I don't own anything. Buffy and Pathfinder are not owned by me. Nor are the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. They are owned by rich, talented people. I'm a nobody. Please don't sue me. A Friend in Dark Places
The next several hours were extremely fuzzy for Buffy. She had been drugged with something that affected her mind and reduced her to a stupor, making her all but unaware of her surroundings. On top of that, a vampire had then thralled her, enslaving her weakened will. Everything was fuzzy, and she could barely concentrate on anything for more than a few moments. Shadows seemed to shift and move on their own, and the only thing that mattered was the calm red glow that told her to follow. Sometimes she wondered what she was following, but everything was too vague to worry about anything for long. She just followed... whatever the blurry shape in front of her was.
Eventually she stopped, and a voice spoke, echoing in her ears and in her mind. “Stay here. Do not try to escape.” Buffy nodded vaguely. She knew what she had to do. She had to stay. It was hard to stay standing, she thought as she swayed drunkenly. Toppling over, Buffy grunted in pain as she fell on the stone floor with bruising force. Curling up on her less abused side, Buffy drifted away from lucidity once more.
Hours passed, drifting by without care or notice, merging into fragmented moments of almost understanding. Whenever she drifted closer to full consciousness, Buffy could hear a man speaking to her, rambling about things she could scarcely fathom. A cold, damp cloth was pressed to her forehead, and at times a cup of cool water was offered to her dry lips. Buffy was sure that she rambled back to the voice from time to time, but to her dying day she would never recall her words or even what she talked about. Finally, after another drink of water, Buffy succumbed to blackness once more as the man's voice prattled on.
Nightmarish dreams filled her drugged mind as she slept, vague recollections of nameless horrors felt all around her as she fell through the trackless dimension on her way to Golarion swept across her addled mind. Finally, her surreal dreams faded as she felt herself being pulled back to consciousness.
“Oh good,” the man's voice said. “You're awake.”
Buffy slowly opened one eye, then other, wincing as the dim light assaulted her dilated pupils. “Who?” she rasped, her mouth dry.
A glass was held to her lips and she drank the clean water. Licking her lips she tried again. “Who are you?”
“I am Professor Petros Lorrimor.” Buffy finally focused her eyes on him. The man who had apparently been caring for her looked to be in his early 60s, with mostly white hair framing a kindly face, although his dark eyes were worried. The man was dressed in plain travelling clothes of simple style like she had seen often since her arrival in Ustalav, although his appeared to be of a finer make than most, if more stained and rumpled. He gave her a tense smile. “Its good to see you awake once again. I was getting rather worried.”
“What happened?” Buffy asked, her memories still jumbled.
“You were poisoned. From your symptoms I would guess striped toadstool poison. It dulls the mind and weakens the will. Depending on the dosage, it can act as a powerful dissociative.”
“Poison? There was a woman...” Buffy trailed off, her mind trying to put together a clear picture of what had happened.
“Her name is Annika Charthagnion. You may have trouble believing this, but that woman... is a vampire.” The man's voice was so grave Buffy couldn't help but burst into laughter, although it was short lived as doing so hurt her head. The man huffed. “I know its difficult to believe, but are surviving vampires really so strange?”
“No, no. Its just... I've never been on this side of this chat before. Talk about wiggy.”
“What do you mean?”
Buffy smiled brightly. “I'm Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
The man looked at her for second, before he began to laugh as well. “Well, that is convenient. Any chance you could get on with that?”
“Sure,” Buffy said as she struggled to sit up. “As soon as I can stand, I'll be ready for some serious slayage.”
“Lay back down. You're still weak from the poison.”
Buffy groaned as she did so. “I'd be happier laying down if there was a bed of some kind involved.” Buffy looked around the room. It was small and dark, the walls, floor and ceiling nothing more than stone blocks with a single heavy wooden door leading out, the light spilling under it providing the only illumination. “So what did you do to get setup with such a swanky room?”
He looked at her blankly for a moment, then shrugged. “I shook off Annika's domination, but she wanted what I know. That means until she gets bored of me and decides to kill me I'm stuck here. Or, in the worst case, she decides I'm too interesting and turns me, in which case I'll be trading our prison cell for a coffin.”
“Lovely. Why does she want you?”
“I'm a scholar of the unusual, in particular extraplanar entities. She's been wanting to know what I know about a number of creatures, although I don't know why.”
“Extraplanar? Wait, you said your name was Lortimort?”
“Lorrimor. Professor Petros Lorrimor. Since we're both prisoners I see no reason to stand on ceremony, however, so you may call me Petros.”
“Right. I've heard of you. A dean at the College in town said you were coming.”
“Dr. Meirtmane, I presume?”
“I guess. He said you might be able to help me.”
“Oh? If we get out of here alive, I'd be honored to help you, especially if you were to slay our captors to facilitate our escape.”
Buffy smiled. “I will. As soon as the room stops spinning and my head stops being full of cotton.”
“What did you need help with?”
“Well, this'll sound weird, but I'm not from this world. There was this whole thing with a witch and an explosion and then...”
“Then?” Petros asked hesitantly.
Buffy nodded, stopping after a moment as the motion made her head pound. “Then I fell through some weird place with all this stuff, and then I fell through a hole in the air and landed in that big lake.”
“Um, sure. We'll go with that.”
“And before this... explosion you were not living anywhere on Golarion?”
“I see. Do you know how to get back to where you were?”
“If I knew that, I wouldn't have been hoping you could help me, now would I?”
Petros smiled sheepishly. “Ah. Good point. Well, what was your world? The Great Beyond is full of many strange things and places, any of which could be your point of origin.”
Buffy squinted at Petros for a minute. “Are you trying to imply I'm strange?” Petros sputtered for moment, bringing a wistful smile to Buffy's lips. Her cellmate only needed glasses to clean for him to be Giles in that moment. “Well, I'm from the earth.”
“Earth? You mean the Elemental Plane of Earth?”
“Elemental? Um, I doubt it. Earth is a lot like Golarion, only with better technology. Like cars. Do you know how much I miss cars? I used to hate driving them 'cause of this whole thing that happened in high school, which was totally not my fault, by the way. But compared to walking? Or riding a horse everywhere?”
Petros looked dumbfounded after her babble. “Um, I'm not entirely certain what you said, but I take it to mean that you are from elsewhere in the Material Plane.”
“I guess. So, can you help me?”
“I'll certainly give it my best effort, although it could be rather difficult. I've never heard of a planet earth in the Material anywhere in my researches, so I'll have to send you back indirectly. Hmm. Yes, I think I can work something out, though it may take time.”
For the first time since her arrival Buffy felt a weight lift from her shoulders. Sure, she was currently a prisoner of a vampire, and she had been drugged senseless, but she had a way home. Her face set with determination. She would protect Petros and get them both out alive, Buffy vowed. Then he would find her way home and she would see her friends again. That was all there was to it.
The two sat in the dark for hours talking quietly while Buffy recovered. Petros was a scholar first and foremost, and he took advantage of having access to a willing subject of his favorite area of study to ask a great many questions. Buffy avoided answering the more personal ones, recent events having made speaking of home too painful to do with a stranger, but the professor quickly realized this and confined his questions to more general ones about her world. When she became uncomfortable talking about herself so much Petros smoothly inserted stories about his daughter, Kendra, who he obviously doted on. Hearing his care for her made Buffy's heart ache, and fed her determination to get them both out of there.
Eventually Buffy stiffened as her slayer senses picked up the presence of approaching vampires. She slowly sat up and gazed at the door intently, Petros trailing off his question about the nature of television to follow her gaze as best he could in the dim light. Finally, the door opened.
Standing in the doorway was the vampire that had used its thrall on her the night before. She was a beautiful woman with long, straight black hair and porcelain skin with deep red eyes that glowed faintly. She was dressed in a long, antiquated black dress covered in lace accents like black spiderwebbing which revealed far too much cleavage. Standing behind her was the vampire she had fought previously, his red eyes cold and calculating.
Buffy slowly tensed her muscles in anticipation, her subtly positioned body allowing her to spring to her feet in an instant without appearing to be ready. However, before she could make her move the woman smirked coldly and spoke. “Follow me. Do not cause any trouble.”
Buffy rose mechanically and began to follow the vampire as the cool red glow suffused her thoughts once more, driving her to action even as the suppressed parts of her being raged at being commanded by her enemy. Deep inside Buffy felt a growing horror as she realized that she was still enthralled from the previous evening.
The building they were in turned out to be a large estate on a hill north of Rozenport. It had obviously once been truly grand, but now, despite apparent efforts to clean and repair it, the building was in fairly bad condition. The hallway they walked down and the room they were led into were all clean and fairly well kept, but other hallways and glimpses past sagging doors into dusty rooms showed the true state of the building.
The final destination had once been a ballroom, with an open wooden floor and several crystal chandeliers' full of candles providing light. On one side of the room a large antique wooden chair with decorations of gold leaf and with plush, though somewhat moth eaten, red cushions to provide comfort sat by itself. Standing next to it was another male vampire, this one a man with broad shoulders and a neatly trimmed black beard, who was also dressed in dark, finely tailored clothing.
Scattered around the room talking quietly were a half dozen humans, all of them unusually attractive men and women. A man standing in one corner played a sad piece on a violin with exquisite skill despite his slack face and glazed eyes. Buffy carefully examined the people of the room as they mingled, and it did not take her long to realize that they all had glazed eyes and a single minded dedication to their activities that seemed stilted and unnatural. With a frown she realized that they were all without a doubt enthralled.
The female vampire sat down on the fancy chair like a queen upon her throne, her head held at an arrogant angle, as though she were looking down on everyone she deigned to allow into her presence. “Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to begin our evening revel once more. Begin the music and dance.”
Buffy was bemused as she watched the crowd begin to dance to a waltz the violinist started to play with consumate skill. The vampire smiled at Buffy, revealing her needle sharp fangs. “What is your name?”
“Buffy Summers,” she said automatically, unable to stop herself.
“I am Annika Charthagnion, your new mistress. We will talk and... dine later. For now, join the party! Dance and mingle, Buffy, for tonight may be your last chance to do so as one of the living.”
Against her will Buffy found herself turning around and walking past a glum looking Petros as she moved towards the humans in the room. For the next several hours Buffy was caught up in the ball, dancing with skilled partners, drawing upon nearly forgotten memories from a long ago halloween to perform the intricate dances that her companions, all rich or noble men and women, were familiar with.
Under most situations Buffy would have been very pleased to be treated like a lady on the dance floor by a group of handsome and charming noblemen. Being forced to do so by a vampire took all of the fun out of it, and soon it joined the list of destroyed childhood dreams alongside having a horse (which was crushed after the first muscle cramp), and being a superhero, among many others in her life.
After a time Buffy lost herself in thought, allowing the magic to carry her along with the party while she pondered her situation. The red glow in her mind forcing her to act in certain ways was very different from past thralls she had fallen under. When the Master had thralled her she had been forced to act exactly has he had desired, with no thoughts or feelings of her own. For the brief moment he had held her under his control, she had thought nothing, felt nothing, and done nothing but act as a puppet to his will. Dracula's thrall had been more subtle, causing her feel as though her actions were right and normal, following his instructions as though it was her own ideas rather than those imposed upon her, and yet it had also held a surreal quality as though it were all simply a dream. Annika's thrall filled her mind, causing her to act in the desired manner, but deep down she was aware of the truth, even if she could not act upon it. But, she vowed, she would, and soon.
After hours of dance and music a group of servants entered bringing with them a large table which they set in front of Annika's chair. Several more trips brought in a collection of wooden chairs which were placed around the table, and then a crisp white table cloth and formal place settings. Red candles were placed in silver holders and lit before Annika called out to the room in her clear soprano voice. “Come, gather my guests. It is time for our feast.”
Buffy was directed to the chair to Annika's right, with Petros sitting across from her at Annika's left. The servants brought large platters of roast birds and finely cooked vegetables until the table was nearly groaning under the weight of the feast. Everything smelled delicious, and after a day with nothing to eat Buffy found her mouth watering.
“Ladies and gentleman,” Annika said, raising a glass of red liquid. “A toast.” Buffy and everyone else at the table raised their own glasses in salute, only Petros hesitating even slightly. “This meal is, as always, in honor of our goddess Urgathoa, who we honor for our blessings of undeath. Feed your pain.”
“Feed your pain,” the people at the table murmured, sipping their drinks. Buffy had never been much of a wine drinker, but even she could tell that her's was from a very expensive vintage. Digging into her meal, Buffy found that the food was even more delicious than it smelled, and she began to eat her fill, only the nearly forgotten etiquette that her dancing had reminded her of kept her using the various pieces of silverware instead of simply grabbing food with both hands to sate her hunger.
“My, my, you do great honor to Urgathoa” Annika said, amused as Buffy dug into her third helping.
“Huh?” Buffy asked after swallowing a mouthful of glazed carrot.
“Petros, if you would?”
Petros cleared his throat. “Urgathoa, also known as the Pallid Princess, is the goddess of disease, gluttony and undeath. Her churches tend to be divided between those who worship her in her aspect as the mistress of the undead, and those who worship her in her aspect as the patron of gluttony. This meal, of course, is a feast being hosted by a vampire, so it bridges both sides of the religion.”
“Wait, I've heard of her.” Buffy scrunched her nose up in thought. “Oh, yeah! There was a temple full of ghouls in Thrushmoor that worshipped her.”
“Ugh,” Annika said distastefully. “I loath ghouls. Foul things. I did not realize that Thrushmoor had a church, however.”
“Well, they don't anymore.”
“Yeah, I killed their leader and most of its members.”
Annika eyed her coldly, her red eyes burning. “Tell me everything that happened.”
Since Annika wanted to know the truth, Buffy didn't want to tell her, but she found herself unable to stop talking as she explained everything in detail. Finally, Annika sat back, frowning thoughtfully.
“Ah, well,” Annika mused. “It's for the best, I suppose. If a plague did kill most of the town, it could easily spread, and I'm not fond of drinking from the diseased. It ruins the flavor. However superior our existence, we vampires will always be dependent upon our food, just as you could not survive wiping out your fellow animals. It never ceases to amaze me how foolish and short sighted some can be.”
Buffy smiled wistfully as she thought about another vampire's fondess for 'happy meals with legs'.
“You must be quite a warrior,” Annika said thoughtfully. “I drugged you before thralling you after hearing what Jacob said about his confrontation with you. How are you so strong?”
Buffy didn't want to say anything, but nothing she did stopped the words from spilling out. “I'm the Vampire Slayer.”
“How can you call yourself a vampire slayer if you did not carry anything but a wooden stake, and did not even know to leave it in your victim's heart?”
“Where I'm from vampires are different.”
“Where your from?”
“Yeah. I'm from a different world.”
Annika leaned forward curiously. “How did you come to be here, then?”
Buffy explained the circumstances of her arrival, and even had to answer a great many clarifying questions that she desperately did not want to answer. After telling the group about her sister's last words, everyone looked over at Petros who was sputtering in shock.
“Your sister,” Petros said, his voice shaking. He paused to collect himself and took a deep breath. “Your sister is Yog-Sothoth?”
“My sister is Dawn,” Buffy said, voice hard, her eyes burning at the thought of her sister.
“What is Yog-Sothoth?” Annika asked.
“Yog-Sothoth,” Petros began with an apologetic look at Buffy, “is also known as the Key and the Gate and the Lurker at the Threshold. It's the outer god of gates, space and time. It is said to dwell within the Dark Tapestry and connects all things, all times, and all possibilities. It's one of the most powerful and dangerous entities to ever exist.”
“So it's a god?” Annika asked.
“It's not just a god,” Petros said, shaking his head. “It's a god so ancient and so alien that it is beyond all understanding. To even look upon it briefly is enough to drive men mad, and no being can truly fathom its purposes. For her to have the blessing of such an entity... it's both incredibly valuable and unimaginably dangerous.”
“Is that how you are so strong? Some blessing from this god?”
“No,” Buffy said. “I'm the slayer.”
“What is the slayer?” Annika asked.
“If Giles were here he could do this better. It so sounds better with a tweedy british accent. But it goes something like this. 'Into every generation a slayer is born. One girl, in all the world, the chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. She is the slayer.'”
“How did you come to be this slayer?”
“The slayer before me died, so I was called. I went from being a normal teenage girl to suddenly having this whole huge destiny thing. It sucks.”
“You said that your vampires were different,” Annika said. “In what way?”
“Well, I've only fought the one here, but from what I read after that fight, my kind of vampires seem to be physically stronger and faster than your kind. They're also more savage and better natural fighters. But they don't have as many cool powers, and they are a lot easier to hurt. I've only met three vamps who could thrall, and only one who could turn into a bat.”
“Interesting, but enough of that. I'm feeling a bit peckish. Buffy, come to me.”
Buffy tried to fight it, but nothing worked. Slowly she stood and walked over to the vampire, who stood with a cruel smile on her face. Grabbing Buffy around her waist with one arm, she grabbed her hair with the other, pulling her head back to expose her throat. Buffy shuddered as the female vampire's cold tongue licked her neck, before grunting in pain as her tiny fangs pierced her skin.
Buffy had felt nothing but pain when the Master drained her at sixteen, and so she had been shocked when the pain had mixed with incredible pleasure when Angel drank from her two years later. Dracula had filled her with pleasure from the act, but it had been distant, her reactions dulled slightly from the power of his thrall. Annika's thrall worked differently, allowing her to feel everything, and she hated it. The pain of the bite was unpleasant, but as the slayer she was used to pain. What bothered her was the sickening pleasure she felt, her body becoming hot and tingly as her life was drained away, the ecstasy rolling over her in waves that left her feeling filthy and violated.
Annika pulled back with a gasp, red eyes glowing, her pupils dilated. “That was incredible. I've never tasted such blood. So much power, such sweet, sweet power.” Annika collapsed into her chair bonelessly, blood leaking slowly from one side of her mouth. Buffy held a hand to her throat as she leaned against the table gasping, her legs feeling like wet noodles and her body trembling from weakness and other things she preferred to ignore.
“I had planned on turning you into a vampire minion since you were able to hurt Jacob, but now... Oh my, I think I'll keep you alive for a while. I wouldn't normally risk you breaking my hold, but to taste that again... Follow my servant and go to your new room. Stay there and make no trouble.”
Buffy staggered after the human servant, seething inside but unable to fight... yet. Author's Notes
I made up the details for Annika and her brood (her name is an average name for someone from Cheliax). She is the example vampire from the first Bestiary, although I've changed her 4th level spell. Petros Lorrimor is important for the Carrion Crown Adventure Path.
BtVS is a mix of urban fantasy and the superhero genre. I've always felt that slayer's were very strong, quite a bit stronger than the vampires in Pathfinder, although ability-wise it's a setting full of Draculas.