Prologue: Of Beginnings
His Dark QueenGenre
: Lord of the Rings and Buffy the Vampire Slayer crossover; considerable drama, action and darknessRating
: 18, mostly for violence.Disclaimer
: Buffy the Vampire Slayer belongs to Joss Whedon and his company. Lord of the Rings belongs to J.R.R. Tolkien. The plot doesn’t even belong to us – the challenge was issued by Orcus. We just took a few liberties with it.Timeline
: Post-Season 7 regarding Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The timeline in Rings-verse is a little harder to pin down, but it picks up mid-Second Age before the destruction of Eriador. It skips forward quite suddenly, just to warn you.Notes
: This is our first time posting on this site. We both have separate (hidden) accounts in order to review, read and just basically enjoy. But we finally decided we wanted to play with the others. We have nothing against the other author who answered this challenge, but we wished to provide our own for reading pleasure. We don’t write for reviews; we write for the entertainment of others. That is what fanfiction is all about. This fic does follow the challenge (especially the plotline), but reworks details to make things work better. Prologue
- Of Beginnings -
She heard the soft moans of her sister as they dragged her semi-conscious body into the narrow enclave. She lived beleaguered eyes and focused them on her sister’s pale face. Her eyes were wide, hiding nothing of the torture she’d endured.
“Dawn?” Buffy whispered, attempting to lift her chin high enough to gaze into her sister’s eyes. Dawn’s eyes were watery as she sat down, trembling as the door to their tiny prison slammed shut. “Dawnie?”
“I’m sorry, Buffy,” the seventeen-year-old whimpered, shifting her weight to better support shattered ribs. “I couldn’t hold them back anymore. I had to tell them. I told them everything.”
Buffy heaved a great sigh and dropped her head back against the wall, her fingers fumbling with the hard metallic bindings that stretched her wrists behind her. She didn’t understand why the bindings were so tight considering they were just flimsy handcuffs moments before. But somehow they seemed denser than iron. This gave her reason to worry as springing her and her sister out of their imprisonment seemed more and more unlikely at this point. She bit her lip and continued to struggle until Dawn lifted tired eyes and said, “Don’t. They did something to them. They made them stronger.”
Buffy stopped fighting and kicked at the wall in frustration. “What would you have me do?”
“I don’t know.” Dawn’s voice was a harsh whine. Buffy’s head whipped around as she fixed her sister with her sharpest glare. Dawn whimpered again and dropped her head into her knees.
“What do they know?” Buffy hissed. The more she knew about this new and apparently cult-ish enemy, the better. The last thing she knew was she had been preparing to head back to Rome. She didn’t expect to find herself kidnapped at the airport by men pretending to be friends. But they had threatened Dawn’s life. Sure enough, Dawn was in prison again. Ironically, it was another Tuesday.
“They wanted to know about you, actually,” Dawn whispered uncomfortably, shaking her head to get her blood-caked hair from her bruised face. “They said they’ve been waiting for a chance to meet you.”
“Let them meet me,” Buffy said, the challenge evident in her tone as she turned expectantly to the door as though expecting a hundred of them to come rushing in, swinging their swords and offering her a chance at payback. Buffy Summers simply didn’t get captured. It was beneath a Senior Slayer such as she to get captured.
Dawn whimpered again, staring down at her clothing. Thin strips of bright red were starting to show through the paper-thin blouse she wore.
Buffy cursed so colorfully under her breath that Dawn gasped. “What did they do to you?”
“What did you tell them?” she asked softly, fearing the worst. “Did you tell them about--“
“No!” Dawn gasped, shaking her head fervently. “I swear, I didn’t tell them anything! They knew. For some reason, they just seemed to know. They know I was created from something…”
Buffy sighed and dropped her head onto her knees. When she heard the door click open, she didn’t even bother fighting back. Her new goal was to collect as much dirt as she could so she could get Dawn out safely. Then she would worry about killing them all. Cold fingers dug into her skin, hardly bruising it. She allowed herself to be dragged to her feet, despite her sister’s screaming protests behind her. She drowned out Dawn’s voice and focused her own energy on the evil buzz that sent her Slayer-sense into a tailspin.
There was definitely something evil about.
“Hi, there!” she said cheerfully as she was thrown unceremoniously onto a dirt-caked floor. “I don’t suppose you’ll tell me who you are now, will you?”
“I thought I asked you to remain silent,” came a cold, stoic tone. Buffy’s eyes blinked as she focused on a figure that stood with his back to her. Her brow furrowed when she noticed the strange, medieval uniform the figure wore. Dawn was dumped next to her. Ignoring her sister’s broken cries of pain, Buffy instead leaned back on her heels, bringing her wrists down to her knees. The plan was to somehow sweep her wrists under the balls of her feet to give them both a fighting chance. “But perhaps that can be remedied. Bring the sister.”
“Buffy?” Dawn whispered as two men came forward again, grabbing her by her elbows and throwing her at the feet of the figure. Dawn looked up at him with great effort as he turned to her, a metallic glove flashing in the dim candlelight. Buffy could only watch as the man bent down and took Dawn by the neck, lifting her off of the ground. Her jaw slowly clenched as she noticed how tall the man was. Dawn had inches on her in the height department, but this was ridiculous.
She struggled again with the binds, finding herself at a loss. She attempted to scamper forward on her knees and kicked out at one of the men who hovered on the periphery. He answered by slugging her across the mouth. She heard Dawn’s scream as the man lifted a hand and touched a glistening finger to her lips.
“I will ask you again, you foolish girl,” the man snapped, his voice echoing through the heavy helm on his head.
“I’m not telling you anything,” Buffy taunted as she was flung back at the man’s feet.
“Then you leave me no choice.” The tall, metallic man flung Dawn into her captor’s arms. Dawn shrieked as she noticed a large, wicked knife in one of their hands. “I will bleed her dry.”
“No, you really won’t.” Buffy had finally figured out her bindings. Rocking onto her back, she dragged her wrists painfully over her ankles in a move only a Slayer could make. With her wrists in front of her, she flipped back to her feet and kicked out at one of the guards, catching him under the chin. As another came towards her with a sword, she struck out at him with her wrists, sending him flying away from her.
Dawn whimpered as the blade was held to her neck, her eyes locked onto her sister’s graceful fighting form. “Buffy, no!”
Buffy stopped, slowly lowering her arms. She wasn’t even breathing hard as she noticed a circle of unconscious men around her.
“Fool…” a voice hissed as the man started towards her. Buffy found herself being dwarfed by a figure easily seven feet tall.
“Guess the NBA must be getting desperate,” Buffy muttered under her breath as she gazed up at the figure as he reached down towards her. “Did you mean to be all intimidating? ‘Cos you’re not scaring me.”
His hand shot out so quickly that Buffy barely had time to react. A knife held at her sister’s neck moved to slit her throat. With a strangled cry, Buffy realized that she had a fraction of a second before Dawn died and she was trapped in a room full of Renaissance Faire rejects. “No!”
The man’s hand suddenly flattened upwards in a halt pattern. The knife froze in midair. Dawn let out a tiny cry as the sharp blade bit into her throat, drawing blood.
“What do you want?” Buffy whispered, meeting Dawn’s terrified gaze. She couldn’t bring herself to look at her captors.
“The answer is quite simple, my dear girl,” the man said. His voice was still cold, but there was something beguiling underneath it. There was something almost… warm. It created a chill at the base of her spine that worked its way upwards. Goosebumps broke out across her arms as she forced herself to look at the helmet hiding the face of their captor.
“Who are you?”
A metallic hand reached up to grasp the edge of the helmet as he removed it with ease. Buffy felt her breath hitching in her throat as the helmet came clear. She found herself pleasantly surprised. She had been expecting something red, perhaps. Or something with horns. This man looked… normal. Dark, penetrating eyes met hers, capturing her with their depths. His skin was pale, as far away from red as she could get. His lips curved into a slow, seductive smile. Tossing the helmet away, the man turned back towards Dawn. The hand that was still held out was slowly aiming down again. Dawn moaned as the hands clutching her biceps tightened painfully.
“What do you want with her?”
“She is not the one we are after,” the man said, offering her another cold smile. It seemed to light up his entire face, his eyes glistening with malice. She immediately felt the buzzing sensation return and she knew, she just knew, that this man would kill Dawn to get to her.
“Let her go.”
“What?” Dawn gasped as the force on her arms slowly lessened. “Buffy, what are you doing?”
“What would I have to do in order for you to let her go?” Buffy asked softly. The man’s smile widened as the arm fell to the side. The guards released Dawn who stumbled forward, clutching her bloody throat.
“Come with me.”
“Is this not the mark you used to call us?” he asked, holding up a long chain. It was a dark, shiny metal with a black stone in its center.
“Oh, God, Dawn. What did you do now?”
Dawn was paralyzed with fear, her blue eyes as wide as saucers. “Oh, God,” she wailed. “Oh, God, oh God, oh God…”
“Let me guess,” Buffy said heavily, too used to her sister’s antics to try second guessing a new foe now. “You came from the underworld to make Dawnie your queen.
The man’s smile held, but he gave a slight shake of his head.
“The necklace is some sort of calling card for your knights of doom-and-gloom?” Buffy guessed. “Or, let me think a moment. You’ve come from the future of jousting in order to warn us of a great evil.”
“I grow tired of this charade,” the man sighed, turning towards Buffy. The smile faded from his face. “Clearly, you are not as intelligent as you think you are.”
“I am too smart!” Buffy protested, folding her arms (as best as she could) across her chest. “But you’re not giving me a lot to go on!”
“If you come with me, I will grant your sister her freedom.”
It took Buffy all of two seconds to decide. The sixteen-year-old had much more to live for than horrid nightmares of time spend in some underground dungeon surrounded by geeks that would put even Andrew to shame. She nodded, ignoring the sharp incline of breath from her sister. “Fine.”
“Let the youngling go.”
“No!” Dawn shrieked as one of the guards came forward with the knife, hacking at her bindings. “No! What are you going to do with her?”
The man’s eyes held hers for a moment before she felt the feel of a cold, bony hand slip into hers as his fingers curled around her bindings. She felt as though she was being hypnotized as he gave a sudden jerk, pulling her into him. An arm longer than her leg winded around her hips and held her there, smashing Buffy’s small body into the side of hard armor. “She will come with me.”
Buffy didn’t bother arguing. The guards with the knives were still standing around her sister. The man reached forward with his hand. Buffy noticed then that the hand only contained four fingers. Her brow furrowed in confusion when she noticed that he seemed to be calling something. The necklace in his hand was dropped onto the ground were Dawn’s blood sprinkled in with the grime.
“I thank you, youngling, for giving me back what is most precious to me.”
Dawn’s eyes widened as a fog began to close around the elder Summers. “What?”
“Go on, little bird,” the man said coldly as the swirling lights overtook them. “You are free.”
The last thing Buffy saw before the white lights completely overcame her was her sister screaming her name, tears trailing down her cheeks as she begged Buffy not to do this and not to abandon her again.
Buffy felt her lips whisper, “It was the only way,” before darkness overtook the light and she lapsed into unconsciousness.-x-
Her first sensation when her eyes fluttered open again was pain. There was a spasm in her abdomen as her senses slowly uncoiled from the depths of her mind and focused on the situation at hand.
She found herself hanging face-down over something that looked like a fire pit.
Oh my God, she thought helplessly, they’re going to eat me. She would have settled for being dragged to the underworld to be their queen. She would have even agreed to kill the nasties for them. But to be consumed by a group of men? Uh-uh. She was not going to be carnivorous chow tonight.
She struggled but found that her wrists were twisted and clasped around a metal rod of some sort, the same with her ankles. The more she struggled, the more she seemed keenly aware that her Slayer-sense was in such overdrive it felt numb. She was surrounded by evil. Not just vampire-like or modest-demon evil… this was major evil.
She felt another scrape on her abdomen, followed by one an inch below that. Her body tensed as she realized what had happened to her. They were cutting her open.
She opened her mouth to scream when a gentle finger touched her lips. Her eyes lifted outwards and focused on a face hovering inches below her own. Her terrified lips whispered ‘help me’, but the kind face just smiled at her, deep blue eyes searching hers.
“Do not fear, my love, my life,” a deep baritone voice whispered as a hand caressed her cheek. She felt oddly comforted in the midst of knowing she was in some serious trouble. “It will be over soon.”
She felt the blood up her throat, pooling behind her tongue. She opened her mouth as the taste of the hot, metallic fluid flowed from her mouth into the fiery pool below.
“Close your eyes.”
Those eyes held hers, captivating her even as she felt the scrape of a blade against her throat, opening her skin and exposing the cut to the foul air.
“I can’t,” she whispered, willing herself to fight and berating herself for not being strong enough to. “I don’t want to.”
“Go to sleep…” The last syllable of the word held forever as her head dipped forward, her eyes closing against her will. An explosion of pain on her wrists shook her body as her body was opened into hundreds of cuts and crevices, bleeding into the molten river below.
“At last,” a deep voice rumbled, one that sounded deep-set with evil and clouded her judgment, sending her desperately searching for the kind voice with the pretty eyes to comfort her again. “At last… it is ready.”
All she could do was surrender to darkness, hoping that when she opened her eyes again this dreadful nightmare would soon be over.
to be continued…
So… do you like? Tolerate? Mildly enjoy? Hate with a passion greater than any dragon or Balrog?