Xander the magus
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy, D&D, Stargate, nor any of the other recognizable characters or locations. I am merely borrowing them to take them for a very weird ride.
A/N: I would like to thank everyone who reviewed! Thanks! Remodel at work has taken all the time I have had over the last few months but it is finished and hopefully I will have more time to write now. Please review as most reviews give me good ideas I often use. Thank you!
One week later…
It was a Saturday night and Buffy was, once again, fighting vampires. She had been patrolling the alleys near the Bronze when she was jumped by a vamp. After a brief struggle she dusted him but missed the two that creeped up from behind her. They each grabbed a arm and held tight, despite her efforts, while another vamp slowly waked out of the alley.
“Well, well, well,” he said. “Looks like we got ourselves a slayer. Too bad Spike’s no longer around. We might have been rich. As it is, well, I think that there is enough of you to go around, before dinner anyway.”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Let me guess. You were a comic book geek before you turned?”
“She got you good, Rodney!” Chuckled one of the two holding her.
“Shut up!” The leader, Rodney, yelled. “It doesn’t matter what I was before. When word gets out that I was the one who killed you then I will take Spike’s place as the Big Bad.”
With a exaggerated slowness Rodney slowly moved forward and bent to bite Buffy. She was about to spring into action when several loud pops filled the alley. Something hit the vampires and almost instantly they released Buffy. The effect of, whatever it was that hit the vampires, was apparent. Whatever it was burned them, as if it was acid. In a few seconds Buffy realized that what had hit the vamps must have been holy water, seeing as how it hurt them but the small drops had no effect on her.
“Buffy, Catch!” Buffy turned her head just in time to see Willow toss her a stake and to catch it without a second thought. Just in time, Rodney was the first to shake off the pain and charged. Stepping to the side Buffy caught Rodney across the chin with a hard right and followed up with a knee shot to his chest. Rodney felt both his chin and ribs shatter as he hit the wall behind him, hard. Buffy was moving in for the kill when she was distracted by four more of the loud pops followed by more screaming. It was only a moments distraction but it was enough for Rodney to launch himself from the wall at the slayer.
Rodney lashed out at Buffy with a barrage of punches and kicks. She managed to duck the punches and all but one of the kicks. The kick doubled her over but Buffy used the momentum and rolled. Coming up behind Rodney, Buffy decided to end this. Rushing him from behind she plunged her stake deep into his back. Rodney froze for a moment before his dust drifted to the ground.
She took a deep breath and looked up just in time to see two of the three remaining vamps fall to dust. That still left one vamp and it looked as though Willow was having some trouble with her weapon. The last vamp, ugly red welts surrounding his eyes, was stumbling closer and closer to Willow, his claws taking blind swipes every few feet. Buffy rushed to Willow’s aid, dispatching the lone blind vampire without any trouble at all.
“Thanks Buff,” Willow said. “I had to reload.”
“No problem Wills,” Buffy answered. “What is that anyway?”
Willow handed the gun over to her friend and began to explain. “Its just a paintball gun. I used a few of Major Carter’s memories to get some water based paintballs for it and had the priest bless them. Instant holy water.”
“Very clever, Wills.” Buffy handed it back to her. “But what happens when the Major finds out you used her codes? Wont she be angry?”
“Don’t worry Buff. I only used common command codes and I covered my tracks pretty thoroughly. Even so, the paintballs are a low level, almost non-military, hardware. They even sell them to police and SWAT teams for training purposes. No big.” Willow answered.
“Ok, if you say so. How about we chill at the Bronze for a while?”
“Sounds good, Buff.” Willow answered.
The two of them left the ally, leaving behind piles of vampire ash. Unnoticed by either of them a small, petite red haired boy darted out of the shadows of the ally and gathered up the piles. As he did so, the young boy muttered to himself. “Master wants ashes, ashes Master gets.” Once all the ashes were gathered the boy’s eyes glowed bright red and he vanished into the darkness.
At the Bronze Buff and Willow had met up with, to their great surprise, Jonathan. After hanging out and dancing for a few hours, Buffy was surprised to find herself liking Jonathan. While he was not as loud as Xander nor as smart as Willow, he had his own charms. The spent the entire night hanging out and were now on their way to Buffy’s for a little while before they each headed home.
“….And when I tried the spell for the first time, I lit the entire tabletop on fire!” Jonathan told the two laughing girls.
“You didn’t?” Buffy asked through her laughing.
“I did. Luckily Ms. Calendar was there. She quickly cast a spell and doused the table with water.” Jonathan told her.
“Can you show me that spell sometime?” Willow asked.
“Nope.” Seeing Willow’s face fall he continued. “Ms. Calendar told me not to teach anyone anything. If you want to learn you are going to have to start at the very beginning. I had to learn both how to channel the power into the spell and the philosophy behind the spell before she even let me try it. If you want to learn it, well, you’ll have to ask her.”
They had just reached the front door and Buffy reached out with her key to unlock it when it fell open with just a touch.
“Hey guys, wait here a sec.” Buffy told them.
Before either of her friends could answer her a glass shattered inside the house followed by someone saying “No, don’t…”
Buffy, Willow and Jonathan rushed into the kitchen to find Joyce kissing a strange man. When they noticed the teenagers, the two adults quickly broke apart.
“Hi, Buffy.” Joyce wiped her mouth. “This is Ted..”
Same time, Giles’s home….
Seated at his desk Giles was reading through a large stack of papers. This stack represented everything the council had on the relics that were known, in this world anyway, as the staffs of draconic fury. It wasn’t as much as Giles had come to expect from the council’s records. When Buffy had confided her fear that the staff might have been somehow controlling or influencing Xander’s behavior, or at least that’s what he translated ‘he’s acting wonky’ to mean, he had called the council and requested any information they had on the staffs.
Discounting Xander’s staff, there were exactly three staffs, and their hosts, known to exist to the council. One was in the council’s vault, one was in the possession of a elderly man named Jason Scott in Japan and the current whereabouts of the last staff was unknown although the bearer, a woman named Abbey Lee, was well documented. Very little was known about the powers of the staffs other then they seemed to extend their wielder’s lifespan and that the influence the staff imposed upon it’s host, while of a unknown type, was considerable.
The only common thread among the hosts, after being bonded to the staff anyhow, was the fact that they developed some form of magical talent, even if it was merely the ability to channel power through the staff itself. The strongest, and most powerful, of the recorded hosts were among the strongest known spell casters in history. In one account of the history of Merlin he used the staff to enhance his magic and increase its power to heights that were unheard of at that point in time.
While there were several instances documented about the physical and magical influence on the host there was next to no information about the mental influence. No host, other than the one who left the staff in the council’s care, had ever joined the council. Even he didn’t leave many notes concerning the staff’s powers, only that they must not try to control either the staff or the host it chooses. Nor had the staff in the vault ever chosen a host since. It seemed that whatever it was that the staff looked for in a host hadn’t yet shown up in any member of the council.
Other than some stories about the deeds the various hosts had performed over the years, there was no other information regarding the staff or its powers. The papers did contain the contact number, and the address, of one Jason Scott, the only known living host to one of the staffs. Sighing Giles did a few calculations to make sure he wouldn’t be waking anyone up, picked up his phone and dialed.
“Hello? Scott residence.” A woman answered. It was shortly followed by the same introduction repeated in Japanese.
Relieved, Giles relayed his questions. “Yes, I need to speak with Mr. Scott regarding a, artifact, in his possession.”
“I’m sorry, sir, but Mr. Scott is not at home right now. I can relay your request to him once he gets home if you would like?” She asked.
“Yes, please. That would be very kind of you.” Giles relayed his contact information and hung up, hoping that Mr. Scott did get back to him soon. Otherwise he would have a angry slayer on his hands.
Three days later…
“Rupert Giles speaking, there had better be a bloody good reason your calling in the middle of the night.” Giles answered his phone.
“My apologies, Mr. Giles.” A deep voice came over the handset. “I was merely returning your phone call. I am Jason Scott.”
“Mr. Scott, I’m sorry.” Giles started.
“No, no, Mr. Giles. It is I who should be apologizing to you. I returned your phone call at the same time you called me. Had I known it was the middle of the night, well, I would have waited a few more hours before placing my call.” Jason interrupted. “If that is out of the way now, which artifact were you interested in? I have many ranging from the first age of Egypt to the last days of Greece.”
“Actually it was your staff I was interested in.” Giles answered.
“My staff? Are you a shield against darkness?” Jason asked.
“I would like to believe so.”
“You’re a watcher, aren’t you?” Giles gave conformation and Jason continued. “I thought so. I have told many watchers the exact same as I am now telling you: I will not diverge any information regarding my staff to a watcher. Your council will just have to continue to wonder what exactly it is capable of. Now if that is all…”
“Please, wait! I need the information to aid a young friend of mine. He has, bonded, with a staff such as yours and I need to know exactly how much it is influencing him.” Giles interrupted.
Jason was silent for a few minutes. “In such a case,” He finally spoke. “I would be willing to help. I will need to know the name of the staff to verify your story before I give you any information and none of what I give you will be given to the council, understood?”
“Very well.” Giles could be heard over the phone shuffling papers. “The staff’s name is Xantos. He came into this world in a rather unusual way…” Giles quickly explained to Jason the events that occurred on Halloween as well as what happened to Xander the night he faced the Master that had worried Buffy. “My slayer is very concerned about this situation and I was trying to find out if what had happened was due to some influence that his staff had on his mind.”
“I have an idea what happened but I shall have to confirm it, and that this Xantos is real, before I can explain it to you. I shall call you again tomorrow, at a more reasonable hour. Good day, Mr. Giles.” With that the phone clicked and Giles hung up his phone with a sigh.
Japan, shortly afterward….
Mr. Lee hung up the phone and leaned back in his chair, a thoughtful expression on his face. He stayed this way almost for an hour before he got up and crossed over to a solid steel wardrobe and punched in a combination into a keypad. With a click it opened and revealed a staff. Much like Xantos it was shaped like a dragon but it was smaller, more like a cane then a full staff. The staff was made out of a type of wood that seemed to glimmer with gold, although most people merely thought it to be a finish rather than the wood. It truth it was not wood at all but was made out of the bone and scales of the dragon that was now contained within.
Other then the golden shine the staff had no other decorations, no gem or jewels at all. Jason reached in and removed it from its stand and smiled as the mind of the dragon reached out to him.
‘Jason, it is good to speak with you again.’ The dragon’s ‘voice’ said. ‘How have you been?’
‘I have been well, Tekumu. Your period of meditation may be over.’ Jason responded.
‘Has the dragon made itself known? I have been unable to locate him.’ Tekumu asked.
‘I have been contacted by a member of the watcher’s and, according to him, a young friend of his currently become bonded with a staff and he contacted me for some information.’ Jason answered. Jason quickly explained everything to Tekumu. ‘Now his slayer is worried that the dragon entombed in the staff is influencing its host in a negative way.’
‘That is very possible but I do not think that it is what is happening here.’ Tekumu answered. ‘Xantos was his name? I knew a Xantos back during the war. He was one of the generals under Tiamat and Bahamut during the war against the demon lords. Their lord, Lord Io, was a first circle demon lord himself but grew tired of the constant war between the lords and wanted it all to end, permanently.’
‘We discovered later,’ he continued ‘ that Io was merely using this war to kill off his counter-parts and that he planned on enslaving Earth once it was ended. Luckily we learned of this before the final battle and we left him to combat the last lord on his own. No, that’s not completely true. Everyone other than Tiamat and Bahamut allowed them to fight. They insisted on defeating Lord Io while he was weak to avenge his betrayal. We never learned what happened during that fight but afterward both Tiamat and Bahamut reemerged as gods. The dragons had a council and decided to split up the human population and go their separate ways. The siblings Xantos, Khyber, Siberys and Eberron decided they would travel to a separate reality to discover what the true powers of a dragon are.’
‘Meanwhile I was chosen as one of the three dragons to keep an eye on the Earth and the Hellmouth. I instructed the humans I choose as my companions in the ways of honor and respect. This led, in time, to the devolvement of the Japanese culture. Meanwhile…’ Tekumu was interrupted by Jason at this point.
‘Tekumu,’ he said, knowing that Tekumu would continue in this fashion until he caught up with the current point in history. ‘As much as I would enjoy hearing all the wonderful things dragons have done for humanity over the, eons, we really need to get back to the problem at hand. This Xantos, could he be the same one you knew back then?’
Tekumu was silent for a few minutes. ‘It is possible.’ he conceded. ‘Xantos was the dragon who developed the theory behind the magical formulas required to bind us in our form. He may or may not have had the time I have to perfect them so he may use a focusing crystal to trap his essence but, yes, it may just be him.’
‘How can we tell for sure? I will not allow any information fall into the hands of the watchers that would allow them to harm you.’
‘We would have to meet, that is the only way to be sure. I would enjoy meeting Xantos once more and to discover what happened to his brothers. Khyber was the most difficult debate partner I ever had, while Siberys had the most interesting mind, Xantos was a genius when it came to magical theory and Eberron had the cutest little….’ Once more Jason interrupted.
‘Enough! I don’t need to know about flings you had centuries ago! We need to go to California? That is what you are telling me, correct?’
‘Yes,’ confirmed Tekumu. ‘Any other method might be fooled by magic. Also, I can learn what Xantos, if it is indeed him, can do while in staff form. I can change my form, Agrelia can read the minds of those around her and Amnemis can create illusions. Xantos must have an ability that can affect the outside would as well and I am curious to discover what it could be.’
‘That is settled then.’ Jason said. ‘Now there is only one more question I need you to answer. Do I get my cane back now?’
‘Yes, dear friend.’ Tekumu laughed. ‘I no longer need to focus so I can leave this closet. Come my friend, lets go see an very old friend of mine.’
‘I will call Mr. Giles now and inform him. Hopefully he didn’t go back to sleep, otherwise I might just get yelled at once more.’ Jason turned, Tekumu in hand, to put action to his words.
A few days before Buffy’s 16th birthday….
Xantos stood calmly in complete darkness. He knew that the mental plane of Xander’s mind would allow him to create anything he wished but there was something, soothing, about the darkness that he found comforting. The only light that he couldn’t prevent from shining was the red nimbus that seemed to surround his body. That was a side effect of the magical spell that was allowing Xander to learn about and experience Eberron.
The Nimbus pulsed brightly as the spell pulled more energy from the dragon’s body. It was a good thing that he was sleeping after this, this spell was draining a lot of his inner energy. In fact it was about time to end it. Raising his clawed hand, Xantos quickly drew symbols in the air until there was five interconnected circles in the air. Each of the outer four circles had a different rune inside of them with a smaller circle in the center connecting the four together with its own center rune.
Looking over the strange conjunction of symbols, Xantos nodded in satisfaction. Placing his hand onto the center circle Xantos began to chant. As his voice grew louder, each circle began to turn from red to a different color. Underneath his hand the center rune turned wispy, almost transparent, while the upper right stayed bright red, the upper left turned blue, the lower left turned brown and the lower right white.
“Return to your vessel, Alexander!” Xantos commanded. As he did wind seemed to whip up out of nowhere and slammed into the dragon. “Return, I command it!”
Lighting flashed overhead and the Earth beneath him seemed to shake. Knowing in his mind that these effects were merely the side effects of forcing the spell to its end did not change their appearance. The longer Xantos chanted the brighter they got until several bolts of lighting hit the array and a large bolt of pure energy lanced out from the center rune.
As the energy hit the ground several bolts of lighting hit the exact same spot. A large explosion of light flashed outward from the ground where they met. When the light and heat had cleared Xander was standing in the middle of a large scorched patch of ground. Almost instantly the library blinked into existence from the darkness around both Xander and Xantos. The library had changed from its previous appearance. In every spot that had wood, the banisters, the stairs, the tables, the chairs and the counters, had transformed into the same dark wood that was used inside Xander’s vault.
“Did you enjoy your studies, young one?” Xantos asked.
“Enjoy? Sometimes.” Xander responded. “Did you purposely choose the hardest master you could for me? Old Ash nearly ran me ragged.”
“Ash?” Xantos frowned. “ You mean Ashrem d’Cannith? The pacifist?”
“Yes, he was my master’s master. I studied under his student and lover Krisis Overwood. She insisted that I take lessons from him as well.” Xander answered.
“Well, as long as you didn’t pick up on any of his non-violent, pacifist ways.” Xantos said. “There is very little chance that you will survive on the Hellmouth without fighting.”
“What do you seem to have against pacifists?” Xander asked.
“They are a bunch of lily livered do nothings.” he answered. “They complain about the way things are but refuse to fight to change things. They are the worst of the worst.”
“Wait,” Xander protested. “Ash wasn’t a do nothing! He just refused to use violence to meet his ends or to further the war in any way, shape or form. He even taught me several rather effective spells to destroy several different forms of demons and undead. Old Ash believed that undead and demons needed to be destroyed utterly and totally, without mercy.”
“Then he wasn’t completely useless.” muttered Xantos. “Did Krisis at least train you well?”
“I am now a full fledged journeyman mage.” Xander told him with pride. “I haven’t mastered the second tier spells but I am close.”
“Hmm, very well.” he answered. “It seems I have underestimated Ash and his students. Back to other matters. You may notice I have awoke you a little early. I thought this would give us a chance to say good night before I go to sleep.”
“Wait a second. How early did you wake me up?” Xander asked.
“Only a few days. Your friend Buffy has her birthing day celebration in three days time.” Xantos answered. “Which reminds me. Besides your friends and your familiars, you have a regular visitor. Ms. Chase has visited you several times.”
Xander was flabbergasted for a moment. “Cordy?!! Cordy visited me? Are you sure?”
“Sara has kept me advised of your visitors, quite advised.” Xantos said in disgust. “If there was any chance I would classify a pseudodragon as a true dragon it would have been lost in last week and a half. I haven’t heard such a gossip since I was joined with Christina. She couldn’t go for more than two minutes without telling me what such and such was doing. I was actually wishing I was joined with her again after a full day of hearing Mr. Giles’s habits.”
“Ok, then. I guess I should wake up now?” Xander asked.
Xantos nodded. “Yes. I shall be here until after the celebration. Then I shall go to bed. Before you wake, I want to tell you something. A relic such as me holds many powers.”
“Yes I know. Both Ash and Krisis taught me that.” Xander told him.
“I doubt they could have taught you about me.” Xantos smiled. “My power is different then most relics. Contained inside the wood that makes up my physical form is the knowledge to create magical items. You must still provide the power and spells to craft them but using me you will be able to create the magical matrixes to give the power to the items.”
“Really? I don’t have to learn how to create them myself?” Xander asked.
“You really should learn to craft them yourself but you don’t have to. BUT!” Xantos had to yell to be heard over Xander’s celebratory ‘Whoop!’ “I want you to use the time to study. If you don’t wish to learn to craft magic items on your own then learn to craft their bodies on your own, understood?”
“Yes Master.” Xander replied. “Now if you don’t mind I am going to wake up, ok?”
Xantos nodded. Xander concentrated for a moment. The world began to darken more and more until Xander opened his eyes and woke up.