what's new

Click here to find out what's new on this site.



Sections of this site

Highlander - The Raven Highlander Highlander Highlander - The Raven

In Memoriam, Part Four

Oh yet we trust that somehow good,
Will be the final goal of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
Defects of doubt and taints of blood.


Paris, 1999

Neither man had his mind much on the game and the chess pieces were moved with only token consideration, both Duncan and Methos lost more in their own thoughts about recent events than the battle waging on the board in front of them. It was almost a relief when the sensation of an approaching Immortal swept over them.

The door opened to admit a weary Juliette, still barely able to stand upright. She staggered forward until she reached the short flight of steps that led to the living area, then her legs gave way and she collapsed. The two men rushed to help her, but when the nature of her wound became obvious, they glanced at each other, the thought unspoken between them.

"What happened?" asked Duncan.

"I found Anselm," Juliette said, "and I was no match. He would have taken my head, but for that friend of yours. He must have followed me and seen what happened."

"Wolfe was there?" asked Duncan. "So where is Anselm now?" Juliette pushed herself into an upright position before she answered.

"He left with your friend. At gun point."

Duncan looked at Methos. "Amanda," they said in unison, both men reaching for their coats. Duncan turned to Juliette.

"You stay here." She shook her head.

"No way, MacLeod. I'm coming with you."

"Then we wait until you're feeling stronger," said Duncan, putting his coat down again. Methos made no sign of putting down his and Duncan stared at him long and hard until, with a shrug, he sat down.


"So when did you meet Amanda?" Nick asked Michelle. They were walking along the banks of the Seine, arm in arm as they had been ever since they had left the Sanctuary, Michelle taking hold of him as soon as they were out of the door and refusing to let go. She swung playfully as they walked, smiling at him knowingly.

"Duncan found me just after I first died. He'd known my family for years and, when I was killed, he was there for me. But it didn't work out with him being my teacher, so he sent me to Amanda."

"You make it sound like you were a parcel," said Nick.

"I was," said the girl, matter-of-factly. "I couldn't fight or defend myself. I was easy pickings for the first Immortal that came along." Her voice darkened at this and Nick wondered if that first Immortal had a name. "I wouldn't have known how to survive without Duncan or Amanda, or how to use a sword," she finished

"I thought that was the same thing for Immortals," said Nick. She shook her head.

"It's only part of it. Yes, we fight, but everything I knew was taken away from me, my family, my life, my sense of who I was. It's hard to cope with that, and Amanda and Duncan taught me how to handle it." Nick grunted, unwilling to accept what she said at face value. The life of the Immortals seemed more nightmarish than ever when he looked at this young girl who would have to decapitate all comers in order to stay alive. Would have to, but what frightened him more was the conviction that she would. MacLeod and Amanda were training cold blooded killers, he thought, no matter how they dressed it up. Hell, that was what they both were.


Amanda wouldn't have agreed with Nick's description of her, but all the same her blood was running cold at that moment. The man who had trained her, protected her, been all but a father to her, was sat across from her coming apart at the seams. What he was saying was insane, worse than insane, it went against everything she'd ever believed. Against everything he had once held dear. And she didn't know what to do.

"What happened to you?" she said, finally. "There has to be something more than all the centuries." He stared at her distantly, his eyes blank. She realised he wasn't seeing her at all, that his mind was fixed in the past.

"Her name was Irina Petrov," he began, slowly. "One of my old students, but not one who ever took my lessons to heart. Did you know I stopped her from killing Michelle?" Amanda nodded.

"So where is she now?" she asked.

"Irina bore a grudge - she always could. She couldn't live with me interfering, so she worked up the courage to challenge me. She knew she wasn't good enough, I knew she wasn't ever going to be good enough. But she challenged me, my own student. I knew every move she knew - I taught them all to her and she had gotten no better over the years. But she wouldn't quit. Time and again, I would have let her walk away, but she wouldn't quit. She was my student. And you don't kill your own student." He paused, lost in the memory.

"She wanted to provoke me," he continued, "to make me lose my temper. I wasn't the man she'd known. She succeeded. But she forgot that anger is a two edged sword. It can sharpen you as well as distract and dull you. I told her to walk away. She didn't.

"After the Quickening, I found myself standing over her body and I didn't know what to do. I took her in when she was starving. I fed her, I clothed her.

"And I killed her."

"When was this?" asked Amanda.

"A month ago." He looked up at Amanda, his self-control visibly wavering. "In two thousand years, I've taught maybe a dozen of us. Now, I've killed one of my own students, the greatest betrayal of all. I shouldn't have done it. There was a time when I never would have given in to the anger. I can't do this anymore, not alone." Amanda shook her head.

"If she challenged you, then she got what she deserved. It's as much a betrayal for a student to challenge the teacher. You can put this behind you. But what you said..... You can't be serious." His eyes were focused now, the anger building behind them.

"I've never been more serious. Darius was always my friend, his advice was always sound. I need him in my life again." She shook her head.

"Not like that. It's insane. There has to be another way." He stood, the anger behind his eyes calm for the moment. But it was still there. She could see it, like a coiled cobra waiting to lash out, venomous and quite lethal if it caught you. He brushed past her, turning as he reached the door.

"There is no other way," he said.


Despite his low opinion of Immortals, Nick Wolfe was growing to like Michelle Webster. The girl had a way of looking at life that was fresh and irreverent, unlike Amanda's attitude, which sometimes left Nick feeling like he wasn't allowed to play with the grown-ups. Their conversation was peppered with laughter, as he found himself unable to resist the girl's sense of humour. They were watching the crowds queuing to get into Notre Dame when suddenly she stopped and stared around. She relaxed slightly when she spotted Duncan MacLeod walking towards them, but as Nick followed her gaze, he stiffened slightly and reached under his jacket to reassure himself that he still had his gun.

Duncan walked straight towards them, with Methos and Juliette a few paces behind. Nick couldn't help but marvel at the recuperative powers of the Immortals - Juliette was walking upright and unaided, albeit slowly. However, polite conversation about old wounds seemed inappropriate. Judging by the expression on the Highlander's face, just polite conversation might be out of the question.

"You interfered," began MacLeod.

"And she's alive," countered Nick, tilting his head towards Juliette. "What are you going to do? Tell me I had no right? That it was 'Immortal Business'?" Duncan had no reply to that, so he changed tack.

"Where is he now?"


"He's gone," Amanda told them. They had all walked back to the club together, Nick trying to distance himself from the Immortals, Michelle exchanging terse pleasantries with Duncan whilst all the time giving Juliette a wide berth, Methos and Juliette walking along in stony silence. Now, Nick was sat at the bar, trying to ignore the conversation going on behind him. In the mirror, he could see the battle lines being drawn - Amanda, with Michelle behind her, ready to defend their teacher, Duncan wanting to know where he'd gone, Juliette looking like she was ready to have another go at Anselm despite her obvious weakness. And then this Pearson guy. What was the deal with him? He didn't seem the heroic sort, watching them all argue, but he was definitely fired up about something. Or someone. He watched the conversation turn into an argument, then it was obvious he'd had enough.

"Look, Amanda," said Methos, "are you going to tell us where he is or not?" Amanda stared at him, her face set and angry.


"Then we're wasting our time," said Methos. He turned to Juliette. "Come on, let's go." She nodded and, with one last baleful glare at Amanda, followed him out of the door. Duncan watched them go, then breathed a sigh that was part relief and part tired.

"What is he doing in Paris, Amanda? Why has he come here?" he asked.

"It's a beautiful city, darling," she replied. "Who wouldn't want to be here?" There was a forced lightness in her voice that caught his ear and he decided to wait for something better. She knew what he was doing and he could see it maddening her. Eventually, she broke the silence. "Trust me, Duncan, you don't want to know. Let it be."

She was hiding something, that much was obvious. Something she didn't want to let him know. Or was afraid to let him know. Either way, he knew from long experience that trying to get information from Amanda when she was in this kind of mood was a waste of effort.

"If you change your mind," he said, "you know where I'll be." She nodded. Once he'd left, she turned to Michelle.

"Let's go."

"Where?" asked the younger girl.

"Darius' chapel," came the reply. Nick waited until they were gone, then walked over to the phone and started dialling.


"We shouldn't have left, Benjamin," said Juliette, as they walked back along the streets to her hotel. The road was quiet, the afternoon tourists dispersing as night began to fall. They had crossed the river and were heading towards Saint Germaine, Methos deciding that a little food and coffee might be sufficient distraction to prevent Juliette racing off to try and find Anselm again.

"And what would you have done?" he asked her. "Beaten it out of Amanda? Trust me, that wouldn't work. Not with MacLeod standing there. And not on Holy Ground either. The only way we're going to find Anselm is on our own." He had no sooner finished the words than the sensation gave them the lie. They looked round, in time to see Anselm emerge from a nearby doorway. Methos barely had time to react before the shot drove him backwards. He stared down to see the red stain spreading across his shirt as the world went dark.

Juliette fumbled for her sword, holding it out in front of her as Anselm circled carefully, staying firmly out of reach.

"You bastard," she said, "what did you do that for?"

"Expediency," he said, as he shot her. With more time to take aim and a static target, he could be more precise. The bullet hit her in the right shoulder, shattering the joint as it passed through. She dropped her sword as her strong arm became deadweight. She staggered back, but he was faster and the butt of gun caught on the temple, hard enough to stun her without knocking her out.

It was more by good fortune than good planning that he had come upon them in a deserted street, but the opportunity had been too good to pass up. He put his arm under hers, walking away with her as if she was drunk and needed his help to stand. He left her sword lying in the street where it had slipped from her nerveless fingers.

The world rushed back in on Methos as it always did when he came back. Sometimes, that was the worst part, the sudden shock of being alive again. He glanced round to see a small crowd gathered, but it was Amanda's face that was gazing down at him.

"Where is she?" he asked, struggling to sit up. Amanda pulled his coat around him, trying to hide the bullet wound in his chest.

"She's not here," she said, "but her sword was." He looked up at her sharply. "Michelle's got it," in reply to his unspoken question.

"Let's get out of here," he said, staring at the crowd. She nodded her agreement and helped him to his feet. The three of them made as graceful an exit as they could, to the obvious disappointment of the onlookers. Around the corner, out of sight of the throng, Methos stopped and leant back against the wall, waiting for his strength to return.

"Were you following us?" he asked. Amanda shook her head.

"No," she replied, "we were on our way to Darius' chapel when we heard gunshots." Methos nodded.

"He came out of nowhere and simply shot me," he said. "It was very quick and clean. Very professional. I wonder if he's got a sideline in assassination."

"Just like a gunfighter," muttered Amanda, under her breath.

"What?" asked Methos.

"Nothing," Amanda replied.

"At least he's not going to kill her," said Methos, "or he would have done it here." The look in Amanda's eyes told him she wasn't so sure.

"So where do you think he took her?" asked Michelle.

"Where we were going," replied Amanda. "Darius' chapel. Holy Ground." The three of them started to run.


If the phone had had a hook, it would have been ringing off it. Duncan MacLeod heard its insistent shrill long before he set foot on the barge. After he'd answered it, he dropped it to the floor without looking back as he raced out of the door and vaulted off the barge, running back along the Quai, in time to see Nick Wolfe racing from the Sanctuary, having taken the moment longer to hang up. Duncan took the stairs to the bridge two at a time, not bothering to wait for Nick, but sprinting now along the road, cutting across the traffic and into the small park behind the chapel. As he rounded the edge of the building, he could feel them inside.

He didn't know why, but Nick Wolfe's warning filled him with dread. Later, he would rationalise it away, but right now he was operating on instinct that something terrible was about to happen. He ran through the doors of the chapel to see Juliette kneeling before the altar, Anselm's sword at her throat, Amanda and Michelle stood to one side, pleading with Anselm to put the weapon down, Methos tensed, readying himself to rush the man if the chance arose. Anselm stared at the newcomer, his eyes darting backwards and forwards between the women and the Horseman.

"No closer, Highlander, or she dies."

"This is Holy Ground. You can't," said Duncan, starting to move forward.

"Can't I? She wouldn't be the first Immortal to die in this place, would she? What dire perdition befell Darius' murderers? He died here and I lost him. And for what? There was no Quickening, no gathering up of the best of him. Now there will be." Footsteps behind, but Duncan didn't turn. Nick Wolfe had caught up with him.

"So. The last of our company arrives," said Anselm. "Shall we conclude our little drama?"

Nick took a moment to size up the situation, then drew his gun and stepped past Duncan. "Let her go, Anselm," he said.

"Weapons have no dominion over the souls of men," said a voice behind him, full of sadness and disappointment. "Put your weapon down." Startled, Nick turned, unsure whose voice he had heard.

"What did you say?" he asked Duncan, who looked as surprised as him.

"I didn't say anything," he started. His eyes widened as he saw the movement at the altar.

"Shoot him!" Methos shouted at Nick, but it was too late. Anselm swung round, the spinning

motion carrying him in a full circle, generating a blow with enough force to strike Juliette's head from her shoulders. If the stroke had been completed.

The Quickening erupted from the stonework and ripped the sword from his hands before it could slice through Juliette's neck, its energy dark and malevolent, twisting Anselm's body from its first contact. It pulled them apart, beating him back onto the altar and driving him to the ground with unbelievable ferocity, pushing her away with one single, violent thrust. As the Immortals watched, appalled at what was happening, Nick ran forward and grabbed Juliette, dragging her backwards away from the maelstrom consuming Anselm. The Quickening seemed to surge from the floor, from the walls, from the ceiling above, the talons of energy lashing at Anselm, who started to scream. He staggered forward, but the Quickening drove him back, to the side of the chapel.

Duncan couldn't help himself. He walked forward, as if pulled towards the inferno that Anselm's attempt to kill on Holy Ground had unleashed upon himself. Half of him wanted to pull Anselm away, to save him despite what he had intended to do. The Quickening had other ideas. As Duncan reached the front row of the pews, it lashed out at him, throwing him bodily back. Despite the burning in his chest, as he struggled back to his feet, Duncan knew he had felt something else in the energy that had struck him.

Peace. Acceptance.


"Come on, MacLeod." Hands dragging at his arms, pulling him away. Nick helping Juliette outside. Methos pushing Amanda out of the church as she stood and watched slack jawed in horror at what was happening to her teacher.

Duncan turned to leave and the world fell silent.

James Horton walked through the door, coat gathered around him, quiet and purposeful, the men with him familiar to the Highlander, each man a renegade Watcher, remembered from those dark days after Darius' death. He saw them walk up the aisle, oblivious to the Quickening destroying Anselm, ignoring the Immortals.

"Come on, Duncan," pleaded Michelle, but he was rooted to the spot. The door to the presbytery opened and a figure staggered backwards, dressed in a priest's robes, with Horton advancing on him, the gun in his hand not a gun at all, but linked to the priest by a thin connecting wire, the current along the wire all but paralysing the priest, who turned and grabbed a chair, striking the wire and ripping the barbs from his chest. As he saw the priest's face, Duncan started. It was Darius. The men circled him, chains and nunchakus spinning, hacking at the chairs he used to ward off their blows, throwing them at him. Eventually, they overwhelmed him, driving him back towards the altar, back into the Quickening still raging around Anselm.

"Where is the Chronicle?" Horton screamed. "Tell me!" Darius shook his head once, maybe twice, then Horton had a sword in his hand. Duncan stepped forward, Horton and the other ghosts passing through him, as he ran to where Darius had fallen, but he saw only Anselm, collapsed against the pillar where he had found Darius' body all those years ago, weakened by the battering he had received.

"What, what happened here?" he asked, his voice thick with all he had seen. "Tell me!" Anselm stared up at him.

"Would that I could, my friend, would that I could." With that, he closed his eyes and collapsed backwards. Duncan felt for a pulse. He was dead. For now.


They had all retreated to the barge, uncertain as to what they had seen. Juliette was quiet, shaken by her experience, Amanda and Michelle were trying to come to terms with what he had almost done.

"I've never seen a Quickening like it," said Methos. "Whose was it? How could there be a Quickening when he didn't take her head?"

"It was Darius' Quickening," said Amanda. "Anselm believed that a Quickening where Darius fell would release Darius' Quickening as well."

"You knew and you didn't tell me?" accused Duncan.

"I didn't believe he'd do it. After all, it was Holy Ground," she said. "And I knew what Darius meant to you." Methos said nothing, staring thoughtfully at Amanda.

"So now what?" he said.

"Now I kill the bastard," said Juliette, forcefully. "This changes nothing. I'm going to find him and I'm going to kill him."

"Be careful what you ask for," said Duncan. "He's capable of anything."

"This could be your big chance," said Michelle, who had been staring out of the window. Nick looked at the others. He was outside, he had to be, the way they all reacted. Nick beat them to the stairs and turned to stop them.

"It is the middle of Paris," he said. "Swords in broad daylight would not be a good idea."

"You would be surprised," said Methos. They all pushed past him and up on to the deck. Anselm was stood a little way off on the Quai, waiting. For one of them or all of them, Duncan wondered. Juliette started towards him, but Duncan grabbed her arm.

"Don't pick a fight you can't win," he said. She glared at him.

"I don't have a choice," she said. She walked down the gangway onto the Quai and strode towards Anselm, who produced his sword from under his coat. It came clattering across the stones, stopping at her feet.

"You'll need one of those," he said.

"I have my own back, no thanks to you." He shrugged.

"Either will do the job." She stared at him, uncertain how to react to his action. "Well," he said, "isn't this what you want? The chance to be revenged for what I did to you?"

"Pick up your sword," she said. "Fight me." He shook his head.

"That's not a mistake I will make again. We both know I'm better. If you're going to kill me, you'll never have a better chance. You have a sword. I don't." He stepped a little to one side, then sat down on the step of the Quai. He looked back over his shoulder at her. "Well, what are you waiting for?" Anselm lifted his head, turning it to get a better view of Notre Dame.

Juliette stepped behind him, her own sword in her hand. She had dreamed of this for decades, a chance at revenge. She could imagine herself lifting the sword, the cutting stroke. So why couldn't she do it? She started to lift the sword, but the mark on her chest where the Quickening in the chapel had struck her suddenly burned. No, not a burn, a warm feeling.

"You don't have to kill him." The voice seemed real, but she knew it was in her mind. She knew it would be in her mind for a long time to come.

Duncan and the others watched with bated breath as she stood ever closer to Anselm's back. As the seconds passed and became minutes, they each started to breath easier. Duncan dropped down onto the Quai and walked along slowly.

"I can't," said Juliette, as he approached. "He won't fight me and I can't kill him. Not like this. I never thought it would be like this."

"Killing someone in cold blood isn't easy. It's a lot easier when you can say it was necessary, that it was self defence," Duncan said. Anselm stood and looked at them.

"You felt it, didn't you?" he asked. Duncan didn't answer. "So did she," Anselm continued. "She had a choice. To be like I was to her, or to be like I used to be. Like I'd forgotten how to be."

Duncan had no answer, uncertain if he wanted to think about what he had felt, let alone talk to this man about it. He put his arm around Juliette and led her back to the barge, passing Amanda and Michelle. Anselm watched his students approach.

"I'm sorry," he said. Amanda nodded. It would never be the same again between them, and that saddened her. This was not the man she had known. She looked at his face. It was as if his trials had been washed away, leaving him looking as young as he had that day so long ago when he had driven away the Sheriff's men. Perhaps it would never be the same, but perhaps it wouldn't be so different after all.

"Where will you go?" she asked. He smiled.

"It's time I went home." He looked at Juliette's retreating back. "Tell her how I used to be. Tell her where to find me, when she's ready."

"Do you think she'll want to find you?" asked Amanda.

"I don't know," said Anselm. "I really don't." He smiled, softly. "But I hope she will." He kissed Amanda, then Michelle, then turned and walked away. Amanda picked up his sword from where it lay on the ground.

"Anselm!" she shouted. "You forgot....." He half-turned and shook his head, then carried on walking. He hadn't forgotten.


I sing to him that rests below,
And, since the grasses round me wave,
I take the grasses of the grave,
And make them pipes whereon to blow.