Disclaimer: Buffy belongs to Joss Whedon and The Riddick Chronicles is the property of Universal Studios and produced by Vin Diesal.
Timeline: This is the epilogue I hinted at in my original story Restless Chronicles
. You definitely need to read it first, or you will be hopelessly lost.
Author's Notes: The OC and the backgrounds of the Elementals are from my own twisted head. I make reference to Wicca in my story and hope that I haven't mis-stated anything. I am not in any, way, or form trying to offend anyone and if I do, I humbly apologize here.
Special Note: My beta has been overwhelmed with RL, so all the mistakes are mine, and I happily claim them.
Five standard years had passed since the Lord Marshall's death. Riddick took his place on the Necromongers throne fully embracing their ways of "keeping what you kill." The Necromongers were unsure whether this savage had saved them or damned them that fateful day. Truthfully, it took several years to come to terms with it. Lady Anne's revelations shook the foundation of the Necromongers faith - their way of unlife.
They had given everything over to the Necromongers way. The conditioning was tortuous, but everyone went through it. They came out understanding what it meant to be a Necromonger, and that walking the path would lead them to the Underverse. To learn it was built upon lies was devastating. They were nothing more than pawns, foot soldiers sent to do the Lord Marshall's bidding. Even worse, he was merely a larger pawn. An instrument used to funnel souls to the Underverse, those of the innocents he slaughtered on each planet he destroyed. The few he took along the way, powered his half-dead body, keeping alive his myth.
Watching the Lord Marshall die, the Necromongers started to doubt. Lady Anne's haunting voice crumbled them to ash as she broke their conditioning, and they realized their duplicity. They roared for blood, for vengeance, for justice, but mostly they cried out for what they had lost, and yearned to atone the injustice they had unwittingly played party to.
Riddick cared nothing for those tortured souls. He was happy that in killing the Lord Marshall he had freed Jack. It was only when Buffy reminded him that there were other souls trapped in Underverse that mattered to him that he changed his mind about seeking vengeance.
She had laughed at his reluctant acceptance of the hero. Aereon tried to influence him, with prophecies and probabilities. Buffy laughed even harder, when he told the Air Elemental to blow it out her air hole. Aereon haunted them, popping up uninvited, but mostly kept to herself. Buffy knew she tried to talk Nierra into running interference for her. It wasn't working.
Buffy and Nierra had come to an understanding, which Nierra wasn't going to jeopardize. She loved her mother, but knew that Buffy was going to need her help in the coming years. Buffy had to trust her or she wouldn't come to her when she needed her the most. It was that simple. Nierra had learned allot over the years with Buffy. Many things she thought were true, she had started to doubt. Buffy once told her that her strongest trait, the one that led her here, was following her own path. Nierra was only now starting to understand what she meant.
She had always wanted to become a Guardian like her mother. Every Elemental dreamed about working for the Powers. It was an honor to guide their Chosen Warrior along their path. Nierra was no different. It wasn't until Buffy pointed out certain cruelties that she started to question the Powers "balancing" mantra.
Nierra tried to speak with her mother on the subject. Aereon wouldn't hear such blasphemy from her daughter's pretty blue lips. She had warned her not to wander down the same path Buffy had run headlong. It was true the tiny warrior was indeed formidable in battle. She had paid dearly for her stubbornness. Nierra argued that without it, she wasn't Buffy, and without her, the Powers wouldn't have had any chance of ever fulfilling the prophecy of Riddick. They should thank her, not damn her.
Aereon warned Nierra to watch her words, or they might do both. Nierra perhaps should have headed her mother's warning.
The Necromonger army was like any army, with the Lord Marshall as the High General. He reported directly to the Underverse, and was the only one that knew the way. His ship linked directly to the five other Generals under him. They roamed the quadrants of the known universe, harvesting souls and converting prime stock to the Necromonger faith
Peaceful planets were sought out, while violent or sparsely populated ones were culled or ignored. The generals had specific orders to follow and they did so, believing they were cleansing the world less desirable in preparation for their arrival to the Underverse. They never questioned why certain planets were thought unclean. It was simply the way – the Necromonger way. They fought a holy war, and as their reward, they would see Underverse.
Buffy and Riddick knew they needed the entire Necromonger army to knock down the doorway to Underverse. The only way to do that was to find each General and either convert them or kill them. It would take skill and cunning which they had plenty. Time. It called for time, patience and planning. They could find the one, even come up with the later. But, when it came to the waiting, neither were good at this particular virtue. Many said the gods forgot to include it in their makeup.
They were in the final stretch of their journey to Underverse. They had searched out the four other Generals, two had quickly submitted, one had died swearing his allegiance to the Necromonger faith, and one had submitted after losing to Riddick in open combat. The last and most elusive General stood between them and Underverse. General Aversis was the strongest among the remaining Generals. He was highly respected, and many had thought he would become the Lord Marshall before Riddick's deceased predecessor. This wasn't someone to take lightly, and was the staunchest supporter of the Necromonger faith.
He wouldn't believe them easily and if he decided to fight, it would become bloody. Necromonger against Necromonger. Aversis controlled the largest fleet next to the Lord Marshall's, and patrolled the most dangerous quadrant. He and his men were the elite, and many said the Lord Marshall had assigned him to the farthest quadrant in the hope he would die there. Of course, no one would ever say it within his hearing; the Lord Marshall had a habit of eating the souls of those who displeased him. It was ironic that General Aversis' current position lay directly inline to the pathway to Underverse.
Black encompassed the skies. It blocked out everything in its path. The stars went dark, planets, and moons followed quickly behind them. Some said the inky void had even engulfed galaxies within its mass.
Mothers rushed to hurry their children to safety. Soothsayers and Holy Men called out to the people. The weak fell victim to the strong who paid their dues to the greedy. The darkness passed by leaving the skies above unchanged and life returned to normal for those below.
Above in the darkness, it was another story entirely.
She saw nothing. Would there come a day when she would see something outside these windows? Her nights brought her little comfort either. She fought the smile her lips instantly formed when she thought of him.
As if thinking of him caused him to appear, two muscular arms wrapped around her waist to pull her flush against a decidedly male form. Silver joined ruby rimmed gold as he aligned his head next to hers. He drew her close to him, and wrapped his arms around her tiny waist. It still amazed him at the power contained in her small body.
"What do you see?"
His deep voice tickled her ear as it rumbled against her throat. She tilted her head to lean against his. Her eyes remained focused on the endless dark. Slowly, hesitantly she started to speak.
She tilted her head to lean against his. Her eyes focused on the endless dark. Slowly, hesitantly she started to speak.
"Nothing," she said, her voice the merest sliver of its normal bravado. "This darkness has crept inside me and taken hold."
Her body trembled, and his hold tightened. He had never known fear, yet her words and actions caused his heart to race.
"Promise me something," she pleaded, turning to him with her eyes closed as she laid her head against his rapidly beating heart.
"Anything." His deep voice rumbled his response.
She smiled as the base vibrated next to her ear, sending delicate chills down her spine. His lips moved against her hair, telling her that he knew where her thoughts had wondered. It didn't surprise her. Actually, it added to the comfort his arms had already offered. They knew each other so well, at times words were unnecessary. Unfortunately, this wasn't one such time.
"No matter what happens, don't let them win. Either of them."
The air grew stagnant as her words fell heavy in the room. Her heart stuttered, and a deep wounded growl started low in his chest. It worked its way up his throat, finally erupting when he threw his head back to scream aloud.
His hands wrapped around her slender arms to turn her around to face him. Silver polished eyes stared into ruby-rimmed gold that had once glowed brighter than the stars. They held no light. Understanding dawned horribly clear to him as her words became chilling clear. She was blind. They had taken her sight and for her this was a two-edged sword. Buffy's eyes saw beyond what anyone else could. She saw into a person's very soul. And, if that wasn't enough for one person to bear, she received visions while she slept; visions of the future – their future.
Buffy laughed at the idea. Those meant to watch over her had long since turned their backs on her. She wondered at times if they had ever seen her as more than a pawn to move about at will. It no longer mattered. They had played their last hand and lost.
She wasn't sure what they hoped to win with this latest maneuver. Her smile turned feral as she felt him join her. Riddick wouldn't happily play by someone else's rules. If they thought weakening her had weakened him, they thought wrong.
The fools knew nothing about predators. Attack one head on in battle, for territory, food or sex and it would kill, submit to or accept you. Come at its mate and it wouldn't stop its pursuit, until one or both were dead.
Riddick curled his large body around Buffy. He seemed to engulf her within a cocoon of muscle and mass. It was as if he intended to absorb her into his very being. Perhaps, he did. He buried his nose in her hair to draw in the smell uniquely her.
"How are you?"
She heard the concern he tried to hide. This wasn't the way this was going to happen, not if she could help it. Buffy rolled over to face him. She stared down at him with unseeing eyes. Her brow furrowed as her arms crossed over her chest.
"Stop it!" she growled. "I'm not dying. They just screwed with my sight. It's not like I haven't fought wounded before. To tell the truth I'd rather not see half of what I see." She heard him start to protest and placed her fingers over his lips. "My other senses are just fine." His concern screamed at her, even though he never said a word. "Do I have to kick your ass to prove it?"
The deep rumble vibrating from his chest told her she had achieved her goal. Her laughter echoed in the vast chamber as his lowered to a sultry purr.
They lay next to each other supine and satisfied. Buffy threw her leg over his as she propped her head on her hand. Riddick turned his head toward her and waited. She loved that about this man. He never asked a million questions; just remained quiet while she talked then added his opinion. Oh, they argued over certain points, but never over whether the other's idea was valid.
"I think the Powers don't want us to destroy Underverse," she stated. "Why else would they pull this now?" Her hand swiped across her sightless eyes. "If they could have taken any or all the power from the spell away, why now? Why not after you became the Lord Marshall?"
She pushed up from the bed no longer able to contain her need for movement. Buffy felt him move behind her. He would sit on the edge and watch her prowl, as he called it. The word fit perfectly. Her movements were liquid smooth as she stalked across the marble floor. Silver eyes tracked her steps with barely banked passion. He knew the minute she had worked the problem eating away at her. She became still as death. Riddick felt the pulse in his neck quicken as the blood rushed lower. Buffy turned to him with heated eyes, her voice a low hush.
"They thought we wouldn't succeed. The bastards thought we would kill each other, leaving only a few survivors, none of who would know the way to Underverse."
Here it comes. He loved this part. Riddick didn't have long to wait. Buffy turned to him. She instinctively knew where he was. Her senses perfectly attuned to his every movement. Her lips stretched back into the vicious smile he had ever seen on her beautiful face.
"They forgot something important. Something they should have taken note of long ago. I never asked for the power and fought just as well without them. They were perks sure, but they don't make me – me. The Powers believe nothing happens without their say so. They're so hung up on their own power trip that they forget about how pissed off we little humans
," she said, using her fingers to fashion air quotes as she spoke. "get when people mess with us. They’re supposed to be the good guys, but from where I'm standing, their white hats look pretty dingy." She placed her hands on her hips, angling her body toward him as if he were due north and she a compass. "I think that we should convince Aversis to play on our team then knock down Underverse's door permanently. We can't let them mess with us now. It's taken too long to get this far. I say they're scared and this." Her hand waved back and forth before her eyes. "Just proves it. They can't be as omniscient as they think they are if they have to pull back handed crap like this. Rather than scaring me into turning back, or quitting. It makes me want to fight harder. So." She threw her head back to stare sightlessly up at the ceiling. Her voice rose to an impressive level as she bellowed out her next words. "Bring it on! You brought me here to fight this war. You got it!"
Riddick had watched and listened to Buffy as she railed at the 'Powers' or whoever supposedly sent her visions. He had never put much store in some nebulous entity intruding in their lives. Who were they to say what they could or couldn't do? Riddick was a man of action. He felt threatened and acted accordingly. It had worked for him this far, and saw no reason to change his ways. She would never ask it of him. He knew this the same way he knew the darkness welcomed him like a prodigal son.