1771: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Twenty-One, Part TwoPosted: May 24, 2017
Title: Heroes and Villains
Author: Horrible’s Igor
Media: Television / Movies
Topic: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer / Kitchen Sink
URL: Heroes and Villains (Now Defunct)
Critiqued by TacoMagic and Eliza
Heyo, patrons! Are you all ready for another installment of Heroes and Villains!?
Too bad, we’re doing it anyway. I’m super busy dealing with all the ransomware fallout this week, so we’re just going to jump right in without any more preamble.
“Did you know that apparently Malkavians can’t be killed with stakes?” Willow asked the others, showing them the page in the book she was reading.
“Yes. It’s been mentioned several times now.”
I changed my mind, can we go back to doing a preamble?
“Too late, keep going!”
They both shook their heads. “Apparently only fire, decapitation, or sunlight can kill them. Stakes just paralyse them.”
Just in case you wondered, Igor does not trust his audience to be smart enough to remember something after five or six paragraphs. Given the audience this fic would likely attract, I can’t really dock him for that.
“Wonderful,” Elsa said, not pleased in the slightest. “The more I read about these beasts, the less I like them.”
I think I’ve said something similar about this fic.
“They sound a bit more dangerous than what you told us vamps are like,” Doc said.
Yes, being prone to quirky behavior and speaking in vague, prophetical statements certainly sounds dangerous.
“I’m going to have to start putting the nightlight on for Darkwraiths again.”
“Well, these guys aren’t normal,” Willow said. “I’m learning all this with you.”
“Not normal, compared to the other, more normal vampires.”
Hey, most things explode into ash when you drive a stake into them. Don’t question it!
“Does this change the plan?” Elsa asked.
“No,” Willow shook her head. “It just makes it a bit more difficult is all. I still have years of experience, and you guys know how to handle yourselves decently already. We just need to find their weak spots and use them, then we can take their artefacts and bring them back here.”
“If I’m reading the foreshadowing correctly, their weaknesses might be related to the fire, decapitation, and sunlight.”
Clearly you’re projecting your own biases onto the fic.
“And we get to decide which ones we want?” Doc checked.
“As long as we don’t take more than half of them, we can have our pick,” Willow nodded.
Because Willow makes a point to only work for people who are as bad at business as she is.
“And I’m particularly eyeing that stone-to-silver one Reddington mentioned. It could be useful in future. Silver’s got some good magical properties.”
“Clearly that’s the most important use for a limitless amount of silver.”
Igor, all this is doing is making Willow look even more incompetent since we know she somehow still goes bankrupt.
Doc looked up from his books. “Are you insinuating that we could use it for our nanobot research?”
I think I’m forgetting what research that is.
“It’s the research where they’re going to build little machines. And make them magical. Thus creating magitech.”
Ah, yes, that. I’m sure silver will be instrumental to that. Even though you would only need minuscule amounts of it to do that research. About fifty dollars worth would probably do it.
“Potentially,” Willow mused. “We’ll have to go a bit further before we can really answer that.”
Seriously, why is this an issue? You can get twenty-five grams of 99.9% pure silver for thirty-five bucks on Etsy. Silver is pricey, but you’re making robots so small that you can’t see them.
“Ah!” Elsa exclaimed. “I’ve found it! ‘The Cave of the Malkavians is kept hidden in the southern woods near the Hellmouth, circled by barren trees and scorched earth.
“Guess that means they have a Wiki.”
Or they’re hiring a maid and she checked the jobs section of Craigslist.
Its entrance faces away from the sun to avoid direct sunlight during the daytime and maximise nightime hours.”
Because that’s how caves work, apparently. Facing them away from the sun causes a localized time distortion that lengthens the nighttime hours.
“It always faces away?” Doc asked.
“Do caves generally more around and change the direction they’re facing?”
If they’re made out of a Exogorth, yes.
“So…” He traces the arc of the sun in the air. “The sun goes like that… and we’re on the Northern Hemisphere… so it stays south of us, which means the cave mouth faces north.”
I’m not sure if it’s more insulting that Igor thinks he needs to exposit the same information multiple times, or if it’s that he thinks he needs to go back and carefully explain the very basic concepts he’s already laid out.
“So a north-facing cave surrounded by dead trees and scorched earth, on the southern outskirts of Sunnydale,” Willow summarised. “Good thing it’s only fall, ’cause otherwise it’d be hard to tell which trees we were looking for.”
“So do we start searching?” Doc asked.
“If Igor’s really careful, he can drag this research out for five or six more chapters before you guys actually need to go looking for something.”
“It would take us a long time to get there,” Elsa said, her expression unenthusiastic at the prospect of another 8-hour car ride.
“See! Elsa’s already on board with the plan to stall the audience.”
“It won’t,” Willow assured her. “I have a much faster way of getting to Sunnydale—but first we’ll need to get some weapons.”
Tesla cars AND a PCC installed SDQF? Willow is all about the transportation options.
“Oh boy,” Doc said flatly. “Time for the shooty-sticks.”
“Was the shooty-stick one of the listed weaknesses?”
You can get more with a kind word and a shooty-stick, then with just a shooty-stick.
“We’re not going for shooty-sticks,” Willow said with a hint of exasperation.
You keep this up, and we’re going to rename you Commander Buzz-Kill.
“We’re sticking with quiet weapons. If we start a fight, that way we won’t attract any unnecessary attention.
What’s the list again?
“Fire, decapitation, and sunlight.”
Guess that means they’ll need matches, giant scissors, and some LED grow lamps.
So, we’ll get swords, axes, things like that.”
You know, the kinds of weapons the typically involve a lot of screaming in agony as your target dies.
“A deafened enemy cannot hear your weapons.”
“What about things that do fire?” Doc asked. “Flamethrower?”
“I’ve got the fire part covered,” Willow smirked.
“Well, a flaming demon sheep does technically count.”
Not if she isn’t the one paying him.
Those coffee vouchers don’t grow on trees!
“…Oh,” Doc realised. “Right. Magic.”
“So I’m confused, does Willow have good control of her magic enough to throw fireballs and kill vampires, or is she weak and unable to?”
Both! It’s a Schroedinger’s plot. She’s constantly both too weak to fight and powerful enough to win any fight until the plot decides which is true for that moment.
“Plot science is hard.”
“I don’t think I’ll need much,” Elsa said. “I’ve demonstrated my abilities before.”
“She’s going to brood at them about how nobody loves her anymore?”
“She’s going to make an emo-themed castle out of them?”
“True,” Willow nodded. “But you should have something besides your ice, for safety.” Elsa nodded silently in agreement. “Alright. Now we get going.”
Horrible can suck it. There’s no such thing as special science powers.
“What about his death ray or freez-”
NO SPECIAL SCIENCE POWERS!
WHY ARE WE SHOUTING!
“I THINK CRUNCHY IS PUMPING HIS EXPERIMENTAL YELL GAS INTO THE VENTS AGAIN!”
REMIND ME TO HAVE A QUIET TALK WITH HIM ABOUT THAT LATER!
“It feels weird to be vampire-hunting in the daytime,” Xander said, looking around at the multicoloured leaves littering the forest floor.
In that they are hunting a cave.
“If vampires were made out of caves, this would be what it’s like to hunt them.”
I find your logic sound, but also aggravating.
“Yeah?” Spike said. “As weird as it is to have a vampire hunting with you?”
Dude, he spent the better part of five years hunting vampires alongside vampires. Not to mention, he’s good friends with Dracula. Hunting vampires with a vampire is one of the least weird things he’d have done with his day.
“No,” Xander admitted. “And that’s not as weird as seeing you wearing a ski mask.”
“Spike in a ski mask is pretty strange. Hard to believe he would let something mess up his hair like that.”
Very hard to believe.
“It was this or that black morphsuit, and tha’ll never happen,” Spike asserted firmly.
Really? That’s the only two things you can think of to disguise your identity?
“Why would he need to anyway? He’s a vampire.”
You got me. Maybe he doesn’t want the other vampires laughing at him for hanging out with all these jelly brains.
“That would be the weirdest,” Xander said, scanning the trees again. “None of the trees look dead. Would’ve helped to also get a radius for that circle that the reference described, instead of just ‘barren trees and scorched earth’. Like, it could be a circle 3 miles across, or 3 yards!”
“Xander found the wiki, too!”
Can’t really argue with the Malkavian’s web guru. He really knows how to get the traffic flowing.
“Well, we’re not gonna find it if you just keep whinin’ about it!” Spike growled.
“That’s not true at all! You can whine while you search.”
Don’t help them, please.
“We go and find it, and then we do whatever we’re gonna do, and then we moan about it!”
“You’re perfectly able to moan-”
Stop. Helping. Them.
“I know, Spike,” Xander snapped.
You know, it’s actually been a long while since I’ve seen tension through bickering. Can’t say that I’ve missed it much.
“Well, these woods don’t go on forever, so somebody’s gonna find it,” Spike said. “And ‘sides, the cave needs to face north and be big enough to house at least 3 Malks and a small fortune’s worth of jewels.”
“And very large caves always have very large mouths!”
That’s it. Once this fic is done I’m putting a restraining order on myself on your behalf.
Xander’s walkie-talkie suddenly crackled with static. He whipped it out and brought it to his mouth.
*Porno music blasts over the intercom system*
Xander, this is really not the time to be doing that.
“I’m getting static, what’s up?”
*Garbled static replies*
Well, that certainly helped.
“Odd, telling people that they’re having static problems usually fixes the issue.”
“I’m hearing shouting,” Buffy said. “Where are you guys?”
“In the howler monkey enclosure.”
Well, that explains why they haven’t found the cave, at least. How did they end up there, anyway?
“All that banter kinda distracted them.”
“We’re about 2 miles into our section, according to the GPS,” Xander said. “Where are you?”
We’re two miles from the point of reference!
“Over by the thing!”
Yeah, go a mile until you see the landmark, then go another mile and you’re here!
“We’re also about 2 miles in,” Buffy said. “Do you hear anything?”
“We called that one!”
Same amount of vague and everything.
Xander listened intently for a few moments, but heard nothing. “Nah, it’s all quiet here.”
“Where? On the Western Front?”
“Okay. We’re gonna check it out,” Buffy decided.
“It’s too quiet. Obviously that’s more suspicious than the yelling.”
“If I signal you, come meet up with us.”
“We’ll wave our hands really hard, so you can see us from where you are. If you can’t see us, wave back, and we’ll keep waving harder until you can see it!”
“Gotcha,” Xander nodded, then put the walkie-talkie away.
“AAAAaaAAaAAaaaAaaaaaaa!” Damien howled, sprinting back into the safety of the cave, clutching his right hand.
“Mistress Alicia! Mistress Alicia!” He ran into the next chamber. Nobody there. “Mistress Alicia, wake up!” He bolted into the third room. This time, he saw Johann and Alicia both fast asleep on their beds. He rushed up to Alicia’s bed and shook her as forcefully as he could without risking her wrath when she woke. “Mistress Alicia, wake up, please! Please, wake up!”
I don’t care how gently you wake him, Crunchy is always wrathful when you wake him.
“He is very much not a morning person.”
Alicia stirred. “Damien? Is it still day?”
“And is that barbecue I smell!?”
“Yes, it is, I burned my hand!” Damien sobbed, holding out his injured hand for her to see.
As a vampire you think you would probably have figured out not to stick your hand in the sunlight. You have three basic weaknesses, dude, and they’re generally pretty easy to avoid.
She slowly raised her head from the mattress, brushing away her locks of white hair. “Oh my…” She sat up, gently running her fingers along the length of the burns. “This is most distressing… Oh, mon cher. Go find some bandages, they should be nearby. It will heal in time.”
“Do bandages even help Cainites?”
Not really. Maybe she just doesn’t like looking at the charred flesh. Which, fair enough, it’s pretty grody looking.
Damien nodded vigourously, biting his lip to stifle a cry of pain. A single tear of blood streamed down his cheek as he stood and hurried out of the room, searching for the bandages.
“You were recently on fire, Damien. Keep the movements slow and deliberate and it’ll be less painful.”
So I suppose throwing things for him to catch would be insensitive?
*Taco puts his ball and glove away*
Alicia sighed heavily, lying down again—but then she heard something. Voices. Voices that weren’t her own, nor in her mind.
The vampires are coming from inside the cave!
*Porno music intensifies*
“Hello?” they called. “Hello? Is anyone there?”
Faint, very faint. Almost out of range. But she could hear them.
Just a little closer and she’ll be able to launch the missile.
And she could smell the familiar sweet scent of blood. Someone there was O-.
“Poor girl doesn’t realize that the blood she smells is from Damian’s face.”
Let’s not spoil it for her.
“Is anybody there?” Buffy called out. No response.
“Was this what your childhood looked like?”
Basically, but with more Smooth Criminal.
“It seemed to originate from the south,” Marlowe said, pointing in the general direction of where the sound had been. “It was loud, but the fact that we heard it at all indicates that we’re not far.”
Ahhh, so the only reason Damian was stupid enough to create hand bacon was that Igor couldn’t come up with a plausible way for Buffy to find the cave. That’s… pretty sad, honestly.
“I guess we’ll check it out,” Buffy sighed. “Weapons at the ready.”
They jogged south, the wind rushing past their ears making a low hissing sound. The green and red leaves over their heads blurred slightly as they passed the trees, and every so often there was the loud snap of a stick that cracked through the cool air.
Pretty poor description. And of an inconsequential run. But, it’s actual description, so I’ll take it.
Before long, the ground transitioned from roots and dirt to orange, red, and brown leaves, and the sun started to flicker into view.
*The sentence bounces off Taco’s purple-proof glasses*
You thought I forgot them, didn’t you, fic?
Buffy slowed down, frowning deeply as she looked at the thinning cover of the trees. “Guys! The leaves are falling.”
Thanks, Colonel Obvious. Did you think the leaves on the ground wasn’t good enough of a clue?
Marlowe looked around, then took a deep breath. “Wait!” Everybody stopped. He took another deep breath. “I smell smoke. Do you smell it?”
Buffy inhaled. “Yeah! Wow, that’s strong!”
Olaf took a delicate sniff, then smacked his hands over his nose. “Blech! That is not cool!”
“Somebody overcooked the roast!”
Marlowe looked at Buffy. “We have to be close. Smoke, falling leaves?” He cleared away some leaves, baring the dirt. “Look. It’s burnt. Scorched earth.”
Yup, I smell dungeon. Let’s gather the party and check around real quick for NPCs that might lend us a hand.
Buffy took out her walkie-talkie. “Xander, we found the scorched earth and the trees. Come over here. It clears out quickly, so the cave shouldn’t be far.”
If you’re having trouble figuring out where ‘here’ is, just come to the place with the scorched earth and trees.
“It’s about two miles into their zone. There will be leaves on the ground!”
“We’re on our way. Be there in 5,” Xander replied.
Either these two teams are headed roughly in the same direction, or Xander is about to run the fastest four miles that has ever been run.
“What about Batman?”
Even the Adam West Batman needed at least ninety seconds to run a mile.
She hooked her walkie-talkie on her belt and they marched forward.
In under a minute, the trees gave way to empty earth, and the opening of the cave presented itself, ten feet high, nestled in the base of a small swell of the land. “So here it is,” Buffy said. “The Cave of the Malkavians.”
If this fic had any sense of irony, the Cave of the Malkavians would be on the other side of the hill.
“Is it possible that the screams we heard were coming from in here?” Marlowe asked pointedly.
“Most likely,” Buffy nodded. “But we don’t want to do anything just yet. We don’t wanna get them mad.”
Why would later be better than now so far as that goes? Are they less likely to get mad if there are five of you instead of two? What the fuck? I mean, I can understand wanting backup in case things go poorly, but that isn’t what you said.
“If at all,” Marlowe murmured. “Should we check if anybody’s awake?”
What part of ‘we don’t want to do anything‘ was unclear, Jim?
“…Might as well,” Buffy muttered. “Hello? Anybody home? Malkavians, anybody there?”
*Taco throws up his hands*
You know what, fine, whatever. I guess even Buffy forgot what she said. Or maybe she just forgot that words have meaning.
“I’ll add ‘anything’ to the list.”
“Hello?” a woman’s voice called out, confident and heavily accented. “Are you friends?”
How can you ask that question in a confident manner? I tried it a few times and almost hurt myself.
Buffy took a cautious step closer. “That depends. Who are you?”
“Have friends come to protect our jewels?” the woman asked, ignoring the question. Her cadence was also odd, slow and smooth. She almost sounded like she was singing. “Are these… friends?”
“Either this isn’t Alicia, or her accent is gone again.”
I’m sure it’ll turn up before too much longer.
“Who are you?” Buffy repeated, a bit more loudly.
“I am… Alicia,” the woman’s voice intoned dramatically.
Gonna have to give her a few moments, she’s trying to find her accent. It tends to just leave at the most awkward and inopportune moments.
Buffy thought she saw movement now—a fuzzy shadow hiding in the mouth of the cave.
“When did Alicia turn into a peach?”
Hey, some vampires turn into bats or wolves and some turn into fruit. Don’t judge.
“Do you care to see our tricks, our devices? We have a whole assortment of… stratagems tucked away in ‘ere, yes yes yes…”
Buffy looked at Marlowe with a raised eyebrow. “She sounds a bit loopy.”
‘Stupid.’ The word you’re looking for is ‘stupid.’
“Potentially Malkavian, then,” Marlowe reasoned.
Bringing that full PhD to bear I see, Jim.
“Next I bet he’ll figure out that the Malkavians are vampires!”
“Are you a Malkavian?” Buffy called out to Alicia.
Subtle, Buffy, subtle.
The shadow was becoming clearer. She was coming closer to the opening. “I am” she confirmed smugly. “You are so smart, having found us ‘ere… Who told you? Was it the kitty-cats?
Hee-hee! Those rascals are so tricky, tricky, tricky…”
“Our web hosting is handled by sheep. They’re stable, if a little slow.”
“Approach, then, mes amis,” Alicia crooned.
She exited the cave, staying inside the shadow stretching out past the gaping maw, and Buffy felt her heart skip a beat.
Of course, Buffy faced down the very soldiers of Hell and walked away to tell the tale, but balks at a quirky vampire with a fake accent.
Alicia looked like what the old pictures of succubi looked like: a beautiful, but obviously damaged creature that relied as much on its tragedy as its beauty to lure in its victims.
Man, that shit is hawt!
“Incoming clothing porn!”
She had chest-length, wild white hair, whiter than her wrinkled, old chemise, and her lovely face was streaked with eyeliner made runny by bloody tears. She looked very French, with her button-down white chemise and black dress pants and her bright red lipstick. She smiled at her, and her gleaming white teeth seemed to catch a ray of light that wasn’t there. Buffy noticed that she had a piercing underneath her bottom lip, directly below her left fang.
hen there were her eyes. Her right eye was a bright, bloody red that seemed to seemed to burn into Buffy’s own; her left eye was an equally piercing cornflower blue, taking the burning effect of her red eye and reversing it, stabbing into her like ice. Christ—she had some killer windows to the soul.
You can tell who Igor has a crush on by the discrepancy in the amount of description compared to the rest of the characters in the fic.
“Not to mention how much the prose is fawning over this character.”
Yeah. I really hope for Igor’s sake that IndigoStars never read this. This is as obvious as pulling her braids at recess.
“Do you know what time it is?” Alicia asked, stepping closer to the edge of the shadow, now only ten feet from them now.
“How does FPM put up with you?”
There’s lots of eye rolling.
“I like the outdoors, you see. The sun… not so much.” She was toeing the edge with her right foot. She had on shiny black flats, scuffed at the toe. “When will the sun set?”
“But asking obvious questions is quirky and mysterious!”
Well, it would be, except the answer is: at dusk.
“Not for another hour,” Marlowe said.
At which point it will be dusk.
Alicia cocked her head, looking at him curiously. “You have the face of a hunter. Are you a hunter?”
“Not of animals,” Marlowe said, frowning a little. “I hunt monsters.”
And classical works of California literature. Let’s not forget that.
“Some of those can give really nasty paper cuts!”
Alicia grinned, giggling a little as she continued to inch her foot along the shadow’s edge. “Monsters… Alicia is a monster, they say, but… Alicia is no monster—only a spectre of the night.”
“And suddenly third person and with no hint of an accent at all.”
Inconsistent writing is SPOOOOOOOOKY!
“If you post that dancing pumpkin video, I’ll hose you down with the glitter gun.”
“Unfortunately, I hunt those too,” he said. “All of us.”
‘All of us’ what?
“I think he hunts all of us.”
Does that include us us? Or just them us?
“Well, if he tries to hunt us us, he’ll find himself coated in glitter.”
Better stick to you us, bro.
Alicia made a sad noise in her throat, looking down briefly at Olaf before returning her gaze to Buffy. “But you say you are friends,” she said, upset. “Are you here to kill Alicia?”
“Nope! Just rob you blind!”
“No,” Buffy shook her head. “We’re here about your—jewels.”
“Buffy, hon, I was being silly. That wasn’t a suggestion.”
Sadly this Buffy is not smart enough to know the difference.
Alicia perked up at that. “Our jewels? Oh, yes yes yes… you are friends. We are expecting friends and foes, but you are friends, yes yes yes yes…”
I’d post a video of Ducky, but I don’t want to seem insensitive.
“Maybe after lunch.”
“How do you know?” Marlowe asked, puzzled.
It can’t be that whole ‘they can see bits of the future’ stuff that you guys exposited earlier, could it?
“Very unlikely. I think it’s far more believable that she has the new PCC Plotapp.”
They have an app now?
“More specifically, they’ve always had an app just now!”
I hate that company.
“Friends come during the times of peace,” Alicia said cryptically.
That was cryptic?
“Must have been, the narrator said so.”
“Foes instigate the war.” She stepped back from the lip of the shadow. “Come inside. Meet my allies when the sun sets and they awake.
Aside from the guy cradling his crispy hand. You can meet him right now.
We have been expecting you, and we will need your aid tonight.”
“That’s a euphemism for drinking their blood, right?”
Yup, pretty much.
And with that, the chapter ends. Sorta. We still have an author’s note to take a peek at, so we might as well see what Igor has to say.
I posted two chapters within a week of each other.
“You mentioned that sudden burst of energy before the end.”
That I did. Seems to be pretty common in these kinds of projects. The author’s last ditch effort to convince themselves that they’re actually interested in continuing the story.
I’m so prolific in 2016.
“I’ll add ‘prolific’ to the list.”
With my blessing.
I wonder if it’ll be a trend.
Not even a little.
Good news, people! One chapter left! Then we can be freed from this boat anchor of a fic!
“I’ve got the Darkwraiths preparing the after-fic party around the clock!”
Until next week patrons!
Honestly it really does feel like pizza time.
“Iguanadon and pepperoni?”