|This article is about the event. For other uses, see The Reckoning.|
The Reckoning refereed to what began as a legend of the last stand of the last Slayer in the 21st century, but ultimately the event that defined the course of history up to the 23rd century.
According to the tale of the Reckoning, the last Slayer and her allies faced and apocalyptic army of demons; by the time the battle was done, so were they. The demons were banished to a hell dimension, while vampires were all but wiped up, devolving into the 23rd century lurks. The Slayer herself was also gone, and no other called until Melaka Fray.
As this Slayer did not inherited the psychic link from her title, she did not know what really happened; instead, only her twin brother, the vampire Harth Fray, had the memories of the battle. The demon Urkonn of the D'Avvrus attempted to guide Melaka about her destiny, and told her the origins and history of the Slayer line. When she asked him what happened with the previous Slayer, he said he didn’t know, except the tale of a battle in the 21st century resulting in the banishment of demons and magic from the Earth dimension. He also did not know if the Slayer lived, but, with the demons gone, she was the last to be called.
The line of Potential Slayers did continue, but these girls were not called nor trained. This caused the Watchers Council to fall in ruins, held together only by fanatics, after centuries of useless, obsessive waiting for the demons to return. Indeed, when the demons returned and Melaka was identified as the Chosen One, her assigned Watcher met her just to immolate himself, claiming not to be “worthy” of the presence of the one who would “end the scourge” and “cleanse us all”.
Harmony Kendall was one of the few immortal beings that had survived the 21st century through the 23rd, therefore she was initially considered an useful source on the actual events. When the Scooby Gang sought her assistance, she told them that demons and vampires had united against the threat of Buffy Summers and Willow Rosenberg’s effort in empowering humans. A battle had taken place at Willow's empowerment center, and something caused all Slayers to lose their powers, including their memories of being Slayers — except Buffy’s, who continued to fight while the others ran away. Outnumbered, Buffy had Dawn Summers opening a portal to a hell dimension, so Willow threw all the demons through it. Buffy had to go with them to keep them from returning to Earth, but she never came back, bound to fight demons in the hell dimension for the rest of her brief life.
Some sources would say Angel and Spike went with her; in other versions, the two vampires couldn’t handle the guilt of leaving her alone, so they decided on killing themselves with the sunrise. Rupert Giles, even in advanced age, continuously took care for the portal never open again, and Willow stood guard for centuries after that. When a new Slayer was finally called, the witch, dark with power, brought an early Buffy to 23rd century Haddyn so she would be the one who kills Willow, a choice made in repentance for her guilt for leaving her friend in a hell dimension.
Despite parts of this tale indeed happening, the timeline was completely changed with the chain of events that proceeded the actual Reckoning.
- “Nothing’s final! Not fate, not prophecies, not what's in history books. […] I'm going to find a way to save the world. Then and now.”
An unidentified sorcerer of the 23rd century desired to use the Scepter of the Veils go back to the Reckoning and take advantage of it, making himself all powerful and rule in his own era. His plans were ruined when the vampire Harth revealed to have infiltrated his group by siring the sorcerer’s minions, and took the scepter for his own use. He went back in time to the 21st century and assembled a number of demons ready to attack Willow’s empowerment center. When questioned about this decision, he simply answered it was because this was how he remembered it happening.
Meanwhile, Angel had heard from his sources that dark forces were merging in San Francisco, while Wolfram & Hart was coordinating an attack against Willow’s empowerment center and its Slayers. According to him, both demons and humans were behind this, as they saw the increasing power and influence of this movement as a threat, and they were all getting intel from a vampire from the future. Buffy recognized Harth as this source, and organized with the Scooby Gang to confront against him and his army at Wolfram & Hart Silicon Valley branch. Overpowered, the Scoobies had to run away from the battle, and regrouped to plan how to face someone who already knew what was going to happen. For this, Buffy recalled the resources of the Watchers Diaries in Fray's library; then, uniting Willow’s magical knowledge, Illyria’s time travelling powers, and Dawn’s portal abilities as the Key, the Scoobies sought Melaka in the 23rd century for help.
Due to the late state of paranoia and fanaticism of the Watchers Council, the Diaries from the abandoned library proved to be unhelpful to their quest. Gunther then directed the Scoobies to Harmony, who had lived through the 21st to the 23rd century, and she told them her version of the tales from what she’d heard, though since it was never made clear what happened to Harth, the Scoobies and Melaka theorized that he either went to Hell with Buffy, or would become all-powerful from the Reckoning and return to conquer Haddyn. Despite the odds against them, Angel vowed to find a way to save the world, and the others agreed, convincing Melaka and Erin to come back with them to stop Harth's plan.
The battle began, and eventually, out of desperation, Buffy convinced Willow to cast a spell to give her the collective powers of all active Slayers. Just as they began the spell, however, Harth jumped in, using a staff used by one of the Shadow Men to steal the power for himself, gloating that he'll use the power to kill them, then return to his time and conquer it.
With no other way, Dawn opened a portal to a hell dimension, and Buffy planned to force the demons through as history dictated. However, Illyria jumped in, assuming her Old One form and sacrificing herself to force the demons in. Harth proceeded to overpower the combined might of Buffy and Melaka, gloating that he now intended to stay behind and conquer the world, shaping the future in his own image. However, at that moment, his body began to break down under the strain of his power, which Buffy and Melaka used to their advantage to stake him with the Scythe. As he dusted, the Slayer powers flowed back to their previous owners, while also bestowing Melaka with the Slayer memories she had lacked for so long.
Melaka and Erin subsequently returned to their time, and were shocked to discover that Haddyn was significantly improved from when they left, courtesy of Willow, with her knowledge of the future, steering her center's work toward preventing the dystopian future they witnessed from coming to pass .
- Ready, Steady... (Only in visions)
- One Year Later (Only in visions)
- Future Shock (Only in visions)
- The Reckoning