith! Yes that's it, I’m just tired and this'll all go away...] Buffy ended her mental chat, satisfied she'd worked it out.
End Chapter 1