Friday, April 8, 2011

Season of the Witch: Episode 13

Episode 13: All Along the Watchtower

May/June, 2005
Heatherfield, WA

No previously on “Willow & Tara: Season of the Witch” we pick up right where we left off.

Willow and Tara are separated by the newly repaired veil. A lot of things happen at once. Tara is screaming for Willow and collapses, but does not pass out. Cordelia and Bob both disappear. The Guardians “power down” and revert to their normal forms.

The members of the Witches’ Committee attempt to use magic to capture Tara, but all discover that they no longer have any magic at all. S.A.V.E. (Nigel, Faith and a couple of field agents) gets in between them with guns (Faith, btw no longer feels like a Slayer). At some point the Daughters of Flame had arrived and are now surrounding Tara to protect her from anyone that might cross their line. It looks like everyone is going to resort to physical fighting. In what would later be called “Tapping a Line” in my games, Tara, the only Mage in the group, screams “Enough” and summons up enough magic to physically move everyone away from her. Think of those anime shows where the hero summons up magic. So lit from the bottom, hair flying wild, glowing eyes.

Tara manages to round up the groups and sets them into figuring out what is going on. I tell her player she can still feel Willow, but it is weak and distant. She can tell that Willow is still alive, but that is it.

With Bob and Cordilia gone I get their players to play Nigel (and Faith, representing S.A.V.E.) and Morgan (representing the Witches’ Committee). I slip them notes with what their ultimate goal is. S.A.V.E. wants to keep the veil closed so there are no more magical threats. Nigel though wants Tara to be with Willow because of his own guilt with Megan and Bob. The Witches Committee wants the veil to be removed since they have the most to gain in a world of magic. Lilith is also there, being represented by Anya. She is an NPC, but Lilith’s interests are maintain the status-quo. But she has plans for either outcomes. The Guardians for the first time in years have nothing to guard. They have no powers and they feel lost.

While meeting and discussing the various merits of all the plans, Tara and company get a visitor. The Lich from Episode 10. Tara meets with him alone, everyone else is too terrified and too surprised to see him still walking around (they had gotten reports that all magical creatures were gone or dead).

On the other side of the veil, Willow is having the opposite problem. She is super powerful, but everything she throws at the veil does nothing to change it. She is joined by Coyote. He mocks her a bit, saying this what the old Willow would have wanted, all this power. Willow tells him if the price for power is Tara then it is not worth it; That she would rather be a normal human, living a normal life as long as she is with Tara. Coyote tells her that maybe she can have both and he wanders off. Willow follows.

Tara and the Lich are meeting in a room, the Daughters begged her to allow a body guard, but Tara didn’t want one. The Lich tells her that they are linked, that she owes him but in the present state of the world there is no way she could pay him back. Tara figures out the other reason they are linked. Everyone else’s magic is gone, but his and hers. He was a Mage too. The Lich says that the only way they can settle their debt, and he indicates his mark on her, is to bring magic back to the world and not just the trickle that leaked through the Veil, all of it. Tara asks him what he wants in return. The Lich is silent.

Willow follows Coyote to the court of the Fae. Both the leaders of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts are there. The Seelie King and Queen treat Willow with an odd amount of respect. The Unseelie Queen is down-right friendly. King Oberon address Willow and says it has been over a hundred years since they last met. Willow is confused. Queen Maeve (the Unseelie Queen) tells her that the King refers to her past life when the Veil was erected by herself and her Anamchara.
The Seelie want the veil to remain closed, and have offered Willow a home on this side of it. The Unseelie want it open, Maeve enjoys humans and will miss the interactions. The court leaves Willow to think about her future, Coyote joins her.

Tara has decided to drop the veil. Living in a world with no magic is one thing, but living in a world with no Willow is another thing all together. Since she and the Lich are the only ones with magic she doesn’t even bother to tell the others.

Willow can feel Tara’s anxiety but does not know what it is about. She decides that living in a world full of magic is meaningless without Tara. She goes back to the Veil. Laughing, Coyote follows her telling her it is time to destroy the world.

At the Veil Tara is followed by the throng, wanting to see what she is going to do. She summons up her magic and tries to bring down the Veil. Nigel asks her to stop, telling her that if she drops the Veil she might not get it back up again.

On the other side Willow feels Tara at the Veil and uses her own magic to lower it. The Seelie Court detects this and are right on her heels trying to stop her. The Unseelie try to stop them.

The Veil is weakening as it does the people with magic on the other side begin to feel the return. The Guardians are first, and they are unsure what to do. The decide to help Tara. The Witches Committee member, Morgan, lends her magic as do the Daughters of the Flame.

On Willow’s side she can feel the flow of magic more and knows Tara is on the other side helping. Maeve is also lending her magic. So total we have five Guardians, three Daughters of the Flame, Morgan, Maeve, Willow and Tara, and the Lich for a total of 13 witches/mages.

The Veil falls.

Willow and Tara are reunited as magic rushes into the “real” world, banality rushes into the magical one.

The Guardians of the Veil are now the Guardians of the Watchtowers, each a mage in her respective element.
Morgan and the Daughters all have their magic levels increased.
Bob and Cordelia are back.
Maeve and the rest of the fae feel weaker in terms of magic, but they mention this is a temporary solution. King Obereon tells Willow and Tara that the pact forged in their past lives is now broken.
Two of the Daughters, Ceriweden and Brigh, offer themselves as their personal protectors as long as they draw breath.
Morgan can be heard on her cell phone talking away about setting up a press conference right away. She is ushered into a car that had just pulled up. She pauses to thank Willow and Tara and tells them they should come to offices, now that they are not trying to kidnap or kill them. They can do lunch.
Nigel and Faith mention they will figure out something to tell S.A.V.E., Faith kisses both girls on the cheeks and tells them not to be strangers anymore.

Tara looks out to see the Lich. It nods to her and she feels her mark burn. The Lich speaks in her mind, “there is still the debt”.

Tara feels ill, then light headed and she passes out.


Tara wakes in a hospital room. She is connected to an IV drip and Willow is sitting by her side. Bob is “pacing” the room. As soon as Tara sits up Cordelia orbs in. She tells them all the Elders are “Freaking out” but not as much as the demons. They are all crazy busy, but she felt they knew this was the direction everything was going to go. Now that they don’t have to cover up magic anymore they can concentrate more on fighting evil. Cordy gives Willow and Tara both a hug goodbye. She tells them she can’t be their Whitelighter anymore since they are Mages and she is needed elsewhere. But she will come by to see them when she can.
Cordelia orbs out.

Bob, who has been quiet this whole time says he has to go too. Tara protests, but he tells her that she is grown up and doesn’t need her daddy to help her back on to the horses anymore. He tells her this was how it was always going to be, he was here to help with the Awakening and that is what he did. He tells her he is tired, and he wants to see Megan again. Megan appears (played by Eliza Roberts again) she goes to Tara and hugs and kisses her. She also hugs Willow thanking her for being there and loving her daughter so much. She tells them both how proud she is of them and how exciting the future will be for them. She takes Bob’s hand and as they fade away they fade to their younger versions from the 1980s.

Tara is crying and Willow is holding her.

The doctor comes in, a young Indian man. He apologizes for being so late, saying that the ER has been a nightmare for the last 24 hours. He asks if Willow can leave so he can talk to the patient, Willow protests, but Tara mentions they are legal domestic partners and are married in the tenants of their faiths. That they are spending the rest of their lives together and that anything that she needs to know Willow needs to know too.

The doctor says, “Ok, this should be good news then. Congratulations Ms. Maclay, you are pregnant!”

The final scene is the stunned look on the girls’ faces.

Notes: Ok so big things here. Let’s break it all down.

No Big Bads: One of the things I wanted to do here was do a Season/Series/Arc/Campaign with no Big Bads. No final boss at the end of the level to fight. I am going to say that this was 100% a success. It did take some work to do. The mental place you are in when working on this game is a Big Bad. It’s what the show does, it’s what a lot of shows do.

The Awakening: The big season focus was on the Awakening, or the return of all Magic. Or as we said at the time, Magic was being outed. I felt that the world as it was could no longer exist. You can’t explain everything with gangs and PCP, you can’t even explain anything really. So the best plan was to have a world where everyone knew magic was real. We do it all the time in D&D and ShadowRun. My major influence here was the Piers Anthony “Incarnations of Immortality” series. Magic has returned to the world and it allows me make some rather big changes.

Pregnant: Yup. I got Tara knocked up. Well. Not me personally.
I wanted to keep the identity of the other parent secret for a while, but my Season 3 never quite got together the way I wanted. It got together in a completely different way, but more on that later.
Tara is pregnant. At the time we were building “The Dragon and the Phoenix” there was a meme of Tara getting pregnant stories. There were tons of them. Examples,  and
I thought we should do our own take too. Taking a cue from Lisa , our co-author and resident Tara expert, I went to her Willow & Tara epic tale (700+ pages) “Unexpected Consequences” and got the name for Tara’s child, Brianna. Brianna was born Feb 2, 2006.

Who is the “father”? Well I wanted to do a lot of Red Herrings and things like that. Maybe even implicate the Lich, but in the end that never came to pass. Season Three picked up many years later, with a small “Mini-series” in between.

The father of Brianna is Willow.

You can even see where (and when) I came up with the idea,

During the adourflame the girls suffered provide the magical catalyst, and they were certainly having enough sex at the time. This is also (I am told) a fairly common theme in lesbian authored Sci-Fi stories, so I suppose I should not have been surprised there were so many fics out there of it.

Ghosts of Albion: A lot of what happened in Season of the Witch made it one way or the other into Ghosts of Albion. These were our play tests. Anamchara casting rules became “William and Tamara Casting Together”, faeries, expanded vampires, magical philosophies, all of it came from these games. Mages obviously never made it to Ghosts, but we also did not have Protectors in Season of the Witch (except Milicent, and she was only there in the beginning).
This lead to a number of discussions with Chris Golden, Amber, and all my players on how different were William and Tamara compared to Willow and Tara. The answer of course is not much at all.

This was the last time I played with that group. I had a more local group forming at this point and we were getting back into D&D and Ghosts of Albion. We played a lot of games, thus continuing my “conversions” threads over the years, but it was not the same without my witches.

Where are Willow and Tara now?

Well the character sheets (hundreds of them, for several dozen games) sit in a 4-inch binder in my game room.

The characters?

Willow created a small software company that produced a new type of data encryption method. It was quickly bought by a larger company making millions for Willow and Tara. Willow was hired by the same company as an executive consultant. She helps other companies set up her software to protect their data. Willow herself uses the same software on her home computers to protect all the magical texts she has scanned in over the years.
Willow took her money to have special Subaru Outback converted to a hybrid car.

Tara completed her degree and is teaching Art History at a local private school. She is also a youth councilor at the school. She still has her mother’s spellbook/journals as well as her own. She wants to complete a Ph.D. but thinks she will wait till after Brianna is older. She is also starting to think she wants another child.

Brianna is four and is the spitting image of Willow.

They all live in a converted Brownstone in Boston, MA. Tara takes her bike to work everyday (when it is cold she laments giving her dad’s car to the vampires). They have not seen Cordy again, but have heard of her and some of her charges. They have seen Dawn a few times, she is currently in medical school where she uses her psychic powers to diagnosis and treat patients.


Jeff Beesler said...

Greetings from the A-Z Challenge! Based on what I've read of your posts, you have an appreciation for characters from the Buffyverse! That bodes well. Looking forward to reading more of your stuff.

Tim Knight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim Knight said...

Hear that? That's the sound of me standing up and applauding from the other side (see what I did there?) of The Pond. Cracking finale!

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Glad you both enjoyed it!!