Niebos, December 2010:

As Phillip's voice died away, Stefan Portocullis sat silent in his chair. It was past midnight now, and from where he sat, the old Watcher could see moonlight reflected on the ripples of the Aegean Sea. He hated to even move or disturb the thoughtful immortal. Finally the old man sat forward and clicked off the recorder, carefully removing and marking the third disk. Almost reverently he slipped it into a case.

Phillip stirred. "Is that it for tonight?"

Portocullis smiled thinly. "Yes… it has gotten rather late. Perhaps it would be best to stop this evening. We can take this up another time. After all… we still have over two thousand years of history to cover."

"Ah… but the beginnings are given… and in the beginnings you meet the child and see the man he will become; you come to know the rebellious and searching youth… and see where his questions led him," Phillip chuckled with a shrug.

"One thing more, if I may," Portocullis said as he packed up his equipment. "Purely a personal question. Why did you settle on Phillip as a name?"

The old immortal laughed merrily. "Well blame that on Eleanor. Every time I ran into her… no matter what name I was using… she tended to call me Phillip… the name I was using when I first met her. After a while… it seemed a part of me. Antinous was the same. Until he gave her his true name, she called him Edward. I eventually did the same. Sure… to mortals, and aloud… we used whatever names we'd chosen… but in private… and with each other… we became what Eleanor called us."

"Yes… the meetings. Perhaps next time, we'll discuss these parties of yours… the ones with Methos and Darius and Eleanor," suggested the old Watcher hopefully.

"Well… I have no problem discussing dead immortals… but discussing the living ones? I might have to check with them. After all… I wouldn't want to tell you something that they don't want you to know."

"I'm certain whatever you tell us will be sufficient," Portocullis said with a smile. He lifted his closed briefcase by the handle and let out a great breath. "Thank you for this evening."

"My pleasure," Phillip replied. He was already pouring another glass of wine. After Portocullis closed the door to the study, Phillip turned out the single lamp and sat back to stare out the window. His ghosts were with him now… the angels and the demons. He saw them all… Danaë, Nestor, Aspasia, and Alexander… the ghosts of his youth who seemed to close in on him with frightening solidity… their pale faces seemed to glow in the shadows about him. Shuddering momentarily, he swallowed down his wine, then poured another glass… as he contemplated a freighter moving through the waves on the horizon. "Strange," he murmured softly. "Of all of us… I would have thought I would be the first to die… and yet I remain." He lifted his wineglass. "To all of you… who made me who and what I am… to those named and unnamed. Salut!"

Author's Afterword: This concludes the first portion of Phillip's story of his life. If there is enough interest, I'll do the research for the next period of history. I had a great deal of fun studying classical Greek history again, as well as the the events of Alexander's life. In addition, I looked at art from the period, and let it inspire me. For those interested in Phillip's "statue", you can check the web for pictures of the Warrior of Riace, a most astounding piece of art. I did fudge the dates for its creation to fit into this story.

I recalled the love story of Pericles and Aspasia from college history classes, and had read that Rebecca Horne (Xanthia) may have been the lover of Agamemnon. I simply extrapolated that story and also had her be the famous courtesan whom Pericles left wife and family for.

The symposia of Greek culture were essentially as described. One has only to read Plato to get a glimpse of their racy nature.

This is one of three shorter tales that developed out of the writing for the next "long" story in my series. The other two are Lost in the Shadows and Fallen Embers. In all cases, I felt the stories needed the room to be developed fully, rather than to be given only a cursory paragraph or two. While writing them has delayed the writing on my longer piece, their creation has also given me a fuller understanding of the characters involved, and the events which have shaped who they have become.

I look forward to comments and suggestions on all my stories. I hope that those of you who are new to my work, will read and comment on the others.

As always, I remain,