Prelude to Invasion Chapter Three
POWER RANGERS:- Demon Wars
Prelude to Invasion
"This is… All of existence, are you sure?" Dawn asked. The scale of it was hard to understand. Everything. Every light in the sky. Every life, not just on Earth, but every world out there. All of it gone.
Giles nodded grimly. "Everything. We have to stop him here and now, there's no telling just how close they really are to ultimate disaster."
"What does it matter?" Buffy asked. "The universe, all universes. Who really cares? We lose, we die. It's that simple. I've been there, done that. Take it from me, its boring."
Dawn shook her head, "No, not really." She told her sister. "Earth's not important. Not really, neither are we, but un-making existence. That's not death, but worse. It would be as if no one was ever born. We would never have lived. Not here, not anywhere."
"Buffy, it is quite simply impossible to over state the danger we are all in. A'Zores and his forces have to be stopped and stopped now!"
"Okay, so if Sore-boy wins everything is unmade. Whatever that means."
Dawn glared, this was no time for her sister's dumb blonde act. "We just told you, it would be like nothing ever happened. Anywhere ever."
"Alright how?" Buffy snapped. "Answer me that?"
Dawn had a vague idea, but still looked to Giles. If anything he could explain it better. The Watcher put his glasses back on and took a deep breath. "Oh dear lord how do you explain… Imagine, imagine a spinning plate, the kind clowns have in the circus. Always spinning, it needs to, otherwise it would fall and crash."
Giles paused, obviously gathering his thoughts. "Now if there's too much evil, too many hell dimensions then the plate is thrown out of balance and crashes."
"And boom." Dawn finished. "Or poof. Whichever."
"Exactly, thank you Dawn. if the delicate balance between good and evil is ever pushed, even a fraction, one way or the other, it will spell total disaster and the ultimate destruction. Put simply Buffy we have to stop A'Zores, and soon."
"How do you know all this?" Dawn asked him.
"Watchers diaries." He explained. "This warlord has been cutting a swath through realities since time immoral. Occasionally people and demons have been able to escape They fled far and wide, a few made their way here. Since before the Roman Empire the Watchers Council has collected as much information as it can. Rumours, legends, myths, even fairy tales."
"And they heard the stories the survivors told." Buffy jumped in.
Dawn frowned, It sounded right but there was something missing. She was literally neck deep in this whole thing and she hadn't put it together. Giles was a good researcher, but there was no way he'd pieced it all together from a few rumours. "But how did you put it together? The destruction of the universe from a few half baked legends?"
"It wasn't just the stories, there was a few other things." Giles admitted as he pulled a small book from his pocket. "The Pergamum Codex. A collection of the most irrefutable prophecies in existence."
Buffy went pale. "You still have it? I thought, I don't know, it was used up."
The watcher shook his head. "There was more written than just the rise of the Anointed. It foretells the coming of the end of days." Giles put the book down and took off his glasses. "I had thought it was a metaphor. Guess I was wrong."
Buffy looked at the book like it was a live snake. "That's the thing that said you would die and the Master would rise?" Dawn asked her.
"Yeah, that's it." Buffy looked to Giles. "Where have you been keeping it?"
"Well I wasn't exactly honest with the old Council about the extent of my research. If I had been none of us would have ever seen this again. I have a, private shall we say, archive. A few items I've come across over the years that the other Watchers might not understand or agree with..." he trailed off.
"Still the rebel?" Buffy asked, sounding slightly surprised that he'd kept things from her. Dawn honestly believed her sister had forgotten about the book he was currently holding. Who knew just what the Watcher had came across over the decades.
Dawn decided that it didn't matter, specially not now. "What's it got to say about all this?" She asked him.
Again he took a deep breath. "We're in the middle of the last prophecy." he admitted. "'The book has two endings. No seer or prophet has been able to see beyond what is recorded here. Ever. There is quite literally nothing, it all comes down to this. One end tells of the warriors of light and good victorious, saving creation. In the other…"
"In the other we're all dead. Real helpful." Dawn rolled her eyes.
"What's it say, exactly." Buffy asked, obviously ignoring her.
Giles quickly replaced his glasses and picked up the book. Easily finding the right page, near the back. "This is a rough translation, but I think you'll get the meaning. 'The final darkness will fall and the light will wan. In these times Evil and Chaos will rule, blindly marching to the final end where all things light and dark will stop. Take heart, light can still be rekindled by those that were not born of mother earth. Led by the Child of Guardians and fate Chaos and the end of all will come crashing down.
" 'Champions all will gather for one last rage against endless night. One of the one that will be many, the light of distant stars, a distant traveller of two world and man born of the demon will gather around the Child of Guardians. Together the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and the final battle will decide all our fates that have been and will come'."
Giles paused, coughed and then summed up the next part. "It goes on to tell how each of the five that lead will call on their respective allies and unite in a single force to fight back the Darkness, which I'm guessing is A'Zores now. It tells us the end is in question and whatever's coming… Dawn is something funny?"
The Key had a huge grin on her face and couldn't hide it anymore. "I am the one. The Child of the Guardians, its me."
"How?" Buffy asked
"Remember what I told you in the caves? The Guardians created me and the other Keys. I was never born but created. Cassie is an alien from another world, Sari is a half robot half human hybrid and Connor is the son of two vampires. One of which staked themselves, he was never really born. That's the Rangers. Not born or not from Earth."
"What about Faith?"
Dawn shrugged. "Don't know, maybe a stork dropped her off. You'll have to ask. All I know is four times out of five is more than a coincidence." She pulled up a chair and burst out laughing as another thought came to her. "Looks like I'm going to fulfil what the Guardians made me for after all." She laughed again.
"I don't understand." Giles admitted. "What are you talking about, Guardians?"
Buffy answered, "Dawn's been doing some research into where the Key came from. There's it big space legend she's heard about where some group she says is above the Powers That Be, called the Guardians, created it and others. Some guy stole it from this toymaker guy and hid it on Earth. This Earth, whatever. The Key is supposed to stop things like this. I'm not sure how…"
"…The Keys lock things in place. Dimensions in my case, time, energy and space are, well I guess, my brothers, or sisters."
"Hey, I'm your sister!" Buffy protested.
That brought Dawn up short. "And you always will be." She agreed. "But the Key, what I am made of, is something else. Created by the Guardians to lock the rules in place. I exist just to stop something like this from happening."
"Good Lord, you don't mean the Guardians of Light and Dark do you?"
Dawn nodded, sort of glad Giles had heard of them. "And the rest. There are a few others, at least that's what I read in Zordon's old files."
There was a long moment where no one said anything. "So, you really are the focus of a prophecy?" Buffy asked her
"I guess." Dawn shrugged back. "Why?"
"Welcome to the club, prophecy girl!" Buffy grinned at her and Dawn blinked.
Her sister had just accepted her. Not as a little sister, not as the hostage of the week, but as a fellow warrior in the war against Darkness. In that moment Dawn knew she really was accepted. Whatever doubts she still had were gone. Buffy trusted her, she trusted her to decide, to make mistakes and to fight along side her.
It took all she had not to let it show.
Marcus turned the small box over in his hand. He knew what was inside. He'd seen it enough times since he'd bought it, but he still fumbled with the tiny clasp. What was inside wasn't expensive, especially not with all the closing down sales the shops in town were having, but it had cost nearly all his savings.
It was worth it and more.
There was a sudden knock on the door. He knew who it was, no one else knocked like her. Quickly throwing the box into his bedside draw he opened the door. "Dawn."
It was hard for the young history student to really describe how even just seeing the woman he loved made him feel. How a simple smile could light up his whole day, and single tear drive him to extremes just so she'd never have to feel that way again.
"How do you do that?" she asked, a sad note in her voice he dearly wished he could banish.
"Say my name like that? Like everything's going to be alright, like it's all been worth it."
"Because it is. Everything you do, out there as a Ranger. It's so people can feel this way, be in love with each other and feel safe." He told her. Dawn's smile really was like the sun coming out from behind a grey cloud.
She took his hand and pulled him closer. The kiss was indescribable, as always with her, but as she pulled back he knew something more was wrong. "How bad is it going to be?" he asked quietly as they went into his room.
"Bad." Dawn looked out the window, her dark mood returning. "Very bad. I need you to go." she said, her voice cracking.
"We've talked about this, not without you." He stood his ground. "And I know you aren't leaving."
"But you have to. Anywhere, as fast as you can, but you have to go." Dawn told him intently. "Last time things were like this Buffy and the Slayers turned Sunnydale into a crater."
"Now with all the Slayers here you think the same things going to happen?" He asked and she nodded. "Then I'm staying here, you're going to need all the help you can get."
Dawn shook her head viciously. "No, I need you safe. I can't take the sort of risks I need to if I think you might be hurt."
Marcus set his shoulders. "I can't. I won't just run away when…"
She took him by the shoulders and kissed him again. Gently, just enough to stop him mid sentence "There's nothing you can do." She told him after stealing his breath. "I wish there was but you can't help me. You'll just get hurt."
She was right, but that didn't change the way he felt. About her or any of it. "A'Zores isn't me, I know that. He's still what I could have become, without you." Dawn shook her head but he pressed a finger to her lips. "I know I'm wrong, but that's how it feels. You can't just expect me to run away and leave you to face that."
"I don't, but you have to know I'm right." She gave him a half smile. "If we switched placed you'd ask the same of me."
Marcus gasped, she was right and there was nothing he could say. After what felt like forever he finally met her perfect gaze. "I wish things could be different, my love."
"I'm always careful just what I wish for, but this time I think you're right."
"Doesn't change things, does it?"
"Not tonight." She agreed.
Marcus knew he could, that he should ask her now, but he couldn't. After he promised himself, when it all was over. "My parents, they've heard what's happening and they want me out of here. I told them I wasn't leaving, might be time to change my mind."
His girlfriend closed her eyes and bowed her head. "Thanks. You told them about me?"
"Of course, they want to meet you. I told them your overprotective sister want's to keep you close and it might be a while."
She giggled. "She scare you that badly?"
"Nah, you haven't met my mom yet." He watched as her mood lightened even more. Something came to him. "There is one thing I can do, Jenny and Michael."
"They're still in the city…"
Dawn jumped. "What, why?"
"Jenny's family's supposed to be old fashioned, very religious and they aren't happy with the whole out of wedlock thing and Michael's not even told his yet. I haven't asked why. They don't have anywhere to go." He told her, as she slumped on to the corner of the bed. Her head in her hands.
"That's the last thing we need."
Marcus nodded. "I can take them with me. We've got a spare room at my parents, at least I think we still do. I'll keep them safe. With me."
"Why does everything have to be so complicated?" She asked the sky. "It's supposed to be easy. See demon, jab sharp wooden thing into it, party. Can't we get back to that?"
"Was it ever really that simple?" He asked honestly, sitting next to her.
"Used to think it was." she smiled sadly at him. "You should have read my diaries. 'Buffy had it so easy…' Goddess I was a brat. Not that I'll ever tell her but I think, I think I understand what she went through now."
"What are you going to do about it?"
Dawn kissed him lightly on the lips again, teasing him. "What do you think?"
"One good idea's not enough?" He said under his breath.
She shook her head lightly. "Oh, you need at least one or two more."
"Well I'd better not waste them then." He grinned and lent in for another, much longer, kiss.
The Rogue opened her weapons case. "Ahh, hello old friend." Snapping the clasps holding it in place she drew it and beheaded the Pirate Warrior that brought it to her. "Per-fect." She gloated as the headless body exploded into goo.
"Very entertaining." The pirate's captain growled. "And what exactly was that for?"
"Was that, important?" She asked, flicking the remains from the blade.
"No. I just despise being a glorified post boy for a raving sociopath." he snarled. "What do you need it for, you usually get away with those talons of yours."
"Buffy, my dear Sister in Slaying. She has one just like it, he has promised her to me. A little gift that keeps on giving."
The pirate growled wordlessly for a moment before pulling himself up to his true hight. "Enough games, we need to talk."
"Really?" She asked, pulling her polishing cloth from the case. Sormeghe bored her. He had nothing she wanted, his goals were so limited compared to A'Zores. To live and plunder. Nothing else.
"We are both in great danger." he warned her.
Polishing the weapon she sighed. "From what?"
"A'Zores, you fool. A'Zores!" He spat from between clinched teeth. "With that new army of his we have become redundant. Ballast to be thrown overboard as soon as he sets to sea."
"You're ballast." She told him. "As long as we are more useful alive he won't do anything. You are a glorified post boy and thats all you'll ever be and I'm an assassin. His pet killer when he wants someone done in." the Rogue sighed. "Besides, those mindless thugs might have be powerful but he'll always need brains. I'm safe."
She looked up and saw the look of shock on his ugly face. "I've told you before, as long as we are useful to him we are alive. As soon as you understand that and stop boring me the better."
A'Zores walked in on his lover and Pirate Captain. "Ah you are both here. Why?"
The Rogue grinned and held up a very impressive weapon. "Party favours." She said cryptically. "Sormeghe brought it for me."
A'Zores grinned. "Perfect timing, I assume your ship is near?"
"The dimension next door, we're ready." he admitted.
"Then it is long past time we ended this. Sound the fog horn my friend and hoist the main sail. Tomorrow the Rangers meet their end!"
End Prelude to Invasion