Disclaimer: I own none of the following. It is all property of its respective creators.
Knowledge is an amazing thing, capable of causing wondrous deeds and astounding discoveries. But at the same time it is a terrible, terrible thing able to provoke unspeakable crimes and orchestrate stunning tragedies. Even knowledge given with the best of intentions is capable of stripping away barriers, revealing the world in all its horrible truth… and my knowledge wasn’t given with the best of intentions.
The knowledge of the Old World has been given to me; the stories of dying races, mighty champions, numberless armies, and the true gods of the world. Facts have fallen into myth and legend while champions and gods have been forgotten. Now the task falls to me to reawaken the world to the danger it faces for I am Alexander Harris, last of the old and first of the new, member of the Holy Order of the Templar's of Sigmar, Witch Hunter.
My story starts the day before Halloween when jealousy of a demon shook the foundations of the worlds…
The three Scoobies stroll into the shop and immediately split up to begin the search for their costumes. Picking up a pumpkin Buffy jumps in fright when it lets out an electronic screech. Hurriedly dropping it she quickly glances around to see if anyone caught her embarrassing moment, knowing Xander would rib her unmercifully if he did. Instead she sees Willow picking up a ghost costume.
“Willow! What’s that supposed to be?”
“You’ll never get noticed in that. You’re missing the entire point of Halloween.”
“Free candy?” is Willow’s tentative answer.
“No!” Buffy vehemently responds. “Its come as you aren’t night. The perfect chance for a girl to get wild and sexy with no repercussions.”
“Oh, oh no, I don’t get wild. Wild on me equals spaz,” is Willow’s response to Buffy’s proclamation. “I act like a klutz and start stuttering whenever I try wild.”
“Nonsense. Come on, just this once?” Buffy pleads.
“Well…” Seeing Xander approaching Willow immediately seizes her chance. “Hey here comes Xander. What’s your costume?” In response Xander simply pulls the plastic gun he’s holding into view.
“That’s a costume?” ask Buffy, arching an eyebrow.
“Well this and the fatigues I have at home. Call me the two dollar costume king.”
“I’m so sorry for doubting your genius Your Majesty. And I’m sorry about this morning.”
“Please don’t remind me, I’m trying to repress,” Xander responds with a wince before turning to ask Willow what her costume is.
“So Willow what di-” His question is cut off as Buffy slinks up behind him and rests her chin on his shoulder before whispering in his ear.
“Okay, then I promise from now on I’ll let you get pummeled. After all, then I’d get to play nurse.” She finishes her statement with a coy smile bordering on a smirk, knowing he’d give in.
He gave in. “Thank you, I’ll wear the bruises with honor Nurse Buffy.” Turning to face her he starts talking again, “Is that going to be your costume because I…” only to trail off as he notices she isn’t paying him any attention. Instead she’s walking to the far corner of the shop almost as if in a trance. “Hello! Buffy! That was our touching reconciliation moment!”
Buffy ignores him and continues walking with Willow following here curiously. Shaking his head in exasperation and frustration Xander walks over to where Buffy has stopped. In front of her is a beautiful red satin ball gown, straight out of the 17th century.
Feeling the fabric Buffy gazes at it in wonder. “It’s just like the one in the picture,” she murmurs.
“Its amazing, you would look just like her in it” whispers Willow.
“To bulky. I prefer my women in spandex” is Xander’s intelligent contribution to the conversation.
Suddenly the shopkeeper appears from around a rack of trinkets and lifts the gown of the mannequin. Holding it in front of Buffy he nudges her over to in front of a mirror. “My my, meet the hidden princess. I think we found a match, don’t you?”
“Oh I’m sorry,” says Buffy. “There is absolutely no way I could ever afford this.”
“Nonsense. I feel quite moved to make you a deal you cannot refuse.”
Smiling Buffy holds it in front of her, continuing to admire her reflection as Willow looks on. Neither of them notices Xander scowling in the background. Glancing darkly at the rifle in his hand he puts it back on the shelf before striding out the door. ‘Fine Buffy, you want to impress Angel? I’ll show you what your missing.’
Watching the youth storm from the store Ethan Rayne lets a sinister smile grow on his face. ‘Perfect, chaos before the spell even starts. This is a good omen and I have the Slayer in my spell. Too bloody perfect.’
Later that night at a not so abandoned warehouse…
Spike watches a video of Buffy fighting a vampire over and over again on a cluster of TVs that hangs suspended from the roof of his warehouse. “She’s tricky!” he tells the vampire next to him as he watches her stake a vampire with a signpost. “You see that? The way she stakes him with that thing? That’s what’s called resourceful. Rewind it again.”
While the minion starts to fiddle with the remote control Drusilla wanders into the room, carrying her doll Miss Edith. “It’s tea time for Miss Edith. Does Mr. Spike want to join us?”
“Come here pet.”
As Drusilla glides toward Spike she begins to hum and then talk. “Do you love my insides? The parts you can’t see?”
Grabbing Drusilla Spike swirls her around and dips her before answering. “Eyeballs to entrails my sweet. That’s why I’ve got to study this Slayer. Once I know her I can kill her. And once I kill her you can have your run of Sunnyhell. Get strong again.”
“Don’t worry Spikie. Everything’s switching. Outside to inside. The new crumbles to the old, like an upside down hourglass. I love sand especially when it’s bloody. She’ll become weak, but he’ll become strong. The four will rise again and with them will come the comet lord,” sighs Drusilla as she sways in place. “And then they will dance the endless dance. Around and around and around…” she trails off.
“Really?” asks Spike. “Did my pet have a vision?”
“Do you know what I miss? Leeches,” is Drusilla’s response.
“Come on, talk to Daddy. This thing that makes the Slayer weak? When is it?” Spike asks in an attempt to draw Dru back on topic.
“Tomorrow’s Halloween. Nothing happens on Halloween,” says Spike skeptically.
“Someone’s come to change it all. Every last thing, until up is down and down is up and the old becomes the new.”
At the same time…
Ethan kneels before a bust, surrounded by candles forming an eight-pointed star. The bust is divided into two faces and if one stares at it for too long they seem to shift and change. Ethan presses his hands together and when he pulls them apart purple blood dribbles down his palms.
“The world that forgets thee, you remind.
The peace that ignores thee, thou shatter.
Chaos. I remain, as ever, thy faithful, degenerate son.”
Following his prayer Ethan smears the blood over his eyes and then draws an eight-pointed star on his forehead.
Halloween Day, right after school ends…
Tiredly slumping in his office chair Giles debates what tea to pick for his night’s relaxation. So engrossed is he in this great decision that the slamming of the library doors opening causes him to jump, scattering his tea tins a crossed the floor.
“Hey Giles, you here?” Hearing the familiar voice does nothing to shake Giles irritation at the interruption to his rest. “Helllooo? Giles? I know you’re here!” Sighing in resignation he steps out of his office to confront Xander.
“What do you need now Xander?”
“I need to borrow-”
Hearing the start of the request Giles decides top be petty over his fallen tea tins. “No.”
“No?! But you didn’t even let me finish” whines Xander.
“I’m sure whatever you were about to ask for is going to be used in a truly horrid idea.”
“No its not, its for the kids!”
This statement actually peaks Giles curiosity. “What is for the children and how by god did you get involved?”
“Well Snyder is having us watch the kids while they trick-or-treat tonight and he forcibly recruited me, Buffy, and Willow. So I need a sword.”
“What pray tell does a sword have to do with the children?”
“Well costumes are mandatory so Buffy is going as a noblewoman and Willow will go as a ghost. She always does. You said it’s a quiet night on Halloween so neither of them will carry a weapon, might ruin the costume. What happens if some demon or vampire with the munchies goes after the munchkins? Buffy will have a little trouble doing her normal kicks and fighting in the dress she got.”
“It is proven that tonight vampires and demons stay in. They hate the holiday,” replies Giles, letting a little of his irritation slip into his voice.
“But it’s the Hellmouth! When has it ever been normal?”
Giles actually pauses at this statement, letting the implications run threw his mind. ‘Well, he does have a point and a sword would actually fit in tonight. Plus the sooner I give him what he wants the sooner he’ll leave.’ Sighing, Giles strides over to the weapons storage, grabs the first sword he sees, and tosses it to Xander. “There. You have your sword. Be careful with it and return it to me tomorrow.” With that he turns and goes back into his office to collect his precious tea from off the ground.
Clutching his prize and mentally doing a happy dance Xander dashes off to try and get to the costume shop before it closes.
A few minutes later…
Hearing a yell, Ethan glances up from locking his shop and sees a figure running towards him. ‘Who the bloody hell is that and why is he waving a sword at me?’ Mentally preparing a spell just incase the situation gets hostile Ethan waits as the figure gets closer. Now able to make out a face Ethan recognizes it as the boy from yesterday. ‘Well, well, well. If it isn’t my good omen.’ He watches in amusement as the boy stumbles to a stop in front of his store, panting and red-faced. In between great gasping breaths the boy manages to speak. “Please, please, please let me in. I really need a costume.” Deciding this might be a sign from Janus Ethan shrugs and unlocks the door. The boy stumbles in and leans against a nearby shelf, resting the sword on the ground in font of him as he regains his breath. Straightening up the boy offers Ethan his hand.
“Thanks for letting me in. I’m Xander and I really need a costume.”
As Ethan takes the offered hand he feels the magic still lingering on the boy. ‘He really is an omen! Instinct and thought, primal and civilized; the boy seems to represent Janus himself.’ “Well Xander, I am Ethan Rayne, proprietor of this shop. I’m afraid I don’t have many complete costumes left. I think I might have a knight to go with the sword but that’s about all.”
“Can I look around, kinda mix and match?” Xander asks hopefully.
“Very well. If you manage to clear out some of the incomplete costumes I might be able to give you a bargain. May I look at the sword while you do? I’ve always had a slight interest in medieval weapons.”
“Sure, but please be careful, a friend loaned it to me.” Xander answers with a backward glance as he starts his search.
While Xander rummages around the sparse looking display cases Ethan starts to examine the scabbard. Tracing the runes that flicker faintly in his mage sight with a finger he slowly works his way up to the pommel. Gripping it tightly he pulls at the blade, only to have it refuse to leave the scabbard. Trying again he gives up in frustration as the blade refuses to budge. As he looks it over for an unlocking rune or trigger he might have missed a thought strikes him. ‘Wait a bloody moment. A magic sword stuck in a sheath? Wasn’t the Watchers Council making a big huff about something like that a few years ago? They thought it was the inspiration for the King Arthur legends but could never be sure. I think they were passing it from Slayer’s Watcher to Slayer’s Watcher in the hope one of them could draw it. How the hell did this kid get it?’
“Excuse me Xander, but where did you say you got this sword from?”
Not pausing in his search Xander answers, “Borrowed it from a friend named Giles, he’s something of a collector. I think he just wanted me out of there so he gave me the first one he grabbed.”
Because he hasn’t stopped searching the shelves Xander doesn’t see the malicious smirk spreading a crossed Ethan’s face. ‘Ripper must truly like the boy to even give him a weapon. I’ll have to add something special to his costume.’ “It truly is a wonderful blade. Thank you for letting me look at it. Have you found anything yet?”
“Yeah, just give me a second.”
“Okay, just give me whatever you find and I’ll package it in the back. I think I have a duffel bag of some sort back there.”
“Sweet, I was wondering how I’d manage to carry all this.” Saying that, Xander walks around from behind a shelf with an armful of stuff and looks around for Ethan. Waving to the boy Ethan motions for him to bring the stuff into the back room and drop it on a table there.
“Is that all of it?”
“Nah, I have a second armful, I’ll be right back.” As Xander walks back to grab the rest Ethan begins to look through the pile of stuff. ‘Hmm, well what do we have here? A trench coat and boots from what could be just about any costume, black chain mail from the knight I told him about, leather gloves from that nobleman set, and a pilgrims hat. Interesting choices.’ A crash interrupts Ethan’s thoughts as Xander drops another armload of stuff in front of him.
“That’s all of it Mr. Rayne. Thanks for letting me grab this stuff,” says Xander.
“No problem, you managed to help me clear out some of the more miscellaneous items I have. If you head out front to the register I will be there momentarily.”
As Xander walks back upfront Ethan looks back to the more recent additions to the pile of costume bits. ‘Multiple daggers and twin flintlock pistols with the accompanying holsters along with a silver wizard’s medallion. This will truly be an interesting costume and I wonder what memories will go with it? Well whatever they are Xander will remember them for the rest of his life. And if his costume stays real, well that will make sure Giles is always reminded as well.’ Quickly working his magic Ethan stuffs the costume in a duffle bag and brings it out front.
“How much do I owe you?” asks Xander.
Doing a quick calculation Ethan decides to lose some money, after all he has to make sure the boy buys it doesn’t he? “$53.72”
Xander pays with a smile and is out the door moments later, yelling back a thank you as he rushes to get ready.
That night at Buffy’s house…
Both Buffy and Willow are putting the finishing touches on their costumes for the night. As Buffy adjusts her dress Willow stands in front of the mirror and looks at her reflection. She’s wearing a dark set of a tight top and pants.
“I don’t think I can do this Buffy,” she says while playing with the bottom of the tube top.
“Nonsense. You’ll be fine. All the boys will be looking at you.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of.”
Hearing a knocking sound Buffy leaves Willow in her room goes to open the door. After she’s left Willows eyes stray to the ghost costume sitting in the corner.
Buffy hurries down the stairs being extra careful not to trip on the hem of her dress. Peering through the peephole all she can make out is a dark shape. Yanking open the door lets the light spill out to touch the figure, barely illuminating the shape into sight.
A tall man, lean of limb and build, cloaked in shadow stands before her. He casts an imposing figure lurking amidst the darkness that seem to breed on the porch, dressed in a scarlet shirt covered by black chain mail. Black boots with bulky silver buckles adorn his feet and a black trench coat is wrapped around his shoulders. Fine leather gloves cover his hands and the pale light glistens weakly off a silver medallion in the shape of a comet. The man’s deep brown eyes watch from within the shadows cast by his wide brimmed conical hat. One of his gloved hands grips the heavy wooden butt of a pistol while the other caresses the pommel of a sheathed long sword, beside which rests the pistols’ twin.
Suddenly the man goes into a deep bow and when he rises up the light reveals the smiling face of Xander. Buffy! Lady of Buffdom, Duchess of Buffonia, I am in awe! I completely renounce spandex.”
Buffy shyly smiles while giving a curtsey. “Thank you kind sir.” Finishing her curtsey she turns around and heads back inside the house talking while she does. “Do you think Angel will like it?”
Since she’s not facing Xander she doesn’t see the scowl that appears on his face from her question. “Yeah I’m pretty sure he’d have to be crazy not to.”
“Thanks. Now we just need Willow. Wait till you see she her she’s…” Buffy trails off as Willow appears at the top of the stairs dressed in her ghost costume. “Casper.”
“Nice ‘Boo’ you got there Willow. Ready to go?” Xander’s remark nicely fills the silence left after Buffy’s comment and the three friends head for the school.
At the school…
When they arrive the three friends are forced to split up to find their groups of charges. Snyder immediately heads for Buffy and begins to threaten her with expulsion while Willow just stands meekly in front of her own group. As Xander looks at the list to find his group Larry comes around the corner. His eye’s sweep the hallway and land on Xander, but then continue on, not even thinking to associate the dark, intimidating figure with the boy he had bullied the day before. Angry at not finding his target he storms off to pick on the nerds dressed in their homemade Star Trek uniforms. Xander watches him go in puzzlement, wondering why Larry didn’t say anything to him. Shrugging it off he turns to his group of kids. “Okay, tips on sleazing extra candy. Tears are a must since torture is frowned upon. It will usually get you the double bagger. You can always try the old ‘you missed me’ routine, but it’s risky. If you have a spare sack say you’re going for a sick brother or sister and add the tears, you’ll get more candy then you can eat. Understand?” Seeing all the kids nodding he gestures to the door. “Let’s move out.”
Later that night…
Ethan kneels before his two faced statue and begins his incantation.
“Janus evoco vestram animam.
Exaudi meam causam.
Carpe noctem pro consilo vestro.
Veni, appare et nobis monstra quod est infinita potestas.”
A wave of magic springs from the statue and spreads through the town. A second pulse shaped like a glowing ball shoots out after the first and streaks toward its target. Lifting his head a wicked smirk appears on Ethan’s face and he says one word, “Showtime.”
As the wave of magic travels it takes the form of a cold wind. It radiates outward from the statue, acting like a binary poison and a Xerox machine, coping every person but only affecting those with the cursed costume. As the ripple passes Buffy she starts and looks around suddenly with wide, startled eyes and shaky breaths. When the wave hits Willow’s group two of the children change into demons and begin to randomly attack their fellow trick-or-treaters. Another child falls to the ground and begins to rapidly decay, only to rise again as a skeleton that begins to grapple with one of the demons. As Willow watches the horror unfolding before her eyes her breath catches in her throat. Suddenly unable to breathe she starts to choke. Grasping her throat she collapses and blackness takes her. Abruptly the darkness recedes and as she climbs to her feet she leaves her ghost clad body on the ground.
Meanwhile the ball of magic streaks forward and strikes Xander. The spell immediately takes stock of the costume and sensing the different pieces mixed together begins to search the wearers mind. Finding only a general idea it begins to search through time, looking for the best possible match. Ignoring the extreme edges of its search it instead focuses on the middle ground until a soul is found. Ripping it from the ether it shoves it in Xander’s body while the physical parts of the costume become real. In the blink of an eye Xander Harris is gone, replaced by Mathias Thulmann, Lord Protector of the Faith, member of the Holy Order of The Templars of Sigmar, and the last Witch Hunter General.
At the exact time the spell activated, in a place beyond human comprehension – the other side of the Hellmouth…
A once powerful being sits and revels in the completion of a part of its great web of plots and plans. For too long he had been bound here, forced here by those weaker then him, barely surviving. But now he could feel the strength flowing back into him. After millenniums long pause the world would remember him. All a crossed the Chaos realm demons shivered as Tzeentch, Changer of Ways, Grand Schemer, and Lord of Sorcery laughed as the bindings loosened.
Elsewhere in the Chaos Realm…
He could feel them stirring. They had been bound just as he was and that was the only fact that consoled him in his long imprisonment. But now they’re bindings were weakening just as his were. They would escape soon and he must be ready to meet them. He tested the bindings again, feeling them loosen as he gathered what meager power he had left. Suddenly he could feel a trickle of energy come through the bindings, something he had not felt for ages. A true believer still walked the mortal realm. Hoarding the power he begins to wait for the opportunity to escape and free his allies. They must be ready when the war comes.
Back in Sunnydale…
Mathias looks around in confusion. The last thing he remembered was the splitting pain in his chest and the darkness filling his vision. Gazing at his surroundings he can’t seem to find anything familiar at all, not even the stars in the sky were the same. Grabbing his medallion on instinct he mutters a quick prayer before glancing around again. As he does he lets out a startled oath at the sight of his hands. The once age gnarled limbs were gone, the wrinkles replaced by the smooth lines of youth. ‘What sorcery is this? I collapse in old age and now I find myself young again and dressed for hunting.’ Shaking his head he grabs his sword and goes to pull it out, only to freeze as it refuses to budge. Looking down he lets out a sigh of relief as he recognizes the sword. ‘Witch’s Bane! I thought it was still locked in the vaults.’ Pressing a rune on the hilt of the sword he pulls it free and watch’s it glow a soft blue. He begins to run through a quick sword drill, relishing being able to do an exercise he hadn’t done in years. Suddenly a low hissing sound reaches his ears and he twirls around, raising the sword just in time to block the claws of a demon. It was as tall as he was and covered in red scales. Malicious yellow eyes glared at him as it let out a screech of pain from the blade’s burn and tries to attack with its other claw. Sidestepping the wild attack Mathias brings the blade around and down on the attacking limb, severing it to crash on the ground below. Keening in pain the demon still continues to attack, throwing itself forward in an effort to get past Mathias’s guard. It crashes into Mathias, sending them both sprawling to the ground. The bodies lie there a moment then the demon is pushed aside as Mathias climbs to his feet and pulls his blade out of the creature from where it had impaled itself in the desperate lunge. Wiping the blade on the corpse he straightens and peers around the darkened street. ‘What foul power is loose here that lets demons run freely?’ Holding his sword ready he advances down the street warily. A chittering sound fills the air and a pack of small purple demons appear from around the corner of a house. Small bone spines cover their backs and their sharp claws drip with blood. A howl splits the air as they catch sight of Mathias and they charge.
Wandering the streets and looking at the chaos Willow is broken out of her shock by a sound like thunder. She begins to move away before remembering her untouchable status and she hesitates, fear warring with curiosity. Curiosity wins and she begins running in the direction the noise came from. As she moves closer the sounds of combat begin to reach her ears along with high pitched screeches. ‘I hope that’s Buffy causing those screams. We really need to figure out what’s going on.’ Running through a house she comes out on a new street and stops when she sees the first demon body. It’s lying there with a giant, smoking crater in its chest, claws still twitching on the asphalt. Looking further down the street she sees a line of demon bodies, all bearing various wounds. At the end of the street she sees not Buffy, but Xander standing on top of a car and slashing down at a small group of demons trying to climb up the sides. She starts running toward him and as he finishes the last one off she lets out a shout to get his attention.
Standing on top of the strange carriage Mathias slashes down at that claws of his attackers. He had been fighting a running battle down the street, discharged his pistols at the first two demons. Now the last three were surrounding him and trying to pull him down. Kicking backwards while slashing at the demon trying to climb up in front of him Mathias is rewarded with duel cries of pain as the demon in front of him clutches its guts to keep them from falling out and the one behind him hits the ground with a thud. Turning to the side he confronts the third demon the just clambered onto the roof. Hissing it lunges at him and he goes to block, only to find it was a feint as the demon slashes with its other claw, ripping through his shirt and glancing off his chain mail. Taking advantage of the demon’s surprise at not having felled it’s opponent he quickly cuts it’s throat, sending it to collapse gurgling to the roof. Jumping off the car he lands boots first on the last demon and sends them both crashing to the ground. Rolling off the stunned demon as fast as he can he just misses the claws heading for his face. With a quick strike he manages to hamstring the demon as it tires to clamber to its feet, sending it back to the ground. Moving quickly he decapitate the demon then stands there, trying to recover his breath as purple ichors drips off his blade.
Suddenly he hears what he hopes is a human voice for the first time that night. Looking around for the owner of the voice he sees a red headed whore running towards him, yelling in an incomprehensible voice. He starts to hail her, but stops as she runs through one of the metal contraptions sitting on the side of the street. Letting out a startled oath he quickly starts to back up and grab for him amulet. Feeling the familiar surface in his hand he begins to yell the ritual of Banishment at the spirit. “In the name of our Lord Sigmar the one true god I abjure you to desist and be gone. May you tremble before the Ghal-Maraz and cease your imitation of life. I rebuke you! The Emperor rebukes you! The Grand Theogonist rebukes you! Sigmar rebukes you! Be gone!” At his words the spirit rocks back as if struck and then fades out of sight, but before it does he sees the very human hurt in its eyes. Pushing aside a brief twinge of guilt Mathias readies his sword and stalks into the night.
As Willow runs toward Xander he curses and starts to back away from her while scrambling for something at his neck. He suddenly starts to yell at her and as he does pain sears through her. Her last thought before the harsh white light takes her is ‘Why Xander?’
Moments later the white light fades, but she can suddenly feel her body. Blinking, she feels her eyelashes scrape a crossed something. Quickly she sits up and pulls off the ghost sheet. Now back in her body she looks around, hoping that someone is nearby. Seeing no one Willow sets off to look for Xander again.
Lady Elizabeth Summers was frightened beyond words. One moment she was preparing to attend a party celebrating the East Indian Trading Company’s success and the next moment she was in this unfamiliar place. Cowering against an oak tree she looks out at this strange world. The lanterns were brighter and the streets smoother then anything she had ever seen. Magical horseless carriages were moving around, but nothing compared to the monsters running everywhere. Her nurse had always told her that the monsters didn’t exist and that she would be safe at night, but now she knew the truth and it terrified her. Suddenly she hears soft footsteps behind her and her eyes dart around frantically to try and see what monster approaches. A dark figure approaches and she whimpers, trying to press herself further back into the cover of the oak tree. As it gets closer she sees it’s a dark dressed man carrying a naked blade dripping with blood. Suppressing a scream she tries to scramble around the tree, only to trip on a root and land face first in the dust. Pulling her face out of the dirt her eyes focus on a set of black claws in front of her. Looking up she sees a mouth full of glistening teeth dripping with slime right before some of the drool hits her in the face. This is the final straw for her and she collapses into a dead faint.
Slowly she starts to wake up, the darkness retreating from the edge of her vision. The fuzz leaves her head and as she remembers what caused her faint she lets out a squeak and frantically tries to get up. Struggling to her feet she only manages to trip on the hem of her dress, but a firm hand grabs her before she hits the ground. Letting out another squeak she pushes the hand off and turns around only to trip and land sprawling on directly on the corpse of the monster she saw earlier. Seeing the dead monster actually gives her a pause and she looks towards the person she assumes saved her. He looks at her with concern in his eyes and sheaths his sword before he begins to speak. The words are incomprehensible, but then her addled mind catches up and she recognizes the words as a form of German. Slowly, the lessons her father forced upon her begin to surface and she manages to catch some of his words.
“Are you alright? Who are you? Do you know where we are?” The questions come at her one after another and it takes her a moment to gather her thoughts. Haltingly she begins to reply.
“I am Lady Summers and I thank you for saving me. I don’t know where we are, sir, I just appeared here.”
He just looks at her, seemingly able to see into her soul. After a moment the look fades and he nods his head. “I am Mathias Thulmann, Templar of Sigmar and if you wish you may accompany me for protection.”
“But Sir Mathias! Please take me home. I’m sure my father will reward you and there are monsters roaming everywhere. We could be eaten or-” She stops suddenly, startled into silence by the glare that appeared on his face.
“Never! It is my duty as a Templar of Sigmar to find what is causing this foul magic and stop it. You may follow me or not, but I will keep looking. No reward your father could offer would cause me to forsake my duty.” Timidly she nods. “Very well then. If you are not from here I must continue looking for someone who might know what’s going on. Someone must live in this Chaos infested town.”
Mathias was unsure what to make of this strange lady. They had been wandering for a while, but had seen nothing so far. The lady had obviously never heard of the Templars if she offered him a reward to take her home, but her fashions reminded him of things he had seen at the Imperial City. She had fainted at the sight of the black monster, but obviously she had some sense since she had remained hidden for some time. When they first started walking she had almost clung to him, jumping at every noise. Now she walked near him and looked into the shadows, clutching the dagger he had given her. His thoughts stop abruptly as he hears a rustling from a bush a little further up. Gesturing for her to stay still he draws his pistol with one hand while holding his sword in the other. Walking forward he pretends to ignore the bush, though he moves to get some distance between it and him. As he draws even with it he turns and fires just as a snakelike creature erupts out of it. The shot takes the thing in midair and it crashes to the ground, a gaping hole where most of its chest once was. Approaching it he beheads it to make sure its dead then calmly starts reloading his pistol. While putting the silver pistol ball in he’s distracted when Lady Elizabeth starts calling to him.
“Sir Mathias there seems to be a harlot running towards us.”
Looking up at her warning Mathias sees the same ghost he had banished earlier running toward them. “That’s not a harlot, it’s a ghost. Stay away from it.” Grabbing his amulet Mathias starts reciting the Litany of Banishment again. However nothing happens, no glow and the spirit is still there. Pushing aside his doubts Mathias draws his sword and starts to advance on the spirit, ignoring its raised hands and meaningless babble, and praying to Sigmar to protect him from its foul magic. Suddenly Lady Elizabeth calls out to him again.
“Sir I can understand her. She’s speaking English. She’s saying she comes in peace and something about magic.”
Pausing in his advance Mathias considers the idea. Perhaps she had merely been some poor person affected by the magic and his prayer had saved her? Maybe she could offer assistance. “Very well. Ask her if she knows what’s happening tonight and where we are.”
Waiting while Elizabeth translates he sees the girl nod her head and begin to talk again at a slightly slower pace. Ending her speech she slaps the side of one of the nearby metal contraptions then looks at him.
“She says her name is Willow and that tonight was Halloween, some form of celebration where everyone is in costume. Partway through the night something happened and the people became their costumes. She was dressed as a spirit and she became one, leaving her body behind. Whatever you did to her sent her back. She says we are friends of hers.”
Mathias nods, deep in though. “Yes that would make sense for I was an old man last time I remembered anything. And such a spell would fall under the capabilities of a foul Tzecntchain sorcerer.” Looking up he notices that Willow had crept closer while he was talking to Lady Summers. Seeing his look she starts talking again and pointing down the road.
“She is saying that there’s a house nearby where we can rest.”
“No, I can not abandon the populace of this town to Chaos. We will continue to walk the streets, hopefully we can find some clue to point us toward the spell caster.”
As he starts to walk off in a random direction Willow speaks again, gesturing in a different direction then the safe house she mentioned, causing him to pause. His eyes widen at the translation Elizabeth provides him with. “You mean to say that she knew of someone who might be able to help us stop this Chaos and she did not say that first. The fool! Though I do not believe that any scholar should study the arcane perhaps in this case it might prove useful. Quickly, we must find this man.”
Wandering the streets Spike takes in the screams and the rampaging monsters. “Well this is just neat.”
The group slowly makes their way toward the school, advancing warily street by street. Abruptly a scream splits the air, much closer then the others ones they had been hearing all night. Gesturing for the others to hide behind a nearby car, Mathias prepares to fight as he can see two forms running in the distance. One sees him and turns toward him, the other one right behind it, seeming to play with it by catching up and scratching it before falling back. As the running figures get closer Mathias sees they’re merely a cat creature being chased by a beastman. Content to let the two Chaos beasts kill themselves Mathias goes to step back into the shadows. As he does the cat creature runs under a streetlight and is revealed to be a young woman in costume, the scratches on her arm showing her normal skin. Cursing Mathias runs forward, hoping to engage the beast before it tires of its game of cat and mouse and finishes the young woman off. The young woman continues to run toward him and as the beastman catches sight of him it puts on a burst of speed, hoping to catch its prey before it escaped. Seeing its prey duck behind the armed man the beastman lets out a howl. Gnashing its teeth it swipes at Mathias with a clawed hand. Ducking Mathias counters with a slash against its stomach. Enraged at this wound it knocks the sword out of Mathias’s hand, ignoring the cuts received in the process. Lunging at the hurriedly backpedaling Mathias it sends them both crashing to the ground. Trapped under the beastman’s bulk Mathias scrambles for a weapon as the beastman’s wolf jaws lower towards his throat. The crack of a pistol firing sounds, muffled by the beastman's body, and it starts to thrash jaws snapping shut reflexively and grazing Mathias’s throat. Pushing the body of to the side reveals the gaping whole in its abdomen as Mathias clambers to his feet and grabs his sword.
The girls rush forward as Mathias wipes the blood from his throat and Willow grabs Cordelia. “Okay, your name is Cordelia, you’re not a cat, you’re in high school, and we’re friends. Sort of.”
“That’s nice Willow. And you went mental when?” asks Cordelia. “And when were we ever friends?” she continues scathingly.
“You know us?” asks Willow in confusion.
“Yeah, lucky me. What’s with the name game and who’s tall dark and hotness that saved me?”
“A lots going on,” starts Willow.
“No kidding. All the people at the Bronze started freaking out so I left. Then some freak nearly ran into my car and when I got out to yell at him I was attacked by Jo-Jo the dog-faced boy. Then tall dark and hot saved me. Just look at my costume! Claw marks all over it, there’s no way that Party Town will give me my deposit back.”
At this point the struggling to translate Elizabeth gives up and looks at Mathias who just shakes his head in confusion.
Seeing his movement Cordelia look over at him. “Oh yeah that reminds me, I guess I should thank you…” she trails off. “Oh my god your Xander! I can’t believe I actually thought you were hot.” She turns to Willow, “Why didn’t you say anything?”
“I thought you knew!”
While the two girls bicker Mathias simply stares at the unchanged Cordelia, deep in thought. Finally he turns to Elizabeth and addresses her in Reikspiel. Nodding she turns toward the still arguing girls. “Quiet! Both of you!” The authoritative voice causes both girls to quiet and turn toward her. “Sir Mathias wishes to know where the costumes were gotten from.”
“You and I got ours at Ethan’s. I think Mathias did to.”
“I got mine at Party Town. Like I would ever shop where you losers go.”
Nodding to himself at Elizabeth’s translation he begins to speak. “This Ethan obviously cursed his costumes. It is my duty to seek him out and end this madness. But I must also protect you and seeking out a warlock would not do that. Is the university nearby?” Seeing Willow’s nod at the translation he continues. “Good, I shall escort you there where this scholar can help in your defense. From there I will go hunting.”
Hiding nearby Spike sees the group heading towards the school, Elizabeth following Mathias like a puppy. “Well, well, well. Looks like Drusilla was right, the Slayer is weak. But that might mean that he is strong, whoever he is.” Spying a nearby demon a plan starts to form in Spike’s mind.
Giles was putting the last card in order when the doors banged open, causing him to start and send the cards flying. Turning in preparation to give whoever disturbed him a good tongue-lashing he lets out a gasp when he sees the Scooby gang. “Good Heavens! What’s going on?”
“A spell changed everyone into their costumes and now there are demons and monsters everywhere and Xander changed into this really scary guy who banished me when I was a ghost and has been trying to stop the spell,” babbles Willow.
“I don’t really know, but my costumes ruined,” replies Cordelia. Immediately Willow turns on Cordelia for her uncaring answer and the two start to argue again.
Suddenly Elizabeth’s voice interrupts their fight and Giles attempts to stop it. “Give me the directions to Ethan’s so that this spell can be ended.”
Giles turns toward her with a startled look on his face. “Did you say Ethan’s?” Hearing Elizabeth translating his question to Mathias he interrupts them in German. “Why are you two speaking German and what does Ethan have to do with this?”
Hearing Giles questions Mathias turns to answer while discretely drawing a dagger. “Lady Elizabeth is translating for me as I do not speak your language. Reikspiel seems to be close enough to your German for communication to be possible and-” Suddenly the dagger is at Giles throat and he is staring into the deeply suspicious face of Mathias. “What do you know of Ethan?”
“He was an old school friend. I haven’t seen him in over ten years,” Giles manages to stammer out.
Still glaring Mathias nods and with visible reluctance removes the dagger. “Very well. Willow trusts you and she has told us the truth so far. Now ask the others for directions to Ethan’s shop so I can end this foul magic.”
“But its dangerous!” protests Giles. “Let me handle him.”
“No, it is my duty and I do not fully trust you. You will stay here and ensure the safety of the ladies.”
Reluctantly Giles nods, seeing the conviction in Mathias’s eyes. Receiving his directions Mathias checks his weapons then heads out into the night, unaware that someone is observing him.
“See that fellows?” asks Spike to the small army of demons he has assembled. “That means that some of the sweetest meat you’ve ever tasted is inside that building and is helpless.” Hearing this the demons all start to drool and head towards the school.
“Its chaos out there. You guys weren’t at Buffy’s house so I decided to check here,” says Angel as he appears from in the stacks.
“Who are you?” asks Elizabeth, leaving Angel staring at her in shock.
“Okay, somebody want to fill me in?” Angel asks as he steps toward Elizabeth who quickly moves away from him.
“We-” Willow is abruptly cut off by Cordelia who jumps between Elizabeth and Angel.
“No one knows who they are, everyone has turned into a monster, and it’s a whole big thing. How are you?”
Before Angel can answer Giles cuts in. “well, that is true, overly simple but true. Everyone who bought a costume from Ethan’s became it. Xander has gone to deal with it.”
“Xander?” Angel yelps, surprise marring his features. Before anyone gets to answer him a mini-monster crashes onto his shoulders, sending him to the ground.
Meanwhile Mathias picks up his pace upon seeing the empty streets and the silent night.
With a cry Angel throws the monster off him and jumps to his feet, full vampire face on. Roaring he picks it up and throws it back out the back door before pushing a bookcase against it. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief that is cut off as more monsters crash through the libraries double doors.
Hearing a noise Ethan looks up from his magical viewing screen just in time to see the pommel of a sword heading toward his face. As he collapses his bowl of popcorn and glass of ale fall to the ground.
The girls retreat to the book cage as more monsters pour into the library. Angel is throwing demons left and right while Giles bashes away at them with a makeshift club formed from a table leg. Giles begins to fall first, his age and mortality catching up with him. As the monsters press forward sensing weakness one falls back with a quarrel sprouting in its shoulder. Gladly taking the moment of respite Giles looks over to see Cordelia struggling to reload a crossbow.
The splash of water forces the darkness away and Ethan groggily manages to wakeup. Opening his eyes he sees Mathias standing over him, dagger in hand. Trying to get away he begins to struggle, only to find himself bound to his own table. “Now warlock we talk.”
Summoning his sarcasm Ethan manages to reply while frantically trying to think of a way to get lose. “Oh joy! I always enjoy a good chat, especially over a pint. Have you kept up with the football league? And I don’t mean that bloody American sport.”
“I may not enjoy torture like my associate Streng did, but I know more then enough to wrest the truth from your lips, willing or not. How do you end the spell? If you tell me your end will be quicker.”
“Go to hell.” Silently Mathias leans over and begins to cut; soon Ethan’s screams fill the store.
Angel goes down, buried beneath a pile of small monsters. Giles is beaten and bloody, held upright by two demons. The girls are locked in the book cage and out of crossbow bolts. They huddle in the corner as the door starts to bend inward.
Mathias stands up and observes his work; cuts crisscross Ethan’s chest and arms, lightly bleeding purple blood. “How do I break the spell?”
“You call that torture? That was foreplay mate,” Ethan replies, laughing weakly.
Grabbing the blood-soaked knife Mathias bends back down to resume his work.
Angel, Cordelia, Willow, and Giles all struggle against the grips of the monsters holding them while Spike advances toward Elizabeth even as she backs away. “Look at you!” Spike crows. “Shaking. Terrified. Alone.” By now Elizabeth is backed up against a table and can’t go any further. Suddenly Spike leaps forward and slaps her. “I love it!” he laughs. Suddenly he curses and jumps back, the dagger she struck him with leaving a smoldering cut a crossed his cheek. Grasping the dagger Mathias gave her with both hands she holds it in front of her, warding the vampire away. “Bloody bint! You’ll pay for that!” Lunging forward he knocks the dagger from her hands, burning himself in the process. Grabbing her hair he slams her head into the table, leaving her dazed. Pulling her head around he exposes her neck and moves his fangs closer.
Stepping back Mathias looks over the wreck that once had been Ethan Rayne. Cuts cover the majority of his body, trickling drops of blood. Great tracks of skin had been shaved off his limbs and the muscles glisten wetly in the light, twitching with each gust of air blowing over them. Ethan is a broken man, babbling insanely. “Only a bit of fun. No one hurt, no one hurt. Spell resets them, bloody genius I was. Think it was a dream, all restored to when the spell hit them. Like a clean sheet of paper. No one hurt, only fun. Only fun…” His whispers trail off weakly into silence, the labored sounds of his breathing quickly filling it.
“How do I break the spell?”
A gleam of intelligence seems to flow back into Ethan’s eyes and he manages to focus on Mathias. “The bust, break the bust,” he manages to gasp out.
“Very well, but if you lied to me this will seem tame compared to what will happen next.” With that threat Mathias strides over to the statue and smashes it.
Abruptly the growls of the monsters stop and Buffy’s wig comes off in Spike’s hand. “Wha?”
“Hey honey! I’m home!” Buffy says with a wicked smile before kneeing Spike in the groin, sending him stumbling back. He recovers, picking up the chair leg Giles was using earlier as he does and viciously swings it at her.
“Fight! Fight! Fight!” the kids cheer at them, the night forgotten at this wonderful show of violence.
Dodging the swing Buffy kicks the leg out of his hand before replying with a flurry of punches that has him reeling. “You know what? Its good to be me!” She punctuates her statement by kicking Spike in the gut, causing him to bend over just in time to receive a knee to the face to send him sprawling to the ground. Recovering he quickly dashes out of the library. Buffy tries to go after him but the little kids swarm around, cheering her victory.
“Buffy! Welcome back!” Willow shouts over the kids’ cheers.
“You remember what happened?” asks Cordelia.
“It was creepy, like I was there but I couldn’t get out,” Buffy replies with a shudder. Suddenly Angel is there pulling her into a hug and they both ignore the outside world for each other’s arms.
“Yeah I know the feeling,” Cordelia says, wiggling in her shredded cat suit. “This outfits totally skin tight.” She pauses and looks at the hugging couple. “Hello? It felt like I was talking, my lips were moving and-”
“Give it up Cordelia,” says Willow. “You’re never going to get between them, they’re in love.”
Cordelia goes to say something but is cut off by Giles. “Well we better get these kids back to their parents.”
Violent images assail Xander’s mind after the spell ends. Murders, corpse strewn battlefields, the screams of the dying, demons, vampires, the horror of the undead, and entire life time of horrors from hunting the dark sear themselves into Xander’s memory. Clutching his head at the pain of the assault his mind copes in the only way it can and shuts down, sending him into a faint. The deluge of memories goes on for hours as the entire life of Mathias, his very essence, his beliefs, values, and skills fill Xander’s mind. Finally the torrent ends and Xander groggily climbs to his feet. ‘Have to check on the prisoner. He must burn for his crimes.’ Staggering over to where Ethan was tied all he finds is the bloodstained table and the blood-soaked ropes. ‘He must have used his blood as a lubricant to slip through the ropes. I should have tied him tighter.’ Clutching his head Xander picks up the pieces of his costume, automatically putting them in the proper places and ignoring the fact that they are all still very real. Clutching his head again he leans on the doorframe before starting his long walk home.
Half an hour after Xander leaves Giles rushes into the shop. Seeing the puddles of dried blood on the table he begins to search the store. Finding a blood-soaked cloth he inspects it closely. ‘Well it doesn’t match anything that Xander was wearing so I have to assume it was Ethan’s. And since there’s no body I also have to assume Ethan escaped. Now the only question is where is Xander?’ Sighing Giles heads home to catch some sleep before work the next day.
Abruptly Xander wakes up, a lifetime of habit forcing him awake with the sun’s first rays. Getting out of bed he immediately starts getting ready. First pants, socks, and a shirt. Grabbing his medallion he puts it on followed by his boots, chain mail, and trench coat. Reaching for his weapons belt he checks that the pistols, sword, and the various bags are in place. Buckling it around his waist he picks up the numerous daggers and knives and places them in his clothes. Snagging his hat off his desk he strides to the door, only to freeze as his hand grabs the knob. ‘What am I doing? I don’t wear this! Of course I do, its just too conspicuous now, not too mention hot.’ Clutching his head he collapses against the wall and slowly falls down until he’s sitting. He remains there, grasping his head and barely breathing. Finally he climbs to his feet. Discarding his clothes he pulls on instead a long sleeved dress shirt and jeans along with the combat boots he got for his original soldier costume. Quickly he pulls the knives and daggers out of the discarded clothing and stashes them all over his body. Finally he places his medallion over his neck and goes to tuck it into his shirt before he hesitates. ‘Let them see it, it’s a symbol of my faith.’ As if in response to his thoughts it glows softly for a second. Glancing at himself in the mirror he is satisfied that no one can tell he’s armed. Walking from his room he grabs a pop tart before heading to school.
Having a late start due to the activities of the night before Giles arrived later then usual, but still confident that he would be one of the first people at the school. ‘Lord knows that Snyder doesn’t bother arriving until the tardy bell so that he can catch late students. If it wasn’t for his secretary I swear this school would fall apart.’ Unlocking the door he heads into the library and makes a beeline to his office where the tea is kept. Catching movement out of the corner of his eye he whirls around, dropping his briefcase and raising his hands.
Relieved at hearing the familiar voice Giles settles down in a nearby chair. “Xander you startled me, I didn’t expect anyone to be here this early. Especially after last night.”
“I am used to rising with the sun and thought I could do some research while I waited.”
“Research?” asks Giles, peering at the book Xander held which seemed to be written in Latin. “You can read that?”
“Yes research. And the book seems to be written in a form of Benalish or at least close enough for comprehension.”
“Benalish? I don’t recognize that name. And the book seems to be Latin.”
“I believe it to be the language that Latin is based off of. It was used in the lands west of the Empire. I am quite fluent in it though I prefer Reikspiel.”
At this statement Giles starts and glares at Xander. “Mathias? Why didn’t you leave?”
Xander stands up and begins walking toward Giles. “Don’t worry. He left last night after the spell ended.”
Relieved, Giles settles back in his chair. “Well that’s good. I presume it’s just residual memories?” Suddenly Giles is pressed back in his chair, a dagger at his throat and an arm on his chest preventing movement.
“Now we talk Giles. How did you really know Ethan? Answer truthfully or I might be forced to more distasteful methods of finding the truth.”
A feeling of déjà vu fills Giles as he stares into the cold face of Xander. “He was an old friend of mine I haven’t seen in years.” A slight increase in pressure follows his answer. Feeling blood drip down his neck he starts talking. “We were in a band once. And with that came alcohol and then drugs. Eventually drugs weren’t enough and we started to look for more ways to get that sense of pleasure. I knew about magic from my father and I presented at as an option. Ethan took to it like a duck to water and soon became the one who chose which spells and rituals we did. It ended when we found Eyghon, the Sleepwalker. We would summon him into one of us and it gave all of use a large amount of, I guess the best term would be pleasure. Afterward an orgy of some sort would usually follow. But something went wrong. The demon took complete control of Randal, we had to kill him and banish the demon. That shocked all of us, enough for us to stop, or at least most of us. I went to school to become a Watcher; one became a banker, while another went into his family business. Ethan we just lost contact with, I think he was to far gone to ever really give it up. When you mentioned him last night it gave me quite a shock. I thought I had closed that chapter of my life. I’ve been trying to make up for it ever since by helping the Slayer and fighting the supernatural. I hadn’t used magic until last year when I had to counter the Madison’s spells and then when we bound Moloch.” Giles stops talking but the knife remains and Xander just stares at him as if assessing his soul, finally he snaps.
“You fool, you Sigmar-damned fool!” Cursing violently Xander paces around the room, while Giles watches. Abruptly he stops and spins to face Giles. “Were there any marks? Any at all? Even a lump forming or a skin discoloration?”
Shocked, Giles looks at him, mouth agape. “Y-yes. On my arm.” Before he can say more Xander bounds a crossed the room and rips his sleeve off, baring the Mark of Eyghon to the air.
“Tearing his eyes away from the Mark he glares at Giles. “You left it there you fool! Didn’t you try cleansing rituals of any sort at all? Now both Eyghon and Slaanesh have a foothold on your soul. You’re a threat to everyone around you with that Mark.” Before Giles can say anything he storms into Giles’ office and begins to rummage around. Reemerging a moment later he carries with him a caldron, a box of matches, and one of Giles’ bottles of scotch. Stalking to the table he slams the caldron down then sets the bottle and matches next to it. Picking up the pieces of the demolished chair he drops them in the caldron then dumps the bottle of scotch over them. Quickly he strikes a match and drops it in to form a nice sized fire.
“What are you doing?” asks Giles in alarm.
Ignoring him Xander dangles his medallion over the flame. “Lord Sigmar bless this fire to purify your enemies.” Pulling out a knife Xander places it carefully in the flame so the entire blade starts to heat up. Turning to face Giles he stalks towards him and stops less then a foot from him. “The Mark must come of Giles. And if you do not do this willingly I will simply burn you as all worshipers of the Foul Powers should be punished.” Seeing the glint of fanaticism in Xander’s eyes Giles nods reluctantly. “Good, your willingness to suffer foe your crimes bodes well for you. Now take off your belt.” Startled by the apparent non sequitur Giles looks up and sees Xander following his own order. Pulling it off he hands it to Xander who motions for him to sit back down. When he does Xander belts his arm securely to the chair, leaving no room for movement. Nodding to himself at the efficiency of the bindings Xander walks over to the cauldron and pulls out the now red-hot blade. “This will hurt but it is punishment for your sins.” Leaning over Giles arm he begins to cut and soon the sound of sizzling flesh is drowned out by Giles screams.
A minute later and Xander yanks the scrap of skin bearing the Mark free. Walking over to the caldron he tosses it in causing the flames to turn pure black and begin to melt the caldron. Grasping his amulet it begins to glow with a silvery light. “Sigmar rebukes you! Be gone from this place!” The light washes away at the flames and they gradually begin to turn gray before going out completely.
Walking over to the still whimpering Giles Xander un-belts his arm and then sits in a nearby chair, staring intently at Giles. “Don’t treat the wound on your arm, it is cauterized from the knife and will heal without aid as penance for your sins and a sign of devotion. But I still don’t know what to do with you. Part of me says I shouldn’t have done that while another part is screaming at me to finish the job. For now I will let you live but be warned Giles, if you ever think of going back to your old ways nothing will keep you from the pyre.”
“Why have you changed? Where did you get this knowledge? Surely the spell didn’t effect you this much?” asks Giles, still in shock.
“It did. I remember everything that Mathias went through. The vigorous training at the Temple, my Apprenticeship to Witch Hunter Captain Fredrick Greiber, seeing my mentor’s throat torn out by some black-winged horror sent by my own uncle. Hunting down that uncle and finding him allied with the Skaven. I remember the vampire sorcerer Sibbechai and the necromancer Carandaini. I remember the plague-fiend that Baron von Gotz became, gigantic and black, dripping pus and ichors from a gaping wound in its middle. How foul that stench was. The battle that shattered the world and the foul horrors that fought in it are seared into my memory. The agony that came with the knowledge our Order was dying out is still fresh in my mind. But most of all I remember my faith and conviction to root out all the horrors of the Foul Powers and punish them! My methods may be harsh but they are all that kept the darkness back. The only reason you remain alive Giles is that a tiny part of me remains Xander, foolish and naïve. But that part is disappearing as I remember just what mercy can cause. I spared a man once, I neglected my duty. He was Gregor Klausner, a noble who was kind, faithful, and brave. He actually anted to be a Templar. The vampire Sibbechai had haunted his family for centuries for hiding a book full of dark magic from it. They had used the book’s foul magic to protect themselves from the vampire at the cost of five innocents lives every twenty years. But the vampire grew too powerful. In the end dozens died as both sides sacrificed them in an attempt to undo the magic of the other. Gregor had no idea of his family’s evil heritage and he gladly helped me hunt the vampire. In the end his father and brother were dead and he was comatose. I left him that way, convinced I had done my job by driving off the vampire and keeping it from the book, but I was lying to myself. The vampire’s poison was in him, but I foolishly deluded myself into thinking that he could fight it and get well or fall into the embrace of true death. Instead he rose as a minion of the vampire, thrall to its commands. That was what my supposed mercy cost.” Xander slowly trails off, a far away look in his eyes as he remembers the unspeakable horrors and damage done by Gregor.
At this point Giles tries to speak, to try and remind Xander that he is not Mathias. “Xander-”
“Be silent!” Xander thunders. “I am no longer Xander. He is gone, burned away, purified. He was weak, but I am strong and it will be people like me who will win this war. I am Alexander, Templar of Sigmar, instrument of his divine judgment. You are corrupted Giles and willingly at that. But you have tried to repent and for that I will spare you. Perhaps one day I will be able to talk to you again if you follow Sigmar’s path, after all I have worked with sanctioned magic-users in the past, but for now we part ways. You will give me contact information for the Council.”
“I am no longer Xander. I am Templar Alexander and you would do well to remember that. Now get me the information, or I will take it as a sign that you refuse Sigmar’s mercy.”
Sighing in frustration and defeat Giles heads into his office and gathers the required papers. Taking them out to Alexander he begins to explain. “These contain the full contact information for the Council. Additionally there is the number for the Head’s private line, only supplied to the current Slayer’s Watcher. The back papers contain information on any Council associates and allies in the nearby area.”
“Good. Now you have one other task. Explain to Buffy that I will no longer associate with her and not to seek me out or the consequences will be… severe. If you have need of my services though in the event of an apocalypse I will put aside my distaste for the good of humanity.”
“Why won’t you work with Buffy? She’s fighting the same fight,” asks Giles in puzzlement.
“Do you know where the Slayer gets her powers from?” responds Alexander.
“No,” replies Giles, “That information was lost to the Council.”
“It is obviously supernatural, meaning a form of magic. All magic is descended from Chaos and by trying to use the weapon of the enemy you only condemn yourself. This war will be fought by humanity, for humanity, and we will win. Farewell Giles and may Sigmar guide your path.” With that final statement Alexander strides out of the library, leaving a saddened Giles in his wake.
After school that day, in the Library…
The doors fling open and Buffy comes running in followed closely by Willow. “Giles! Something’s wrong with Xander!” shouts Willow.
“He’s been avoiding us all day and when we finally found him he ignored me! And all he did was nod at Willow,” adds Buffy.
Before Giles can respond Jenny Calendar comes in through the doors. “What happened last night? There were all these monsters running around, and I swear I saw some ewoks.”
Sighing Giles gestures for them to take seats and then pulls out his glasses and starts to polish them. “A spell was preformed last night that caused people with certain costumes to become the costumes as Willow and Buffy can attest to. The spell was broken and everyone seems to have resumed how they were the moment the spell hit.”
“Wait,” interrupts Buffy. “You mean all those monsters Xander slew last night are back to being unharmed little kids?”
“Yes, they are.
“How’s that possible?” asks Jenny. “That would take a huge amount of power, probably beyond anything but the most skills casters are capable of. They would be resurrecting anyone killed. And none of them would waste time on something like that.”
Rubbing the bridge of his nose Giles looks down at the table and takes his time in answer. “That power is possible, just not from a caster. They petition a… patron, usually in the form of a demon. And I suspect that no one was killed, instead they were put in a kind of stasis I suppose. Now Buffy, do you remember anything of the person you dressed as?”
“Huh, oh no. Well, actually a bit of German but that’s about it. What does that have to do with anything?” she asks.
“I suspect that Xander was under another spell in addition to the one Willow and Buffy experienced because he has underwent a significant… change. He apparently remembers everything about his character and it has influenced him.”
“But they’re just memories!” protests Willow. “How could they do that much?”
“Memories are who you are Willow,” Giles explains gently. “They are what make you the person you are. Amnesia victims often turn out to be completely different people if they never remember what they lost. And in Xander’s case I’m afraid it is much worse.”
“He’s gonna be alright Giles! Right? Right? We can fix him1” Willows pleads.
“I’m afraid not,” sighs Giles. “Whatever was done is beyond the point of no return. I saw him this morning, and he was already referring to the things ‘Mathias’ had done as his own. And his personality has already changed. He no longer answers to Xander, instead he calls himself Alexander. And what’s more, I’m afraid he wants nothing to do with us.”
“No way! He would never do that to us.”
“That would explain what happened today,” adds Jenny. “He dropped my class and when I asked him about it he just ignored me.”
“Yes I’m afraid that would be in character for him,” says Giles with a sigh. “He now loathes the supernatural to an extent I have rarely seen before. You practice magic and are a heretic on top of that; I’m surprised he only ignored you. And he believes you to be corrupted Buffy by whatever gives you your powers.”
“And what about you Giles? Asks Jenny with a shrewd look on her face. “You said he no longer wants anything to do with ‘us.’”
“I’m afraid he holds so of my past history against me, in fact I would say that the only one who has a chance to even talk to him would be Willow, and only if she would give up the rest of us.”
“He’ll still talk to me?” asks Willow excitedly. “I have a chance to say him?”
“No,” says Giles bluntly. “There is nothing we can do beyond hope he regains a sense of himself in time. I would advise avoiding him for the time being. Even you Willow, if he knows you still talk to us he would be angry.”
“I agree.” At that statement everyone looks at Buffy in surprise. “He knew that those monsters were actually children last night, at least for part of the evening. But he had no idea that they would heal after the spell ended and he still killed them.”
“But, but…” stammers Willow.
“I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do,” says Giles sadly.
At the same time as the remaining Scoobies are meeting…
“Travers here. Report Giles.”
“It’s not Giles.”
“WHAT! Who are you?! How did you get this number?”
“I am Alexander Harris. You probably know that I know the current Slayer from Giles reports. He gave me the number. And I have an offer for you.”
“Just what could a boy like you offer the Council?”
That is how my story began. Now it is up to me to reawaken the world to the danger it faces. Never in its darkest days did the Empire allow Chaos to roam so freely without attempting to stop it. I must spread the truth and remind the world just what forces threaten it.
AN: Well this is it, the first major part of a story I will be writing. If anyone is interested the character Mathias exists in a very well written series of books by C.L. Werner. Alexander will be alternately darker and lighter at times as his memories adjust to the 20th century and how he will fit in.
To sum up a witch hunter in one word would be fanatic. They risk their lives on a daily basis fighting unspeakable horrors. They require a strong mind and an even stronger faith to survive with their sanity intact. They fall in a wide spectrum from those who attempt to use magic against the forces of Chaos to those who would burn a sick person because they obviously worship Nurgle. Mathias falls in the middle ground, a faithful man who attempts to protect the citizens of the Empire without straying from his faith.
If you go to the Black Library website and search for Witch Hunter you can find a sample extract.