Disclaimer: I'm just holding them all for a while and I promise I'll give them back, I know they're not mine.Recollections and Revelations
Giles sat at his desk in Watcher HQ and idly polished his glasses as Xander sat opposite staring at him intently. Where to begin? Giles knew this conversation was coming since the day he met Xander, but still it was awkward. It was Xander who finally broke the silence. “So you’re an Immortal.” It was said with such confidence that Giles started, but then he chastised himself, of course Xander would have read some of the Chronicles at some point. He nodded and placed his glasses back on his nose.
“I was born nearly five thousand years ago in the country that is now Wales.”2870BCE
A village in the Rhondda Valley
“Rwpyrt, come quickly!” He looked up and saw his father, Aerwynn, standing outside the meeting hut. He sprinted across the market square, scattering geese as he went.
“Father, what is it?”
“Come inside son, we are having a meeting of elders. A war council.” Rwpyrt stepped inside to discover the other village elders already seated. His father followed him in and both took his seat. At forty, Rwpyrt was already an elder, the wealth of his family and the relative peace his village had enjoyed had allowed him and his kin to live past the average life expectancy. A hush settled around the hut as Aerwynn spoke.
“We have had word that a group of Irish raiders is moving this way. Hopefully they will tire and return to their homeland before they reach this far but we need to be prepared.” Rwpyrt was anxious at this news, he had met others in battle, those from neighbouring tribes, but the reputation of the Irish was fierce and he was really untested against such warriors. Still, he was more anxious to protect his kin, especially his wife, Caerys.
The council was interrupted as a cry went up outside. “They’re here!” cried Aerwynn as the elders all jumped up and ran outside, drawing their swords.
They ran straight into a battlefield. The Irish, fifty warriors strong, were already merrily slaughtering any who crossed their path. The women and children were running for cover, but many had already fallen. They would be the lucky ones, though Rwpyrt grimly, as he charged at the nearest foe. He fought well, and bravely, but in the end he was no match for his opponent and he was stabbed through the heart. As he lay dying, he could hear the screams and cries of the women and thought he heard Caerys among them. He died with her name on his lips.
He awoke with a gasp several hours later. The acrid smell of smoke and blood filled his nostrils, and there was a body on top of him. He pushed off the corpse, vaguely identifying it as his father, and stood up, confused and disorientated. He looked around him and discovered that the village had been decimated, burned to the ground. All around him were the remains of friends and loved ones. Desperately, he searched through the carnage for Caerys, but he could not find her. He hoped she had fled to safety, but he noticed several other women missing among the dead, and with a rising tide of anger he realised that they had been taken prisoner, probably to be used as sport. Spotting a pony that had not been killed or taken; Rwpyrt picked up his sword and mounted it. He let his thirst for vengeance overwhelm him and he galloped off in the direction of the raiders’ trail.
He caught up with them as they made camp for the night. He crept towards where he could see the women, intending to free them, but as he drew nearer he could see that they were already dead. The raiders had already had their fun and, with no further use for the women, had slit their throats. He found the body of his wife and cradled her, wracked by silent sobs of grief. Then a red mist descended upon him and he went through the camp, slitting the throats of the raiders one by one as they slept, until none were left alive.
Afterwards, he lifted the body of his wife onto the pony and took Caerys home.
Xander sat in silence, listening to Giles’ tale. He had known that he had darkness in him, but this was not something he could ever have expected. He looked at his mentor anew, with newfound respect, but also trepidation about what he was capable of.
“After I had taken care of the bodies of my tribe, I wandered. I travelled all over Britain, then crossed the Channel. You have to remember that in those days, travelling to Europe was as exotic as travelling to the moon; few people ever actually did it. I wandered the continent for a long time, not knowing what had happened to me, not coming across any Immortals. You see, there were hardly any of us then; one could wander for years, centuries even without meeting another. For me it was around five hundred years, although I can’t be completely sure. We weren’t so bothered about keeping track of time then. I met my teacher, and he taught me the Game and the Rules, told me what I am. Then after a year and a day he sent me away, saying that the next time we met we would have to fight each other.”
“Did you meet him again?”
“Oh yes. But we didn’t fight. He had mellowed in the intervening three millennia. We’re still quite good friends actually.” If you can say the old bastard has any friends, he added mentally. “I guess this is all a little confusing for you. Do you have any questions?”
“Actually, suddenly a lot of things are starting to make sense. Like how you survived being attacked by the Bringer. I know you are pretty good in a fight, but something about your story didn’t ring true.” Giles smiled.
“You’re right. The bringer killed me. Luckily though I woke up just before he was about to take my head or I would have been permanently deceased. He was surprised, to say the least, and that gave me the second I needed to fight back. The rest occurred pretty much as I related to you though. Is there anything else you want to know?”
“Just one thing. I was drained by that vamp tonight.” A statement, not a question, “I know I wasn’t turned, because I’m still me, and we walked back here in daylight. I’m Immortal too.” Another statement, to which Giles simply nodded. “So what happens now?” Giles leaned forward.
“Now, I start to teach you the Game.”