Dulcinea : thanks for the in depth review and the confidence boost.
White wolf : Yes I think I know what you mean, lack of oomph. However I needed to get from one place to another without big time jumps. All will be revealed soon enough……..
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon, Dan Brown et al own the characters. I only own the plot.
The locator spell had confirmed his suspicions. Langdon And the Merovingian woman were going to the ancient Templar Chapel at Rosslyn, the alleged site of the grail. He didn’t need to follow them any further at the moment. Rayne knew that the grail was no longer in that place.
Rayne set about preparing the altar. His control over the portly body of Leigh Teabing was weakening. Reanimated bodies had a tendency to decompose quickly if insufficient power is available. He could feel this beginning to happen. The flesh was withering and starting to flake. Something akin to psoriasis, but more gangrenous in its nature. Also the smell was beginning to become more than a little ripe.
He had decided. The answer was an influx of magical power. The kind of power that could only come from a god or goddess. Such power had to be channelled correctly though, incineration would occur if too much was taken, or if it was absorbed too quickly. The other problem was that gods or goddesses weren’t inclined to oblige without massive favours in return.
“Bloody hell Teabing why the hell did you have to gain so much weight. You were always such a skinny runt when we were in college.” He complained to himself. Too much dammed good living from all that money I suppose. Ah well, not doing you much good now is it.”
His preparations complete, he knelt awkwardly in front of the two faced bust of Janus, the Lord of Chaos, took a deep breath, and began his chant.
Xander and Dan were on their way to deliver Chief Superintendent Clewley’s car back to Belgravia Police Station. Dan had placated the Traffic cop outside the Tate and had avoided any awkward questions as to why he had been there in the first place.
“So, Do you live around here?” Queried Xander
“I wish.” Replied Dan. “ A Constable’s salary wouldn’t run to anything in this area, even renting is expensive around here. A lot of the larger properties are either Crown or Duchy of Westminster owned. I rent a flat just off the A40 in Perivale. But I’ll stay at he station dormitory tonight. What about you and Buffy?”
“Nah; we haven’t found anywhere to live as yet. We’re both at the City Inn next door. I mostly live out of a suitcase, or if you’re Buffy; five. I’ve seen the inside of a lot of hotels since we sent Sunnyhell the way of the dinosaurs two years ago. I’ve been travelling most of the time helping to rebuild the council, mainly in Africa and the far east. Buffy and Vi gathered all the European slayers together and she took some time out in Rome so that Dawn could finish school there. Now she’s at Oxford, I guess Buffy’ll settle here. That is if she can put up with the weather. You can take the girl out of California but you can’t take California out of the girl.”
Dan chuckled and pondered for a moment.
“It is ok for me to tag along tomorrow isn’t it? I’m not going to be in the way or anything?” He asked.
“As long as your boss doesn’t mind. That badge of yours has come in pretty handy today, we’d never have gotten into some of these places without you. Back home it was a little easier, the Hellmouth used to kinda blind people to what was going on. Willow would have hacked into the justice department’s computers or used magic to have gotten the information we have in this short time.” Answered Xander.
“Talking of magic.” Said Dan. “Buffy mentioned that my colleagues from the Abbey this morning wouldn’t remember her or the demon when they wake up tomorrow. How does that work?”
“Did you get cookies?” Questioned Xander.
“Yes.” Answered Dan.
Xander told him of the Tabula Rasa spell that Willow had modified for use in situations such as these, to help keep their identities and those of the girls in their charge safe.
They reached the station and Dan swept into the underground car park. They alighted and made their way upstairs. Just as they came out of the lift Ed Clewley met them.
“Evening Sir.” Said Dan, handing over the car keys. “Sorry about being so long with your car, but events rather caught up with us. I’ve been given permission to go along with Buffy tomorrow, if it’s ok with you. I’m on sick due to the ribs but as long as there’s nothing too strenuous I should be ok.”
“Actually, you’ve pre-empted me Carter I’ve just called Buffy to request that you accompany her and Mr Harris here wherever needed. You can draw a pool car in the morning, and I’ll sort it with the doctor so that you’re on chauffer duties. I don’t think she should be driving. I’ve heard about Buffy’s driving record from Hauptman Schmidt in Hanover.”
“Ooooh. Bad news Buffy travels fast.” Quipped Xander. “And please; I’m Xander. Mr Harris was my father.”
Ed nodded, “And I‘m Ed.” He continued. “I’ve also informed her that they’re flying the Langdon party into City Airport from Edinburgh, on the eleven thirty. They’ll be taken to the US Embassy tonight for some sleep and you’ll be able to interview them tomorrow. Check with Buffy for the time, but I think it’s nine a.m.”
Xander nodded, and thanked him for his help.
They, said their goodbyes. Ed headed for the car park. Dan and Xander arranged to meet there at five a.m. to collect Giles from Northolt. They then went their respective ways.
Xander returned to the council offices without incident. He was pleasantly surprised, in a way, at being able to walk around after dark without too much bother; although it was always better to err on the side of caution and be prepared. So he always carried a stake, a cross and a small silver dagger. Just in case.
Buffy had made phone calls to the US Embassy and arranged for the Langdon people to be interviewed at the embassy tomorrow at nine a.m. Also, to their contact in the French Embassy, getting permission for them to re-interview Fache if needed. There was still something he wasn’t saying.
Andrea and David were going over the faxes from Samantha Finn. They were giving Buffy a run down of their initial findings.
“There doesn’t seem to be anything untoward in the letters apart from the mention of the Grail. At face value it appears that Rayne was trying to help Teabing with research into its whereabouts. Making suggestions of contacts, books etcetera. The return letters from Teabing mention that in return for his assistance in, and I quote; ‘Such a Noble Cause’; Teabing was willing to present Rayne’s case to the US authorities. He appears to have been quite the eccentric. Even for an Englishman.” Reported David.
“Guess he didn’t plan on ending up dead.” Said Vi. “You going to call Giles to see if there’s anything we should know.” She continued.
“No.” said Buffy firmly. “Giles needs his sleep Vi. As tempting as it is, we’ll wait until tomorrow morning. Langdon’s obviously held out on information as well as Fache, but until we talk to them we’re not going any further. Langdon and Neveu will be safe at the embassy; Mary Ann will see to it.”
Buffy stood up started pacing and ran her hands through her hair. She turned to Andrea. “Is there anyway we can force Rayne back into his own body, before he does any more damage?”
“Willow maybe able to, or the coven even , I don’t have that kind of power. You could try carving up either or both of the bodies. Though there is a downside of that. If the essence hasn’t anywhere to go when it tries to jump back, it might jump to another dead or unconscious body.”
“And we don’t want that scenario again, thank you very much. Quite enough fun and games with Eygon.” Remarked Buffy.
Andrea checked her notes. She looked up at Buffy. “It requires a lot of energy to stay in the host body. It was also a huge distance to move his essence over; and as the body was a corpse, it doesn’t have it’s own power source, as it were. So he’s having to use even more energy to keep the body re-animated, which means……..”
“He’s gonna run outta juice.” Finished Vi
“Yes. Unless he absorbs more power.” Added Andrea.
Buffy‘s eyes widened. “Absorbs, as in, Willow in dark mojo mood, drain all the books type of absorb?”. She questioned
“That’s one way. Another is to take the power from a god or goddess. It requires ritual, the god or goddess of worship has to deem them worthy, and there are usually consequences… Big consequences.” Continued Andrea. “There’s a third.” She paused. “He could steal power from another witch or sorcerer, by killing them with a ceremonial knife called an athame.”
“I vote he doesn’t get his hands on any of the above.” Commenteid Xander entering the room.
Andrea continued. “We can stop him getting back into his own body by placing a few crystals around it coupled with an incantation.” She answered.
“Call Sam or Riley and have one of their mage’s perform the blocking spell. Then if we come across Rayne,…. Or Teabing….. Whoever, whatever, we’ll deal as necessary.” Said Buffy.
Andrea nodded and picked up the phone.
“When did Rayne get so nasty. He was never a goody goody but killing was never his style, just the chaos.” Observed Xander.
“It might have something to do with the fact that he’s been locked up for the last four years.” Surmised David. “Army prisons aren’t exactly the Ritz. He seems to have been trying to make a legitimate case for release, and possibly cause a little chaos in the process.”
“What are the consequences of him finding the Holy Grail? What can it do for him? What trouble can he cause with it?” Asked Xander.
“Legend and the Bible has the Grail depicted as a chalice, which is supposed to have held the symbolic blood of Christ , from which the disciples drank from at the last supper. I say legend, because as far as is known, it has never been found. Or if it has, whoever has it is keeping it very quiet. As for what trouble he could cause. One theory is that the grail has restorative properties, anyone drinking from the grail is given the gift of eternal life or immortality.” Explained David.
“So, you mean Rayne and or Teabing were ..are looking to become immortal? Queried Buffy.
David nodded. “Quite possibly. However, Langdon‘s manuscript…. I took the liberty of contacting Mr Wood for a copy whilst you were out….. Was exploring the Sacred Feminine theory of the grail. One thing that keeps coming up on the internet searches from that information, is the name of an organisation. The Priory of Sion. They view the grail as the sacred feminine, reputedly to be Mary Magdalene. They also believe that she was the wife of Jesus. There were some documents discovered in France a few years ago, called Les Dossiers Secrets; claiming that this organisation had the grail and had kept it hidden for almost a thousand years. Their Grand Masters have been some of the most notable people in history. One name that springs to mind from the list is Leonardo Da Vinci. From what we’ve gleaned from the report of Fache’s investigation, Saunier used the works of Da Vinci to give clues to Langdon and Neveu as to the whereabouts and, or the true identity of the grail. Fache, of course, suspected Langdon of Saunier’s murder. These are only suppositions of mine though. As to the actual scenario, we’ll have to wait until they are interviewed tomorrow.”
“Good work David.” Said Buffy. “Vi. Lets go check on the patrols. Xander what time did you arrange to meet Dan?”
“Five a.m. at Belgravia.
“Good, I’m coming with. Now you all get some sleep. We’ve got some people to interrogate tomorrow at nine. Meet here at about seven to bring Giles up to date.”
They all nodded. David looked at Andrea. “Oh for the stamina of a slayer.” He yawned.
Two police cars swept through the thinning late night traffic, heading away from London’s City Airport in Docklands, towards the prestigious US Embassy in Grosvenor Square. The occupants were weary, some of them not having had much sleep n the last forty eight hours. Langdon was still voicing his thoughts grumpily as the car entered the embassy’s rear car park.
“I still don’t see why there is this much need for security. Teabing has been caught and is in jail isn’t he?”
The driver remained silent. He was getting weary of the professor’s constant badgering of him and anyone else he could latch onto to dish out his complaints. The bloke was obviously tired, so he let it go, he’d be rid of him in a few minutes and then he could go home to his nice warm wife.
As they entered the embassy, there was a smartly dressed woman in her late thirties standing just inside the hallway. With a strong Texas drawl she introduced herself.
“Good evening everyone. I’m Mary Ann Blake, personal assistant to the Ambassador. I have arranged rooms for you all on the second floor. If there are any particular requests please do not hesitate to ask.”
Langdon seized his opportunity. He raised his voice.
“Ma’am, these people are the family of Jaques Saunier who was murdered in the Louvre two nights ago. Can you please tell us what is going on. We’ve already been questioned by the British Police, and released, and now we’re brought back to London for whatever…….”
He was stopped by the angry look on Mary Ann’s face, her hand held up, palm outwards in front of his, to stop his rant.
“Professor!” She said curtly. “We have been asked to provide you and your party with a safe haven for tonight. Tomorrow at 09:00hrs you will all attend a briefing in the conference room where you will be asked to recount your story. If the people with whom you are meeting deem you worthy, you may be given an explanation. You have been led into something that not many people are privy to. Believe me when I say that you need the help of these people more than they need yours. Now I suggest you all get some sleep.”
Langdon was about to continue when he felt a hand on his arm. It was Sophie.
“Robert, let it go. We’re safe. We can find out all of this tomorrow.” She said gently.
Langdon relaxed, and apologised. Mary Ann accepted. They requested that they be able to have their clothes laundered for the next morning, and they were shown to their respective rooms.
Buffy and Vi were surveying the scene. They had gotten a call from Carly’s team as they had left the council and had raced over to the South Bank to the address given. The basement flat was a wreck, Carly had a cut above her left eye inflicted by a lucky blow from a cricket bat. Said cricket bat was now in her left hand, a trophy of the evening’s battle with the nest of vampires they had tailed from Oxford Street. The six vamps didn’t know what had hit them when the four young slayers had burst in. Buffy and Vi had deliberately hung back, only to be there if needed.
“Well done.” Praised Buffy. “You hit them hard and fast after making sure you got them all together, and you worked as a team. Carly, get that cut looked at, I don’t want a complaint from your mom that we’re not looking out for you. I think we’re all done here, so we’ll call it a night. You guys have school in the morning.”
“What about the landlord?” Asked Melanie, the youngest. “He saw us dust the last two, I think he ducked into the cupboard under the stairs.”
“I know we saw him from the street.” Said Vi “You cut along, we’ll have a little chat with him.”
The four teens left quietly so as not to disturb the neighbourhood any more than they already had. Vi moved to the door of the cupboard and knocked on it. The door was unbolted from the inside and then opened to reveal a stocky Asian man of about fifty, clutching a small statuette of Vishnu.
“It’s ok you can come out now, they’re gone.” She said.
His accent was Indian, “Oh, thank you, thank you, when they moved in here I thought that they were just squatters and would be gone when I told the local council. Then I discovered that they were indeed devils and the authorities would not be able to do anything about them.”
“Well we’re the local council that deals in these matters and if you have any further problems don’t hesitate to call. She handed him a business card. “I hope you’re not allergic to dust.” She added as she turned to leave.
Buffy rolled her eyes at the pun and followed Vi out into the night.
Ethan Rayne’s bargaining had gone well enough considering the circumstances. Janus had appeared in a mist as he always did. Rayne supplicated himself and made his request for an infusion of power to enable him to complete his task. Now all that remained to be seen was what the Lord of Chaos would require as payment.
“The head of the Slayer, Summers.” He giggled manically, his twisted features glowing red as he spoke. “Her head on a platter. She has humiliated you too many times, as she has you, so has she done to me. Should you fail me I will take you physical body for my pleasure. This is in addition to my demand that the truth about the Grail be revealed to the world. So much chaos will ensue that the church will never recover.”
“It will be my pleasure my Lord.” Answered Rayne. “I agree to your terms.” He stood and spread his arms to accept the power of his master.
He took a breath as he sensed the entity approach, and slightly opened his eyes so as to concentrate upon the amount of power being drawn into him. As he did so the power unleashed pushed him backwards against the wall his eyes opened wide as the power entered the body.
Just before he blacked out. Just before the power fused with him. He could have sworn that he wasn’t looking at Janus any longer. He was looking at something most hideous and ancient.
“Oh Bugger.” He thought.
Then it all went black.