(Several hours later)
At first when he awakened, Joe wasn't certain where he was. But the steady beeping of the heart monitor reminded him. In the darkness of the hospital room, he could make out nothing but the blinking lights on the monitoring equipment. Someone had drawn the blinds so that light from the nurses' station did not shine in through the observation window.
Then from the corner of his eye... he thought he could make out a slight movement in the chair next to the bed... a shadowy movement within a shadow. A small hand reached out and took hold of his.
"It's okay, Joseph... it's only me. I just wanted to check on you."
"Don't... go..." he managed to get out.
"Shh... I'll stay 'til you sleep again."
"Who're... you ... really..." he muttered before the pain stepped up a notch and the monitor registered his distress.
He heard her take a deep breath. The thumb of her hand seemed to trace some pattern over his own hand.
"You wish to write the Chronicle of my life?"
"Yeah." Once more the pain rose.
Ellie gave his hand a slight squeeze. "It's okay Joseph. Shhh... I'll tell you... everything... I always wanted to... I just never got the chance."
Her voice was low and gentle, almost melodious as she spoke with just the slightest trace of Highland brogue, "A long time ago my grandfather's only son died... he went to the Standing Stones to ask the Faerie Queen for a child that would never die..."
Joe closed his eyes and listened quietly to Eleanor's tale. When daylight arrived, he was once more alone in the hospital room, and there was no sign she had ever been there. But he felt better. He felt stronger. He felt like his recovery was now only a matter of time. Joe Dawson smiled contentedly. He was still smiling when the nurse arrived to take his morning readings.
Each heart is a pilgrim,
each one wants to know
the reason why the winds die
and where their stories go.
Pilgrim, in your journey
you may travel far,
for Pilgrim, it's a long way
to find out who you are...
~from "Pilgrim", lyrics by Roma Ryan
(Note: Story to be continued... in The Shattered Soul)
If readers noticed the number of times games were mentioned in this tale... it was intentional. The working title of this story was "The Games Immortals Play" and that title remained on the story until very late in its development. "Pilgrim" by Roma Ryan is from the Enya cd... A Day without Rain... and is used without permission.
The terms and concepts of the Highlander, Immortals, and Watchers are the property of Davis/Panzer, as are the names of many of the characters in this story. The characters of Eleanor, Derrick, Phillip, Peter Taylor, and Daniel M'Benga are my own creation, as are many of the minor characters. Tim Wyatt and Dr. Amy Zoll (who is not Joe's daughter also named Amy) appear on the Watcher Chronicles cd-rom as Methos' Watchers. Tim Wyatt does the leg-work and Dr. Zoll compiles the records. No further information other than their names appears on that disc. Their physical descriptions and characterizations are my own. The real Amy Zoll worked behind the scenes on the series.
Never having taken trans-Atlantic flights... my concurrent sections set in various global locations may not have been quite correct. I tried to be vague enough to give readers the idea... I just did not tie the events down to actual times... With more research... I may be able to do that.
For me... this was a story about discovering just where one belongs, and what is necessary to move forward with one's life. For Eleanor and Methos... it is a final committment to one another. For Joe it is in finally learning the truth of a tale that has always been one he "needed" to know. Now Joe knows... what the reader knows... and maybe some more besides... time will tell.
As for what happens next? I have completed the follow-up book, The Shattered Soul, which picks up immediately following this book... and am currently working on the third and final book in this series. Much of what I had planned for this story simply did not fit and it was pulled and inserted at appropriate places in the next story. I will have additional new characters and some surprises ahead for all who wish to follow along.
As always... I appreciate your comments and feedback. Without them... I have no idea if what I'm revealing makes any sense or is anything others are interested in. I do have an outline and a plan... it's just that these characters sometimes throw me a curve and take me in directions and into places I'd never considered. Suggestions are always welcome.
To the dearest, to the most lovely
Who lights the heart in me,
To the angel immortal, the idol,
Praise to eternity!
She sifts through my intimate being
Like the tang of salt from the sea,
And into my famishing spirit
Pours a taste for the heavenly.
Sachet always fresh in perfuming
The air of a cherished retreat,
A censer diffusing its fragrance
By night, with a secret heat,
How can I, my perfect beloved,
Give word of you truthfully?
Grain of musk ineluctably hidden
In the holiest centre of me!
To the purest, to the most lovely,
My joy and my sanity,
To the angel immortal, the idol,
Praise to eternity!
~by Charles Baudelaire, ca. 1854
English Translation by James McGowan, 1993