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 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 2:13 pm 
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16. Pancakes in Bellies
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Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2006 10:57 am
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Location: Poulsbo, WA
Hi, Garner.

Since I was new to this story, I went back and read the entire story. To understand things from Tara's POV is quite special. Wonderful translation from the screen to Tara's mind. :blush

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 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:27 pm 
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9. Gay Now

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:54 pm
Posts: 947
Kittens,
Well it's been a long time since I updated, but as promised in June, I do finally have another chapter in the Journal. This finishes up what the last part set up, so looking at the previous interlude is probably not the worst idea, it took me a while to remember what was going on. I really will get to Yoko Factor next, whenever that might be. Hopefully it won't be as long, but one never knows.

Sadie: Thanks for the vote of confidence, it's a long story and reading it all must have been quite and undertaking. Glad you liked it and hopefully this portion won't disappoint.

Pinocchio1940, it's always nice to see someone new to the story get into it. And you even get an update much sooner than anyone who was reading it long ago. That's got to be a bonus of some sort? Yes? Hopefully. Anyway, glad you like Tara's outlook on things. Enjoy the latest.

Sandman78, if you are still around after all this time (and anyone else who's been here from the start, soooo long ago) with the demise of Extraflamey, I don't have any other archives to put this in so the Kitten and Pens is it. At least you found the last update, hopefully people who are interested actually find this one, too.


Title: From the journal of Tara MaClay Pt. 17
Rating: R
Summary: The events after New Moon Rising, before Yoko Factor in Season 4.
Note: Written November 2005 through April 2006 and now January & September 2007 (RL can be a bitch). The entries are no longer consecutive days, some gaps may appear. This is the second part of the Stormy Nights Interlude, resolving the side W/T adventure concerning a spellbook that Willow brought back for Tara from a trip to Stanford, and none of this is from the show. Next time I am back to canon, more or less, of course, and will be doing Yoko Factor.


Interlude: Stormy Nights II

Chapter 17 Part A


Thursday night: Not a lot of time before we go to sleep and try and contact Golina. We learned quite a bit today and hopefully we’ll be able to discover more tonight. It’s amazing how much work all this is, and yet it’s exciting, too. I kidded her about loving the Scooby life, and it does have its drawbacks, the horror, danger, all that, but there’s something about it that adds a thrill to the day, makes what you’re doing seem more important, like you matter and have an impact on the world. I’m starting to see why she chose to stay here in Sunnydale and continue helping Buffy instead of leaving for someplace like Stanford. It might not have been as hard a choice as I’d previously thought, and until now I didn’t fully see the attraction to all this. This whole problem has helped me understand her more and for that I’m grateful. Still, some of it is just so disturbing…I don’t know if I could do this all the time. How she has managed since, what, she was 15, is beyond me.

We met up at lunch and went over the information she’d gathered. Sandra Ramonez came from a family that had a history of witches, though it didn’t appear like she’d been one herself. Her parents had died while she was young and despite being raised by her grandmother, who owned a magic shop in San Diego and probably practiced the Craft, she thought Sandra’s adolescent rebellion took the form of ignoring her heritage. She ran with some pretty tough hombres, she grinned when she said that, who got her into some gang trouble, possession of marijuana, a little breaking and entering, nothing extremely serious or that got her convicted. Maybe that was her innate power giving her a little extra luck? Anyway, she seemed to have been smart, or cautious, enough to finish high school without getting pregnant and barely got admitted to UCSD on a scholarship for Hispanic women. She was registered as a business major with an art minor and seemed to be taking a lot of marketing and advertising courses. She was brought in unconscious to Lennert, treated for exhaustion, came to a few hours later and they sent her to Sunnydale General Hospital for observation. There the doctors couldn’t find anything specifically wrong with her, other than exhaustion, so she was sent home later that evening. She didn’t have any alcohol in her bloodstream, nor any traces of drugs.

She’d also gotten the rundown on Kristen Matthews as well. She was here on an athletic scholarship from San Daringo, a nearby small town, had been in excellent shape, on the track and field team, woman’s basketball, and yet died from heart failure. She had no marks on her body of any sort, and no evidence of drugs or alcohol either. The family had no history of heart disease or failure and the doctors were baffled as to what caused the heart attack. Nothing in her background showed any unusual proclivity for magic, though that doesn’t mean much. If you look at her background you wouldn’t find much there either, yet her potential is so big, far beyond mine, and witchcraft runs in my family.

Unfortunately, all that information really didn’t give us anything new, other than that both girls lived outside my dorm and so the affects weren’t limited to the immediate area. That wasn’t good. We decided to eat at the Stevenson cafeteria so I could check how badly or how many of the students’ auras had been affected there. At least that might give us an idea of how widespread the problem was.

I copied the spells while she watched, just to make sure nothing bad ensued and it felt good having her present, knowing that she cared about what happened to me, was making sure I was all right. I’ve never had anyone look out for me like that; it still makes my heart flutter and a warm feeling rise in my chest. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such attention, to have her in my life. I’m so lucky to have such a fabulous woman. I finished as quickly as possible as the book seemed sort of cold and dank, like the aftermath of a storm that hasn’t blown itself out yet, but is merely gathering force for a second effort.

I gave her a quick kiss before we left for lunch, and I think I should try and do something special for her, a way of saying thanks for caring. Nothing big or flashy, but something cool, though I don’t have any idea what, yet. She enriches my life every day, and I want her to feel the same, if that’s possible. She has so much going on that it sometimes makes me doubt exactly where I’ll fit in when things settle down and the newness of it all is gone.

We walked over to Stevenson and I think we both sort of hoped we might run into Buffy while we were there. Unfortunately, she was nowhere to be seen, so we got our food, her basically guiding me while I concentrated on the auras of those around us. It was busy, very crowded, everybody bustling about and I got bumped a bunch. I bet this bugged her because when we sat down she went off on a little rant about how rude people could be and how no one looked where they were going. I laughed and told her it was mostly my fault since I really wasn’t looking where I was going. She pouted and said that if any stray elbows bruised me so we couldn’t snuggle she’d be cross and might have to curse them all.

I knew she was joking and her protectiveness still thrilled me, but part of me worried that she wasn’t entirely kidding. I didn’t want to say anything, act all preachey, but she’d been quick to use a spell on Mandy and her friends, and I knew she hadn’t learned magic with the Wiccan philosophy of not hurting others foremost. So I said I was fine, and settled for saying that she needed to remember that magic wasn’t a quick fix for every situation. It could have unintended consequences or uncontrolled results. She gave me a breezy ‘no problem,’ and added that if I did have any owwees, maybe she’d just have to massage them away. I responded that that sounded like the best kind of magic, which got a big grin from her.

I informed her that the auras of the students around us were mostly normal, and that only a few had been drained or fed off of, and those not as much as the ones I saw this morning. The affects seemed more recent which unfortunately could indicate that the beings’ influence was widening. Neither of us thought that was a good sign.

And then it came to me, the thing that had been nagging at me and which I had overlooked, even while recopying the spells. One had been in an entirely separate hand. The spell to water crops and raise a storm had struck me as different when I first saw it. The invocation was more commanding, the words harsher and the affects seemed more…not powerful, but severe. I hadn’t noticed that overtly before, but I thought it was important. She agreed and said she’d thought that spell was odd, too, but not having read most of the others hadn’t been sure. It was hard to say what it meant, however. Two authors? That didn’t seem quite right. Of course the fact that I hadn’t finished the entire thing might have prevented us from learning all there was. Or, as she suggested, might be all that was preventing one of the beings from taking me over or absorbing all of my abilities. That thought made me shudder and I was glad the language barrier was big enough that I’d only been able to proceed slowly.

We finished our lunch while talking a bit about our courses, trying to build some motivation to get through the afternoon lectures. We parted, agreeing to meet after her last class and then head over to Mr. Giles’ together.

Class was at least a little more interesting in the afternoon. I tried to lose myself in the various paintings and styles, think about what it was like to be alive in that period, all the things they lacked that we have. Everyone always says those were simpler times, but I don’t know if they were all that better. Certainly her and I would have faced more condemnation and prejudice than now.

About 3 pm as I walked over to the building with her last class, I noticed it had clouded over again. The sun that had peeked out at noon was now entirely hidden. A solid slate gray roof seemed to press in and down on me. I couldn’t help feeling like I was being watched, or that at any moment the clouds would darken further into a female head and shoulders. The weather had a dampening affect on everyone’s spirits, the other students shuffled past more subdued and listless than normal. I didn’t see anything specifically influencing their auras, but all had a depressed, dreary aspect that was too similar to be mere coincidence.

I hurried along and made it into the building just before a few desultory drops fell from the sky, as if in warning of the real storm to come later. I wanted to see her so much, to get a good look at her shining face, that radiant red hair which is so silky and exciting when it pours through my fingers. I satisfied my urge with a quick peek through the window on the lecture hall door, and it was like seeing the sun slide out from behind the clouds. A brilliant beacon, shining down, promising light and a beautiful day to come. I felt a swell of emotion and ducked back before anyone caught me staring and took a seat in the lounge with the vending machines down the hall.

I was going to do the reading in chapter 14 for my psych class, but the spell book pulled at my attention, beckoned me to read further, get a better idea of what was going on, be able to present her and Mr. Giles with the full story. I couldn’t stop myself from taking it out of my backpack and placing it before me on the table. I swear the room got warmer and more humid the longer I stared at it.

For a moment I got the sense of a hand, or maybe it was a broom, reaching out towards me; of a faint silver glow and then a cat mewing somewhere in the background. I thought I saw the house by the stream once again, but this time it was burning, struck by lightning and the nearby barn reeked like a slaughterhouse. Blood ran out from under the doors and gore and entrails fell from the open hayloft with a wet squelch.

Thank the Goddess that her, ‘hey there, sleepyhead,’ brought me back to myself. I can’t believe I dozed off, but sure enough, it was almost an hour later and I’d been daydreaming. When she saw the book sitting open before me she hastily slammed it shut and put it in her book bag. She looked at me all concerned, put a hand on my shoulder and asked if I was OK, that I appeared kinda pale. She looked so upset and put out, so much love in her eyes. I bit my lip and gave her a half smile, almost overwhelmed by her apprehension for me. I had to look down and let my hair cover my face or I would have started crying right there. She’s so sweet, so caring; I wanted to hold onto her and never let go.

I swallowed and told her what had happened. She immediately took out her notepad and wrote it all down, which brought a full smile to my face and made me feel a bit better. She can be so…I don’t know, cute and adorable with the simplest actions. However, I could tell that her worried face was getting quite the workout, and I fully agreed. I’d only just sat down and ended up…not under its control, but certainly its influence. Goddess, how could I have been so stupid, so unwary?

As if on cue, she told me not to blame myself, the book’s magic must be very strong, and I’d had it for some time now. I told her I didn’t, but I couldn’t help feeling a little ashamed, like I blew it; let her down, or something. I felt sort of tired and depressed, though I didn’t really have a good reason why. I mean, here she was all helpful and solicitous, making sure I was all right and everything. I took a moment to gather myself, stared at the ring on my finger and then over at her and the mood passed as quickly as it came.

It was like a heavy blanket had been lifted off of me and I could feel my shoulders straighten and a smile creep over my face as I looked at her. My Willow, always there for me. I ran a hand over the back of hers, told her I was better and we gathered up my stuff and headed towards Mr. Giles’.

It was still cloudy out, but this time it didn’t seem so dismal. We discussed this latest development as we walked, our feet occasionally sloshing through dark puddles left from the previous night. The sounds of everyone heading home after work still seemed muted and quieter than normal. It was unsettling.

We knocked on Mr. Giles’ big wooden door and when it opened he looked both surprised yet pleased to see us, or her more likely. She has that affect on most of the Scoobies, they’re always happy to see her no matter what’s going on.

He invited us in and after a few pleasantries she began telling him what was going on in a great rush of information, using her notes for specifics here or there. I would have been totally swamped by all of it, but Mr. Giles had no problem following and processing what she described. He kept quiet for the most part, uttering an, ‘oh my,’ or a ‘dear lord,’ every so often.

When she was done, he said we were quite right to come to him and he asked me if I had anything to add? I got nervous under his studious gaze, and I kept hearing her say that she used to have a crush on him and that his singing was kinda sexy. I blushed and ducked my head and sort of mumbled that she’d told him everything, though I did find the courage to ask him what all the cats in my dreams meant?

He related that in some cultures cats were thought to be protectors of one’s dreams, sometimes even guardians of the dreamlands themselves. A few theorized that when we dreamed, another aspect of ourselves was active in a land no less real than our own, and that cats were instrumental in seeing that we transitioned from one world to the other, kept the dangers of each separate and didn’t end up in the lower realms of nightmare.

I asked if the dreamlands were similar to the astral or nether worlds, and he replied that they were entirely different. The former two were aspects of our world, spiritual planes where matter was less substantial and thought, emotion, ideas were more solid, concepts could be actualized; all of which agreed with what my Mother had taught me. The dreamlands, he said, were both more fantastic, and more like the real world at the same time. Thought and will still held great sway as the landscape and denizens were not entirely fixed, yet they also had a substance, a solidity that reflected the real world’s laws. But, it was actually sort of like the Matrix, one could bend the normal constraints of physics and the other natural sciences. She got big eyes and he looked somewhat abashed, saying that he saw the occasional popular film, too. After that, she got her pleased, smug look for a moment, but I was lost. Another indication of how much of an outsider I really am. He went on that the dreamlands were more fantastic because they dug into our psyche and spirit for their shape, and were not just a likeness of the waking world.

To me it sounded as if the Astral and Nether Worlds were like the spirit, or maybe subconscious, of the physical world, while the dreamlands were the spirit of our minds. He said that was an excellent insight and that it could very well be. He added that some cultures considered it another plane or dimension of existence with different natural laws, and nothing more. Either way, whatever powers were active within the book, or which it gave access to, they were dangerous and needed to be stopped.

He said that Golina’s name sounded familiar and when we’d mentioned her before he had done a little preliminary research, just out of curiosity, and discovered that Golina Geverti had a reputation as a powerful witch who had fled the Inquisition. She was also known for being very reclusive as well. There was no indication that she had ever strayed into dark magics, though it was said that she had visited what is now Germany fairly often before she’d disappeared. No-one knew why, exactly where in that area she went, or who she saw. And then she simply disappeared as far as any historical records were concerned. No one ever knew what became of her, though a book of spells that she reputedly authored surfaced in the mid sixteenth century in the Paris Bibliotheque.

Giles went on that the book developed an unsavory reputation. Some thought it was cursed, though it didn’t seem to directly kill any of its owners. Yet, they never seemed to live up to their potential, and all ended up solitary practitioners with no covens or ties to the rest of the occult community. Strange deaths constantly surrounded them and may have led to their enforced isolation, or at times directly to their demise by fearful villagers or governments.

Now, however, it seemed like a bit more in-depth research was necessary. He had both of us start through some of the Watchers’ Journals that he thought might be applicable. Meanwhile, he made a call to a friend on the Watchers’ Council who still occasionally corresponded with him. Based on what his friend told him, we broadened our study to include a few other books, while Mr. Giles’ friend said he would call back if he found anything in the more extensive library he had access to.

It was kind of mind-blowing to see her and Mr. Giles in full out research mode. They both read at an astounding rate and seem to be able to skim through lots of material until they find the relevant bits. I helped of course, but didn’t have their knack for staying entirely on focus or being able to decide when something wasn’t going in a useful direction and either jump forward or change books. Also, Mr. Giles has an astonishing memory for details, events and where he learned them. Several times I would mention either a spellbook or author and he would be able to give a digest of the book or summary of the person’s works and either dismiss them or confirm that they were worth a closer examination, and which chapters might be particularly relevant. It sped things up quite a bit and I’m afraid my clumsy efforts might have slowed the whole process down since I was always asking advice or clarification on what I read. Still, Mr. Giles didn’t lose his temper or patience even once, and seemed very kind in directing my efforts and pointing me towards better materials. The simple research we’d done on the Lowell House was nothing compared to this. Goddess, I knew she was smart, brilliant even, but the rate at which they went through different languages, dialects, poorly written and barely legible handwritten accounts is mind numbing. I have some sympathy with her parents’ contention that she is wasting her talents here in UC Sunnydale. Goddess, what could she possibly see in me?

And yet, it was kind of exciting, too. Not in a flashy, kung fu action fight with the bad guy sort of way, but knowing we were working to save others, solve the puzzle that was Golina Geverti and her book, stop a bunch of people from losing a vital part of themselves; it all made the effort more electrifying, and, well maybe not thrilling, but still there was a sense of stimulation to the whole process.

It’s the first time we’ve really gotten to work together on something important and almost Scooby related. Buffy wasn’t present of course, Mr. Giles said that things were starting to get busy again and that she was out patrolling with Riley, which also allowed her to make sure that the Initiative didn’t catch up with him. She said that Buffy wasn’t big with the research anyway, so it was probably better off this way. She covered it pretty well, but I could tell she was a little disappointed with her friend’s absence and that it stung a bit. She hasn’t been able to talk or hang out with Buffy since she told her about us and I can sense that she’s still more than a little worried about what the Slayer thinks. She did say Buffy kinda wigged when she told her. They probably just need some time to talk things through; I just hope the chance comes soon, it’ll help settle her fears.

I’m still amazed at all that we were able to learn. We soon had several books piled around Mr. Giles’ table, on the couch, next to it on the floor. We knew Golina was Italian, but it turned out she was originally from the Naples area in the South. She fled from that region due to a rivalry with another witch named Sarissa Remerius. It was hard to figure out exactly what the source of contention between them was, but as near as we could figure, Sarissa was very old, from the period of the later Roman Empire, maybe as far back as 5th Century AD. Sarissa, whose exact origin is still a mystery, grew to hate the arrogant Romans and their excesses, and called on evil powers to avenge some wrong done to her family. That began her slide into darkness, and she soon became a terror in the far south. She eventually started preying on other witches to extend her life, and learned to travel by the winds and storms to many portions of the Balkans, even into the Ukraine, though she usually ended up returning to Southern Italy. I tend to think she had some sort of love-hate relationship with the Romans. Maybe she had been ripped from her birthplace by a centurion or governor who’d been smitten with her, and then been discarded? Her early life sort of read like a vendetta or personal grudge gone wild.

Small armies and church forces tried to get rid of her, but all failed. She either killed them, kept them at bay with her storms, or fled and came back when they had forgotten about her. I guess she must have picked Golina as a target for her power draining, and a fierce magical duel ensued. Golina was able to hold off the older witch, but knew in the long run she’d fall. To avoid this she fled to the North, to the Piedmont area. She was there almost a decade before Sarissa caught up to her, and was forced into battle again. The results were much the same, though this time more of the surrounding countryside suffered from the conflict.

From here things get murky, I think Golina made it look like she headed east, and then doubled back somehow to Spain. She probably kept a low profile there and lived in seclusion. Now, whether this isolation eventually ate at her, the Inquisition found her, or Sarissa was getting close, we don’t know, but for whichever reason, after some time had passed, Golina chose to head north. It appears that she’d been in Spain for 20 years and suddenly decided to start her life over again in Gascony.

In France she found an out of the way farmhouse, met someone, married and raised a family. She gained a reputation as a healer and herbalist who knew an incredible amount about the occult and that area was said to be one of the safest sections of France. Unfortunately, Sarissa eventually learned of her foe’s location. By this time the older witch was even stronger, but required still more power to continue avoiding death. Golina was one of the strongest practitioners around at that point and would keep the older witch alive for some time.

We think Golina foresaw that Sarissa would learn her location, because about a year earlier she sent her family away to Poland. She studied with a mystic named Hans Schecht, in eastern Germany who specialized in dream lore, the astral and other outer planes of existence, trading much of her occult knowledge in return for his. This at least filled in the trips to Germany and gave her the contacts to secret her loved ones away.

The two old foes must have met once more at that French farm, and there are indications of a conflict that lasted for three days and devastated the area for several years to come. Mr. Giles thinks that Golina had learned various advanced defensive magics and though she knew Sarissa would eventually defeat her, waged a delaying battle to drain her more powerful foe of energy hoping that this would ultimately kill her. It was said that magic in Southwest France did not function exceptionally well for some time in the late medieval period.

We still don’t know precisely what happened in the end. The various chronicles, all second or third hand, say that after a three-day battle neither was left standing and that a great evil had passed from the earth. There are no reports of either having been sighted after that final confrontation. However, about ten years later peasants who mustered up the courage to occupy the land that lie unused found the book. Their sale of the grimoire to an occultist from Paris begins its long journey to the present.

Mr. Giles’ friend confirmed that it did appear to have a history of turning those around the owner into magicless dullards who lived an unremarkable, short, and tedious life. Many of the holders recorded that they had strange dreams of two women fighting, and that the book occupied their mind more and more. Some concluded that it was responsible for the deaths of colleagues or other coven members and took to seclusion to limit its affects. Several tried to destroy it of course, but none succeeded, no magical or mundane force was sufficient, not even living flame.

So, we figure that there are three possibilities: the first is that Golina and Sarissa managed to kill each other, and their spirits became bound to the book, sort of a cross between poltergeists and ghosts. Personally I don’t think this is likely, but they didn’t want to count it out either. Second, that the book represents some hole through time that takes the owner back to the witches’ last battle where they are, in fact, still fighting until an outside force can tip the contest one way or the other. This seems more possible and perhaps each witch is drawing power through the book to continue the battle or give them an edge. Maybe this is what gave Golina the power to finally equal Sarissa. And lastly given her study of dreams and other planes, the book could be a pathway to one of those where the two are still locked in combat. This also seems possible, and might be the most likely. The fact that a spell that could be attributed to Sarissa is in the book definitely suggests that both women have some access to it, maybe in the past or perhaps now.

If either of the last two are true, we should be able to use the book to go to the farmhouse and hopefully contact Golina directly, find out from her what happened and what is going on. Mr. Giles thought this was a very dangerous notion, especially if both women were drawing energy through the book, but he couldn’t come up with a better alternative. He does think it is odd that we are both having the same dream or are taken wherever/whenever. In the past just one person had the dreams or the connection with the book, and he believes that this might be an important difference, perhaps something we can exploit. I can’t see how, though it is somewhat reassuring knowing she has been having the same experience. I suggested taking the book and dumping it in the ocean or someplace remote, but she said just like the One Ring in Lord of the Rings, it would be too uncertain and likely to have a way of being found and not staying hidden. Mr. Giles agreed and I felt stupid for offering the idea, though neither was condescending or jumped on me.

So, we are going to form a circle around my bed, raise as much energy as we can, and have Mr. Giles watch over us while we try to project through the book to reach the dreamlands, the past, or wherever it might lead. If something goes wrong, we’re hoping that he’ll be able to wake us or free us by taking the book away. I confess that this is all sort of nerve-wracking. So many things could go wrong, our assumptions could be off, Golina might be more hostile than we think. Still, the fact that she sent her family away and seems to have tried to prevent others from being hurt is a good sign, I hope. What if one of them, Sarissa specifically, has won or is just about victorious? We could end up in a trap. Another question that still bothers me is why Sarissa kept on pursuing Golina? There must have been other witches that were easier to drain, why keep on seeking out this one, who knew who Sarissa was and must have prepared for her. I still think we’re missing something, but have no idea what. Still, as long as she is beside me, I know we’ll be able to deal with the situation.


continued immediately below...


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 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay Chapter 17 Part A
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:27 pm 
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9. Gay Now

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:54 pm
Posts: 947
Kittens,
Well it's been a long time since I updated, but as promised in June, I do finally have another chapter in the Journal. This finishes up what the last part set up, so looking at the previous interlude is probably not the worst idea, it took me a while to remember what was going on. I really will get to Yoko Factor next, whenever that might be. Hopefully it won't be as long, but one never knows.

Sadie: Thanks for the vote of confidence, it's a long story and reading it all must have been quite and undertaking. Glad you liked it and hopefully this portion won't disappoint.

Pinocchio1940, it's always nice to see someone new to the story get into it. And you even get an update much sooner than anyone who was reading it long ago. That's got to be a bonus of some sort? Yes? Hopefully. Anyway, glad you like Tara's outlook on things. Enjoy the latest.

Sandman78, if you are still around after all this time (and anyone else who's been here from the start, soooo long ago) with the demise of Extraflamey, I don't have any other archives to put this in so the Kitten and Pens is it. At least you found the last update, hopefully people who are interested actually find this one, too.


Title: From the journal of Tara MaClay Pt. 17
Rating: R
Summary: The events after New Moon Rising, before Yoko Factor in Season 4.
Note: Written November 2005 through April 2006 and now January & September 2007 (RL can be a bitch). The entries are no longer consecutive days, some gaps may appear. This is the second part of the Stormy Nights Interlude, resolving the side W/T adventure concerning a spellbook that Willow brought back for Tara from a trip to Stanford, and none of this is from the show. Next time I am back to canon, more or less, of course, and will be doing Yoko Factor.


Interlude: Stormy Nights II

Chapter 17 Part A


Thursday night: Not a lot of time before we go to sleep and try and contact Golina. We learned quite a bit today and hopefully we’ll be able to discover more tonight. It’s amazing how much work all this is, and yet it’s exciting, too. I kidded her about loving the Scooby life, and it does have its drawbacks, the horror, danger, all that, but there’s something about it that adds a thrill to the day, makes what you’re doing seem more important, like you matter and have an impact on the world. I’m starting to see why she chose to stay here in Sunnydale and continue helping Buffy instead of leaving for someplace like Stanford. It might not have been as hard a choice as I’d previously thought, and until now I didn’t fully see the attraction to all this. This whole problem has helped me understand her more and for that I’m grateful. Still, some of it is just so disturbing…I don’t know if I could do this all the time. How she has managed since, what, she was 15, is beyond me.

We met up at lunch and went over the information she’d gathered. Sandra Ramonez came from a family that had a history of witches, though it didn’t appear like she’d been one herself. Her parents had died while she was young and despite being raised by her grandmother, who owned a magic shop in San Diego and probably practiced the Craft, she thought Sandra’s adolescent rebellion took the form of ignoring her heritage. She ran with some pretty tough hombres, she grinned when she said that, who got her into some gang trouble, possession of marijuana, a little breaking and entering, nothing extremely serious or that got her convicted. Maybe that was her innate power giving her a little extra luck? Anyway, she seemed to have been smart, or cautious, enough to finish high school without getting pregnant and barely got admitted to UCSD on a scholarship for Hispanic women. She was registered as a business major with an art minor and seemed to be taking a lot of marketing and advertising courses. She was brought in unconscious to Lennert, treated for exhaustion, came to a few hours later and they sent her to Sunnydale General Hospital for observation. There the doctors couldn’t find anything specifically wrong with her, other than exhaustion, so she was sent home later that evening. She didn’t have any alcohol in her bloodstream, nor any traces of drugs.

She’d also gotten the rundown on Kristen Matthews as well. She was here on an athletic scholarship from San Daringo, a nearby small town, had been in excellent shape, on the track and field team, woman’s basketball, and yet died from heart failure. She had no marks on her body of any sort, and no evidence of drugs or alcohol either. The family had no history of heart disease or failure and the doctors were baffled as to what caused the heart attack. Nothing in her background showed any unusual proclivity for magic, though that doesn’t mean much. If you look at her background you wouldn’t find much there either, yet her potential is so big, far beyond mine, and witchcraft runs in my family.

Unfortunately, all that information really didn’t give us anything new, other than that both girls lived outside my dorm and so the affects weren’t limited to the immediate area. That wasn’t good. We decided to eat at the Stevenson cafeteria so I could check how badly or how many of the students’ auras had been affected there. At least that might give us an idea of how widespread the problem was.

I copied the spells while she watched, just to make sure nothing bad ensued and it felt good having her present, knowing that she cared about what happened to me, was making sure I was all right. I’ve never had anyone look out for me like that; it still makes my heart flutter and a warm feeling rise in my chest. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such attention, to have her in my life. I’m so lucky to have such a fabulous woman. I finished as quickly as possible as the book seemed sort of cold and dank, like the aftermath of a storm that hasn’t blown itself out yet, but is merely gathering force for a second effort.

I gave her a quick kiss before we left for lunch, and I think I should try and do something special for her, a way of saying thanks for caring. Nothing big or flashy, but something cool, though I don’t have any idea what, yet. She enriches my life every day, and I want her to feel the same, if that’s possible. She has so much going on that it sometimes makes me doubt exactly where I’ll fit in when things settle down and the newness of it all is gone.

We walked over to Stevenson and I think we both sort of hoped we might run into Buffy while we were there. Unfortunately, she was nowhere to be seen, so we got our food, her basically guiding me while I concentrated on the auras of those around us. It was busy, very crowded, everybody bustling about and I got bumped a bunch. I bet this bugged her because when we sat down she went off on a little rant about how rude people could be and how no one looked where they were going. I laughed and told her it was mostly my fault since I really wasn’t looking where I was going. She pouted and said that if any stray elbows bruised me so we couldn’t snuggle she’d be cross and might have to curse them all.

I knew she was joking and her protectiveness still thrilled me, but part of me worried that she wasn’t entirely kidding. I didn’t want to say anything, act all preachey, but she’d been quick to use a spell on Mandy and her friends, and I knew she hadn’t learned magic with the Wiccan philosophy of not hurting others foremost. So I said I was fine, and settled for saying that she needed to remember that magic wasn’t a quick fix for every situation. It could have unintended consequences or uncontrolled results. She gave me a breezy ‘no problem,’ and added that if I did have any owwees, maybe she’d just have to massage them away. I responded that that sounded like the best kind of magic, which got a big grin from her.

I informed her that the auras of the students around us were mostly normal, and that only a few had been drained or fed off of, and those not as much as the ones I saw this morning. The affects seemed more recent which unfortunately could indicate that the beings’ influence was widening. Neither of us thought that was a good sign.

And then it came to me, the thing that had been nagging at me and which I had overlooked, even while recopying the spells. One had been in an entirely separate hand. The spell to water crops and raise a storm had struck me as different when I first saw it. The invocation was more commanding, the words harsher and the affects seemed more…not powerful, but severe. I hadn’t noticed that overtly before, but I thought it was important. She agreed and said she’d thought that spell was odd, too, but not having read most of the others hadn’t been sure. It was hard to say what it meant, however. Two authors? That didn’t seem quite right. Of course the fact that I hadn’t finished the entire thing might have prevented us from learning all there was. Or, as she suggested, might be all that was preventing one of the beings from taking me over or absorbing all of my abilities. That thought made me shudder and I was glad the language barrier was big enough that I’d only been able to proceed slowly.

We finished our lunch while talking a bit about our courses, trying to build some motivation to get through the afternoon lectures. We parted, agreeing to meet after her last class and then head over to Mr. Giles’ together.

Class was at least a little more interesting in the afternoon. I tried to lose myself in the various paintings and styles, think about what it was like to be alive in that period, all the things they lacked that we have. Everyone always says those were simpler times, but I don’t know if they were all that better. Certainly her and I would have faced more condemnation and prejudice than now.

About 3 pm as I walked over to the building with her last class, I noticed it had clouded over again. The sun that had peeked out at noon was now entirely hidden. A solid slate gray roof seemed to press in and down on me. I couldn’t help feeling like I was being watched, or that at any moment the clouds would darken further into a female head and shoulders. The weather had a dampening affect on everyone’s spirits, the other students shuffled past more subdued and listless than normal. I didn’t see anything specifically influencing their auras, but all had a depressed, dreary aspect that was too similar to be mere coincidence.

I hurried along and made it into the building just before a few desultory drops fell from the sky, as if in warning of the real storm to come later. I wanted to see her so much, to get a good look at her shining face, that radiant red hair which is so silky and exciting when it pours through my fingers. I satisfied my urge with a quick peek through the window on the lecture hall door, and it was like seeing the sun slide out from behind the clouds. A brilliant beacon, shining down, promising light and a beautiful day to come. I felt a swell of emotion and ducked back before anyone caught me staring and took a seat in the lounge with the vending machines down the hall.

I was going to do the reading in chapter 14 for my psych class, but the spell book pulled at my attention, beckoned me to read further, get a better idea of what was going on, be able to present her and Mr. Giles with the full story. I couldn’t stop myself from taking it out of my backpack and placing it before me on the table. I swear the room got warmer and more humid the longer I stared at it.

For a moment I got the sense of a hand, or maybe it was a broom, reaching out towards me; of a faint silver glow and then a cat mewing somewhere in the background. I thought I saw the house by the stream once again, but this time it was burning, struck by lightning and the nearby barn reeked like a slaughterhouse. Blood ran out from under the doors and gore and entrails fell from the open hayloft with a wet squelch.

Thank the Goddess that her, ‘hey there, sleepyhead,’ brought me back to myself. I can’t believe I dozed off, but sure enough, it was almost an hour later and I’d been daydreaming. When she saw the book sitting open before me she hastily slammed it shut and put it in her book bag. She looked at me all concerned, put a hand on my shoulder and asked if I was OK, that I appeared kinda pale. She looked so upset and put out, so much love in her eyes. I bit my lip and gave her a half smile, almost overwhelmed by her apprehension for me. I had to look down and let my hair cover my face or I would have started crying right there. She’s so sweet, so caring; I wanted to hold onto her and never let go.

I swallowed and told her what had happened. She immediately took out her notepad and wrote it all down, which brought a full smile to my face and made me feel a bit better. She can be so…I don’t know, cute and adorable with the simplest actions. However, I could tell that her worried face was getting quite the workout, and I fully agreed. I’d only just sat down and ended up…not under its control, but certainly its influence. Goddess, how could I have been so stupid, so unwary?

As if on cue, she told me not to blame myself, the book’s magic must be very strong, and I’d had it for some time now. I told her I didn’t, but I couldn’t help feeling a little ashamed, like I blew it; let her down, or something. I felt sort of tired and depressed, though I didn’t really have a good reason why. I mean, here she was all helpful and solicitous, making sure I was all right and everything. I took a moment to gather myself, stared at the ring on my finger and then over at her and the mood passed as quickly as it came.

It was like a heavy blanket had been lifted off of me and I could feel my shoulders straighten and a smile creep over my face as I looked at her. My Willow, always there for me. I ran a hand over the back of hers, told her I was better and we gathered up my stuff and headed towards Mr. Giles’.

It was still cloudy out, but this time it didn’t seem so dismal. We discussed this latest development as we walked, our feet occasionally sloshing through dark puddles left from the previous night. The sounds of everyone heading home after work still seemed muted and quieter than normal. It was unsettling.

We knocked on Mr. Giles’ big wooden door and when it opened he looked both surprised yet pleased to see us, or her more likely. She has that affect on most of the Scoobies, they’re always happy to see her no matter what’s going on.

He invited us in and after a few pleasantries she began telling him what was going on in a great rush of information, using her notes for specifics here or there. I would have been totally swamped by all of it, but Mr. Giles had no problem following and processing what she described. He kept quiet for the most part, uttering an, ‘oh my,’ or a ‘dear lord,’ every so often.

When she was done, he said we were quite right to come to him and he asked me if I had anything to add? I got nervous under his studious gaze, and I kept hearing her say that she used to have a crush on him and that his singing was kinda sexy. I blushed and ducked my head and sort of mumbled that she’d told him everything, though I did find the courage to ask him what all the cats in my dreams meant?

He related that in some cultures cats were thought to be protectors of one’s dreams, sometimes even guardians of the dreamlands themselves. A few theorized that when we dreamed, another aspect of ourselves was active in a land no less real than our own, and that cats were instrumental in seeing that we transitioned from one world to the other, kept the dangers of each separate and didn’t end up in the lower realms of nightmare.

I asked if the dreamlands were similar to the astral or nether worlds, and he replied that they were entirely different. The former two were aspects of our world, spiritual planes where matter was less substantial and thought, emotion, ideas were more solid, concepts could be actualized; all of which agreed with what my Mother had taught me. The dreamlands, he said, were both more fantastic, and more like the real world at the same time. Thought and will still held great sway as the landscape and denizens were not entirely fixed, yet they also had a substance, a solidity that reflected the real world’s laws. But, it was actually sort of like the Matrix, one could bend the normal constraints of physics and the other natural sciences. She got big eyes and he looked somewhat abashed, saying that he saw the occasional popular film, too. After that, she got her pleased, smug look for a moment, but I was lost. Another indication of how much of an outsider I really am. He went on that the dreamlands were more fantastic because they dug into our psyche and spirit for their shape, and were not just a likeness of the waking world.

To me it sounded as if the Astral and Nether Worlds were like the spirit, or maybe subconscious, of the physical world, while the dreamlands were the spirit of our minds. He said that was an excellent insight and that it could very well be. He added that some cultures considered it another plane or dimension of existence with different natural laws, and nothing more. Either way, whatever powers were active within the book, or which it gave access to, they were dangerous and needed to be stopped.

He said that Golina’s name sounded familiar and when we’d mentioned her before he had done a little preliminary research, just out of curiosity, and discovered that Golina Geverti had a reputation as a powerful witch who had fled the Inquisition. She was also known for being very reclusive as well. There was no indication that she had ever strayed into dark magics, though it was said that she had visited what is now Germany fairly often before she’d disappeared. No-one knew why, exactly where in that area she went, or who she saw. And then she simply disappeared as far as any historical records were concerned. No one ever knew what became of her, though a book of spells that she reputedly authored surfaced in the mid sixteenth century in the Paris Bibliotheque.

Giles went on that the book developed an unsavory reputation. Some thought it was cursed, though it didn’t seem to directly kill any of its owners. Yet, they never seemed to live up to their potential, and all ended up solitary practitioners with no covens or ties to the rest of the occult community. Strange deaths constantly surrounded them and may have led to their enforced isolation, or at times directly to their demise by fearful villagers or governments.

Now, however, it seemed like a bit more in-depth research was necessary. He had both of us start through some of the Watchers’ Journals that he thought might be applicable. Meanwhile, he made a call to a friend on the Watchers’ Council who still occasionally corresponded with him. Based on what his friend told him, we broadened our study to include a few other books, while Mr. Giles’ friend said he would call back if he found anything in the more extensive library he had access to.

It was kind of mind-blowing to see her and Mr. Giles in full out research mode. They both read at an astounding rate and seem to be able to skim through lots of material until they find the relevant bits. I helped of course, but didn’t have their knack for staying entirely on focus or being able to decide when something wasn’t going in a useful direction and either jump forward or change books. Also, Mr. Giles has an astonishing memory for details, events and where he learned them. Several times I would mention either a spellbook or author and he would be able to give a digest of the book or summary of the person’s works and either dismiss them or confirm that they were worth a closer examination, and which chapters might be particularly relevant. It sped things up quite a bit and I’m afraid my clumsy efforts might have slowed the whole process down since I was always asking advice or clarification on what I read. Still, Mr. Giles didn’t lose his temper or patience even once, and seemed very kind in directing my efforts and pointing me towards better materials. The simple research we’d done on the Lowell House was nothing compared to this. Goddess, I knew she was smart, brilliant even, but the rate at which they went through different languages, dialects, poorly written and barely legible handwritten accounts is mind numbing. I have some sympathy with her parents’ contention that she is wasting her talents here in UC Sunnydale. Goddess, what could she possibly see in me?

And yet, it was kind of exciting, too. Not in a flashy, kung fu action fight with the bad guy sort of way, but knowing we were working to save others, solve the puzzle that was Golina Geverti and her book, stop a bunch of people from losing a vital part of themselves; it all made the effort more electrifying, and, well maybe not thrilling, but still there was a sense of stimulation to the whole process.

It’s the first time we’ve really gotten to work together on something important and almost Scooby related. Buffy wasn’t present of course, Mr. Giles said that things were starting to get busy again and that she was out patrolling with Riley, which also allowed her to make sure that the Initiative didn’t catch up with him. She said that Buffy wasn’t big with the research anyway, so it was probably better off this way. She covered it pretty well, but I could tell she was a little disappointed with her friend’s absence and that it stung a bit. She hasn’t been able to talk or hang out with Buffy since she told her about us and I can sense that she’s still more than a little worried about what the Slayer thinks. She did say Buffy kinda wigged when she told her. They probably just need some time to talk things through; I just hope the chance comes soon, it’ll help settle her fears.

I’m still amazed at all that we were able to learn. We soon had several books piled around Mr. Giles’ table, on the couch, next to it on the floor. We knew Golina was Italian, but it turned out she was originally from the Naples area in the South. She fled from that region due to a rivalry with another witch named Sarissa Remerius. It was hard to figure out exactly what the source of contention between them was, but as near as we could figure, Sarissa was very old, from the period of the later Roman Empire, maybe as far back as 5th Century AD. Sarissa, whose exact origin is still a mystery, grew to hate the arrogant Romans and their excesses, and called on evil powers to avenge some wrong done to her family. That began her slide into darkness, and she soon became a terror in the far south. She eventually started preying on other witches to extend her life, and learned to travel by the winds and storms to many portions of the Balkans, even into the Ukraine, though she usually ended up returning to Southern Italy. I tend to think she had some sort of love-hate relationship with the Romans. Maybe she had been ripped from her birthplace by a centurion or governor who’d been smitten with her, and then been discarded? Her early life sort of read like a vendetta or personal grudge gone wild.

Small armies and church forces tried to get rid of her, but all failed. She either killed them, kept them at bay with her storms, or fled and came back when they had forgotten about her. I guess she must have picked Golina as a target for her power draining, and a fierce magical duel ensued. Golina was able to hold off the older witch, but knew in the long run she’d fall. To avoid this she fled to the North, to the Piedmont area. She was there almost a decade before Sarissa caught up to her, and was forced into battle again. The results were much the same, though this time more of the surrounding countryside suffered from the conflict.

From here things get murky, I think Golina made it look like she headed east, and then doubled back somehow to Spain. She probably kept a low profile there and lived in seclusion. Now, whether this isolation eventually ate at her, the Inquisition found her, or Sarissa was getting close, we don’t know, but for whichever reason, after some time had passed, Golina chose to head north. It appears that she’d been in Spain for 20 years and suddenly decided to start her life over again in Gascony.

In France she found an out of the way farmhouse, met someone, married and raised a family. She gained a reputation as a healer and herbalist who knew an incredible amount about the occult and that area was said to be one of the safest sections of France. Unfortunately, Sarissa eventually learned of her foe’s location. By this time the older witch was even stronger, but required still more power to continue avoiding death. Golina was one of the strongest practitioners around at that point and would keep the older witch alive for some time.

We think Golina foresaw that Sarissa would learn her location, because about a year earlier she sent her family away to Poland. She studied with a mystic named Hans Schecht, in eastern Germany who specialized in dream lore, the astral and other outer planes of existence, trading much of her occult knowledge in return for his. This at least filled in the trips to Germany and gave her the contacts to secret her loved ones away.

The two old foes must have met once more at that French farm, and there are indications of a conflict that lasted for three days and devastated the area for several years to come. Mr. Giles thinks that Golina had learned various advanced defensive magics and though she knew Sarissa would eventually defeat her, waged a delaying battle to drain her more powerful foe of energy hoping that this would ultimately kill her. It was said that magic in Southwest France did not function exceptionally well for some time in the late medieval period.

We still don’t know precisely what happened in the end. The various chronicles, all second or third hand, say that after a three-day battle neither was left standing and that a great evil had passed from the earth. There are no reports of either having been sighted after that final confrontation. However, about ten years later peasants who mustered up the courage to occupy the land that lie unused found the book. Their sale of the grimoire to an occultist from Paris begins its long journey to the present.

Mr. Giles’ friend confirmed that it did appear to have a history of turning those around the owner into magicless dullards who lived an unremarkable, short, and tedious life. Many of the holders recorded that they had strange dreams of two women fighting, and that the book occupied their mind more and more. Some concluded that it was responsible for the deaths of colleagues or other coven members and took to seclusion to limit its affects. Several tried to destroy it of course, but none succeeded, no magical or mundane force was sufficient, not even living flame.

So, we figure that there are three possibilities: the first is that Golina and Sarissa managed to kill each other, and their spirits became bound to the book, sort of a cross between poltergeists and ghosts. Personally I don’t think this is likely, but they didn’t want to count it out either. Second, that the book represents some hole through time that takes the owner back to the witches’ last battle where they are, in fact, still fighting until an outside force can tip the contest one way or the other. This seems more possible and perhaps each witch is drawing power through the book to continue the battle or give them an edge. Maybe this is what gave Golina the power to finally equal Sarissa. And lastly given her study of dreams and other planes, the book could be a pathway to one of those where the two are still locked in combat. This also seems possible, and might be the most likely. The fact that a spell that could be attributed to Sarissa is in the book definitely suggests that both women have some access to it, maybe in the past or perhaps now.

If either of the last two are true, we should be able to use the book to go to the farmhouse and hopefully contact Golina directly, find out from her what happened and what is going on. Mr. Giles thought this was a very dangerous notion, especially if both women were drawing energy through the book, but he couldn’t come up with a better alternative. He does think it is odd that we are both having the same dream or are taken wherever/whenever. In the past just one person had the dreams or the connection with the book, and he believes that this might be an important difference, perhaps something we can exploit. I can’t see how, though it is somewhat reassuring knowing she has been having the same experience. I suggested taking the book and dumping it in the ocean or someplace remote, but she said just like the One Ring in Lord of the Rings, it would be too uncertain and likely to have a way of being found and not staying hidden. Mr. Giles agreed and I felt stupid for offering the idea, though neither was condescending or jumped on me.

So, we are going to form a circle around my bed, raise as much energy as we can, and have Mr. Giles watch over us while we try to project through the book to reach the dreamlands, the past, or wherever it might lead. If something goes wrong, we’re hoping that he’ll be able to wake us or free us by taking the book away. I confess that this is all sort of nerve-wracking. So many things could go wrong, our assumptions could be off, Golina might be more hostile than we think. Still, the fact that she sent her family away and seems to have tried to prevent others from being hurt is a good sign, I hope. What if one of them, Sarissa specifically, has won or is just about victorious? We could end up in a trap. Another question that still bothers me is why Sarissa kept on pursuing Golina? There must have been other witches that were easier to drain, why keep on seeking out this one, who knew who Sarissa was and must have prepared for her. I still think we’re missing something, but have no idea what. Still, as long as she is beside me, I know we’ll be able to deal with the situation.


continued immediately below...


Last edited by Garner on Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay Chapter 17 Part B
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:30 pm 
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9. Gay Now

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:54 pm
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Chapter 17 Part B

Friday Morning: Goddess what a night, I’m still exhausted and yet we didn’t solve anything. Or maybe we did. She was all aglow with pride and said that only I could have figured it out and even Mr. Giles praised my insight. I still don’t know that it gets us anywhere, but it could be I’m still just too tired to fully understand what we accomplished. All I know is that she almost got hurt, wounded in a way that would devastate her more than any physical injury, and we still aren’t done, yet.

I’ve never been so scared. Scared that something will happen to her. Not kill her necessarily, though that’s certainly a possibility, but that would change her, make her different than the beautiful, shining, engaging person I know and love more than anything else. A shudder runs through me at the thought of the spark in her eyes fading, her lustrous locks turning dull and flat. Damn both Golina and Sarissa for ever raising such an image!

OK, get a hold of yourself. Write and you’ll feel better.

It was strange heading back to our dorm with Mr. Giles in tow. Hah, I mean my dorm, my room. We’ve been spending so much time together lately that I’ve come to think of it as ‘ours.’ I can’t help it, this last what, week? Has it only been a week? Has been so incredible that it seems like it’s been months. Time hasn’t sped up it’s slowed down. Each moment we’re together is like a perfect snowflake, breathtakingly beautiful, precise, exquisite and yet each nuance is crystal clear. The world goes by, the background all a blur while we move at our own pace, isolated from everything else, but she’s always in focus. Goddess, how could she not be? We revolve around each other like two astronomical bodies and all else is fuzzy, far away stars. When things start to speed up again will that mean the newness is gone? Will that be when we’re both so accustomed to one another that we take each other for granted? Please, Goddess, never let us reach that stage.

We walked back together and it was still unusually muggy and warm. It had rained a bit while we’d done our research and water dripped off tree branches and lightpoles, gathering in small pools we stepped around. A faint mist surrounded the streetlights giving them an odd ball-like luminescence that was dim and indistinct. Sounds were similarly distant and it reminded me of the pall that had settled over everyone on campus. Oddly, only our footsteps seemed sharp and out of place…brittle somehow.

I wanted to hold her tightly to me, take her arm and feel her pulse throbbing against my hand, experience that electric tingle of our joined energies, to know that the fire of life still existed. However, Mr. Giles loomed behind us like a colossus, silent yet somehow brooding with disapproval.

I don’t know why I felt that, it’s certainly not fair to him, but maybe he just seems too much like a father figure, and that certainly doesn’t resonate well with me.

We passed Mandy on the way into the dorm and the scene was made more surreal by her relatively friendly greeting in passing. Bringing Mr. Giles into my room, clicking on the lights, made me feel odd, like I was a young kid and I was waiting for his approval or something. He did go to my bookshelf and glance over the various volumes there, made a few approving or interested comments on some of them. I glanced at her and could tell that she was kinda wigged, too. I mean, we’d been together, naked, in the bed earlier that day, and here he was in the same room.

Just thinking of her and me in that position made my face heat up and my heart race. I am such a sexaholic, but, I wanted her kissing me, wanted to taste her tongue, feel her all over me, and lay next to her, skin against wonderful skin. Goddess, what she does to me...sends my thoughts in a thousand different directions, all of them naughty; makes my body ache for her. And yet, the thought of her gentle smile, soft touch, her playful ways, all make it seem like I’m ready to burst with energy, like I could accomplish anything. Sarrissa better watch out. I think of my Willow, how much I love her and it’s like there’s a endless river springing from my heart and roaring through me with a torrent of power that will sweep anything from its path.

OK, enough of that already, I’ve got to focus. At least I’m not so scared or as worried anymore. Even when she’s not here she still helps me, makes me feel better.

After glancing at each other and flushing deeper as we each realized what the other was thinking, Mr. Giles cleaned his glasses and suggested we proceed with our preparations. These involved sliding the bed away from the wall to create space for two concentric sand circles to be traced around it. Between the two, Mr. Giles added several other designs that I wasn’t familiar with. He said they would grant us some measure of protection and also encourage more lucid dreaming. And of course help us project into or through the book. We placed the book in question and our censer at the foot of the bed, filling it with a mixture of anise, chamomile, holly, huckleberry, and lastly mugwort for the astral projection properties, just in case. Then, Mr. Giles made us repeat a short waking/grounding chant, again, just to make sure we had it. He said it was for the eventuality that we got in trouble and needed to return quickly. We all hoped it wouldn’t be necessary, but it’s always better to be prepared.

We lit two candles, turned out all the lights but those on my walls, and sat on either side of the bed. We held hands and the familiar tingle of our energy flowed freely between us and began to fill the circle. This time there was no accompanying glow or luminance. Mr. Giles made several mystical gestures while chanting an invocation that would open doorways, especially to the dreamlands, which we repeated a moment later. As we lay down on the bed, the herbs began burning and the aroma filled the room. At first it was bitter, sort of caustic in the back of the nose, but, after a few moments, it seemed more pleasant, maybe even a little relaxing.

Initially I thought it would be impossible to fall asleep. I mean here we were, lying together, our hands clasped, the power thrumming between us and I was so aware of the rise and fall of her chest, the sound of her breath going in and out, and the memory of her strip dance kept rising in my mind, the echo of her breast brushing against my face…more. And all throughout Mr. Giles was sitting right there still intoning the spell to allow us access to the dream realm. I wondered if this wigged her as much as it did me?

Yet despite all that, weariness, maybe the effects of the herbs or his spell, soon pulled at my limbs and it felt like I was sinking, gently spinning and the next thing I knew we were standing outside of the farmhouse. This time it was normal sized and there were no cats about. We were also dressed in our normal clothes.

She asked if I felt all right, and I told her I did and we looked about, though our hands remained clasped and I sort of hid behind her. For some reason I was very nervous, almost skittish. The house had an ominous, foreboding aspect to it that was lacking when it had been the cats’ dwelling place. The windows seemed narrower, the roof taller, looming up and out towards us. I got the impression of a predatory beast of some kind ready to pounce on us if we were unwary. I mentioned this to her and my stutter was worse than normal. I hate that. I mean, I don’t want her to think I can’t handle the danger like she can, but I was just so nervous.

Mother, you’d be so amazed at how brave and confident my Willow is. While I was almost cringing behind her, she stood tall, strong and so beautiful. Xena never cut so heroic a figure. For a moment, as I gazed upon her, I almost thought there was a glow, a shaft of light that came down through a hole in the heavy overcast. It was momentary and my attention was absorbed by the sudden slam of wood on wood from within the house. I almost jumped out of my shoes but she hardly flinched at all.

As the area darkened we noticed other details, the overgrown herb garden to the side where the plants had been choked out by pale weeds with broad leaves that sneered at us like tiny mouths. A chill wind laden with the scent of rain kicked up and swept over us and I got the impression the house was rubbing its eaves together like some cartoon villain, though thankfully, that image didn’t last. We were on a small path, but the area around it was like a sea of tan, long, tangled, dead grass, flat and sharp edged that swayed towards us, despite the wind. An eye opened on the tip of each blade and the whole area blinked at us, the gaze maleficent and unnerving. I held her hand tighter, her grip and arm pressed against mine was reassuring. I think we smiled wanly at each other.

This time I noticed a ramshackle barn to the right, just past an unkempt garden, and a path running to it from the house. The grass must have noticed my gaze, as it turned to regard the structure as well. I swore a blood red cloud of fog seemed to emanate from the dark structure, and that something moved beyond the wide door hanging open and askew. I shuddered, something felt familiar about it capturing my attention and filling me with dread. Why did I see blood and mutilated farm animals? Angry strands of grass lapping up the red liquid?

Her voice calling out Golina’s name snapped me out of my daze and the barn was just a dilapidated structure again. She called out again, adding a greeting. Her voice didn’t shake at all, though it did seem like it was swallowed up and hardly loud enough to reach inside. She looked back at me, smiled briefly, and her face transformed to resolve. She said we should probably get closer and look inside. I hope she didn’t mind my slick, sweaty palm.

A faint voice, barely audible, called back to us. It was definitely female and invited us in, said to hurry. There was something soothing and calming about the tone, a familiarity that made me want to trust it.

We proceeded down the brief path towards the house before we had even considered our action. The bowl-like depression we were in seemed deeper and steeper now, and I recall fearing that a heavy rain might fill it up and threaten to drown us.

The grass blinked, the house rubbed its eaves and the little stream behind the dwelling burbled along, softly chanting, ‘Leave your cares behind, you can’t change your fate,’ while the clouds continued to pile up, darker and thicker by the moment. The barn still seemed ominous and the air was humid and overly warm but not hot.

I asked her if she thought we should go in, and she deliberated a moment and decided that it was probably inevitable that we do so. The house swayed with the wind as we got closer. The front door was closed, but we could still hear shutters banging and other muffled, indistinguishable sounds from inside. The voice encouraged us to hurry once more while the grass began to weep as she grasped the latch and pulled it open.

The inside was lit by a homey fire burning in a fireplace, while a very clichéd black cauldron hung on a pole over it. Knives chopped herbs on a cutting board nearby, which then floated over and dumped them into the bubbling liquid inside the cauldron. The scent of onions and garlic rose. Clay pots floated past the returning board, lids opened slightly and a couple of pinches of other powders joined the simmering mass. I giggled a bit as a broom swirled and swept around the kitchen area, clearing up anything that had fallen to the rough wood floor. It all seemed so sorcerer’s apprentice.

Whereas the outdoors had seemed menacing and foreboding, the inside radiated comfort and protection. There was a table with benches on either side of it near the fireplace, while off to our right was a living area that had several big wood chairs facing each other with pillows and homespun blankets on them. Embroidered on the furnishings were brightly colored trees, flowers and birds, all of which moved and swayed gently. Within the blanket I thought I saw little yarn bees flit back and forth from a stylized hive to the flowers. Along the walls to the right were shelves with candles, little knick knacks like a carved wooden horse and sheep, an abstract needle point pattern hung in the area beside one window like a tapestry. Another one covered part of the opposite wall. There was no sign of a loft, but two open doorways did lead deeper into the house. Through one I thought I saw a bed and trunk while the other showed a loom and what looked like more storage jars and urns.

We looked at each other, hesitating for a moment, when a trap door section of the floor suddenly slammed open and a short, dark-haired woman emerged from below carrying two small jugs with her left arm. Her face was smooth and mostly unblemished, though there were a few age lines by her eyes, and a light tan like someone who was accustomed to working part of the time outdoors. She had on a sort of plain, faded, dark blue one-piece skirt and top with a more gray than white apron over it. She saw us and gave a little start and said that she hadn’t thought we’d get here so soon. She carried the jugs up with her as she emerged from the cellar, saying that she rarely got visitors. She looked saddened by that admission, but then pleased as she looked us over. For some reason I got the feeling of meeting with a kindly grandmother.

Willow asked if she was Golina Geverti, and the woman nodded, whereupon she introduced us and told her we came from Sunnydale in the year 2000. The woman nodded, offered us seats while using her foot to close the trap door with a bang. She set the jugs down near a basin to the left of the fireplace, and gestured so that the broom went off to a corner. Meanwhile, the knives and jars seemed to have finished their tasks and also settled down. Golina said that she was just making stew and that she would be happy to share her meal with us.

Willow declined politely, and asked her where we were, to which Golina said within a land outside of time accessed through her book. She looked, not sad exactly, but like one remembering an unhappy memory, and said she made this area to bind and trap Sarissa, an evil witch who fed off others with power.

At that, the sound of a fierce rainfall came from outside. Thunder crashed while the flash of lightning lit the spaces between the shutters. The house shook and rattled, but she said that we were safe here, that Sarissa still wasn’t able to get in. She continued on telling us what a danger Sarissa was, how much evil she’d caused. She related a lot of what we already knew, though Willow asked a few questions here or there, but quite frankly I lost track of what she was saying exactly. I had intended to concentrate on her and read her energy patterns, but found the proper frame of mind eluded me.

Golina’s voice was so soothing. It sounded like a loved one’s comforting you, peaceful, relaxing, indicating that all was calm and safe. Her words seemed to blur together into a single hum or rhythm. We were seated on the bench by the table and I found myself becoming hungrier and hungrier. Three bowls of stew appeared before us as Golina joined us at the table, still explaining something about how she had fled from Spain to France. I vaguely noticed that the needlepoint designs on the walls had changed and looked similar to the symbols Mr. Giles had drawn on the floor between our circles, only more detailed and intricate.

Golina put a final pinch of something in her own bowl. She never told us to eat, but the overwhelming need to feed seemed to fill the house. The walls appeared to press closer now, while the outside storm raged stronger than before, shaking things more violently, yet somehow it was subdued and distant, like something happening to someone else, far away.

A spoon was in my hand, heavy, cool and made from some dark metal with elaborate scrollwork on the handle. It rose up, almost on its own though I could sense my arm moving, and I desperately wanted to taste the concoction, to devour it all. When the mixture hit my tongue it was as delicious as I ‘d anticipated. The little clumps of meat, potatoes and carrots blended perfectly with the savory spices and enticing aroma. With each spoonful it seemed like I could hardly get enough. I grabbed the spoon more tightly to eat faster and it clinked against my ring and there was a slight flash of silver. Somewhere in the distance I swear I heard a long, mournful catcall.

Suddenly my head was clearer, the cottage seemed older and more rundown, the bowl of stew remained full, but now contained some glowing liquid that had the consistency of quicksilver, yet gave off a deep silvery-greenish woodsy color. Golina looked more ragged and worn, her clothes nothing but rags, her body emaciated and almost skeletal, though her eyes blazed with a bright yellow intensity. The bowl in front of her contained meat and vegetables that floated in a strange diagram that gave off a pale green glow that darkened by the moment.

My ring flickered with an unsteady silver light that was matched by the contents of my bowl. I felt weak, and disoriented, but as the cat called once more, I threw the spoon away from me and knocked the one from her hand as well. It took a tremendous effort to accomplish, and I noticed that her bowl also contained a brightly glowing liquid. She shook her head and looked like one coming awake after a deep sleep. In the background we heard male chanting that sounded like someone familiar calling to us.

Golina’s face suddenly distended, elongated, her mouth forming a mosquito-like probiscus that extended towards Willow’s bowl. I screamed not to let her drink the liquid, and she grabbed my hand and used telekinesis to push Golina off her seat and back against the basin.

A shrill keening screech of anguish and frustration came from ragged witch. She cried that Sarissa was getting stronger and she could barely hold her off now. She needed our energy or the other would get loose. We couldn’t leave now or she’d get our power and no-one would be able to stop her.

Giant slivers of wood stretched from the walls, floor, and ceiling towards both of us, barring any attempt at exiting the house. The bench we sat on bent and stretched like it was made of rubber and sought to wrap around us. Both spoons floated back in front of us and Golina commanded us to continue eating.

Silver light flared up from our rings, expanding around both of us. The bench splintered leaving us standing amidst the silver luminescence, while Golina’s spell lacked any true compulsion. In her pissed off voice that she so rarely uses, Willow said that we had come to help her, to free her from Sarissa and this is the kind of reception we got?

The other witch’s countenance returned to normal and pled with us to forgive her but this was the only way she could keep Sarissa bound. If she didn’t take our energy than the other would, she was sorry but she had no other choice. The slivers of wood pushed closer, trying to grab the bowls in front of us. The table rippled, but being in our silver glow must not have been able to further change or move.

Her hand in mine closed tighter while we each grabbed the bowls. She told me to start the chant Mr. Giles had taught us while she started a protective spell. As I complied, her own words made the silver light increase threefold, blinding Golina and making her recoil. Willow waved her hand and the massive slivers of wood around us burst apart and the door out slammed open. Golina concentrated for a moment and various knives, brooms, forks and other household objects assailed us. Most rebounded from the light, but a few got through causing bruising jolts and burning cuts as blades slashed at our skin. We struggled to stay upright, holding each other and our bowls without spilling any of the liquid inside. The pain shot through us and where the items struck, they turned into large black bats, their teeth firmly embedded in each of us. I couldn’t concentrate on the chant and my words faltered. The bites were just so distracting, the moist, hideous creatures starting to make me shudder, almost uncontrollably.

I…I must confess I panicked a bit. I wasn’t sure what to do, and the house seemed to be closing in around us. What spell to cast? How to respond? I shook and my skin crawled as the bat-like creatures continued biting deeper and the bowls contents brightened.

Goddess bless her, Willow never hesitated. She began a spell to chase away bats, rats, and vermin, and I joined her with a quavering voice that strengthened as we continued, our words joining together as one and my shaking subsided.

The pain from the fangs lessened as the bats were thrust off of us, only to change into snakes and re-launch themselves against our silver glow which appeared to be darkening, it almost seemed as if the walls of the house were absorbing it.

“We need to get out of here,” I remember crying, and she nodded quickly, and we ran towards the door, the liquid in the wooden soup bowls sloshing dangerously about, threatening to spill out. Our combined telekinesis hurtled chairs, trunks and more wood slivers out of the way, held the door open as we passed through.

Golina screamed, “Nooo, she’ll have you!” as we exited the house.

Outside the air was even warmer, definitely hot, and rain fell in heavy sheets, almost knocking us to the muddy ground. We sank up to our ankles and from above came a thunderous discharge and lightning ricocheted from our light, burning a huge swath through the grass, which now looked more like long raspy tongues that sought to rub the flesh from our bones. It hissed and shriveled where the light from our rings touched it.

Another bolt was deflected by our protective spell and as we looked up we saw a hideously contorted face within the clouds. It was filled with hate, rage and hunger. Continuously flickering purple lightning served for eyes and the winds constantly changed the expression from one grotesque snarl to another. The thunder seemed to boom out, “Mine!”

A sudden blast of wind swept down on us. I was quick to ground myself, but she was ripped from my grip and went flying across the grass, past the garden and against the barn wall next to the door. Incredibly, somehow the liquid in her bowl didn’t spill.

Several ghastly cows, covered with gaping holes and expanses of exposed bone, as if already partially butchered, shambled from the darkness within the building. Their bellies swelled and pulsated before ripping open unleashing a torrent of intestines covered in tiny arms and hands that tried to grasp and wrap its way around my girl, get at what she still held before her. I screamed as she did, her head thrashing about as one of the foul organs dipped slightly into the bowl and a sick sucking sound resonated even above the crash of the storm.

I reached out to her with what telekinesis I had and pulled her towards me with all the love and desire for her that I possessed. Nothing was going to keep her from me. Never before had I been so scared for another person, wanted her beside me so much. And suddenly she was there, beside me, our hands joined once more, and the silver sphere bright about us.

Willow spun to face me while the wind battered at our silver shield, this time unable to tear us apart. Looking me in the eye she started the short chant Mr. Giles had given us in case we got into trouble, as did I, our voices in perfect synchronization.

Golina appeared in the door of her cottage carrying a broom whose bristles extended around us, trying to enwrap us in a cocoon of straw, dip into the bowls. Sarissa howled her rage and lightning danced down burning off bristles, smashing into Golina and hurling her inside. The mud beneath us became a wide mouth with black stubby teeth that gnawed at our light and then closed on our feet, drawing us down, pressing so tight I thought my feet would burst.

Then we were pitching forward and tumbling into Mr. Giles while a spiderweb of purple-pink lightning splayed across the ceiling. My Christmas lights popped and snapped sending sparks cascading down the walls. At least the black paint doesn’t show the scorch marks.

We quickly disentangled from Mr. Giles and I stammered an apology, though he assured me that none was necessary. He said that our rings had started to give off a slight glow and that scratches and cuts had started to appear on our bodies. He tried a general protection spell, and when that didn’t seem to help he began a recall, but felt a great resistance. The spellbook itself had glowed an ominous gray, and mist had started to rise out of it. He did the recall again, and shortly thereafter we suddenly shot off of the bed and into him. He added a bit sardonically that at least we didn’t knock him unconscious.

I got out the first aid kit and began dabbing and bandaging her wounds, fussing over her though she could barely sit still. She told him that our rings were also for protection and that it was a good thing we had them, too. Here she smiled at me, gave me that look and I blushed, wondering how Mr. Giles could not notice the way she gazed at me. It was so full of love, and dare I say adoration? Could that really be part of what she feels when she thinks of, or looks at, me? And here she was injured and bleeding and thinking of me, not herself. I let my hair cover my face so neither would see the tears that filled my eyes, blurred my vision and threatened to spill over.

But he didn’t, notice that is. Instead he got her to sit still, made sure that both our wounds were looked after. It…it was strange having male hands on me that were there for healing. I almost had to will myself to stay motionless. While he tended to us, he asked for a complete rundown on what happened, which we took turns telling, in between the macirachrome and bandages. Fortunately, none of the cuts were very deep, that bat creatures’ bites symbolic rather than physical. She asked about the bowls, and I said that somehow while we ate, our power replaced the brew that we consumed. If Golina, or even Sarissa, had been able to ingest it, we would have been left, not powerless, we stopped too soon for that, but greatly diminished. Mr. Giles felt that since we left that place with the bowls contents intact, we should be all right. Still, it had been a close call, and we were lucky to have come out as well as we did. He said he was very impressed.

She smiled and gave my hand a squeeze, saying that I’d gotten her away from the barn before she’d been overcome. That whole part had been pretty gross and she was glad we were gone from there. I said I’d dreamed a while back about the barn and it had seemed like a slaughterhouse or something. She wondered if it was Golina or Sarissa’s work? Mr. Giles was silent so I stammered along that it was probably Sarissa’s. Golina hadn’t felt so cold blooded and, well, evil. Just desperate. She said desperate or not, she still attacked us and that made her an enemy in her book.

At this point the watcher went over to the spellbook, placed it on my desk and examined it, as if looking for something hidden on the cover. To our inquiry he answered that he had thought he noticed some symbols on the surface, yet now there was no sign of them. She asked if he recognized the symbols or what they meant, but he remained silent, lost in contemplation. Finally he stated that the situation was clearly very dangerous, perhaps more so than we’d originally considered. It was late and he needed to consult his books. He thought it would be best if he took the book with him so we might get some rest and recuperate from our ordeal. We set up a meeting for Friday at noon and he left.

I discovered that I was pretty wiped, and from the way her limbs hung more loosely than normal and the bounce in her step was almost gone, I could tell she was exhausted, as well. We swept up the sand in silence, putting it back in one of my urns, slid the bed back into it’s proper spot and unrolled the rugs we’d moved aside. By the time we were finished I noticed that something more was bothering her. She wasn’t angry, exactly, but she was tense and stressed, her shoulders all bunched up and a little furrow on her forehead. I went over to the wall and looked at my lights and saw that the strings would have to be replaced, more than half of the bulbs were blackened or had popped, some of the cord was even melted.

I must have given a little sigh as I got the broom to make sure any glass or plastic fragments were picked up. She sat tiredly on the bed and I said I’d need to replace my lights, but thankfully neither of us was hurt. I tried to make light of it, but actually I did feel a few of the stinging cuts and for some reason my left arm had started to throb, just above the elbow. When I looked there was an ugly bruise, all black and deep green, it reminded me of Sarissa’s storm. It really wasn’t that bad, though; Donnie had given me worse. I figured this one would turn yellowish in three days, fade in four more, maybe five at the outside. I was brought back to the present as she said my name in a way I’d never heard before. It was soft and deep with concern; worry tinged with love.

She quietly said we’d been in real danger tonight, that Golina and Sarissa had both been out to get us, use us for their own purposes, and she’d fallen right into the trap. We’d been lucky to get out alive.

I came and sat next to her agreeing, but said that our rings had protected us and Mr. Giles had been there, too. And I thought I’d heard a cat at a couple times, it had helped snap me back to myself. She sort of smiled and said she’d heard that as well and it had been good timing.

But, and I knew there was a ‘but’ involved, she’d almost gotten me hurt. She knew the risks of being a Scooby, and Buffy, Riley, even Mr. Giles were all prepared or trained for danger, but if anything happened to me…and here she faded off, leaving unsaid the, ‘because of me.’

I took her hands, looked into those mesmerizing, now slightly watery, green eyes, and placed a kiss on her forehead. I asked her how she thought I would feel if she got hurt because I wasn’t there, didn’t do all I could to help her? She didn’t say anything and I moved around behind her and put my hands on her shoulders, began to massage the tension that was all bunched up there, occasionally stroking the side of her cheek.

I went on saying that the silver field had been stronger when our energies had combined. Together our telekinesis was much stronger and we’d been able to get out because we’d acted in unison. I know I wouldn’t have survived by myself, and while she was stronger than me, I didn’t think she would have either.

Here she turned and said that I was just as powerful as her, probably more so since I’d been studying so long, knew so much more. Rather than disagree with her, I said if that was true then it was all the more reason for me to be with her, to make sure she didn’t get herself into trouble that she couldn’t get out of. I half smiled as I said it, but my case and ministrations seemed to help ease her mind.

I added that if she was going to insist on walking into danger, then I was damned well going to be there beside her.

That got a big sigh and smile of acquiescence that made me fully smile. She is so cute when she’s vexed because she knows she’s wrong and doesn’t want to admit it. I gave her sweet lips a kiss, tasted her tongue and breath and knew I’d won this one. At least for now.

continued immediately below...


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 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay Chapter 17 Part C
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:32 pm 
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9. Gay Now

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Chapter 17 Part C



Doubtless I wouldn’t always be there with her, and she’d still try and protect me from harm, but I could live with that. I mean, I’d do the same for her, and if I ever thought my being there would endanger her, I’d be the first to suggest that I might be more useful elsewhere. And it shamed me that I had hesitated at one point. Almost panicked and been unsure of myself while she’d been so brave and certain. But, I had overcome my fear, carried on despite it. Well, OK, seeing her in danger had snapped me out of it, but I had done something. And if I hadn’t been there to get her free of the barn creatures, she really might have been drained of her power or killed. It was strange how quickly she’d appeared by my side when I’d just meant to pull her to me with my TK.

After a moment’s hesitation, I told her all of that. Told her in magic it was important to truly know yourself, your limitations as well as your strengths. I didn’t want to mess things up either way, but we needed to know how the other would react. I trusted her and wouldn’t always be there, but when I was, I wanted her to know she could count on me, know I was going to act.

She said she understood, there were times when she’d wanted to help Buffy and hadn’t been able to and it had made her feel awful; unimportant and worthless. And she’d had moments where she hadn’t known exactly what to do, too. It took a little while to get used to the violence, the blood, your heart beating like a crazed drum. She didn’t know how I’d gotten her away from the cow-thing, but she was glad I did.

We hugged and kissed one more time, well a couple more times, before the wear of the day and our adventure came back over us and we broke apart. All I really wanted to do was snuggle under the covers with her in my arms. I didn’t have the energy for anything more.

So we went down to the bathroom and cleaned ourselves up, used a little more macirachrome, and came back to my room. We got into bed, and outside we could hear the patter of rain on the windows again. Damn Sarissa and Golina, that sound used to be so calming, a refuge I could hide within. I’ve always loved the rain, the way it clears the air, cools everything down and how bright and cheerful the sun makes the world seem afterwards. It used to remind me that no matter what happened at home, to me, that nature’s glory still continued, that nature’s cycles went on and that goodness still existed, somewhere and would return no matter how dark or violent it got.

A couple times I had gone out and let the rain pour over me, as if it could wash away the bruises, carry me to another world where I lived amongst the clouds, away from everyone. Goddess, how I wanted to wrap the misty haze around me and float off.

But now I find the sound is kind of unnerving. I keep seeing that face in the clouds, feel its desire to rip part of me out. To leave behind an empty husk. I didn’t, couldn’t, tell her how scared I was seeing Sarissa staring down at me with such hunger while she was trapped so far from me; how completely petrified I was. I can’t imagine losing the one thing that tied me to Mother, the one thing that made me special, that brought us together. I know, she’ll be such a better witch than me, has so much more potential, but that’s not the point.

For her, magic is a way of feeling useful, needed, helpful. She can stand beside Buffy and the others and contribute to their fight. It’s a tool she uses, wields, and doesn’t really think about the underlying reasons for its being, what it means in the bigger picture of existence. For me magic, my heritage has always been so much more than that. It connects me to Mother, Grandmother, the Goddess and God, the whole world. It showed me that I had a place and that I did belong.

I remember when the first spirit came to my call; it was a little thing, a water sprite of the small stream out back in the forest, summoned after a fresh spring rain. The sunlight sparkled in it, gave it a radiance that filled me with awe. It was so beautiful, so free, constantly in motion, flitting about. My heart ached just seeing it and I knew, with absolute certainty, that there was more to life than what was enclosed in four walls, more than what we could see or feel. I wanted so badly to be a part of this other world, to have a connection to it, be beautiful by mere association with it. Others found rainy days gloomy and depressing but I loved them. I always saw the rain as hundreds of little water spirits playing amongst the trees.

And now they are starting to scare me. To remind me that there are creatures, people, out there that could strip away one of the things that I cherish more than anything else. The one good thing in my life until I met her.

Goddess, grant me the strength to continue on with this. She needs my help, I am sure of it. She isn’t ready to deal with something like this herself, doesn’t have the understanding of the Craft, the ability to harness the power that’s contained within her sweet chest. I don’t know why it’s the case, but we are so much stronger together. It might be love, but I think there’s more to it than that.

As I lay with her last night, the rain pounding away at our windows, a shadow of the storm that slammed against Golina’s house, and felt the rise and fall of her chest, her hand gently stroking my arm, I felt like we’d been together forever, like we were always meant to be together. I know, all new couples probably feel that way, but our energy was like a pool, merging, flowing between us to reach equilibrium, drawing us closer and closer. Just like I knew there was more to the world than what I saw, I know there’s more to us as well. Just being with her set me at such peace, eased the fears and worries.

And I could feel the same occurring with her, too. She slowly relaxed, the tension finally draining away. She turned her head and kissed my cheek softly and sort of scrunched down so that her nose brushed mine, and faintly sighed her contentment. It was more satisfying than any words she could have spoken.



Friday Evening: I have so much schoolwork to do! Between all the stuff going on with the spellbook, Willow and I, Mandy and the others, I’d sort of lost track of the semester and that finals are coming up soon. I have an art history paper due comparing and contrasting the styles of four painters from different eras, a chemistry test next week and an unknown to identify in lab, not to mention a ton of math homework. I have really been letting things slip and pile up. I guess the book had a bigger affect on me than I’d thought. Too much time spent translating, looking into spells, its origin. Yeah, and it has nothing to do with all the time we’ve been spending together, nope, not that. I think she realized the same thing, too. She was all apanic when we got together in the cafeteria before the noon meeting with Mr. Giles.

Well, maybe we got each other worked up. She has a list of assignments, I had my syllabuses, syllabi?, out and swore I had clearly marked when projects were due. She offered to lend me some of her colored markers so I could make a calendar of what was due when, and I just smiled and said a simple list would do. She looked aghast at that and I had to poke fun of they way she color coordinated her folders, markers and schedule. She had them spread out all over the table and was making sure her next couple weeks were completely arranged and clearly delineated on several calendars. One for carrying around, one for back in her room, one for mine, and one in case she lost one of the others so she wouldn’t have to make a new one. I confess I giggled at her as she explained it all. She gave me that cute pouty look saying that her system had worked just fine for the last thirteen years and since she’d always done well in school she wasn’t about to change now and I’d better just get used to it.

I laughed and said thirteen years? What, did she start doing this in kindergarten? At least she had the good grace to blush and mumble first grade, she didn’t get a good set of thin colored crayons till then. I rolled my eyes and we both started laughing. It was a nice little lunch, though I think neither of us ate that much, being too concerned with all the work we’d been neglecting. But it was nice to tackle problems that weren’t life threatening. I don’t know how Buffy and the others do it? Is there a major event every day, every week, every other week? How do they get a chance to relax, breathe out and just live? I wish I could take her on a vacation, just the two of us, out west, well east from here I suppose, somewhere to a ranch where I could teach her how to ride, enjoy the outdoors free from the Hellmouth. Or maybe just down to L.A., see the big city, Hollywood, Venice Beach, all the museums she’d probably want to visit.

Goddess, I just realized I don’t know when her birthday is! Could I have missed it? What if it was early in the winter and I just didn’t realize it. She might have celebrated with Buffy and the others and I’d never have known. She would have dropped hints if it was coming up, wouldn’t she? I’m not sure. She’s so shy in some ways and doesn’t like to draw that kind of attention to herself; is always thinking about others. I bet she makes a big deal over Buffy’s birthday but no one but Xander does anything for hers. In fact when we talked about birthdays before, all I remember her saying was what happened on Buffy’s, how they’d gone wrong, or a few things about hers when she was little. It’s so like her to deflect talk like that away from her own, like they don’t matter. Even Father used to make a big deal over mine. I can’t believe I might have missed hers.

I am definitely going to find out and plan something. I don’t know what, but I want her to have at least one day where she feels like she’s special, more important than anyone else, the chosen one for a few hours. She deserves some recognition for all that she does. I’ll just highlight this section so I know to follow through on this.

Since it was getting on towards noon, and we’d finished eating, we went to the Stevenson lounge and waited for Mr. Giles. He wasn’t there, but we were a little early so we sat on one of the couches and made idle talk. The next thing I knew it was around 12:30 and he still hadn’t shown up. She thought that was not a good sign as he was very punctual and had gotten on her case earlier in the year when she’d forgotten an appointment to do a spell on Spike. I raised an eyebrow at that, but she said she’d tell me all about it later and what if Mr. Giles fell prey to Sarissa or Golina, what if the book took what power he had, or did something else to him? He could need our help and here we were just gabbing away like nothing was the matter.

She was all ready to rush over there, but I suggested we give a call first, it would be quicker and if he didn’t answer we could head on over, maybe even find Buffy, just in case. She reluctantly agreed and we went over to the pay phones. Why she doesn’t have one of those mobile cell phone things I don’t know. They all should, really. I would think Riley, at the least, would suggest it. They can’t be that expensive.

Anyway, she called and Mr. Giles answered, which surprised and relieved her. I really do think she expected the worst.

He was following up some interesting new information, was waiting for a call from some Watcher’s Council members overseas and had lost track of time. She said he apologized profusely and that he hadn’t meant to worry her. Since he was still waiting and we had classes soon, they decided we should get together at his apartment as soon as we were done around 4:00.

That settled we went back to the couch and talked a bit more before heading off to class. Again it was nice to basically just hang out.

Class was a nice diversion, too. Yes, still a little tedious and I couldn’t wait to get back with her, but at least I could pay attention this time, well, mostly. It’s sad when I think of class as a nice change from real pressure, though I have to admit it seems less daunting now. Mother, can you believe it? She’s already having such an affect on me, changing the way I see things, broadening my experiences and life. Goddess, I love her so much.


After classes we met up and headed to Mr. Giles, a route I am starting to become extremely familiar with. It was still warm, humid, overcast and it had rained off and on all day. Thunder and lightning split the heavens irregularly, but without let up. I saw a number of dead worms on the sidewalk, all bloated and gray-white. I wonder if that was a sign of some sort?

Mr. Giles’ place was covered with books, some upside down, open to particular pages, others piled on the floor, while a few had a pencil stuck in them, making easy access to a particular spot or passage. The watcher himself looked haggard and tired, like he hadn’t slept all night and he was still wearing the same clothes.

We sat down after clearing some space and without much lead in he told us that he had made a number of breakthroughs and that the situation was much worse than we had thought. She quickly interjected that this was frequently the case, and that you got used to it. I must have looked more stricken than I’d realized, because I’d considered the situation pretty dire already. Of course I know better than to ask, “how much worse can it get?” Home taught me never to do that. She asked him sort of flippantly if it was another apocalypse, but he said no, not that bad and he’d inform us what he had discovered if she would stop interrupting. She gave me a sly smile but didn’t say anything else.

First off, he related how he’d reconstructed the symbols he’d seen on the cover of the book and then searched for reference to them as they’d seemed somehow familiar. He finally found a passage which indicated that they were a cross between dreamlore from the Plateau of Leng, an altogether unsavory place, and astral sigils used by ancient Eutrascens.

This meant that the place that Golina had created, the cottage and the stream, were not just part of the dreamlands, nor exactly part of the astral plane either, but a mix of both. I nodded and said that that would explain her ability to affect the normal world. Spells enacted on the Astral, a higher plane closer to the Goddess and God, were much stronger than those cast here. They might take some time to manifest, but when they did they were very powerful. Since the astral was a reflection of the normal world, spells cast there would eventually have an affect on the real world.

He nodded his concurrence and went on to say that the dream elements gave her access to the sleeping mind, which many practitioners of magic were not able to defend as well as their astral selves. She could plant suggestions, influence actions, even learn someone’s true name allowing her to draw off their magical power without killing the person and do it relatively quickly and thoroughly. It was really quite ingenious and showed that at least at the start she hadn’t possessed much evil intent. It would have been easier for her to have just killed those she took the power from. In fact, the death might have given her more power, if she worked it right.

She said that Golina must have felt that with the dream element as part of her chosen ground, she could even the battle between her and Sarissa, maybe even stand a chance of winning.

Mr. Giles thought that was the case, too, and it explained why she hadn’t been defeated. Golina’s studies with Hans Schecht gave her an advantage that Sarissa couldn’t quite overcome.

I nodded and stated that power wasn’t necessarily the most important thing on the astral plane, force of will, passion, desire, these things allowed one to shape and alter the reality around them to a greater extent than specific spells or rituals. Those were more useful for affecting the normal world. What surprised me was that the battle between the two was still going on. I would have expected one or the other to win by now.

Mr. Giles said that time often flowed differently in the dreamlands, it could have been but a short time, to them, since they’d entered that place. Or it could be that they were balanced enough that neither gained the upper hand. Between her superior knowledge and the energy that she stole, it might be enough to allow Golina to maintain a stalemate despite the other having more power. So if we could get Golina to work with us, we might be able to defeat Sarissa once and for all.

She objected that Golina didn’t seem to be in the working together frame of mind, and had twice tried to absorb our energy. And, she seemed like she was losing now, getting older and withering away. If Sarissa had found a way to use the book to steal energy as well, it meant her knowledge was increasing and she might be able to free herself, maybe even sooner than later.

I had to ask, with only a little stutter, what were we going to do? Could we defeat them both? It sounded far beyond us.

She turned to me and said that I shouldn’t be discouraged, they’d taken on greater odds and succeeded. She was sure that we could figure something out. I gave her a half-hearted smile, her optimism and strength of spirit uplifting. The depth of her experience still staggers me. Some day it will be Buffy who is helping her, not the other way around.

For the moment though, we needed a plan, but before they could start discussing options and deciding on a strategy, the phone rang. Mr. Giles answered it and ended up on the line for some time, taking occasional notes and muttering ‘I see,’ several times. At least there were no ‘dear lord’s’.

While we waited I suggested that we really should go back and attempt to talk with Golina again. Maybe we could convince her to help? Since she’d failed to drain us last time, she might be more open to discussion now. She didn’t think that would be the case, but maybe she’d be easier to neutralize, keep at bay, or bind and force a parley.

We discussed the pros and cons of this until Mr. Giles politely interrupted. He said that that was his colleague back in England with some information he’d been able to dig up. It seems that there was material available on Sarissa after all.

She was originally born in the Balkans, probably somewhere in Bulgeria, north of what was Macedonia. During the time the Romans ruled that area, a governor, his name was Lucius Marcellus, took a fancy to the young Sarissa and forcibly took her from her family and village. He brought her back to Rome with him as a slave/concubine. He had a child by her, but after a few years it became politically expedient that he marry a Roman lady. The child was an embarrassment and he seems to have also tired of Sarissa by that point. To cement the marriage he sent Sarissa back to the Balkans, and had the child killed. It’s possible the mother was to be killed as well, though that is unclear. Either way barbarians attacked the group taking her back. She survived, eventually returning to her homeland.

Sarissa must have learned witchcraft in her village, though there are indications she traveled north and also studied with some of the older women, probably in what would be Hungary or Rumania, maybe both places. Sarissa seems to have made a deal with a dark spirit, possibly a remnant of a true demon that hadn’t left our dimension, the exact information was lost or never recorded. Whatever she pledged herself to, it allowed her to wreak vengeance on Lucius and his new family, whom she slaughtered as an offering to her master. She also hunted down and slowly killed everyone related to the new wife.

He explained that the records were not entirely clear, but it is likely that Sarissa then returned once more to her home village. Her grandmother was a witch as well, but the younger girl blamed her for not stopping the Romans from taking her. It seems that the grandmother was a white witch and hadn’t believed in interfering. Under a blood red moon, Sarissa sacrificed her grandmother to the spirit, destroyed her own family, the entire village, and the Roman garrison in a single terrible night. Tales of the horrors inflicted on the soldiers and some of the villagers were tremulously repeated in whispered tales for ages afterwards.

After that Sarissa struck at the Romans at odd intervals, possibly when the dark spirit needed to be appeased with more bloody sacrifices. Her hatred of white witches also continued and she slaughtered many of them long before she needed to offer their lives to extend her own. The rest we more or less already knew.

She summed up saying that Sarissa was basically out for revenge, and had summoned some demon spirit to aid her. So if we broke her link to the spirit she’d lose her power? Maybe we could summon and destroy it, or even just banish it?

Mr. Giles didn’t think that would be wise course of action, we didn’t know which entity she served, what its name was, if it could be destroyed or how. Records concerning it didn’t seem to be forthcoming.

They tossed this back and forth for a little bit while something nagged at me. It still seemed like Sarissa was unusually determined to destroy Golina. Had hunted her down and tried to kill her more than once. Was it merely to take vengeance on the one witch that had escaped her?

And then it came to me. I told them that I thought I knew the connection: the child that was supposed to have been killed, wasn’t. Maybe the soldier ordered to carry out the action hadn’t been able to, maybe a servant had saved it like in the Ten Commandments movie with Moses. Whatever the case, I was sure it had survived. Off her unasked query, I said that no, Golina was not that child, she wasn’t old enough, but I bet she was one of its descendants. Maybe even the last one. Perhaps that was why Sarissa kept on returning to Rome, not just to wreak random vengeance on the Romans, she could do that anywhere, but to track down and eliminate her progeny. Her hatred of Golina seemed very personal, and this would explain her actions.

Throughout my whole exposition I was so sure that this felt right, that I was onto something, that I don’t think I stuttered once at all. She gave me that look, and even Mr. Giles paused and considered what I said. He allowed that my idea was in accordance with all the facts we knew and seemed to make sense.

She smiled and offered that it would be an interesting twist if Golina was one of our ancestors, and thus Sarissa as well. I shuddered at the thought, but didn’t think that was likely. My roots were Celtic, and hers German Jewish. Neither seemed to indicate a Slavic or Latin heritage. She shrugged and said just a thought.

Mr. Giles interrupted saying that if my reasoning was right, that this changed things quite a bit. It would mean that there was a strong link between Golina and Sarissa, a tie that could be magically useful. She asked how so, and already I had a sort of sick feeling. He said that it might be possible to work certain magics on Golina, and then have them affect Sarissa as well. Especially in a dream/astral world where even a symbolic link, not to mention a solid contagion or sympathetic connection, could be highly effective. Ties of kinship would be much stronger.

I looked down and was quiet for a moment. She picked up on my discomfort and asked what that meant. Mr. Giles stammered for a moment and then stated that if we could work a destructive magic on Golina, one that keyed on a family and its relations, we could use her death, her spirit’s dissolution, as the key component to ending Sarissa as well.

She wore her reflection face for a moment and then asked what the problem was? Buffy killed demons and vampires all the time, it wasn’t like Sarissa was human anymore, and Golina had attacked us, tried to drain our power and for all we knew had killed before herself. Both were mostly dead already and we’d just be ending their dreamselves, we wouldn’t really be killing them, like a normal person here. And then added in her small, unsure voice, “would we?”

Goddess bless her, but she doesn’t understand. I sometimes forget that she hasn’t been brought up in the Wiccan Rede. It’s not the killing or destroying that’s the problem, exactly. I mean, I’m not happy with the idea of having to destroy someone, even a spirit. Things like that should not be done lightly or unless there’s no alternative, but I do understand that sometimes that is the only answer. In the fight between good and evil, good is sometimes forced to destroy, kill, evil beings. Not everything can be rehabilitated, or has some good in them. But, using magic, especially destructive magic for that purpose, is dangerous. Most magic isn’t good or evil, can be used for either and it’s the intentions that really color it. But, taking a human life, spirit or not, with magic treads very close to black magic no matter the reason or motivation behind the action. Mother repeatedly warned that it crosses into a dark area and there are always consequences for doing those kind of spells. It stains one’s soul.

I looked up at Mr. Giles and for a moment what I saw scared me. There was a hardness present, a toughness that betokened the darker side of human nature. Like he’d done things, used truly black magic, before and would be willing to do so again. His energy flow was not that of someone steeped in it, who was a wanton killer or subverted by the dark arts, but it did tell me that violence, demonic magic, killing, were something that had touched him, that he had experienced, before. I could see that the good far outweighed this, that there was love and compassion present as well, but that it was no longer unsullied. I wondered just what he was capable of?

Despite the warmth and her presence, I shivered, chilled by my observations. Even now I still worry a bit about Buffy’s watcher. Is he stronger for his brush with evil or has that made him more liable to give in to that temptation? I’ll say a prayer to the Goddess and God for him either way.

Still, he persisted, saying that if Willow were right and Golina was losing, already starting to fade, that this might be our only chance to end things and prevent Sarissa from getting free. I ducked my head and stuttered out an agreement.

Bless my girl, she saw I was uneasy, sensed my reluctance and put a hand on my knee, the electric tingle of our shared power instantly set me more at ease. She said we wouldn’t do anything I thought was wrong or unnecessary. We’d look for other options, like, maybe we could convince Golina to help us against the older witch and together we’d be more than a match for her.

I smiled back at my girl and briefly brushed her hand, wordlessly thanking her for the encouragement and support, but also letting her know that I’d do what we had to. The idea of being fed on, drained and left a dull husk seems so awful, it gives me the resolve to carry through with whatever we must. Mother, I think I’m doing the right thing, I hope you understand and can forgive me if I’m wrong.

By this point it was late in the afternoon. We agreed that we’d go back, eat, do some of that schoolwork that’s been piling up while he checked his books and came up with a plan of action, found the right spell. We all felt that the quicker we acted the better.

She’s back at her dorm changing and will be here soon. Mr. Giles is supposed to come by around 8:00 and we’ll venture another trip into Golina’s landscape. At least writing all this down has calmed my nerves somewhat. No matter what solution we reach, going back still scares me. We’re unfamiliar with how things work there, the two of them have been doing this so long. What chance do we have? I just don’t want anything to happen to my girl. Things are going so well it’s like we’re asking for something bad, some calamity.

Keep a positive outlook, Tara. We’ll be together and I refuse, absolutely cannot allow, anything to happen to her. Even on the Hellmouth things have to work out sometimes, don’t they?

Continued immediately below...


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 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay Chapter 17 Part D
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:34 pm 
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9. Gay Now

Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:54 pm
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Chapter 17 Part D

Saturday Afternoon: Oh, Goddess, last night is almost nothing more than a blur. Everything happened so quickly, and now that it’s over it seems like things should be different somehow, like we should have a little celebration, a vacation, something. But I guess that’s the point, the world keeps on going, normal life continues, and nothing really changes.

I should be using this time to study, but after all that’s occurred, I just can’t focus. And she’s gone back to her dorm to do laundry, get some studying done, check in with Buffy and the others, do that spell for her. She hasn’t said it, but I can tell she’s still worried about how Buffy took her coming out. Throughout this whole ordeal with Sarissa and Golina she was very hesitant to involve her friend, saying the Slayer had more important things to deal with, that we could handle it. I guess she was right, but I hope her estrangement doesn’t last too long, Buffy’s friendship means so much to her. I think she secretly has a bit of hero worship for her, not that she’d ever admit it. She said it was Buffy who got her to come out of her shell initially, take chances, taught her that she can fight back against the darkness. They share a very special bond and it being strained has hurt her more than anything Golina or Sarissa did. Not that they didn’t succeed to some extent. My finger still hurts and my body feels like it’s been in a dryer, blasted with heat and slammed around for hours.

Oh, mother, who’d have thought that my Willow and I were that close? I can still hardly believe it. I never dreamt that such a thing could happen to me, can it really be true? I’m not just imagining it, or still in a dream, right?

Goddess, I hope she isn’t too wigged out, frightened by what this means, isn’t pulling away or having second thoughts. What if she doesn’t want me this close, was just experimenting or trying to take her mind off the heartache Oz caused her?

Why do I always have to question everything like this? Can’t I just accept that what is, is, and not worry myself sick? My stomach is as queasy and quivery as last night. At least that turned out all right.

When she came back I could tell by the droop of her shoulders that she must not have run into Buffy. It was almost fully dark, and occasional fits of rain shook the windows and then relented for a short time. For a change there was hardly any lightning. It almost seemed like the storm was saving its energy for something bigger.

I put away my schoolwork and asked her what was wrong. She sighed and put it off as nerves before going back and confronting Sarissa, but I could tell that that wasn’t the problem. She seemed more dejected than worried or nervous, which given what we were going to do was actually pretty dangerous. If she went into a magical conflict on the astral or dream plane without the focus and clarity of mind necessary, we could be in big trouble.

I smiled at her, took her hands and said I knew exactly what she needed to clear her mind. Her face instantly lit up and she moved closer, letting her hips brush mine and gave a sly, almost slinky smile and said, ‘and that would be?’

I giggled and gave her a quick kiss, replying that it wasn’t what she thought and how would it look if we were…occupied when Mr. Giles got here? I don’t think I’ve ever seen her blush so hard before. It was pretty funny and I couldn’t help laughing at her, though it must have been infectious as she joined in and gave me a real smile. Goddess, she still makes me feel like I’m melting when she does that.

I got out a piece of quartz crystal and explained that it would help sharpen our concentration and focus our minds if we tried sort of meditating together on the stone, floated it between us, maybe even created a little light within it. Like the floating rose spell, it would help calm our minds but would also prepare us for our upcoming confrontation.

She thought that sounded cool, so I lit a few candles, turned off the lights and we sat facing each other, hands clasped, the crystal sitting on the floor between us. At first it was a little hard to concentrate, what with the tingle of our power flowing back and forth, threatening to sweep us away with it. The thrill of her touch, made my breath catch and my heart race and it took some force of will to try and rein all that in. Not suppress it, but to ride the emotions and sensations spreading through me, move with them, let them carry us, and then ever so slowly try and guide them. After a few moments we concentrated on the quartz and slowly lifted it up to about head height. Then, we gently extended just a bit of the power creating a delicate glow that grew within its glassy depths. As it brightened a kaleidoscope of shapes covered the walls, my furniture, each of us. It was very beautiful and I could feel her marveling at the sight and the sudden intake of breath it caused.

By unspoken agreement we altered the color of the light, increased and decreased the intensity. It was like we could anticipate each other, knowing exactly what the other was thinking. The crystal sparkled and spun slowly making the whole room seem to spin, with us at the center.

Mr. Giles’ knock on the door came as a sudden jarring intrusion, and though the stone dipped and wobbled a bit, it didn’t break our concentration. In fact I managed to say, ‘enter,’ without disrupting our connection or letting the stone drop further.

As he entered, we withdrew the light and settled the crystal down between us. We each took a deep breath and reluctantly, let our hands part. To my surprise Mr. Giles stood quietly till we opened our eyes and then commended us for our diligent preparation. He said that a proper mindset was vital and he was glad to see we were taking this venture seriously. He had an odd look in his eye as he asked if we worked that well together all the time and it was a good thing there was only candlelight, as I know my face heated up and I couldn’t look at him. She made an “errmm,” sound and looked away as well. It was strange, but I felt like I had when Mother once caught me sneaking cake into my room. Mildly guilty, sort of naughty, but not dirty or little like I did when Father said I was bad. I guess it’s a sort of a mild embarrassment, a bit of shame and shared guilt that one secretly kind of enjoys? It was an odd feeling I haven’t felt in a long time.

The Watcher had brought with him an unusually worn and faded book whose brown cover seemed to undulate with little scales, though that was probably just a trick of the flickering candlelight. We gave timorous greetings and I asked Mr. Giles if he’d like anything, I had some water and soda in my little fridge, but he declined and took the chair he had used last time.

I sat on the bed with my hands folded in my lap and she moved to sit next to me, but I saw her blush slightly and she ended up veering off and sitting against the end on the floor. I have to admit a small flash of disappointment went through me. I know she’s still worried what her friends will say, how they’ll treat her, once they know about us. Buffy’s reaction continues to pry at the corner of her mind that is never quiet, that always seems to be niggling at her. I love my Willow so much, every aspect of her, but I do wish sometimes that she could relax, turn off that incredible mind and not over-think, analyze, and constantly fret, about things. Hah, look who’s talking!

We looked at the older man expectantly, and after a moment’s hesitation, he stated that he had found a spell that he thought would suit our purposes with only minor modifications of a gypsy curse nature to ensure that an entire family line would be affected. It was supposed to discorporate lingering spirits like ghosts and specters, force them to move on to the next world by cutting their ties with this one and splitting mind and soul apart. It was a slightly ‘dark’ spell created by the Order of the Left Hand Path with which to threaten summoned undead into obedience. Off her raised eyebrow and inquisitive look he mumbled something about medieval French necromancers, and perfectly safe in this context, but I found the hair on the back of my neck rising nonetheless. The sudden thunder outside seemed both ominous and clichéd. I asked if the spell would affect any living descendants, and he thought not, the spell was for spirits and the undead, which is why he considered it most apt for our purposes, despite the dubious origin.

He showed us the spell from the book that did indeed ripple like a wave, noting that in the astral/dream plane Golina had created we could dispense with the material components and ritual objects. She said good thing since skulls, grave dirt, and the tears of a restless spirit were ooky and not something we just kept laying around. I tried to smile at her attempt to lighten things, but couldn’t manage it. While Mr. Giles’ was momentarily turned away she gave my hand a little squeeze, and that did raise a half smile. She’s so sweet, I felt the need to enfold her in my arms and hold on forever, but settled for a quick return squeeze before her flesh was removed from mine.

After we had repeated the spell and he was certain that we would remember it he helped us drag the bed a ways from the wall, explaining that this time he would be performing a monastic chant designed to safeguard sleepers and bless their dreams. He had to create the circle around us as we lay down, instead of us doing it like last time. It would still help us raise energy and give a boost like a normal magic circle, but would also allow his spell to aid us.

I paused for a moment, considering what we were about to do, and I admit I was nervous. Goddess, more than nervous, I never would have considered anything like this, myself. I mean, here we were mixing necromantic, gypsy, monastic, dream, and astral magics in unheard of, and probably dangerous, manners. And yet she never hesitated. Mother would have been aghast at the improvisation, the mixing of traditions; no wonder my Willow’s approach to magic is so based in practicality rather than faith. She smiled and I was struck by how implicitly and without question they all trusted him. Mentor, adviser, sage, comrade in arms and still more. He was the father, the patriarch, and while he might not lead them at all times, did direct them and kept them together, cared for them…what must they have been through, so many times, to build such a rapport? It reminded me once more of how much of an outsider I am, how I’ll never really be a part of their group. And somehow he sensed my uncertainty, that I wasn’t completely comfortable and took time to ease my fears. He said that to a traditional Wiccan this must seem all so ad hoc, lacking firm roots, but that the real danger was not in the spells we used, but their questionable effectiveness on an old spirit with centuries of experience and if not home, at the least familiar, ground advantage. As things turned out maybe I had been worried about the wrong aspects.

He, he put his hand on my shoulder, gently, with no steely fingers digging in, no look of disapproval and disappointment on his face, no threat of sudden violence to come, and simply re-assured me that things would work out, belief in myself was as important as the specifics of the spell.

It was…he’s so…Goddess, she really does have everything. No, I know that’s not true. Her parents are distant, enigmas to her, really don’t understand her, but still…

I remember my eyes welling up and a lump being in my throat. I took a deep breath and tried not to lose the focus and clarity our time with the crystal had given me. Of course she caught my mood and suggested maybe we should wait, go over things one more time, wait until I was ready. The way she looked at me I could tell that it took everything she had not to just leap across the bed and hold me. I felt her concern, her love for me throughout my whole body, as if we were linked in a spell. It was so powerful, so encompassing. Maybe it was just a reflection of what I felt, of what I needed, even now it’s hard to tell.

We shared a glance into each other’s eyes that seemed to last forever, smiled, and then lay down on the bed side by side. We joined hands and the tingle of mutual energy swept through me, and I swore I could feel her chest rising and falling. Golina’s book rested between our feet, feeling heavy, moist and kinda hungry. Mr. Giles voice began chanting, deeply resonant, a protective fatherly, I know, talk about oxymoron, but it was true nonetheless, feeling rose around us, and for a moment it felt like we could do anything.

A moment of sudden doubt struck me as we repeated our own invocation to send us to Golina’s realm. Maybe it was just my own inner qualms rising or perhaps the unwelcome thoughts of Father and home, or maybe it was just my slow brain finally putting things together, but as we were falling through the light gray mist that led to the field outside Golina’s house the thought suddenly struck me, who else would Sarissa hate even more than her own offspring with Lucius Marcellus? That with the woman he had forsaken her for, of course. What if Golina’s ancestry was not Sarissa but the wife, the one who had effectively replaced Sarissa? If that was the case our spell might not work and could even horribly backfire.

I turned to share this with her, tell her what I had realized only to find that it was Donny holding my hand, a broad evil leer crossing his face.

“Hiya sis,” he drawled and drew me closer to him, his breath smelling of beer, corn dogs, and dirty stagnant water. “Time ta show ya how it’s supposed to be done.”

His arms wrapped around me, and his lips moved across mine like earthworms digging through the ground, wriggling and squirming. Bile rose up in my mouth and I could barely feel my limbs. Nothing seemed to work, I wanted to scream, to shout, even wet myself but all I could do was remain transfixed. His hands roughly kneaded at my rear. I heard my Father’s voice say, “Hold her down son, it’s time to punish the wicked, show what we do with the demon tainted.”

Wild tears spilled from my eyes as I shook my head, trying to yell, to be sick and get away from the tongue thrusting at me like a blind eel searching for its cave. At any moment Father would be upon me and I’d truly be lost.

Donny’s weight suddenly bore me to the ground and then Father’s face was floating above me, replacing my brother’s. A sharp pain erupted from my left breast as Donny bit down on me, and Father kept repeating, “The wicked must be punished.”

A bright silver flash came from my hand and Donny was knocked back, Father’s faced withdrew and I heard a deep chant that echoed and rung in my ears. As it did I could feel my limbs again, a great weight or pull seemed to lift and I could move again.

In front of me instead of Donny and Father stood Sarissa. She was short, no more than five foot if that, and thin. Her face was grey and drawn, withered and shrunken like all the liquid had been drained from it. Her eyes were deep black like two horribly aged peas sunken deep into her skull with a deep cloudy gray around them. Her hair was wiry and a lighter gray and while not overly long, seemed to stick out is all directions. A simple peasant dress of dark color hung loosely on her sparse frame.

I thrust my hands out at her and said the charm to obscure her with smoke like I had done when Jonathan’s monster attacked me, but she merely inhaled and sucked up all the vapors I created. She laughed and moved closer, but the ring blazed even brighter and sparks hissed and leapt from her outstretched hand. She jerked it back and I hurriedly look about. We were standing outside Golina’s hut, while Golina herself was suspended above the door by four forks of lightning through her wrists and ankles. She writhed and twisted, her mouth open in a perpetual scream though no sound came out. High above us storm clouds darkened the sky, though flashes of sickly purple lightning lit the area. Rising thunder began to drown out Giles chanting. Willow was nowhere in sight.

I tried to picture the ground pushing Sarissa back, carrying her away as if on the crest of a wave, and then thrust a cascade of earth at her. A sudden downpour turned the earth to a ripple of mud that parted to either side of the old witch. She laughed again, saying in Father’s voice, “Jezebel trinkets won’t protect you from your punishment.”

Lightning flashed down from the storm striking the ring and throwing me to the ground. Earthy arms grabbed at me, held me down, while the ring became hotter and hotter, the glow it gave off even more incandescent. The burning sensation increased as the lightning intensified and I smelt burnt flesh. I screamed as the ring turned molten and dripped onto the ground with a hissing splatter. My whole arm burned with agony.

“Willow!” I cried as Sarissa glided forward. More laughter assailed me, the earth hands held me fast and Sarissa calmly moved to my side, bending slightly, her thin, stick-like fingers reaching towards me.

“She can’t help you now, little one, oh no,” she said her face twisting into a thin, compressed smile and it felt like freezing rain slashed into me while my finger throbbed and ached. “She’s quite occupied, she is. Would you like to see? Oh, yes, she’s not doing too well at all.”

I had thought I was scared before, but now my whole body went cold, everything felt numb as I barely whispered, “What have you done with her?”

One of Sarissa’s gnarled, claw-like hands brushed my cheek causing me to shudder, and then she held them apart. A small cloud formed between them and I could see my girl, dressed in some sort of one piece plaid skirt whose broad dark straps exposed a white top. Images that looked like angry caricatures of her friends assailed her. Buffy was yelling, “Dyke!” while Xander shouted, “Queer!” and Giles cried, “Lesbo!” with a look of disappointment and disgust on his face. Even Oz was circling round her exclaiming, “Freak! Homo! I should have left you earlier. You’re not even half the woman Veruca was.” Each word was hurled at her with hatred and revulsion and at their sound cuts appeared on her face, bruises along her arms, and finally at the other girl’s name she doubled over as if struck in the stomach. Blood trickled from her mouth and nose while tears flowed from her eyes and the look of hurt and betrayal on her face hurt more than my blackened finger.

I looked away, unable to bear her torture, and Sarissa must have followed my gaze towards Golina. She seemed to be smaller than when I last noticed her.

“She can’t help you, little one, no she can’t. All drained of energy, she used too much against me last time, and you haven’t given her any more.” Once more her laughter tore through me and her clammy fingers turned my face back towards the cloudy image of Willow. “Watch, yes, watch and see her fall. She has so much power doesn’t she? You both do, I’ll finally be free of this place soon, that’s certain.”

Once again horror and despair ran through me as I was forced to look. A thundering downpour of words fell upon her, each a tiny hammer of water that battered and bruised my love. Blood mingled with the water and she was driven to her knees, to all fours as her friends circled round her, screaming their loathing. She fell to the mud, the slime mixing with her tears, blackening her face. She feebly reached out one hand and I swore she mouthed my name.

My head shook and I could no longer see for my own tears. I screamed, “NO!” over and over again. This couldn’t be happening, I wouldn’t let her die like that, alone, feeling betrayed by those closest to her. I reached for her, sought for her spirit, her soul, and tried to draw it to me. I wouldn’t let her go through this alone. I had to help her, no matter what.

It was like reaching through cotton that burned and froze, it seemed like my skin was shredding from my arm as I reached towards her, but still I wouldn’t stop.

Sarissa must have noticed what I was doing, my cries for her, as she whispered in my ear with a voice of thunder that shook me so violently that I could feel bones snap, “No, no, little one, we can’t have that. Your fate is here.”

Suddenly the arms of earth were gone and I was suspended off the ground amidst a bubble of lightning. Flashes of faces formed within the sphere, Father, Donny, my uncle, grandfather, others from the family. Arms of slimy purple lightning shot out and caressed me, the pain making me arch and lose all contact with my girl. Each touch pulled and wrenched deep within me. Small parts of myself were being ripped away and I couldn’t sense Willow anywhere around me.


Continued immediately below...


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 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay Chapter 17 Part D
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:54 pm
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Chapter 17 Part D

Saturday Afternoon: Oh, Goddess, last night is almost nothing more than a blur. Everything happened so quickly, and now that it’s over it seems like things should be different somehow, like we should have a little celebration, a vacation, something. But I guess that’s the point, the world keeps on going, normal life continues, and nothing really changes.

I should be using this time to study, but after all that’s occurred, I just can’t focus. And she’s gone back to her dorm to do laundry, get some studying done, check in with Buffy and the others, do that spell for her. She hasn’t said it, but I can tell she’s still worried about how Buffy took her coming out. Throughout this whole ordeal with Sarissa and Golina she was very hesitant to involve her friend, saying the Slayer had more important things to deal with, that we could handle it. I guess she was right, but I hope her estrangement doesn’t last too long, Buffy’s friendship means so much to her. I think she secretly has a bit of hero worship for her, not that she’d ever admit it. She said it was Buffy who got her to come out of her shell initially, take chances, taught her that she can fight back against the darkness. They share a very special bond and it being strained has hurt her more than anything Golina or Sarissa did. Not that they didn’t succeed to some extent. My finger still hurts and my body feels like it’s been in a dryer, blasted with heat and slammed around for hours.

Oh, mother, who’d have thought that my Willow and I were that close? I can still hardly believe it. I never dreamt that such a thing could happen to me, can it really be true? I’m not just imagining it, or still in a dream, right?

Goddess, I hope she isn’t too wigged out, frightened by what this means, isn’t pulling away or having second thoughts. What if she doesn’t want me this close, was just experimenting or trying to take her mind off the heartache Oz caused her?

Why do I always have to question everything like this? Can’t I just accept that what is, is, and not worry myself sick? My stomach is as queasy and quivery as last night. At least that turned out all right.

When she came back I could tell by the droop of her shoulders that she must not have run into Buffy. It was almost fully dark, and occasional fits of rain shook the windows and then relented for a short time. For a change there was hardly any lightning. It almost seemed like the storm was saving its energy for something bigger.

I put away my schoolwork and asked her what was wrong. She sighed and put it off as nerves before going back and confronting Sarissa, but I could tell that that wasn’t the problem. She seemed more dejected than worried or nervous, which given what we were going to do was actually pretty dangerous. If she went into a magical conflict on the astral or dream plane without the focus and clarity of mind necessary, we could be in big trouble.

I smiled at her, took her hands and said I knew exactly what she needed to clear her mind. Her face instantly lit up and she moved closer, letting her hips brush mine and gave a sly, almost slinky smile and said, ‘and that would be?’

I giggled and gave her a quick kiss, replying that it wasn’t what she thought and how would it look if we were…occupied when Mr. Giles got here? I don’t think I’ve ever seen her blush so hard before. It was pretty funny and I couldn’t help laughing at her, though it must have been infectious as she joined in and gave me a real smile. Goddess, she still makes me feel like I’m melting when she does that.

I got out a piece of quartz crystal and explained that it would help sharpen our concentration and focus our minds if we tried sort of meditating together on the stone, floated it between us, maybe even created a little light within it. Like the floating rose spell, it would help calm our minds but would also prepare us for our upcoming confrontation.

She thought that sounded cool, so I lit a few candles, turned off the lights and we sat facing each other, hands clasped, the crystal sitting on the floor between us. At first it was a little hard to concentrate, what with the tingle of our power flowing back and forth, threatening to sweep us away with it. The thrill of her touch, made my breath catch and my heart race and it took some force of will to try and rein all that in. Not suppress it, but to ride the emotions and sensations spreading through me, move with them, let them carry us, and then ever so slowly try and guide them. After a few moments we concentrated on the quartz and slowly lifted it up to about head height. Then, we gently extended just a bit of the power creating a delicate glow that grew within its glassy depths. As it brightened a kaleidoscope of shapes covered the walls, my furniture, each of us. It was very beautiful and I could feel her marveling at the sight and the sudden intake of breath it caused.

By unspoken agreement we altered the color of the light, increased and decreased the intensity. It was like we could anticipate each other, knowing exactly what the other was thinking. The crystal sparkled and spun slowly making the whole room seem to spin, with us at the center.

Mr. Giles’ knock on the door came as a sudden jarring intrusion, and though the stone dipped and wobbled a bit, it didn’t break our concentration. In fact I managed to say, ‘enter,’ without disrupting our connection or letting the stone drop further.

As he entered, we withdrew the light and settled the crystal down between us. We each took a deep breath and reluctantly, let our hands part. To my surprise Mr. Giles stood quietly till we opened our eyes and then commended us for our diligent preparation. He said that a proper mindset was vital and he was glad to see we were taking this venture seriously. He had an odd look in his eye as he asked if we worked that well together all the time and it was a good thing there was only candlelight, as I know my face heated up and I couldn’t look at him. She made an “errmm,” sound and looked away as well. It was strange, but I felt like I had when Mother once caught me sneaking cake into my room. Mildly guilty, sort of naughty, but not dirty or little like I did when Father said I was bad. I guess it’s a sort of a mild embarrassment, a bit of shame and shared guilt that one secretly kind of enjoys? It was an odd feeling I haven’t felt in a long time.

The Watcher had brought with him an unusually worn and faded book whose brown cover seemed to undulate with little scales, though that was probably just a trick of the flickering candlelight. We gave timorous greetings and I asked Mr. Giles if he’d like anything, I had some water and soda in my little fridge, but he declined and took the chair he had used last time.

I sat on the bed with my hands folded in my lap and she moved to sit next to me, but I saw her blush slightly and she ended up veering off and sitting against the end on the floor. I have to admit a small flash of disappointment went through me. I know she’s still worried what her friends will say, how they’ll treat her, once they know about us. Buffy’s reaction continues to pry at the corner of her mind that is never quiet, that always seems to be niggling at her. I love my Willow so much, every aspect of her, but I do wish sometimes that she could relax, turn off that incredible mind and not over-think, analyze, and constantly fret, about things. Hah, look who’s talking!

We looked at the older man expectantly, and after a moment’s hesitation, he stated that he had found a spell that he thought would suit our purposes with only minor modifications of a gypsy curse nature to ensure that an entire family line would be affected. It was supposed to discorporate lingering spirits like ghosts and specters, force them to move on to the next world by cutting their ties with this one and splitting mind and soul apart. It was a slightly ‘dark’ spell created by the Order of the Left Hand Path with which to threaten summoned undead into obedience. Off her raised eyebrow and inquisitive look he mumbled something about medieval French necromancers, and perfectly safe in this context, but I found the hair on the back of my neck rising nonetheless. The sudden thunder outside seemed both ominous and clichéd. I asked if the spell would affect any living descendants, and he thought not, the spell was for spirits and the undead, which is why he considered it most apt for our purposes, despite the dubious origin.

He showed us the spell from the book that did indeed ripple like a wave, noting that in the astral/dream plane Golina had created we could dispense with the material components and ritual objects. She said good thing since skulls, grave dirt, and the tears of a restless spirit were ooky and not something we just kept laying around. I tried to smile at her attempt to lighten things, but couldn’t manage it. While Mr. Giles’ was momentarily turned away she gave my hand a little squeeze, and that did raise a half smile. She’s so sweet, I felt the need to enfold her in my arms and hold on forever, but settled for a quick return squeeze before her flesh was removed from mine.

After we had repeated the spell and he was certain that we would remember it he helped us drag the bed a ways from the wall, explaining that this time he would be performing a monastic chant designed to safeguard sleepers and bless their dreams. He had to create the circle around us as we lay down, instead of us doing it like last time. It would still help us raise energy and give a boost like a normal magic circle, but would also allow his spell to aid us.

I paused for a moment, considering what we were about to do, and I admit I was nervous. Goddess, more than nervous, I never would have considered anything like this, myself. I mean, here we were mixing necromantic, gypsy, monastic, dream, and astral magics in unheard of, and probably dangerous, manners. And yet she never hesitated. Mother would have been aghast at the improvisation, the mixing of traditions; no wonder my Willow’s approach to magic is so based in practicality rather than faith. She smiled and I was struck by how implicitly and without question they all trusted him. Mentor, adviser, sage, comrade in arms and still more. He was the father, the patriarch, and while he might not lead them at all times, did direct them and kept them together, cared for them…what must they have been through, so many times, to build such a rapport? It reminded me once more of how much of an outsider I am, how I’ll never really be a part of their group. And somehow he sensed my uncertainty, that I wasn’t completely comfortable and took time to ease my fears. He said that to a traditional Wiccan this must seem all so ad hoc, lacking firm roots, but that the real danger was not in the spells we used, but their questionable effectiveness on an old spirit with centuries of experience and if not home, at the least familiar, ground advantage. As things turned out maybe I had been worried about the wrong aspects.

He, he put his hand on my shoulder, gently, with no steely fingers digging in, no look of disapproval and disappointment on his face, no threat of sudden violence to come, and simply re-assured me that things would work out, belief in myself was as important as the specifics of the spell.

It was…he’s so…Goddess, she really does have everything. No, I know that’s not true. Her parents are distant, enigmas to her, really don’t understand her, but still…

I remember my eyes welling up and a lump being in my throat. I took a deep breath and tried not to lose the focus and clarity our time with the crystal had given me. Of course she caught my mood and suggested maybe we should wait, go over things one more time, wait until I was ready. The way she looked at me I could tell that it took everything she had not to just leap across the bed and hold me. I felt her concern, her love for me throughout my whole body, as if we were linked in a spell. It was so powerful, so encompassing. Maybe it was just a reflection of what I felt, of what I needed, even now it’s hard to tell.

We shared a glance into each other’s eyes that seemed to last forever, smiled, and then lay down on the bed side by side. We joined hands and the tingle of mutual energy swept through me, and I swore I could feel her chest rising and falling. Golina’s book rested between our feet, feeling heavy, moist and kinda hungry. Mr. Giles voice began chanting, deeply resonant, a protective fatherly, I know, talk about oxymoron, but it was true nonetheless, feeling rose around us, and for a moment it felt like we could do anything.

A moment of sudden doubt struck me as we repeated our own invocation to send us to Golina’s realm. Maybe it was just my own inner qualms rising or perhaps the unwelcome thoughts of Father and home, or maybe it was just my slow brain finally putting things together, but as we were falling through the light gray mist that led to the field outside Golina’s house the thought suddenly struck me, who else would Sarissa hate even more than her own offspring with Lucius Marcellus? That with the woman he had forsaken her for, of course. What if Golina’s ancestry was not Sarissa but the wife, the one who had effectively replaced Sarissa? If that was the case our spell might not work and could even horribly backfire.

I turned to share this with her, tell her what I had realized only to find that it was Donny holding my hand, a broad evil leer crossing his face.

“Hiya sis,” he drawled and drew me closer to him, his breath smelling of beer, corn dogs, and dirty stagnant water. “Time ta show ya how it’s supposed to be done.”

His arms wrapped around me, and his lips moved across mine like earthworms digging through the ground, wriggling and squirming. Bile rose up in my mouth and I could barely feel my limbs. Nothing seemed to work, I wanted to scream, to shout, even wet myself but all I could do was remain transfixed. His hands roughly kneaded at my rear. I heard my Father’s voice say, “Hold her down son, it’s time to punish the wicked, show what we do with the demon tainted.”

Wild tears spilled from my eyes as I shook my head, trying to yell, to be sick and get away from the tongue thrusting at me like a blind eel searching for its cave. At any moment Father would be upon me and I’d truly be lost.

Donny’s weight suddenly bore me to the ground and then Father’s face was floating above me, replacing my brother’s. A sharp pain erupted from my left breast as Donny bit down on me, and Father kept repeating, “The wicked must be punished.”

A bright silver flash came from my hand and Donny was knocked back, Father’s faced withdrew and I heard a deep chant that echoed and rung in my ears. As it did I could feel my limbs again, a great weight or pull seemed to lift and I could move again.

In front of me instead of Donny and Father stood Sarissa. She was short, no more than five foot if that, and thin. Her face was grey and drawn, withered and shrunken like all the liquid had been drained from it. Her eyes were deep black like two horribly aged peas sunken deep into her skull with a deep cloudy gray around them. Her hair was wiry and a lighter gray and while not overly long, seemed to stick out is all directions. A simple peasant dress of dark color hung loosely on her sparse frame.

I thrust my hands out at her and said the charm to obscure her with smoke like I had done when Jonathan’s monster attacked me, but she merely inhaled and sucked up all the vapors I created. She laughed and moved closer, but the ring blazed even brighter and sparks hissed and leapt from her outstretched hand. She jerked it back and I hurriedly look about. We were standing outside Golina’s hut, while Golina herself was suspended above the door by four forks of lightning through her wrists and ankles. She writhed and twisted, her mouth open in a perpetual scream though no sound came out. High above us storm clouds darkened the sky, though flashes of sickly purple lightning lit the area. Rising thunder began to drown out Giles chanting. Willow was nowhere in sight.

I tried to picture the ground pushing Sarissa back, carrying her away as if on the crest of a wave, and then thrust a cascade of earth at her. A sudden downpour turned the earth to a ripple of mud that parted to either side of the old witch. She laughed again, saying in Father’s voice, “Jezebel trinkets won’t protect you from your punishment.”

Lightning flashed down from the storm striking the ring and throwing me to the ground. Earthy arms grabbed at me, held me down, while the ring became hotter and hotter, the glow it gave off even more incandescent. The burning sensation increased as the lightning intensified and I smelt burnt flesh. I screamed as the ring turned molten and dripped onto the ground with a hissing splatter. My whole arm burned with agony.

“Willow!” I cried as Sarissa glided forward. More laughter assailed me, the earth hands held me fast and Sarissa calmly moved to my side, bending slightly, her thin, stick-like fingers reaching towards me.

“She can’t help you now, little one, oh no,” she said her face twisting into a thin, compressed smile and it felt like freezing rain slashed into me while my finger throbbed and ached. “She’s quite occupied, she is. Would you like to see? Oh, yes, she’s not doing too well at all.”

I had thought I was scared before, but now my whole body went cold, everything felt numb as I barely whispered, “What have you done with her?”

One of Sarissa’s gnarled, claw-like hands brushed my cheek causing me to shudder, and then she held them apart. A small cloud formed between them and I could see my girl, dressed in some sort of one piece plaid skirt whose broad dark straps exposed a white top. Images that looked like angry caricatures of her friends assailed her. Buffy was yelling, “Dyke!” while Xander shouted, “Queer!” and Giles cried, “Lesbo!” with a look of disappointment and disgust on his face. Even Oz was circling round her exclaiming, “Freak! Homo! I should have left you earlier. You’re not even half the woman Veruca was.” Each word was hurled at her with hatred and revulsion and at their sound cuts appeared on her face, bruises along her arms, and finally at the other girl’s name she doubled over as if struck in the stomach. Blood trickled from her mouth and nose while tears flowed from her eyes and the look of hurt and betrayal on her face hurt more than my blackened finger.

I looked away, unable to bear her torture, and Sarissa must have followed my gaze towards Golina. She seemed to be smaller than when I last noticed her.

“She can’t help you, little one, no she can’t. All drained of energy, she used too much against me last time, and you haven’t given her any more.” Once more her laughter tore through me and her clammy fingers turned my face back towards the cloudy image of Willow. “Watch, yes, watch and see her fall. She has so much power doesn’t she? You both do, I’ll finally be free of this place soon, that’s certain.”

Once again horror and despair ran through me as I was forced to look. A thundering downpour of words fell upon her, each a tiny hammer of water that battered and bruised my love. Blood mingled with the water and she was driven to her knees, to all fours as her friends circled round her, screaming their loathing. She fell to the mud, the slime mixing with her tears, blackening her face. She feebly reached out one hand and I swore she mouthed my name.

My head shook and I could no longer see for my own tears. I screamed, “NO!” over and over again. This couldn’t be happening, I wouldn’t let her die like that, alone, feeling betrayed by those closest to her. I reached for her, sought for her spirit, her soul, and tried to draw it to me. I wouldn’t let her go through this alone. I had to help her, no matter what.

It was like reaching through cotton that burned and froze, it seemed like my skin was shredding from my arm as I reached towards her, but still I wouldn’t stop.

Sarissa must have noticed what I was doing, my cries for her, as she whispered in my ear with a voice of thunder that shook me so violently that I could feel bones snap, “No, no, little one, we can’t have that. Your fate is here.”

Suddenly the arms of earth were gone and I was suspended off the ground amidst a bubble of lightning. Flashes of faces formed within the sphere, Father, Donny, my uncle, grandfather, others from the family. Arms of slimy purple lightning shot out and caressed me, the pain making me arch and lose all contact with my girl. Each touch pulled and wrenched deep within me. Small parts of myself were being ripped away and I couldn’t sense Willow anywhere around me.


Continued immediately below...


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 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay Chapter 17 Part E
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:54 pm
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Chapter 17 Part E (the final part for this Chapter!)



Ever so faintly, I heard Mr. Giles chanting, helping to sustain my spirit though it was intermittent and distant. I thought I saw my Mother’s form, laying in her hospital bed, shrunken by months of disease. Her voice was a frail murmur, still trying to comfort me, telling me that no matter what anyone said or did, that I should trust what was within me, and they’d never be able to harm me.

And in that moment I felt her, Willow, my love, deep within me. It was like taking her hand before a spell, the tingle of energy, the mingling of our essences. She was right there, she always had been. I hadn’t noticed till it’d awakened the day I first saw her at the Wiccan group. I’d known at once that I loved her, that I needed to be with her, that she was a part of me. We were linked and if only I could somehow make her realize it, that we were meant to be together because we already were, always had been.

I ignored Sarissa, the cloudy tableau she presented me, all the pain coursing through me and reached inwards to the spot where we were joined, where we were one and softly called to her, “Willow, my love, come to me. No-one can keep you from me, for we are one.”

I pictured us together, my love shining on her, growing first within me, and then her, a brilliant speck blazing into a giant sun. Something cold and dark tried to hold us apart, separate us, but it couldn’t succeed. We were already together.

I opened my eyes and she was there in my arms. Our lips touched and I could feel our linked souls, intertwined, connected. She gazed into my eyes and it was almost like looking at myself. We said, “I love you,” and the world around us melted away in one golden surge. Something shrieked but we gave it no credence. We were together and nothing could harm us now.

The nimbus of energy around us faded and we were standing hand in hand amidst a sun-drenched field, on the path that led to Golina’s hut. Her garden of herbs and plants grew beside it, the plants tall and strong. Fresh summer air ruffled our hair, played along our clothes hinting at long lazy days and the richness of life. Across the field a bare black tree that seemed drenched, reduced, and no longer threatening, held a spindly dark form like a lost kite within its twisted branches. Several cats circled beneath it, mewing and occasionally sharpening their claws on its bark.

I remember looking at what was left of Sarissa with a degree of sadness and pity. “We just found each other, do you seriously think there’s anything you could do that will keep us apart?”

“Now, when our love is freshborn?”

“You’re an old and withered spirit subsisting on an ancient hatred,”

“You never stood a chance.”

“It’s time for you…”

“…to move on.”

We began the spell Mr. Giles had given us. Sarissa made one last attempt to interfere, a cool, moist wind blew over us, but we barely noticed it. We finished the ritual hand in hand, the last words rolling off our tongues with great force.

The tree which held Sarissa shook and seemed to twist in on itself, but though it shrunk, it did not disappear. Neither did Sarissa.

She laughed at us, hollow and mocking, without much strength, but her words still had some little sting left. “Oh, no, little ones, you cannot so easily banish me. It was I that made that spell. Gypsy rubbish, temple mumblers. I will not be forced on due to the likes of you, not at all.” The tree swayed with her laughter, which already seemed to be deeper and more resonant. “I have my touch upon the book and before too long I’ll be strong once again, able to leave this place. There is nothing two striplings such as you can do to prevent me.”

Willow raised her hand and I could feel the power, our power, pooling before her. I shook my head and told her what I had surmised when we first entered this place. She thought about it for a moment, and then said that as long as this place existed, as long as Golina was here, Sarissa would continue as well, her overwhelming hate would sustain her. I didn’t need to, but I nodded my agreement as she said it.

“I should have known,” Golina’s soft voice said from behind us. “I was holding her here and sustaining her at the same time.”

We looked toward her and saw that she was also now even older and frailer than before. Her face looked haggard, the skin stretched and drawn. She moved in shuffling steps out of her home, and came closer to us. She said that she’d been so wrapped up in fighting Sarissa, keeping her bound, denying her any energy from those who possessed the book while she herself benefited from their power, that she never realized she’d been partially responsible for keeping her in existence.

We told her not to blame herself too much. If she hadn’t kept Sarissa here she might have gotten loose, did who knows what kind of damage back in the waking world. We certainly didn’t appreciate Golina trying to steal our magic, and those she’d drained were the worse for it, but we did understand why she’d done it. We just wished we’d realized what was going on sooner.

Golina lowered her head for a moment, and quietly told us that she’d lost sight of what was right and wrong, almost become as bad as Sarissa.

We sighed and responded that the distinction between the two wasn’t always as clear as one might like. Sometimes need must be done. As long as one always kept in mind why. Besides, she couldn’t have known about her connection to Sarissa through Marcellus’ wife, the depth of the scorned woman’s hatred. And here, through our connectedness, I could sense her pride and adoration for me. How pleased she was that I had been able to figure it out. I’d never felt anything like that before, it was so comforting, even with the waves of love flowing between us.

But, I could already feel a growing distance between us. The link wasn’t going away or fading, but two consciousnesses were not meant to co-exist so closely, so superimposed over each other, no matter that their souls were linked.

We asked Golina if she were willing to move on? Said that with her gone we could deal with Sarissa. She gave a coughing laugh, saying that if that was all it took, she was more than ready. She was so tired, the battle had taken too much from her, she was weary beyond the telling of it and longed for rest.

As she said it she began to fade. A bright light formed like a rough doorway appeared and her translucent form dwindled within its confines. A sense of release spread throughout the area and we both sighed a second time.

We turned back to Sarissa, and behind us the house and barn also faded, leaving behind only untouched wilderness.

Willow felt that if we completed the spell now, that it would probably succeed in banishing Sarissa’s spirit, but she wanted my concurrence, deferred to my experience. I reflected for a moment and felt that a spell born of darkness was not appropriate at this point. We could incorporate a few aspects of it, those that seemed to usher the spirit onward, and combine that with a Wiccan prayer for those entering the next world. The only hesitation I had was wondering if we’d make it back or not, but even as I formed that query, we heard Mr. Giles’ chant continuing, and knew we’d be able to follow it back.

We thanked the cats for their help, and caused a bowl of cream to appear before them. A loud chorus of mewing and purring answered our action. We turned to face Sarissa, who howled and screeched unintelligible curses at us. We raised our arms and I intoned the Wiccan prayer while Willow said the other parts. Our voices rang out clearly and seemed as interwoven as we were. It seemed for a moment that we were being watched, not just by those whose power the witch had stolen, but by all those she had harmed in the now distant past. A sense of antiquity and justice filled the area.

Sarissa threw the last of her might at us. Sheets of lightning leapt from her, only to part around a golden glow that engulfed us. An inky cloud tried to slither past the light, dissolve the ground beneath us, but it was burned off and became nothing more than the faint smell of a violent rainstorm that has passed. Hailstones with the faces of those we knew and cared about assaulted us with vulgarities, insults and threats that crashed about us, but ended up sounding like nothing but a breeze through the tall grass.

The house disappeared first. Then the land began to fall away, though we remained hovering in the grayish nothingness that replaced it. A storm broke over us and clouds ripped open and then dissipated into more cottony emptiness. Our voices raised and fell in a cadence that gave the impression of the seasons turning, of life passing, as all things must. The golden glow expanded outwards and it was like a great sun shone forth. Where it touched Sarissa she began to blacken and then shred, the fragments hurtling downward with a last shriek.

I felt her within and beside me, sensed her enfolding me even as I enfolded her.

“I love you,” we said.

A moment later we were hurtling back towards the sound of Mr. Giles’ voice, our bodies, and then physicality imposed itself on us. For a moment I forgot how to breathe, couldn’t cope with the sensations my body was sending. I gasped, shook, and then felt a profound sense of…disconnectedness. Before I could truly panic I felt her hand in mind, the tingle of our power still vibrating through me. We both sat up slowly, a deep exhaustion weighing on each of us. Our hands stayed clasped.

Mr. Giles stopped his chant and also seemed extremely fatigued. Sweat covered his forehead, and soaked his shirt. He seemed awfully embarrassed by his state, and actually used his handkerchief to mop his forehead. Many, “Erm, yes,” “Well now,” and “Umm, hmmn’s” followed. Eventually he asked if we were successful?

I looked at her, saw the tiredness, the droopy lids, and worn out eyes, and simply nodded and said yes, the two witches were gone. He indicated the end of the bed, pointing at it with his glasses, and said that the book had transformed into a small deluge of water and mist. He had hoped that was a good sign. No wonder my legs felt wet. My bed must be soaked. And all I wanted to do was snuggle up and sleep.

He must have felt much the same, well, without wanting to hold onto Willow presumably. He did say that we all seemed quite spent and that we could wait till later to go over what had happened. He asked her if she needed help getting back to her room, as she didn’t look to be in very good shape.

She looked about dazedly, we still hadn’t released each other yet, but I don’t think he noticed as my body probably obscured our hands. That or his own weariness kept him preoccupied. She told him that she didn’t have the energy to make it back and would just crash here, and that besides, someone should help me straighten things back up. He nodded and started getting himself together, but got her to promise to check in with Buffy as soon as possible to see how Riley was managing and what they had found about Adam lately. He hadn’t seen them much recently and sounded sort of put out by that. He offered to help set things straight, but seemed rather hopeful that we’d decline. We did and he said we’d get together tomorrow sometime. She agreed and I was able to both tear myself away from her and see him out without passing out. Good for me!

After he’d pretty much stumbled out we had a kinda monosyllabic conversation that went something like:

“Bed’s wet.”

“Yeah.”

“Wanna dry it?”

“No. You?”

“Sleepy.”

“Blankets in closet.”

“Floor it is.”

And that was about it. We left everything where it was, even the bed away from the wall, another indication Mr. Giles must have been as tired as us or I’m sure he would have helped at least move it back. Anyway, we grabbed a bunch of blankets, the pillows from the bed, and made a big pile under the window. A gentle drizzle came from outside, along with a very welcome cool breeze. It felt clear and refreshing.

We stripped down to our underwear, blew out the few low flickering candles and crawled onto our nest. She ended up on her back, and I snuggled up against her, my arm over her silky belly. I kissed her neck and that wonderful hair a couple times and she sort of cooed. I felt one of her arms around my shoulder. She gave me a squeeze and we fell asleep almost instantly.

We were soaring through the clouds, hands together, and our arms and legs outstretched. Cool wind blew past, and the occasional moisture moistened my lips. We dipped, dived, climbed, rolled, soared some more. Sometimes we saw the ground below us, it was neither near nor far, and we could make out many parts of Sunnydale, the campus, the Bronze, her house, though we didn’t go too close to that.

Kittens the size of horses bounded by, chasing at the fluffier clouds. A particularly cute black and white one pounced on a cloud, flipped onto its back, and tore at it with all four paws, purring happily. Before too long the kittens had torn all the clouds from the sky and we flew through the clear blue air.

I looked over at her and she passed me a trowel, saying that the garden looked to be doing better than last year. I turned and used the little shovel to pull a few clumps of grass and a few weeds from between the barley stalks and acacia flowers. Several rows of plants stretched out in front of us and to either side. A warm sun beat down, but it was not oppressively hot. She had on a very fetching pair of shorts, sleeveless red shirt and a big floppy white hat with a daisy on the front. The daisy smiled and winked at me. I smiled back.

Some roses off to the side demanded water, and she handed me a bright orange, plastic watering can. I poured water onto the plants, weeded a little bit more, and we seemed to be talking about something, but I still can’t recall what.

After a little while we lay down on the ground, beside our wonderful herbs and snuggled together. The kittens came back and watered the area with a giant orange watering can and we sank into the ground.

I awoke Saturday morning with a start as voices seemed to come from just outside. Some of the guys from the dorm were outside throwing a Frisbee around and making quite a racket. Apparently John couldn’t catch and had two flippers instead of arms. Seal-like noises ensued. All right, I think I was awake.

A calm sense of Willowyness surrounded me, though my left shoulder seemed awfully achey. I tried to shift a bit to ease the annoyance and she murmured and ran her fingers along my arm. It sort of tickled and I giggled. I felt her lips caress my cheek, and I just kept my eyes closed, sinking into the soft warmth that was her, concentrating on my skin and the way it felt as her tender lips brushed across it. Inhaling the scent of her and the spring morning. I always liked how it smelled after a rainstorm. Yeah, I was awake even though it still seemed like the best dream ever. Well, maybe second best, we did still have clothes on after all.

A while later she asked if I was ready to get up? I didn’t want to, not really, but parts were starting to tingle in that not moved recently enough sort of way, and the guys outside were now making an awful lot of noise about someone named Linda. I preferred flipper arms John.

We slowly disentangled, made sure the curtains were drawn, and then stretched a bit. I watched her the whole time, marveling at how beautiful she was, though the need to grab her and touch her was oddly muted. I think normal hunger was the more pressing need for once.

We hurriedly found robes, went to the bathroom down the hall and returned somewhat refreshed with other needs relieved. We dressed and headed down to the cafeteria just in time to make the end of breakfast. We were both starved and ended up with piles of eggs, sausages, and pancakes. She said she loved pancakes cuz they were light and fluffy, yet really sweet. She certainly did an impressive job devouring them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her eat with such…relish? Yet at the same time she seemed a little withdrawn, distracted.

I brought up what had happened the previous night, and if she thought that was the last we’d see of Sarissa and Golina? She hoped so, and given that the book was gone it seemed likely. She was a little bummed that her present had put me in danger and that it was gone. I indicated the bright red splotch on her hand where the ring I gave her used to be and said that the book wasn’t the only thing destroyed. The matching mar on my finger ached more and more as the driving hunger was satisfied. She thought that at least those might have saved our lives. I had to agree.

I asked her what she made of the way things turned out, what happened in Golina’s creation and she was quiet for a moment. It was like she was still trying to wrap her mind around it all. Or maybe she really was just freaked out. Or I’m reading too much into what happened.

In any case she was about to answer and then her face sort of…not brightened, but looked less puzzled and a perhaps a bit surprised, and she called Buffy’s name. The Slayer came over to our table, dressed in a tan jacket and brown pants that flared around her ankles. She sat down and said that Giles had told her Willow might be here and that they had done some spell to destroy a book last night and wasn’t that against her religion?

I had to smile, put in that light it was an odd thing for her and Mr. Giles to be involved in. She grinned saying in her mock serious voice that the book had it coming; it struck first and she had no choice but to take it down. I added that it was a book sinister, which got a smile from her, but Buffy just sort of looked confused. After a moment she said that she was pretty sure the Initiative had someone following her, doubtless to see if she’d lead them to Riley and she wondered if Willow could put some sort of confusion spell on her that would allow her to get away. She needed to take some supplies over to Riley, food and stuff like that, though I got the impression she just wanted to see him again.

She got all excited and said she didn’t have anything right now, but if Buffy waited a bit, she could probably find something. She thought she recalled a spell in one of the Greek translations she’d been going through with Mr. Giles while looking for information on Golina.

I stammered that that might not be a great idea and had a hard time meeting her eyes. I mumbled that if it was the one I thought it would confuse Buffy’s aura with those around her and she’d constantly think she was someone else. It took a very grounded mind to draw their personality back after that spell was cast.

I felt so bad cautioning her, I knew she really wanted to help Buffy and was concerned with the Slayer’s reaction to her feelings for me. Its not that I begrudge her time spent with her friend, or am jealous of that time, well, not now I’m not. I admit I was before, but as I’ve grown to know her, I’ve realized how close they are, how important Buffy’s friendship is to her.

I hung my head and felt bad until I thought of a spell that I’d once used to hide from Donny and my Father. It wasn’t too difficult and made it hard for others to notice you, their eyes would sort of naturally look elsewhere. The only problem with it is that one of the ingredients is kinda obscure and expensive. Of course I wasn’t allowed much money so I was only able to cast the spell a couple times. I hesitated mentioning it because I didn’t want her to get her hopes up only to have them dashed right away. Really, I swear that was the only reason. And I did speak up. She had her glum face on and I could tell she was trying to recall if she’d seen anything else that would work. When I stammered about the spell and which book it was in and the problems with it she brightened back up, which is always so great to see, like a warming a beautiful dawn. And she got all enthused, waving her arms while saying she bet the Magic Box had the proper materials and she’d give it a check this afternoon and that they could get together in the evening and Riley would get his supplies.

She smiled and looked very pleased, like all was right with the world. Buffy said cool, and asked if I would be there to help out? I don’t know if she wanted me there or not, I think she was torn, but I’d already resolved not to intrude. I know she needs some time with her friend and I’ve been monopolizing my girl so much lately that she needs some Scooby time and to renew her ties with them.

It’s…it’s just that I miss her already and I don’t want to lose her. I don’t want her to freak out about our linked souls, being soulmates. Assuming she realizes what all that meant, of course. Maybe she didn’t? With her lack of training she might just think what happened, the feeling of interconnectedness, the amazing flow of power, that all that was normal, or a function of the spell and place we were at.

I don’t know. For some reason I’m nervous and feel a little niggling doubt in the back of my mind that something is wrong. Maybe it’s a last curse or effect of Sarissa or her book? Could that be it? I know she has laundry to do, studying; I should be doing likewise, finishing all those projects. And I should be happy because I have the most wonderful girlfriend ever, better than I ever deserved and for some reason all I can think about is negative things, like if Buffy is freaking, will she give me up to mend things with the Slayer? What if she’s already bored with me, afraid that the closeness of a soulmate is just too much for her to handle, not what she wants?

Goddess, what if she saw what Sarissa threw at me, Donny, my Father. What if she’s repulsed by my family, or, oh Mother let it not be so, has deduced that I’m part demon? Is that why she’s so ambivalent this morning? She’s realized that I’m as evil as the ancient one we fought last night and is now deciding on how best to deal with me? Are she, Buffy and Giles researching what I am, looking for my weakness, how to bind or kill me?

That can’t be the case, it can’t be so, please don’t let it be so. Why am I being so negative? Damn it, all that runs through my mind is fear, misgivings and distrust when I should be celebrating the good we accomplished. I just hope she calls or comes over tonight, I need to talk with her, see where we stand. I just can’t stand not knowing. I don’t know what I’d ever do without her.


TBC....

Well, that's it for now, til next time...


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 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:52 pm 
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2. Floating Rose
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Hi Garner

I was really pleased and surprised to see an update to this wonderful tale.
Sorry for my lack of feedback.
I just wanted to quickly say I have really loved this story and am very happy you have updated. I am going to go and re-read the tale again now, you have made my usually boring Monday night a happy place,
thanks again for updating :)
Cheers
Fin


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 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:52 am 
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Hi Garner,

It's going to take quite a while before I get this read, so just wanted to drop a quick note to say it's great to see you back, & thanks for an update to one of my favourite stories.
Russ

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 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:01 am 
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9. Gay Now
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May I just echo Russ and Fin to say that I haven't read this update but I am so delighted to see it.

I have not left feedback for it before but this story was one of the first I read when I starting reading W/T fanfic and it is extraordinarily good.


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 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 6:17 pm 
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What a surprise! I am so glad to see you working on this story again.

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Willow: I found you. I will always find you.


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 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:37 pm 
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Secretly I kept checking for updates on this story especially ;) I wasn't sure if you'd continue. But you did, wow! And it's such a long update :D

I love your attention for details, this whole Golina/Sarissa thing worked out. Plus everything (also in the rest of this fic) makes perfect sense in the actual TV storyline.

Many thank you's for this great update! You rooooooock :bow

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 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:33 pm 
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9. Gay Now

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I am actually a little surprised anyone cares at this point given how long it has been since the last update. I always intended to get back to it, had a fair amount written, but just didn't have the time. Hopefully the length of the chapter makes up for the delay. I WILL continue, how long that takes is anyone's guess. Hopefully, not as long, but then I say that every time. At least next is Yoko Factor which I've always sort of liked and is back to the official storyline (more or less as always) and it seems like everyone likes those more than the interludes anyway.

Fin, no worry on lack of feedback, it takes quite a while to read all this and remember where things were, glad to have brightened a Monday, that always is necessary.

Russ, a name I recognize from when things were moving a bit faster, nice to see you still here. Take your time, sometimes people rush too quickly and miss stuff, a lot of my friends did that with the last Harry Potter book. I always prefer to take my time reading.

Knock Yourself out: Interesting handle, very cool :) It's always nice to hear from people for the first time. Hope the latest bit doesn't disappoint, over that much time one's tone and voice tends to alter a bit.

Rose24, another old hand, good to hear from you as well. I had done something really short a few months ago to get back into it and really did mean it when I said I'd get back to this. But then with such a gap my credibility is probably near Josswad's.

Sadie, also another that I recognize, thanks for still checking. I don't know if the story here fits with the show or not, but I wanted something separate for them, sort of like Wannablessed be to give Tara a taste of what Willow and Giles do, and this has more Giles than usual, but I think that Giles is a big influence on Willow and that Tara would want to see that aspect of Willow's life.

Well, thanks to all for the comments. I've started the next part, but as always who knows when I'll get the chance to finish it.

Garner


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 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 2:17 pm 
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Excellent story... Your inside scoop of Tara's inner workings is awesome. I hope the Yoko Factor update-y goodness is coming soon. Pleaaase :pray I like how you write :wtkiss

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 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2007 9:47 pm 
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I am so happy that you're updating again...I've missed this story ;-)

Please update soon...cuz like Tara, we can't stand not knowing either...well, I can't anyway :wtkiss

Sandi :pride


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 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 3:31 am 
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2. Floating Rose

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please continue... :wtkiss :wtkiss :wtkiss :wtkiss :wtkiss :wtkiss :wtkiss


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 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:28 pm 
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Still very much caring, and would love to see an update.

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 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:50 am 
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Thanks for the bump -- same here, and I will always check back on this fic!

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 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:00 am 
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Wow, was I the last to post here 7 (!) years ago? Thought of this fic randomly and then re-read the whole thing again over the last few days. I don't know what it is but something just keeps drawing me back to it. Who knows, there may be an update one day. If you do come back to this board and read this, I hope all is well with you Garner.

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-Sleek, Three Words


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