Chapter 4: Rituals
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Palladium, Rifts, Wormwood, Phase World, or any TV Show. I am making no money off of this work.
Reviews: Yes please. No flames, but constructive criticism is a MUST. Also if you have some major or minor plot-bunny concerning our favorite goofball White Knight in Rifts Earth feel free to let me know.
The Story will progress upon Xander's return to Sunnydale with occasional flashbacks of both his adventures and the Scooby Gang's summer.
Angel’s mansion Two months ago.
“Willow, if you would spread the salt around Acathla in a perfect circle, we can start the ritual.” Giles nodded to the trainee mage before he started chanting in Demogorgan, the language of the Demons. While his words were in the hateful speech they spoke of redemption, acceptance and love.
Willow for her part was pouring out a thick line of kosher salt as she started reciting her chant in High Celestial. Her hands were steady and even as she poured which was the exact opposite of how she felt. Her mind was awash with grief and rage, which is why she was the perfect candidate for this portion of the ritual. Only a mage in such a state could say the hateful phrases in the tongue of Angels.
Amy stood directly opposite of Rupert Giles, muttering prayers in a mix of Ignan, Aquan, Terran, and Auron. In the elemental languages she was describing the unmaking of Acathla, how the elements would leave it very form to unmake it.
This was the Ritual of Opposition, the most powerful banishment spell in existence. It was so powerful because it took so long to perform and you needed three casters of some power. True the fabled Charmed ones could do this with ease, but not many casters were as powerful as they. For this ritual, Giles had to guide the raw potential of the two witches. They were the power, he was the skill.
As the chanting reached a crescendo, Giles channeled the powers of both Amy and Willow. The raw magic the two witches possessed was far greater than even the demon Eyegon. As the elder mage shaped the spell, his arm burned in pain, the pure magicks erasing the mark that linked him to a dead demon. As the Watcher utter the last phrase Acathla started disintegrating. First the demons ears started to crumble, then the head, followed by the body collapsing into naught more than dust.
“For you, my son.” Giles whispered as the demon vanished completely, not even leaving dust behind.
Angel’s mansion: Today.
Angel was screaming in pain, his body wracked as if he’s been lit on fire. The chains binding his wrists screeched as he pulled with clearly inhuman strength. His face morphed into the demonic visage of the undead as he screamed again. Nobody could argue that he was in unimaginable pain, then suddenly it stopped. Angel just fell back and moaned piteously.
“It’s done brother.” Scott said simply as he stood up from his lotus position. Gone was the dark armor he wore earlier. Instead he was wearing a black ceremonial robe with runic lettering. “The Mohra blood has turned him human, and the demon has been bonded under his control.”
Xander nodded and moved forward to unlock the chains holding Angel. Even outside of his armor he was an intimidating sight. Gone was the baby fat most teenagers carry. Instead Xander was heavily defined, his athletic form showing his physical power. He wasn’t muscled-bound, instead he looked like a swimmer.
“Okay, buddy, the worst is over. You can relax for a few minutes drink some blood, eat a sandwich. Then we get to tattooing.” Xander said as he helped the former vampire to his feet.
“I thought you said he wouldn’t be a vampire anymore.” Cordellia finally spoke up. She had to literally bite her tongue during the ritual, for fear her beau would be destroyed. Now however her snarky tone came forward.
“He’s no longer a demonic vampire, Cordelia. However for him to retain his physical abilities the demon is bound to him. It can never get free, but Liam here must drink blood as well as eat food to maintain his abilities.” Scott explained as he reached into the cooler the group had brought and tossed Angel a packet of blood and two subway foot-longs. “He’ll need a pint of human blood a week, more if he needs to heal, and eat like Buffy does when nobody is looking. On the bright side sunlight, fire, crosses, and holy water will not hurt him. Though he’ll need sunglasses to be comfortable in daylight, and crosses and holy items will still make him uncomfortable.”
Angel greedily sucked down the blood, and began devouring his sandwich at a rate even Buffy was impressed with. Of course in his defense, this is the first time he’d been able to enjoy solid food in a long time. Unlike Spike, most vampires could not handle foodstuffs without gas.
“Oh god, this is amazing. Corned beef, I haven’t had corned beef in over two centuries.” The former vampire was actually moaning in enjoyment over his food, a sight the others found rather funny.
“Well, now you know the way to his heart, Cordy.” Buffy chuckled as he reached in the cooler and got out her own meatball sub. Once upon a time she never would have eaten a whole footlong, but after being a slayer, she found she enjoyed that part of her calling.
“Oh, I think I know of another route and Victoria showed me the Secret.” Cordy shot back with a wink and then a lecherous grin to Angel. The timing had been perfect, Willow, Buffy and Angel all almost choked on their respective sandwiches. Coughing hard they barely stayed conscious, the two champions turning a bit blue, but Willow was turning a bit purple thanks to her instant blush.
Xander and Scott of course were sniggering, just as much at the Cordy’s comment as at the reaction of the other three. Giles was polishing his glasses meanwhile Joyce was sending a mild glare at the rich brunette. Thankfully Dawn had been listening to one earbud while Oz was listening to the other, the music drowning out the conversation.
“The red or the black one?” Amy asked after the trio finally managed to gasp enough air to be safe.
“Oh I think the white one.” Cordellia added after a moment’s thought. “The black one is for Christmas and the red for valentine’s day.”
“Good lord, that was entirely too much information, as you bloody teenagers say.” Giles finally had about enough. He knew if he let it go, they would continue. Even with Xander back it seemed all the teens took delight in continuing his oft missed humor.
“I don’t know Giles, I could stand to hear more, or even see a fashion show.” Xander spoke up wagging his eyebrows. “That is if Cordy is in the mood.”
“You wish dweeb!” Cordy smiled widely as he snarked back.
Scott just chuckled as he started readying his needle and inks. He was new to the group, but he remembered them through Xander’s memories. He knew this was all in the spirit of having fun. Watching Angel start his second sandwich at a more sedate pace, Scott approached.
“We can start now, it won’t be too painful at first.” Scott explained carefully. “It will make a normal tattoo feel like pin prick, but not as bad as what you just went through.”
Angel nodded as he stripped off his shirt and sat back in the recliner. He didn’t like that the tattoo had to be placed on his chest, but he had little choice. Doing his best to keep still as he finished his sandwich he watched as Scott began to work.
Over the next hour Scott worked ceaselessly, wiping away blood and re-inking as needed. He hadn’t lied about the pain, Angel was grinding his teeth almost hard enough to shatter them, and his knuckles were white from holding the arms of the chair. Several times he’d let out a whimper of pain, but nothing else. Everyone sat transfixed as Angel’s chest was transformed into the canvas showing a glorious phoenix rising form the flames. As the last lines were drawn, Angel slumped back in his chair, obviously exhausted.
“Why did you make me get this? I recognize it is powerful and has a meaning.” Angel asked carefully as he touched the image, noting he’d already healed, the tattoo looking a few months old already. “I doubt it is a gift.”
“Oh, but Angel it is a gift, just not yours. It’s for Giles.” Xander said with a nearly predatory grin. “With that you’re gonna bring back Janna Kalderash.”
As predicted the Scoobies practically exploded with comments. Even Dawn and Oz had joined in. With everyone talking over each other, it was clearly unintelligible, but the common thread was disbelief.
Pineview Cemetery, Midnight.
Angel rubbed his still sore chest. It has been a few days and he now was covered with a plethora of Tattoos, each one powerful. Some of them made Angelus whimper in fear and pain, which was a good thing in his books. Still, that Xander entrusted him with these was nothing short of amazing.“Why are you giving me all these Tattoos, Xander? I can feel my body changing, I’m becoming tougher, stronger, and full of energy.” Angel had been suspicious. He could feel the power he’d been given and it was scary.
“Simple, BroodBoy, you got the psychic sensitivity of a rock. Angelus has it, but Liam doesn’t. I can’t train you to be a CyberKnight as you're completely non-psychic. If you were a Nega-psychic you’d be of more use. These Tattoos transform you into a supernatural warrior that Vampires will fear even more than the Slayer legend.” Xander said with no small amount of conviction. “Plus when you raise Jenny, it will destroy any hold the demon could have on you. Especially since you could now do it alone.”
Angel snapped out of his revery, when he heard the shovels hit the coffin. He’d volunteered to dig, but was told they wanted him fresh for this. The former Vampire watched and Xander, Scott, Oz and Giles started lifting the simple coffin form the grave. He winced as he saw the abundance of blessed crosses placed on the surface. Giles had taken no chances that some demonic grave robber would desecrate the body.
Sighing heavily Angel opened the casket, and gasped in just a bit of surprise as he saw Janna wrapped in obviously blessed and enspelled burial shroud. The Romani Teacher could have been mistaken for a preserved mummy.
“You, Broodboy, step on it we haven’t got all night.” Xander sent a friendly sounding taunt to the former Scourge of Europe.
Angel bit back his remark and focused on the task at hand. They’d picked midnight because Pineview was near the school. In fact a major Ley line ran right under the cemetery to converge at the Hellmouth nexus. Opening his newest sense Angel started drawing in the flow of life energy in the Ley Line, feeling the boost in power skyrocket as midnight tolled. Finally having enough energy, Angel placed a hand on the Pheonix tattoo and a hand of Janna forehead. With a supreme act of will he activate the Tattoo and forced life back into the deadbody.
The pain was horrific. He’d thought the ritual to bind the demon had been painful, but it paled to this. Angel could feel his physical body set ablaze, the demon inside him burned with holy fire, and just a small piece of his soul was devoured by the needs of the magic. Screaming in intense agony, but also in victory Angel sank to his knees.
Janna Kalderash took her first breath in many months. With rasping wheezing sound startled Giles, into dropping his shovel, Jenny started thrashing in her burial shroud, trying desperately to tear herself free. Her cries of frustration were wordless, but made their meaning known.
Having seen similar a few times, Scott moved, pulling forth a wicked silver knife. The blade sliced through the shroud with remarkable ease. Once there was a promise for freedom, Jenny tore her way out the slit and took several long deep breaths as she looked around.
“Giles?” She cried out as she saw her long time boyfriend. Ripping the rest of the shroud free she made her way to the librarian’s arms and kissed him soundly. “Oh God, Giles, I thought I’d never see you again.”
“Nor I you, Janna.” Giles responded, his voice thick with emotion as a tear streaked down his cheek.
Rupert Giles Residence.
“I was dead?” Jenny asks, her eyes wide and she almost drops her coffee. The Romany looks to her love with open mouth, her eyes asking questions.
“Y-yes, Angelus snapped your neck and placed you in my bed. That bastard demon set up my whole house like a romantic night.” Giles decided not to tiptoe around things at the moment and just told it as it was. Of course there was still some anger in him. A fire to punish Angelus for this heinous crime. Of course when Scott had explained just how much pain the demon would be in while imprisoned in Angel, Ripper was quite satisfied. ”That night, I assaulted Angel in his warehouse, using methods I am sure the old Xander would have approved of. I was bent on killing the demon even if I died, too. Buffy snapped me out of it, rescued me you could say.”
“You tried to avenge me. Buffy didn’t just stop you did she?” There was justifiably some anger in her voice.
“No, no, Buffy was quite willing to kill him for me, but to do so would have been my death as I was too close to the flames for her to kill him and save me.” Giles sighed heavily. “She couldn’t lose both of us. I believe that she has secretly punished herself everyday for your demise.”
“Alright, she saved you then, why isn’t Angelus dust in the wind?” Jenny was slow and deliberate in her questioning.
“Simple, Willow managed the Curse, but not before he’d activated Acathla. The only way to close the portal was his blood and a willing sacrifice.” Giles explains simply. “Buffy was ready to send Angel, soul and all to hell, but Xander interfered. That remarkable boy threw himself on the bloody sword so that Buffy would not send her ‘true love’ to hell. Bloody teenager never realized his action showed Buffy which man truly loved her.”
“Okay, I can get that. I wouldn’t curse the Soul to hell even for killing me, maybe a nice pox.” Jenny admitted before taking another sip. “But how is it I am back?”
“Xander didn’t go to Hell. He claims the place he was sent was infinitely worse. From what he has described, accepting a few pockets of Light, he is quite right in his estimation.” Giles started the tale of Xander Harris in that other world, revealing all he could remember. He even showed Jenny passages in the books Xander had brought back. “He came back as suddenly as he vanished, with a twin brother, no less. I feel like if I chronicle this, others will assume I am merely recording a soap opera to paper.”
Jenny snorted in laughter, the new Rupert was an improvement. She was just sorry it took her death and Xander’s disappearance o bring it out.Still she was puzzled about a lot. Ressurections were complicated rituals with the best of casters and the least amount of time the being was dead. She herself had been dead months. She should still be dead.
“Angel has been returned to the land of the living by Mohra blood. Angelus is currently imprisoned in a healthy living human, bound to do the soul’s bidding until Angel dies. A fitting punishment for a Blood Demon, decades of intense pain as Angel lives, loves, and fights evil.” Giles grinned in a smile that just made Jenny shiver in both fear and desire. “in fact Angelus’ first torment was being used as the main power source in your Resurrection. Angel has been inscribed with a series of Atlantean Tattoos, giving him great power and tormenting Angelus as they are very nearly holy. Xander decided the being that killed you should be the key to your rebirth.”
“My god…that is a very Romani sentiment.” Jenny finally gathered herself enough to say. He face scrunched up a bit as she thought of the whole implication of what was done. “A little too Romani, he set it up that I would be inclined to forgive Angel much quicker than I normally would have. Sneaky bugger!”
For the first time in a long time, Rupert Giles actually laughed, long and hard as the love of his life started cursing out the man who engineered her return to the living. He had to admit, she was very creative with her obscenities.