Days of Blood and Darkness

BY: Cosmicfish
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer:Joss, not I.


Summary: The Chosen is destined to end the reign of Angelus, the Dark Lord of Herot. The Vampyre is destined to kill her. But since when have either Buffy or Spike ever done what they were supposed to?


Authors Note: This is an A/U fic that incorporates spoilers from almost every season, though I've switched them all around. Also, if you've read " Beowulf" you know where I got the name Herot. ( It was the name of Hrothgars' Hall in the eighth-century epic) I have borrowed names from " Beowulf" and other fantasy/ epic type works ( among them . . . The Lord of the Rings, and The Golden Compass), often spelling them backwards. Some of them are subtler than others, but see if you can notice them. Also, Gwilym is simply an Old English spelling of the name 'William', in case you were wondering why I have a 'g' in Spike's name. His last name comes from William Godwin, the father of a very famous author of a very classic piece of literature. Also, in Herot, Vampyres cannot switch from human to demon faces, they are stuck in 'game face'.

PROLOGUE

It started as a simple spell. Nothing, really. A gag pulled by an amateur Wiccan, nothing to fear and of no ill intentions.

Of course, original intentions are never really of any importance.

It is the result of any action that is of a greater significance. For you see, the spell went wrong.

It cast our heroes into another dimension, leaving them with no memory of themselves. No thought or hint or indication that they did not belong into the world in which they were flung. They absorbed the reality that they found themselves in, accepting false memories as their own.

And so the Slayer and the Vampyre came to the land of Herot.

CHAPTER 1: The Dark Kingdom

The soldiers of the Dark Kingdom marched heavily, their many feet shaking the ground as if a great fissure had opened within the Earth, and it was quaking with an equal combination of fear and anger. Behind the foot soldiers, the cavalry rode, their Beast mounts decked in gleaming iron and Durkesteele, the evil, cankerous, metal of the Dark, that once heated would ever glow with the crimson fire of the forge, though would give no heat. It was here that Spike rode, upon Lednerg, his Beast, whose very eyes and nostrils grew as fiery red as the armor it bore, it's black hide as ominous and shadowy as the flag that flew from his riders' helm. The flag that twisted in a non-existing wind, bearing the symbol of the Dark Lord's House, for Spike was a childer of the Dark Lord himself and was therefore of the honor of a position of high command.

The sky was black around them, though it was not yet night. The armies of the Dark Lord, and indeed, The Lord himself, were of such substance that the sun would shatter them to dust upon contact with their skin. Hence, the sky of the Dark Kingdom was ever a deep obsidian, with no light of sun, moon, or star ever falling across the land or its inhabitants.

Spike's saffron eyes gleamed as he sought to make out the shades of the castle's towers upon the horizon. The Hall of the Dark Lord was as twisted and as demented as the Lord himself, its heights emerging from the ground like a thorn in a sore thumb, its walls as black and as dead as the hearts of its inhabitants.

And from it an ominous force seemed to pulsate, so that any creature of light would quickly find themselves submitting to despair, their hearts seizing to beat under the wave of pure horror that would surmount their soul. Such was the power of the Hall and the Kingdom of Angelus, the Dark Lord of Herot.

The gates of the castle were guarded by a number of lesser demons, Racnors they were called. Primitive beasts, with the bones of human children piercing through the cartilage of their nostrils and earlobes. The main sentrel called to those under him, ordering them to open the gates for the approaching army. With a great rumbling and cranking of metal, stone, and mortar the heavy ebony gates swung outward.

The soldiers and Beasts trudged through the heavy, thick mud of the unpaved road, their undead hearts eagerly anticipating the warm blood and the demon whores that the Hall would provide.

Spike, however, longed only for his Princess, his Dark Goddess, his Drusilla. Insane she was, and dark. Her glistening eyes with a hint of diamond, her mouth blood-red, her midnight curls a dark ocean. Drusilla, too, was a childer of the Dark Lord, driven mad by His abhorrent nature long before the time of her Turning. She also was cursed with the Future-Sight, prone to truthful visions of things-to-be. The vampiress' combined beauty and malice made her the most desirable of the women of the Court, and she was Spike's Mate and belonged to no other.

His blood racing with expectation of his reunion with his love, Spike moved with haste, making sure that Lednerg had the best accommodations that the stable could provide. He then traveled to his private lodgings, bathing and putting on a fresh tunic of black leather and red silk, making himself presentable for the Banquet.

The Hall was aglow with a thousand red candles, the long tables holding hundreds of mortals chained, ready for the draining. The Dark Lord sat upon his throne, set elevated above the rest of the hall. Spike's Mate was beside him, fingering a fine porcelain doll, her yellow eyes wide and alluring. Spike suppressed a growl in his throat, the borrowed blood in his veins boiling at seeing his Sire with his Mate,

"Master, " a voice spoke up. " Your new boots must be fitted." It was the Vampyre known as Slash, a childe of Spike's and his most loyal and most clever minion. She was slim, like a young tree, and short, Turned at the tender age of sixteen.

" The boots can bloody well wait.", he snapped, slapping her savagely across the face. Instantly, the fledgling sunk to her knees, her golden eyes downcast, her entire frame suggesting her submission. Yet still she spoke.

" It might behoove you heed my words, Great Master. The shoesmith is expensive, and his craft is well-reputed. If you do not act now, oh Spike, oh Gwilym the Bloody, oh he Who's Very Visage Strikes Fear in the Hearts of Mortals and Immortals Alike, he may very well refuse to fit them at a later time."

Spike snarled deeply, striking her with the sharp, spurred toe of his foot. " I will not have impertinence from you, filthy minion, cowardly slave!" Slash cowered her head, her mahogany mane falling across her shoulders as his blow drew blood from her chest. She then scuttled backwards, making her way out of the hall. Spike understood her meaning, that she had news of great importance, news that needn't wait. He waited but a few minutes, finally leaving the Hall out of a different entrance than the one Slash had utilized. They met outside in a cobbled alley, their dark cloaks blending into the tenebrous night.

Slash looked up at him, defiance illuminating her eyes like sparks. In public, she would be his slave, but in private she was as proud and as cocky as her Sire. " He will kill you tonight.", she spat out, the words venom on her tongue. " He would have Drusilla as his Mate, and cannot without you gone. He would have her his whore!"

Spike's eyes narrowed dangerously. He well knew the unspoken law concerning Mates, bonded eternally unless one member of the pact was killed. But he laughed, the sound low in his throat. " I have too many loyal to me. Angelus cannot kill me openly and stay alive."

"But he will not kill you openly! He is going to send you to the Light!"

"No!" He barely controlled the urge to throttle his minion. " How do you know this!"

Slash smiled, her expression smug. " I have talked to Drusilla's maid-servant, she has been having visions. Your Lady sees you leaving to the Light! She cries that her Spike is leaving forever, and will continue to cry until sedated."

The Master Vampyre growled. " I' m much too recognizable, I have made too many raids on the realms of mortals to be sent in disguise ."

Slash nodded, before slowly merging again with the shadows, like a brown moth camouflaged on the bark of a tree, " You will be recognized. And you will be killed."

When Spike returned to the Hall the feasting had already begun. Mortals, man, woman, and child, all were victims to the bloodlust of the Vampyres, their faces rapt with pain as their fluids were forced, pulled from their very veins. Smiling, the lithe Vampyre grabbed a young man, as tall and as broad as the Lord, and with the Lord's dark complexion, though of course the human's face was smooth, unridged, and with terrified brown pools for eyes in place of scintillating lemon. Still, he would do, and Spike drained him greedily, enjoying the coppery taste running across his palate. His hunger and anger temporarily sated, the Vampyre approached his Love, bending low on one knee to graze her icy hand with his dry lips. Then, standing up, he pulled her to him in a bloody, bruising kiss, his tongue demanding entrance into her cool cavern.

" Spike," It was Angelus, the Dark Lord, " Just the Childe I was looking for". Spike immediately dropped down to one knee, bowing his head in submission. Angelus snarled, his tone vitriolic, " You will meet me in my private quarters. Tonight." Spike nodded his accent, withdrawing quickly from His Lord and his Mate.


Later that evening, Spike stood ridged, his back firm and straight. He was in the chamber of the Lord himself, a large, umbrage room, strangely angled with tall windows. The furnishings were of wrought Durkesteele, the light from the metal bathing the room in a fiery glow. The Dark Lord, dressed in a fine, leather tunic and ceremonial armor plates, appeared tall and commanding, dangerous.

" Have you heard of The Chosen?" The question caught Spike off guard, but he quickly recovered.

" A legend, my Lord. A tale of a person who shall bare a mystical sword. A sword that has the power to convert any creature, any land, to Light." Angelus nodded, his expression caustic.

" She is real. And her location and identity have become known to me." The Dark Lord stared into Spike's indigo eyes, his own as ebony as the perpetual night in which he walked. " I need someone to destroy her, to venture into the land of Light, to seek her out, to kill her. Only the bravest and most vicious of Vampyres, only the most cunning, could possibly succeed. And I have chosen you, my Childe, Gwilym the Bloody, to receive this honor."

Spike merely nodded, his face remarkably sangfroid, his expression unreadable, though his thoughts were of an inner turmoil. Angelus was sending him into the Light, ordering him to locate and terminate some faceless girl. All so that Spike would lose his unlife, and Drusilla could become the Dark Queen. Rage boiled within him, but he remained stoic, knowing that he could never seek to oppose his Lord.

" Spells are being completed as we converse, " the Dark Lord's eyes danced with red flames, a sardonic smile twisting his demonic features, " You will be made human, and human you shall remain until The Chosen has been dealt a lethal blow. Your newly created lifeforce shall be directly linked unto hers, should she remain breathing, your own breath shall be required as well."

The Dark Lord's expression was smug, revealing his satisfaction with himself, " A horse will be provided. You will set off at once. Your Childe, Slash, shall accompany you. False proofs of identification have been arranged. The Chosen is in the city of LLednevir, in the Realm of Man. Serve me well."

Spike bowed, low to the floor. Keeping his eyes lowered, he backed out of the Lord's chamber. Once outside, he ventured down the great, twisted stairs, his fury building upon itself with every step. To be made human of all things! To be sent into the Light! A noxious feeling was intensifying within his stomach, the sensation rising to his throat like bile. Spike barely made it to his private chamber before the transformation began to overtake his lifeless body.

It was blinding pain, intense pressure. To Spike, it felt as though great hands had encased his cold heart, squeezing it between them in a frantic beat. His whole chest felt as if it was compressed, as his lungs were forced to expand, forced to provide the oxygen for his now functioning cardiac system. There was tingling, as if thousand of long acupuncture needles had been placed upon every millimeter of his epidermis, inside every orifice of his body. And then he was engulfed in invisible flames, the heat more painful than if he was touched by the fire of a thousand suns. Within his long-dead frame, he felt the anguish of a thousand organs coming to life for the first time in over a century. Spike felt his intestines writhing, his stomach churning, the muscles of his lithe body feeling the burn of a hundred and twenty-eight years without oxygen. With a sharp, abrupt, and excruciating pain, the bones of his face shifted, his eyes starting to burn furiously. Trembling, he reached a hand to his face, feeling the chiseled planes of a human coutenence, the blunt ends of what had once been fangs indenting the skin of his thumb. The pain, worse than any torture that he had ever sustained in his long years of existence, was suddenly too much.

With a soft moan from newly-warmed lips, the former Vampyre fell to the floor, his body thumping dully against the wooden planks.


CHAPTER 2: The Chosen

The sword whistled as it was swung, the wind rushing over the blade causing it to emote a shrill, ringing, yet strangely musical note into the cool, morning air.

The wielder of Stake, as the sword was known, expertly maneuvered the deadly blade, the power in her movements demonstrated with every swipe, every block, every advance that she simulated against her imaginary opponent. Her shoulders under the jerkin she wore were strained, her jaw clenched tight. But her eyes, sharp as those of an eagle, were fierce and bright, as lethal as the blade she bore, full of fire and spirit.

" Now Buffy, " a sharp, commanding voice, cracking like a whip, " that last roll was sloppily executed. You are not at full attention. If you were fighting against an opponent as worthless as your stable boy you would find yourself at a grave disadvantage."

The Chosen merely smiled, her expression as hard as granite, her eyes like glittering scarabs in her fair face. " If I was fighting an actual opponent," she snarled, " I would honor him with immediate death by my blade! Stake will cleave the flesh of my enemies, their blood will flow like wine on the battle field! Stake and I will pulverize the Dark Lord himself, his evil ways will be brought to an end, for I am The Chosen, and Stake is my justice."

" As impressive as that may sound," Giles snapped, " you are not supposed to destroy the Dark Lord, your task is merely to bring Stake into his stronghold, to recite the incantation, to convert the Dark Land to Light."

The Chosen sighed wearily, her anger subdued. " By God, Giles! How naive are you to think that a sword and a few words could possibly quench the bloodlust those evil creatures feel, warm their cold flesh, bring breath to their lifeless lips? They are monsters, they are incorrigible. You can not redeem them! They are the unredemable. Soulless, they are the very antonym of everything good and pure, everything of the Light."

" You did not always feel this way." Gilesí voice was soft, but his gaze was cold. " As I recall, not a few meager years ago you were sure that Vampyres and their like could be saved. I believe you even deemed them worthy of your love."

" I deemed one Vampyre worthy. One. And look at what has happened because of my foolishness." A note of desperation could be heard in the piercing undercurrent of her voice, though her face remained as impassive and as deadly as the blade she held, " It is my fault that current affairs are the way they are!" Carefully, she placed her sword in the plain, leather scabbard that housed it, her back turned to her Watcher. " There is but one way for me to ameliorate this situation. And that is to fell the Dark Lord himself".

" Buffy, " the Watcher sighed, his weary eyes betraying the compassion that lay hidden beneath his professional veneer, " You are not responsible for this. You are not responsible for Dawn, and you are most certainly not responsible for this hideous war."

" But I am!" Tears filled within her eyes, causing them to shine like sheets of fine silver. " I am!" And with that, The Chosen stalked out of the room, leaving her Watcher in silence.

Giles swore softly beneath his breath, pushing his glasses farther up the bridge of his nose as he did so. He loved his charge as a daughter, though he had never revealed his feelings as such, and it pained him to see her shouldering the blame of events largely out of her control. Still, a war was brewing, and the part that Buffy would play was a large one. The entire fate of Herot would soon rest on her slender shoulders, and he could only hope that they could sustain the weight.

She seemed so strong, and she was. But deep inside her hardened exterior, Giles knew that a terrified girl resided. A girl that desired nothing more than to know she was loved, that she was needed for something other than her appointed task.

This girl was her weakness, and the Watcher feared the day when when her outer walls went down, when her shell cracked like the brittle carapace it was, and nothing remained but an insecure little girl, a girl unable to handle the task that was her destiny.

And so he pushed her, punished her. Worked to make her a killing machine, an automaton who knew nothing but her purpose.

She was safer that way.

He had only seen her crumble once, at the death of her sister, her only family. The young girl had been brutally attacked; murdered, raped, and drained by a Vampyre. Buffy had come too late to save her, had only come in time to see her baby sister, still a child in many ways, dead and cold in her bed.

The Chosen had broken like a doll under the weight of heavy hooves, had lain trembling, holding the corpse of the one person who had loved her. She had fallen comatose from the frigid rain that poured from the heavens on that day, and she had been near death when she was found.

Buffy had remained in bed for nearly three weeks, a vegetable, until a wise Witch had woken her. When she was finally revived, her grief had passed, but her heart was but a lump of coal within her hollow chest.

At times, Giles missed the laughing young woman she had once been, the vibrant beauty with golden waves about her head and eyes like a pine forest. But it was better that she remain strictly a warrior, he knew. Better that she live only for vengeance. Better that Buffy Summers retreat, and that The Chosen should take her place.

There was no room for emotion in war.

Buffy growled deeply within her throat, her palms clenched and sweaty as she paced about her chamber.

" Mistress, " a tentative voice, " You really must sit so that I can prepare you for tonightís banquet . . ."

" I am fine the way I am. I am not a woman, I am The Chosen, and finery is not for one such as I." The Chosenís eyes flashed green fire, her voice as harsh as burning venom.

" The Council has requested that you dress to your gender, Milady. In white." The brunette maid-servant had know her mistress for a year now, and was well aware that Buffy would never submit to any order given by the Council, although it was worth a try.

" Faith, " Buffy ordered, " Get me a dress tunic. Make it white if you wish. But not a dress. Such clothes are for the coquettish beauties of the court, not befitting to a warrior. There is no woman in me, I am simply a soldier, and will dress as such." Faith bowed low, pointing to the bed.

" I already predicted your wishes, Milady. The garments are on your bed. Do you wish for me to dress you?"

Buffy smiled, " Alas! It appears you know me too well. But why, might I ask, do you think that I would not dress myself, when I am a ferocious warrior trained in the ways of men?" Faith did not answer, knowing that it was not really a question. " Nay!, " Buffy continued, "Leave me be, I shall tend to myself." Faith bowed once more, quietly slipping from the room.

Buffy dressed hurriedly, slipping on the buttermilk pants and her black knee boots. She slipped the white silk tunic over her head, securing it with a silver belt that matched the adornments embroidered on the neck and sleeves. Pulling a pale leather thong from the chest that lay at the end of her bed, she secured her hair in a single, long braid that reached to the small of her back. She completed her ensemble with Stake, attaching the scabbard to her belt.

Looking into the mirror, she saw a fighter, cool in face, gazing back at her out of expressionless eyes. Nodding grimly, her jaw set, she approved of her appearance.

Tonightís gathering with the Council was not a banquet, but a meeting. A meeting to plan the last desperate strike against the Dark Lord.

Over the past three years, his power had been steadily increasing. Outriders from his armies burned towns, either slaughtering the citizens or taking them to the Dark Kingdom to be slaves. His forces had marched across Herot, conquering all that stood in opposition, the perpetual night spreading like a cancerous growth across the land. Now, but a few strongholds remained, scattered and far between. LLednevir was the nearest to the Dark Kingdom, in immediate danger of possession.

The people, and The Council, were desperate.

With a swagger in her step, the Chosen stalked from her quarters, her shoulders bearing the burden of every creature in all of Herot.