Title: A Most Marvellous Adventure
Feedback: In lieu of a Faithbot yeah.
Disclaimer: Any characters you recognise belong either to Mutant Enemy or Marvel Comics.
FIC: A Most Marvellous Adventure (1/?)
Faith forced herself not to stare at Angel. There wasn’t much that could cause her battle-hardened stomach twist and feel like she was gonna throw up, but the ruined visage of her once-handsome mentor did it to her every time. She’d been the lead on one of the rescue teams that the Slayer Council had sent in primarily to eliminate the Black Thorns and save L.A, but secondly to rescue Angel’s team.
They’d gotten there in time to save Illyria and Angel, but not in time for Spike, not that he was any big loss, Gunn, and Wes. And not in time to save Angel’s face, his left cheek was permanently dented inwards as if he’d been stamped on by a horse or somethin’, and his right cheek had three still pus-seeping furrows that ran down from just below his eye to his jaw-line.
She hated to imagine what sorta creature could do that to a being with Angel’s healing capabilities.
Ever since then, Angel had been renegade and utterly obsessed with hunting down Black Thorns wherever he could find them. The ensoulled vampire worked with Illyria, the demon-human hybrid called the Groosaluug, and his son, Angel had a freakin’ son, that had been a hell of a shock, Connor. The entire operation was funded by some computer geek by the name of Nabbit, allowing them to go all over the globe hunting the demonic powerhouses. They’d hit Albania, Egypt, Somalia, Brazil, the Philippines, and Cuba in the past year, carnage and mayhem following in their path.
And that was why she and Xand were here. The Slayer Council didn’t particularly like independents goin’ ‘round starting fights with bad assess like the Circle of Black Thorn, but they also didn’t want a war with a group as tough as Angel’s, especially as they were on the same side. As she was just about the only Slayer that trusted Angel and was trusted by him, she’d been assigned to his group as ‘liaison’.
As for X…. Faith glanced out of the corner of her eye at the man sat slouched to her left. Her and Wood had been datin’ for somethin’ like four months when Xan had turned up at their Cleveland base. He’d been there for less than a month when she’d realised a difference in the respect and friendship she got from Xan, and the condescension that Wood treated her with. Realising she deserved better than the way Wood treated her, she’d broken up with Wood and forced\charmed her way into a partnership with Xan.
From there they’d worked as the Council’s trouble-shooters for eight months, and then they’d gotten the job working with Angel. It was weird, a half-smile tugged at her lips, she and Harris bitched pretty much constantly at one another, mostly ‘bout her catting around and him keepin’ everyone at arm’s length, but when it came to fightin’, they had it down.
“Sorry,” Faith forced her eyes and attention towards the scarred vampire, “you were saying?”
Angel didn’t smile at her inattention, but then his smiles had gotten even rarer since LA. Faith didn’t know if it was the loss of Cordy, his friends, or the scarring that caused it, she just noticed and mourned their absence. “Bulle Corne is a Quebec dark arts sorcerer, he’s outwardly human but worships Apis.” Angel stared hard at her, she closed her mouth, the inevitable question dying there. “Apis is a bull-deity once worshipped in Memphis-.”
“Tennessee?” Xander queried.
Faith bit back a chuckle as she watched the vampire count to ten before speaking. Whatever else changed, Xander could always be relied on to wind Angel up. “No, Memphis, Egypt,” Angel replied. “In reality though, he’s an Old One who grants physical power and durability to his followers. The more devout the disciple, the more power he grants them.”
“So Bulle Corne is a bad-ass?” Faith queried.
“Yeah, very strong, but he’s not only physically powerful,” Angel replied. “He’s also the suspiciously sole descendant of six generations of one of Quebec’s wealthiest families and a talented dark arts mage-.”
“Suspiciously sole?” Connor put in.
“He had two younger siblings, but both died in questionable accidents while still in their mid-teens. Corne’s used his wealth to obtain a number of expensive occult artefacts and books that he protects via a crew of ex Special Forces trained goons guarding him, and he owns a walled mansion in one of Montreal’s most exclusive suburbs.”
“But he’s got more power than the lot of them?” Connor queried. The boy’s father nodded.
“’Bout right for these Black Thorns,” Faith commented.
Angel nodded, Faith admitted silently that the darkness in her mentor’s eyes creeped her out more than a little, but then he always saved his full-on psycho for just before the conclusion of a hunt. “There’s rumours that Bulle’s the remaining pre-eminent Black Thorn on the continent, so we’ve gotta get him.”
* * *
“Come on man!” Faith panted impatiently as she pulled Xander over the wall behind her. In the distance she could hear the sound of gunfire and Angel’s gang engaging Corne’s hired thugs. As always Angel had offered to send Groo or Connor with her, as always she’d demurred ‘cause Xan was loyal to her, and she always repaid loyalty with loyalty.
Just ask Mayor Wilkins.
Faith shoved that bittersweet memory aside as she stalked through the darkened grounds, Xander a ghost behind her. It wasn’t as if Xan wasn’t good at what he did, he’d been doin’ it for years before her pretty lil tushy had come along, and she’d trained him intensely since she’d decided upon their partnership. So he had to be good, he just didn’t have the advantages of Connor or Groo. But she’d chosen him and he’d accepted, so she owed him respect and loyalty, and that was that.
The mansion loomed over them as Faith put the shaft of her battle-axe through the first window they reached, wincing slightly as an alarm burst out. “He had to know we were here anyway,” Xander commented as he climbed through the window after her.
”Yeah,” Faith looked left and right. As expected the corridors were plushly decorated, fluffy red carpet and expensive wallpaper, the walls also adorned with artefacts from several times and regions. “According to Angel’s intel, Bulle spends all his nights in the basement, worshipping, studying, and casting.”
“There’s a stairway this way,” Xander nodded to the left.
* * *
“Abli, korna, pularza, coola.” Sweat beaded down the face of the fat but powerfully built man clad in full-length scarlet robes as they burst through into the mansion’s basement. Candles flickered in every corner, illuminating the nine-pronged sigil drawn in blood on the floor, but then a cold wind blew through the basement, extinguishing them and blanketing the room in darkness.
But the man still continued to chant, his booming voice raising hairs on the back of Xander’s neck as it echoed around the room. “What’s he sayin’?” Faith queried in a whisper, dark eyes filling with disquiet as she hefted her battle-axe.
“Do you think I talk gibberish?” Xander muttered.
“I’ve heard you discussin’ Sci-fi with Andrew, so I’m gonna go with a hell yeah,” Faith snarked. “But whatever he’s sayin’, it’s creepy as fuck.”
Xander stared nervously at the shadow-shrouded sorcerer, noting the shimmering, energy crackling cloud forming behind him. “Well maybe you should shut him up.”
”Way ahead of you, Harris.” The Slayer beauty’s axe came up and then flew towards the sorcerer’s head. The mage raised a contemptuous hand, deflecting the axe into the wall to his left, but completely failed to note Faith’s discreetly flung dagger that landed in the man’s throat. “Ha,” Faith snorted as the enchanter toppled onto his back, “suck-.”
”SHIT!” Xander exploded when he was lifted off his feet and dragged towards the cloud above the downed man, the suddenly wailing Slayer dragged beside him, a blazing light that threatened to burn his eyeballs out engulfing him.
* * *
The air hummed with the roar of car engines in the distance and was filled with the disparate scents of humanity. “Whoa.” Ignoring her own throbbing head and queasy stomach, Faith grabbed Xander as he almost toppled to the refuse-strewn ground and pushed him against the bricked wall. “Stay there big guy,” she soothed as she glanced disdainfully at the corpse of the sorcerer at their feet and then around the road light-illuminated alley they found themselves in.
Faith’s vision tilted then righted itself after a shake of her head. “Wherever we are we ain’t in Kansas anymore Toto,” she muttered. Seeing a yellowed newspaper wedged under an over-turned trash can, she kicked the steel receptacle way and scooped it up. Her eyes widened as she read the paper’s headline. “What the fuck?” She glanced at her companion and then back at the paper, unable to believe the world-tilting evidence of her own eyes. “This ain’t possible.”
“Oh look, tender meat.”
* * *
Robert sat up, the colour draining from his face as he regarded the fedora and trenchcoat-wearing figure staring evilly at him. “Y….you can’t be here, I…I haven’t-.”
“Used your powers?” the intruder finished for him with a smirk. “I know, my power grows daily,” he couldn’t help but flinch when his adversary waved a hand through the lampshade. “Unfortunately I’m not corporeal. Yet.” The intruder’s smile widened. “But in a few days, a week at the most, my grasp on existence will be such that I will be independently corporeal and capable of inflicting my will on this pathetic planet and its so-called champions.”
”I won’t let you,” he mumbled, shock befuddling his senses as he tried to tear his eyes away from his nemesis.
”And how are you going to stop me?” the interloper taunted. “You can’t kill yourself, you’re invulnerable. And as long as you’re here, so am I-.”
“Then,” Robert leapt to his feet and flew upwards, through the ceiling and the roof, derbies flying everywhere as he raced to the dark sky above, “I’ll not be here again!”
* * *
He peered upwards, grinning at the holes in the ceiling and roof, his victim already nothing more than a speck in the distance. It seemed that this dimension’s champions might be considerably more powerful than the dimension he’d come from, but it appeared they were just as malleably gullible.
* * *
177A Bleecker Street, New York City
His blood chilled as something indefinable yet certainly horrible swirled up out of nowhere to collide with and engulf the world. Sweat clung to his forehead as he threw his sheets aside and rose. There’d be no sleep for him tonight.
* * *
Uatu’s broad brow creased with worry as he watched events unfold on earth and realised what was happening. “Why, aren’t you quite the little Buddha?”
Uatu turned to face the interloper, his eyes narrowing. The intruder appeared to be Thanos, Death’s Herald, but he wasn’t fooled by such cheap parlour tricks. “This is not your dimension,” he warned.
The Titan smirked. “So, banish me already.” Uatu glared impotently at the laughing Herald of Death. “You could stop as easy as clicking your fingers.” The inter-dimensional interloper shook his head. “But you won’t. And now that Reynolds is gone, that’s one less threat for me to worry about.”
”There are others that can stop you,” he warned.
“Maybe, but I’ll deal with them in due process,” the stranger confidently replied. “And soon, soon I’ll be more powerful than anything in this dimension. The interstellar empires of the Kree, Skrull, and Shi’ar will fall before me, and The Living Tribunal, Abraxus, Atum, and their like will learn to quail at my approach!”