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Star Knight, Star Bright

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This story is No. 1 in the series "Follies of Fate". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: YAHF. A response to Chorlton's challenge to show a Halloween story with lasting consequences to the various characters, based on their choice of costumes. Also, multi-crossover with Palladium's Rift game and Stargate SG-1.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Games > Fantasy > Rifts
Stargate > Xander-Centered
GreywizardFR18312,98332924,35830 Oct 056 Dec 05Yes

Star Knight, Star Bright

Title: Star Knight, Star Bright

Author: Greywizard1235

Email: grey.wizard@verizon.net

Rating: Not much worse than the show, for the most part.

Disclaimer: All of the really good characters belong to Mutant Enemy and Crack-Head Joss Whedon, although he doesn't deserve any of them, considering the way he's destroyed them over the past couple years. I'm just borrowing all of the characters for a while. There is no intent to profit from this. Only the story is mine.

Category: YAHF. A response to Chorlton's challenge to show a Halloween story with lasting consequences to the various characters, based on their choice of costumes. Also, multi-crossover with Palladium's Rift game and Stargate SG-1. Timelines have been adjusted to suit me.

Summary: Xander chooses a different costume, and his selection has last-lasting repercussions on him, the other Scoobies and a great many other people.

Time frame: Alternate Buffy-verse, branching off at Season Two episode, "Halloween."

Character Bashing: None.

Feedback: Of course! Constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated. Flamers will be ignored and/or added to the lists of those to be painfully exterminated, once I am appointed to my rightful position as King of the World.

"word" is speech; // word // is a foreign language; { word } is thoughts.

Author's Note 1: Angst alert! Some character deaths ahead, people.

Author's Note 2: Many thanks to Lori Bush, Tim Joy, Drake the Archer and Bill Haden for beta-ing this and for their many suggestions that improved this immensely.

Author's Note 2: As usual, "word" indicates speech, :: word :: indicates mental communication and { word } indicates a character's thoughts.

Author's Note 3: Story #1 in my 'Follies of Fate' series.

~~~

Title: Star Knight, Star Bright


Ethan's Costume Emporium
Sunnydale, CA


"So, Xand, have you decided what you're gonna be tomorrow night?" Willow asked, as they made their way through the crammed aisles of the new costume shop that had opened the previous week.

"Uh-huh," her childhood friend nodded, a wide grin on his face. "I was cleaning out the basement yesterday and I came across that costume Jesse was working on last year, so I think I'll finish that up and use it."

"Really? The Knight one he was basing on that character he rolled up?" the redhead half-squealed in delight, a smile lighting up her face as she remembered her friend and his awesome luck with a twenty-sided dice.

"Yeah," he nodded back. "The Knight one. I think he'd like that."

"He'd love it!!!" Willow agreed. "I think that's a great idea, Xand."

"Yeah, hence, the sword and pistol," he said, indicating the items in his hand. "And I just need to pick up a little more gold paint to finish up the detail work, and it'll be all done."

"Okay, then. I have to go help Buffy decide on what she's gonna wear. She was talking about going as an eighteen century noblewoman," she told him in a confidential tone of voice.

"She really wants to impress Deadboy, huh?"

"Don't be like that, Xand. She really loves him."

"He's a two hundred and forty year old walking corpse, Wills. And she's a vampire Slayer who thinks she's in love with a demon-possessed dead body. How is that NOT strange and disturbing?"

"You have no romance in your soul, Xand."

"And he had no soul in his body for over a century and a half. Have you actually read any of the Watchers' Chronicles from that time period, Wills? The things his demon did made Hannibal Lector look like a fluffy bunny rabbit and ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacres' seem like an ‘Oscar the Grouch gets crabby' video."

"When did you start reading the Watchers' Chronicles, Xand?" Willow asked curiously.

"Actually, I found Dawnie reading them in the library when she was waiting for Buffy to walk her home last week and took them away from her," he admitted. "Man, if Mrs. Summers ever found out Dawnie had read anything like that, she'd skin us all alive!"

"For a twelve year old, she's very bright and precocious," Willow noted a bit of feminine pride in her voice.

"Yeah, and for the mother of a twelve year old, I'm sure Mrs. Summers can be very over-protective and bloodthirsty."

"Good point. My lips are sealed."

"I'm gonna get the rest of the stuff I need and go finish up my costume. See ya."

"Talk to you later, Xand."

~~~

"My, Xander, you certainly look imposing," Joyce Summers comments as she stepped back to allow him entrance.

"Thanks, Mrs. Summers," the costumed brunet smiled as he carefully stepped by her, his helmet tucked under his arm. "It's something a friend of mine was working on for a while, before he… disappeared last year," he informed her. "I figured I'd wear it as a sort of tribute to him, or something."

"That's a very thoughtful idea, Xander," Joyce complimented him. "Who was it he intended to represent?"

"Wow, Xand," Dawn's eyes widened as she came practically flying down the stairs. "Who are you supposed to be? A Warhammer 40K Imperial Guard?"

"Not quite, Dawn-star," he shook his head ‘no.' "This is a costume an old friend of mine had been working on before he – went missing." He knew that, unlike Joyce, Dawn knew enough about what happened here in town to realize what he really meant with that particular code phrase.

"I'm sorry, Xand," the younger brunette immediately declared as she reached out and hugged him. "You must miss him."

"Yeah, I do," he acknowledged with a shrug. "But there's nothing I can do about it but try to keep on remembering him, and that's what I'm doing with this," he indicated his costume.

"Jesse was really wild about this game called Rifts, and he'd rolled up this character, Marcus Sinclair, a Cosmo-Knight, a real superpowered cosmic protector type of guy, and this is the armor Jesse pictured him wearing," he explained.

The silver-hued, gold-chased armor Xander wore strongly resembled the plate mail worn by the knights of the middle ages, but had an ultramodern aspect to it, while the large, futuristic-looking pistol he wore on his right hip was counterbalanced by the rune-inscribed silver sword slung at his left. The helmet, at least to the youngest Summers' eyes, more closely resembled the X-Men's foe, Magneto's, helmet – than anything she'd seen in any history book, even counting those in Giles' collection.

"Well, whatever, you really look cool in it, Xand," she affirmed to her very favorite Scooby. "And dangerous."

"Thanks, Dawn. And you're looking like quite the lethal-looking young lady, yourself," Xander commented as he took in the younger Summers sister's outfit. "Who are you supposed to be?"

Dawn's long brown hair was pinned up in a bun at the base of her neck and she was wearing a sleeveless, collared vest of what appeared to be chocolate-brown leather over a long-sleeved dark blue shirt, a pair of jeans and hiking boots, with what looked to be several of Buffy's stakes tucked through loops on her belt, while a realistic-looking short sword was slung across her back.

"Oh, well, I'm basing my costume on a character I read about in a book of legends I found in the school library," she smirked at him, and the founding Scooby Gang member began feeling a sinking sensation in his stomach as he listened to her explanation.

"Her name was Maureen Mac Corey, and she lived in Ireland back in the early seventeenth century. She was one of a group of mystical warriors called Vampire Slayers, who fought demons and other monsters, and according to the stories I read, she was supposed to be one of the best Vampire Slayers that had ever lived," she grinned up at him, her expression daring him to make a comment about her costume.

"I see," he nodded neutrally, even as he glared at the quite-pleased-with-herself younger Summers sister.

His attention was distracted from his displeasure with Dawn by Buffy and Willow joining them, Buffy in some ornate maroon dress and Willow in what had become her traditional costume, a ghost, although this year, instead of an old sheet, she was clearly wearing a store-bought costume with "BOO!" written across the front. He frowned at that, he'd hoped that he'd talked her into that Black Widow costume they saw at the store, but it looked like she chickened out.

With a minimum of fuss and bother, the trio headed off to the school to meet their charges, while Dawn left to join her friends on their own rounds of the adjoining neighborhoods.

~~~

Star Gate Command
Cheyenne Mountain Complex


"Excuse me, sir, but sensors have just indicated that they've detected the presence of multiple vessels approaching the outer limits of the system as established by the Asgard."

"How many vessels, Sergeant?"

"At least twenty of cruiser size, sir, and upwards of thirty smaller ships. We'll have to filter the data in greater detail to determine whether any fighters came in separately, sir."

"Bring the base to a Yellow Alert status and notify second shift to get down here and help start filtering that data. I'll notify the General and Washington."

"Yes, sir. I'll start right on it."

~~~

Ethan's Costume Emporium
Sunnydale, CA


// The mask transforms itself into flesh and blood. Your holy presence curdles the heart. Janus! Take the night! // the Chaos Mage chanted as he knelt before the two-faced statue. A moment later, the eyes of the bust began to glow a brilliant greenish-white.

"Showtime!" the Englishman proclaimed, a satisfied smile on his face as he felt his lord's power surge outward from the bust.

As the wave of eldritch energy enveloped the town, those costumes and items offered by Ethan Rayne avidly absorbed the power available and worked their magic on their bearers, altering the unsuspecting celebrants into the image and substance of the character they had sought to portray.

~~~

Lady Elizabeth stared around her in shock and confusion. What in the name of Heaven was going on? One moment she was about to enter the coach that would take her and her husband to His Lordship's Holiday Ball, and the next, she was standing in the middle of some unfamiliar town, surrounded by groups of wildly screaming children who were being menaced by repulsive and vicious creatures that resembled nothing so much as the monsters of legend whose stories were used to terrify misbehaving children.

She was rushing towards one of the screaming groups of children, heedlessly ignoring any possible threats to herself and intending to take charge and lead them to safety, when she noticed bright lights illuminating her, heard a blaring horn of some kind sounding from behind her, a loud screeching noise, and then everything suddenly went black.

***

"Where'd she come from?" the SUV's driver demanded as he climbed out of his car and stared in horror at the limp form sprawled across the street in front of his vehicle.

"She just ran out of nowhere, right in front of me! I couldn't stop in time!"

~~

Willow felt a brief moment of vertigo overwhelm her and then found herself lying on the porch of the house she and her charges had been visiting. Pushing herself back to her feet, she glanced down to see her body lying motionless on the deck.

"Ohmigod! That's me! I'm a real ghost!" she gasped, eyes wide with surprise and alarm. She looked around frantically, momentarily unable to decide what to do next, when she saw a familiar figure looking around in confusion a short distance down the street.

"Xander! Are you okay?" she called as she began running towards him, only to stumble to a halt as she watched her best friend since childhood begin to glow slightly a moment before he rocketed upwards into the sky.

~~

Marcus Sinclair shook his head and stared around him in confusion, as his galactic awareness informed him that he was now not only no longer in the Anvil Galaxy, but he was, apparently, back home on planet Earth!

{ What in the name of the Forge is going on? } he thought to himself. { A moment ago, I was heading towards Gemini Two in response to a request from an archaeological team on a dig there, and now I'm home? How could this have happened? Who's responsible? }

Allowing his awareness to expand outwards, Marcus frowned as he sensed the presence of an unknown fleet approaching what would normally be considered the outer boundaries of the solar system, the auras permeating the fleet's ships bearing the same psychic stench that most of the Kreeghor he'd encountered had borne.

Taking a moment, he tried to focus his normally erratic precognitive sense on the approaching potential armada, and was rewarded with a horrifying instant's visualization of battle-scarred ships attacking cities, the unrestrained carnage accompanying the attack leaving piles of bodies scattered across the ground to the horizon.

{ Their arrival does not appear to bode well for this planet's well-being, } he thought to himself, the least bit sardonically. { Perhaps I should go discuss with them exactly how well-behaved guests are expected to conduct themselves. }

Giving a small shake of his head in abhorrence at the universality of some forms of cross- species behavior, Sinclair shot upwards, heading for what he hoped was going to end up being a very expensive and unsuccessful attempt at conquest.

~~

Maureen Mac Corey quickly glanced around her in bewilderment, shaking her head to clear out the last vestiges of the disorientation she felt. Her entire body had felt a bit – off, for a moment, as though it didn't fit her quite right, or something. But now she felt fine, so she shrugged the feeling off the same way she had the hangover three nights before, as she examined the area around her with more attention.

Only a moment ago, she had been patrolling some of the less affluent areas of Dublin, looking for what some rumors she'd heard had described as a vampires' lair; now, however, she was in what appeared to be a completely unfamiliar, and quite wealthy, suburban area of the city, surrounded by chaos and the terrified screams of townspeople being attacked and pursued by an assortment of various monsters, some of which she was unable to identify or even correlate with any taking up space in the various tomes the Council had deigned to provide her Watcher with over the course of the past year and a half.

Unlike all of the demons she'd come up against since being Called, however, not all of these carried the same overwhelming aura of evil she'd found the demonic breeds to both wear and revel in. In fact, the vast majority of these somewhat diminutive demons scurrying around didn't seem so much evil or malicious as they did chaotic or, possibly, childish.

{ Oh well, } she thought to herself as she noted a rather massive bear-like creature pursuing a group of screaming children, { it's not as though I don't have enough on my plate as it is already. At least everyone appears to be speaking some kind of English. }

With an indifferent shrug, she drew her sword with her right hand, pulled a stake from her belt for her left hand, and headed off after the bear-creature.

~~~

"Somebody help me!" Cordelia Chase screamed as she ran headlong down the street, a short burst of terror increasing her speed upon hearing the growls of the creature pursuing her. She glanced back over her shoulder at the monster chasing her and screamed again.

Unfortunately for her, looking back prevented her from seeing the broken section of the sidewalk directly ahead of her, and she tripped as her toes caught the uneven section of the concrete slab, sending her sprawling full length on the pavement and making her scream again, this time in mixed pain, fear and frustration.

It also cost her several valuable seconds as she scrambled back to her feet, allowing the sasquatch chasing her to catch up and elicit yet another scream from the one-time May Queen.

This scream, however, ended abruptly when her vertebrae snapped as the hulking humanoid grabbed her roughly by the neck and pulled her back towards it.

~~~

Anthony had been moving quietly among the Halloween celebrants for a while now, taking the opportunity to sample the occasional unwary reveler while idly wondering what had caused the sudden shift in the night's population from almost exclusively human to mostly monsters with the infrequent demon thrown in.

And as he was strolling along, he happened to notice what looked like a loose body draped in a sheet lying unconscious on the front porch of one of the houses.

Not wanting to pass up what appeared to be a perfect chance to munch on yet another drunken teenager (talk about good fortune – you get a meal and a buzz-on at the same time), he first checked the area to make sure that no one important (i.e., the Slayer) was around to stake him while he ate, then casually walked up onto the porch and checked out the body lying there, pulling the sheet covering the body away for a better look at who might be underneath, to reveal a cute redhead.

Whoever she may have been, she wasn't breathing now, but she was still warm to the touch, so she couldn't have been dead for very long.

{ Oh well, waste not, want not, } Anthony reflected to himself. { Even if I can't turn her, I still get a meal out of it. }

Sitting down on one of the porch chairs, he arranged the redhead on his lap to look like they were making out, and then bit into her neck, taking a moment to enjoy the subtle bouquet of her blood.

***

Several blocks away, Willow felt a momentary flash of pain in her throat an instant before she began reeling with disorientation and collapsed to the grass beneath her.

A minute later, her immaterial form seemed to flicker for an instant before winking out of sight entirely.

~~~

TBC
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