Guest Starring: James Spader as Mr. DeVeer and Edward Woodward as James Tyrell
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Day
Willow, Giles and the group from the Old Council, including Rowena, entered the conference room. Giles and Tyrell both moved to sit down at the head of the table. Both men realized what they were doing at the same moment. Tyrell smiled indulgently at Giles’s expression before taking the adjoining seat. Keeping the peace, Giles decided to sit across from Tyrell, leaving the desired seat vacant. Willow sat herself at Giles’s side, with Vincent taking the seat next to Tyrell. She glanced up at Rowena, who leaned against the wall, measuring the distance between the blonde watcher and Tyrell’s toadies.
“I’m certain that you are aware of the demon influences in this area,” Tyrell said coolly.
“Yes, I’m aware there’s a great deal of demonic activity in Cleveland,” Giles countered. “Which is why we are here and not in England. You can’t fight a battle from halfway around the world. The old Council proved that point.”
“Well, Rupert, you have no choice in the matter. You will cease operations.”
“I’m afraid that you can’t just shut us down, James,” Giles said, leaning back in his chair.
Tyrell also leaned back unconsciously, mimicking Giles’s posture. “I’m afraid it is you who does not understand. Your insubordination will no longer be tolerated by the Council of Watchers. And as for Ms. Rosenberg’s grand larceny, I assure you that if you both do not immediately comply, she will be harshly dealt with.”
“You’ll never be able to prove any larceny, James,” Giles countered.
“Ah yes, magic. Well, we do have a coven of our own.”
“Which none of you have bothered to contact…I speak with Althenea on a regular basis and she’s heard nothing from you,” Willow added.
James took a deep breath and paused. “In any regard, the Council –”
“What Council?” Giles cut him short. “The First did its job well enough. Those not killed in the explosion were taken out, one by one.”
“And as the senior surviving member, I am authorized to assume control,” Tyrell said.
Giles snorted. “Authorized by whom? You retired long before Quentin took over, and the rest of your group does not have enough seniority for such an undertaking. If anyone is ‘authorized’ it would be Robson, and even I outranked him.”
“Your recent re-admittance to the Council was on a trial basis, Rupert. You have no authority and neither does Mr. Robson, since his loyalties to you have been made quite clear. And this operation of yours is an abomination! From Ms. Allister’s reports, you’re perverting the sacred traditions which have endured throughout the millennia. You’ve put a convicted felon in charge of molding the impressionable minds of young girls, you have a murderous witch calling herself a watcher and sleeping with a slayer, and you allow the most experienced slayer in history to just wander around without a care in the world. What’s next? Deals with the devil? Oh wait, you’ve already tried that when you begged the Pagan Gods for your lover’s life, haven’t you Ms. Rosenberg?”
“Giles…” Willow said, her tone dark, half-rising in her seat.
Giles looked at her sharply. “It’s alright, Willow,” he said, putting a warning hand on her arm. “It’s classic battle strategy to throw one‘s opponent off is his game…He’s just making idle threats. Yes, he may have a few resources and contacts still, but he’s not in any position to do us serious harm.”
“Are you sure about that, Rupert?” Tyrell asked, the challenge clear in his voice.
Watchers Council – Computer Room – Same Time
Kennedy, Faith and Robin watched as Andrew furiously typed on the computer terminal.
“Come on!” he whispered to himself.
“What’s taking so long, twerp?” Faith asked. “I thought the equipment was installed last week?”
Andrew didn’t look at her as he answered. “Yes, it was installed, but we haven’t had time to get it hooked to the network yet. Do you know how many thousands of tasks we have to complete every day? It’s not ‘oh I just staked a vamp, time for a cigarette,’ y’know. It takes a lot to run this operation. We didn’t think we’d need the interior security cameras this quickly.”
“This is not exactly the purpose they’re intended for, I think,” Robin said. “Spying on our own people? Not what Willow and Giles had in mind.”
“Screw that,” Kennedy said. “If those guys make any threats against either of them, I’m going in swinging. Where the hell were they when Bringers were using my watcher’s guts to decorate the walls? If Giles hadn’t come when he did, I’d just be another dead potential.”
“Brat’s right,” Faith agreed. “That Tyrell guy’s all talk. While the rest of us were busy saving the world, he was hiding in his safe little hole. I say we send him back to it, in pieces if that’s his choice.”
“Come on, baby,” Robin said, taking her hand. “No need for violence. These guys were watchers once, for that at least they deserve some respect.”
“They’re not watchers anymore,” she said. “The rules are different now, Robin. It’s a brand new world and it’s time for a change.”
“Got it,” Andrew said. The computer screen changed to show the interior of the conference room, making everyone look.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Same Time
Willow and Giles continued to glare at Tyrell. Finally, Rowena pushed herself off the wall and moved forward.
“Look, why are we wasting our time with this?” she asked. “We should be working together.”
Giles and Willow looked at her, but Tyrell’s expression was a cross between shock and rage.
“Sit down, Rowena,” he said. Giles’s eyebrows raised in astonishment.
“I’m just…” she tried to continue.
“I said, sit down!” Tyrell repeated.
Rowena, the cheeks of her pale face the color of pomegranates, took a seat next to Willow.
“Now,” Tyrell continued. “It’s quite possible that, some time in the future, you and Ms. Rosenberg can fulfill some role within the Council, but that has yet to be determined. In the meantime, I’m sure you can understand that we cannot have a rogue operation run amok. Vincent here will oversee the dismantling of this facility. All of the slayers and potential watchers you have identified will be transported to England where they shall be properly trained. The rogue slayer will be returned to prison, where she belongs. Buffy Summers will be assigned to take over the Cleveland Hellmouth area and Rowena will act as her watcher until a new one can be sent.”
After a moment’s silence, both Giles and Willow burst into laughter. Tyrell looked on in astonishment. The corner of Rowena’s mouth curled upward a fraction in amusement. Vincent DeVeer’s smile grew even broader at their display.
“I don’t think you understand the severity of your actions, Rupert!” Tyrell fumed. “This is not a laughing matter.”
“No, James,” Giles said, wiping tears from his eyes. “Ohhh for Godsakes…this is nonsense. Now, if you’ll excuse us, Willow and I are quite busy and have to return to work. Enjoy your stay in Cleveland and have a pleasant journey back to England.”
Tyrell stood up. “Very well, then,” he said, buttoning his suit jacket. “We’ll be back. Vincent, Rowena…let’s go.”
Vincent immediately stood up, but Rowena remained sitting for a moment, looking at Willow and Giles.
“Rowena!” Tyrell said as he headed for the door. “I said, let’s go.”
Rowena hesitated a moment longer, then stood and followed the men out of the conference room.
Her amusement gone, Willow looked at Giles. “This is so not good, is it?”
“I’m afraid not, dear,” Giles smiled weakly.
“What can they do to us?” she asked. “I mean, they’ve caused lots of problems in the past, but that was before when they had the full power of the Council behind them. But these guys are running on arrogance and testosterone. What can they do to us besides be annoying?”
“Let’s hope we don’t find out,” Giles said, rubbing his eyes. “James Tyrell was quite powerful in his day. I’m sure that most of his contacts are gone, but he probably has a few tricks up his sleeve. How are you coming along with your own contacts?”
“Good,” Willow said. “But these things take time, y’know. We’ve pretty much got the local politicians wrapped up, as well as the state governments for Ohio, Michigan and Illinois. Robin’s made excellent progress in New York and the Boston area. He’s got appointments with the governors of Pennsylvania and New Jersey next week. Your California contacts are still available, of course. However, except for Ohio, we’ve only started on the judicial side of things. No headway at all with the federal judges and Washington seems as far away as ever, but we’ll get there. We just need more time!”
“Of course,” he agreed. “It takes lifetimes to build up the kind of power the old Council had.”
“We don’t have lifetimes, Giles,” Willow said. “We need to do it now.”
“We shall,” he said, then changed the subject. “What do you think Ms. Allister was trying to say?”
Willow chuckled. “I almost felt sorry for the way Tyrell cut her down. Almost.” Willow’s face had a far-off smile for a moment. “I’m not sure, though. If she turns out to be their moll, well…Put me down for a big ‘I told you so‘.”
“It’s possible,” Giles shrugged. “But she’s young and not as hidebound as the rest of them, although she was personally trained by Tyrell.”
The door to the conference room reopened and Faith and Kennedy entered.
“What a bunch of jackass pri –” Faith began, but Kennedy cut her off.
“Now, now,” Kennedy teased. “Watch that temper.”
“You saw?” Willow asked.
“Andrew got the spycam going,” Kennedy explained. “How bad is it?”
“Not sure yet,” Giles answered. “Did Ms. Allister leave with them?”
“Yeah,” Faith said. “Ms. Cold Fish, Wesley Wannabe didn’t look too happy though.”
Giles nodded. “If she returns, treat her just as before,” he said. “It’s doubtful, but we may be able to get advanced warning of anything they may attempt. So advise everyone to keep alert.”
“Will do, boss,” Faith said. “Come on, Brat, let’s round up the troops. After being threatened with prison again, I feel the need to pound on something hard.”
Moving Limousine – Cleveland Streets – Day
James Tyrell reclined against the plush leather seat, staring at Rowena Allister as she sat next to him. The young blonde watcher silently watched the passing scenery through the darkly tinted windows. Finally, just when the silence seemed to become too oppressive, Rowena turned to face Tyrell.
“I’m not sure I understand why it’s necessary to shut down the operation completely,” Rowena stated.
“You’re not required to understand, my dear,” Tyrell said indulgently. “You’re asked to simply follow orders.”
“You trained me to think for myself, James,” she retorted.
“When necessary,” he said, sharply. “However, now is not the time. The Council of Watchers is facing its darkest hour.”
“It already faced its darkest hour,” she said, angrily. “I was there, remember? It blew up around me. Those people in there are trying to raise it from the ashes. We should be helping them, not threatening them.”
“Those people spent years fighting against the Council,” he said. “Their only goal was to see to its destruction. I can imagine the rejoicing when something else did their job for them.”
“That’s totally not true, James, and you know it!” Rowena spat. “Giles spent years helping his slayer save our world. He was too busy doing that to make sure all of the T’s were crossed on his weekly reports. And as for Willow –”
“She was too busy learning how to destroy the world!” he interrupted. “Or have you forgotten that?”
“No, but have you forgotten that she’s the one who saved it when she activated all of the Slayers?” she said. It was more of a statement than a question.
“We’re already seeing the repercussions of that act, my dear,” he said. “I suggest you reserve your praise until more is known, Rowena. Your Ms. Rosenberg might have damned the world with her reckless actions.”
“Reckless…?” she said, blinking her eyes.
“Where are your loyalties, Rowena?” he asked. “You’ve spent a few weeks simply observing them and now you’re sounding like you’re ready to join them.”
“I’m a watcher, James,” she said. “My purpose in life is to help fight evil in the world, wherever it’s being fought. These people are an asset, and all of them have done good work–”
“Enough!” Tyrell said. “I applaud your dedication. I always have. That has been your primary goal, since you were a mere child. But I will not have my protégé consort with degenerates, murderers and traitors. Understood?”
Rowena paused for a moment, then nodded. Tyrell also seemed to pause a moment in thought and then continued, “On the other hand, I think perhaps we need a bit more time before taking any action. I’ll give you another week of observation. Go back to them, watch, observe, and report. We’ll make our final judgment then. Agreed?”
Rowena nodded again. “I think that’s best, James,” she said sincerely. “What you said may be true, but from what I’ve seen so far, despite their eccentric style, their only goal is to fight evil. And isn’t that our purpose too?”
“It is, my dear.” Tyrell paused to look at her. “Rowena, I know you’ve had a most difficult time this past year. It’s not easy facing your own failure.”
“My potential paid the price for that, James,” Rowena said, her voice softening with sorrow.
“Yes, of course, but I meant your failure to retrieve the Opus Obscurum,” he clarified. “With the information contained within that book, we’d have an easier time dealing with this situation.” Rowena remained silent as Tyrell sighed and continued. “We cannot change the past. We don’t have the book, but thankfully neither does Giles and company. Small victories, I suppose. Well, my dear, I believe this is your stop.”
Rowena looked outside to see the limo pulling up to her hotel. “You’re not staying here?” she asked.
“We have other accommodations, a larger place outside the city,” he said. “Get some rest and Vincent will contact you later.”
Rowena leaned forward and placed an affectionate kiss on his cheek in farewell, then stepped out of the limousine.
DeVeer watched her as the big car pulled away. “Interesting,” he observed. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen such dedication and purpose in one so young.”
“Rowena has always been a unique enigma,” Tyrell said as he pulled a cellular phone out of his breast pocket. He speed dialed a number and waited a moment for the connection to be made.
“Tyrell here,” he said. “Yes. You may begin.”
With a snap, he closed the folding phone and looked at DeVeer, who raised an eyebrow and smirked in amusement.
Watchers Council – Kitchen – Next Morning
Rowena sat at the kitchen table writing on her laptop. She was ignored by Andrew and his kitchen minions as they finished putting the large work area in order after a hectic breakfast. Kennedy came in through the swinging doors.
“Andrew,” she said. “You said there was an occult shop around here?”
“Oh yeah,” he said. “Willow said to be careful when I go there, because it’s probably just full of New Age Wiccan wannabes, but the shopkeeper is really cool and he doesn’t try to sell you useless junk.”
“Has she been there yet?” Kennedy asked.
“I don’t think so,” he replied, looking off into space. “Although she asked me to get her some herbs and resins for an incense she wanted to make for this month’s Full Moon, and that’s where I got them. That’s okay, though. I don’t mind. Besides, I learn by helping and the shopkeeper is really cool.”
“So you said,” Kennedy remarked, nodding slowly. “Want to go for a ride this morning and show me the shop? Faith’s got the girls out on a cross-country run, so I’ve got the morning free.”
“How’d you manage to get out of that?” Rowena asked from the table.
Kennedy turned towards her and shrugged. “Faith does her share of the work.”
Rowena nodded. Andrew finished folding the dish towel.
“Give me a minute to get cleaned up, okay?” Andrew asked.
“Sure thing,” Kennedy replied and moved closer to the table as the young man rushed from the room. “So, what you working on?” she asked, putting her hands in the rear pockets of her jeans.
“Mr. Giles was kind enough to let me look at his private library last week,” Rowena explained. “I found some information on a variant species of M’benchi demons. I’m just organizing my notes.”
Kennedy nodded. “Sounds boring.”
“Not really,” Rowena said with a shrug. “It’s important information. The more we know about the many demons you could encounter, the better we can help you slayers survive.”
“Knowledge is power,” Kennedy quoted.
Rowena looked up from the screen on her laptop. “Very true,” she said, and then closed the cover. “I’m about ready for a break, though. Mind if I come along with you and Andrew?”
Kennedy looked surprised and paused a moment. “Uh, sure. Okay.”
“Thanks,” Rowena said. “As Andrew reminded me, there’s a Full Moon approaching and I’d like to get a couple of candles.”
“You’re Wiccan too?” Kennedy asked, surprised.
“No,” Rowena said with a smile. “But I’ve worked with a coven before, as part of my training. I picked up the habit of using the cycle for personal reflection. It’s a good time to look at the world in a different light.”
“Whatever floats your boat,” Kennedy said, then led the way out of the kitchen.
Lenore’s Chamber Occult Shop – Later that Morning
Kennedy, Andrew and Rowena entered the shop, a small jingling bell announcing their arrival. Rowena turned around and glanced up at the space above the door. Sure enough, an ivory bust of Pallas rested on a small shelf just above the trim. She smiled in amusement.
The shop was small. A few bookcases lined two walls, with a large glass display case in front of the register near the entrance. The case was filled with various articles, such as jewelry, rare books and athames. Against the wall opposite the entrance, an apothecary rack was built in. The warm smell of herbs, incense and spices filled the shop with a pleasant odor.
“Hello, Andrew,” the clerk said as the trio entered. He sat on a stool near the register. He was dressed in a striped pullover and jeans and, although he appeared older, it was obvious he had gone bald at a young age.
“Edgar!” Andrew said, moving over to the case. “Um, hi!”
“Hey,” Edgar replied. His face suddenly brightened as Rowena and Kennedy joined Andrew at the case.
“Oh,” Andrew said as Kennedy nudged him with her elbow. “This is Kennedy. She wanted to come. Oh, and this is Ms. Allister…uh…she also wanted to come.”
“Hi,” Edgar said, putting out a hand to Kennedy to shake.
“How ya doin’?” the Slayer replied. Rowena blinked as Edgar totally ignored her and Andrew scrunched up his face.
“Let me guess,” Rowena said, nodding to the bird on the perch behind him. “The rest of your name Allan Poe?”
“Yeah,” Edgar said absently, still admiring Kennedy. “And that’s Lenore over there.”
The women looked again to the open, ornate, black iron bird stand in the corner. Sitting on the perch was a black raven, its yellow eyes seeming to squint at them suspiciously.
“So, Edgar,” Andrew said, leaning his elbows on the case and angling towards the shopkeeper. “How’ve you been?”
“Fine, Andrew,” Edgar said. “Kennedy, eh? Interesting name.”
“Thanks,” Kennedy said, not paying much attention to the remark.
“Kennedy here wanted to get something for her girlfriend,” Andrew stressed.
Edgar turned towards him, noting Andrew’s emphasis on his final word. “Oh yeah?” he said, turning back to Kennedy. “What did you have in mind?”
“Graduation gift,” Kennedy explained. “She just got her diploma.”
“Cool,” Edgar said, hopping off his stool and coming around the case. “I’m waiting to hear about a scholarship myself.”
“I thought you owned this shop?” Rowena asked.
“No, my father does,” he said. “I just work here.” He turned back to the brunette. “So Kennedy…what did you have in mind for your girlfriend?”
“Don’t know,” Kennedy said, glancing around the shop. “I was hoping you could suggest a good gift for a Wiccan.”
“I’m assuming she already has an athame?” Edgar asked.
“A what?” Kennedy said.
“Ritual knife,” Rowena supplied absently while looking through a book.
“Oh yes, she does,” Andrew put in helpfully. “She showed it to me, it’s really neat. Someone from the coven in England gave it to her as a gift when they elevated her to the second degree.”
“She didn’t have one before then?” Rowena asked, glancing up, surprised.
“She did,” Andrew explained, his eyes rolling up to the ceiling as if he was straining to remember facts. “But Willow told me her other one had been fouled and she had to get rid of it. I…I’m not really sure what that means.”
“If an athame draws blood it cannot be used again until it’s been purified,” Rowena explained. Kennedy and Andrew both looked equally disturbed by the news, so Rowena changed the subject. “Why don’t you get her some jewelry, Kennedy? Edgar has some very nice pentacles in the display case.”
Edgar helpfully led Kennedy over to the jewelry display and began to show her the selection.
“You’re studying with Willow, Andrew?” Rowena asked the young man. He was busy looking through a copy of The Green Egg. She picked up another book and glanced at the back cover.
“Uh huh,” he said, excitedly. “She showed me around her coven room and all of her ritual tools and explained what each is for. And she promised that I can sit in on this month’s Full Moon ritual to observe and promised that perhaps in a few months I can assist her. She laughed and said that I could be her ‘maiden.’ But I don’t know what she meant by that either. I can do my own conjuring of certain beings but I don’t know all the ‘rules’ yet of Wicca.”
Rowena finally put the book down and moved to the candle display, carefully selecting a few. Andrew followed her, observing as the watcher made her selections.
“The maiden is the priestess’ right hand and assists her during rituals…generally acting as her second,” Rowena explained. “The priest’s assistant is called the ‘herne.’ Wiccans in general usually don’t pay much attention to cultural dimorphism, so I wouldn’t worry about what she calls you. If Willow suggested you could be her maiden, she must believe you have promise.”
Andrew’s face broke out into a huge smile and his chest puffed out as Rowena headed for the cash register. She paused as she passed the bird stand. “Where’s the bird?” she asked.
Edgar handed a credit card and receipt back to the Slayer as he said, “Lenore comes and goes.”
Rowena put her candles by the register and waited for Edgar to ring her up, but he was again busy looking at Kennedy. The unspoken admiration became too much and Kennedy gave a heavy sigh.
“Hey Edgar,” she told him. “Give it up. I’m not your type. But who knows, maybe Andrew on the other hand…”
“I heard that,” Andrew challenged, having overheard her from across the shop.
“Notice he didn’t deny it,” Kennedy told Edgar with a wink. The slayer grabbed the small bag from him and moved off towards the entrance. “I’ll meet you guys outside,” she said, pushing her way through the front door.
Edgar sighed and finally rang up Rowena’s purchase.
Cleveland Street – Minutes Later
Rowena and Andrew emerged onto the sunny street and looked around for Kennedy.
“Where’d she go?” Andrew asked. The Council’s jeep was parked at the corner.
“Not too far, I’m assuming,” Rowena noted, pointing at the SUV. “Come on.” She turned into the alley next to the shop.
Behind a large dumpster, they found Kennedy kneeling beside what, at first, appeared to be a white marble statue dressed in ordinary street clothes, lying on the ground. Rowena knelt beside the Slayer.
“What is it?” Andrew asked, standing beside them.
“Body,” Kennedy said. She reached into the clothes and pulled out a wallet.
“That’s a body?” Andrew squealed.
Rowena gingerly touched the face. A few grains flaked off and sifted to the ground. The watcher sniffed at the grains and rolled them between her fingers, finally carefully tasting her finger.
“Eww!” Andrew and Kennedy both exclaimed at the sight.
“It’s salt,” Rowena concluded.
“Holy sodium chloride, Batman,” Andrew exclaimed.
Kennedy pulled a card from the wallet. “Boris Ivanov,” she read. “University student.”
Rowena stood up and tried the handle to what appeared to be the back door for the occult shop. “Locked,” she said.
“Other than looking behind you one too many times, as the Old Testament points out,” Andrew asked, “what could turn a person into salt?”
Kennedy pushed herself to her feet. “We’d better report this to the Council and go find out.”
“We’re just gonna leave it here?” Andrew asked.
“Well, if we get a good rain this afternoon we won’t have to worry about it,” Kennedy said, then smirked at their expressions. “Just kidding. I’ll have a couple of the girls come back after dark to retrieve it. Don’t want to draw too much attention in broad daylight. Let’s go.”
As the trio headed out of the alley, no one noticed a large black raven watching them from its perch on a fire escape.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Afternoon
Kennedy, Rowena and Andrew pushed their way through the lobby doors. Andrew put his hands to his ears at the loud cacophony of sound that assaulted them
“What’s going on?” Kennedy shouted.
Andrew rushed over to the reception desk and tapped into the computer set into the desk. “Security alarm!” he yelled over the din.
“Turn it off!” Kennedy ordered.
Andrew spent a few frantic moments, then finally the sound cut off. Kennedy breathed in relief.
“Oh, this is not good,” Andrew whispered.
“What?” Rowena asked, moving around the desk.
“Someone’s hacked into the computer and set off all the alarms,” he explained. “I’ve turned them off, but now they’re off permanently.”
“What about the other files?” Kennedy asked.
Giles and Robin came running through the entrance from the slayer dorm building, followed by Faith and Rona. “What’s going on?” Giles asked.
“Security breach,” Andrew said.
“He said someone’s hacked into the system,” Rowena said. “Where’s Willow?”
“Running an errand,” Faith said. “She should be back any moment. What do you mean security breach? I thought Willow designed this system?”
“She did,” Andrew said. “It’s the best I’ve ever seen. Oh, this is so not good.”
Willow walked in through the doors. She looked at the panicking group. “Hey guys,” she said with a small wave. “What’s up?”
“Willow!” Andrew whined. “Where the hell have you been?”
At that moment, the security alarm turned itself on again.
End of Act One