Summary to date… Part of the Five Rings cannon. Both the European ruling couple, Xander and Spike, have just returned to normal but now trouble of a different nature is apparent... Connor is back with family. Lilah is seeking him out and has been making trouble. So... on with the story...
NB: Sixth part in the Five Gold Rings canon
Rating: Mature Audiences – for content and themes
Summary: Spike (High Master) and Xander (Esteemed Consort) rule the European Court, but when the pure bred brother arrives with the Immortal, and external threats are thrown in, family becomes the priority.
Spoilers: Canon is Post S7 BtVS and S5 AtS.
Warnings: M/M – if you don’t like boys together, don’t play here!
Disclaimer: Don’t own the characters nor make any money from stories etc, and bow down to their original creators Joss, et al., plus all the wonderful online writers who continue to give the Buffy/Angel verse characters life.
Anton had not wanted to, but was now compelled to knock on the High Master and Consort’s door.
The two had felt the extreme levels of worry, despite both Anton and Connor attempting to lower the power of the connection, but the matter was too serious.
By the following afternoon Willow was on the doorstep – having spent the past two nights at the local coven recuperating from Spike’s restoration.
Despite her petite stature, she entered their home like Bodeccea ready for battle, power rolling off her and her eyes flashing black. She was flanked by twelve of the most powerful High Wiccans in Europe. This wasn’t a normal gathering of the forces.
Andrew, and four senior Slayers also arrived from England, along with the F’laath and representatives from nineteen other demon clans.
The surprise? The human representation – A promise that members of big business and government from all across Europe – many associated with Wolfram and Hart – would travel to the meeting in Beijing also… admittedly there to protect their own interests… but there nevertheless.
Anton vaguely remembered a first convening of the Vampiric Courts– somewhere around the reign of Julius Caesar. During the second that included the wiccan community had been at the height of the black plague and Inquisition, though he had been in Tibet on retreat. It was perhaps only Anton that knew the gravity of this particular event – this convening was profoundly different, the threat was truly global.
It would be the first time the Combined Vampiric Courts included the Watcher’s Council, representative Slayers from all over the world (many now, extraordinarily, in their thirties!), the heads of all Gaia’s Covens; and a significant number of leaders of demon clans and influential humans ‘in the know’ globally had agreed to meet. The matters threatening were too serious for exclusivity or prejudice.
For years, The Powers and Wolfram and Hart had walked a fine line of balance between good and evil, treading carefully, choosing champions, abandoning the same, allowing black and white to mix always. But of late the balance was being threatened – and for no better reason than there was renegade employee and her followers, all now aligned with one very disgruntled Senior Partner, the Wolf, who had timed his move for dominance, the human race’s squabbling and their rape of Gaia largely responsible for the window of opportunity.
The Wolf had even managed to recruit a junior member of the Oracles – who was of course immediately dismissed but not before some serious damage had been done via a number of false prophecies and ensuing deaths of champions.
As the Aurelian rulers prepared for their flight to Beijing, all recent events and their personal concerns seemed to melt into the background.
The emergency ‘war meeting’ at the home of the European Master was swift and to the point. The alliance sealed with a toast, the humans in the room happy to consume the fine red liquid – all ruling parties offering their blood and others tasting the slight copper of Court, Wiccan and Slayer blood. The demons in the room felt deeply honored. It was the very first time…
They all departed the following evening, commercial and private flights… whatever it took.
Anton’s personal plane took Willow, Anton and Buffy plus several of Europe’s Ruling household including Gregor.
A separate chartered flight carried Mister’s ‘Willem, Connor and Alexis Hauser’ of Switzerland and one Christof Connelli late of Italy, plus an entourage of beautiful women from Russia, the ladies all carrying papers appropriate - Minna Petrovskya, Anna Bruslevski and Tatyana Ivanovich.
The attending French customs official drew breath as the three ladies moved to board the plane. The men he’d questioned were handsome but the women utterly stunning, all beautifully coiffed, and decked out in the finest couture with long fur adorned coats and exquisite jewelry. When the last woman Tatyana smiled at him, he felt quite weak at the knees.
Despite their apparently varied nationalities, all six passengers spoke impeccable French, were extremely polite and had the unmistakable air of wealth, influence… and ‘old money’. Their purpose for travel was listed as a business conference in all cases – and the duration in China ten days. Tatyana chatted easily to the official as the others boarded, her penchant for thrall not needed on this occasion as the young man was already enamored by the stunning woman.
They departed without a hitch.
Despite the ease of exit, as soon as the plane was in the air the strategizing began.
Minna, Anna and Tatyana were present at Connor’s request – not something that particularly surprised anyone.
Minna seemed to have a natural rapport with the Aurelian full blood, and the Mistress of Northern Europe was a particular favorite of the ruling couple though not so well known on the world stage. It would be an advantage. Anna was Minna’s partner and extraordinarily organized PA, and Tatyana, an astute political analyst and financial tactician. They were a formidable addition to the team.
The fact that the three tall women also exuded an extraordinary, classic, ethereal beauty did not hurt the overall image that the Aurelian court was taking to the momentous meeting either. The three women (under their furs) all sported the latest ‘ready to wear’ couture. Their thigh length boots with narrow four inch heels in tight suede and antique animal skins to match accentuated the height and elegance of the three.
Connor had been briefed and despite his several months at the helm of the Aurelian Court, as it were, still felt a little like the ‘kid brother’ somehow. The reality was, that unfortunately, this was a problem on a scale that none of them had faced previously.
The discussion on the plane was grave and twice blood was shared as one by one the members of the group expressed their worries.
Globally the issue of balance was being ignored on so many fronts that a response to at least the top three was critical as the consequences were fast being felt in the most desperate of ways.
The three key issues were water management/ownership and a sudden escalation in cloud seeding, robbing some countries of even the most basic of natural supplies; the manipulation of finite fuel resources – both nuclear and fossil based – and the recent ‘bleeding’ of the resources from the North Sea and former Soviet Union and consequent weapon sales; and finally, the apparent scaling up of systematic abductions of demon and human children for military purposes.
The last issue was now in (safe to say) pandemic proportions and the most worrying as the escalation over the past three months was astounding - a militia of deliberately brainwashed/desensitized, under-aged individuals, armed and ready to infiltrate and kill at their masters’ instructions (whoever the master might be).
The scattered (yet no less organized) groups were ready and able to deploy the traumatized, pint sized soldiers immediately their services were purchased by the highest bidder worldwide and in every war zone. It was abhorrent to all attending the Convening, regardless of species, gender, nationality, race or religion.
The human habit for the underaged militia had a long history – as did human upon human violence but the demon races generally kept to themselves. The ruling Aurelians had their suspicions. Wolfram and Hart were one thing, but this had the stamp of one or two senior partners… Demons who had worked with the Law firm confirmed as much. There had been innuendo as they had their own interviews.
All species were threatened if the trend continued and the general balance of the earth would be compromised. All the magical and demon communities knew that if Gaia was so violated, she would retaliate and not in a mild way. The humans had already had warnings with tsunamis, droughts, floods and earthquakes, but that would all pale if she really let loose her full power.
Their arrival in Beijing was marked by the lack of fuss or ceremony. They simply got into a small bus hired for the purpose and drove through the night to the venue in the hills near the Chinese capital.
The venue was a very traditional palace, now ‘resort’ but owned by two Xiepa demon families who were most excited that their venue had been chosen for the momentous event. Two other hotels were also requisitioned as the thousand or so representatives poured into the area.
The Chinese ruling court were officially hosts but the decision was quickly made that The Immortal should chair the meeting. There was swift agreement that the language translators available to the various delegates were not suited to all demon languages. Connor stepped forward and asked permission of Anton, then nodded at Willow and the result was that every delegate could *read* the translation of the speaker in real time on the Powerpoint presentation. In itself it was an extraordinary way to begin to the meeting – with respect and solidarity.
There were so many issues! Concerns re Human violence against humans generally but escalating at a frightening rate. As far as the demon community was concerned the recent history of the European Court was seen as a model. The South East Asian court suffered difficulties due to fragmentation with their many islands. The African and South American courts were the worst hit by the abductions and human turmoil. In former case much was due to AIDS reducing their food sources, but also destabilizing the whole region – plus general wars in the middle east re oil. South American delegates were very worried by drugs and general mahem though child abductions were new. Certainly some concerns were expressed over the health of their humans in Ecuador and neighboring Peru.
Their dilemma was how to quell the humans’ determination to self destruct, driven and encouraged by the vicious senior partner and his lackey, the deadly Lilah.
They adjourned the meeting at the conclusion of day one with an agreement to work on the problem with their own teams that night and come to the table with proposals the following day – the first and foremost being the removal of Lilah and the incarceration of the renegade Wolf in some way.
That night, to the Ruling Couple’s interest, Connor chose to sleep in the arms of the three Aurelian women from the Russian court. Both could smell it the next morning, there had simply been friendly comfort. Anton on the other hand, had Buffy’s scent.
Spike nudged his Sire and winked as they met in the corridor, and grinned as he was returned a smile and “Well you had yours!”
The following day was essentially a strategy meeting. The AIDS issue would take longer to address as it required some pure human input but they would do their best.
The drugs issue, like the wars over oil control, would need time to resolve as it even involved some of the demon clans’ moneys.
But the very recent abduction and use of the demon children (and human) was most concerning. The destruction of innocence and murder that ensued was beyond comprehension.
The groups all rallied to the cause and the meeting concluded with an extraordinary show of solidarity by all present. The F’laath even agreeing to shake hands with several of the older slayers.
It would be weeks not months before every splinter group stealing children was eliminated, and the children either rehabilitated – or in the worst cases, ‘put to sleep’ with a lethal injection.
Sadly, even after a month, Lilah and the senior partner were still at large.