I don't own anything. Buffy and Pathfinder are not owned by me. Nor are the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. They are owned by rich, talented people. I'm a nobody. Please don't sue me.
Travelling Between the Angles
Buffy stood on the hill beside the ruined prison, dressed in her favorite leather travel clothing, examining her gear one last time. Her new sword was at her side, and her bag of holding was on her other hip. Opening it, she saw that all of her favorite weapons and her most useful gear were on top, ready to easily grab if needed. Patting herself, she checked first her hair, and then all of her hidden knives and stakes, before finally adjusting her new green cloak.
It had been over two weeks since she had staked Annika, and in the time since not a single supernatural problem had plagued Ravengro. She had even returned one evening to the prison and poked around briefly, but her spidey-sense hadn't shown any activity. The town was safe, and the threat of Harrowstone had been averted forever.
After dealing with the vampires, Kendra had helped Buffy walk to the church, and the acolytes on duty had taken one look at them and had immediately summoned Father Grimburrow. For an hour every priest in town had poured healing magics into the two women, until finally even Buffy's arm was on the mend. She still had numerous scars from where the burns had reached bone, but they were easily hidden by her clothing, and she had lost no use of her limb, for which she would always be grateful.
By the next day word had spread about the resolution of the Harrowstone situation, and when the two women had left Kendra's home that afternoon they had been shocked to find themselves the guests of honor at an impromptu village festival. They had soon joined in, and had enjoyed a day of feasting, laughing, dancing, and telling tales. By the end, Buffy had drunk enough wine to be completely relaxed for the first time since her sister's death, and she would always remember the day fondly.
At the end of the evening, they had been led to an out of the way table, where the townsfolk had pitched in and put together a reward for their efforts. Buffy had wanted to decline, but Kendra had managed to convince her that refusing the gift would have been insulting, and so they had returned home that evening somewhat richer, and in possession of a number odd articles, such as homespun socks, her new cloak, some family heirloom jewelry, and even a live chicken.
Over the rest of the two weeks, Kendra had spent most of her time working on the Pnakotic Manuscripts, as well as arranging the sale of her home. She had spent her reward money and some of her savings purchasing a large bag of holding, and had filled it with books and possessions that she could not stand to be without.
Finally, by the time Buffy had received her money from Petros' will, Kendra had figured out a solution to her problem, which had led them to their remote location that overcast afternoon five months after she had arrived in Golarion. The diviner had spent the entire morning carefully drawing runes in a circle covering over twenty square feet of dirt, one of the still denuded areas where Annika's fireballs had scorched the earth being used as a canvas. Finally, Kendra finished her work and gestured for Buffy to approach.
"I have everything ready," she said, giving the runes one last examination. "Are you prepared?"
"Yup," Buffy answered, grinning, before turning serious. "Are you sure about this? My world is way different from this one."
"I'm sure," Kendra said confidently. "I have even prepared a rod attuned to this place, should I ever need to seek my own way home. Now then, this is fairly simple. I will stand here, in this cluster of runes, and you stand there, in that one. I will perform the ritual, but it will be up to you to compel the creature's service."
"Let's pretend, for just a sec, that I totally zoned out when you explained everything, and that I have no clue what you're talking about."
"Right, I'll 'pretend' I didn't notice the drool when I told you this before. The reason why it is so difficult to travel to most dimensions, is that our mortal magics are terribly imprecise for such things. Without knowing exactly where we are going, our attempts to plane shift tend to go awry. Dimensional shamblers, however, have no such limitation."
"So you're gonna summon one of them?"
"Yes," Kendra said, nodding soberly. "Unfortunately, dimensional shamblers are completely alien to our form of life, and nearly impossible to control. You will need a strong will to exert any influence over it, and you will need a clear picture in your mind of our destination. If you manage to do so, it should take us to the precise place you desire."
"Right. Clear idea. Strong will."
"If you waver for even a moment, we could end up anywhere in all of creation."
"That sounds bad."
"There are planes where, upon arrival, our souls would be instantly torn from everliving corpses along with our flayed skin, and we would then face an eternity of blood soaked nightmares."
Kendra rolled her eyes. "I don't know why I even bother. Let us begin." She pulled her mithral knife from her belt, and grabbed the chicken that they had received from the villagers.
"Hey, what are you doing to Mrs. Cluck?" Buffy asked, shocked.
"Mrs. Cluck?" Kendra began incredulously. "Wait. Never mind. To summon this particular dimensional shambler, I need to sacrifice a chicken with a knife of pure mithral in the middle of this properly prepared circle."
"But... how can you kill Mrs. Cluck?"
Kendra stared at her for a long moment. "You had nearly a whole chicken for lunch yesterday. How can you be squeamish about this now?"
"But... that was cooked. I could pretend it came pre-made from the store, ready to eat."
"I watched the farmer wring its neck before I butchered it and cooked it myself. You hunt monsters for a living. How can this bother you?"
Buffy pouted. "It just does."
Kendra sighed. "Just look away or something." Before Buffy could say anything else, she slit the bird's throat, letting the blood fall on certain runes. For a long moment nothing happened, and then slowly a strange figure faded into existence at the center of the circle between the two women. It stood more than seven feet tall, with more than half of its height being thin, stilt-like legs. It had a barrel chest, and from its broad shoulders hung long, thin arms that reached the ground with several feet to spare. The creature's hands had nearly a dozen fingers, each almost two foot long, and all tipped with eight inch, razor sharp claws. The head was a faceless, blank ball of flesh, connected to the creature's shoulders by a collection of external veins which almost resembled hair. The creature was naked, although its wrinkly, brick red body was covered in patches with external veins, pulsing with blood, making it almost appear to have been flayed alive
The dimensional shambler swayed awkwardly from side to side for a moment, before finally pointing its blank head towards Buffy. Despite lacking eyes, she could feel that it was somehow looking at her, and through her, in some disturbing way that she did not want to comprehend. Locking her gaze with its featureless head, she projected every bit of confidence she had, and spoke in a calm, though commanding tone. "I want to go to my home. Earth." As she spoke, she concentrated, her mind focusing on Restfield cemetery in Sunnydale.
She felt the creature resisting her command, seeking to simply leave, but she would have none of it. Setting her jaw, Buffy focused hard, and after long moments, she felt it acquiesce. It hunched over, and slowly it began to fade away. A moment later, all of reality faded away with it.
And there you have it! The conclusion of Slayer of Harrowstone, my take on the Haunting of Harrowstone. If you want, you can interpret the ending as Buffy making it back to Sunnydale with her friend. My plans are for the trip to go wrong, and they end up having more adventures before she makes it home. However, I plan to take a break from this story, and if I don't get back to it anytime soon, I decided to leave this here, without it being a real cliffhanger.
I want to thank everyone who read this story, and especially those who left the wonderful reviews which helped me keep going. I also want to thank the various creators whose worlds I played in. Shoulders of giants.
I hope you all enjoyed this, and that you'll read my future work!
Error4North: Thank you for all of your reviews!