- Character Bashing
- Dark Themes
- Death-Minor Character
- Permanent Injury
- Alternate Universe
Rupert Giles looked up from the book he was studying when the castle shook. The Watcher took off his glasses and tilted his head, trying to determine if that was a natural phenomenon or something more mystical. The lights in the room went out and he took his glasses off.
They weren’t prone to earthquakes, not like other places, and power outages weren’t common either, even with how old the castle was. He moved away from the desk and took a cautious step towards the cabinet near the door. It held emergency supplies. His office didn’t have any natural light and he wasn’t sure if there was going to be another tremor, or if the previous one was natural or something else.
He grabbed a flashlight and turned it on. Nothing. Strange. Parker made sure all of these supplies were up-to-date when he did his semi-annual inventory. Giles set the dead flashlight aside and picked up another and turned it on. It was also dead. The third one was the same. Definitely mystical then. Nothing natural would drain batteries like that. It was doubtful even an Electro-Magnetic Pulse would affect the flashlights like this.
Giles made his way to a separate cabinet hidden against one wall. He took out a magically-powered light-stone and activated it. It too remained dark. “Bullocks.” He shook his head and grabbed the sword and knife he kept in the cabinet for emergencies and went to find out what exactly was going on.
For the first fifteen minutes, Giles found absolutely nothing. No sign of any sort of attack or incursion force, and no one who was supposed to be there either. Several of the Slayers-in-Residence were on a training retreat, with some of the field watchers. Half a dozen of the field watchers who weren’t on the retreat were at the French branch handling something that had happened in <>. Those left behind were more researchers than field agents and they were more likely to stay hidden in their labs or offices until someone came to tell them everything was fine.
Giles finally came upon something unusual. Outside the training room, there were two bodies. Giles approached them cautiously. They were both lying on their stomach’s, looking hunched over. The first he reached was a blond, and he turned her over carefully.
It was Lara Mason, but her eyes were different. They were a strange milky white color, similar to Francesca Simon, the Coven’s previous seer. Giles checked for a pulse and she was still alive, but she looked to be trapped in some kind of trance. A vision maybe?
Giles moved over to the other person. She had long dark hair. He turned her over carefully and gasped at what he saw. It was Melissa Francis but she was definitely dead. It was hard to tell what killed her but it looked like something had burned her from the inside out. Her eye sockets had been burnt away, and there was a similar charring around her nose and mouth. He tilted her head a little and saw her ears were not spared whatever had happened to her.
Giles startled as he turned to find Willow and Loraine Randolph coming down the corridor.
“Where have you been?” He asked.
“We were down in the archives. Something…there was a tremor, and we got knocked out.” Lorraine answered for them both.
“Have you seen anyone else?” Giles asked.
“A few. Most people are unconscious, like that.” She motioned towards Lara. “A couple are dead.”
“And you left them where they fell?” Giles asked. “We don’t know what happened, or what, or perhaps who is responsible.” He narrowed his eyes. “Go, and collect the survivors. Bring them to the infirmary. I will head there now to make sure everything is safe there.” He turned away from the Slayer and made his way towards where the medical wing was.
The infirmary wasn’t in much better shape. Though Doctor Matthews wasn’t injured. She was a little bruised as she had been levitating to replace a bulb in a piece of equipment when she was knocked unconscious. She hadn’t been out long though and was preparing in case there were injured.
“Lara Mason is suffering from some type of trance, as best I could tell. Lorraine Randolph said they found people injured, but she didn’t indicate how many or what type of injuries.”
Matthews nodded. “Go on, Rupert. I can handle it. I’m sure you’re needed elsewhere.”
Giles left her to it and returned to his search of the castle.
Dawn opened her eyes and blinked. She was staring at the roof of a tent. A familiar tent. Her mind suddenly spun as she tried to remember what happened. The Torvahl balls. Alex. She sat up trying to see what might have happened.
Alex was still lying on the ground, the balls were hovering in the air, along with the Eye of Trevahmon. There was also a man kneeling over Alex. Definitely human, but there was definitely something other about this guy. His face was very scruffy and his eyes were full of intensity. This must be John.
“He’ll be back in a minute,” John said, turning to face her.
“How can you tell?” Dawn asked, curiously.
John smirked but didn’t answer. “You must be Dawnie.”
“Alex is the only one who calls me that anymore.”
Alex blinked his eyes open and took a deep breath. “This isn’t going to end well.” He whispered before being helped up by John.
“What happened?” Dawn asked.
“The veil lifted.” Alex turned to Dawn. “Did anyone see you take the Torvahl balls from the archives?”
“No.” Dawn blinked. “That’s why I hid them in the box and cloaked them before I left the castle.”
“Hmm.” Alex thought about that. “They will notice they’re missing. Probably come looking.”
“Can they be tracked?” John asked standing, prepared for a fight.
Alex reached out a hand. “No. They had no idea what they even were. I never told them where they came from, what they were, or even hinted at their true purpose. It’s doubtful they could find that information anywhere else.”
“They do know that you may have that information, however. They may think seeking you out is in their best interest now, when before it was not.”
“Or they may just go with their Plan B.” Elis offered as she stepped into the tent.
Alex tilted his head and turned to the green and gold figure standing in the doorway to his space. “You know what that is?”
“They will seek out another source of information on the items. An expert.”
Alex turned back to Dawn. “I need you to return to headquarters. Find out exactly who has been affected, and what their response is.”
The rainbow of color nodded. “Very well.”
“Ronar will accompany you back to England, but he’ll stay away from the council since they know he’s in contact with me.”
Dawn stepped forward and hugged Alex and then moved towards the doorway. “I’ll contact you once I have something to report.”
“We’ve got a problem.”
Giles looked up from the stack of books he was going through, trying to find some sort of reference to whatever had happened earlier. The medical wing was full of everyone who’d been in the castle. The Slayers and a handful of others managed to get by with a quick check, but a lot of others were in more serious condition. There were a total of five dead.
Rebeca Paulson was standing in the library doorway, looking concerned. She was a Slayer who had been found by Xander several years ago, and was pretty grounded and didn’t get bothered by a lot.
“What is it?” Giles asked.
“I just heard from Lacie. Whatever happened here, it didn’t just happen here.” Rebeca said with a pointed look.
Giles frowned. Lacie was one of the Slayers who’d gone on the retreat with the field watchers. They were over fifteen-hundred kilometers away. That was a pretty fair distance from the castle to be affected by whatever happened.
“What did she say? Were they affected in the same way, or was it to a lesser extent?”
“Exactly the same. She said everyone was knocked unconscious by some sort of wave, however when they woke up, the Slayers were fine, the watchers…well they were not. Madeline died. The rest were in some sort of state…similar to the people here.”
“Bloody Hell.” Giles took off his glasses. “Are they on their way back?”
“Yes. I sent Belinda and Tasmin out to help.”
“There’s more,” Rebeca said.
Giles looked over at the Slayer. “What?”
“There’s been reports on all the news outlets that some sort of illness or something has downed over sixty percent of the population.” She paused, “Worldwide.”
“Bloody Buggering Fuck.”