Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters and never will. BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon. I can only claim ideas that come from sleep deprivation and overdosing on caffeine and nicotine.
Sunnydale Town Hall
Richard Wilkens watched carefully as what appeared to be a bag lady crouched on the floor in front of his desk, myopically peering at a selection of bones that the woman had spilled onto a rug made of poorly tanned cat skins in front of her.
Finally ‘Madame Lucinda’ raised her bloodshot eyes and regarded the man sitting at his ease behind a large desk.
“One comes!” She wheezed. “From across the seas, knower of ancient lore and servant of ancient gods! He seeks something that has not walked this Earth in generations!”
Wilkens leaned forward in his chair slightly. “And what is it that this traveller seeks?”
“Unbidden and unexpected. Blessed with life and cursed with death. The Knower comes to guide him on his path to glory and destruction.”
Wilkens perked up at that. A new power that didn’t know what was expected of it. Perhaps he could find it himself and mould it into a useful tool but the seer’s next words made him pause.
“Do not seek to hinder the Knower in his task. He will bring the whirlwind down on you and all your schemes will be as ash!” Madame Lucinda began to sweep the bones back into the container, signifying that she was finished.
“Is there anything else you can tell me?” Wilkens asked.
Madame Lucinda simply looked at the Mayor until Wilkens sighed and reached into a drawer to produce another bundle of twenty dollar bills and placed it on the desk next to the first one. Nodding acceptance for the fee Lucinda swept the bones into a container and threw them onto the rug a second time.
For almost five minutes she stared at the rune inscribed bones before raising her head.
“You will contend with enemies both old and new.” She said in a flat monotone. “One enemy will be become ally and stand at your right hand, ready and willing to do your bidding.” Lucinda paused for a moment. “But who the victor will be has yet to be decided.”
She raised her head and looked at the Mayor. “I see nothing more.” She reported and began to gather up the human and animal bones that she had been using. The tools of her trade now secured in her bag she reached across the Mayor’s desk for her payment.
Just as her hand touched the two bundles of notes Wilkens own hand flashed out and caught the seer’s wrist in a surprisingly strong grip.
“I trust that our business remains between us.” Wilkens said quietly but firmly.
Lucinda looked at the ruler of the Hellmouth calmly. “You know my reputation your Honour. I have never betrayed a confidence and I never will.” Slipping her hand from the Mayor’s grip and scooped up the cash. Her money now secure she shuffled towards the door.
Once the old woman had left his office Wilkens immediately reached into another drawer for the bottle of anti-bacterial gel he kept there and squirted a generous amount onto his hands. Who knew what germs the old woman may have been carrying, especially when you considered her lack of personal hygiene.
As he cleaned his hands Wilkens pondered the information that he had been given. Like all prophecies it had been vague but he thought he understood what he had been told. Obviously someone or something was coming to his town, searching for something.
That in itself was nothing new, he had lost count of the minor mages and demons that had been sure that Sunnydale had held the key to their ultimate destiny. Most had left empty handed if they were lucky though a few had annoyed Wilkens enough during their quest that their remains had been incorporated into his bone china collection.
But from what Madame Lucinda had hinted this new Seeker may just have the power and strength to face him.
“Perhaps I should just let this Seeker find what he’s looking for.” He thought. With Angelus running around along with the rest of his surviving ‘family’ the last thing he needed was attention being drawn to the goings on in his town
From what Madame Lucinda had said there was a good chance that whoever it was would find what they were seeking and then leave town which would please Wilkens immensely. However that didn’t mean that once whatever it was the Seeker was after was found he couldn’t arrange to take it for himself if the opportunity presented itself.
It was the second reading that caused the most concern for the Mayor. Over the years Wilkens had amassed a fair number of enemies and some of them were still alive. But for the life of him he couldn’t think of a single one that would willingly work for him to further his goals.
“Most of them would sell their first born, if they had any, to do away with me.” He thought ruefully.
Wilkens was still going over the list of his enemies in his mind nearly an hour later when Alan Finch came to his office to remind him that he had a Town Planning Meeting that was due to start very soon.
Sunnydale bus depot
No one paid much attention to the bag lady who shuffled into the bus terminal, muttering to herself in a dull monotone. Ignoring the people waiting for buses to arrive or leave she crossed to the bank of lockers and retrieved a sports bag. Bag in hand she went to the restroom and found an empty cubicle.
Inside with the door locked Madame Lucinda rummaged through the bag, producing a small mirror, a bottle and a hand towel. She reached up to remove the grey haired wig she had been wearing and shoved it into the bag. Carefully she took out the contacts that gave her eyes a bloodshot appearance before stripping off the ragged, stained clothes that she had been wearing leaving her clad in only a silk camisole and panties.
If anyone who could have seen her they would have been shocked. Instead of the wrinkled, pale skin and sagging flesh of a woman in her sixties there was the firm, toned body of someone in her thirties who kept herself fit and healthy. Raising her arms above her head she stretched, feeling her shoulders and spine relax after several hours of walking around with an old woman’s stoop.
Adjusting the mirror she grimaced at the face that she saw before grabbing the towel and soaking it in the contents of the bottle she started scrubbing at her face. The potion did its job, wiping away the enchanted makeup that made her appear to be twice her age and more importantly getting rid of the stink of cat piss the makeup created.
The whole persona of ‘Madame Lucinda’ was fake. Something to keep the curious and rivals at arm’s length and not looking into the business and life of one Christina Willis, thirty five year old bookkeeper living in Sacramento.
Sighing Christina carefully folded the towel and returned it to her bag then retrieved a change of clothes and started to dress.
Minutes later she stepped out of the restroom looking like a typical suburban soccer mom. Nodding to a security guard who was standing beside a coffee bar she left the terminal and walked to the lot where she had parked her car.
Digging in her purse for her keys she thought about her current career as a seer. Being an oracle wasn’t like it was in the old days. Her grandmother, the first Madame Lucinda, had told her that when she first started giving readings seers were respected, almost venerated but not these days.
If it wasn’t demons trying to suck out your brains or wanting to sacrifice you to their dark gods there were groups like the firm Wolfram & Hart wanting to hire you. The demonic lawyers talked a good game, offering handsome fees and a wide range of benefits and protection if you were willing to sign on with them. What they didn’t say in their spiel was that if you didn’t perform to the standards they expected the best you could hope for was a couple of bullets in the back of the head.
“Maybe it’s time for a sea change.” She thought as she unlocked her late model Volvo. One of her friends from college who owned an occult store in the Hamptons had mentioned that she was looking for a new psychic since the previous one had received a vision that showed the winning numbers for the New York Powerball and had retired to Miami.
Pulling out of the car park she sedately drove her car down the street before coming to a halt at an intersection. As she waited for the lights she saw a Chevy Nova convertible drive past and her eye was drawn to who was sitting in the passenger seat.
It was a young man, still in his teens with a heavily bandaged face. And when he turned idly to look in the direction of her car Christina could only it there in shock as for the first time in nearly five years she had a true vision without resorting to her bones.
For a split second she saw only fire and death, all centred on the teenager.
She was still sitting there when the lights turned green and the driver behind her beeped his horn impatiently. Shaking herself she put her car into gear and drove off, the sooner she got out of this town the better.
“I’ll call Mabel when I get home.” She decided as she sped past the sign that marked the city limits. Christina glanced at the sign that read ‘Thank you for visiting Sunnydale. Please come again soon’.
“As if!” She sneered as she turned onto the highway. “Sunnydale is going to be way too dangerous to visit and if Wilkens wants another reading he can find someone else.”
Quentin Travers stood before the large bay windows in his office looking out over the well-manicured gardens that surrounded the headquarters of the Watchers Council. His reverie was interrupted by a respectful knock on the door and he turned to see his second in command, Roger Whyndam-Price.
“Ah Roger, please come in.” He said.
“Director.” Roger said with a respectful nod to the head of the Council. “Your message suggested that there is something important you want to discuss.”
“Indeed, please have a seat.” Quentin indicated one of the chairs and waited till his second in command made himself comfortable. “Earlier today I had a phone call from Samuel Zabuto.” He said.
“I understand that Samuel sent his Slayer to the Hellmouth recently.” Roger commented. “Something about a ‘Power Rising’ I believe his last message said.”
“Yes that is correct.” Quentin said.
As Quentin’s staunchest supported in the ‘Traditionalist’ faction of the Council Roger was one of the few people that Quentin allowed to view the unedited reports from Rupert Giles. Both men agreed that if what was really happening on the Hellmouth became generally known it would only encourage the ‘Moderniser’ faction in their demands to reform the Council’s practices especially in regards to treatment of slayers and potential slayers.
Quentin continued speaking. “In addition according to Dr Zabuto his Slayer recently had a dream.”
“I take it that Samuel believes that Kendra had a true Slayer dream?” Roger asked and Quentin nodded before continuing to speak.
“According to Zabuto’s report the Slayer found herself in a forest where she encountered a warrior who dispatched a large number of vampires with ease. The warrior was identified as ‘The Thrice Blessed One, favoured of the Lords of Earth and Sky, bearer of the Sacred Flame’.”
Roger nodded. “And you wish to find out just whether there is any mention of a ‘Thrice Blessed One’ in the archives?”
“Exactly. Do you recall coming across anything with that name?”
Roger was silent as he searched his memory. “I’m sorry Quentin but nothing springs to mind. But if information on this ‘Thrice Blessed One’ exists we’ll have it somewhere in the archives. I’ll have the staff begin a search immediately.” In fact this sounded like a good task for his son Wesley, who had just started his year as an intern in the archives before he became a fully-fledged Watcher.
Quentin gave his subordinate a rare smile. “Excellent Roger I knew I could count on you.” He looked at the antique Grandfather clock in the corner of his office. “Ah almost lunch time. Would you care to join me at the club?”
“I’d be delighted.” Roger replied.
With that the two men went off to dine at one of London’s most exclusive Gentlemen’s Club.