Xander begins his studies.
“Xander!” Willow squeaked. “You worried me! What do you think your doing going out on your own like that! You could get hurt! Well, answer me!”
“Oh, hi Wills,” Xander blinked slowly, attempting to process what she said. “Do you think you could say that slowly please? I just woke up here. M’ brain’s not quite up to speed.”
“She’s worried about you,” Buffy supplied. ”You’re poking around in the lair of The Master, remember?”
“Someone has to. Massively powerful vamp, really old, lots of contingency plans? Any of this ringing a bell?” Xander asked, before shaking himself. “Right, did you find the Anointed One?” At the blank looks most of the gang were giving him, Xander continued to spell out why he asked. “The Masters favorite minion? Probably in on whatever back up plan there was? Needs to be staked so that whatever it was doesn’t happen?”
“That’s actually a good point, Alex,” Giles said beginning to polish his glasses. As he opened his mouth to say more he was cut off by Xander who had a pained expression on his face.
“Xander, please. Not Alex. Bad memories are involved with that name,” Xander’s voice was flat as he made the request, causing Willow to flinch.
“You know he didn’t mean to be insulting, he just didn’t know,” Willow soothed.
“Yes, I know. Doesn’t stop it from hurting, but I know he means well.”
Buffy and Giles exchanged worried glances at this exchange. Xander was incredibly tight lipped about some things, and this looked to be one of them.
“Xander, what does this Anointed One look like?” Giles attempted to get the conversation back on track. “Any distinguishing features? Age when he was turned, Skin tone, and the like.”
“Ugh. I don’t know that much about him, but there was a prophesy involving him. ‘The slayer will not know him, will not stop him, and he shall lead her into hell’, or something like that,” Xander replied. “So he probably was the one who led Buffy to The Master so she could be killed.”
“Oh, that makes matters much simpler,” Giles said, “Buffy, do you remember who led you there?”
“Hm? Oh, I do. Small kid, black hair, kinda annoying.”
“Okay, it should be easy to find him then. Not many children are turned, so he should stand out in a crowd,” Xander mused. “I could be wrong, mind you, but I think most vamps go after fighting power or attractiveness, both of which require the fledgling to be at least a teen...”
Giles blinked rapidly at that. “Excellent deduction, Xander. It also means we have to be cautious, as the child probably had some sort of special power that The Master considered valuable.”
“Ugh. This means I’ll have to look through the Writings of Aurelius
. Anything that vamps treat as reverently as Born-again Christians treat the Bible is not going to be pleasant,” Xander groaned, before perking up. “If you come along next time, I can hand it over... Assuming you bring the proper gear to deal with it.”
Giles twitched at the name of the book, before pinning Xander with a look. “You didn’t touch it did you? That book is almost pure evil.”
“I’m not a complete idiot, thank you. I know not to touch the vampiric equivalent of the holy scripture,” Xander replied testily. “I left it where I found it. It’s not like the Journal of Mal Keshar.”
“The journal of who?” Giles asked.
“Really skilled demon hunter. Last vamp that touched the Journal dusted, so It should be OK,” Xander covered up his slip hastily, mentally cursing his carelessness. “The Master kept his minions as far away from it as possible which just lends credence to the fact that it’s not the sort of thing that that demons would want to associate with.”
“Still, be careful. Often such things are warded so that none but the owner can touch them without some harm befalling them,” the Watcher cautioned.
“Yeah, I hear you. Most of the wards are probably on the more personal stuff, I’m not about to touch those,” Xander responded.
“Probably a good idea. Plus it’s just rude to root through other peoples stuff, Right?” Buffy asked joining the conversation again.
“True. I don’t want to get his ghost after me or anything,” Xander responded with a slight smirk.
“This is no laughing matter!” Giles barked, shocking them. “While it is unlikely that his ghost would appear, such spirits are incredibly powerful, and are not to be dismissed out of hand.”
“Could be worse,” Xander offered, after calming down. “Could be a Wraith”. Or a Shadow
he added in the privacy of his own head.
“How do you know about...?! Oh. Mr. Keshar dealt with some, did he?” Giles asked.
“Quite a number of them, yes,” Xander responded.
“He was very skilled if he dealt with them, they are the most powerful spiritual entities that the watchers council has on record.”
Xander smirked at the comment. He knew that there were three incorporeal undead that were much more powerful, but the only ones that they were likely to meet were the Specter and the Nightgaunt. The third, the Dark Spirit gave rise to the legend of the Angel of Death, somewhat understandable as they come from the realm of death itself. With a mental shake, he responded with the expected quote: “He’s the best at what he does.”
“Indeed. Even the Old Ones, the ruling class of demons, had trouble with wraiths,” Giles responded, either not noticing the reference, or ignoring it.
Xander was torn between sighing at the British librarian’s ignorance of the modern world, and smirking at the reference to Mal’s scouts, which were mostly wraiths and their stealthy cousins, shadows. In the end, he settled for shrugging, and pointing out a minor detail. “They’re very weak to holy energy, so if you can can cast offensive holy spells, they’ll go down quickly,” It’s more accurately called Arcane energy, as most mages can channel it, but I’m not going to be telling him that. Yet.
Xander added in the privacy of his own head.
“Holy magic can only be used for healing, Xander,” Giles chided gently.
“Maybe,” Xander shrugged. “There was a reference to something called the Brotherhood of Light that was capable of using holy magic to attack things, but it was mostly stationed on the Isle of Alduin, so it’s probably long gone now.”
“Isle of Alduin? Sounds like something from Lord of the Rings,” Buffy snorted.
“That was Anduin, Buffy,” Xander groaned. “And it was a river, not an Isle.”
Giles stared at Xander with a fair amount of disbelief written on his face. ”How on earth do you know that?” At Xander’s offended look he elaborated, ”I wasn’t expecting an American teen to have in-depth knowledge of great literature when most of you are...” Giles trailed off, looking for the right word.
“Are what, Giles?” Buffy prompted, glowering.
“Um...” Giles floundered under the force of the glare Buffy was directing at him, causing Xander to come to his rescue.
“Vain, fashion obsessed sheep, following whoever the newspaper says is popular at the moment?”
Giles blinked at that description before nodding slightly, “Well, yes. I was looking for a... more polite way to say it, though.”
Xander shrugged slightly. “I call it like I see it. If people don’t like it, that’s their problem, not mine.”
“Xander, its time to patrol, we can talk about this later,” Buffy prompted, causing Xander to stare at her in disbelief.
“You mean I was asleep for less than 5 minutes?” Xander asked, exhaustion catching up with him again. “This is not good.”
Mayor Wilkins was not a happy camper at the moment. He didn’t have any idea what Mr. Harris was doing in that warded chamber, but he was under pressure from his sponsors to make it stop. Combined with the fact that the Senior Partners of W&H wanted it dealt with, NOW, it was obvious that whatever he was doing in there was dangerous to the forces of darkness, even more so then the slayer. Which in turn made it threatening to him, both directly, as anything that could get the Senior Partners and
his sponsors worked up had to be dangerous, and indirectly, as they were getting upset with him, and bad things tended to happen to those they were upset with. With how exhausted Mr. Harris was, it should be an easy matter to... dispose of him when he separated from the slayer. Wilkins had all ready contacted his spies with the order to eliminate Mr. Harris ASAP. With him gone, things should settle down a bit. Assuming the slayer didn’t come after him.
Xander groaned, having endured several minutes worth of lecturing by Willow and Buffy, before getting out of the library. As he walked down the street, he heard a brief scream of agony, followed by the sound of dusting Vamps. Looking in the direction he saw a brief distortion as something faded back into invisibility, leaving behind three piles of dust. Right before the creature completely faded from view, Xander caught a glimpse of three metal claws extending from the creatures knuckles... The spirit was a Shadow. Damn. This meant he had to up his studies of the books Mal Keshar left behind. If G-man thought Wraiths were just short of un-defeat able, and his advice was to avoid them, he’d have no clue on how to deal with their lesser known cousins. “As if I didn’t have enough to do all ready,” he groused, taking a turn that would lead him to Keshar’s Vault, as he had come to think of it.
The first thing to remember about Necromancy is that it is banned in almost all civilized lands. Thus, if you seek to learn the art penned down in these books, you must practice in secret, letting no-one observe your new talents.
The first chapter went on like that, warning after warning about what the civilized races will do to anyone caught practicing Necromancy in their lands. None the less, Xander pored over the pages carefully, memorizing the warnings, and looking for any hidden meanings. After nearly a dozen pages it began to wrap up. Also, one must never sign any contract with a being claiming to offer an enhancement to your powers, even in a dream. If you do, your soul is forfeit, lost beyond even the reach of the mightiest Practitioners.
On the very next page came the words Xander was looking for when he started reading. The first spell you shall learn is an offensive one. You must always be able to defend yourself from any threats that approach, and more often than not, they are your own creations, that which you raised but were not powerful enough to command. As such the spell is of the Arcane Element. It’s name is Shadow Wave...
AN: And that’s that. Nearly two thousand words. People asked for a longer chapter, and they received. With any luck, the next one will be of the same length, but faster to produce.