(August 25, 2009)
Written by: Masquerade
Previously on The Destroyer...
EXT. GATHERING MANSION - GRANADA HILLS - EVENING
ESTABLISHING - Gargoyles stare down over gray stone carved with demonic symbols.
INT. UNDERGROUND CAVERN
TIGHT SHOT - A REVERBERATING PULSE ECHOES as a muscular, reptilian demon descends a rugged curve of steps carved in a rock wall. It has a large BURLAP BAG draped over its shoulder. It reaches the cavern floor and lowers the bag to the dusty, uneven ground. The bag is in the unmistakable shape of a HUMAN FIGURE.
TIGHT UPWARD SHOT of the demon as it bends over and wrestles the bag open. Finally, it stands, empty bag in hand.
How many hours 'til dawn?
CUT TO a robed, bone-thin DEMON SORCERESS with sharp cranial horns standing in the center of a circle of stones.
The demon gives her a slight bow.
The sorceress's gaze rises to -
the VAST CAVERN rising four hundred meters above them. Hovering twenty feet above the cavern floor is a BULGING EIGHTY-FOOT DIAMETER SPHERE OF AGITATED ENERGY. The arched cavern ceiling and jagged boulders and open clefts of the cavern walls are torch-lit and reveal no sign of day nor night.
When the sun rises,
we'll defeat them in one swift stroke.
She grabs a bowl from ground and approaches the figure, tugging a dagger from her belt. In a brisk, no-nonsense manner, she leans over and draws up a limp, feminine hand, palm upwards. With one swift stroke, she CUTS IT, then turns it so the blood drips into the bowl.
All of them.
CUT TO BUFFY SUMMERS, sprawled on the cavern floor, unconscious. Her hand falls limp.
CONNOR REILLY walking to classes, swinging a SWORD in a street fight,
FAITH THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, taking aim with her CROSSBOW at a multi-armed, blade-swinging DEMON,
and AIDEN WALSH, sitting at a TABLE with a BOOK opened in front of him.
J. August Richards
Sarah Jannett Parish
Rachel Leigh Cook
EXT. TRACY'S APARTMENT BUILDING - LOS ANGELES - EVENING
A man in a ski cap and trench coat approaches the building, shoulders hunched. He glances around furtively, then opens the tinted glass door and ducks inside. WIDE SHOT of the building. A moment passes. GLASS SHATTERS as the man FLIES BACK OUT and SPRAWLS across the sidewalk. CLOSE-UP - The gray-ash wrinkled skin and snarled snout reveals that it is no man, but a DEMON. There is a bloody blade-wound in its forehead.
Cars halt on the street in a squeal of brakes. Distant pedestrians point and shout, looking on.
A bulked-up vampire in cargo pants and a muscle shirt exits the apartment building and kicks experimentally at the demon, who doesn't move. The vampire PICKS IT UP and carries it back inside.
EXT. ALLEY BEHIND THE BUILDING
The vampire emerges out back, shouldering the demon. He walks it over to a manhole and dumps it unceremoniously to the ground. Then he kneels, lifts the cover, and SHOVES THE DEMON in. He replaces the cover and fishes a phone out of his pants pocket. We hear a distant ringing and a click.
Another attack's been neutralized.
Let his friends through, though.
One's upstairs right now.
The vampire snaps his phone shut.
She's dead, Connor.
INT. LIVING ROOM - TRACY'S APARTMENT
Faith stares out the street-side window at the commotion below, her jaw tensed in tightly-controlled anger. She pivots abruptly.
She booked when you didn't show up for your shift,
and Wolfram and Hart caught up with her.
Connor has his feet up on the couch and a thick textbook open on his lap. A few more books, a newspaper, and a half-eaten cookie are on the coffee table beside him. He tracks Faith as she paces the room.
Wolfram and Hart didn't want Tammy dead.
No, but she didn't want to be their prisoner, either!
Once she realized they had her,
she begged me to kill her!
She halts on the other side of the coffee table, fingertips to her chest.
Begged me, Connor!
What the hell was I supposed to do?!
Connor's solemn frown returns to his book.
Tammy didn't want to live like that--
hiding for the rest of her life, or being used.
He gapes up, startled, as Faith veers around the table and YANKS THE BOOK out of his hand.
Are you listening to me?!
I had to fucking kill her!
They face off for a tense beat, then Connor deflates a little. His eyes sink away.
Look, I'm sorry.
Things have been...complicated lately.
(then, adamantly -)
But I didn't walk Tammy out of that church.
She made her own choice.
Faith scoffs, balking at him.
So that's it?
You've made your "choice", too?
She tosses his book on the couch cushion beside him.
You couldn't wait one more week?
You know what's about to go down with the Gathering!
Connor's expression is weary.
I told you before, I'm done with it.
The fighting, the battles...it never stops.
(he stares into space unflinchingly)
They're'll always be "a next week."
Faith glares him down for a disgruntled moment.
Then I guess you have.
Her eyes graze Tracy's living room.
So who's this chick you're shacked up with?
(retrieving his book)
Tracy. She's a...friend from Phelan.
Faith hunkers down in the armchair just off the couch. Connor reopens his book.
I had a heck of a time tracking you down, you know.
Luckily, your girlfriend called Lorne to
let him know you were all right.
I just hope you are.
I'm fine. You can tell Lorne that.
(he turns a page)
And my dad, when he gets back.
Faith stews openly.
Connor, I know I said this before, but I'm gonna again--
just because you decide to go back to school
and act like everything's normal doesn't mean it is.
Things are still after you.
She snatches up the newspaper from the coffee table and shakes the headlines at him.
"Earthquake, fire, and blood--"
(she tosses it away)
They're the signs the "Son's" enemies are after him!
Connor guffaws at her.
Now you're quoting prophecies to me?
Tammy didn't want to be a slave
to things that were after her, and neither do I.
(he returns to his book)
Someone faked those "signs" to psych me out.
I'm not falling for it.
With a sour scowl, Faith stands.
I hope you know what you're doing, Connor.
'Cause I can't waste any more time worrying about you.
Connor doesn't look up.
(with calm assurance)
CLOSE-UP of Faith's unconvinced gaze.
EXT. BURKLE HOME - SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - EVENING - ESTABLISHING
It's late, but Gunn is expected. Trish and Roger Burkle greet him at the door with gracious smiles. Gunn's answering expression is polite, but grim.
INT. FRONT ROOM
NO AUDIO - Gunn sits in the armchair. Fred's parents huddle together on the couch, reacting with shock and growing distress at what he has to tell them. Finally, Trish dips her head towards her husband, who grasps her shoulders.
DISSOLVE TO - INT. FRED'S BEDROOM
Gunn wanders the room, which still looks like Fred never left. He picks up stuffed animals, runs his fingertips over science fair trophies. Then his gaze falls on -
A CHAIN with a locket in the shape of an APPLE.
DISSOLVE TO - EXT. BURKLE HOME - A SHORT WHILE LATER
Gunn exits the house, looking drained. He walks around to the driver's side of a late model sedan. CLOSE-UP on his dour expression. Suddenly, he SEIZES UP, then slumps forward over the car. CUT TO a WOLFRAM AND HART BLACK OPS SOLDIER, approaching him, tranq gun in hand.
EXT. SLAYER COUNCIL BUILDING - EVENING - ESTABLISHING
The suite is dark and empty of activity.
INT. LIBRARY POCKET DIMENSION
Aiden's skin is pallid, his hair unwashed, and he has deep circles under his eyes, He massages his neck and forehead, then brings a paper cup to his lips. A FAINT, INDISTINCT WHISPERING draws his eyes up from his desktop monitor. With tensed trepidation, he glances around for the source, then slams down his cup, winces, and slams his hands over his ears. Coffee splashes onto the table top. He moans softly.
After a moment, he lowers his hands and peers up at the library portal.
CUT TO the SWIRLING PORTAL. Faith isn't there. But a beat later, she walks through. She veers around the table and plops down in the chair next to him. Aiden glances down at his spilled coffee.
Fuck, I don't need this. Not right now.
He reaches for a stack of napkins and starts mopping.
We'll figure...something out.
You know, with Connor.
Faith shoots him a puzzled glance.
How'd you know I was talking about Connor?
'Cause you...just came back from...visiting him,
and you look...worried.
Faith looks away grumpily.
I've got a lot on my mind.
And you don't need to...worry about him
on top of...everything else.
With a hollow cough, he turns his attention back to his computer monitor.
Except everything...I'm coming up with
points at Connor...being...the key to all this.
Faith turns to see what he has. Her eyes lock on Aiden with disapproval.
You look like crap, Poind.
Faith stares at him sourly, then beckons him to continue.
All right. Lay it on me.
Um, okay...guess I'll start...with Illyria.
DISSOLVE TO - INT. UNDERGROUND CAVERN - GATHERING MANSION - EVENING
CLOSE-UP - An orange-yellow light flickers over Illyria's expressionless face.
Everything...I've read about the...Gathering's "demon purism"...
implies Illyria's going to...have to...take her original form
before...the gate opens.
Illyria's POV - The agitated SPHERE OF ENERGY that will soon be the GATE TO HELL. A dozen ROBED DEMONS of various species murmur in a circle beneath it, eyes closed. Beyond the sorcerers are yet more DEMONS, dressed in a mish-mash of leathers and armor, sporting all manner of clubs, axes, and swords.
There can't be...any risk of...her being rejected...
by the demons...on the other side of...the gate.
INT. SLAYER COUNCIL LIBRARY
So if we can stop her before she changes,
that gate thing won't be opened?
Another thick cough. Aiden shakes his head.
The Gathering...wants that gate open,
whether Illyria...is...leading them or not.
Aiden raises a finger to cut her off, then falls into a coughing fit. Faith eyes him wearily.
Christ, just go home.
I've got the Lunas working on trying to....
Aiden shakes his head as he recovers. He reaches for the computer monitor and turns it towards Faith.
(he clears his throat)
You want...to keep...hell at bay,
this is your...best bet.
Faith frowns at him. Aiden taps the screen, drawing her attention back to it. She leans forward.
"The Dagger...of the Nyazians."
(she throws him a puzzled glance)
Isn't that the--
The one mentioned...in the Nyazian...Scroll.
Faith muddles over this, then returns to reading.
"Forged a thousand years ago in the region around
what is now Southern California,
the Dagger is believed to have been made from...
...mineral metals...dating back to the time of the Old Ones."
She throws Aiden a significant look. He gestures her to continue.
"The Nyazians forged it as a...talisman to be used by
a heroic figure in their prophecies, known as "the Son...."
(a skeptical scoff)
(continuing to read)
"...who would wield it in a apoc...apocalyptic battle
under the command a powerful warrior."
(puzzled beat; she looks to Aiden)
A battle against who?
(shaking his head)
The distant whispering starts up again. Aiden winces briefly. Faith doesn't notice.
But--but from what...Giles...has been sending me?
Its purpose...isn't...to kill an...enemy.
It's to seal the walls...of the Earthly dimension...
against all demon life.
All demon life?
It can only...be used once,
and the gates of Hell...need to be open...just a crack.
Faith shakes her head adamantly and sits back.
No way, uh-uh.
I don't want them open even a little.
Look, the Lunas are working on a way to keep the gate closed.
They have covens from all over the world
building some big-ass "counter-energy"...thing.
I'm hoping that'll work.
Aiden frowns noncommittally. Faith takes this in with dismay. Then, grudgingly -
Any idea where this dagger is?
Not sure. ...But it has...to be somewhere.
It can only...be destroyed...in a ritual
using the..."death blood of the Son."
And last time I checked...the Son wasn't dead.
Another, frustrated, scoff from Faith.
Yeah, well, give him a couple hours,
'cause he's seriously asking to get himself--
(her words give her pause)
Her brow tenses with the same uncertain look she had for Connor at the apartment.
Faith...Connor is the only one...
who can wield the dagger.
They...made it...for him.
Right now, Connor's not wielding anything.
And I can't knock any sense into him.
Angel's...coming back today, isn't he?
Maybe he can.
Pretty much what I'm hoping.
(Faith scoots her chair back and stands)
I'd better go call Rona and see how the patrols are going.
The Enash Cabal may have been wiped out,
but they pissed off the Gathering,
and their goons are out in force.
Aiden gives her a sympathetic smile.
You wish...you were out there...with them.
(with a resigned frown)
I gotta come up with some kind of a plan
before I talk to B.
I can't do that and knock heads at the same time.
(she lapses into frustrated thought again)
Just wish I knew more...about that damned mansion,
and that gate spell of theirs.
Well, I can--
Not book stuff, Poind. Recon.
(then, with a grudging nod)
But, yeah, book stuff, too.
She turns away and trudges towards the portal with a groan.
Being the boss is hella boring!
(then, murmuring -)
Until scares the crap out of you.
INT. UNDERGROUND CAVERN - GATHERING MANSION - CONTINUOUS
Illyria turns away from the ritual, nearly running into one of her soldiers. For a flicker of a second, the soldier betrays a look of suspicion, then bows deeply and backs away. Illyria stares after it coldly, then approaches a sorcerer, whose eyes are on the energy sphere.
Hard to say, Lord.
The energies involved are...unpredictable.
Illyria gives him a dissatisfied stare and turns next to the sorceress from the teaser.
And the Slayers?
Being run ragged by your warriors.
(she circles around)
...they won't be a threat anymore.
BUFFY now lies under a FLICKERING DOME OF LIGHT in the center of the circle of stones. Illyria approaches her, her head cocking in that bird-like way.
"...The girl with the goofy name."
The sorceress throws her a narrow-eyed look.
EXT. PROFESSOR ROTH'S HOUSE - EVENING - ESTABLISHING
Professor Roth stands at her desk rifling through chaotic, strewn piles of papers and books. Frustrated and frantic, she strides over to the couch and plops down amidst yet more books and stuffed file folders, scattered across the cushions. She opens a folder on her lap, leafs through it, and sets it aside. She grabs another and starts into it. Finally, she slams it shut with frustration.
Where is it?
She stares off into space with flabbergasted realization.
He took it.
Those jack asses. I had it, and they took it from me!
She tosses the folder to the floor and rests her forearms on her knees for a moment. TIGHT SHOT - Her fingers slide up to her throat and brush over a pendant we've seen before - A BEARDED MAN IN PROFILE superimposed over a pair of spread wings. Then her fist clasps around it. She scowls bitterly. The grandfather clock softly chimes 9:30 pm.
Why would you take my only copy of the Syndicate notes
just to give me back another version of it
to plant on Aiden Walsh's computer?
The question seems to answer itself; her eyes drift towards the computer on her desk.
Unless...there was something in the original version
you didn't want me to see.
Her scowl melts into a look of satisfaction. She leaps up and returns to the desk.
But then you made me steal Aiden Walsh's copy
of Rupert Giles' new notes based on the actual scroll.
(she works the mouse)
ON SCREEN - Aiden's notes appear. She scrolls the document down, revealing written descriptions and scans of photographs, etchings, and drawings. Finally, the scrolling halts on an etching of a FAMILIAR JEWEL-ENCRUSTED WEAPON.
"The Dagger of the Nyazians."
Her eyes scan the screen with interest.
DISSOLVE TO - EXT. FASHIONABLE NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY (FLASHBACK)
ESTABLISHING - A boy in a plaid wool cap stands on the corner hawking newspapers.
Read all about it!
First American troops in France!
Melanie Roth sweeps by in her trumpet skirt and up-swept hair, her expression intent on her destination. TIGHT SHOT - Just beneath her high-necked collar, we see the ANUNNAKI AMULET. She approaches a VICTORIAN HOME we've seen before.
INT. PARLOR - ROTH HOME
The same grandfather clock that sits in Professor Roth's contemporary study ticks steadily. Ellen Roth stands facing the unlit fireplace. There is a rosy, bruised spot on her cheekbone. Melanie tries to catch her eye. Her mother turns away.
Your father hasn't been fine in a while.
The doctors say he has some kind of...brain disease.
(then, whispering conspiratorially -)
Disapproval tightens Melanie's lips.
Which I had to hear about from his physician.
Ellen looks strained to even speak of it. Her gloved hands wrestle with each other.
There's no way to be certain that that's even
what it is, Melanie.
(then she wilts, eyes still anxious)
But the way he's been acting,
and being so ill this Spring....
What "way" has he been acting?
Her mother shoots her a pained look with blood-shot eyes, but says nothing.
Saying crazy things.
And getting...so angry....
With a knowing look, Melanie raises her hand to her mother's bruised cheek. Her mother flinches away.
Angrier than usual?
Shamed, her mother quietly nods. Melanie is aghast.
And you didn't think to tell me about this?
(biting her words out)
Some things between a husband and wife are...private.
(then, with calm resignation -)
And besides, it doesn't matter anymore.
We're going to lose him, Melanie.
Melanie scrutinizes her mother. She fumbles into the small silk pouch hanging from her waist.
No, we aren't. I have a cure.
Her mother gapes at her.
Cure? What "cure"?
There's no "cure" for...
(she goes wide-eyed as she whispers)
Melanie holds up a VIAL OF GOLDEN LIQUID. Her mother stares at it with wary suspicion.
(impassioned, proffering it)
Something they don't offer in medical school.
She clasps the vial and pivots, exiting the parlor. Her mother charges after her.
No, no, Melanie, don't--
Melanie whirls around, stunned.
A cure, mother! How can you say, "No"!?
Her mother shrinks into herself as she looks away. There is genuine fright in her eyes.
Just let him go, Melanie. It's what...it's what nature intends.
Ellen turns a pleading look on her. And the vial.
That...that thing in your hands isn't natural,
whatever it is.
Melanie scowls dismissively. She clutches at her skirt and disappears into the hallway. We hear her boots clomp up the stairs.
CUT TO - INT. MASTER BEDROOM
Heavy walnut furniture contrasts with flowered draperies and wallpaper. The bedside table is littered with medicines and a nearly-full glass of water. The shriveled shell of Walter Roth lies lost in white sheets on the bed. Melanie approaches him.
His eyes blink open slowly. They seek her out.
Melanie gives him a sour frown before uncorking the vial and approaching the bed. She picks up the glass of water and pours the gold liquid into it, then stirs it with a spoon.
Duat, Osiris, Anubis, Ammit...
with this elixir, wash away the invader from within.
Her father's eyes widen with alarm as she sets the spoon and glass down and leans over him. He thrashes futilely. She reaches behind his head and shoulders and lifts him.
Once she has him up, she reaches for the glass and brings it to his lips.
He purses his lips and turns his head away. Melanie tucks the rim of the glass between his grimacing lips and pours. On reflex, he gulps it down.
That's right. Drink.
He tries to stop. She continues. The solution drips down his chin. Finally, she takes the glass away. She lowers him to his pillow. He glares up at her.
You foul...wretched witch!
What have...you given me?!
His daughter's face is a mask of satisfied defiance.
I've made you better, Father.
Because I can.
INT. UNDERGROUND CAVERN - GATHERING MANSION - EVENING (PRESENT DAY)
T'hauk and K'shan descend the carved stone steps, murmuring. They approach Illyria, whose somber gaze is once again on the sphere. K'shan clears his throat. Illyria glances towards them.
News on the boy?
K'shan compresses his lips with dismay.
We have sent assassins after him.
I'm afraid, though...that he's under the protection of something.
There are guards--demons--keeping watch over
the building where he's staying,
making it impossible to get close enough.
This gets Illyria's attention. She turns to face them.
The A Tirer la Courture has revealed
he's succumbed to a rather power enchantment.
"The spell to detect spells."
For hours, there were...two hands...holding him, cupped,
shielding him from outside influence
while he was rendered incapable of connecting to anything
but his most basic yearnings.
Illyria ponders this thoughtfully.
Neutralizing a champion through the unleashing of desire.
She turns abruptly towards the steps. They follow, ascending to a tunnel entrance twenty feet up the rock wall.
A check was done on their prison dimension.
The Anunnaki's power is increasing exponentially as we speak.
If our calculations are correct,
they will break out before the Gates of Hell open.
What does that mean?
(eyes forward, voice powerful)
It means you must kill the boy, immediately.
The Anunnaki have a different agenda from us.
They intend to enslave the human parasites,
not wipe them out.
(his gaze shifts to the cavern floor)
As for the demons who imprisoned them,
the Anunnaki will wage war against them the likes of which
has not been seen since the ancient campaigns of Lord Illyria.
Illyria continues into the tunnel. K'shan and T'hauk hurry after.
CUT TO - INT. STONE-WALLED CHAMBER - ABOVE GROUND - MOMENTS LATER
Illyria zips up a suitcase which is sitting on a table beside the BOX OF GAVROK. She is briefly distracted by the sight of her HUMAN COUNTENANCE in a mirror. She turns away from it. K'shan and T'hauk wait by door. She approaches then, suitcase in tow, leaving the Box of Gavrok behind.
Everything will be ready upon your return, Lord.
She nods and exits. T'hauk turns to K'shan.
Where is she going?
To a place our lord can prepare to emerge in Its true form.
(off T'hauk's puzzlement)
It's a ritual of disassociation which involves shedding
the memories and emotional connections of the human form.
Won't those fall away naturally during the transformation?
Not according to everything I've read.
It's a weakness of the Ritual of Gavrok,
and Lord Illyria will take no chances.
INT. SLAYER COUNCIL LIBRARY - LATE EVENING
Faith hovers over Aiden as he slowly pecks at the keyboard. He points at the screen, hand TREMBLING.
This is really...the only way...
Faith peers at the screen. A deep frown sinks into her features.
the--the Books of Ascension...she put into...
the Council...database. Including...
(a grimace of disgust; he looks at her)
...eating bugs...out of something...called the "Box of Gavrok"?
Faith pivots away, scowling.
Son of a bitch! The Mayor!
The Mayor...of Sunnydale.
You were, uh...living there...at the time.
Faith twists her chair around and slumps into it. Aiden compresses his lips. From the look on his face, he already knows what she's going to say.
More than living there.
I worked for him.
She shakes her head in dismay.
Faith, everybody...already knows...what happened.
And believe it...or not,
the girls...have accepted that you...
made mistakes in the past,
and they...respect you more for it.
It makes you...human.
This gets a wry glance from Faith.
And the fact that you...know first-hand
Is going to...make them feel more...
confident about...what's coming.
Faith absorbs this, then shrugs pensively.
But Illyria's already an Old One,
maybe she doesn't need the Box to...to change.
She's trapped...in human form.
Most of her...demonic energy...was drained.
Aiden also looks drained.
And those bugs in the Box would turn
even an ordinary Joe into a demon.
'Course, she could still be killed afterwards...
(she shakes her head)
but I don't want it getting that far.
She sits forward, intent with thought.
When the Mayor was doing the Box thing,
he shooed me off. Wanted to do his eating alone--
needed to, 'cause I guess it's kind of private.
Which means if we're lucky, she'll be alone.
And we get that box away from her.
She slaps the table and rises.
You know...she's probably "alone"...in the Gathering mansion....
Faith throws her hands out.
We have to go there eventually.
(she grasps his shoulder)
Get some rest, Poind.
Even if you have to do it right here.
With that, she leaves, pulling out her cell phone.
She heads towards her office.
Vaughne, how goes the hunt for that dagger?
Well, now I need you to locate a demon, too.
Aiden eases his wheelchair away from the table. He scoots the ordinary chairs out of his way and wheels himself with effort down the length of the bookcase, eyes scanning its contents. He halts and struggles up to his feet, wincing and gasping. Halfway up, the gasping turns to HYPERVENTILATING. His eyes bulge. He sucks in a ragged, still-born breath and collapses back in his chair.
His sits tensed for an endless, heart-stopping moment, hands to his throat, while he tries to catch his breath. Finally, he manages one, and exhales, letting his head sag back. HOLD ON his look of haggard exhaustion.
EXT. HYPERION HOTEL - LATE EVENING - ESTABLISHING
IN FRAME - The familiar frontage of the five-story white art deco hotel.
EXT. FRONT COURTYARD
Winifred Burkle passes the gurgling fountain, rolling a suitcase on wheels behind her.
The night clerk has a pleasant smile for her.
Good evening, ma'am. Checking in?
Fred steps up to the counter, all homespun Texas charm.
I have this room I like that I'm hopin'
ya'll have available?
The clerk settles his hands on his keyboard.
I can certainly check, ma'am.
What room would that be?
CUT TO INT. SECOND-FLOOR CORRIDOR - A MOMENT LATER
Fred strides down the hall, morphing into ILLYRIA--blue, cold, and leather-clad. She slows at the last door to her right at the end of the hall.
INT. HOTEL ROOM
Illyria enters, glancing around with distaste.
PANNING - Elegant wallpaper, bedding, and black-and-white photographs of old Hollywood. Illyria sets the suitcase on the bed and unzips it. From it, she retrieves a small metal pot with a handle, a tripod, a kerosene lamp, and some bags of dried ingredients.
DISSOLVE TO a moment later. Illyria settles down on the floor where the pot, now filled with water and ingredients, hangs from the tripod. She lights the kerosene lamp on the floor beneath it and begins murmuring in a demonic language, eyes closed. Steam rises from the pot. It slowly fills the room, growing thick and dark, dissolving away the trappings of a Hollywood hotel room in place of -
EXT - A DESERT-LIKE LANDSCAPE - DAY
Illyria gazes about, then stands. CRANE TWO-SHOT - Fred is standing there as well, facing off with her.
A harsh wind whips at Fred's hair. Her chin trembles defiantly.
You're here to kill whatever's left of me.
(she draws hair from her face)
But I know what you're planning afterwards,
and I won't let it happen.
Illyria's eyes narrow at the challenge.
I will do as I wish.
I am God here,
(she gestures widely)
and this is my Primordium!
Fred shrugs, eyes darting between the bleached sands and her evil twin.
And I'm just a physics grad student from San Antonio.
But you know what I been doing in the eight years
since I left Cal Tech?
(a frown; she ponders)
...I guess it's been ten now.
(she eyes Illyria)
I've been learning to fight demons.
In Pylea, in L.A....
She reaches down and picks up a large rock. She holds it tight and ready. Illyria scoffs. Before our eyes, she MORPHS into the TOWERING, MANY-TENTACLED INSECTOID BEAST of the past. Limbs thrash. Breath hisses. Fred gapes up.
INT. SLAYER COUNCIL TRAINING ROOM - LATE EVENING
TIGHT SHOT - Faith slugs the punching bag, wound up and restless. Rona, Deb, and Choon-yei cross the matt towards her, crossbows and swords in hand.
(looking a little ragged)
Once again, the streets of Westlake are safe for democracy.
Chinatown report in yet?
(attention on the bag)
Few minutes ago.
So what's the plan?
Faith stops and shakes her limbs loose.
The coven's tracking Illyria.
I guess she's not at the mansion.
I meant for us.
We still need to get in that mansion
and find out how close they are to opening that gate thing.
Plus, what kind of demon contingent they have there.
The two junior slayer trade anxious glances.
Faith returns to the bag. Slam.
I'm pretty much waiting on the coven at the moment.
If they can keep that gate thing shut,
then it's just a matter of cleaning up the foot soldiers.
Plus, if they can find this "Dagger of the Nyazians,"
we might possibly have a backup plan for closing that gate.
Slam! slam! slam! Faith pivots away from the bag, fuming.
Fuck this. I hate waiting.
Rona eyes her warily.
Speaking of that, where's Buffy?
I thought she was flying in today.
(hands on her hips)
She was. Is.
Her flight got in at five.
Her dad was picking her up.
I guess there's some fence-mending they wanted to do.
Faith returns to punching. Slam! slam! slam!
Something's bugging you.
You mean besides demons on the verge of
turning the whole world into hell,
my book-man keeling over from exhaustion,
and the guy who might possibly have to take
point on this whole thing
deciding now's a good time to go to art school?
SLAM! The bag RATTLES on its hinge. Rona's brows rise. She backs away.
Think I'll go do that recon.
The junior Slayers follow her as she turns to go. Faith stops herself before she throws another punch at the bag.
And don't forget--!
We can't be discovered inside the mansion.
Faith's phone rings. She circles around searching for it, then leans over to snatch it up from the floor.
(she rolls her eyes with something like relief)
It's about time. Where are you?
I'll be right down.
Clicking her phone off, she strides across the matt to the training room door.
EXT. THE ALLEY BEHIND THE SLAYER COUNCIL BUILDING
Spike stands at the back door, finishing a cigarette. He glances up at the pad of approaching footsteps and frowns.
Well, look who's back.
Angel pockets a cell phone in his leather jacket and scrutinizes Spike with narrowed eyes.
Spike returns the scrutiny. He points out Angel's still-bronzed pallor.
Got yourself a bit of a tan there, mate.
Spike balks and steps away. He gives a mock wave.
"Thanks for the welcome back, Spike."
(he shifts his weight and waves with the other hand)
"Hey, you're welcome, how you feeling?"
(then, scoffing -)
How the soddin' hell would I know?!
She's in town.
And avoiding me!
Spike tosses the cigarette butt to the alley floor and crushes it with a boot. Smoke trickles from his lips.
You're her sire.
Shouldn't take you that long to track 'er down.
I wish I had time; I don't.
But I don't need to. Where is she?
Spike tosses his hands out.
I don't know.
If it were Darla,
I'd have looked until I found her.
Spike fishes in his coat pocket for another cigarette. He lights up and pockets his lighter, then takes a drag.
She's contained, all right? She's not getting loose.
(he jabs a finger at him)
And I don't want your boy going after her!
Angel sets his hands on his hips with consternation.
I can't control what Connor does.
But right now, he has other problems.
So what's next?
You have Dru...now what?
Now I help the Slayers stop this Gathering outfit.
You know what I mean.
You have Dru "contained." What's the point?
(defensively, smoke curling up)
You know the point.
Angel watches Spike take another long drag.
Well, don't think you're doing her a favor, Spike.
Giving her her soul back?
(Spike shoots him a look)
Realizing everything she's done for one hundred
and fifty years is only going to make it worse.
And who made her that way?!
(he jabs his cigarette between two fingers)
Look, Mr. Tall, Dark, and Self-righteous,
I'm only telling you this 'cause you won't leave it alone.
I'm not asking your permission.
With a scowl, Spike flings his half-finished cigarette to the ground, steps on it, and throws open the back door. He heads indoors.
INT. FIRST FLOOR BACK CORRIDOR
LONG SHOT - Faith comes around the far corner to see -
REVERSE ANGLE - Angel following Spike inside.
You know what I think?!
I think you want your brat to kill her!
(he throws Angel a glare over his shoulder)
You think that's the only solution.
(FRONTAL TWO-SHOT of Spike and Angel, walking)
If he does it, it's all "righteous and pure,"
and you don't have carry round the guilt
of doing it yourself!
The only one who's going to be
carrying the guilt around is Dru,
and she's not going to last long that way.
CUT BACK to Faith, loitering at the end of the hall.
Yo, guys. Am I interrupting?
CUT TO - INT. SLAYER COUNCIL OFFICE - A MOMENT LATER
Angel enters the office after Faith.
'Cause weird's sort of...relative with him.
Of course he gets it from his relatives.
(with a quirky frown)
That's not what I meant.
(he pauses in the middle of the floor)
Faith leans her butt against the edge of the desk.
I don't know, Angel, he's just acting...normal.
And that's fucking weird for him.
Okay, define "normal."
Eating chocolate chip cookies at his girlfriend's house
and reading college books?
He has a girlfriend?
Faith's jaw shifts impatiently. Her eyes are downcast.
Angel...he blew off a baby-sit of Tammy Pitts
so he could run off and act like that.
(she gapes up, scoffing)
And of course, Tammy bolted.
I barely caught up with her before those Black Ops goons
got away with her!
She's okay, right?
No, Angel. She's not.
Faith eyes him with no-nonsense directness.
She's fucking dead, 'cause I had to kill her.
Whatever's going on with Junior,
I don't think it's a coincidence.
He's been like this since the sky started raining blood.
Angel nods soberly.
Heard about that.
Aiden and Giles have been keeping me up-to-date.
Then tell me this isn't funky!
Connor's one of the most experienced fighters I've got,
and there's a chance I'm going to need him
to slam that Gathering "gate" shut.
So suddenly he decides to get a life?
Angel gives her a decisive look.
Let me talk to Aiden, then I'll go see Connor.
Faith throws out a hand towards the library.
Aiden's right where he always is.
Got the keys to the Civic, too.
It's parked out front.
When's Buffy's flight getting in?
Already has. Aiden checked the website hours ago.
(anticipating Angel's next question)
She hasn't called yet.
She's having dinner with her dad.
Spike strolls in purposefully. He pulls up a chair and sits down, stretching his legs out comfortably.
We're supposed to talk strategy in an hour.
I'd better call her.
She twists around and picks up the desk phone.
If she needs a ride, I can pick her up.
Angel throws him a look of protest, then frowns with resignation. Spike gives him an easy smirk. Faith waits, listening. Then -
Yo, B, it's me. Call when you get this.
(she hangs up and turns back)
Let me know when you track her down.
Angel heads towards the door. With only a glance for Spike, he exits the room.
EXT. WOLFRAM AND HART HIGH-RISE - LA JOLLA - LATE EVENING
Jason Guelph paces with agitation behind a reading table where a scholar is seated. The scholar murmurs against a book spine and opens the book expectantly. The page is BLANK. He frowns. Guelph whirls at the sound of the door opening. Lilah enters. Guelph's demeanor is immediately smooth and unworried.
The mission in Texas is complete.
We know everything Charles Gunn does about
the Nyazian Scroll. It seems that--
Lilah holds up a hand and crosses to him.
Before you get into that...
intelligence says Angel's in L.A. again.
Guelph looks briefly taken aback.
(he points out the scholar)
Of course, I've been busy here....
Then, recovering -
So, should I meet with him?
Because there's no point in having him
continue to look for Tammy Pitts.
Lilah swings around the high-back chair at the head of the table and takes a seat. She crosses her legs.
The Partners' interest in Angel is about a lot
more than Tammy Pitts.
Because "when the final battle for the Earth is waged,
the Vampire with a Soul plays a key role."
...Preferably, on our side.
He's meant to help the Partners solidify
their hold on Earth again, permanently.
That's one interpretation.
Actually, the Prophecies of Aberjian--
Lilah scowls cynically.
Never liked the alternative.
--That he fights on the side of good,
and is rewarded with the "Shanshu."
Guelph licks his bottom lip and pins a hesitant gaze on Lilah.
Uh, about that....
He throws the scholar a quick glance, then sets his fingertips on the table.
We've been studying both the Nyazian Prophecies
and the Scroll of Aberjian.
One of the things we pulled from Charles Gunn
was a cross-reference of the two documents.
Makes sense, since they both concern Angel.
Randolph here has been examining it.
He looks to the scholar again. Randolph gulps. He fumbles for his notes.
Um, well...Rupert Giles' cross-reference of
the two documents indicates that...
(a wary glance at Lilah)
...Angel may have already Shanshu'd.
He cringes off Lilah's incredulous balk.
I--I can give you a summary of the theory,
but if Giles is right,
the prophecies the firm's been so...concerned with
may have already settled themselves,
making Angel antithetical to the Partners' plans.
But the more immediate threat? Is his son, Connor.
According to the Nyazian Scroll,
the "Son" will wield a dagger that has the power to
prevent the opening of any more dimensional portals, permanently--
--Virtually ensuring the Conduit to the Senior Partners
can never be restored,
effectively cutting them off from Earth for good.
He looks to Randolph, whose lips part and close several times. He shoves a reference volume around and shows a now-familiar etching to Lilah.
The--the Dagger of the Nyazians.
The blood of a demon-born human,
drawn by the dagger, will trigger its power.
(he gestures at Lilah)
Ma'am, the Prophecies of Aberjian
have always been somewhat vague, even contradictory,
as--as you know.
But what I've read of the Nyazian Scroll?
There's nothing in it that has not come to pass.
The Slayers are looking for a way to keep
the Gathering from opening the portal
they've been ramping up for the past few weeks.
Aiden Walsh knows about the Dagger now,
thanks to Charles Gunn and Rupert Giles.
(he leans into the table for emphasis)
The Slayers can't be allowed to get their hands on
this "Dagger" and use it as a means of sealing the portal.
Which means we need to send them an alternative way
to prevent the opening of that portal.
The good news is, no one can find the Dagger,
in this dimension, anyway.
Our inside intelligence indicates the Gathering sorcerers
are using a Key of Pandemonium to open their "gate"--
it's a cumulative building of power
that can't be interfered with without risking disruption.
Keeping the "gate" closed should be as simple
as interfering with that spell.
Lilah uncrosses her legs and rises.
Well, get that information to Walsh.
Guelph tracks her across the room, looking flummoxed.
Aiden Walsh...is, uh...growing significantly weaker.
Lilah pauses at the other end of the table.
He's not dead yet.
Is his mind is still permeable to psychic influence?
And getting more permeable, if you know what I mean.
The next time he leaves that library
to puke in the toilet, arrange for him to "find" it.
Actually, we've been able to tap into the server
he's connected to for his internet searches.
(he looks to Lilah)
It's not in that "library."
We can send him emails, subliminal audio messages....
She proceeds to the door.
Actually, there's a...complication.
Lilah pauses there, hand on the knob.
Connor Reilly's under the Anunnaki's protection.
Lilah circles around, arms crossed.
(a dry chuckle)
Oh, I know all about how they "protect" people.
Angel won't let it stand.
He'll do something about it.
Assuming he can, that will take care of the Anunnaki.
But there's still--
We'll need Angel to help Faith Lehane stop them.
Then Guelph grins.
But after that?
Angel will become an enemy of the Partners,
pure and simple.
And we can finally kill him.
This brings a chipper smile to Lilah's face. She opens the library door.
I know I've been technically dead for the past three years,
but that's news worth living for.
Then her eyes narrow.
As for this "Dagger"?
Just kill Connor Reilly.
We don't owe Angel a thing anymore.
INT. THE SANDS OF THE PRIMORDIUM - DAY
A GIANT TENTACLED LIMB crashes down where Fred was standing seconds before. She scrambles up from her lunge and makes a bee-line for a large boulder. Illyria's tentacle sweeps down and knocks the boulder aside easily. Fred scrabbles back, crab-like, on her arms and legs.
Suddenly, there are CLUBS gripped in Illyria's tentacles.
Okay, not fair! Where'd those come from!?
She lurches to her feet and staggers away, barely avoiding a well-aimed club. She is several meters away before she risks a look back. Her POV - The creature is fierce, but large and cumbersome, like a human going after an agile lizard. Fred turns and continues to back away, keeping a careful eye skyward.
Is this like "caveman vs. astronaut"?
'Cause I always thought that was rigged.
(THUD. Fred skips back)
I mean, if the point is to pit modern against primitive,
why not let both sides arm themselves with the best
that they've got?
The demon lunges. From out of nowhere, Fred produces a flamethrower. She turns it on, aims it high, and BLASTS ILLYRIA WITH IT. Illyria HOWLS WITH PAIN and backs off. Fred's body SHAKES NERVOUSLY around her weapon.
But if the point is to show that modern humans are weak?
Well, no one's disputing that.
And yet, we're still here--
all over your precious planet.
(her head tilt is relaxed and inquisitively human)
I wonder why that is?
Another BLAST. Illyria howls. With a blind swipe of a tentacle, the flamethrower dissipates into the nothingness it came from. Fred turns and runs.
Old Ones...Old Ones.
What would stop an Old One?
She pants, propelling herself forward. Illyria follows, her steps SHAKING THE GROUND.
What stopped an Old One before?
Trinitrotoluene. Fertilizer. Accelerant.
Yeah. That would do it.
She dodges around a CLUSTER OF METAL BARRELS and grapples for a detonator box on the ground that she drags out away from the barrels. The other end of its wire - LOW PANNING SHOT - leads back up to the lids of the barrels, each crowned with a ring of DYNAMITE STICKS. Thirty feet away, Fred falls to her knees and grips the box's handles.
(booming demonic voice)
This is pointless, human.
Fred pushes down. WIDE SHOT - Illyria kicks the barrels away and they EXPLODE IN MID-AIR. The creatures stares down at her.
I can taste your fear on the wind.
INT. THE ROOM NEXT DOOR - HYPERION HOTEL
A man and woman sit up in bed, glaring back towards the THUDS on the wall and MUFFLED SCREECHES. The man reaches for the room phone.
Damned rock stars.
Think they can do anything.
INT. AIDEN'S CIVIC - LATE EVENING
Angel's cell phone rings in his coat pocket. He fishes it out awkwardly, his other hand gripping the steering wheel, and almost drops it -
- before managing to click it on and bring it to his ear.
(he listens for a moment)
Have you heard from her?
INT. SLAYER COUNCIL HALLWAY
Faith is heading out, phone raised. She points a finger at the suite door. REVERSE ANGLE - Spike approaches from the other direction. He nods and turns into the front foyer, his expression intent and serious.
(into the phone)
I haven't been able to get a hold of her.
I'm off to pick up Gunn.
Something's not right.
She should have contacted you by now.
She trails Spike out the suite door.
INT. SECOND-FLOOR CORRIDOR
I asked the Luna Coven do a locator spell.
They're already doing two other spells for me,
might as well make it an even three.
Call me when they find Buffy.
Faith hangs up and follows Spike down the stairs.
I know where her dad lives, I'll head there first.
Faith nods acknowledgment.
CUT TO - EXT. SLAYER COUNCIL BUILDING
Faith heads towards her Impala, and Spike towards a junk-heap blue Ford Pinto.
Part 2 (click here)