That Darn Book
Arc 1: Dawn
Act 1: Astronomical Dawn
Part 2: That Darn Book
Disclaimer: I don't own all I didn't own last chapter plus the quote and pic.
The young mother started the morning fires under the watchful eyes of her young child. While this was normal of the child the intensity of the stare today was not. This made the young mother shiver and fidget as she went about her chores before shaking the whole thing off as silly. In overcompensation she scooped up her child and bounced the babe on her hip. In response the child giggled merrily with a laugh the young mother was sure was not her daughters but again shook it off.
“Father is off cutting more wood and brother is feeding the chickens. What shall we do with this quite time my love?” The young mother smiled and kissed the child’s fingers. Then she sat and gave her child its morning meal of porridge sweetened with honey. As she watched her little girl eat she had the strangest sensation that something was off about this whole scene before her.
Little Christina took each bite of food when her mother offered it and waited patiently for the next when her mother paused in thought. Reflected in the child’s eyes was a wisdom that had not been there the day before and in worry the mother lightly bit her lip.
Because behind that wisdom was a mischievous glint that she new not how to describe. For the third time that morning she shook off those odd feelings and continued feeding her child. When she finished a new thought entered her mind.
Was it just her or was the child better behaved today. She took back that thought immediately and replaced it with a more accurate thought that the child was more quite then usual and more observant. Her thoughts were cut off this time by a scream and it came from little Christina. The young mother covered her ears and swore that her child was making sounds like a screeching banshee.
Quickly the mother lifted the child and bounced the child on her hip to calm her. After a few minutes the child calmed and the perplexed mother placed her back to bed for a nap. The child went to sleep almost instantly and the mother sighed in relief. After she was certain the child was well and truly asleep she went about her other in house chores.
She did needle work, sweeping, and salting of more meats for the coming winter. Her time passed much in this manner and when she was almost finished with lunch the door to her home opened and in came her 8 year old son and husband. She smiled and said;
“Whistler, John welcome home!” Before giving each a big hug.~~~***~~~
“A book is one of the most patient of all man's inventions. Centuries mean nothing to a well-made book. It awaits its destined reader, come when he may, with eager hand and seeing eye. Then occurs one of the great examples of union, that of a man with a book, pleasurable, sometimes fruitful, potentially world-changing, simple.”
~ Lawrence Clark Powell
As Buffy was plunged under the ice she managed to smack her head on a solid, totally unyielding, piece of frozen water. So as the cold water soaked though her clothes her eyes faded to black as a resounding pain flooded her senses. What happened next even to this day Buffy couldn’t explain as it was a weird experience that holds with nothing she’s heard of since. In the end the blame of what happens next fell on that damn book that, in her opinion, wishes to drive her insane.
So the next thing Buffy knew, she floating in a warm, thick liquid of which she couldn’t see through and, quickly enough, she realized she couldn’t breath in. She started kicking and paddling trying in vain to push herself to the surface but all directions led nowhere. After a few seconds of her frantic movement she took in a lung full of liquid.
As the taste of copper fled over her tongue and filled her lungs she grimaced in disgust. Lungs full of blood; what kind of blood was anyone’s guess but if it was Buffy’s guess she would say human because that’s what all the demons used in their dark rituals and it had to be a demon ritual; what else could it be? She coughed the offending liquid out of her lungs as best she could but it was already too late and for the second time that day she succumbed to darkness.
The next time she awoke she felt damp but was happy to know she was no longer immersed in whatever bloody liquid she had been in before. Before she opened her eyes she realized she was lying on some sort of stone and little bits of sand were sticking to her still damp skin. As she gasped air into her lungs she noted that its taste was stale and she coughed once or twice before opening her eyes and attempting to sit up.
“Oh…” Before she was fully up she froze at the sight before her. Whatever liquid she had been in was gone and no trace of it was left, except that on her skin. Instead she found her self in a cave like room with no obvious entries or exits and the only light came from candles place haphazardly around the room.
Despite being a cave she found it had red shelves covered in all forms of fancy golden objects ranging from weapons to jewelry. There were even golden shoes and a dress.
The thing that caught her attention the most however was an ancient looking book on an equally ancient looking pedestal. Without even knowing the contents of said book Buffy knew Willow, Dawn, and Giles would be drooling over it. Shaking away her awe she pushed her self completely to her feet and glanced down at her self, a task she had been avoiding, and caught a lot of red in the flickering candle light.
So on top of being naked, yes naked, she was painted from head to toe in the red liquid; which, she was sure, was blood. Disgusted she started whipping herself in vain to remove the offending liquid. After a few minutes she sighed and went back to her perusal of the room when a wind, that she had no clue of its origin, rushed past her and nudged her toward the center of the room.
So she found her self facing the odd book on the pedestal. She ran her hand over the cover and felt that it was made of some sort of leather. She went to open it when logic seized control of her mind again. She needed to get out of here and back to the lake with Dawn and the others. She wanted to be certain Willow was ok and she wanted her friends to know she was alive. On top of that unknown books could be dangerous; her many years as a Slayer taught her that.
Moving away from the book she examined the other things on the shelves. Feeling cold and remembering her own naked appearance she grabbed the golden looking cloak; though she did so hesitantly. Even though she couldn’t recall any stories involving evil cloaks or cursed ones you never really know until you walk into a situation involving such things. So she slowly draped the cloth over her shoulders and wrapped its warmth around her body.
When the cloak and her body disappeared she dropped the item to the ground in shock. As she stared at the cloak she wondered if all the items were magic.
“What is this place, Avalon?” She put the cloak back on and walked around the room a bit more only to find that she mindlessly walked right back in front of the book. Again she felt a strong desire to open it.
“Ah, what the heck, it’s not like I’m going anywhere.” She noticed that the book had a lock and wondered if she could open it. It was a moot point though for the second she fingers brushed the lock it swung open. Again a wind came from no where opening the book and flipping though the pages at a rapid speed. When the wind died down the book was opened up to about the middle.
Looking at the page she found it to be blank which was odd. Why would she have such strong feelings about opening an empty book? Of course, she reasoned, something could be written in the front.
So she reached out to flip to the beginning but the second her hands touched the pages she was frozen still. She tried to move but couldn’t when she started to feel a strong pulling sensation on her skin. As the feeling grew stronger it started to sting then hurt. A silent scream wrenched free of her throat and soon became a high pitched squeal.
As soon as the whole thing started it ended and Buffy fell to the floor in pain and exhaustion. With her fell the book still open to the same empty page.
Only now the page wasn’t quite so empty.
As she regained her senses Buffy watched in awe at the blood soaked page. Her skin, which had been blood soaked, was now the palest white she had ever seen and not a trace of the blood remained anywhere on her. The blood on the pages was now starting to swirl and the words that formed were;
“Read aloud the words I sow
The consequences of not
Shall bring a greater woe
Than if you’d said them at all”
“Ok, read aloud got’cha.” ‘This doesn’t sound so good.’ The words disappeared in a swirl of red and then in a swirl of black this time the words written were;
“I ‘The Traveler’ came at Twilight
To start the journey in the morn
I free the items that cause a fright
For all who own will surely mourn”
“That doesn’t sound of the good.” A few seconds after saying all this, the mysterious wind picked up again and this time it was stronger then ever. As this happened all the items in the room started vanishing both alone and in groups. Even the cloak she was wearing flew off her shoulders and encircled some things before flying right through the ceiling.
Finally the book pried free from her hands before slamming into her chest and for the third time that day she blacked out.
~~~***~~~ *Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock.*
Dawn’s eyes dropped closed only for her to snap them open again; her head rested softly on her arms as she felt her breath run across her skin.
‘I will not sleep.’ In front of her sat a mirror made of glass, ivory, jade, and wood of the deepest brown. This mirror had been found on the ice during the search for Buffy’s body. They never found Buffy’s body. Not a hair, not a limb, not a shoe. All they found was this un-connecting mirror, a useless mirror.
In a tired rage she hit the mirror and watched as it flew threw the air, as if in slow motion. As it turned and twirled it caught light from the windows and lamps. The light danced off the smooth surface at odd angles and the shadows cast by the reflected light looked like tiny people, running, dancing, and spinning.
At the sight Dawn’s heart froze and her body tensed. *Smash.*
As the mirror hit the floor all those images disappeared as silver glass flew across floor and dug into her feet and hid under bookshelves. Dawn’s heart returned to normal and she slid out of the chair; her butt hitting the floor with a thud. Blood flowed from her feet and flooded the silver particles
The glass on the floor was gone as was her blood. Instead of sitting on her butt she was lying on her side; head resting on her arm. Quickly she inspected her feet and found them free of both cuts and blood. Instead they looked pinkish and felt sore. The mirror was still on the table she had been sitting at and it was whole.
Getting off the floor she picked up the mirror and began examining it; turning it over and running her fingers over it. She almost gave up when she found it; a hidden catch.
Opening it she frowned at the inscription she found inside. As she was still tired and disoriented she did something slightly foolish. She read, out loud, the words.
“At the gate of Twilight find
A hope hidden by our kind
A path a child’s eye can see
When all adults blinded be.”
Nothing happened and the thought something might have happened never even crossed her mind. As such she didn’t notice the sudden eerie silence, as if the world held its breath. In the silence only the sound of the ticking clock could be heard and it slowly grew louder with each second. Then the door to the Library slammed open and Faith stormed in.
“Damn it B, where are you…” Faith slammed her fist in the wall and jumped when her eyes fell on Dawn.
“Whoa little D. You almost gave me a heart attack. Why ya still up?” Dawn shrugged then yawned;
“Couldn’t sleep.” Faith nodded.
“Gotcha. Me too I guess. The whole thing with B is just on constant re-play. We’ll find her…” Faith stopped as she saw Dawn shaking her head in a negative manner.
“Whatever did this left the mirror. And I have a hunch it wasn’t anything we’ve faced before. I just don’t know how it all connects.” Faith nodded and took the mirror from Dawn’s hands.
“We’ll solve this. We got the best of the best on it after all.” Dawn smiled tiredly but soon it turned into a frown.
“Speaking of best of the best how’s Willow.” Faith grimaced and said;
“Still out like a light.” Both could only hope she woke up soon.
She was floating in the air and felt lighter then a feather. The air was crisp, cool, and inviting and Willow knew she never wanted to leave this place. Where ever ‘this place’ was. She could feel Xander was somewhere beside her, worried, but safe. He was also asleep.
Under further investigation she soon realized Kennedy was on her other side, the right, and also asleep. Only she was frightened and sick with worry.
This confused Willow. How could they be so worried when she was so incredibly happy floating in her little pocket of air.
Dawn, too, had worry about her. She was further away and Faith was with her. Their worry had nothing to do with her though and that had Willow’ little magic bubble beginning to burst. They were worried which meant one thing. Buffy was hurt.
But Willow couldn’t find Buffy. Everywhere her magic touched there was no trace of her blonde Slayer friend. Willow had never been good with auras like Tara but right now she felt she could do any magic she wanted. In her pursuit of Buffy Willow hit on information that had her falling so fast in the metaphysical world that her stomach jumped to her throat.
According to aura trails Buffy hasn’t existed since her jump off the tower in 2001.
Willow wasn’t so happy anymore and she felt frozen. Everywhere she looked as far as the eye could see she saw stars and space.
Xander jerked awake at the sudden feeling of being cold. Bleary eyed he looked around the infirmary and saw that the windows had frosted. Standing up he rubbed his arms and walked over to the thermostat.
“What the…? 35 degrees (1)!” Yet the heater was definitely turned on so the room shouldn’t be that cold. Then Xander turned back to the bed and the two sleeping woman. Despite the slight embarrassment he couldn’t help but scream at what he saw right in front of him. Willow was no longer looking very… human. Her skin was like someone had photo-shopped a starry sky on top of her image.
Kennedy woke at his scream and backed away from Willow with a silent scream of her own. When they were both next to each other Kennedy asked;
“What’s going on? What’s wrong with her?” Xander rolled his eye and said;
“If I knew that you think I’d be…” He was cut off as the lights started flickering and when they stopped they both stood frozen starring at the words written in ice and blood on the wall above Willow’s head. Buffy will be found even if I have to stretch my boundaries across the very stars.
AN: This story has been on my mind and refuses to leave me alone. So to get it out of my mind here it is. This one will be updated slower then my GW/BTVS fics... i think. I'm almost done with next chap of Gundam Faith.