Enter the Black Court
Disclaimer: I do not own the Dresden Files or the Buffyverse. I do own any and all original characters and content seen in this chapter.New City, Same Enemy
Chapter 6: Enter The Black Court
Undertown had many connections to the Nevernever. It was from these ways and portals that so many demons, fae, and other inter-dimensional creatures found their way here. Wandering first from their own dimensions into the Nevernever, and from thence to other dimensions, including Earth. Such as the small clan of Wyldfae – Goblins, in particular – that Wesley, Mark and the other mercenaries with them on patrol had found. Wesley had no particular issue with goblins – they tended to leave humans alone, unless stronger fae or demons bullied them into working for them, but apparently the Black Court vampires they were watching plow their way through the goblins with cold iron weapons did have issues with them. Or more likely, they just wanted them out of the way. Wolfram and Hart had no love for any of the Fae, or the Faerie Queens. They were demons, and they used demons.
The fight for Undertown had started, and the Black Court had arrived. It was four Black Courtiers versus thirty-odd goblins at the moment, but armed with their powerful resistances and cold iron, the goblins did not likely stand much of a chance.
The six humans were currently standing on a ledge, overlooking a 'cavern' in Undertown as the battle ranged beneath them. He nodded to the mercenaries. “Feel free to open fire at will.” If he could, he wanted to keep as many of the Goblins alive as possible, if nothing else than to be there to get in the way of future Wolfram and Hart forces. “But try not to hit the goblins.”
“They're inhuman abominations.” Mark said, as he brought his weapon to bear.
“They're also something Wolfram and Hart wants to get rid of. The enemy of my enemy is my tentative ally.”
“I don't think that's how the saying goes...” All five mercenaries opened fire, and began to fill the Vampires with lead. The tracer rounds piercing them burned, and one of them had so many in so quick a span of time that it burst into flames, collapsing into ash. The rest were not dead, but they disengaged themselves from fighting the goblins and charged at them, leaping onto the ledge. Wesley had a stake in hand and began grappling with one immediately, and the mercenaries found themselves reaching for the stakes he had insisted they carry, despite their own protests about the merits of their modern weapons. Mark and another mercenary were dealing with the second vampire between them, but hadn't quite staked it. The third was out of Wesley's vision, but he could hear the sound of fighting behind him.
Wesley lacked Slayer-strength, but these vampires were fledglings, and they relied entirely on their strength, rather that finesse, skill or technique to win their battles for them. Using that against the vampire he was fighting, he managed to knock it to the ground and drove his stake into its heart. With a scream it was just so much dust.
The other two vampires were having better luck, unfortunately. Wesley had been fighting vampires for over four years – thought at first he had been the very face of incompetence, in Sunnydale. The one Mark and one other were fighting against was still undead, but at least hadn't managed to kill anyone. The other had snapped the neck of one of the mercenaries, and thrown the body aside. Wesley joined the fight, and his distraction allowed one of the others to stake it. As its dust collapsed to the ground, the last vampire was dusted as well.
Wesley went over to the dead mercenary. He could all but feel Mark's anger. One of his men had died on his watch. They were mercenaries, but they were loyal to eachother. He checked the man's mouth, on the off chance there was blood there. None. Good.
Unfortunately, they didn't have time for sentiment. “Let's go. Take him with us. He'll just be food for something if we leave him here.”
Mark scowled but nodded to two of his men to pick up the body and carry it between them.
“One of my men just died Wesley.” Mark said, catching up to the ex-Watcher as he went ahead of the group.
“You're a soldier. This is a war.” Wesley replied. “It is not a happy circumstance when people die in war, but they do. Black Court Vampires are many times stronger than humans, and we were extremely lucky these were only fledglings.”
Mark breathed deep in anger, fist clenched. “If we'd been able to just paste the whole room-”
“Then maybe you'd have gotten another, if we were lucky with the tracers. Bullets do not kill vampires. The best way to fight a vampire, if you have to, is to keep distance between it and yourself. There's a reason I have my sword with me. If I'd had the room to, I'd have used my sword against the vampire. It keeps the enemy far enough away they can't just get in and snap your neck that easily, and cutting off a vampire's head with a sword is easier than getting a wooden stake through its heart.”
“Then you and I...we're going to see to it that my men have swords, and know how to use them.” Mark said coldly.
“Done, and done.” Wesley said. “I'd hoped I'd be able to convince you and your men to add swords to your arsenal without someone dying-” Mark grabbed Wesley by the front of his shirt and made to slam him against the tunnel wall. Wesley got loose of his grip and stepped back.
“Was Brian dying planned? Were you-”
“No.” Wesley said. And that was true. “As I said, I wanted to avoid anyone dying just to get you to use swords.” Again, true. He was, if it came down to the wire, willing to let people die, let his soldiers die, if it advanced the larger purpose. But he wasn't one to spend the lives of his men pointlessly. “But the fact of the matter is that his death had served a purpose. Let his death not be entirely meaningless.”
Mark sighed again. He knew he was being a little irrational. He was angry. At himself, for losing a man. And he was redirecting it at Wesley.
The former marine still wasn't 100% sure how he felt about the Englishman. For Mark, life wasn't entirely black and white, but it was pretty close. He put people and things into a variety of mental boxes. Like most people. But there was no putting a box around the man. He was competent – sometimes almost frightfully so. He was cold...he had a certain...edginess to him. It reminded him of some of the more...intense marines, or other soldiers he'd fought alongside. Mark didn't trust him...but not because he didn't think him trustworthy...but more because there wasn't anything to trust.
Yea. It hadn't made sense to him when he'd tried to put his thoughts on the subject into words either.
Wesley was back in his apartment that night, making notes on everything the patrols had found in or about Undertown, and the situation there, regardless of whether or not he'd been in charge of the patrol in question. A picture of what was going in Undertown was beginning to form, and the clearer and larger the picture was, the better for Oracle Securities in the long term. Knowledge was power, and Wesley had been applying his tactical mind to the knowledge gleaned, and thus how best to use it for power.
A phone call interrupted him from his work, and he answered the ringing mobile without checking the number. “Wesley Wyndam-Pryce.” He said.
“Wes.” The familiar female voice tugged a little at his iron resolve. They had, after all, once been friends. But he also felt a small flash of happiness. She was alive and well. Good.
“Cordelia. To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?” His tone, though, was cold, terse. They weren't friends anymore, after all. She'd made her choice – not that he had expected her to pick anything different – he'd made his choice...everyone made a choice, and now everyone was living from there. Choice was all humans really had, at the end of the day.
“Three things. First of all, thank you.”
“You know what. Rescuing Angel. Looking for me. Giving what you found to Angel. After everything that happened.” She paused, “I ascended to a higher plane. Found I didn't like it, came back down. Came back without my memory and turns out I picked up an evil hitchhiker along the way, but that's beside the point. Its dealt with, anyway. But...Wes...at some point, not, you and I are really going to need to have words about what happened.”
“If you didn't call me to berate me, the please, get to the point.”
“Look, I don't know what it is you're doing in Chicago. I'd like to think you're still fighting the good fight. I had a vision. Of something that's going to happen in Chicago, in less than an hour. The PTB have never given me a vision for something that's going to happen so far away, and since it just so happens to be in the city where you are, I figure the whole point is for me to tell you.”
“There's a woman, 20ish, black hair. She's fighting a vampire in a warehouse.” Cordelia gave an address. “She's going to kill it, but then she's going to get ambushed by a whole lot more.” She sighed, “Look...Wes. Good luck.” Cordelia hung up. Wesley knew it could only be Black Court. Cordelia would never have been in a position to encounter White or Red Court Vampires in Sunnydale or Los Angeles and thus he doubted Angel would ever have told her, since it never came up. Besides, if she knew of more than one type, she'd have said something. If talking to someone who was somewhat – or even very – clued in about the supernatural, and they talked about Vampires without saying their court – and there were no cues earlier in the conversation - it was a pretty good guess they meant Black Court. They were the only breed of vampire that was actually undead, and also the one that was the most visible, and the ones that went out and actually did a lot of hunting, in the way popular myth claimed they did.
Even as he gathered his gear, he was calling Mark. “Mark. Grab your gear and meet me at this location.” He supplied it, “Call your men and have them meet us there. We'll be fighting Black Court, so plan accordingly. You have the Dragon's Breath shells Baldwin got us?” The grenades, shells and incendiary bullets, along with the collapsible sword, had arrived a short time after they'd gotten back after their first tussle with the Black Court that had seen one of Mark's men die.
“Bring those. We may be fighting a large number. Have your men bring as many as possible as well.” Before Mark could say anything else, Wesley had hung up, grabbed his keys and was headed downstairs. When he arrived at the address Cordelia had provided, he went into the Warehouse, in time to see the tail end of the first fight Cordelia had mentioned.
A young woman and a vampire were standing in an open space near the entrance of the warehouse. The woman was unarmed, but didn't seem the slightest bit afraid as the vampire charged at her. Thrusting out her hand, the woman shouted, “Expello!
” The vampire snarled as it was driven back at least a dozen feet. Thrown back would be a more accurate term. A not unimpressive feat of magic. Adopting its demon face again, the vampire tried again, given that there really wasn't any other tactic it could employ, and once again the woman cast the spell and threw it back. Wesley would all but feel the anger rolling off it and this time as it charged, it made a mistake – it left itself wide open. The woman didn't cast her spell this time, and Wesley readied the stake launcher on his wrist, looking for an angle with which to fire, when the vampire reached her, lunging at her neck – and impaling itself on a stake the woman had retrieved from her belt. The dust scattered to the ground. The woman didn't turn, but from her words, she knew he was there.
“You could've helped.” Wesley approached her.
“It looked as it you had it in hand. Actually was trying to find a good angle to stake it without hitting you.” She turned and he lifted his wrist, pulling back his sleeve a bit to show her. “Not bad.” He heard laughter, and they both turned to see at seven more vampires drop down from the upper level of the warehouse.
“Why did you follow us from Cleveland, hm?” One of them, clearly the leader of the little band, “No matter. You fell right into the little trap. And we even get a bonus.” It nodded at Wesley. “Two wanna be Slayers for the price of one. I call that a win.”
“I don't think you'll find us easy prey.” With a flick, Wesley's collapsible sword was in hand.
“Not just a wanna be Slayer. This guy thinks he's James Bond!” Another commented. “Dibs on that sword though.”
The Vampires immediately charge at the two of them, and the woman, with another spell, knocked a large crate from its position on the top of a pile, narrowly missing one of the vampires. Still they get to her, and though distracted by fending off the vampires going at him, Wesley could see the strain it was putting on her to throw all three of the vampires going at her back.
With another swing, Wesley sliced the hand of one of the vampires off. It would regrow, in time, but at the moment all it was dealing with was pain, and was out of the fight for the moment. The woman threw her stake at another vampire, using her magic to drive it through its heart. She was, when it came to magic, a one-trick pony, it seemed. Just kinetomancy, which was nothing to sneeze at. But she'd left herself unarmed. Realizing this, she immediately turned to run.
Wesley managed to behead a third, leaving two dead and one incapacitated, leveling the enemy to four effective combatants, but just against him, since the woman had removed herself from the fight.
“Wesley! Down!” He heard Mark shout from behind right him, and he dived without hesitation, feeling the fire pass just over him from Mark's shotgun, the Dragon's Breath making a torch out of one of the vampires. Incendiary rounds come from the rifles of the other mercenaries behind mark, making short work of the rest of the vampires.
The woman turned back towards them. “Who the hell are you people?” Wesley took a good look at her, now that they weren't in a fight. She wasn't particularly tall, though she was taller than Buffy Summers – not that that was a particularly hard feat, when you got right down to it. As Cordelia had said she looked to be around twenty and her black hair was tied in a french braid. Unlike some certain Slayers he could name she had dressed in functional, plain clothing for the job of hunting vampires.
“We're Oracle Securities.” Wesley said. “And you?”
“Abigail St. Pierre.” The woman replied. “What are you, professional Vampire Hunters?”
“Something like that.” Mark said. “Actually we're into hunting all kinds of unholy abominations – demons, vampires. The whole kit and caboodle.” Abigail flinched a little on the word 'unholy', but admirably held her ground.
“Magic users aren't included in the 'unholy abominations' group, by the way.” Wesley noted. “I can use magic, though I'm much better with a blade or a gun.” He retracted his collapsible sword and went over to the vampire he had sliced the hand off of. It was still whimpering, leaning against the support column and cradling the stump where it's hand had been. Wesley removed a cross from his pocket and pressed it to the creature's forehead. It screamed. “Shut up.” He pressed harder, and it managed to avoid screaming. Wesley removed the cross, but leveled his gun at it. “This won't kill you, but I don't want to kill you. Not yet anyway.” He took out both its kneecaps. He nodded to two of the mercenaries. “Take him back to headquarters. I want to know more about who we're dealing with.” He looked back at the Vampire. “Any attempt to bite anyone or escape, and your other hand will be gone.” The vampire was whimpering too much to be much of a concern at the moment, but just for good measure he put three in its stomach right before the mercenaries picked him up and carried him into the black unmarked SUV outside the warehouse.
“You're going to try and what, torture him?” Abigail said. “How?”
“With some time and some carefully holy water, this vampire will be begging to be staked.”
“Cool.” She said after a moment. Then, “Can I watch?”
Wesley raised an eyebrow. “Torture doesn't bother you?”
“Not when its done to a vampire.”
“Not only can you watch, but I think there might be a place for you in Oracle Securities, if you're interested.”