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Aesir of Sunnydale

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Aesir of Sunnydale". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Not everything buried in Sunnydale is a mystical item of unspeakable evil, as the Scoobies are about to find out.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Miscellaneous > Myths & LegendsjanusiFR183295,46926258145,84529 May 099 Jan 10Yes
CoA Winner

Chapter One

Aesir of Sunnydale

I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Norse mythology. While I may borrow some things for other modern interpretations of the mythology, *cough*Marvel*cough*, this is not set in that universe.

I’d like to take note of two sources of inspiration for this story, namely anoutherlostsoul’s An Echo of Thunder and becuzitswrong’s Buffy’s Hammer. Both great stories that sparked my idea.

This story starts right after the episode “School Hard” so this is not yet another Halloween story.


Friday Night
“Giles, are you sure about this?” Buffy asked while scouting out the tunnel ahead. “Because I could be out dancing, mingling. Might even have some fun. I think I deserve one night of fun before facing the annual vampire crusade.”

Behind her, Giles gave an exasperated sigh. “I’m quite sure, Buffy. And attacking now makes good sense. For the last two days they’ve been preparing themselves for the night of Saint Vigeous. Chanting, fasting and performing self-mortification to whip themselves into a berserker-like state on Saturday night.”

“But enough about the Cordettes,” Xander piped in from behind the librarian. “Tell us about the vampires.” Clutching a bottle of holy water, Willow gave a nervous chuckle at the joke.

Sending the boy a look consisting of equal parts irritation and understanding, Giles went on. “Right now, they are completely focused on attacking. So they won’t be expecting to be attacked, giving us the element of surprise. This will cut down the numbers we will have to face tomorrow.”

Buffy suddenly stopped. “That’s a great theory, Giles. But I think the vamps decided to celebrate early.” From the darkness up ahead came several growls and then they appeared. Vampires, each wearing their demonic visage, their eyes almost glowing with hunger.

“Nobody has any respect for tradition anymore,” Giles muttered before lifting his crossbow and firing it. It was a direct hit, dusting one of the undead instantly. Xander fired his own crossbow too, but while his bolt did stop one of the vampires it didn’t kill it. Instead, the female vampire gurgled as it tried to yank the arrow out of her neck.

The rest of the demons took no head of their compatriots misfortune and kept coming in a measured pace.

***

Seeing the near mindless state these vampires were in, she knew what she had to do. “Keep them of my back,” she ordered before charging to meet them. The vampires responded by starting to run too, their focus completely on attacking.

That focus was so complete that they didn’t even make a move to defend themselves when she began to punch and kick them. She didn’t go for the kill right then, she had to stop their charge first. So instead of just taking her opponents out she maneuvered them into each other, letting them collide and stake them while they were entangled with one another.

A vampire managed to rush past her but was dusted immediately by a crossbow bolt. The front row still on the floor, Buffy thought herself safe for the moment when a vampire leaped over the prone bodies and onto her, dragging her to floor with him.

The bloodsucker didn’t waste time on gloating or talking of any kind. It simply hissed as it opened its mouth and began to lower it to her neck. The vampire was interrupted by a bottle of holy water shattering on his face. With a scream he fell back, smoke rising from his face. Frantically it tried to wipe the burning liquid off with his sleeve as he paddled back.

Buffy flipped back on her feet. “Thanks, Willow.” Xander and Giles’ crossbow-work had kept the others back while she was down and now the survivors were wary. One of them was bleeding from a neck wound but none spoke, even now. It kind of unnerved Buffy, she was used to more vocal opposition.

She was about to go on the attack herself when Willow yelled. “Buffy!” It stopped the Slayer in her tracks but she didn’t look back. If she did that, the vampires would pounce.

Then Giles spoke up. “Buffy, we need to retreat. There are more coming from behind. There’s a passageway on your left, we’ll use that as our escape route.”

Her hand tightened its grip on her stake at the news. “You go first, I’ll keep them busy.” She dimly recalled the passageway Giles had talked about. It was a narrow thing that lacked even the scarce light the tunnel, that they were in now, had.

Slipping her hand into her jacket pocket, she waited while Willow and then Xander ducked into the passageway. She could hear the new group of vampires coming now, only interrupted once by the twang of Giles’ crossbow. “Buffy, they’re in. Time to go.”

It was that moment that the vampires choose to renew their attack, but Buffy had expected just that. Whipping the opened bottle of holy water from her pocket around, she splashed almost every demon in the face. The one that had managed to cover his face in time got the bottle thrown at him, stunning him for a few precious seconds.

Only now did Buffy turn around and duck into the passageway herself, the new group of vampires hot on her heels. It wasn’t long before she caught up to Giles, at which point she turned around and snap kicked the vampire behind her. It came to a dead stop, causing a pile-up as the demons behind it didn’t react in time.

Walking backwards now to keep an eye on their pursuers she didn’t notice right away that she’d exited the passageway until she bumped into Giles. “Guys, we can’t stand around. We’ve got to…” As the turned around she noticed they were in a crossroads and that every other tunnel was filled with vampires. “Oh, I see.”

Growling could now be heard from the way they came. They were surrounded. “I’m sorry,” Buffy said to her friends. Her words, however, were drowned out by a sharp crack. Looking down, she saw a spiderweb of fissures growing under their feet.

The next thing she knew they were all falling through the floor and down into a circular room. A room with a very high ceiling through which they had just fallen. Buffy had a moment to see four stone statues standing at the bottom, a glimpse of metal coming from all four of them. Then the floor rushed upwards to meet them and the world turned black and very painful.

Vainly trying to draw breath, she felt something fall on top of her. With the feeling of cool metal draped over her cheek, the life drained out of Buffy Summers.

***
Wailing echoed through the factory. “Dru, it’s alright. Whatever’s wrong, your Spike is going to make it all dead and quiet for you. Shhh,” Spike soothed Drusilla. Or tried to, because the insane seer didn’t calm down.

What she did do, was lower the volume of her lamentations. And then she started talking. “Down and down they go, where it ends no one knows. Oh Spike,” she turned to look him in the eyes. “The Slayer and her friends fell down the rabbit hole and now we’re all in Wonderland. But we’re not getting our tea because the Queen doesn’t like us.” Drusilla’s gaze started to wander again. “She thinks we’re bad people, off with their heads. “

Stroking her hair, Spike tried to figure out what his sire was talking about. “There, there Ducks. Don’t you worry, if the Queen gives us trouble it’ll be her head we’ll hang above our bed.” This would be so much easier if Spike knew what was prophecy and what was just insane gibberish.

Saturday Morning
The alarm clock’s incessant ringing woke Buffy up. Grumbling about how early it was, she smacked it to silence it only to feel the timepiece crumple under her hand. “Not again,” she moaned now more awake. “I thought I had that under control.” Now she would have to spend a part of her precious allowance on a new one.

Getting up, she was halfway to her closet before she noticed she wasn’t wearing her PJ’s. In fact, she was wearing the outfit she’d been wearing last night. When they’d gone to take out that nest, when they’d fallen into a trap and just kept on falling and falling…

‘Willow, Xander, Giles. We all fell, I died. I know I did.’ She shuddered as she remembered the feeling. That far too familiar feeling of your life leaving your body. But now she was fine. ‘The guys, I got to find out if they’re okay.’

”They’re fine.” Came out of nowhere.

Looking around wildly, Buffy couldn’t find the source of the voice. She knew it was close, even though she couldn’t tell how she knew that.

”Down here, between what you laughably call tits, you airhead.”

“Hey!” As she looked down, she became aware of the difference in weight of her pendant. Fishing it up by its chain revealed a small silver hammer. Buffy frowned at that, wondering where the cross Angel had given her had gone to. “Where did you come from?”

”From Svartálfheim originally. And don’t bother asking where that is. I don’t have the patience to explain it to you and you lack the attention span to listen to it.”

Narrowing her eyes at the offending piece of jewelry, Buffy bit off her sharp retort. There were more important things then that. “My friends are alright?”

”The others healed their injuries like I did yours. Afterwards, Gungnir sent everybody to their place of rest, so all your friends should be safely asleep in their beds.”

Nodding to herself, Buffy went over to the phone to check out the story. Only then she realized she should find it strange that an amulet could talk.

***

Groggily, Willow came to as the sound of her phone ringing pulled her back to the waking world. Still half-asleep she picked up the phone. But when she was about to speak, she got distracted by the sight of Xander bolting upright at the foot of her bed. “Not the cheddar!”

‘What’s he doing here?’ Willow wondered. It had been a while since their last sleepover, they were getting a little old for that after all. ‘And there’s something different about him…’

Buffy’s concerned voice interrupted her musings. “Willow? Are you there? Didn’t the fall hurt you?”

“I’m here Buffy, so is Xander. Which is odd because I don’t…recall…Oh my God! We fell, and I landed on something hard and my head, my head felt like it had been smashed…” Willow babbled as the memories flooded back.

Unconsciously, her hand felt the back of her hand as she recalled hitting the unyielding stone floor. Only to encounter a metal disc holding her hair. She could feel metal wires threaded through her locks too, keeping what Willow assumed was a brooch of some kind.

She had just thought of examining it, and hadn’t even moved her hand yet to feel for the release, when the wires moved on their own. Retracting into the disc until she held it in her hand. Bringing her hand around she saw it was silver and had the face of a woman engraved on it framed by long, free flowing hair. The only thing that wasn’t silver were her eyes which were blue gems that looked very life-like somehow. And then the woman winked at her.

That was just one shock too many. On the phone, Buffy told her to breath. “I-I think I am going to faint now Buffy. Talk to you later.” Having said that, she promptly slumped back on the bed and did exactly that.

***

With a yawn, Giles sat up in bed trying to get his eyes to focus and failing completely. ‘Where are my glasses?’ he wondered as he looked around his bedroom trying to find. It was only when he tried to rub the sleep out of his eyes that he realized he was already wearing them.

Removing the spectacles, the world snapped into focus. Experimentally, he tried putting them back on and found the world getting blurry again. Giles took them off and looked puzzled at the glasses. Which is when he noticed he was not dressed in his usual sleeping attire. ‘That’s the clothes I wore last night when-Oh Lord, when we stumbled upon all those vampires. And we fell. What happened to the children?’

Concern twisting his stomach into knots, he got up out of bed. Without thinking his left hand planted the cane it held on the floor as he stood up. The Watcher looked down bewildered at the walking aid. ‘Where did this come from?’ It’s grip seemed to be solid steel and he could feel the markings etched into the metal underneath his hand.

”From the hall you fell into,” a voice replied from nowhere. Except, Giles was absolutely certain it had come from the cane. In a reflex born of caution, he let go of the cane and stepped away from the obviously unusual piece of wood. Yet the cane did not fall over, instead it swayed from side to side as it kept itself upright. ”And don’t worry about your charges. All of them are in the same perfect health you are in now, one of the advantages of becoming an Aesir. Afterwards, I teleported everyone to their respective resting places.”

Giles had no way of knowing if the item was speaking the truth but even the fact that it was talking pointed to some very strong mystical forces at work here. “What are you?”

”I am Gungnir." The cane grew without warning, its metal grip changing into a spearhead covered in runes, before returning to its previous form. ”I was once wielded by the being worshiped as Odin.”

“The god Odin?” Giles gasped. If he recalled correctly, that deity was supposed to carry a spear. The word Aesir sounded familiar too, come to think of it. There was a connection there. Unfortunately, Scandinavian lore was not his area of expertise.

”Several of my wielders were worshiped as such, though not all. But that is part of a bigger story and one that I am sure you will want to verify using your tomes. Not to mention your desire to make sure your young charges are indeed where I claimed they are. So go and contact them with that device you call a telephone. I am sure they have questions and I would be best suited to help you answer them. The others do not share my skill in the scholarly arts.”

Keeping one eye on the swaying cane, Giles did exactly that.

***

Buffy wasted no time with pleasantries after she entered the library. “You said on the phone that you know what happened? And I need to know, because I already wrecked a clock and two doors this morning.”

Looking up from his book, Giles didn’t seem to know what she was talking about right away. “Hmmm? Oh yes, yes. I’ve just spent the last hour validating the information I received and it’s absolutely fascinating.” Seeing the look on his Slayer’s face, he didn’t go into details. “But I want to wait until the others arrive before explaining it.”

Buffy could understand that so she took a seat and started to play with her new, insulting pendant by swinging it around. The little pervert had actually suggested she hung him up somewhere with a good view when she took a shower. She’d said no, of course. And had forbidden it to go rifling through her memories looking for any nudity scenes right after, once she realized the little pervert could do that. She’d almost made the mistake of contacting it once she was in the shower when she found out she was a real blond now. That was a shock.

Playing with the chain also helped distract her from the feeling she was getting from the Hellmouth. She’d started picking up on it when she was still three blocks away. At first she hadn’t known where the feeling of wrongness had come from. Buffy thought she was imaging things but the feeling just got stronger as she got closer to school. Surprisingly, it didn’t feel evil. It was simply unnatural, that energy had no place in this world. Buffy knew that instinctively.

She didn’t have to wait too long before she heard two people approaching so Buffy looked expectedly at the doors, eager to see her friends and make sure they were really fine. The doors swung open and two people stepped in that the Slayer immediately recognized as Willow and Xander even though they looked very different now.

Xander almost seemed to glow with health and vigor. ‘Wow, he looks yummy.’ Went through Buffy’s mind. The change was more apparent in Willow. Her hair was now really red and was done into several braids with what looked like slender golden wire threaded through them. ‘She looks yummy too,’ she considered before she caught the weirdness of that thought.

Moving swiftly on from that, Buffy greeted her friends. “Guys, did you wake up wearing a piece of jewelry spouting insults too or was it just me?”

Willow shook her head. “Oh no, mine’s very nice actually.”

“Figures I end up with the defective one,” Buffy bemoaned. Internally she smiled beatifically at the huffing silver hammer. ‘Two can play that game,’ she added.

Giles waited until all three had taken a seat before launching into his tale. “I believe I know what happened to us last night after we fell into that room. It’s rather extraordinary, the glimpse this has given me into pre-recorded history is… not something you’re interested in.”

He paused for a moment. “I won’t bore you with the details then. The room contained four powerful mystical artifacts that once belonged to, well, four Norse gods. But more astonishing is that according to Gungnir these items didn’t just belong to them, they were actually the source of their power.”

Xander broke in. “I don’t want to jump to conclusions here, but are you saying that anybody that wears one of these things becomes a god? As in an immortal, foe-smiting god?”

“Yes and no,” Giles responded. “You must not forget,” completely ignoring the fact that none of them knew what he was going to say to begin with, “that most ancient people didn’t see their gods like we do today. To them, the gods were individuals that possessed not only awe-inspiring powers but also all the flaws and foibles normal humans could have. They could even die, which brings us to the actual effect these artifacts have.”

He had their undivided attention now. “I haven’t got the full story yet, but apparently the people that were chosen to wield these items were endowed with various powers such as an extremely long lifespan, enhanced physical abilities and a few others. At some point in time, these Aesir decided to use this power to install themselves as gods.”

Grinning, Xander looked down at his left wrist where what looked like a silver watch, but with the dial replaced by a small, round shield complete with boss, was wrapped around it. “I knew there had to be an upside to living on a Hellmouth. And here it is, hello godhood. Hey, since we’re the head of a religion now you think we could set our own holidays?”

“Xander, this is serious,” Giles grumbled. “These are ancient mystical artifacts of untold age, there is no telling what the consequences could be of using them. We must proceed with care, or all manner of disasters could occur!”

Nodding blithely, Xander asked, “so G-man, what does mine do?”

Her Watcher gave a deep sigh at that and Buffy could sympathize. She was wary too and didn’t get why Xander wasn’t. “According to Gungnir, you are wearing the Skin of Baldur. According to the stories he was supposed to be invulnerable so I suspect it gives you some manner of protection.”

“So I’m invulnerable?” Xander’s smile got downright smug. “Cool.”

Giles saw the smile too and apparently he knew just what to do. “Yes. According to the story, Baldur gained that protection after his mother asked everything in creation not to harm him.” That wiped the smile off of Xander’s face. Giles acted like he didn’t notice and continued jovially, “Baldur’s domain was beauty and peace, by the way.”

Xander’s expression fell completely. “Awww, figures I end up as the god of sissyness. There is no justice in the world I tell you!”

Willow had been silent so far but now she broke that silence. ”Uhm, Giles, what deity did mine come from?”

“Yours is supposed to be the Hair of Sif. I honestly haven’t been able to find much on that save that her hair was likened to a golden harvest and obviously your artifact is not her actual hair so I’m afraid I cannot help you with its abilities,” he finished apologetically.

Turning his head to look at Buffy he went on, “yours is more famous. According to Gungnir you’re carrying Mjolnir, which was the hammer of Thor, the God of Thunder. There are quite a few stories of him slaying various monsters and giants with that weapon.”

Not wanting to think any further about her own situation she asked Giles about his. “Wait, Giles. You said four, so where’s yours?”

Not saying a word, Giles reached down and when his hand came back up it held a cane which he placed upright on the table. When he let go it stayed that way, although it did sway a little. “This is Gungnir, it belonged to Odin. It’s been helping me with my research.”

Buffy looked thoughtfully at it. “Not an umbrella? Or maybe a pocket watch? You know, something British.”

“His original form is a spear,” Giles explained. “But honestly Buffy, must you think of me as a stereotype?”

The blonde mulled that over. “Yes,” she nodded to herself. “Yes, I must. I can’t help it, it’s just what you were born to be Giles.”

Her Watcher made a motion to take of his glasses, no doubt to wipe them clean, but stopped halfway when he remembered he wasn’t wearing any. “Stereotypes aside, I must stress to all of you to exert extreme caution with these objects. The inexpert use of mystical forces of this magnitude can have devastating consequences. We must proceed very carefully.”

Light illuminated the library from Xander’s corner for a moment. When it was gone it revealed a being covered in silver sitting in Xander’s chair. The metal had flowed over everything, including his mouth and nose, and had even clumped up his hair. Flexing his arm, Xander’s face distorted in a way that hinted at the smile underneath the shining metal skin. “Hey, I look like the Silver Surfer.”

Pinching the bridge of his nose, Giles finished, “or you can play around with the ancient artifact containing vast amounts of mystical energy and just see what happens.”

I’m still looking for a beta-reader. If anybody is interested after reading this first chapter, please let me know.

TO BE CONTINUED
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