1. Omnes una manet nox.* The same night awaits us all.By Dave Turner.
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or the movie ‘Up Pompeii’ or anything else. I write these stories for fun not profit.
Crossover: Up Pompeii.
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar; Written in glorious English-English which is different to American-English.
Timeline: Set after the events depicted in my fic, ‘Romani ite domum’.
Warnings: As this story is set in Pompeii which was known as a den of sex and depravity even in Roman times, there’ll be some gratuitous sex and violence and possibly some harsh language too!
Summary: ‘Up Pompeii’ xover: Having been rescued by the famous Lady Fidelia, Buffy is working on the Pompeii Porta-Hades in the care of Ammonia Sextus. However, an evil plot to murder the First Citizen upsets the tranquillity of Buffy’s new life. 0=0=0=0BOOK FIVE. Omnes una manet nox* The same night awaits us all.The Prologue.The Amphitheatre, Pompeii.
Sitting alone in the dark, dusty vestibule behind the Gate of Life, Buffy played with her sword idly tossing it up into the air before catching it again. The sword blade flashed as it passed through the shafts of sunlight that poked like golden rods through the cracks and knotholes of the wooden gate that led out onto the arena sand. Catching her sword deftly by the hilt she listened to the ironic jeers and laughter of the crowd as something happened out on the arena’s fighting area.
Getting up from the stone bench where she’d been sitting, Buffy walked the two or three paces over to the gate and put her eye to a crack between two planks. Laughing quietly to herself she shook her head at the antics of the clowns who were at present entertaining the crowd. Somehow the arena slaves had managed to herd the clowns into a tight mass in the middle of the arena. The clowns hacked frantically at each other with their swords; being effectively blind (the helmets they wore had no eyeholes) half their blows missed their intended targets by a mile. However, every so often a wounded clown would stumble from the melee clutching a bloody wound and fall to the ground.
As soon as a clown fell, two or three arena slaves would pounce on him. One would pull the clown’s helmet off while a second held him down. Once the clown’s head was exposed a third slave would hit him smartly on the back of the head with a mallet killing him instantly. Shrugging her shoulders as the clowns continued their frantic attempts at survival; Buffy went and sat down again. No doubt they’d been told that the last man standing would go free. In truth he’d be killed like all the others, but it guaranteed a good frantic fight and that’s what the mob liked.
Sighing, Buffy rested her head against the wall behind her and waited for her turn to go out and kill. Had it really been only two months since she’d been forced to kill her lover? On that fateful day, Marcus Licinius Crassus (may he rot in Hades) took her away from the Batiatus School of Gladiators, the place Buffy’d come to think of as home in the year or so since she’d arrived in the world of the past.
Later she’d heard that just after being taken from the school, the gladiators had risen in rebellion and escaped. Buffy would have liked to think that it was because of what had happened to her, but she was fairly sure that Spartacus had already worked out his plan. He was just using the bad feeling caused by her being forced to kill her lover to goad the other gladiators into rebellion; she was just another useful tool as far as he was concerned.
Poor Caius, Buffy wouldn’t cry for her lover’s death, not until she was free, only then would she cry for the man she’d loved. Even when she relived the moment she’d rammed her dagger into his neck and felt his hot blood ooze over her hand and body, she never shed one tear. He’d begged her to kill him, if she hadn’t they’d both be dead now, a fact that didn’t really make her feel any better about killing him. After murdering the man she’d grown to love the soldiers had dragged her away and put her in a cage on the back of a cart. As if in a dream she remembered staring through the bars as the cart lurched along the road taking her back to Rome. She remembered how one of the soldiers, an officer, had looked in on her; she saw the look of pity on his face when she’d pleaded with him to kill her so she could join her dead lover.
But, of course, he hadn’t and she was still here waiting to go out in front of the mob to face her latest foe. Not that it really worried her, she’d fought many men and things in the arena during her career as a gladiatrix; she’d always won and there was no reason to think today would be any different. Her guardian, the Lady Ammonia Sextus, wife of Senator Ludricus Sextus; was a close friend of Fidelia Arsenius, who had once been known as Faith Lehane. It was weird how things turned out and although it had all been explained to her (by Willow, only here she was known as Shani, wife of Titus Pullo) Buffy wasn’t a hundred percent sure she understood everything even now.
It appeared that each of them had died or screwed up big time in their own realities. Then as part of some sort of cosmic practical joke they’d all ended up in this weird version of the early Roman Empire. But, and this was the bit that Buffy couldn’t quite get her head around, although they all knew each other they’d all come from different realities or something. Buffy tried not to think about it too much as it made her head hurt.
As if all this alternate reality stuff wasn’t bad enough, that bastard, Marcus Licinius Crassus (may he rot in Hades) had put an obedience spell on her so he could control her. If he hadn’t she’d have slit his throat the first chance she’d got. Anyway, he’d put this slave collar thing on her which had resisted all of Willow’s magical attempts at removing it; plus every attempt Faith’s blacksmith had made to get it off her. There was also a ring, which the Lady Ammonia had at the moment. While Buffy wore the collar, whoever had the ring could tell her to do stuff and she’d do it. Not only would she do it she’d do it happily and without hesitation. Luckily Lady Ammonia was a nice lady and seemed to be going out of her way not to tell Buffy to do anything
; but if someone bad
ever got hold of the ring, Buffy would obey them just as she would have Ammonia.
But today, Buffy didn’t have to worry about that, today she’d pick up her prize money to add to the money she already had. Back at the school, Buffy and the other gladiators had been allowed to keep any prize money or gifts they’d earnt from fighting (of course that money was lost to her now). Buffy had been planning on buying her own and her friend Eos’ freedom. But now, with her friend Eos already a Freedwoman, Buffy didn’t have to concern herself about that, now any money she earnt she could keep for when she was free of this cursed collar and she could live in her own little house and start a family of her own if she wanted.
A great roar from nearly twenty-thousand throats told Buffy that the clowns were about finished. Putting her eye back to the crack in the gate, she saw the last few survivors were being disarmed and herded towards the Gate of Death by the arena slaves. Other slaves started to drag away the dead while still others dispatched the wounded. The bodies would be taken away and dumped into the sea.
Walking back to the bench, Buffy checked that her arm guard was properly buckled on and that her grieves were firmly in place protecting her shins. Slipping her left arm through the straps of her shield she tested its weight. Satisfied she placed her helmet firmly on her head and picked up her sword. Walking over to stand by the gate she glanced down to see her knife hanging from her belt.
That plain, simple weapon had saved her life on at least two occasions; once when she’d fought against Vastus Phallus; she’d literally cut his balls off with it on that occasion. The other time had been in Rome in front of the First Citizen himself; she’d used it to stab a Minotaur-like demon to death, the crowd had really loved that fight. Putting these memories of past victories to the back of her mind she went back to the gate and pressed her helmet against the crack once more. The slaves had cleared the last of the dead clowns from the sand and she could just hear the Editor of the games announcing the next event, hers, any moment now it would be her turn to entertain the mob.
Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, Buffy controlled her heart making it beat steadily instead of wildly like it wanted to; she’d always been affected by stage fright. Hearing the sound of wood scraping on stone, she opened her eyes to see the gate disappear into a grove in the stonework above her head. There in front of her lay the sand of the arena stained here and there by the blood from past fights, the sun shone down brightly as she listened to the expectant murmuring of the crowd as they waited to see what would happen next. Taking a firm hold on her sword, Buffy stepped out into the sunlight and was greeted by a great roar of approval.
Lifting her sword and shield in acknowledgement of the mob’s cheers, Buffy ran lightly towards the centre of the arena, her exposed breasts bouncing perkily as she ran. This little exhibition made the crowd cheer all the louder. No sooner had she stepped out onto the sand, some in the crowd had started to chant her name, slowly others joined in until the entire crowd called her name over and over sounding like some great beast or the waves of the sea crashing against the shore.
“Buffitrix! BUFFITRIX! BUFFITRIX!
Smiling in the privacy of her helmet, Buffy took strength from the crowd’s adulation. As long as she provided them with blood she’d be their idol and they would love her. Turning to face the VIP box, Buffy brought her sword and shield down to her side. As if at some signal the crowd’s cheers started to fade away until there was almost complete silence. Looking up at the box, Buffy caught sight of the pimply youth whose father was paying for these games; he probably wanted his son to run for some public office soon and it was never too early to get the mob on your side, politics it seemed to Buffy never changed. Lifting her sword towards the sky, Buffy saluted the box.
“We who are about to die salute you!” she called her voice echoing from the arena walls; her next words where drowned out by the renewed cheering of the crowd, “You spotty faced freak!”
Lowering her sword she turned to face the Gate of Death as it slowly opened, any moment now she’d get to see what fate and the Editor had set her against. Out of the darkness behind the now opened gate came three shambling forms. The hair that covered their human-like bodies was long and lank. They snarled and snapped at the audience as they tried to jump up and drag a victim into the arena. These attempts were frustrated by the nets hanging from heavy wooden stakes that stuck out from the wall of the arena preventing anyone, or anything, in the arena from getting into the crowd.
“EWWW!” Buffy’s nose wrinkled as the wind shifted and brought a whiff of the creature’s stench to her, she knew what they were and she knew that she’d be able to kill them quickly and easily…if she wanted to.
These were Hellhounds, Buffy remembered them from one of Giles’ books, she’d also fought their kind before. Why they were called ‘Hellhounds’ she didn’t know because they always reminded her of large apes from the way they ran. Whatever, Buffy shrugged; she crouched down behind her shield and started to move towards the creatures. She knew how to deal with these animals; they were fairly easy to kill no harder than a man or a large wolf really. Already she was working out how the fight would go. Three of these beasts could be dangerous; two could keep her distracted while the third moved in for the kill, then it would be ‘goodbye Buffitrix’. To prevent this sad event, she planned to kill one quickly and then toy with the other two before killing them; after all the crowd expected to see a show.
The hellhounds, being distracted by the noise and smell of the mob, hadn’t noticed Buffy’s slow advance until she was almost on top of them. When they did notice her, their heads snapped around and their eyes locked onto her like little, red, malign, searchlights. Snarling and growling in rage they charged at her almost as soon as they’d seen her. Readying her sword and shield, Buffy planted her feet firmly in the sand, as long as she could resist their initial assault she’d be able to put her plan into operation.
Hitting one beast in the face with her shield she knocked it away to her left. Another creature she cut with her sword drawing a howl of rage from its throat and a fan of blood from the wound she’d inflicted on its arm. Her actions made it appear as if she’d dropped her guard and was wide open to attack. The third as yet unengaged hellhound took its chance and leaped for her throat only to come into sudden and solid contact with the rim of her shield. No normal human could have recovered herself so quickly, but Buffy wasn’t a normal human she was a slayer and that little fact was about to prove fatal for at least one hellhound.
Blood and teeth flew in all directions as Buffy took a step towards the stunned and hurt monster, thrusting underarm with her gladius she rammed its blade into the hellhound’s belly. With all the strength of her arm and weight of her body behind it, the tip of her sword burst from the hellhound’s back. It yelped in pain and clawed weakly against the bronze surface of her shield and the steel of her armguard. Stepping back and again covering herself with her shield, Buffy ripped her sword from the hound’s stomach; she was vaguely aware of its guts unwinding onto the sand from the great, ragged hole in its belly. Stepping backwards several paces Buffy got into a position where the two remaining hellhounds were once again in front of her.
The two beasts seemed to pause for a moment, they looked at each other and then down at their fallen comrade. A moment later they were both heading for Buffy their jaws agape as spit and drool flew from their mouths. Slowly, Buffy proceeded to cut her victims into bloody hunks of putrid flesh. Always keeping one ear open to the sound of the crowd, Buffy timed her slow execution of the hellhounds perfectly. The trick was to keep the mob on your side, if you appeared to be dragging out your opponent’s death for too long after it was obvious you’d won the fight, the mob might start feeling sorry for your opponent. Alternatively you didn’t want to kill your adversaries too quickly because then the crowd would feel cheated of its entertainment.
However, Buffy was a past mistress of this sort of performance, listening to the crowd she could always tell when it was time to bring the show to a close. The hellhounds made it easy for her to win the approval of the mob. They were too vicious and stupid to realise when they were beaten; even after she’d hamstrung both creature’s legs and cut their bodies to ribbons they still kept coming for her. Being careful not to let the hound’s animal instincts appear like bravery, Buffy moved in for the kill.
Using some deep reserves of strength one of the hounds dragged itself to its knees and clawed at Buffy’s legs. Dodging the wildly slashing claws, she stepped back from the hound before attacking once more; bringing her sword down and around she neatly severed the hound’s head from its neck. Spinning through the air the severed head left a trail of blood behind it before it hit the sand with a thump; its blood pattering like heavy, red rain onto the ground. The last hound died when she stunned it with a blow to the head with the edge of her shield. Rolling it onto its back she thrust her sword into its body and ripped it open from pubis to sternum. Blood fountained into the air for a moment to splash on her legs and cover the short white skirt she wore with large red spots.
Again raising her sword and shield in salute to the crowd’s wild cheers, Buffy walked slowly back to the centre of the arena where she once again acknowledged the pimply youth in the box. Smiling to herself as she turned and headed towards the Gate of Life, she wondering if she’d given the prospective public servant a hard-on. Back in the ‘day’ Buffy would have gone back to the arms of Caius who’d have given her sexual release. Now, of course, as she had no lover, she’d have to deal with her own needs or let her friend Eos give her one of her special massages. With these thoughts going through her mind and the cheers of the mob still echoing in her ears, Buffy walked back into the darkness of the Gate of Life and vanished from the view of her fans…until the next time.0=0=0=0The House of Arsenius over looking Pompeii.
Standing on her balcony, the Lady Fidelia Arsenius, looked out over Pompeii. From here she could see the great blue expanse of the bay next to which Pompeii had been built; she could also see the great volcano that loomed high over the city. Frowning as she always did when she looked at the great smoking mountain, she wondered when it was set to explode and destroy the city burying it under a thick layer of ash and pumice until sometime in the far future people would dig it up again.
The Lady Fidelia knew of the fate of Pompeii, because she’d once been called, Faith Lehane and even she had gone to school. One of the things she remembered from those brief educational visits was the destruction of the place where she now lived. It was a pity really because of the three villas that she and her husband owned this was by far the biggest and it was also her favourite. All her children, apart from her eldest, Marius, had been born here and she intended for the child she was carrying now to be born here as well.
Turning at the sound of a soft footstep behind her, Faith smiled when she saw Eos, the girl she’d saved from the smouldering wreckage of the gladiator school, come up behind her, the teenager stopped and paused before continuing towards her mistress.
“How do you do that, Domina?” The girl asked as she walked over to join Faith at the wall of the balcony.
“Good hearing,” Faith smiled down at the girl; Eos was only fourteen or fifteen and at five-foot-five Faith towered over her, people were short in the past, “How’s B?”
“Very well,” Eos replied happily, “I was with her at the games today she fought and killed three Canis-Hades; she was enjoying herself and she didn’t get injured.”
“Good,” Faith smiled and nodded her head; it was good to hear that Buffy was getting back to her old self after losing her lover. “You’ll be heading back to Pompeii tonight?”
“No, Domina, if you don’t mind I’ll stay the night, it’s already getting dark,” Eos was Buffy’s best friend and had been with her since they’d both been slaves at the Batiatus gladiator school; the girl was a loving and loyal friend to Buffy.
“Not a problem and I’m sure Ennius will be pleased to see you,” Faith knew everything that went on in her household; Ennius’ and Eos’ love affair in particular, “I want…” Faith groaned and sat down heavily on a marble bench, “Oh crap!” she gasped as a wave of nausea swept over her.
“Feeling sick?” Eos asked full of concern.
“Yeah,” Faith nodded her head as she grimly tried to control her stomach; she’d only been afflicted by so-called morning sickness when she’d been carrying Marius, this was what made her think that the baby she was now carrying was a boy. “Okay,” she gasped again, “it’s passed.”
Eos sat down next to her mistress and put a supportive arm around her shoulder.
“What was I saying?” Faith smiled as she collected her thoughts, “Oh, yeah, tomorrow I’m going to send Ennius with ya, he can help B train and such like.”
Her guard captain, Sextus Ennius, had met Buffy when Faith had first tried to buy her, Faith knew that Buffy needed someone to spar with and the ex-centurion was just the man. Plus, there were things that Ennius could do and places he could go that Eos or Buffy couldn’t. Faith cursed her poor timing at falling pregnant just now, normally she’d have sparred with Buffy but not now she was pregnant she couldn’t. Pausing, Faith nearly threw up again, turning to look at the teenager, she forced a smile.
“Look on me an’ tremble, Eos,” Faith told the girl grimly, “once upon a time I was a feared Gladiatrix and Venetrix now I’m a pregnant, thirty something woman about to lose her dinner.”
“Indeed, Domina,” Eos nodded her head with mock solemnity, “I will take your warning to heart.”
“But it won’t stop you opening your legs for Ennius, will it?” One day the girl would fall pregnant, Faith shook her head slowly, then she’d be sorry.
“But Domina,” Eos smiled impishly, “sex is so much fun!”
“You’ll learn,” Faith replied quietly as another wave of nausea swept over her, “you’ll learn.”0=0=0=0