FIC: Riders PG-13 (7/30)

This entry is part 7 of 30 in the series Riders
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Chapter 7  Bad Moon Rising

I see the bad moon rising

I see trouble on the way

I see earthquakes and lightning

I see bad times today.

– Creedence Clearwater Revival

Bad Moon Rising


Willow hung up the phone. “Mrs. Summers said Dawn woke up earlier and asked for French toast. She doesn’t remember anything about the Cantilly demon or falling asleep, she’s acting perfectly normal.”

“That’s wonderful news, Willow, I’m sure Buffy will be relieved to hear that. We’ll phone her later with the good news. In the meantime, I’d like you to explain what you and Tara have discovered, now that Anya and Xander have arrived.”

“Okay dokay.”

Tara slid the laptop around so everyone could see the monitor where four colored lines were boldly displayed, all converging at the same point.

Giles took his glasses off and wiped his face with a handkerchief. “Willow would you please begin?”

Willow stood up as though giving an oral school report. “It started when I needed to do some research for an astronomy and astrology compare and contrast paper. I chose the moon for my subject, so I researched moon and astrological positions throughout the solar system using noted historical events as markers.”

She paused to take a breath.

“I discovered that in astrology, Mars is supposed to have a negative effect on the Earth when it’s positioned between us and the sun and aligned with certain other constellations. The effect is magnified when the moon is between Mars and the Earth.

When I read this I thought it was really interesting, so I continued to research using the internet. That’s when I found a paper written by a professor at an eastern college, so I emailed her and received her research yesterday.”

She pointed to the laptop. “It seems that Professor Georgio has been doing a lot of

indepth research on the moon’s location in relation to other heavenly bodies and she’s discovered that certain horrific historical events have all occurred during one alignment in particular. The most recent example of that alignment was in 1870, prior to that it was in 1845 and I discovered the same alignment in 1343. Her list was much longer and had several even earlier dates, but I only needed a few for my paper.”

Xander held up his hand. “Okay, for the history impaired among us, just what horrible things happened on those dates? And second question, what do old horrors have to do with us? Don’t we usually deal in brand new horrors?”

“I l-l- looked the events up and can s-s-show you on the monitor here.” Tara reached over and double clicked the mouse. Her voice gained strength as she read from the screen. “1343 was the beginning of the pestilence known as the Black Death, 1845 was the Irish Potato Famine and 1870 is the year the Franco-Prussian War began.”

Willow picked up the narrative again. “These disasters all had serious repercussions that echoed throughout the world, but there’s actually more to this than just some really terrible events that happened to coincide with some planetary rotations. The events were actually caused by one of four someones, or I guess you could say four somethings.

She clasped her hands together. “I found information in a couple of Gile’s books that linked these four beings and this particular planetary rotation. The legends all say that each time a different one of the four beings will be in control of the invoked chaos and that they’ll absorb power from the evil and despair. The more horrific the damage and evil they incur, the more power they obtain to continue the cycle.”

Taking a deep breath and then letting it out slowly, Willow continued. “The four have been known throughout the ages by the evil that they’ve caused- Pestilence, Famine and War. Death always works in conjunction with one of the others, although he can work alone, he’s the strongest.”

Xander held a hand up and stopped her again. “I want to make sure I get this. Will, it almost sounds like you’re talking about the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”

She nodded an affirmation.

“If I remember Vacation Bible School and my comic books correctly, you’re talking revelation type stuff.” He glanced around the table at the others. “I get it, death and destruction of Biblical proportion, but why us? I mean, shouldn’t we be alerting the Pope or a clergyman of our choice? You’re Jewish; shouldn’t you be reading the Talmud or something, not doing google searches and trading emails?”

Giles spoke for the first time. “Reading the portents, we believe that this time someone is planning to unleash all four of the horsemen at the same time and because of the Crystal of Namine, that person may very well succeed.”

Anya had been watching the exchange between Giles and Xander. “I was around for some of those ‘apocalyptic events’.” She made air quotes with both hands.

“You do realize that the four horsemen are actually incredibly powerful demon sorcerers that disappeared before they could spread their destruction any farther than the usual localized events?” She frowned. “Well, all but that war, it took on a life of its own.”

“Anyway, I heard about one of them, I think it was Famine, who was just getting off to a good start and poof, he was gone. It was rumored that he was somehow banished to another dimension. I didn’t really keep close tabs on them or anything, it was just a rumor.”

Anya smiled proudly. “But I did once know a really young vengeance demon that actually tried to date Pestilence, but she had to break it off. She couldn’t handle the smell.”

Giles peered over his glasses. “Quite. Can we move on?”

Anya smiled widely and nodded. “I’m finished.”

“Now, according to Hockney, a demon horseman was sent away by using the efforts of the Council and the Crystal of Namine. The Crystal was the only thing powerful enough to control them, and only while they acted independently. They were sent somewhere where they would be rendered basically powerless. Unfortunately changing the crystal’s locus proved too difficult for the Council, so the ultimate destination was not reset each time before use.”

Xander flinched. “You mean, all four of these really powerful ring wraith guys are together in the same place?”

Giles looked grim. “Yes, and the mechanism for releasing them back into our dimension, which had been thought lost, may soon be located and used again.”

“You mean the crystal thingy.”

“The Crystal of Namine was originally used for dimensional travel by a sect of very ancient demons, who subsequently died out in the 1300’s and the Watchers Council obtained it. They used it each time a horseman would manifest and begin his cycle of destruction. However it was stolen by a nefarious Watcher in 1870, about the time the last Horseman was banished. The Watcher was never apprehended nor the Crystal ever recovered.”

“How do we know where it is now?”

“We only just learned yesterday that a very powerful witch working with the Council has had a vision concerning it. She saw it buried somewhere underground and she also saw evidence that someone was trying to reach it.”

Before Xander could ask, Willow added, “Early this morning I received an email attachment from the Council’s witch that showed a drawing of the man in her vision standing next to a Cantilly demon. On a hunch, I took the picture to Clem and he confirmed the mystery man’s identity, it’s definitely Teague.”

Anya mused. “So if this guy Teague finds the crystal and uses it during the alignment, all four of the horsemen can return here, gain all their original power back plus some and be free to use it in our dimension. That’s not going to be pretty.”

Xander anxiously gazed around the room from one person to another, and finally settled on Willow. “How long have we got? Please tell me at least several years.”

“The next alignment happens in a little less than two weeks.”

Anya spoke up again. “So just call Buffy, she’s already got a head start; she’s after  Teague already. She just doesn’t know the actual reason yet.” She appealed to Xander. “I know she can’t hurt humans, but the Horsemen are still demons and she’s supposed to take care of evil demons, right?”

He nodded.

“Okay, so she just takes the crystal away from this Teague and while she’s doing that, she and Spike punch out the demons and it will be case closed.” She wiped her hands in a cleaning motion.

Giles stared at her quizzically, shrugged and turned back to the rest of the group. “I spoke with Spike very early this morning and gave him a summons to return as soon as possible but this was before we’d received the email or the confirmation of Teague’s identity. Spike said that he and Buffy had located the Cantilly nest and were preparing to destroy it. However, I’ve been unsuccessful in reaching them since, I keep getting an out of area message for Spike’s cell phone.”

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