Chapter Seventeen

His fist pounded into the door once. Twice. A third time. He yelled in frustration. Xander Harris was not happy. He looked around his surroundings for any type of escape route. No cell was foolproof. If Buffy was here, she could probably do something. After all, she's the slayer.

Xander leaned against the wall and sighed. He had to get out. His friends were in danger. He had to be there. But there didn't seem to be any way out of the cell. Xander brought his head back, pounding it against the sheetrock wall.


Xander turned around and smiled.

"Blood thirsty demons, yes. Construction workers, no," Xander said with a grin.

He reached his fist back, and crashed it into the wall. She pulled his fist from the wall, and kicked it. Over and over until there was a large hole. He braced his foot against the ground and slammed his foot into a wooden brace in the wall. He watched it splinter and drop onto the ground. Xander wriggled his body through the hole he had created.

He dropped onto the ground, getting a good look at his surroundings. He saw a large stockpile of weapons against the wall.

"Jesus. Who do these guys think they are?" Xander muttered to himself.

At that moment Xander heard a noise behind him. He twirled around and saw two vampires entering the cavern. He saw their shocked expression to him, and smiled. His smile vanished as they rushed him. The one who reached him first got a quick kick to the stomach, while the other received a blow across the jaw. Xander spun around and pivoted his foot upwards and saw it connect solidly to the vampire's head. He swung around and punched the other vampire in the face and quickly followed with a roundhouse to his chest.

At that moment, Xander felt something hard crash down onto his back.

~ * ~ * ~

Falen walked into the cavern and smiled at his prisoners.

"Time to begin," he said in a devious grin.

Buffy watched as dozens of vampires entered the cavern and stand against the wall. Falen shedded his trench coat and slipped on a robe.

He looked at the bonfire and his captives and said, "Let's begin."

Falen turned to the bonfire and started chanting.

"Paratadi. Hevnol. Lokta. Quape. Custa. Morgot. Dirtis. Fols."

The flames swelled enormously. Buffy watched as small green orbs of light formed around the bonfire and spun. The flame grew and grew, until the cavern stung with heat. Buffy closed her eyes, wanting her last thought to be of Xander.

~ * ~ * ~

Xander fell to the ground and looked up. The first vampire he had hit was standing above him with a large rock. Xander rolled out of the way as the rock dropped to where he had been laying. He jumped to his feet and turned around. The vampire slammed into him, sending him into the cavern wall. Xander felt the wind knock out of him at the impact. He looked up and saw the vampire standing over him. Xander tried to get up, but the impact had made him very dizzy. The vampire snatched up a wicked looking sword from the ground and brought it up. Xander clenched his eyes, preparing for the deadly blow.

It never came. Xander heard a grunt as the vampire dropped the sword with a clatter and blew up in a cloud of dust. Standing behind him was Nicholas. Nicholas moaned in pain and crumpled to the ground. <Falen's spell.> Xander saw that the other vampire was advancing towards Nicholas. Xander wasn't going to give him the chance.

"Foul betrayer!" the vampire hissed.

"Jeez, you losers sound like rejects from a bad Kung-Fu flick." Xander said as he jumped up, pumped with adrenaline.

He ran up to the vampire and tackled him. He picked the demon from the ground and delivered a sharp uppercut. He then punched the vampire in the gut. He grabbed the vampire's arm and swung him into the wall of the cavern. Xander looked down onto the ground and saw a sliver of the wooden brace from the wall. He picked it up and slammed it into the vampires chest.

Xander didn't even bother to watch the vampire turn to dust as he turned around to check on Nicholas. Nicholas was staggering up, quite pale. <A big feat for a vampire.> Xander rushed to his side and helped him up.

"I can't..." Nicholas started, "I can't feel him..."

"Falen?" Xander questioned confusedly.

"Yes," Nicholas continued. He straightened up, obviously feeling stronger and said, "I can't feel him in my mind. Watching me anymore. Something's happening. Something big. Something is causing him to use his magic. A lot of it."

Xander straightened and murmured, "Buffy."

Nicholas looked up with worry and said, "If I can't feel him, Falen must be using a lot of his power. Your friends are in danger."

Xander nodded silently. As if making a final decision, Xander grabbed a crossbow, arrows, a gun, and a sword from the stack of weapons. Nicholas grabbed weapons of his own and followed Xander as they ran to help Buffy and his friends.

~ * ~ * ~

Xander hid in the shadows as he walked on the ledge above the huge cavern Falen was chanting in. Quite hard considering the fact that the bonfire in front of the powerful demon was shining brightly. Nicholas had led him there, and showed him how to avoid being caught.

Below him, he saw Buffy, Willow, Cordelia, Giles, and Angel chained to large wooden posts. They all looked like they had been through the ringer. Buffy really looked tired. She even seemed like she was ready to throw in the towel.

Falen continued chanting, oblivious to Xander or Nicholas. "...Paratadi. Hevnol. Lokta. Quape. Custa. Morgot. Dirtis. Fols."

Xander watched as many small green orbs of light or energy appeared and spun around.

"What's he saying?" Xander whispered.

"I don't know," Nicholas said while shaking his head. "Some of the words I recognize. I can make out 'Fire. Gate. Dark. Chaos. Lord. Come.'. but that's it."

"Gate. Chaos. Dark," Xander repeated. His eyes widened and he looked at Nicholas. "Could Falen be trying to do the job that Kalen failed at? Could he be trying to open the gate to hell?"

Nicholas stared at Falen, then at Xander.

"Yes, I think so," Nicholas confirmed. "We have to stop him. Now."

Xander looked down at Falen and his friends and muttered, "I have a plan."