Part 1 of 7
Faith & the Council of Vampires (Episode 4 of “Slayer No More”)
By Philip S.
Summary: A second member of the vaunted Vampire Council has been killed in St. Louis and now the police are getting involved, too. More trouble for Faith and the St. Louis crowd.
Timeline: Post Season-7 for BtVS. Set after ‘The Killing Dance’ in Anita Blake’s world, AU from there.
Disclaimer: All things Anita Blake belong to Laurel K. Hamilton and all things Buffy belong to Joss Whedon. The only thing I own is the idea behind this story, nothing more.
Author's Note: I know I've long neglected this series. And since I've recently been approached about continuing this, either myself or by having someone else write it, I decided to do the following. First: I'll post the first two chapters of this newest episode of the series, which have been lying around unpublished on my notebook for quite some time now. And second, I'll try my best to get more written, either myself or with outside help. We'll see how it goes. So I hope there are still readers left for this. Here we go.
Part 1 of 7
“Why are we even having a discussion about this? Is there any doubt as to what we should do? They need to die!”
The vampire known as Yvette had been ranting for quite some time now and even her companions, most of them vampires whose long lives had taught them patience, were getting slightly irritated by now. Still, Yvette represented Morte D’Amour on this voyage; she spoke with his voice and in his name. Which meant that she could rant on as long as she liked.
Or, the Traveller mused, until he was finally fed up and ripped her throat out.
The Traveller was an unusual vampire to say the least. Granted, pretty much every vampire to ever have held a seat on the vaunted Vampire Council was in some way extraordinary, far above the rank and file of their kind, but he was special even among his peers.
For centuries now he’d possessed the ability to take over the bodies of other vampires for his own personal use. Which put him in the enviable position of being able to go just about everywhere without putting his own life at risk. His own body, which few had ever seen or knew what it looked like, was safely hidden in a spot known only to himself and his human servant.
It made him one of the most powerful members of the Council and as such he was the unofficial leader of this group of envoys. They had come here to investigate the death of the Earth Mover, another Council member, who had died here in St. Louis. Only now, before they had even begun their investigation in earnest, another member of their group had died.
Padma, the Master of Beasts, was dead. Truth to tell the Traveller had never much liked him and found himself hard-pressed to feel any regrets about his death, but still. Two members of the Vampire Council had now died in this city, killed by the Master of this city, even if only by proxy. Jean-Claude was young. He should have been barely strong enough to hold this city. Yet two of the oldest and most powerful vampires in the world had fallen to him.
If nothing else, they needed to find out how he had done that. And more importantly, what his plans were now.
Finally fed up, the Traveller rose in his stolen body.
“Be silent, Yvette,” he commanded. His tone was low, but the other vampire obeyed. Her face clearly showed that she didn’t like it, but Yvette wasn’t stupid enough to argue against him. The Traveller’s enemies had a habit of dying, many of them by their own hands as he stole their flesh.
“We have all heard from Yvette now,” he told the others. “Extensively.”
Before this entire train of events there had been seven members on the Council. Himself, Padma, the Earth Mover, Morte D’Amour, Belle Morte, the Dragon, and the Mother of Darkness herself. The latter was, of course, asleep and had not participated in Council affairs for a long, long time. The Dragon had decided against participating in this matter, either in person or by envoy. Morte D’Amour was represented by Yvette. The Traveller had come in person, so to speak. And both the Earth Mover and Padma were now dead. Which left just one Council member unaccounted for.
“Asher?” he asked, looking at the vampire who represented Belle Morte. “What is your opinion?”
The vampire known only as Asher paid little attention to the argument behind him. His eyes were turned inward, constantly reliving a memory from earlier. He had been there during the first confrontation, hidden in the shadows. His presence was supposed to be a surprise, a move to take Jean-Claude off his guard. It had never come to that thanks to Padma’s stupidity and the presence of this strange she-wolf, but by then Asher had already been preoccupied with other things.
The things he had seen on Jean-Claude’s face.
Many years ago Asher had had a human servant, a beautiful woman known as Julianna. Oh, how deeply they’d been in love. He would have moved heaven and hell for her. Vampire magic bound them together and they would spend eternity side by side, as it should be.
Jean-Claude had been with them then. The three of them had been in love as well. A true threesome, with no one the odd man out, connected by deep feelings. Jean-Claude had, in some matters, come second, of course, as his connection to the other two had not been as deep as that between Asher and Julianna, but that had never been a problem. Or so Asher had long believed.
Then had come that terrible day. Jean-Claude had been away to visit his mortal father on his death bed and Asher and Julianna had fallen into the hands of the church. Julianna had been burned at the stake as a witch. Asher had felt her die, even as he himself was tortured with holy water. The priests had tried to burn the demon out of him drop by drop, but even that horrendous agony had paled in comparison to the sudden emptiness in his soul where his human servant had resided.
Jean-Claude had not saved them. Oh, he had later said that he’d simply been too far away, that he hadn’t made it in time, but Asher had known that to be a lie. Jean-Claude had been jealous of the deeper connection between him and Julianna. He had let Julianna die, because he couldn’t have her for himself.
Ever since then Asher had burned with the need for revenge. He wanted to make Jean-Claude feel the same kind of pain, the same kind of howling emptiness in his soul, that plagued him every night. When he’d heard that Jean-Claude had taken a human servant, a woman that he was also in love with, Asher had finally seen his chance. He would kill this woman, this Anita Blake. He would kill her before Jean-Claude’s eyes and finally he’d have his revenge.
Only Anita Blake was already dead. Some demonic creature had robbed Asher of his chance, mere weeks before he himself would have struck. But the fact that he had not delivered that death blow personally shouldn’t have mattered. Because whoever had actually done the deed, there was no denying that the end result was the same. Asher had seen it in Jean-Claude’s eyes. That pain. That emptiness. All there, just like he had wanted. His vengeance was finally fulfilled.
Why then was he not feeling the satisfaction he had longed for? Why was it that the only thing he could feel right now was... numbness?
Broken out of his stupor, he looked at the stolen face of the Traveller.
“I asked your opinion,” the Traveller said, not amused at being ignored.
Asher considered the recent events. He was here representing Belle Morte, who had made both him and Jean-Claude. It was an open secret that Belle was not pleased that Jean-Claude was no longer with her. She wanted him back under her thumb, not somewhere else lording over his own territory. She wanted him home, but certainly not dead.
And Asher himself? He... he was no longer sure what he wanted now.
“Padma died through his own stupidity,” he said after some consideration. “He wasn’t strong enough to control the local packs and paid for it. The matter is finished.”
“Are you insane?” Yvette screeched. “They killed a member of the Council. They have to die for it!”
“Padma disobeyed me when he went out to hunt this wolf woman,” the Traveller said calmly. “The Council is not responsible for avenging someone who was killed by his own stupidity.”
Yvette shook her head, clearly not believing what she was hearing. “Morte D’Amour will not agree to this. He...”
“... is not here. Three members of the Council are represented and two of us are saying that Padma’s death is not our concern now. Do you need the math explained to you, Yvette?”
For a moment she actually seemed defiant, but then quickly deflated.
“So we just let them get away with it?” Yvette asked, pouting like the child she hadn’t been in centuries.
“Nothing of the sort,” the Traveller said. “We have come here to investigate the death of the Earth Mover. That task remains undone. We will continue, no matter Padma’s death. And if Jean-Claude cannot give us good reasons for his deeds, we will deal with him.”
A smile played over Yvette’s face. Asher did his best to mimic it, but failed miserably.
The Traveller nodded as they reached their consent and his thoughts drifted outwards. This city was teeming with vampires and by way of his power he was feeding off their presence, making blood unnecessary for him and the rest of the Council’s entourage. It was actually easier than it should be, both because of Jean Claude’s recent loss of power, as well as the fact that many of St. Louis’ vampires were not blood-bound. Members of that idiot Church the Master Vampire Malcom had created. Another matter that would need to be dealt with, but not today.
As the Traveller’s power reached outwards, though, there was something nagging at the very edge of his consciousness. Something was... off. He couldn’t really put it into words. Something did not belong here. He would need to investigate this. It had been centuries since anything came even close to making him uneasy. It was not a state of mind he enjoyed.
Later, though. They had other matters to deal with first.
Far away from St. Louis a newcomer has arrived on this world. He is a stranger, a product of magic and powers that are quite different than any that exist here.
Straightening, the vampire known as Angel walks off into the night towards the faint sounds of civilization he can hear in the distance. And all around him, unbeknownst to him, the new world he has fallen into recoils at the touch of something that has no business being here, that does not belong here.
Something that needs to be removed before the whole world is thrown out of order.
TO BE CONTINUED