Author: Milady Dragon
Rating: PG-13, for language and violence
Summary: When Master Archivist Ianto Jones of Torchwood Castle discovers the presence of a powerful magical Artifact, Baroness Gwen Williams hires Captain Jack Harkness and his band of mercenaries to retrieve it.
Pairing(s): Jack Harkness/Ianto Jones; Gwen Williams/Rhys WIlliams
Warning: Fantasy violence
Spoilers: None really; mostly for Doctor Who S1 episodes "Bad Wolf" and "Parting of the Ways", and Torchwood S1 "Everything Changes" and S2 "Fragments". Although the stories have been warped to fit into a fantasy setting.
Author's Note: This is Torchwood in a fantasy setting. Everything that could be considered alien in the normal universe is magical here.
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, if I did I'd have treated it better. It - and Doctor Who - are owned by the BBC, and created by Russell T. Davies.
The Baroness Gwen Williams of Cardiff smiled as her Master Archivist bowed, his silver-rimmed magical glasses catching the sunlight from the large windows in the Baroness’ salon.
As always, Ianto’s trousers and jacket were impeccable…even though Gwen knew he’d come from the archives. Most who worked down there had a tendency to be dusty and rumpled…but not Ianto Jones. Sometimes she wondered if it wasn’t a part of his personal magic, this perpetual neatness of appearance. It was a miracle in any case.
“You have something for me?” she asked, bidding him rise.
Ianto nodded, coming closer. He held a scroll case in one gloved hand, and a piece of regular paper in the other.
Gwen waved him over to her desk, and the archivist was happy to oblige. Ianto carefully removed the scroll from its case, rolling it out onto the polished oak of the desk. He used a pair of paperweights – gifts from her husband, Rhys – to anchor the scroll into place.
The writing made no sense to her. It looked as if someone had spilled spaghetti noodles onto the parchment, then arranged them into random loops and whorls. Gwen frowned. “What is this?” she asked.
“I can’t confirm the language,” Ianto answered, “although I suspect it’s one of the ancient forest dialects. The glasses did have a fair hard time translating, but I did manage to get this.” He rested the paper on top of the parchment, revealing partial sentences in Ianto’s careful hand.
Gwen read what he’d managed to discover.
Touch of life and death…
Gauntlet of Resurrection….
Beware the Death Everlasting.
The Immortality of the Deathless.
“I’ve heard of this,” she murmured. “The Immortality of the Deathless. That’s an old myth, isn’t it?”
Ianto nodded solemnly. “It’s about a man who cannot die, who supposedly wanders the world looking for a way to end his wretched existence.”
Gwen nodded. Of course, she was familiar with the tale. It was one that her mother had told her as a child, and it still had the power to make her unbelievably sad. “He was cursed, wasn’t he?”
“Yes, by a witch of great power who thought she was doing the right thing by bringing him back from death…but whose spell went horribly wrong and cursed him with immortality instead of just new life. And when he found her again…she was unable to reverse what she’d done.”
Ianto was silent, which Gwen took as agreement. She went back to reading the Archivist’s notes.
The Everlasting Life shall become the Everlasting Death.
The Great and Terrible Gauntlet…do not let it control you or you shall be lost for all Eternity.
Look to the North…
Gwen chewed her lip in a decidedly unladylike manner. “You think this is another Artifact, don’t you?”
“I do, yes. Else I wouldn’t have brought it to your attention.”
The Baroness trusted his judgment. “Just what does this Gauntlet do, do you think?” She had a fair idea, but wanted to hear Ianto’s ideas on the subject.
“It sounds to me as if it has the power over life and death.”
“Which would make it terribly powerful.”
Once again, Ianto was silent. But then, he didn’t need to say anything. What he’d said jibed with what Gwen had come up with on her own.
She summoned her maid, asking to have the Baron join them. The girl curtseyed, then left the room. “How much more can you translate?” she asked.
“I’m not sure,” the Archivist admitted. “The glasses are having difficulty with the language. I’ll keep trying, of course.”
“Don’t overstrain yourself, Ianto. I wouldn’t want my Head Archivist to do himself an injury.”
Even though she’d said it lightly, Gwen could tell that Ianto was affronted by her comment. “I do know what I’m doing, Your Grace.”
“I never meant to intimate you didn’t.”
He bowed his head slightly, not saying anything.
The silence was broken by the arrival of Rhys, Gwen’s husband and Baron of Cardiff. Rhys was a handsome man, usually smiling and ready with a quip. Today though, he was looking somewhat perturbed. “Is it important?” he asked.
“Did I interrupt something important?” Gwen asked apologetically, placing a kiss on his cheek.
“Just some of the guilds deciding the current agreements are “detrimental to free trade”,” he answered, using his fingers to air-quote the last part of that statement. “They’re the ones who set the bloody agreements up in the first place. Don’t know what they expect me to do about them.” Then he noticed they weren’t alone. “Ah, hello Ianto,” he greeted with a smile. “I take this is might be somewhat more important than the bickering of a few greedy guildmasters.”
“I’m rather afraid it is, Rhys,” Gwen answered. “We may have discovered an Artifact.”
Rhys whistled. “That’s the first one in this year. How sure are we?”
“Fairly sure,” she answered. She explained what she and Ianto had talked about, showing her husband the notes the Archivist had made. As usual, Ianto let her do the talking, only offering his input when needed. It was at times such as this that Gwen wished he was a little more assertive, but she accepted that Ianto just wasn’t that way.
By the time she was done, Rhys was nodding. “Sure sounds like it’s something we should check out.” He smiled. “After all, that’s what we do.”
Gwen nodded. Torchwood Castle was responsible for containing some of the most dangerous magical devices in the Kingdom; that had long been the purview of Gwen’s family, that and the tracking down of said Artifacts and making certain they didn’t fall into the wrong hands.
She glanced over at Ianto; for over hundreds of years, Gwen’s family had amassed a veritable mountain of old documents, in all sorts of old and/or dead languages. This was what made the job of Head Archivist so important… that said Archivist be able to use the magical glasses that had also been in her family for generations.
Her parents had despaired of finding anyone who could fill that place. The previous three Archivists hadn’t been able to meld their minds with the magic, and so the archive had suffered.
And then had come Ianto Jones.
That had been a miracle. He’d never once been Tested for magic, his family having been considered too low to have that sort of blood running in their veins. Magic had always been the bailiwick of the privileged, and that was something that Ianto wasn’t.
It had been purest serendipity that the young man had touched that Artifact. Otherwise they might not even know now of his ability as a Catalyst.
They wouldn’t now know about this potential Artifact.
“I shall try to get more from the document,” Ianto said, removing the paperweights and carefully re-rolling the parchment into its case.
“Good,” Gwen answered. “In the meantime…I think it’s time we summon Jack…”