Giles had spent the last hour scanning the pertinent texts that Denise Parkinson had selected for him. His cup of Earl Grey sat beside the books, forgotten and now room temperature. His eyes were growing bleary and twice he felt the need to wipe the lenses of his glasses with a napkin. When he could read no more, he looked up and saw Denise waiting for him to finish, a look of infinite patience on black woman�s face.
"Where did you obtain this text?" Giles asked cautiously, both suspecting and dreading her answer. Her answer confirmed both his suspicions and his fears.
"The Biblioteca Secreta."
Giles tensed as he heard these words. The secret library of the Watcher�s
Council. "How did you manage to sneak this book past Council
Denise looked around her, innocently. "Large weather we�re having, isn�t it?"
Giles nodded understandingly; evidently she had no desire to incriminate herself or anyone else. "Denise, I was led to understand that the biblioteca secreta was a storage ground for black tomes. Satanic rites, chaos magicks, the original draft of the Necronomicon. Dark works to be shielded from prying eyes." He shuddered at the thought of someone plundering the Council�s secret archives for its evil magicks. He knew his onetime mate and now enemy Ethan would have given his soul(had he not sold it to the devil long before) for even the most minor tome of the archive.
"Yes, Rupert, we were all told that," Denise answered levelly. "And indeed, there are many texts and scrolls in the secret archives that must be kept from the eyes of the world. But the Council, in their infinite wisdom, have chosen to conceal the Greater Book of the Goddess, which you hold in your hand, as well as many other texts, dating all the way back to the time of the Pharaohs. These texts had been the very foundation of the Watcher�s Council, yet you and I are the first people in nearly nine centuries to look upon these pages."
"I�m honored," he coughed nervously. "But I am still having difficulty translating the whole of the marked text. I assume that you have had better luck."
"I have, Giles," she answered as she moved from her chair to a space behind Giles, looking over his shoulder. "This passage here," she pointed, "can you read it?"
"I can," Giles answered, as he re-read the runic script;
"That She who is Chosen / Never forget the charge of the Goddess, / Let her seek comrades, / Those who shall aid her, / Those who shall befriend her, /Those who shall remind her / Of her purpose."
"And it gets a little muddled after that," Giles admitted. "Eighth Century Celtic Runic script was never my strong suit."
"I understand," Denise said as she took the text from Giles� hands. "My weak point was Sumerian. But you can understand the implications."
Giles pursed his lips in thought. "Yes," he whistled. "All these years, I was taught that the Slayer, the Chosen One, must fight alone, yet this book indicates that the Slayer must have allies. Hmph," he laughed briefly to himself. "In spite of my best efforts, it seems that Buffy had gotten it right all along. I had recently suspected that Buffy was stronger by her association with the Slayerettes."
"Exactly, Ripper," Denise smiled. "By surrounding herself with friends willing to fight alongside her, she is made stronger. Not just physically, but emotionally as well. Her friends serve to remind her why she continues to fight." She sat down next to Giles and added, "That�s one reason I brought Sandra to Sunnydale after she graduated from high school. To introduce her to Buffy�s friends, and hopefully help her find her own support group."
"It seems to have worked. I noticed that Tara seems quite fond of her. But what of the last portion?"
"The last stanza, I believe, goes--" Denise read;
"Let her seek a lifemate, / One of great power for good./ For each Chosen One, / A mage shall be chosen as well. / The Chosen and the Mage must / Each seek out the other, / And stand fast together, / Against all adversaries. / Let them live together, / Let them fight together, / Let them love together, / For all time."
She regarded Giles with a sly grin; "What were you saying about Tara and Sandra?"
"This book," Giles whispered, "was an early instruction manual for Slayers, then?" Denise nodded. "And it is saying that the Slayer must bond with another, a mage?"
Denise nodded again. "I�ve translated most of the pertinent texts, and
there seems to be no doubt. The Slayer and the Mage will be stronger together
than either would be alone. Admit it, Giles, would Buffy have survived alone,
"She was motivated, that much was certain," Giles admitted. "And the year we thought Buffy gone, she was a ghost of her former self. Walking wounded. She was quite literally lost without Buffy."
"Precisely. The text indicates that the Slayer and the Mage would �share a soul�, would be soulmates. Two halves of one entity. It�s not a coincidence that the symbol Willow chose to represent her love for Buffy was a Mizpah coin. Two halves of the same whole." She carefully turned the parchment pages to another marked passage. "This part gives the instructions for a formal joining ritual or handfasting. Essentially a Slayer Wedding. Once Buffy regains her memory, it might not be a bad idea for her and Willow to look at this passage."
"You may be right. But why was this information not revealed
"But with this new knowledge came the spread of Christianity. The Irish were possibly the first people to accept Christ freely, without being conquered by Rome. As Christianity spread, paganism was on the decline. And Christians still hold the idea of same-sex unions as anathema. This text was considered an open invitation for homosexuality."
"So the Watcher�s Council at the time censored the text?" Giles guessed.
"Not censored, Rupert, but simply hid." She closed the book slowly, handling the ancient codex with reverence. "The basis of these tomes, of much of the Watcher�s Council, predates Christianity. Did you know, for example, that vampires derive pain from exposure to any religious talisman, not just the crucifix? If my studies are correct, the symbol is even stronger when the wielder believes in its significance." She cocked an aristocratic eyebrow at the thought; "Maybe Willow should consider wielding a Star of David instead of a cross. Even the Mizpah coin she wears would be just as effective."
"Intriguing," Giles muttered. "And it makes sense; vampires existed long before most humans, let alone Christianity. But why was this information suppressed?"
Denise chuckled, "Because, my dear Ripper, history has always been written by the winning side. The Biblioteca Secreta was founded during the Crusades, as a direct result of King Richard Couer�De Leone himself. Old Lionheart heard about this cabal of �unwashed pagans�, supposedly trafficking with demons and devils, and threatened to put them to the torch. The Council responded by creating this pro-Christian mythos around them; crosses against vampires, all other religious artifacts are the work of demons. And sadly, this medieval mentality still holds sway within the Council, and the rest of the world. The Burning Times are never as far back as we would like to think."
Giles put his elbows on the table, and let his hands support his head. He remembered an incident just a few years back, where a demon created the illusion of two children, killed in an occult attack, to stir up paranoia in Sunnydale, controlling the minds of most of the adult populace. Before the nightmare was over, Joyce Summers and Sheila Rosenberg led the townspeople in burning their own daughters, Buffy and Willow, at the stake. Indeed, he knew that the mentality of the Burning Times was alive and well, needing only the slightest provocation to resurface.
"This is weighty stuff, my friend," he said to Denise. "I trust that this has something to do with your plans to rebuild the Watcher�s Council?"
"Indeed," she said. "With your help, of course. Right now, you are the most respected figure among the remaining Watchers. If you were to declare yourself senior watcher, the others would follow your lead. You have the opportunity to do some good here."
"I thank you for your confidence in me, Denise, but I don�t know. I�ve had enough difficulty dealing with Buffy, let alone the entire council."
"Believe me, I don�t wish to put more pressure on your shoulders. But
the two of us together, we could start building the administrative branch, the
core group. We would need to find established Watchers, people whom we could
trust. I understand that Wesley Price is working with Angel these days. Do you
think he would be able to assist us?"
The two Watchers shook hands, cementing a pact that they hoped would change the world.
And outside Giles� townhouse, looking in through the bay window, a surly British vampire with a severe crew cut pulled out a cigarette, lit it, and inhaled deeply, depositing a black patch in the back of his throat.
Soon, Spike would inform his new master of the resurrection of the Council. His master, the one who had removed the chip that forbade him from harming others, would know how to deal with this information.
The war was coming, of that much Spike was certain. And he had no idea how it would turn out.
He grinned sardonically at himself. "That�s what makes it interesting, mate."
Approximately 25,000 BC;
The Slayer emerged from the rude shelter of her cave, clad only in a ceremonial loin cloth. She looked at the sky around her. The sun had set, casting its last rays upon some drifting clouds, tinting them dark red. Blood red. The blood tribe would emerge soon, and she would have to again defend her tribe from them.
But first, the ritual. The event for which she had prepared for the last five moons. The joining.
Her chieftain emerged from his hut, and greeted her stiffly. He took her hand and led her to the sacred place, the place where the bones of her ancestors were lain in the earth.
Unlike her darker haired fellows, the Slayer was born with hair the color of the sun. This marked her as special, as chosen of the gods. She was to serve the gods all of her life, defending the tribe against the evils of the night. And in serving the gods, she was destined to bond with the tribal Shamaness.
The Shamaness waited patiently for her Slayer. She too was singled out by destiny. Her hair was the color of fire, indicating that she was chosen to speak for the gods. While she was the ears and voice of the gods, the Slayer was their strength, their right arm. In serving and loving each other, the Slayer and the Shamaness would better serve the gods. It was the way of things.
Once they reached the sacred place, the chieftain gave the Slayer�s hand to the Shamaness. The Shamaness took the Slayer�s face in her hands, and pressed her lips to the Slayer�s in greeting. She then picked up a small clay pot of red dye, and dipped her right thumb into the pot. With her thumb, she marked the Slayer�s forehead and nose. She then painted across her breasts and belly. The marks would fade soon, but the gods would always see them. She was marked by the gods, and was theirs. As she was now the Shamaness�.
The two women smiled at each other, as they withdrew to the Shamaness� tent. The second part of the joining was less ritualized, and more private, but much more pleasurable for both Slayer and Shamaness. The two women, no longer subject and priestess but equals and lovers, discarded their scant coverings, and brought their bodies together on the sleeping mat. The chieftain smiled at himself, and left the two women alone to consummate their ritual marriage.
Willow woke up suddenly, her heart racing, a sheen of sweat covering her body. She was aware of the scent of her arousal. "Whoa," she said aloud.
Her dream had been intense, and highly erotic. She was a pagan priestess, and Buffy was her disciple and lover. They had performed some ritualistic marriage, and had made raw animal love together. Even now, she could still recall how her dream-Buffy had touched her. A small portion of her mind made a record of those thoughts, to remember those touches and try them out on Buffy tomorrow night.
She quickly dismissed her fears regarding the dream. She was just jumpy. Tomorrow, Buffy Summers would be back home, with her. She had made all the preparations for Buffy to move in with her, and would make the offer once she saw the townhouse. She knew that Buffy wouldn�t decline her offer. Yeah, that was all the dream was. Pent-up sexual frustration. Well, she wasn�t going to be frustrated tomorrow night, that was for sure.
Buffy woke up suddenly in her hospital bed, her breath coming in shallow pants, the last spasms of a powerful orgasm still shaking her limbs. "Wow," was all that she could say. That was some dream.
She was Raquel Welch from "One Million Years B.C." and Willow was some kind of priestess, who was also her lover. They had performed some ritual together, before a session of pure passionate sex. She tried to figure out the source of her strange dream. Did it have anything to do with the memory gaps that had eluded her since her return?
She curled up again in her bed and made herself relax. She was just antsy about seeing Willow tomorrow. Would she still want her? She had said as much since she awoke a few days ago. She hoped that Willow wouldn�t change her mind. She needed Willow like she needed oxygen.
And tomorrow, she and Willow would be together again. And as far as she was aware, life was good.