Dawn Summers and the Rise of Roman Imperialism.
By Dave Turner.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Buffyverse or anything else that might appear in this work of fanfiction. I write these stories for fun not profit.
Crossover: The Buffyverse with ‘The Gallic Wars - Book V Chapters 1-23’ by Gaius Julius Caesar(which I think is out of copyright by now), plus a prequel for the BBC/HBO series ‘ROME’.
Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation; Written in glorious English-English. Both English and American idioms are used throughout this fic.
Timeline: 2012, continues on from ‘The Angel of Mons’. Set in the same reality as my ‘Seattle Slayers’ and ‘Tails from the Slaughtered Lamb’ stories.
Words: Seven chapters each of about 3500 words.
Warnings: Some strong language, some scenes of a sexual nature, some violence.
Summary: A pretty box, some Roman artefacts and…Ooops! Dawn is lost in time, but no one at home notices.
Dawn Summers and the Rise of Roman Imperialism.
By Dave Turner.Crankie Manor, Cornwall, 2012.
It was now mid-spring, the flowers and trees were in bloom and even the weather was improving; some days you could go out without fear of being blown off the moor. Breathing a sigh of relief Rupert Giles sorted through more note books and placed them neatly on the shelves in his new Watcher’s Library. Dawn Summers, now working as his fulltime research assistant, sat at her desk typing away on her computer.
Everything had gone back to normal after that unfortunate business with Dawn opening portals and people being dragged backwards and forwards in time. Fortunately she hadn’t appeared to have done any damage to the timeline, so all was well once more. However Giles still wished that Willow had never started to teach Dawn about magic…but, that was all water under the bridge and it was no use crying over spilt milk or any other saying that fitted the situation.
After a rather ‘frosty’ couple of weeks Buffy and Dawn had made up after their little ‘misunderstanding’; Dawn had apologised to Buffy for using magic on her and had promised to at least run any future magical adventures past Giles and/or Willow before she did anything major. Of course things were still a little strained between the sisters but he was sure that wouldn’t last.
Giles turned to see Dawn heave a large black tin box onto her desk.
“What do you want to do with this?” she indicated the box, “it’s got quite an unusual protection spell on it so we’ll need to be careful opening it.”
“Hmm,” Giles walked over and examined the box, “where did it come from?”
“Let’s see,” Dawn consulted a sheet of paper that had been taped to the box, “says here that it was bought by one of the London guardians from an antique shop. He noticed the magical field and thought it was best if we had it.”
“Hmm,” Giles peered at the box as he polished his glasses, “magic you say?” he looked up at Dawn, “I think we’ve had more than enough magic around here for a while.”
“Well if you don’t want to open that, what about this?”
Bending down Dawn picked up what looked like a roll of very old stair carpet; she dumped it on her desk causing a small cloud of dust to rise about her.
“What’s it to be?” asked Dawn taking swipes at the dust motes with her hand, “Open the box or roll out the carpet?”
Giles looked from the box to the carpet and wondered what to do, they’d have to look at one of them; this was supposed to be a library not a dumping ground for wayward magical items.
“Let’s take a look at…” Giles was interrupted by a loud knock on the door.
Giles made his patent ‘annoyed clucking noise’ and turned to look at the door.
“Come in,” he called.
The door banged open shattering the ordered calm of the library; two young slayers struggled in carrying a large wooden box between them.
“Careful!” Giles cried as the slayers banged the box into the polished wooden door frame scratching it rather badly.
“Where you want this?” a petite east European girl looked over her shoulder at Giles.
“W-what…?” Giles was flustered by the sudden appearance of the girls; he ran over to guide them into the room hoping to prevent any further damage to the two-hundred year old fabric of the manor.
“Miss Buffy say this for you,” grinned the girl, “we leave here.”
The girls dumped the box in the middle of the room and left before anyone could stop them.
“NO!” cried Giles after the departing girls, “Don’t…” he pointed helplessly at the crate.
But it was too late the girls had gone slamming the door behind them. Giles tutted and sighed angrily as he polished his spectacles vigorously. Dawn smirked to herself; she could tell just how angry Giles was by how energetically he polished his glasses. This was about an ‘eight’ on the ‘Giles is annoyed’ scale. Dawn decided that she didn’t want to be Buffy when Giles next saw her.
“Let me guess,” Dawn walked from behind her desk and over to the box, “we’ll be opening this box next?”
“Yes,” sighed Giles resigning himself to the inevitable, he bent down and gave the box’s rope handle an experimental tug, “lend a hand Dawn,” he asked when the box wouldn’t budge.
Even with both of them heaving on the handle the box still wouldn’t move; which was probably just as well because it would have scratched the polished wooden floor.
“I could magic it into the corner,” offered Dawn waggling her fingers as if she was some pantomime character casting a spell.
“NO!” Giles said just a little too loudly, he saw the hurt look on Dawn’s face, “No, thank-you Dawn,” he added in a calmer tone of voice, “I don’t think we need magic here. Let’s just open it and see what we’ve got.”
Giving Giles another slightly hurt look Dawn took the envelope that was taped to the top of the box, while Giles went in search of a crowbar. Ripping open the envelope Dawn read the cover note it contained.
“Oh!” she sounded surprised, “It’s from the Bishop of Bath and Wells…”
“The new one?” asked Giles as he searched through the drawers of his desk looking for the elusive crowbar.
“Of course it’s from the new one,” Dawn glanced over her shoulder, “try the stationary cupboard,” she suggested; Giles went over to the cupboard and opened the door.
“Of course it’s from the new one,” Dawn continued her eyes running over the letter, “we had the baby eating one killed, remember?”
“Oh yes,” Giles paused in his search for a moment, “silly me…how could I forget? Aha! Here we are,” triumphantly he held up the crowbar.
“It says here,” Dawn studied the letter, “that the box is full of Roman artefacts that ‘we’, as in the Slayer’s and Guardian’s Council, might find interesting…”
“Is that all?” Giles advanced on the box crowbar in hand.
“Yep,” Dawn looked at the letter again.
“No list of contents or anything?”
“Umm,” Dawn checked both sides of the letter, “nope.”
“Oh,” Giles looked at the crate uncertainly, “you better stand back Dawn.” Giles waved his assistant back as he inserted the end of the crowbar under the lid of the box.
He was probably over reacting, but it was better to be safe than sorry. Although the Church of England wasn’t known for its vindictiveness, religious organisations often didn’t appreciate having any of its senior members assassinated. The wood creaked loudly as Giles pushed down on the crowbar. Putting his fingers into the gap between the box and the lid he heaved up and pulled the lid free. Placing it to one side Giles peered into the box.
“What’ve we got Giles?” asked Dawn from the other side of the room.
“Bloody hell!” gasped Giles.
“What is it?” Dawn skipped excitedly over to look in the box, “Gold? Jewels? The answer to life the universe and everything?” Her face fell as she caught a glimpse of the crate’s contents, “Oh,” she sniffed, “fire wood…oh well it could have been worse it might have been snakes or something, then we’d have to…”
“Yeah?” Dawn looked brightly at Giles and noticed the rapt look on his face for the first time.
“Shut up Dawn…please,” Giles fell to his knees next to the box and gazed in wonder at its contents.
Dawn Summers was many things, witch, single-mother to name just two, oh and totally unappreciated by her big sister; that made three just off the top of her head! But insensitive wasn’t one of them, at least to anybody who wasn’t her sister ‘cause well big sisters were totally so…Dawn dragged her mind back to the here and now. So, she asked herself, if Giles was going all ‘I’ve found the answer to all the mysteries of the universe’ over some bits of wood with writing on them, they must be pretty important.
“What are they Giles?” she reached into the box to pick up what she now saw to be thin wooden postcards.
“DON’T TOUCH!” Dawn snatched her hand back at Giles’ yell, “at least not without gloves on,” he added.
“Are they dangerous?” Dawn went over to the stationary cupboard and collected pairs of latex gloves for Giles and herself. “Are we in danger of being poisoned or something…I always said that old men who dress up in frocks and have invisible friends weren’t to be trusted.”
Dawn was beginning to think that the Church of England might be out for revenge after all.
“No it’s nothing like that,” Giles had put on his gloves and was carefully lifting one of the ‘postcards’ out of the box.
Standing up he went over to the window by Dawn’s desk to study the ‘tile’ in natural light.
“Come on Giles,” Dawn was almost hoping from foot to foot in her excitement, “what is it?”
“Well,” Giles lifted his glasses to look at the tile, “if I’m not very much mistaken…”
“Yes!?” Dawn tried to peep over Giles’ shoulder to see what he’d got.
“What we have here are the first drafts, as it were of…”
“Of what?” demanded Dawn, “The Wizard of Oz?”
“No much more important than that,” Giles replaced his glasses and looked at Dawn as if she’d gone slightly mad.
“More important than the Wizard of Oz?” Dawn was clearly shocked.
“Most definitely,” Giles went back to the box and replaced the tile, “no, what we have here is possibly the first draft for Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars…or at least one book of it.”
“Huh?” For the third time today Dawn’s life reached an anti-climax, “What?”
Giles gave her one of his pitying looks that he used every time he found a hole in Dawn’s education.
“I take it you’ve heard of Julius Caesar?”
“Well dur,” replied Dawn not sounding at all like her twenty-eight years.
“I’ll take that as a ‘yes’,” Giles continued in his slightly annoying ‘cleverer than thou’, tone of voice, “Julius Caesar wrote a book called The Gallic Wars about…”
“Let me guess,” Dawn screwed up her face as if she was thinking really hard, “the garlic wars?”
“That’s the Gallic Wars,” corrected Giles, “you really should listen Dawn, how do you expect to learn anything?”
Dawn stuck her tongue out at the librarian who raised a disapproving eyebrow in reply.
“So how come there’s all this wood,” in spite of herself Dawn was actually interested, it had just been a bit of a shock to find that Giles thought this was more important than the Wizard of Oz; she attributed it to his Britishness.
“Well,” Giles slipped effortlessly into ‘lecture mode’, “In those days they wrote on parchment which was expensive. So, they used to write a first draft on birch wood tiles or wax tablets before making a ‘fair copy’ onto parchment. They found an entire cache of letters up on Hadrian’s Wall written on tiles like these some years ago, I remember I…”
“So these are important?” Dawn had suddenly become very serious, “Valuable even?”
“Oh beyond price,” Giles picked up another tile to study it.
“So we better look after them then?” Dawn walked back to her desk and picked up the phone; a few minutes later the library was guarded by four heavily armed young slayers.
Additional tables had been placed all around the library onto which Dawn and Giles carefully transferred the fragile wooden tiles. They had laid them out in neat rows and Giles was just starting to get them into some sort of order.
“From what I can make out,” he moved tiles from one table to another, “we have what looks like most of Book V, which deals with Caesar’s invasion of Britain in about 54BC. Is there anything else left in the box?”
“No more tile thingies,” Dawn looked into the box, “there’s what looks like one or more stone slabs. The top ones got a face and some writing carved into it,” she bent down and tried to lift the slab. “It’s too heavy,” she announced, “we’ll need Buffy or someone to do the heavy lifting.”
“Dawn,” said Giles warningly, the sisters were still a little angry at each other over Dawn’s last outburst of magic.
“Oh,” Dawn moved some packing to reveal a small wooden box, “there’s something else here.”
Picking up the box Dawn saw that it was about four inches on a side and maybe two deep. The lid and sides were inlayed with lighter coloured wood and what was probably ivory making a geomorphic pattern over the surface of the box. Holding it up to the light Dawn found that the box opened on two tiny hinges. Opening the lid she looked in to find…
“Oooh! Pretty,” cooed Dawn softly.
There nestled on a blue velvet cushion was a large red ruby in a gold and silver setting, absently Dawn stroked the stone with her finger and…she felt herself stretching and being pulled into the gem, she cried out in panic.
Finger frozen in front of the clock on the mantle piece, Giles looked around, puzzled. Shaking his head he dismissed the thought, he’d almost been sure that he’d heard someone call his name; never mind, he thought. For what felt like the tenth time today he put the old clock on the mantelpiece right. It never kept time properly and one day he really must find the time to get it fixed. It really was a nice old clock, too good to just throw away.
Putting the clock right he turned to face the library, it was a mess. Boxes and books littered every surface and half full crates lay scattered around the floor. He sighed, he really needed to talk to Buffy about getting himself an assistant; this was too much work for one man. Sighing once again he walked slowly through the obstacle course that was the Watcher’s Library and sat down behind his desk.Southeast Britain, 54BCE.
Admiring her new outfit Ariawen stood on the bank of the pool and watched her reflection. Her lips formed a frown as she looked at herself; a pool wasn’t a very satisfactory mirror. Alright, she had a good bronze mirror somewhere in her saddlebag on the pack pony, but that was only really any good for when she was combing her hair or applying her make-up; it would be even better if it was silver, but she’d never be able to afford such a luxury.
No, the pool would have to do. She looked down at her red and blue checked trousers, they were just a little too long, and she’d need to sew them up before the material got frayed. Her dark blue tunic with its yellow stripes however fitted her perfectly…or so Marbod the Druid claimed. It was baggy and hid her figure, of which she was justly proud, but Marbod had said that it was probably best that they hid the fact that she was a woman. Her hand went automatically to her hair; Marbod had also insisted that she cut off her long beautiful red-gold hair. That had made her cry and even the old druid had looked as if he was sorry for doing it.
Sighing sadly Ariawen picked up her belt and sword and buckled it around her slim waist, the sword had been cut down from a warrior’s weapon so it didn’t drag along the ground, and although she was tall for a woman she was still too short to comfortably carry a longsword on her hip, in fact all her war gear had been cut down to fit her shorter stature. Turning away from the pool Ariawen walked slowly back to where the horses stood eating the fresh summer grass. Looking around she saw that Marbod was nowhere to be seen.
“MARBOD!” she yelled as she watched the trees and bushes around the pool for any sign of the old druid.
She cocked her head to listen, since she’d ‘changed’ (it was the best way she could describe what had happened to her) her hearing and eyesight had improved dramatically. She’d found she could see in the dark almost as well as she could during the day and she could see things clearly even when they were a long way off. Her hearing had improved so she could hear a mouse creeping through the fields fifty paces away…which was really annoying because all the noise kept her awake at night. She’d had to learn to block out the noises people and things made before she could get any sleep.
“MARBOD!” she called again, “Where are you-you silly old fool?”
Kicking at a stone Ariawen went over to her pony and patted his neck; the animal turned his head and thrust his nose at her hoping for an apple or some other little treat.
“Sorry, old boy, nothing for you today,” the pony nodded his head in understanding before going back to cropping the grass.
It was her new found strength that had frightened the people of her settlement the most. If it hadn’t been for the fact that her father was chief, and a powerful one, she felt sure she’d have been driven out or maybe even killed. There had been dark mutterings that she was possessed by demons and she would bring ruin on the tribe. Fortunately Abellio, a druid who lived in the woods near her father’s fort, had pointed out that she could quite as equally have been touched by the gods and would bring great fame and honour to the tribe. No one was willing to argue with both the chief and the druid and the muttering about her had died down; it hadn’t stopped but at least people didn’t point at her and make signs to ward off the evil eye anymore.
Then there were the dreams, if it hadn’t been for those Ariawen would have happily come to terms with her new found abilities and made something of them. But the dreams frightened her, she knew she shouldn’t be; the gods had obviously chosen her to be a great warrior, but the monsters she saw terrified her to a point that some nights she was too frightened to go to sleep. It had been seeing his daughter’s obvious terror that had convinced her father to send for Marbod, a wise and old druid; he would know what to do.
Smiling to herself Ariawen drew her sword and took a few practice swings at a bush; the old man had still not shown himself. If the truth was known Marbod had no more idea what Ariawen had turned into than anyone else. The difference was that he could hide it better and could confuse people with his clever arguments, he’d certainly confused her father. He’d confused him enough to let Marbod take her to face the expected Roman invasion.
The old man was now convinced, after a great deal of thinking on the subject, and not a little beer, that Ariawen had been sent by the gods to help defeat the invaders. He had ignored her protests that she didn’t think so; that unless the Romans sported fangs and drank blood from people’s necks, she was supposed to fight the monsters that came to her in her dreams.
The old man had laughed and called her a silly girl; she had nearly punched the old fool, she was a chief’s daughter and (so it seemed) a great warrior. No one called her a ‘silly girl’ and got away without being punished. He said that the dreams where the gods’ way of telling her she needed to fight the Romans. She had countered by saying that it was obvious to her that her dreams were the gods’ way of telling her to fight monsters!
They argued a lot about this.
“MARBOD!” she gave it one more try, “If you don’t reappear by my count of five, I’ll ride off and leave you.”
Sheathing her sword she vaulted onto the back of her pony. Looking around, there was still no sign of the old fool, she picked up the lead rein of the pack pony, turning the horses towards the coast she made ready to ride off. Just as she was about to put heel to horse Marbod burst from the bushes.
“Going to ride off without me, girl?” the old man pulled twigs from his long grey beard and hair.
“Yes,” Ariawen replied honestly.
“No patience,” the old man muttered as he caught hold of his pony’s reins and heaved himself onto the creature’s back, “young people today…when I was a boy…”
“Yes, yes ,yes,” Ariawen pursed her lips in annoyance, “When you were young everyone was respectful of their elders blah, blah, I’ve heard it all before.”
Marbod gave Ariawen a hurt look, she’d interrupted him as he was about to start on his favourite topic; the good old days.
“Look if you expect me to beat these Romans single handed we better get on.” Putting her heels to her pony’s side she urged her mount on towards the coast.