Act 4




Fade In:
Himalayas – Monastery – Next Day (Late Afternoon)

Lori sighed. She sat on the ground at the entrance of the monastery, sipping water from a thermos. A few dozen yards away, Big Frank waited, its small support team walking around the helicopter or inside.

From within the monastery itself came the sound of two sets of footsteps. In moments, Felix and Isabel emerged from the shadows. Lori caught their eyes with what almost qualified as a smile.

“No luck?”

Isabel shook her head.

“It is probably right in front of us, and we’re not noticing,” said Felix.

“Well,” said Lori, “we’ve each now searched the main complex together, and each wing separately. Plus the attics. Plus the cellars. Did you check out the roof?”



Felix sighed this time. He sat on the ground beside Lori. After a few moments, Isabel joined them. Lori passed her thermos, and they each took a sip.

“The problem,” Felix said after a time, “is that we don’t know the form the Vessel will take. In all probability, it doesn’t even have a form, not yet. Nor will it, until and unless it is found.”

“Could someone else have already done that?” asked Isabel.

“I suppose that is possible, but one must wonder how? The time is the problem.” Felix ran his hand through his hair. “The place is here. We know that from the Orb. The time is…approximately now. Deciphering the Codex was difficult, but we approached that from a dozen directions. We are definitely within the window described. Frankly, I find it hard to believe anyone else got here before us. I’ve certainly seen no signs. Have you?”

“Nope,” said Lori.

“I think we must be the first to walk these halls in many years,” Felix breathed. “Even if some other party is headed here, we’ve arrived first. There must be more to do. Or maybe something will happen.”

“So we wait?”

“For now, I believe so.”

“Tell me more,” Isabel said suddenly, “about her.” She pointed at the statue of Kali. “She looks like a demon.”

“Well, that is not how she is perceived,” Felix replied. “If you like, you can think of her as a kind of dark version of the Virgin Mary.”

“And that fellow,” she said, pointing at the figure upon which Kali stood, “is her husband?”

“Shiva the Destroyer.” Felix nodded. “He is one of the Hindu Trinity, really. Brahma, who creates. Vishnu, who preserves. And Shiva. Together they make up the balance that is the universe.”

“Not exactly the stuff of Sunday school, huh?” Lori grinned.

Isabel opened her mouth and closed it. She stood up and walked over to the statue. She stared at it for nearly a minute before getting up the nerve to touch it. Even then, she hesitated. A single finger reached out and ran along the edge of a blade in the goddess’s hand.

From somewhere deep, a dull click rumbled under their feet. Lori and Felix scrambled up to a standing position. The statue, meanwhile, revealed a microscopic line down its entire length that began to glow and then slowly widen. With a rumbling sound, the statue parted in the middle. After several seconds, the two halves finally came to rest two yards apart, revealing beyond a passage and a staircase leading down.

Lori stared. So did Felix. Isabel’s eyes were just huge. Finally, Lori was the one to break the silence.

“Yup. Right under our nose.”

“Good job, Isabel,” Felix said, heading into the passage.

“Yeah,” Lori said, following. “Real good.”


Cut To:
Thornkirk – Allister Home – Same Time (Early Morning)

Giles and Becca sat side-by-side on a small grassy incline. With Martin in her lap, Becca watched as Elizabeth picked something out of the sand a few feet from them before waddling in their direction.

Giles stood up and offered his finger to help steady the small girl on her trip up the little hill. When she was a few feet away, Elizabeth plopped down beside her mom and let out a deep sigh as if she’d been working all day. Becca tried to suppress her chuckle at the exaggeration.

“What do you have there, Love?” Giles asked as he knelt in front of her.

Raising a finger, as if telling him to wait, Elizabeth opened her hand. She held up a large clamshell, while three others in smaller sizes fell to the grass.

“Daddy, shell,” she said, handing the biggest one to Giles.

“Why thank you,” he told her proudly.

“Mommy, shell,” she said, as she handed the next biggest size to Becca. “This Liz shell…” she said, holding up an even smaller one. “…and baby shell Marty. He a baby.” She then held up the smallest shell of all.

“Thank you. That’s very nice of you,” Becca complimented. “Why don’t you have Daddy hold on to Martin’s shell for him?” she suggested.

“Okay,” she said, handing it over to Giles. She stopped short of giving it to him and added, “Don’t lose Marty baby shell, Daddy.”

He took it from her and put it in the breast pocket of his shirt. “I’ll guard it with my life,” he told her.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “There is more,” she said as she waved toward the beach.

Elizabeth got back up and waddled back toward the shoreline. Becca smiled at Giles and chuckled as silently as possible so that Elizabeth couldn’t hear her.

“She gets it from you,” Giles muttered.

Becca now laughed out loud. “I don’t think you can pin this one on me. She just turned two, and she’s talking in sentences. My mother said I didn’t speak until I was almost three. You, on the other hand, had tweed diapers, according to Buffy.”

Giles got an offended look that made Becca laugh even more, but he quickly smiled. He glanced over his shoulder to see Rowena approaching them.

“Here comes the bride,” Giles remarked, making Becca turn. “Well, one of them, at least,” he added with a grin.

Elizabeth looked up from her treasure hunt to see Rowena. She waved and let out a squeal of “Ro!” before coming back up the hill.

“Hey Liz!” Rowena said with a wave.

“So today’s the big day. I figured you’d be getting ready this morning,” Becca said.

“That was the plan, but my attendants aren’t attending to me,” she replied with a grin. “Truth is, I don’t really need attending to, but I do need to make sure they’ve got their hair done. Have you seen them?”

“Mary and Althenea? No, I haven’t,” Giles replied. “Perhaps they’re at the dock? Have a seat, and I’ll go check.”

“You don’t have to do that, Giles,” Rowena told him.

“Think this old man’s too old, do you?” he teased.

“No,” Rowena said, slightly embarrassed. “Not at all. I just meant that it’s my wedding, so it’s up to me to find the wedding party.”

By now Elizabeth had worked her way back up the rise. She held up a shell for Rowena.

“For you,” Elizabeth said. She then gave Rowena another one. “For Will,” she told her.

“Stay,” Giles told her. “I’ll find them.”

Rowena nodded, and Giles walked away, but not before patting Elizabeth on the head. Rowena took his spot next to Becca and Elizabeth climbed into her lap.

“Thank you,” Rowena told Elizabeth. “Why don’t you hang on to both of them for me for now? I can’t see Aunt Willow until after the wedding is over, but if you give them to us then, we won’t lose them.”

“Okay,” Elizabeth agreed.

“Can I see those for a second?” Rowena asked as she stretched out her hand. Elizabeth gave her the shells, and Rowena examined them. “Do you know what kinds of shells these are, Liz?”

“Sea shells!” Elizabeth announced proudly.

“Yep, they sure are,” Rowena told her. “But did you know they came from different kinds of sea animals?” Elizabeth looked confused. “You can tell by the different shapes. See, this one here,” she said, holding up her shell. “This is called a scallop shell.”

“Sallup shell?” Elizabeth tried to repeat.

“Close enough,” Rowena said, in an aside to Becca. “Yep,” she told Elizabeth. “And Aunt Willow’s one is called a clam shell.”

“Clam shell?”

“Uh huh,” Rowena said.

“What this?” Elizabeth asked, holding up another shell.

“Ahh, now those shells are really special,” she told Elizabeth. She watched as the young girl’s eyes went wide. “They’re called oyster shells.”

“Oizer shells, ahh,” she said, mimicking Rowena’s expression.

“She’s like a sponge,” Rowena said softly to Becca, who only nodded with a grin. Rowena turned back to Elizabeth. “Some special oysters can make these little beads called pearls.” She reached under her collar and held up the necklace around her neck to show the single pearl on the chain. Elizabeth came close and touched Rowena’s necklace, listening to the woman’s every word. “Maybe that oyster,” she said, tapping the shell, “made this pearl?” she added as she held up the necklace. “What do you think?”

Elizabeth seemed to think about it for a second and said, “Noooo! Shell out there!” She pointed back toward the beach.

“Ya got me,” Rowena confessed. “It’s not from that oyster. But it is true that one of his oyster friends made this pearl.”

“Liz get more,” Elizabeth said excitedly as she went back down the hill.

Rowena grinned as she watched Elizabeth take off toward the beach again. Becca patted Rowena on the knee, and the watcher looked over at her.

“If the time comes when you and Will decide to have kids, you’re gonna do just fine,” she told her.

Rowena smiled. “Thanks.”

Cut To:
Northern India – Remote Airport – Same Time (Late Afternoon)

Kennedy and Kadin looked up at the knock on the door. Then they looked at each other.

“Come in!” they said together.

Venugopal poked his head inside the room. “Am I disturbing you?”

“Nope,” said Kennedy with a grin. “We’re fine.”

He stepped all the way inside. “These thermally enhanced suits, you had no trouble getting them on? As you can see, they are modeled somewhat on the Black Ops suits used in Cleveland. Of course, we adapted the design for work in the mountains. Hence the thermal padding and slightly tighter fit in some places.”

“All good,” Kadin assured him, fastening the last buckles into place.

“The only reason I asked was…well, you’ve been in here changing for rather a while. The copter has arrived. Its pilot is waiting, has been.”

“Uh…” Kennedy began. She looked at Kadin.

Kadin said, “The suits were a little tricky, to tell the truth. We couldn’t decide which ones to wear at first. I put on Kennedy’s. She put on mine.”

“They have your names on them.”

“I know! Silly, huh? Then, we both made the same mistake with some of the buckles and had to start over.” She looked like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth.

“Yeah,” said Kennedy, with an identical expression. “That’s what happened.”

“Ah.” Venugopal looked away. “Well, time to go, I think.”

“Right!” said Kennedy.

“Time to go,” said Kadin.

They followed him out of the room, briefly touching hands as they did.

“Fortunately, this shouldn’t take long at all,” Venugopal was saying. “By air, the monastery is actually quite close.”

Cut To:
Thornkirk – Dock – Moments Later (Still Early Morning)

Giles rounded the boathouse to see Althenea standing inches away from Mary Grace, both of them smiling and giggling.

“Hello ladies,” he said. Mary Grace seemed to wear a guilty expression, but Althenea just smiled. “Seems your bride is looking for you both,” he added.

“Oh,” Mary Grace said, looking at her watch. “I didn’t realize it was that late. I better…” She pitched a finger and walked away, giving Giles a grin as she passed, which he returned.

“You seem to have gotten quite cozy with Mary,” Giles observed as he took a few steps closer to Althenea.

“What’s that they say, Mr. Giles? If you can’t love the one you want, love –”

“The sister?” Giles interrupted.

“The one you’re with,” Althenea finished. “But really, there’s no love here.”

“Do you mind me asking what exactly is here?”

Althenea grinned. “When I arrived earlier this week, Mary just couldn’t see the appeal of why Ro would want to be with a woman…Let’s just say, I educated her.”

“You had sex with Rowena’s sister!” he exclaimed in a hush.

“Did I say sex? No, I did not,” Althenea replied. “But as Mary Grace found out…sometimes, things change.” She began to walk back toward the house, hooking her arm around his. “And life is full of surprises.”

Giles sighed. “I don’t want to see you get hurt,” he told her.

“It’s just a fun weekend,” Althenea told him. “Nothing more, nothing less. So just relax.” She squeezed his arm. “You’re so tense, I’d think you’re the one who’s getting married,” she teased.

Cut To:
Thornkirk – Hotel Room – Later That Morning

“What if I trip and fall down? I’m sure this boat will be rocking,” Buffy said to an unseen figure.

“Tripping? That’s it? What if I drop the rings?” Xander butted in. “At least you can stand back up. I might be chucking the rings overboard.”

“Will you two relax?” Willow told them. “For crying out loud, guys. Come on. You’re supposed to be supporting me. I’m the one who’s supposed to be all nervous and angsty here, not you.”

“I’m sorry,” Buffy replied.

We’ll be good,” Xander replied.

Willow sighed. “Thank you,” she replied. “It’s bad enough I’ve got to deal with my wacky mother and her demented tagalongs. I just don’t have the energy to prop you two up, too.”

“I gotta hand it to you, Will,” Xander told her. “I don’t see how you can be so calm. I mean, what if –”

Willow put her finger over his lips. “No, Xander Harris. We’re not playing the ‘what if’ game of everything that can go wrong. We’re not, so, just…don’t go there.”

“No, Will’s right,” Buffy said optimistically. “Happy thoughts here, Xan. Happy thoughts. Nothing is going to go wrong. Everything is going to be perfect, and by the end of the day you’ll be…well, Ms. Willow Rosenberg, but married.”

“Yeah, what about that?” Xander asked. “Is she going to take your name? Not to sound like an idiot, but how does that work?”

“We’re both keeping our names,” Willow replied. “We’ve had them this long, so we’re sticking to them.”

“True,” Buffy remarked. “Willow Danielle Rosenberg-Allister is a lot to say in one mouthful. Plus, can you imagine trying to put that on a tombstone?”

“Yeah, that’d be hard to fit,” Xander added.

Willow stared at both of them, slack jawed.

“Not now!” Buffy said quickly. “Years from now!”

“Decades even!” Xander offered.

Buffy nodded enthusiastically, but Willow sighed.

“Can you go get me some water while I get dressed?” Willow asked. Buffy and Xander both pointed toward each other, as if asking who she meant. “Both of you,” she added firmly. “Just go…away…for a little while…Take a sedative and then come see me.”

Buffy and Xander both nodded and started toward the exit, looking like reprimanded children.

Fade To:
Himalayas – Monastery – Night

The crew of Big Frank looked up to see a small commercial helicopter approach and land. Two security guards strode over to meet the new arrivals. Both kept one hand on the gun in their side holsters, but otherwise they seemed relaxed. Each had a pin on his uniform – the Bureau Nine logo.

Venugopal emerged and said something to them in Hindi. They said something back, and a dialogue went on. Kennedy and Kadin, also emerging from the helicopter, looked around. After a moment, Kadin pointed to the main entrance, at a statue that seemed to be split in two and a passage beyond.

“I see it,” said Kennedy.

“This,” said Venugopal suddenly in English, “is not your property. You have no authority to give orders to myself or my compatriots. Should you require confirmation, I suggest contacting Dr. Shamita Singh.” He turned to Kennedy and Kadin. “Go.”

“You sure?” Kadin asked.

“Positive. Go.” He turned again to the guards. “Dr. Singh has left standing orders that the activities of the Watchers Council are not to be subject to interference. Has she not?”

The conversation continued in Hindi. Kennedy and Kadin sprinted over to the statue split in half.

Behind them, the security guards raised their voices.

Cut To:
Thornkirk – Yacht – Same Time (Almost Noon)

Andrew stood in his ceremonial robes, with Buffy and Xander standing to his right while Althenea and Mary Grace stood to his left. They were all smiling as they watched Willow and Rowena walk down the aisle with their fathers on their arm.

“I really wish Mom had showed,” Rowena confessed to her dad, as she looked around the crowd of happy faces. “But I’m glad you’re here.” He patted her hand that held his arm and gave her a smile.

“The most important woman’s here,” he said, nodding to Willow. “That’s all that matters.” Rowena began to smile and leaned on his shoulder for a brief moment.

As they came to a stop in front of Andrew, he asked, “Who gives Willow Danielle Rosenberg to be wed?”

“Her mother and I do,” Ira answered. He leaned over and gave Willow a kiss on the cheek, then moved to stand next to Sheila.

“And who gives Blanche Rowena Allister to be wed?” Andrew asked.

“I do,” Jacob answered, kissing Rowena and taking his place behind Althenea.

Willow and Rowena locked arms, and Andrew motioned them forward.

“As this may be the first time that some of you are attending a handfasting, our brides thought you might be interested in the symbolism of what you will see today. The circle in which you all stand is symbolic of the cycles of life, the womb of the Great Mother, a sacred place created for mortal and divine interaction, in which any negativity from the mundane world can be left outside and all the love and joy we feel for the couple is contained within.”

Faith reached down and locked her hand with Robin’s, and his smile grew larger.

“I look out at you now, and I see a rich and diverse weave of differing beliefs, lifestyles, ages and viewpoints. Yet you are all here celebrating your love for this pair, wishing for them all that they would want for themselves, rather than what your own hopes may have been. It sounds more like an ideal, but it isn’t, and it is in part what makes their life together a thing of such great beauty. With that said, you may all be seated.”

As Jeff and Grace took their seats, they saw Williams, the journalist, and his partner several yards off the starboard bow, sitting on a flying carpet with cameras around their necks.

“Oh man,” Grace sighed. “Can you believe it?”

Jeff stood up and walked over to the railing. He began to mutter something and then appeared almost to blow the reporters a long kiss. A gale grabbed hold of the carpet, shooting the men across the sky and well out of range of the ship.

“Sorry,” he apologized to the gathering. “I’ll handle this. Please continue, my priest,” he told Andrew.

The grins of Willow and Rowena conveyed their thanks, and even Grace gave Jeff a big thumbs-up as he continued to stand guard.

Cut To:
Himalayas – Tunnels – Same Time

Felix swung his flashlight across the stone walls around him.

“If anyone is interested,” he began, “these aren’t simply caves. If you look carefully, you can see where the stalactites and stalagmites have been cut away.”

“What is the difference?” asked Isabel. “I could never remember. One points up and the other points down, I know that.”

“To tell the truth,” said Felix, “I could never keep that straight in my mind either.” He shook his head.

“Did you hear something?” said Lori.

Cut To:
Himalayas – Monastery – Same Time

With a final blow, Kadin finished dispatching one security officer. Looking up, she saw Kennedy standing over her guard.

“They really shouldn’t have done that,” muttered Kennedy.

Venugopal approached. “Their backup will be here any moment. I’ll delay them.”

Kadin nodded.

“Right,” said Kennedy. She and Kadin took off into a run toward the opening in the statue.

Cut To:
Thornkirk – Yacht – Same Time

Jeff still stood watch at the railing, while Andrew continued the ceremony.

“There is a term that we hear often at events such as this, with very little explanation,” Andrew said. “The term is ‘Perfect Love and Perfect Trust’ or ‘Unconditional Love.’ In the case of a marriage, and in the case of all loving, caring, committed relationships, the ideal that this speaks of is not about perfection, but of expecting and accepting imperfection and human frailty. It means saying, ‘I accept and I expect that on occasion you will anger me, as I will anger you, and that you will hurt me, as I will hurt you. But I know in my heart that between us there is love and affection and friendship that is stronger. And I trust that no pain is caused out of ill will, or malice, or pettiness, just as I trust that we are together for a reason and that we will never throw each other away. I trust that at our best we will live together in love and joy and harmony and at our worst we will fight with and for and beside each other, for the greater good, without fear of abandonment. For the divinely-inspired desire to be together for a lifetime is indeed something well worth fighting for.’ And these, dear friends, are the promises that you have been invited to bear witness to this day.”

Cut To:
Himalayas – Underground Chamber – Same Time

All three flashlights swept around the cave. Only it seemed more like a chamber. The walls were rounded, smooth. Sconces and torches were positioned around the curved walls.

Felix took out a lighter and began to light the torches, one by one. “I doubt this was ever a cave,” he said.

“Do you feel it?” said Isabel. “This room feels warm.”

Lori and Felix waited. “Yeah,” said Lori after a moment. “It does. A little.”

“I suspect this is in some way our destination,” said Felix. “Whatever it is will take shape here. And it will likely take a shape in some way meaningful to you.” He indicated Isabel.

“Why me?”

“Because a year ago, the world changed.” He hesitated. “When all the Hellmouths opened up and angels fought with demons before the eyes of all the world, things happened beyond the supernatural coming out of the closet. It was all such a huge event, it’s little wonder some details got lost amid the static. But one of those details – and this is vital – was the return of a slayer from the dead.”

“Faith,” said Lori.


“But that happened before. Buffy Summers died and came back. Twice, according to her.”

“I know. The first time, evidently, the fact she came back was not so much a return from the dead as proper medical treatment coupled with her own slayer fortitude. But the second time, she had been truly deceased. Willow Rosenberg actually brought her all the way from the other side, and, in the process, eventually destroyed the old Watchers Council. That act stirred up the conscious force known as The First Evil.”

“And when Faith was brought back?” asked Isabel.

“When that happened, I believe some kind of mystic balance was upset. And you became what you are now.”

“Because of me?”

“No. Not because of you. To you. You were given no more choice than if you were struck by lightning.”

All three suddenly reacted to the air becoming warmer. It was as if a fire had begun in the center of the chamber, radiating heat. They all looked toward the source and saw a stem of something emerging from the solid rock. Green. With a faint penumbra around it, that grew as the stem sprouted leaves and thorns. And a bud.

The bud began to bloom.

Cut To:
Thornkirk – Yacht – Same Time

Willow looked over and smiled at Rowena, who returned the smile with one of her own. She tightened her hold on Willow’s arm, her fingers gently caressing the witch’s engagement bracelet.

“Spirits of Earth,” Andrew continued, “we ask that you give unto those you see standing before you this day the rock solid place to stand and fulfill their destiny. May their journey mirror the vast planes and fertile fields, expansive and alive. May they find the right seeds to sow to ensure a bountiful harvest. And when they look up at the Northern Star, may they know that it is as bright and constant as their love for each other as well as the love of the divine is for them…Father, Mother, Divine Spirit, whose presence is felt in all things and at all times, we ask your continued blessings upon this couple, upon their union and upon their family and friends who have gathered here to celebrate this joyous event with them. May they become one in truth and forever revel in the magic that is love.”

Cut To:
Himalayas – Tunnels – Same Time

Kennedy and Kadin ran through the caves.

“Do you feel it?” yelled Kadin.

“Yeah! Any idea what it is?”

“None! But it’s that way!”

Kennedy followed Kadin’s lead.

Cut To:
Himalayas – Underground Chamber – Same Time

Felix and Lori stood entranced by the rose blooming and glowing before them. Its warmth touched their faces and hands. But Isabel actually smiled.

“Just like my abuela used to grow in her garden,” she said.

“That may be why,” he said, “it has taken this form. If I am right, only you dare touch it. But once you have, then people like Nicholas can study it, learn precisely what to do.”

Isabel stepped toward the rose.

Footsteps echoed from the caves behind them. Lori and Felix looked back toward the door through which they had entered the chamber. Lori drew something from a holster inside her jacket.

Kennedy and Kadin ran into the chamber. They looked around and saw Felix and Lori. Kennedy did a take at seeing Felix.

“May I help you?” Felix said politely.

“Look!” Kadin said. She pointed to the glowing flower, and Isabel approaching it.

“No!” yelled Kennedy. She ran forward toward Isabel.

“Don’t!” Lori intercepted her, pushing an activated Taser against the slayer’s middle. Kennedy gasped and fell down.

But now Kadin was headed for Isabel. First, though, she took a swing at Lori, who successfully drew her entire body down, avoiding the blow. Kadin got only a glancing touch of the Taser, but it still sent her down with a scream.

Cut To:
Thornkirk – Yacht – Same Time

“Xander and Althenea, will you now hold out the rings entrusted to you? Your hands beneath serve as a symbol of how Willow Danielle and Blanche Rowena and their marriage are supported upon this earth by the love of their friends and family, as blessed from above.”

Xander and Althenea both held out their hands, and each bride took the respective rings.

“Blanche Rowena,” Andrew began, “With this ring, do you wed Willow Danielle? Do you take her as your friend, your lover, your wife from this day forth and into the fullness of time where you will meet and remember and love again?”

Rowena smiled as she looked at Willow. “I do,” she replied. softly but with great certainty.

Cut To:
Himalayas – Underground Chamber – Same Time

Kennedy, from her position on the ground, kicked Lori’s wrist, causing her to yell in pain and drop the Taser. But Lori instantly drew a baton from her side with her left hand. Unsteadily, Kennedy started to stand. Lori swung the baton with both hands against Kennedy’s calf, and she went to the ground again.

Kadin, watching all this, frowned. Her eyes shifted, becoming solid black. In less than a second, she was up and her arms circled Lori from behind, tight enough to make her gasp in pain. Kadin growled, her features beginning to change.

Then she shuddered in shock, and Lori slipped free. Behind her, Felix applied a third Taser shot to the back of the hunter’s neck. Kadin fell to her knees with a cry of pain.

“Stop the fighting!” Felix said in a roar. “Everyone! Stop everything! Now!”

Lori paused, looking between Kadin, who was breathing hard, but with jet-black eyes, and Kennedy, who slowly stood. Kennedy looked at Lori, at Kadin, at Felix. She raised her hands, as if to say “wait.” Then she spotted Isabel, and her eyes went wide.

Isabel stretched her hand toward the glowing rose. She was almost touching it.

Seeing her move, Felix shouted out. “Not now, Isabel!”

She ignored him.

Kennedy appeared to hesitate for a moment, but then, with a determined look, she darted forward. She ran as if to tackle Isabel…

But it was too late. Isabel touched the rose, and the room exploded with a light brighter than the sun. Kennedy dropped to her knees and shielded her eyes.

Cut To:
Thornkirk – Yacht – Same Time

“Willow Danielle,” Andrew began, “With this ring, do you wed Blanche Rowena? Do you take her as your friend, your lover, your wife from this day forth and into the fullness of time where you will meet and remember and love again?”

Willow began to sway slightly. “I…I…”

Rowena watched as Willow’s eyelids flickered, if trying to stay open. She instinctively tightened her hold on Willow’s arms. “Will, are you okay?”

Willow didn’t answer.

Cut To:
Himalayas – Underground Chamber – Same Time

As the light in the underground chamber subsided, Felix and Lori blinked. So did Kennedy. Kadin shook her head, also blinking, but now her eyes were normal. All wiped tears from their eyes.

“Ow,” said Kennedy. She rubbed her leg where Lori had hit her.

“You can say that again,” muttered Lori, feeling her wrist.

Felix raised his voice. “Isabel?”

All four, as their vision returned, looked to the center of the chamber. There stood the rose, with its stem and leaves and thorns. But they were gray and dull. Rough, even. They certainly no longer glowed. After a moment, they all collapsed into a small pile of ash.

Isabel, standing beside those ashes, gave a shuddering sigh. Her eyes opened and glowed with all the colors of an aurora borealis.

“What did you do to her?” Kennedy asked.

No one seemed to have an answer. They all continued to stare.

Cut To:
Thornkirk – Yacht – Same Time

Willow began to sway even more and started to fall backward. Buffy and Xander both caught her just prior to her hitting the deck. The guests all shot to their feet to see what was happening.

“Willow!” Sheila exclaimed, as she came rushing over to kneel beside her daughter. Ira followed on her heels.

Grace looked over to see Jeff hunched over the railing of the boat. She took him by the shoulders.

“What’s wrong?” she asked him, trying to steady him. Jeff pointed out toward the water, where the magic carpet that had been heading back toward them was now taking a nosedive toward the water.

Jeff fell to his knees on the deck, and Grace tried to keep him upright. “I didn’t do that,” he told her. His eyes fluttered closed, and he collapsed to his side. Grace looked again at the carpet, now in the water, before looking at Jeff again.

Rowena turned around sharply. “Al, do you –?”

Rowena trailed off as she watched Althenea’s eyes close. The dark-haired witch began to fall forward, but Rowena scrambled to her feet and managed to catch her from the front, while Mary Grace steadied her from the back. They gently rested her on the ground.

“I’m gonna be sick,” Andrew said, just before he darted over to the railing and heaved.

Rowena shot to her feet and, in a panic, yelled, “Giles!” The crowd let him pass as he worked his way up front. “What’s happening?” she asked him.

Giles looked around at everyone, taking note of the various states they were in.

“The Coven,” he told her. “Everyone in the Coven is being affected by something.”

“Wh-wh-what are we gonna do?” Rowena asked.

Giles took her by both arms. “You stay close to Willow. I’ll tell the captain to radio ahead to have ambulances ready when we dock.” He started on his way back through the crowd again.

“Good idea,” Buffy said to Rowena. “Let’s move ’em to the back. That way, when we’re docked, they’re ready…Faith!”

“Right here, B,” Faith said, rushing to the front.

“You get Al. I’ll get Will,” she told her.

Faith stepped over and placed her arms under Al’s prone body, while Buffy did the same with Willow. They both lifted at the same time, but both slayers emitted a grunt, their patients barely moving.

Buffy wore a scared expression as she turned to Faith.

“I can’t lift her up,” Buffy told her.

“You ain’t alone.”

Cut To:
Himalayas – Underground Chamber – Same Time

Felix approached Isabel, who didn’t react at all. A little smile flickered on her lips.

“Isabel? Can you hear me at all?” he asked.

“You have no idea,” she whispered. “No idea.”

“Kennedy,” Kadin said, “I feel…weird. Not bad. Exactly. But…not the same. Kennedy?”

But Kennedy was sinking to the floor. “I don’t feel good, either…” she said, her voice slightly slurred.

Almost as one, both Kadin and Kennedy fell over, struggling to breathe.

Felix watched all this with huge eyes. He looked at Lori.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

“I don’t know.”


Fade To Caption:

“There they stood, ranged along the hillsides, met
    To view the last of me, a living frame
    For one more picture! In a sheet of flame
I saw them and I knew them all. And yet
Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
blew. Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.”










Fade to Black


End of Childe Roland

Next on Watchers…

In the finale of Watchers Season Four, the remaining members of the Council race to restore magic before it’s gone forever, but soon find they’re in for the fight of their lives.


Click here to read “The Dark Tower” now!