Disclaimer: I own none of the characters or products named in this
story and make no profit from it.
Summary: A mysterious carnival appears on the outskirts of Sunnydale.
Despite the sudden disappearance of townspeople and pets, Xander is
intrigued and wants a closer look. What he gets is more than he could
This story is based on a suggested story idea from the lovely Mystic Oblivion.
As always, thanks to the wonderful Petxnd for the banners that put the perfect
visual to my words.
Giles stood next to the fireplace in his cozy little cottage and he
repeatedly polished the lenses of his glasses as his brain evaluated
the situation and measured his responses.
The electricity in the room sparked and crackled, trigger and fueled by
the small blond girl that fussed and fidgeted around like a caged tiger.
Giles watched her for a few moments, wondering sadly if she was
even remotely up to the task she was about to face.
"Please, Buffy, do sit down so we can discuss this and formulate a plan.
We must handle this carefully. The magnitude of this prohibits a
reaction of simply 'swoop and stake'. And, frankly, my dear, you are not
experienced enough to take on an army of demons and vampires single
handedly without a well calculated strategy."
Buffy stopped pacing and spun around. The casual, offhanded comment
had felt like a slap in her face and if she hadn't reluctantly admitted
to herself that Giles was right, she would have stormed out.
But she had been there. She had seen and felt it and it was overwhelming.
She wouldn't even know where to begin so she did as told. She sat.
"Fine. What do I do?"
Replacing his glasses, Giles retrieved two huge books from the top shelf
and he sat across from her, opening the first book on the table between
"I have been doing some research on the Carnivale Mystique and
it has quite a history. The watchers' journals track it back as far as
the 1700's when it was owned by a woman by the name of Darla.
It would arrive, unannounced, in an area of low populace and stay
for only a week or two. During that time several citizens would be reported
dead or missing. Cattle were mutilated and crops failed. Early superstitions
of the church sought a sign, a reason or someone to point to. Often, the
carnival was called to blame and run out of town. During one of these
episodes, angry mobs set fire to the tents and booths seeking to cleanse
their village of the evil curse that had befallen it. After that, there
is a fifty year gap before reports of the carnival again start appearing."
Buffy leaned forward, entranced.
"Who was Darla? A vampire? A fortune teller? I think I saw her."
Giles shook his head.
"I doubt it but we will get to that later. Now, to continue, during the 1800's,
the practices of the carnival seemed to change. Before, the killing appeared
selective, almost what you may call subtle. Now, it becomes a slaughter.
As soon as the traveling show arrived in a town, the killing would begin.
Bodies of men, women and children, butchered, dismembered, disemboweled
were scattered everywhere. They held the population in abject terror.
During this period, the Watchers report the carnival is now being led by
a man. A crude, uncouth large man referred to as 'Liam."
Buffy shook her head. She had seen several carnies who would fit that
description, but clearly, none of them was running anything more complex
than a ride or a booth. Most obviously couldn't even run a toothbrush.
Giles now opened the second book. It was leather bound with the title
embossed across the front. VAMPIRE LINEAGE.
"I think this will help us in our identification of the demons and vampires
involved. If we go back to the beginning, the Genesis, if you will,
we find the original vampire. A creature cursed and created by Satan himself.
He is called The Master. In 1605, the Master swiped a prostitute off the
streets of Paris. For some reason he was taken with her and rather than
just kill her, he turned her. Her name was Darla. Darla stayed with her
Master for at least 100 years. It is unclear if they had a falling out or if
she just got restless, but she moved on, alone. That's when the carnival
first started appearing in Europe. Later, she took a lover. A boorish,
drunken Irishman by the name of Liam and she turned him. Over
the years, he turned a nun, and two young men. Presumably as sexual
Buffy started to twitch, her patience and attention span were limited at best
and all this 'Darla begat Liam, Liam begat the nun' bla bla bla, was starting to
sail over her head.
"Come on, Giles, how much of all that ancient history is really important?
All I need to know is who is running the show now? That's who I need to
target first. I figure, I kill the big Kahuna and torch the tents. You said that
stopped them for a long time before, shouldn't it work again?"
Giles again removed his spectacles and began cleaning them.
"We have several problems with that scenario, Buffy. First, not everyone
there is a vampire. Several of the workers and exhibitors are demons
of a lessor variety, basically harmless."
Buffy flipped her hand dismissively.
"Demons are demons. Kill 'em. What's next?"
Giles studied the sweet innocent face in front of him and hoped that her hard,
lack of compassion was more a byproduct of her youth and inexperience
in life and not a critical personality flaw that could prove disastrous.
"Yes, well, as I am sure you noticed, some of the carnival employees
are very human."
With that, Buffy sat back in her chair and crossed her arms thoughtfully.
"Yeah, they were. Why? Why would a human work and live with vampires?
Don't they know what they are? How come the vamps don't kill and eat them?
What's up with that?"
Giles replaced his glasses on his nose and clasp his hands.
"A lot of higher up vampires find it advantageous to keep, for lack of a better
term, pets. Humans that can function during the day time, protect the sleeping
vampire, act as a source of food at times when they can't feed elsewhere,
"And provide sexual companionship."
Buffy wrinkled her nose in disgust.
"EEEWWWW!! Well, in my book, they deserve to die for that alone!"
This time Giles voice was firm, leaving no confusion.
"Buffy! You will not....."
Pausing to give her on last glare, Giles answered his ringing phone.
"Hello?.......Yes?......Who?......I see, no I haven't heard anything.
Yes, of course. What steps have been taken to......? No, we don't
want to jump to any conclusions. Has anyone.... Of course, thank you."
Thoughtfully, Giles replaced the receiver.
"Buffy, did you and your friends happen to see Larry Fine at the carnival
Buffy thought about it, scratching her head.
"No. I don't think so. Why?"
"Because he is missing."
Bee note: Watch this site for a future announcement on how to get in on
an experimental new story format. Information in one week.