The flash of green light blurred their eyes for a few seconds after exiting the portal. However, the sounds of battle were clear to all of those who made their abrupt entrance to wherever they were. As their sight returned, before them lay seemingly endless acres of sand and more sand. About fifty yards in front of the small group lay what appeared to be a camp of desert people. A camp that was currently being raided it seemed, as women and children were screaming and running away. Men on horseback rode through attacking those that remained. Those few men that fought back were brutally killed. And those that did not fight back were also killed, only less brutally. It all was happening so fast and they had no idea why.
"Should we not assist these water carriers?" Illyria asked as what looked to be a teenage boy was run through by one of the passing horseman.
"We don't know what is going on, who the right side might be. We shouldn't interfere." Willow replied as she shook her head trying to stop the tears in her eyes from falling.
One of the attackers, dressed in dark leathers with metal studs and black paint marking the right side of his face and partly shaved head had dismounted and began fighting with two of the men. A third man was lucky and managed to stab the attacker in the back. Another of the horsemen with black paint across his eyes laughed as he saw his companion collapse. Riding forward he chopped the head off the man who felled him with a battle axe before killing the remaining fighters. Moving to a pit fire, he crouched in front of it and calmly began eating what had been roasting there.
A third horseman dressed in black and metal armoring with black markings on the left side of his face and chin dismounted before grabbing a woman and dragging her into one of the few tents not on fire.
"I really hope that you got something wrong with the potion, Red, because if the portal led us to these men, we are in serious trouble." Faith said softly.
As if able to hear her quite comment, the remaining man seated on a horse turned and looked in their direction. He made a small movement that resulted in the horse starting to walk towards them. Other than keeping his sword in hand, he made no threatening movements, yet Faith placed her hand on the handle of the dagger hidden in the back of her leather pants just in case. He stopped before them. Even under the blue paint covering half his face, the women could appreciate his beauty. Strong features, a straight nose, defined jaw line and very nice hazel eyes. Too bad he seriously needed to get rid of the shaggy 80's rocker hair. Never mind the amount of blood covering his white tunic.
"Well at least he is yummy looking." Anya faintly remarked to Illyria.
"Hi. Sorry to pop up out of nowhere. Just ignore us. Go back to your chaos and mayhem. Don't let us distract you. " Dawn nervously stated before taking a step closer to Faith, hoping to stay out of the path of this man.
"Who are you? Where did you come from?" He had a great voice, soft yet distinctive.
"Just a bunch of wonderers, nothing special" Willow replied not wanting to give the man any ideas as to their threat to him or their abilities. His horse took another step forward bringing him closer to them. Connor moved two steps over placing himself further between Dawn and this stranger. The man merely raised an eyebrow in response.
"Somehow I doubt that. Where are your horses, your supplies? You wonder through the desert with nothing to sustain you."
"Slayer." Turning his head to look directly at her, he raised his eyebrow again in response to Faith's comment. "You asked who we are. I am the Slayer. Now why don't you return the favor hot stuff. Who are you?" He spent a moment appearing to take her measure as so few women would stand before him and dare to speak. Yet none of these women or the boy before him appeared afraid, cautious maybe, but not afraid. He wondered at how strong they must be to not fear him and his brothers. He smirked softly.
"I am Death…on a horse." Death and Faith continued staring at each other, not willing to appear weaker to the other. Neither managing to determine who was more dangerous, Death nodded to Faith. After a moment Faith returned the nod.
"Okay, we will be leaving now. Wait…" Dawn turns to Willow "how do we reopen the portal on this side with out any potion ingredients? Are we gonna be stuck here forever? We can't stay here. I don't like the desert. I may be a California girl with the warmer climate loving but not the desert. Too much sand, I hate sand. It gets everywhere. And no malls, no cappuccinos, no ice cream. And they killed all those people. Who knows what they will try to do to us. And…and I really don't want to get blood on these boots. They are Buffy's. If anything happens to them, she will totally kill me. After that demon mucus I got on the pair last week, it won't matter that I am her only sister. Not even you will be strong enough to save me."
"Willow, you were only supposed to teach her magic, not how to babble with out breathing." Commented Connor as he grabbed the practically hyperventilating Dawn's hand and gave it a firm squeeze. She took a deep breathe and tried to calm down as Willow rolled her eyes.
"We can get home, Dawn. We used your blood remember to tie the portal to you. Just think of the return phase we added to the spell and it will reopen."
"Oh. Yeah. Sorry." Dawn closed her eyes and a moment later the green portal opened again behind them. Anya and Willow step through followed by Connor and then Faith, Illyria remaining behind to ensure the safety of the Key.
"Sorry. But I don't care what the First Slayer says. Death is not my sister's gift!" Dawn throws at the bewildered man and jumps back through followed by the former god-king.
A/N: Buffyverse belongs to Joss Whedon and Highlanderverse to Davis-Panzer Productions.