Disclaimer: Joss Whedon, Dan Brown et al own the Buffy and Da Vinci Code characters. I only borrowed them. No money made or required.
As the group followed Mary Ann she passed a folder to Buffy. “This is the information you requested on Fache.” She said. “Whilst we were waiting for you I spoke to his number two in Paris, regarding Mr Langdon. Collet was very helpful. He told me that their superiors weren’t at all happy with his handling of the situation regarding a US citizen, but as yet they haven’t heard from Fache. It appears that after he saw Langdon and Neveu yesterday he went to see the Opus Dei bishop, Aringarosa. Fache had twenty million in Vatican bearer bonds with him, to return to the bishop. Apparently the bishop was upset by the actions of Silas, the hit man, that he asked Fache to take the bonds to the relatives of the victims. Guess what. Fache hasn’t been seen since, and neither has the twenty million.”
“I hope they’re looking for him real hard.” Said Buffy. “Is there a chance he’s another of the Firsts minions cashing in on the opportunity?”
“I don’t believe so.” Said Giles. “If they were both in league with the First, why would he have Leigh arrested? Surely it would have aided their cause to have Langdon and Neveu in custody. No, I would say that Captain Fache has decided to take the money and retire. He was heading for a fall with this investigation. He would have probably lost his pension. Purely greed and self preservation, I‘d say.”
Buffy shook her head. “At least with a demon or a vamp you know for certain that it’s gonna try and kill you. Now we gotta deal with human lowlife’s as well.”
“For what it’s worth, Buffy, they will find him. He’s too well known by the media to be able to hide for long.” Reassured Dan.
They approached the conference room door. Buffy turned to Dan.
“Dan, here’s the sitch. If we have to tell them about the council and the slayer, there’s only me, or me and Faith. Say nothing about all the others.” Buffy instructed. Dan nodded his agreement.
As the group entered the conference room they all took stock of the people seated at the table. Mary Ann made the introductions. Buffy’s eyes widened as Marie Chauvel was introduced. This was the old lady from her dream.
Andrea leaned in and whispered to Buffy. ”Those are the two from my vision.” She said nodding towards Luc and Sophie.
“Yeah, and the old lady is the one from my dreams. “ Buffy whispered back. “At least we know we’ve got the right people.”
As Mary Ann finished Robert Langdon pressed his question. “What’s happened to Leigh, we were told he’d had a heart attack. Is he ok? I know that he tried to kill us and all, but I wouldn‘t wish that upon him.”
“You shouldn’t wish, you never know who’s listening.” Stated Xander, earning him a puzzled look from the opposite side of the table.
Buffy looked at Giles gaining his attention. “Giles. Eyes and ears?” She questioned.
“Very well” Answered Giles. “Andrea, if you wouldn’t mind, please.”
Andrea stood, looking slightly embarrassed, held her hands out palms upwards, took a cleansing breath, and chanted.
“Goddess, I supplicate 'fore thee.
Hear me now, hear my plea.
Prying eyes, listening ears.
This room protect from all these.”
She paused, a slight breeze wafted around the room as though it were searching. After a moment it died down and Andrea gave a satisfied look.
“Obscura.” She commanded. A small haze of power rippled from her palms and wafted to the corners of the room. There were small hissing noises from several areas as the ripple passed. Then silence.
“Three of the four people on the opposite side of the table looked aghast. Marie Chauvel narrowed her eyes and gave them a thoughtful look.
“What was that? Who are you people?” Demanded Langdon.
“That was something to stop certain agencies seeing and listening in on our meeting.” Answered Giles firmly. What you are about to be told goes no further than this room. Is that understood.”
The four people opposite glanced at each other and nodded their agreement.
Giles continued. “Firstly, Sir Leigh Teabing is dead. He had a heart attack dabbling in forces that that he shouldn’t have. Secondly. It appears that he wasn’t the mastermind behind all of this. He himself was being directed, or possibly manipulated, by a much more malevolent force that wants to have control over this world and return it to the hell it once was. Needless to say, that would mean the destruction of mankind. Now, what we require from yourselves is information as to the whereabouts of the Grail so that we can protect it from being used against the human race."
Marie Chauvel spoke up. Monsieur Giles, if you are who we think you are, should you not be telling us of its location.” She paused. “If you are not the Priorie de Sion Why are we meeting with you? We assumed that it would be the Priorie who would be contacting us.”
“Well you know what they say about assuming.” Quipped Buffy. She realised immediately what she’d said and held up her hands in apology. “Look we’re not here to argue, just to get information on why a big bad wants to get its hands on the Holy Grail.”
“How do we know that you aren’t the ’Big Bad’ as you put it?” Chimed Langdon.
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Well, Duh. American Embassy. Embassy official in the room. You were brought here by the British Police.” She motioned at Dan. “Cop in the room. Doofus, we’re the good guys.”
Giles raised a hand to calm Buffy’s tirade. He addressed the room. “Actually, Mr Langdon does have a point, he has already approached one potential ally for assistance and it almost got him and Ms. Neveu killed. However, as Buffy has stated it would be extremely difficult for an organisation to pass itself off as this many national institutions and not be noticed.”
He looked at Marie. “Madame Chauvel. Or should I call you Madame Saunier.” At her realisation that he knew who she was, he continued. “There are forces at work here that none of you could possibly comprehend. If you have the knowledge we seek, please tell us, or it may well bring about the End of Days…..The Apocalypse.”
“Mr. Giles What do you know of the End of Days.” Queried Langdon.
“Precisely what I said, Mr. Langdon; The Apocalypse. The end of the human race.”
“So you’re talking nuclear war, or some such thing. Why? How does the holy grail lead to nukes, for gods sake!” Exclaimed Langdon.
“I think we’re kinda running at crossed purposes here, coz even I’m confused now.” Said Xander. “Giles, just tell these guys the story, they’ll laugh, then Buffy can do her thing and then they’ll believe it, and maybe we can get out of here today. I have a date tonight.”
“Oh,….Very well.” Giles took a breath. “This world is older than you might imagine. Contrary to popular belief it did not start as a paradise. For countless eons demons ruled the world. Eventually they lost their purchase on this reality, leaving the way clear for a new order. Man. The last demons to leave this dimension mixed their blood with humans, creating hybrids, vampires. They in turn did the same to others, and so swelled their numbers. For as long as there have been these demons on this earth, there have been those who have fought against them. The Shadow men created a warrior to combat the forces of darkness. They took a young girl imbued her with a powerful spirit, giving her the strength and ability to fight the vampires and demons. She became known as the Slayer. One girl in all the world chosen to stem their numbers. Eventually she was beaten, but the spirit was passed to the next chosen one, until she too died; and another was called. In every generation there is a Chosen one. This has happened for thousands of years; and will continue to happen until one side wins. We want to be that side. We have seen what the other side can throw against us, and it isn’t pretty.” Giles sat back and took a sip of water from his glass.
No one spoke for a few seconds. The opposite side of the table appeared to be stunned at Giles’ speech. Eventually Langdon pulled himself together.
“So. You’re telling us that, demons, vampires and all that stuff we see in the movies is true and you guys and this ‘slayer’ gal fight them!” He snorted. “What next. I suppose Harry Potter’s gonna walk through the door and tell us magic’s real too.”
“Well, yes, actually, Harry Potter aside, magick is real. You have already borne witness as to what can be possible with a wiccan spell. That was what Andrea did to seal the room from outside listening devices. If you wish I could have her turn you into a frog or something to prove our point.” Replied Giles.
Langdon laughed out loud at this. “Oh yeah, really. You’ll be telling me next that the little blonde here is this slayer gal.”
Buffy stood up. “Bingo.” She said. “We have a winner.” Langdon’s face fell when he saw the look in her eye. She reached for her briefcase, opened it and pulled out a metal bar approximately two feet long and two inches in diameter. “Ok Mr. wise guy, you look pretty strong, lets see you bend this.” She handed the bar across the table to a puzzled Langdon.
It was heavier than he anticipated an he almost dropped it at first. He looked at Buffy suspiciously. “Is this some kind of joke?” He asked. He held the bar at either end and tried to bend it. He also tried twisting it to see it there was some sort of trick method to bending it. Naturally, nothing happened. He passed it back to Buffy.
Buffy took the bar looked Langdon square in the eyes and bent it into a circle, almost without effort, the only tension that Dan could note was that her knuckles whitened with the strain. “Happy now?” she asked.
Langdon looked puzzled for a moment. Then his look turned to sceptical. “There’s a trick somewhere in this.” He said. “I just know it.”
“Jeez, what do we have to do to convince you!” Exclaimed Xander. “Y’ know, sometimes I think that Faith’s preferred method of introduction is much more convincing.”
“Xander, I am not going into a sewer to grab a vamp in these clothes.” A smile spread across her face “Although when she dusted that one on Arnie’s desk, it did kinda shock him into submission.”
She regarded Langdon. Do I need to beat you up a little to convince you or are you gonna let it go.”
Langdon looked as though he was going to argue. Dan cleared his throat.
“Mr. Langdon, I know that you don’t want to believe any of this, and until yesterday I’d have agreed with you. Since then I’ve discovered that these demons do exist. I saw Buffy take out one such demon yesterday morning, with her bare hands. Believe me it wasn’t pretty, and the smell was disgusting. And if that wasn’t all when we attempted to detain her she neutralised five armed police officers in about ten seconds flat. Since then I’ve been granted some access to their organisation. Believe me, trust them, tell them what you know.
Giles interjected before Langdon could start again. “Madame Saunier, to try and put an end to any scepticism you may have, can you tell me when was the last time you saw your husband alive?”
“Three years ago at the spring equinox. We attended the celebration in France. It was not possible to meet more regularly in order to keep the secret of the family‘s whereabouts.”
“Might I hazard a guess as to the names of three of the other guests. Chaffee, Desrochers and Sostaque.” He studied her face as she paled upon the mention of the other senior members of the order.
“Sacre bleu.” She whispered. “How did you know those names?”
“These men were also murdered within a few days of your husband. I take it from your reaction that these were also members of the Priory.”
Tears welled in Marie’s eyes. “Mr Langdon, we have no choice but to trust these people now. With the inner circle of the Priorie annihilated there is no way of re establishing the order, each of the masters only knew their own quartre of contacts.”
She started by explaining the background of their worship. The sacred feminine and the balance between the blade and the chalice. She then began to tell the story of Mary Magdalene; the escape from the Holy Land and the arrival in France and of the merging with Merovingian Royal line.
David suddenly jumped up and grabbed a book out of his briefcase. Marie stopped her story and everyone looked surprised at his outburst.
He waved it in the air. “The Diaries of Weitchneicz” He exclaimed. “He was a Slavic Watcher from around 1100 AD. His diary states that he needed to translate a document from a demonic language that he didn’t recognise so he travelled to France to see the Merovingian King, who was reputed to be able to ‘speak with beasts’ as they were described. I located this book whilst Andrea and I were researching yesterday, and it references the connection between the Knights Templar and the Merovingian kings.”
“Oh. Good Lord.” Exclaimed Giles. “Of course it all fits, the time line, the connections. Good grief. Well done David.”
“Excuse me, is this a private meeting of the conundrum kings, or can anyone join in?” Asked Xander. “Care to explain for the rest of us who are mentally challenged.
“Oh, sorry, yes. Well, we seem to have made a significant discovery here. Madame Saunier it appears that we are the organisation that you seek. Do you have any recall of an organisation known as The Watchers Council?” Asked Giles.
She thought for a moment. “Yes, my husband spoke of such a council he had visited with Monsieur Sostaque once, many years ago. Why?”
“Although I had never met your husband, I had met Sostaque. When I was appointed as Buffy’s Watcher by Quentin Travers, he was present at the meeting. I didn’t recall the connection, however, David’s comment regarding the Knights Templar tells me that we are all factions of the same organisation. The Council has always had its fingers in many pies, so to speak. Necessary, even today, so that we can have access to many countries and facilities that we otherwise would not be able to.” Explained Giles.
“So, that’s how I got through customs so quickly in Jo’berg.” Interrupted Xander. “Someone there must have known who I was.”
“Precisely. Continued Giles. “When the old council was destroyed, the contacts all laid low. They knew that if the world didn’t end; there would be another incarnation of the council along to ‘fill the gap’ as it were.” .
“Is there any way of knowing exactly who is an agent for us, coz it sure would have helped before now. Quipped Buffy. “Shouldn’t we be paying them or something?”
“Since all the records were destroyed there is no way of knowing for certain, who some of them are, or were; and yes, some will undoubtedly be looking for payment for their services. There are those cultures however, who see their service as a vocation, and it would be an insult to offer them monetary compensation.”
“So where does this leave us?” Asked Sophie. “I have just found out that my brother and my grandmother are alive and living in secret in Scotland. My grandfather was head of a secret society protecting the Holy Grail; which is the remains of Mary Magdalene, the wife of Jesus, who escaped to France with her child and from whom my family are descended, through the Merovingian Royal family line. I need to know what happens to us now, Mr Giles?”
“Quite simply, we protect you, and the Grail of course.” Answered Giles. “Though for now it would be unwise for any of you to return to your work as your identities have undoubtedly been compromised. We have a safe haven in Wiltshire where you can stay until we have more information and have dealt with the threat to you. The most immediate thing that we require is the location of the Grail so that we can protect it. Am I correct in assuming that there are pointers at Rosslyn.”
Marie acknowledged his assumption. “Why would anyone want the Grail. The only possible explanation I can attribute to it is that whoever they are would plan to destroy it to perpetuate the church’s philosophy or expose the church for wrong doing and millennia of lies.”
David interjected. “If I might ask. Your perception of the Holy Grail seems to differ greatly from information that we’ve been in receipt of.”
“It’s the blood,….. It’s always about the blood.” Mused Buffy.
“Pardon, Buffy, what did you say.” David looked puzzled.
“It’s something Spike said to me once. Blood is life, it gives life, vampires drink it to live, dark rituals need it to sustain power. Daw....My blood closed Glory’s portal. It’s all about power. Their power lies in the blood line.” She added, gesturing toward Sophie and Luc
“That was very profound.” Said Langdon. “Does this mean that these people are going to be on the run for the rest of their lives. I’m to blame for this aren’t I.” He looked at Sophie, who smiled weakly at him.
“It’s not your fault Robert. Grandpere obviously trusted your judgement to leave you the clues. He was dying; he couldn‘t have known that Fache would tamper with the evidence.” She said.
“Mr Langdon.” Placated Giles. “When you sent your manuscript to your publisher you could hardly perceive what it would set in motion. It alerted the Priory that someone may have found the secret, it also alerted Leigh to the possibilities that he had been searching in the wrong area. However, I believe that Leigh‘s, original motive was to cause a little chaos among the clergy and the council.”
“You knew him then. I thought I did. Was he part of this council as well?” Asked Langdon.
Giles gave Langdon a weary look. “A disgraced council member. Unfortunately, he was also my cousin.”
Giles went on to explain briefly about Leigh Teabing’s history. “What I realised earlier is that our own focus upon rebuilding the council and trying to rectify the mistakes of the past may have had some impetus on the events. Fortunately we have had a little more information this time, and we cannot allow The First to make another attempt at ending the slayer line, and set the populace of the world against the church. Chaos would ensue, allowing it to gain a foothold in this reality.”
“This First as you call it. What is it? Is it one of those demons, you said was banished?” Asked Luc.
“Yes, and no." Answered David. "The First Evil is primordial, the source of all evil. It’s non corporeal in this dimension, but it can manifest itself as any dead person.” It uses minions in this dimension to assist in its tasks. I’m told it’s very convincing and manipulative.” He continued, glancing at Buffy.
“When was the last time you battled this evil?” He asked.
“Ever head of Sunnydale?” Asked Buffy, as she took her cue from David. Looks of astonishment came from the four people opposite as she briefly related the events leading up to and including the battle.. She deliberately left out the part about the scythe and that Willow had used it to activate the potentials. These people weren’t ready to hear that there were hundreds of girls with super powers running around. She sent a mental message to Xander not to let it slip, and he in turn whispered it to Giles. She still wanted to keep some secrets. She still wasn’t totally sure of Langdon’s loyalty, and what the others didn’t know couldn’t hurt them.
“Is that going to happen again, create another earthquake wherever the battle is?” Questioned Sophie.
“Possibly not.” Responded Giles. “Sunnydale was situated on a Hellmouth, a mystical convergence. There is another one in Cleveland and we have that well guarded. Since we were almost wiped out last time we have taken steps not to have our power base in one location so that it would be harder for an enemy to attack.
Robert and Sophie shared a look. “Ok, I‘m convinced.” He said. “I’ll tell you what you want to know.” At that he pulled Jaques Saunier’s carved box from beneath his chair and began his tale.
The form of Leigh Teabing stood looking at himself in the mirror. “I know the English are supposed to be eccentric, hell I suppose I’m even a little that way, but this guy dressed like a tramp.” Caleb's twang coming to the fore.
“Actually, he didn’t.” Replied the First, imitating Buffy. Quite a snazzy dresser in a way. These clothes were the only ones that the previous incumbent could get hold of at the time. Better than walking around naked.
“And how is that dear boy Rayne.” Came the sarcastic reply. “I must send him a gift for providing me with such a …….. well another opportunity to achieve my… our desires.”
The First cocked its head on one side and thought for a second. “He’s back in his own body. Hmmm….Not as inept as I first thought. He used the Ghost Roads to make his way back. However he‘s not a player now. The soldier boys have put up wards to stop him leaving again. Unfortunately they will also stop us from entering.”
“You sound as though you had hopes for him.” Said Caleb, a little disgruntled.
“He was a means to an end. You know that. There was no way he would have been able to merge with me. You’re the only man that’s been able to. When I tried to merge with him it was like trying to fit a quart in a pint glass. You, on the other hand seem to expand as my essence fills you. You are my only true vessel.”
“Such kind words, I could almost shed a tear.” He replied sarcastically. “So what do you need me to do.?” Where's the Ray Charles brigade?”
“I have them observing the blood line vessels at the moment, there’s no need to go storming in and letting them know our plans before we need to. Before he died Teabing summoned a Fyarl to assist him in escaping, but the Slayer was there and killed the demon before it could free him. The upshot of all of this is that Langdon was released and has located the other Sangraal vessels. The grandmother was in hiding with the brother in Rosslyn.” They returned to London last night, under police escort. They’re at the American Embassy.”
Then we have a blade and a chalice in the same location. How convenient. If we move quickly enough we could take them both before the slayer finds out where they are. Where’s the book containing the ritual? ”
“In the library, top shelf, second bookcase along on the left. It‘s called ‘Blood Rites of the Chalice”
Caleb made his way out of the room
The First looked away from Caleb and turned toward the window, it appeared to be listening to something.
“What?” Came the call from the other room. He returned with the book.
“The slayer has arrived at the Embassy!”
“Then we’re running out of time. We need the boys to take the sacrifices away from her now.”