Episode 31: Moon Hunter

Liver-Eating Jackson, a mountain man from Appalachia, skins Serendib and takes her skin for its power to lull his victims. Serendib is now trapped in tiger form, wandering the highway looking for help, or perhaps some nice steak. Our heroes find her and get her into a zoo.

Walker's real name, Jordan Weisman, shows up in the obituaries and Juliet breaks all known speed records running to the morgue. Turns out Walker isn't dead, but he's been skinned, and his werewolf side has been peeled off. Now he's just human, and completely bald to boot.

The gang stalks Jackson, which turns out to be just what he wants. He's wearing Walker's skin and wants to add to the list with a Slayer's skin, or perhaps the Doctor's. They enlist Bobby C's aid, but as soon as he gets out in the woods he gets all wolfy and goes running off after game, so that's no help. Jackson attacks, using Walker's skin to give himself werewolf speed and strength. Juliet fights him, but not only has she not fought Walker successfully before, but Walker never fought with a hatchet and Bowie knife!

Diligence and Alex wander off (a fixture of recent episodes) and discover Jackson's lair. Serendib's skin isn't there; he's apparently discarded it in favor of Walker's. He's set cunning snares, but Dilgence is smarter than a bear and isn't caught. Alex dispels the curtain of darkness that Jackson has woven over the woods, revealing his true nature -- a shaggy mountain man in a wolf suit. Juliet rips the seam open and Walker crawls inside, battling Jackson for possession of his own wolf side. He wins.

Episode 32: Shining Armor

The world turns into a Renaissance Fair version of the Middle Ages -- Juliet and Billy are soldiers, and can't read. Diligence and Alexandra are magicians and feared by all. Seems the Prince of Vampires, Reginald, is laying seige to Olde Arkham Towne and its defenders, the mercenary Sunderland knights, have turned their coats to serve him!

Juliet, Billy and Walker battle Reginald and his vampire knights of darkness, and kill them. Diligence and Alexandra visit the Museum of Antiquities and discover that Diligence's mad Uncle Edgar is responsible: he lit a candle which produced the world that would have existed if it were still the Middle Ages, but with all the same people living in Massachusetts. They don't oppose him directly, but keep him talking: he's looking for the skull of the Spawn of Yog-Sothoth, believing that its cranial cavities extend into the fourth dimension, and by following them, he can cast spells upon Yog-Sothoth itself. Of course, he doesn't want to harm the Key and the Gate; he wants to control it!

This cannot be allowed, and by dint of rapid sorcery, Alexandra and Diligence put his scheme out of business. The world reverts to its true nature, which means Reginald isn't really dead, but on the other hand, everyone can read.

Episode 33: Blood Rush

In the opening scene, Juliet is attacked by Reginald and his minions. Reginald remembers being killed by Juliet in the medieval dream world, and it's made him very afraid! So he strikes first, and hastens his own demise.

Several fraternities are rushing freshmen, and one in particular wants Diligence, dead or alive! They send Appolonius to get him; he's a vampire, associated with the Sabbat, a sort of anti-church of the living dead who plan to choose their Antipope in Arkham in six weeks' time. Appolonius beats up Diligence and Alexandra, but Juliet and friends show up before he kills them. Alex is unconscious, having dropped the Runestaff out a window. Billy snags it. Appolonius runs, leading Juliet, Billy and Walker into a cul-de-sac where newborn vampires rise from the ground all around them!

Juliet stakes Appolonius at twenty yards with an overhand throw. Not bad, but he doesn't die; instead, one of his minions crumbles into dust! Billy manages to dodge several vampires' attacks, while Walker goes head-to-head with one vamp in a Tasmanian Devil whirl of limbs, teeth, argh, grr, ow. Neither one's winning.

Appolonius turns out to be a pretty skilled fighter and lands several tremendous punches and kicks on Juliet. She kills him twice more, too, but each time he crushes a button on his vest and one of his goons dies instead. Finally, after Juliet rips his vest off, Billy uses the Runestaff and an exorcism spell Dr. Armitage taught him long ago to exorcise Appolonius. You wouldn't think exorcism would remove the soul from a soulless body, but it does remove the demon, leaving only dust.

Favorite Lines:

Appolonius: In six weeks it's all coming down .. if you're smart, you'll cross over to the dark side before it takes over.
Juliet: You sound like you know all sorts of useful things. I hate to kill you, but you're just too dangerous to let live.

Episode 34: Bad Doctor

Wounded from their encounter with Appolonius, Diligence and Alexandra are captured by the Doctor from the mid-century, Dr. Wilson FIlk. He's dead, but that hasn't dulled his keenness for Doctorhood, and now that Alex is unconscious he wants the Runestaff. First, he sedates her in order to bring the Runestaff to him. He doesn't know where it is, but by enhancing its link to her he'll bring it right to them. Second, he needs to corrupt the link between them, which he plans to do by making Alex a vampire. He has the equipment to drain her blood and replace it with vampire blood. Diligence doubts that'll even work, but it's best not to take chances, so he keeps Filk talking while the Runestaff draws closer. Filk tries shutting Diligence up with a scalpel in the thigh bone, but it's no use.

Thessaly and Miles join Juliet and Billy, but no wizards show up. "Great," remarks Miles, "everyone who can defend himself against a fuzzy bunny rabbit is here, where the bad guys aren't. Everyone who can use magic to find them, isn't here." Billy assures him this happens all the time.

Without magic to trace their friends, our heroes try searching for clues. They find out the ambulance that took Dil and Alex away was a British ambulance which vanished during the Blitz of London; apparently instead of tending the wounded, Dr. Wilson Filk stole the ambulance's load of priceless drugs and blood plasma and drove off. He was never seen again.

More vampires attack, including a very fast martial artist named the Frenchman, a master of the cane-and-kick martial art of savate. Thessaly, with a sword in one hand and a stake in the other, engages in a blizzardlike fury of attacks and parries, gets kicked, flips up and over the Frenchman's head and stakes him in the back. The others defeat other fighting vamps, including Chandler Hungerford, who can extend his arms to great claw-tipped length.

They were apparently sent by Cardinal Fang, one of the seven cardinals of the Sabbat. He's preparing for the selection of the antipope and wants to make sure the Slayer is properly out of the way. But he's not sure which of the girls, Juliet or Thessaly, is the Slayer, after Thessaly's cool finishing move. Juliet throws a stake at the Cardinal, misses by a mile, and confirms his belief that Thessaly is the Slayer. The Cardinal gathers darkness about himself and vanishes.

Thessaly carries the Runestaff (Billy having dropped it when tackled from a third-floor rooftop) and detects a pull toward the old abandoned railroad warehouse. Everyone sneaks in -- with Juliet, Walker, Billy, Miles and Thessaly, they're ready to beat just about anything.

Except a world-class wizard, that is! Walker gets hit by a lightning bolt and then is subject to a spell that pulls his animal nature to the fore, sending him into snarling frenzy. Juliet uses a moon-and-star pendant given to her by Tara during her visit to Sunnydale to try and reach his wolf side, but she gets caught up in the madness instead and they fight like tigers. Worse, Billy is affected by the spell, too, and grows a ratlike muzzle and twitchy black nose.

Thessaly lets go of the Runestaff, which shoots across the warehouse toward Alexandra, startling Filk. She stakes him, but he isn't a vampire, so that doesn't work right away, although he's hurt enough to drop the Runestaff. Alex gets it and uses her Weaken and Magic runes on Filk; he's not a vampire, but he is a walking dead man, and with the magic that sustains him destroyed, he crumbles into clay.

"Somebody's making too many golems," says Diligence. "First the Maletherium, now a golem Doctor?"

"It's got to stop," Miles agrees.

"I just meant, who knew it was that easy?" Diligence says. "Like, we could make a clay Slayer for when Juliet's out of town. Or two!"

This bodes ill for all mankind.

Dropping in on Dr. Armitage's apartment, the gang discovers he's been kidnapped! There's blood all over the apartment -- he fought his attackers with an axe -- but whoever it was, he evidently knew them, because he let them in ...

Episode 35: Second Thoughts

Doc's apartment turns out to have several weapons used in the battle, with vampire blood on them. Walker, still smarting from where Juliet tore him apart, can't tell which vampires they were. But Excellence, arriving in her new limo, spies the book Doc was reading and points it out to Diligence. It's Greek, but written in the Roman alphabet, a common late-medieval cipher. Diligence identifies it as De Vermis Mysteriis, an ancient book about death and resurrection. Apparently Doc was working on a spell to restore a vampire's lost soul, or maybe take one.

Moonstomp shows up with a warning: the Sabbat aren't just evil, they're bloody sincere about it. They tend to recruit their enemies rather than kill 'em, and if Doc Armitage, with all his Cthulhu lore, turns vamp, well, Moonstomp's getting the Hell outta town, yeah?

Diligence points out that Moonstomp is someone Doc knows well. And he walked into the apartment, indicating that at some point, he's been invited in. Therefore, he must be the kidnapper!

No one listens to Diligence. Which is a handy time saver when he's wrong, but in this case, it's courting apocalypse, because he's right.

Moonstomp leads our heroes to a shack in the woods, where Eddie, Lou, the dispatcher and Chief Braun are being sucked on by a quintet of shaggy biker vamps. Juliet and Billy attack and destroy all but one, who gets away on a motorcycle. Then he leads them to the jail, where a bunch of Gangrels (woodsy vampires) are waiting to pounce on them. Juliet duels the Spaniard, the greatest swordsman in the afterlife, while Moonstomp gets pounded by the Spaniard and runs away. Billy faces the Gangrels; one of them steals his rat-aspect, which is great, because Billy was running out of excuses to hide from Excellence.

Diligence doesn't trust Moonstomp, though, and leads Alex away into the woods, following his similarity spell. Turns out midnight land navigation in broken terrain (the scrub hills of Turk County, to be exact) has very little in common with chessplaying. The escaping vamp on the motorcycle spots them; Alex ignites his gas tank. They do eventually stumble upon a lock of Dr. Armitage's hair, but it's buried in the ground around the neck of a huge Viking vampire with a broadsword who's lying in his fresh grave awaiting them! There is much bellowing and swinging of big swords. Diligence forms a stake in the guy's heart, but he's so big and tough it doesn't finish him! Fortunately, a rootball around his feet makes him fall forward, driving the stake in the rest of the way.

Both groups converge on the hospital, where Juliet has used her newfound link to Slayers past to detect something dreadful. There's a sailing ship in the courtyard, manned by dead men tethered to the mast by long hangman's nooses, but that isn't what she sensed. Instead, it's the Berliner, a vampire surgeon who is dripping evil vampire juices into Doc and Thessaly's veins! He jumps out a fifth-floor window, and although Juliet is the Slayer, she's not the Bionic Woman, and doesn't jump after him. Which is good, as she'd be hard pressed to slay the undead from a wheelchair.

Somebody kills the Berliner and they try to revive Dr. Armitage, Dr. Sanmartin, Thessaly and the cops. Nothing doing, though -- they are in a deep trance, awaiting the next visit of their vampire masters. It's like Dracula all over again, but this time, Dr. Van Helsing is one of the victims ...

Favorite Lines:

Excellence: What's the matter with Billy?
Juliet: He got kind of ... beat up. And he's being a guy, y'know. Doesn't want you to see him like this. It's a guy thing.
Excellence: Well, you know all about that kind of thing by now ... how long's it take?
Juliet: Give him a couple of days -- that should do it.
Excellence: Yeah, but YOUR boyfriend regenerates! What am I going to do for a week or more? That rat.

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