Chapter One: The Lioness Arrives
A/N: I will be posting updates, as soon as I get more ideas. Also, I might be editing the first conversation between the Sunnydale folks & the Tortallans, so check back every once in a while. Thanks for the reviews!
Setting: Two years after ‘Realms of the Gods’ for the TP characters, Season 4 for the Buffy ppl.
Disclaimer: Nobody is mine. (For now. *grins wickedly*) Buffy & Willow are Joss Whedon’s; everybody else is Tamora Pierce’s.
Chapter One: The Lioness Arrives
Daine Sarrasri notched an arrow to her bow, pulled back, and fired. The Stormwing was only a few feet away, and she could smell it. She hit it straight in the chest, and the arrow went clear through to the other side. With a surprised shriek, the Stormwing dropped to the rocks below.
Daine brushed a lock of sweaty brown hair from her forehead. Hearing footsteps behind her, she turned. It was Numair Salmalín, her lover of two years and one of the greatest mages in the world.
“What was that?” he asked her.
“Only a renegade, I think,” answered Daine. “We’d better tell Jonathon anyway. Nasty little immortal.” She sighed and walked over to her bag, which was lying on the ground. Or, more accurately, the roof, as they were standing on the top of Numair’s tower. Daine could see out to sea from this view, and she had been watching for the Lioness’s ship to come in. The Lioness, known as Alanna to her friends and the King’s Champion or the Lioness to the people of Tortall, had been traveling across the ocean for three months. Today she was coming back home. Daine suppressed a grin at the thought of poor Alanna on the huge ocean. Alanna hated boats and always was seasick when she traveled.
Meanwhile, Daine took out a small mirror from her bag.
“Jonathon? Are you there?” she asked it.
“Yes, I’m here.” A voice answered from the mirror and a handsome face with a black beard appeared. “What is it?”
“Renegade Stormwing. I shot it down.”
“Very well, I’ll have Numair look into it. Numair? I see you hiding behind Daine. Go scry for any others, mage.” Jonathon said cheerfully.
“Yes, Your Highness.” Numair said meekly. Jonathon was the King of Tortall. He ruled with his wife, Thayet, whom Daine and Numair also knew well.
Daine put the mirror back into her bag and hoisted the sack onto her shoulder. Numair just stood, looking over her shoulder at the door to the stairs.
“Numair? Wha— Alanna!” She hugged the short woman fiercely. “How’d you sneak in like that? We would’ve seen the boat come in—“
Alanna laughed. “We sailed into Corus, then rode out here. Oh yes!” she exclaimed. “We…er—picked up a few passengers—I think you’ll get on quite well. They’re waiting downstairs. Numair, you really need to get a housecleaner!” He grinned.
“Well, Daine was helping me—“
“We think we found the kitchen table.” Daine cut in. “Along with some very rare trans-dimensional spells—“ Numair punched her playfully in the arm. “Numair tried them out. We don’t think it worked, otherwise some strange person would have popped up in the kitchen…” Daine led the other two downstairs along the narrow staircase. The walls were rather dusty, and there was more than one cobweb in the corners. The stairs rounded a corner and opened into a hallway. Several doors were on either side. The trio went through one on the left, into a room so filled with books, maps and papers that it was hardly recognizable as a kitchen.
Before them stood two young women. One had blonde hair and was fairly short, and the other had green eyes and fiery red hair.
“Daine Sarrasri, Numair Salmalín, meet Buffy
Summers and Willow Rosenberg.”
“Uh…” Daine was at a loss for words. Their clothes, which had obviously been lent by Alanna, looked odd on them, like they were used to something other than a shirt, trousers and a tunic.
“Nice to meet you.” The blonde girl, which Daine assumed was Buffy, stretched out a hand. Daine shook it.
“I found them over in the country beyond the Emerald Ocean. There was no one living there but a few buzzards and some wildcats. They looked pretty beat up.”
“Well, Buffy and I were talking in the magic shop and all of a sudden there was this big burst of black flame and a rushing noise and we were over there, with our clothes all ripped up and all over bruises—“ Willow tried to explain.
“Wait a moment, where are you from?”
“Right. Uh…” Numair glanced about at the papers, rifling through a few. “None of these have any mention of a ‘Sunnydale.’ My guess is someone transported you, but whom? And why? Willow, is it?” The red head nodded. “Now, what did you say about that portal? What were you doing?”
“We were talking about stuff, mainly boyfriends and how annoying they can be-“
Buffy elbowed her. “Riley’s not annoying, and anyway you should have mentioned girlfriends too—“
“Never mind. Anyway, we were chatting, and there was all this black fire, but it didn’t burn you at all, and then a big hole opened above the bookcase and it kept coming closer. Finally we got sucked into and there was a whirling sound and I blacked out. Next thing I know, we’re lying on some rocks in a desert. Then these knight guys coming riding up, with Alanna at the front, and we can’t even move. They picked us up, asked a few questions which of course we couldn’t answer cos we were so tired, and they just took us with them. Where are we, anyway?” She finished, quite out of breath.
“In the great realm of Tortall, ruled by King Jonathon and Queen Thayet.”
“Oh.” Buffy said. Both young women were quite stunned.
“Alanna here is the King’s Champion and the only Lady Knight, Daine has the highest concentration of Wild Mage ever known, and I know how to juggle.” Numair said with a lopsided smile.
“Don’t listen to a word he says, we’re actually three escaped criminals who are looking for a human sacrifice.” Alanna whispered to Willow, who raised her eyebrows. “No really, he’s right. I’m just being modest.”
“Very rare.” Daine muttered. Alanna smiled but said nothing.
“Yeah, so why are we here?” Buffy asked. “I mean, if there’s some evil guy around who would have transported two poor, defenseless girls into an unknown universe for fun, I could go kick his butt—“
“Well, know. Numair, did you perform any large spells recently?”
“There was—“ He turned white. “Aaah! That trans-dimensional incantation, two days ago—that must have been it! I must have messed up the order of the ingredients—it was probably crushed diamond first, then essence of dragon scale! How could I have been so stupid?!” He said angrily.
“Yes, but can you send us back?” Buffy asked anxiously.
“Well, yes, but it would take two weeks at the least, because I’ve used up most of my stores. Most of the ingredients are very rare.”
“OK, we’ll stay. I just wish we could send a message to Tara and Xander and Giles and everyone.” Willow said with a sigh.
“That’s possible.” Daine said. “I just need a few plants and a sapphire. It’s a very easy spell.”
“That would be good. They’re probably so worried!”
“Who are they?”
“Xander’s a friend, Tara’s my girlfriend—“
“Ah. Go on.”
“And Giles is a retired librarian.” Willow turned to Buffy. “Should we tell them?”
“Well, there’s no harm… I’m the Slayer.” Buffy said matter-of-factly. No one understood except Willow. “She who hangs out a lot in graveyards. You know, the Chosen One to fight the vampires, demon and all the other icky stuff!” The three Tortallans looked rather confused at the strange names.
“And this means you’re an amazing warrior, right?” Alanna said faintly.
“Well, it kinda comes with the package.”
“And here I was thinking I was the best fighter around.” Alanna said ruefully.
“Ahem… how exactly did you say you were pulled through the portal?” Numair asked Willow, leading her and Daine away from the two warriors. Buffy glanced at them worriedly.
“Oh, it’s nothing to worry about. He’s the best mage east of the Emerald Ocean.” Said Alanna, watching her.
“Hey, what a coincidence. Willow is the most powerful witch I know.”
“Witch? You mean she’s not a mage?”
“Well, with a little training anything is possible!” This comment sparked an idea in Alanna.
“I’ll be sure to tell Numair that. So, I know you’re probably tired after the trip, but would you like to spar a bit over at Pirate’s Swoop? It’s only a day’s ride away.”
“Well, maybe tomorrow. Where are we staying the night?”
“Here, if you like. The only room that’s ever clean is Daine and Numair’s, I’m afraid.”
“I can put up with a bit of dust. Hello, been dea—“ but it was too late. She had said it. Alanna’s face was unreadable.
“Mithros, you’ve been dead? I thought I was special because I met a goddess!”
“It’s no biggie.”
“Where did you say you were from?”
“Sunnydale, California, USA, North America, Planet Earth.”
“Never heard of it.”