Summary: Far, far away in a land of magic, there lived an Empress. One fine day, some visitors came calling.
Disclaimer: Buffy and the gang belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. The Empress, of course, is a law unto herself.
Setting: Hmmm…. Post-Chosen sound good? Okay, you talked me into it.
Author's note : Originally written months back, but never posted. Today seemed a good day to dust it off. *grins*
The sun rose and shone over the beautiful land of Vesica. Birds chirped happily, bees buzzed merrily around the fields and gardens, and people strolled along happily in the sunshine. In short, it was another lovely day.
And high on a hill in the exact centre of Vesica was the Castle, its white and cream walls shining prettily in the sunlight. And in the middle of the Castle, with its splendid views across the land was the Tower. And at the very top of the Tower was a room, filled with the most comfortable seats and food and drink and books from across the realm.
The Empress sat on her window seat and gazed out across the Land, seeing many and varied delightful things from her vantage point. She exhaled a cloud of raspberry smoke from her perfect mouth, and sighed deeply. She was so fucking bored.
Already that day, she’d tried moving the trees in the local forest around to see if it looked better from that angle, but as so many times before, she’d got it right on her first try. She hadn’t made her mind up fully on whether the castle walls should be cream or peach colored (it was cream today, but peach on the alternative days), but she’d been going back to that decision on and off for the last couple of millennia more or less.
For an hour earlier that morning she’d made the River flow backwards through the Village, but her Vizier (a splendidly lovable old dear with long mutton-chop whiskers and a lovely devilish twinkle in his eye – she’d done well when she’d made him) had eventually persuaded her that the fish were particularly confused and that the Villagers’ mill was going round and round in reverse. With a deep sigh, she’d returned it all to normal.
She crossed the room and gazed at the range of books on the shelves there. The Empress had, of course, read them all time and time again. But this time, she didn’t feel the urge to take down one of her old favorites and dive in once more. She sighed again, only deeper this time.
Suddenly, there came a noise. It was a kind of loud wooden booming crashing noise filled with the rumble of falling stones, which as any connoisseur of sound will tell you, is the noise produced when someone kicks the front gates of a castle off their hinges.
The Empress, being of course such a connoisseur, was delighted. She hadn’t been this surprised in thousands of years. Hurrying to the window of her Tower, she gazed out across the expanse towards her Castle’s gates, and giggled in glee at the clouds of dust that she saw coming up from there. Oh, how marvelous!
As the dust settled back down to the ground (aided she had to admit by a judicious use of gravity by the Empress), five figures emerged from it, clutching swords and other pointed implements. The Empress clasped her hands together and spun around the room, joyfully smiling and deliriously happy. She hadn’t created them! They were new, new, new! She didn’t recognize any of the three woman or the two men.
Happily throwing herself down into her favorite comfy throne, she switched the Magic Mirror to the Castle Foyer, knocked the volume up a tad, and cheerfully started playing Siege. Starting with the classic animating of the Suits of Amour move, the Empress reached out to the Ever Filled Sweet Cakes Dispenser, and watched avidly what the group of intruders did next.
Four hours, three collapsing staircases, two unconscious trolls and a brief trip to the Toilet later, The Empress was on the edge of her throne with excitement. They were at the very door of her Tower room. What would they do now? How would they charge in? Would there be ravishing involved? Oh, this was so much fun!
In the end, they knocked politely. Which was again totally unexpected. Trying desperately to hide her broad grin, the Empress called out cheerfully “It’s open! Come on in!”
The door opened, and the younger male (the one with the eye-patch) stuck his head around the edge. “Excuse me for asking,” he said in an apologetic manner, “but we’re looking for the ruler of this here place, and we can’t seem to find him.”
The Empress giggled again, and swung her feet over the edge of her throne. “Sillies,” she said in a teasing manner, “I’m the Empress, of course. Congratulations! You found me!”
The door opened further and the other four almost fell into the room behind him. Sniffing audibly, the blonde haired woman strode up to the Empress and angrily pointed her sword directly at the Empress’s new dress (she’d spent almost half an hour earlier trying to decide exactly what combination got over that ‘I am your helpless prisoner’ look. In the end, she’d just said “Sod it!” and created a new color : Very Black Black With Lobster Extracts). “In that case,” demanded the angry blonde woman, “We want Dawn! Now!”
The Empress almost burst out into a happy dance on the spot. No-one had ever asked for anything like that before. She kept getting totally and utterly surprised today, and she loved it. She snapped her fingers (a little showy, but what the hell?) and the Sun disappeared.
The Moon looked down on the land of Vesica, and slowly opened one eye. Suddenly realizing that yes, it was his cue; he raced across the Sky and took up his normal position for the end of his shift. Slowly, he sank down behind the Hills as in turn the Sun rose from behind her Hills gracefully, majestically and swearing like a trooper at the sudden interruption to her routine.
A short glare from the Empress and a “Shh! Guests!” quieted her down, although the intensity of the sunlight suggested that someone, somewhere was going to get a very nasty sunburn that day. Still, the rays of light spread happily across the Land, lighting up everywhere and signaling the start of a brand new day in Vesica. The cockerel in the Village was confused, but she quickly created another hen for him. Pleasantly surprised, he quickly forgot about his crowing and started chasing his new acquaintance around the pen.
Meanwhile, back at the Tower : “Shit.” said the dark haired woman in the skintight trousers. “Red? That for real, or we just seeing things?”
The red-haired woman concentrated for a moment, and the Empress could almost feel the pinprick of energy touching her. More than any mortal she’d seen in years, but still nothing compared to hers. The redhead nodded grimly. “That really happened, Faith. Buffy? I’d suggest that the stabbing option isn’t the best way to go here, ok?”
The blonde woman (Buffy? Who would name their daughter Buffy?) almost snarled, but lowered the sword and backed away slightly. “Of course it happened!” said the Empress bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet, “I am the Empress Vesica, after all!”
“Oh god,” the one-eyed man said, staring in mild disbelief at the Empress. “It’s like watching Willow on a sugar rush.”
“Ahem. You would be the EmpressVesica then?” said the tall man with the tweed patterns on his clothing. “Rather than the Empress OF Vesica?”
The Empress giggled again. He was funny with that way of talking, and after taking a closer look, actually rather yummy. Hopefully, ravishing would be on the agenda after all. “Yup, indeedy,” she said.
“Oh,” was all he said in response, and frantically started to polish his glasses with a handkerchief.
The red haired witch concentrated again, and the Empress allowed her a brief glimpse out of amusement and wonder at just what would happen next. “Oh.” said the witch. “Oh. You are the land. Or rather the land is part of you, created and maintained by you. That’s a lot of power. A lot.” She gulped.
“That’s right!” beamed the Empress. “That’s why you’re so much fun – I haven’t had anyone for dinner here for hundreds of years. This is so much fun! Did I say that already?”
“All I want is my sister back!” shouted the blonde woman. Charitably the Empress let it go – being named Buffy was surely burden enough. “Ohhhh…” she said in that way that people do when they’re realizing something obvious. “Dawn’s your sister!” The Empress paused, trying to work out a polite way of asking how she got the reasonable name, but gave up after looking at Buffy’s fixed and humorless face.
“Yes” said Buffy through gritted teeth, “And that’s why we’ve come to this barbaric dictatorship.”
“No, no, no!” said the Empress causing comfy chairs to appear for all of them. “This is the Benevolent Dictatorship. Didn’t you see the Sign when you came into the Land?” She was proud of that Sign – pure gold with a message of welcome and joy picked out in rubies. Come to think of it, hadn’t she enlarged it to 50 feet high the other day so she could read it from her Tower window? Ooops.
“By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth…” came the voice of the tall male with the glasses. Everyone turned to look at him, as he continued reading from the scroll that he now had in his hand. “By the Seven Rings of Raggador… By the Shades of the Seraphim...”
“Giles!” shouted the red-head. “Didn’t you hear me mention her power!?”
“And turn left at the Ice Caves of Cyttorak.” finished Giles, in a most hurt tone. “That is the correct way to the Barbaric Ruler of Munnopor, right?”
The Empress smiled again, and caused the map board on the wall to open and display the surrounding Realms. “No, no,” she exclaimed. “You should have gone under the Caves and spun around The Sandwich.”
Giles blinked. “The... Sandwich?” he asked carefully, his hands making twitching movements towards his glasses again.
“Yup. Giant sandwich filled with ever-lasting shrimp. Follow your nose – you can’t miss it!” explained the Empress happily. “Tell you what – I’ll open up a direct portal for you as you’ve been so much fun.” She snapped her fingers again, and the air around the Window shimmered and formed into a violet glowing portal. A strong smell of shrimp came through it.
“Tell you what, lady” said the dark haired woman who’d somehow managed to sit on her chair in the most provocative way possible. “Any chance you could just drop us off at the Barbaric guy’s HQ?”
Ooooo. She was a smart one thought the Empress. And just how did she get those legging to mold so closely to her legs? “Of course I could.” she said cheerfully. “But why would I when you’re the first visitors I’ve had here for centuries? You’re so much fun!” Snapping her fingers again, a feast appeared on the table in front of everyone.
Giles cleared his throat in a most regretful sounding way, and turned to the Empress. “Unfortunately, we really should get going soon.” The Empress looked like she was about to cry, so he quickly hurried on. “You see, Dawn’s due to be sacrificed some time very soon, so if we delay too much….”
The Empress briefly considered the aesthetic appeal of Giles naked and handcuffed to her bed, but regretfully put it to one side. She was the Benevolent Dictator, after all and had standards to keep up. She sighed. Deeply, and in such a way that everyone knew the depths of her woe. Perhaps she should throw in an artistic sniff or two later? “Okay. Fine. Leave me all alone here.” she gulped out, and swung her back round to them.
She could hear the shuffling feet, and almost felt the guiltyish looks behind her. Well, maybe not from that Buffy girl – she was very determined, wasn’t she? She blew another plume of raspberry smoke off to the side, and waited.
The voices behind her started arguing, and eventually came to a crescendo. “Look, Gee – you don’t need two Slayers on this, and I could really do with a vacation right now!” There was some kind of muttered agreement eventually, and a figure approached.
“Yo, Empress lady thingie,” said the dark haired woman. “If you don’t mind a house guest for the next couple of weeks, I’m willing to stick around for the laughs.”
The Empress squealed in excitement, and swung round to hug the woman tightly. Practically jumping onto her, the Empress started babbling “We’re going to have so much fun! We can dress up, and have picnics and just do different things! What’s your favorite color? I’ll change the Castle’s color! Eeeeek! I don’t even know your name!”
The one eyed man blinked his eye, and looked at the red haired woman by him “You sure you’re not related to her, Willow?” All that got him was a smack on the arm, and a cry of “Xander!”
Practically picking the Empress up, and carrying her back to her Throne, the dark haired woman just smiled at the Empress, and said softly “I’m Faith.”
Snapping her fingers once more, as Faith placed her gently down, the Empress caused the portal to shift to a nice pale blue and to switch to Munnopor. The Ruler’s bedroom in fact, as was evidenced by the number of scantily clad young ladies visible in it through the portal. Buffy seemed almost torn between diving straight in, and casting looks at the Empress and Faith. The Empress rolled her eyes in annoyance, and spoke, “Fine. I swear by my very name to let Faith go after two weeks. Unless she wants to stay any longer, of course. Oh, and you’re all invited back sometime.”
That seemed to be enough for Giles, who caught Buffy’s eye and nodded once. Buffy turned, held a moment’s eye contact with Faith, and dived through the portal. “Bring your sister!” yelled the Empress, but probably too late for Buffy to hear.
Willow and Giles walked to the portal, shaking hands with Faith en route. “You should be fine Faith,” said the distinguished gentlemen. “I do recognize the name now, and she is a creature of her word.” Creature? Maybe she was going off him a tad, thought the Empress. Although the handcuffs idea was looking more appealing by the moment. Hopefully none of this showed on her face, but Giles did seem to head through the portal pretty quickly after that.
Willow, on the other hand, just hugged Faith and said “Have a nice time,” before turning and walking through the portal, muttering something about some people always having to throw themselves through the damn things.
Faith and the Empress just looked at each other. “So what do you want to do first?” Faith said, before being interrupted by a burp. Xander was sat at the table, feet up on another chair, happily chewing away on a chicken leg. “What?!?” he said, turning his gaze away from the scantily clad young ladies visible through the portal.
Faith just looked at him. “Fine, fine,” he grumbled and got to his feet. Walking to the portal, he just looked at the two of them and said with a wry smile on his face “Try not to break her, okay?”
The Empress almost bridled in annoyance. As if she would do such a thing! “You have my word! What else do you require?!”
As he disappeared though the portal (which closed up pretty fast behind him), he smiled even broader, “I was talking to Faith.”
Oh. The Empress looked up to the figure of Faith beside her. And then downwards along her bottom half. “So, how do you get those leggings so tight?” she pleaded to know.
Faith smiled. “Oh, we do have a lot to talk about, don’t we? And I think we should start off by having a nice long hard massage by some very, very hunky guardsmen of yours...”
The Empress giggled. This was turning out to be the best day ever!