AU (Big Time) Xander is the King of the Amazons. Who some of which just happen to be the female stars of the BtVS and Ats universe. This is just a brief little skirmish in this small little universe. Disclaimer:
Based off of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” both produced by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. ABSOLUTELY *NOT*
based in any way, form, or fashion on the Wandererverse or their Amazons. No gods for starters. Anything else, purely coincidence, and if you're actually looking for something to scream about, STOP READING FANFIC!
AN: This just kinda came to me in a burst of insight and was written practically all at once. No sequel or continuation planned. This is it. If you like it enough to beg for more, well . . . ask for permission first and I may let you take it from here, or we might try working together on it. To do so, you may reach me at email@example.com
“So, come here often?” he asked her casually.
She rolled her eyes heavenward even as she and her companion were surrounded by the demonic forces of Hell, fighting for their lives and more.
“Xander, that is getting really
old,” the blond warrior snapped as she did the same with the blade in her hand, decapitating a couple demons, one a vampire, the other more of a werewolf variety, except pure evil. Mighta been a hellhound even.
“Ah c'mon Buff, gotta lighten the mood somehow, and you know what they say about the classics,” he shouted back to her even as he tangled with a horned demon that used it's extra appendages as blades.
“They're old for a reason?” she teased right before back-flipping over a couple demons trying to charge her, striking them with her razor edge sword across their backs, severing their spines in half and tearing open the fluid in whatever passed for lungs for those things.
“What is it about battle that makes you so care free any way?” she shouted back to him as she turned to face new opponents.
“Worst part of battle is twofold,” he explained over the roars and deathcries of the battlefield, “Waiting to fight, which in itself is two fold in that you're either waiting to die or waiting to kill, and then there's after the fight. The cleanup.”
don't get me depressed about that already!” she begged him, putting some actual feeling into the plea. He just laughed across the distance.
The battle was over before they even knew it. A few of the demons tried to retreat back down the mountains from whence they came, but they were quickly picked off by the other warriors in the Defense Army. Finally all that remained on the slope were demon corpses and living humans. With extremely few exceptions.
Alexander LaVelle, as he was known to outsiders of the mountain, walked carefully and calmly through the bodies, being careful to step around the few dead women that had fallen, and being extra careful to grind his heel into every demon skull he could along the way. The blond warrior at his side made sure to do the same.
Internally though, Alexander was anything but calm. And everyone around him knew it, because they knew him. They knew him well enough that they trusted him to not only fight by their sides, but lead them, and so they knew he would be killing himself inside for each one of their fallen sisters.
Quickly, with a vague sense of having done it too many times before, the women gathered their dead and made preparations to take them back to their home. Once only demons corpses remained, he turned and approached one of the other warriors, a girl with dirty blond hair and an older version of the girl only with auburn hair.
“Amy,” he nodded to the girl, “Catherine,” he greeted the older woman.
“Xander,” both women replied, bowing their heads slightly.
“How many can be revived?” he asked, his voice sorrowful.
“Nearly everyone that was lost in this skirmish . . . sir,” Catherine, Amy's biological mother answered. “Some . . . only with Augmentation, and a few of those . . . sir, have requested that . . .”
“I understand,” he quickly turned back around and lead the march back up the mountain pass, his blond companion still at his side.
“Buffy,” he snapped out in a command.
“Yes,” the blond at his side stepped a single pace closer.
“Have the Elementals get rid of this garbage,” he ordered, speaking of the demon remains. “It's far enough away from the village that I don't care if some of them are booby-trapped, it'll just serve as another sign that the demons should just give up on us. After that's taken care of, send out three more patrols to search for any lost ones and begin a standard sweep. After that, lead a search squad through the village. Just to make sure. After the day is completely over, we'll lift the Emergency Alert.”
“It will be done,” the petite blond, who was the absolute best warrior of the Amazons then raced off to carry out her commanders orders.
Half an hour later, the time it took to walk back to the village with all of the dead, Alexander was walking up to his home. Which doesn't exactly do it justice since the “village” of Amazons, hidden away in the mountains covered more area and had far more impressive architecture than New York City combined with Tokyo, Japan. Skyscrapers, functional yet artsy public buildings, and homes and living quarters that looked more like million dollar mansions intermixed with natural wildlife springs was just a fraction of the home of the last known living remnants of the Amazon culture.
“Hey,” a familiar female voice called out to the war leader. He stopped and turned, trying to put a smile, or at the very least a wry grin on his face. He wasn't sure he succeeded.
“Hey,” he greeted the buxom brunette that walked up to him. “Glad to see you're already up and about Faith.”
“Yeah, they do good work at the Hospital,” she complimented, rubbing her shoulder slightly. “Dead barely an hour ago from a lucky bastard demon and here I am all bright-eyed and bushy tailed as I'll ever be.”
“Heh,” he laughed, “Funny that, cause I think the demon that killed you was actually using a bastard sword.”
“Hah-hah,” she sarcastically griped back at him, before suddenly switching gears and turned her teasing smile at him, “Only thing wrong is I missed my handsome prince who was supposed to be waiting over me until I woke up.”
“Yeah, sorry about that, but I trust Catherine and her group, and there aren't any real problems are there, otherwise they wouldn't have let you out of the building, let alone come running all the way here,” he remarked, finally succeeding in getting that grin up.
“Xander, what's wrong?” she asked immediately, calling him by the name that only Amazons called him, the secret name given to those who become a member of the Amazon society. What, you think her birth name had been Faith?
He snorted and growled to himself, rolling his eyes. He shoulda just bolted for the front door. He couldn't ever hide anything from one of his girls. Despite there being well over 1000 of them these days, they all knew the signs when something was bothering him. He'd begun to realize it wasn't worth the hassle of keeping his problems to himself, so he just told her.
“Some of the girls . . . today, they were hurt . . . a lot worse than you were. A lot worse.”
She could feel his pain, as easily as anyone could see it on his face, because it was echoed within her own heart.
“A few of them . . . said that they didn't want Augmentation. After the last time, you know I can't force anyone to accept Augmentation if they've said they don't want it. And I . . . I just couldn't face them. Not right now. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you Faith . . .”
“Hey now, none of that,” she shook him by the shoulders slightly. “Amazons aren't the prissy-pant pussies that women are in mythology class. I'll get over it. Hey, maybe their groups can talk them around, huh? The mediums were actually walking in as I ran out to find you, so maybe . . .”
“Yeah, maybe,” he sounded older, far older than he looked. And he looked pretty good by Faith's eye, but thanks to the magic of the Amazons, everyone in the village was physically around the age of 25, except for the kids, but once they fully matured their aging would halt like the rest of the Amazon community.
“Look Faith, I'm gonna . . . go,” he then turned around and resumed his walk towards his home, quite easily the largest of the mansion-like houses on the street. If you could call the dirt path a street, only the ground directly beneath and around the buildings being layered with cement and metal.
“You, uh, want me to . . .” she trailed off as he kept walking, leaving her where she stood.
“No, that's all right. I'm probably just going to take a bath and then rest. Best get back to the Hospital Faith, I sent Buffy to do a sweep of the village,” he called back to her as he entered through the front door.
Frowning at her leader's mood, and brought down a little by it herself, she sulked a little as she turned around and began the trek back to the Hospital, scratching her armor around the hole in it where a demon's sword had pierced her heart. At least she had the satisfaction of taking him and one of his playmates out with her. And he was so many free-floating atoms in the air right now if the Elementals, the element-specific mages among the Defense Army.
Faith was halfway back when Buffy, again the most powerful warrior among the Amazons save for one other, came upon her with her sweeper squad.
“Faith,” the petite, armored blond greeted warily. Shape-shifting demons were not a new threat, hence the need for sweeping the village after a battle around the mountain.
“Buffy,” Faith greeted properly as a subordinate to a superior, which had been proved time after time, and the dark haired Amazon was not in the mood for yet another.
“I thought you were listed on the Revive list,” Buffy cautiously informed her.
“Was. They revived most of us before we were fully out of the bags. After I saw what happened . . . well, I kinda wondered where the hell Xander was. So I went looking for him.”
Buffy winced, knowing the kind of mood Alexander was in after a battle where some of his girls were lost. It didn't happen often, but she had seen it before. The warriors around her released their tension, the use of Alexander's Amazon name enough proof that Faith was not a spy or a demon. Not only because the name was secret, but even if some shape shifter had heard it called on the battlefield, there was a certain infliction of emotion, like the saying of a Holy Word that only a true Amazon could give to the name of another.
“C'mon, we've got a sweep to finish,” she invited Faith to join the squad. “Then tonight we'll get the group together and see what we can do to get him out of his mood. There'll probably be a funeral pyre in a couple days, so he'll be like this for a while sadly.”
“Tell you what, drop me off at C's place and we'll get the whole thing set up. When'd he say the alert was going to be lifted?”
“He didn't tell you?” the blond retorted.
The brunette just glared at her. “No. He was too depressed over the idiots that got hurt too bad and said they weren't gonna get no Augmentation. Shit I can see why they wouldn't want to, but when it becomes necessary . . .”
“Hey, it's not that simple,” another of the warriors in the squad spoke up. She was slightly older, probably by a decade though she certainly didn't look it.
“What would you know Kate!” Faith growled at the light blond Amazon. “You didn't see the look in Xander's eyes. If it was a choice between Augmentation and seeing that again, even if it was total body, I'd take the Augmentation! I hate seeing him like that!”
“She's right though Faith,” Buffy argued, “It's not that simple. Because not everybody is you. Now drop it and let's get back to patrol, all right?”
There were no more arguments.
Later that evening, Alexander had taken off his armor and was soaking in his bath, powered by a natural hot spring, which actually fed the water for the entire village. Or at least the bathing water. Other things like dew collectors and wells and water preserves supplied them of other sources of water. Amazons weren't fools, not about to place all their trust in one system. They had back-up after back-up, after contingency, after Plan B. For everything.
And unfortunately, that included distractions to keep their leader from getting too depressed.
“Go away!” he yelled at the presence he felt entering the room. He didn't need to even open his eyes to know who it was, and every Amazon in the mountain could walk with absolute silence whenever they wanted to.
The presence didn't go away, so Xander opened one eye and glanced at the intruder upon his bath. He closed his eye and lay back in the water with a sigh.
“Go away Cor,” he told her tiredly.
“Make me,” she teased, forcing him to open his eyes and sit upright in the water. She was only wearing a single pink towel that barely covered her from her nipples to the bottom of her waist. Then, as she stepped into the bathing pool, and with a flick of her hand, she wasn't wearing anything.
“Go away,” he said again, this time adding a glare, seemingly unaffected by her nudity.
Cordelia pouted playfully as she steadily waded towards him through the steaming water.
“Go away,” he said a final time, this time pleading with his eyes.
“Buffy and Faith called me earlier,” she explained while she took a soap sponge and began to work a lather into his dirt-encased skin, “Before they had even really started on their first patrol-sweep. Buffy's working really hard to get all the patrols done by midnight. There's going to be a funeral pyre tomorrow. Carter, one of the lethal ones that had been DNA changed her mind after the shamans summoned her spirit to commune with her . . . her group.”
Alexander, his face taut with control and restraint, just nodded his understanding, not moving to hinder or help her in washing him.
“So that just leaves . . .” he started to say.
“Three will be burned and consecrated tomorrow,” Cordelia finished his statement. “Darla, Drusilla, and . . .” her voice broke for a moment before she caught herself and continued, “ . . . and that new warrior, the one that had taken the name Harmony.”
“She'd been with one of the research groups until . . .” he realized suddenly, Cordelia only nodding to confirm it.
“It needed to be done,” she told him firmly. “We've become a major target for the demons and other things out there of late. If we don't keep up our defenders, it won't matter how many of us get shuffled around, because we'll all be dead. Thanks to you and . . .”
“Thanks to me three wonderful, beautiful, and intelligent women, women I knew
, are dead!” he shouted, standing to his feet, glaring at the dark haired amazon to see if she challenged his accusation.
Cordelia's eyes flashed with their own anger and she got to her own feet, briefly distracting the man with what had been hidden beneath the churning surface of the water until now. “Thanks to you,” she snapped at him, “we are all
still here! Thanks to you, we're safe. We have a place to call home than in more than 1,000 years, we have a city
, something we never even thought of before, and we still have you to lead us and guide us, protecting us from things that would sooner destroy us or worse. Thanks to you.”
He deflated after that and sunk back beneath the water until only his head remained above. He didn't bother saying anything else as Cordelia washed him, and other than to direct him so she could reach as yet unwashed places, the buxom brunette amazon did not speak either.
After the bath, they dressed in, among the Amazon city what was considered civilian clothing. Alexander in heavy leather and animal skin boots, skintight worn leather pants, an animal hide brown-dyed vest tucked into aforementioned pants, and a pure white silk shirt beneath that. Cordelia, almost in a challenge to match, was wearing similar boots, only the animal skins went up to just below her knees, while what would be known in the Western world as Hotpants, but were just considered shorts to Amazons, of black leather covered her waist and hips, while a brown leather halter top, leaving her strong abdomen bare, covered the rest of her. Beyond the simple jewelry of their 'caste' beads, wrapped around a leather thong around their necks, they were mostly unadorned, save for Cordelia's earrings and a single metal armband.
“Oh there you two are, I've been looking all over for you,” another young woman exclaimed, bringing their attention to her. She was only a couple inches taller than five feet, even if Buffy was shorter, it was more the way she held herself and her petite frame that made her seem much smaller than the blond Amazon Defender. She had shoulder length brown hair, pale skin, and soft blue eyes that shone with more intelligence than fierce guts like most other Amazons, but given her animal hide wrap-around dress, incidentally skintight, she definitely was Amazon.
“What's the problem Wini—er, I mean Fred?” Alexander prompted her.
Blushing slightly, the young girl, known as Fred, but given the name Winifred at birth by her parents, who were then killed by demons on the Amazon city's doorstep and subsequently adopted by them, stepped forward and did her best to look the Amazon King in the eye.
“The, uh, well, the patrol, that is the sweep, Buffy and Faith just reported in.” Winifred's demeanor and shyness vanished as she brought forth the news she had, “The Ambassadors just showed up. And a representative of the demonic forces was found with them. They're claiming as their guest, and are requesting diplomatic immunity for it as well as their entire entourage.”
Alexander's face scowled, Cordelia's easily matching as they both knew what such requests meant.
“Thank you Fred,” he acknowledged the young girl, trying to keep his temper well enough in hand that he didn't frighten her, “Gather my entire group in the Meeting Place. Cordelia, Buffy, Faith, and I will be there shortly.”
Winifred just nodded and quickly turning to do as asked.
As the young girl fled, Buffy and Faith both walked in, each with scowls matching the other two of their group. “Who is it this time?” Cordelia asked before either could say anything.
“New guy, Angel, and Rifious,” Faith answered.
“How is Liam?” Alexander casually asked.
“Same as ever,” Buffy grunted with an unusual scowl on her face. “You did tell him that I'm not interested in him anymore, didn't you?” she asked.
Grimacing for half a second, Alexander walked on, not answering her. Behind him, the blond Amazon glared at his retreating back before falling in line behind him with the others.
The Meeting Place wasn't actually a part of the Amazon city. In fact it was on the other side of, and half buried by the largest mountain surrounding the city, the only way to get to, into it actually, was via magical teleportation, or a broken down, crippled and buried under aforementioned mountain, rail tram. To get to the city, or vice versa, from the Meeting Place, teleportation was the only option, but from outside the mountains, the rail tram was kept in good condition.
Also, there was to consider that because of a combination of natural elements, magic shielding, and cloaking technology, teleporting, or even opening a portal from outside the mountain range into the Amazon city was completely impossible. The demons had been trying it for decades already, nearly a century, and so far nothing had proven it false.
Alexander and his entourage arrived simply, considering most forms of teleportation, appearing in a simple flare of white light, and once it had gone, the Warrior King and 6 Amazons stood there in full armor, weapons drawn, or spells charged in two of the Amazons' case, and ready for anything. Even the sight that stood before them.
Three humans, all men in either silk, tweed, or well-maintained battle armor, and a very large, almost stereotypical devil-like demon, where lacking tail and pitch fork, made up with sheer bulk and muscle size. Upon seeing the new arrivals, the demon sneered, a rumbling growl that made the loose pebbles on the ground quiver, absently reaching for it's own weapons, which it found to be absent due to them having been striped from him as the condition for it even being there.
The Amazons all had a similar reaction at the sight of the demon, but Alexander raised a hand, stopping any and all hostilities before they could begin. Without any preamble, and ignoring the demon entirely, he stared at the older human in tweed, and snapped, “We're here. What'd'ya want?”
“Just to talk Alexander, I promise,” the man he has spoken too immediately explained.
Faith snorted which seemed to be a shared sentiment as the others just rolled their eyes. Alexander put away his weapons and crossed his arms in a 'OK I could use a good laugh' way and then gestured for them to continue.
Surprisingly, the first to speak was the demon, known as Rifious, and the closest thing to a leader the demon army has. For this month.
“We want peace,” it offered simply.
“Then leave,” was the King's only reply.
“But . . .” the one that had not spoken yet suddenly blurted, only to be cut off by the demon growling out, “Never!
The mountains are ours! These humans said you might actually be willing to listen to reason considering your losses, as well as dealing with constant battle. Give us what we want now or be destroyed human!”
The cold glare that the Amazon King fixed on the demon's face actually made the massive brute back up several steps in fear. “And what do you know about our losses? Take a look at my companions Rifious. One of them your spies probably told you died on the battlefield earlier today. She's actually quite well. As for constant battle . . .” Alexander smirked dangerously, a look mimicked by each of the women in the room, “Amazons live
“Now hold on a second, you swore that, in anticipation of this meeting, all attacks against these people would stop!” the thin man wearing a silk suit in back whined at the demon.
“Wesley,” Angel grabbed the man's attention, “Shut up.”
“Now listen, and listen good all of you!” Xander shouted at them, “This is our
home and we're not about to agree to anything beyond total neutrality and complete peace. That means you leave us alone. If any of you don't like that, fuck off. As long as so much as a single person, demon, magical entity, or otherwise creature tries to enter our mountains, valley, and/or city without express permission, we will defend ourselves with extreme prejudice. Especially against demons. And if you don't like it, fuck you.”
He then made to turn his back on them, but the man Angel had identified as Wesley suddenly stepped forward and made an announcement.
“The Amazon race is extinct and has been for thousands of years. You misfits are just thieves and vagrants who seek superiority by deluding yourselves in a hyped-up myth! Now you do not belong here and you cannot comprehend what sort of magicks you have at your disposal that you have been using with utter careless regard. We, however, know exactly the methods and understand the full responsibility of such power, and are more than willing to take such responsibility. In fact, we claim our right to it!”
“Is he done yet?” Alexander, sounding bored, asked the older gentleman in tweed.
“I'm afraid not,” he replied with a roll of his eyes as Wesley started turning various shades of red.
“Now see here . . .!” Wesley shouted.
“No, you see,” Alexander interrupted.
“The only reason we even come here any more is out of respect of my brother and the man that may as well have been father to me and the rest of us,” he intoned, his voice carrying in the silence that had surrounded them. “But if all that's going to be done is half-witted attempts to make us weak or 'negotiations'
to make us give up our home, our lives, and our way of life . . . then we will no longer respond to anymore of your attempts to /talk
/. No matter who you send to ask for you.”
Just as it seemed the Amazon party would storm out, much the way they stormed in, Alexander turned and gave a steady glare at the big ugly red demon.
“As for you and your kind, just try to keep invading our lands. We quite enjoy killing your kind, and it's a better sport than hunting for food. So please, keep trying. I dare you.” With that, he nodded behind him at the other blond Amazon, who nodded back and a moment later, they teleported out.
The next morning, after everyone had had a chance to properly rest from the previous day, the group that had met with the outsiders convened in the Main Temple's “Round Table Room”. At least that's what Alexander privately called it. Basically for two reasons, one, it was where he, as King, and his most trusted warriors, who fought with him against evil in defense of their home land, sat and talked out strategy and tactics and other things as equals. And because there was a big round table in the middle of the room.
Once everyone was present and seated, there was a moment of quiet before he opened the meeting with, “Well, they aren't giving up. That little twerp called Wesley was obviously supposed to be the Watcher's latest attempt at an Ambassador. Which should tell you all what they're beginning to think of us.”
“You mean 'stupid little girls that have no idea what they're playing dolls with'?” Faith snorted with derision. There was murmurs of agreement around the room.
“I'm going to cut off all ties with them,” he informed them all.
There was another moment of silence as the Amazons all shared looks with one another, and then they deferred to Buffy, who answered for them all, “Sounds like a good idea Xander. We'll all support you of course. But perhaps the few contacts that we have remaining with them would be willing to give us some last bits of information, which might prove useful in the future?”
Alexander nodded and replied, “I'll look into that. I promise. Now. Let's go over the latest on the demon front and then we'll discuss . . . other matters.” Most of them knew what he meant by 'other matters.'
The meeting and discussions went on for many hours, until finally all the “business” had been taken care of and the Amazons could finally get down to the nitty gritty of what was really bothering their King.
“OK, Xander, what's the deal?” a taller Amazon with more exotic looks and neck-length black hair suddenly asked. “We can all tell that something, besides the usual, is bothering you. What is it?”
“It's none of your concern Janna,” Alexander snapped, adding a glare for good measure.
“Xander . . .” the only (natural) redhead in the room whined in a worried tone. She was also dressed differently from the identified warriors, instead of armor and weapons, she wore a simple thin robe, which conformed to her body beneath as much as the others' armors did, but with the added definition of being partially transparent.
“Willow, I'm fine, really, and I honestly wish you all would stop asking me what's wrong. Nothing, beyond the usual that is, is wrong. Really!” he plaintively told them.
“We're sorry Xander,” a blond in the same robe as Willow, only with a little bit “more” to cover, spoke with a soft voice. “However, it's been since before the battle yesterday that you've seemed . . . distracted. We worry. That's all. And if it is one of us, or rather one of the others . . .”
“No, Tara, believe me, that's not it at all!” he stressed as much as he could without looking panicked and getting out of his seat. “You guys do
remember how I actually became king, don't you? No offense to all the Amazons in the valley, but you all are all I can handle. And then some!”
That sent a tittering of giggles around the room, but the tension had been relieved.
“Well, it's the twins night with you as it is, so the rest of us will try and pass that time,” Cordelia flirting, got up and trailed her arm across his shoulders tantalizingly, “Until morning my King,” softly she kissed him on the cheek and then left the room.
“Yeah, if I live that long!” he called after her even as two of the others in the room got up to leave.
“Have fun Xan-man,” Faith cracked as she kissed him in the same spot Cordelia had, “Try not to wear'em out too bad girls!”
“Better keep up your strength, it's mine and Cordelia's turn tomorrow night,” Janna whispered just before kissing him as well. Buffy, grinning from ear-to-ear, also got up, while the two girls in Mage-robes remained seated, but with grins just as big.
“Wait, Buffy, I need you to . . .” he faltered and concerned frowns replaced the shit-eating grins.
“Xander, what is it? If you want one of the others . . .” Willow offered.
He shook his head, “No, that's not it. I . . .” he got to his feet, “Well, not that I expect you two to object,” he joked, “but I'd like Buffy to join us tonight.”
The shit-eating grins made a big comeback.
“Because,” he continued, “you three were the very first to accept me here. And . . . I appreciate that more than anyone could ever possibly know. I feel like you guys are a part of my soul. I love each and every one of you, but you three are special to me. I . . . I just wanted you to know that.”
“Awww,” all three mooned over him . . . that night, all through the night, and well into the next morning. Late the next morning.
The next afternoon, when things seemed to have slowed down a great deal and everyone was taking a rest period, from the surprising heat of the day as well as the confirmation that the demon army seemed to have made a strategic withdrawal, Alexander took a stroll through his palace/house, the home the Amazons had given him at the literal center of the valley.
Making sure he was completely alone, he went over to the wall of mirrors just the other side of the bathing pool area, out of site of the pool and the entrance to the room, and somehow when standing right in front of the mirror there, none of the other mirrors in the room showed the person's reflection. He stood there, looking into his lone reflection for a moment, and then a moment later, a soft green light trailed over his eyes and face. A moment later, soft as a whisper, the mirror retracted into the wall, revealing downward stairs behind it.
Alexander quickly went down them, the mirror moving back in place behind him as if he'd never been there.
He walked quietly and assuredly down the pitch black stairs, round and round, deeper into the mountain, until even he began to feel the pressure of being down so deep. He walked in complete darkness for more than an hour before finally a soft green light began to shine, reflected, upon the stairs. He was now entering the secret Vault of the Amazons. Only the Leader could
know about it's very existence, let alone how to enter it, or what lay inside it. The previous Queen had been the one to show him, right before she declared him the first ever King of the Amazons.
She also showed him what was inside. And introduced him.
He took the last step and landed on a glass floor. Not mirror, or even a thin piece of transparent glass, but the hard, very solid volcanic glass that could only be found at the bottom or center of a mountain that might have once been volcanic.
The glass floor continued on for maybe another twenty feet before coming to a very solid looking door with ancient amazon symbols etched on them. At each step the King took towards it across the glass floor, the symbols lit up and flashed with ancient, glowing green power, gaining in strength until he had reached the door, and crossed the threshold between the volcanic glass and hard carved stone right in front of the door. This was the only defense mechanism for the vault, save its secrecy. If anything, visible to detection or not, walked on the glass that was not escorted by the ruler of the Amazon people, the defense mechanism would trigger . . . and the volcano would erupt once more.
At least as far as that single chamber. The Amazon society living above today had taken so many precautions against the mountain once more spewing forth with volcanic power that it was all but an impossibility. But the chamber itself would most definitely be destroyed by lava and the earth's magma.
Once he had crossed the threshold, Xander had but to wave his hand across a jeweled rune at the center of the door to open it inward. After a slow grinding motion, it immediately began to close itself, but he was already in the vault by that point. And this was not so much a defense as a precaution in itself.
The interior of the vault was not what most would expect. In fact, again if anyone knew of it's existence, no one could even guess what they would find there, what Xander was looking at now.
A moment later the King of the Amazons was tackled and barely managed to catch himself and the lithe little girl that had thrown herself into his arms.
“Hi Dawnie,” he warmly greeted her, setting her down and then ruffling her long light brown hair.
“You've been gone for a while,” the little girl observed, taking him by the hand over to the center of the room, and to the round bed there, “Is it bad?”
He sighed and allowed himself to be seated and took a long look around before answering. The entire place, which was hidden partially by shadows and illuminated only by a soft green light that came from no discernible source, was fashioned like a young girl's bedroom. Dolls, clothes, drawings, and other paraphernalia were scattered here and there all over, but there was also a pattern to it . . . for the one that lived there anyway.
“Not bad, just . . . not easy,” he sighed again. “My job ain't exactly the easiest in the world. And there are other . . . complications that, well that doesn't make it harder, but it . . . well that don't let me take comfort in my job, let me put it like that.” 'Like you,'
he thought privately.
“Well, maybe I could help?” she offered.
Alexander smiled rather condescendingly, like he was talking to an infant or a rather young child that said they wanted to be a superhero. “Thanks for the offer kiddo, but I'm afraid you're still a bit too young to do my job. Even to help with my job,” he added when he saw her about to interrupt. “Dawn, it's very important that you understand, my job is not a game, and it's certainly not something a young girl like yourself can do.”
Dawn frowned and crossed her arms and pouted her lips while a frown creased her forehead. 'Uh oh, I know that look,'
Alexander thought with dread.
“Now Dawn, that's not what I meant,” he hastily tried to correct himself.
“I am not
a child anymore Alexander Harris!” she screamed at him.
He winced at the use of his long forgotten surname, and continued to try and placate the young girl. “No, I know that Dawn, and I'm sorry, but . . .”
“But nothing!” she screamed again. “You always treat me like I'm a kid! Well I've got news for you bucko, I'm not a little girl anymore! And I would appreciate
it if you would start treating me like an adult!”
Alexander got to his feet and only just held himself back from treating her exactly like one of the new recruits “upstairs”. 'She wants to be treated like an adult, FINE!'
“You ARE a little girl!” he shouted right back. At her insulted look and the glare in her eye, he quickly interrupted her before she could say anything back. “You are not an adult Dawn. And I don't care what you say, you are
too young to do my job. Hell, I'm
too young for it!” he threw up his hands and started pacing around the bed.
Surprised, rather than angered, by this reaction, Dawn sat back down on the round green silk sheet bed and drew her knees up to her chin. “What do you mean?” she asked, sounding very young indeed.
He stopped pacing and let out a long suffering sigh. “I don't know what I mean. It's just . . . sometimes things can be so overwhelming, and I just . . . I just wish that people would tell me
what to do rather than me having to be the one in charge, the one that comes up with all the decisions and . . . and everything. Let me tell you Dawn, it's not a fun job. It's got it's perks, but it's not all fun and games. And no offense kiddo, but fun and games is all you really care about, and don't argue with me about it, because we both know it's true.”
Dawn blushed and hid her face for a moment, but she was smiling again when she looked back up.
“Which is why I always value the time I can spend to come and play with you,” Alexander continued with a softer, more serious voice. Then, perkier, “So, now, what are we playing today?” he asked expectantly.
Dawn, almost bursting with joy, practically flew from the bed and began to drag Xander to another part of the immense room where there were a lot of games and toys just laying about. They played for most of the afternoon and well into the evening.
Dawn was not an ordinary little girl. For one thing, she never ate anything, nor did she drink anything, water or anything else for that matter. She never left the room that she currently existed in, which was almost the room she was born in. The door that the Amazon Queens and King came through was camouflaged to look exactly like the rest of the wall, and only ever opened when she wasn't looking at it, and closed before she could. To her point of view, her “playmates” just appeared in the room. And since they often spoke to her of magic, it was very easy for her to accept this. She'd never known, nor suspected anything else.
Because Dawn wasn't human. She was a magical artifact made flesh. An artifact made of pure energy known as the Key. It, the Key, has been in the care of the Amazons for more than 10,000 years, and it was very shortly after it's creation that it was brought to this room and made flesh. Into a baby girl to be precise.
The girl aged slowly, taking several human generations to age even one “year”. She was in fact 14,596 years old. But she looked like a 14 year old. A rather precocious 14-year-old in Xander's opinion. Of course him being the first male she'd ever seen, it couldn't be said to be too surprising.
The Key had powers that almost nothing else in the world had. And where there were other things, and people that could match or overpower its powers, those were separate and individual things, where the Key was one and whole.
It was the Key that the demons wanted.
Where the Watchers wanted the tools, technology, and magic the Amazons used in everyday life, they did not even know of the Keys existence. The demons did know of it, and they wanted it for their own purposes. Some of the Queens had hypothesized they wanted it to open all the portals to Hell on Earth and conquer the paradise that was this green jewel in the night.
Of course they did not know the Key had been made flesh. That it was this innocent little girl. All they knew was that the Amazons were keeping something they wanted from them, so they wanted to destroy all Amazons just for that. Alexander surmised that most of the demons fighting against them today had been fighting for so long they had forgotten the reason of wanting to destroy the Amazons, but he wouldn't count on it that one or two might not remember the legend of the Key, and still hunger for its power.
Either way, it really didn't matter. To protect Dawn from the demons, she had to stay hidden away. To protect the Key from the demons, and anything else that would try to use it, it had to stay in this room until Dawn was mature enough to understand her power and maybe even how to control it.
Alexander wasn't sure when that would be, but he guessed that it certainly wouldn't be in his lifetime. Maybe in his grandchildren's . . .
Finally, Dawn was starting to nod off and Alexander was feeling the exhaustion of the day himself. And before you ask, yes, Dawn did sleep. What did you think the bed was for?
Covering his eyes while the girl changed into her pajamas, Alexander then tucked her into bed and gave her a fatherly kiss on her forehead. “Sweet dreams princess,” he whispered, and then turned to the exit.
“Xander?” Dawn sat up as he walked away.
He paused and looked back. She just smiled at him, and then whispered, “It'll get better.”
He smiled back and nodded, then ordered, “Get some sleep.” She nodded, but sat watching him until, to her eyes, he disappeared. 'I hate lying to them all,'
Alexander thought as he walked through the door, which slowly closed behind him, 'but nobody, and I mean
nobody can know about Dawn.' 'And she can't know about the outside world . . . no matter what.'
He didn't look back again.