Forgotten Slayer

Christmas Tree and Winter Solstice

Author: Malaskor <malaskor[at]>

Copyrighted: December 14th-26th 2004

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: none

Crossover(s) ahead

The following books and TV series have been used in this story:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Forgotten Realms Campaign setting and several source books and adventures

The following fan fiction series has been used in this story: Immortal Realms by Chrys ( ) The Wandererverse ( [to be precise Tim Knight's Waterdeep based characters]

Legalese: All characters with their respective rights, properties and copyrights are property of their respective creators, authors, owners, producers and agencies. These characters are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended or meant and no money will be made from this story. This story may be copied in its entirety and may be distributed as long as all copyright information remains.

The Storming Knights, Saran, Canth and the Stormbows belong to Chrys and are used with permission (but not in this part of the Forgotten Slayer).

Madame Salaama and Dornias belong to Tim Knight and are used with permission.

Rating: PG-13; for mild cursing, violence and demonic horror content (maybe, but probably not, just covering my ass in case my muse runs amok)… in other words a bit more grown up than the series… but only cause we don't have to suck up to censors in the Journeyverse.

Thanks to Tenhawk and Kyle for letting me play with their universe and ideas.

Thanks also to Tim Knight for allowing me to use his characters. You will be missed man.

Chapter 1

18th Nightal, Year of the Staff
(= 1366 DR; 18th December 1995 AD)

Buffy looked at the wall of her room with a frown on her face, feeling very down - maybe the worst depression she had been in since she stranded in this world. It was two days till winter solstice and if her calculations were correct five days till Christmas. The first Christmas in her life that would be without her family and without the Scoobies. On this day she missed them with a brutal intensity and in fact felt more than a sliver of fear about how she would feel on Christmas itself.

Whiling her free day away with morose thoughts wasn't what Buffy had planned, but the day had been a particularly nasty one from the beginning. Outside a cold wind was howling and driving freezing fog and spray from the sea and snow from the low clouds across the city. If Buffy had been outside, near the harbor, she could have seen how the waterside facades if the buildings there were beginning to develop a crust of ice. All of that drove the point that she was far away from home further than all her experiences during the summer and fall she had spent here in Waterdeep.

Suddenly her brooding reverie was broken as two multicolored specks of light formed on the wall she stared at. The lights began to wildly dance around the wall as they did that they changed in shape and color until they took shapes that were familiar to her. One of them was obviously meant to represent her, at least if one considered the extremely oversized stake she was wielding and using to stake the other light that currently represented a vampire with the fangs visible as red highlights in the figure. When the light stake hit the vampire caricature it exploded into several smaller specks of light. These then reformed a new body of violet light with foot-long tentacles coming from the face of the creature. Light-Buffy promptly grabbed the illithid's tentacles and began to turn on the point like an Olympic hammer thrower. With each turn she became faster and faster and the illithid's body soon rotated around her parallel to the imaginary ground she stood on. After three more turns she let go of the light representation so that if flew straight towards the real Buffy, straight towards her nose. When it hit the surprised Buffy it burst like a soap bubble and fell towards the ground in form of red, blue and golden sparks. On the wall her representation performed a victory dance when it saw its opponent burst into that quickly dieing shower of sparks.

That was when Buffy simply couldn't resist the intended effect of the light show any more and broke out in giggles.

"You are right Oncy, I shouldn't spend the whole day brooding, imagine Xander seeing me like that," Buffy said still giggling as she let her eyes roam the room in search for the little trickster of a dragon. When she found him the faerie dragon had cocked his head in a silent question. "Oh, didn't I tell you about that? Well, back home my friend Xander always made fun of my then boyfriend Angel, cause he liked to brood quite often. I guess you had to be there to find it funny," Buffy said remembering the then exasperating situations with a feeling of fond humor that curled her lips up into a smile.

With a visible jerk Buffy tore her mind from her memories of Sunnydale and focused her thoughts on the present and rose from the bed.

<I have friends here too, now I just have to get them into a festive mood for Christmas.> Buffy thought, already beginning to plan, <First I'll need a tree and decorations.>

Aloud she asked her scaled companion, "So what have you planned for today? Peeking in on Dornias and letting loose a light show at the right moment again?"

Buffy could have sworn that if possible he would have started blushing right about now for having been caught by her. After all he prided himself on his sneaky ways when it came to pranks, but as it wasn't possible he just started to loudly proclaim his innocence. "How can you think, that I would do something like that a fourth time? I'd never do that!" That said he grinned widely, winked at her and became invisible again, only a quieting whirr of wings told Buffy that Oncidium was on his way out of the room. The opening and subsequent closing of her room door attested to what her hearing had been telling her.

After a short pause Buffy finally rose from her bed and after dressing for the day she left the festhall. On her way to the marketplace she already started to plan how to cover the most stands in the shortest time. Unless they had changed their lots for some reason the first vendor to visit should be the candle maker on second row. He should have some fitting candles, after all even with winter solstice being only a relatively minor holiday considering the multitude of gods worshipped on Toril there were enough here in Waterdeep, especially the Selûne worshippers were numerous in this city. As Waterdeep lived to a large part from the sea and trade by ship there were a lot of navigators in residence who relied on the stars at night, stars that fell under Selûne's rule. The followers of Auril the Frostmaiden were a negligible number, which may be partly due to the life denying dogma that had them outlawed in most of the North. Then there were a few nature religions, but Buffy wasn't sure which ones, and it would be irrelevant any way as they wouldn't have any ceremonies in the city but somewhere in the wilderness. And from what she had gathered the only other major religion that celebrated that day was that of Tyr, but only the most fanatical of them made any big ceremony out of it. Though many of the moon elves also observed this holiday those in Waterdeep often didn't celebrate or traveled to Evereska, the only large elven city remaining on the continent of Faerun, or one of the smaller settlements that dotted the landscape, especially the wilder, forested areas of Faerun.

A few minutes later Buffy was at the candle maker and soon she had made her selection, a couple of beeswax candles and as a nod to the local customs a pair of bayberry candles that were supposed to be left burning until they go out on their own. After that she went to get some ornamentation. This proved to be more difficult than she expected as none of those that she found really fitted her expectations on how they had to look like. Finally she found a couple of small bells and straw stars. Armed with her purchases she went on with her search for festive decoration, a small fir tree or at least some larger twigs to decorate her room to be exact. While Buffy couldn't get a tree she found a couple nicely sized fir twigs and a few of a curious tree called blueleaf after the eerie, gleaming blue color of its many-pointed leaves and besides the conifers the only tree to have retained its leaves at this time of the year.

Now that she had gotten most of the needed items Buffy went on to get a few presents for her friends she wanted to invite to her little Christmas party.

Alban Arthan (winter solstice, 20th Nightal)

While not all her friends were in the city Buffy had managed to get a nice party going it was even better as Madame Salaama provided her with a small hall to hold the party in. Buffy had decorated the room with the small branches and green and red cloths she had found in the props the festhall had in storage. The candles she arranged in a fir tree shape on a table she had placed in the center of the room. The rest of the room was illuminated by the fireplace and the room's normal allotment of oil lamps. On one long table along the wall by the fireplace she had placed a selection of snacks and drinks.

The Slenderbows were of course among the guests just like Madame Salaama herself and Dornias. Berina and the waitresses, Sinylla, Aithe, Erilet and Jezeela, whom she had worked with for most of her time here, were all invited as well and, now that their shift was over, they had joined the party and were flirting, laughing and talking with their dates that they brought along.

After greeting the last arrivals Buffy asked her guests to gather round the central table where the candle tree was currently unlit.

"Thank you all for coming here. While a few of you know what I want to celebrate with you," Buffy said, nodding towards her boss and Dornias, "the rest of you will probably wonder what as you know that I don't follow any of the gods here, so I wanted to explain it to you. I must admit I'm not quite sure if today is the right day for it, but as it is my free day tomorrow it seemed the perfect fit, at home it is celebrated 3 days after the longest night of the year but as I don't really know how different the dates are between here and there it might be that today is the right day, if not we are somewhat between three and four days early, but that isn't a reason not to celebrate today. Besides some people say that the date changed over time and it originally was on solstice just like tonight."

"But now to what I want to celebrate with you. It is one of the highest holidays we have and it is called Christmas. And the reason for it is that Jesus Christ, God's son, was born that night. Now let me see if I can get this story right… About two thousand years ago there was a large empire and then the emperor wanted to know how many people he ruled over. And so the governors of the provinces ordered all people to go the cities their families originated from. Among them were Joseph and his pregnant wife Mary who was also a virgin. When they came to their home town of Bethlehem no tavern or inn had room and so they had to sleep in the stable of one of the inns. And in that night Mary got her child, and they place him in a crib. While that happened an angel appeared to some shepherds that were out on the fields with their herd and it told them of the child and told them to go and see it. And then there were three Wise Men who had read in the stars about the impending birth of the New King and that he would be born in that province of the realm. They first went to the king ruling the province asking to see the new king, but he knew nothing about such a New King to be born and so he sent them away. The Wise Men continued to follow the stars, especially one that was particularly bright, and it led them towards Bethlehem to the barn. And when they saw Jesus they knew that he was the one they had searched and adored him and gave his parents myrrh, incense and gold as a present. While it seemed that all was going well now there was danger coming. That king guy was afraid that this new king would steal his throne from him and so he ordered his guards to kill all children that were born in the last week or so. Only being warned by God to flee to another country saved the baby's life. Years later the baby had become an adult and traveled the land as a prophet, performing wonders like healing the lame or blind and teaching all who were interested about God. I know for you here this is no big wonder and the clerics and priests here can so similar things, but where I come from there is no priest that can do something like that. Well to cut the story short, he was seen as a rebel by the priests and rulers of the land. And after being betrayed by one of his students he was crucified. While he died he asked God to forgive them for what they did to him. Later he was buried and when his followers and friends visited that grave later it was opened from the inside and Jesus had risen from the dead and rejoined God, his father. And with his death and his love for the humans, even those that killed him, he also forgave the sins of all humans or something like that, I must admit I didn't pay that much attention to how that worked out exactly. But you get the gist of it. Anyway, this is the reason why we celebrate this day as the birth of God's son who saved the people from their sins with his death."

"We celebrate this like a birthday with our families and friends, usually with good food, a fir with candles on it and presents. I know that you didn't know that and so I guess you might be a bit upset that you don't have any presents to share, but as far as I'm concerned you have given me lots of big presents, be that that you gave me a roof over the head when I arrived here or that you gave me a job and maybe the best one, you all have given me friendship and helped me with understanding how things are done here. So, as a thank you for that, I have a present for each of you. But first the candles have to be lit and I need to get a drink, my throat is parched from all that talking," Buffy ended her monologue with a grin.

After drinking a big gulp of water Buffy lit the candles on the table, savoring the smell of the beeswax candles. Then she crouched down and got the parcels out from under the table. Buffy then handed them out to their recipients.

For Seroth she had several bottles of different oils for the treatment and polishing of wood and bone. Fellare got a small, gold-plated statue of the elven goddess Hanali Celanil, and their daughter Maith got a set of masterly crafted carving tools and a package of rare feathers for fletching.

Madame Salaama received a silver ring inset with a small melon tourmaline, while Dornias got a gown.

For Berina Buffy had selected a set of sliver ear rings in the form little daggers with tiny emeralds set in the miniature pommels.

Sinylla, Aithe, Erilet and Jezeela were gifted with a matched set of perfectly crafted daggers, that were not only ideally suited for use as a weapon, they were at the same time beautiful enough to be used as jewelry.

After the presents were handed out there was a wave of 'Thank you's from all around - and not only from those gifted, but also from Buffy to them for making her Christmas enjoyable even though she was far from home.

And finally the party really got started, even more so as Salaama had arranged for a bard to come and play not much later, and it didn't end for many hours to come.

THE END (for now)


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