Meetings and Arrivals
Title: Vampire hunting can lead to adventures
Disclaimer: All characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to Joss Whedon,
Greyhawk belongs to Wizards of the Coast, the characters Justicar, Cinders, Escalla, Enid, Polk, Henry and Morag belong to Paul Kidd
Summary: Xander starts to patrol alone. Then finds this interesting stone...
Setting: Season 4 after the Initiative was discovered by the Scoobies / AU Anya left during Graduation Day never to return. Xander has already his job in construction, but doesn’t show any talent for carpentry so far
Pairings: B/R in the beginning, you won’t be bothered with it too long. B/X in the end (I hope J ), W/T mentioned
Rating: 13, 16 max. Due to some violence and swearing
Feedback: Of course, after all I want to get better.
Author’s notes: *....* denotes thoughts; //...\\\\ denotes telepathic communication;
further notes will be added as necessary
Thanks to Tenhawk for bouncing ideas back and forth with me
Only a few glittering specks remained on the ground where Xander had stood when Buffy and Willow came along later all they saw was an empty hole in the ground, a multicolored puddle and some shells.
“What do you think? Were that some of those commando-friends of Riley’s?” asked Willow, staring fascinated at the yellow and purple swirls in the greenish blue puddle.
“I don’t think so,” replied Buffy as she picked up one of the casings. “They use those shock thingies, not guns.”
“So who was it? Another group of hunters?”
“I hope not. I mean I’m the first to cheer any help along, but it is getting kind of stuffed here with all the commandos running around here. No need to add another group to them.”
“Who else could it be? I can’t think of anyone besides the Council who sends anyone here and Giles would have told you, right?”
“Damn! Giles. I knew there was something I forgot. I haven’t seen him in the last two weeks,” exclaimed Buffy looking embarrassed.
“Come on Willow, lets go see him. Perhaps he knows something.”
After looking around for a few moments still hoping to see the mysterious hunters they left. Though not before Buffy pocketed several of the casings.
The red glow started to hurt Xander’s eyes and he had to close them. But before he had shut them completely he noticed that his surroundings began to become transparent and vanish. Even with his eyes closed he detected the glow. It was as if it became corporeal, caressing him with its warm touch. Suddenly it got cold, so cold that Xander began to violently shiver then again it got so hot that the sweat was running freely down his face.
As unexpected as the temperature changes began they ended. Again he was surrounded by a pleasant temperature.
A feeling of weightlessness overcame him it was as if he floated in the air. Then he began to fall. Minute after minute he was falling down. Until a jarring jolt brought him to a stop.
Xander felt ground below his feet and he heard some birds sing in the distance. The sudden feeling of normality made him stumble and open his eyes. The first thing he saw was the grass rushing towards his face. Just years of practice in falling safely rescued him from a painful landing on his face, so he managed a graceless but effective roll.
Dazed Xander came to his feet and tried to get his bearings.
*Shit I just had to jinx it. Now WHERE am I?* with that the young man began to look around. He was standing on the slope of a small hill in the middle of a gently rolling grassland. Here and there some isles of trees broke the monotony. A single yellow sun stood in the sky and somehow he knew it was late afternoon.
The one thing he noticed the most was the air it was so much cleaner than in Sunnydale.
*Wow. I should bottle it and sell it in LA. I could make a fortune... or not, with me here and not there*
Slowly his situation really dawned his consciousness. He wasn’t in Sunnydale anymore, not even in America.
With this realization the soldier-spirit once again came to the fore. *I have to check my supplies*
First thing he did was to place everything he had with him on a small pile and then replace it on his body.
*OK, what do I have? Mr. Woody and another stake, the bowie, my Glock 21 with three clips, two of them full the other remaining with 6 rounds left, a cross and two flasks of holy water, a lighter, a pen , my keys and cell phone, the box with that blasted ruby, id, a bit money, a water canteen and a twinkie... a squashed twinkie. Just great! I’m God-knows-where and I don’t even have decent munchies.*
“Now what do I do now?” Xander asked himself. “Hmmm, guess I’ll play E.T. and phone home.” A slight smile played around his lips at that and he pressed the speed dial on his cell.
As he waited for Giles to answer the phone he looked around some more. As his gaze wandered along the horizon he saw something that made his jaw drop. There were two moons, one up in the sky, the other just beginning to clear the horizon. After the tenth ring Xander disconnected. *I’ll try it later again. Hey! Why do I have a signal here? Weird.*
About a mile from his position he saw the glimmer of a lake. After taking a health swig of his canteen and noticing that it was nearly empty he decided to head there.
The doorbell rang. Immediately Giles rose from the table. In his haste to reach the door he nearly knocked a few of the many books, he had laid out for research, from the table.
While the watcher still opened the door he said, “What took you so long? ... Oh Buffy, Willow. What brings you to my doorstep?”
“Now that wasn’t the welcome I was looking forward to. A nice evening to you too Giles,” replied the Slayer and slipped into the apartment before Giles could react further. Willow followed her smiling a greeting at Giles.
In the living room Buffy took in the sight of the table overflowing with books, a steaming cup of tea standing on one of the few free places the table still provided and several pages of scribbled notes.
“Wow, Giles. Big research session and you didn’t call us? What is up? Any prophecy to kill?” asked Buffy.
“No, no prophecy. Just something that came up. I don’t know yet if it will be important. But back to my earlier question. Why are you here? You didn’t deem it necessary to come along in the last weeks. Why now?”
“Hum, ehm...,” started Buffy her face flushed with embarrassment, ”Well that’s true... ummm anyway, we were in the Buena Vista cemetery and we found there this puddle, this strangely colored, stinking puddle. And there were those shells around and it looked like a fight happened near there... Well we wanted to know if the Council sent any hunters here.”
Meanwhile the phone had started ringing but no one paid attention. Soon it stopped.
“Hunters? No the Council didn’t send any here to the best of my knowledge. But if it makes you happy I’ll phone one of the few friends I still have there. But you should really come here more often and report about your patrols.”
“Yeah, I know. But with the Initiative around there isn’t much to report. Now it is quieter than ever before.”
“Then it is even more important that you come along to train. You mustn’t neglect your training just because it is a bit quieter than usual.”
“OK. I will come by more often.”
“Good that this is cleared up. Well I have work to do and you should complete your patrol.”
“Got you Giles. I’ll come along tomorrow afternoon,” replied Buffy and left closely followed by Willow.
After the girls had left Giles removed his glasses and massaged the bridge of his nose.
*I hope Xander is only delayed and nothing has happened.*
After a quarter of an hour Xander had nearly reached the small lake. As he looked around he saw many familiar plants but also plants he had never seen before. Wildlife seemed to be abundant all around him he heard rustling and chirping.
*That should be long enough. I better try to reach Giles again.*
After a few rings the phone was actually answered.
“Hi G-man. Em, it might take slightly longer to bring the crystal to you.... Well, you remember how you told me not to touch it, right? I may have touched it a little bit and I don’t know how to say it, but I’m not in Kansas anymore Toto... No I’m serious. There are two moons here.... Yes. Oh and Giles? .... Giles? Giles? Are you still there? Great! No more connection home.”
*Now what do I do now? Food and water first. Then I’ll see on.*
His first action was to refill his water canteen in the lake. Then, as it was getting close to dusk, Xander began to gather dry wood and kindling in the neighboring forest. Soon he had enough wood to last him comfortably throughout the night. After placing the wood at his chosen resting place he went back into the forest again to look for a long, straight branch that he could use as a walking stick. After twenty minutes of searching he found one that met the expectations. Then he returned o the camp and tried to light the fire. With the fourth try he finally got it started.
As Xander sat there staring into the flames and lost in his thoughts he suddenly heard a couple of voices. One was fairly high in pitch the other lower. Immediately he was on alert.
After a few moments he saw movements in the direction he had come from earlier. Out of the darkness came the shape of a giant of a man, easily over 6 feet, shaven-headed clad in a dark scale armor, reminding Xander of ren-fairs.
Over his shoulders hung a black pelt and the handle of a sword could be seen over the left shoulder. But that wasn’t what made Xander stare. Beside the heavyset man flew a merely two feet high woman on a pair of translucent wings, so scantly clad that even Buffy or Cordelia would have blushed a bright red should they have to wear something like that.
As the pair neared the fire the man raised his hand in greeting and said something in a strange but harmonic language.
“Hi there too. I didn’t understand a word could you repeat that in English?”
The pair opposite to him shared a look, then the female darted forward and hovered in front of Xander’s face. In the light of the fire Xander could see her pointed ears clearly.
“Wow, what are you? Winged Mrs. Spock?” asked Xander extending a finger towards her
She grinned widely, her eyes sparkling with humor and mischief, then she slapped his finger before it could touch her and flitted backwards for a few feet. Hanging there in the air, her wings fluttering wildly the girl seemed to sing something then she through him a little clay pyramid that crumbled to dust as he caught it reflexively.
Wagging a finger at him she said, “No one touches the faerie!”
“Hey, I understand you. What did you do?”
“Hoopy! See Jus, I told you it was a good idea to learn that spell for today,” the faerie told her companion.
With a tolerant smile he responded, “Yes Escalla, that you did.”
Then he continued to Xander, “As I said before, would you mind to share your fire with me and my friends?”
“Oh not at all. It is great to meet someone who is from around here. Where is here anyway? Oh and I’m Xander nice to meet you guys.”
“Well met Xander. I’m the Justicar, this lovely creature here is Escalla. The rest of my friends is still a bit behind but they should join us soon.”
The tall man sat down beside the fire and laid the black wolf pelt on the ground, nearly touching the fire, and placed a piece of coal in its mouth.
// Boy smell funny. \\\\
“What was that?” asked Xander after hearing the voice but not with his ears.
“That was Cinders the big pooch. He likes you,” grinned Escalla pointing on the pelt.
Xander threw a suspicious look on the pitch black wolfskin and for the first time he saw the glow of life in the red eyes. A tiny flame licked out of one nostril and its tail wagged a bit.
// Hi. \\\\
Then Escalla saw the unwrapped twinkie Xander had planned on eating. “Ooh pastry! Can I get a bite?” she asked with a puppy look.
At first Xander didn’t want to share, it was his one and only after all. But between the surprise of a living, fire spitting wolf pelt and the look she gave him it was too much for him and so he caved in and cut off a piece for her. With amused chuckles Xander and Jus watched how she wolfed the sweet treat down.
By now they could hear the clatter of a wagon and several voices. And what a group it was. Xander didn’t know what shocked him more, the Sphinx pulling the cart or the young man talking with a badger or the six-armed woman with a snake’s lower body.
“Man, and I thought Sunnydale and all things hellmouthy were weird. But you guys got it beat hands on.”
“Sunnydale? That is where you come from, right? Where is it? I must say I have never heard of it and have never met someone who can’t speak even a few bits of the trade tongue,” asked Jus with a piercing, inquisitive stare.
“Yes, Sunnydale, California home of the Hellmouth. By the way where are we here? You guys have one moon too many for it to be my home.”
“We are in the Duchy of Ulek, about two weeks from Hommlet where we are headed to. From what I gather you are from some other plane and not willingly here,” replied the ranger.
“Damn right. I’d rather be at home and worry about the Hellmouth, than here with nothing but my weapons, half a Twinkie and none of my friends.”
“How did you come to be here?” asked the sphinx with a surprisingly gentle voice for someone of her size
“That stupid stone fell out of its box and I placed it back in it and wham here I am.”
“You will need a mage learned in planar-travel magics. They are very expensive, I hope you have the gold to pay one.”
“Gold? I have no gold, just 15 dollars and a few cents. Where do I get that much money from?”
“You can accompany us to Hommlet. There you can surely find work and should we be attacked on our way there you will get equal part of any spoils we might acquire.”
“Count me in. That is by far better than sit around here without any idea what to do and where to go.”
Initiative underground headquarters
“Has the Het-Skatr demon retrieved the Ruby of Thorbriand?”
“No, Professor Walsh,” answered the soldier, cringing under her piercing stare.
“And why is that the case? Did it try to leave the area of the suppression signal? And did we get at least some information on the efficiency of the cranial bomb?”
“Uhh, no Mam. The Het-Skatr couldn’t deliver the Ruby as some hunter killed it with a .45er. The cranial bomb destroyed itself with acid as per security procedure.”
During the soldiers reply Professor Walsh’s gaze became darker and darker. She began to tap her hand on the table, looking coldly at the soldier that started to squirm under her inspection. Then she exploded.
“Now don’t stand there like you have nothing to do! Get the search for this hunter and the Ruby started. And inform research that we might have to use the nuclear power core. Get going!”
“Yes Mam, at once,” the poor soldier literally fled from the office and his superior’s wrath.
End Part 2