I dont own anything of Xena MCA or Universal. Jan Falconor is all mine and a few other names who people this story.
Although this begins a few weeks after the events of ' When Darkness Falls.' it has no connection.
The small group of people waiting in the temple were there to see the shaman. The head man Deimos looked to his neighbours they all looked pretty much the same nervous at coming here but as their spokesman he had to put a calmer face on it. They were desperate, you didn't ask a shaman for help without good reason and they had reasons enough. The man wearing a crown of oak leaf and a long robe with a tree design on the back and strange creatures and symbols of horn and beads sewn in made him look as though he was a part of and also coming out of the tree. He padded toward them and looked at the group standing there he looked tired as he stared into each of their faces as if looking for something in their eyes as the headman stepped forward and began." Theron you know what's happening the Demon's attacking at will some of us have been killed already. We can't stop her we need something , anything to fight her with. We need a hero or she'll pick us off one by one." Deimos said his hands twiddled with the end of his coat and he looked to his friends again. The others nodded in agreement to the old shaman but Theron shook his head." You don't need my help for that send a message to the kings I'm sure one of them will send you troops." he shrugged as if he couldn't be bothered with this." All our messengers have been killed we are trapped, we need your magic to get us a hero here now before it's too late." Leia said stepping forward giving the old man a less than deferential look at his lack of interest." You have no idea what you ask for. It was magic that brought the demon here in the first place, another spell could have terrible concequences, for everyone." Deimos realised Theron was as frightened as the rest of them. " We're suffering the consequenses now. Please Theron we can't do this on our own we need help now." Deimos said. The shaman shook his head." No no don't ask me I can't, I dare not." then he turned and hurried out of the room. They had banked on his help and he had refused.
The group turned and filed out of the entrance, This was the last thing they expected to happen. They were just farmers and didn't know how to fight the being they faced and Theron had been their last resort now they felt they were abandoned." Well that had been a total waste of time I told you it woudn't work, we should have gone to Ares. He would have done something." Apollodorus grumbled loudly." Yeah get us in deeper trouble." Bricus mumbled and the bigger man scowled at him and Bricus scuttered out of his way and put himself behind the others. " Ahem, maybe I can be of assistance." A voice said from behind them and they turned to see Micah, Theron's apprentice steepling his fingers as if a healer diagnosing a sick patient. The priest's accolite was dressed in a plain homespun robe and even though he was years younger and a head shorter than most of men there it was plain he was looking down on them. " I doubt you could do much better if he can't do anything." Apollodorus said glowering at Micah who he thorght was a mouthy little bighead for an apprentice boy to the holy man." Oh you'd be surprised in what I know and can do." Micha smiled arrogantly at him and then turned to Deimos." Theron is weak and too afraid to help you but I will, I can give you what you want. It'll cost though. " He had listened in or had already known about it and Deimos looked at him and wondered if what he said was possible after all." You can do this?" " He knows nothing Deimos don't listen to him." Apollodorus said." I know more than you, you overgrown oaf." Micha retorted and the bigger man took a swing to cuff him. The younger ducked out of range laughing at him and ran for the door." Think about it." he called then he was gone the door clicking shut behind him. The temple guards sprang to bar the door from big man or he would have given chase and the others held on to him and hustle him away from the door." Your not going to listen to that pompous little squirt are you?" Apollodorus hissed at the headman. " Have you or anyone else got any better ideas as I'd sure like to hear them right now." Deimos said looking at them all. Nobody said anything.
Apollodorus shrugged off the men holding him and strode off to the tavern and Deimos hoped that boy stayed out of his way for the next day or two. Micha was right he is a big oaf and when he's drunk he's downright mean and a bully to boot from the gossip he'd been hearing lately about him, but It was foolish of the accolite to insult him like that. The rest of the group had all left quickly too, nobody liked being out alone these days and specially at night. Leia had stayed though and she smiled at him and said." It was worth the try Deimos." He had wanted to talk it out with them all about considering Micha's offer but once outside in the street they had rushed off and Deimos hadn't been able to sound the council out. He and Leia were not slow either as they kept looking about them nervously as they walked quickly. She was out there somewhere, malevolent and dangerous and the last thing they wanted to do was be caught by her. They got to the door of the woman's little house and for a moment they stood in it's shadow and looked at each other. She couldn't ask him in, convention excluded her from such action but they both wanted to talk so they stood in the doorway breaking no community rules. " Well what do you think?" Leia asked in a whisper and Deimos was intoxicated by her perfume and had to drag his thorghts back to the present. He was glad she was there on the council she was smart and he'd learned to trust her judgement over many issues in the two years she had been a council member. She was most often the voice of calm and reason in the meetings and even she had been willing to clutch at the last straw of going to Theron. He was also in love with her but he had never said so. There were more serious things to be thinking of before he dared to speak words of love, one being their class. He was of one of the leading families in the region and Leia although she had been elavated above her station by his allowing the plebs a vote was still a bastard daughter of a washer woman and not his equal in society." Like I said we're short of ideas and we need help now not tomorrow If he can do it isn't it worth takeing the chance? " he said and Leia broke in." Micha didn't say what he wanted and Theron said it's dangerous to do any more. I dont know that we should Deimos." " He said a lot of things none of it helpful to us. Fight ourselves! you know what that will mean. There wont be anyone left alive to dig our graves for us. As I see it we don't have a choice." He looked down at the young woman suddenly giving way to his fears. Leia gave his arm a squeese." Be careful Deimos." she said.
2013 In a suburb of London.
Jan rolled over in bed and sleepily opened one eye and tried to decypher what the clock said. It was 10 to 2 and she knew if she relaxed thinking she could lay there for the next ten she'd be asleep again in no time and then find herself with the rest of the day wasted and running late and her feeling miffed off. She got out of bed and went to the loo, checked in the mirror if she still there, looking no more at herself than that really. She wasn't bad looking or anything it was just she didn't bother that much about it. Short straight fair hair framed a slightly long face, blue eyes and full lips, yes all there then she padded to the kitchen area of the flatlet and grabbed the milk bottle from the fridge and the box of cereal. She looked out the window at the street two floors below. For two days the weather had been abnormally hot and the afternoon sun was beating down and everyone out there was in tee's and shorts and summer dresses and the like enjoying the last blast of summer. As she ate watching the usual tv news roundup with all the usual tv news horrors she thorght to take a run around the park and then saw she really ought to clear up the flat first, a job she had put off and the place sadly needed the attention now. The good weather would just have to wait until the jobs were dealt with she told herself and she flung open the window to get the most she was going to get it and felt it on the hot breath of air dampening her spirits in an instant. A storm was coming. She could always feel them, sometimes days ahead and it never failed to make her bad tempered and uncomfortable until the storm broke or was blown clear and she could only hope it would do one or the other soon, prefrably before she went to work. Realising she needed the workout Jan dressed and went for a run. She'd blitz the flat later. She ran a circuit round the park as warm up went into a few stretches through to the punching and kicking routines of karate and kung fu. It was too hot and sticky for a full workout and she was aware of being watched by the dog walkers and mothers of small chidren but she was left alone and continued to practise until she felt she had done enough and then Jan trotted home to complete the warm down.
Getting back to the flat Jan crept under the her landlady's window remembering she hadn't got the rent money for her. She liked the old woman even though she was a bit of a fluff ball and didn't know when to stop talking. The door opened and the little blue rinsed curls topping the round wrinkled face poked round the door." Hello dear I thorght I saw you going out." Jan quickly said." I am sorry Mrs Weston I havn't been to the bank yet but I will get your rent tonight on my way to work I promise." Oh I wasn't asking about that dear look I've a little party coming up, my anniversary. I only wish my poor Bert could have have been here for it you know but I still have the party in rememberance 40 years we were married you know, anyway it's next Saterday and your invited to come along. There will be a few of us, friends of Bert of course and." Jan stopped her there before she trammeled on." Thanks Mrs W if I can I would love to come along. Shift work you know how it is." she lied gently." Look I've got to get off I've a mountain of things to do." She did clean up the flat then catching up with all the jobs that made life bareable. Boring but nessesary. Gods teeth three hours had gone by where the hell does all the time go? she thorght as she looked at the clock. It was nice of the old woman to invite her she thorght but she wasnt sure she could put up with the 'Bert' chatter all night. The rest of the day wore on and eventually as much as it did every day, she watched the tv mostly out of boredom and waited for the time to get ready for work. Going through the motions, same ol, same ol. Bored, bored, bored.
Actually Jan didn't mind having to wear a uniform as it saved her own clothes from being ruined. There was a kudos about it too, people treated her differently, she had an offical role to play albeit a small one and because she worked nights she lived opposite to the rest of the world, working when the rest slept, sleeping when the rest were awake. She was a member of a unique sort of family which after nearly twenty years in the buisness she had come to love in an odd sort of way and she'd long realised it was the closest thing to a family Jan had. She put on her leathers and high viz and boots picked up her helmet and bag, switched everything off and locked up the flat. Luckily passing her landlady's door without getting caught by the old woman Jan went round to the parking area. She put the ignition key in and gunned the Suzuki into life then strapped the bag down and settled onto the seat then she joined the traffic flow and half an hour later Jan arrived at the sorting office carpark drove in and parked up . She took off her helmet and dismouted and grabbed her bag. She knew the cameras were on her and they would be for next eight and a half hours she was used to it, it went with the job. She walked to the door and was let in by her security tag." Hi Jan." Peter said in passing." Hi Pete mate how's it been?" Pete gave her smile." Orrible." he called out as she walked on. Jan smiled and then thorght I really ought to get a life she thorght. For most of the night she was busy on her feet, collecting the bags running them in the tangos from the loading bay, tipping the bags out, sorting the bundles of letters she had a good team working with her and sent them on to the next part of the process. After her food break the last third of the night was sitting at a sorting frame with one other woman at the most boring end of the sorting spectrum. A large buisness address with it's various outlets. Sometimes she and Grace kept each other from falling asleep as they worked through the growing mountain of mail but more often Jan knew she could do it in her sleep. Like an automaton she could sort it and still be be in another dream world. A thousands years and thousands of miles she called it. Rideing a white horse, She was a hero, a great warrior roaming the land fighting the bad and righting wrongs living a life of romance and adventure far from the life she really lived. Most nights the office cleared the work on time sometimes it didn't work out that way but always by the end of the shift Jan went home tired and ready for her bed.
Deimos did think about it and against all the warnings against he came up with he sorght the apprentice again and finding him alone behind the temple where he lived. Micha looked at him and a sly smile played about his lips when he entered the makeshift hut." Well what is it to be?" Deimos sighed." Ok do it, get us somebody. I don't care who." Micha wagged a finger." Hold on there, My payment. You do what I want first my friend then you get what you want. Agreed?" The way he spoke rankled the head man. Deimos hated this it was like blackmail Micha wouldn't say what that was until he did agree but he knew it was this or nothing else. Deimos nodded and shuddered as the smile on Micha's face widened." Good thats settled. Tomorrow midnight at the fairy ring. We do it then. But what I want must be done before the cock crows. "
Reading the signs in the entrails of the dog he had sacrificed Theron was busy trying to decypher the story it told. It was all very confusing the rift he had seen had been the gateway for the demon and it was widening, the unseen enemy would do more damage and a warrior was going to come. He feared being overheard because he was also knew there was a traitor amongst them and the enemy was close at hand and he had to be careful because he was going to be needed if he was to survive this. But the outcome was far from certain that part of the story was hidden from him and he didn't know how it would end. It was all in motion and he couldn't stop it. Suddenly the door opened and two temple guards marched in and took hold of him by the arms ignoring his protests as he was led out of the chamber. A moment later Micha strolled in and looked at the entrails sweeping them up in his hands he threw them on the fire and he watched them burn annoyed that he couldn't read them. But nobody else could now, what did it matter the old man couldn't tell anyone now that he had him. The silly old duffer couldn't stop him and he could proceed with the plan." The robe and crown, bring them to me." he said to the sargent at arms waiting at the doorway and the man nodded and Micha smiled as he heard his footfalls going down the corridor. It had been a stroke of luck the villagers coming like that and Deimos had played his part well, telling the sargent Theron was a traitor and working for the demon and they were to follow his instructions from now on. All he needed now was the warrior woman. It wasn't for the townsfolk, it was for her only she wanted one in particular.
Deimos had run back to his home not wanting to be seen and then some time later he heard the cock crow. Dawn was breaking and then Bricus came with disturbing news, another body had been found. As headman he had to oversee suspicious deaths and he went to see the body with a heavy heart fearing he was responsible for it by what he had done. The dead man turned out to be Apollodorus. The tavern maid had heard a noise and she had found him lying in the mud behind the tavern with a gapeing black burning hole in his chest. There was no sign of a fight, no other boot prints other than the victim's. Deimos noticed, Just like the others no human could have done this Deimos surmised this was the Demon's work again, anyone else Apollodorus would have made a fight of it, but not against her what ever she was. After making the nessesary arrangements Deimos left the group to carry away the body and walked back to his home. He had lost the best man he had and the worst he had in one go. Apollodorus could at least fight, he had known what to do, not that it had done him much good. Deimos was glad it wasn't who he thorght it was going to be and then he saw Leia running toward him." Deimos I just heard about Apollodorus is it true? and we have another problem. Theron has dissapeared and I've just seen Micha wearing the robe of head priest as though he owns it. Deimos was that it, was that his price? " Deimos didn't make any comment and Leia stared at him." It was, you knew." Deimos stopped her." Hush, it's only a tempory thing, Micha assured me of Theron's return once he's completed the spell. He just needs the robes." Leia looked at him sadly thinking he had made a terrible mistake and she suddenly felt very scared for him." And you believe him! He wont give that up and what's he done with Theron are you sure he's safe? Deimos?" He couldn't answer that for sure and Leia sighed knowing he was only trying to do his best." He's used you Deimos." she said sadly Deimos looked into her sad eyes brimming with tears. He suddenly wanted to hold her, comfort her, tell her it was ok and he loved her and everything would be alright." but he just said." I had to take that chance for us for everything and I will just have to live with this whichever way it goes." and Leia shook her head sadly.
I welcome any feedback D ;).