Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy and other associated companies or individuals listed on the copyright agreement. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is the property of Akiyuki Shinbo, Masaki Tsuzuki, Geneon Entertainment and other associated companies or individuals listed on the copyright agreement. Stargate is the property of Brad Wright, Jonathan Glassner, MHM and other associated companies or individuals as listed on the various copyright agreements.
Author Note One: This idea is another little thought born from a late night spent studying with far too much caffeine with an episode of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha playing on the computer before I switched over to Sci-fi to catch a rerun of an episode of SGI, things just sort of clicked in my brain right than and demanded I look further into the prospect.
Author Note Two: This is obviously going to move into new territory really fast leading to quite a few changes in all three worlds though some will appear small or not be seen at first others will be made quite clear right from the point of start for this story. For those wanting a little advance warning this story begins a long while before the start of any of the mentioned properties.
Author Note Three: I know we have been down this road more than once with my writing and in fact I have been quiet for a very long time but you can’t do anything when the muse is unwilling and when the inspiration strikes you just have to go with it.
Summary: A Child has the right to dream where the endless possibilities stretch out before them but what awaits them down the path they will then have to choose and face the reality of their dreams, regardless of the regrets in their heart. For one young soul the journey shall take him far beyond his life of tragedy thrusting him into a universe larger than he could ever imagine and placing the legacy of a forgotten culture upon him.“Don't ever forget that with each step a person is able to take on their own, they have become that much stronger."
Legacy of the Protectors
Chapter One: Unleashing the Power. . . . . .Why did they hate him? . . . . .
Such a melancholic question was the only companion of a young boy as he trudged along vacant streets the recently finished blacktop veiled in long shadows despite the sea of stars twinkling overhead surrounding a quarter moon or the efforts of dimly glowing streetlights. Insects chattering endlessly along with the hum of electricity in the nearby power lines created an odd music that filled the oppressive void of silence born of a night without the presence of life.
He was the only soul out at this late hour the rest all tucked safely away in their warms homes resting peacefully on soft mattresses with the covers drawn snuggly across their bodies, uncaring of the reasons a child would be walking the lonely streets his body shrouded by the darkness more often than not. Parents had called their children in just before sundown the entire town seeming to grow dead when the day came to its end with only the rebellious youth of teenagers braving the unknown to seek entertainment or wile away the passing time without fear of what the night might hold in store for them.
Stopping briefly the boy grit his teeth in pain air flowing outward from parted lips in a loud hissing tone as he drew his right arm to his chest fingers of his left hand curled about the forearm cradling the appendage even as streaks of crimson trickled between them before falling to the waiting earth in thick droplets of dirty red that splattered with a light plopping sound. Hunching over slightly the boy drew in several deep gulps of air but it never seemed to be enough as his body trembled violently the very act of staying upright appearing to be a hard challenge for him.
Hair of deepest black matted itself against his forehead thanks to a thick sheen of chilled sweat that broke out on his brown the rest pressing against his head like a helmet creating an uncomfortable heat or simply hung limp at the ends as if the life was robbed from it. Eyes of chocolate brown glazed briefly with the struggle of hanging on to consciousness before slipping closed for a second losing the fight only to snap open with a spark of stubborn determination lighting their once pained depths though it remained ever present at the edge.
Sliding his right leg forward the child visibly flinched as the body part buckled under the strain of supporting his weight barely holding as his left foot took a step drawing a cry from his lips as he very nearly collapsed from the sharp pain lancing across his nervous system from that simple act. Forcing his legs to work a loud squelching noise sounded with each new agonizing step tiny geysers of red sprang up from inside his shoes leaving even more splotches on the ground, as if marking his progress forward.
Alexander Lavelle Harris, Xander to those who knew him wondered for a moment just how much further he would need to walk to get to the hospital as fatigue was starting to take its toll on him and the splinters of glass struck throughout his body were really the only thing keeping him awake, besides his single-minded drive to survive to see his next birthday that is. He was no doctor but even his young mind knew anything that hurt this much for so long was trouble and since he was still bleeding from more than one place after so much time has past the situation must be really serious.
It wasn’t the first time his Father had beaten him up since he started drinking but usually he would get a few bruises, maybe a sprain if he was thrown down the stairs or a rare broken bone when he was really angry but this was the first time more than one glass bottle was used on him. Now he was not only really hurting all over but he smelled just like the stuff his parents drank after work and that made breathing all the harder because with each bit of air he drew in that scent burned his nose as it wrinkled in disgust and made him fight to keep from coughing or throwing up the takeout from dinner.
Usually things played out in a morbid routine with his beating somewhere between dinner & bedtime with the degree of injury deciding if he would just go straight to bed, be tended by his mother before she began drinking for the evening, a doctor’s appointment made for the next or the rare visit to the hospital while his mom twitched from withdrawal but tonight had been different. There was the predictable pre-dinner argument between his parents but then his mother started early with her spirits during supper passing out in the living room soon after.
From there it only got worse as his dad was angrier than usual for some reason tonight and still sober enough to catch him before he could reach his room or sneak out to one of his friend’s houses, the middle-aged man was dangerous when not fully intoxicated that was for sure. Over a year of living this nightmare had granted Xander certain expectation for what came next, sure it would hurt the beatings always did but the sooner it was started the quicker his father would get bored or tired and leave him be to crawl back to his room.
Evidently this night was one for the record books as Anthony Harris proceeded to unleash a level of viciousness upon his own flesh & blood unlike any time before all the while ranting incoherently about life in between swallows of beer or some other alcoholic beverage, by than his vision was all wavy so the label was hard to read from his place on the floor. There was no help coming even if his mom was awake as she usually just watched it all happen crying silently and neither of his friends could hope to hear his cries of pain as tears began to fall, not that he wanted either of them to see him like this.
Finally with a kick to his chest the man done stumbling away from Xander as he lay curled up on the ground a dark liquid flowing from his lips coating them in a ruby-like color before trickling to the carpeted floor the coppery flavor on his tongue once he had grown used to recently even if it made him want to wretch every time he tasted it. There had been a cracking sound more than once during that altercation with the loudest being from the last kick and something was making breathing harder as he began crawling towards the living room hoping to rouse his only means of support.
Jessica Harris was a fairly good mother in her son’s eyes despite her seeming unwillingness to protect him from his father she always helped once things were over and reassured him while putting him to bed that was at least something to be counted in his mind. She was the one that he needed to get to the safety of her embrace would numb the new definition of pain he was feeling and her voice would fill in the cracks of his breaking heart for another night.
Waking her up had proven harder than expected but he managed even with the agony currently playing havoc with his mind but the peace he sought was denied as those bloodshot green eyes slipped open a glossy film covering them as awareness slowly wormed its way back into her mind. A few uneasy moments was all it took his pained whisperings drawing her attention but the orbs that feel on him were not of a guardian angel filled with unconditional love, nor was it the stupor his parents sometime slipped into with their drinking but rather as recognition filled her stare it was followed by a fury equal to his father’s.
The bottle had come out of nowhere crashing down on his back with a surprising amount force considering how thin a woman his mother was though most likely one of the numerous empty or half-empty ones that were always scattered around the living room not that he was in any position to care. She was screaming at him though he couldn’t hear a word of it over the pounding headache and the roar of something that reminded him of water rushing from the faucet into the drain in his ears but it was probably the same insults his dad used.
Being cut by shards of glass was not a pleasant experience he noted mentally as the next blow came especially when it was smashed against your already hurting body bringing a dark shadow creeping into the corner of his vision that offered a relief from the pain he gladly accepted. There were at least two more bottles used by his mother before numbness rid him of the pain and the darkness swallowed him dragging him into the sweet depths of a welcome oblivion.
Who knows how many hours later he’d awoken with a groan of pain to find himself laying in a pool of his own blood his body wracked with unbelievable pain and his parents not in sight, well at least as far as his eyes could track from his position on the floor. Briefly he considered just crawling to his bed and letting this horrible day end but from the sensations of little jolts of pain along his nerves actually overcoming the constant agony he was feeling doing that could ver well be the last thing he ever did and going to his mother was no longer na option meaning he was for the moment truly on his own.
The closest place he could go for help was the Rosenberg’s but Willow his best female friend had said earlier they were going to some medical conference on some long sounding word and she was staying at her cousin’s place until they got back, which could be anywhere from a week to a month. Another possibility was the McNally’s but if it was really late they would be in bed and might be mad if he woke them up and facing two more angry adults just wasn’t appealing to him, nor would he risk his best male friend nearly brother being put through the same punishment he just endured.
That’s how Xander ended up in his current place stumbling ever forward in hopes of reaching the hospital or some other type of help before the pain became too much for him or his body just gave in and collapsed under the strain his will to live was forcing it to overcome. There was no real lessening of the pain as he walked though some parts of his body would go numb for awhile offering a little peace at times but it always came back often worse in fact meaning his injuries weren’t getting better and he was probably doing more harm than good.
Each step was more difficult than the last as the bottom of his feet became slick with a cushion of blood making them almost slip from his shoes but offering no relief as his weight pressed down and the rubbery squeak of the soles echoing in his ears like the screeching cry of an injured animal. Moving quickly assuming he was even going in the right direction was out of the question in favor of just inching along the street though on the upside of that meant his body moved very little keeping the jolts of pain from everywhere below his waist tolerable with the exception of his right arm.
Through the haze of pain that had long settled over his mind Xander’s thoughts began to wonder back on the events of the day, fairly normal during school with the expected insults from Cordelia and her gaggle of amazingly life-like puppets along with the high point of spending time with his friends though for once his teachers left him alone. A few hours at play in the local playground after they were released from the boredom of the public educational system with only a small break for homework at Willow’s insistence and the boy had ranked this as one of his top five best days so far in life.
Thinking back he tried piecing together just what had made today so different from any other to warrant both the good & the bad, obviously it wasn’t a big holiday he had forgotten because they still had class plus no one had mentioned anything beyond the normal except a few brighter smiles sent his way. It had to be something epic to set his parents off in such a way but at the same time worth celebrating by those around him.
“I really hate riddles.” He muttered resisting the urge to pull at his hair in frustration as the answer eluded him.
Takeout nights were in the most recent times by & large the quietest times in the Harris house with his beatings usually forgone by his dad for the comfort of his recliner in the living room as the food settled in his stomach and the beer lulled him off to sleep early. Never before had Xander considered the notion of his mother striking him the concept was just foreign to his mind up until the point he looked into those eyes and the picture of the woman he had placed on such a high pedestal fell into the dingy grime reserved for his father.
Stopping under the yellowed light of a streetlight to rest left side leaning heavily against the cool rusting metal as his mind focused on the date today and what significance it might hold, unbeknownst to him several forms moved in his direction their footsteps silent upon the ground and the eerie darkness of the night concealing them from sight. Legs buckled violently sending the boy to his knees slamming his already stressed legs against the hard stone his brown eyes opening wide as the day of the month registered at last.
It was his birthday, the once a year occasion that celebrated the moment he came into the world that was the special quality about today that made it both a bit of paradise and the living hell that now threatened to end his stay in the land of the living permanently. Fingers dug harshly into his own flesh despite the lance of agony it sent rippling up through his right arm and its hand curled into a fist as justified anger began flowing in his veins banishing all but the most prominent of sensations from his brain.
“How could they, how could they do that today of all days? Do they truly hate me so much; do they really want me to die?” He whispered pitifully tears gathering in the corners of his brown eyes.
“Out so late have you lost your way little boy?”
Startled by the sudden mocking voice Xander’s head turned in the direction it originated from setting his gaze upon three people, two males flanking a woman none of them looking older than perhaps twenty as they walked from the shadows dressed all in black with dark makeup highlighting their pale faces. The girl had been the one to speak her green eyes watching him like a cat stalking a mouse laced with just as much amusement locks of poorly dyed lilac colored hair cut into a page-boy style and dressed in a skimpy little outfit that would have left older males in puddle son the floor when kneeled down in front of him.
“Kids shouldn’t be out so late, it’s dangerous on the streets after dark.” She continued reaching out towards him only for her purple nails to come up short as he scooted away.
“I’m just on my way home now.” He lied staying just out of reach as the two boys, twins by the look of it drew closer one with slicked back light brown hair while the others was spiked and their eyes a dingy ordinary dark red watched him with a hint of the same hidden laughter in their depths.
There was something very unsettling about their gazes as they swept over his batted form taking in every inch of his body and he sworn that one of the twins had licked his lips hungrily upon he spotted the blood still leaking from a few of his wounds. A child known to follow his heart more than his head at the worst possible times by his friends, in fact the hero complex as Willow called it had led to quite a few verbal & physical altercations over the years and right now those instincts were screaming for him to run away.
“Are you now? Well then my friends & I will walk you home just to make sure you make it back safe, you don’t look so good after all.” The woman stated moving forward faster than he could escape capturing his chin with her hand the feel of the icy flesh sending a chill down his spine.
“No thank you, it’s not too far.” Xander continued with his story swallowing a lump that was forming in his throat with a shake of his head in hopes of dislodging the scary girl’s grip.
“How very polite for a child such a rare trait to find in the young in this day & age, a most delicious sounding treat.” The smile grew twisting her lips with a tint of maliciousness as she kept his chin in hand.
“Yeah, thank you I guess but I really need to go now or else my parents might get mad.” A whimper passed between his parted lips as nails dug into his skin but he was able to flee backwards his limbs screaming at the movement.
“You certainly have some fight in you as well, most of my kind hates that but I like to play with my food.”
Orbs the color of dull emeralds changed with those amused words becoming a luminescent golden that glowed with an almost demonic light in their depths and danced with and evil mirth. A once smooth brow became creased with ridges as her face took on a monstrous look drawn right from the deepest realms of nightmares that haunted the dreams of man and teeth exposed by the lift of her lips were transformed into sharpened fangs stained with dried blood.
Unbridled terror was an obvious reaction to such a horrible sight as the boy continued to slide away from the disfigured woman her two male companions stepping up next to her their own faces shifting into a similar deformed visage as they glared balefully at his fear stricken form. Rising to her feet the young woman began to stalk him slowly only taking a step forward when he managed to push himself back a little ways away tongue swiping along her lips as if she was looking at a piece of candy.
They were going to kill him that was clear even to his still maturing brain the very way in which they walked reminding him of a tiger he watched pace at the zoo once during a field trip as it waited for the staff to finish preparing to lob its meal into the habitat, and his mind supplied he was probably a yummy little happy meal for whatever they were. Energy began flowing through his veins with that revelation and a strength he could not explain arose with the desire to escape such a dismal fate driving him back to his feet before turning and running into the night in hopes of escape.
“I simply adore it when they scream & run like that it makes the blood taste just so much sweeter when you finally take the bite.”“Foolish, none of you can hope to stand in my way!”
The voice while disinterested with the very words it spoke carried with it a equally haunting quality echoing faintly off walls of metal alongside the clicking noise of shoes as they struck the floor growing louder as they drew nearer eerily keeping the slow tempo of a calm heart. Halls usually illuminated with bright overhead bulbs were now shrouded in complete darkness broken only in small sections by roving lights of crimson, a byproduct no doubt of the presence of the once who had spoken up from within the unknown.
Men & women stood waiting at the end of one such walkway each garbed in a uniform set of battered white armor with matching helmets that hid all but the most basic details of their physical appearance a mystery. Arrayed in two rows of six the first kneeling down they aimed staff-like weapons into the ever growing darkness as if preparing to fire en masse a volley of weapons fire, each a long shaft with a dark red crystal set at the top with a curved piece of material starting at the jewels base and forming a U shape of sorts that face ahead.
The ground in front of them was littered with similarly dressed corpses strewn haphazardly about in some cases forming small crude barricades with sections of their armor burned away as if struck by an intense source of heat and smoking bits of metal possibly the remains of once working machines tangled with severed wires like a snakes coiled about its victim slowly choking it of life. A charred scent like that of meat burning on a grill lingered in the air mingling with that of death and O-zone creating a sickening melody for their noses.
“How many others do you think are left besides us?” One solder a male by the sound of his voice whispered turning his face slightly to the right.
“Don’t know but hopefully enough to keep this Witch at bay until they can at least fix the communications system.”
As if to comment on the quiet conversation of the pair a flash of brilliant sapphire lit up suddenly further ahead the cry of thunder coming only a heartbeat later drowning out even the screams of the victim before the body came tumbling down the expanse like a rag doll. Piles of the dead were brought down by the large flailing projectile leaving the floor hidden beneath a sea of white obstruction the newest coming to rest at the edge of their position.
Who issued the command from within their ranks was unknown to a majority of those holding their place but it was all the provocation they needed to unleash a series of rapidly traveling beams of light from the points of their staffs into the abyss before them. Adrenaline granted them power as the attacks came in quick succession like the firing of a machine gun but the price for such was a loss of accuracy shots released with little or no aim many times colliding with an allies own canceling both energy projectiles out.
A long silence followed their assault only the noise of chunks of alloy slipping from the walls or fires crackling moments before the fire suppression system snuffed out their brief moment of life could be heard drawing many a sigh of relief from the sweating group as their tension eased. Smoke filled the space in front of them obscuring the results but already they were celebrating quietly with a few chuckles shared between friends or gestures such as high-fives were exchanged with the people next to one another.
“Command the intruder has been dealt with, I repeat our target has been eliminated the enemy has been des-“
The moment of joyous satisfaction died with the voice that made that statement a bolt of lightning streaking from the cloud of ugly brown to smite the man where he stood cutting off his words just as the fragile threads of his life were severed leaving behind nothing more than a smoking heap of flesh held inside the scorched remains of his armor. Once more in the wake of the crash of thunder amongst the renewed quiet the noise of shoes upon the walkway came echoing in their ears like the death knell for their existences.
“My God it’s her! She’s still alive even after that many bombardment spells!” One of their ranks spoke up as a silhouette appeared in the gloom.
All semblance of calm was lost to sheer chaos as fear plagued their minds the little order that held before gone as they just shot randomly into the haze creating brief flashes of intense white light around the shadowed form. No matter how precise or powerful the blast it never seemed to be enough to harm the person that was driving them made with terror many of their beams reflecting to the four corners of the hall the moment they were about to make contact with her body the rest just dissipating along the surface.
One solder, a female by the contours of her armor moved from the line as one of the frontline were struck down by a bolt of electricity the very cloud of smoke parting with its passing before it closed in thicker more so than before. Pressing her palm against a flat crystal-like pad set into the wall to the right of a sealed doorway she waited as it flashes a few times before lighting up a solid green and the steel panel slid away revealing another hallway wreathed in the same frightening darkness as their own.
“Come on we have to fall back!” She called back as a third member was fried where he stood.
Laying down a near continuous rate of file the remaining solders began to slip through the opening ducking & weaving to avoid the electrical blasts that lashed out at their retreating backs still of the nine only five made it through without being struck and one stood his ground shooting at random. Glancing back at the woman he shook his head in her direction before turning back to his target intensifying the power of his onslaught even as the door slid back into place with a slight behind him.
“I won’t let you go any further, come & get me you monster!”
They waited on pins & needles as their comrade screamed out his courageous ultimatum a resonating shrill cry spoke of power gathering in huge amounts before him and then with a roar like some ancient beast the energy was unleashed shaking even the ground below them with its force. Once again the air grew quiet though no one dared voice a possibility of victory instead letting their tension grown as hand gripped their weapons all the tighter and arms shook despite trying to maintain a steady line of fire.
A loud banging noise against the door made several of the group jump in shock a few actually firing into the door in fear but then it grew silent once more before repeating twice more the slab of starting to buckle inward warping in shape as it was slowly ripped from its designed space. Someone called for a further retreat but it was too late as the door exploded flying through the air to crush a pair of their number with its weight along with the smoking body their friend but no one could even think of attacking as a literal storm proceeded to flow into their section tearing into their ranks like a hungering animal.
“Such gutter trash Mages with their mass produced weak storage devices cannot hope to keep me from my prize, especially using common bombardment spells to overcome me.” None of those now lying on the ground could hear the apathetic female voice as it spoke as she walked forward uncaring of the dead.
“Commencing activation of inter-dimensional drive, all hands prepare for dimensional jump.”
Looking up at the announcement a snarl was drawn from the intruder before she hurried along no threat remaining in the shadows of the corridors only those she had already slain or the noise of the ship trembling as several escape pods she assumed were launched. The vessel lurched violently tipping it slightly and making her feet stumble as she reached out a hand to rest against the metallic walls steadying her feet before walking on the groan of steel as it was bent from its shape echoing like the song of whales around her.
Many would suspect her destination to be the point of command for the ship also known as the bridge but as she entered a lift the door closing it began to lower into the middle sections of the advanced craft commonly reserved for things such as holds for cargo being transported or quarters for those onboard. Lights overhead flickered with the brief loss of power and the mechanism controlling the elevator whined slightly as they switched between sources of power in mid-journey in order to keep up its progress.
A world of smoke, sparking embers of dull yellow and lights of a dim orange met her as she walked forward once more wreathed in a curtain of ossification though her eyes seemed unhindered by the low visibility clearly picking out the stacks of metal containers arranged throughout the cavernous space. Ears clearly picked dup several noises most of which belong to sparking parts of the room where circuits had already blown or the hollow wail of power cutting in and out but there one far more intriguing was the soft mutterings of curse along with the high pitched tones of an interface being used.
“We have to enter the Dimensional Sea for auxiliary communications to work but damn it all the force is tearing us apart!” The voice cursed as the vessel lurched upwards a squeal being issued as pieces of it were torn asunder.
“Either way, your life has come to its end.”
Eyes of red sparkled with amusement as the woman stepped forward wreathed in a elegant gown of darkest blue contouring to a beautiful frame and covered by a matching high-collared cape her dark hair falling in waves behind her with a pair of ponytails bound with simple black bands in front of her. A staff rested in her right hand the shaft colored a light tan with bat-like wings extending from the top just below a large ball of sapphire and placed above it was a curving piece that joined the edge of the wings at its tips.
A woman of slightly less age stood behind the terminal orbs of glimmering jade piercing into the bored gaze of the one approaching her blond hair left unbound flowing down her back in strands of gold thread and garbed in robes of pristine white with lines of yellow so bright that appeared like rays of sunshine woven into the very fabric. Leaning casually against containers to her left was a rod its shaft a metallic silver with a cape of green on the base and topped by a globe of emerald green with the shaft forming a Q-shape around the orb.
“Precia Testarossa, so you’re the intruder I guess that makes sense with all the damage to the ship and the deaths of so many.” The blond stated retrieving her weapon and stepping out from behind the console.
“Sylvania Rabotev A-ranked mage of the Time-Space Administration Bureau I should have expected your presence here no matter how inconspicuous they’re trying to keep this shipment. Tell me in which of these containers my prize is and I shall make your death quick & painless.” The crimson-eyed beauty replied in kind her voice unconcerned with the very nature of her opponent’s ability.
“So that’s what you’re after, huh? What a stupid ambition though I’m a little curious about how you found out about this.” Sylvania commented brining the tip of her rod up to point at the intruder a smirk on her face.
“Sorry but I can’t let you get any of the cargo, even the mundane supplies are to good for someone like yo-“She began to finish only to be cut off by a lance of blue electricity arcing off the point of her enemies staff searing every nerve with a white-hot pain unlike any she had ever felt before.
“Fool, I abhor people who talk during a fight.”
A sudden burst of acceleration threw Precia forward onto the floor roughly as the ship whined loudly shaking violently from gravitational force applying pressure on all sides of the already weakened hull and sending a few of the metallic crates wobbling from the careful arranged piles. Luck was all that saved the woman from being crushed under the weight of one of these crates as it struck the place she had once been standing.
Regaining her footing was also proving a difficult task as the entire cargo hold rattled harshly with vibrations the entire superstructure of the vessel emitting a shrill cry that threatened to rip apart her eardrums as it bored into her brain like a series of drills. A hand placed on the pile to her left the other rubbing at her temples she began to stumble forward desperate to retrieve her prize before the noise shredded her mind into pulp or the ship was broken apart like a cheap piece of paper.
She was stopped though by a light tugging on her cape and upon turning her eyes back she found the paling fingers of Sylvania wrapped around the material in a tight grip her eyes filled with unspeakable pain but still focused on her with an intense glare of determination. Observing her look for a moment Precia brought the bass of her staff down on the young woman’s hand sharply watching a grimace weave about her face before hardening once more as she kept the hold despite the bruising already starting to form on the flesh.
“Annoying to the very end it seems just like the insect you are.” She mused slamming the shaft of her weapon against the girl’s forehead smirking as her eyes glazed and the grip loosened.
Pulling the edge of her cape free she was about to continue on in her search only to watch on as the floor near the slid away sending the piles of containers tumbling from the hold into the endless void beyond the sound of rushing air overcoming the noise of the ship being ripped apart. Metallic slats retracted throughout the expansive chamber allowing the crates to fall end over end into the ethereal space categorized as the Dimensional Sea the rectangular boxes vanishing as they came into contact with its edge.
“What have you done?” She demanded rounding back on the blond woman who sat with her back against the console she had been using earlier.
“You actually thought we needed to enter the Dimensional Sea to use auxiliary communications?” The quickly fading spark of life of the female didn’t stop her from chuckling lightly.
“Answer me or you will join them!”
“I programmed the ship’s computer to open the cargo bay doors the moment we entered the Dimensional Sea, whatever it is you covet is now long gone from here and out of your reach Witch.”
A snarl tore its way from the darkly clothed woman as she held out her staff a silvery glow wrapping about its form before it just shifted into the shape of a whip the shine receding to reveal the weapons changes as she lifted her arm making the lash slide along the ground. Bringing her arm back Precia glowered at the wide eyes of her enemy before snapping it forward sending the rough material licking across the flesh of her cheek with a loud snapping cry a thin line being drawn on the skin that quickly began to leak crimson.
“Where will they go?” She demanded not wasting any time as the last of the containers slipped from the vessel.
“Anywhere & everywhere, you know how the Dimensional Sea works without precise calibrations or calculations things can just appear from the void at random no way to predict, so sorry you came all this way for nothing.”
The fury in those red orbs promised much pain for the young mage had it not been for the darkness that at last swept into her vision dragging her down into the sweet embrace of death her soul numb to the brutality it was suffering from the wild swings of the other’s whip. Screaming in torment as she abused the corpse of her opponent Precia knew it was time to leave as large portions of the ship fell into the void growing ever nearer to her section.
“This is far from over; a mere set back is all.” She muttered as a glowing circuit of magic formed under her.
“Don’t tell me you’re all tuckered out already little boy, the nigh is still young and this chase has just begun.”
She was taunting him with those words her voice a silky melody that was carried by the wind as it brushed gently across the land sending long blades of grass swaying to nature’s rhythm as if the fingers of a loving parent were combing through strands of hair. Leaves dyed a myriad of colors by the season performed intricate dances in the air caught as they were far away from the places of their birth in the slight power of a simple breeze unable to resist its desire after being pulled from the trees.
Despite the lingering warmth of summer as it faded into fall that filled the night a shiver worked its way down his spine at the call of his tormenter as he lay huddled amongst tall stalks of brush the ground beneath him a hard rocky sort that bit into his flesh with impunity. Shaky breaths that brought on a fresh round of pain to his senses were all he could manage as he fought to curb the burning desire of his lungs for oxygen with the brief respite before the pace of tireless hunters once more picked up his trail.
Time had long since lost its meaning to Xander as he ran with as much strength as his small body could muster abandoning the vacant streets of his town for more wild terrain that was scattered between the various parks, playgrounds and numerous graveyards using whatever cover was available to seek a safe haven from the relentless monsters that staked him. They were in no hurry to end the fun casually following after him when he bolts from one hiding place but staying just far enough away to keep the dim ember of hope that he might escape from dying out and feigning ignorance when he was forced like now to stop.
The world lay covered by a veil of shadows cast by ominous clouds of thick gray that began gathering at some point during the chase flashing with hues of blue as lightning danced from one to another arcing beyond his sight and thunder shaking the ground as if an explosion had just occurred. He was literally trapped in the darkness with no moon to shine a peaceful light or stars to form patterns in the heavens all that remained was the nightmarish reality in which monster ruled the night and his life was quickly nearing its end.
“You’re just like a little rabbit cowering in fear of the wolf but you must know this is just a game to us, if you’re not entertaining than we’ll just end it.” One of the twins called out from nearby the grass brushing against his clothing and creating a low rustling sound.
“Where are you my little one?”
A hand passed just inches above his head with those words a few stray hairs being unintentionally smoothed down by the woman’s fingertips but the gesture offered little comfort to his exhausted mind only the realization that his latest hiding spot was now compromised. Risking a deep breath that hissed loudly as it moved between crack lips and wheezed as it fled his lungs Xander prepared to move before they grew annoyed with his inaction and decided to just be done with their sick game.
The clap of thunder overhead drew their attention for a single moment and took the proffered opportunity bolting from his impromptu den with as much speed as his injured form could muster freshly bleeding cuts on his hands & legs from the sharp rocks on the ground. They had seen him of that fact he was sure even before the guttural sounding growls in their deep base tone reached his ears prompting a small increase to his speed as his adrenaline spiked once more filled his veins but as the first drop of rain struck his cheek he felt if only just for a second that he might actually escape them after all.
“So there’s a little fight still left in you, eh my little one?”
A literal sheet of water cascaded from the heavens slapping against his skin with the sting of an angry swarm of bees even as it mixed with the likes of his blood making it slid across his body in dull brown rivers and washed away the clumps of dirt that had been caked on his form in heavy layers. Despite the pain the abrupt shower brought on it was also in a way refreshing cleansing the sweat that clung to his body creating such a terrible odor he endured with each new gulp of air and replacing it with a crisp new scent.
Xander could hear the woman speak as if she were standing right next to his ear the soft voice undeterred by the falling rain but even when his mind screamed that she was there her breath flowing across his skin he only pushed on harder forcing the fear back and darting forward on protesting leg muscles in a brief sprint that was quick for his age. It was the sudden appearance of a slab of worn gray directly in his path that forcibly drug his spirits back down into the pits of despair a moment before the hard unyielding stone met his fragile body the momentum of his run sending him tumbling over its surface in a flip until gravity pulled him harshly down against the muddy earth.
For a few scant heartbeats the young man just lay there allowing the waves of pain wash over his exhausted form contemplating why he continued to fight the inevitable as the wet ground embraced him the shadows once more flickering about his vision as he gazed into the weeping sky. Eventually they would grow tired of this morbid game of tormenting him or his body gave out from the fatigue once his last bit of energy was spent and then who knows what they had in mind before killing him.
“Giving up already little rabbit? There’s no shame in admitting defeat in fact you went longer than most but now it’s time for you to die.” It was just one of the males his statement coming from his left.
“A nice slow death I’m thinking, something we can all enjoy sitting around listening to your pathetic screams until your mind breaks and lapping at your blood as it pours from your wounds.” There was the other his words further away but still able to bring some focus back to his mind.
“Imagine the fun once I learn who your friends are my little one, we can spend weeks playing with them as you watch on helpless knowing you’re the one that failed to protect them.”
Those words had the desired effect as eyes of innocent brown snapped open with the implications she wished him to draw a wealth of new strength flood his limbs dulling the agony of his numerous injuries and breathing fresh life into his immature brain. Images of his friends tortured with beatings that oddly matched some of his own were conjured by his imagination though his parents were replaced by the horrific visages of these monsters their laughter equaled only by the sound of their victims screams.
Rolling onto his stomach with a loud splash as he entered a new puddle that further covered him in the muck Xander sputtered coughing out the dirty water that sought a safe haven in his lungs and really tried not to think of just what things he would taste for the next few days. Placing his right hand on the cool stone of the grave marker the young boy lifted himself up grunting from the exertion only hampered by the water soaked into his clothing but at last making it to his feet a look of determination settling on his face.
Turning so he could lean back against the firm support of the tombstone several deep breaths were his reward as the burden of his body was placed on something else as chocolate orbs stared into the haze of falling rain searching the void of blackness for anything of value. There were neat lines of graves scattered around the old cemetery, which one exactly he didn’t know as Sunnydale was rich in places to bury their dead but far more were also just placed randomly wherever free space was available creating a confusing sort of maze from tarnished rock and unsteady ground.
A large structure of some kind was close by; at least from where he stood he could make out its vague form in the distance the rain sliding off its roof in thick curtains just like a house’s and for the moment it was the best prospect he had for a new place to hide for the moment. Not seeing any better options Xander began trudging forward his footing unstable on the wet terrain careful to reframe from splashing to loudly as he went from one puddle to another but hurrying as best he could before his hunters closed in or the storm decided to end.
“Where are you little one? I thought you wanted to end our game but here you are still clutching at escape.”
Ignoring the jeers of the girl the young boy held back a gasp of pain as his leg sank into the ground throwing his body against the unforgiving stone of another tombstone his left shoulder cracking audibly when it met the hard surface wedged between it and the weight of his body. Tears leaked from his eyes but there was no time for crying out as he pulled his leg free of the loose earth paying little attention to the bits of grass that clung to it and instead focused on stumbling towards his goal left arm swinging freely with his movement.
Xander Harris was a stubborn child by nature unwilling to give up on anything once his mind was set on it and the more things aligned to get in his way the harder he pushed to succeed defying even the limitations of his body to prove a point if only to himself, an example of this was the time Willow told him it was impossible to eat twelve puddings in one sitting. He was going to survive this hell, he was going to reach his goal and he was not going to die when there was so much of life still ahead of him that.
A free-standing one story building of slate gray stone with no windows he could see loomed in front of the boy though its form barely perceptible in the fury of the storm pelting the graveyard and the wave-like quality of his vision that made the world shift and turn as if he were submerged in water. The outside walls appeared smooth as he drew closer unadorned by artwork but the roof was tiled in clay and lined statues of hellish monsters with open mouths that spewed forth the rain trickling down like a faucet.
Unceremoniously he tumbled onto the front steps as his foot caught on a rock that lay randomly scattered on his path the sharp corners of the stoop prodding his chest even as Xander coughed droplets of blood mixed with his spittle that stained the neutral tones with specks of dirty red. Thunder roared in the sky as if the heavens demanded he keep going no matter the pain or his weakness and lightning flashed across the land briefly illuminating the world though in his mind it was more akin to a light being shed on his path as chocolate brown orbs settled on the heavy metal door that stood before him ever so slightly ajar.
They were closing in on him not even trying to disguise their footsteps as they struck the various puddles in the area with loud splashes and in the case of the leader whistled merrily a tune he could only just hear over the noise of the downpour as she drew ever nearer. Once again the sky cried out the wind sweeping across his tired body urging him onwards despite the intense desire to slip off into a peaceful sleep he was feeling at that moment and perhaps the last of his strength began to rise to the surface.
“Game’s over squirt it’s time to die!”
Energy once more provided Xander began to slowly crawl up the few steps that lay between him and the doorway his every limb shaking uncontrollably from the effort of simple movement leaving the journey a slowly agonizing ordeal that he was resolute to finish. Unfathomable depths from somewhere within his own physical form was giving Xander this chance at escape and he would not squander it the inches vanishing at a snails pace but still he was close the bronze of the door almost pressed against his nose as he ascended the final ledge.
“No where left to run little rabbit the hunt’s over!”
The aged metal whined almost pitifully as it was forced to move for the first time in many years exposing a set of three stairs that led down slightly onto a hard stone floor constructed of blocks the lines of mortar green after so much time had passed but still holding as firm as the day they were first laid. One palm rested flat on the step his weight shifting to rest on it only for Xander to be sent rolling down the small group if stairs as his arm buckled under the strain the world becoming a myriad of shapes and dark colors until he came to a halt back impacting against the unadorned side of a coffin.
“So there you are my little one I was ever so worried that you might have actually escaped in the rain, now we can have our fun.”
Something glinted in the corner of his vision even as the shadow of his killer loomed ominously across him the object drew his attention offering something else to concentrate on instead of the monster that was staring down at him reveling the final moments before his life was ended. It was a necklace of that he was sure though unlike anything his eyes had ever seen before, the chain was thin composed of strings of metal that had been woven together almost like thread their color only a few shades off from black, it’s charm was the work of masters in his limited opinion the centerpiece being a glow jewel of darkest blue no bigger than a large marble or golf ball with threads of silver and pale azure weaving about its center as if alive in some way and wrapped partially about the gemstone were a pair of stylized platinum wings with gold tipped points.
Allowing his body to slump firmly on the floor the child as if compelled by an inexorable force brought his quivering right hand forward blood caked heavily on the appendage hiding the skin of alabaster beneath a layer of ugliness that he momentarily feared might stain the object he coveted. The closer his arm drew to its prize the more energy began to flee his body seeming to make the jewel glow all the brighter tiny filaments of light streaking from the tips of his fingers as if his very life-force was being drained away bit by bit.
“Now we can begin the real fun, my little one.” She was too close now his mind filling with fear at the prospect and the streams of light growing brighter as his fingers brushed the surface of the necklace.
Grasping a hold of the object with the last of his strength there was a moment in which ceased to move and than his world exploded in a haze of white.A void of pleasant hues of blue that created neither a ceiling nor floor and warped only by lines of silver that flowed in distant patterns contouring at random to create interwoven displays only to quickly fade like the cooling breeze on a hot summer’s day. There seemed to be nothing capable of making the simplest of noises and yet there was a peaceful melody in the very space, a song unlike anything describable that invoked a sense of tranquility in the heart soothing even the harshest of terrors.
He was floating weightless in this place the pain that afflicted his young body replaced by gentle warmth that was eagerly welcomed his mind calmed by some outside force despite the last few moments of his short life and waking up to find himself essentially in a strange place unlike anything he could ever recall visiting in life or in dreams. There was no trace of the wounds as chocolate brown orbs swept across pale limbs even the blood and dirt that had seemed permanently suffused to his body’s surface was wiped away leaving him truly clean for the first time in many hours.
“Do not fear young one; you are safe for the moment.”
The voice was soft feminine, melodic with a hint of refined elegance to it that drew his gaze upwards with a snapping motion of his neck the dark orbs meeting twin pools of purest sapphire that held all of his young mind’s attention before they moved away and his eyes grew wide for a second time that night. Strands of golden hair tumbled down her back appearing like rays of sunshine, skin pale the freshly fallen snow during winter but vibrant unlike the monsters that had been sickly and the wings of a dove or perhaps angel was better to describe the stretched out behind her spread wide as if to fly away.
She was beautiful even Xander whose young mind was long away from developing feelings of desire for the opposite sex could deduce that every piece of her body made as if sculpted for perfection by an artist created a radiance that even fairytale princesses could never hope to match. Armor of the darkest sapphire cover her from with lines of pristine silver that wove intricate patterns on the metallic surface and below the waist she wore a long skirt of dark blue though peeking out from a slit in the front on the right he could see matching boots of armor that came to her knees each protected by caps of silver.
This strange angel-like girl was also no bigger than a doll.
“Whoa, are you an angel?” Xander asked in a breathless whisper his voice unable to hide the awe of meeting such a being no matter their size.
“Not in the way what you mean, but my name is Zephyr Angel.” She replied with a hint of amusement to her tone.
“Oh, then am I dead?” As far as things went if he was finally dead at least it was a pleasant experience.
“Not yet but if circumstances don’t change, you will soon pass on from the injuries to your body.” Zephyr answered honestly tilting her head slightly at the pained look that came over his face at the news.
“So this is all just a dream and once I wake up the pains going to come back and the monsters catch me.” He commented with a dejected sigh as tremors began overtaking his floating body.
“I don’t understand, this is not a dream though your mind is not technically concussed either.”
“Yeah right, if this isn’t a dream then where the heck am I?”
“You are currently inside of me though more precisely your mind is linked with my own.” She explained matter of factually.
“Ah, I understand perfectly now.” It was evident just from the look on his face that he didn’t.
“I guess I should thank you for your help, at least I will die without all that pain so. . . Thank you Zephyr Angel.” Xander continued his head bowed so the black strands of his bangs veiled his eyes.
“You are welcome but this is not why I brought you here.” The armored sprite responded finding eyes of dark brown once more lifting the edges glistening with unshed tears.
“Please answer a question for me before I explain.” She replied watching as the boy offered her a hesitant nod.
“If you could live what would you do with your life?”
Now that was a strange question to ask Xander’s mind remarked the moment after the words left the woman’s lips eyes fluttering up & down as he blinked in confusion before rolling his gaze upwards as his brain started considering the problem he was presented. Knowing the truth or at least some of it had opened his eyes and there was no way he could go back to living everyday just turning a blind eye to the monsters that walked the streets killing innocent people but what could he do if he survived.
“I would help protect everyone from monsters, do whatever I could keep others from suffering like I have.” He finally answered his voice showing a shaky bit of resolve on the wording.
"Even if that meant you would risk your life, to save someone that you barely know?” Zephyr questioned, her tone remaining neutral.
“No one deserves to die Zephyr Angel, if you can help someone whether you know them or not you have to help save them!”
“You would do this without any power and knowing the strength of you enemy far exceeds your own?” There was an odd note in her words as she spoke as if his next statement greatly intrigued her.
“Yes no matter the risk I couldn’t live with myself if someone died while I did nothing, it would make survival useless.”
“Tell me your name young one.”
“You don’t know it already? Now it was Xander who tilted his head at her lack of knowledge on a subject.
“No, I’m unable to look into your mind for such things at this time.” Zephyr replied with a hint of embarrassment.
“Well then my name is Xander!” He stated with emphasis & pride as he spoke his own name.
“So be it then. . . . . . I, Zephyr Angel, accept you Xander as My Only Master and swear to serve loyally as your Unison Device.”
“Huh?” All things considered that was a fairly articulate response from the young man whose entire perception had changed.
“You will understand in time, My Master.” Zephyr stated as the world began to fill with a royal blue light that washed over Xander like a tidal wave.
The feeling of warmth as the sun bathed his face in light was the first thing he noticed instinctually rolling on his side a hand lifting up as if to banish the pleasant nuisance that sought to rouse him from his slumber snuggling deeper into his bed the covers slightly. Drifting lazily in that place between wakefulness and the world of dreams slowly alertness made its way back into the farthest corners of his mind despite his attempts to stave off the inevitable.
Stretching his limbs with a loud yawn Xander sat up his right hand brushing through his black locks absentmindedly and left beginning rubbing at his closed eyes cleaning away the accumulated grit that always seemed to come with the best of sleeps. Memories of the nightmare he’s just awoken from brought a shudder from his body though it did have a sort of happy ending with the whole weird talking angel-doll thing and the bit of magical twist most likely born of eating something unarguable the night before.
“Man, what a crazy dream.” He commented with a final stretch a breeze washing over his body probably from his open window he reasoned.
“What crazy dream My Master?”
Eyes of chocolate brown snapped open focusing instantly the speaker and finding the blond sprite in armor floating just in front of him but instead of finding the void of moments ago he was now sitting in a patch of tall grass dressed in what once been his outfit yesterday though now was little more than tattered remains clinging to his body. A sea of trees spread out in every direction going on endlessly with a canopy of leaves forming natural protection from the elements the chattering of animals filling the area with music and water could be heard from various sources not within his sight.
Xander Harris, age six looked poised to make a comment before his eyes rolled back and he once tumbled into darkness.
“He must require more rest after his ordeal.” Zephyr surmised floating down to his chest and curling up for a nap herself.
Closing Note One: That was actually easier to write than some of my previous works and shows a lot of musing promise, so we may have one I will stick with for a long time.
Closing Note Two: Drop me a line if you have any ideas regarding this story I accept everything people say and do consider it, assuming it has a point and not just random bashing.
Until Next Time!