Disclaimer: The usual suspects from Highlander/ Relic Hunter are not mine. They belong to Panzer-Davis, Gaumont, and other corporations. No money is made from this, no harm, no foul.
Actual historical events, locations, and people are used and (mis)interpreted to suit my convenience. However, any resemblance to any real, live people you think you know is purely coincidental. Really.
Genre: Crossover - Highlander/Relic Hunter
Rating: PG-13 for violence and mild profanity.
Author's Note: Who says Joe can't have flashbacks too? If you're confused about the spellings, most characters speak British English, except for the American characters, and I've tried to keep the spelling consistent. All except for Methos, who refuses to be consistent or predictable. This story was written in 2000, and the only changes made are format and spelling corrections.
Continuity: This story is set a few months after the end of Highlander - The Series, and begins a little while after my last story, Unforgiven.
Summary: Adam Pierson is drawn into Sydney Fox's attempt to retrieve a priceless Bronze Age cache - artefacts that Methos does not want found. The trouble is, there are entirely too many people chasing this treasure, including an Immortal collector who will stop at nothing to get his hands on it first. And the Watchers have caught up with Methos again. In other words, an average sort of week for the world's Oldest Living Immortal.
"Facilis descensus Averno:
Noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis
Sed revocare gravum superasque evadere ad auras,
Hoc opus, hic labor est." ::
"Easy is the way down to the Underworld:
By night and day Hades' dark door stands open;
But to retrace one's steps and regain the upper air,
That's work, there is the labour."
-- Virgil, The AenidPrologue
A dense fog rolled around him, obscuring everything. Far away, voices were screaming. He had no attention to spare for them, for something was coming for him, drawing nearer with every breath. Heart pounding, he pivoted warily, sword drawn. His mouth was dry, icy drops of sweat filming his chilled skin.
Footsteps sounded, slow and deliberate, stalking him through the mists, circling just out of sight. It was a game to prolong the painful anticipation of the prey, played by a silent and deadly hunter, the source of his deepest, darkest fears, the one who was coming closer and closer with every step.
So very close now. His muscles were cramping with panic, his bone-deep dread setting every nerve afire. He knew the one who pursued him. It was his ancient nemesis, the source of an overmastering terror he had spent years locking down; burying it deep, plastering it over with layer upon layer of reason and logic.
But the restraints he had so carefully built up were falling away as his persecutor loomed through the mists. The veil parted, confronting him with the face of his worst nightmare, and a primaeval scream tore from his throat...
Methos sat bolt upright in bed, coming awake abruptly, body still rigid with horror.
Would the dreams never leave him? Sometimes, he was free of them for years, decades even, but they always returned to plague him, relentless as the Furies of legend, and as fierce.
His sheets were soaked through with perspiration, and he flung them aside in disgust. He got up, walked to the kitchen and made himself coffee. Three cups of the strong, bitter brew served to clear his head enough to notice the first pale pink signs of daylight dawning through the tall window.
Instead of going back to bed, he sat down in front of the slim notebook computer that was open on his desk. There were several messages waiting, one from Joe Dawson: 'Where the hell are you, Adam?' That one he opened right away.
"Joe, how did you get yourself mixed up in Amanda's business again? You just can't stay away from Immortal trouble." He spoke aloud, a habit he had acquired through long periods of solitude. The grin grew wider.
"Maybe I should call Le Blues Bar today, after all, just to say hello. On the other hand, not having a Watcher on my tail is quite nice. Amy Zoll's probably having a fit."
A soft beep signalled incoming mail.
"I thought Sandro was on a dig in Greece somewhere?" he wondered idly, opening the message.
I think I may have stumbled upon the find of my career. Remember those arguments we used to have about the political geography of the Mediterranean world between 1100 and 1000 B.C? You may have won that bet, after all. So be it: I'm in a generous mood, because this will probably revolutionise our views of life in Late Bronze Age Greece completely! Heinrich Schliemann, watch my dust! But I'm getting ahead of myself.
A month or so ago, surveyors for the new six-lane Athens-Thessaloniki national highway accidentally uncovered some ancient settlement sites near Aerino. That's a small town about 12 miles south of Volos. Anyway, among other things, they came across a cave on a hillside that had some interesting remains, of pottery and household utensils.
So I took a small team to investigate the findings. At the Aerino site itself, we found stone foundations of buildings that date back to the Early Bronze age, 3000-2800 B.C, we estimate, as well as newer layers above that. But that wasn't the most exciting thing. While poking around in the cave I mentioned earlier, I accidentally uncovered a hidden underground chamber! Adam, you'll never believe what I found in there -'
Methos stood up abruptly, not bothering to finish reading the message. He picked up the phone and dialled.
"Hello, Olympic Airways? I'd like to book a ticket on the first available flight to Athens, please."
Grim and tight-lipped, he glanced back at the words filling the computer screen. Some nightmares would not remain confined to the sphere of sleep.
*24 May 1999, Greece*
The drive from Volos was dry and dusty, and it was late in the evening by the time Methos reached Aerino. There wasn't much traffic on the pot-hole ridden road.
"Some things don't change," he said to himself, smiling wrily and comparing it to the dirt track he had ridden down, many centuries earlier.
The archaeologist's camp was easy enough to find, and buzzing with activity as Methos arrived. He walked into an unexpected uproar. There were several people clustered around in a knot, waving, gesturing, and yelling imprecations at each other. All of the participants were covered in dust, evidence that they were either excavators or field archaeologists. There was no telling which was which, and the volume of the dispute indicated that they were all extremely upset about something.
"Some things really don't change. Very Greek," Methos remarked, to no one in particular.
He picked out a bedraggled Sandro in the group, and hurried forward, losing any trace of amusement abruptly when he noticed the blood-stained bandage around his friend's head.
"Adam!" the archaeologist exclaimed, when he saw him. Switching to accented, but fluent English, he hurried forward to wring his friend's hand. "I've been robbed! Somebody hit me over the head while I was cataloguing our finds - and when I woke up, the cache was gone!"
'Adam Pierson' made soothing and sympathetic noises, while his mind raced ahead to other things. His thoughts were not pleasant.
"Are you sure it's all gone? What about the site itself?" he asked, trying to calm the sputtering archaelogist down.
Ten minutes later, he was peering down into the underground chamber, to verify that it was indeed, completely empty. He swore savagely, startling his voluble companion into silence.
"Treasure hunters, I suspect", Adam said, more temperately. A brief examination of the area around Sandro's tent led him to vehicle tracks leading back to Volos. "Call the police," he advised, getting into the car he had hired.
"Where are you going, Adam?" his puzzled friend enquired.
"I'm going to find out what I can about these looters of yours," was the reply, as Methos drove away.