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Two men crouched over a fallen body slumped in the alley. A smaller
dark shape was sitting nearby. Lying amidst a pile of sodden cardboard boxes,
the decapitated corpse fed a crimson stream across the rain-soaked
tarmac, but it was fading in the rain. With obvious disdain Duncan
MacLeod picked up the severed head and stared into the lifeless eyes.
"Who is he?", the question startled the Highlander out of his reverie.
Methos stared intently at him, still shaken from the unaccustomed
violence of the encounter. True in the three years he had known MacLeod
he was once more approaching a level of action he had not known for
centuries, but still it shook him. Sometimes, he missed his past
disregard for life, but he quickly squashed the thought, appalled by
remembrance. He would not even entertain a return to the days of death
"How should I know? You're the one he was trying to kill."
"I suppose that's the price for being a celebrity," mumbled Methos,
aggrieved by the unexpected turn his life had taken.
"Have you seen anything like this before?" MacLeod pulled the mans shirt
aside to reveal a strange mark. An intricate sigil had been tattooed
into the mans chest, "It looks like Arabic."
Both men studied the strange design for a moment. A horned stick man
with huge eyes on the side of his head and an inverted cross-shaped
figure emerging from between it's legs, was lying left to right beneath
a pyramid with and eye at it's heart. The whole was enclosed in a
circle of flowing script.
"Hmm, no not really," the lie came easily to Methos as he reached into
his pocket and pulled out a mobile phone.
"Going up in the world are we?" Duncan enquired quizzically staring
pointedly at the device. "Students to the left, yuppies to the right,"
"Well one of us has to join the twentieth century," the other returned,
his mask of irreverence back in place. "Hello, Joe? Look I need a
favour, assuming you haven't left Paris yet," The Older Immortal looked
at his younger friend with surreptitious concern, there was no outward
trace but he knew MacLeod was still wracked with guilt about Richie's
"death". MacLeod's former prot‚g‚ had left Paris to straighten himself
out, which was the best thing for everyone, even in truth, the angst
ridden Highlander. "Yes, Joe, I know somebody lost there head, it was
nearly me. I stress the word Me," he knew that Joe was bright enough
to fill in the blanks, Methos was not about to be any more explicit on
the phone, "I've never seen the guy before, but he knew Me by name."
In some bizarre way, Duncan welcomed the new mystery. Ever since saying
goodbye to Richie at Charles de Gaulle he had begun to wonder if he was
the best thing for Richie. For the second time he had caused the young
man deep emotional scars, and he could not forgive himself even if it
wasn't all his fault. The almost bottomless anger which drove the young
man seemed of late, to always be seething just below the surface. He
had wanted him to stay, but in his heart of hearts he knew neither
Richie, nor himself could have borne it. Maybe one day soon they could
work through it, but the pain was too new and they both needed the
"Okay, look, meet us at the Book-shop in an hour, we have some clearing
up to do," Methos finished the phone conversation.
MacLeod was already moving towards the Citroen. First they would
dispose of the strangers remains then the investigation would begin.
The older of the two had but one thought: Kokabiel.
Joe Dawson squinted again at the paper in front of him, "Is this the
best you could do?" he grumbled with ill concealed irritation. Perhaps,
he mused, I've got complacent, but when the Watchers don't know about an
Immortal, where the hell am I supposed to start?
"Well I'm no Da Vinci, maybe I should have brought the head back in a
bag for you" the other man shot back testily. Methos was considering
how much, if anything to tell his friends. With the possible exception
of Darius, Methos hadn't trusted anyone completely for over a millennia,
it was a hard habit to break. In many ways, Kronos had been right,
Methos was a survivor, and he never told anybody everything.
Sometimes, he thought ruefully, not even me.
"Yeah, well, I'll see what I can do. One thing I do know is this guy
didn't have a watcher, there aren't any missing or dead Immortals on the
books in Paris, word gets around"
"An unknown Immortal, is that likely?" Duncan emerged from the kitchen
with a Caffetiere and three cups on a tray. MacLeod had somehow come to
consider the Watcher network as pretty damn near omniscient, it never
occurred to him their might be such massive gaps in their knowledge.
Then again he thought, what about Quentin Barnes?
"Well it's not unknown, especially if he was particularly young and
hadn't acquired a teacher yet," replied Joe. A little defensive,
Methos thought about it, "No. He knew what he was doing, more than
that, he seemed to know who I was. Look, Joe, try the local police
database, Surete, Interpol they might turn something up." He needed to
know who this man was, where he lived. He never expected to see that
symbol again and he was pretty sure that his oldest surviving enemy
wasn't far away.
"Sure, like I've got nothing better to do with my life." It was no more
than a token objection. Joe's curiosity was more than a little piqued
and he had to admit if he left all the investigation to Methos he might
never share the answers. In fact he was as sure as he could be that
Methos was already holding something back. Then again that wasn't a
particularly big surprise, more of a foregone conclusion.
"I have my own hunch to follow, and you know how nervous MacLeod makes
policemen!" Confirmation, thought Joe, but he won't give anything away
"Thanks a bunch, Methos, it's not my fault if all my friends are
trouble." remonstrated the tall Scot.
"Welcome to my humble abode," the young faced man swept an ostentatious
bow and smiled charmingly at his companion, a tall Spaniard with long
black hair and a full curvy figure, "It is all I have, but here, I am
Lord and Master!"
"Not anymore, Senor Popinjay," she grinned, "I will take you down from
your high horse," so saying she pushed him against the wall, "If you're
bad I will have to punish you..." her eyes roved approvingly over the
Englishman's athletic figure. For all his flamboyant gestures he was
simply dressed in blue jeans and an open necked black shirt. His hair
was short and as dark as his smiling eyes.
"And if I'm good?" the young Immortal cocked an eyebrow, provocatively,
admiring the strong dark features and eyes which burned with "Joi de
vivre". He reached his arm out around her long neck, while the other
traced the line of her full figure.
"I will punish you even more," she laughed placing a long, hard kiss on
his lips, before releasing him, "now go make coffee while I explore
your, realm," and slapped his backside. Laughing as well he withdrew.
It had been twenty years since he had been so happy. While barely a
century old he was already haunted by the loss of mortal friends and
lovers. Martin Fields carefully poured the water into the cafetiere
while reflecting on his new found love. They had first set eyes on each
other in a Pension near Toledo where he'd been looking for a new blade.
Maria was a student and had returned to spend her vacation in Paris with
him. He wondered if meeting someone like her fifty years ago might have
changed the path he had chosen. He new her potential but a part of him
was worried about what lay ahead.
"Martin," Maria's voice cut through his thoughts like the finest blade.
He carried the tray into the hall, where Maria had emerged from the
bedroom carrying a exquisitely crafted broadsword.
"Do you always sleep with a sword by your bed, Caballero Valliente?" she
enquired, obviously torn between curiosity and concern.
He heart sunk, he knew this moment would come sooner or later. How far
could he trust her? How much would she understand? In the end he felt,
as she advanced, her eyebrows raised, a little white lie would be
easier. "I've been meaning to mount it for some time, but you know how
hopeless I am. It's an exquisite piece isn't it?"
She looked sceptically at the blade in her hands, but a part of her
could not deny the beauty and craftsmanship, "Is it real?" He nodded.
"It must be priceless, she whispered.
"I wouldn't be without it," he quipped, and could not shake the dread
that one day she would be saying the same.
The tall wooden doors were carved with the star of David and decorated
with Yiddish script. A bronze plaque beside the door bore the simple
legend `Synagogue de Paris'. Methos smiled sadly at the newness of the
building. Fifty years could not eliminate the bitter infamy that he
knew would one day be no more than a page in a history book. Even today
many seemed unaware of the deal with the devil made by the Vichy
Government, sacrificing the French Jews for client status under German
occupation. He couldn't remember when he first met Jacob bar Joshua.
The Jewish Immortal had arrived in Paris with King Louis after the
disastrous fourth crusade, long before Methos returned to Europe. As a
scholar the oldest living Immortal had found the liberal attitudes of
the Saracens preferable to the doctrinal tyranny of the Roman Church.
It was not until the schism between the Catholic south and the
Protestant north provided cracks for free-thinkers to slip between, he
moved west once more. As he closed the door behind him he could feel
something was wrong.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't my old friend Death," the slow sensuous
drawl send shivers of cold rage through the ancient Immortal, "Hello,
Methos. Miss me?" The speaker was tall and pale with a lean wiry
figure. Dressed in simple black clothes with long black hair tied back
in a ponytail. His eyes were piercing blue and divided by a hawk-nose.
A strong jutting chin was masked by an elegantly trimmed goatee which,
taken with his angular brows and jutting cheekbones. gave him a certain
"Once too often, how's life in the Demi-god business, Kokabiel?" Methos
turned to face the tall lean figure, "I got your message, I was looking
for you." He couldn't feel the old man's Quickening, yet they were on
holy ground and Jacob seldom went out these days.
"Jacob's going to be a little late, I'm afraid" again the predatory
smile, "as in the late Jacob bar Joshua. It's nothing personal, you
understand, but nobody can leave the service of their god. I imagine
Kieffer is disposing of him even as we speak."
"You're not a god!" Methos fought to control the rage and hatred
building inside. The evil Immortal was probably the only person in the
world Methos hated. Real dark brooding hate, even the likes of Kallus
had not aroused such feelings in the old man. Considering his own
chequered past he was hardly in a position to judge them. These
feelings were not helped by images of the old Jewish scholar lying dead
at the feet of one of Kokabiel's fanatics.
"Not yet, but I will be. And not some pathetic little bandit god like
you or Kronos" the cruelty was evident in Kokabiel's eye as he tasted
the fear and anger building in Methos' spirit. He would drink deeply
from that well before he let the other man die. "Two thousand years is
a long time, Methos, the people are waiting for me and mine, I shall be
their new Messiah."
Methos snorted derisively, there was more than a little bitterness and
cynicism in his voice "With a sword in one hand and a chequebook in the
other, Christ returns? Have you been on the streets recently?" he asked
rhetorically, "They're not looking for a Saviour, just someone else to
"Won't they be surprised then?" the other laughed, "Aren't you going to
run away and hide behind MacLeod?"
"From a pathetic little inadequate like you?" Methos smiled grimly and
reached inside his coat, "I think not, it ends here and now," the sword
slipped into his hand, "shall we go?"
Kokabiel smiled cruelly, "You will die, Methos, but at a time of my
choosing, remember this is holy ground. Fear not your time will come,
but my destiny is too important, I have gained knowledge of others of my
brethren, soon we will move, I just wanted to give you time to prepare."
Methos saw a flicker of rage in the other man's eyes, his hands shaking
visibly despite his control.
"Make peace with God, eh?" the ancient Immortal was thinking furiously,
Kokabiel was deranged, had he drawn others into his madness, or was he
"Well," he paused at the door, "I'm sure I can fit you in sometime."
Methos watched him go. He needed time to think. If Kokabiel had others
working for him they had to be found. While he had personal reasons for
wanting to take the mad Immortal himself, the others were another
matter, in any case, a game of this kind always benefited from extra
pieces. Time to find MacLeod.
Martin sprawled on the sofa, with Maria curling on his chest her fingers
stroking the lines of his face. He closed his eyes and breathed in the
aroma of her warm skin against his. Her kisses were soft on his face
and lips. She sighed, "I feel like we have for ever."
"More than you know, Cherie, more than you know," he ran his fingers
down her back, "I think we will be together for quite some time," he
smiled and bit her lower lip sending shivers through her body.
"Till death us do part?" she teased, her fingers playing with his shirt
Despite himself he felt his heart miss a beat. "That's a long time..."
he said hesitantly.
The beautiful Spaniard smiled broadly, "Don't worry, I'm not dragging
you into church," she bit his nose playfully, before putting on her
deepest most seductive look. "Well," she paused teasingly, "not yet
Pushing her back into the cushions in mock anger he declared, "I want a
few more rehearsals before I even think about our wedding night!"
"So you do," she laughed, her eyes twinkling at his discomfort.
"Thanks a lot!" while she was joking he couldn't help being hurt, she
smiled at his sulky expression and without warning flipped him off the
sofa onto the floor, landing catlike on top of him.
"Well, there is always room for improvement, even in one so," she paused
as if in thought, "accomplished." Suddenly she noticed he was only half-
listening, his eyes focused in space. She was about to remonstrate with
him when she caught a glimpse of grave urgency in his features. "What
"Go to the other room," he could see her questioning eyes, the lock on
the front door clicked open, "Quickly!" he hissed, "it'll be all right."
Gathering her robe she did as she was told.
Picking up his sword from the doorway, Martin edged into the hall.
Waiting for another battle for life or death he raised his blade
defensively. The door opened, and framed in it, sword in hand was a
black-clad vision: Kokabiel.
In the back-room of Shakespeare & Co., Joe Dawson sat, his troubled face
lit by lamplight, as he listened with increasing worry to the person on
the other end of the phone. Methos sat on a step his chin resting in
his hands, lost in thought while the tall Highlander prowled around like
a caged tiger.
"For God's sake, MacLeod, sit down, you're making the place look
untidy," snapped the older Immortal irritably.
"I don't like mysteries and I don't like waiting," Duncan shot back,
nevertheless he flopped onto a chair and began to fidget.
"Really," Methos flashed one of his crooked smiles, "can't say I'd
noticed," the Scotsman responded with a dirty look.
Joe put the phone back on it's cradle wearily. "I've finally tracked
down an I.D. on the Immortal who attacked you, his name was Richard
Corrigan and he was an Assistant Director with the 'Company'".
"CIA?" Methos was startled, this was bad, very bad. Everything Kokabiel
had hinted at now had acquired a deadly clarity. His decision to meet
the others and bring them in rather than rush after Kokabiel was
"Yeah," Joe sighed heavily, "Well, it gets worse, he wasn't on our
books, we really didn't know about him." Joe probably knew about as much
about the man who called himself Adam Pearson as anyone. That he was
forced to admit wasn't much, but he knew enough to know Methos was
sitting on something. He also knew enough to know digging for it
wouldn't help much either.
"And you never will," quipped Duncan grimly.
"Well I can probably fill in some of the blanks myself," Methos looked
shiftily at the ground before squinting at his two friends, "I haven't
been entirely candid with you."
"Well there's a surprise," answered the Highlander sarcastically. If
he wasn't careful, sometime in the future the ancient Immortal's
obsessive secrecy would cost somebody their lives.
"You know some day, MacLeod, somebody's going to take your head just to
stop you whining!" retorted Methos, acidly.
Under a radiant blue sky, the trireme edged slowly up onto the beach, a
crowd had already gathered to watch the Corinthians return home. The
King smiled from the prow and raised his hand in greeting. "At last my
friend we will know peace," the General beside him could hear the relief
and joy in the old man's voice, "the Athenian curse is finally at rest
and the Pelloponese are free."
"Until the next war," replied the other man ruefully, "men are at their
happiest making love or war, anything else bores them."
"Methos, you are too young to be so cynical," the King failed to notice
the other man's ironic grin, "Anyway Athens's power is broken and Sparta
is exhausted by the effort..."
"Leaving Greece open to attack from the northern states, Thessaly
perhaps, even Macedonia..."
"Macedonia? What have Greeks to fear from unwashed barbarians. No my
friend history will not even record their existence," he clapped his
hand on the other man's shoulder. "Now I must greet my people."
The King jumped from the prow and strode up the beach and the people
surged forward to greet him. As Methos moved to follow he felt the
familiar sensation of another Immortal's Quickening nearby. Casting
around he saw a man in black robes standing away from the crowd. He
dressed like a citizen but had the pose of a warrior. Long dark hair
pulled by the breeze, his black beard shot with silver and eyes like
sapphires. He was not a Corinthian, Methos would have known were any of
them Immortal it was the way of things. In any case Methos knew
everyone in Corinth at least by sight, in a city of 500 men and 600
women and children it couldn't be otherwise. Cautiously he approached
the tall stranger. Something about the man unnerved him.
"Greetings, my child, I am Kokabiel," the man spoke in a slow sensuous
drawl. He extended his hand slowly as a King might to a vassal.
"Should I know you?" Methos asked dryly, ignoring the gesture. His hand
dropped to the hilt of his sword. Now that he was on guard he noticed a
number of strangers among the crowd.
"You should, but have probably forgotten, it is often the way with my
children." Kokabiel watched the other Immortal as he scanned the crowd.
Excellent, a wily old warrior this one. The tales were true, a man like
Methos would be an excellent disciple.
"If there's one thing I have learned over the centuries, it's that our
kind don't breed," there was something literal in the man's statement.
"Then whence do you come, Methos, you and the other Nefilim?"
"Nefilim?" Joe looked enquiringly at the oldest Immortal.
"It's an old Jewish legend, Joe," Methos rose and thrust his hands deep
into his pockets, "The legend holds that when Jaweh finished the
creation he set the Watchers, two hundred angels, led by Semiazaz, to
watch over the world. but they coveted mortals and went down and
fornicated with them, producing offspring, Immortal giants known as the
"So Kokabiel identified Immortals with these, Nefilim?" asked MacLeod.
"Well it makes a certain sense, I mean all legends have a basis in
fact," Dawson mused.
"Are you saying you believe this garbage?" retorted the Scot,
"No but I'm saying Immortals may be the basis of the legend." Snapped
It was obvious that this situation had them all on edge. Trouble so
soon after Arihman meant they had had little time to recover, if the
pressure did let up very shortly tempers were going to break.
"If you've quite finished?" Methos proffered a martyred look, "There's
more, Kokabiel is listed as one of the chiefs of the Watchers, he not
only believed the legend but he claims to be a progenitor of Immortals.
According to him he seeks to reunite his children so that he might
resume the unending war."
"War? What war?" this from the grey-bearded watcher.
"The war between heaven and the fallen angels. Revelations and all
that. Of course before he can challenge heaven, he has to conquer the
"Well that'll be easy," the Highlander paused, "you don't believe he
can, do you?" incredulity mixed with doubt at the gravity evident in his
"With a group of Immortals co-operating in security forces and
governments over the world? Maybe not, MacLeod, but he could do a lot of
damage trying." Methos considered the chaos he and the other Horsemen
could have done if he hadn't manoeuvred MacLeod into taking out Kronos.
"There are others?" MacLeod was worried, he rightly guessed that Methos'
thoughts mirrored his own, thoughts of the scar-faced Kronos and his
little gang of Demi-gods.
"He has a following," Methos looked at the others intently, "I didn't
think there were many of them or how well placed. Joe's information
tends to confirm my worse fears. There are more of them out there and
they have a plan." Suddenly the three men felt small, cold and very
"Father," Martin addressed the Ancient Immortal nervously. A tall
handsome black man in an expensively tailored suit stepped into the hall
behind Kokabiel, in his hand was an ornate bronze dagger, "Kieffer..."
"Ah, Martin, do you know how much work it takes to maintain a blade in
such fine condition for two and a half millennia?" he smiled broadly,
the smile of a predator, "You have the new initiate, I take it?"
"Come, my child," purred Kokabiel, "bring the offering to us that she
may know the pleasures of her angelic ancestry."
Consternation was visible on Martin's face, "I, uh, look she hasn't, she
doesn't know anything... I'd like to prepare her."
Kokabiel slowly crossed to the window and gazed reflectively into the
street below. "She is ignorant of her destiny? Innocent?" he inquired
Despite himself Martin smiled inwardly at the description of Maria as
`innocent', his fiery Latin lover, "Just so, Master." He grasped the
apparent compassion as a drowning man might clutch a passing plank.
"Excellent, just as were you, before I showed you the truth," he turned
and the fire in his eyes brooked no argument, "bring her."
Fear was beginning to eat away at Martin's faith, but he lacked the
courage to resist and so turned and entered the bedroom. As he passed
through the door he heard the ringing of a Mobile phone. She was pacing
across the bedroom floor. Seeing him she rushed over and embraced him.
"It's okay, it was a friend," the word incongruous on his lips, "get
dressed we have to go somewhere."
"Okay? You're shaking, what's wrong?" she was alarmed, she had never
seen fear on his face before, he was white as a sheet.
"Nothing's wrong," he put his finger to her lips to silence further
protest, "You are about to learn things about me, it's a big step and I
wish we had more time, but we will have."
Back in the hallway, Kieffer closed the Mobile and flashed Kokabiel an
inquiring look. "MacLeod?" the other man inquired. Kieffer nodded.
Kokabiel answered with a single word "Go."
The man who called himself an angel entered the room, motioning Martin
away. Maria clung to his arm in fear, but he slipped away a tear in his
eye. Kokabiel put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. He smiled as he
took out an ornate bronze dagger. He smiled warmly again. His eyes
fixed on the nervous girl in front of him. She froze unable to avoid
the mesmeric stare, calm unmoving as he approached. "Today," he
grinned, "Is the last day of the rest of your life." She didn't even
flinch as the blade sunk into her chest. The mortal wound, however
broke the spell, Martin reeled against the wall, stunned by the
spectacle. Maria, tumbled forward on to her hands and knees, staring
dully at the gaping wound in her chest. Her breathing was ragged as her
life blood pumped out onto the floor pooling around her hands and knees.
Her vision swam and darkened, her last living image was Martin's