Prologue & Chapter 1 – On the Road
I own nothing, other than in the state of Dementia, where I believe I own everything and perhaps am some sort of a God. Elsewhere all characters belong to those who first thought them up, or those to whom their creators have either sold or given them.
This is a story set a bit after my story "Forever White Knight". It will draw heavily on characters created for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Highlander, Brimstone, and of course, Forever Knight. The references to and appearances by characters from these stories are not meant to detract from any actual canon stories dealing with them, and all take place in some odd sort of alternative universe where nothing is as it would have been in the originals. I just wrote this for the fun of it, and if ya don't like it, tell me and perhaps I'll stop, or change it. If you do like it, please do let me know. This is not as plotted out as some of my previous stories, and is entirely un-proofed. What you have here is raw output from a writer who should be asleep at this moment, but who is awake 'cause his back is hurting and he can't get comfortable, so he's banging away on his laptop while waiting for the ibuprofen cocktail he took to take effect. There are at least four stories I have not bothered writing which should lay between FWK and KE. These are somewhat encapsulated via the following prologue. Oh yeah, and if it seems incoherent, I blame the drugs. Yeah, 'cause we all know how ibuprofen causes a loss of mental acuity. Don’t we? Hrmm.. Ok fine, just blame me directly. See if I care. Really. I mean it, see if I do or not. :)
Forever White Knight - Knight Errant
by Dana ShortPrologue
(Mostly a bunch of history. But since I doubt you have read the other stories especially since they at present haven't all been written, this should help you get up to speed without wasting a lot of time on stuff readers of ths list won't likely care about.)
The portal opened up in a small clearing in the midst of a wooded glade, the two dimensional disk of swirling light illuminating the darkened woods around it with a swirl of colors.
Out of it flew a pair of feet followed by the rest of a dark haired young man carrying a sword and a white cat, his trajectory perfectly flat, as though unaffected by anything as mundane as gravity.
About twenty feet from the portal he came to an abrupt stop as his feet hit a tree and his legs collapsed, absorbing the shock of the impact momentarily, before re-extending and shooting him back towards the portal again, although at a new angle, one which would carry him past it with the portal to his left. As he rebounded, he shifted the cat to his left arm, freeing his right arm to wield the katana like sword he held clenched in his right fist.
Even as his position closed on that of the portal, it spat out three more forms before winking out of existence with a soft "Fush" sound.
Two of the forms seemed to be hugs slobbering dog like creatures, while the final one was a seven foot tall demonic creature clad in primitive amour, and carrying a battleaxe.
One swing of the sword as he passed their position, and the closest of the two demonic dog like creatures was missing it's head, it's dead body falling to the ground and starting an accelerated decomposition.
As he approached the far side of the clearing, he dropped the cat carefully to the ground, and tumbled down himself, rolling to his feet as he turned to face the final two monsters, while the cat bounded off silently into the darkness.
The demonic warrior growled and charged the youth, the demonic dog right at his side.
Even as the man dodged the first swing of the huge axe, the dog was pouncing for his throat, only to be knocked out of the way by a large snarling midnight black saber tooth tiger.
The sudden appearance of the enormous cat seemed to give the demons a moment of pause, but the young man took it in stride, and using the hesitation of his opponents, managed to slice the arm of the warrior holding the axe.
As the demon cried out, this time in pain, and the large axe fell to the ground, the tiger leapt once more upon the form of the demonic dog, this time going for it's throat, and blood spurted through the now dark woods as the hell hound let out a mortal cry of pain.
Meanwhile, the battle between the young man and the demon had progressed about the same, the katana like blade slashing out once more, this time taking the demon in the stomach, and despite his amour, slicing deeply into his flesh and eliciting another cry of pain.
A final swing of the blade, and there was a second head falling to the floor of the clearing that evening.
As silence descended once more on the woods, the man locked eyes with the large black cat.
With a nod at the youth, the cat turned and fled into the darkness from whence it had come, leaving only the rapidly decomposing bodies of the three demons, along with the still heavily breathing Xander Harris, recent escapee of Hell, and Champion of the god Janus alone in the dark.
The breaking of the sun found Xander walking along a road, towards the south.
He had yet to determine where he was, but all he really needed to know was where he wasn't – and that was Hell, the dimension where he had been trapped for what seemed to him to have been over twenty years, before in the midst of a chaotic battle he had a chance to leap through a portal and escape.
His mind flashed back over the circumstances which had lead to his arrival in Hell, so long ago.
It had all started when he first met Buffy Summers, a diminutive blonde who he came to learn was the current Vampire Slayer. Over the next few days he lost his best friend since childhood, a boy who was his brother in all but blood to the darkness, and had in turn vowed to fight back against it until he could fight no more. After that day he had fought at the side, ok, maybe a way behind but still a bit off to the side regardless, of Buffy. And things had happened to him, things which in retrospect may have happened even had he been ignorant of the real evil in the world, but would have certainly had different resolutions had he remained unaware of the true reality. One day at a School Field Trip to the Zoo, he came to be possessed by a primal Hyena spirit. While the possession was later disrupted, unbeknownst to him the possession had left its mark on him. Then later that year, he had been possessed a second time, this time by a fictitious immortal version of himself, who ended up being more or less unsuccessfully "brought across" by an equally fictitious master vampire from an old TV show. Somehow while trying to bring across his new Childe, the vampire unlocked the remnants of the Hyena Primal, and the Immoral Quickening added its own influence to create an amalgam which drew traits from all sources, but which was truly unique. Janus, the god who had powered the spell that temporarily created the Vampire and Immortals in question then threw his own hat into the ring, when he chose Xander to be his new champion, and thus took steps to insure that the powers and memories bestowed by the possessions remained fully intact after the spell was ended.
Thus Xander found himself properly armed to take up the battle he had previously sworn himself to. And all would have been of the good, had not the so called "Powers That Be" decided to interfere. Sending their Slayer against him, a girl named Kendra who was called when his friend Buffy died at the hands of the truly evil vampire known as The Master, albeit temporarily.
Kendra met with and fought Xander, who at the time was still just starting to get used to his new abilities, and tried her best to kill him. Fortunately, she failed. Unfortunately, she succeeded enough that Xander ended up fleeing, leaving her broken and unconscious body behind him in the graveyard where their encounter had taken place. Even worse, a passing vampire who had witnessed the fight decided she would make an excellent minion, and had tried to turn her himself. Intervention by the Powers That Be, who were for some reason more concerned with eliminating the apparent threat they saw from Xander to their plans, resulted in the Demonic Vampire Kendra became retaining her Slayer powers, thus creating a type of super-vampire.
Over the next few months, Kendra and Xander fought many times, neither one gaining an advantage over the other enough to end things for once and for all. To make things worse, after a night of romance on Buffy's seventeenth birthday, her lover the ensouled vampire Angel had lost his soul due to the escape clause in the gypsy curse which had restored it in the first place, and he had joined with Kendra, Spike, and Drusilla to create a new "Scourge of Sunnydale".
Buffy, Xander, and the other Scoobies managed to successfully thwart the return of The Judge, a demon of incredible power, able to literally burn the humanity out of people. But with a rocket launcher Xander procured from the nearby army base, the demon was soon a spattery new decoration all over the walls of the mall where he had chosen to make his first, and as it turned out, last attack.
Not to be thwarted, the Scourge managed to obtain another ancient demon, this one named Acaltha, who had been turned to stone centuries ago, before he could open his mouth and create a portal to suck the entire world into Hell.
But once more, the Scobies had a plan. While "the coven", made up of the experienced Gypsy Techno-pagan witch Jenny Calendar, along with witches-in-training Willow Rosenburg and Amy Madison worked to recast the soul-curse on Angelus and possibly Kendra, to try and stop them, Buffy and Xander went into the mansion to rescue Rupert Giles, Buffy's Watcher who had been taken prisoner by the Scourge and was being tortured in an attempt to extract the secrets needed to activate Acaltha and thus drag he world into hell.
During the ensuing battle, Xander ended up decapitating Kendra, thus freeing the Slayer essence to call the next Slayer, and ending her reign of terror. Angelus however managed to last through to the end, and had actually succeeded in activating Acaltha, and in a matter of moments, Angel was returned, while Xander, ended up piercing Angel through the heart with the blade which had been embedded in the demon, and both of them ended up trapped as the portal closed, taking them with it to Hell.
Xander soon lost track of the remorseful vampire in the chaos which was Hell.
The years after that were almost a blur. He had died several times, his vampiric essence and immortal quickening healing him repeatedly as he battled seemingly without pause.
Over time he met a few allies, gained and lost several weapons, and created and even vanquished several enemies.
Then, a few days ago, he heard how one of the local helllords, one of those firmly on Xander's Enemy List, had kidnapped someone's daughter. Or perhaps their pet, he hadn't been able to be sure. But what he had been sure of was that the victim was going to be sacrificed to help the said lord gain even more power. Something to do with opening portals. And Xander decided to do whatever he could to throw a monkey wrench into those plans.
So he had ended up fleeing from the lord's keep, several demons in hot pursuit, while he was carrying a cat. He had found the cat secured to an alter, awaiting the sacrificial ceremony. Using the blade he was currently carrying – some sort of mystical weapon he had picked up after killing it's previous bearer, he freed the cat and as stealthily as possible out of the keep. He had almost made it too, before he crossed paths with a roaming guard patrol. And the pursuit ensued.
Just when he had thought all was lost, the cat had done something, shivered a bit, and a portal had swirled into being on the ground before him.
He hadn't even hesitated to jump, and that had lead to the fight in the clearing. And his losing the cat. He was a bit worried about the missing cat, but even being lost in a forest should be better for it than being sacrificed by a demon lord. And he was out of Hell. He sure couldn't find a downside to that one.
Now, he had found a road. Where it went he wasn't sure, but from wherever it lead he could probably find a way to get back home. And even if he found he was in some other dimension, at least it wasn't Hell.+=+=+=+Chapter One – On the Road.
Xander looked up as the truck came around a bend in the road. It was red. And muddy. And it was slowing down, the driver apparently having spotted Xander as he made his way cautiously along the side of the mysterious road through the woods. The sun had been up for a few hours now, and he was actually on his second road, his first having dead-ended a bit after meeting this one.
Xander was sure he was a sight to behold, outfitted in all hand-made clothes, with a pack slung over one shoulder, and the obvious hilt of a bladed weapon poking out over the other one. He was also quite sure he stunk, not having found a likely place to bathe in quite a while – days before back in Hell. He could only imagine what he must look and smell like to any civilized human.
The truck pulled alongside him, and came to a complete stop. Then the window nearest him powered down, as the driver leaned over and looked out at him.
"Mornin'" the driver called out with a somewhat cautious tone.
Xander couldn't resist, and smiled back as he answered, "Yep, looks that way to me."
"Where are you heading?" the driver tried again to garner some sort of information.
"That's a good question. If I had the slightest clue where I was, I might have some sort of idea where I was going. All I can tell you at the moment is that-a-way, as the road I was on before, the one back there, ended, and I am kinda hoping this one will take me somewhere so I can figure out where I am and where I am going to go from there."
The driver looked confused at this, then queried, "You lost?"
Xander nodded, replying, "More than I could ever express. Um, I know this will sound as insane as I probably look, but could you perhaps tell me where I am, and maybe even the approximate date, even a season might help me at this point."
The driver looked even more confused, "Uh, you don't know where you are or what day it is? Were you in a crash or something?"
Xander shook his head, "More a something, which if I could describe it believably I would call it a college prank gone really wrong, one which involved dumping me out in the middle of nowhere as some sort of secret survival ritual, and providing me with only the supplies and clothes you can see on me. And the catch is, I have to make it back without getting caught or having to call for help."
The still unidentified driver shook his head, then offered, "Um, do you at least know you are in Canada? Ontario, or Sproule Township if you want to be more specific, in the Algonquin Provincial Park."
Xander looked around in renewed confusion, "Park? Looks more like a forest. Canada? Boy am I lost. Last I was aware, I was in California. When I get back I am so kicking their asses. Ok, what is the largest city around here, and am I at least heading in the right way?"
The driver looked dubious again, before saying "California? I'm heading to Toronto. If you want to jump in the back, I suppose I can give you a lift that far, it's about 4 hours."
"Back of the truck is far better than feet on street. I'd be much obliged."
The driver looked Xander up and down again, before nodding, and saying, "Then climb on in and get comfortable."
"Thanks," Xander replied as he climbed into the back of the truck.
As the window slid up, and the truck started to move off, there was a sudden flash of white, and the cat Xander had last seen shortly after emerging from the portal from Hell darted out of the woods and leapt for the back of the truck, landing on Xander's legs, and looking up at him with it's green eyes as it started purring.
Xander looked at the cat, and said, "Uh, hi again."
The truck stopped, and the driver's window rolled down, the driver sticking his head out and looking back, "Is that a cat?"
"Um, yeah. Um, a, his" the cat suddenly clawed him in the leg, and Xander reconsidered, "uh, that is, her name is uh," Xander thought back to what he had said upon first seeing the pretty pristine white kitty tied up to the alter in the demon lord's keep and used that as a name for the cat, "...Snowball. Yeah. Snowball, like a snowball's chance, if ya get the idea. It's a part of the whole test thing, I have to make it back with the cat. I'd thought I'd lost her though. I guess she's just better at this than I am."
The driver looked dubious, but resigned, and just rolled the window back up and drove on down the road.
Xander looked at the cat in his lap, then at the road now swiftly unwinding behind them, and thought back through LaCroix's memories of Toronto, trying to figure if there was any easy way he could get back to Sunnydale if he was stuck in Canada without any money or even real clothes. Not that the memories of a fictitious character would likely have much bearing on the real world. But as he kept thinking over and over in his mind, as though trying to convince himself at least he wasn't still in Hell.+=+=+=+