Disclaimer. Joss Whedon, Dan Brown et al own the Buffy and Da Vinci Code
Characters. I only own the plot.
Two figures studied the book laid on the desk. The tome was written in Ancient Hebrew of all languages. It had surprised Caleb to some extent. He had been expecting Latin or old French. The First, in the guise of Buffy, had thought it quite ironic that the ritual of separating the grail from its power should be in the very language of the people who created it.
The location of the grail was still something that eluded them. From what was written it appeared that there had never been a single resting place for the relic. The only specifications were that it should be placed beneath the stars and the blade and chalice would be close at hand. There was also a reference to the Master’s Art, or Art of the Master, the translation didn’t directly synchronise.
Caleb was voicing his musings.
“The ritual itself is straight forward enough. It doesn’t actually require a sacrifice. Pity. I do enjoy a good slaughter as you know. It just requires some of the blood of the chalice to be mixed with that of the blade, and a ritual prayer.”
He paused for a moment, deep in thought
“I wonder if there is more information that could be gleaned from the Chapel at Rosslyn, after all if memory serves, the old spelling for it was gleaned from the Rose Line, and the Cinqfoil roses are the ancient symbol of the Merovingian dynasty, and the basis of the wiccan pentagram. Perhaps we should capture a witch and ask? I could have a little fun.”
“They’re protecting themselves too well these days, staying hidden. There’s only one who might be able to unlock it for us anyway, and I know she won’t play nicely. Her power is too great even for you to risk. The other covens are even wary of her. But I do agree that Rosslyn is the place to start. With the guardians in London it shouldn’t be that hard to gain access.”
She paused for a moment and looked through the window as though listening.
“The Bringers are about to spring their trap.”
Dawn and Hayley were headed out of the lecture hall with the other students. The two were discussing the assignment that had been set and whether they should. “Grab some tucker first in case everything goes tits up.” As the Australian so bluntly put it
Dawn was checking her cellphone for messages as they walked out of the college quad and towards the centre of town.
“So, where we goin’?” Asked Hayley. “Uncle Ron’s or BK.”
Dawn gave her a lopsided grin. “Y’ know you are gonna be in so much trouble when Richard finds out that you’re not the heiress to THE MacDonald’s fortune.”
“I didn’t exactly say that. Dave asked me my name, I told him it was Hayley Macdonald, and that my uncle Ronald was rich and that I was gonna inherit it all one day. He was the one who put two and two together and got five. Anyway, his mate Josh seems to be the brainy sort, and he didn’t say anything.”
“True. Ohmigod, I forgot to call Josh. With the sitch as it is at the moment, it’s probably not a good idea to go on a date with him. He asked enough awkward questions when he found out I used to live in Sunnydale.”
“We could double date, Buffy couldn’t complain about that.” Suggested Hayley.
Dawn looked sheepish. “Buffy doesn’t know, as yet, anyway. She’d get all protecty, and Josh would freak, and I’d be sent back to the Vatican or a convent somewhere. I just know it.”
“I think the blokes got more about him than that.” Hayley gave her a look of surprise. “You sweet on him.”
Dawn grinned. “He’s nice, I feel comfortable around him. I feel could tell him anything, all my deepest secrets………Not that I’m going to of course.”
“I should bloody well hope not. Dad nearly shit himself when I had to tell him about me being stronger than he was, and then I proved it.”
They stopped outside Burger King. Hayley gave Dawn the nod. “In here?”
Dawn shook her head. “Can’t, on principle. Buffy sorta got banned from the one near where we used to live in L.A. when she was younger, not sure why, case of mistaken identity I think.” She sighed. “Ok, Uncle Ron’s it is.”
They saw a gap in the traffic and crossed the busy road, as they did so two men in hooded sweat tops and baggy jeans crossed from the other side towards them.
Somewhere in the Nevada Desert
During the return journey to Area 51 Rona and Sam had told Dolores and Sister Mary Robert the status regarding the slayers and the story of Sunnydale.
The Chinook Helicopter touched down on the pad with a slight bounce on its suspension. The pilot powered down the rotors as the five passengers alighted from the rear. A sand coloured Hummer raced across the tarmac towards them. Once the party was onboard the vehicle took them back towards one of the hangers at the far side of the airstrip.
The doors opened as it approached and once inside they closed behind. Guards and Military Police were carrying out various tasks inside. The car stopped in the middle of a yellow painted box in the centre of the hanger, an operator at a control panel threw a switch and the section of floor began to descend, safety barriers rising around the edges as it did.
Sam Finn pulled a folder from the storage compartment. She took two single sheets from the folder inside and offered them along with a pen to Mary Robert and Dolores. The two women looked a little puzzled.
“Just a standard non disclosure document.” Explained Sam. “Think yourselves lucky, a few years ago you would have had nearly a two hour briefing before we got to this point. Since the Council became involved a lot of things have been streamlined.”
“Sam, which version is this?” Asked Rona.
“Version two point two, why? Sam was puzzled.
Rona looked at her aunt. “Its ok, sign it and then I can tell you. She said.
They both signed the documents, and passed them back to Sam.
“So, what can you now tell me.” Said Dolores.
“Well, anything you get told or see about the organisation, you won’t be able to tell to anyone who isn’t a WSC or Initiative operative. It’s a spell.
“You did magic on us!” Exclaimed Dolores. Glaring at them.
“Not me, Willow. It’s nothing bad, it helps protect us and you. It’s just that if you try to tell anyone else what you know, all you will say is a nursery rhyme. It’s a thing.”
Dolores turned to Sam. “I’m gonna keep an eye on you young lady. You’re sneaky!”
Sam grinned. “They sorta trained me that way.”
The lift reached the lower level. The driver started the engine and drove down a huge tunnel ahead of him. After several minutes the driver came into an open area. Several other similar vehicles were parked in bays at one side and he pulled into the nearest empty space. A guard came over and opened the doors and came smartly to attention and saluted as Sam stepped out of the vehicle. She returned the salute.
“Ma’am Major Finn requests you and Ms Van Cartier meet with him in the briefing room as soon as possible.”
“Thank you Johnson. How’s the family?” Asked Sam.
Mother and daughter doin’ just fine Ma’am. Six weeks old now.”
“Good. Give her our best.”
“I will Ma’am. Thank you.”
He saluted again and Sam led the way to a lift.
“Down more?” Asked Dolores “How far down are we going. We go down too much further we gonna meet a guy with horns an’ forked tail.
Rona rolled her eyes. “Told you already. Been there, done that, wasn’t nice, so we shut it down.”
“Only another three hundred feet. We’ve got a few things down there we need to keep safe.” Answered Sam.
Both Dolores and Mary Robert had to pressurise their ears on the way down. When they reached the bottom and the doors opened they found themselves in a wide corridor with doors off to either side. As they walked, the two women noted that some doors just had numbers, whilst others had facility names on them. The one marked Canteen reminded them both that they hadn’t eaten today as yet. Sam opened a door about halfway down the corridor and they followed her into a room that had a conference table and chairs in it, and two occupants.
“Hi honey I’m home!” Called Sam as she approached the uniformed man at the far end of the table. “Hey Willow, when did you get in? Did I miss a memo?” She gave her husband a peck of a kiss on the lips. She made the introductions around the room.
“No hon you didn’t miss a thing.” Said Riley. “Willow ‘popped’ in about fifteen minutes ago, to interview Rayne and we came to get a coffee before going into battle.”
“Popped?” Quizzed Sam.
“Heh, err teleported.” Said Willow. Wrinkling her eyebrows.
“From Rio!” Exclaimed Sam. “That’s like eight thousand miles.”
“Tell me about it” Replied Willow. “I don’t even get frequent flyer privileges.”
“ Yeah, but on the plus side, no missing luggage.” Chipped in Rona.
Willow giggled. “True.” She paused for a second. So, Riley tells me you did a spot of slayage before breakfast.”
Rona frowned for a moment. “Wasn’t intentional, they sorta attacked me er…us, I mean. I thought that taking a break away from it all meant, y’ know; taking a break away from it all.”
“So you’re still thinking about quitting then.” Said Willow.
“To be honest, I don’t know what I want. I do know that I don’t want to be scared shi…….. stupid every time I go out on patrol. I Still get nightmares about Turok-Han, and that Preacher guy, Caleb.”
“So that’s why you came to visit, and here was me thinking it was coz you missed my wit an’ charm. Commented Dolores.
Rona looked sheepishly at her aunt. “Sorry but I didn’t know where else to go, and I actually felt safe there until earlier.”
“You could have come to Rio for a while, the White Nexus tends to keep the badness away……..Except for today of course.” Willow conceded
Mary Robert, who had been sitting next to Rona quietly listening to the conversation unfold put her hands gently on Rona’s.
“Rona, you have been given a gift. Now I’m not sure whether you’re religious or not, but you were giv….chosen for a reason. You say you get scared, that’s ok. Everyone gets scared at some point or other. When those creatures …Bringers…. Attacked us this morning, you didn’t act scared, you didn’t run away screaming, you jumped right in and saved all of us. That’s what it’s about. Saving…”
After the seriousness of her statement she lightened her mood and said. “Want to hear some thing really scary. Follow your aunt into a biker bar at two in the morning, dressed in a habit, because she wants a drink!…. That‘s scary.”
At that the room erupted in fits of laughter. Two SF’s passing the room looked at one another, shrugged and walked on.
Willow collected herself first. I gotta go interrogate Ethan, you wanna come Rona. It might be fun if he wants to play rough.”
Rona nodded. She gave the petite nun a hug, “Thanks for the pep talk. I owe you.”
“Consider it a return favour, you saved me first. Debt paid in full.” She whispered back.
Rona got up and followed Willow into the corridor.
As the two teens crossed the road the two guys in the hoodies started to cross towards them from the opposite side. Dawn stiffened slightly as they got nearer, Hayley, well Hayley was Hayley, nothing appeared to phase her. Three feet from them the two hoodies suddenly parted, passing either side of the girls and continuing on across the road. Leaving it a safe distance before checking Hayley, pulled out her cellphone and hit a speed dial number.
Flash back. 09:00 hrs
Buffy was calling someone else on the telephone.
“Do you need us to come to London?”
“No Dawn we just need you to stay safe. What classes do you have today?”
“A lecture on Cyrillic pronunciation this morning. Hayley’s with me. Oh, and Willow’s new jewellery has just arrived. Glamour is so not the right word for it. So it looks like we’ll be field testing it. We‘ll take other precautions too. We all have Riley‘s blade launcher gadgets as well.”
Good, pass the word to Michelle and Diane, if Hayley’s in your lecture group at least there’s one slayer with you.
“Be careful Buffy. If it is the First, the Bringers will be looking for you too.
“Yes, I’ll watch my back; Xander’s here and Giles, and there’s Dan Carter..”
“Do I know him? No I don’t know him? Who is he?”
“He’s one of Ed’s guys.”
“Who’s Ed. I don’t know him either? Do I?”
“Chief Superintendent Clewley.”
“Oh, Yeah. Okaayy, So, how’d you meet this Dan. You didn’t get arrested, again. Did you!”
“I met him yesterday when this all started.“
“Is he cute. Good looking?”
“So he’s screwsome then.”
“Dawn, where did you learn,…. have you been talking to Faith again.”
Nah, Hayley says…..”
“She is soooo dead when I get to her….”
“You gonna date him?”
“Coz if you don’t want him, maybe I’ll come down there and take him……”
“Oh, OH. Dawn put your hormones away; watch your back. Bye. ….. Sisters!”
End Flash back.
Hayley had hit the speed dial on her cellphone.
“Michelle. Two Bringers headed your way. It’s down to you two, tail ‘em and take ‘em out. The new charms work like, well, a charm. We’ll pass the word to Willow. Although personally, someone’s taste in jewellery leaves a lot to be desired.”
With that the two women walked into the nearest pub. Thoughts of MacDonald’s banished and replaced by the need for something a little more alcoholically substantial.
End of Chapter Seventeen.