The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe - Willow & Tara Forever

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 Post subject: great update!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 2:18 pm 
DMW~



Thanks for this update!! i love how descriptive you are!! I can't wait to read more soon! (Please??) :) Will our girls find love?? :pray



HOpe to read more soon!! I really love this fic! :clap



~NICKOLE~



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 7: She is the Darkness
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 2:30 pm 
I really enjoyed the way you dealt with the two sides of Willow. Tender teacher, trying to help Tara, and woman of intense power and much anger.

BV

"In front of total strangers won't you kiss me, Flowers for no reason but you miss me - OOH, I wanna be in love"

Melissa Etheridge-Skin



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 7: She is the Darkness
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 10:37 pm 
DMW, just catching up with your story and I have to say it is simply brilliant.



There are so many great things to mention. Willow searching 19 years for Tara's soul and now that she has it trying to decide what to do is fascinating. I love how Tara was dreaming about aspects of W/T life together (soda machine & nether realms). The subtle touches of young Willow showing through the older and more world weary Willow are great. Add to the mix that evil bitch Amy working with the Master and the story just gets better and better.



I'm so intrigued to see where you take us with this. Thanks for sharing.

*****



She's my everything!



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 7: She is the Darkness
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 10:59 pm 
Great update!



Again, such dichotomy in Willow. One moment, a caring new friend who worries about getting to know people the right way, the next a seasoned demon fighter who draws on the dark mojo without a second thought.



You've really captured this aspect of Willow so well! As you have the conflicted Tara. Draw to the girl of her dreams who could quickly turn into a nigthmare.



And another tease with the history of the Scoobies and Willow's lives over the past 19 years. I'm dying to know what happened!



Can't wait for the next update!

hermitstull

"...and if you've got no other choice, you know you can follow my voice, through the dark turns and noise of this wicked little town..."--Hedwig and the Angry Inch



"Stinky herbs are a go." Cordelia in Becoming pt. 2



"I am an opera singer, I stand on painted tape, it tells me where I'm going, and where to throw my cape..." Opera Singer by Cake



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 7: She is the Darkness
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2002 10:02 am 
DMW, wonderful stuff. This is just getting better and better.



I like that Tara notices quirkiness in Willow and just accepts it. That's such a big part of what Willow was, or is, or will be again. Oh hell, I'm all in knots. You know what I mean. (You do know what I mean, right?)



Their connection is really portrayed, and I really like how you have them both wanting to go faster but holding back. It's a joy to read.



I feel like I'm hurtling along too, but I have to rein myself in cos updates aren't endless :)

Bite me, Harris



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 7: She is the Darkness
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2002 10:30 am 
DMV This was a great update … the story is getting better and better.



Willow’s nightmare at the start was so real. I could imagine those were the scenes that would play out in her head.

Quote:
She was trapped in that fatal moment of time.


And waking up the disarray that her mind caused. The majick being so much a part of her that she can’t control it in her subconciousness. Wow.



This line intrigued me:

Quote:
She wondered for the first time in years whether her other

friends were still alive. They had been so close at one time.


It shows how determined and focused Willow must have been over the past eighteen years to have severed the connection so completely that she didn’t know.



I like seeing Tara so instinctive in her trust of Willow and how excited she is to do majick with her. Even in a different life with no memories other than dreams, she still sees two different Willows. I like the way you’ve shown that here and how you've approached Willow's and Tara's views at the use of dark majick.



You’ve got me hook, line and sinker on this story. Thanks.



--celia



---------------------------------



"That was just rude. Now I forget what I was saying."



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 7: She is the Darkness
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2002 7:10 pm 
I'm really enjoying this fic. Very well written and the plot tickens on each update, making me want more and more... :D



If someone on Earth deserved a 2nd chance, it's Willow and Tara. And how interesting and beautiful to see this happening.



Just wish Willow didn't have to wear the sunglasses and that her eyes were still green...





Sheila



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 7: She is the Darkness
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2002 7:18 pm 
The nightmare was very good!! Though it sucks for Willow cause she has to relive the worst moment that ever happened in her life everytime she fell asleep. I like the way Willow and Tara spend so much time together. Tara got bad feelings when she saw Willow use black magic easily though. I can't blame Willow for using black magic because she was angry at the demons for interupting their time and she was frightened that she would lose Tara again after finding her for so long. I love how you wrote the emotions that those two felt letting everyone know what is happening inside. I'm still wondering what happened to the rest of the scoobies. Did they die?? Did they move and where?? What's new in their lives and eveything else. How did Buffy die anyways??



=LeiLa=



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 Post subject: Chapter 7 replies
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 10:57 am 
Good morning and thanks for the feedback, kittens.



I had some thoughts about the types of W/T stories we see on Pens that I wanted to share with you before getting to the replies. The stories here fall into four elemental types. There are reasons for writing each type of story. Some people always write one type, others write a range of types. The same goes for readers though I suspect that most readers are like me, liking different story types in different moods.



There are the earth stories which mostly stick to canon but which are steadfast in ignoring the events of season 6, building a wall of strong stone between it and the happier, earlier seasons. Then there are fire stories which rage at what happened in season 6, defying those events to intentionally and actively reconstruct what was lost by bringing Tara back with magic.



There are air stories, often light and fun, happening in such different worlds that you don't even remember that there was a season 6 while you're reading them. Finally, there are water stories which accept the hard blows of what happened in season 6 without actively resisting. You can hit the water as hard as you want, but all you do is splash it around, then the droplets fall back into the water unharmed. In this type of story, Tara comes back as part of the flow of life without the active intention of any one person.



This is a water story.



There was hurt and darkness in the past, but life is flowing around those events, erasing them like the tide smoothing out footsteps in the sand. The imprints of the footsteps will cause turbulent eddies for a while, but with time water always prevails.



Grimlock72: I'm glad people accepted Willow's defence of Tara using dark magic. It might not be a good thing, but it's been so much a part of her for so long. She is very powerful; none of the BtVS villains would last long against her. That will trouble some people of course, perhaps even herself as all that power couldn't bring Tara back.



The line "Willow had listened to them once and accepted their dark gifts. She had almost destroyed the world in doing so." actually refers to the events of Grave at the end of season 6. I'll give some more detail of my interpretation of those events later, but needless to say the Willow of those episodes is not the Willow of this story.



There's so much that Tara doesn't know, but she will learn something about names soon. Names are important to this story.



mollyig: I hadn't thought of comparing Tara's enthusiasm for learning with young Willow's, but yes, they're very similar. I'm glad it's just the characters that are bemoaning the slowness of their unfolding relationship and not the readers. (-; It takes time for roses to bloom and it's still winter.

Thanks for your compliment about the structuring of the chapter; I try to do that where I can.



SilverWingedNemesis: Thanks. They're getting closer with every chapter, even this one where Tara learns things about Willow that she may not like, but that she needs to know.



barnabasvamp: I'm happy you like the two Willows; they seem so far apart yet they're the same person.



Tiggrscorpio: Thank you so much. Your "Next Generation" fics helped show me how much you can do with a story set a few years in the future.



hermitstull: The two sides of Willow seem to work for everyone; I wasn't sure how well the kittens would like the darker side of Willow in this chapter. As for the other Scoobies, please don't die. We still have a while to go before we learn much about their past as Willow doesn't want to talk to them and Tara doesn't know about them.



BoredNow99: Thank you, and yes, I know what you mean. I hadn't thought about the readers feeling the same way as Willow and Tara, having to throttle themselves back to the speed of the updates. (-;



tiredsoul: Thanks. The nightmare was so hard for her. You can see the chapter title coming in with the magic being such a part of her as you point out. I'm glad you like their contrasting views of magic. I'm going to explore the dark magic theme more as we go along.



sheila wt: They definitely do deserve it. As for the sunglasses, you'll see...



Leila: I'm really focusing on Willow and Tara in these early chapters because they really need that time together in these early steps of a relationship. As for how Buffy died, that's a very interesting question which will be answered in time. I will say that I liked how she died in The Gift which is how they should have ended the series, then spun off a Willow/Tara followup series. Alas, they didn't, but if I had a chance to take over ME...

--

"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit." -- "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."

Edited by: darkmagicwillow at: 11/23/02 10:01:19 am


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 7 replies
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 12:24 pm 
Ooh, elements....okay, I haven't responded to chapter 7 yet, but for now let me just think about this elemental thing. I love this idea, and I really get the air and water elements as descriptions. I'm slightly less clear on the distinction between earth and fire stories...are you saying that earth stories would be those which simply didn't deal with the events of season 6 and went AU, or are you saying something else? What would be an example of an earth story?



And would the rage of a fire story be angry in tone, as well? Or is this an intention issue--how the story gets Tara back--as opposed to a mood issue? Again, how about some examples?



I think I like what you are saying with the general framework, and I do think that the categories that are usually used to talk about fanfic--AU; PWP/smut; hurt/comfort, etc.--are not that useful in thinking about the fic on Pens, so I love this idea that there could be another way to go. I've said before that I think that POD (point of departure) would be a more apt label for a lot of stories that get called "AU" than AU, since these are stories that attempt to work within canon to a certain point and then diverge--but usually when they diverge, they are doing things canonically.



Anyway, yes, DR is very much a water story, although what interests me so much about that is that if Willow had her way here, it would have been a fire story, right? I mean, she has been raging for 18-19 years.... And I find that very intriguing because it means that the categorization responds to something other than character intent.



Okay, I'm going to stop there; please go on and help me get the earth/fire distinction some more. In fact, I don't want to detract attention from DR, but what other stories would you consider to be water stories?



Okay, that's all for now, but really intriguing!



"And I'm eating this banana. Lunchtime be damned!" -- Willow in "Doppelgangland



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 7 replies
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 12:32 pm 
Sorry I haven't replied for your other updates but I have to say they are awesome. I still keep wondering what giles reaction will be when he sees Willow again. hmmm. anyways love the update and can't wait for your next one!!



-Trinity-





"Hey, I'm a friend of lady Imbolc, get over here and do some quality bowing." Anya in Unexpected Consequensed by Lisa of Nine



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 Post subject: Elemental stories
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 2:06 pm 
I wouldn't call Earth stories AU, but your term POD fits them better. Any story set in an earlier season, like Triscuit's The River in Me, or even stories that accept season 6 up to some point like Sasette's Answering Darkness or Lisa's Unexpected Consequences, is an Earth story, as are stories that happen in earlier seasons but which don't change or reinterpret the past or future events of the show like allyson's The House that Jane Built.



Fire stories are a matter of intention, not mood, though I think you can often feel the sorrow/anger behind them. Many of the shorter bring back Tara stories written in May or June feel quite angry to me, but that's not what makes them Fire stories. Mike's Endless is a sorrowful but not angry Fire story. DarkWiccan's Time Quake is also a Fire story as are most of the time travel stories though not Sheridan's Rosenberg Squared which is an Earth story as it is set back in season 4 and only indirectly if at all touches on Tara not dying.



As for The Dark Rose, yes, Willow thought she was in a Fire story, but found herself in a Water story instead. She's still a little surprised and confused by this realization as of this point in the story. Perhaps she shouldn't be as she's tried the Fire story route before in season 6 and that didn't work so well for her.



As for other Water stories, I'd say Terra Firma fits as Tara's return occurs not by the intention of any one or even two people, but by the fateful confluence of what they both do which is only understood much later. You've given fate a face in the forms of two people whose interactions bring Tara back which I like, but it wasn't an intentional or planned action so I'd say it fits. I know that The Dark Rose with Terra Firma are very different in tone on the surface so I was little surprised at coming to this conclusion. Another example of a Water story would be the Rainbow Writers' Gift of Sorrow series.



While I'm giving examples, I should mention some Air stories like Katharyn's Sidestep Chronicle which shows that Air stories aren't always light reading. There's also Tara's Shadow's Never a Night like This for a happier AU style Air story.

--

"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit." -- "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."

Edited by: darkmagicwillow at: 11/23/02 1:40:06 pm


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 Post subject: Re: Elemental stories
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 2:34 pm 
DMW-

I just have to say that I think your use of elements in describing the types of Willow/Tara stories is great. I've read several of the stoires you've mentioned, and it so fits with what you're saying. And being a tad on the nerdy side myself, it gives me an added bonus in reading them and trying to see what element the story fits into!



Agreeing to live until the next update. :wink

hermitstull

"...and if you've got no other choice, you know you can follow my voice, through the dark turns and noise of this wicked little town..."--Hedwig and the Angry Inch



"Stinky herbs are a go." Cordelia in Becoming pt. 2



"I am an opera singer, I stand on painted tape, it tells me where I'm going, and where to throw my cape..." Opera Singer by Cake



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 Post subject: Re: Elemental stories
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 3:54 pm 
Quote:
Finally, there are water stories which accept the hard blows of what happened in season 6 without actively resisting. You can hit the water as hard as you want, but all you do is splash it around, then the droplets fall back into the water unharmed. In this type of story, Tara comes back as part of the flow of life without the active intention of any one person.


I am greatly enjoying this fantastic fic, and I love the way you have “organically” characterized the different types of W/T stories. If I were to describe why I like “The Dark Rose” so much, I might use a different vocabulary (for me the four elements are eat-in, take out, frozen, and canned!), but I think I do understand what you mean by a “water story.”



In my vocabulary, what has really captured my imagination is the exquisite tension you have created by positioning your story in the realm of the “not quite.” Sunnydale is Sunnydale but not quite (19 years in the future, minus the Scoobies, with a new Slayer in town); Willow is Willow but not quite (19 years spent with/out Tara, constantly renegotiating her armed truce with dark magick); Tara is Tara but not quite (younger, less fragile, she has the same soul and some – how many? – of the same memories). Tara quotes Willow, and Willow, Tara, and unlike canon and most of the stories I have read, Willow is very much the older one here. You have done a truly masterful job of giving your story, with a to-be-envied economy and lyricism, an ever so subtle off-center feel, and for me at least the effect has been spellbinding and terrifically addictive!



Plus, can I just say how much I loved this line:



Quote:
“Find me the soul of Tara Maclay!”


Unfortunately, I loved it so much that I found myself shouting, “Find me the head of the photocopier man!” at a staff meeting yesterday, so no more fanfic for me at work!



SB



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 Post subject: Re: Elemental stories
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 6:04 pm 
DMW, just wanted to say I read all the chapters of this story today, and I am quite impressed. Really this story has pulled me in/gripped me with such a fascinating premise, as well as with your characterizations being so "rich".



What I am enjoying is that although, due to various circumstances W&T are different the connection/pull to know more is still present. Or in other words, from the point of Tara's death culminating in the 19 year search for Tara's soul, Willow hasn't been living, but rather hardened. As for Tara she has Giles and Spirit, but at the same time feels like something is missing (ie wanting to make a different connection, experience what she has felt in her dreams).



Now they are getting to know one another, but at the same time there are so many things unsaid/hidden. Also with the last part Tara is seeing a darker, less flattering side of Willow with the way she used dark magick to kill those demons. Thus, with each new discovery (whether unearthing information about the past, or seeing the other from a different perspective), I feel W&T's journey will be an amazing ride with up's and down's, and I'm so glad I can be along for the ride! Can't wait for the next part!







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 Post subject: The Dark Rose
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 8:55 pm 
Hi - I just read your latest update and once again :clap



I liked the dream flashback and its results in Willow's room as she tried to change what had happened. I may have mentioned before that I did understand her anger during "Villains", "Two to Go" and "Grave". It makes sense that it doesn't dissipate even after 19 years.



The return of the hellions - any threat to thisTara, Willow will obviously meet with force. Unreasonable force, dark magicks, whatever is necessary, Willow will use or do to protect her reincarnated lover. She'll act exactly as you portrayed her here, without thought even if her actions might cause her relationship with thisTara harm.



Sunglasses After Dark - I'm guessing you have read the book of that title by Nancy Collins. It's one of my very favorite vampire novels. I like your use of the sunglasses: Willow hides her eyes because they're black, Sonja Blue hides hers because they're blood red.



Your elemental classification of W/T fics was interesting. I'm guessing that "Edge" would also fall in the earth category with "River" and I dare say if I ever find time to write "Dropping Gwen" it will be a water fic.



Thanks again



Melissa

**********************




I brought marshmallows!

Edited by: Triscuit7 at: 11/23/02 7:58:09 pm


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 Post subject: Re: The Dark Rose
PostPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2002 10:11 pm 
Update to come soon? Pretty please??





Thanks!



~NICKOLE~

------------

"All fear is the fear of loss. And only through that fear, can we truly love."



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 Post subject: More Chapter 7 replies
PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2002 10:30 am 
XWickedXWiccan: Thanks, I'm glad to see you back. Giles will be in the next chapter, but that's all I'm saying for now.



hermistull: Let me know how the classifications work for you, if you find any stories that don't fit or any that fit two or more elements.



Sister Bertrille: Wow, you've got me blushing with what you said about my writing. It makes me very happy to hear that you see such things in this story.



Sorry for inspiring you to get into trouble at work. (-;



VampNo12: I'm thrilled to see you here. I've always eagerly read your feedback in other threads as it so often helped me see things in the chapters that I had missed. I'm looking forward to seeing your perceptiveness here.



I like your image of Willow hardening, perhaps even fossilizing with age, freezing her life in order to not accept what happened in the past. As for the secrets hidden, yes, there is so much that's not shared yet. In a way, I realize I've started you in the middle of the story, 19 years after it began.



Triscuit7: I really didn't like how the hellions treated and talked to our girls in Bargaining so they seemed like the perfect outlet for Willow's darkness, a target that she couldn't resist destroying.



I have read Nancy Collins. I really like Sonja's duality of Denise/The Other; it's a very interesting and effective way to deal with the vampire/person duality, much more imaginative than ME's soul/no soul dichotomy.



Yes, "Edge" is Water. I would've guessed in crossing such different worlds that "Gwen" might be Air, then again, with her technology she could end up anyplace. I wonder who will be more surprised: the demons or her. But I think I know who would win.



SilverWingedNemesis: Tomorrow. Will you make it that long?

--

"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit." -- "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."



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 Post subject: Re: More Chapter 7 replies
PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2002 11:32 am 
*SIGHS* TOMORROW? Are you crazy? *GIGGLES* yeah, I guess i can TRY and wait that long. I guess I just like getting spoiled and I am really into this fic!!



Take your time..big updates are good... *hint hint* :pray



Thanks again!!



~NICKOLE~

------------------

"The only thing Willow was ever good for, the only thing...I had going for me..were the moments..just..moments when Tara would look at me, and I was wonderful."



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 Post subject: Re: More Chapter 7 replies
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2002 8:13 am 
As for the idea of fire stories being more about intention than mood...yes, that works. In fact, your comment about Sidestep being an air story really helped me to see that in fact all the elemental descriptions speak to intention and not mood. That helps a lot.



And I get the examples you give for water and air and fire, including the time travel stories...makes sense. I'm now struggling with the difference between air and earth, but I think I see what you're saying, that in fact an earth story is a canonical story to a large degree even if it ends up going in a different direction in the end, like AD, whereas an air story could more correctly be called an AU. That works for me.



I love this discussion; I want to keep thinking about it, but in the meantime, I don't want to neglect saying that Chapter 7 was wonderful; I had accidentally started to say something in my response to chapter 6 that actually came from chapter 7 (eek), but luckily I figured it out.



This chapter seems so important in that it really highlights Willow's understanding that there can be no short cuts in this relationship; it's such a wonderful recuperation of the short cuts she took in season 6, and it feels good to see that righted here. I also like what Molly said about beginning and ending the chapter with this image of sleeping and...really....darkness, since it has to with night.



I like seeing the way you draw a set of images like that--sleeping, dreaming, waking--through a chapter so that they work on multiple levels. It just works. Wonderful chapter.

"And I'm eating this banana. Lunchtime be damned!" -- Willow in "Doppelgangland



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 Post subject: Chapter 8a - His Master's Ghost: The Shadow of Death
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2002 10:47 am 
Cliffhanger Warning: Danger ahead! This part ends on a cliffhanger.





Title: The Dark Rose - Chapter 8a (His Master's Ghost: The Shadow of Death)

Author: Dark Magic Willow

Email: darkmagickwillow@yahoo.com

Rating: R, mostly for violence, no explicit sex

Pairing: W/T

Spoilers: All episodes through the end of season 6 though this story takes

place 18-19 years after the end of season 6.

Feedback: Yes! Constructive criticism is always welcome.

Summary: A dark spectre arises and attacks the slayer and her companions.

Magic Note: Magic, even dark magic, is not addictive in my universe, so there

are no withdrawal symptoms and no dark magic dealers. Here Rack was a dark

magic teacher who used his students, not a dealer. However, you can use too

much magic and you can be corrupted by the power it gives you.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the copyrights or anything else

associated with BtVS. All rights lie with the production company,

writers etc.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to my betas, Amanda and Juli, for getting chapters

back to me this hectic week. Holidays and moving, not a good combination.





The Dark Rose

Chapter 8a: His Master's Ghost: The Shadow of Death






Deep beneath Sunnydale in a tenebrous cavern dimly lit by flickering candles,

the Master sat on his throne of stone, wearing a thick gold chain around his

neck on which hung a large uncut stone pulsing with a cold emerald light. The

gem's radiance waxed and waned like the slow beating of an unholy heart,

expanding to flood the cavern with emerald brilliance then contracting to mere

embers of an evil green fire deep within the stone.



The cavern was freezing, too cold for a place deep beneath the ground, and

while the vampire did not feel it, his companion was dressed in heavy wool

robes. Amy's brown hair was heavily streaked with grey and she looked tired

and old. Even the Master, a vampire of few years, looked aged and his face was

beginning to take on the aspect of the demon even while in human form.



"You simply call on the spirit you wish to summon while holding the Heart," Amy

instructed the Master. "It's that simple." She was having a difficult time

convincing him to cast the spell though it had been his idea in the beginning.

The young fool had gained some caution since his failure with the weather

spell.



Amy knew he was right to be cautious with this spell. Fell spirits such as the

one he wanted to call would be as happy to destroy their summoner as they would

be to destroy his enemies.



"But I don't know his true name," the Master argued. "How can I summon

something when I don't know who it is? Calling on the Master could bring one

of any number of demons that have called themselves that instead of the one I

want."



"It doesn't matter," Amy replied. "The Heart will sense your intention and

bring the right spirit to you." She thought that was what the book said, but

she hadn't the experience with ancient languages to be certain. Anyway, it was

best that this one bear the risks of experimentation so that she would know how

to use the power of the Heart when she took it from him.



"But how can you be sure?" the Master asked querulously.



"I've read it in the Books of Leng," Amy said, sighing inwardly. She held up

the ancient leather-bound tome that she held in her hand and pointed at the

open page, saying, "It says so right here."



"You know I can't read that!" the Master snarled at her. He wanted the spell,

but he was exasperated with this witch and her arguments. If she didn't

produce the results he wanted, he would kill her and find another witch.



Amy knew she had to come up with another argument since her appeal to magical

authority had failed. The Master was always confident in his power to destroy

his enemies directly so she appealed to his pride. "If you summon something

else, then you can send it back or destroy it with the Heart's raw power.

There's no risk to you."



The Master paused as her argument struck a chord within him. She was right.

With the Heart in hand, he could destroy whatever he summoned, no matter what

it was. "Very well," he answered in a steady tone. "I will try the summoning,

but if the wrong spirit answers my call, you will pay the price."



"Of course, Master," Amy answered. "Do you want to begin now? It's after

sundown above."



The Master tightly grasped the Heart in his fist. As he did so, Amy could see

the bones of his hand illuminated by its emerald light like an X-ray image.

Cold emerald fire burned in the air like an aura around him as he drew on the

power of the Heart. "Come!" he called. "Spirit of the Master, you must obey

my call. Death can hold you no longer. Come to me now!"



Emerald fire flared brightly around the vampire as he called the one he knew

could destroy the slayer. The old slayer had been lucky. This time, the new

slayer would be destroyed by the vampire as natural order demanded. As he

finished the call, a deeper cold filled the cavern and the air suddenly smelled

old and dead as if it had come from an ancient sealed tomb.



A spectre appeared before him, outlined in unholy emerald light. The

translucent figure was that of an ancient vampire, its face permanently drawn

into the hunting visage of the demon inside. Its eyes glowed with a hateful

green light as it looked at him. Walking towards him, the spectre dripped

beads of steaming emerald radiance onto the cavern floor with each step.



The Master was ecstatic. He had succeeded in bringing back the old Master.

Now he would send the spectre to destroy the slayer, paving the way for him to

rule Sunnydale as he was meant to. His thoughts broke off as he felt freezing

hands grasp his throat and begin twisting with a strength far beyond his own.



Amy watched as the spectre attempted to kill the Master. She made no attempt

to help him. His fate didn't matter to her. If the unholy spirit destroyed

the vampire, she would have the Heart that much sooner. In any case, she

wasn't going to risk herself by fighting that terrible ghost.



The Master desperately squeezed the Heart harder, drawing on its seemingly

endless reservoirs of dark power. "Stop, get back!" he gasped. "I command you

by the power of the Heart."



The spectre unwillingly backed away from the vampire, glaring at him with

glowing emerald eyes. "Young one!" it said. "How dare you take my name as

your own? I will..."



"You will do nothing," the Master interrupted. "I am the Master now and you

are but a shade I summoned to do my bidding." The evil green eyes of the old

Master bore into the young vampire, but the spectre did not deny his statement

or attempt to attack him again. Assured of his control, the younger vampire

said, "Now I command you: go and kill the vampire slayer!"



The spectral vampire disappeared from the cavern with a final glare at his

summoner. After it departed, the tomblike atmosphere and sub-freezing

temperatures of the chamber produced by its presence subsided.



The Master turned to Amy and smiled cruelly. "I think that will do for the

slayer."



Amy nodded, having been impressed by the power of the spectre. "He will kill

her," she said. "But even if he doesn't, we will still have the advantage.

The fools above will think that they've destroyed the Master and that the

threat is over. Then we will have all the time we need to learn how to use the

Heart to full effect."



The Master hadn't thought about that. He liked the idea of winning no matter

what outcome occurred in the fight above, but he didn't mention his pleasure to

the witch. She was simply there to do his bidding. "Now send a minion to

watch the school for the slayer, then return to your books," he said. "I want

a spell of real power for my ascent to the world above."



* * * * * *




Tara was supposed to be helping Mr. Giles research in the school library. He

was still quite excited by Spirit's discovery of a heap of demolished

motorcycles in the cemetery even though more than a week had passed. Giles was

sure it meant that the Master was up to something, if only establishing his

dominance over the other demons of Sunnydale.



Tara knew better, but she couldn't say anything without giving away her secret

so she was daydreaming as she flipped pages, recalling her evening meetings

with Willow. After the one time, they hadn't been interrupted by demons or

vampires. She could almost forget the dark power Willow had exhibited in that

terrible confrontation.



Her nights were wonderful. First she'd patrol with Spirit, then she would make

her excuses and go to find Willow or Willow would find her once she left the

company of the vampire slayer. They could always find each other.



She was learning more about her friend, encountering tantalizing hints about

her past life in their conversations, but she knew not to press Willow too

closely. That led to uncomfortable silences as each of them tried to find a

more neutral subject of conversation. There weren't too many of those times

though, as she could usually sense what was safe to ask about and what was

not. She was still puzzled by one thing Willow had hinted at last night

though.



Tara was walking with Willow on the network of paths that wove

through the forested areas of the university campus. The only illumination was

that of the moon, but she felt safe here with Willow. Beside the path, she saw

the faint shadows of herself and Willow walking beside each other. The two

figures were connected by a slender thread of shadow cast by their arms

reaching towards each other to hold hands.



She turned away and wrinkled her nose as she thought again about the riddle

Willow had posed for her. "I don't get it," she said. "I don't see how you

can get any part of Willow Rosenberg to rhyme with Tara Lucas. The names don't

have anything in common."



"Think about Rosenberg again, where the name came from," Willow suggested,

turning to look at her with eyes hidden behind polarized lenses.



Tara's ponytail swished back and forth as she shook her head. "It's a Jewish

name, but I still don't see ... why don't you just tell me?"



"I can't tell you," Willow said, managing to look mysterious even with the hood

of her cloak thrown back, revealing her face and the brilliant waterfall of red

hair that fell to her waist. "Names have power, and you never know who might

be listening in the night."



Frustrated, Tara gave Willow an exasperated look, but she knew from past

experience that she wasn't going to get anything more from her. "What about

friends?" she asked, accepting the necessity of changing the topic more or less

gracefully. "Do any of your friends still live here?"



"No, there's just me," Willow said. Her expression was melancholy and her eyes

avoided meeting Tara's. "I haven't stayed long enough in any one place to make

any friends since I left Sunnydale."



"Hey," Tara interrupted with a squeeze of Willow's hand. "You've got me."



Willow turned to Tara with brilliant smile that lit up her face. "I do, don't

I?" she said softly.




Tara realized with Willow's response that despite how strong Willow seemed to

be, she was fragile in other ways. Willow rarely talked about friends and

family, and when she did, it was never in the present tense. Instead, she

talked about the spells she'd learned, places she'd been, and warlocks whom

she'd met briefly. While Willow might have all the power she would ever need

to fight vampires or demons, she was missing so much else in life.



There had been such joy on Willow's face at her simple promise of friendship.

Willow was so alone, even more lonely than Tara had been after her mother's

death. She didn't have to be alone any more. Neither of them did. They had

each other.



Tara's smile at that thought ended up as a yawn. Her long nights were having

an effect on the rest of her life. Willow usually walked Tara home just before

dawn. They'd only stayed up to watch the sunrise once, but when she kept awake

until sunrise it always felt to her like she was seeing it from the wrong

direction. She'd been afraid Willow would laugh or just not grasp what she

meant, but Willow had simply told her that she understood and had seemed oddly

happy about the whole thing.



Still, she needed to get more sleep. She usually napped at this time of day

until it was time to patrol, but Giles had insisted on her help with the

research as he wasn't getting anywhere on his own and wanted a fresh pair of

eyes to look at the problem.



She sighed, shifting in her seat, knowing that even if her eyes were fresh it

wouldn't help because the Master wasn't behind the motorcycle incident. That

had been Willow, albeit a frightening and powerful version of her friend that

she hadn't seen since that night. Would she have done the same to defend her

friend if she had that kind of power?



Tara knew she wouldn't. She could fight and even kill demons if she had too,

but it didn't make her feel good and under no circumstances would she resort to

calling on dark powers. She would have found a way to defend herself or flee

instead of confronting them directly. She wished that she had the courage to

ask Willow to never use that kind of dark magic again.



Tara looked up, startled, as Spirit asked her, "Find anything?" She hadn't

heard the slayer return from her training session with Giles and wondered how

long she had been looking down at the same page with her friend looking on.



Tara shook her head. "No," she admitted. "There doesn't seem to be much in

this book about demons and motorcycles. There doesn't seem to be anything

about that kind of thing in any of books here."



"You did seem to be stuck on that one page for the last five minutes," Spirit

said.



Tara blushed. "I ... I was..." She felt embarrassed that she'd been caught

daydreaming by her younger friend, and she certainly didn't want to explain who

she'd been thinking about while she'd stared blindly at the book in front of

her.



"It's okay," Spirit reassured her. "I do that sometimes too. After a while,

all these demons and creatures start looking the same and you just drift off."



Tara was glad that Spirit didn't seem interested in what she had been thinking.

She was about to reply when the warm comfortable ambiance of the familiar

library changed. The room suddenly felt like a sepulcher as the temperature

dropped precipitously.



A horrifying spectre rose up from the solid floor of the library. It was the

translucent figure of an ancient vampire lambent with a sickly green radiance.

Its face was a hideous demonic visage with glowing green eyes. The spectre

began walking towards the table where they sat, shedding immaterial droplets of

phosphorescent green light that hissed as they struck the floor.



Tara jumped up from her chair and began backing away from the approaching

ghost. Spirit took an involuntary step or two back as well before remembering

that she was the slayer. A determined looked came across her face as she

grabbed a stake from the table and prepared to deal with this vampire, ghostly

or not.



Tara felt guilty for staying back, but she didn't think stakes would help

against a ghost. "Mr. Giles," she called out, her voice tremulous with the

fear that she couldn't completely suppress. She'd faced vampires before, but

she'd never seen anything like this. She racked her brain, trying to think of

spells that would stop a ghost, forcing herself to ignore the little voice in

the back of her mind that told her to run.



The spectre leered at Spirit, displaying long fangs, as she ran towards it. It

was utterly silent as it unhurriedly walked towards her save for the hissing

sound of beads of luminous emerald ill falling from its translucent form to the

floor.



Giles emerged from his office and broke the unnerving silence. "Dear lord,

it's the Master," he said in an unbelieving voice. He stood stock still,

stunned at this impossible resurrection.



Spirit plunged her stake through the center of the spectre's chest, but her

weapon swung through the insubstantial spirit without touching it. Her arm

burned with cold where it had touched the ghost. The spectre sneered at her

futile attempt to harm it and struck her with an open-handed blow that smashed

her across the room into a bookcase. "This time," it prophesied in a deep,

hollow voice. "The slayer will die."



Giles rummaged frantically through the supply cabinets of the library's front

desk. He wasn't going to lose another slayer to the Master. Finding what he

was looking for, he tossed one vial of holy water to Tara and grabbed a larger

jar of the stuff for himself. Standing up, he challenged the dark spirit,

attempting to divert it from Spirit and Tara. "We beat you last time," he

said. "We'll do it again."



Tara caught the thrown vial of holy water, understanding Giles' thinking

immediately. The efficacy of holy water wasn't limited to vampires; it was

supposed to affect all undead.



She would have to put it to the test.



She was the only one standing between the spectre and Spirit's fallen form.

Tara was terrified, but she couldn't abandon her friend. Her hands shook as

she opened the vial and got ready to throw it.



The spectre of the Master turned its head to glare at Giles with its unholy

green orbs, answering him coldly, "Your time will come." Then the dark spirit

attacked Tara with the preternatural speed of a master vampire, reaching her

before she could react. It plunged its translucent hand deep into her chest,

reaching for her heart.



Tara gasped as the icy hand of the spectre clutched her heart, still beating in

her chest, and began to squeeze. She fell to her knees, shivering with the icy

cold of the deadly contact.

--

"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit." -- "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."

Edited by: darkmagicwillow at: 11/25/02 9:57:35 am


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 8a - His Master's Ghost: The Shadow of Death
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2002 11:08 am 
Wow!! One hell of a cliff hanger!!

:hmm the riddle. Really interested to see where you're going with this one.

And Amy :smash

BV



"In front of total strangers won't you kiss me, Flowers for no reason but you miss me - OOH, I wanna be in love"

Melissa Etheridge-Skin



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 8a - His Master's Ghost: The Shadow of Death
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2002 11:09 am 
Oh no! Please tell me someone comes to the rescue, maybe a certain redhead?



Waiting for your next update



-Allyson

"After one take, Joss did say, 'Can we have one that's less like you're going to sleep together in about five minutes?'" - Alyson Hannigan



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 8a - His Master's Ghost: The Shadow of Death
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2002 11:25 am 
Oi!



You're supposed to post a complete chapter !! :D



The riddle of Lucas and Rosenberg, I would guess something biblical.. problem being that I'm not sure what Rose Mountain is doing in the bible exactly :) Should have paid more attention in class I guess :D .



Besides that, the name Lucas doesn't ring any bells BuffyVerse-wise. So I'm going to think really hard about that the next few days, heh.



Now how to kill a ghost..hmm.. destroying the heart-gem might work but that would take to long. Other then that I've no idea how to kill it, kinda frustrating. The ghost is non-corperal yet it can grab objects ? At least part of it must *touch* the object then, thus making that part hit-able (new word:) ).



This heart-gem is rather strange, seems like it does everything you ask it to do without the holder needing any experience what-so-ever. I must have *some* drawbacks surely ? This is like giving a lunatic an M60, not a smart thing to do. My opinion of Master jr. is about that same as about Harmony; certified looser. No need to really attack him directly, just collapse the cave on him, should work nicely and gets Amy as a bonus :) . Feel free to dig out the gem later.



I would have liked to know how Tara & Willow's conversation the night after the graveyard incident went. Can't imagine Tara not bringing it up, or are they both still nicely avoiding that issue ?



As for Giles not knowing about those bikers, that strikes me as rather odd. Surely he must realize those appear to be the same kind as attacked on Buffy's return ? Yes I know he wasn't there, but he probably got the told anyway.



Seems a bit late for Tara now... Humans don't like their heart squeezed like that, unless they have a heart attack. Willow might be able to contain that ghost but she's not around, I suspect she might feel Tara is in trouble but she still needs to actually get to Tara. She better get in there fast :pray ....please ?



When is the next update ?? Heh, I'm not being impatient, really... I'm not :D



Grimmy

"You hurt Tara," Willow said too calmly. "The last one who tried that was a god. I made her regret it." -- Unexpected Consequences by Lisa of Nine

Edited by: Grimlock72 at: 11/25/02 10:36:24 am


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 8a - His Master's Ghost: The Shadow of Death
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2002 1:28 pm 
Amy hasn't changed much. Her flippant attitude to the magic, not even bothering to research the history of The Heart, is so typical of her. I'm intrigued by this Master who is using Amy's magics for his benefit.



Tara is such a smitten kitten, daydreaming about Willow when she was supposed to be researching. I, too, am curious about Willow's riddle about the names.



Adding up the total of a love that's true, multiply life by the power of two
Indigo Girls



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 8a - His Master's Ghost: The Shadow of Death
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2002 1:58 pm 
YOU DID NOT just do that!!! LOL :clap



Have to say..I liked the update..but you are getting WAY too good at the whole cliffhanger thing!! This is just NOT fair in SOO many ways!! *grins*



I love how you've written this fic! I can't wait to read more!!

Update soon!!! :)



Thanks!



~NICKOLE~

-----------

"I found you. I will always find you."



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 8a - His Master's Ghost: The Shadow of Death
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2002 6:51 pm 
Hi,



Your fic is quite enjoyable. This cliffhanger though is a bit intense. It's only fair that the next update come soon please!



-Brent



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 8a - His Master's Ghost: The Shadow of Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 1:06 am 
wHAT A CLIFFHANGER!!!!

I really hope, no not hope, wish that Willow comes to her rescue!!!!



Stef :p



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 8a - His Master's Ghost: The Shadow of Death
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 1:31 am 
DMW, I am finding the tenuous "partnership" between Amy and the "new" Master fascinating, with both on the surface co-existing with each other. However, underneath the surface each think they have the upper-hand with the Master thinking he is using Amy (ie her magical knowledge/power), while at the same time Amy is biding her time (ie being useful to the Master) in order to secure the "heart" for her own evil plans. With this in mind, it should be interesting if the Master survives using the "heart" with Amy's "help" (ie Amy thinking, "Anyway, it was best that this one bears the risk of experimentation so that she would know how to use the power of the Heart when she took it from him.") how their "relationship" evolves into a more overt power struggle (ie Amy/Master overtly pitted against each other).



Tara daydreaming about the "mysterious" Willow indicates how Willow has "captured" her. Or in other words, intellectually with being intrigued with what Willow is keeping hidden/secret (ie trying to figure out the riddle), while at the same time on an emotional level Tara knows they share a connection (ie wanting to pursue those feelings and seeing where it might lead).



I am also enjoying the dichotomy in Willow. Meaning, she is sure in her ability to utilize her magic powers (ie being "take-charge"), but then her exchange with Tara saying, ("I haven't stayed long enough in any one place to make any friends since I left Sunnydale."), conveys on an inter-personal/emotional level she has insecurities/doubts that no amount of magic can alleviate. What also spoke to me during that exchange was the feeling that as Willow spends more time connecting with Tara, her "hardening" (her protective shield) is being slowly chiseled away (ie seeing more glimspes of the "old/lighter" Willow). And I just loved how a simple statement of Tara saying, ("You've got me.") can convey so much (ie to reassure/remind Willow that she isn't alone, she has a friend in Tara, while at the same time bringing an unspoken hope for what these words might mean in the future).



Lastly, I found Tara wondering, ("Would she have done the same to defend her friend if she had the same power?") with her "knowing she wouldn't", speaks to how far apart they are in certain respects. Meaning, now Tara has seen a less flattering side of Willow with the "darkness", but she doesn't know to what extent the "darkness" plays in Willow's life. Thus, I am intrigued (once this knowledge becomes known) how it will effect their growing relationship, especially in light of Tara "wishing she had the courage to ask Willow to never use that kind of magic again". And that cliffhanger was just "cruel" ;) , can't wait to see what happens next!

Edited by: VampNo12  at: 11/26/02 2:22:54 am


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 Post subject: The Dark Rose
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2002 4:46 am 
Now that was one hell of a cliffhanger.



Although I'm not complaining. This story is worth the wait each and every time.

Quote:
She could almost forget the dark power Willow had exhibited in that terrible confrontation


Almost being the operative word here? Tara wishing she had enough courage to ask Willow to stop using that type of majick. So like the Tara we know, yet different in all the right ways. I really like how you've switched the roles around. I've said it before but it still impresses me. I could imagine the look on Willow's face when Tara said "you have me."



I like the use of the sunglasses too. The eyes are the mirrors to the soul. Is Willow afraid of revealing too much? Or is she just hiding the black eyes?



Amazing part. Thanks.



--celia

Edited by: tiredsoul at: 11/26/02 3:48:48 am


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