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Master of Opportunity (Part 2)

by Denise Proctor and Bertha Trusdell (c) 1999



"So what happened to you?" Joe asked. Methos looked up at him, giving him a wry smile.

"Well, I headed west, towards Greece. Within a week, I was attacked by band of raiders, captured and spent the next hundred years in slavery." Methos rose from his chair beside the bed and walked to the window, staring out at the world, his hands jammed into his jeans pockets.

Joe watched this man who was his friend. He looked to be in his late twenties, maybe thirty, but his life had spanned more than five thousand years. 'The sights he must have seen,' Joe thought, 'the things he must have experienced.'

"And...?" Joe asked quietly, trying to gently urge the Immortal to continue his story.

"Some of my masters were gentle and kind but most of them were not. A hundred years of servitude." He chuckled in amazement, shaking his head. "I thought that it was enough to redeem myself. So, finally getting free, I headed back to the temple."

Methos moved to sit back in the chair, facing his friend. He took a deep breath before continuing.

"I traveled east, this time, hoping to get back there but, for some reason, I couldn't remember where the temple was. For weeks, I roamed through the Zagros Mountains, not knowing which way to turn. Then, believe it or not, I got sick..."

700 BC


He staggered through the foothills, tired and hungry. He couldn't believe that he was lost! He needed to find the God who seemed to control his future but he didn't know, he couldn't remember, where the temple was. How would he ever know if he was worthy of salvation if he couldn't find the temple?

Stumbling over a hidden rock, Methos fell into a thicket, scratching his face, hands and arms. Gasping at the sudden, but minor, pain, he rolled out of the bushes, ending up on his back among the tumble of the hillside. He lay there, assessing his situation. He was hungry; his food had run out two days ago. He was thirsty; the last water he'd found was yesterday afternoon. Now he was lost and tired, so very tired.

He turned his head to survey his surroundings when he spotted a bush just up the slope, covered in blue colored berries. Food! He scrambled up, with more energy then he thought he had. He picked one berry, cautiously biting into it. Savoring the flavor, and noting no adverse reactions, he started grabbing them by the handfuls, stuffing them into his mouth as fast as he could pick them.

His hunger momentarily satisfied and his thirst abated, he curled up in the shade of the bush to sleep. 'Everything will be better after I rest,' his exhausted mind thought

He was awakened sometime later by the violent cramping of his stomach. Folding himself into the pain, he realized that he was shivering with chills despite the blazing sun, the result of a fever that he felt raging through his body. The berries! They must have been poisonous after all.

He cramped again as he vomited the contents of his stomach, the spasms continuing even after he was empty. Collapsing back to the ground, his energy drained, he just wished that he would die and get it over with!

"Please,' he moaned to the surrounding emptiness, "please just let me die."

"Death is not the answer to your salvation."

He tried to raise himself to his knees, searching for the source of the voice. Looking about wildly, he found no one. Dropping his head into his shaking hands, he groaned "God help me."

"I will always help you, my son."

His head snapped up to search the sky, finding only the blinding sunlight. Not knowing if this was his imagination or not, he lashed out at the annoying voice.

"If you always help me then why did you drag me out here?"

"I did not bring you out here," the voice spoke calmly. "You did that yourself. What were you seeking?"

"I was searching for you!" Methos shouted

"You need not search for me, my child. I am with you always."

Methos sat there silently, pondering this. He hadn't realized! Why hadn't the God told him? He bowed his head in despair.

"Why were you searching for me?" the voice asked him softly.

"I wanted to know if I was yet worthy of redemption." He raised his head to look again at the sky. "Have I earned your forgiveness?"

"Do you think that you are worthy? Do you feel that you've earned forgiveness?"

"I DON'T KNOW!" Methos shouted, forcing himself to stand. "Only you can tell me that."

A moment of silence followed. "Your redemption is not complete."

This pronouncement sent a burst of rage throughout his fevered body. "I have spent the last century enslaved by men, as I had enslaved others. What more do you need?"

"What did you learn from this experience?"

Methos collapsed to the ground, his anger washing away. What had he learned from his life these past one hundred years?

"I learned that it's not much fun being a slave." He thought for a minute then chuckled. "I learned what a hard day's work really is." He sobered, his voice dropping to a whisper. "I learned that I'd do anything to stay alive."

"Humility, the dignity of labor, the will to survive, these are all good lessons. But there is still more for you to learn."

"What else can I hope to learn?" he asked in perplexity

"Hope." The voice said

The sun chose that moment to blaze bright enough to cause Methos to close his eyes. When he opened them again, he found that it was dusk, the sun beginning to fall behind the hills. Scanning the area, afraid that his eyes were deceiving him, he was surprised when he spotted a small stream winding its way through the rocks.

Making his way to the stream, he drank his fill of the cool, clear water. Once sated, he began to search for food. Locating a nest of snakes hidden in the brush, he used his knife to kill and skin them, roasting them over the small fire that he built.

His stomach filled for the first time in weeks, he settled down by the fire to sleep, his one hand clasping the medallion that still hung around his neck.

'Tomorrow I will start out again,' he thought to himself. 'This time I will succeed.'



"And did you?" Joe asked

"Eventually, I guess." Methos smiled. "I set out again, heading back west but this time I was more careful. With the Horsemen, I learned to survive by brutality and force. During my years as a slave, I learned to survive through guile and cunning. I was not going to get captured this time."

"Where did you go?"

"Everywhere." Methos told him. "From Phoenicia and Cyprus, through Greece and Rome, to Carthage and finally Egypt. And everywhere I went I did what I could to help. Building dams and homes to help people survive, teaching languages and trades that they may help themselves. And when I could not teach them, I learn what they could teach me."

"How long was it before you spoke with the God again."

"Another hundred years." Methos sighed. "The Assyrians had begun attacking Egypt and I tried to escape by diving into the Red Sea. Needless to say, I drowned." Methos chuckled. "But I eventually washed up on the far shore..."


600 BC


"Rise, my son." A gentle voice echoed in his mind as Methos drew in a ragged breath. The effects of his drowning death still wracked his body, preventing him from answering.

"Rise and come to me." The voice urged him. Methos slowly raised his head, searching for the source of the voice.

"Where are you?" he choked out, his voice not yet under control.

"I am everywhere."

"Oh, great!" Methos grumbled, finally sitting with his head in his hands. "Riddles!"

"Why were you searching for me?" the voice asked him. Methos thought that this sounded familiar.

"I wanted to know if I was yet worthy of redemption." He raised his head to look up at the sky.

"Do you think that you are worthy?"

Methos was starting to get frustrated with this. "I don't know." He said evenly. "Why don't you tell me."

"Your redemption is not complete."

"Just like that? No discussion, no nothing, just a pronouncement?"

"How did you spend this past time, my son?"

Methos told the God of all that he had seen, all that he had learned and all that he had done.

"He who gives assistance to the poor acknowledges the kingdom of God."

"That's all well and good," Methos argued. "But what more do I have to do? When will I be worthy of redemption?"

"When you are ready, you will know."

"Oh, and when I know, I just have to come and convince you?" Methos was having trouble keeping the sarcasm out of his voice.

"A thousand people cannot convince one by words to the extent that one person can convince a thousand by action."

"For this, I left Egypt?" he grumbled.

Getting no further instructions, Methos rose and, checking to make sure that he still had his medallion, started walking into the desert, seeking he knew not what but going to meet his future.




"So? What happened?" Joe tried to sit forward before Methos restrained him with a hand on his chest.

"Joe, relax," he admonished his friend. "If you get too excited, that escapee from a Wagner opera is going to throw me out of here."

As if on cue the nurse entered the room, impaling Methos with an icy glare before moving over to Joe's bedside.

"Are you alright, Joe?" she asked as she surveyed the wires that connected him to the phalanx of machinery. "Suddenly all your readings seemed to bounce off the charts."

"No, I'm not alright!" Joe shouted in an uncharacteristic show of temper at the interruption. "I'm dying, you twit!" The last thing he wanted was to give Methos any reason to stop with his story.

"Now, Joe, you know I'm only here to help," she patiently admonished, as if talking to a petulant child.

"You would help me more if you would just go away." Joe responded through clenched teeth. He glared at the nurse and, after a momentary battle of wills, she smiled and left the room.

As the door closed, Methos burst into relieved laughter. "You are most definitely not a good patient."

"Forget about her," he said, dismissing the episode. "If I don't yell at her at least once a day, she sticks a thermometer..." Methos raised his eyebrows at the slight pause. "In my mouth, you bastard." Joe finished, chuckling. Resettling himself comfortably in the bed, he waited for Methos to continue. When the Immortal showed no inclination to begin his story again, Joe urged him on.

"Well?" he asked. "What happened next? Where did you go? What did you do?"

"OK," Methos laughed, "let me see." He strolled around the room, seeming to search his memory. At an imploring glare from Joe, he laughed again. "I'm trying to remember! This didn't happen yesterday, you know."

"Like this is something that you'd forget." Joe scoffed.

Nodding, Methos picked up the tale. "I headed east this time, through India, then north through the mountains to Mongolia and China and even into Japan. I learned about medicines and became a healer. I was, for a time, a special envoy for the Emperor. I did whatever I could to promote peace, sometimes at the risk of my own life."

"Did you come across many other Immortals along the way?"

"A few," Methos smiled. "It was during this time that I perfected my 'run and hide' techniques. Unfortunately, I didn't always succeed." He came to sit back down on the chair by the bed, facing Joe. "Sometimes, in the quest for peace, the messenger is sacrificed. I died quite a few times throughout those years. But I also found a certain peace in my own soul. I thought that I had begun to understand what the Gods were trying to tell me so, after another hundred years, I headed back to the temple."

"You remembered where it was?"

"Surprisingly, yes. And, you know, after 300 years, it hadn't changed a bit..."


500 BC


Methos entered the temple slowly, in awe of what he found. Everything appeared to be the same as it had been the last time that he'd been here. Moving to kneel before the statue, he looked up at the image that he had, for so long, carried in his mind. Reaching inside his tunic, he withdrew the medallion that, like him, had survived the past three hundred years of tests and trials. Holding it securely between his palms as if in prayer, he took a deep, calming breath and, raising his head, spoke to the God.

"I have returned," he said calmly as his eyes searched the temple.

"Welcome, my son." The soothing voice echoed throughout the temple and inside his mind. "What has brought you here?"

"I came to see if I was yet worthy of redemption." He raised his head to look up at the statue.

"Do you think that you are worthy?"

Methos thought for a moment before he answered. "I have traveled very far, suffering much but helping many. I have learned the differences of people only to find that they are mostly the same. I have learned that, for others to believe in you, you must believe in yourself. So, yes, I think I am worthy." He held his breath, waiting for the God's response.

"Your redemption is complete."

Methos released his breath in amazement. "That's it?" he questioned, as he stood. "A few simple words make you think that I am worthy?"

"I have always thought that you were worthy, my son. It was you who were in doubt."

"But...but..." Methos stammered, unable to believe how easy it had been.

"I told you when you first came to me that we are all worthy if salvation is what we seek. But, until you accepted it within yourself, your redemption would not be complete."

"So, that's it?" He shook his head in amazement. "I suffer, on and off, for three hundred years and it erases all the evil that I've done?"

"No, my son." The voice told him. "Your suffering has succeeded in changing you from the evil that you were. There is still the need for retribution to erase the Evil that you've done."

His head snapped up at the mention of retribution. What could possibly be asked of him that would erase the horrors that he had committed? His death? 'No,' he thought. 'that would be too quick, too easy.' His life? To live his never-ending existence with what he'd done, the memories always present in his mind, would be a cruel and, therefore, just punishment. But there had to be more.

"Yes, there is more." The voice reassured him. "You have spent centuries destroying all that was good in the world, simply because you could. Your retribution will be to save that which you once sought to destroy. The time will come when an Evil will exist in this world that makes your actions pale in comparison. You must fight this Evil, banishing it from the world, to save mankind. This will be your retribution."

Methos thought about the task that had been laid before him. "Fight a battle?" he asked. "As simple as that?" Methos had had many teachers over the centuries and was very, very good with a sword. He drew himself up, standing tall and proud. "There is no enemy that I cannot defeat."

"You cannot imagine the Power of this Evil!" the voice boomed, causing the very walls of the Temple to reverberate, forcing Methos back down to his knees. "And this enemy will use your own pride to defeat you!"

Methos trembled at the wrath in the God's voice. "Forgive me," he pleaded.

Again, there was a momentary pause. "I forgive you, my son," the voice assured him. "But, without this retribution, will the world be able to forgive you? Will you be able to forgive yourself?"

Methos shook his head, unable to speak around the tears in his eyes and fear in his chest.

"When will I face this evil?" Methos finally asked

"In the future. But you must face the Evil with a pure heart, a peaceful soul. You will need the time to prepare. But when the time is upon you, you will know."

"But how will I recognize the evil? How will I know that I'm ready?" Methos pleaded for answers, staring up at the statue.

"You will know." The voice echoed off the walls of the temple then slowly died away.

Methos knelt in silence for a very long time, unmoving. Finally, he grasped the medallion between his hands and made a solemn vow to whatever God had given him this chance.

"I will continue to search for the knowledge. I will continue to seek the wisdom. Then, when the time is right, I will defeat this Evil to protect mankind. This I swear on my life."

With those words, he rose and walked from the temple, at peace with himself for the first time in two millennia. He had a goal, a task to perform. But, in his innocence, he did not fully understand what that task might cost.




Joe sat in stony silence, mouth agape. Methos smiled as he reached over and, using one finger under Joe's chin, gently closed his mouth. The movement broke through Joe's trance-like state.

"You...you..." Joe sputtered. Taking a moment to collect himself, Joe took a deep breath and tried again. "You were the Champion?"

"A Champion, yes." Methos smiled slowly behind his steepled fingers, allowing Joe to work through his disbelief.

"You're trying to tell me that some ancient God entrusted you with the future of mankind?" Joe scoffed. In his surprise, he didn't realize how that sounded until he watched a quick look of hurt pass over Methos' face, to be replaced by one of resigned sadness.

"Who would trust me with anything that important, right?" Methos responded sarcastically, waving his hand as if to brush the thought away. Joe reached out and grabbed the hand, holding it tightly, getting his friends attention.

"Methos, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that. It's just that..." Joe looked for the right words to say. Searching his friend's face, he realized that there weren't any. "You're serious, aren't you? You're not pulling my leg?"

Methos answered slowly. "The truth, the whole truth..."

"...and nothing but the truth." Joe finished. Shaking his head as the words set in, Joe's only response was a softly spoken "Wow!"

"Unbelievable, isn't it?" Methos asked, the hint of a smile on his face. He could understand Joe's disbelief. After all, hadn't Methos made a habit of teasing his friends with unbelievable stories and outrageous explanations?

Suddenly, Joe put a voice to the barrage of questions that were spinning around in his head. "Did you win? Well, obviously you did. When did it happen? Where did you battle? How did you know what to do?"

"Well," Methos sighed. "Yes, I did win. 'When' was around 4 BC. 'Where' was on Holy Ground. And I had no idea what to do." He finally laughed at the absurdity of his explanation.

"The battle took place on Holy Ground?" Joe probed. He didn't know how much longer the old man would continue to answer his questions, so he wasn't going to stop.

Methos nodded. "In an ancient temple site on the plains of southern Britain. All the battles against evil take place on Holy Ground."

"Really?" Joe was surprised by this revelation

"For Evil to be the victor, Joe, he must seduce a good soul, bringing it, willingly, to him. Doing so on Holy Ground would make Evil's triumph even more complete. That's why immortals aren't allowed to fight on Holy Ground."

"You mean that really is a rule?" Joe saw a look of surprise cross Methos' face. "I mean, I thought that maybe it was just something that someone made up to give you guys a place to rest, you know, something with no deep purpose. I didn't know there was a 'real' reason."

"A lot of people think that, Joe. Unfortunately, it is true. Any evil done on Holy Ground makes him even stronger. To take the Champion there would make his victory complete for all time."

"Wasn't there anyone to help you, to tell you what had to be done?"

"Part of the battle for the Champion, Joe, is to figure it out for himself. But, usually, the previous Champion helps to prepare and guide the next one, the teacher for the Ultimate Battle, you might say. But, in my case, there wasn't anyone to help me, other than the God telling me that when it was time, I'd know."

"Why not? And what does all this have to do with MacLeod?"

"In the aftermath of the battle, I was almost lost. A man found me, a man who managed to save my soul. Out of love and friendship for him, I made another promise." Methos looked Joe in the eyes. "I seem to make a habit of that with people I care about, don't I?"


4 BC - Britannia


They surrounded him, taunting him with their vacant, dead eyes, beating at him with sticks, shovels and pitchforks. He hacked at them with his sword, running them through, severing arms and legs, but still they came. The thousands of people that he had killed had finally risen up against him.

They rushed him, knocking him to the ground. They were on him, pummeling him, stabbing him. He lay there, hunched into a ball, trying to protect his head and, more important, his neck but they grabbed at him and, taking his arms and legs, spread him out on his back. He had no defense. He was going to die. Looking up into the blinding sun, they appeared as dark shadows towering over him. And among the indistinct faces above him, there was one he made out, clearly. The face of his tormentor, the demon, Ahriman.

Fighting against the hands that held him, in anger, in fear, in frustration, he screamed...

...as the faces above him dissolved into one. An old face, a wise face, backlit by the sun, surrounded by the standing stones of this Holy place. Was this the face of his God? Yes! The Gods had come to save him.

"Rest easy, my son," the vision said, "You are safe. I will protect you."

With the reassurance of the vision, he relaxed, drifting as if on a cloud, into a peaceful oblivion. He felt himself being lifted and gently moved but he didn't care. He was finally safe.



Methos awoke to the sounds of the spring forest; birds twittering in joy, leaves rustling in the breeze. He lay, surrounded by the comfort of soft furs, on a pallet of fresh, clean straw.

Opening his eyes, he found himself in a hut, brightened by the many windows yet cooled by the surrounding foliage. He had no idea where he was, but he knew that he felt safe.

Climbing out from under the sleeping furs, he slowly rose to his feet, weak and unsteady. As he took a moment to gain his balance, he noticed that his clothes had been mended and cleaned. His recent ordeal had debilitated him almost beyond his Immortal powers of healing. It took him a few minutes to gather himself but, eventually, inching his way to the doorway, using the table and the walls as support, he stepped outside.

The tranquility of the forest was like a balm to his soul. He drew in a deep, cleansing breath, allowing the feeling of harmony to wash over his body, through his being, raising his spirits. After so long, after so much misery, he was at peace.

He turned to survey his surroundings, taking in the spectacular vista. At the edge of the clearing, opposite the hut, was a stream. He was surprised to find himself thirsty. Moving slowly to the edge of the stream, he knelt down, sipping the cool, clear water. It tasted like nectar to his parched throat. He drank his fill before he was suddenly overcome with weariness. The simple exertion of walking to the stream had sapped his limited strength. He stood, attempting to make his way back to the hut, when he was assaulted by an Immortal presence.

There, standing by the hut, was a man, dressed in a robe of some indistinct color, reflecting the hues of the forest. His hair, snowy white, hung past his shoulders, merging with the beard of the same color that hung below his waist. His face was creased with a smile, soothing and inviting. But Methos was captured by the man's eyes. Blue, the color of the spring sky, engulfed him, seeming to drag him into their depths. But, instead of bringing fear, the impression was one of comfort, of serenity, of peace. Overcome by a wave of dizziness, Methos gave in to the sensation, collapsing to the ground.

He woke to the light of a roaring fire, bright against the outside darkness. The smell of food sent his stomach to rumbling. He opened his eyes, hoping to locate some of the aromatic fare.

Crouched down before him, a calming smile on his face, was the old man. Seeing the surprised reaction, the man spoke.

"Rest easy, my friend. You are safe." Reaching out, he slowly touched his fingers to Methos' head. Methos momentarily drew back, but allowed the contact.

"Good," the old man said, he smile growing. "Your fever has broken. Do you think that you could eat something?"

Reacting to the slight nod of Methos' head, the old man moved over to the fire, returning with a bowl of stew. Methos sat up as he was handed the bowl.

"Eat slowly, my friend," he admonished. "Your body will reject it if you eat too quickly."

Methos nodded again, as he tasted the stew, savoring the flavor of the thick broth, with its vegetables and meat. 'This must be heaven,' he thought.

The old man watched as Methos ate and, satisfied that he was going to retain his meal, retrieved his own bowl and sat down beside the pallet.

"My name is Ambrosius. This," waving his hand to indicate the hut, "is my home. You are welcome here."

Methos tried to speak only to find that his voice wouldn't cooperate. Clearing his throat, he tried again.

"I am Methos," he said softly, surprising himself with his honesty. The very presence of the man seated before him seemed to negate his ability to lie. "How did I come to be here?"

"I brought you here." Reacting to the questioning look on the young Immortal's face, he continued. "The Old Ones told me that someone needed my help. I found you on the plain, amidst the standing stones, weak and burning with fever, screaming at the images in your mind."

"How long have I been here?"

Ambrosius thought for a moment. "The moon was full on the night that I found you. Tonight it will not appear in the sky."

Methos listened to the old man's description. He had been unconscious for approximately fourteen days! He looked around, trying to recall something, anything, but he had no memory of the time. He remembered his battle with the demon, just barely defeating the Evil. But the aftermath had left him shaken to the core, vulnerable and weak. He remembered being among the standing stones. He remembered what must have been a dream. But there was nothing after that. He looked back at the old man.

"Ambrosius," he said, testing the sound of the name. A Latin name that meant 'immortal', a Roman name. "You are Immortal?" Methos asked, suddenly not trusting his senses.

"Yes," Ambrosius smiled. "I am Immortal. I am the oldest of us that still exists."

Methos absorbed this information, a little in awe of the man that sat next to him. "Are you Roman?"

"I have been many things in my life but, no, I am not Roman."

Methos continued to eat as he watched the old man. He should feel cautious, he should be on guard but the aura of peace that emanated from this man set him completely at ease. He knew, inexplicably, that he was in no danger here.

Overcome with the sudden need for sleep, his eyes began to droop. Ambrosius took the bowl from his hands, placing it on the floor as he moved to cover Methos with the sleeping furs.

"Rest, my son," he said, his voice a soothing comfort. "We will talk more in the morning."

Nodding as he snuggled down under the covers, Methos fell asleep feeling safe.



The two men did talk the next day and the day after, as Methos continued to grow stronger. Over the subsequent days and weeks they fell into a daily routine: hunting small game for food, picking herbs for cooking and medicines and tending the small vegetable garden. Ambrosius answered all his questions, teaching him of many things. Methos came to believe that there was nothing that this old man did not know. He relished the opportunity to talk with someone older than he; someone who understood the things that time could do to a man.

He found himself telling Ambrosius of all that he'd done, of his part in the evil that was The Horsemen, his plea to the Gods, and his battle with Ahriman. He was heartened that, after baring his soul, the only reaction that he got was one of acceptance. So, for the very first time in his memory, he felt at home, at peace.

One day, after being with Ambrosius for about three years, the old man came to him. Methos was kneeling beside the outdoor fire, cooking the fish that he had caught earlier in the day. Ambrosius knelt next to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. Methos looked up at the contact, smiling at his friend. His smile faded as he saw the look on the old man's face.

"What is wrong, my friend?" Methos asked with concern, taking the food from the fire. "Did the Old Ones bring you bad news?"

Ambrosius nodded. "Sad news, I'm afraid." He sighed. "I visited the standing stones today and the Old Ones told me that the time has come for you to leave."

"Leave?" Methos was shocked, not wanting to believe what he was hearing. "But why must I leave? This is my home."

"This will always be your home, Methos." The Holy Man assured him. "But the Old Ones have told me that there are still things that you must do."

Methos was bewildered. "I don't understand," he said weakly, fear wrapping itself around his heart.

"You're task in not yet finished, my friend," the old man told him.

"But I've defeated the Evil that would have overtaken the world." Methos protested, standing and pacing around the fire. "What more is there left to do?"

"It is now up to you to find and prepare the next Champion."

He stopped and turned to face the man, his hands on his hips in defiance.

"Next Champion? What next Champion?" Methos couldn't believe what he was hearing. "I won the battle, the Evil is conquered. It is over!"

"You won this battle, yes. But just barely." Ambrosius shook his head sadly. "The Evil will return. As the only living Champion, it is up to you to teach the next."

"Why was there no one to teach me?" Methos asked, still defiant.

"Because, my friend, you were not supposed to be the Chosen One of this time." Seeing the confusion on the young Immortal's face, Ambrosius explained. "The previous Champion had found his successor and had begun his training. But then, in a battle not of their choosing, they were both taken by death. So the Gods waited."

The defiance seeped from his body as he slowly sank back to the ground. "The Gods waited for me?"

"For you." The old man smiled, taking pity on this Immortal who had fought his best battle only to find that he was not finished. Placing his hand gently on Methos' shoulder, he tried to reassure his friend. "You came along in a moment of need and the Gods gave you a choice."

"There was no choice," Methos protested, shaking his head. Why did he have to do this? Why couldn't his part in this be over?

"There is always a choice, my friend. Thankfully, you made the right one."

"What other choice could I have made?" he asked sadly

"You could have chosen to continue your life as it was. You could have chosen to walk away from the Gods. But you didn't. Now you must decide again." Ambrosius gave him a gently smile.

Methos looked about, confused and deeply saddened. He didn't want to leave this place, this sanctuary. He didn't want to leave Ambrosius. But if what the old man said was true, there would be another Champion and another battle with Ahriman. Could he abandon the next Champion? Could he leave the man to fight this battle with no preparation, as he had? He didn't know what to do.

Ambrosius stood to face him, engulfing him in those bottomless blue eyes. "You are a good man, Methos, a strong man. You will make the right choice."

"But how do I know what the right choice is?" Methos lamented

Ambrosius place a finger on Methos' forehead. "All of your answers are in here and..." moving to place his hand over Methos' heart, "...in here. Think about what must be done then choose."

Methos nodded at the old man, his shoulders sagging with the weight of his decision. He walked away from the clearing, heading into the forest. He needed some time to think.

Ambrosius watch his young friend walk into the trees. He, too, was saddened by the weight of his friend's decision. But he was also confident.

"You already know what must be done. You will find the truth."



Methos wandered aimlessly among the trees, searching for the answers. Coming upon a clearing not far from the hut, he sat down, with his back against a tree and closed his eyes. Cherishing the tranquility, he allowed his mind to go over the things that the Gods had told him.

'You must fight this Evil, banishing it from the world, to save mankind,' the God had said to him. He had accepted that charge, learning all that he could, managing to survive the battle. It had not been an easy task. There were many times that Methos wanted to give up, to walk away, but he couldn't. Could he walk away now?

'But why did the Gods have to chose me?' Another part of his mind complained. Methos didn't know why he had been chosen.

'You were not supposed to be the Chosen One of this time' Ambrosius had told him.

The fate of the Champions came to his mind. 'But, in a battle not of their choosing, they were both taken by death.' Methos wondered what could have happened to them, that they both died prematurely.

Suddenly, as if hearing the words for the first time, he whispered them again.

"In a battle not of their choosing, they were both taken by death. Taken by Death!" Was that the answer? Was that why the Gods had chosen him? Had he killed the Champion and his student?

Jumping up, he ran back to the hut, to Ambrosius. He needed to know the answer. Somehow, Ambrosius would know.

Breaking into the clearing, he skidded to a stop as he found Ambrosius tending to the cooking food. The old man stood to face him, his eyes revealing to Methos all that he needed to know.

"I murdered them, didn't I?" Methos asked, his breaths coming in gasps from his frantic run. "That's why the Gods have chosen me?"

Ambrosius nodded silently, confirming what Methos had guessed. He watched as the young Immortal walked over to the fire, contemplating the flame.

"I always thought that this retribution was a punishment from the Gods." Methos spoke softly, almost to himself. "But it wasn't." He turned to face his friend. "This has all been a consequence of my own actions. And you knew."

Ambrosius walk over to stand in front of Methos. "Yes, my friend, I knew."

"Yet you didn't judge me?"

"You have judged yourself more harshly than anyone else could. Besides, who am I to judge the actions of others?"

"You are a man of honor, a man of goodness. You are a Holy Man."

"No, my son, I am none of those. I am just a man."

Methos placed his hands on the old man's shoulders, staring deep into his eyes.

"Then I make this promise to you, 'just a man', to you and to the Gods. I swear that I will find the next Champion and assure that he is prepared for the battle. And if that isn't enough, then I will train the next one and the next one. I will not allow my single action to cause the destruction of all that is good. I swear!"

Ambrosius wrapped his arms around the young man's shoulders, drawing him into an embrace. Releasing him, he looked Methos in the eyes.

"You have chosen the right path, my friend, as I knew you would." Methos lowered his head, a hint of blush visible on his face. Ambrosius gently raised his chin, forcing Methos to look again into those deep, blue eyes.

"Just remember, no matter where you go, no matter what happens, this is always your home."

Methos embraced the old man again as tears slid down his face.


Master of Opportunity ] Shades and Shadows ]

Designed and Maintained by Lyria Wollich - 2001    

Highlander Fan Central

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