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 Eleven
One thing about being over four hundred years old is having the resources available to do the things you want to do, such as purchasing a really nice hotel room. Duncan relaxed, laying on the bed with his arms behind his head and examining the ceiling absently. Methos and Duncan had spent the balance of the day together with no further sign of Merlin. The magician had an annoying habit of disappearing on a regular basis. From Methos’ retelling of history and Merlin’s as well, it was a habit he had developed hundreds of years before.
Duncan had decided to retire after dinner with Methos. His mind was becoming clouded with the wound that Merlin had inadvertently opened. Duncan fought the feeling, but knew he had to face things soon. Still, Richie’s death was recent and more painful than anything Duncan could remember in his long years. He almost wished he hadn’t attracted the young thief into his life. Richie owned a thirst for life, though his had ended. Duncan was thinking that was what he missed the most from his young student.
The feeling washed over him and Duncan sighed. He didn’t feel like talking to Methos, or Merlin even if the magician had returned. Still, it wouldn’t do for him to be impolite, honor demanded so much.
He opened the door to his room and found Morgan standing there about to knock. Duncan was a little confused, but hid it well. She was a phenomenal sight, in a dinner gown and just enough covered to be considered legal. He caught himself holding his breath in appreciation.
No one he could remember ever made his nickname sound so seductively perfect. Her voice was breathy and low, coming from somewhere just below the already plunging neckline of her scintillating dress. Duncan pictured liquid silver momentarily, then realized he hadn’t said anything yet.
“Morgan? Ah, come in.”
Her smile was genuine but held an undercurrent of victory. Duncan suddenly felt like a bug being examined. His logical mind was straining to tell him something, but it was drowned out by the roaring in his mind from her nearness. His thoughts had been clouded before, but now it was like a London fog had descended on his mind.
Morgan glided into the room, such beauty and simplicity in her movement. No movement was wasted, nothing was forced. She was in perfect control and knew it. As she passed him, Duncan slightly shook his head, something was not right.
“Would you care for a drink?” he managed.
Morgan turned and smiled. “Please. A brandy would be nice about now.”
Duncan busied himself, more to not look at her and calm his suddenly racing thoughts. He was no stranger to women, even those that took his breath away with their beauty. Morgan was something different though. His pulse was pounding and he found his breath was short as well. He almost laughed at himself.
Duncan forced his emotions down. “To what do I owe this pleasure?”
He moved across the room and handed her a brandy snifter, eyeing her nearly revealed figure as she lounged on the sofa. She smiled again in thanks, again a very genuine and easy gesture. Duncan saw someone who lived the luxurious life all the time.
“I wanted to get you away from your dreadful companions. Why you spend any time with Arthur or Merlin is beyond me.”
Duncan paused to sip his own drink. “Or any of your business, if I may be blunt.”
Morgan set her snifter down, once again displaying unreal grace and no wasted movements. “Is this the same gentleman I met earlier today? It’s certainly hard to imagine someone so refined as yourself ever being rude to a lady.”
“Rudeness never crossed my mind. I just don’t like games. If you’re here to gather information from me, you might as well know you won’t be successful.”
Morgan’s laugh was clear crystal bells ringing across a morning meadow. Duncan’s spine shivered involuntarily in delight. Her amusement lasted only a few moments and faded into a bright smile all for him. The shiver in his spine worked its way lower.
“My dear Duncan. Don’t you think I know that already? Your countryman’s stern code of honor and rugged lifestyle does not lend to casual talk. Nor would you reveal anything anyway. No, I’m here to try to be a rational voice.”
It was Duncan’s turn to laugh, chasing away the electric shock coursing through his body. “I wasn’t aware my companions or I were irrational.”
“Arthur I can’t speak for other than Mordred’s sheer hatred of him. Merlin though, I find irrational to the extreme.”
Duncan sat next to her without thinking about it. He truly believed this woman could work magic against males. She was intoxicating.
“He would probably say the same of you.”
She laughed again, though not nearly as robust. “I truly loved that man, not only for what he could teach me. However, he’s too much a mystery to everyone. Everything is a crisis to him as well.”
Duncan felt a shock of jealousy run through him. Merlin had been with Morgan and she deserved better. His logical mind screamed again, and was heard, though muted. Duncan shook his head slightly.
Morgan continued, “But he is not the reason I came to see you.”
The current of jealousy eased and Duncan sat back, trying to calm his mind. “And why are you here then?”
“I need your help.”
Duncan felt a surge of emotion again. Morgan needed protection, he knew it. The emotional surge was primal and powerful. He felt the need to shelter her from any harm. He hadn’t noticed her move, but she sat next to him, lightly entwining her arm through his.
Duncan was confused. “With what?”
Then he saw it. Her eye held a bruise, poorly concealed under artful makeup. Further inspection showed the sculpted cheek was damaged as well. The surge of protective emotion swelled again, threatening to overwhelm him, but a tiny voice kept him at bay. He couldn’t hear it anymore, but somehow he held himself in check.
“Mordred is maniacal Duncan. He’s lost all control. I think the stone has infected his mind. True, he wasn’t stable before, but now he’s worse than ever. When I saw him last, he beat me. Frankly, I’m frightened.”
The tiny voice lost the battle as Duncan reached to her and pulled her to him. He embraced her warmth and drank in her presence. “I will take his head Morgan. I will protect you.”
She melted into him. “Thank you Duncan, I knew I could come to you. He has the stone though. He can’t be hurt, much less killed.”
Duncan found his hands running down her back, aching to slip the dress off of her. “Once I have Excalibur, he cannot stand against me.”
She sighed with his touch and leaned in even closer, whispering his name. His actions were no longer his own. Her dress was off, revealing the perfect body to him. He easily lifted her from the couch, already lost in sharing searing kisses of building passion. Duncan crossed to the bed and laid her down. She beckoned to him with her hand, whispering again of her want for him. Duncan moved to the bed and lost himself in her.
* * *
Bright sunlight over his eyes woke Duncan. He groaned and rolled, reaching for Morgan, but his hand came down on empty sheets. A sense of loss passed through him, followed by a few other sensations. His mouth was dry and his head was pounding. Duncan groaned again, wondering how it was possible for an Immortal to have a headache.
Then another thought hit him. How was it possible for Morgan to have bruises? Had she used subtle makeup to trick him? Nothing made sense. He went through his memories of the night spent with Morgan. It had been amazing.
No, it was when she arrived that things got cloudy. Duncan could remember that moment with clarity. Then Merlin’s words from Paris rattled through his head. ‘True, but the magic is in the belief. Whether or not there was any intent to do anything, the magic is in the person believing something occurred.’
Duncan rolled out of bed, seriously upset at what he was thinking. That he would even consider that it was possible for Morgan to have cast a spell on him was ludicrous. Merlin and Methos had come within a sword’s length of him without him knowing it. And Mordred had actually attacked without Duncan being aware of his presence, except by a stroke of luck, or even divine intervention.
Slowly he dressed, noting that the headache was gone now. He felt normal again, as if he’d stepped out of a pool and the water was sluicing off of him. Then Duncan stopped. The cloudy memory of the previous night parted long enough for him to remember telling Morgan about Excalibur.
* * *
Mordred’s face was contorted with rage, as it perpetually was. “Excalibur? Why would they need that?”
Morgan shrugged. “He said if he has Excalibur, you cannot stand against him.”
“That makes no sense.”
He began to pace, head lowered, but still wearing the mask of anger. Morgan watched for a bit then cleared her throat.
“What?” Mordred nearly screamed at her.
“If all we need to do is keep him away from the sword, what’s the problem? Do you know where it is?”
Mordred shook his head violently. “I have no clue. Besides, if the magician did what I think he did, it’s back in a stone somewhere and we won’t be able to remove it.”
“You always did think small Mordred. I can remove any enchantment Merlin put on the sword. We just need to find it.”
Mordred stepped close to her and delivered a stunning backhanded slap, snapping her head around. “I will not let you insult me Morgan. This time it’s you thinking small. We don’t need Excalibur, they do. So, we don’t take the sword away, we take the Highlander away.”
Morgan kept her mouth clamped shut, violently repressing her own rage.
Mordred continued, “You use your arts to confuse MacLeod. Then you take his head. With that, they are no longer a threat to me. Save Arthur for me though.”
“You want me to kill MacLeod?”
He laughed. “You yourself said he’s the key. When was the last time you garnered a Quickening anyway?”
Morgan was silently impressed. Mordred’s idea was simple and effective. She’d already proven that Duncan was susceptible to her charms, both magical and physical. Killing him would be child’s play.
“What do I get out of it?”
Mordred’s eyes were harder than hammered steel. “You get to live and you get his Quickening.”
She nodded slowly; it was about what she expected. “Okay then, I’ll kill Duncan MacLeod.”