“They’re called the Shadow Court.”
As she sipped her tea, Willow raised her eyebrows in polite inquiry over the cup, which resulted in the brunette woman seated across from the visiting witch ruefully shrugging her shoulders, to then appealingly glance at her sisters at her side sharing the large couch in the sitting room of the large mansion located at 1329 Prescott Street in San Francisco.
Seeing the identical mystified expressions of Piper and Phoebe Halliwell, the oldest of the trio turned back to their guests, and sighed, “Frankly, Willow, that name was given to them just as a way to describe those things! We don’t know their real names, what they might call themselves, or even if they do that!” Shaking her head in absolute bafflement, Prue Halliwell continued her odd story. “That’s not all, either. We haven’t the faintest idea of what they are, why they act as they do, or even how long they’ve been doing it!”
Faith, currently seated in her own armchair by Willow, mumbled through a mouthful of cookie crumbs, “Hey, what’s so bad ’bout ’em chopping up lotsa vamps and other demon baddies?” After those last words, the Slayer managed to swallow, only to then shove into her mouth another delicious homemade cookie, beginning to eagerly chomp upon that snack while also carelessly wiggling her own eyebrows to indicate Faith’s total lack of concern over Prue’s anxious tone.
Giving the three sisters a long-suffering smile, Willow exasperatedly glanced over at Faith already halfway through the platter of cookies she’d been handed just a few moments ago at the beginning of their conversation, and the Wiccan acerbically commented to her friend hogging the snacks, “Well, this is
their hometown, Faith, and if the Charmed witches can’t find out anything at all about those shadow things, they’ve got a right to be worried about that!”
Faith managed a somewhat conceding grunt over that, and then she stuffed two cookies at once into her maw. An annoyed Willow turned back to the female trio staring in utter awe at the gorging Slayer, with Piper also beaming at the success of her latest culinary creation. Clearing her throat to regain the others’ attention, a frowning redhead now inquired, “I thought you said the first attack was three months ago--”
“Oh, that was just the first one with any surviving witnesses,” vaguely answered Prue, who was far more troubled over the sudden panicky thought that maybe this Faith-the-Slayer would finish off her enthusiastic scarfing of Piper’s cookies by also consuming their grandmother’s antique silver platter in one single bite.
Reluctantly tearing away her attention from this alarming possibility, Prue again gazed at an intent Willow and continued. “It’s not like the bad guys really went around complaining that some mysterious enemies made of shadows totally spoiled their plans by consuming every single demon or vampire where those things appeared! But from the rumors we’ve heard, it’s happened several times before, maybe up to another three months before the first survivor watched what happened before they got away and then spread the word.”
Willow thoughtfully nodded, with her then prompting the other witch. “And the rest of the onlookers afterwards, their identifies and stories also match?”
“Yes, they were always innocent bystanders, potential victims, sacrifices, people who stumbled onto the attacks, that kind of thing.” A baffled Prue then added in her still-puzzled tone. “Somehow, the Shadow Court could always tell apart the guilty from the blameless, and well, they then ate
or absorbed into themselves the nasty people before disappearing. Until the next time.”
“The other features of the attacks, they haven’t changed either?”
Prue shook her head in a firm negative. “No, Willow. There have always been exactly seven of those shadow creatures.” The oldest witch of the three sisters now allowed a meaningful pause to occur in the conversation, as her visitor responded with a pensive tilting of her head that caused the brushing of red tresses against her shoulders. While Willow was contemplating the possibly important detail of the occurrence of this significant mystical number, her attention was drawn back to Prue once more speaking.
“Neither has anything else changed. There are always three large shadows and four smaller ones. One of the large shadows might be the leader or commander of the others, since that one usually stays in the middle of whatever place or area they appear in, while the others then attack.”
A loud belch suddenly resounded throughout the sitting room, startling every one of the witches there, who next heard the sheepish comment, “’Scuse me. Anyways, that don’t mean the shadow-thingie actin’ like that is the big boss. Might be the laziest guy of ’em all. Say, what the hell do
they look like, ’sides bein’ shadows? Humans? Demons? Radio City Rockettes?” Faith smirked at the other women staring at her, with the Slayer then unerringly reaching out with her hand, without looking, to grab the last cookie from the platter.
Over the noisy crunching of that small dessert being happily devoured, a surprised Prue Halliwell took a moment to gather her thoughts, all while being watched by someone with steadily champing jaws, as Faith waited patiently for what’s-her-name to answer. The Slayer had
been introduced to the Charmed sisters earlier, but Faith had promptly forgotten all three identical names beginning with the letter ‘P’, with the East Coast native instead derisively thinking at that time, *Musta been a hoot growin’ up together for these gals, with ’em all spittin’ in each other’s faces every time they yelled their sister’s name.*
Throughout the meeting, without bothering to tell anyone, Faith had mentally dubbed each of the female siblings with their own identifying nickname. The oldest sister, who’d done most of the talking, was Gabby. Middle sis, who’d made from scratch those yummy munchies, was Cookie-Maker. And li’l gal, the youngest and shyest, who hadn’t said a single word to her and Red since the first polite “Hello” was--
“Er, Faith,” began Prue, unknowingly breaking into the Slayer’s sardonic thoughts. “Nobody who survived was able to see into the shadows to find out what they are. It’s agreed that they’re some kind of biped, standing on two legs and having two arms, attached to a trunk and with something that might be a head on top. Other than that, nobody knows anything, and we haven’t had any success in finding out, either.”
know something else that might help, Prue,” spoke up the middle sister of the Charmed witches, ignoring the surprised look from her older sibling, as Piper instead good-naturedly eyed Faith engrossed in sweeping the tip of her index finger across the now-empty platter, to then pop this digit with its adhering load of cookie crumbs into the Slayer’s mouth.
Willow’s sudden glower at her indecorous companion ended when Prue nodded in agreement with Piper, adding, “You’re right, honey. Anyway, Willow, all of the attacks, whether witnessed or rumored, have one more thing in common.” Now sure of their visitors’ attention, the brunette witch told them both, “They all took place on the first night of the full moon.”
Both New Council members contemplated this interesting detail for a few moments, until Faith now tossed off a sarcastic quip, “Geez, don’t tell me there’s such a thing as were-shadows.” Glancing over at Willow in her friend’s adjacent armchair to see how the Scooby Gang associate had taken Faith’s wisecrack, the Slayer’s own mood abruptly sobered at seeing the red-haired witch’s thoughtful face. “I was just kiddin’, Red!”
“We’ve gone up against weirder things than that, Faith, and you know it, just like we’re going to do again,” dryly reminded Willow.
Faith allowed an irked expression to appear on her features, as she demanded, “Hey, ‘bout that -- why do we need to do anythin’ anyways? So far, all that’s happened is our workload’s been cut down a bit here, what with those fuckin’ vamps and other creeps bein’ gobbled up by those shadow dudes. More power to ‘em.”
Glancing over to the couch across from the arguing pair, where the Charmed sisters sat there listening in growing concern over their guests’ sudden dispute, Willow’s own exasperated mood became evident in her stern rebuke to the Slayer. “Faith, if the Council is going to put a Slayer House here, I want it to be done without any potential problems waiting for us! For all we know, the Shadow Court might think of the Slayers as a new enemy and go after them!”
Instead of yelling back at Willow, a reaction from Faith that might have been ordinarily expected from someone knowing this Slayer from years ago, the beautiful woman now allowed a wicked smirk to appear on her lips, as she then uttered a truly evil cackle that made the hairs rise on the backs of the necks of the Charmed sisters. “But we’re gonna go after ‘em first, right? Hunt ‘em down, check ‘em out, and then do the mojo to the max on ‘em if they turn out to be of the bad, seein’ if it’s even possible to shove a shadow up their own butt.”
A deadpan Willow just gazed back at a sadistically snickering Faith, with the witch then mused, “The next full moon’s the night after tomorrow, Faith. That’ll give me time to do some research and make my preparations, so that I’ll be ready then for whatever happens.”
“Got your back for that, Red,” gruffly said Faith. Only then did she look over at the other three witches gaping at the Slayer, with all the Halliwells struck dumb by Faith’s abrupt switch from complaining to mildly accepting Willow’s announcement.
Shrugging into their astonished faces, Faith told the sisters, “Hey, havin’ words with each other don’t mean things are gonna go bad between those who’re tight. Just givin’ your opinion, and knowin’ for sure how they feel, so everybody’s on the same page when things go to hell. We -- me an’ Red an’ some others -- we seriously fucked up years ago not doin’ that, so we make sure now that it’s all cool when we need to. Sorry ‘bout gettin’ into it right in front of you.”
Prue was the first to respond, helped along by casting a hasty glance at Willow’s beaming smile as that much more powerful witch firmly nodded in full agreement with her friend. “Oh, that’s all right, Faith. I have to admit--” (the oldest sister now shot a quick glare at her siblings, who disrespectfully grimaced back) “--that what you said might also be a good idea for other people to try.”
“Yeah, right,” chuckled Faith, just barely managing to control herself when the Slayer saw out of the corner of her eye both of the younger sisters sticking out their tongues towards an unknowing Gabby, whose attention was otherwise upon her guests. “Well, Red, we got anythin’ else to talk ’bout?”
“No, Faith,” replied a pleased Willow, as she now stood up from her chair, and held out her hand for a farewell handshake. As everyone else arose from their seats and made their goodbyes, with Willow also assuring the Halliwells that a full account of her and Faith’s coming experiences with the Shadow Court would be passed along to the sisters, whatever happened. During all this, Faith was diverted by something she hadn’t expected.
As the Slayer gently shook the hand of the youngest Halliwell sister, this woman gave Faith a merry grin, and then she whispered her first words of the entire meeting, “Faith, Piper made more cookies for the rest of us. Would you like my share? I’ll wrap them up for you in a napkin, and you can take them back to your hotel.”
In her sudden glee in getting even more of those fabulous snacks, Faith totally forgot herself, and she then managed to turn an ordinary meeting into a truly memorable occasion between the Charmed sisters and the Scooby Gang. An uproarious event to be remembered forever by all there in the room, and also told only to those really special people allowed to know about it, how Faith Lehane, unable to keep track in this woman’s mind all those ‘P’ sisters and making up her own nicknames for each, now let her tongue get away from her in the Slayer’s enthusiastic response.
“Hey, thanks a lot, Big Tits!”