Disclaimer: Recognizable characters do not belong to me. The belong to Mutant Enemy and Sony Pictures, respectively. I am only playing with them for my own amusement.
"Where are we going?" Xander asked Petreius when they stepped into the cool night air.
"There is a council meeting."
"Now?" Xander asked, tilting his head slightly, scenting the air. "The sun will be up soon."
Petreius smiled at the ease with which his young Childe was acclimating to his new senses. "Come. The sun will not be an issue."
Xander nodded and followed his Sire, anxious to meet the people who had summoned his father away from his home after more than a millennium.
Petreius observed his new Childe with interest. The members of the council eyed the young vampire with a mixture of curiosity, fear and fascination. He knew the curiosity was due to the fact that he had not taken a child in well over a thousand years, and even then, never one so young. The fascination was no doubt caused by the strange power Xander seemed to exude. It was one of the things, which had first attracted Petreius.
The fear was harder to define. Something about Xander frightened them. Something inexplicable and unnameable. Something they themselves couldn't place. Petreius himself had felt no such emotions towards his Childe, only the knowledge that he had chosen well.
Xander eyed the council members impassively. He knew he was under intense scrutiny and for the first time in his life he didn't have to fight the urge to squirm.
He held no fear or worry over what these vampires would do if they found him lacking, knowing only that he was more than he had been, perhaps more than he had ever hoped to become. Even knowing that the council consisted of some of the most powerful vampires in the world didn't daunt him.
The only familiar face among them belonged to his Uncle, and Xander wasn't sure if that was a plus or not.
//What do you sense?//
It wasn't the first time Petreius had spoken to him telepathically, but before it had always been brief incursions, just letting him know that it was an ability he could master.
This was different. Xander could sense the intensity in Petreius question. This wasn't just a test. He really wanted to know what Xander could sense. A part of his mind wondered why. Surely Petreius was more powerful than he and could gain any knowledge himself. Another part, didn't question why, and just sought the answer.
He surveyed the room before him. The council was seated around an oval table. The table seated seventeen, but the council only numbered thirteen, so that left a small section open.
Their faces were completely expressionless, as if they had no emotions. There was a strange vibe emanating from the table. A heat, usually vacant in a room full of the walking dead.
//They're worried.// Xander answered when he deciphered what was causing the unusual feeling in the air.
Petreius made no further move to communicate, and Xander assumed that there was a reason no one had spoken yet, and remained silent.
"Join us." Lucius began after a few more moments of silence.
Petreius sat in one of the four vacant chairs and nodded at Xander to do the same.
After they were seated, a woman across from Xander began to speak.
"We have lost over a hundred in the past six weeks."
"Cause?" Petreius asked.
Xander listened as his father and the other vampire's discussed the emergency, which had brought them to Toronto. Apparently there had been several deaths around the world. Vampire deaths not caused by sunlight, stake or decapitation. They just simply…died.
They believed that someone, or something was doing this, on purpose, and had requested Petreius' assistance in determining who or what that was.
"It's a vampire." Xander blurted out the words before he thought better of it.
Thirteen pairs of eyes turned to stare at him. There was complete silence for a minute.
"Do you know what you are suggesting?" An oriental man who appeared to be in his fifties asked, his tone sharp.
Xander frowned. "Um, no." He didn't understand what the big deal was. Surely the thought had occurred to them. In his experience vampires killed other vampires all the time.
The oriental vampire stared hard at Xander, his dark eyes glowing gold for a moment. "Leave us."
When Xander hesitated, another spoke.
"Now!" The new vampire roared, his sharp fangs glittering in the darkness.
Xander stood up quickly and disappeared out of the small door in the back of the room. He wandered around for a minute before finding a staircase. He followed the stairs down a floor and moved quietly through the darkened hallway until he found an unlocked door.
Stepping inside the room, Xander looked around. It appeared to be a library of some sort. Bookshelves lined the walls, from floor to ceiling, each shelf was full. It was the type of place Giles would love. For a moment he felt a little sad that he would probably never see Giles or any of the others again.
But soon, his curiosity got the better of him. What kind of books would interest vampires? Whatever they were, they were old. Very old. He could smell the age and dust.
Picking a shelf at random, Xander lifted a heavy tomb and opened it. It wasn't in English, but neither was it in any language Xander had come across in Giles own collection of ancient tombs. Though the language was both unfamiliar and oddly recognizable, he didn't have any trouble deciphering the text. He went from book to book, reading some passages, and skimming others. Several of them talked about the first vampires and how they came to be, about how over time they had learned to hide themselves, to remain a secret in the mortal world, nothing but a myth.
Several of the books also referenced another book, and thanks to his years working with Giles, and the organized way in which the library seemed to be maintained, it wasn't difficult to locate.
This book was all about Vampire law and custom, and the forming of the council.
According to this book, the council consisted of thirteen vampires, all masters in their own right. Each one held a position of control over a certain area. The master's on the council were known as Dux Ducis.
Lucius LaCroix was the Dux Ducis of the northern part of North America. The other twelve council members represented South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, Antarctica, and the southern part of North America. Although constantly aware of what was going on around the world, the council only met once every century, unless there was an emergency.
Not all vampires knew of the council's existence, or why they existed, although most knew of the existence of the Enforcers.
The Enforcers were a subgroup of the council. They consisted of a rare breed of vampires, whose sole purpose it was to protect the interests of the vampire community. They acted of their own volition and dealt with things as they saw fit.
Like all things in existence, vampires had a code, rules that they had to live by in order to survive.
The first, and most important of these rules was 'Tell No One', equaled only by 'No killing of your own kind.'
The exception to the first rule was, of course, those you planned to bring across. The exception to the second were those called 'Effera' which meant 'the untamed' in Latin.
"Look who we have here?"
Xander looked up from the book he was reading.
There was a man standing in the doorway to the library. He looked to be in his thirties but Xander could sense he was considerably older.
They stared at one another for a prolonged minute before Xander returned to his perusal of the book.
"Do you know who I am?" The man asked as he stepped further into the room, not liking the apparent dismissal he had just been given.
"Who?" Xander answered, not looking up. "No, but I know what you are…aside from a vampire, of course."
"Of course." The vampire stepped closer. "What am I?"
"An Enforcer." Xander looked up again, gauging the vampire's reaction. He wasn't sure how he could tell this particular vampire was an Enforcer, especially since he'd only just read about them.
"You're not afraid?"
"Should I be?" Xander asked seriously, knowing that according to what he'd recently read that most vampires did indeed fear the enforcers.
"Bishon." The vampire held out a hand and stepped closer.
"Xander." Xander took the hand, and felt a jolt of energy at the contact. He stared into Bishon's eyes, feeling an odd sense of power connecting them at the source of their contact.
Xander stepped back, removing his hand from Bishon's.
Bishon smiled. "We'll meet again." He backed out of the room and disappeared.
"I'm sure." Xander frowned. That was one vampire to watch out for.
Angel stopped and turned towards his childe. "This is the only way, William."
"I know, but…"
"But you're wondering why I would do this?" Angel asked quietly.
"No, you bloody ponce! I'm wondering why *they* would do this."
"I know." Angel agreed. "That's been bothering me too."
"Having me…me again is curious enough, but the price they are asking." Spike looked up at the sky, the stars pricking the curtain of black. "Are we going to do this?" He asked finally.
"Yes. Let's go."
The rest of the walk through the woods was made in silence. Spike wasn't sure this was a good idea. He wanted the chip out of his head, but nothing good could come from the price they sought. And that Angel was willing to pay it was even more disturbing.
They reached the cave a few minutes early but there was a tall, scaly demon waiting for them. Both vampires recognized him as a Kovar demon. A species dedicated to the force known to Angel as 'The Powers That Be'.
"This way." The demon's voice was deep and melodic.
Spike and Angel followed the demon through the cavern to a tunnel. They finally stopped when the tunnel opened up into a large room.
Three more of the tall, scaly Kovar demons were waiting in the large cavernous room.
"Angelus. William the Bloody." The tallest of the demons acknowledged. "I am Litau. Are you prepared to pay the price?"
"Yes." Angel answered simply.
"Do you understand what it is we are asking? What we are taking?" Litau asked somberly.
"Yes." Angel answered again, no hesitation in his voice.
The demon nodded once and turned towards Spike. "William, Childe of Angelus, line of Aurelius, come forth."
Spike turned to look at Angel once before stepping forward quickly.
Litau placed his hands on either side of Spike's head and began chanting.