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Summary: I have always believed there had to be some reason for Buffy and Xander not getting together.
Many millennia before Season One in a valley protected from the demons by magics and ruled by warlords.
The door to the bed chamber blasted open, startling the two occupants and forcing them to break apart from their intimate embrace. Though unarmed and wearing only a transparent robe, the dark haired and dark eyed young man immediately places himself between his companion and the shattered door. Although unarmed as well and dressed similarly to the man, the young woman did not cower like some frightened mouse but instead took a firm fighting stance.
That is until the being responsible for the interruption strode through the door, dragging a limp female form.
“Fa..father,” said the woman in a terrified, choking voice.
Though the man with her said nothing, his fear was also evident to the giant of a man who had invaded his daughter’s private quarters.
Instead of speaking, the woman’s father merely swung the arm holding the limp female figure and slid her towards his daughter and her lover. The woman’s face had been hidden from the couple by the angle at which she had been dragged and the voluminous red hair on her head. However, it was the color of the hair that told them who she was, and even though they were almost bowled over from the force she had been hurled at them with, they both endeavored to catch her as gently as possible.
“Father, what have you done?” the woman cried out with less fear and more defiance in her voice from before.
“I have chastised a deceitful daughter and intend to do so to another,” came the booming reply.
Ignoring her father for the moment, the young blonde woman checked out the damage done to her sister. She was not cut, nor did it seem that any bones were broken, but she was covered with many bruises and was only semi-conscious. The young woman thought to herself that her father must be saving up his rage for her and Nicklaus to have dealt so lightly with her sister.
Considering the way she and her companion were dressed, she knew enough not to deny the obvious reason for both her father’s presence and the condition of her elder sister. Word had somehow reached him about the two of them and that Rose had further knowledge about them. He had apparently gone to her sister to discern their whereabouts and probably to confirm what he had heard. From Rose’s condition, she had tried unsuccessfully to deny him the knowledge he wanted. She knew how cruel her father could be when denied anything and therefore did not fault her sister for not being to withstand his inquiries.
Before much else could occur with her father, Anne was distracted by Rose’s whispered, “I’m sorry.”
“You have nothing to be sorry about, dearest sister and friend,” said Anne as she pulled her sister up to embrace her. “You should not have tried to protect us, thus saving you this pain. It is I who should apologize to you for involving you with my decision.”
Nicklaus had stood up to better defend the two young women holding onto each other, their heads cheek to cheek.
“Father, we have performed the ceremony and have taken the vows. Our love is eternal and our souls entwined forever. There is nothing you can do about it,” Anne said defiantly, preempting any words her father might have to say.
“Insolent spawn!” he bellowed in reply. “Do not deign to tell me what I cannot do about this situation. You will find that I am quite capable of exacting the appropriate punishment for each of you.”
“Eb l’lits,” he intoned and the three of them were frozen in place, with the two sisters kneeling and holding each other. Nicklaus standing just to their left.
“I place the following curses on your heads,” he said as he made arcane drawings in the air. “You, Nicklaus, who was suppose to defend me and mine, are hereby charged to defend mankind for all eternity during each of your future lives. This is a never ending task at which no one person can succeed and for which you will receive no acknowledgement. Each failure at this task will darken your soul. Furthermore, the love my daughter has for you may be eternal, but from henceforth this curse will have it reflected so that while you pine for her, you will watch what should be yours be directed to your worst enemy. Any solace you may try to seek in the arms of other women will end up hurting you and them. Again your soul will ache for the pain you bring to others. Any deeds of valor you accomplish, any praise you would garner for your actions will not be recognized because you will hide them as though ashamed or those you cannot hide will be perceived as foolhardy, reckless, or endangering yourself and others. Rewards you deserve will be denied you and so your soul will burn with anger for the unfairness that surrounds you and the love denied you.”
“You, Rose, my eldest and first to survive the womb, you were my wisest advisor. You and the consort I would eventually choose for you would have ruled after my passing. You conspired with them to go against my wishes and placed love above duty. I know that you yourself desired Nicklaus but when you saw that your sister desired him as well you deigned to bring them together for your love for her was stronger and therefore you would sacrifice anything to make her happy. Therefore, I curse you to continue to desire him, though in the depths of his heart he will only see you as a sister. You will also do what you can to steer your sister away from him and towards his enemy that will become the focus of her love. You will believe it is done out of love, but jealousy will be the real reason as your selflessness will be reflected into selfishness. You will encourage and support her doing things that will bring pain to Nicklaus even though you would normally try to dissuade her because it is unfair. Also, instead of having the confidence of your intellect, you will either have no faith in yourself or be so over confident that you will be a danger to those around you. Your loves, none really true despite seeming so, will also end in pain and sorrow.”
“As for you, Anne, as you have heard, the curses on the other two affect you as well. You will love Nicklaus’ enemy and your faithful sister will betray you to that end. You will see Nicklaus’ virtues in one underserving while denying that he has any of them himself. Any attempt he or others make for you to see differently will be seen as jealousy and pettiness. You will openly reject Nicklaus should he ever try to get you to love him, while at the same time do things that might instill hope that you can love him. At times you will even flaunt your rejection of him. You will toy with him and be oblivious of how much pain it brings him. Your own lovers will bring you only heartache, even the enemy whom you will have the greatest love for. Your womb will be forever empty, since you have pledged yourself to Nicklaus, only he could give you children and these curses will keep you from each other. You will push away those that could truly love you and death will always be nearby for those that do not leave.”
“You will remember none of this, nor any of your previous lives, during each of your future lives but the memories will be in the deepest recesses of your minds where your worst nightmares hide. The pain from each life will grow until each new life is a bitter disappointment from birth to death. The true happiness that you thought you could achieve by your bonding will always be just out of reach and you will taste only ashes of failed dreams.”
Though frozen in place, the faces of the three young adults clearly showed their horror at the pronouncements being made about their future.
“So mote it be!” boomed his voice with finality.
As he said this last, he drew his great sword and swung it in an arc that intersected the necks of his two daughters and the abdomen of Nicklaus. The young women were beheaded and the young man writhed on the floor, disemboweled and bleeding out to a slower and more painful death.
Only the sharp intake of a breath from the shadows of the corridor outside the shattered door, broke the ensuing silence.
“Diana,” spoke the brute of a man, commandingly.
Most, after witnessing what had just occurred would be too petrified to respond to the implied command. Diana was not most, so she slowly entered the chamber of death. This outcome had not been what she expected when she had told her father about her vision of her younger sister’s attraction to Nicklaus and that her elder sister had not only known about it but was actually helping them get together. She had just wanted her father to give her a chance to be the one to wed handsome and strong Lord Legna and cement the alliance her father was working out with him. She knew Lord Legna desired her sister, but she had thought that if her sister’s attraction to a lowly minion was found out, her father would seek to try and convince Lord Legna that she was the more worthy bride. She remembered, too late, a lesson from Master Selig, ‘Be careful what you wish for, you might get it’.
Diana had been unaware that Anne and Nicklaus loved each other so much that they had already conducted the bonding ceremony. Having that fact thrown in her father’s face, explained his curses, but not what he had just done.
She made her way to her father’s right side where the sword he still held was. This was deliberate on her part, because it would show her father that she acknowledged his power over her by placing herself in a position to be killed if he so desired without having to expend much effort. Not that she desired it to happen, but after what she had just witnessed, it seemed best to not appear in the slightest way threatening, challenging, or rebellious.
They stood silently this way for several minutes until she could take the silence no more and in a quiet but clear voice asked, “Why?”
Continuing to gaze at the now still, though not completely dead, form of Nicklaus in front of him instead of looking at his dark haired daughter, he replied, “Because all curses can be broken no matter how strong. Plus my curses would only take effect once they had departed this life. For you see, Anne was partially correct when she said there was nothing I could do about her bonding. As long as they were alive, they could escape the effects of my curses entirely.”
Without thinking or even realizing she was saying it out loud, Diana said, “How?”
He cocked an eyebrow at both her question and the shuffling of her feet as though getting ready to flee that indicated she realized what she had done and the danger she was now in.
However, he gave no indication that he was upset with her question and instead answered it.
“By conceiving a child,” he stated flatly. “Alive, they would have conceived a child in love and the curses broken even before they began. However, death has ensured that the curses take effect and drive to the day that Nicklaus will be so frustrated with Anne that he will take her by force. The child thus conceived will break my curses but will also break their bonding vows and thus part their souls from each other forevermore.”
Diana was both impressed and horrified that her father could come up with such a fiendish revenge on such short notice and carry it out so brutally. She had not intended for her father to hurt her sisters too much when she went to him with her information. She did love them even though she fought with them all the time as each had been born to a different mother than she whom she considered as being of a lower class of nobility. She had taken great pains over the years to belittle Rose about her wardrobe as a way to take her elder down a peg or two. As for Anne, she tried to keep her younger sister from outshining her because she saw that her beauty and strength could very well make her more favored than her, especially since Anne excelled at weapons and fashion sense. Their deaths had not been what she had been looking for and the guilt of her part in the current outcome gnawed at her. Her only solace was that Anne’s mother, Lady Joy, was not alive to learn of her child’s death. For she had greater love for Anne’s mother than her own, Lady Joanna, who wasn’t a bad mother, just one who left raising her daughter to others. Because of her love for Lady Joy, she would not have been able to keep from confessing about her role in Anne’s death if the woman still lived.
“You have done well this day, my daughter,” he continued.
“Thank you, father,” she replied trying to keep the quaver out of her voice. “I wish only to obey your command.”
The steely menace in his reply chilled her spine almost as much as his words did, “And if my command is that you slit your own throat, what would you say?”
The hesitation of her reply was so brief that he gave her the benefit of the doubt that it was caused by the shock he knew his question would cause her.
“I wish only to obey your command,” she said again evenly, without even the slightest quaver or crack in her voice.
“Hold out your hands!”
She raised her hands in front of her, palms up to show she had nothing to hide.
He raised his sword and placed the blade in her hands.
“Grasp the sword and kiss the blade!”
She did as instructed without the slightest hesitation. Bending at the waist rather than lifting the sword. The blade was still covered with the blood of her sisters and Nicklaus. She kissed the blade without any hesitation for a full ten count, covering her lips with blood.
“Now swear that you will never reveal the manner in which the curse can be ended!”
Raising her head only slightly above the sword blade, she spoke clearly and succinctly while small rivulets of blood slowly made their way down from the corners of her mouth, “I swear that I will never tell a living soul how the curses can be broken, lest my soul, and the souls of those whose blood anoints my lips, are cast into the worst pit of hell which is the just reward for those who betray.”
Her father smiled at her. He admired how she had upped the ante should she break her word, by including the souls of those who would benefit from breaking the curses in the manner opposite of how he intended. If they would suffer the same fate as she, then she would have no incentive, even that of familial love, to tell. He took the sword from her, noting that not all the blood on her hands had come from the sword. She had gripped the blade so tight that she had cut herself.
“Go to your room and clean yourself. Let no one see your hands or face.”
“Yes, father,” she replied as she bowed and left the room.
Several moments after she left, a lit candle was dropped on the bed. The entire room was ablaze by the time any of the servants noticed the smoke. Luckily for the rest of the castle inhabitants, the fire was confined to the one room despite an open door. After the fire was put out, the lord of the castle refused to let anyone in except himself to search for casualties. None questioned his grief at finding not one but two daughters had died, even though the grief of the surviving daughter seemed more real. The fact that a captain in the royal guard was also found within the chamber explained the broken door as being from a would-be rescuer.