The Cost of Giles
Ch 23 – His Great Fall
“Wretch,” Ripper yelled out, slamming one of the leaping Quesslings with the book, held in a death grip in his hands.
The second creature, also flying toward his face, knocked his glasses off and raked the sides of his head with sharp claws. Grabbing the thing by the back of the head, he threw it hard against a wall, but he wasn’t able to watch its impact. He was too busy trying to shake off the little biter on one leg and kicked out with his opposite at more of the imps.
As the five newest creatures began to surround him in a semi-circle, chattering wildly to one another, he was finally able to shake off the biter. Picking his foot up, he stomped down viciously on its scrawny little neck with satisfaction. Before he could truly celebrate the minor victory, however, one the creatures – perhaps the one he’d thrown – leapt up on the back of his shoulders and clawed at his ears as it looked for purchase.
“Aurggh…! L-let the unclean spawn which now assaults wither and die within my presence,” he chanted in Turkish.
The spell was one of those whose energy he’d been able to absorb. Many of the spells, including the temporal field that guarded his apartment had required ritual and so had to come from reading the book itself. There were other spells, especially those in the second half, that he’d just hadn’t had the personal constitution to absorb. He already felt like he was riding close to bursting.
At his feet, the slowly stalking imps seemed to be taken aback, but they quickly regrouped, apparently none the worse for wear. The aggressive one on his back, however, was another matter. He felt its talons loosen and then its weight fall off of him accompanied by a small thump to the area rug. Again, there was no time to check its status… the others were now growling in obvious anger.
With a screech of frustrated rage, he summoned a kinetic bubble of force and expanded it outward. Again, the things shied back, but were otherwise unaffected by the Book’s spellworks and Giles was angered. He knew that whatever these things were, they were brought here by his former friend, betraying him as he knew was coming. Alican al Rashid wanted to steal Ripper’s glory and that wasn’t to be tolerated.
“Very close,” Alican said in a strained voice to
As Tara watched, she saw
Ripper Giles continued an onslaught of magical energy, almost from instinct, even as he recognized that he needed a new plan. The creatures seemed only minimally affected by his dark magic attacks, and his defensive spells, cast earlier were only partially effective. Far earlier, when he’d just completed his temporal manipulation he had also carved ruins into his abdomen. This action combined with the appropriate combination of powerful words was supposed to have given his skin “the strength to shatter the swords brought against you”.
Alas, the demon-ettes at his feet and leaping through the air at him were also shrugging off most of this defensive magic. Although, he realized he was lucky to have already followed the ritual – otherwise, they might have had him sliced to ribbons with their wicked claws by now.
Two of the little monsters were again on his back. He could feel himself bleeding as they crawled up his body, trying to reach his vulnerable head. In the meantime, one of the imps managed to land on the open pages of the book held in his hand and was jumping up and down, trying to separate it from him.
“Oh, no you don’t!” Giles made to fling the book away, but held onto it. The demon, as hoped, wasn’t immune to the laws of motion and flew off of the book in his hands and behind the sofa. Next, Ripper threw himself backward, hitting the wall solidly and dislodging his assailants. “You won’t win Alican! The book is mine!”
He quickly lashed out with his stomping feet again at those who’d fallen to the floor, but this time the imps dodged and ran under a chair nearby. Giles’ slightly desperate gaze noted movement from beneath the couch as the attempted book thief poked its little head out. With mean spirited amusement, he made a gesture with his hand, causing the sofa to collapse. The little thing was pinned, squirming and screeching in what Ripper hoped was pain.
There was no time to celebrate, however, as more of the things leapt as one, including those who’d hidden under the chair. Giles was left to swing wildly this way and that, and flattening himself against the wall to limit the approaches they could take. They still had him outnumbered five to one and they were highly persistent. As if they were in communication with one another, their attacks began to focus less on injuring him than in wrenching the book from his grasp; he was just as determined that they would fail.
Out of doors, the storm raged on in ever increasing intensity until
Alican reached out, startling her and she saw him point. When she looked,
“Giles, that’s enough!”
He turned momentarily at the sound of Willow’s voice, but had to quickly concentrate on another of the creatures that was currently biting at his wrist.
“The little guys are on our side, don’t hurt them… focus on Giles,” she called as she dodged a stray energy burst.
The grey-blue skinned man accompanying them to Giles’ didn’t have such compunction. She heard him yell something in a language that sounded like what Giles was using, and she saw their friend grimace in obvious pain.
This was quickly shaken off and he looked again in their direction. His eyes were as black as an abyss and without any of the kindness she was used to seeing. Another burst of energy, this one similar to lightning leapt the space between them.
She raised her arms, shouting ‘Block’ in Latin. At the same time, she threw herself to the floor, ducking behind the sofa in the middle of the room. A quick glance saw
Alican’s deep voice boomed throughout the room, far louder than even the raging storm outside. Again, it was in a language that
She peeked over the top of the sofa and saw Giles smashing one of their ‘helpers’ heads against the wall. Four others were still feinting a rush at him, but retreated as he kicked out at them.
Willow tried her own spell, entreating Buffy’s mentor to sleep. It had no effect she could see, and she realized she was going to have to get more aggressive. She wasn’t relishing the challenge.
The wizard’s voice stopped in what sounded like mid-sentence and she gave him a quick glance, just in time to see knives, forks, and other pointed accoutrements flying from the kitchen directly at them!
Xander and Spike sat huddled and bored in their groaning shelter, though Spike seemed to get the most out of it. Xan was feeling chilly due to the vampire’s lack of decent body temperature.
They’d searched for a working phone, but there was nothing like that. The mortal one of the duo thought about sending an instant message to
At least they still had lights, thanks to
“This is ridiculous,” the vampire said. “I should just jog back to the house and grab your car.”
“And leave me here in this rattling, sounds-like-a-death-trap waiting? Thanks a lot.”
“I’m worried about Hyena. The longer we stay here, the more likely she is to ‘wake up’.”
“You should be worried,” Xander’s guttural voice emerged.
When Spike looked at him, surprised, he found the wrong shade of eye color glaring back at him.
“So, you think we’re drinking that potion, huh?!” Hyena tried to rush to Xander’s feet.
Spike socked her one across the side of her head, hitting her squarely in the temple. As she completely folded to the concrete floor and Xander didn’t wake up in her place, he stared at the crumpled body… “Damn”.