I do not own Buffy, or Angel.
Thanks to my Beta-reader, Starway ManThe Prophecies Cycle
Book I: The Red Moon Rises
Chapter 8: Holdout Point22 to 28 Days until the Red MoonChase Castle, Sunnydale Town
Lordship of Sunnydale
When dawn finally broke over Sunnydale, the vampires were well-entrenched in the town. For, as long as the sun shone down from the sky, the vampires would be forced to stay away from its – to them – terrifying rays. Just as it had always been...
For the moment, Sunnydale Town had a respite from its newest residents. But that was all it was. A respite. And nowhere near long enough.
And the respite only really applied to the lower town. The castle, where the undead had decided to make their camp, had enough hallways without large windows, it had extensive basements, it had plenty of room for the undead to roam freely – especially when they'd spent the last few hours of the night, in the aftermath of the 'little debacle', boarding or otherwise covering up as many windows as they could.
There were, however, still those alive in the castle. A handful of the higher-status servants, who had rooms in the castle, were alive, terrified, hiding under their beds in most cases, cowering behind the thresholds of their rooms. The Lord and Lady Chase, as well as their daughter, a combination of fear and the instinctual arrogance of nobility keeping them going, for the moment. And, of course, Alexander Harris, Amy Madison, and the last surviving members of the House Chase Guard in Sunnydale. The last remnants of human life in the structure.
Darla stood next to a completely curtained window, smelling the pungent stench of burning human flesh. It always smelled like...pork, to her. No doubt why pig's blood was the kind Angelus drank, ever since the Daughters of Sineya gave him that filthy soul. Humans and pigs...they had a lot in common, from the way the smelled when they burned...to the way they acted, and where they fit in the food chain. Below something else, that ate them.
“Don't these stupid village dirt farmers know anything?” Spike asked, arms folded across his chest as he leaned against a nearby wall. “You don't need to burn a body just cause it was drained dry.” He scoffed. “Sodding idiots...”
“Idiots they may be, but didn't one of them best you in a fight?” Darla asked with an undisguised sneer.
“That bloody guard got lucky.” Spike insisted. His leg, though healed, still hurt somewhat. “He won't be so lucky next time. He's mine.” The vampire spoke those two works with a grim, dark intensity. “I catch anyone killin' him before I get the chance, and I'll rip their bleedin' heads off!”
"Spare me the attitude. It doesn't-" Darla started to say, then stopped and smirked. "Well, actually, the whole ‘posturing’ thing does suit you. Just don't do it here. Leave; I have things to do."
Spike clenched his fists, then scowled. With a slight swish of his long coat, he turned and walked out of the door into the hallway. Darla turned back to the window. Soon enough, the sun would be gone from the sky over Sunnydale, and she'd be able to enjoy her view uninterrupted by its rays.
Not that far away, a makeshift council of war, of sorts, was taking place.
“What the hell are we supposed to do?” One of the guards, having successfully made it to Amy's room last night. said, in an almost whining, pleading tone. “There's way too many vampires for us to just go and kill them all! We need to get out this castle, right now!” Xander grabbed the man by the arms and shook him, violently.
“Just how stupid are you?!” He demanded. No! Xander! Calm down, damnit!
He tried to take a breath, but he just couldn't manage it. Everything...he was on edge, probably holding on by his fingernails at this point, and he knew it. The events of the night before had left him running on adrenaline, and it was still coursing through him, at this point. But the human body wasn't really made to handle that much all together, for so long. It was really starting to affect him. Calm down, calm down, calm down...
He took a breath. “There's no getting to the doors without running into more of those things, and even if we do, what then?” He shook the guard again, demanding an answer. “Those things will just come back out tonight and pick up where they left off! And even if we and everyone else stays inside, behind a threshold, they'll still be running this place. And I admit, I don't know much about vampires, or how thresholds work, but I'm guessing the threshold doesn't matter much if the house gets burnt down.” He looked to Amy. “Am I right?”
“You are.” The witch said, opening drawers – and lifting false bottoms – while retrieving various magical components.
“See?” Xander said. He let go of the guard, then shoved him back with a hard push to the chest. “Look, I'm no more interested in dying for Lord Chase than any one else. He can get fed on and a vampire can choke to death on his blood, for all I care. But hell if I'm going to just abandon the rest of the town to those things. Those people are our friends and family, and most of them don't even have the slightest
chance of even taking on one vampire and surviving. We have that chance – alright, not much of one, I'll grant you, but its better than nothing. We're armed, we have some combat training, and we're in a position to do
something. And so help me, we're going
to do something!”
“I hate to rain on your gung-ho parade, Xander.” Amy interrupted, smirking, “But what exactly is this 'something' you're proposing we do? There are a lot of vampires out there, and sure, I can torch quite a number of them, but if there's one thing they have going for them, its numbers. And no doubt they'll be getting more. So you need some kind of plan. I'm certainly not going out to risk my life just plain 'killing vampires' without a plan, and I'm the most powerful one here. And unlike all of you, I am
more than willing to just abandon the town and leave.”
Amy just shrugged at all the looks that last statement provoked. "What? Remember, this is all just a job for me. So as long as I get paid for my services, I'll stick around – at least until it becomes too dangerous for me to hang around any longer."
Unfortunately, Xander believed her. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he leaned down, sitting on the edge of the windowsill.
“You got nothing, don't you?” Amy said, smugly. “I rest my case. You need to think about these things, before you start speechifying Xander.”
It didn't take long for Xander to come up with something, though. “They've covered up windows. And they've got people pinned in, if there are any other survivors in here, behind thresholds. Let's uncover those windows. Use the sunlight as a weapon.”
The same guard as before seemed about to protest, but the other guard put a hand on the first's chest, stopping him from talking. “Not a bad idea, Xander, but what about longer-term? That's not really going to do much about all this,” he gestured widely with one hand.
“I know.” Xander seemed unfazed. “Okay, look, when Lord Chase heard about vampires in Bronzeton – these vampires, no doubt – he sent word to the Agaden Temple to ask for Slayer help in dealing with them. The messenger should get there in two days, and then it will take any response three days to get here. To get to Bronzeton from the Agaden Temple, they'll have to pass through here, and find out what is happening. So if we can survive until then...”
“Hold out five days in a town and castle completely infested by vampires?” The first guard said. “Oh, that's so doable.”
“He has a point,” The second one said. “But, really, as true as that fact may be, Xander's also got the right of it. I'm certainly not just going to run away.” He picked up his sword from where it had been lying on the ground. “I'm ready to kill some vampires.”
“Let's try to avoid meeting them.” Amy said with a smirk. “And let the windows we uncover do the heavy lifting in the vampire death department, hmm?”
One floor above them, another council of war was taking place. Just...not a very good one.
“Mom, Dad, think for a moment!” Cordelia was insisting, trying to stop her parents from leaving the room. “There's vampires all over the castle! You can't just walk out into the hallway like nothing's happened!”
“Its daylight, Cordelia. The vampires will be sleeping.” Her father said. “We'll be in no real danger.”
“We can't stay in the castle, dear” Her mother added. “But we can hardly leave the entire treasury here in the castle to those vampires either.”
“Vampires don't sleep
during the day, Dad!” Cordelia tried to control her exasperation, ignoring the stupidity of her mother's statement. “They just don't go out in the sun – because, you know, it kills
them. But the treasury is in the basement
. You know, underground, in the dark, with no windows?”
“And since when did you become an expert on vampires, Cordelia?” Her father demanded skeptically. Ever since I was better educated than you, apparently.
Cordelia managed to filter that thought away from her mouth, for a change. “Because I've been talking to Amy. You know, the witch? Who was trained by that Coven that works with the Slayers? You'd think she'd know.”
“Cordelia, that's enough we're going to be fine.” Her mother said regally, as if that was the end of the matter – as if she could create reality simply by fiat.No, you’re going to die! Damn it, why won't you believe me!? Why won’t you listen to your own daughter?
While normally she would just shut up and later take out her frustrations on the servants, this time Cordelia couldn't – or wouldn't, perhaps – stop herself from vocalizing her thoughts. "You're going to get yourselves killed
if you go out there! Please, don't!"
Her father shook his head pityingly. “Cordelia, what happened last night was a traumatic experience, I understand. But we're going to be fine
.” He stressed that last word, “Look, it if will make you feel any better, we'll take a holy symbol with us.” He went over to his wife's jewelry box, and dug out a golden necklace with a small solar disk on it. The symbol of Adun, the sun god, chief deity of the Kingdom. “See?”
"Are you sure you won’t come as well, dear?" Lady Chase asked her daughter one last time.
"No." Cordelia had a strange expression on her face as she said that. She then turned away, unwilling to look at her parents anymore. "Goodbye, Mother. You too, Father. I love you both – and I’ll miss you, in the years to come."
Not waiting for another response, or else more odd commentary from their intransigent offspring, Lord and Lady Chase subsequently opened the door and walked out of the room – across the threshold.
“I think there's something wrong with our daughter.” Lord Chase commented to his wife as the walked towards the stairs, quickly, but purposefully. “Cordelia was very nearly hysterical, back there.” They reached the stairs, David in front, Miriam behind.
Lady Miriam Chase just waved her hand dismissively, “She's fine, David. She just needs some time to calm down. Its hardly surprising she'd be like that, given what happened. There's nothing wrong
“If you say so.” David Chase didn't seem interested in conceding the point, but also wasn't interested in arguing it. “Alright, so we head down, take everything we can from the treasury, and get out of the castle. As you said, its hardly safe for us in here anymore.”
“And where do we go from there? We can hardly stick around in the lower town – we couldn't, even if there weren't vampires there too.” Her expression was one of disgust, just at the very idea.
“We'll have to go to the Baron, get his help. Or at least ride this crisis out until the Slayers deal with this...infestation. Then we can get back here and things can assume their natural order. But first-” He cut himself off suddenly, hearing a rustle nearby, farther down the stairs.
“Naughty, naughty.” A soft, almost childlike voice said behind them. “Grandmummy didn't say you could leave her party.” A pale, black haired woman stepped into view, her nails long and sharp enough to almost look like claws. “And yet...here you are, trying to leave. Miss Edith told me you were going to try to leave Grandmummy's party...” Drusilla lunged at Lord Chase, her nails opening his jugular vein. Even before the body hit the ground, though, the vampire had donned her true face and was drinking the dying man's bloody from the fresh wound. Miriam was screaming before her brain truly registered what she was seeing, too struck with shock to even think about running.
Xander Harris had never once heard Lady Miriam Chase scream. But she did have a fairly distinctive voice, and he'd heard her yell at servants as often as Cordelia had. They were already on the stairs – he and Amy had been about to go downstairs and uncover some more windows, the other two guards staying behind in the room – and it was simply a redirect of direction to head for the source of the noise. Xander saw the vampire woman from before.
“You!” Xander shouted, lunging at her with his sword.
Drusilla threw David Chase's dead, half-drained body at Xander, knocking him to the floor, held down by the dead weight. “Nasty white knight!” She batted at the air, as if swatting a fly, then grabbed at Miriam, aiming to open her throat as well. Why am I doing this?
Amy asked herself, after all; her employer was now dead and she no longer had any real stake in this fight. Then, with a mental shrug, she mustered her magical power, throwing a fireball at Drusilla.
But the Seer-Vampire was too good to just let herself get dusted by one fireball. She moved to avoid it, her hand moving from its trajectory in the process. Drusilla still hit Miriam in the neck, but, not on a vein or artery.
Lady Chase let out a cry of pain. The noblewoman was bleeding in a way that wasn't conducive to long term health. Miriam Chase clapped a hand to the cut on instinct as she fell to the ground, shock overcoming her.
Xander shoved Lord Chase's dead body off himself and jumped to his feet. Amy threw more fireballs at Drusilla, but the vampire kept avoiding them, chattering insanely, about kittens, white knights, stars, a 'Miss Edith' and, of course, 'Grandmummy's Party'.Enough!
Xander dove at the psychotic vampire, aiming his sword at her feet – she jumped over him, almost skating a little across his back and knocking him to the floor again. Then Drusilla ran at Amy, “Nasty little witch!”, but the young woman wasn't possessed of just one trick. She muttered a quiet word, and then opened a clenched fist.
For a split second, it was as if Adun himself was present, blinding light pouring over them. Drusilla screamed and pushed past Amy, stumbling down the hallway, her body smoking a little.
Amy ran over to a temporarily blinded Xander. “Get up, idiot!” She demanded.
“What the hell was that?!” The guardsman demanded as he did so.
"Pocket full of sunshine, or at least that’s what my old Coven associates used to call it," Amy said. "It takes a lot of time to make one. And I didn't even make it! Took it with me when I left those doddering old fools, so don't expect me to ever pull something like that again. Now let's go! Grab Lady Chase, and we should probably collect Cordelia, too, while we’re at it...
"One or the other of them will have to pay me, before all this is over."Next time, on Dead Man Walking: Buffy, Faith, and Angel arrive in a town under siege. Can they drive the undead out of Sunnydale Castle?