Guadosalam was on the inside of a mountain they could see a small shop in front of them, and a walkway over the path. A young Guado woman approached them and bowed.
"We have been expecting you Lady Tara. Welcome to Guadosalam. Please follow me this way My Lady." The woman said and started to take Tara's hand, but was stopped when Willow stepped in front of her.
"Whoa! I don't think so. Who are you?" Xander said from beside Willow.
"Oh, I'm truly sorry. I am called Amy Guado, and I am in the direct service of our leader, Mistress Glory. Lady Glory has very important business with Lady Tara."
"Business with me? What could it be?"
"Do not worry, all will be explained inside the manor. And your guardians are also welcome." Amy says and leads the group to a red door with blue and green steps.
"Geez, twist our arm, why don't ya?" Buffy whispered to Willow.
"This way please." Amy says and leads them into a large banquet room with several different kinds of fruits. "I will go inform Lady Glory of your arrival. Please wait here, and have all the fruit you like." She says and walks through a blue door at the back of the room.
"Whoa! Don't mind if I do." Buffy said and grabbed a piece of fruit and put several more in her pockets.
Willow shakes her head and walks over to Anya. "There's no temple in Guadosalam, you see? The Summoners usually pass through here on their way elsewhere." Anya said and Willow laughed. "What?"
"It's funny I didn't even ask you a question, and you're explaining things."
"What? You'd rather I say nothing then?"
"No! No, it's not that...It's just that...maybe you are starting to believe that I don't know anything about Spira. And just maybe you're starting to believe me about Zanarkand, too.
"Oh, I see...well there are many things that I do not know about. And your Zanarkand is one of them. I suppose I can't say what I think either way. But you'd still better be careful. You shouldn't tell other people."
"I know Anya. I would upset people if I said that."
"Ya know, I get the feeling she called up here for more than just dinner." Xander said walking over.
"Why do you think that?"
Xander sighed and looked to Willow shrugging his shoulders. "I don't know...it's just a feeling, ya?"
"I think I'll go see what Giles thinks about this." Willow said and headed over to Giles.
"Stay alert." Giles says leaning against the wall.
"Okay, but why? Glory is just one of those Maester people isn't she?"
"Yes, but she has power. Maesters have power, and will use it."
"You don't have something against Yevon do you?"
"I lived a long time in Zanarkand." Giles says as Faith walks over.
"I don't like this Lady Glory." Faith said causing Tara to quickly turn around.
"Aa! Shhh! Don't let anyone here hear you say that!"
"Don't worry you're not the only one." Willow whispers to Faith.
Amy came back in to the room at that moment causing everyone to turn to her. "It is truly good to have guests again. Since Lord Jyscal passed away, these halls have been too quite."
"The death of Lord Jyscal was a great loss for all of Spira." Tara says hanging her head.
Willow walks over to Xander "Was this guy Jyscal really such a great guy?"
"Yes, he brought the teachings of Yevon to the Guado. He was a great man."
Yes, but now we have a new leader; Lady Glory has come before us. Lady Glory is the child of a Guado and a human. She will be the tie that binds our two races together. I do believe that Lady Glory will surely become the shining star that light the way for all the races of Spira." Amy said passionately.
"Amy, that is enough. Must I always endure such praise?" Glory said stepping through the back door then turned to Tara and her guardians. "Welcome to my home, I do hope you are enjoying your stay."
"My Lady you...wanted to see me?" Tara asked confused.
"Please, make yourselves at home. There is no rush."
Giles stepped beside Tara and looked at Glory. "Please, keep this short. Tara must rush."
"I am sorry, Sir Giles. It has been a long time since I've had guests. Lady Tara, this way." Glory says as the room goes dark and lights up with thousands of stars. Xander is turning in a complete circle; Buffy is jumping up and down trying to touch the stars. Anya and Faith just stand looking at the scene, and Giles has a board look on his face. The group looks around as everything changes from stars to a huge city, with buildings twenty and thirty stories tall. Willow's eyes go wide when the room changes again, to the city streets.
"Zanarkand!" Willow exclaimed as a man passes through her body.
"Correct, this is Zanarkand as it looked one thousand year ago. The great, and wondrous machina city, Zanarkand. "Glory said and turned to Tara. "She once lived in this metropolis."
Tara looked over to Glory puzzled "She, who?"
Glory turned and faced forward with a small smile on her face, as an image of a young silver haired woman appeared sitting on a king size bed. She was wearing a gray thong and bra, with a silver cape.
"Lady Yunalesca!" Tara said surprised.
"Yes, she was the first person to defeat Sin and save the world from its ravages. But Lady Yunalesca did not save the world alone. To defeat Sin...it took an unbreakable bond of love...the kind of love that binds two hearts for eternity." Glory said as a man appeared and embraced Yunalesca. The screen flashed as Glory whispered something in Tara's ear.
When the room was back to normal Tara was blushing and looking around. Seeing a glass of water she grabbed it and it down in two gulps.
"Wow! Your face is beet red!" Buffy said looking at Tara.
Willow put her hand on Tara's shoulder "Are you okay?"
"She...she asked me to marry her!" Tara said blushing even more.
"What!" Willow screamed and glared at Glory then looked back to Tara. "Are you serious?"
Giles looked over to Glory showing no emotion "You know what Tara must do."
"I do. Lady Tara...no, all Summoners are charged with bringing peace to Spira. But it means more than just defeating Sin. She must east the suffering of all Spira, and be a leader for the people. I only proposed to Lady Tara as a Maester of Yevon."
"Spira is not a playhouse. A moment's diversion may amuse an audience, be it changes nothing." Giles said
"Even so, the actors must play their part." Glory said to Giles then turned to Tara "There is no need to answer right away. Think it over, and then give me your reply."
"She will think it over until then, we are leaving." Giles said and began walking to the door.
"Lady Tara, I will await your favorable reply... Excuse me Sir Giles, but why are you still here?" Glory asked getting a confused look from Willow. "Please, forgive me. We Guado are keen to the scent of the Farplane."
Willow looks from Glory to Giles and starts sniffing around Giles' body. "Sorry to break it to you Giles, but you need a bath." Willow says as Giles shoves her away from him.
When the group stepped outside the door Tara found herself surrounded by her guardians. Willow was watching Tara closely while she listened to the others talk.
"Tara, a High Summoner's daughter, Glory, the leader of the Guado. Married in the name of Yevon, and overcoming the barriers of race. It would give the people of Spira something cheery to talk about." Anya said thinking more out-loud than anything.
"It sounds just like a passin' daydream, just like Giles says." Xander said scratching his head.
"Oh! Come on! Let's just get on with the pilgrimage! I mean, marriage?" Willow said getting mad.
Buffy smiled and punched Willow on her left shoulder "Ohhh, me thinks...you're jealous!"
Willow's eyes went wide as her face turned red. "What? No way! It's just we have to defeat Sin, right? Romance can wait!" <And besides...I want Tara>
"Well she sure as hell picked a fine time to lay this one on us." Faith said frowning.
"Well...maybe it is a fine time." Tara said quietly with her eyes downcast.
"What! You can't be serious!" Willow shouted and felt her heart shatter.
"If my getting married would help Spira...and make the people happy...maybe I should do what I can. But I never imagined doing anything like this. But, I won't answer till I know what's right."
"Seriously?" Willow asked even more surprised than before.
Buffy was still munching on a piece of fruit she'd grabbed on their way out "Well, you could always quit the pilgrimage and get married."
"I will go on. I'm sure that Lady Glory will understand."
"Well I guess so."
"Buffy, I am a Summoner! I must fight and defeat Sin."
"Yes, like your mother before you." Giles said.
I had to stop myself from shouting: What's there to think about?
"I'm going to the Farplane. I'm going to see my mother and think on this."
"Go on, we'll be right behind you." Anya said placing her hand on Tara's back.
I wondered why none of the others ever asked Tara. Do you love Glory? Do you even like her?
The group walked up the ramp and through a round door; there was nothing to see in the small hallway except for a flight of stairs leading up to another round door with a liquid like barrier.
"Umm...I have a question! About the Farplane... You said when somebody dies; a Summoner sends them to the Farplane, right? So their souls, or whatever they might be, they go to the Farplane, right. But that's the Farplane we're going to, right? And Tara's mother's there, too? Do...umm...dead people live there or something?" Willow asked and imagined ghouls, zombies, and monsters surrounding her and shuddered.
"You're thinkin' those funny thoughts again, ya?" Xander asked and started up the stairs. "You'll see once we get there."
Willow moved toward the stairs and watched Giles sit down. "Hey, aren't you coming?"
"I do not belong there."
"Ha! You're scared!"
"Searching the past to find the future... This is all that is there. And I don't need it. You'd better be going.
"Hey, Wills! Don't worry, you're not really going to see the dead...more like your memories of them. You see, people think of their loved ones, and the pyreflies react to them. They take on the form of the dead person...it's just an illusion, and nothing else." Buffy said and sat down across from Giles.
"Oh, I get it now."
"Good. Well have fun."
"What? You're not going either?"
"I keep my memories inside."
"Memories are nice, but that's all they are."
Willow walks up the stairs and pushes through the liquid barrier, and she looks around in amazement. A river with a huge waterfall, and red, orange, purple and green flower surrounded the river, with different colored pyreflies floating around. There is a large moon in the sky surrounded by black smoke rising from the ground, and stars shining bright.
The Farplane was cool, but I couldn't stop thinking about Tara. Her parents...they looked so happy together. But it got me worried that maybe seeing them would make Tara really consider Glory's proposal.
Willow looks over to Xander and sees him talking to a young redheaded girl a year or two younger than him.
"Yo, Hikari! I meant to come and see you earlier, ya? Sorry! I know you won't hold it against me. Well you should know that I gave up the game. Now, I'm a full-time guardian from here on, you know? Oh! This girl...looks a lot like you...showed up. Traveling with her, I thought, maybe...you were still alive somewhere, ya? But then again, here you are on the Farplane. Guess your favorite place is here. So, how ya been? Oh, that girl I just told you 'bout...I gave her your sword. She likes it."
Not wanting to intrude on Xander's private conversation anymore Willow walked over to Anya.
"Hey, you okay?"
"Yes, it's just seeing a girl that was a sister to me...makes me think. I miss all the things we did together...she always said she'd get married before me...but that won't happen now. And I'm just...I don't know."
"Anya, I think you should put everything behind you. You know, start over. Don't forget her, but just...just remember her, and when you have kids you can tell them all about her."
"I guess...but I haven't found a man yet."
"Well...how about Xander?"
"What? Me with Xander?"
"Why not? You two get along great!"
"That isn't enough, it doesn't even come close."
"Yeah, well I still think you should think about it." Willow says and walks over to where Tara was staring at her parents. A beautiful woman who looked just like Tara was sanding beside a dark blond man.
"I have made my decision." Tara said when Willow stepped beside her.
"Oh, really? That's good."
"I remember, when I was only seven years old, in Bevelle that day. My mother had defeated Sin, and the whole town was out in the streets. Everyone was laughing. They all seemed so happy. If I defeated Sin, that would make everyone happy...wouldn't it? I must do what everyone wants, not just what I want."
"Then let's go back! You gotta tell Glory."
"Before that... Please, call Sir Ira."
"Don't worry. He won't come."
Trying not to think about my old man made me think about him, of course.
"See, told you!" Tara smiles
He isn't here because he's not dead. He's Sin.
"You know? That means he's alive."
<What if my old man really is Sin? What would I say to Tara...heck, to everybody in Spira? Wait, why should I have to apologize for him, anyway? I'd rather never see him again.>
"Willow, why do you hate him so much?"
"Everything he does just makes me so mad. It was his fault that me and my mother." Willow stopped when an image of a woman that looked exactly like her appeared. "Mom? It's her!"
Tara looked from the image then to Willow "She's very pretty."
"How? No one ever performed the sending on her." Willow asked confused.
"She must've accepted death while she was still alive."
"Please don't say that.
"Oh, I'm sorry!"
"It's okay. I think I just figured something out." Willow said looking at the ground.
"Why I hate my old man."
"See? I told him what I thought of him, right there!" Ira was leaning against the railing of the balcony talking to his wife.
"I suppose, but..."
"Mommy..." A young Willow called out
"Just a sec, dear."
"Whenever my old man was around, my mother wouldn't look at me. Maybe that's when I started to resent him, even hate him. When he left us... Mom just lost her energy."
"Is she all right?" Giles asked the young Willow
"And why should you care?"
"If she dies, I wouldn't know what to do."
"Don't say my mom is gonna die!"
"I apologize." Giles said and left.
"The old lady next door told me...when a lovebird dies, the one left behind... It just gives up living so it can join its mate. It was just like that. I hated my old man even more. But really, my old man..."
"Just a sec, dear."
"Ah, Shelia, go to her. She'll cry if you don't." Ira said.
"You must think I sound so stupid." Willow said with her head down
Tara grins and shakes her head. "I don't think so."
"Talk about embarrassing!"
Xander walked over with a goofy smile on his face with Anya, and Faith behind him. "Well? Need more time?"
"No, I'm ready."
"Okay, did I miss something?" Anya asked when she saw the smile on Tara's face mirrored on Willow's.
When the group walked out of the liquid barrier Giles and Buffy met them at the bottom of the steps. Before they could go any further, a spirit tried to break through the Farplane barrier.
"It's Lord Jyscal!" A Guado shouted and kneeled.
"He doesn't belong here. Tara send him." Giles said and kneels fighting off two pyreflies.
Tara walks up to the Farplane entrance "Lord Jyscal..." she says sadly.
"Tara, he is Lord Jyscal no more, send him now!" Faith shouted from the bottom step.
Tara sighs and performs the sending, when the spirit disappears it drops something on the ground. Tara kneels and picks it up hiding it in her dress, as Giles stands up with sweat running down his face. "Talk later. We leave now!" Giles said walking down the hall.
"Can someone tell me what just happened back there? Was that really Lord Jyscal?" Xander asked looking over his shoulder.
"What I don't understand is how a man like Lord Jyscal could die and not be sent." Tara said confused
"I think that he was sent, but he stayed on Spira. Something, a powerful emotion could have bound him to this world." Anya said hugging her mog doll to her chest.
Buffy looked over to Anya raised eyebrows "Isn't that against the rules?"
"It means that he died an unclean death." Giles said from the front of the group, as they reached Glory's home.
"Everyone, I'll go meet with Lady Glory." Tara said and walked over to the red doors.
Giles held his hand up to the doors "Tara! Jyscal is the Guado's problem, not yours." Tara nods and proceeds through the door.
"Anya, what do you think about Tara getting married?" Willow asked.
"Well, as long as the pilgrimage continues, either way's fine." Anya said motioned for Willow to follow her.
"Is that all?" Willow asked upset "I mean, what if she doesn't even like her? Do you think that is okay?"
"Willow you have to realize that people marry for many reasons."
"What's that mean?"
"It means that sometimes marriage doesn't require love, you know? Defeat Sin, and bring joy to all of Spira. Get married, and bring joy to Spira. For Tara, they're just two ways down the same road. All you need is determination. If you have that, you don't need love."
"I don't know...I just don't get it."
"Listen, if Tara gets married...then I..."
"If she is to marry, I would want her to marry for love."
"But, if Tara said she wanted to marry the one she loves...then I would have to object."
"You're not making much sense, Anya."
Willow shakes her head and walks off and runs into Faith coming out of the Item shop. "Hey, buy some of the Guado Potions before leaving. They are some of the best made." Taking Faith's advice Willow go into the shop and buys a couple of Potions. When she comes back out she heads over to stand with the group. <Who does Tara love? And why would Anya object to it? Geez! I really don't understand these people half of the time!>
"Don't, I've talked enough about that."
Sighing Anya faces Willow "I'm sorry, just forget about it."
"Damn! You are grumpy!"
"You'll understand one of these days. I just don't want to give it words...not yet. I shouldn't have to say this, but don't fall in love with Tara."
"I...see. But, please, you must keep your feelings inside, at least until the pilgrimage is over."
Willow nods her head slowly and decided to walk around a bit more, near the entrance to the Thunder Plains she ran into Shelinda.
"Is Lady Tara not with you?"
"No. She's at Glory's place."
"That's 'Lady Maester Glory' or 'Lady Glory'"
"Oh, I'll be careful. Sorry." Willow says scratching her head.
"That's all right. But Lady Glory left Guadosalam a short while ago."
"Yes. She went to the temple in Macalania. Lady Glory is also the High Priestess of that temple."
"Excuse me, I have to tell the others." Willow thanks Shelinda and runs over to the group. "Hey guys! Glory isn't here she left for another temple."
Tara is inside looking at a picture of Lord Jyscal "Please tell me Sir. What can I do to help?" She asks as Buffy runs in.
"Tara, let's go!" Buffy says grabbing Tara's hand and leading her outside.
"Hey, Shelinda said that Glory went to Macarena Temple" Willow says mispronouncing the name.
"That's Macalania Temple" Xander corrects her.
"Whatever, either way Glory isn't here."
"Why would the Lady Maester head off without a peep to anyone? That's what I don't get." Xander says looking confused.
"Well, maybe she wasn't expecting Tara to answer her so soon." Buffy say cocking her head to the side.
"Ah, yeah that's probably it."
"What is wrong Tara? Giles asks when he sees the sad look on Tara's face.
"Oh, it's nothing."
"You're a poor liar"
"It's nothing Sir Giles. Come on, let's go." Tara says and heads off to the Thunder Plains entrance with the group following.