For the next several weeks, I’ll be posting chapters of a novel I wrote in homage to Highlander: The Series.
I will add this disclaimer every week as well…
I do not own the characters for this novel. I am not receiving monetary reimbursement of any type for this piece of fiction.
Oh, most importantly…enjoy.
Highlander: The King and I Chapter Nine
Duncan sat down at the wrought iron table and inwardly soaked in the sunshine. After so much rain in Paris, he had begun to believe the sun was a myth. It felt good to experience warmth again.
The air was light on the skin, carrying just a hint of baked bread from nearby shops. The natural beauty of the sun splashed buildings and countryside was unmatched. Duncan’s eyes took in the other beauty, for Morgan was just that. He could envision artists from across time all willing to pay a small fortune to have her model for them. Yet even her near perfection was overshadowed by the simplicity of sunlight. He sighed in pleasure.
A waiter appeared and vanished again as Merlin ordered tea. Across from Duncan, Methos was appearing only marginally less miserable then when had first appeared on the deck of Duncan’s boat. Merlin was a mystery. He appeared open and willing to converse, but there was an air about him that felt guarded. But then, in The Game, most every Immortal gave off that same air.
Morgan broke the silence. “What a talkative bunch.”
Duncan merely smiled and closed his eyes, soaking in the sunshine and reveling in its warmth.
The tea arrived and the waiter served them. He vanished just as quickly as before. The silence had grown heavy and ominous. Something had to give.
Morgan sighed, “He has the Methuselah Stone.”
Methos looked up at her. “Who has what?”
“Cut the crap Arthur. You know who and what I’m talking about.”
Duncan actually smiled. “Before you could use it?”
Morgan turned to him and he saw an ugly glint in her eye. It was gone so quickly, he wasn’t quite sure he saw it.
She said, “Now name one of us who wouldn’t want that kind of power.”
Duncan shrugged. “Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod for one doesn’t need or want it.”
Merlin put his tea down just sharply enough to get the budding fight to stop. “The only reason we want it Morgan is to make sure no one can use it. That includes us. However, now that you say he has the stone, perhaps going into hiding would be the best course, being that he’s invulnerable.”
Duncan narrowed his eyes. Merlin was testing Morgan and rather blatantly too.
“I always liked you magician. I liked you even more when you were mine, but you never could lie to me very well. I know you have a plan, otherwise the fair MacLeod here wouldn’t be with us. Why you need him, I can’t yet guess, but I know you and how you work.”
Morgan turned back to Duncan. “Why are you in England?”
Duncan sipped his tea carefully. Obviously she knew he wouldn’t tell her anything, so what was she aiming for? Duncan decided to try a tack she’d never consider, as he saw it.
“We’re in England to retrieve Excalibur and kill your boyfriend.”
Silence dropped over the table immediately. Duncan was proud of himself, his ploy having been so obviously successful. Morgan was visibly confused. Merlin and Methos kept their own counsel and didn’t react at all.
Morgan tensed her hand around her cup. “He’s nothing to me, least of all a lover. I would expect humor from Merlin or maybe Arthur, but not knowing you yet, I can’t read you. I could use magic to delve your mind, but I suspect you’re just playing with me anyway.”
Merlin said, “You’re still as direct as ever Morgan, which is somewhat nice to see. I think you would find MacLeod’s mind rather shut to magical prying. Our purpose here is simply none of your business. Is there anything else you needed?”
Another short silence followed and then Morgan abruptly stood up. Only Duncan stood out of respect. She thanked him with a pleasant smile, unlike anything fake she’d given him before.
She said, “Merlin, I will have the stone. I would rather work with you than against you this time, but I will have the stone. Please, for the sake of anything we had when we met, don’t cross me. I would regret having to take your head. Arthur, as taciturn as I had been told by Merlin even millennia couldn’t change that. I didn’t like you then and I don’t like you now, but as you’re with Merlin, I’ll allow you grace.”
Methos smirked. “My hands are trembling in fear Morgan. Trembling.”
Morgan ignored him. “As for you MacLeod, I appreciate the courtesy, you just don’t see that anymore, even from our kind. But I cannot be swayed from my goal. If I must go through you to get the stone, I will.”
“Do what you think you must.”
She considered his reply for a moment and then left.
Duncan refilled his tea and felt the sunshine had lost its earlier fervor. He was chilled by Morgan’s lust for power. It left him feeling ill.
Merlin asked, “Why did you tell her why we’re here?”
Duncan sipped some tea, hoping for a little more warmth. “Why not? She wasn’t going to believe anything I said anyway. She was measuring you just as you were measuring her.”
Methos nodded. “I think that is one thing that makes you so dangerous MacLeod. You are unorthodox to an extreme. The only weakness you have is the honor you hold around you like a second skin.”
“It’s never failed me before.”
Merlin chuckled. “Well no harm done. She has always been direct. Morgan withholds guile for just the right time. When she uses it, she’s a master.”
Methos looked at the magician. “You sound like you speak from experience.”
Duncan asked, “What exactly did happen to you after you vanished?”
“To quote a whole host of authors, ‘Therein lies a tale.’”
* * *
Travels of Merlin Book 7 Part One
484 AD Somewhere north of London
I lay in a ditch, overcome by terrible shaking from the power I had used. In those times, the power for the old magics came from the belief of the people in those magics. The distance did not matter, but there was some power leached from any caster as well. We were and still are believers in the old magics. What I had done left me so weak that a newborn could have taken my head with a playful swat. I was nothing more than a husk.
As Arthur was awaiting the armies to arrive, I lay in that ditch. I died too many times to count, but therein was a loophole to the old magics. Even if you cast them and drained yourself, the Immortal Gift would keep you alive.
Arthur then drew the sword and I still lay there, only hundreds of feet distant. The ditch was actually a depression with several large rocks that formed a hidden grotto. That’s where I placed myself, knowing the condition I would be in.
I can tell you that as an Immortal, dying is always difficult and dying over a thousand times is not in any way, fun. But with the accomplishment of our shared vision, I feel the Arthur’s place on the throne as a unifying factor was worth the pain I went through.
Finally, after roughly a month’s worth of death, I emerged from the grotto and made my way north. I hadn’t told Arthur, but it was more imperative that I remain out of sight. Men believed in magic, but they refused to be controlled by it. Therefore, it was more important for him to rule with skill and power, than for him to rule with me beside him. I was surprised he never figured that out.
I went back to living off the land, building up my strength and plotting how I could best serve Camelot and Arthur from the shadows. I was weaker than I had thought, for it took me nearly another month to concoct a new plan. I had to find Mordred. I heard from rumors what had happened the day Arthur drew Excalibur and I was afraid. Being cognizant of the presence of immortals, I made Excalibur unique by imparting a dual sigil in its making. The wielder must be of immortal blood and must have true honor. In all the planning for the kingdom, Arthur had proven the second and the first was a forgone conclusion.
Finding Mordred was difficult. It was like the earth had swallowed him, but persistence and a little magic help beat a path for me. He was in what would be known as Scotland. From what rumor I could glean, he was raising an army to obliterate Arthur. I knew it was unlikely he would find enough men, after the sheer number of recruits Arthur’s rule was raising. I had to be sure though.
Once I reached the highlands, I soon discovered Mordred’s camp. I entered the camp as an advisor to Mordred’s knights. I knew it was a terrible risk, being that we would sense each other soon enough. I had to be close though, just to know what was being planned. If I was lucky, I might have gotten onto Mordred’s command counsel. That was, of course, if he had one.
Only three days went by until I felt the presence. I squared my shoulders and prepared myself to meet Mordred. Imagine my surprise when Morgan walked in. Being a vessel for magic, I can recognize another immediately and I knew she was well-versed in the old magic’s use. I also knew she saw someone more powerful than her. So, my plans dissolved and another was put into action.
* * *
Mordred grabbed Morgan’s jaw firmly in his viselike grip. “Why are they in England?”
Morgan paused to push his hand away and massage her jaw briefly. “To kill you, you idiot.”
His eyes flared like a coronal burst. “Do not insult me woman.”
“Merlin has a plan, that much is obvious, but I don’t know what it is. I’m certain though that MacLeod is the key.”
Mordred allowed a smile, though there was no humor in it. “Well, work it out of him then. Don’t be sad that I got the Stone first, my dear. I shan’t forget the work you’ve done for me. You shall keep your pretty head for now.”
“If it wasn’t for me, you’d never have known about the Stone.”
Mordred grinned again. “And if it weren’t for me, I wouldn’t have it now. You were always the better one than me, weren’t you? That’s what has you all upset. I’m better than you now. Now it’s my turn to make the rules. Find out why they’re in England and bring me the King. It’s high time I took Arthur’s head.”