Chapter Fourteen

Nicholas sat on the dirt ground and looked back at Xander. Hard to believe they were only fighting minutes ago. He sighed sadly and began his tale.

"Almost twenty centuries ago, the world was in a terrible state of peril. It happened just after the crucifixion. With the death of Christ, the world plummeted. In the three days after his death, before his resurrection, was the darkest time our world has ever seen. Something not mentioned in the bible was the fact, that with the death of Christ, the demons and the darkness came out. It enveloped the world in a plague of locusts within hours of Jesus' death. Most of the smart people hid indoors and barricaded their homes. The unlucky ones were killed."

"Without Jesus there, the world was pretty much ripe pickings for the Darkness. At the same time, a incredibly powerful servant of the dark one, the devil, came. This demon spawn was named Kalen. The devil sent Kalen as an emissary of darkness. His goal was to encompass the earth in his dark grip. To set the path for the devil to come and destroy everything. Kalen commanded a group of demons through the streets of Jerusalem in the second day. Hundreds were slaughtered or turned to the darkness. Our world was on the brink of destruction. One step from being, literally, hell on earth."

"That's when the Follower came. At that time, there was a group of powerful followers. Many of whom were servants to Jesus. All empowered by one man. Jesus. Not as disciples, but as watchers of the darkness. Kalen was in the largest temple in Jerusalem. He was opening a gate for Beelzebub to step through. The Followers attacked then. They attacked with an incredible fury. Each had powers to deal with the devil's emissary. But individually, none of them had the power to stop him. Kalen was too close to opening the gate. He was basically feeding off the evil from hell."

"In a last ditch effort, two of the Followers combined their power. In the relationship between light and dark, there are two ways to overcome the dark. One way is to shine a light. The other is to bring the darkness into the light. That's what those two Followers did. They combined their power, their souls, their bodies, and their wills. With that combined force, they attacked Kalen. They pulled his evil and darkness into themselves. With him gone, the gate closed. But not without a cost. When the gate closed, a psychic explosion occurred. It destroyed a small part of Jerusalem. Few survived it. One of those few, was Falen. Falen was the combined power of the two Followers and Kalen. Kalen was destroyed, but the evil remained. An immense evil. The two Followers, a man and a woman, were incredibly empowered. They lost the power of good and had been overwhelmed by evil. Became evil. Soon after that, their form became vampiric. One of the first and one of the few to survive."

"But the story of these particular Followers is an incredibly sad one. These two, were in love. They had been married and had a daughter. Falen, the combined power of those three souls, forgot completely about the Followers' daughter, Mirim. The next day was the day of joy. That was the day Jesus returned. Jesus shined the world in an incredible amount of good. So incredible, that it drove the newly formed Falen into being a recluse. Falen disappeared for centuries. Resurfacing once and a while. A sort of slumber, if you will. A slumber that ended three hundred years ago. When Falen woke, they used their form to lure those who were attracted to them. The used their form to feed. Their mutual body shifted from male to female easier than a person can change their clothes."

Xander sat there, completely shocked by what Nicholas was telling him.

"But, how... How does this relate to you?" he stammered out.

Nicholas smiled sadly and continued, "Five years ago, shortly after my 21st birthday, I encountered Falen. It was before I turned into... this. We encountered each other by chance, or some sick form of fate, but either way, we met. I had been walking down the street in a small town outside of England. Falen appeared out of nowhere. It sensed something about me and fed on me. Turned me. What I didn't know at the time, was that I am one of Falen's, or at least the two Followers', descendants. Falen is my ancestor. He... She... They sensed the mystical power in me and saw that it would be useful. Falen made me into one of his mindless horde."

"What changed?" Xander asked.

Nicholas looked down at the ground and replied, "I did. A year or so ago, I challenged Falen. Falen had tried to teach me how to use my power, and I'd never be able to use it. But I was obnoxious and stupid. I thought I could take them. Falen and I fought. I lost. Big time. Falen punished me, horribly. They gave me my conscience back, my soul back. I felt the guilt of what I did to people. It was torture. I wanted to leave so badly, but Falen wasn't done with me yet. Falen put me under a their binding control, which makes me obey their wishes. I can't fight him... hurt him... betray them. He controls me. He and I have a link. He can feel whenever I betray him. I can feel him watching me. Whenever I try to betray him, to try and commit suicide, to do ANYTHING, his spell places my body in a paralyzing fear. I can't move. His powers are beyond comprehension. He's done things that I believed were impossible."

Nicholas stood up faster than Xander could see and was out the door in a second.

"That's why I have to say that I'm sorry Alexander Harris," Nicholas said sadly. "I'm sorry because I can't help you."

With that, Nicholas closed the door, leaving Xander in there alone. With his thoughts.

~ * ~ * ~

Buffy and Willow stalked towards the cave where Falen and his horde lived. According to Angel and Willow, this was where Falen moved to after they lost the castle to Willow and Angel. According to them, there was a huge fight between Willow, Angel, and Falen. Falen would not let his horde get involved. It was as if it was a big joke to him, Willow had said. Falen fought hard, but left suddenly. But every so often, he and his horde would attack.

Like it was a big game.

Buffy moved towards a large shrub a couple yards from the cave entrance. Angel, Giles, and Cordelia were coming from another way. It was decided that they would have a better chance if they came from two sides.

"Buffy?" Willow whispered in the darkness.

"Yeah?" Buffy whispered back.

"You said you weren't sure if Xander loved you," Willow said.

Buffy looked down at the ground sadly. She had no clue how Xander felt about her now.

"Yeah," Buffy said softly.

"He loved you at one time. He still might," Willow replied.

"That was two years ago. He's changed," Buffy said sadly. "Willow, you've known him longest. Even with the time gap. Do you think he loves me?"

At once Buffy regretted it. Here she was asking her friend, the same one that loved Xander, if he loved her.

Buffy didn't know that Willow was seriously thinking about it. She didn't know that Willow was tempted to say no. Willow herself battled the urge. But quickly overcame it. She gave the most honest answer she could give.

"I don't know. You are right. He has changed," Willow said with a sigh. "At a time, I could read his emotions, his feelings easily. But now, I can't. Buffy... I'm sorry."

Buffy looked at Willow and smiled reassuringly.

"It's okay," Buffy said. "He might. He might not. But now we can't worry about it. He's in there. And if we're ever going to find out, we have to go get him."

Willow smiled in agreement and asked, "Ready?"

Buffy nodded and ran alongside Willow towards the cave entrance.

Neither of them saw the dozen vampires hiding above the entrance.

Ready to attack.