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Virtue of a Warrior

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Summary: Faith faces her greatest test; and she faces it alone. No Buffy to love/hate, no Mayor to take care of her, no vampires to slay. In a city awash with blood, Faith must finally face her greatest enemy: herself

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > Dark > Faith-Centered(Past Donor)DreamSmithFR1856235,317295632,42828 Sep 0725 Oct 07Yes

Prologue

Disclaimer: Faith was created by Team Whedon. After that, however, they treated her badly, so I write things like this.



Foreword


In '5x5' and 'Sanctuary', we saw an emotionally exhausted Faith surrender herself, first to Angel, and then to the authorities. They were great episodes... but I disagree.

True, Faith had reached a point where she could no longer go on with her life, not her life as it was, at any rate. However, she didn't need Angel to 'save her'.

We all have it in us to save ourselves.

This story is about Faith's search for the strength within herself, her struggle to come to terms with the darkness around her as well as the darkness within. It's a grim, bleak, and somewhat nasty tale, but hey; this is Faith's life we're talking about.

This story is set after the events of 'This year's girl' and 'Who are you', and before/instead of '5x5' and 'Sanctuary'. Though it is fully compatible with my other 'canon' Faith stories, this one veers off into an alternate timeline, basically because I don't care to try and rationalize the events on the shows into my own work any longer. From here on, I'm taking responsibility for Faith.

And so, mere hours after fleeing Sunnydale, Faith stirs, looking out of the train boxcar at a lowering sun hanging over a shadowy city….


Prologue

…And she shall flee her bright-souled sister, consumed by hate, lost and afraid, tormented by the vision she has been given, of herself.

Child of darkness, Blood-drenched sword, Scream of fury that will shake the world,

The DarkChild is come.

Into the nameless city, returned to where she had begun, hidden where she was found, victim of her past, promise of our future,

The DarkChild is come.

Shadow-tainted, unloved and unknown, she will struggle against herself, to know her heart, to find her soul, and the cost will be paid in the blood of innocents. Let those who cross her path beware, the pure and the evil alike, till at last her choice is made.

The DarkChild is come.

Her wanderings will come to an end; fate's path shall be decided by the last of the chosen. Death's daughter, lovely and terrible; her war will end the line of Slayers, destroy nations and give rise to a world of horrors and wonders as yet undreamed of. Tremble, oh race of man, fear the warrior child's discovery of her true calling. The time of change will follow close behind, and her shadow will spread across the face of the earth for an age without end.

The DarkChild is come.

--From the prophecies of the Final Age
Spoken by Elthessian, High Lady of the Fair Folk
In the nine-hundred and seventy-third year of her reign


The man closed the slim tome he had been reading and looked around. An hour or so until sunset, and the street corner was still fairly busy. A few people sat on the bench nearby, waiting for the next bus. Across the way, a heavily customized car waited at the stoplight, battering bystanders with the bass thumping of its overpowered stereo. An ozone stink hung in the air, and multiple layers of grime seemed to coat every surface; both of which seemed to be an unavoidable byproduct of human society. The scene in which he found himself was almost painful in its normalcy. It was hardly the sort of place where you would expect the fate of the world to be decided. Not a hellmouth, not the largest city in the region, and certainly not the most important; just a rough, middling-sized population center that was sliding headlong into the grip of urban decay. Yet here was where the star of that prophecy (and quite a few others, none of them pleasant reading) was due to make her appearance.

He took another sip of his coffee, leaning back against the gritty stone wall of the adult bookstore. His bosses hadn't been able to pinpoint the exact location of the girl's arrival, but they knew the general time and place. It would be up to him to find her. He didn't expect it to be too difficult; she had a way of making herself known. What he would have to do after that would be the tough part. With a last grimace at the book he had been reading, he tucked it under his arm and checked his watch.

"Any time now."

Adjusting his hat with finicky precision, he turned and headed off down the street, whistling.


* * * * *

Less than two blocks away, another man was watching the shadows of evening were gathering around the shop of Ernesto the butcher; literally. Tucked into the end of a tiny street that dead-ended against the back of a grungy tenement, the small business was busy through most of the day, and even now the occasional passerby kept the place from seeming totally deserted.

The man who had been observing the area paused just outside the shop, seemingly out of casual curiosity. In point of fact, there was nothing casual or happenstance about his presence in that place, at that particular time. He was a tall, slimly built man with Asian features and hair of a distinctive reddish tint. Even standing there motionless with his arms folded, he radiated a sense of danger. He knew that, and it pleased him a great deal. With his eyes hidden behind dark designer sunglasses, he checked the position of the two men he'd brought with him. They stood just across the way, apparently completely oblivious to both their superior, and the shop behind him. He gave a nearly imperceptible nod of approval, then turned slightly. Minutes passed, and he watched without expression through the window as the proprietor went about his evening routine. The butcher, Ernesto, wiped down the counter, then fetched a broom from where it leaned in the corner and began to sweep the customer area.

The man outside observed this, then turned his gaze upwards. Silently and without fuss, the area around the little store had begun to dim rapidly; more quickly than could be explained by the approach of night. Within moments, the end of the street was cloaked in a nearly impenetrable gloom. Oddly, people looking at the shadows washing around the shop like slow-motion ocean waves seemed not to even notice the strange phenomenon. Pedestrians strolled by, sometimes merely a foot or two away from the storefront, but to them it was as if it didn't exist.

The young Asian man nodded in satisfaction, then turned and entered the shop. Ernesto glanced up with a smile on his face, but his cheery greeting ended in mid-word. Instead, he took a wary step back, towards the counter.

"You." There was fear in his eyes, but determination as well. "I tol' you before, Itai. I no wan' anything to do with you people." His Hispanic accent was more pronounced, giving evidence to his distress. The younger man shook his head slowly. His two assistants had remained outside, but he was the very picture of confident unconcern.

"And you were given a very clear warning, which you have chosen to ignore." Itai gave a resigned sigh. "Now I have no choice but to make an example out of you." He glided forward, his lips quirking up at the corners as the older man shifted his grip on the broom he held, holding it like a baseball bat. "Maybe after this your friends will understand. No one stands against the Storm."

Moments later, hoarse screams began to emerge from the butcher's shop, but they too seemed to be affected by the cloak of shadow that hung over the end of the little street. Men and women passed by, unaware of what took place just a few steps away. After a time, the three men walked away, and the shadows soon departed. Honest darkness descended, but inside the store, only silence remained.

* * * * *
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