Sunbeams are my shafts to kill,
All men who dare imagine ill.
The fiends that fear the light of day,
Fly from the glory of my blade.
Album; Warrior at the Edge of Time.
They heard the chanting several minutes before they came to the clearing. A monotonous, droning that seemed to grow louder then fade away like a wave of sound washing over them. As they pushed through the trees Willow could feel her skin begin to tingle at all the magic in the air. She looked around at the Slayers surrounding her; she could see they were feeling it too. Sam seemed to notice nothing unusual.
“Remember you’re Slayers,” Called Willow to her girls, “This sort of magic can’t harm you.” To herself she said, “I don’t know what it’ll do to me mind!”
Tammy held up her hand to bring the little column to a halt, there was an untidy shuffling of feet as the Slayers came to a halt and stumbled into a semblance of a line at the forest’s edge. Sam and Willow forced themselves to the front of the group of stunned Slayers and looked out over the clearing.
“Oh my…” Whispered Sam.
“Goddess.” Pleaded Willow.
As the map had suggested the area was a wide shallow bowl about two hundred yards across. The area was lit by hundreds of flaming torches made from the resinous wood left over from the cleared trees. In the centre of the area stood a slight manmade mound atop of which sat a large complicated altar like structure. Just looking at it made your eyes hurt. All the angles looked wrong and sometimes the tree trunks from which it had been built appeared to wander off into another dimension.
Over to there left Willow could see a long low hut like structure with one door and no windows, the door was guarded by several of the largest cultists. As she watched half a dozen, of what she guessed to be, lesser priests arrived at the hut. They were obviously instructing the guards to do something. The guards unlocked the door and went inside. Moments later they re-emerged dragging a young black man between them. They tied his hands behind his back and handed him over to the priests.
The priests dragged the man as he screamed and struggled towards the high altar where they handed him over to the high priest. They tied the man to the altar stone. A man in blood splattered robes walked up to where the young man lay still struggling weakly. He raise a dagger above his head in both hands then plunged it into the victim’s chest.
A sound like a cry of pleasure escaped the lips of the cultists who stood in ranks around the Altar. Then as the young man’s body was removed from the stone and dumped into the darkness behind the altar, the cultists started to chant again. They swayed gently from side to side as once again the chanting rose and fell in volume.
Norm looked out across the serried ranks of his followers as he wiped the blood from his hands. Yes, everything was going amazingly well. They had enough sacrifices so he would not have to use any of his own followers until the very end of the ritual. By that time of course they would be so far gone that they would gladly sacrifice themselves to the Great One.
He looked over to where Mavis stood chanting surrounded by her little clique. She would need to be watched as the end of the ritual came near. But, that was hours away yet until then she could be relied apon to do her part. Norm raised his hands to the stars and chanted out the appropriate phrases before calling for another sacrifice.
Tina tore her eyes away from the scene in front of her and looked around at the faces of her sisters, she realised she needed to do or say something soon.
“LADIES!” She called; this appeared to snap the girls out of their horrified revere. “Ladies,” She continued once she had their attention, “What do you say we bring this little party to an end?”
“Yeah!” “Right-on!” “Let’s do it!” Cried the Slayers as they readied their weapons.
Tina smiled and looked over to where Willow and Sam stood. Willow nodded to her and started to make her own preparations.
“Right then,” She continued, “We fight in two teams. Sally, Alice and myself will lead. Tammy and Shannon you watch our backs. We’re going to cut our way straight through the middle of this lot until we get to that altar thing. Then we kill everyone there…okay?”
“Yeah,” Shannon spoke for them all, “So it’s basically kill everyone that gets in the way?”
Tina thought for a second, “Yeah that’s about it.” She agreed.
“Why didn’t you just say so then?”
Willow started to empty the contents of the bag she carried on to the ground and began to arrange the magical objects around herself. Sam watched in interest as she checked her pistols and the shotgun she carried, her bag was full of spare clips and boxes of shells.
“What I need you to do Sam,” Said Willow earnestly, “Is to make sure no one kills me before I’ve completed the spell.”
“What about afterwards?” Grinned Sam.
“Well,” Replied Willow breathlessly, “I’d like it if you could stop them from killing me then too. But it won’t be so important!”
“I’ll see what I can do.” Sam reassured her, “What do you need to do to make this work.”
“Basically,” Explained the Witch, “I need to make an area of ‘good’ magic big enough so Buffy and her Slayers can be transported in. I’ll have to cleanse an area of about fifty yards across to be sure.”
“How long will that take?” Asked Sam jacking the first rounds into the chambers of her weapons.
“Huh?” Replied Willow shrugging her shoulders in a ‘how should I know’ gesture. “Right I better tell Dawn I’m ready to begin.”
“How you going to do that?” Asked Sam as the scientist in her started to rebel at all this talk of spells and magic, “Telepathy?” She asked trying to keep the sarcasm out of her voice.
“No,” Said Willow, “I’d thought I’d use my ‘cell’.”
Willow dug into her pocket and brought out her phone and flipped it open.
“Surely you won’t get a signal out here.”
“That’s where the magic comes in!” Willow said as she chanted some words of power under her breath and then dialled.
Lifting the cell to her ear she waited for it to be answered.
“Hi Dawnie!” She said after a few moments wait.
The little knot of Slayers looked down at the sea of cultists below them, Tina drew her Katana and threw the scabbard to one side, ‘right here we go’ she thought.
“There comes a point…” Began Tina.
“In every Slayer’s career…” Added Alice, looking up at her girlfriend.
“Usually just before it comes to an abrupt end.” Commented Sally.
“When she realises that she can’t win…” Explained Shannon.
“And the only thing left to do…” Continued Tammy.
“Is to take as many of the bastards with her as she can!” Finished Tina.
She looked back at her Slayers and smiled, “Come on guys!” She called as they started to trot towards the cultists, “Do you want to live forever?”
“Wouldn’t mind.” Sally hefted her axe and started to run.
Norm looked up from the next sacrifice at the sound of the scream that broke through the chanting. It was a high pitched scream. It was not a scream of fear or terror; it was a scream of anger, rage and vengeance. Searching the area around the ritual site he saw the figures running in a loose bunch towards the outer ranks of followers.
How foolish, he thought, there were only five of them and they did not even have guns just swords and axes. He laughed as he pointed at the figures.
“KILL THEM!” He screamed to his followers just before he plunged the knife into the chest of the latest victim.
Jack put the phone down and looked over to where Kennedy made tea in the kitchen.
“Any luck?” She asked handing the steaming mug over to Jack.
“No,” Replied Jack, “It’ll be three more hours before the first SG team gets here, and another five before Colonel Finn turns up with his people.”
“Can’t we call out the National Guard or something?” Asked Kennedy as she lowered herself back onto the sofa.
“Would you want to send unprepared soldiers into a situation like this?” Asked Jack.
Kennedy thought about it.
“I suppose not.” She admitted.
“I expect Colonel Finn and his people are used to this sort of thing and have the weapons and procedures to deal with it.” Explained Jack, “And the SG teams have experience in dealing with the odd, and we have some…unusual weapons.”
All of a sudden Kennedy cried out as if in pain. Jack rushed to her side.
“What’s wrong?” He asked concerned and reaching for his cell.
“It’s begun.” She said.
Tina ran towards the outer circle of cultists her sword held in a two handed grip by her right shoulder. The cultists turned to face the little group of charging Slayers and she noticed that they carried no weapons. For a moment she wondered if it was still alright to kill them, they were humans after all. She thrust these thoughts from her mind as she brought her Katana round in a blindingly fast slashing attack. These so-called humans were as bad as any demon she had fought.
She felt the blade bite as the cultist lost his left arm at the elbow and the tip of her blade ripped open his chest and stomach. She shoulder barged the still standing cultist to one side and took a step forward. She brought her blade up between the legs of the next cultist to face her. The man gave a horrified high-pitched scream before collapsing to the ground clutching at his groin.
Another cultist came at her; again she took a step forward and swept her sword around to take the woman’s head off neatly at the neck. For a second or two no one attacked her so she risked a look behind her. On her right Alice slashed with her borrowed Katana cutting down cultists as they charged at her. She did not fight with the same grace and skill as Tina. But she made up for her lack of practice with pure energy and savagery.
On her left Sally swept her huge axe back and forth like a reaper scything down wheat in the field. Behind her Shannon and Tammy fought to prevent the cultists from closing in behind them and attacking them from the rear.
Tina turned to face her front as she sensed another attack. She brought her sword down on the cultist’s head cleaving it in two down to his jaw. With a flick of the wrist she twisted the blade free as the dead man dropped to his knees. It would not do to lose her sword because she had been careless and trapped it in some mad mans head. She took another step closer to the altar and cut a cultist off at the knees. The woman clawed at Tina’s legs as she tried to step over the woman, she stabbed down thrusting the tip of the sword through the screaming woman’s eye socket.
Sam looked down at the battle before her and felt totally helpless, if only there was something she could do. She glanced over to where Willow sat cross-legged amid her collection on magical do-dads. She chanted steadily to no visible effect. Sam looked back to see that the young Slayers had hacked their way through the first few ranks of cultists. But the cultist had surrounded them and closed in on all sides, the girls were still moving forward, but slower now.
Movement caught Sam’s eye as she noticed a large group of Cultists detach itself from the crowd and start to make its way up slope towards her position. Sam readied herself to defend the Witch as she sat in her trace like state and continued to chant oblivious to what was happening around her.
Claw like hands grabbed at Tina as she forced her way slowly forward. There was no time for finesse now. She slashed back and forth with her sword and watched fingers and hands cartwheel through the air as she fought to press through the swarm of demented cultists. They just would not stop; if she just wounded them they still tried to attack her. She had to kill or maim them so they presented no further threat.
Some of the cultist now had clubs or staves made from the wood that lay around the site, but most were still unarmed, but there were so many of them. Her boots slid on the blood slick ground as she disembowelled another cultist, her intestines contrived to wrap themselves around her ankles and Tina tripped and started to fall. In an instant the cultists were on her clawing at her face and eyes as she went down under an avalanche of insane bodies.
Sam watched as the smaller group started to get closer, they would be in range soon. Looking over to Willow she saw her still chanting, but now she was breathing heavily and beads of sweat rolled down her face. Over at the main battle the Slayers had come to a halt as one of their number went down under a horde of insane fanatics.
Sam turned her attention back to the advancing group. She lifted the shotgun to her shoulder and sighted on the leading cultist. As soon as she judged him to be in range she pulled the trigger. The man went down his chest blasted to red ruin. Sam worked the slide and aimed at the next target and fired.
Slowly she increased her rate of fire as the cultists tumbled and fell. But they still came on. After seven shots the shotgun ran dry, not having time to reload Sam pulled one of her automatics from under her jacket and fired steadily into the advancing cultists. Down they went, but still the survivors came on.
“Buffy! It’s not working!” Gasped Dawn as she clutched the magic book in shaking hands.
Her sister ran over to her and grabbed hold of Dawn’s arms.
“What’s wrong?” Demanded Buffy.
“It’s not working!” Cried Dawn tears rolling down her face, “I can’t break through.”
“Try again.” Ordered Buffy calmly.
“It’s no use,” Pleaded Dawn sinking to her knees, “I can’t do it.”
Buffy knelt in front of her sister and looked into Dawn’s eyes, what she said next could mean the difference between life and death for the Seattle Slayers and their Witch.
“Please Dawnie,” Begged Buffy quietly, “Try once more, I know you can do it…just once more… for me.”
Dawn wiped at her eyes and sniffed back her tears. She looked into Buffy’s face and drew strength from her sister. Buffy helped Dawn to her feet and the younger woman brushed her hair back from her face, took a deep breath and started to say the words of the spell one more time.
Athena stormed through the corridors and rooms of the temples atop Mount Olympus. Lesser gods scurried out of her way, no one wanted to confront the Goddess of War when she was in rage like this. She came to a door and shattered it with one kick, light flooded into the room to reveal a sleeping goddess on the bed in the corner of the cell.
“WAKE UP YOU STUPID BITCH!” Screamed Athena as she stormed into the room.
The goddess on the bed groaned and tried to shield her eyes from the light.
“GET UP!” Demanded Athena as she shook the goddess into full wakefulness, “While you have been lying here sleeping off last night’s wine a little witch has been trying to save her friends.”
“Huh?” Groaned Hecate “What?”
“Get up and do your job you drunken excuse for a goddess!” Athena spat the words into Hecate’s face, “Call yourself the Goddess of Witchcraft?” Athena snarled in disgust.
Hecate sat on the edge of her bed her head held in her hands. The part of her mind that was not numbed by the effects of too much wine the night before started to search for the drawing signal for the spell. After a minute she found it, a simple teleportation spell to move thirteen Slayers across half the continental United States. The young witch trying to do the spell was far too inexperienced to have the spell granted. Hecate started to explain this to Athena but was cut off in mid sentence.
“ENOUGH!” Cried the Goddess of War, “Grant the spell or I’ll make the rest of your existence a misery.”
Maybe, thought Hecate, if she granted the spell Athena would let her alone, she waved her hand.
“It is done.” She groaned collapsing onto her bed again.
“I’ll deal with you later.” Hissed Athena as she left the room slamming the remains of the door behind her.
In Cleveland Buffy and her twelve Slayers vanished followed a moment later by Dawn. In Olympic Park Colonel Carter shot down the last of the cultists attacking her and Willow, she turned to find fourteen young women and girls armed with a selection of medieval weapons standing around Willow in a tight circle. One girl clutched a large leather bound book.
“Sam?” Said Buffy.
“Buffy!” Replied Sam with a relieved smile.
AN: Sam and Buffy know each other from a previous story.