Mummer’s Dance: The Twins of Twilight
Book 1: Dawn
Act 1: Astronomical Dawn
Part 1: Frost
“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”
~William Orville Douglas
Disclaimer: I don’t own Buffy or the Myth, Fairy tail, and legend elements used to make this story. Nor do I own the elements that are similar to the charmed ep. ‘Once upon a time.’ Also don't own quote or pic.
(Once upon a time)…
(A long time ago)…
There are things in this world that many of us never see and certainly not for lack of trying. This hidden world conceals creatures that exist only at the edge of our sight; under a veil of mist and momentary confusion. This world is ancient and powerful but has been long since forgotten to the point that only stories, fairy tales, half way remember them.
But this half remembrance is enough to allow the creatures of that world to continue in there ways. They take our keys, socks, and other such things; sometimes they just move them and others they take for good. They may even take your children and replace them with their own and you may never know the difference.
On that last note our story begins with the stealing of a child.
Funny; how this ancient wound will be opened, entirely on accident, by the longest lived Slayer in history.
Once upon a time…
Not so long ago…
There was a girl…
Who awakened a past she had nothing to do with…
Or did she?<
When in the springtime of the year
When the trees are crowned with leaves
When the ash and oak, and the birch and yew
Are dressed in ribbons fair.
When owls call the breathless moon
in the blue veil of the night
When shadows of the trees appear
amidst the lantern('s) light.
~~~***~~~1610 London, England
Bright hazel eyes stared around the small wooden room. The darkness of night has just been broken and the world outside the window is no longer quite as dark as it had once been. To the air clung the smell of autumn apples and crisp air that would soon be warmed by the morning fires. Those bright hazel eyes, though, stared at the world from the face of a child; a baby.
Autumn is a magical time of year filled with death and spirits that have free reign over the world. A child left alone during ‘between times’ is at risk to fairy games; games that range from harmless to malevolent. In most homes over or near the sleeping place of an un-baptized child the mother would hang a piece of iron to ward such evil, a fey, away from the child.
Those hazel eyes, though, see the lack of such protection over its own sleeping bed but the child doesn’t know such a thing should be there. So she giggles a little as she is content for the moment and not quite ready to make her wakefulness known.
As seconds trickle on with the feel of minutes an echoing laugh like the sound of tiny bells fills the air. The little girl turns her head to and fro trying to locate the source of the sound in dim dawn light. As it is still too dark, however, the child finds little but outlines.
When light breeze opened the wooden shutters the child’s head snapped in that direction. On this wind were the colored autumn leaves and the toddler laughed at their dance to the floor. A set of twinkling lights, in the colors of white, blue, red, and gold, followed the leaves in their dance to the floor; giggling shatters through the air like broken glass.
Hazel eyes follow the light and match the giggling sound for sound; albeit the child has a more human tone.
As the sun rises higher in the sky the nightly sounds are silenced by the sound of the distant bells; church bells. The windows of the cottage slam shut and a young mother with hair the color of spun gold rushes in at the sound of her child’s cry. As she crosses to where the babe lays she notes the leaves on the floor. Tsking at the sight she lifts the child and bounces the child in her arms while rubbing the babe’s arms to fight the night chill.
As she places the child back in bed the mother takes a second look at the baby. It looks like her child in every way but the eyes. The eyes were beautiful to be sure but they were greener then she remembered. A look at the frame of the child convinced her that the child looked leaner. Shaking her head she blamed the changes on the morning light and went to go about her morning chores.
As the young mother left the room the emerald eyed child smiled with mischievous glee.
~~~***~~~ 2006 Scotland
A young woman, Dawn, with long flowing brown hair and emerald green eyes looked down upon a battle field, squinting. Somewhere down there she knows her sister is fighting, she just couldn’t find her with her eyes. Over the past few years Dawn was trained by her sister to fight with both sword and crossbow. Still every time there was a huge battle, like the one below her, Dawn found her self on the outskirts of it.
“She’s just there.” A thin finger pointed down at the confusion below and Dawn’s eyes followed. When her eyes hit the spot she saw Buffy decapitate three vampires in a row with a clean arc of her scythe. Dawn nodded in thanks to the woman next to her, Kennedy, and turned her eyes back towards Willow. Buffy was ok for now and that’s all Dawn cared about. Willow, however, was not fairing as well.
The young red haired woman, though her hair was white at the moment, was sitting cross-legged on the ground in a meditative position; her eyes closed. Behind her a blue-silver force field flickered. In response to the flicker Dawn shivered; both in fear and because of the winter cold. She pulled her coat tighter around her arms while rubbing them and tilted her head towards Kennedy to whisper;
“How much longer do you think she can hold out?” Kennedy shrugged and whispered back;
“I don’t know. Not much longer.” Despite the freezing cold Willow wore loose clothes not fitting to the temperature. One would think she would look cold and shiver, maybe even have frostbite, but instead she was sweating from the exertion of the spell she kept up. As noticed before the shield she had up was failing. Every few seconds for the past half hour the shield would flicker.
The importance of the shield was to keep the battle from spilling into the near-by town as the town itself wouldn’t stand up to the scale of the fight. The scale of the battle was another thing that worried Dawn and it was huge. Oddly enough it was taking place on a frozen lake and not just any lake, it was Loch Ness. This time Kennedy leaned toward Dawn and whispered;
“Does the lake even freeze naturally?” Dawn winced and said;
“No clue… but if it doesn’t I’m not telling the town’s people why Neisse’s ice-skating.” Kennedy raised an eye-brow and said;
“Ok.” The two girls shivered again as a cold wind whipped by and Kennedy started bouncing from one foot to the next while staring intently at the fighting below them.
“You want to fight?” Dawn asked, but it was more of a statement;
“Yeah but someone has to watch my baby, I can’t do both… what about you?” Dawn rolled her eyes and shrugged before finally looking over at Kennedy, who was smiling slyly, and said;
“Well of course I want to fight, but Buffy won’t let me. Still there are things I can do.” With that Dawn went back to her task which was to fire arrows from her crossbow. As she headed toward the edge of the cliff they were on she passed the person she was to relieve. The girl, a Slayer, looked as tired as she felt. If the battle went on much longer the Slayers would probably loose as Slayers would tire while the vampires wouldn’t.
Dawn crouched on the floor next to a watcher and set her bolt then aimed at the chaos below. Seeing an opening she fired and the bolt flew through the air and hit home in the heart of a vampire who promptly dusted. Dawn set another bolt and gazed around for another target. Her eyes finally set on Faith who was fighting a total of four vampires.
Normally Faith could take on four but she had been fighting for the last three hours and was starting to slow down considerably. So when the vampire to her right suddenly turned to dust she was great full or at least until another bolt hit her in the leg. Back on the mountain Dawn winced in sympathy. Sometimes two archers would aim in the same area and that never leads to good ends.
Suddenly the shield flickered again and Dawn knew that this time it was gone. Sure enough when she turned around Dawn saw a red-haired willow laying in the snow with Xander and Kennedy watching over her.
“Pull back!” At the shout Dawn turned around and saw vampires and demons running in all direction; some even towards her. As she watched the battle dissipate and fought her fleeing attackers she saw a shadowed figure under a tree. He stood so still he could have been mistaken for a statue yet at the same the haphazard movement of his cape in the wind gave him away as something more dangerous.
Dawn continued to watch him as a vampire ran up to him obviously holding something in his hands. Unfortunately Dawn didn’t get a chance to see what happened next because suddenly she was wet, cold, and on the ground looking up at a pissed Faith aiming her cross bow at the vampire.
Before Faith could fire however the shadowed figure stabbed the vampire and dusted him before disappearing in a puff of black smoke.
“Crap I had them!” Faith yelled.
Dawn wondered for a brief moment what had happened and how they had missed this obvious turn of events. Had they all been too caught up with surviving that they forgot that the mission was the most important thing here? Someone was supposed to have kept their eyes open for the unknown item the large demonic army had amassed here for. The orders had been clear, or at least they had been to Dawn. Anyone carrying anything away from the fight was the most important target.
Maybe Dawn should have fired at the shadowed man the moment she saw him and then he wouldn’t have gotten what he wanted. Yet something deep inside her told her that it wouldn’t have mattered; that he had won before she had even spotted him or that it was all written in a book somewhere that things would go this way… fate.
But there was nothing to be done in any case. The demons won this time and all they could do was try and prevent the next stage… whatever that may be.
Buffy stirred in her bed at the musical feminine sound calling her name but did not wake. Instead she pulled her sleeping bag tighter around herself and rolled over. Since it was so late after the battle, and everyone was too tired to go home, Dawn cast small spells to set up a camp near Urquhart Castle which was by the lake. In the morning Giles was going to send cars to pick them all up and take them home. Buffy… I’m here… please come…
The voice was still soft and gentle but at the same time more insistent so this time Buffy woke with a start. She looked around her small tent looking for the source of her present discomfort but found nothing in any direction. That wasn’t all too surprising as she was in a rather small tent.
Still she had heard a voice calling out to her or, at least, she thought she had. So Buffy quietly got up out of her sleeping bag and made her way toward the entrance to the tent. Before she exited she glanced back at her sister and smiled. Dawn always looked so innocent when she slept. When the girl was awake she was a constant source of worry and frustration but when she slept she looked like an angel. It was moments like this, calm and serene, that Buffy knew all her fighting would someday be worth it.
Then day would come and she would loose that clarity. Here I am… come to me…
Buffy froze solid. Part of her had been hoping the voice was a fancy imagining of her dreamscape or, if she had to search for a deeper meaning, a remnant part of a Slayer dream.
Now she could not deny the reality of the voice and so she continued out of the tent.
Later Buffy would berate herself for her actions and stupidity but at the moment she could think of no other action then to find the source of this sudden intrusion on her mind and soul.
Once out side the world seemed to have been tinted in midnight blue as everywhere her eyes fell she could not seem to rid her self of that hue. Belatedly she noted that her head felt light and fuzzy; almost as if she was still in the thrall of a dream. That couldn’t have been true as she had never been surer in her life that she was actually awake.
Another oddity of the outside world was the absolute quite that hadn’t been there when she was in the tent. It was as if the whole world had decided to hold its breath and wait to see how the next array of events would pan out. Buffy saw wind move the trees but she, her self, felt no breeze. Normally she’d be happy about the lack of something that would make her colder then she already was but instead the lack of something she could see made her shiver all the same.
“Who’s there?” The words tumbled off her lips before she could stop them and a melodious yet airy laugh was her only response.
Offhandedly she wished she had brought her coat with her as it was still cold despite the eerie lack of wind. At the front of her mind, however, she was getting angry at whatever was hiding so well from her senses in the dark of morning.
It was then that she saw it, or thought she did, out of the corner of her eye. On the frozen waters of Loch Ness was a twinkling of soft glowing lights. When she turned to face it fully the lights were gone and made her doubt if she had seen anything at all.
“This is so not with the funny.” She whispered to her self before yelling;
“If you come out now I might be lenient!” again all that answered her was the sound of echoing laughter.
Then, for a brief moment, Buffy saw glowing lights again on the ice surface and this time she started walking towards the area she had seen it.
When all is said and done Buffy would wonder why she went out on the ice alone. Why hadn’t she woken anyone for back up? She would never really know why, though she would have her suspicions. Just like Dawn had wondered earlier about fate Buffy too would some day wonder if all that happened now had been planned?
Yet in the end she would never be able to deny that it was her decision to go out on the ice alone. Her journey stared when she got to the center and had her last clear thought;
‘Why did I come this far?’
Then the ice beneath her feet stared to crack and the sound carried across the camp in a wave that woke everyone from their slumber. The ones who got to the scene first that day, though they would later deny seeing it as it was too weird for even them, saw what appeared to be thousands of tiny ice hands rip at the ice beneath Buffy’s feet as she ran across to get to safety. She never made it though and the last sounds she heard before darkness took her were the sounds of her sister’s screams.
Her sister’s screams and that other voice, no longer quite so soothing and feminine but not quite masculine either, snicker; Yes, Moonchild, come to me.