I own neither the Green Lantern nor Buffy Franchises.‘One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them
One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.’
- The Lord of the Rings
“No one is immune to the sin of pride, not even the Guardians. We were mistaken when we allowed our pride to push us to forge the yellow ring, giving birth to Parallax. Our pride once again led us to folly when we allowed Sinestro to wield the ring, leading to his betrayal and the creation of the Sinestro Corps. But those are not our greatest error, no we Guardians once did something that none should have done and that none will ever do again. Long ago the universe faced a great threat from beyond its borders. Invaders great in number and power sought to conquer our universe, we sent the Green Lantern Corps to stop them but we were outmatched. So we called to all those who wielded the power of the ring; green, red, blue, yellow, orange, indigo and violet, all were called and all answered.”
“Together they stood against the threat and still the enemy pushed us back and in that moment our pride pushed us to create something, something both spectacularly wonderful and terrible. Seven Guardians came together in a place no others can reach each bearing a shard of power belonging to a different branch of the spectrum. That night we forged a ring unlike any other, a ring that could tap into the entire spectrum and an unknown force that we’d never seen before. We summoned powerful Lanterns from each corp. to claim the ring, it rejected them all, so we set it loose to find a suitable wielder and it did. Beyond the bounds of space, time and reality it drew a man who used its power to turn the tide and drive back what would have been our destruction. These are his last moments, gaze upon the Lantern and behold the last stand of the first and last Grey Lantern.”
The dark void of space in the area that would one day become the Forbidden Sector shone, lit by the glow of a 10 thousand plus stars. Drawing closer the edges of these stars shone with one of seven colors, turning the darkness into a beautiful aurora, closer still the lights began to take form ranging, at the center of each point of illumination floated a being. The beings were varied no two the same, forms ranging from humanoid and massive to insectoid and transparent to geometric and ever shifting. The one thing they all had in common was a ring, blazing with one of the colors of the rainbow, which matched the glow around their forms. At the head floated one whose glow was different, a human male appearing to be in his early to mid-twenties, all seven colors were present shifting over his form without pattern, every now and again becoming a muted gray color.
Across a gulf from them hung thousands upon thousands of armored beings floating around hundreds of ships, ships the size of fighter jets to those that dwarfed cities. The uniformed black and gold patterns making it seem as if they were all part of one monolithic beast. Staring out at them from the head of an army of Lanterns Xander Harris channeled the power of his ring to amplify his voice before turning to face the Lanterns who stood with him; the men and women in front of him, warriors and veterans all, knew that their chances of survival much less victory were slim but they would fight anyway, they just needed that spark to light their way and let them know that it would be worth it and somehow that duty had fallen to him. “We may not have always gotten along but today we stand together to face an enemy like no other. They cannot be reasoned with, they will not stop, they will not retreat and they will show no mercy. Make no mistake some of us will not survive this battle and others will wish they hadn’t, if you don’t think you can fight then turn back now no one will judge you.”
No one so much as moved an inch. Letting a small smile grace his lips he passed his gaze over them “Good.” His right hand flashed upwards and a bolt of grey energy blurred from his ring passing through the crowd, sometimes dodging a hairsbreadth from someone’s face before it raced past them and erupted into a line stretching the expanse between a planet and an asteroid field. The smile dropped and a hard glint shone through his mismatched eyes, one a stark grey the other a kaleidoscope of color. “They don’t cross that line, no matter what. This is where we strike back, this is where this war ends! We will win, even if it takes the last of us…..because we stand together!” the ring on his hand shone with barely restrained power as he turned once more to face their enemies and speak, barely a whisper “Lanterns Forever.”
In that moment the gathered Lanterns acted as one, from every throat the cry went up “We Stand Together!! Lanterns Forever!!!”
and every ring rose to the sky blazing out its color, turning the dark into a cacophony of color that would confuse astrologists the universe over. With that every Lantern streaked forward coming to clash with the enemy.
As the battle waged Lanterns fought with their all unleashing devastating power solo and in tandem; Blue Lanterns bolstered the power of the Green which in turn strengthened them, Red Lanterns used the fear produced by the Yellow Lanterns to turn their enemies against each other in rage. Greed built on love causing them to destroy any who stood in the way of their desires, compassion slowed attacks allowing Lanterns to strike. Across the battlefield Lanterns fought like never before but still they died, slowly alone or together they fell but still they fought. Every now and again during a free moment a Lantern would look back and see that line of grey still blazing where it marked the line and would return to the fight knowing that come what may they weren’t in the fight alone.
Xander fought like a man possessed breaking bodies, ripping apart ships, scorching entire swaths of space but it wasn’t enough. No matter what he did or how many he killed more were there to fill the gap, like fighting against the ocean tide. He’d said no retreat but he couldn’t, wouldn’t, be responsible for the loss of so many good men and women. He could already see the multitude of bodies hanging limply in the void, Lanterns that would never shine again. Xander came to a decision, no more. He threw open every restriction he had placed on himself and had to fight to remain in control. Every emotion was so much more…vivid and yet muddled at once by the presence others; rage so pure that the blood boiled, greed that encompassed all creation, will akin to the word of God, fear so potent even existence terrified, hope enough to push it back and compassion for everyone and everything ally or enemy. He grabbed hold of it all and used it.
Every Lantern present found themselves unable to control their rings as they were encompassed in a bubble and sent rushing away from the battlefield. They covered their eyes as one lone Lantern burned with unmatched brilliance before releasing a wave that wiped out everything before splashing off the city ships shields. As the ring generated pods flew away one differed from the rest, it had a screen and on that screen was the face of Xander Harris. In the violet light Ke’ria look on his smiling face and questioned him while trying to deny what her heart already knew. “What are you doing? Why have you sent us away? Speak to me!”
“I’m going to stop them. I’m gonna make sure that your safe, that you’re all safe.”
“Then let me stay, let me help you. You can’t leave me, I won’t lose you please.”
“No matter how this ends you’ll always be my star, remember that.”
“You can’t do this, you bastard!!! You can’t leave me.” During her outburst the bubble she was in jolted to stop for a moment before continuing on its course.
The ring generated image of Xander Harris began to smile a serene smile before blinking out of existence and leaving Ke’ria Ar alone with her tears. Raising his head Xander gave one last command to the rings ‘To Oa. Keep them safe.’ And cut his link with them, bringing his attention to bear on the massive city ship and the few smaller ones that had survived behind its shields. His right hand slowly rose, fist and ring pointed at the ships before him as the city ship powered up its main cannon. Two beams of energy lanced through the void colliding and drawing to a halt in-between them. The stalemate held until the other ships started to add their own weapons to the fight slowly pushing the beam towards Xander. His left hand rose, gripping his right and bracing it but the beam still continued to move toward him.
Concentrating he embraced the emotional spectrum, allowed it to cycle within him as he had done a hundred times before only this time instead of using it as a tether he used it as a springboard into the power that waited. To dive head first into Chaos, no longer resisting but allowing himself to find his place in it and its place in him. As a wave of calm swept over him he began to feel, to feel every change every shift in existence; from atoms coming together to form a molecule beside him to the conception of a child three sectors over to a star going supernova at the far end of the universe. In that moment he was Chaos, change, potential and he could feel it all around him. The beam slowed to a halt as his suit, eyes, aura and blast began to change taking on a dark grey color.
Drawing on the newfound well of power he began to channel it through his ring forcing the beam back towards the ships. Over the hum of weapons and the crackle of energy his voice sounded out over the stars augmented by the power flowing through him.
“From the first spark to the final light
Be it brightest day or blackest night
A warning to evil that in darkness hide
Nothing stands against this changing tide
Run stand or fight
All will change in Chaos’ Light!”
The beam from his ring overpowered the city ships cannons before slamming into then plowing through it shields, impacting it and the other ships that were with it. Still he poured the power on as the ships were torn asunder by the onslaught of power and energy even when the first crack appeared on his face. Even if he wanted to stop he was too far gone, at one with the power that he was channeling. As ships began to explode his uniform began to peel away but instead of flesh grey light shone through, his body his very essence starting to merge with the grey light. With one final push the ships were destroyed, their cores going critical and exploding turning the black void a stark white. The white light faded once more returning the pitch black of space, where there was once a lone man standing against multiple ships there was now only small scraps of twisted metal and a large almost perfectly spherical meteor.
“That Lanterns is his tale, I show you this for a reason. Last week we received a report from Green Lantern Xex of sector 2839 describing an encounter with a small spacecraft that fired upon him when discovered. From scans and images recorded by his ring we were able to make an 89% match…..to the fighter crafts that you’ve just seen courtesy of the lantern. Days later other reports began filtering in, reports of other ships and even more disturbing dead Green Lanterns. We believe them to be a precursor to a larger attack. Lanterns and ancient enemy has returned, you’ve seen what it took to stop them once and as the situation stands for and between the existing Corps. It might fall on you and you alone to stand against it.”
The large meteor, an ancient reminder of the sacrifice of a man, a Lantern and a generation, a symbol that had weathered time, cosmic storms and multiple attempts to destroy it to retrieve a ring that might no longer exist began to shake. As it shook small micro-cracks began to spider web its surface, rapidly spreading link a crack in a window under too much stress. As the cracks grew into fractures a light began to shine through. Almost as suddenly as it began the shaking stopped and the cracks began to repair themselves until all was as it had been. In an outburst of power the meteor shattered turning to smaller chunks and in some cases powder.
At the center of all this hovered two intense grey lights, one far larger than the other. As if by some unseen signal they shot off away from the rubble tightly spiraling around on another before breaking off and rushing away in different directions.