I don't own Darius and Methos or the concept of Immortality as set out
by Highlander. It's all owned by men in suits with big lawyers. Please
don't sue me - I promise everything will be returned no worse for wear.
Thanks: Thank yous to my wonderful
beta readers, Sonia, Anthea and Tracey for providing invaluable feedback
(hugs and virtual chocolate to you all g>). Thanks also to everyone
on the Methos Scrolls list and on ATH who responded to my slightly frantic
questions about Darius - the information has been put to (good?) use g>.
Feedback is craved - love it or hate
Found and Lost
moved around the chapel, lighting candles and preparing for evening Mass.
As he leant over to light one of the altar candles, he felt the wash of
another Immortal presence. It was something he had long since ceased to
react to - he had been a priest for six hundred years and there was no
Immortal alive, or dead, who would risk a battle on holy ground. But even
so, this presence caused the monk to look up. It was a strong, powerful
sense: Whoever it was, they were either a prolific head hunter or a very
old Immortal. Head hunters were quite rare, but the ancients were possibly
Darius turned to face the door, just as the visitor entered. Outwardly,
the visitor could have been any age from sixteen to thirty - except for
the so obviously world weary eyes. This was a very old Immortal for sure.
Darius was not even sure what race this man belonged to - very few peoples
combined such dark hair with such fair skin; and those eyes... The monk
had never seen anyone with eyes of such a combination of colours. He could
not decide if they were green or brown or perhaps a hazel mixture of both.
This, Darius decided even as he approached the visitor, was a man out of
time and who knew it all too well.
friend," Darius said, spreading his hands in welcome.
"Are you what?"
"Is there any
reason why you wouldn't be?" Darius enquired. "Any reason for me not to
treat you as such?"
The man's shoulders
slumped. "You don't know what I've done - what I've been."
kindly. "I may not, but surely if it is *done*, it is all in the past.
the young/old man before him. Here, clearly, was a soul in pain and torment.
How best to excise these ghosts so that the man might go on and live? "Tell
me your name, my friend." Instant wariness was the only response. "Surely
it cannot hurt you to reveal your name to me. I am a priest - a man of
God. I shall not betray you."
There was a
snort of harsh, bitter laughter. "Priests! I have seen Gods rise and fall
like the desert sands shifting on the wind. Deities one moment, forgotten
superstitions the next. I have known hundreds - thousands - who have claimed
to be 'men of God', and all of them would have sold their own mother if
it profited them."
"I am not them,"
Darius answered quietly. He wondered how many betrayals this man had suffered
that could make him so cynical. "I swear that you may trust me. I took
a vow never to betray or break the confidence of confession, and nor shall
I trust you?" The man countered. "All you have is words and words may be
unsaid - retracted. Broken."
his head in a slow nod. "True my friend. But, sooner or later, you will
trust again." He studied the man. "Yes. You do not trust easily, but when
you do, that trust is the most important thing to you. Yes?" The stranger
looked openly shocked at the perception of the Immortal priest. He smiled
gently. "It is written in your eyes my friend - if one is willing to look.
Those who would betray you are - and have been fools for thinking or doing
There was another
bark of harsh laughter. "Pretty words - pale comfort, *friend*." The man
turned to go.
was not prepared to give up yet. "You came here for something. What was
"Perhaps I am
a head hunter come to drag you from holy ground," came the caustic reply.
nodded slowly. "Perhaps - but I think not. I think you are a man who does
not like to kill..."
"You think too
much," the man hissed, "and know too little. You would not understand what
I've been even were I to trust you...which I don't, any more than I trust
*this* God to survive human nature any better than the thousands before."
"Are you a head
hunter, then? Come to drag me away?"
There was a
long, long pause, and finally the man admitted, "No."
"Then, my friend,
if not for that - why did you come here?"
and tension bled away from the lanky frame and the man visibly sagged.
His body simply folded in on itself until he was sitting on the edge of
a nearby pew. "I...don't know," he whispered.
cracked at the pitiful sight of a man broken by the weight of his worries.
"I know some of what it is like, my friend - to see the world change all
around you but not to change yourself. My tribe were not Christians, yet
here I am - a priest of Rome."
"How old are
you?" the stranger suddenly asked.
a little ruefully. "Nearly a thousand years old - I'm not exactly sure.
My tribe did not mark calendar months as the Romans did."
"A mere child,
"To some," Darius
agreed. "To you?"
The first of
the congregation were arriving now and Darius turned away to attend to
his priestly duties. As he turned away he heard a soft whisper behind him:
"They call me Marcus the Wanderer." Another slow nod was Darius' only outward
response. Inwardly, however, he allowed himself a smile. Trust was won.
Now if only he could be sure that Marcus was not about to run out of the
chapel while Mass took place.
At the end of
the service, Darius was greatly relieved to find Marcus still slumped on
the pew where he had collapsed earlier.
invited, "I have supper waiting and a warm fire. A chance for you to rest
yourself before you move on."
An eyebrow lifted.
"Who says that I would be moving on?"
"Why else would
they call you the wanderer?" Darius countered.
smile crept across the sharp planes of Marcus' face. "A point well made."
Slowly he got to his feet and followed Darius through into the rectory
of the church. "What do they call you?" Marcus asked as Darius invited
him to sit while the monk bustled about readying the evening meal.
thank you for your hospitality."
A smile graced
Darius' face. "It is my pleasure." He paused briefly, then added, "May
I ask you something." Marcus inclined his head. "Have you travelled far?"
"Just from Britain.
The food was
ready, and so Darius served, placing a plate before his guest then a plate
in his own place. He noted that for all his earlier scorn about Christianity,
Marcus waited until a grace had been said before he started to eat. It
was another thing about this visitor to be logged for further consideration.
"Tell me," said
Darius as they ate, "what is Britain like? I never got that far in my own
"It's very similar
to here," Marcus answered, "wet, damp and mist shrouded for the most part."
Then he frowned. "More sheep, though."
That made Darius
smile. "It sounds lovely."
Darius was stunned by the expression - it was such a powerful smile; warm,
happy, and kind with no artifice or ulterior motive. This was a truly remarkable
man. All the more reason, Darius decided, for him not to be crushed by
the weight of the past.
go there in your next life," Marcus suggested.
"I have no next
life - I vowed to be a priest, and a priest is what I am."
looked mildly puzzled by the statement.
"It is a long
story," Darius admitted, reluctant to get onto *that* subject.
his comment effectively killed the conversation and the remainder of the
meal was eaten in silence. When the food was finished, Marcus made to stand
"Thank you -
for your hospitality...but I must be going."
"Why the hurry?"
Darius asked, still not ready to give up his self-appointed task. Marcus
could find no suitable answer for the question. "I have a fire and spare
blankets - why not stay here tonight, in the warm and dry."
"Thank you again,
There was an
uneasy silence between the two Immortals. Darius watched emotions chase
across Marcus' face. He could see that the other had little wish to stay,
fearing what may come, but not seeing any other choice. But, mingled with
that fear was anger, sadness, shame, and confusion.
"Why do I matter
to you?" Marcus asked bluntly.
for a long moment, trying to pick the exact words to avoid another cynical
outpouring. "Because you are troubled by the past, and I would like to
"For the good
of my *soul*?" Marcus sneered.
"No. For the good of *you*. No man deserves the weight that you carry."
"Perhaps I do,"
came the soft reply. "You don't know what I've done. For my crimes there
can be no forgiveness."
"How can you
be so sure?" Marcus just said nothing. Darius gave a slow, measured sigh
- this was not something he told to every passing Immortal. "I have not
always been a priest. I was a warrior - a good one. I died my first death
leading my tribe against the Germanic hordes. I fought against Rome. I
was a great general - none was better; none had a greater tactical skill;
none was as cruel and ruthless. Whole towns were raped and pillaged at
"I was right.
You are no priest!" Marcus hissed, again moving to stand, but he found
his arms pinned to his chair by the vice like grip of the monk.
"I was all those
things and more. I could have ruled half of this continent...and then on
the outskirts of this town, I met another of our kind. We fought. I forced
him to...he was a man of peace but I forced him to fight me - and I took
his head. When the quickening was done, I looked around me, saw what I
had done; saw the blood I had shed; the lives I had taken...and I was sickened
beyond all belief. For nearly four hundred years I had been fighting, telling
myself that I was protecting my people - and I realised that my people
had died a long time before."
tried to leave, but Darius' grip was too tight to break.
"I was found,
a howling wreck, by a travelling priest. He took me to a nearby monastery
where, over time, my mind healed. When I was whole again, I knew that I
could no longer kill - and that frightened me. How can an Immortal survive
if he cannot kill?"
"So you became
a priest," Marcus sneered.
"I became a
priest," Darius agreed. "And found something I had not thought I would
ever find. Peace."
That took Marcus
by surprise. Judging he was no longer likely to run out, Darius released
his hold on the other Immortal and sat back, waiting. For another long
moment, there was silence.
"How can you
live with what you have been?" Marcus finally asked. "I cannot live so
easily with my own misdeeds."
"What is it
you have done that is so terrible?" Darius asked.
a brief moment, then, "Long before you were born, I rode across half the
known world as one of the Four Horsemen." Darius gaped. Not even in his
wildest imaginings had he guessed this. "I see you've heard of them. Even
now...nearly two millennia later and people have still heard of them."
Not for the first time that evening, Darius wondered just how old his guest
was. Swiftly he shelved the thought to concentrate on Marcus' words. "I
was Death to hundreds...thousands. My brothers and I raped, pillaged and
murdered for a thousand years... I'm sure you know all the stories...all
the nightmares. For a thousand years I *was* the nightmare. The demon.
Now tell me I don't deserve the weight of my past."
For a moment,
Darius was at a loss as to what to say. "Why did you do it?" he asked finally,
careful to avoid an interrogatory tone of voice.
"Because I could.
Because I wanted to."
the falsehood but decided not to press on it. Instead he replied, "Do you
still do it? Are you still the demon?"
the fierceness bled from Marcus' shoulders. "But that I did it at all makes
"You are so
sure. What kind of world would it be if men like you and I were not allowed
to change? You are not the man you were any more than I am the man I was."
"But it's still
there - it is still my past. Haunting me. How can you live with your past
so easily? How is it you can know peace?"
a little. "One of the things I learned in the monastery is that what is
the past is past. Nothing I - or you - can do now, can change what we did
*then* and to burden oneself with regrets is to waste time and is an open
invitation to make more such mistakes. I live with what I have done because
the alternative is unthinkable."
his guest as more silence developed. Watched as Marcus tried to assimilate
Darius' words. Watched as more emotions chased across Marcus' face. Darius
willed the other to understand and let go, but suspected it would take
more time before that would finally happen.
Marcus finally mumbled. Then without a word more and before Darius could
stop him, the other Immortal stumbled out of the sanctuary.