Under your Spell by Marianne

Chapter 20

Spike stood, clicking his fingers at Dawn signaling for her to help him back into his shirt and coat, then smirking, he strolled out of the bathroom.

"About bleedin' time!" He snarled, as Eon and two of his bodyguards lead the way.

Dawn followed them docilely, closing the door and staying safely just behind Spike. She was dimly aware of them walking back through the huge hall, which she heard Eon describe as "the audience chamber", but her thoughts were on the bite in her neck. She had braced herself for extreme pain (after all, she'd seen vampire bites before), but it hadn't really been muchworse than when she'd had her shots at school. It throbbed now, of course, but he'd been so fast, so gentle, that when he'd actually bitten her, it had almost been an anticlimax.

She shook her thoughts away, as they approached some large doors. Eon opened them with a flourish,

"This is Spike, sir."

The blond vampire sauntered through and looked around at the well-appointed room contemptuously.

"Mmm, not bad – if you like that sort of thing. A bit too poncy for my liking."

Dawn flinched, expecting some kind of retribution from the tall, thin, well-dressed vampire before them. Instead he smiled, gestured for Spike to sit down opposite him and dismissed Eon.

"I'm called Philip." He said pleasantly. "I hope you have been treated well. For reasons I'll explain later, I have made sure no-one knows why you are here."

"Least of all me." Snapped Spike.

"Yes, well, if you would do me the courtesy of listening to the story I'm about to tell you, then I think everything will become clear."

"Bloody hell! I thought I'd got to see the organ grinder – now I see that you're just another soddin' monkey!" Spike sprang to his feet and strode towards the door.

"I can't allow you to leave before I've explained the situation." Philip said sharply, "why don't you please sit down."

Spike turned, as if mollified. "Well make it quick – I've got a very short attention span."

Philip took a deep breath, "First I'll tell you about Lord Savos." He paused as Spike groaned and gave an exaggerated sigh. "Forgive me, but it is important that you know some of his history, to make sense of your present circumstances."

He ignored Spike's eye-roll and continued. "Lord Savos was born in 15th century Venice, to an extremely rich and influential banking family. Being the second son, he concentrated on learning the family business and very successfully too. When he was in his mid thirties, he had an encounter that would change his life." Philip's eyes glazed and his voice slowed, as he recounted his former master's life history.

"Yeah, yeah, we've all had that experience – get on with it!" Spike snarled.

The other vampire shook his head as if to clear it and then continued. "Um, yes. Well, Lord Savos was fortunate in his sire, the vampire taught him well and of course, when he had learned all he wanted to, Savos killed him, along with all his own family"

Dawn, who was trying to be as unobtrusive as she could, shivered at the matter of fact callousness of the statement. Spike merely looked bored, as he tapped his fingers on the arms of his chair.

Philip continued, "With his innate skills, Savos' fortune grew exponentially until he was the richest creature on Earth. In 1765, I was fortunate enough to have him as my sire and he taught me the day to day running of his business.

There came a time, when some jealous rivals made a truce between them so that they could challenge Savos, that he decided that he needed another place to retire to."

"Bloody run away you mean." Spike said under his breath.

Ignoring this, the older vampire continued, "He employed the most powerful mages to find him another suitable dimension. The rest is history."

"Well, that was fascinating," Spike said pleasantly, "but what the bloody hell does it have to do with me?"

"Again, I must ask you to be patient as I tell you a little bit about the dimension we are now in. It is ruled by five very powerful tribes – one for each continent. When Savos discovered it over two hundred years ago, he negotiated a deal which enabled him to stay here and build this place, on condition that he kept it secret. "

As he listened, Spike's eyebrows were rising higher and higher. "And this is of interest to me, why?"

"Just bear with me a little longer please. The heads of the ruling tribes are chosen on strength and the succession is not necessarily father to son, but to the being who happens to be the strongest at that time – survival of the fittest I suppose you could call it. But always, the one who defeats the ruler is the one who becomes the ruler." He paused and shot the blonde vampire a meaningful look.

Spike blinked and then suddenly threw his head back and shouted with laughter.

Oh my god, Dawn thought, he's gone crazy.

Then he straightened and spoke to the other vampire, his voice shaking with mirth, "You're telling me that you want me to take over this place, 'cos I offed the boss? That has to be the funniest thing I've ever heard."


Apologies for the extreme length of time since the last update – RL has a nasty way of kicking you in the teeth when you least expect it! I had actually written this about 2 months ago, but I got kinda distracted. Many thanks to those of you who have sent me messages of encouragement which inspired me to get my arse in gear. I can't guarantee that the next update will be very soon – I'll see what the energy levels allow.