1412: The cambion’s ring – Chapter One, Part One

Title: The cambion’s ring
Author: Awesomenemo
Media: Television
Topic: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer
Genre: Supernatural/Adventure
URL: The cambion’s ring
Critiqued by TacoMagic and Eliza

Hey there, Patrons!  Today we’re venturing back into a canon that I haven’t covered in quite a long time: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.  It’s something that I haven’t touched since all they way back in the first year of the Library when I did Slaying Forks, a horrible Twilight/Buffy crossover.

So what do I have for you?  Well, it’s actually something kinda special because it was given to us by the author, Awesomenemo (AN), making it one of the few pieces we’ve actually featured at an author’s request (aside from the pieces of our own work that we’ve handed out among the group to tear apart).  It’s an old shame that AN suggested about a year go and I think it’s about time somebody tore it to shreds.

Speaking of tearing things to shreds, I’ve got Eliza sitting in the co-riffer seat today because she’s been a huge Buffy fan since finding the entire series in my DVD collection.

“I hope this is based on season three!”

You only like that season because it’s when Wesley shows up.

“Darn tootin’!”

Before we get started, I’m going to mention that I’ll be tackling the chapters in chunks.  The fic itself is only four chapters, but each chapter is actually rather long, so I’ll be cutting each one up into sections more closely matching my usual post length.

As usual, we’re going to start with the summary:

UP FOR ADOPTION AN: Rated M to be safe. In another world where Xander didn’t go as a soldier to Halloween, we will see what happens when he happens to wear a cursed ring.

This is actually somewhat of an interesting idea, though it is pretty common.  See, in Season 2, there’s a special Halloween episode where almost everyone becomes their costume due to being sold enchanted costumes which are activated by a magic spell (it’s complicated).  In that episode Xander Harris is dressed as a soldier, so when the shenanigans go down, he becomes a trained soldier for the duration of the spell.  However, when the spell wears off, he ends up retaining a large portion of military knowledge, which shows up quite often during the course of the show.  Ostensibly this was put in so that Xander would have a better rationale to be part of the slaying team.

Remove that knowledge, as seen here, and it would require several significant changes to the entire plot of the show since there are several key victories that hinge on Xander knowing military things.

I wonder if our author understood the broad implications of this change.

*Snerk*

I’m sure he did.

“I’m more worried about this whole ‘cambion’s ring’ thing, myself.  A cambion is a human half-demon, so the writing on the wall is that Xander is going to put on the ring and gain demon powers.  He’ll just be swapping one set of special powers for a different, likely more arbitrary, set of powers.  Basically, he will have a ring that can turn him into a Gary Stu at will.”

Oof, yeah, this could be bad.

Disclaimer for all and future chapters, the things in this story that are not of my creation belong to their creators, in this case Joss Whedon.

“Woof.”

Not you too!?

“Naw, I just like making the sound.  Woof!”

So, just so everyone is clear, some of the things here are not AN’s things, but Joss Whedon’s things.  But the things that aren’t Joss Whedon’s things are AN’s things, as long as he created them.  Otherwise the things that aren’t Joss Whedon’s or AN’s things are, in actuality, things that belong to the creators of those things.

“Don’t make me turn the hose on you.”

AN: I know, I know another Halloween story.

Oh good.  An author’s note.  I so love those, they add so much to the story.

Wait, ‘another’ Halloween story?  AN only has the one fic listed on his profile!

“‘Halloween’ is one of the more popular episodes to revisit in fanfiction, especially for Xander fans since he gets to be all awesome in that episode.”

Ahh, I see.  So it’s based more on the popularity of the sub-genre as opposed to its presence in the author’s bibliography.  Fair enough.

Please bear with me though, if you actually read this I promise you won’t be sorry.

“Based on what AN said about this fic, I have a feeling that a promise is about to be broken.  Naughty authors and their unkeepable promises.”

Chapter The Nothing…

The fuck is that!?  Author!  That’s now how you name chapters!  Not only do you not get the whole idea of a prologue, but you tossed in an unnecessary ellipsis on top of it!  What the hell, dude!?

“And the promise is already broken.  I’m going to pencil in AN for a quick spin through the spanking machine.”

We have a spanking machine?

“Syl insisted we get one.”

I didn’t want to know that.

“Hey, Xander!” called Willow.  “What did you get?”

*Blink blink*

AN just used the comma of address.  A fic author used the comma of address!  And he used it in dialogue that is properly punctuated!  Eliza!

*Eliza presses a button on her phone.  Shortly after, a cohort of Darkwraiths lead a parade through the riffing chamber while firing off glitter and confetti cannons.  They leave the room, and the riffers, coated in a thick layer of confetti and glitter.*

Why did I think that was a good idea again?

“Oh c’mon, it’s very festive looking!”

At this Xander reached into a paper bag and pulled out a plastic gun.

So far, this is pretty much verbatim from the episode, nothing to see here; there’s a lot to skip over because it’s just plot regurgitation from the show.  In fact, given the wording, it looks to be ripped directly from the script, though reworded very slightly.  Given that formatting of this fic changes drastically halfway down the page, I’m pretty confident it’s been copied wholesale from somewhere and then touched up a bit with a few changes.  Regardless, it’s still considered plagiarizing if you take a scene from a show and use it in your own work.  For shame, AN.

“I’m putting AN down for another trip through the Spank-o-matic 3000 for plagiarizing.”

Spank-o-matic 3000? Don’t tell me.

“Like ninety-percent of the weird machines we have are made by Bifocals.  Why would this be any different?”

Mmm, fair point.

So blah, blah, blah, plot regurgitation from the show.  Buffy gets her costume from Ethan Raine.  Then, all of a sudden-

“AND FROM BEHIND!”

As they waited at the checkout, Buffy continued to admire her dress, Willow admired it with her; as what she had bought was just a ghost costume, and Xander was looking over his soon to be plastic gun.

“It suddenly got worse, didn’t it?”

Yeah, you can actually tell what AN has added and what stuff was copied.  There is a very noticeable quality difference.

“There’s quite a bit of sentence padding in there.”

That there is.

When it was his turn to buy his costume, Xander let out a sigh.

“Unleash the sighs!”

*A squad of mopey Darkwraiths charge into the room and start sighing heavily.*

Was that really necessary?

Another year with bargain bin junk, well it was all he could do, thanks to Snider.

This, despite the fact that Xander was taking pride in his bargain costume skills earlier in the chapter.  In fact, I can still see it.  It’s right there.  *Points*

“This seems unusually angsty for Xander.  Well, for second-season Xander, anyway.”

Yeah, a lot of badfic authors have this problem with canon characters.  Xander gets increasingly broody as the series goes on due to several setbacks in his life, and the author’s knowledge of that future will bleed into the fic at inappropriate times.

“I think the explanation is simpler.  Teenagers write a lot of the badfiction that’s out there, and teens are pretty angsty as a rule.  They naturally would write characters who reflect that mindset.”

Well, you’re certainly not wrong.

He was just so frustrated, Buffy had a dress, and knowing her would probably get Willow into something creative.

Did… did the fic just imply that Xander is upset because he really wants a pretty dress?

“I have a great new fanfiction idea!”

*Taco snags Eliza by the tail as she tries to leave.*

No.

“Awwwww!”

But him? He was going as a soldier, and the coolest part of the costume was his uncle’s old army jacket.

That would be his uncle’s old army jacket that he bought at the army surplus store, right?  Did you even read the part that you copied, AN?

He couldn’t help but hear Buffy’s words from earlier; ‘That’s not a costume’. And she was right. He couldn’t help but frown at the gun.

There seem to be a lot of things that Xander can’t help doing.

“The poor dear must be suffering form some kind of compulsion disorder.  I’ll add him to the schedule for the spanking machine.”

Some things can’t be cured by the spanking machine, Eliza.

“You don’t look like you enjoy your purchase.” Xander looked up, it was the guy who sold Buffy that dress.

“Um, I-” Xander started.

“Oh, pardon my manners.” He apologized, “Rayne, Ethan Rayne.” He said extending his hand.

“Xander Harris.” Xander replied, shaking the newly named, Ethan’s hand.

‘Newly named?’ So what, he had a different name before this moment?

“No, no, no.  It’s Ethan’s hand that’s been recently named.”

Oh.  Do I want-

“No, you do not want to know the hand’s name.”

Okay, then.  You notice how this section isn’t punctuated correctly?  That’s how you can tell that we’ve wandered into territory that hasn’t been copied from the script.

“It’s still formatted the same, though.”

Yeah, not really sure about that.  My guess is that maybe it was written in two parts at two different times.  All I know is that there is a very noticeable change in formatting:

format_change

“My, it gets very brick-y, doesn’t it?”

That it does.  And it stays that way until the end of the fic.

“Charmed.” The owner nodded, “As I said earlier, you don’t look pleased with your costume?”

“Why does Ethan care?  As long as his ends are being served, generally he doesn’t care in the slightest if people are happy.  And, happy or not, Xander’s obviously going to be buying that toy gun for his costume.”

Because the plot demands it.

“Aha!”

“Well, you can’t really call a plastic gun a costume, can you?” Xander replied slightly downtrodden.

I hope I don’t end up having to create a counter for that quote.  We get it, a toy gun does not a costume make.  Can we stop revisiting it?

“Hmmm. Maybe I could help to improve your mood. You’re friends with the girl I sold the dress, are you not?” Ethan asked.

“I’m not seeing the relevancy.”

PLOT!

“Yay!”

“Yeah. Why?” Xander answered.

“It may help… narrow the choice down.”

That better not be a euphemism.

After several minutes of searching they finally, came across a mannequin like the one Buffy’s dress was on.

“Well that comma was kinda close.  Only missed the correct placement by two words.  Gold star!”

you tried

Why did it take so long to find a mannequin?  They’re in a small costume shop, not a Halloween Express warehouse.  You can see the entire shop from any spot in it.  Certainly you’d see something like a mannequin.  Their very purpose is to stick out and be noticeable!

On said mannequin, was a suit, which looked like it as old as Buffy’s dress.

Well, it’s just a costume in a seasonal Halloween shop, so it’s probably pretty new-looking like most everything else in the shop, including Buffy’s dress.

“Did the author just forget to type a word?”

Dammit, Eliza, you messed up the joke!

“What joke?”

It consisted of a tricorn hat, boots, a black and red waistcoat, a pair of sailors pants and an old ash grey coat.

Holy crap, the author got very, very close to correctly describing an eighteenth century outfit.  Unfortunately ‘sailors pants’ isn’t really a thing.  The correct clothing article for eighteenth century garb is Venetian breeches (also known as knee-breeches), which were popular both at sea and on land in the eighteenth century.

Still, that’s probably the most historically accurate clothing description we’ve ever had in the Library.  And it’s not over-described, so it’s not even clothing porn.

*Eliza swipes across her phone*

“I’ve dispatched a redemption cookie.”

Is that Gumdrop’s new kitchen order app?

“Yup!  Here, I’ll order us some Iguanadon sandies.”

*Eliza swipes across her phone again.  Seconds later, a Darkwraith walks in with a plate of cookies*

“I cannot afford this.” Xander said. Awestruck by the attention to detail, it looked authentic.

And getting the same deal as Buffy on these clothes would be suspicious.

“Or contrived.”

It can be both.

“I am sure we can come to some sort of arrangement.” Ethan said.

Okay, now THAT better not be a euphemism.

“I wonder if XanderXEthan fics are a thing.”

In the end Xander bought the suit, for all the money he had on him; which was only twenty dollars, and walked out of the store a happy man.

Wow.  That was bland and underwhelming, which meets expectation.

“We’re whelmed by the fic being underwhelming.”

“Hey, Xander! What took you so long?”

Who the hell is talking?  Is this Ethan?  He should know why Xander took so long.  And if it isn’t Ethan, why don’t they notice the huge bag or stack of boxes Xander would need to carry those clothes in?

“Sorry Buff. Looks like I won’t be a soldier this Halloween.” Said Xander confidently.

“The comma of address has vanished.”

*Taco falls to his knees*

“Such a ddrama llama.”

“So, what are you going as?” Willow asked.

“That’s for me to know, and you two, to find out.”

*Sweeps the extra comma off the page onto the pile*

Strange that I’d all of a sudden end up with so many fics that abuse the comma.

“Aren’t you going to put that in as a comma of address somewhere?”

Nope, it’s mine now.

Twenty minutes later…

Why do authors so delight in sharing precise, yet arbitrary, jumps in time with the audience?  You don’t even need a scene break here!  If you need to denote a short amount of time passing, just start a new paragraph with some kind of indication that it’s a bit later.

When he got home Xander immediately unpacked his costume, and tried it on. It fit like a glove.

For fuck’s sake, AN, you even did what I just said you should do!  That whole scene break was rendered entirely pointless because you indicated that the scene is happening after Xander traveled back to his house anyway!  Luckily it’s not technically redundant, just conceptually redundant.

*Alarm hums*

Wha-

*A single DRD agent shuffles into the room, shrugs in embarrassment, then leaves*

‘Whoa, this was a good deal.’ He thought to himself, as he posed in front of the mirror.

“Why, yes, you just purchased an entire eighteenth century outfit for twenty dollars.  Why did it take this long to register?”

Xander is kinda slow on the uptake sometimes.

During one of his poses he heard a tik tunk sound, and looked down to see a ring on the floor.   ‘It must have fallen out of one of the pockets…’ he thought.

Why hello, cursed ring of contrivance, how are you doing this fine day?

“It’s a ring, Taco, it can’t actually answer you.”

I know!

It was a simple iron band, which had a small disc the size of a penny cut into it,

Sweet crap, that must be an enormous ring if it’s got a penny-sized hole in it somewhere.

“Maybe he means that the band is about as big around as a penny?”

That’s still a fail because rings are formed into a circle, not cut.

with the words: Id est, qui tendit ad annulum, animae dimidium erit: Dæmonium, carved into the disc.  ‘I wonder what it means…

It’s Google-translate Latin for “Whoever wears this ring will have half the soul of a demon.”  Though, literally translated, it’s closer to gibberish because the word orders are wrong and certain words in there should be assumed and not included, so I’m stretching a bit to get at what the author was probably trying to say.

I’ll see if Willow has an idea. Until then though…’ And with that he slipped the ring onto his finger.

“Pop quiz time!  Okay, Taco, you are part of a small team of warriors who often find themselves squaring off against vampires, demons, and Latin-based evil magic.  One day you stumble across a ring with something written in Latin on it.  What do you do!?”

I slip it on my finger!

“Correct!  You win!”

Yes!  What do I win?

“You get to be possessed by a demon!”

Woo-hoo!

Ethan’s shop

Okay?  What about Ethan’s shop?

“I think that’s supposed to be a scene tag.”

Oh for crap’s sake.  Can nobody on FF.net do actual scene transitions!?

His plan was working better than he had hoped.

Xander?  Izzat you?

Not only had he managed to doom the slayer as a useless maiden.

Oh, I guess it’s supposed to be Ethan.  Shame that there was no way to use the narrative to tell us that information.

But he had convinced the boy not to go as a soldier, but as a farmer.

“Not that Ethan would be concerned either way.  His goals weren’t hindered by Xander being a soldier since Ethan was trying to… to… um…”

Problem?

“What was Ethan’s goal in ‘Halloween?'”

Oh!  That’s easy, it was to… to… um…

One second, patrons.  Eliza!  To the DVD vault!

*44 minutes later*

“Aha!  His goal was to induce plot!”

Seems like he could do that just as well if Xander’s a soldier.

“And he did!”

They would be slaughtered.

Which wasn’t necessarily his canon goal, and indeed he doesn’t really relish in pointless slaughter as a rule, but okay, let’s go with that motivation as it’s actually better than the one we get from the show.

Now he had to think, where did he leave that magic ring?

“He left it in the farmer costume!”

Uh, yeah, why was it in the farmer costume again?

“Ethan likes to pretend he’s farming in the eighteenth century from time to time.  He probably left the ring in the clothes the last time he had one of his farmer prances.”

Halloween night…

GAH!

*Eliza pokes Taco with a rolled up newspaper*

“Ghostie told me to keep an eye on you.  Don’t make me bap – LOOK OUT!”

*Eliza tackles Taco out of his chair*

When Claude Lucion Ridrey woke up, what he did not expect to see was a huge metal… thing charging towards him. So rather than getting hit he did the only sensible thing he could do. He put a solid kick into it.
Now one might ask why anyone in their right mind would try to kick, a big metal thing charging towards them. Well our friend Claude here was in his right mind. You see Claude is a cambion, and anyone who knows anything about cambions, is that they don’t need to worry about big metal things charging towards them. And Claude was no different.
When the big metal thing connected with Claude’s foot, the charging big metal thing went flying back, with a large foot shaped dent in its front.
Curious as to what this big metal thing was, and what it wanted, Claude started walking towards it, only to be stopped by a scantily clad redheaded woman.
“XANDER! WHAT DID YOU JUST DO!?”
Claude ignored her, not knowing at all who this Xander fellow was, but thinking that he was a lucky man.
“XANDER, I’M TALKING TO YOU!” Why was this lady following him? He didn’t know this Xander.
“XANDER!” As she said this she reached for his arm, and surprised him as it slid right through him.
“Okay, now you have my attention. Who is Xander?” A now very curious Claude asked.
“YOU ARE!”
Now that answer Claude was not expecting. He thought she was going to say; ‘My lost love,’ Or, ‘The man who summoned me.’
“Are you a mad ghost now?”
“No! Well, I am a ghost, but… That’s not the point. Everyone has transformed and into their costumes.”
At this Claude laughed. “Preposterous!” But he began to wonder as he observed his surroundings.
Demons were attacking strangely dressed humans, on a strange black rock like road. He was surrounded by more big metal things, and strange buildings, which had lanterns without fire attached to them. Not to mention the redheaded ghost was dressed funny.
“So I’m not me?” A now very worried Claude asked.
“No. You’re my friend Xander.” She answered exasperatedly.
“And I’m not in London?” He was sweating now.
“No. You’re in Sunnydale, California.”
“What’s the year?” He asked dreading the answer.
“1997.”
Claude Lucion Ridrey, fainted.

*CRUNCH*

“Darkwraiths, would you be little dears and break that up for us, please?”

When Claude Lucion Ridrey woke up, what he did not expect to see was a huge metal… thing charging towards him.

“Who?”

Probably the guy who used to own the clothes.  I’d bet he’s made up since that last name is gibberish and Lucian is spelled wrong, but it’s worth checking.

*A quick Google later*

Yup, so far as I can tell, not a real person, even if we use the correct spelling for the middle and last names.

“So this is the author’s way of having an OC without having to have an OC?  Inventive, though somewhat transparent.”

So rather than getting hit he did the only sensible thing he could do. He put a solid kick into it.

In what universe does a farmer kick a large thing that’s barreling toward him!?

Now one might ask why anyone in their right mind would try to kick, a big metal thing charging towards them.

“You were saying.”

Just because the fic acknowledges the stupid, that doesn’t make it okay.

Well our friend Claude here was in his right mind.

*Waves Horatio threateningly*

Your prose is getting a little too familiar with the audience.  Take a few large steps backward before I’m forced to separate you.

You see Claude is a cambion, and anyone who knows anything about cambions, is that they don’t need to worry about big metal things charging towards them.  And Claude was no different.

“My Stu sense is tingling.”

So is mine.  But, this is Buffy, so super-strong things aren’t necessarily a tell.  And, sometimes, the Stu can still do everything right, and still lose.  Even so, better keep an eye on this guy.

Also:

*GONG*

Your prose is garbage.

When the big metal thing connected with Claude’s foot, the charging big metal thing went flying back, with a large foot shaped dent in its front.

“Wait, demons can still be killed by cars, right?”

In the Buffy ‘verse some of them can, yeah, and other demons wouldn’t be killed, but instead get seriously injured and require some downtime to heal.  So Claude being cambion doesn’t necessarily make him smart for trying to Falcon Kick a car.  In fact, the traditional version of the cambion is a half-demon born of an incubus and a human woman.  In Buffy canon, incubus aren’t terribly durable.  They have a lot of magic based around mind control and can shape-shift, but they’re pretty weak physically.  If one tried to kick a car, they’d find themselves spending a few weeks recovering from having most of their bones broken.

Curious as to what this big metal thing was, and what it wanted, Claude started walking towards it, only to be stopped by a scantily clad redheaded woman.

Oh hai, fanservice Willow!

“XANDER! WHAT DID YOU JUST DO!?”

Everyone, quick!  Pretend to be surprised that Xander is Claude reincarnated!

“OMIGAWD!  How unexpected!!”

Claude ignored her, not knowing at all who this Xander fellow was, but thinking that he was a lucky man.

He’s lucky … because … blue?

“He just kicked a car without getting hurt.  That’s pretty lucky.”

Okay, I’ll give you that one.

“XANDER, I’M TALKING TO YOU!” Why was this lady following him? He didn’t know this Xander.
“XANDER!” As she said this she reached for his arm, and surprised him as it slid right through him.

Oh, right, Willow’s a ghost right now.  One of those little factoids you’d know if you’d seen the episode.

“Okay, now you have my attention. Who is Xander?” A now very curious Claude asked.

“Her screaming at him wasn’t enough, but being ethereal makes her worth listening to?  My Gary Stu sense is going off again.”

Yeah, I don’t think it’s our imagination.  This guy is too cool to take notice of normal things.

“YOU ARE!”
Now that answer Claude was not expecting.

Fair enough, actually.  I think most people would be more than a little incredulous if they were told that they were actually somebody else.

He thought she was going to say; ‘My lost love,’ Or, ‘The man who summoned me.’

“Aaand he lost me.  What the heck is he going on about now?”

I dunno.  This is starting to wander into Xillow territory, though.

“Are you a mad ghost now?”

You’ve never met her before, so why ask her if she’s now a mad ghost?

“No! Well, I am a ghost, but… That’s not the point. Everyone has transformed and into their costumes.”
At this Claude laughed. “Preposterous!”

“You’re a half-demon, living in a world of magic, Claude.”

Spaceship

But he began to wonder as he observed his surroundings.

“I am starting to suspect that Claude may not be very bright.”

You think?

Demons were attacking strangely dressed humans, on a strange black rock like road.

That sudden reference to how Claude views blacktop definitely adds to the scene.

“And in no way makes the pacing crawl like a wounded Ankleosaurus.”

Your similes freak me out.

He was surrounded by more big metal things, and strange buildings, which had lanterns without fire attached to them. Not to mention the redheaded ghost was dressed funny.

We get it, he’s not from this time.  Can we move on to something interesting?

“Are you suggesting we stop for the day and read something else?”

Burn.

“So I’m not me?” A now very worried Claude asked.

*GONG*

Show, don’t tell!

“No. You’re my friend Xander.” She answered exasperatedly.

And ease-off using over-elaborate words while you’re at it.

“And I’m not in London?” He was sweating now.

“What would a half-demon farmer be doing in London?”

Selling his scream of wheat?

*Eliza baps Taco with the rolled up newspaper, sending him flying across the room*

“No. You’re in Sunnydale, California.”

What his response should be: “Where is California, I’ve never heard of that.”

What we get:

“What’s the year?” He asked dreading the answer.

“Who asks that as a follow up?  Is getting displaced in time something that happens enough to this guy to make it the second question?”

Asks the dinosaur.

“Quiet, you.”

“1997.”
Claude Lucion Ridrey, fainted.

So, he knew that the answer was going to be something he didn’t want to hear, but still faints when he hears the expected bad news?  AN, do you know how being surprised actually works?

And with that, we’re going to close up shop for the day since it’s actually a fairly logical spot to break it off.

“We have shop that we’re going to break things off of!?”

Oh for crap’s sake, Eliza.

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30 Comments on “1412: The cambion’s ring – Chapter One, Part One”

  1. GhostCat says:

    and Xander was looking over his soon to be plastic gun.

    If it’s “soon to be plastic”, what it made of now? Mashed potatoes? Dryer lint? Tube socks?

  2. Syl says:

    “The poor dear must be suffering form some kind of compulsion disorder. I’ll add him to the schedule for the spanking machine.”

    Some things can’t be cured by the spanking machine, Eliza.

    Sounds like someone needs an attitude adjustment. I’ll go crank up the Spank-o-matic.

  3. AdmiralSakai says:

    the things in this story that are not of my creation belong to their creators

    I didn’t know AB was the president of Tautology Club.

  4. AdmiralSakai says:

    They’re very purpose is to stick out and be noticeable!

    Taco.

    I am disappoint.

  5. AdmiralSakai says:

    “Pop quiz time! Okay, Taco, you are part of a small team of warriors who often find themselves squaring off against vampires, demons, and Latin-based evil magic. One day you stumble across a ring with something written in Latin on it. What do you do!?”

    I slip it on my finger!

    And yet, I still have to give him credit for not reading the incantation out loud.

    • GhostCat says:

      And he does have a passing thought to ask Willow what it means, so he does have a sliver of situational awareness. Not enough to avoid being a dumbass, though.

    • TacoMagic says:

      Even if he did read the incantation, he’d just end up summoning a demon that would criticize his Latin.

      Or, you know, the ghost of this guy:

  6. AdmiralSakai says:

    Ok, I’ll admit that I didn’t watch the episode that this is based on, but I’m still having an incredibly difficult time figuring out how any of this is supposed to work.

    So, people are “becoming their costumes”. Since Willow, despite being a ghost, still knows what is going on and recognizes Xander, I would think that the transformation is strictly physical and everyone involved retails their personalities. However, this conflicts with SolXander getting actual military training, and Buffy being stuck as “a useless maiden”. Possibly, something similar to what I proposed in “Tensei II’ is going on, where the transformation preserves personality but shifts muscle memory.

    That all sounds very reasonable… and then this ring gets involved.

    The ring, supposedly, causes somebody to get possessed by a demon (why would anybody want that? It’s a cursed magic item that advertises itself as such!)- Xander puts it on, but no demons are ever in evidence, just half demons, so we’ll assume for the sake of sanity that the inscription was wrong-ish and actually causes the wearer to be taken over by the soul of this Claude guy, who is/was a cambion.

    However, the costume was of a farmer. So Claude’s soul controlling Xander’s body would find them both transformed into a farmer. But he still uses his cambion abilities in that form! The only way that this makes sense is if Claude was the farmer who owned the clothes, so that he would just be in his old body when Xander transformed. But, for one thing, why would a cambion go to work as a farmer? And for another, Ethan seems to think that the farmer costume will depower Xander- doesn’t he know it would turn him into a cambion, and, if all went as planned, that cambion would still have Xander’s personality controlling it? And if the ring and the costume belonged to the same person, why does he not think that the ring might be in the costume when he goes looking for it?

    Also, why is there an apparent time delay between when Xander puts on the ring and Claude takes over? And why did Claude “wake up” in the middle of the street, when Xander put the ring on in his house?

    • TacoMagic says:

      So far as the show goes, I think Willow is the only person affected by the spell who retains their personality while transformed, everyone else takes on a persona. Little kids wearing demon costumes become demons, Xander becomes a soldier, and Buffy becomes an 18th century maiden. I think Willow wasn’t affected because she becomes the ghost form of herself since her costume was a generic ghost. It could also be because she’s a powerful witch and was able to resist part of the magics involved that would replace her personality. Or it could have just been because plot. Everyone seems to remember what happened to them, though Xander is the only one whose memories of the transformation are ever brought up after the episode.

      The last bit is an echo of what happens in the show. The costumes have to be activated by a spell, which Ethan does while everyone is out trick-or-treating. So, ostensibly, Claude waking up is being triggered by that spell. Why the car wouldn’t have stopped instead of barreled toward the kid standing in the middle of the street? Well, without that, Claude wouldn’t have had an excuse to be awesome.

      Meanwhile, everything about the ring, Claude, and the farming is stupid. Obviously not much thought went into that whole bit beyond: “Half-demons are awesome!” The only bit of leeway I could give the plot is that a farmer outfit would look pretty similar to any other lower class garb. So it’s within the realm of possibility that Ethan was wrong about it being farmer’s clothing and it was just more generic commoner’s clothing. Granted, he’s got no reason to worry about Xander becoming a soldier anyway since Ethan’s goal seems to be to simply sow chaos, which is served by Xander soldiering out.

  7. batjamags says:

    Please bear with me though, if you actually read this I promise you won’t be sorry.

  8. batjamags says:

    Chapter The Nothing…

    OK, so I’m not sure, but I think the author a chapter number there.

  9. batjamags says:

    I’ve been making way too many DC-related references recently, but you’ve made this too easy.


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