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Words in the Heroes' Tongue
I have a variable-sword. I urge calm.
Tabula Avatar Chapter 9
Here is Chapter Nine of my BtVS/Baldur’s Gate 2 crossover. Lots of spoilers for BG2. 4,935 words. Rating R. This chapter contains material that some may find disturbing.

Previous Chapters: ONE / TWO / THREE / FOUR / FIVE / SIX / SEVEN / EIGHT

Summary: AU from some point during Tabula Rasa, when the crystal doesn’t get broken and something else happens to it instead. Events not dissimilar to those in kallysten and kantayra’s excellent story Tabula Rasa Ad Aeternum are taking place simultaneously with this story, but off-screen.

Tabula Avatar

Chapter Nine

“Why does it have to be sewers?” Buffy moaned. “Hey, I’m gonna spend more on new boots in this place than we’re gonna make from quests.”

“Yeah, it’s all kinds of gross,” Dawn agreed.

“We need some kind of wipe-clean waterproof leather,” Anya mused. “Crocodile leather? Maybe, in this place, dragonskin? There might be a marketing opportunity there.”

Xander gazed into the darkness. “We’re kinda exposed here. Walking along with these torches, anything out there can see us coming before we can see it.”

“I may be able to do something about that,” Giles said, “but only by making a lot of noise, and that would give away our position in itself.”

“A song?” Buffy wrinkled up her brow. “Can’t see that it would make things any worse. Go for it, Giles.”

“Very well. Join in with me on the choruses.” Giles strummed out an urgent, throbbing, rhythm on his guitar.

I know you've deceived me, now here's a surprise
I know that you have 'cause there's magic in my eyes

I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles
Oh yeah

If you think that I don't know about the little tricks you've played
And never see you when deliberately you put things in my way

Well, here's a poke at you
You're gonna choke on it too
You're gonna lose that smile
Because all the while

I can see for miles and miles
I can see for miles and miles
I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles
Oh yeah…

Buffy peered into the darkness. “Nothing. It’s a bust, Giles. Maybe, like, outdoors it might have helped, but down here, totally zilch. I can’t see any better than I could before.”

“Me neither,” agreed Dawn.

“I don’t think it’s helped me any, Giles,” Tara said. “Sorry.”

“Fifty, maybe sixty, yards thataway,” Xander announced. “Hoppy little creatures kinda like, what do they call them, wallabies. Except with bows. Closing in. They don’t look friendly, people.”

“I see them,” Giles said, as he slung his guitar on his back and cocked his crossbow. “It has certainly worked for me and, it would seem, for Xander.”

“Not for me,” Anya said.

“My night vision is spoiled by the torchlight,” Jaheira said. “The song has made no difference. Other than, perhaps, to strengthen my resolve.”

Buffy tossed her torch in the direction that Xander was indicating. It soared through the air, briefly illuminating a score of scampering bipedal creatures, landed in the main sewer flow, and went out.

“Kobolds,” Jaheira identified the little beings. “Thieves and cannibals. They will lurk in the dark and shower us with flaming arrows. They cannot be reasoned with. Only killed.”

Xander threw his own torch after Buffy’s. He was able to take more careful aim and his torch landed on bare stone flags. It remained alight. The kobolds made angry chattering noises. One of them loosed an arrow. It burst into flame as it streaked through the air. More arrows followed.

“Okay, we kill them,” Buffy commanded. “Fire one! Charge!”

Dawn, Giles, and Anya fired their crossbows. Xander loosed an arrow from a bow that he had acquired from the corpse of the Beastmaster, to which he had taken with surprising ease, and then drew the Sword of Chaos. Tara let a slingshot fly. Jaheira had never heard the term ‘fire’ applied to the release of missile weapons, and she was confused for a moment, but then she whirled her own sling and let loose. Buffy charged up the corridor waving her sword, with the others following behind.

The wallaby-sized kobolds were no match for humans at close quarters. They had a joker in their pack, however; a tiger-headed humanoid, strong and fast, who appeared to be in command of the tribe of smaller creatures. It wielded a scimitar with skill and fury but managed only to graze Buffy’s arm before going down under her blows and those of Xander. Once their ally, or perhaps more accurately their leader, was dead the kobolds lost their nerve and fled at high speed, through the tunnels, leaving most of their force dead behind them.

The tiger-man wore extravagant and gaudily-colored pantaloons and a silk shirt. Over it, however, he was wearing a cloak of green and brown patches that didn’t go with the rest of his apparel at all. Buffy took a closer look at it. “Strong material,” she commented. “I landed one on it and it didn’t get cut. Think this is something special, Jaheira?”

“It may well bear an enchantment of protection,” Jaheira agreed. “Yet I trust not anything from such a creature. It may also be cursed. We must examine it magically.”

“Anything you can do, Giles?” Buffy asked.

“I think so, Buffy,” Giles said. Again he slipped off his guitar, raised it, and struck a note.

Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss,
Old furry cat-puss,
Wake up and look at this thing that I bring.
Wake up, be bright, be golden and light,
Bagpuss oh hear what I sing.

The tiger-man sat up. Dawn gasped in horror. Xander raised his sword.

“It is the Cloak of the Sewers”, the creature’s corpse said in a pleasant and very English voice that bore no resemblance to the voice in which it had barked commands to the kobolds. “It helps the wearer to resist harmful spells. It grants protection against blows equal to that from a leather jerkin, and may be worn over armor or in combination with talismans or rings of protection. Once per day the wearer may transform himself into a rat, or a troll, or a mustard jelly, for as long as he desires.” The tiger-man flopped limply to the ground once more and lay motionless.

“A mustard jelly?” Dawn said. “Eww.”

“Sounds repulsive,” Giles agreed.

“A creature of living slime,” Jaheira informed them. “Corrosive to the touch, hard to kill, and an eater of flesh.”

“Consider that ‘eww’ tripled,” Dawn said. “Cubed.”

“I’m still wigged out from Giles’ song,” Buffy said. “Still, hey, useful. Well, maybe not the mustard jelly bit.”

“These should be pretty useful too,” Xander said, displaying a bundle of arrows salvaged from the bodies of the kobolds. “Fire arrows.”

“Yeah,” Buffy agreed. “Neat. At least when we’re not on the receiving end.”

“They use some cunning alchemy to make the arrows catch light in the air,” Jaheira said. “Their one accomplishment, for in all other ways they are but savages. Even their swords they must barter for, or steal, for they do not work metal.” She stripped a quiver from a kobold’s corpse. “Arrows such as this served Sorkatani well in Baldur’s Gate.”

- - - - -

“Kobold arrows,” Sorkatani said, in tones of satisfaction. “These will serve us well against trolls.”

“We have but few,” Captain Arat, commander of what was left of Nalia’s father’s retinue, told her. “There is a storeroom in the keep with more, but we were driven off before we could reach it. There were not just trolls, but the yuan-ti snake men too, and they had monstrous burrowing creatures with them to breach our defenses. We were outflanked.” The remnants of the keep’s defenders had taken refuge in an encampment surrounded by a wooden palisade. They were battered, badly equipped, and demoralized.

“I shall look out for this storeroom,” Sorkatani said. “Will your men follow us into the keep?”

Captain Arat shook his head. “I cannot inspire them. They are without hope. Yet if you can get to the drawbridge and lower it I believe I can rally them to come to your support.”

“So we go in through the secret tunnel, kill our way to the drawbridge, and let you in? That the plan?” Spike looked askance at the fire arrows. He appreciated their value against the regenerating trolls but was wary of their potential to do him serious harm.

“As good a plan as any, I think,” said Sorkatani.

“I pray that you find Lord De’Arnise alive,” Captain Arat commented. “If he is dead then the lands will belong to the family Roenal. I have no wish to serve them, not after serving an honorable man for many years.”

“Will the lands not then pass to the Lady Nalia?” Sorkatani tilted her head slightly to the side and frowned.

“She is betrothed to Isaea Roenal,” the Captain said. “Or she was, rather, but the betrothal will stand if her father is not there to uphold the Lady’s objections.”

“I will never marry that man,” Nalia stated.

“Indeed not, my Lady. Yet you may still lose the lands.”

“It’s not going to happen.” Nalia stared at the brooding bulk of the keep. “We’re going to find my father alive. We have to.”

- - - - -

“I can’t believe somebody actually runs a business down here.” Buffy shook her head.

“No rent to pay,” Anya pointed out. “I can see the logic.”

“Yeah, but the down side is sharing his shop with a whole load of monsters.”

“He probably reckons it’s better than sharing it with the cops, Buffy,” Dawn pointed out. “That guy? Totally a fence.”

“I guess so,” Buffy agreed. “But hey, we got five hundred dollars – danter – just for killing some dumb troll for the guy. Not bad.”

“Well, let’s hope those guys up ahead are as friendly,” Xander said.

Buffy peered into the shadowy distance but could see nothing. “Only one way to find out. Maybe it’s those cult guys we’re looking for.”

“You there! Hand over your gold or I split your skulls wide,” the gruff voice of a dwarf rang out in challenge. “A thousand danter will do.”

“You can not be serious,” Buffy replied. “A thousand? Forget it.”

“Then you shall fall beneath the edge of my axe,” the dwarf growled. “Gallchobair! Draug! Loot and slaves are here for the taking!” He raised his axe and charged. Buffy met him half way and a ferocious duel began.

As the rest of the party advanced to support her one of the other group chanted an incantation. A wave of terror filled the hearts of the Scooby party. Xander, Anya, Tara, and Jaheira turned and fled. “What the hell?” Buffy exclaimed. She was distracted enough by the flight of her friends that one of her blows went wide. The dwarf’s answering axe stroke was better aimed and would have bitten deep into Buffy’s body had she not made a frantic leap backwards.

Dawn aimed her crossbow at a man in wizard’s robes. She fired, wounding the man slightly, but before she could reload another dwarf closed with her and knocked the crossbow from her hands.

“Take that one alive,” shouted the priest who had sent half of the Scoobies fleeing in panic. “The Slavers will pay well for a pretty lass like that, especially if she’s a virgin.” He drew a mystic symbol in the air and uttered a phrase in an unknown language. A score of whirling blades appeared in a circle around him and shielded him from attackers.

We play the game with the bravery of being out of range,” Giles sang. “We zap and maim with the bravery of being out of range.” The panic-stricken flight of the Scoobies slowed and stopped.

Buffy kicked her opponent under the chin with such force that the dwarf was lifted from his feet and hurled through the air. He hit the sewer wall with force enough to crack the bricks and his axe fell from his hand. He slid down the wall, slumped to his hands and knees, and began to grope for the weapon. Buffy turned and headed for Dawn’s assailant.

The enemy cleric made another mystical gesture and began another chant.

The second dwarf grappled with Dawn, seized her wrists, and pinned her against the wall. The wizard arrived, spoke a word of power, and Dawn slipped into unconsciousness. The dwarf picked her up and slung her over his shoulder and the wizard turned to rejoin the fight. He found himself face to face with a raging Slayer.

Buffy cut the man’s throat before he could raise his hands for a spell and then she turned on the dwarf. She swept his legs out from under him, plucked Dawn from his grasp, set her sister down against the wall and thrust down with her sword to impale the dwarf before he could regain his feet.

“Dawn! You okay?” Buffy asked. She reached out for her sister but then a pillar of fire lanced down from the ceiling and enveloped the Slayer. Buffy screamed in pain. The flames lasted only a moment, and then were gone, but they left Buffy on her knees on the ground, gasping in pain, and unable to defend herself.

I am the god of hell fire,” Giles retaliated, “and I bring you… Fire, I’ll take you to burn. Fire, I’ll take you to learn. I’ll see you burn!” A jet of fire sprang from the guitar and enveloped the enemy priest with results that matched those of the spell that had incapacitated Buffy.

The original dwarf had retrieved his axe and was making for Buffy. Before he could take advantage of her weakness Xander and Jaheira charged back into the fray. One stroke from each landed on the dwarf and sent him crashing to the ground.

Giles’ flame jet went out. The cleric fumbled for a healing potion. Anya shot him with a crossbow bolt and hit him directly in an eye.

Tara arrived, silent and shame-faced, and tended to Dawn. The girl stirred from her enchanted sleep and seemed none the worse for her experience.

Jaheira cast healing spells on Buffy. She had to cast over and over again before the last of the burns was healed.

“Man, that was close,” Xander panted. “Nice one, Spellsinger.”

“I don’t think we were playing in the little leagues here,” Buffy said. “Those guys had serious firepower. No pun intended.”

“They appear to be remarkably well equipped,” Giles observed. “I suggest that we, ah, loot their bodies in the, ah, traditional manner, return to an inn, and assess their goods and divide it out in the most effective fashion. Some rest and recuperation would be advisable too, I think.”

“No kidding,” Xander said.

“That experience was very distressing,” Anya said. “I think that I could do with some orgasms before I’ll feel fit to do any more fighting or trekking through dark sewers.” She frowned. “I wonder how this world deals with contraception?”

- - - - -

The trolls in this world were indeed nothing like Olaf. They were primitive, animalistic, and entirely devoid of tactical ability. Their sentries gave no thought to trying to raise the alarm but merely rushed to attack when they detected the intruders. Consequently Sorkatani’s party was able to infiltrate the keep with considerable success.

They slew trolls by the score. Their stock of fire arrows dwindled, Willow’s repertoire of fiery spells was almost exhausted, but the keep was almost clear. The drawbridge had been lowered, Nalia’s retainers were fighting the remnants of the troll forces in the upper floors, and Nalia guided Sorkatani and her group down into the cellars of the keep to where Nalia suspected that her father might be imprisoned.

They opened a heavy wooden door and entered a large chamber. Massive shapes lumbered to confront them. Not trolls, although just as large and fearsome, but creatures of vaguely insectoid appearance. Rather like, Willow thought, beetles crossed with Sumo wrestlers.

Their eyes glittered with an eerie light. Spike met one’s stare full on and his own eyes glazed. He lashed out with his sword; not at the creature but at some invisible opponent. “Doc,” he grunted, “I’ll kill you this time.” He whirled and struck again, this time slicing a gash half an inch deep across Yoshimo’s shoulder and chest.

“Spike!” Willow cried.

“Run!” Sorkatani commanded. The party spun around and ran for the door. Willow didn’t follow immediately; Sorkatani snatched her up and carried her out bodily. Minsc slammed the door, as soon as they were all through, and pushed home the locking bar.

“Umber hulks,” Sorkatani explained. “In their gaze lies madness. Spike would slay us and know not what he was doing.”

“Can we, like, cure it?” Willow asked.

“It wears off with time,” Viconia assured her. “Or I can dispel the affliction. Not, however, when fighting off umber hulks. They are hard to kill, especially as you must not meet their eyes. And all the time Spike would be lashing out at foes real and imagined, as likely to connect with me as with them.” She laid healing hands upon Yoshimo’s wound.

“So how do we kill them before they eat Spike?” Willow asked.

“In the Underdark we slay them with poisonous vapors,” Viconia said. “They are very vulnerable to such things.”

“And Spike isn’t,” Willow said, giving a grim smile. “I think we’re in business.”

They spent a minute in planning and preparation, and then Willow began to recite an incantation. She gestured, Minsc threw open the door, Willow uttered the incantation’s final syllable and cast the spell, and Minsc slammed the door once more.

There was a heavy thud as something crashed into the door. The wood cracked but did not break. A moment later there was the sound of a second impact against the wall beside the door. There was no third impact.

The party waited. Eventually the door shook once more. “Hey, what the hell are you tossers playing at?” Spike’s voice demanded. “Where’ve you sodding well gone?”

They opened the door. The spell had run its course and the magical poisonous cloud had dispersed. The umber hulks lay inert. “What did you lock me in with those buggers for?” Spike grumbled, “or, should I say, with those bugs?”

Willow explained what had happened. “I’m glad you’re okay, Spike,” she told him.

“Glad I didn’t do any serious damage to you lot,” Spike said.

“We’re nearly there,” Nalia said. “The dungeon. Of course, the dungeon is only a hangover from a less enlightened age, Father would never have employed it for that purpose, but it would certainly be the logical place for them to have imprisoned him.”

“Assuming someone was telling the stupid pillocks what to do,” Spike said.

“Someone undoubtedly was,” said Sorkatani. “Trolls, yuan-ti, and umber hulks, all working together to capture and hold a keep. Such a thing could only happen under the direction of a more civilized being.”

“Human?” Spike suggested.

“That would be logical.” Sorkatani shrugged her shoulders. “It is pointless to speculate at this stage. Let us press on. We may get the answer to this riddle directly from the mouth of Nalia’s father himself.”

- - - - -

“Ah, Buffy,” Hendak greeted the disheveled Slayer. “We have found Lehtinan’s treasury. There are enchanted weapons within. He had debts against the inn, and I am selling off the weapons and the like to pay the debts. Then no-one will dispute my claim to the property. You and your comrades shall have first pick, of course.”

“Well, I had kinda counted on having a bath,” Buffy said. “We just picked up a bunch of cool stuff too and we haven’t had a chance to look it over. Give us an hour or two, ‘kay?”

Hendak agreed immediately. An hour later Buffy’s party assembled and began an extended session of bargaining and bartering. Items were bought, sold, and taken in part exchange.

Xander’s eyes fell upon an axe. It was a single-handed weapon, short enough to be thrown, yet long enough to be wielded effectively in hand-to-hand combat. “Nice piece,” he commented.

“It is called Azuredge,” Hendak related. “Crafted expressly for the destruction of the undead. Even a glancing blow can slay a ghoul, zombie, or such other foul being. It comes back to your hand if you throw it.”

“I guess you’ll want that, Buffy,” Xander said.

“Huh? No, you take it, Xan. I’m kinda off axes.” She gazed rapturously at a sword with an elaborately decorated guard and a shining blade with a very slight curve to it. Not a standard longsword but not a saber either; something between the two. “Ooh, shiny.”

“The Blade of Roses,” Hendak told her. “As fine a blade as is to be found in the city. Enchanted to make the blade as sharp as a razor, and strong withal. Even demons can feel its bite. But I must confess, Buffy, that the greatest enchantments cast upon it are the ones that make the wielder look good.”

“How much?” Buffy asked.

“I had planned to ask five thousand danter. Perhaps if two wealthy buyers were interested I might get six. To you, three thousand five hundred.”

“Deal.” Buffy caressed the hilt of the gleaming weapon. “I think I’m in love.”

- - - - -

“Your father is dead,” Sorkatani said gravely. “I am sorry.”

Nalia put her hand to her mouth. “We have to take him to a temple. We can restore him. Let me see.”

“You should not see this, lady. He cannot be raised.”

“No!” Nalia cried. She pushed past Sorkatani, who tried to restrain her only for a moment but released Nalia as soon as she began to struggle, and rushed into the dungeon chamber that held her father’s body. A moment later the rest of the party heard her wail of grief and despair.

“The same as Khalid?” Minsc asked.

“Worse,” Sorkatani said. “I will not say. I advise you not to look.” She shuddered.

“I have seen worse, in the Underdark,” Viconia said, “but not often.”

“Wonder if that Roenal character knows how to hire trolls,” Spike commented.

“My thoughts exactly,” said Sorkatani. “He will be the new lord of this place, with none to stop him, and no-one can point a finger at him and say that he caused the death of Lord De’Arnise. But it is no business of ours.” Her fingers rested lightly on the hilt of her sword. “Unless, that is, Nalia asks for our help once again.”

- - - - -

“Uh, guys, I’ve just had a thought,” Buffy said. The group, healed, bathed, rested, and re-equipped, was setting out for the sewers to continue the expedition. “If people can get raised from the dead here, well, how can you be sure they stay dead? I mean, suppose we go down there and get jumped by the same bunch all over again? ‘Cause they’d probably be pretty pissed at us, right?”

“We’re wearing the best of their armor and weapons,” Anya pointed out. “If they want to fight us in their underwear, well, they can bring it on.”

Jaheira’s face was creased with lines of deep sadness. Giles reached out to take her hand, reconsidered, and abandoned the movement inches short. However Jaheira extended her own hand and took hold of his. “There is a point beyond which there can be no raising,” she said. “Only a savage or a monster would willfully mutilate the dead to that point, and so indeed one may fight the same foe twice. Sorkatani and I have done so already. Yet if the vanquished all fall, usually there is none to raise the fallen. And if the body cannot be recovered it cannot be raised, save by the greatest of mortals. Our late enemies are not likely to be recovered. There was an otyugh down there, I saw its tracks, and they feed on the dead. As do kobolds.”

“Well, that was a nice inspiring speech, I don’t think,” Anya said. “Can’t we talk about something more cheerful like, for instance, my designs for waterproof adventurers’ boots? Jaheira, would those sewers by any chance contain alligators?”

- - - - -

“We will still be well short of Athkatla by nightfall,” Sorkatani said. “Another night under the stars, it would seem.”

“The stars disturb me,” Viconia moaned. “There is no roof to this world. I feel that I might fly into space. And yet, the night is preferable to another day trudging under the pitiless glare of the sun.”

Willow raised her eyebrows. The day was mildly warm, with a slight breeze, and occasional clouds passed in front of the sun. It was far removed from a trek across Death Valley. “Oh!” she said. “I remember. Spike, we totally have to talk about hats.”

- - - - -

“Maybe they’ve got a chance of making it through the Unseeing Eye quest after all,” Warren remarked. “They picked up some good stuff from those hijacker guys. Smart buying decisions too. Azuredge, dudes. That will save them some grief. I still think Tara or Dawn is gonna die, though.” He turned away from his monitor. “How is the other bunch getting on?”

“They cleaned out the De’Arnise keep like Gangbusters,” Jonathan reported. “They’re on the way back to Acathla now. Just going to settle down for the night.” He moved the cursor over to the corner of the screen and checked the elapsed time within the game. “They must be about due for the first of Sorkatani’s nightmares now. I’ll call it quits for the night after that, I think.”

“Yeah, me too,” Warren said. “Hey, Andrew, your turn to get the pizza.”

- - - - -

Spike woke and sat up. For a second he was disorientated, thrown off balance by waking out in the open air, but then memories flooded back. He reached for his sword. Something had woken him in the middle of the night; therefore either they were under attack or he was being called for his turn on watch.

Or it was something else. Noises. Coming from Sorkatani and from Viconia. Sobs. Whimpers. Pleas. Thrashing in their bedrolls as if trying to escape from bonds or from the crushing grip of unrelenting hands. Frantic gasping entreaties.


Spike listened for a moment and then stood up. It was disturbing. Lethal and steel-hard Sorkatani whimpering like a frightened child? Arrogant, snarky, Viconia pleading? Oh, Spike had entertained himself with a few moments imagining that he was making Viconia plead, before mentally kicking himself and going back to thinking about Buffy, but in his mind she’d been pleading to him not to stop. Whereas this…

“Shar save me! Please! Don’t! Oh, please, stop! Don’t! No! Have pity! Shar! Please, no. No! Kill me! Please, kill me!”

Was this a mere nightmare or was Viconia reliving something that had actually happened? Spike went into game face without making any conscious decision to do so. He was angry. Revolted by the thought of what he suspected might have happened to Viconia. And yet – had he not done things not dissimilar? ‘Playing with his food’ hadn’t been Spike’s usual habit, but there had been occasions when he had used a pretty victim to satisfy more than his hunger before she had died. He’d never given even a moment’s thought to how the victim would have felt. Happy Meals with legs, toys for his amusement, is all that they had been to him. Fuck, feed, and move on.

Now Spike stood with his fists clenched so tightly that his nails were digging into his palms, feeling a helpless rage that was at least partly directed at himself, and not quite understanding why.

Minsc loomed out of the darkness bearing a longbow. He cast a brief worried glance at Viconia, but his first loyalty lay elsewhere, and it was to Sorkatani that he went. He looked down at her, his normally cheerful face uncharacteristically grave, and then lowered himself to one knee. Minsc reached out a hand towards her face but stopped short of actually touching her.

“Death is my gift,” Sorkatani moaned. “No. I will not give in. I shall not do it. You shall not break me. Imoen! Imoen! Death is my gift.”

“What is going on?” Yoshimo asked. The bounty hunter padded almost noiselessly into the firelight.

“Nightmares,” Minsc rumbled. “She frets for Imoen, I think.”

“Let her go,” Sorkatani rambled. “Take me. Love. Give. Forgive.”

“What is it? Are we being attacked?” Willow awoke and sat bolt upright. “Spike! What’s wrong?”

“Nothing to worry about, Red,” Spike reassured her. “The other lasses are having nightmares, that’s all.” He shivered, although the night was warm. “Bloody creeping me out, though.”

Now Viconia seemed to be choking. Her hands clawed at the air in front of her face. Spike opened and closed his own hands. Those gestures – surely they weren’t? They were. Spike recognized them, just as he had recognised the wounds on Buffy’s hands on the night when she had come back.

Viconia too had dug herself out of her own grave.

- - - - -

“Holy shit,” Warren said. “A whole new cut scene.”

“Yeah,” Jonathan said. “Looks like Sorkatani’s nightmare was kinda catching.”

They watched for a while. “Uh, guys, I don’t think I like this,” Andrew said.

“Shit,” Jonathan breathed. “It’s what happened to Viconia. Playing out instead of her just talking about it.”

“Damn,” Warren said. “I’d better check out the patch to make sure this doesn’t show up in the version without the Slayer’s bunch in it. This is way past NC-17, guys. We could get into a lot of trouble if we put this out for download.”

“I can’t watch any more,” Andrew said. He turned away and headed for the bathroom.

“I don’t blame him,” Jonathan said. “Holy shit.”


Warren and Jonathan watched in horrified fascination as the dream sequence ran its course on screen. When it finished Jonathan saved the game and powered down his PC. “That, well, it wasn’t fun to watch,” he said. “Not one bit.”

“Damn right. I’m gonna check out the patch, like I said.” Warren went to his own computer and Jonathan went to make coffee. Warren’s eyes fell on a device on his workbench; a piece of work in progress,

The prototype cerebral dampener. Intended to control women and make them his helpless sex slaves. Waiting only for the musk gland of a Homja-Maleev demon and an incantation from Jonathan to make it operational.

Warren picked up a hammer and slammed it down hard. The cerebral dampener shattered into a hundred pieces.

Continued in CHAPTER TEN

Disclaimer; the characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (c) 2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox. I don’t know who currently owns the copyright to Bioware’s game ‘Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn’, but it isn’t me, and characters and dialogue extracts are used without permission and with no intent to profit from their use. Lyrics from ‘I Can See For Miles’ by The Who, ‘The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range’ by Roger Waters, ‘Fire’ by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown’, and the ‘Bagpuss’ song by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, are used without the permission of the copyright holders and with no intention to claim ownership or profit from their use.

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28 comments or speak 2 me
lakrids404 From: lakrids404 Date: February 13th, 2006 11:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Like; (ultra) practical Anya, Buffy picks a sword partly because it makes her look better (2d4 + 3 cha. 1 ? from memory). Warren getting some moral fibre because ofa video game, the irony.

Small thing, but you have let Xander called Giles g-man twice. As far as I know did he only use the word G-man once, in one of the first episodes in season two.

speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: February 13th, 2006 11:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Buffy picks a sword partly because it makes her look better (2d4 + 3 cha. 1 ? from memory

Very close; spot on with 2d4 + 3 damage, but the Charisma bonus is +2.

Good point about "G-man"; I've changed it to "Spellsinger" in this chapter.
ffutures From: ffutures Date: February 13th, 2006 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now that's an interesting twist for Warren - don't know the story behind it, but presumably it involves mind control etc.

Let's hope Warren really is learning a few lessons.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: February 15th, 2006 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Not mind control, no. Simpler and more brutal. The parallel is not as direct as that. But it is making him think and awakening his rather lacking sense of empathy with others.
paratti From: paratti Date: February 14th, 2006 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, pet:)

I'm still loving this story and I think I'm going to have to replay it again soon and keep Viconia.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: February 15th, 2006 03:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

To find out the whole Viconia story you have to be in a romance with her and I don't think that is logical. A female confidant would be as likely - maybe even more likely - to be told about certain events.
mimi_sardinia From: mimi_sardinia Date: October 7th, 2011 11:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually I think that can be applied to all the romance plots. Aerie could confide her problems with a female, Jaheira's issues with the Harpers would logically take place, romance or no, Anomen's full plot would play out as well.

All the personal stories get cut short if you don't romance them.
spikes_heart From: spikes_heart Date: February 14th, 2006 01:30 am (UTC) (Link)
OMG - you toned down Warren's mysogeny. I think that's probably the first time I've been impressed with the character, anywhere (I have deep rooted Warren hatred).

As for the rest? Still loving it.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: February 15th, 2006 03:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
rahirah From: rahirah Date: February 14th, 2006 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, not only is it a whole new cut scene, but Sorkatani is having dreams which parallel Buffy's. Innnteresting.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: February 15th, 2006 03:05 am (UTC) (Link)
There are a lot of parallels to be drawn, and I sometimes wonder if Joss played Baldur's Gate or if Black Isle watched Buffy.
cyradis From: cyradis Date: February 14th, 2006 12:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
It seems that Spike is developing an interest in Viconia and his conscience is developing.

Speaking of conscience, it's ironic that Warren realizes that what he wanted to do is seriously wrong from a video game.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: February 15th, 2006 03:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Speaking of conscience, it's ironic that Warren realizes that what he wanted to do is seriously wrong from a video game.

Actually I think that a video game (or a comic book) would be the only real way of getting through to Warren.
From: basilio_the_cat Date: February 14th, 2006 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great chapter.
At first I thought that Sorkatani was a Slayer, but when Viconia started her own thing I realized they were living through Buffy's memories. And I'm glad that Warren decided to not use the dampener. It proves that he is at least capable of thinking reasonably when he doesn't seem to do so sometimes.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: February 15th, 2006 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)
At first I thought that Sorkatani was a Slayer, but when Viconia started her own thing I realized they were living through Buffy's memories

No, those memories are entirely their own.

Glad you enjoyed it.
gillo From: gillo Date: February 14th, 2006 02:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Bagpuss! What is CW feeding you? ;-)

Love the fight against the wallaby-wannabes. And Giles as a killer singer, literally. This is addictive.

speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: February 15th, 2006 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)
drakontaskyria From: drakontaskyria Date: February 15th, 2006 02:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Love how Anya is still always concerned about the practical side of things.
And of course Buffy wants the shiny sword that makes her look good. *g*
Is Xander's killer of the dead weapon going to cause trouble later for Spike? Just wondering.
And Sorkatani and Viconia experiencing Buffy's torment through their nightmares - interesting.
And Warren deciding after seeing the dream to smash the dampener. That's a much smarter choice - one that would have served him better on the show. Might've kept his skin.

Smooth chapter - over before I wanted it to be! Nice job.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: February 15th, 2006 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
And Sorkatani and Viconia experiencing Buffy's torment through their nightmares - interesting.

But wrong. Their torment has nothing whatsoever to do with Buffy, although there may be certain parallels.

Thank you!
drakontaskyria From: drakontaskyria Date: February 15th, 2006 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, twice as interesting. You sly dog you! ;-) I'm all agog to see where you go with it.
talesofspike From: talesofspike Date: February 16th, 2006 07:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Last for tonight. Glad something was able to bring Warren up short before they made use of the cerebral dampener. Looking forward to more when I get time tomorrow.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: February 16th, 2006 09:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
You've almost caught up; there's only one more chapter up so far, and I'm back at work now so the pace of updates has slowed down dramatically.
quinara From: quinara Date: February 17th, 2006 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is increasingly wonderful. I can't remember whether I ever found out Viconia's backstory or not (and I'm thinking not), but this is really quite chilling.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: February 18th, 2006 10:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I can't claim any credit for Viconia's back story, I'm just presenting what Black Isle/Bioware came up with.
quinara From: quinara Date: February 18th, 2006 11:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, it's all about the presentation - and you are producing quite a wonderful box. With lots of that fluffy, papery stuff.
mimi_sardinia From: mimi_sardinia Date: October 7th, 2011 11:56 am (UTC) (Link)

Contraception: Actually, the campaign guide has a couple of handy herbs that do that. It also has stats for detecting if someone has been dosed with them.

If I recall correctly, the female one, naroot, of which dried shavings are used to make a tea. Tastes like licorice. The effect is stronger if you chew the shavings straight, but then so is the taste.
The male one, cassil, is a seed, probably powdered and put in either drink or food.

I also imagine on the subject of raising the dead that there's a time limit. Probably based on how good a condition the body is, and whether the soul has moved on from the Fugue Plane to the apropriate celestial plane. After that, I imagine it is up to their god whether they are worthy to be returned, or if those doing the raising have strong enough spells.

Hmm, given Vic's commentary on the sky, I wonder how the Scoobies will take the Underdark? I'll have to wait and see.

De'Arnise Keep is one of the easiest quests of the game. Not surprising as it's also one of the first you're likely to run into (if you haven't kipped at one of the Promenade inns, then usually by the Slums you need to do so, no matter your job class and recommended quests from Brus).

I can't help but think that inside the game allows Spike a tad more soul-like qualities than he normally has.

As for the dreams, the only one I really noticed the crossover on is Sorkatani's - I don't think the game had "Death is my gift" anywhere in it, though some of the Charname dreams it'd fit right into.

I do know the basic content of Viconia's past though, so yeah, there's paralells to Buffy, and Spike recognising them is interesting, but... I guess I know enough of both sides.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: October 7th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's a lot more detail about the Afterlife in later chapters - especially the one I'm writing now.
mimi_sardinia From: mimi_sardinia Date: October 7th, 2011 11:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
28 comments or speak 2 me