A/N: I wasn't planning on adding a chapter for the tales that Dawn was going to tell them. But someone asked for it in a review, so here it is. I'm REALLY sorry if Dawn's reactions are off or if someone didn't react as you thought they would. And I seem to have misplaced Haldir, he was supposed to be following them, maybe he's just really quiet....lol
“Ok...let me get this straight” Dawn furrowed her brow “Sauron was a big bad 3000 years ago, there were rings, the nine that went to men turned them into...wraiths” she paused for confirmation and then continued on “and Sauron had his own little master ring. He was defeated and the ring went away. Now...3000 years later, Sauron's back and...he's what? A giant, flaming eye?” she once again paused for confirmation. “And...these guys follow a freaking EYE, with absolutely no question? This is worse than the first evil! This is just...strange. I say get a bucket of Visine and throw it on him” she stated. When everyone stared at her strangely, she held up her hands in placidity “ok, that's right up there with the humus idea, never mind” she shook her head “I'm just saying...it's an eye...who follows an eye? I don't get it. And the worse part? He doesn't have an ass to kick, that's always annoying. So now we're fighting for the freedom of this world and peace in the land. That I can totally deal with” she nodded.
Gandalf hid a grin of amusement, which he shared with Aragorn and they turned to look at her. “So...what are your tales, my dear?”
“Oh, I don't have much of my own, my sister is the one with a whole bunch of tales because she's the Sl-” she bit her tongue and choked on the word slightly “sl...ave....slave to the battle world, she loves a good fight” she said quickly, cursing her near slip of the tongue. Real bright, Dawn, even in a different place people might still know what a Slayer is and want to kidnap her little sister, as if she hadn't already been through that
enough already. “Real big warrior, that sister of mine. Gimli asked me what a vampire is, well a vampire was a human once and then that human was bitten by a demon and that demon's spirit possessed the human body and he became a vampire, feeding off the blood of other humans. Killing most, turning others to make more of his kind. To make you a vampire they have to suck your blood until you are on the brink of death and then they'll open a vein and pour their blood down your throat then wait for you to die and be reborn. They're unnaturally strong and evil by nature. Shame you don't have them here, cause those I know how to kill really well” she sighed slightly.
“And this is what you fought at your home?” Hama asked, looking concerned.
Dawn let out an exhausted sigh and closed her eyes, nodding her head slowly in affirmation. “Well...not me, alone. But yeah, there was definite slayage on my part” she replied “I wanted to help, I kinda needed to.” she shrugged “I only really got involved in actively fighting the big evil when I was 15 and even then it was still me being kidnapped and my sister coming to save my stupid ass.” she rolled her eyes at herself “I was a very stupid child, I realize that now and I'm kind of ashamed of it, but that's besides the point. Um...when I was 15...there was a God, Glory-”
“A God?” Aragorn asked hesitantly.
“Above everyone else, virtually unkillable, stronger than even the strongest mystical entity, immortal and TOTALLY insane” she wrinkled her nose “she was a hell goddess and she wanted to go back to her hell home. Unfortunately for me, she got it set in her mind that it was me that she would be needing to get this job done. She fed on the sanity of humans, sucked it right out of their heads, left one of my best friends pretty crazy for awhile. And she had all these crazy people build a tower for her and when they were done, she stuck me on the top of the tower and told me to wait. Well, I didn't really have any choice, I was tied up there, right?” she looked around at everyone paying rapt attention to her story and grinned. “My sister was below on the ground, fighting this God with a Troll hammer, and so I'm alone up on this tower and Glory's never going to get to me in time, glimmer of hope, yeah? Not so much. This demon, called himself Doc, came up there, I thought he was nice at first cause he'd helped before but this time....” she trailed off and shuddered “shallow cuts, shallow cuts, let the blood run free” she murmured, bringing a protective hand to her stomach. “He cut me and I bled and my blood created a portal that was letting out hell monsters everywhere. The portal wouldn't be closed until the blood ran out and my sister come up to save me...” she trailed off, her throat closing tightly as hot tears pricked at the corners of her eyes. “I'm sorry...I really don't like talking about this” she told them, reaching a hand up to wipe at her suddenly wet eyes.
“It's alright, my dear, one would expect these experiences to be hard on you. If they were easy, they wouldn't be as important, would they?” Gandalf asked.
“Well...the next year, my sister was resurrected, our town got ransacked by demons. There was some singing and dancing, totally mystical. My sisters best friend went off the deep end and got addicted to magic. I turned into a total Kleptomaniac and started stealing things. My sister started sleeping with a vampire behind everyone's back, Xander and Anya got engaged, Xander left Anya during the marriage ceremony” she paused thoughtfully for a moment “My sister got stabbed by a demon that injected her with a hallucinogenic poison that made her think she was insane and that none of us were real, she locked us in a room with the demon and tried to kill us all, that part was less fun. My sister and my friend both got shot, my sister survived, Tara...didn't. That broke Willow completely, the one that was addicted to magic before, but she had been trying to not do magic at all. She totally snapped and went evil. Flayed the man that had killed Tara, pulled his skin right off of his body. She tried to kill me too, but my sister stepped in.” She looked around at everyone's stunned faces “and that was all in one year”
“And you're still fighting?” Gimli asked gruffly “after all that you've been through?” The look on everyone else's faces suggested that they had similar statements in their minds, but couldn't find the words to voice them. Dawn knew that had she been a man, this wouldn't have been so shocking. The people in this place seemed to have an aversion to women being in any sort of trouble whatsoever and the thought that she had been in more trouble than any woman they'd ever met, seemed to trouble them.
“Oh that's not even the half of it. I don't fight because I have to, I do it because I want to. I want to protect people, I want to keep people safe and secure in the knowledge that when they go to sleep at night, they're going to wake up in the morning.” She replied grimly.
“You're very brave, Lady Dawn” Aragorn said quietly.
“Please stop calling me 'Lady Dawn'” she begged, nose wrinkling slightly “it sounds majorly weird. It's just Dawn. If I'm going to be fighting with you, you can at least call me by my name” she told them.
“I'm still not convinced you should be” Theoden frowned at her “battle is no place for a woman, even one such as yourself.”
“Do we have to go through this again, because I distinctly remember that last argument ended with me having a sword pointed at your throat” she told him pointedly. “Now... I'm not saying that it'd be easy on a horse a couple feet away from you...but...” she shrugged.
“Women do not need to see the horrors that battle provides” Theoden responded.
“I've already seen plenty of horrors, this battle is probably not going to cause any more damage” she snorted derisively, her voice weary and heavy.
She was tired, an all nighter of fighting would do that to someone, but she knew that these people needed
to know what she'd been through, they had to know if they were going to accept the fact that she could fight and would continue to fight. The Helms Deep battle wasn't blind luck, though it certainly felt like it to Dawn. She'd been so amazed that she hadn't wound up dead and knew that she had a couple people to credit the fact that she was living to. Aragorn and Haldir for the most part. And she was so tired, it was ridiculous. If her sister had been here, she wouldn't be tired, she'd be out there looking for the next evil thing to fight in order to save this world from going to Hell in a hand basket. But Dawn wasn't her sister and there was only so much that she could do. She wasn't as strong, didn't know weapons as well, couldn't even fight as well as her sister and yet she still had that same sense of duty. Like she had
to help, because if she didn't then people were going to die unnecessarily where she could have saved them. It had never occurred to her to ask herself what she could possibly do, what she could accomplish where these people couldn't. She was just Dawn, she wasn't some super-fighter like Buffy, she didn't have near the magical capacity as Willow. She was just a girl with normal girl strength and extra training. She knew that there was a very real possibility that she was going to die without anyone there to protect her. That though made her feel vulnerable and apprehensive, she couldn't even deny that to herself, but this world needed help and she wasn't going to deny them it because she was scared. That just wasn't the Summers way.
“A couple months ago, we fought the thing that created evil. Called itself the 'First Evil'. The very first evil that there ever was. It was incorporeal, couldn't be touched and could only take the form of those that had died. Like Sauron's eye-like ass, it had an army that did its bidding as well. They were called Harbingers and they were evil little shits, but not that hard to kill. These Harbingers went around the world, killing young women at the order of the First.” she looked around once more. All eyes were wide with horror, like they couldn't imagine anything specifically setting out to hurt women. “My sister, the great warrior that she is, started gathering the chosen women from all corners of the world and they came to our home for protection. They were just regular people, they had no combat training, they were terrified because they'd been dropping like flies. That's when the First pulled out its big gun. Through its own means, it opened the Hellmouth and released a Turok-Han vampire”
“Hellmouth?” Legolas questioned, speaking for the first time, his face creased heavily as though he couldn't wrap his mind around anything she was saying.
“The mouth of hell...or one of the mouths of hell to be precise. It a center of mystical convergence, basically, anything that's evil latches onto it like a homing beacon. All demons are drawn to the Hellmouth's energy and a lot of them like to try and open it and bring about Hell on Earth, the bad thing about that is, bringing the old ones back? Probably not as fulfilling as you'd want it to be.” she scoffed.
“Demons, the first demons, pure and undiluted demons not tainted with human blood. They're huge and they're mean and they've more than likely have more than one head and some form of tentacles. But anyway, inside this particular spot on the Hellmouth was about hundreds of thousands of Turok-Han vampires and the First released one of them. We only had about three girls at this point. Annabelle, Molly and Kennedy. Buffy fought the Turok-Han-” she was interrupted
“Which is what?” Theoden asked, seemingly involved in the story despite himself.
“A Turok-Han is...well...its kind of hard to describe. Think of an Uruk-hai and then amplify it by about five. They're incredibly strong, fear inducing, primordial uber-vampires. They were the first vampires, they're the vampires that vampires fear. They are a complete ancient race of evil with a single-minded desire for blood, very animal like in its pursuit and hunt.” she shuddered again. “My sister fought it, and let me tell you, my sister is the strongest women I'll ever know, she had the strength of ten men and this thing kicked her ass. Hard. Annabelle got freaked out and ran, but she ran straight into the Turok-Han and it snapped her neck, my sister found the body and her and the Turok-Han had another round. It nearly killed her. Luckily for her, the First didn't want her dead yet. At this point, everyone had pretty much lost all hope that they were going to survive, this thing was too strong. So Buffy, my sister, comes up with this plan where she lured the Turok-Han into a secluded location, where everyone could watch and she killed the thing for all of us to see, just to prove that it could die and everyone still had a sporting chance” she smiled slightly at the memory.
“You sister sounds like a mighty warrior” Aragorn told her softly.
She felt a spark of jealousy rear up inside of her and her face twisted into a scowl “yeah, well...Buffy's not so great” she muttered sullenly. “But anyway, suddenly girls started pouring into our house from every corner of the world, all for protection. But since it was them that the First wanted to kill, they kind of got dragged into the war to stop it. We'd been beaten down so many times by this thing's minions that the thought of hope was pretty much laughable because there wasn't any and there hadn't been for a long time. Especially when Caleb rolled into town” another shudder passed through her body “Caleb was the First's right hand man, it gave him special powers, made him way
strong, no one could barely touch him without getting swatted down like a fly. It was frustrating and everyone felt incredibly defeated.”
“How did you win?” Gimli asked curiously.
“Buffy found this scythe, incredibly sharp, cut through even the toughest thing like butter. She cut Caleb in half with it and that took care of him. Then a friend came with a medallion to be worn by a person stronger than human but with a soul. Which meant a Vampire...or anything else stronger than human I guess...so that was a choice between either Angel or Spike, both vampires with souls. Buffy sent Angel away and told him to prepare a second front in case we failed and she took the medallion back and gave to Spike to wear. Then we went to the Hellmouth.”
“You went there?” Theoden asked incredulously “I thought this was the place where all the evil was”
“Yeah. We got tired of waiting for the battle to come to us and decided to go to the battle instead.” she told him.
“Very much the same mentality you had during this battle, Lady Dawn” Legolas smirked slightly, though she could still see the trouble beneath his deep blue eyes.
“Once you get tired of waiting, you really don't want to go back to it” she sighed, rubbing her hand over her eyes and pinching the bridge of her nose “Willow, the witch, sat over the hellmouth with the scythe, she was going to use its power to give these girls the gift of more strength and faster reflexes because there was magic in the scythe. While she did that, Buffy and the girls went down to the Hellmouth and the rest of us spread out around the area in pairs of two. I don't know what happened in the Hellmouth, I wasn't down there but I know that a lot of Turok-han escaped and I had to fight my way through them. I set three of them on fire with sunlight, because vampire cannot be in the sunlight without bursting into flames and then went at them with my sword when they grabbed a hold of my partner.” she told them “we lost a lot of good people in that battle, friends. The medallion channeled the sunlight and spread it throughout the Hellmouth, dusting every Turok-Han in the radius, it also killed Spike, because him being a vampire, not immune to sunlight. The force with which the sunlight was brought into the hellmouth though, destroyed the whole town and created a huge crater, we only barely made it out alive.” she shook her head slowly. “and those were just the worst things we've faced, not to mention the other smaller demon messes we'd gotten ourselves into” she scoffed.
Everyone expressions were grim. “You've been through much, Lady Dawn” King Theoden told her, finally breaking the silence.
“And the fun just keeps on coming.” she released a heavy breath “I blame the Powers, personally.”
“The Powers?” Gandalf questioned curiously, lifting his eyebrows.
“Yeah, the Powers that Be” she told him “More like the Powers that Be lazy. They use people like pawns, move them around to strategic locations, they choose the champions to fight in their wars and they don't lift a finger to help. If I sound bitter it's only because I am” she glowered darkly “the most they've ever done to help is send cryptic messengers, now if that isn't the most annoying thing, ever, I don't know what is. Buffy used to get these dreams sent from the Powers all the time, but she could never figure out what they meant because they were so damn cryptic, she hated it.”
“I still do not like the idea of a woman fighting in battle” Theoden said firmly “but if you will not be swayed, then we are lucky to have one so dedicated” he sighed in defeat.
A wide grin burst out across her face. “You don't know how much that means to me, thank you” she told him politely. She wasn't friends with these people, not by any means, not yet anyway. She could feel the threads of friendship being woven, however and knew that she would come to look at these people as companions, friends because when you were in war, what choice did you have but to get close to those that fought beside you? You had to trust that they would have your back and they had to trust that you would have theirs. That trust wasn't there yet, not between Dawn and them at least, but she hoped that it would be soon.