Title: Ties That Bind
E-mail address: email@example.com
Keywords: A historical adventure set in the late 10th Century
Character listing: M OC
Short teaser/summary: Two immortals meet in unusual circumstances
and discover they have some things in common.
Note: Something you should know before you read this story.
The place names I've used are real and if you search a map,
you just might find them. I decided not to use the old names
for these places as, basically I wasn't sure of a couple of
them and wanted a *bit* of continuity. Nendrum does exist
and is considered one of the most important 2nd class monastic
sites in Northern Ireland, and it's also a really beautiful
place. My own character also has real routes in the past,
well at least the name does anyway, and apart from that she's
my own invention. *Major* thanks have to go to Robert and
Torhild for their invaluable beta-ing. It would have been
a lot worse if not for you guys.
The sounds of children laughing seemed to fill the air, mingling
with the clatter of metal against metal and the smoke rising
up from the blacksmith's workshop as he worked at his forge.
Brother Paul looked around the small monastic grounds where
he had given up his life to God and smiled. The simple pleasures
of this earthly world meant more to him than the life of idolatry
and sloth he had grown up in under his fathers care all those
He sat, his knees in the dirt, tending to his Brothers' graves,
waiting for the call to service. He looked up at the carefully
carved headstone, the only possession Brother Patrick or any
of them could be allowed to possess. "Rest easy now Patrick
old friend." He wiped away a wisp of moss that he hadn't noticed
before, pulling back fingers brushed with dirt and green.
"You know I'll always tend to you. What else will they let
an old man do?"
Realising he had to stand, he let out a disgruntled groan,
reaching out once again for his friend's newly carved headstone.
"Here Brother, let me help you."
A strong, forceful hand gripped him by the arm, another one
gently coming about his waist to help him stand.
"Dear, dear Bran." Tired old eyes looked straight into younger
blue ones. "What would this old man do without you?"
Bran laughed. "Probably a lot better if truth be told."
Brother Paul chuckled softly, his laughter that of a much
younger man. "Please. Don't think the Bishop doesn't know
that you bring me wine at night to help me over to sleep.
I confessed it as an indulgence a long time ago. I think he
even approves a little."
Bran, once he was sure the old man was secure on his feet
let go of his arm. He crossed his arms, a slightly serious,
yet mocking look on his face. "Maybe it is I who should be
wary of you then. Leading me astray."
They both walked the short distance to the small church,
Bran only accompanying his friend inside to ensure he got
there without falling down. "Now now Bran, the only path I'll
try to lead you on is the one true path of righteousness'
and of God." Old, hopeful eyes turned in the solemn light
to the man beside him. "Are you sure I cannot tempt you to
accompany me later tonight at a service?"
Bran guided the old monk to a seat, the light filtering through
the windows marking a shining path down the small nave. "Every
time you ask, yet you know the answer, so why do you continue
The monk gave him a sad, almost wry smile. "As sinful as
it is, I fear I love you like you were my own son Bran. The
will of God I think will call me home before winter and I
must confess that I would like to know that someday, we will
meet again in His glorious heaven."
Bran almost didn't know what to say to that. He'd loved and
had been loved by many in his life, but only one person had
ever loved him like a son, and even that had been such a long
time ago now. He tried to hide the feeling of warmth it gave
him, but the old man knew him better than he would have liked.
He took the aging monk's hand, giving it a tender squeeze.
"Alright. I'll come to service tonight. Right now, I have
to attend to my work down by the lough. This new watermill
will bring many benefits to this monastery."
"So it will young Bran, so it will." The elderly man looked
behind him as he saw other monks coming in from the grounds,
for their private service. Only later tonight would the people
who had settled around their church and on their grounds be
allowed to attend mass. Right now, it was time for those who
God had especially chosen to give their thanks.
"I'll see you later Brother."
"Go in peace Bran."
It was getting close to dusk, red, orange and pink bleeding
across the horizon, the light only just beginning to dull
when the shrill sharp tones of a bell rang out across the
Glancing up from his work, Bran could see nothing amiss,
and he knew it wasn't yet time for mass, as the nights where
growing dark early and it was always dark nowadays when the
bell rang for it.
A small boy came running down the path to him. "Bran! Bran!
Come quick! Raiders are coming up the lough!"
He almost couldn't believe it. "Raiders?"
But the boy was gone again, running back up to the enclosure
wall and no doubt to his family.
Bran felt the old chill settle in his bones at this, the
possibility of having to once again to draw his sword against
a fellow man annoying him a little. Every one knew about the
raiders, the Norse that had pestered and torn and rampaged
throughout the coasts of Ireland. Yet, somehow the small monastery
of Nendrum had managed to remain unscathed.
He let his tools lie where he'd been working, knowing the
tide would wash them away and he'd have to make more, but
it didn't matter.
He ran up through the enclosures, knowing now that what the
child had said must be true, for men were carrying the gold
from the church into the Cloicthech/bell-tower. He grabbed
hold of the course woollen sleeve of a passing monk. "Where's
The monk had a panicked look on his face and couldn't help
but cross himself. "He's already inside the tower. Do you
think they'll attack us? Maybe they won't. We're only a small
church after all!"
Bran had no time for this. He pushed the frightened young
monk away. "Have faith Brother. That's what your good at,
Any reply was lost as he neared the tower, the bellows and
shouts of people afraid only adding to the desperate edge
of panic that was rapidly swallowing down any common sense
these people had. The rumours of the Norse, of their pagan
gods and sacrifices and heathen ways only added to their terror.
The entrance to the cloicthech was several feet above the
ground, with the only means of access by a wooden ladder,
which would be pulled up once all the valuables where safely
"Brother Paul!" He shouted, hoping the old man would hear
The old monk looked down from the entrance, in his hands
a small, plain golden chalice used for communion. A relic
the monks of Nendrum thought to have been blessed by Saint
Patrick himself when, it was believed, he had passed through
the small nearby town of Comber so many years ago. "Oh, Bran!
Bran! Go! Hide yourself. The Norsemen are heathens who will
surely kill you if you don't run away!"
All around him people where running, their only possessions
in their arms, slowing them down as they fled. It had been
his plan all along to run if they were attacked, but for his
affection for the old man. Placing him in the tower just proved
to him that the Bishop was a stupid, incompetent man.
When he'd arrived at the small monastic site of Nendrum,
he'd gone straight to the Bishop and had told him that his
bell-tower was the worst place they could run and hide to.
The Bishop however, with his smug and overbearing sense of
righteousness and pride was more concerned that his monastery's
wealth should have a method of displaying itself and had refused
As far as Bran was concerned, it was an advert to any raiders
coming up the lough, showing the small monastery's wealth
and prosperity. How could any raider not see it and know that
this place had some wealth? And how easy would it be to set
alight the wooden door and structure inside and watch it burn
from the inside to the ground. Easy pickings for any man who
had no thought to the human life that would perish inside.
"Paul! Come down from there!"
Already the ladder was being pulled up into the tower.
"It's too late! It's too late! We're all of us in God's hands
Already yell's could be heard as the invaders screamed out
their warning as they breached the enclosure walls from the
opposite side. Having little other option, Bran drew his weapon,
the wooden door that would provide easy kindling shutting
loud behind him.
Bran would have ran himself, but for the several men that
where running towards him. Realising he had little other option,
he stood his ground, knowing that if he ran, he'd have his
friends death on his conscious. He felt very little need to
add to that great weight he already carried.
Two of the raider's ran into the church, while another came
at him, his weapon drawn screaming in his native language
a savage warning of death and destruction.
Bran decided that it would confuse him, even if only momentarily,
if he ran at him, and as he did so, he gave out a yell that
matched their own in fierceness, somehow hoping that Brother
Paul would hear it and perhaps wonder a little about the source
of that hatred and rage he carried around deep within himself.
Cold metal clashed against metal but pretty soon the skill
Bran had, was being matched by an enthusiastic bloodlust.
"What kind of Gaelic dog are you! Die already!"
It was spoken in his native tongue, but Bran understood easily.
"This 'dog' is hard to kill Norse!"
The surprise the attacker felt at this revelation, that a
native of this island could speak his language was short lived.
Bran's blade sliced through the leather on his chest, and
just as quickly had been ran through his Viking attacker.
He pulled his blade out swiftly, the dull grunt the man gave
lost in the shouts and screams as other people were attacked,
those who had foolishly stayed close to defend their livelihoods
and the Brothers.
Just as he was getting ready to turn and face any other attacker,
the siren call of another immortal poured through him.
Distracted, he looked for it's source, but he couldn't see
anyone he could associate with it.
It was at this moment that something hard hit him on the
back of the head, causing the world to darken even before
he could feel himself hit the earth.
He awoke to the gentle swaying motion of water combined with
the presence of another immortal nearby. He tried to move,
but soon found his hands where bound together with iron cuffs
and chains. Fear shot through him at the thought that some
Viking immortal held him captive.
The boat he was on belonged to the Vikings that had attacked
the monastery, and he was their prisoner. He turned to look
for the face of the other immortal, surprised to see a slender
blonde haired woman, even more dishevelled than himself tied
to a hook to his left. She smiled ruefully at him. "I hope
your not looking for a challenge friend. I'm a little tied
up at the moment."
He couldn't help but laugh at that. "I'm just a little busy
myself." She grinned at him, and he felt a little relieved
that she wasn't interested in fighting him. Plus, it meant
that he was safe, at least for the moment. If the immortal
had been a Viking he would surely have been scheduled for
an untimely end.
"You where living at the monastery?"
He nodded, wincing a little at the pain still in his head.
The woman's expression darkened, heralding what he knew could
only be bad news. "They burnt the tower to the ground. It
was only supposed to be a raid to gain a few more slaves,
but...they love Christian gold. They'll love anything that
shines bright, and has a value."
Bran nodded silently. So Brother Paul was dead then, as well
as any others who had taken refuge there. He wondered briefly
who would tend to his friends grave. "Did they capture many?"
"No. No one apart from you. They must have been distracted
by the gold. And then there was my escape."
Bran realised then that must have been the moment he'd felt
the other immortal, just as he'd killed his attacker. "I'm
guessing they caught you then?"
Another laugh and Bran couldn't help but smile. The woman
in front of him seemed remarkably calm about her situation.
"Yes, they caught me. I'd been travelling to Ireland when
my boat ran into a storm. They 'rescued' me and now we're
both on our way somewhere else to be slaves."
He never answered her. He was realising that this now was
the end to his life in Ireland. He'd already stayed much longer
than he'd planned, but the life he'd found there for himself
had been one of the most peaceful and enjoyable he'd had for
a long time. He had almost grown used to having a settled
life somewhere, and Ireland had been so very green compared
to many of the other places he's been in his lifetime.
His thoughts where interrupted by the woman secured beside
him. "I suppose I'd better introduce myself, after all, I
think we're to be travelling companions for a while. I'm Andrasta
of the Iceni."
He could have lied to her, told her some name that would
mean nothing to her, but suddenly he felt too alone in the
world for that. No-one who had known him by his true name
was alive any longer. Well, at least no mortal and probably
very few immortals if any. It had been too long since he'd
used it. Coming to a decision based more on instinct than
anything else, he spoke.
Andrasta stared at him through the dark, the torches lighting
the ship as they travelled through the twilight, marking her
new companions face in an oddly ghostly way. The ship they
where on was out of the Strangford Lough and now heading across
the relatively short stretch of water between Ireland and
Scotland. "Methos? Hmmm, I like it. Nice to meet you Methos."
She presented him with a calm, if tired, smile, hoping that
he didn't realise that she knew more about him now with that
single word than if she'd spent a full day listening to him
talk of his history.
"I take it then you've never heard of me?"
Her stomach growled in response and she offered him a sheepish
grin. "No. Sorry. You wouldn't happen to have any food on
you? These bastards haven't fed me since yesterday."
"No, sorry I haven't."
They remained quiet after that, neither one sure what was
running through the others' mind.
He shook his head in frustration at her. "That woman would
sleep through the second coming! Andrasta! Wake up!" He prodded
her with the tip of his boot. "How the hell can you sleep
in that position?"
She opened one eye lazily to look at him. "I can sleep in
this position quite well, if someone would just keep their
feet to themselves!"
He watched her blink and yawn in the morning light, forcing
him to yawn in return, earning him her first smile of the
day. "Well, sorry to disturb you, but I think wherever we're
supposed to be going? We've arrived."
They'd been travelling for some days now, and had been untied
on the promise that they wouldn't try to escape. So far they'd
spent their days tidying up and looking after the crew. Andrasta
had had to fight off one or two groping hands, but the captain
seemed to feel she would be worth more unharmed, so had ordered
his men to leave her alone. The only other time that they
had been tied had been during another raid on an island just
off the north coast of Scotland.
A burly Norse came down the galley towards them, a rope in
his hands instead of chains. He was looking after them because
he spoke Latin, something neither immortal had decided to
question, considering just how strange this whole situation
was to begin with.
He tied them quickly, making sure they where secure by tying
them tight and to each other.
"Where do you think we are?"
Andrasta shook her head. "I can't say the landscape looks
all that familiar, but it does look like the coast of east
"You sure about that are you?"
"As sure as someone from the east coast of England can be,
"You know, I'll miss your sense of humour. It's kept me going
these long days and nights."
"Really Methos?" She smiled at him, somehow combining sweetness
and sarcasm in a single smile. "I didn't know you cared."
Just as she said those words he realised that he did care.
For all their time together, he had come to know her better
than he had any other immortal in a very long time. She was
witty, intelligent and just as sarcastic as him. She had a
sense of humour that was unusual for someone about to become
"Yes, well, don't get used to it." She glanced over at him,
a sharp look in her otherwise sleepy still appearance. They
where silent for a short while as the ship manoeuvred up the
river Humber that ran into the sea and that would let them
travel as close as possible to York as possible before they
had to gain another means of transport up to the river Ouse.
They watched in silence as the Vikings harboured the ship.
Unlike the other times they had stopped to wait out the night
or a storm, they where close to human activity, the smoke
of a village seen rising up over the small hill near to the
The blonde haired immortal, her hair scraggy leaned colder
to Methos and whispered. "Maybe they're going to go off on
She waited for his reply, but instead he remained quite,
looking at her. "What? Don't you think it could be another
Methos sighed. "I'd really like to see what you look like
cleaned up. I mean, the dirt on your face is pretty, in it's
own, naïve kind of way, but your hair like that..."
She tried to keep the smile from tugging on the corner of
her mouth, but it was a losing battle. "What are you saying
Methos? That I reek and could do with a good scrub?"
He returned the smile she was trying to hide, showing he
hadn't meant any kind of offence with his words. "No. In case
you hadn't noticed, I'm not exactly as fresh as I'd like to
be myself. I just think you're beautiful. And that's with
the dirt and the grime and the smell. I was just trying to
imagine what you must look like bathed and dressed in the
finest Byzantium silk. And no, it isn't a raid. They aren't
taking their weapons ashore yet."
Leaning forward, she placed a kiss on the tip of his nose.
"You say the sweetest things." All of a sudden she grew serious.
"Did you mean what you said?"
"About you or the Vikings?"
She could feel herself blush a little. "About me."
The 4000-year-old immortal looked down at his tied hands,
cursing the damned Norse for keeping him from touching her
just when he was comfortable with his feelings about her.
"I want nothing more than to just touch you. To brush away
that lock of hair from your eyes. To get to know you better."
He realised from her expression that he must have said something
She leaned back against he wooden bulk of the ship. "I don't
think you'd want to know me, if you knew the kind of person
I used to be." Dark green eyes looked over to him, and he
saw the potential for tears there, threatening to spill over.
"Trust me, everyone has done something they'd like to wipe
from their past." He grinned trying to lighten the suddenly
sombre mood. All around him, the Norse where unloading the
ship, while in the distance men where coming from over the
hill with horses.
"I know. And I know that the past is the past, and that people
change. I do, really I do. But sometimes..."
He nodded. Whatever she'd done, it couldn't have been as
bad as his time with the Horsemen, and before that, with Kronos.
"Sometimes, you just feel it."
That earned a nod from her. "Intensely."
Before they could continue with their conversation, their
Norse guard was hauling them to their feet and telling them
to get off the boat.
They'd been separated once they'd been taken off the ship,
and it was getting dark now, the glow of a distant fire visible
through a crack in the wooded door, almost mocking her with
its dancing flame. Andrasta had taken a bad spill as she'd
been forced to jump out with her hands bound behind her. She'd
gotten soaked and had what she suspected had been a broken
wrist. Now she was shivering in a horse stall, tied to a hook
in the wall. Apparently her earlier attempt at escape hadn't
been forgotten after all.
She'd just been about to confess to Methos that she knew
who and what he was, when the Vikings had interrupted them.
Methos had been able to tell her before they'd been separated
that they where indeed heading for the town of York, having
overheard the guards talking.
She shivered in the cold, still wet from her fall in the
river. She could also feel the other immortal presence nearby,
so she knew he was still close to her.
She must have fallen asleep when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
Blinking in exhausted confusion, she thought at first that
it was Methos, but instead she found herself looking up into
the face of one of the Vikings that had been on board the
ship with her. The main focus of her troubles before the captain's
He ran a hand down her hair, and she tried to pull away from
him. She couldn't get far however, chained as she was and
her struggles earned her a smile from him.
"Get away from me you Norse bastard!"
He backhanded her across the face at that, and told her in
stilted Latin to keep quiet or he'd break her neck. After
that he ran a hand down her face and neck, feeling her breasts
through the damp cloth that covered her.
He was muttering something in his own language as he brought
his other hand into play, cupping and kneading her breasts
harder and harder as he grew more excited.
He let one of his hands go of her, using it to tug at his
trousers he was wearing, trying to free the erection that
even she could see in the moonlight that was coming through
the small window above her.
Yet, even now she didn't panic. She'd learnt a long time
ago the hard way that panic got you nowhere. She was smarter
if not physically stronger than the man who was about to rape
her. She just had to wait for her moment.
Her moment didn't come however. Before she had a chance to
react, to develop any kind of further plan, blood splattered
over her as the man on top of her had his throat slit and
fell heavily on top of her.
"Thank the gods that you came. He was going to..."
Methos reached out a hand, grabbing the dead weight that
lay on top of her, and hefting it roughly to one side. On
the other side of the stall, the horses could smell the fresh
blood in the air and where starting to panic.
"I know. I saw him making his way over." He searched through
the dead man's clothes, finding a key and some coins. He used
the key, relief running through him when he found it worked
on her chains.
"We have to get out of here. The horses are going to attract
attention soon. Probably best if we've nowhere near here when
they find him." He didn't mention the other man he'd had to
kill. He had his and what he assumed was Andrasta's sword
back. Methos hadn't liked the odds of meeting another immortal
without something to defend himself with.
Andrasta stood shakily to her feet, smiling slightly as he
handed her sword back to her. She'd only had a small meal
today, and she was tired and still wet. Still, she had enough
energy to kick the corpse on the ground and smile.
Methos said nothing as he watched her, just held out his
hand. One strong firm grasp took another, both making their
way to the door in silence. Once sure that the way was clear,
they bolted from their cover, leaving the spooked horses behind
knowing that they'd take some down to calm down. Even as they
cleared the village outskirts they could hear the horses getting
louder in their distress over the death in their stall. Soon
they were away from the small Viking outpost, running through
the woods in the moonlight.
The dawn when it came was a welcome sight. Meaning that their
cold trek through the forest would at least be made easier
with the welcome addition of light and the possibility that
it might be a warm day.
Methos had offered to rest several times for Andrasta's sake,
but she had refused, wanting to put as much distance between
themselves and their would-be hunters as possible.
Still, with the coming of the light a sense of ease descended
upon the pair. It was as if the light was a sign that their
troubles where over.
"Things always look better in the morning, don't you find?"
She rolled her eyes at him. "Depends on your point of view
I suppose." She watched as he sat down on a convenient rock,
patting it, inviting her it sit beside him.
They were quiet for a moment, until the sound of one stomach
growling was joined by another in quick succession. Andrasta
was the first to laugh.
"Oh, what I wouldn't give for a bath, a warm bed and a good
Methos nodded, taking hold of his boot and pulling it off
to exam his foot. "Look at that? Blisters! You really can't
beat a good pair of shoes."
In front of his eyes however, the sores on his feet, given
a chance, began to heal.
"I swear, I'll never..." Andrasta cut him off.
To emphasize her point, she glared at him, making him keep
quiet. Realising that she was serious, he stopped talking,
and very soon, both could hear the sound of voices echoing
through the woods.
"Where do you think it's coming from?" She whispered.
He took her hand. "Don't know. Behind here, quick!"
Jumping down off the boulder, they hid directly behind it,
where some brush had grown up against it, providing an excellent
hiding place, if a little cramped. Andrasta almost yelped
when a thorn stuck into her arm.
The voices where louder now, and from their position they
could just about make out a path coursing it's way through
the forest diverting to their left just before it came to
the large stone. Methos raised his eyebrows in question at
her, but before she had time to ponder just what he meant,
two figures came into view.
One was a giant of a man, dressed in simple clothing, carrying
a bow and a quiver of arrows on his back and what looked like
a young deer over one shoulder.
The other was a young boy, perhaps 7 or 8 carrying a brace
Methos turned to Andrasta. Whoever they where they would
undoubtedly have food and both of them where starving. Besides,
they could offer to pay for it with the money they had stolen.
Stepping cautiously from there hiding place, both the strangers
on the path looked slightly shocked at their sudden appearance.
The man looked ready to drop his prize and reach for an arrow.
Methos raised up a hand. "Please, we mean you no harm. We
were attacked by raider's and we've ended up lost in the woods.
We just need some directions and a little food."
Andrasta spoke up. "Please? We're very hungry, and we can
pay you for your trouble?"
She fished out the small bag of silver coins. They were from
Dublin, but there value would easily be recognised.
The man appeared to consider it, before he let out a gruff
laugh. "Those bloody Norse are always causing trouble for
us. Come with me, and I'll see that your fed and put on the
right path again for your journey."
Andrasta smiled, turning to Methos who answered her with
a grin of his own. Walking up to the two, they introduced
themselves as Bran and Mary.
The hunter tossed Methos his bow and quiver. "Here, you can
carry this. Don't worry, it's not too far to home." He started
walking again, the two immortals lagging behind.
The little community where they found themselves was of the
simplest variety. The huts where basically made from a row
of sticks placed in the ground and then weaved through to
form a wall. Support struts on each side and one on the centre
on the inside held up the roof.
They had been made welcome and had been fed a simple meal
of bread and salted meat, but to the pair of them, it was
one of the best meals they had ate in a long time simply because
it had satisfied a hunger that neither of them had felt in
They had spent the day in the small village, resting and
talking and had been given the loan of a hut belonging to
another man and woman who where away to the funeral of her
mother. So, as they sat in their small hut, the fire flickering
it's warming light against the walls, Andrasta decided that
she had to tell him her secret. Mainly because even she could
see where they where both heading and she needed to let him
The other immortal poked at the fire with a stick, sending
fire whisps floating up into the hut before they died.
She tried to look up at him. "Remember when I told you, that
I hadn't been such a nice person in the past?"
That got his attention, as she knew it would. "You don't
have to tell me any..."
"You need to know this. It...it has to do a bit with you."
She turned a worried look to him. "Yes, with you."
The young woman could feel the grip on her arms tighten as
they dragged her to the sacred grove. "Please! No! I've done
The women holding her ignored her pleas for help. Soon she
was tied to a tree, the ground at her feet stained black with
the blood of her tribes' prisoners and enemies.
She had been chosen for sacrifice when the Mistress of the
Grove had told her leaders that she had seen that her death
would ensure victory for them when they next raided their
A stranger, a Roman by the name of Maximus had shown an interest
in her form the moment he had arrived in their encampment.
He had spotted her when they had passed through, and had returned
a few days later. His dark good looks where only marred by
the scar on his face and what she had sensed was darkness
hidden just below the surface.
She thought him attractive, but didn't want to marry him.
He was too worldly for her, he seemed smarter than he let
others see, and she had noticed a cruel edge to him. Still,
it was a good match as far as her father was concerned and
she went by his wishes.
"Maximus!" She called out, hoping that he would hear her
and come rescue her. Surely he loved her enough if he wanted
to marry her to rescue her from this fate? After all, Andrasta
wasn't his goddess; he didn't have to worry about what she
"Quiet child! This is a sacred place!"
Hetta tried to halt the tears but she couldn't. She felt
"Please! Don't kill me, please!"
The old woman lifted the age-old dagger from the blood soaked
stone. She ran her hands over the bones and bits of cloth
tied to and nailed to the trees around her.
Ignoring her screams she gently pressed the blade into her
chest and pulled it down. It took Hetta a long time to die,
and when she did, she was alone.
A gasp of breath and a pain she had never felt before shot
through her, forcing her to arch against the tree she was
still tied to. Confusion held her in its grip, so she didn't
notice the figure in front of her and she didn't notice the
sacred blade glint in the moonlight.
A sharp slap on her face grabbed her attention, and she turned
fearful eyes to the man in front of her.
"No, not Maximus." He used the knife in his hands to cut
her loose, and then threw it hard into the corpse of the old
hag who had sacrificed Hetta to her Goddess. He reached out
a hand to her.
"My name is Kronos, and you are no longer Hetta. Hetta died
this day." He lifted her unsteadily to her feet, his fingers
griping her chin tight as he forced her to look him straight
in the eyes.
She knew she should be dead. The memory of the knife tearing
through her was still strong in her mind. She forced herself
to speak, her words a stutter as she tried to overcome her
"Who...who am I then?"
A harsh laugh answered her as he let her go, but she stayed
on her feet, glancing over to the body lying in the grass.
"You are vengeance against those who would hurt you, you
are death to our enemies, suffering to those who do not do
as we tell them. You are their Goddess incarnate. After all,
no one can kill a God but another God. You are Andrasta, and
I am your teacher in this business of death."
She shuddered slightly at his words, but she also felt a
small thrill at them. She shouldn't be alive but she was,
and her people had willingly let her go to her death. Even
her father had stood by and had done nothing to help her.
She glanced around her. It was right then that this place,
this festering grove in the wilderness that had saw the death
of so many should be the place she had been reborn.
She walked the short distance to where he stood. "And I want
to learn Kronos."
He turned at her words, a hard cruel smile on his face. Grabbing
her, he pulled her to him roughly and they kissed. A brutal
kiss like nothing she had ever experienced before. "You'll
learn. And they learn."
Lying down on the ground, they made love, surrounded by the
stench of death.
Methos couldn't believe what he was hearing. He'd heard rumours
that Kronos had joined the Roman army around that time, but
to discover that the woman sitting before him was his pupil
was something he hadn't expected at all.
"What did the pair of you do?" He dreaded to hear the words,
didn't want to know the terror and fear that undoubtedly these
two had caused.
The fire was near dead, the ambers glowing red in the dark
of the hut as full darkness had descended outside.
"We...we used my immortality to convince my tribe that I
was their Goddess, insisting upon sacrifice after sacrifice.
It's only when the Romans attacked our tribe and attacked
Bodica that we where forced to go our separate ways, and by
that time I knew exactly what I was and what Kronos had done."
She tried to see his expression in the darkness, but it was
impossible to tell just how he was feeling. "What you had
done...as one of the Horsemen."
Movement across from her, and the ambers scattered before
her as he stormed out of the hut they where in.
She found him down by the stream, standing looking off into
"Methos? Do you hate me?"
That got his attention. "Hate you?" He turned to look at
her. "HATE you? No!" He went up to her, wrapping his long
slender arms around her in a tight embrace. "No, no! I couldn't
hate you. I've done a lot worse and if I judge you, I have
to judge myself, and I've already done that. I decided a long
time ago that to try and live with that kind of guilt was
wrong. I've got a potential eternity; I don't want to waste
it trying to make up for the past constantly. Its just..."
She nodded against him. "It's just him."
"Kronos. I don't think I'll ever be allowed to bury him in
She pulled back a little, tears in her eyes. "I don't think
either of us will."
He couldn't help but smile at her, even though she could
see the sadness behind it. "Come with me?"
That caught her by surprise. "Come with you?" A teardrop
rolled down her face, Methos catching it with a simple wipe
of his thumb. "Why? Why would you want me to?"
"Because I think we still need to exorcise a demon or two,
and it might be easier with someone who has the same demon."
Andrasta was shaking, but the man in front of her had just
offered her something that no-one else could; something in
common. Something that tied them together in a way she had
never been able to find in anyone before.
She pulled herself together, allowing herself to begin to
look forward to the future.
"Well?" Asked Methos, "Want to go somewhere?"
She laughed this time. "Alright, why not?"
Methos took her hand, and Andrasta found herself enjoying
his touch. Almost half way back to the small village, she
suddenly stopped him. "Where are we going then?"
He started walking again, enjoying her laugh as he pulled
her up the path. "I don't know. We'll see when we get there."
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