Disclaimer: I do not own either Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Baldur's Gate II. This story is written for fun not profit. I have, however, borrowed a few bits of dialogue from BGII.
Rating: If you can watch BtVS then you can read this.From the Memoirs of Lady Rowena d'Arnise
I grew up in Candle Keep, a beautiful, peaceful haven from the stresses of the world. I was raised by my adoptive father, Gorion, and shared my childhood with Imoen, another ward of Gorion who I loved as an annoying little sister. Our friends were the monks who maintained the vast library and transcribed the old writings.
That tranquillity came to an end when I was seventeen years old. Gorion woke me in the night and we fled the Keep with only the clothes on our backs. Before dawn, he was dead at the hands of an assailant I had not even seen, and I was running for my life, Imoen – who had followed us as we fled – at my side.
Over the days and weeks that followed, I managed to find help, friends of Gorion's who were more than willing to help me for his sake. As the year turned, we found ourselves embroiled in one adventure after another. The whole mess culminated in the shocking discovery that I had a brother, Sarevok, and he had murdered Gorion and hunted me.
Then we found the prophecy. The Lord of Murder, Bhaal, had known that the time of the gods was passing. He could not beat the death that awaited him, but he found a way to return to the world. He spread his seed widely, siring dozens offspring, usually upon his priestesses who were eager to serve as his brood mares.
The idea was that the Children would slaughter their way across the world, the death of each victim and of each Child feeding the remnant of the dead god, until he was able to rise from the Abyss and retake his throne. However, Sarevok had other ambitions. He did not want to serve as our father's vessel and conduit into the world. Rather, he sought to gain power to usurp the throne of the Lord of Murder.
All this was news to me, of course. Gorion had raised me from infancy in the isolation of our remote home. If he, or anyone else, knew my origins, they never spoke of it. I had grown up with good men as my example and those who shared my battles now were good people too. How could I honour Gorion's memory and be otherwise?
In the end, I killed my brother Sarevok. I will never forget his look of surprise as his life flowed away. I will never forget the dark pleasure that the memory brings me each time it rises up before my inner eye.
A few short days or weeks later, I woke up in a cage, wracked by magically induced agony. A stranger, whose corrupted soul was manifest in the ugliness of his face, tortured me for an untold length of time. All I knew was that he was trying to force the power of my god-blood to manifest.
Fortunately, he was drawn away to deal with an assault on his dungeon by an unknown group, and, while his back was turned, Imoen escaped whatever cage he had her in and freed me. Nearby we found Jaheira and Minsc, two of my dear friends who had shared the adventures of the past months and, together, we made good our escape. Unfortunately, at the moment we achieved our freedom, our captor reappeared. Terrified of the mage and of the imminent return to captivity, Imoen threw one of the few spells left in her meagre arsenal, and he responded. The magical exchange drew the immediate attention of a group that we would come to know as Cowled Wizards. They arrested both Imoen and Irenicus and spirited them away before we could respond.
With no money or equipment beyond that we had scavenged in Irenicus' dungeon, the three of us set about improving our lot. We needed equipment, weapons, supplies, loyal allies, and, as it turned out, a very large amount of money before we could learn the whereabouts of Spellhold, the Cowled Wizards' prison for 'magical deviants'.
One such ally was Nalia d’Arnise. We helped her free her home from a large force of invading trolls but were unable to save her father. Nalia was betrothed to the scion of a neighbouring noble house, Isea Roenall, for whom she had an intense dislike. To avoid the betrothal and thwart the Roenall family's hunger for her lands, she asked me to become regent until she achieved her majority. I accepted, and became Lady Rowena d'Arnise.
With the group now equipped with some decent armour and magical weapons, we set out to learn more about the Cowled Wizards. In the city hall, I spoke with the chief of the watch but learned no more than anyone in the streets could tell me – the Cowled Wizards operated with autonomy and the Council turned a blind eye to their activities, preferring not to know what happened to the people they seized and incarcerated without trial.
As we were leaving the Council Chamber, a man approached and said that his master, Tolgerias, wished to speak with us on a matter of business. He refused to outline the job, but admitted that his master was one of the Cowled Wizards.
Back inside, Tolgerias insisted that we commit to the task without knowing what it was or what reward was offered. So, to find out what he wanted, I agreed to take the job. He then explained that the Cowled Wizards were hunting a man who had murdered several of their number. He wanted us to track down the man for them.
I have excellent instincts, honed by two years of intense experience, and Jaheira’s perceptions were trained by the Harpers. Both of us are able, sometimes, to see through lies and deceit. This wizard was not only the epitome of an oily politician, but also lying. I had seen the Cowled ones in action first hand and knew the sort of power they wielded. Had this man attacked them individually he might have slain one or two before a large group came to take him down.
Following the single clue offered by the wizard, we discovered that the man, one Valygar Corthala had a cabin near a small village far away from the city, and this roused further suspicion: Why would a man travel for days to reach the city to kill a few wizards?
As we made our way to the city gates, a small boy approached Minsc. "Are you a hero, sir?" he asked, hopefully.
Minsc nodded cheerfully. "Indeed we are little boy... What need has such a small boy for a hero?"
The boy said his name was Delon, from a farming village in the Umar Hills. His village had sent him to find help willing to make the two-day journey and rescue them from some sort of evil that was preying on the people. Minsc was horrified that a small boy would have been sent two days across dangerous territory and said so, loudly before demanding that we help the child. I nodded agreement. Of course we would help the child.
Delon confided that after he arrived in the city, he had been robbed of the few coins he had been given to finance his trip. He had therefore been sleeping rough and had no belongings to bring with him. Carefully, I kept from my face my opinions of a village that was willing to send a child across dangerous lands to a city he did not know in search of help that may not be available. Instead, we urged Delon to travel with us back to the village. At least we could ensure his safety on the journey, and provide him with substantial meals.
From the mayor, we learned that the village was plagued by mysterious deaths and disappearances. Some of the bodies had been torn apart. Others seemed to have died of fear and those bodies disappeared a night or so later.
We were disgusted to learned that there was a Cowled Wizard who dwelled here. He had no interest in using his gifts to help the people and cared not at all for the suffering of those about him. No, he preferred to expend his energies in creating a golem, a magical construct that – once we had retrieved, at the wizard’s request, the final ingredient – promptly turned on its creator. We prevented the thing from killing the wizard, if only to spare his daughter the sight of her parent’s blood smeared on the walls.The Lure of Power
We found our target in his cabin and sat down to a peaceful discussion with him. We learned that Valygar’s ancestor was a powerful sorcerer who gave himself wholly to the pursuit of ever more power until he at last became a Lich – a very powerful, very dangerous form of undead wizard. To this end, he constructed something called the Planar Sphere and using this device disappeared from this world. The Sphere had reappeared a while ago in the slums of Athkatla. Naturally, the Cowled Wizards were interested in the magical artefact and the power they might command once they had cracked its secrets. Imagine their disgust when the learned that only one who shared the blood of the Sphere’s master could open it.
And so they had sent wizards after Valygar, last scion of the House of Corthala. Valygar hates magic and would have nothing to do with either the Sphere or the wizards. When they pushed the issue, he killed them. After all, he was quite aware of the fact that they did not need him alive, only his blood.
Later, we learned that all of Valygar's ancestors had been magically gifted, and all of them had pursued the power until it brought them to bad ends. Only Valygar, who had watched the magic destroy his mother, had turned his back on power and instead had become a ranger, one of a group of people whose role is to aid others.
Valygar asked us to help him access the Sphere. Until he entered and found a way to destroy the thing, he would not be able to rest safely. The Cowled Wizards would not give up their pursuit. We agreed: After all, I had by now developed a thorough loathing of the Cowled Wizards and all they stood for.
But first, there was this little matter of mysterious deaths to sort out...
The Planar Sphere had crushed several houses – and their occupants – upon ‘landing’, and I was amused by the common folk trying to hawk the artefact to anyone with more coin than sense.
True to expectations, Valygar had only to touch the door for it to slide open with an ominous hiss, then seal itself shut behind us.
Three doors led off the first chamber. The first contained a golem and a variety of spells scrolls, a key, and a few jewels. The second held a mephit and a strange map that appeared to be of the city around us but from the perspective of an eagle soaring far above.
The key opened the third door – and immediately a calm voice announced that the Sphere was now in transit and that the outer door would remain sealed until such time as the Master decreed otherwise. Accompanying the voice was a grating shudder that almost tossed us from our feet.
Shrugging at this somewhat unexpected turn of events, we moved into the first chamber of the inner Sphere, and immediately encountered a new group. These were humans, and named themselves Knights of Solamnia. The Knights had entered the Sphere when it appeared in their world, but had become trapped when it departed without notice. They had explored a little of their new home, and discovered other small colonies of trapped creatures.
Of these, the two neighbouring groups were highly dangerous. Beyond the northern door from the chamber were a group of Saughuin – lizard-folk usually found in magical colonies beneath the ocean except when raiding coastal settlements – and to the west were what appeared to be cannibalistic halflings – totally unlike the halflings known to us and to the Knights.
Since we were determined to find a way to return to our world, we decided to explore, against the advice of the Knights who seemed resigned to the trap that had caught them. The 'halflings' were a real threat, with competent fighters backed by powerful mages, but thanks to Nalia and Aerie, they were slain without harm to my friends.
Next was a laboratory containing a disassembled golem, and beyond that more 'halflings' and fire elementals. More golems. We found the parts to the first golem and put it together – and it opened the remaining magically sealed door for us.
And, soon afterwards, we were in Larevok's chamber. The lich fought hard, but we had come well-prepared and it was a mercifully short battle before the creature was felled. He spoke to us then, in a manner clearly different to that of the earlier egomaniacal ranting of the lich. He beseeched his descendant's mercy, and asked us to deliver him back to the world that had seen his birth. He seemed truly repentant.
He told us that to get the Sphere to move again we would have to feed the heart of a true demon into the power core. The world beyond the portal would be suitable for our hunt, but without the heart we would be stranded just as much as the Knights were stranded far from their own world.
We felt the distinctive shudder as the Sphere began to move, and made our way to the exit portal. Once the Sphere settled, the door gave a hiss as the energy holding it shut was released. We stepped forth into a new world, expecting some hellish dimension such as legends spoke of.The Mouth of Hell
There are a lot of planes. These are, according to traditional planar theory, arranged according to their alignment on the matrices of Good-Evil-Neutral-Chaos-Law. I never had much interest in learning the specifics, but if you hang around with wizardly types long enough, you pick up things. Sometimes, I think that arcane knowledge has a life of its own, and spreads like a disease.
The door opened into a cemetery – not quite the sulphurous, overheated place we had anticipated, and there were more surprises in store. There were lights set atop tall poles at intervals along the cemetery fence – not the flickering lamps we were used to seeing but bright and steady, the pools of radiance far larger than any torch could achieve.
A rumbling roar beyond the fence approached swiftly and even as we readied our weapons the thing was past us. It seemed to be some sort of noisy conveyance, bright lights set in the front, and a person sat within it. Its speed was amazing, far greater than anything magic or mundane creature could hope to achieve.
Moments later, we heard a combat. A female voice could be heard over the distinctive fleshy sounds of unarmed combat. Quickly, Nalia cast a Comprehend Languages spell and we soon realised that the female voice was taunting an opponent.
The woman was small and blonde, moving at astonishing speed and with a supernatural grace. She was mocking the dress sense of her opponent, a much larger creature with a lumpy visage, yellow eyes and long canines. As we watched, the woman rammed a wooden stake into its chest and the creature exploded into dust.
The woman turned, still battle-ready. Fortunately, we all had carefully taken our hands away from weapons to present a relatively non-threatening appearance.
Seeing her clearly, we realised that she was probably no more than 16 years of age. Her eyes ran over us, cataloguing our garments and weapons.
I stepped forward, about to offer introductions, when the girl's eyes widened. Even as I began to respond to that, Minsc was already turning, ducking beneath a clawed scaly hand and smoothly drawing Lilacor from its scabbard.
The beast was around 7 feet tall, with bluish scales covering its hide and a row of spines running the length of its back. Long claws tipped muscular arms and it was obvious that the thing usually relied on strength and fear to bring down its prey rather than speed and skill.
Azuredge sank into the beast's hide just as Lilacor cleared leather. The sword's gleeful comment "That's gotta hurt!" drew a surprised look from the small blonde as she charged bare-handed into the fray.
Nalia quickly discovered that the demon was resistant to magic as it shrugged off acid bolts and Magic Missile, so she drew Mask and soon had the thing entangled and the magically enhanced blade sliced into its hide more effectively than any other weapon we had.
The demon fell to our blades while Jaheira and Aerie maintained defensive spells upon us to protect against the beast's attacks. It was not long before the beast was felled and we were able to cut the heart free.
The blonde girl watched our activities with some amazement. "What are you doing?" she asked and then looked rather sickened as Nalia explained our need for the heart of a demon. However, she seemed happy that we were – hopefully! – about to leave her world and decided to come see the Sphere for herself.One Girl in All the World
We introduced ourselves and the girl – Buffy – said that she was the "Chosen One" destined to battle the forces of evil in this town because the place was built upon something called "the Hellmouth" until said forces of evil killed her. For so young a girl, she seemed far too accepting of this fate.
For our parts, we were disgusted. What sort of gods would set up so ineffective a defensive system? A world is a large place made up of different lands and different populations – how can one young girl plus a mentor hope to hold back what sounded like tides of demons and vampires?
In our world, there are all manner of groups dedicated to fighting the good fight or, like the Harpers, to maintaining the balance. There are even groups fighting for the side of evil in addition to the dark creatures such as orcs and goblins. The point is that there are many beings involved on all sides – certainly not just one individual!
Buffy had fought the demon armed with only her mystical abilities and a wooden stake. She had no magical weapons or the ability to cast spells. She did not even have the support of a cleric who could cast defensive magic to protect her.
The only companions she had in her doomed struggle were a couple of kids the same age as she, and an aging scholar.
Upon our expressing our feelings, Buffy smiled sadly and explained the origins legend as her mentor had told it to her. And there lay the problem. Millennia past, a group of desperate men found a way to create a warrior capable of battling the forces of evil that beset their nascent civilisation. Being reasonably wise, these long-ago magicians recognised that granting immense power to a male would be to set that male in a position of power over their society – which was probably, up to that point, themselves. But a female sacrifice... A woman has inbuilt protective tendencies and would not have the status to seize power even if, as seemed likely, the woman was the daughter of a great chief or powerful priest; a sacrifice with less status would probably not have been sufficient for the magic to take hold the way that it did.
This first sacrifice and those that followed for uncounted centuries dealt with a threat that was confined to small communities. From what Buffy said, it was only in the past few centuries that populations had expanded to immense sizes. And still, the magic demanded one single sacrifice in exchange for power – without re-enacting the original ritual, there was unlikely to be a way to update the Chosen One to at least one sacrifice per continent.
We could not stay – somewhere in our own world, Imoen still needed to be rescued. But we could do a little to give this Slayer an edge.
The Knights of Solamnia were of an Order similar in intent to that of the Radiant Heart – good people serving the greater good. Since they could not return home – the Sphere would make just one more journey, and with the lich's final death it would not move again – why not dedicate their lives to the service of the Slayer?
Persuading Buffy took some time: She had been taught that the Slayer fights alone – a damned stupid idea if ever there was one! – and did not even like her friends to help her for fear that they would be harmed. But eventually she was persuaded that the Knights would provide invaluable help in guarding the Hellmouth.
It was much easier to convince the Knights and to persuade both them and the Slayer to accept the gifts of a selection of magical armour and weapons that we had gathered in our most recent adventures, and a dozen or so potions – healing, invisibility and giant strength.
In her Scroll Case, Nalia found several Scrolls of Protection from Evil and a few of Raise Dead. These she handed to the leader of the Knights since it was unlikely that Buffy or her native allies would be able to read them.
It was noticeable that the Knights were already more animated than they had been in the time we had known them. The prospect of battle against overwhelming odds appealed to them, and they were soon on their way with their young Slayer.
As the portal sealed behind them, we smiled to think of the surprise that Watcher Giles would receive when Buffy arrived with her new allies.Truly Inspirational
The demon's heart did its job and we returned to Larevok's chamber. The lich was still 'living' – just barely. Once he knew that the Sphere had returned to Athkatla, he begged Valygar once again to allow him to die beneath the sun of the world of his birth.
Valygar had been torn throughout our side trip: Was the lich a creature of deceit? Did he really want what he had asked for or was it some trick? In the end, he agreed to bring the lich outside the Sphere, relying upon our collective ability to bring Larevok down should it be a ploy.
It was not a trick. Held in the arms of his distant descendant, Larevok turned his face to the sky and died.
I think that the mercy that Valygar offered to Larevok changed him. He would never like magic nor enjoy the company of practitioners, but he could see the benefits of power if it was properly applied.
He had been fairly naïve, clinging to ideals that were simply not possible in a world saturated by magic. He had truly hated the lich for what he had done to achieve such an immense degree of power, and for the 'curse' of magic that had passed down the family line.
All of use were changed by our visit to that other world – truly inspired.
One small girl, her soul standing out as a candle against the darkness, armed only with a wooden stick, willing to stand astride a portal to Hell and scream defiance in the face of an unending flow of demons.
In our hearts and minds, the image of that girl lives on. We will never know how long she lived, or how she died, but the gift she gave us will not die. Years after our quests came to an end and I was finally able to retire to Candlekeep, I sought out Sir Sarles, the famous artist, and commissioned a painting. It hangs now above the fireplace, a permanent reminder of our encounter with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.