Title- The Prize
Disclaimer- I almost literally own nothing, not to mention BtVS, Highlander or any other series that may appear within this story.
Rating- PG-13 for now.
Pairing- None as of now
Summary- Willow's life just got complicated. Really freaking complicated.
Spoilers- Through the end of BtVS. As for Highlander, it's not even certain that any of the characters from the series will be making an appearance. Hell, they may not even exist in this particular incarnation of the Highlander universe. Or maybe they will. I'm quite partial to Amanda.
The Prize: Prologue
Life is funny sometimes. Or maybe cruel.
You grow up safely more or less on top of the most dangerous piece of real estate on the planet.
Then you survive several years of demonic plotting and more than a few barely averted apocalypses, all with no way to adequately defend yourself.
Suddenly, you discover magic, a facet of existance beyond the understanding of most mortals. You know power, you become a force to be reckoned with, no longer reliant on your friends for protection.
A goddess knows pain as you unleash righteous fury upon her.
The dead rise at your command.
The world trembles as you grieve, living or dying by your will.
An army of supernatural warriors, a force brought forth by magic only you can wield, rises to defeat an enemy beyond comprehension, your army.
And then you fall, tripping over a child's toy. The stairs reach up for you, seemingly faster than thought. A moment of pain, darkness envelops you...
Willow stumbled into her apartment, her limbs stiff and slow to respond. No bones were broken and she could find no visible injuries to her person, but she was unnerved by the accident. The stairwell was normally well lit, but apparently a bulb had burned out. She'd have a word with the building manager in the morning.
For now, though, all the young woman wanted to do was crawl into her bed, burrow beneath the thick down comforter, and sleep for a day or so. Sleep would not come, however. The more she attempted to relax, to allow sleep to claim her, the greater her unease grew. Then she felt her skin begin to crawl, at first a simple tickling sensation that built until it felt as if a live current was coursing through her body. The fine hairs on the back of her arms and neck began to stand on end.
The feeling was not unfamiliar to the witch, as she experienced it whenver she wielded lightning as a weapon. It did not come unbidden, though.
There, a spark. It leaped from Willow's fingertip as she reached for the lamp, intending to turn it on as she'd given up on sleep for the time being. Okay, this was getting more than a little freaky. Had the fall caused some sort of brain damage? Was whatever part of her mind that allowed her to control magic broken? That was an unpleasant thought of the highest order.
Earlier, at exactly the moment Willow's mind was lost to the numbness of her first death, every Slayer in the world(with the exception of two), awake or asleep, gasped in pain. It lasted a moment, to be replaced almost instantly by shocking cold. Then, they felt the essence of the Slayer, that which made them into the mystical warriors they had become, drain away as if their soul had sprung a metaphysical leak.
A minute passed, a short span of time that nearly saw more than one Slayer meet her end at the hand of something not of this world. Suddenly, it was back, their power, filling them to the brim. Panic and fear gave way to relief and bewilderment.
The Gathering, a time when Immortals would be drawn together to fight to the death. It was an instinctive drive they all shared to one extent or another. While all felt the pull, many resisted, preferring to live their eternal lives as if they were mortal, hoping to give some meaning to their endless existance.
They all felt it now, the sensation more powerful than any could remember. The urge to spill immortal blood, to feel another's quickening coursing through their soul, becoming part of it. Heads turned, all of them inexorably facing towards an unseen beacon that only they could percieve.
Before, the Gathering had been a concept, an idea, almost a state of mind. How can you have a gathering when their is no place to gather? Well, now there was one, or more accurately someone. It was here that they would converge, for the Prize had become tangible, an undeniable physical and spiritual presence that could not be ignored.