The Tapestry Burns Part 2
See Chapter 0 thru 3 for full disclaimer. I’m not making money off this. There is a small nod to Inuyasha in this chapter (see if you can spot It.), I have also um….appropriated, yeah appropriated some Mythology for my own purpose. There are also quick little bits from things I don’t own. The list is as follows: Charmed, Harry Potter, Hellsing and Supernatural. Chapter 4: The Tapestry Burns part two: Darker Days, Words of Warning
So the Mayor was going to become a demon in a couple of months, and an old one at that. He had been thinking and planning how to kill the mayor before that happened and over the last three hours he had come to a decision. He was gonna let him do it….and then he was going to kill him. He hadn’t had a real fight since he got to this dimension, so this Olvikan demon was going to provide that for him.
Shifting his attention away from that line of thought he decided to initiate his plans for leaving Sunnydale. He’d need an identity to do some of the things he had planned on, and having something that says you exist makes life so much easier. Walking away from an empty warehouse that contained the blood splatter, clothing fragments and ashes of the former Mr. Trick he smiled, he knew just the nerd for the job. Pausing for a second he looked back at the warehouse, blew a breath in its direction and continued on his way to the house of his future helper.
Thirteen seconds later the daytime residents of Sunnydale could see an inferno of flames devour a building in the warehouse district.
“Well, this is a tricky little pickle.” Mayor Richard Wilkins III (II and I as well, but no one needed to know that.) pondered out loud as he perused the file on the new player in town, the one who called himself Hound. No one was sure what kind of demon this ‘Hound’ was but he’d already gained a reputation, his first night in town he had killed the patrons of Willies Alibi room and left a message. A message that he had proved to be true by systematically hunting down demons, a vampire nest here, a group of Fyral demons there and even a Chaos demon and of course vampires. Now this would have called for immediate termination, except he had reports on Hound’s encounters with the slayer and her friends.
He had expected them to get along, however in the last two encounters the slayer had attempted to kill him, Buffy not the new one (and wasn’t that
a treat, two slayers in his town.). The first of these ended with her beaten, unconscious and left to be carried home by her friends. The second encounter….the things he had heard gave him hope for the younger generation.*Flashback*
Henry Anders was not having a nice night; oh it had started off well enough. Him and two of his fellow minions had pick up a couple of girls and taken them back to the lair…to find it and their fellow vampires being torn apart by someone in what looked like a male version of the comic character Raven. They realized their error in not immediately running when the man ripped the head off a blonde vampire and turned to them.
Jimmy turned and ran, his ‘date’ following quickly behind and Henry was about to follow their example when the man blurred and repeated his imitation of a boy pulling the heads off his sisters doll. Deciding he’d be safer with something in between this guy and himself he grabbed his intended victim for the night and the other vampire swiftly copied him. “H...h...how about we talk about this,” the man’s head tilted to the side and Henry felt a small spark of hope in his un-beating heart. “You hero guys are all about saving people so, we let the girls go and you let us go?” The man blurred again and Henry heard the telltale sound of a vampire dusting.
Looking to his left he saw the man’s arm sticking clear through the upper torso of a girl who was no longer restrained by a vampire ‘never did learn that guy’s name’
. Speaking as he pulled his hand from the girl’s chest, Henry saw a pair of blood red eyes that promised death as the man turned to him.
“I’ve always been more of an Anti-Hero.”
Now before he was turned Henry had read his fair share of comics, so he knew the term anti-hero. In fact he’d liked the anti-hero’s, namely Wolverine, they did what they had to do to stop the bad guy. He still remembered what Wolverine used to say (‘I’m the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn’t very nice.’) and this guy seemed to be an embodiment of those words. Taking a chance he threw the girl he had been holding at the man and ran for the nearest graveyard.
He’d been running for five minutes, the first two he had thought he got away, but by minute three he had seen glimpses of something following him in the trees. A little after that he could see those red eyes and now, now he knew he was being toyed with. He just hoped that this guy kept toying with him long enough for him to get lucky and escape. Crashing through the tree line he skidded to a stop as he came upon the slayers facing off against a group of vampires. The two seconds he took to decide which direction to run in would be his last, as he darted to left the last thing he saw were those eyes.
Xander smiled as the vampire dusted, it was nice to play with prey every now and then. He’d need to rest soon, that technique was never meant to be used that way and his arm still tingled a little. He had allowed his arm to shift into its shadow state like it did when he changed forms and pierced the girl, missing anything vital, and reformed it behind her ripping out the vampire’s heart. Keeping the piece of his arm still inside her had taken some degree of concentration but it had been worth it to see that bloodsuckers face when he pulled his bloody arm (the blood had belonged to the vampire he had dusted, but why ruin the fun.) out of the girls torso…her fainting like the dead had just been the proverbial icing on the cake.
His smile was literally struck from his face when a punch threw him five feet through the air and into a headstone. “That’s for last time,” Buffy’s voice floated down to him “and this is for Angel!!” she screamed as she went to decapitate him. Waiting till the last second he bit into the blade, arresting its decent, and with a spin threw its wielder through the air and came to his feet.
Letting the sword drop from his jaws, now sporting a nifty impression of his fangs, he turned in time to sidestep Buffy’s kick. Reaching under the outstretched limb he grabbed her by the throat and lifted her into the air, trapping her leg between them. “Get over it, that corpse was gonna be dust sooner or later…I just accelerated that outcome.” Deciding to end it quickly he head-butted her twice, breaking her nose and knocking her for a loop. Letting go of her neck he grabbed her foot, preventing her from hitting the floor and raised a wall of hellfire nearby.
“You want to be with that leech so bad, join him in hell.” He whispered as he threw her at the wall of flame. Before Buffy hit the hellfire wall two things happened swiftly after each other. First her forward motion rapidly changed into a sidelong one as Faith tackled her away from the flames, and second the wall of fire vanished. After making sure that Buffy was alright Faith stood up and glared at him.
“What the hell is your problem!!? First you save me and Diana and pull a vanishing act. Then you show up here and start smacking us around when we run into each other, and now you try to kill Buffy!!!”
He recognized the look he saw in the back of her eyes, hidden under the anger. It was the one he used to give Buffy, his Buffy. No good could come of that kind of hero worship, and there was no way he was going to imitate captain forehead by having a relationship with an underage girl. Deciding to nip that idea in the bud and get his point across he spoke. “Get this straight, what you and I do are two different things. You fight a holding action, trying to keep from being overrun. I’m fighting a war. One that I intend to win and I’ll burn down anything or anyone that stands in my way. And in War nothing is as it first appears.”*Flashback Finish*
Well as his father said, it was best to deal with a potential problem before it became an actual one. Pressing the intercom he addressed his secretary “Maureen, get me the Order of Taraka, please.” Pausing for a second he pressed the intercom again “Maureen can you be a dear and get me one of those delightful tuna fish sandwiches from the diner across the street.” It was good to have manners.
He’d hidden while he waited for Jonathon to enter his room, his long and –mostly- boring wait paying off as his target entered the room. He waited until Jono logged onto his computer before dropping silently to the ground. Approaching the working technophile he wiped all traces of anger from his face and voice “Hello Jonathon.”
The nerd turned around his eyes wide open in fear, as he sucked in air to scream Xanders hand covered his mouth. Using his free hand he shook his pointer finger in a universal sign for no “That won’t be necessary, I’m here for a little bit of business.” Reaching in his back pocket he pulled out a wad of bills that had been….generously donated….by a few civic minded vampires. When Jonathon’s eyes landed on the money the fear in his eyed receded, replaced by greed.
“I have $2000 and I need an identity, you’re good with computers and you want money. You see where this is going?” A nod of Jonathon’s head and thirteen minutes later official looking documents were coming out of his printer.
“OK, these are your birth certificate, social security card and other miscellaneous documents.” He said as he handed Xander the bundle of documents. “The worm should be done in two days and then you’ll officially exist. Now about my money?” expectation in his eyes as he held out his hand. His eyes soon lost the expectation and filled with fear as Xanders hand wrapped around his neck, restricting his ability to breathe.
“Thanks for that,” the documents had disappeared into his back pocket “now depending on how you answer the question I’m about to ask you, you’re going to die.” Business was done and now he was dealing with a potential problem. “There’s a folder under your mattress entitled ‘Buffy sex-bot’, would you care to explain that.” He might not particularly like this Buffy, but he wasn’t going to leave something that could be used to hurt her or the rest of the Scooby’s.
Panic welled in Jonathon’s eyes as he struggled to speak around the hand compressing his throat. “W…w…warren.” The grip relaxed slightly and he sucked in sweet life giving oxygen. “It was Warren’s idea, Warren Mears. He’s building it, I’m just doing the programing…....please don’t kill me, please.” babbled Jonathon as tears ran down his face.
“I said you were going to die; there was never any doubt about that fact, just how. You really should pay attention when people speak.” Jonathon thrashed and struggled in his grip as hellfire cremated him from the inside out. “Not that you’ll ever have to worry about that again.”
A huge draw of air and a fit of coughs were heard as Warren Mears head was pulled from the toilet in the bathroom adjoining his workroom. “Warren, Warren, Warren you’re gonna tell me everything sooner or later…so why not spare yourself the pain and start now.” Seeing the look of fearful defiance on the spluttering teens face, Xander shoved his head back into the toilet.
“I wonder what a lathe would do to a human head?” Xander smirked as the thrashing of Warrens limbs redoubled.
Sunnydale Library, same time as Xanders ‘visit’ with Warren
Diana looked at the assembled teens gathering her nerve to speak. Giles was allowing her to be the lead on this meeting and while she wasn’t nervous per se she was dealing with a group of fighters, still attending High School, who had at least three apocalyptic level events under their collective belts. “Ahem…after extensive research, we believe we may have ascertained the identity of our Hound.” As the last word left her mouth all eyes in the room, excluding Giles, were focused on her with the intensity of a spotlight.
“What is he and how do I kill him.” The conviction and eagerness in Buffy’s voice made it clear she was still angry with their somewhat ally. She wasn’t sure whether Buffy was angry about the destruction of her undead paramour or at the humiliation suffered at the hands of Hound.
“If he is what I believe he is I’m not sure you can.” Pre-empting any questions she continued with her findings. “Now to understand just how dangerous he is you’ll have to understand the Hierarchy of the Hellhound species. They fall into any one of three main classes,” ‘and another that we have no hope of defeating.’
“The lesser Hounds, they range from the garden variety, usually labeled hellhound, that can be found in any credible text on demonology up to The Grim, which some view as a portent of death. The next classification are The greater Hounds; the weakest of these are usually employed by demonic beings to retrieve souls. The most powerful of these were said to guard wonders both great and terrible at the behest of gods.”
“Finally, The High Hounds….these, these were legend themselves, and they were as far from hellhounds as a human is from an ant. They were and still remain Myth and Legend all over the world. Japans Inu no Taisho was said to have ruled part of warring Japan as a veritable god until his death at the hands of another supposed god, while Geri and Freki were reputed to have been constant companions of the king of the Norse gods, Odin the All-father.”
Seeing the fearful looks of the teens, Diana was glad she had held back the last piece of information. As bad as The High Hounds were they were children when compared to the last class, The True Hounds. Cousins to The Hounds of God, god-killers and gods in their own right; among their number where Kerberos/Cerberus (guardian of the gates of the underworld) and Fenrisúlfr (Norse god of blood and wolves). “And after witnessing and hearing about his abilities I believe our Hound is somewhere between a very powerful greater Hound and a low-level High Hound.”
Surprisingly, or not, Buffy was the first to recover from her anxiety over Diana’s lecture. “So how do we kill him?” Turning to Giles she decided to let him explain.
“Buffy, if Diana’s assumption is correct and I have no reason to believe otherwise, then we are dealing with something well capable of razing this town to the ground.” There was no trace of his at-times usual stutter or cleaning of his glasses as he spoke. “Furthermore these beings are not inherently evil, nor has he attacked us or attempted to open the Hellmouth. If and when he does, then and only then will we fight him.”
“Sorry to contradict you there watcher-man, but that dog needs to be put down A.S.A.P.” Standing or rather leaning against a bookshelf was the balance demon Whistler. Pushing himself off the shelf he walked towards the Scooby gang, stopping –coincidently- well out of arms reach. “The Powers are angry. This guy has shifted the course of destiny, yours, Angels and the ripples from that are only starting. The Powers never foresaw him,” ‘and they still can’t see him.’
“He needs to be removed so that they can get the wheel of fate back on its proper track.”
A vengeful smile crossed Buffy’s face as she realized that she had essentially been given the go ahead to slay the thing that had murdered Angel.
Three Days later, Night
As Xander (teen) walked down the street he could swear that he was being followed, and maybe he was just being paranoid but he shifted his grip on the stake in his jacket pocket. ‘Yeah right!! This is Sunnydale, there’s probably at least three demons out there, deciding which one gets to eat my liver.’
Turning the corner that led onto the block where his house was he came to a dead stop. Standing there, not ten feet from him, looking like something out of the sci-fi comics he used to read was the very being the Scooby’s had been told they had to kill.
“They’re gonna die…..and it’s going to be your fault.” The words froze his heart with fear, fear that was quickly thawed by his anger.
“I’ll kill you before I let you lay a hand on any of them.” The words resounding in cold assurance as he pulled the stake from his pocket. The man continued as if Xander hadn’t said a word.
“The witch, Willow, the way she’s going one of you is going to end up having to kill her. Buffy is too unstable, emotional and eventually something is going to capitalize on that and Giles in his grief will fall soon after. The rest of you, the second slayer, her watcher, the werewolf you’ll die too. All because your too afraid.” He was walking closer as he spoke. “Too afraid of your own darkness.”
Searching his mind for what Hound could be talking about, he remembered one thing that he considered a dark part of him. The echo of the Hyena, the part that had somehow remained after the exorcism, the thing he fought against himself to leave alone.
“No not the hyena or the soldier, but the darkness that allowed them to remain in you while everyone else returned to normal. The darkness at the core of humanity that allow them to do terrible things, to allow the destruction of a loved one as a necessary evil, to slay ones brother and to kill a loved one to protect another.”
“T…that’s not me, I’m not like that. You don’t know me!!!” he screamed in denial, a part of him accepting it none the less. A bitter laugh drew his attention before he found himself on his knees, Hound’s hand gripping his head and his skull feeling like it was on fire.
“Know you, I am you!!” Hound spoke as he let his power burn through his younger counterpart. “Every dark thought that’s ever gone through your mind and those you haven’t had the chance to think, every sinister impulse you’ve felt and denied. When you strip away the veneer of civilization I’m.…what’s.….left.” Having finished destroying the useless influences he knew would be there (namely a lust spell, a perception spell –both cast by Willow-, a binding spell and an old entropy curse (aimed at the Harris bloodline)) he released Xanders (teen) head.
Seeing the glare that Xander (teen) was shooting him through the agony of his own….unique….version of cleansing, he felt a tinge of pride. Walking away Hound gave a piece of advice he hoped would be followed. “The Watcher guides well enough but they need a leader, an Alpha. Will you evolve or let them die?”
He leapt back dodging as the very earth lashed out at him, a mad laugh bubbling from his lips. The order of Taraka was after him, they had found him at the empty house he had been staying at, and while they weren’t the most powerful of adversaries they knew how to use the abilities they possessed. The corpse was already cooling on the floor of the house they had vacated during the fight (that one had gotten luck and left a slash across his chest), but the one he was currently fighting could become one with the earth and was using it as a weapon. There were four more Tarakans near the edge of the graveyard they were in and while he could probably kill them all with a good blast of hellfire, it would be a waste of energy. He needed to use his powers ever now and them or he’d lose his proficiency with them. Plus he was having fun; maybe he would make a chain to hold their rings when he was done.
Slapping aside another dirt spike punched the ground watching as the shockwave travelled out, spitting around a patch of earth. “Gotcha.” Leaping in the air he unleashed another technique in his hard won arsenal, five tendrils forged from shadow and will sped from the confines of the cloak and pierced the untouched area of earth. Using the grip of the tendrils he pulled himself to the ground and drove his arm into it up to his shoulder. Pulling his arm from the ground he held up the body of the assassin, which was oozing greenish black blood from several large puncture wounds. Ripping the signet ring from the assassin’s finger he dropped the body and turned to the other Tarakans.
“Let’s make this interesting,” a deaths head grin adorning his face “the one who survives the longest gets to tell your bosses what happened here.”
In another timeline, the one that would have happen before Hounds arrival, one of these assassins would have been dying at the hands of the immortal at this very moment. This particular Tarakan possessed the ability to read the hearts of others and shape shift into the form of those she found there, an ability she had used many times to get close to or disorient a target. However Hound did exist here and she was alive, and the consequences of this would reverberate through the supernatural community and into the world at large.
As the Tarakans surrounded him, she shifted and assumed the form of a woman. Her new form stood at 5’9’’ with striking green eyes and bee stung lips. Her honey blonde hair was cropped close to her head barely reaching past her ears, and on her left hand she wore a piece of string around her ring finger.
When he saw her all emotion left Xander as his memory went into overdrive.*Flash*
Elia bumping into him as scouted a garrison base and trying to rob him at sword-point.*Flash*
Pulling a girl from a slave pen and realizing he had seen her before.*Flash*
Elia taking care of him as he recovered from being run through by a Polgara, him kissing her and being slapped in return.*Flash*
The night they first made love to one another, days spent being happy and making plans.*Flash*
Returning from a raid on an outpost to find the village burning. Elia’s body bloody beaten and violated tied to a post at the edge of the village. Kerberos’s offer, unimaginable pain, a Demon Lord and his bloodline ended; vengeance.
These memories crossed his minds eye in a matter of seconds, and when he opened his eyes flames of blackest night filled them, rising off them briefly into the air then dying out. Xander threw his head back releasing a roar of anger and anguish that lingered in the air, living shadow coalescing on and around him. Patches of earth and grass erupted in the black flame coffins exploding out of the ground as they were devoured by flame, the very air began to bend and warp and a swirling dome of the pitch black Hellfire encapsulated the graveyard blocking it from view.
The man, monster, living engine of death and destruction feared as ‘The Hound’ had truly come to Sunnydale in that moment and those who had incurred his wrath would find Hell truly followed behind.
Twenty-five minutes later the dome rushed down and forward into Xander as stepped through one of its edges, revealing a charred and blackened landscape. His cloak still dancing like a living shadow and the ground blackening wherever he stepped Xander headed towards Town Hall. Wilkin’s had overstepped the boundaries of the little game they had been playing and now he was going to learn his error……and then he was going to Burn!
In the empty attic of The Charmed Ones the pages of The Book of Shadows flipped one past another at high speeds, before abruptly stopping. The page that it stopped on had a picture of a handsome man dressed in the height of Victorian fashion, at his side stood a large dog-like creature nearly as tall as the man himself. In flowing script the title of the entry could be clearly seen…..High Hound. Just as abruptly as it had opened, the Book slammed itself shut.
“Such pretty fire he has, but you mustn’t touch. No, the not-kitten is going to burn the world he is.” Drusilla spoke, eyes clouded as she sat in a hotel room at a table containing the fixings for afternoon tea and the dead bodies of a newly married couple. The clouded look was replaced by another, this one filled with insanity. “More tea?” she question the corpses.
Magical London, Hogwarts
Professor Trelawney stood in an empty corridor eyes vacant and mouth slack. Slowly and mechanically as if relearning how, she began to speak. “Beware the kin of the Grim. From lambs to Lions he shall forge them and by his fires shall truth be shown. Serpent and aspirant king both beware, the Dog of War marches. Beware the Hound.”
With a shake of her head and quizzical studying of her surroundings the flighty professor was once more in control.
London, Hellsing Manor
Deep in the bowels of the manor Alucard sat draped on a throne-like chair, arm thrown over its high back and a leg hanging over the chair arm. A short while ago he had felt the emergence of an enormous power, comparable to his own. He had initially been surprised and had not tracked its source, by the time he had remember the power was receding, not weakened just more tightly controlled. He had been able to track it the west side of the US, somewhere around California.
He had a general location and if the owner slipped again he would be able to find them. Now how to convince his master to allow him to search it out, a mad smile languidly spread on his face as he imagined the battle between him and this other power.
They had been fighting the Djinn for a couple minutes now, less than successfully. As Dean ducked under a punch the Djinn’s eyes widened in shock and it turned its head to look at a wall, sensing the power from far in that direction. Seeing the opening Dean jammed his knife into the demons heart, killing it.
“Tough son of a bitch.” Dean spoke trying to regain his breath.
“Yeah, and he had us dead to rights. So what made it stop like that?” Sam said as he limped over holding his ribs.
“Right now, I don’t care I just want to get out of here, get a beer, a burger and hit the sack.” Dean replied trudging towards the exit.
“What? Not gonna pick up a waitress this time?” Chapter 4 End