Title: Surprise
Author: Carole
Email Address: kronos999@yahoo.ca

Pairings: None
Rating: Um... PG13
Fandom/Crossover: HL/Wars of Light and Shadow
Characters: Methos Dakar OC's

Archive: If you want it, just ask me. I'll say yes.
Feedback: Please.
Discussion: Sure, why not.

Warnings: Some violence and a bit dark.

Summary: In a world torn by hatred, mistrust and war,
a certain old immortal suddenly finds the conflict too
close for comfort.

Disclaimer : Not mine. Never will be mine. A girl can
dream, right? Athera belongs to Janny Wurts and Methos
to R:P/D. I could never be as creative as Janny. Go,
read her wonderful books.

Notes : Thanks to tmelange for going over this. You're
wonderful. All remaining mistakes are my own. It
should be understandable to those unfamiliar to the
series. This was originally written several years ago
just after "Fugitive Prince" came out. I rewrote it,
but I have not changed most of the content, so there
may be some differences between this and later books.
I don't know where this actually fits in the timeline.

Wars of Light and Shadow :

These are a series of fantasy novels by Janny Wurts.
Basically, the world of Athera has been shrouded by a
mist wraith of displaced souls for centuries. Two
half-brothers are exiled from their own world disperse
it with their inborn magic, but it curses them to hate
each other as revenge. This escalates hatreds into
outright warfare.

Dakar is the apprentice of Asandir, a Sorcerer of the
Fellowship of Seven, who were the ones who negotiated
to allow refuge for humanity on Athera. He sometimes
has clairvoyant episodes which is why he is referred
to as the Mad Prophet. He also tends to frequent

For a bit better summary, visit the author's site
( http://www.paravia.com/JannyWurts/ ) or, better yet,
read the books.

by Carole
A Highlander/Wars of Light and Shadow Crossover

Part 1/2

The tavern was dingy and smelled of stale sweat, beer
and burned meat compliments of the incompetent cook in
the back room. Not that the inhabitants cared what the
food tasted like since most were there to drink -- at
least this late at night. Dakar stared into his
mournfully empty mug, vainly hoping that more ale
would appear in the bottom of it. *Too bad
spellbinders can't magic beer out of thin air,* he
sighed to himself, though the lack of such a talent
was probably a blessing. Otherwise, the world would
have had to put up with a permanently incapacitated
Mad Prophet, instead of only a usually drunk one. His
drinking companion noticed his sad contemplation.

"Emptied it again, have you? You know the only way to
get more is to buy some. Staring at it won't help."

Dakar glared at the hawk-nosed man next to him, who
merely grinned back in response. Some people had no
respect. It was worse when they were right, and he
mentally attempted to weigh his purse against the
cost. Of course, this attempt was doomed to failure by
the amount of the stuff he'd already consumed. He
shrugged and waved the barmaid over, a lovely girl
with big hips, large breasts and no brains. With his
cup again brimming with the frothy liquid, he turned
{again} to his neighbour, a minstrel and teller of
tales in taverns such as this one. The man --Allivar
he'd said his name was -- had already spent several
hours relating to the patrons of the establishment
news from the west. Everyone had been eager to hear
word of Prince Lysaer. In some ways it was vaguely
sickening, despite the fact that Dakar had once
considered Lysaer a friend, when you knew the other
side of the story. For years he'd considered Arithon
the monster that the Prince of Light had proclaimed
him, until a foray in the man's mind had made him
realize that Arithon was not so much a villain as a
man caught in desperate circumstances.

"You look deep in thought there friend. Care to

Dakar chuckled. This was not nearly so subtle as some
of Allivar's earlier attempts to gain information,
especially before he'd realized that the man knew who
he was. "Not worth sharing," he said, which was
certainly very true. His thoughts were best kept to
himself if he didn't want to be executed as a minion
of the Shadow Master. Even if he did suspect that
Allivar was a sympathizer -- after all, how else had
he been recognized -- there was a possibility that
they could be overheard. Being burned at the stake
would be a very unpleasant way to end this fairly
pleasant night.

"Well, if you won't share, then I guess I'll have to.
They don't call me a teller of tales for nothing."


"I was innocent. I even helpfully pointed out the real
culprit. Was it my fault he happened to be prominent
in the community?" The dark haired man blinked his
eyes in the imitation of innocence. "Fortunately,
their locks didn't work very well."

Dakar shook his head at the man's antics. There was no
way that the event in question had actually occurred.
"Aren't you a little worried about being caught
again?" he asked.

Allivar opened his mouth to answer, the wicked grin in
his eyes meaning that he had a target, but suddenly
his back straightened almost imperceptibly and he shut
his mouth, his eyes going blank and cold.

The Mad Prophet glanced around. "What is it?"

The door opened to admit three men dressed in the
livery of the warriors of Light.

"Sunwheelers," he hissed under his breath.

Dakar looked back at Allivar who was showing no signs
of distress except that his already pale complexion
was now nearly white. That, and the fact that he
didn't seem nearly as intoxicated as he had a moment
before. It was almost as if he had sensed they were
there, something that shouldn't have been possible,
especially since he had his back to the door. The
spellbinder wasn't really surprised that the minstrel
wasn't as inebriated as he should have been. After
all, people had done the same thing before, dousing
him in beer to gain information. It had been a
hopeless cause anyway, since Dakar had five centuries
of carousing behind him and that gave him a certain
capacity for alcohol that a normal man couldn't match.

Turning again on the pretense of stretching, he
observed the newcomers. He certainly hoped that, like
the man beside him, he wouldn't be recognized. It
would be very unpleasant to be identified as a close
associate of not just the Clans but the Prince of
Rathain too. One of the soldiers gazed in his
direction and the look froze his blood. The soldiers
was a blond man who seemed to young for the rank
displayed on his chest. He was obviously looking for
something specific, and Dakar got the bad feeling that
the 'something' that the soldier was looking for was
in his direction.

*I've got to get out of here.* Of course, a man
leaving alone just when the Sunwheelers showed up
might be a bit suspicious. He thought for a minute. A
person with a companion --a drunk one at that -- might
not attract the same amount of attention. Allivar
undeniably looked ill. This might be the perfect

"You aren't looking so good, friend. Need some help
outside?" He hoped that Allivar would take up his
offer and allow him to escape. Already, the drunken
haze was clearing from his brain. The tavern probably
watered down their beer to increase profits, or it was
adrenalin that burned away the haziness.

"Yeah," his companion slurred as he literally stumbled
to his feet. Dakar grabbed and steadied him, leading
him outside. The soldiers paid them no mind.

The minstrel straightened as the cool night air
brushed their faces and glanced back at the tavern. "I
have a feeling you're leaving town. How would you feel
about a traveling companion?"

"So, you are afraid of getting caught."

"Something like that."


Vague hints of sunlight filtered through the trees
streaming down on the immortal and his companion.
Methos wondered what he had been thinking last night
when he'd rode off with Dakar. It was bad enough that
even outside of the confines of a town he couldn't
relax his control of his presence, but it seemed that,
though he had professed otherwise, the man had
absolutely no clue where they were headed. *He may be
able to sniff out the closest tavern, but I'm never
going to trust his sense of direction about anything
else again.* He'd hoped that being in the presence of
the apprentice of one of the Fellowship Sorcerers
would offer a certain amount of protection.

*I'd be better off on my own,* he concluded. *Maybe
that stuff really was getting to me.* Well, too late
to help it now. He could find his way back to town
well enough, but that wasn't somewhere he really
wanted to be, especially with an immortal Sunwheeler
running around. *I wonder how he hasn't gotten caught
by their group of witch-hunters yet? It wasn't like he
was trying to hide. Then again, he's young and doesn't
have enough power to really distinguish him at a
distance from anyone else.* There was no way to
confirm his theory, since the controls he imposed on
himself to avoid detection in this world full of
witches and sorcerers tended to blur his quickening's
own perceptions. *Hmmmm... Would Dakar even notice if
I wasn't shielded? He seems to be babbling on about
everything else that I don't think he's paying
attention to what's right in front of his nose,*
Methos thought with a grin. If he had known, Methos
would have agreed with Asandir's sentiment about
relying on Dakar's powers of observation. *I don't see
how he can keep going on with all he had to drink last
night.* Then again, the man was a few hundred years
old and he hadn't seemed that drunk. Methos himself
had a certain amount of difficulty actually managing a
good drunk, so it might be some of the same.

"...so he had me map out a maze between grains of
salt. Salt! Took me nearly a week..."

Methos snorted. Despite his protestations to the
contrary, Dakar probably deserved Asandir's various
punishments. *How anyone could put up with this man
for five continuous centuries is something I don't
think I'll ever understand.* The Mad Prophet didn't
even seem to notice his distraction so he tuned the
droning voice into the background, only listening with
half an ear for anything important or even vaguely
interesting, since it seemed Dakar was going to avoid
recent events of, say, the last few decades. And he
knew quite a bit about what happened before that.
After all, he had been there.

It was actually turning out to be a fairly pleasant
day and, if it wasn't for the circumstances, he was
fairly sure he would be enjoying the ride. Though what
little he could see of the sky was clouded, the day
was fairly warm and the occasional breaks of light
that filtered through the trees promised fair weather
that afternoon. If Methos were to be honest with
himself, however, it wasn't the company that had him
down. It was the certainty that the man he'd
deliberately left behind in town last night would find
him. As he'd let Dakar drag him outside, he'd managed
to catch a glimpse of his hunter's face, which would
have been handsome save for the too small nose and too
wide brow. It was a face that passed unnoticed in a
crowd, much like his own face, but was much too
familiar for him not to recognize. After all, he had
killed the man once already.

A birdcall echoed through the trees, and shivers made
their way up his spine. Something about it was wrong
and he could practically feel eyes boring into the
back of his neck unpleasantly. He wished he could
afford to extend his senses, picking apart the energy
in the woods with his quickening, but letting the
Fellowship know about immortals at this late date was
not something he wanted to be personally responsible

For several minutes, he strained his physical senses
instead, while trying to remain calm so as not to
alert any of the watchers that he was aware of their
presence. It just might be his imagination. He'd been
accused of being paranoid even back on Earth, and that
tendency had just strengthened with time. Despite his
well-honed sense of paranoia, nothing alerted him to
the presence of anything extraordinary except for the
hairs crawling up the back of his neck.

His horse sensed his tension and shifted nervously to
the side, bumping him into Dakar. The Mad Prophet
glared at him. The immortal looked at him and shrugged

"Sorry," he murmured as something caught his eye. Over
the other man's shoulder, sunlight broke through the
dissipating cloud cover, reflecting brightly off of an
object in the dense undergrowth beyond the trail.

*Metal.* The leaves shifted slightly. He had been
right, there was someone out there. The birdcall had
probably been a scout warning of incoming travellers.
*I'm as blind as Dakar. I should have realized it
sooner.* He turned again to face forward, deliberately
appearing to not search to see how many people there
were hidden in the trees. *Perhaps they'll just let us
pass by.* If they were bandits, he doubted it. To
them, the horses alone would be worth pressing an
attack. Bandits, however, he could deal with since it
was unlikely that, even if they did incapacitate him,
they would cut off his head. Dakar was also a
spellbinder, apprentice to a Fellowship Sorcerer. He
hoped that Dakar was not as oblivious as he seemed,
but, like him, was deliberately ignoring the warning
signs so as not to alert anyone that he knew they were

A schnick came from his right. *Great, we're
surrounded.* This was not a surprise, but he'd been
hoping that whomever was out there was an idiot. It
was probably someone loading a crossbow, something
that did not give him a great deal of confidence. A
sword against hidden archers was never a winning
equation, at least if you were the swordsman.

"Stop where you are." The voice was authoritative, as
only a man knowing he could sign your death warrant
could be. But it was a voice that gave hope, since if
they were bandits just wanting the horses, they
probably would have just fired at them. In fact, there
was something vaguely familiar about it.

*Unless their archer isn't any good, or they want to
steel our clothes as well as the rest of our
possessions without covering them in blood.* It was
times like this that Methos hated being a pessimist.
Still, they would have a chance to defend themselves.
*Or they aren't just bandits, but clansmen, which
would explain the stealth.* It had been thousands of
years of instincts that had provided him with the real
warning, not any real carelessness on their part. *If
they are clan, they might recognize Dakar.* That would
prevent a certain amount of unpleasantness. It was too
much to hope for that they would recognize him too.

Dakar was glancing around, looking for the source of
the voice. Methos ignored him and brought his horse
to a halt. It fidgeted under him but stood relatively
still. His companion did the same. It wasn't like they
had very much choice.

"Well, it's nice to see you, Old Man."

Methos blinked in surprise, then smiled. He'd known
he'd heard that voice somewhere before, and there were
very few about these days who would call him "old" who
wasn't one of his kind. In fact, there was only one he
could think of.

"Arin?" It was both a question and an exclamation.

There was a low, masculine chuckle. "The very same."
Tension bled away from the whole area, and things that
appeared to be part of the landscape revealed
themselves to be anything but. One such thing
transformed itself into a blond man with broad
shoulders and a scar across one cheek as a man stepped
onto the trail. "We always seem to run into each
other, don't we, Allivar?" There was no particular
emphasis on the name, though the clansman knew it was
a false one. After all, he'd helped Methos choose it
to go with his current persona.


The voice had taken Dakar by surprise. He'd felt no
threat from the surrounding area, being more concerned
with trying to figure out where he was going to be
heading once he got out of these blasted trees. Too
many of his five hundred years had been spent

It was almost eerie to watch the clansmen suddenly
emerge like shades. Allivar practically leapt off his
horse, embracing the approaching leader -- whose name
was apparently Arin -- in a rough hug.

The Mad Prophet took in the group of men and women,
many still standing within the trees but not
concealing their presence. *There isn't that many of
them.* There were perhaps ten souls in all, a ragtag
group in browns and greens. They were not what most
people would have pictured as nobles and royalty,
though they were that -- they were all from families
selected for their ability to stand in the presence of

A whisper of movement at his side jerked him back to
himself. "Fallen in with bad company, Prophet?" Arin
asked, grinning. "I'm sure you've noticed by now that
Allivar attracts it like iron does a magnet." He
gestured with his chin towards the minstrel. The
minstrel snorted indignantly and muttered something
that sounded suspiciously like, "That was your fault
as much as mine."

"I wouldn't know. We only just met," he replied,
regaining his composure. The spellbinder didn't
recognize Arin, but that wasn't surprising, knowing
his own powers of observation. Though the clans had
diminished in size, he couldn't be expected to know
all of them. *Well, he does seem to know who I am, and
Allivar as well.* It wasn't that surprising that a
travelling minstrel was on good relations with the
clans, or at least one who dared travel far, for fear
of going through their territories. *I'll have to ask
Allivar later,* he thought, curious as to how they had


The promised sun had had a few brief hours of glory in
only mildly cloudy skies, but now the heavens were
beginning to take on the golden glow of early evening
as Athera spun steadily onward. The group had
carefully hidden their trail, moving away from the
road so [as] not to be found by any who passed by.
Strangely, even the beasts had cooperated in this
effort, even Dakar's usually stubborn animal.

"Actually, we were nervous about being found," Arin
was saying. He was sitting next to Methos, turning a
pebble over in between his thumb and middle finger.
The immortal sprawled out with his back to a large
oak, looking to all the world like he was seated on a
comfortable couch instead of hard ground covered in
rocks and roots. Arin couldn't help but wonder at it.
"Seeing anyone was a real shock. But it was just two
of you so we figured it was a chance come and hoped
you'd go by without noticing us. Then, of course, your
distinctive beak gave you away." Eyes above said
projection glared. "Couldn't pass up the opportunity
to see you. It's been a year."

"My nose isn't that big."

"I never said it was. It's certainly recognizable,
though." The big man grinned at his leaner compatriot.
"You must be slipping, or you are older than I
thought. Your brains are starting to slip. You didn't
notice us at all."

Methos raised a single eyebrow skilfully. "Who says I
didn't notice? I was hoping if you didn't know that we
knew you were there..." He concluded the sentence with
a shrug.

Arin laughed and looked over to where Dakar had dozed
off, snoring lightly. They had been travelling most of
the previous night so the man had a reason to be
tired. "You may have noticed, but I don't think I'll
ever forget the look on that man's face when I told
him to halt. Good thing our lord knows how to take
care of himself if *that* man was supposed to be his
protector," said Arin, referring to Dakar's former
assignment to protect Arithon, Prince of Rathain.

"Well, I almost didn't notice you myself. Just had a
feeling someone was watching me, and bad luck on your

"How did you know?" There was no humour in his
questioning this time because being found was a matter
of life or death.

Methos answered just as seriously. "To my left, just
ahead of that scared maple, I saw something metal,
though I might have missed it if I hadn't had that

"Sainfiar." Arin nodded to himself. "I'll have to talk
with him. We can't afford such mistakes." That it was
necessary was a grim reminder of the times they lived
in. Methos could remember before the clans had been
outcast, before the kings had been thrown down and
those still loyal to them hunted like animals for the
bounties on their heads. Since the massacre at Etarra,
this had only intensified.

A twig snapped behind them, probably as a courtesy to
warn of the approaching person. Methos looked up to
see a woman of about thirty-five with close-cropped
hair that would have been brown if the light was
better. Her eyes sparkled despite the dimness, and she
smiled. Her name was Taria, if he remembered

"Enough whispering about us behind our backs, Arin.
You two have been talking since we got here and you
promised to tell us how you met this handsome fellow."

She chuckled as Methos attempted his best courtly bow
from his position on the ground.

"Well, I guess I have no choice." Arin rose to his
feet. "So, my friend, shall you tell or shall I?"


"Humph... I'd better. I know you for the teller of
*tall* tales you are. If they want the real story
they're going to hear it from me," Arin said, his
joking betraying his reluctance, but he knew that
Methos would want to talk about it even less than he.
There were bad memories there for both of them.


Methos remembered. Four years previously, he had gone
by the name of Valith, a healer in the small town of
Eishlier. It was fairly typical as small towns go, but
he was happy there, sharing his skills as a doctor.
There had been a very handsome widow named Laere who
had been happily receiving his attentions. It was the
sort of place he could lose himself in for a decade,
leaving only when his lack of aging made it necessary.
In an age of witch-hunts, an immortal could not remain
in a place for very long, no matter his skill at
seeming to grow older. As always happened] when he
managed to achieve contentment and a semblance of
normalcy, something went wrong.

It had been a very hard day, but that did not excuse
his actions. He had only himself to blame for what
made that day much worse.

*If only he had brought her in sooner, she probably
would have lived.* Despite all of the knowledge at his
disposal, he'd been unable to save Talien, a
kind-hearted, if slightly weak-willed woman. "I'll
have another," was all he said to Elie, the tavern
wench who looked at him sympathetically. She knew what
had happened. The entire town knew that Talien hadn't
made it, thanks to her husband Dorn who thought the
universal paranoia about witches and sorcerers
extended to healers as well. He'd waited until her
death had been inevitable before desperation made him
reluctantly ask for aid. *If only she had seen me
before her cut had started to go bad...* Still, "what
if's" changed nothing. He glared at his cup, which
mocked him silently.

It was all that gold plated dandy's fault, Lysaer, the
so-called Prince of Tysan. *If only he knew what he's
started. It's the inquisition witch-hunts all over
again.* Except this time real as well as false witches
were being caught, though both had likely committed no
crime except having others fear them.

No one remembered those witch-hunts now, though,
except him. It had been a long time since he'd come
across another immortal from the Crossing. Even the
Fellowship of Seven probably didn't have memories
stretching back that far into Earth's history. It just
emphasized how alone he was on this world, even more
so than humanity's previous one.

*Denouncing witches and mages, all because he hates
his brother Arithon. Setting himself up as a god for
the ignorant masses to adore, tearing the world apart
with civil war, introducing slavery to a world where
it has been forbidden since humanity came here. The
bastard's practically a mage himself.* If he had been
speaking aloud, the final sentence would have been a
low growl. That was the only way to explain his feats,
for Methos knew that Lysaer was no god, nor
incarnation of one.

"May he get what he deserves." Toasting the empty
chair across the table, he emptied his mug and
whispered, "May a clan vengeance arrow find its way
into that cold little heart."

*And may it happen soon, by Ath and every other god
I've ever heard of, before things get any worse.*

He wondered again if breaking the covenant with the
Paravians could allow the Fellowship to interfere,
because at the rate things were going, they might have
to destroy humanity instead. The worst part was that
the man was so charismatic because he thought he was
doing the right thing.

*So did Hitler. And remember what they did to you in
those camps when they found you couldn't die.* He
shivered, despite the heat. There were some things
about Earth he did not miss at all.

*I don't know if it can be stopped. So many hate
Arithon now for the deaths of family and friends.* He,
too, had lost some he knew, full of righteous fury
against the Shadow Master who marched at Lysaer's
command and died. They hadn't listened to him either
when he told them not to go. The outcome had not been

The rest of the day was a blur of drink, misery and
anger. Though he was happy in Eishlier, the depression
that had driven him there was back. A man was only
supposed to live so long, to lose so many people. He
would not snap like he had once before and turn into a
sociopathic mass murderer. Instead, he drank and
ranted to himself, and when he'd finally saturated
himself with more alcohol than even an immortal
constitution could take, to any who would listen.
There had not been many, since a group of Sunwheelers
with a group of captured clansmen were passing through
the town and had there been, he may have had warning.
But Methos had not known about them until it was too
late. If he had, he would not have voiced his thoughts
out loud even in his inebriated state.

The villagers were used to his political beliefs, many
having a mild taint of various gifts themselves,
though there were no true witches among them. They,
too, had reason to fear Lysaer. But Sunwheelers are
much less forgiving about foolish words than friends
and neighbours who owe you their lives and have
reasons of their own for agreeing with you.

A pair of men who were just coming off duty walked in
at just the wrong moment and heard him insult their
dear Lord of Light. Elie had tried to explain that he
had just lost a patient because of the rabid fear some
people now had in healers, that he was drunk, that he
didn't mean it. They hadn't listened. Since a dead man
is worth nothing, they'd simply added him to their
collection of slaves saying that he was lucky and that
men had been executed for less. He would have
preferred execution. Slavery he knew all too well.


Days later, exhausted from the forced march and the
chains that pulled on him, Methos still searched for a
means to end his misery. If he could but kill himself,
his body would be left for the scavengers and he'd be
free. No such opportunity presented itself. It was
obvious that his captors were prepared in case the
prisoners considered suicide. Methos wondered why they
bothered, they were too proud to even consider the
option. The only suicide they'd attempt was to try to
kill the Sunwheelers knowing that they would loses,
and so far, that hadn't happened. The dangers of
attempting to take advantage of his immortal healing
to free himself stopped him from self-mutilation.
Choosing between slavery with the chance of escape and
being tortured and burned at the stake wasn't a
pleasant choice, but he knew which he'd pick.

They arrived in the cities sooner than he had
expected. Still, Methos was now the owner of a mangy
beard, decrepit clothing and a limp in his right leg
that had not been given a chance to heal properly
since he'd twisted it in a hole in the road. The bones
would probably have to be re[-]broken when he had the

His fellow captives ignored the jeers and the rocks
thrown by children and adults alike. There was no
point in getting angry, it would stop nothing, and
this was better than walking through some of the
places they had had to march since he'd been acquired.
It was actually nice not to worry about another broken
ankle, for this road was well cared for.

He winced as the pain of a well aimed stone hit him in
the arm, but did not search for the culprit. Soon, no
doubt, everyone would go about their business. This
type of thing had become almost a common sight.

The crisp city Sunwheelers, untouched by dust and
grime that dared cover even their recently arrived
fellows, joined the grim procession.

"We need replacements for one of his Highnesses ships.
Fever outbreak took out a third of the rowers. We've
been waiting for you to get in."

There were the bark of commands and the first few rows
of men were led off in the direction of the docks.
Thus, Methos found himself on board one of Lysaer's
galleys, something that his lean frame was not suited
for, but he adapted quickly enough, the unpleasant
scents of his confinement becoming ingrained on his
senses, as did the grunts of overworked and abused

And so his existence continued for far too long. The
drone of days and nights blurred together, the
creaking of the ship, the motion of the waves and the
effort he and his rowing-mate, a big blond man by the
name of Arin, put towards reluctantly serving the
master of these ships, Lysaer.

The opportunity finally arrived. It was not so much an
opportunity as an apathy towards the consequences of
his actions. The plan was simple, as such desperate
plans often were. Chains were not that much of an
obstacle to one who could heal from anything. Once
they'd been dealt with, kill as many men as possible
and throw himself overboard. If he died instead, they
would have to the same thing with his body anyway and
were not likely to wait until he could return from
death to prevent disease from spreading among the
rowers and the crew. He'd come to the conclusion that
drifting towards shore for the next few centuries was
preferable to his current existence, though he doubted
he would need to.

They were resting. No one could continue to row
continuously, no matter how strong they were and
Methos guessed that they were waiting for men on the
coast as they searched for Arithon. The implements of
his imprisonment were the tool of his escape. Gritting
his teeth, he smashed down the metal manacles onto his
left hand, crushing bone and mangling flesh.

Arin gasped as he pulled the now useless appendage
free of its confinement, staring at him with
astonishment. Nothing but a low grunt passed his lips
from the pain. The clansman could do nothing but
watch, his look of surprise and mild horror turning to
something else as bones reset themselves in the proper
positions, some pulling back from where they had poked
through skin. He flexed his hand, which was once again
whole, and smiled grimly.

The thump of solid footsteps on wood interrupted him
from freeing his other hand.

"What's going on here?" Despite his vocal silence, his
actions seemed to have attracted attention. The slave
master didn't notice until it was too late that one of
Methos' hands was free.

Luck was with him, fickle Fate who had landed him in
this position in the first place. With a strong tug he
pulled the surprised man into the pit with him,
crashing him into Arin, who had gotten over his
astonishment and gripped him tightly. Methos took in
the man's struggling and blessed the man's foolishness
in carrying a weapon. His free left hand gripped the
man's dagger and in a casual blow he brought it across
the slaver's throat. Warmth spurted into his face and
into his mouth. He swallowed the blood convulsively
and resisted the urge to laugh at the man's gurgling
cry for help. He should have done this sooner.

Without sparing a glance of thanks for his companion,
he grabbed for the keys.

//Clack. Snick.//

He was free. Now he grinned, holding the knife in one
bloody hand and tossing the keys of Arin with the
other. Slipping slightly as he pulled himself onto the
walkway, he rushed forward into the confused soldiers
who speed down from above.

There was the swelling roar of hope and yells of freed
prisoners but he ignored it all, focussing instead on
the armed man before him. Reflexes dulled from their
previous exactness were still enough to dodge the
swing of the man's sword and plunge the dagger into
his gut, cutting upwards with glee.

He went over the fallen body after grabbing the sword
to give him an extended reach, a demon drenched in
blood with jovial sparkling eyes. There were still to
many of them for even one who had once gone by the
name Death to take, but he would try anyway.

He squared off against three, all armed and decent
swordsmen. A slip on the bloody ground beneath his
feet and one took advantage of it, hitting him on his
side though he managed to dodge the majority of the
blow. Hissing in pain, he retreated, crouching and
holding his wound. He was in trouble.

A shape shifted behind his adversaries. Almost in slow
motion, one's eyes rolled up in his head as he
collapsed to the wood below. The two remaining turned
instinctively to this new dangerous threat, Arin, who
was bleeding for a slash on his face. This was a
mistake, and Death struck, severing the spine of one
and nearly beheading the other.

He was no longer fighting alone. With the keys passing
among the prisoners, former masters were laid low by
those they'd abused and hunted for years. He licked
his lips, tasting the familiar coppery taste of blood
and gestured with his eyes, all the words necessary in
such circumstances between two hunters. There was more
prey to be found.

Surprise and desperation won out over Lysaer's men.
Their golden god was not there to answer their prayers
for protection. Some slaves had died, but they hadn't
realized what has happening until it was too late.
Most of the soldiers had not been onboard, but instead
scowering the mainland for whatever it was they were
searching for. The fighters that returned were cut
down, having not suspected anything amiss.

No one had questioned how he had come through
apparently unscathed, though he had truly sustained
nearly fatal wounds. With a brisk voice he ordered the
survivors to search for the supplies left by the
ship's healer. There were many others with injuries
that, unlike him, needed help.


Arin brushed his hand against his stitched cheek and

"It could have been worse," Methos said. "If his reach
had been a bit longer, you'd be missing the top half
of your head."

"I know."

The forest around them ignored the two men. As a
group, they had split up to avoid being caught and
were travelling by land since they doubted they could
sail the ship close enough to shore to find their
location without being found by Lysaer's navy. Framed
by a background of emerald green, the taller, bulkier
man turned towards him.

"There's been something I've wanted to ask you."

Methos sighed. He could already sense the question
that the man desired to ask.

"I may have had a close shave, but that one bastard
skewered you. Then, you don't need any treatment at
all. And what about your hand?"

Eyes trailed down to glance at the appendage, which
was no worse for wear.

Methos had been dreading these sorts of questions. All
the possible lies flew out the proverbial window. He
was a very good liar, but in this case, there was no
real reason to avoid the truth. Why not tell him,
after all. Arin was trustworthy, he knew that now
after several weeks in the man's company after their
escape and, in a world full of magic, the truth wasn't
that strange at all.

He glanced up at the sky and closed his eyes.

"You could say I'm a bit older than I look..."


"Allivar." Methos tested the name experimentally. Arin
smiled at him.

"Suits you. A perfect name for both an immortal and a

"I don't know. But I guess Bob would stand out a bit
too much."

His companion frowned. "Bob, what kind of name is

Methos chuckled. "Short for Robert. That's what I
meant. No one uses that sort of thing anymore. Its
always these Paravian based names. Well, Allivar, the
preserver of memory. Why not? I've had worse."

"Bob is definitely worse."

"No, I've never gone by Bob. Mathew, now, or Adam, on
the other hand..."


Methos brought himself back to the present. He and
Arin had run into each other quite a few times since
then. Purposely setting himself up in places where
soldiers would talk, he could bring warning to others.
It wasn't precisely spying, but it served its purpose.

Taria was looking at him respectfully, and Methos
could see that Arin had just finished talking, no
doubt embellishing the story, or perhaps not. All that
was certain was that his immortality was not
mentioned. Dakar was also giving him a look of
disbelief, probably wondering what else his travelling
companion was capable of.

"Fell asleep, did you, Old Man?" Arin's voice came to
his ear. "I hear that happens often to people your

"No," he smiled. "I was just thinking. Sorry I missed
the story."

"You didn't miss it. I know what you were thinking
about. I could probably wager a significant amount on
the fact that, while you may not have heard a word I
said, you certainly were getting the full account, and
come away a lot better for my money."

"True enough. That's why I know better than to wager
on anything with you. I'd become a lot poorer rather

"Get some sleep, Allivar. We have people standing

Methos yawned. "All the convincing I need."


MacLeod had often accused him of not being a morning
person. Despite that, he awakened with his other
companions, with the sole exception of Dakar. The Mad
Prophet remained dead to the world.

He hadn't seen the Highlander in centuries, ever since
the closing of the Worldsend Gates. He wondered how
the man was faring.

"Well, it's been nice to see you again."

Arin winked at him. "Until next time."

"Yes, until then, stay out of trouble." He paused a
moment. "Be careful, kid."

"Yare, yare. I always am. Say goodbye to your fellow
traveller for me."

And with that the clansmen vanished into the morning
mist, blending into the forest. Methos watched Dakar
snore on, oblivious.

"Stay well, my friend."


CONT Part 2...