- Dark Themes
- Alternate Universe
Sequel to The Eye of Trevahmon
Alex concentrated on the third Torvahl ball. This one was a pale yellow, and the energy was calm and soothing. He reached out through that energy to see all the people this energy had touched. The recipients of this power were in a state of chaos and confusion. All across the planet there were people whose minds and hearts had been opened up to the thoughts and feelings of others and were unused to the influx of new input.
He drew on his own power, his connection to the Eye as he focused on the Torvahl ball and willed their minds to shield themselves. He knew the instinct was there; they were just too traumatized to give in to what their instinct was telling them to do.
When he felt millions of shields snap into place all at once, Alex sagged, exhausted. He opened his eyes and stared at the hovering objects for a moment. The Torvahl ball hovered for a moment longer before it’s yellow aura disappeared and it dropped to the floor.
Alex picked it up and set it inside the box before picking up the next one, a dark blue.
This one carried the essence of the physical changes for people whose genetics gave them a fraction of what their ancestors had wielded in times past. Alex called on his inner calm and pushed it out to the world, allowing the people suffering from unknown changes to feel his certainty that they would survive, that they could master their lives and whatever fate had wrought.
He breathed out slowly, and after a moment, he felt the echo of it around the world.
Alex turned to the last two balls. One, glowing a bright red, and the last one dark, no longer glowing. By a process of elimination, he knew that had once been the green one, the one most connected with the living force of the planet. He nudged it away for a moment while he focused on the red ball of energy.
Dawn made her circuit around the castle. She was wearing one of Aneni’s cloaking amulets so she wouldn’t be noticed until she wanted to be. She started in the Archives since that was where the Torvahl Balls had been stored, and where Willow had been when she was here last.
The archives were abandoned now though. She noticed that everything was locked up pretty tight. They probably didn’t want anyone getting in while things were so…out of control.
Her trip back to human civilization was an eye-opener. The first day or so she and Ronar had spent leaving the villages and territories of the Kre’ot and their neighbors. They hadn’t been affected by what had been unleashed by the Torvahl so it wasn’t until they started to enter human populated areas that things started to become clear.
Still, it had been hard to tell the true scope of the changes, versus the wide-spread panic. Humans were prone to panic first. She knew she wouldn’t get the information Alex wanted until she could see what Giles and his watchers had gathered, even as ignorant as they were to the cause.
Now, walking through the castle she could see that things were not too different. She had passed two of the training rooms on her way up from the archives and she had seen several of the slayers in there sparring, so clearly nothing had changed there.
She’d passed a couple of watchers in one of the research areas, and they seemed to be doing what they did best…researching. Researching what she had no idea, because as far as she knew there was no precedent for what was going on in the world, but no doubt they would try to find something to make themselves feel productive.
Her final stop before deciding to make her way to Giles and makes her appearance known was the infirmary. If there were sick or wounded, they would be with Corrine Matthews. She stepped inside the room and looked around.
Several of the beds were occupied, but it was hard to tell what exactly might be wrong with them. She moved around the room carefully, trying to see if there was anything obvious or telling without looking deeper or getting into the records.
“I thought you returned home.”
Dawn moved away from the patient area and turned towards Corrine’s office. The witch was staring towards her but not directly at her. Corrine was a powerful witch, more powerful in some ways then Willow, but her focus had always been on the healing arts. She never used her abilities for fighting evil or even for protection or defense.
“When I saw the news, I came back,” Dawn told her.
Corrine looked in her direction before nodding once. “These people will survive. They’ll be different, but they’ll live.”
“What happened to them?” Dawn asked carefully.
“Different things. They’ve all been changed in one form or another.”
Dawn turned back to the patient beds and took a breath and looked at them with her other sight. She could see their auras, same as before, but now they were ringed with a bright halo of color.
That was new.
“Rupert, you want to tell us what’s going on?” Harry Hart asked as he took a seat in the small conference room.
Hamish Faulkner, better known as Merlin to their work associates, sat beside him and raised a brown and silently waited for Rupert Giles to answer Harry’s question.
“I’m not exactly sure, to be honest,” Giles admitted.
Harry and Hamish exchanged a speaking look. “Start at the beginning then.”
Giles rubbed the bridge of his nose. “The beginning for us was two days ago when something happened, and knocked out many here. For some, it was brief, for others, that was the beginning.”
“How many are some?” Hamish asked.
“At the time of the incident, there were fifty-three people in the building. Twenty-seven were relatively unaffected.”
“And the other twenty-six people?” Harry asked.
Giles sighed heavily. “Seven died. Nineteen were sent to the medical wing in some sort of distress. There are still eleven people that haven’t been released by our doctor.”
“And what exactly is wrong with them?” Harry asked.
“Dr. Matthews hasn’t given a full report, but my understanding is that they are experiencing a range of new abilities. One of our researchers had to be sedated due to what Dr. Matthews referred to as an inability to shield properly. One of our more seasoned watchers slipped into some kind of catatonic state after he overheard something, from five miles away. And our logistics and operations specialist is currently a twenty-foot Burmese Python.”
Hamish looked intrigued. “A python? That sounds like what happened to Roxie.”
“Have you figured out what caused this?” Harry asked. “Or why only half of your people were affected? What about the rest of them?”
“No. We’ve been researching, to see if an event like this was foretold, or if anything like this has ever happened before, but so far, we haven’t come across anything. As for why those particular people, our doctor has a theory.”
“Well? What is it?”’ Hamish asked after a minute went by without Rupert explaining what exactly this theory entailed.
“All of the people who were affected during the incident were one-hundred percent human, with no exceptions. None of them had any advantages, mystical or otherwise, and they weren’t practitioners of the mystic arts.”
“And the twenty-seven who weren’t affected?” Harry asked sitting all the way back in his chair.
“Slayers and witches from a nearby coven mostly Plus myself.”
“The seven dead.” Hamish asked, “How exactly did they die? Was it like our three trainees? Burned from the inside by something?”
Giles nodded. “A few, yes. Two of them just stopped. Corrine Matthews, our doctor, couldn’t find a cause of death. She said their heart stopped, but she couldn’t find a reason for it.”
Harry was about to respond when the door opened and all three men turned. There was a woman standing just inside the door. She appeared to be in her late twenties, maybe early thirties. There was something off about her, but Harry couldn’t quite figure out what it was.
“Dawn.” Giles stood up from the table. “I thought you returned to Greece.”
“I was but decided to return here when I saw what was happening out there.”
Hamish looked at the woman with interest. She was telling the truth, but not the complete truth. “Who are you?” He asked.
“Oh, sorry.” Giles motioned towards the woman. Harry Hart, Hamish Faulkner, this is Buffy’s sister, Dawn.”
The woman smiled and reached out a hand to shake. “Dawn Summers. Nice to meet you.”
Hamish raised a brown. Another lie, but a vague one.
“They’re old friends of mine from school,” Giles explained. “Their organization, the Kingsmen, is associated with the Watchers. They deal with more mundane threats.”
Hamish snorted. “I’m not sure we’ll have any more of those, Rupert.” He looked across at the woman again. “Ms. Summers,” He spoke the name with a slight question in his tone, “were you affected by the incident? Rupert was just explaining how the people here reacted to it.”
The woman looked at Giles briefly before turning to look back at Hamish and grinning.
Several hours later, Giles was going through the reports that the research who were working the situation had provided.
“There’s nothing here that even hints at a cause or any sort of precedent,” Giles grumbled.
“Are you sure that this wasn’t natural?” Hamish asked after reading over one particular report for the third time.
Harry looked up from his own report and eyed his friend. “What makes you think that?”
“Doctor Matthew’s autopsies.” Hamish pulled out a stack of reports. “Every one of them lists no foreign matter. No chemicals, no objects, nothing that isn’t supposed to be there, or that hasn’t been there in previous scans or exams. There is no explanation for why a small handful of people’s heart just stopped for no reason, or why the others basically caught on fire from the inside. However, she states clearly in every one of these reports that nothing foreign was introduced.” He looked from Harry to Rupert. “You know what that tells me? That whatever caused these people to die, was a natural element.”
Dawn looked at the man with interest as she asked, “and what about the people who didn’t die?”
Hamish looked at her silently for a moment before turning away and pulling out a separate stack of reports, also from Corrine Matthews. “These scans and tests she took also indicate that nothing foreign was introduced. Which, again, mean that whatever changed these people, was already a part of them.” He looked around at the other men at the table, “A part of us.”
“Nevertheless, something activated whatever it was. We need to find that something.”
“To what end, Rupert?” Harry asked. “It is done. Finding out the how isn’t going to change it. It isn’t going to bring back the ones who died.”
“The Eye of Trevahmon,” Giles said suddenly.
Hamish and Harry looked at Giles as if he was suddenly speaking a language they weren’t fluent in. Dawn eyed the watcher carefully. “What about it?”
“This all started with Xander’s mission to acquire the Thambo’li and Lewensvera. He returned from that mission injured, and the Eye of Trevahmon hasn’t been out of his possession since then.”
“You think that has something to do with what happened here?” Dawn asked with a tilt of her head. She noticed Hamish was staring oddly at her again but was more amused by the scrutiny than concerned.
“We were never able to determine exactly what caused his blindness, or what the Eye of Trevahmon’s purpose was. He was never very forthcoming about it when we asked.”
Dawn sighed as she stared for a quiet minute at Giles and then moved her gaze two the two others. She tilted her head to the side and allowed her other vision to see them. She could see their aura’s. She’d always been able to do that when she took the time to learn. Giles’ was mostly gray with lines of black, but now it was outlined in a halo of yellow. Hamish had a green and gold aura, but it was also outlined by a halo of yellow. Harry, had a gray and purple aura, and a blue outline.
“Xander believed in the work you do here, but he also believed in other things.” She said finally. “You’re not always completely transparent, Giles.”
Giles frowned at her, but Hamish snorted.
“What exactly do you mean? You know some of the information we collect is very…delicate and we can’t share it in open channels.”
Dawn nodded. She understood that. She had always understood that the information she received for translations was sometimes without context very vague for a lot of different reasons, and though she had a secure and encrypted server, some information couldn’t or wouldn’t be shared unless she came in person, which she wasn’t always willing to do, for a variety of reasons.
“And the information you shared with me last time I was here? In person? That wasn’t an open channel, except in the sense we were speaking, openly in a room not too far from this one.”
Giles frowned again and took off his glasses. “I shared with you the information we had at the time. That was before the…incident. We didn’t know about what was about to happen yet.”
Dawn rolled her eyes. Why was it every time she came to this place she felt like she was sixteen again? “I am referring to what happened to Xander, Giles. Since you brought that up, let’s talk about that for a moment. When I was here, you told me that he was injured on assignment. Completely blinded. That isn’t exactly true. You told me that he had possession of a council artifact. As you have just now stated, you actually meant the Eye of Trevahmon, that was also, not exactly the truth. You said that Willow did magic on him without his permission and brought something through a portal. While it is true that Willow did magic on him against his will, what came through the portal is not a something but two someones. That is a lot of misrepresentation.”
Hamish snorted again. “That’s a lot of revisionism.”
Giles finished cleaning his glasses and stared at Dawn pointedly until she took a seat at the table again. “Where are you getting your information?”
“Xander and I are both expected to go out into the places that you can’t send a slayer and interact with the locals. In order to do what you ask of us, we must make friends and allies of these people. Some of those allies are the same.”
Giles looked at her in interest for a moment before digging through the paperwork on the table. “Lara Mason filed this report before the incident and she slipped into, well whatever has her now.” he handed it over to Dawn. “It says that she believes that we could perhaps get someone to help with our questions regarding some of the artifacts of unknown origin.”
“Oh?” Dawn leaned forward.
“Several of the watcher reports for the field in the past few years have made mention of someone the locals refer to as Nohra. They’re not sure what language the word is from or what it means, just that other tribes have adapted it for this person. He has a lot of contacts in the demon communities and knows a lot about the different types of magic. He sounds like the person to go to if we need information.”
“You can’t get in touch with the person who acquired this Eye of Trevahmon?” Harry asked.
“Not at the moment. He left England, but I’m not sure where he went. He was very upset.” Giles admitted.
Hamish eyed Dawn with interest. “You said you and this…Xander have similar contacts. Does that mean you’ve heard of this man? This Nohra?”
“I have heard of him.” She said slowly.
Giles sat up a little straighter. “You have? Could you bring him here?”
Dawn shook her head. “No. He won’t come here. But,” She held a hand up to forestall the watcher, “I can escort two people to him.”
“Just two?” Hamish asked with an interested look.
“Yes, just two. Are you interested, Mr. Faulkner?”
“I believe I am.” He smiled at her. “And my friends call me Merlin.”