Talkin' Bout A Revolution
Joe was staring at Giles incredulously, still trying to come to terms with what the man was suggesting. It was true that there was something wrong with the Watchers, Joe had seen it, he had fought it more than once. He had broken his oath time and time again but to destroy the Watchers meant openly betraying the institution that had taken him in when he had feared that everything was lost, when his world was shattered. To betray the Watchers would mean to go against the ones who had given him a reason to live after...
"No, I can't do it! There has to be another way!"
"Then find someone else. You don't understand what you are asking me to do!"
"You think that's bad? Try to see it from a slayer's watcher's perspective. Believe me, I know what I'm asking you to do, and it's a lot less than what I'll have to do myself."
"Yes, of course, because slayer watchers are so much better than Immortal watchers."
"That has nothing to do with this. It's not a matter of who's a better watcher, both Councils messed up. The Slayer Council has already been destroyed and I suspect that no matter what you do the days of the Immortal branch are numbered... all I'm trying to do is avoid another bloodbath. That's why we are here."
"You said that what you are asking me to do is nothing compared to what it would be for a slayer watcher."
"I said it was less not nothing. And maybe that was not the best way of putting it but there are differences that have an impact here and I won't deny that. That doesn't mean I believe you will find this easy."
"What kind of 'differences'?"
"Differences in the basic structure of both organizations. While there may be a tradition of watcher families in the Immortal branch, those remain the exception. You accidentally stumbled on immortality and were then recruited into the Watchers, that's the norm for an Immortal watcher. The slayer branch was far more secretive, there was rarely any new blood brought in and watchers were trained to be loyal to their organization since the day they were born... literally. I'm asking you to help me undermine a secret society you discovered as an adult, I'm betraying the principles my family has defended for over a thousand years. That's the difference. I'm not denying your loyalty, I am well aware of what I'm asking of you and you can be certain that if I could see another way we wouldn't be having this conversation, the problem is that there is no other way. Things went wrong thousands of years ago before either one of us was born. We had nothing to do with that but now we've reached a point in which something has to be done to correct those flaws. I don't want us to destroy the Watchers, that's not my goal, I'm trying to save them the only way I can. I believe that there are things that were set in motion a very long time ago and we have no choice but to deal with them. Whether you like it or not this group was not brought together by chance, there are too many coincidences. There is a purpose here, something we have to do and unfortunately those in charge are unlikely to share that perspective so we have no choice but to undermine them, to bring them down before we can build them up again."
"And how can you be so sure that those coincidences mean that the Council has to be destroyed? How can you be sure of your own interpretation of the facts?"
"I can't, but it is the most logical explanation."
"Because the slayer branch was destroyed?"
"No, it's more than that. That was the last straw but this whole thing started a long time ago."
"Can you show me one shred of evidence?"
"You are here."
"What are the chances that the one Immortal watcher to break the non-interference rule would be the watcher to the one Immortal that was eventually chosen as the Champion and not just that, but that that same watcher would then take it upon himself to find some answers for his charge... a quest that unwittingly led him to the doorstep of the watcher to the last active slayer before the destruction of the slayer branch?"
"Not many." Joe grudgingly admitted.
"And to those odds add the fact that you had befriended a young man who turned out to be none other than the world's oldest Immortal who had infiltrated the Watchers, that you were the one to learn his true identity and that you sent him straight here, not knowing anything about what was happening or about the Council's early history."
"Okay, so it was more than a coincidence, but I still don't see how you've gone from those facts to the need to undermine the Council to the point of causing its collapse."
"I'm not entirely sure myself, I think of it mostly as a deductive process. I think that going by the Council's early history both branches belong together, so that's the most reasonable final goal. I know that both branches lost their way, lost track of their true purpose and became corrupted through the millennia. I know that as things currently stand --with the slayer branch as weakened as it is-- any attempts at bringing them together without bringing down the Immortal branch first would fail to solve the problem because they would result in the slayer branch being absorbed without correcting the problems that plague the Immortal branch. If you don't like that explanation you can also see it as a matter of gut instinct."
"Yeah, well, I'm still not convinced that keeping the Watchers around at all is a good idea." Interrupted Buffy, "I mean, let's face it, seeing how the First Slayer was created I'm not sure even the Egyptian Watchers are such a great role model. If that's your Golden Age then I think I'll pass."
"I know, and I don't think they should be our primary guide here either." Explained Giles.
"So what's the alternative? I mean, we have the Immortal Watchers and the Slayer Watchers and if you ask me we would be better off without either of them. Are you going to tell me that there's a third branch ready to pop up at any given time? 'Cause if there is I'm so out of here."
"No, there was never a third branch to the Watchers, however I suspect there may have been an abortive one long before the Council as such was established and that's the one I believe may hold the key to the Council's reconstruction."
"An 'abortive' third branch?"
"One that never had a chance to get lost in a human quest for power... or --to be accurate-- one that represents the tree from which the Council itself branched out rather than a branch of the Council."
"Could you confuse that one a little more for us here? I mean, if you are not careful someone might actually manage to figure out what you mean, and we certainly wouldn't want that to happen now, would we?"
"What I mean is that they were never really a part of the Council. The root does not represent something that was lost but rather something that never quite coalesced into part of the Watchers as a formal organization, though at one time it might have had the potential to do so. They represent truly the foundation on which the original Council was built, but they have remained true to their origins. In fact they actually predate the creation of the First Slayer and they had no part in it."
"You mean that these guys could actually be useful? That would be a change!"
"Thanks for the vote of confidence."
"Well, I don't mean you personally, but you just admitted that the Council messed up, so don't you dare go getting all cranky on me."
"What I'm saying is that we should look toward the root of the Council, the foundation upon which the whole structure was built. For a long time I've had a feeling that there have been too many coincidences in our lives."
"Meaning the Powers are playing with us... again. So, if the Powers are playing with us, where are those roots? Are they going to appear magically out of the past? How are we supposed to get in touch with a society that has managed to remain hidden for over five thousand years? I'm guessing that won't be easy. What, are they going to come knocking on our door, volunteering to help?"
"Not quite... at least as far as the fact that they won't come to us, quite the contrary actually... more like we'll go toward that root." Muttered Giles while he cleaned his glasses.
"Who created the First Slayer?"
"And to the best of our knowledge, who were the Shadowmen?"
"They were... oh, I see." Buffy trailed off.
"Well, I don't," said Blair, "could someone please fill in the blanks for those of us who have just tuned in?"
"They were shamans."