Disclaimers and Spoilers
Doctor Who is copyright © by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the writer who wrote that particular episode.
Spoilers season seven buffy minor and Doctor Who minor.
Yvonne, Tara and Janet trooped into the meeting room to find the men already seated. They were all gazing in silence at the view through the only window. If the brief glance that they got of outside earlier was arid and desolate, this was much, much worse. Scorch marks littered the ground and bare skeletons of trees long dead reached for a smoke-filled sky. Taking a seat solemnly they waited for Tay, only now realising she was not behind them.
“I’ve seen some dustbowls after terra forming but this.” Wash blinked.
“I have never laid eyes on Sauron’s land, but this must be close to what it is like.”
“Hell on…” Janet paused. “Earth seems a bit redundant now. I wonder what this place is called.”
“Earth did you say?” Wash turned. “Earth That Was?” The three words were filled with pure reverence. Janet gave him a long glance. Tara however answered for her.
“I imagine our Earths are similar but we are not all from the same one.” She caught a brief nod from Janet, hinting that she had surmised as much herself.
“Well I sure as hell don’t think we are on one now.” Yvonne muttered.
“Hell,” Speedle growled. “Is what this should be called.”
“We prefer Anlusia,” a bubbly voice commented and they all turned to look at the door. The cheery smile on the woman’s face was a bit of a shock after all the seriousness of the past day. Dust-covered overalls indicated that she had recently been outside. Shaking abundant, brown, curls she placed the box in her hands on the table carefully. “I’ve been to hell and this isn’t it.” The slight darkening of her eyes was the only indication of her horror, her smile remaining. The door opened again and Tay entered.
“I wasn’t sure how many you’d want so just brought the spare ones,” the woman commented as she gave Tay a quick hug.
“Thanks Scooti.” Tay said, accepting the embrace with a brief smile.
“You want me to demonstrate them or do you think you can handle it yourself?”
“I’ll be fine. You still have some walkers to tune.”
“Never a dull moment, but at least the ground doesn’t shake.” She gave Tay a sympathetic glance before leaving. Tay moved to place herself between the table and the window.
“Right, I imagine you are all tired, but we have one more thing to do before we rest.”
“You said you would explain what is going on.” Speedle glared, interrupting her. “This war we find ourselves in, as if you hadn’t already killed us once.”
Théoden clenched a hand, placing it on the table slowly.
“Let her speak.”
Disgusted, Speedle leant back and crossed his arms.
“I know you want facts. This place is confusing to you all. I will try to explain, though I do not know all the details.” Tay turned to face the window. “What you see out there is not how it has always been. There used to be grass and life as far as the eye could see. Back when the True Fallen still lived.”
“True Fallen,” Speedle said. “How are they different from us?”
Tay glanced over her shoulder briefly.
“They were born here. They had yet to mix with other worlds.”
“So no interbreeding had occurred at that point,” Janet commented. “So we are in fact only partially of their kind.”
“The strength of the Fallen blood varies, but all of you possess it. It is the reason you are here.”
“I thought the reason was because we were dead.” Yvonne glared at Tay’s back. Tay seemed to hunch her shoulders as if she could feel the eyes on her.
“Some of the True Fallen chose to wander the other worlds. They watched and found places that interested them. There they stayed, until called back.”
“Called back?” Tara asked.
“There is a treaty written, one we adhere to even now when the True Fallen are long gone. It states that all those who choose another life must cut all ties with this world. However should a Fallen,” Tay paused momentarily. “Should they fall, they will be brought home. This was extended to include any of Fallen blood once the number of True Fallen decreased.”
“So we are on the planet of the walking dead.” Wash stated cheerfully. The morbid humour caused a few smiles and the tension in the room relaxed slightly. Tay laughed slightly.
“You might want to be careful who you say that too.”
“You mean there are undead here?” Tara said, shocked.
“The fallen take many guises, but also some are born here.”
“So when did this place start going down the drain?” Yvonne asked, earning her a slightly bemused look from Théoden.
“The decline of the land has been gradually happening as the numbers of True Fallen decreased. It is renewed every spring but since the war came, even that has stopped. The land is dying and nothing we have tried has changed that.”
“Wait a minute. You tear us out of our worlds, on our deathbed, so to speak, to live in a world that might end at any minute.” Yvonne stood, sending her chair into the wall behind her. Six pairs of horrified eyes bore into Tay who simply shrugged.
“The world has been dying for a while now. The only thing that will finally kill it is if we stop fighting.” She glared fiercely. “For every victory They have, another part of the life here dies, eaten away by the death They cause. I brought you here to help stop this.” She threw out a hand, slamming her palm into a panel next to the window. With a gush of air the window rose and a booming, echoing, voice resounded around them.The battle lines are drawn and now we call our fallen ones to our aid. Let them come for the price of blood must be paid
Tara put her hands over her ears, as did Wash, but the words still filtered through. Speedle cringed but refused to show how much the sound shocked him.
“I told you the words and you followed them, for good or for ill.” Tay whispered, her words lost amongst the howling. She reached for the box on the table, pulling out some headsets. She handed one to Tara then another to Wash. She indicated that they put them on. She then gave a pair to the others. Théoden looked at the strange device, unsure what to do with it. Tay demonstrated carefully though she removed hers again once she was done.
“Now that is some effective filter,” Wash said in awe, as the words fell silent on his ears.
“Scooti invented them,” Tay explained. “Said the voices reminded her too much of something from her past.”
“Why don’t you wear one?” Tara asked, trying to shake off the heavy feeling the voice had cast over her.
“They don’t work for me, not the personal ones anyway.”
“Then shut the window.” Janet advised, giving Tay her best doctor’s command. Tay smiled and shook her head.
“I’m used to it. Plus we need to go outside. Anlusia needs to see you.”
“You speak as if the very land lives.” Théoden rumbled, rising to his feet the head set looking out of place atop his head.
“That it does.” Tay said. “For the voice you hear is the land calling out to us.” She opened the second door to the room. “If you’ll follow me.”
The corridor they took was long, but eventually they spilled out into a valley. Large metal constructions edged the ridge, seeming to guard the narrow strip of land between them.
“Where are we going?” Yvonne asked, despite the desolate waste around her, it was an improvement on the enclosed spaces she was used to.
“I don’t know.” Tay admitted. “To where the land calls you. You will know when we get there.”
“Right,” Yvonne muttered. Yvonne.
The whispered words entered the filter a mere whisper in comparison to the previous cries. She glanced around her but no one was paying her any heed. Yvonne.
It sounded a little too pleased with itself, Yvonne decided, as it repeated her name.
“Can you hear that?” Wash said. “Not sure this is working properly.” He pulled the headset from his ears and immediately regretted it as the voice boomed out again. A string of Chinese left his mouth and he quickly stuffed the headset back on again.
“I am not following you,” Speedle stated, though he was not talking to the group around him. Tay walked up to him and poked him in the chest with a finger.
“I understand that your logical mind does not like this. I can understand you don’t like me. But please listen to the voice. It will go away faster then.”
Speedle rubbed the spot her finger had stabbed and sighed. Reluctantly, he started to walk down the valley. The rest started to move; following their own whispered paths. Tay stopped Tara with a gentle hand.
“Wait. I will come with you. Magic users tend to find this a little overwhelming.”
“Whatever magic felt like on earth, how strong that bond was, this is stronger, this is your land. I,” Tay paused. “I don’t want you to be overwhelmed. It can be a harsh drug.”
Tara realised that Tay was referring to the addiction Willow had suffered and shuddered. She had always been in control of her magic and losing that control scared her for she had seen what it could do.
“There is a tree.” Tara said finally, repeating the words in her head. “Where leaves still grow.”
“I’ll take you there.”
Tara was surprised by how green the grass looked after all the dust and sand. A small tree, heavy with blossoms, dropped petals onto a stone circle at its base. Tara moved closer and touched a low branch of the tree in a gentle hello. Tay stood back, watching silently.
“Have you ever done this?” Tara looked nervously at Tay.
“No.” Tay admitted. “I did not have to.”
“But you have watched?” Tara seated herself carefully in the stone circle. Tay bit her lip and ran a hand through her hair.
“Only those I must.”
“I see,” Tara muttered, not at all comforted by the words. “And has this ever…” She took a deep breath. “Has this ever gone wrong?”
“Not on my watch.” Tay emphasised the words carefully. The wind picked up and Tara closed her eyes, listening to the world around her as she reached out with her magic, a tentative, thin, thread that sought the land around it. Tay stepped back as sparks started to gather in the air. Stark shadows fell over Tara’s face, as the wind grew louder around her. She fell backwards but an invisible force caught her, raising her into the air.
“I hope you know what you are doing,” Tay whispered. Tay,
the voice called to her. Tay!
She paid it no heed and continued watching Tara. I will not be ignored!
A flash of light shot from Tara and knocked Tay to the ground. You will see.
Tay grit her teeth as a series of images passed through her mind.
“Damn you,” Tay cried, as they cleared. “Why did you have to choose me?”
A large, electric, bang cleared the air and Tara fell to the ground. She opened her eyes gently and grimaced at the light. Licking her lips, she pushed herself into a sitting position. Tay noticed the movement and approached.
“Well, that was interesting,” she frowned sadly. “Oh Willow. It was so easy for you to fall.”
Tay knelt next to her and gave a sympathetic smile.
“If it’s any consolation the last image I have of her is filled with light. There was no darkness in her then. She will rise again, as will you.”
“How can you know that? How can you know so much about Willow’s future?”
Tay hesitated, as if unsure how much to say.
“I know a lot about all their futures,” she stated. “For I have seen them.”