One Less Martyr:

A Virtual Buffy "Webisode"

Buffy, Dawn, and two others infiltrate the Los Angeles branch of Wolfram and Hart, and discover an old friend's final sacrifice was not so final. Meanwhile, the oldest of the new slayers is visited by a sinister figure from her past.

Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all affiliated characters are the intellectual and copyrighted property of Mutant Enemy and Twentieth Century Fox. Furthermore, this webisode includes some quoted material written by the staff of Mutant Enemy, particularly Joss Whedon, David Fury, and Steven DeKnight. As this is a work of fan fiction I am, like everyone else here, using these characters without permission or profit except for my entertainment and hopefully the entertainment of others.

Continuity: This story is an immediate sequel to Caliban's Daughters, and occurs simultaneously with the Angel episode "Destiny"written by the aforementioned Fury and DeKnight. If you find yourself interested in this story, I strongly suggest you read Caliban's Daughters first to get background information for this story.

Further Notes: I now have a bit more of a plan. I plan on doing 7 webisodes of this mostly hidden (in my head) 8th season of BtVS, which intertwines with the wonderful final season of Angel. The webisodes will appear in two pairs and a trilogy. The pairs are Caliban's Daughters and One Less Martyr, followed by Primitive and These are Your Lives, and ending with Dragon Ascendant, Buffy the Dragon Slayer, and Apocalypse Again. Titles are tentative.

This will be written in the present tense format I used in Caliban's Daughters and also in my Ginger Snaps fanfic, Ginger Snaps Together Again. The narrative is meant to describe the action as a television viewer might see it. I hope I learned something about writing in this format from the GS fanfic.

And with all that, here we go…

"Previously, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer…"

We see Spike standing in the Hellmouth, sunlight pouring down on him and out of the necklace he is wearing. He is in flames. He's laughing. Then, his face blackens and caves in on itself. Then, his whole body collapses into black ash, and the Hellmouth starts to fall down on and around his disintegrating remains.

A small army of vampires are dressed like Mongol warriors and riding obviously vampiric horses with yellow eyes and prominent canine teeth. They are riding towards the Tokyo Slayer Academy. In front of the academy stand several young women and girls, armed with swords, crossbows, and axes. One of the Mongol warriors lets fly an arrow, and a slayer falls dead with an arrow in her heart.

Back in Rome, Buffy sits up in her bed and screams. Dawn runs in.

"Buffy!" she yells. "It's just a nightmare!"

"No," says Buffy. "Nine more slayers in Japan, including Chao-Ahn! Dawn, I felt them die!"

Dawn looks intently at Buffy's face. Our vantage point is the back of Buffy's head.

"Buffy!" Dawn says. "What's happened to your eyes?"

"My eyes?' says Buffy.

We then see what Dawn sees. The corneas of Buffy's eyes have turned bright yellow, and the whites have turned bright red.

"Buffy, you say you are stronger now?" Lyssa asks. Lyssa and Buffy are in the Rome Slayer Academy's infirmary.

"Yeah, I figure since the Tokyo slayers died I'm twice as strong as I was during the Battle of the Hellmouth," Buffy says. "And just after Willow's spell I was a lot stronger than I was before. My strength was increased when all the slayers were activated."

"It's like you are becoming the ultimate slayer," Lyssa says.

"But I don't want to be the ultimate slayer, Lyssa!" Buffy yells. "That's like being the only slayer again!"

"You know that I have already had concerns about your….multiplying talents," Giles says as he and Dawn stand in the great hallway of the Rome Slayer Academy.

"Of course," Dawn says. "Join the club. That old axiom about absolute power corrupting absolutely? Definite worries for me there. I've already been through that whole thing with Willow, and the last thing I want to see is a repeat of that starring me as 'Dark Dawn'."

"I assure you that's really not the source of my concern," Giles' says.

"Well, it's the source of my concern," says Dawn.

"Yes, well, there is someone else we could talk to," Giles says. "About Buffy and about you. This person knows more slayer lore than anyone else alive."

"Really?" Dawn says. "I thought that would be you, or maybe even me nowadays."

"No, no," says Giles. He is clearly nervous. "This person will know more, but she hasn't talked to me in over thirty years. She still won't want to talk to me. But she may want to talk to you."

"Who are you talking about?" asks Dawn.

"Edna Giles," Giles says. "My grandmother."

"What is the prophecy, the first prophecy every watcher and every slayer learns?" Edna Giles asks Dawn and her grandson.

" 'Into each generation a slayer is born, one girl in all the world born with the strength and skill'…" Giles begins.

"That's good, Rupert," Edna says, cutting him off. "Did you hear the key phrasing there?"

"I'm afraid not," Dawn says.

"I'm afraid I'm rather at a loss as well," Giles says.

" 'Into each generation a slayer is born'…" Edna says. "Not 'when one slayer dies, another takes her place'. The original slayer was part Higher Being. Her physical body could be killed, and much of her power could be taken. But, her spirit was beyond the power of the Shadow Men to contain. So, the spirit went out and searched for a girl child who otherwise would be stillborn. The spirit would choose that child for her next incarnation. That child would grow up to be the next 'chosen one'."

"Wait a minute," Giles says. "You're saying that the slayer prophecy refers to a single entity who is repeatedly reincarnated?"

"Yes I am," Edna says. "The spirit of the original slayer simply worked herself into a rotation with the other slayers, the ones called by the Shadow Men and their descendents in the original Council. Unfortunately, even the true chosen ones tended to die very young, so the spirit of the original slayer was literally reincarnated every generation."

"So you are saying that Buffy is the latest incarnation of the original slayer?" Dawn says.

"Yes," Edna says. "That's why Buffy's own powers increase with every slayer death. When your friend Willow used the scythe to activate all of the potentials, what she actually did was call all of the stolen power of the original slayer back onto this plane of existence, back from wherever the Shadow Men had hidden it. When one of the other slayers dies that stolen power, instead of going back to wherever the Shadow Men had kept it, now returns home.

"And that home, dear heart, is your sister."

"Rupert, have you heard of the Scrolls of Aberjian?" Edna asks her grandson as they both sit in her bedroom.

"Yes, they are said to contain apocalyptic prophecies," Giles says. "But the Scrolls are supposed to be lost."

"Actually, I believe there's a copy in the Los Angeles branch of Wolfram and Hart," Edna says. "They were in the possession of Angel, who, as I am sure you know, now runs Wolfram and Hart's office in Los Angeles.

"The Scrolls mention that the forces of light will be led by a Female Trinity. I've only read about the Scrolls, you understand, not the Scrolls themselves. But I do know that the members of the Female Trinity are the Warrior…"

We see Buffy, her eyes bright red and yellow, using blinding speed and a sword to slay three sword wielding vampires, all dressed impeccably in three piece suits. Then we see Buffy during the Battle of the Hellmouth, beheading three Turok-Han with one mighty swing of her scythe.

"…the Goddess…"

We see Bright Willow as she is tapping into the scythe, her hair white, her whole body glowing, and her face joyful. Then we see a brief shot of Dark Willow in all her terrible glory, eyes and hair black as coal.

"… and the Adept."

We see shots of Dawn in quick succession. First we see Dawn winning a swordfight by beheading a giant bald vampire in an impeccable suit. Then we see Dawn holding her open hand next to a bookcase, and the book leaping into her hand as if on its own accord. Then we see Dawn speaking perfect Italian to one slayer, perfect German to another slayer, and perfect Russian to a third slayer, all in quick succession. Finally, we see Dawn instructing a clearly frustrated Giles on how to read something in a scroll.

And again, we hear Buffy's voice over.

"Are you ready to be strong?"