Warriors of Light Author:
BTVS/Kindred the Embrace/Anita Blake. Spoilers:
Cerulean Sins Pairings:
Buffy/Julian, Anita/Jean-Claude Ratings:
R for language and sexual situation. Feedback:
Yes Please. Distribution:
Please ask and it will be given unto you. Summary:
Sequel to New Beginnings.
The Master of San Francisco decided to pay the Master of St. Louis a visit. After a long rest, Buffy Summers and Julian Luna had awakened to a new world. Can they get used to this world or will it be too overwhelming? Disclaimer:
All characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer belonged to Joss Whedon, while the characters from the world of Anita Blake belong to Laurell K. Hamilton. Also the world of Kindred the Embrace belongs to FOX , Spelling Television Inc, White Wolf or the copyright individual.... AN: This story is the sequel to New Beginnings and Kindred Laws which is continued in the Anita Blake universe. The background takes place two years after Cerulean Sins and before Incubus Dreams, which I hadn’t read prior to having written this story. Anita’s sexual relationship with Asher, Micah, Nathaniel, Damien and Richard, might be alluded to, but the primary focus will be Jean-Claude’s. AN: #2 English texts were translated to French text by http://babelfish.altavista.com/tr, so please don’t blame me for wrong spelling, wording etc… "Have you been killing vampires, my little animator?" (Guilty Pleasures, page 26, paragraph 4) Chapter 1 St. Louis, Missouri
On her way to the Circus of the Damned, Anita Blake drove her Jeep Durango cautiously on the highway, not paying attention to her fellow passengers; instead ,
she went to that quiet place in her mind that she fled to when she was upset. Though at that moment, she didn’t know who she should be more upset with -- Belle Morte, for messing with her mind, or Richard. She shook her head, she had to get over him fast, she couldn’t have him continue to hurt her the way he did. Although she understood that Belle had been messing with his head all day as well as hers.
It was funny, she mused; Richard, a supernatural creature, didn’t like to believe in things he couldn’t see or taste. So when Richard’s Skoll, Jamil, wanted to use her house and her bathtub for Richard’s use, she ran. If that made her a coward, so be it. 'Of course, this is all Jean-Claude’s fault
, that Belle was messing with her
,’ Anita thought with a scowl as she peered at the cars in front of her. If it wasn’t for the triumvirate between her, Richard and Jean-Claude, Belle Morte wouldn’t be able to use that as an excuse to test their power. Belle wanted to see how strong she was. How strong was she? Even she, Anita didn’t know how strong.
Anita gave a small sigh, she couldn’t understand how her life had become so complicated.
When she had first start dating Richard, Jean-Claude had demanded that she also date him. If dating an alpha werewolf wasn’t bad enough, imagine dating a master vampire and then try dating both at the same time. She had thought juggling both of them would stop her from being hurt; she was wrong.
That was why she was going to the Circus. She couldn’t deal with Richard and his neuroses right now.
Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a car. 'How long had it been following them?'
“There’s a car following us,” she told her passengers. “Don’t look,” she yelled, causing them each to twist awkwardly to see the traffic back them.
How crazy was it to tell a person not to do something, which they are dying to do? It was like an itch begging to be scratched.
Jason, who was sitting beside Anita in the passenger side seat, slowly turned his head for a better look behind him. There was definitely a car following them. It was several lanes back, but each time Anita turned or sped up, the other vehicle continued to stay on their trail.
Out of nowhere, a strong odor suddenly permeated the car.
“Do you smell that?” Anita demanded, her hand tightening on the steering wheel.
She received several contradictory answers from the back. Jason started sniffing, trying to identify the elusive smell. Anita sniffed delicately, also trying to identify the aroma. It was an intrusive scent, a mixture of rose and something else, it was the same fragrance from earlier in the day. Suddenly it clicked - Belle Morte; she wanted to play.
“Damn,” she muttered. “Why now?”
Lately, that's all she had been thinking -- why now. It seemed that she had been inundated with a lot of vamp politics. She frowned; she couldn’t concentrate on Belle and drive at the same time.
She gestured to Jason to exchange places. It was a little bit awkward, without stopping the car, but they couldn’t afford to stop. The car weaved in and out of traffic as Jason took a second to gain control of the steering wheel, causing irate drivers to honk their horns furiously. Without warning, a bright light flashed blinding them and instinctively Anita threw her arms up, closing her eyes.
When she finally opened them, she found that she was no longer in the car with Nathaniel, Jason and Caleb, but in a room. It was dark, but not quite pitch black, thanks to a small light that was reflected in an ornate mirror.
She felt dizzy, nauseous, and disoriented, her head reeling as if she were in a drunken stupor. She shook her head, trying to snap out of the daze she found herself in, before she peered cautiously around the room. ‘Where am I?’
The room was huge, with windows that seemed to gaze upon nothing. The view sent a wave of foreboding through her as it seemed so thick and vaporous as it filled the room, creating an illusion of nothingness.
The only thing holding it at bay, was the small pinprick of light reflected in the mirror on the wall, which in turn overlooked a large bed that stood in the center of the room.
The bed was covered by what appeared to be black silk sheets, which Anita saw concealed shapes, which lay as still as death. Feeling every nerve in her body come alive, goose bumps rose on her flesh; she stretched out her hand cautiously, reaching out to them.
She took a second, glancing around her apprehensively while having her hand out stretched; a shape shifted, causing Anita to pull back as she gasped in fright. The noise echoed loudly and eerily in the room, and just as suddenly as she found herself in the room, Anita found herself back in her car surrounded by chaos.
Somewhere in the ether, in a place that time had forgotten, surrounded by eternal darkness, Buffy Summers felt a disturbance in the air. She shifted, trying to wake up to a voice that was chanting rhythmical in her ear. “Wake up. Wake up.”
“Slayer, wake up,” the voice continued to call.
“What?” Buffy murmured; her eyes still closed as her body remained drugged from sleep.
“The world needs you,” the voice persisted; it was smooth, insistent.
Buffy grumbled as her eyes fought to open. She squinted, peering bewildered around the dark room trying to see in the dark. “Ugghh,” she muttered, yawning widely.
“Slayer,” the voice said firmly.
“Who’s there?” she whispered, searching the almost empty room.
“It’s me,” Whistler said, as the room began to lighten due to a multitude of candles, which had begun to magically flicker into life.
Blinking in her bewilderment, Buffy watched as Whistler moved further into the light. Whistler was a balance demon for the Powers that Be; his job was to guide the warriors that fought for the light.
He was a small human-looking demon, with a broad New York accent. In addition, he dressed like a pimp, with a multi-colored overly large check coat, and brown corduroy pants that were turned down at the bottoms.
“Hey there, Slayer,” he said, grinning cheerfully.
“Whistler?” Buffy questioned, gazing around her.
The room she was in was bereft of any major furnishings. It only consisted of a bed, a mirror, and dark curtains that cover the windows. Suddenly, her mind was flooded with memories.
“Oh,” she mumbled. “The last thing I remember, Julian and I were going away---to rest. How long have I been out?” she asked curiously.
Whistler smiled guilty. “Over a thousand years,” he confessed his tone apologetic.
“What!” Buffy screeched, jerking up in shock. “Did you say, over a thousand years? I thought I heard you said over a thousand years,” she repeated dumbfounded, her voice shaky.
“I did,” he admitted, watching her with concern in his eyes.
“A thousand years,” she muttered to herself. “Why did we sleep for so long?” she asked.
Whistler looked the same, Buffy realized dumbly. She shook her head in disbelief. He seemed ageless. How old is he?
Julian stirred and mumbled Buffy’s name.
“Julian?” Buffy called, bending down to caress his face.
She felt breathless, like a young girl meeting her crush for the first time as she watched him stir. A soft and loving curve touched her lips.
This was her Julian. Her eyes caressed him. He was the same, no physical change despite the thousand years Whistler told her that they where sleeping. Julian was a handsome man, with full sensual lips, dark olive tone skin, high cheekbones, dark hair and rich dark brown eyes like dark chocolates. Lying curled up on the bed, with a dark curl fallen into his face, Buffy thought he looked like an angel.
Julian blinked, and he focused his eyes on her face. His mouth stretched into a wide smile as he saw her leaning over him. “Hello.”
“Are you awake?” she whispered, bending down to plant a kiss on his face.
Julian nodded with a yawn. His mouth twisted in a smile. He had the most delightful dream, in which Buffy was most prominent. He opened his mouth to tell her, but his smile turned to a frown when Buffy said.
“Whistler is here.”
She smoothed the frown from his face. Even after all these years, a look from Julian made her heart beat faster.
Then Buffy dropped another bomb “And I’ve been told that we've been asleep for over a thousand years,” she told him with quiet emphasis.
Julian eyes widened, he jumped up with an exclamation. “What?!” All sleep disappeared from his body, he felt wide-awake. “It can’t be,” he protested. “Why were we allowed to sleep for so long?” he asked, staring at Whistler with shock.
Whistler eyed them sheepishly. “They didn’t know what to do with you guys,” he admitted.
“What!?” Buffy cried in astonishment.
Whistler frowned, “Your world didn’t stand still because you decided to take a nap- things moved on, things changed.”
They stared at him incredulously.
“Look, Slayer,” he said, with an edge to his voice. “We didn’t do it deliberately. We have to monitor several dimensions, not just yours; we’ve been putting out fires here and there and everywhere while you’ve been having your snooze and it wasn’t like we were going to wake you up and dump you in the middle of nowhere, so you were kind of put on the shelf,” he admitted bluntly.
A tense silence enveloped the room.
“So why then, after all this time, did you wake us up?” she asked, breaking the silence.
“We need you,” Whistler announced, his voice was rough with anxiety.
Buffy eyed him with incredulity. “You need us?” she questioned, blinking in skepticism.
“Is that an excuse or an explanation?” she demanded.
“We really don’t have an excuse,” he admitted while he strolled around the room, “But we have a problem and to be honest we don’t have a clue what to do about it – so before it gets out of hand we thought we’d let you two have a go.”
Buffy sighed in exasperation. “So, you have had us on a shelf for a thousand years and you now want me to fix something for you?” A thousand years, she thought flabbergasted. The world, what happen to the world? Oh my God, my family.
“Basically, yes,” Whistler admitted grudgingly.
Buffy closed her eyes. “My children?” she moaned, feeling a momentary panic as the realization of how much time had past finally began to sink in, “What happen to them?” she snapped, and with a burst of speed grabbed Whistler by his collar.
“Calm down, Slayer!” he shouted, shrugging out of her hold. “Your children are fine.”
Buffy stared at Whistler in confusion. “We’ve been asleep for a thousand years – don’t just tell me that they are fine – what happened to them.”
“Sasha?” cried Julian. He took a few steps towards Buffy, only to pause in alarm. Sasha was the only descendant of his line, he could think of. “Is something wrong with Sasha?”
Sasha was Julian’s biological granddaughter, several times removed, and Julian’s last surviving relative from before he was embraced. After Sasha's grandfather, Julian's grandson, died, a rival clan embraced Sasha against her will after Julian had introduced her to the Kindred world, and although Sasha was then Brujah Kindred, she was still a part of Julian and Buffy’s life. She had even married a member of another rival Kindred clan, and had two children with him.
Julian gazed bewildered at Whistler, his hands fist-ted at his side as he waited impatiently for Whistler to answer his question. Buffy moved towards Julian, knowing instinctively what he was feeling.
“Why can’t you let me finished?” Whistler asked exasperated. “Now,” he said sighing. Then he preceded to tell Buffy and Julian how Cash and Daedulus had run the Council, Buffy had started for years using the memory of Buffy and Julian’s deeds to keep order, then how they were rewarded by the PTB several years later by being allowed to sleep.
“Slayer,” Whistler continued. “Because we kept you on ice- so to speak for ;long time, we weren’t able send you back to your dimension." Then Whistler went on to explain about how technology has overrun Julian and Buffy’s Earth. “The last Slayer died out centuries ago. All Supernatural beings such as vampires, were-wolves, witches and all magic users were killed on sight. It all began with an uprising called the Culling.”
“Dear God!” Julian cried with an appalled expression.
“It started as a fringe group, then it expanded to those who decided that others such as vampires were an abomination,” Whistler continued.
“But…” Buffy protested. “Not all supernatural beings are evil.”
“You are right,” he agreed with a nod. “I know that and you know that, but some people are ignorant. They prosecuted and killed anyone just because they are different. You know that what make you such a great Slayer,” he mused.” You were able to define that distinction more so that others, but these…people didn’t care about that. It was genocide, similar to that in your Earth with Hitler in the early centuries. Because of that fact, we had to find a compatible place to send you guys.”
“What?” Buffy said, her mouth dropping open unattractively.
Julian gave a quick intake of breath.
Whistler sighed. “Please let me explain. The Powers wanted to send both of you to world that was supernatural in nature. So they found a parallel Earth that is the same as the dimension both of you came from except one thing. The world knows that vampires and all kinds of supernatural activity exist.”
“Oh my God!” Buffy exclaimed with a stunned look.
“It’s true, Slayer,” said Whistler, with a smirk. “The world knows that vampires exist.”
“If that world knows about vampires then I’d be free,” She rushed toward Julian, jumping into his arms she cried in amazement. “I’m free.” ‘Uh, oh,’
thought Whistler to himself. “Uh, not quite Slayer,” he said embarrassed. “I didn’t mean to give you that impression.”
“What do you mean?” she demand, blinking with bafflement.
“Please,” he begged stretching out his arms as if to placate the woman in front of him. “Let me tell you what’s going on. Several years ago, five years to be exact, there was court case; it argued the rights of vampires to be 'alive.' It was called Addison v. Clark. That court case opened up a huge can of worms.”
Whistler took a breath, before he continued, “There was a lot of contention regarding this debate, including the rights of heirs; should they give back their inheritance. Then, there was ‘is anyone truly widowed if you spouse is 'undead’
?’ Plus, in the last couple of months there’s been a movement to try and give vampires the right to vote in elections; politicians love that one,” Whistler admitted, with a small grin. “I can see it now vampires marching to the polls to do their civic duty.”
“Anyway,” he said, shaking his head in amusement in his eyes. “In this world there is a Council, like the one you had created, it’s existed peacefully for several hundred years, being run by their members. They then got so powerful that the Council members had to move to Europe to protect themselves, as well as humans.”
“So what has this got to do with us?” Buffy asked, frowning.
“Belle what?” Buffy’s frown deepens.
“Belle Morte, she one of the ruling heads of the Council in Europe and the Powers is concerned about her.”
“Beautiful Death?” mused Julian. “Is she as beautiful as her name proposed her to be?” he wondered, his mouth twitching with amusement.
Buffy shot Julian a withering glance as Julian raised his eyebrow inquiringly.
Buffy eyes narrowed in warning.
Julian gave a brief smile and a small shrug before turning towards Whistler.
“Yes, she is and she is very deadly. She wasn’t born with the name Belle Morte, but it suits her.
“What kind of problems does the P.T.B have with this ‘Beautiful Death’
?” Buffy asked mockingly. She couldn’t get over the fact a person was called Beautiful Death.
“Look kid,” Whistler said with a frown. “Don’t mock the name; she is as deadly as a rattlesnake. Plus, she has her fingers in more pies than any one else in Europe. She once guided royalty, is capable of starting wars or ending them. She has power and she craves more, without someone like you, Slayer, and Julian there to police it, the ideology behind this world's Council changed, it got warped. Cash and Daedalus, were able to hold things together in your world using what you two had already put in place by using you, but here there wasn’t that to hold on to.” he said, letting out a long but audible breath.
“What do you mean that Cash and Daedalus used us?” asked Julian.
“Kid in your world and the one you left, you were feared because you were the Slayer while you, Julian were feared, because at one point, you were a Ventrue enforcer. I know that years have now passed, but the Kindred, they have a real long memory, so they still kept to the rules.”
Buffy gave Julian a quick glance. She uttered one word, more of a grunt really. “Uhn.”
“Cash and Daedalus kept people in line by using the memory of you two. But here the vampires have let power go to their heads- they started using magic to prey on the less fortunate.”
“Isn’t it always that way,” agreed Julian with a shrug. “It has always has been same, the ones with the power become more powerful, while the ones without are preyed upon.”
“True,” Whistler replied. “Plus, Belle Morte is not helping matters. She needs to be taken down a peg or two, she’s a sadist with power, and she is growing more and more arrogant. Also, while both of you slept, the guards we had watching over you, they disappeared. It looks like Belle Morte was able to call them, but she shouldn’t have been able to,” Whistler said with a puzzled frown.
“Isn’t that a sign that she is gaining more powers?” Buffy asked.
“Maybe” he reasoned. “Or it could be something else. We had used very powerful magic to hide both of you.
“Then how could she do it?” Buffy asked with a puckered brow.
“We don’t know? The Powers felt a rift in the balance,” he admitted. “Something has happened that shouldn't have happened. They’re worried.”
“What!?” asked Buffy alarmed, “The Powers are worried?” she questioned skeptically.
“Yes,” Whistler stated quietly, “If she is now strong enough to reach out through the dimensions – to influence your guards, here of all places, then we have a problem.”
“What do you mean problem?” asked Julian.
“If it is just Belle Morte, then that much power in being in the hands of one person, especially one like her isn’t good, if it is something else then the powers want to know what it wants.”
“Then what can little ol me do?” she asked with a frown.
“You’re still a warrior of light,” he pointed out. “Although the Powers are omniscient, they can’t interfere in the lives of man. They can only guide you; everything else is up to you. Free will and all.”
“Why didn’t they stop Belle Morte from corrupting our guards?”
Whistler gave her a look.
“I know, free will,” she scoffed, rolling her eyes, thinking the Powers were probably afraid to actually challenge anyone. When was the last time the Powers had gotten off their collective butts to actually help? Don’t get her wrong, she was grateful for what they had done for her-mostly. But sometimes she thought that the Powers only used humanity as pawns on a chess board, only to be moved willy-nilly or as sacrifices to their whims.
“Yes,” Whistler replied, “Plus, she couldn’t have hurt you anyway.”
Buffy eyebrows rose. “Really? Are you sure?”
Whistler frowned and avoided her gaze.
Buffy sighed. “What does she want from us anyway?”
“By leaving both of you unprotected, she probably thought she could step in and kill you.”
“Kill us?” Buffy questioned her eyebrow rose incredulously. “Why? We haven’t done anything to her.”
“It’s about power,” Whistler admitted, as he began to pace up and down in front of them.
“Power?” Buffy asked. “Why does everyone want it so much of that?”
Whistler shrugged, “It makes the world goes around.”
“I thought that was money,” said Julian dryly.
“So, killing us will bring this Belle Morte power?” Buffy questioned.
“Yeah kid,” Whistler acknowledge with a nod. “Not only you are the longest living Slayer, but you are also, mated to a vampire, and have untold potential for mystical power that is what she wants. No one really knows what you are any more, over the years, you have become more than a myth; you’ve became an enigma.”
“An enigma?” Buffy asked.
“The thing is – the stories that Cash and Daedulus used about you, well they kind of leaked.”
“What do you mean leaked?” Buffy questioned.
“They spread, not only through space but through time itself. There are legends about the two of you spanning not just the time you were asleep but before that and in the future too, they are everywhere – and in most of the dimensions as well.”
Julian put up a hand, “How is that possible?”
“The power of belief?” Buffy replied, her response as much of a question as a possible answer.
Whistler shrugged, “Gossip – go figure.”
“In some places, including Belle’s dimension they even believe that you’re the one that created the first vampire, slayer” Whistler explained, “Being a Slayer gave you powers, and mating with Julian gave you more. The years you had together have made you both stronger, and also the fact that you both have been asleep for so long, as well as what people say what you can do – well, your abilities may have grown in ways that we don’t know about yet. In all, you two, well, you’re the most powerful couple on Earth. You could probably end the word with a wave of your hand.”
Buffy was uneasy at Whistler’s last statement, “Aren’t you worried we’ll do just that?”
“No,” Whistler quickly replied, “Both of you know how to handle power responsibly, but we are not just relying on fate, here. If we see that you are leaning towards the dark side, we will take you down. Even you Slayer, have the potential to be evil.”
Buffy stood there not saying a word as she took in what Whistler said.
“You didn’t contradict me,” Whistler noted, surprised, when she didn’t say something.
“Why?” Buffy asked with a dismissive shrug. “You’re right. We’re yin and yang, both positive and negative. In my heart, I know I would never turn, but I can’t tell you what might happen tomorrow.”
Suddenly her eyes snapped towards Whistler. “Did you say something about Europe earlier?”
Whistler nodded slowly with a confuse look on his face.
Whistler face cleared. He chuckled. “Yes, when I say parallel, I mean parallel. They are few key things in history that was different, but overall this Earth is like yours.”
“Do we have doppelgangers in this dimension?” she wondered.
“No, that is why it was chosen. Both of you never have a twin here.”
“But the things we accomplishment,” Buffy mentioned with a confused frown. “It doesn’t exist here,” she pointed out.
“Yes they do,” Whistler said. “In the mind of others, Buffy Summers and Julian Luna exist.”
Buffy nodded. “So how do we get to this Belle Morte? Go to Europe?”
“No, St. Louis,” Whistler announced.
“St. Louis, Missouri? Why there?” Buffy wondered, with a frown.
“For the last couple of years, the P.T.B’s have noticed that there seems to be some sort of a mystical confluence there. For example, unusual things have been happening there for some reason and all of it seems to be linked to a childe of Belle Morte line: Jean-Claude. He’s gained an enormous amount of power lately. The Powers want you to check him out, and anywhere Jean-Claude is, Belle Morte is sure not to be too far behind.”
“You think there is a Hellmouth there?” she asked, troubled. Even before her sleep, she hadn’t dealt with a Hellmouth for centuries, they could be so unpredictable.
“We don’t know,” he admitted. “That is what we need you to find out, and to make sure Belle Morte is behaving herself.”
Taking Julian by the hand, Buffy was relieved. “No big,” she agreed with a shrug. “Okay, we go to St. Louis find the Hellmouth and close it.”
“You know that it’s going take more than five minutes,” he declared eyeing her with exasperation.
She nodded. “As long it takes,” she admitted with an excited air. After such a long rest, she was ready for a challenge.
“Good,” Whistler said lightly,“And another thing, before you go.”
“What?” she said dryly, her eyes narrowed with suspicion. 'Uh, oh'
, she thought. 'Here it comes, the other shoe going to drop now.' “
What are you going to tell me? That my name is not really Buffy Summers? That I’m a clone of the original?’”
“This,” he said firmly touching both Julian and Buffy.
Shock flew through Buffy system as she and Julian was inundating with memories of the last thousand years. Her mind was assaulted as images upon images, regarding the history of the world that they were expected to live in, were viciously poured into their brains.
She dropped on the floor, her hand to her head as pain raged up and down her body. Julian and Buffy writhed and screamed, thrashing in agony on the floor; both coming to a shuddering halt after a few minutes. They gasped, breathing harshly, turning to look at Whistler with their eyes, nose and mouth running red with blood.
“Oh God!” Buffy moaned holding on to Julian for support. “Whistler, don’t ever do that again,” she whispered shakily, as the pain slowly receded. Childbirth wasn’t that painful.
Whistler stood looking mercilessly at them. “Boy, if you two can take that, then both of you are stronger than I thought.”
“My city!” Julian cried, holding his head in pain. But, the pain was more mental than physically even though blood was still flowing freely down his face. As at that moment, Julian could see, in his mind’s eye, the wars and upheaval that had befallen his beloved San Francisco since he had been gone, “I have to do something.”
“Julian, it isn’t your city you saw,” Whistler said with a sheepish grin. “The whole West Coast of the US is a mess, but if it is such a big deal to you can fix it and with Buffy, at your side, it shouldn’t take long; but then you have go to St. Louis.”
“Good,” Julian said.
“The powers can take care of everything for your return; money and holdings will be waiting for you as well as the contacts it will all be in place, so you don't have to worry about starting over with nothing. This dimension’s version of your original servants will have a home ready for you, and it is a replica of the one you left, so everything will be back to normal.”
“What about the others- our family, will they be there with us?” Buffy asked.
Whistler shook his head, “No they are still asleep.”
“But we’ll need people we can really trust,” Julian replied.
“Okay, you can call them if you need them,” Whistler replied, “Happy now?”
“I suppose, except for the state of my city,” Julian said dryly, as he trying to catch his breath as he recovered from the onslaught that had been inflected on his mind.
“Well” Whistler scolded, “In the words of Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, you can’t always get what you want – but if you try real hard, you might find, you get what you need.” And with a nod he began to shimmer, before disappearing.
Buffy looked around at the room that was her bedroom for the last several centuries one last time.
She turned to Julian. “It is time for us to leave this place,” she announced. She was a little bit scared. She had spent more time in that room than she lived.
For second time in her life, she had no choice but to begin anew. She grabbed Julian’s hands, ready to start their adventure, when suddenly they heard a knock at the door.
Authors Notes: Thanks to my Beta’s Clarityfades, Sidura & Karbear57 who has made this story possible.