Watchers Council – Computer Area – Morning
Willow and Giles were at the computer terminal when Rowena came into the room. Willow’s eyes squinted in suspicion when the watcher put down her case on the table in front of them and then announced, “I need coffee.”
“Okay,” Willow whispered conspiratorially to Giles, as the pair watched the blonde prepare herself a cup from the urn. “Would you mind if I teleported her to another dimension? Because I can, you know.”
“Patience, my dear,” he said. “I’d say this should be very interesting indeed.”
“Any new developments?” Rowena asked, taking a seat across from the pair.
“You tell us,” Willow said, looking at her.
Rowena sighed. “I’m sorry you don’t trust me, Willow,” she said. “But I am here to help. I’ve had a hell of a morning myself.”
“Oh really?” Giles said. “Decided to cap it off by spying on us?”
Willow glanced at Giles, as his accent turned more Ripper and less Oxford. Rowena’s expression showed she was thrown by Giles’s sudden change in demeanor toward her.
“Forgive him,” Willow said. “We’ve both been having a Hellmouth night – me trying to fix the computers and him unsuccessfully researching the salt problem.”
“Yes, well, about that,” Rowena said. “I believe it was caused by a feqlor demon.”
“A feqlor demon?” Giles asked. “What the bloody hell is that?”
“Giles, please,” Willow said, putting a hand on his arm. “What can you tell us, Rowena?”
“A feqlor demon is usually summoned by a wizard or a sorcerer and they will then join in a symbiotic relationship with each other,” Rowena explained. “In return for increased power, the feqlor will feed upon its partner’s soul, eventually destroying him. But that takes a while. In the meantime, the feqlor will feed upon unwilling victims, preferably the wizard’s enemies.”
“Let me guess,” Willow said. “It turns them into salt?”
“Exactly,” Rowena said. “The feqlor is a shapeshifter, so it can hide most effectively. The only way to kill it is with a weapon made of gold.”
“So we need to find the demon and kill it,” Willow said.
“There’s something else,” Rowena told her.
“What?” Willow asked.
“The sword wielder must wear a toga,” Rowena explained. Willow snickered. “A pink toga actually,” Rowena added in a smaller voice.
“Pink? Lemme guess,” Willow said with a chuckle. “They have to do the hokey pokey on one leg too, right?”
Rowena gave a brief grin and tried not to laugh. “No. The blood of the demon is like acid, but the toga will protect them.”
Willow paused and turned to Giles. “So who’s gonna tell ’em this added detail?” she asked.
“Bloody well isn’t going to be me,” Giles sighed.
“I can return to the shop with Kennedy today to search for more information,” Rowena offered. “I think the clerk might know something. The victim was a university student. I found a notice on the school’s website that he was up for a full scholarship to study medieval European history.”
“How do you know all this?” Giles asked suspiciously. “Information about that feqlor demon is not in any of the known texts, and unless you have access to references I’m not aware of, there’s no way you could possibly know this. Especially if your only source is that infernal computer.”
“Mr. Giles,” Rowena began. “I assure you the information is correct.”
“I don’t doubt that, Ms. Allister, but –” Giles was interrupted by a loud yell.
“You!” Kennedy said, her eyes blazing as she charged across the room towards Rowena. Reaching the blonde watcher, Kennedy dragged her out of her chair and flung her over the desk. Kennedy leapt over and picked her up off the floor, placing one hand on Rowena’s neck, with the other raised in the air as if to strike.
“Where is she?” Kennedy yelled in Rowena’s face.
Faith charged up from behind as Robin stood in the doorway, listening to the commotion.
“Hold up, Brat!” Faith yelled. The warning, however, got lost in Kennedy’s rage and fell on deaf ears.
“Gah…” Rowena sputtered, trying to breathe past the pressure on her neck. Willow rushed around the desk to try and break up the struggle.
“Where is she, bitch?” Kennedy repeated. She was about to swing her fist when Faith jumped over the desk and caught the other brunette’s hand before it could connect. Kennedy released Rowena and the watcher dropped to the floor on her hands and knees, gasping.
“Whoa there, girl!” Faith said. “Trial by jury first. Even I know that.”
“Kennedy?” Willow said, helping Rowena to her feet and leading her away from the furious Slayer. The blonde Watcher sat weakly in a chair, choking past the lump in her throat.
“What’s happened?” Giles asked.
“My father called,” Kennedy said, glaring at Rowena, fire blazing in her dark eyes. “My sister’s been kidnapped.”
“Oh God,” Willow sighed, before trying to offer some reassurance. “Honey, I’m sure she’ll be okay.”
“How can we be sure the kidnapping is related?” Giles asked.
Kennedy looked at him. “The ransom demand is 200 million pounds.”
Giles cleared his throat. “Right. Stupid question. My apologies.”
“And I know she’s got something to do with it, just like all the other crap that’s happening to us.” Kennedy continued, pointing at Rowena, still too focused on her anger to pay attention to Willow’s attempts to soothe her.
“What other ‘crap’?” Rowena choked out, still holding her throat.
“Like you don’t know?” Robin remarked. “I spent all last night and this morning with the IRS, going over the Council files, and NOW they want MY personal files from the last seven years.”
“What?” Rowena asked in disbelief, coming to her feet. She still hung on to the desk for support.
A beeping noise came from the computers again and Willow sighed. “Oh great. Here we go again.” She walked back around and motioned to Andrew as Kennedy followed her. “Stay on this side,” she pointed as she went back and took a seat next to Giles again.
Tired and frustrated, Giles rubbed his forehead to release the tension. Willow went back to typing.
“That crap,” Faith said, pitching a thumb behind her. “Someone’s screwing with us bad and we’ve got a pretty good idea who that someone is.”
“Then it’s true,” Rowena muttered.
“Told you she knew! Now where the hell’s my sister?” Kennedy challenged.
“No! No! You don’t understand,” Rowena told them, holding out her hands as if afraid Kennedy might charge again. “My father’s fishing boat was vandalized and now I have to send them money to get on their feet. My mom said she paid the insurance, but they’re telling her the policy lapsed. The Old Guard is after me too.”
“Yeah right,” Kennedy harrumphed.
“No, honest. I’m not the enemy here,” Rowena pleaded. “We should be working together.”
Giles quietly stood up and met Rowena eye to eye. “I think I liked it better when demons would just crash in here and tear the place apart…it just seemed so much simpler.”
“Mr. Giles,” Rowena sighed. “I had no idea they would do this. You have to believe me.”
“No, we bloody well don’t have to. And perhaps it’s best if you trotted back to Tyrell and his covey of stupid gits!” Giles’s voice was harsh and cold.
Willow sat silently this time and made no apologies.
“What about the demon?” Rowena asked. “I think –”
“We have a new set of demons we have to face,” Giles told her. “They’re called the Old Guard. Now if you would –” He pointed. “Faith will show you to the door.”
Rowena gave a defeated sigh. “Don’t bother. I know the way.”
First National Bank – Street Level – Afternoon
Rowena pushed her way out of a set of large glass doors and walked onto a crowded sidewalk filled with lunchtime traffic. She glanced at the receipt in her hand, sighed, then pulled her cell phone from her coat pocket and speed dialed a number.
“Mom? Yeah, it’s me,” she said. “How’s Dad?”
She listened for a moment, her face alternating between concern and relief. “Yes, I wired the funds,” she said into the phone. “I know…I know…no, I’ll be okay. I’m fine, Mom. Yes, I’ll call you later. Bye.”
Rowena snapped her phone shut, jerked when a smooth voice suddenly said in her ear, “Lying to your mother now, dear? Tsk, tsk, not very ethical is it?”
She turned to face Vincent DeVeer, his usual smile gracing his lips. “Vincent,” she said, squinting her eyes. “What are you doing here?”
“Unless I’m mistaken,” he purred. “And of course I never am, you’ve just wiped out your savings to pay for the repairs on your father’s boat.”
“That’s none of your business,” she said, narrowing her eyes at him.
“And of course your stipend from the Council just ran out,” he said. “Have you found new lodging? Perhaps the new watchers will grace you with a suite of your own? More likely you’ll be lucky to get a bunk bed in the slayer dorm. Of course, that’s if they let you back at all.”
“Go away, Vincent,” Rowena said, turning on her heel and walking down the street. “There’s a demon running around town turning people into salt, and I need to find it.”
“Where’s the book, Ro?” he asked, ignoring her statement.
Rowena stopped and turned back towards him. “What are you talking about?”
“You know what I’m talking about,” he said, crossing his arms. “The Opus Obscurum? The entire compendium of early watcher lore going all the way back to the original slayer? The book you were assigned to locate while the Bringers were carving up your potential? That book.”
“I reported what happened to Tyrell,” she said, once again pushing him aside. “Go ask him, since you’re only his lap dog.”
DeVeer watched Rowena quickly stride away down the street. “We’ll see who barks first, little one,” he said quietly with a smile.
Regency Hotel – Lobby – Moments Later
Rowena watched as the desk clerk carried her safe deposit box to the counter and checked her signature. She opened the box.
“Empty!” she declared, banging her fist down on the counter.
“Excuse me?” the clerk said, confused.
“It’s empty,” she repeated, her eyes blazing in anger.
He turned the box around and confirmed her statement. “I…I saw you put your messenger bag in here just this morning. How can this be? I don’t understand.”
“I do,” Rowena said grimly. Picking up her packed luggage, she quickly left the hotel.
Lenore’s Chamber Occult Shop – Same Afternoon
“So, Edgar,” Faith said. “Tell us about Boris.”
The sales clerk looked at her for a moment, then turned to Kennedy. “Can I get you something to drink, Kennedy?” he asked.
“No,” she replied, her face stony. “Just answer Faith’s question.”
Edgar shrugged. “Some student at the university. We had a few classes together.”
“What classes?” Faith asked.
“You know, general courses,” Edgar said. “Western Civ, College Algebra, History, that kind of thing.”
“You said you were trying to get a scholarship,” Kennedy said.
“That’s right,” he said. “My father doesn’t pay me enough for me to go to school full time, and if I won it I could get out of here and go live in the dorms.”
“What kind of scholarship?” Faith asked.
Edgar shrugged again. “My major,” he said evasively. “I had to submit a paper on the Kievan Principality of Medieval Russia. Would you like to read it?” he asked Kennedy proudly.
The brunette Slayer scowled. “I think my girlfriend would be more interested,” Kennedy said.
“Medieval Russia, eh?” Faith mused. “Say! Did you know your old buddy Boris was up for a scholarship to study medieval history?”
“That right?” Edgar said, his face hardening as he turned back towards Faith.
“Yeah, dude,” Faith nodded. “Would that be the same scholarship you were trying for?”
“Could be,” Edgar said.
“Yeah, could be,” Faith agreed. “Say! If something were to happen to Boris then that would be one less competitor wouldn’t it?”
Edgar simply looked at her.
“What’s going on, Edgar?” Kennedy asked.
“Caw!” the raven screeched from its perch.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
“Where is it?” Faith asked. The two Slayers approached the young man in a double-team intimidation move.
“Where’s what?” he said, backing up into a bookcase.
“Your partner in crime,” Faith clarified. “The Feqlor.”
“What?” Edgar said, scared. “You think I –?”
“Edgar!” a loud voice boomed from the back room. The voice was followed by a large bulk of a man, his appearance making it clear he was Edgar’s father. “Don’t you have work to do?”
Faith and Kennedy refused to let Edgar by as he tried to worm his way past them.
“You two!” the large man said. “You buying something?”
Faith glanced away from Edgar. “No, just had a few questions for sonny-boy here.”
“Then you go!” he said. “He has no time for games. He wastes enough on his stupid studies. Go! Buy something or go!”
Faith nodded. “Okay, back later, Edgar,” she said. “Come on, Ken.”
The two slayers left the shop.
“Caw!” the raven screeched again from its perch.
Alley Behind Shop – Minutes Later
Faith and Kennedy turned the corner leading into the alley behind the shop.
“Well, well,” Faith said, pointing her chin down the alley. “Look what we have here.”
Kennedy looked and saw the slight form of Rowena Allister examining the space by the dumpster where they found the body the day before.
“I oughta rearrange her face,” Kennedy said, starting to make her purposeful way down the street.
Faith held her back a moment by tugging on her sleeve. “Get in line, Brat,” she said. “Looks like lil’ Ms. Cold Fish has company.”
Kennedy squinted into the dark shadows and saw an obscure silhouette near the watcher. As the slayers watched, they saw the figure begin to move toward Rowena.
“Come on!” Faith said, taking off running. “Willow might not want her dead…yet!”
Kennedy chased the other slayer, who had a slight head start. Rowena heard the noise and turned around, putting an arm up to protect herself from the advancing Faith, but Faith simply ignored her and crashed into the dark figure.
“Ahhh!” the attacker cried out, as Faith landed on top and began to pound away.
“What’s going on?” Rowena yelled.
“We’re saving your life, again!” Kennedy said, passing the Watcher and joining Faith.
“Don’t hit! Don’t hit!” the figure cried. “I don’t hurt you!”
Faith let up and looked down at the body she was straddling. The figure’s hat had flown off in her attack and they could see a pair of horns emerging from a blue-skinned forehead. Bright red lips, coated with green blood, tried to smile up at the trio.
“Brell!” he said again. “I don’t hurt!”
“It’s a demon,” Rowena said.
“No sh—” Faith began.
“Good demon!” Brell cried. “No kill Brell. Brell have wife; two spawns!”
“A good demon?” Rowena scoffed. “There’s no such thing.”
“There are good demons,” Kennedy argued.
“Yeah,” Faith agreed, without letting Brell off the ground. “Lorne for example.”
“Lorne?” Rowena asked.
“Friend of Angel’s,” Kennedy explained. “I met him last summer in L.A. after Sunnydale went boom. Kinda the Liberace of the demon world. Wonder what he looks like in a white fur coat.”
Faith chuckled. “He’s a cool dude but his fashion sense is definitely way out there.”
“And then there’s that demon Buffy introduced us to when she was training us,” Kennedy mused. “What was his name? Oh yeah, Clem!”
“Clement of Sunnydale?” Brell asked. “Him I know!”
“What?” Kennedy asked. “How could you know him?”
“Cousin of wife!” the demon said. “Like uncle of spawns. Clem lots skin?”
“Sounds like him,” Kennedy shrugged.
“So if you’re good, pal,” Faith began, “then why were you attacking Ms. Cold Fish here?”
“I no hurt! Told you!” Brell protested. “Brell want to help.”
“You want our help?” Rowena asked, confused.
“Brell help you,” he countered. “Brell see things out here. Not all demons nice like Brell.”
Faith finally moved off the demon and helped him to his feet.
“Come on then,” she said. “Let’s get you back to the Watchers Council and Giles can question you.”
“You’re taking a demon into the Council?” Rowena asked with disbelief.
“At least we can control the situation.” Kennedy snapped. “We finally have some say in when and how we lose our necks. And that’s a helluva lot more than I can say battling the Old Guard.”
“Later,” Faith said to Rowena, keeping one hand on Brell’s arm as she led him from the alley. “Let’s get this guy home, Brat.”
Rowena sighed and picked up her laptop case and luggage. Faith glanced back at her.
“What’s all that?” she asked.
“My belongings,” Rowena said, slinging the heavy bags over her shoulder.
“Get kicked out again?” Kennedy sneered.
“Something like that,” Rowena sighed.
“I thought you were staying at that fancy hotel downtown?” Faith asked.
“I was,” Rowena replied ironically. “Thanks to Tyrell, my lease expired.”
“Damn, that’s harsh,” Faith said, and then thought a moment. “Come on,” she offered. “We’ll find someplace for you to bunk.”
“Faith!” Kennedy protested. “Willow and Giles –”
“Drop it, Brat,” Faith interrupted. “We’re taking one demon to the council. What’s one more? I’m pullin’ rank here, so let’s go.”
After a moment, the watcher followed, drudging her belongings along with her.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Afternoon
Willow and Giles swiveled around in their chairs as Faith and Kennedy escorted the horned demon into the room and pointed him into a seat.
“Brell,” Faith began. “Meet Mr. Giles, Mr. Wood and Willow.”
Brell gave everyone a polite nod. As Faith took a seat next to Robin and Kennedy simply stood behind Willow’s chair, Andrew came in and stood nervously near the window. A moment later Rowena entered the room, bags in tow.
“And like a bad penny, she keeps turning up,” Willow said.
Rowena placed her case down on the table and sat. Folding her arms, she simply looked at Willow.
“Give the kid a break, Will,” Faith said. “They’re giving her a hard time, too. Besides, if she’s here, she’s not reporting to the Old Guard and we can keep an eye on her.”
“What brings you here today?” Giles said, turning to Brell.
“Brell,” the demon said before pausing, considering what to say. “Brell wants to help.”
“Says he’s a cousin of some dude named Clem from Sunnydale,” Faith explained. Willow instantly smiled at the news. “Ro here was snooping around behind the magic shop when he approached her.”
“Help with what, Brell?” Giles asked.
“Brell see things,” Brell said. “Brell watched killing.”
“You saw the feqlor attack Boris in the alley?” Willow asked.
“Yes!” the demon replied. “Thing wrapped boy,” he told them, mimicking the movement by wrapping his own arms around his body. “Then thing eat boy. Thing eat juice.”
“The feqlor sucked the liquid right out of Boris?” Giles said. “Brell, did you see it change shape?”
“Brell not see,” Brell said, shaking his head. “I go to hide.”
“It knew you were there?” Willow asked.
“Demon not see me,” he said, wiping his forehead in mock relief. “Went into magic shop.”
“It went back into the shop before it shifted?” Willow said.
“Yes!” Brell nodded, apparently happy that she understood him.
“Brell,” Giles started. “Did you see a partner? Did you see someone controlling the feqlor?”
“Brell not see,” Brell said sadly, shaking his head.
“Why are you helping us, Brell?” Robin asked.
“Brell wants to help,” he replied. “I helped last watcher here but…watcher and her girl killed by ugly demons with knife. Brell too late to help.”
“Ohh,” Willow said sympathetically, which earned her a slight grin from Brell.
“But I told slayer, Brell have wife and two spawns. Maybe watchers keep Brell and kin safe again.”
“See?” Faith said, turning a bright smile towards Rowena. “Sometimes even demons just want what everyone else does – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Rowena remained silent.
“Thank you, Brell,” Willow said, standing up and moving to the demon. He took her hand and also stood up. “Let us know how we can contact you and we’ll be in touch if we need more information. Is that alright?”
Brell nodded. “Oh yes! Brell live not far from magic shop.”
Willow led Brell to the door and indicated to one of the slayers waiting outside to escort him out of the building. Brell turned to Willow one last time. “Clement is right. Red Witch pretty. Red Witch sweet.”
“Thanks Brell,” Willow smiled. “Tell Clem we said hi and he’s welcome to visit anytime.”
Brell nodded happily and followed the Slayer.
Willow turned back to the group. “So, any ideas who our symbionts are?”
“Gotta be Edgar,” Faith said.
“No!” Andrew said. “It’s not him.”
“Look, Andy,” Faith said. “I know you like the dude, but if it walks like a duck…?”
“I’m telling you, it’s not him!” Andrew insisted. “He’s just a student, not a wizard capable of summoning that powerful of a demon.”
“You could do it,” Robin argued.
“Well, yeah, but…” Andrew said.
“And,” Giles began, “if this boy is nothing more than what you say he is, Andrew, then perhaps he has no idea the consequences of the magics he’s been channeling.”
“It’s not him,” Andrew said stubbornly, his arms crossed and his mouth set in a pout.
“What about the demon?” Kennedy asked to change the subject. “How do we find it and kill it?”
“Here,” Rowena said, finally speaking up for the first time since entering the room. She moved her hand over toward the center of the table and opened her fist. Out spilled a half dozen black feathers.
“The raven?” Faith said.
“I’m pretty sure it is,” Rowena said. “Makes sense. The bird seems to keep a pretty close eye on Edgar, and it disappeared shortly before Kennedy found the body in the alley.”
“Rowena mentioned that only a gold weapon could kill a Feqlor. We have any of those in our arsenal, sweetie?” Willow asked, turning to Kennedy.
“Nope,” Kennedy said, shrugging.
“Er…I might be able to help there,” Giles said. “Andrew, if you would be so kind as to run up to my suite and grab the leather case that’s sitting on the table, just inside the door?”
“Sure, Mr. Giles,” Andrew said, then took off.
A minute later, the young man returned and laid the box in front of Giles. He opened it and pulled out an ornate gold fencing foil.
“Wow!” Rowena said. “That looks like a Watchers Academy fencing trophy.”
Giles nodded. “That’s exactly what it is,” he said proudly.
“I’ve got one of those,” Rowena continued, moving over to Giles and motioning for permission before taking the foil. Giles handed the trophy over to her with a small smile.
“You were fencing champion at the Academy?” he asked. “That’s quite an accomplishment.”
Rowena nodded. “I got mine in 1999,” she said, lightly grasping the foil in her right hand and gracefully twirling it around to test its weight. “What year did you win?”
“Never you mind,” Giles muttered with a frown. He gently took the foil back from her and handed it to Faith.
Willow and Rowena shared a slight grin at Giles’s reaction until Willow realized what she was doing and quickly made herself look busy by sorting some papers in front of her, breaking eye contact.
“Heavy,” Faith said. She swung the foil quickly through the air so it hissed, her movements far less graceful than Giles’s had been.
“It’s the gold,” Giles explained.
“Whatever gets the job done,” Faith shrugged. She turned to Rowena. “You say you’ve got one too? Can we use it?”
“Of course,” Rowena said. “It’s in a small storage facility with a few of my other belongings, but we can get it.”
“Good,” Faith said. “Then both me and Brat are covered.”
“We’ll head out after dark,” Kennedy said. “I want to call my father first.”
Willow looked at her lover. “She’ll be alright, Ken. I don’t think they would hurt her. They’re probably just pulling the ole ‘Nahnah, Nahnah, Nah, Nah’ approach to warfare.”
“I can’t believe Tyrell would do this,” Rowena said, her face a mixture of conflicting emotions. “It’s one thing to attack you directly, but to involve innocents, such as your sister and my family? That makes no sense. They’re the people watchers are supposed to protect.”
“Why would they attack you?” Kennedy said bitterly. “You’re one of them.”
“Apparently I’m not,” Rowena said.
“How do we know that?” Giles said. “You say your family’s been attacked. What proof do we have? And like Kennedy said, why you? What do you have that they want?”
“Would you care to see the wire transfer that emptied my savings so I could pay for the repairs for my father’s boat?” Rowena said, angrily. “Or how about the notice from Tyrell to the hotel telling them my room was no longer required? I’ve done everything I could to prove to you that I’m just trying to help.”
“It’s not enough,” Willow said quietly.
Rowena shot her a frustrated look, then stormed out the door.
Faith chuckled. “Looks like lil’ Ms. Cold Fish has some passion in her after all.”
Suddenly, Rona ran into the room. “More trouble guys,” she said, breathing hard. “A fire’s broken out in the dorm.”
“Dear lord!” Giles said. “Why aren’t the alarms going off?”
“I had to disable them!” Willow said. “Did you call the fire department?”
“They’re on their way,” Rona said. “We got everyone out safely.” She raced out of the room again.
“Enough of this crap,” Faith said defiantly, heading for stairs to the second floor.
“Faith, what are you…?” Robin began, but she just ignored him and kept on going.
End of Act Three