It was dark, and at first nothing moved in the forest. The grey shapes of the trees were faceless figures in the mist; standing as timeless sentries, misshapen and frozen. It was night, and the shrieks of owls broke through the silence, mixing with the growing wind to create a wretched cacophony. The trees waved in the breeze, trying to break free from their roots and escape from the forest, where new shadows were stirring.

Mordred, the Dark Knight, an Immortal who had been born more than two thousand years previously, rode through the forest on a great black horse. In the darkness of the night he was just another grey shape, but his eyes burned with light and fire. He was a man who had held the greatest power on Earth in the palms of his hands, and had had it torn from him. Everything in existence had belonged to him, been a part of him, and now he was nothing again, forced to scrape a living from the shadows that lay around him.

"It's been a long time." His voice was a hoarse whisper, that barely reached through the wind, but his companion heard it. She was a woman, stunningly beautiful, but filled with a darkness as great as that which lurked within Mordred. She was Morgan le Fay, his wife, an Immortal as old as he was, and as embittered by failure and defeat. Morgan le Fay dreamed every night of the power that had been wrenched from her hands. She still recalled the day, twelve years ago, when she had stood at the top of the world, drinking deep of all the life and all the strength that flowed through all the people in existence.

"A very long time." Her voice was soft and melodic, but it had an edge to it, colder than any wind. Mordred looked over at her, his eyes tinted with red.

"Too long," he said. "Twelve years raising an army."

"The best army. It was worth the wait." Morgan lifted a fist, and held it up, its knuckles white. Slowly she uncurled the fingers. A bolt of lightning erupted from her hand, and burned upwards through the sky. The owls screamed in terror, and she flung back her head to answer them, her voice a shriek of pure madness. Mordred laughed in answer, and his mirth echoed through the forest.

"It had better have been worth it," he said, as the last of the laughter faded into the wind. "My patience is wearing thin. It started as a game and it has ended as a nightmare."

"The darkness comes to those who wait." Morgan narrowed her eyes, staring into the blackness which stretched out ahead of them. "They will pay."

"They?" Mordred smiled, the red lights dancing in his eyes. "Have you lost your interest in Merlin, my dear?"

Morgan laughed again. "I haven't lost anything," she said softly, her voice barely audible above the wind. "But I will have my revenge."

"And I will have mine." Mordred's voice was harder, colder. "There will be no more games." A smile grew across his face, a hard line that made his teeth shimmer in the moonlight. "I've spent twelve years gathering the best soldiers, the greatest swordsmen, the most talented archers. Hundreds of men who'll obey my every command, gathered from the furthest corners of the world. All of them united to destroy King Arthur."

"Arthur has an army of his own," Morgan said. "This isn't over yet."

"Of course it isn't." He laughed again, quieter this time, and more restrained. "I hardly expect it to be simple. Those two are at least as old as us. They won't die easily."

Morgan let a soft chuckle escape from between her cold red lips. "Everybody dies easily," she said. "Dying is the easiest thing to do." Mordred did not answer at first. He stared ahead, through the grey shadows of the trees. Then, slowly, he turned to face her.

"Twelve years," he said again. "Twelve years since I walked in this land. Twelve years thinking about this day, when I could come back here and finish it all. The battle is brewing, my dear, and Arthur's day is drawing closer. When this all comes to an end, I will have his head, or I will have destroyed all that he cares about. These mortals he surrounds himself with. They will be the first to hear my voice." He straightened in his saddle, and a shiver ran through him, a sudden shiver that came from the icy chill within his spine, and mingled with all of the pent-up emotion that had been growing within him since the day he had lost the Grail. "I will have my revenge."


Camelot stood tall and proud among the hills of Southern England, the rigid landmark that had seen off many attacks from rival English landowners, and renegade Welsh princes. Its wooden gates, shaped from the heavy trunks of oak trees, had become a little battered, and there were dark scars across it where attacking forces had tried to set it alight, but it stood firm. It was still quite a young castle, compared to many, but it faced difficult times. The attacks became more frequent with the spring, and were almost continuous until the last warm days of the autumn.

Throughout the hard battles that he had had to face, King Arthur remained cheerful. No amount of wild barbarians, or land hungry noblemen could defeat him after all that he had been through. Nothing, he was sure, could ever be as desperate, as wretched, or as physically and mentally draining as his search for the Holy Grail.. He had been a king now for thirty-seven years, and it was no longer possible to pretend that there was not something unusual about him. His wife had grown older, his chief advisor now wore a snowy white beard, and most of the knights who had accompanied him on his Quest had reached middle age. Yet through it all, Arthur himself remained unchanged, ever-young. His magician was the same, and ever since their return from the Quest, the two great knights, Lancelot and Gawain, had also failed to age. Nobody seemed to know what had happened, nobody seemed to know the truth, but gradually Arthur had become less of a public figure. Between battles he shut himself away, speaking only with his small select group. Lancelot and Gawain, Guinevere, Donald MacLeod and Merlin were all as shrouded in mystery as the king himself. No one objected. The days were dark, with no hand of authority to bring order to a divided and treacherous land. Kings needed something extra if they were to keep the loyalty of their men through such times. Arthur might have been any number of things - a ghost, an angel, an enchanted warrior, or something much darker and more terrible - but if he could bring order to the chaos, and peace to the war weary frontiers, the knights of Camelot were prepared to follow him.

King Arthur, known to some as Methos, leaned back against the trunk of his favourite tree, near the lake that he often swam in. Guinevere lay beside him, her silver hair spread across the grass around her head, and MacLeod also sat nearby. Lancelot and Gawain were lying in the sunlight beside the lake. They had been having an impromptu council of war, discussing the recent victory over Lord Bedwin, the most recent in a string of enemies who had tried to breach Camelot's defences. Like all of the others he had failed, and he now languished in the dungeons. Arthur's problem was to decide what to do with him now. MacLeod favoured a release, allowing Bedwin the chance to join his forces to Arthur's, and bring the country one step closer to unification. Merlin, unsurprisingly, favoured a less understanding approach, arguing that if Bedwin were executed, the vast majority of his forces would happily swear allegiance to Arthur. For the king the choice was not easy. He could see the benefits in both arguments.

"Problems Arthur?" Although everybody present now knew that Arthur was not the king's true name, only Merlin and Guinevere knew what he was really called. The queen had always called him Arthur, and it was the name that she preferred..

"Not really." He opened his eyes to look down at her, smiling ruefully.

"Lord Bedwin?"

"That's right." He shrugged. "I've executed people before, and I've let others go. "It's just a question of deciding which is the best tactical manoeuvre."

"Most of the lords of this country are behind you. Would sparing Bedwin make much difference now?"

"I don't know." He frowned, watching Merlin swim lengths in the lake, gliding along just beneath the surface. Lord Bedwin had been virtually the last obstacle in Arthur's great plan to reunify the country, for he had the support of numerous less powerful barons. Now that he was defeated, the only major task was to convince them to march under Arthur's banner instead. To set him free, or to kill him, carried the risk of alienating those barons, and setting the unification back again.

"Bedwin is defeated; humiliated. He won't be a threat now." She watched him carefully. "Unless there's something else that's worrying you Arthur?"

"Maybe." His eyes wandered restlessly over the surface of the lake, settling finally on Merlin. The king's magician pulled himself out of the lake, and stretched in the warmth of the sun. He was an oddly wild figure, naked from the waist up, and soaking wet. It reminded Methos of the old days when they had swum together, caring for nothing except each other. Merlin picked up his sword, making a few passes with it, then called to Lancelot and Gawain to join him in practice. The two came at him at once, and the three Immortals began to fight at the water's edge. It was a ridiculously dramatic show for a virtually non-existent audience, and it caught Arthur's attention. There was something serious about the fight, something that made it more than just a game. Merlin had been getting more and more violent in practice recently, and it was not hard to imagine the day when the loser of the game would forfeit his head. Arthur had seen it before; his old friend had spent too long fighting mortal battles. After twelve uninterrupted years being Merlin, the magician was bored. He wanted something more; some greater challenge. He wanted to be Kronos again. Almost unwillingly, Arthur was beginning to think of such things himself. To feel the heart of Methos stirring, in need of something more challenging. And that brought only one thing to mind.

"It's Mordred, isn't it?" Guinevere's voice startled the king, and he turned to look at her.


"You're wondering about him again. I've seen you like this before. For the last twelve years you've been looking over your shoulder, expecting him to march over the horizon at any moment."

"Yes, alright. I have been wondering about him lately." He glanced back to the Immortals fighting at the water's edge. "If I let Bedwin go, and Mordred comes back, they'll join forces. On the other hand, if I kill him, his supporters are still likely to throw in their lot with Mordred, just for revenge."

"Are you really so sure that Mordred is coming back?" A flicker of concern passed across Guinevere's face. She had always feared Mordred without knowing quite why. Now that she knew the truth about who and what he was, it terrified her even more, especially since she was no longer young. She could not necessarily be certain of assisting Arthur, as she once had.

"I'm sure. It's always been more a question of when than if." He turned to look at her for a moment, and then smiled, as if to try and dismiss her concerns. "But it's my problem, not yours."

"Why? Because I'm old now?"

He frowned. "You're not old."

"I'm sixty-two."

"So? I'm more than three and a half thousand. Do you see me complaining?"

They laughed, and Guinevere brushed his hand absently with her own.

"Are you really that old?" she asked. "I know you say you are, and I know all about what you are, but - are you really telling the truth about how long you've lived?"

"It's the truth." He shrugged. "At least as far as I can tell. Until old Caesar came up with his calendar there was no real way of telling one year from the next. Not like there is now anyway."

"You remember that I suppose."

"Yeah." He grinned at her. "Actually I was there."

"That doesn't surprise me."

They settled back together, hand in hand, to watch the fight. Methos had always liked to watch Kronos in battle. There was a strange poetry in the way in which he moved, about the cool fire in his eyes, and the smooth speed with which he handled his sword. His bare feet moved quickly, steady and sure even on the wet ground beside the lake, and he faced his two challengers, spinning his sword with a brazen arrogance that could not be defied. Water sprayed from his hair as he whirled about, and his sword sent sparks flying through the air as it clashed with those of his fellow Immortals. With a sudden grin that leant his face a look of manic euphoria, Kronos sent Gawain's sword flying through the air, to come to a halt in the grass close to MacLeod. The king's chief advisor raised his eyebrows at this.

"I'm not immortal Merlin," he said dryly. There was no reaction from the magician, who had turned his full attention onto Lancelot, but Gawain managed to look faintly apologetic as he collected his sword, and sat next to MacLeod in the shade. He settled back to watch the rest of the fight, but it did not last long. Dodging a number of quick thrusts from Lancelot, Kronos spun in a full circle, lending his sword enough power to smash Lancelot's weapon from his hand. It arced across the lake, and landed with a splash in the middle. Kronos grinned, and ran a hand through his wet hair. He bowed in Guinevere's direction, and threw his sword down, turning to wade out into the lake and retrieve the other weapon. Lancelot, throwing himself down beside Gawain, suddenly leapt to his feet, shouting with all of the urgency he could muster.


Turning abruptly, Kronos looked up to see a horse come leaping into the clearing, a rider leaning low in his saddle. Drawing his sword the figure threw himself at the Immortal, and they landed together in the water at the edge of the lake. Kronos stretched out his hands, his fingers searching for a hold on his sword, but they were too wet to get a grip. Struggling together, the two combatants scrambled to their feet, slipping in the water. the stranger brought his sword down, but Kronos threw himself to one side, landing hard enough to knock the wind from his body. He made another grab for his sword, and caught it up, blocking a blow that might other wise have been fatal, albeit temporarily. Aware that his friends had dashed to the lake side, as stunned as he was at this sudden and unprovoked attack, Kronos struggled for a foothold, fighting his opponent in water that reached to his waist, his movements made sluggish by the resistance of the water. The spectators watched as the huge stranger whirled his massive broadsword with violent intent, whilst his intended victim battled furiously against him. Faced suddenly with a real fight, instead of the mostly light hearted skirmish with his friends, Kronos had become fully animated, his eyes fierce and bright, his muscles taut. The water glistened on his chest, oddly reminding Methos of war paint, and adding to the image of untamed ferocity. Caught off guard by this unexpected skill, despite his opponent's smaller size, the big stranger faltered slightly, losing his balance in the water that swirled about his knees. It was all the opening that Kronos needed. He threw himself forward, knocking the man backwards, and forcing his sword from his hand. The stranger landed heavily on his back in the mud at the water's edge. The victor stood over him, sword at his enemy's throat.

"Merlin!" Arthur's voice was sharp. "Hold it."

"Why?" Kronos looked wild, a savage from another time and place. "He tried to kill me."

"And I want to find out why." Methos stepped forward, towering over the fallen man, and staring down at him with cold eyes. "Who are you?" he demanded icily. "What do you want?"

The man stared up at him, then back at Kronos. He seemed to be comparing the two threats, trying to decide which was the more dangerous; the half dressed madman or his coolly composed comrade. It was not an inspiring choice.

"I - I came to bring a message," he said, wishing that he could keep his voice from quavering.

"And you deliver your message by trying to kill the king's magician?"

"The king's-" The man stared up a Methos in amazement, then looked back to Kronos. "That's Merlin? I had no idea. I thought-" He broke off, not sure that it was entirely sensible to admit to what he had thought. Methos almost smiled, sympathising in this instance. There were few less likely looking magicians than Kronos, especially appearing as he did now.

"What is the message?" he asked.

"The message is for King Arthur, from Lord Mordred."

"Mordred..." The name fell from Methos' lips in an awed whisper. He had been thinking about the other man, and it failed to be a surprise that the evil Immortal had suddenly resurfaced. It was almost as though Methos had known that he was coming. "What does he want?"

"You're Arthur?" the man asked, and as Methos nodded, he continued. "He wants to know if you're prepared to meet him in battle. He has gathered an army, and he awaits you at Camlan."

"Camlan?" Methos frowned. "That's in the north."

"That's right." The man darted a quick look at Kronos, who did not seem to have calmed down at all. "Do I take a reply back?"

"Only if I let you live." Kronos spoke softly, the point of his sword caressing the other's neck. The stranger swallowed hard, and glanced up at Methos, his eyes pleading.

"Let him up," the king ordered. Kronos looked at him in disbelief.

"Why?" he asked.

"Because I want you to. He's only the messenger." Methos put a gentle hand on his friend's sword hilt, steering the blade away from the prisoner's neck. He caught the other Immortal's eye, and held it. "Leave it brother. For now."

"For now." Kronos waded from the lake, watching as the messenger scrambled to his feet.

"Tell Mordred that we'll be with him as soon as we can," Methos said, without hesitation. "I have no intention of leaving this challenge unanswered. If he wants a battle, I'll give him one."

"Your majesty." Still looking shaken, the big man retrieved his sword. Without another word he climbed onto his horse and rode away, disappearing quickly into the trees. Kronos watched him go, then turned his eyes to Methos. The king offered him a conciliatory grin, and clapped him on the back.

"Cheer up," he said gently. Then he grinned, and threw his arm around his friend's shoulders, all at once unable to keep the jubilation from his voice. "We're going to battle, brother. Real battle, with Mordred. At last." For a second there was no reaction, then Kronos matched his companion's grin with one of his own.

"The final confrontation?" he asked, and Methos shrugged.

"Could be." He watched as his old friend buckled his sword belt around his waist, sheathing his gleaming weapon.

"We'd better make it a good one then, hadn't we." Kronos picked up his shirt and slipped it on, the white cotton transparent where it clung to his wet skin. "But then, was there ever any such thing as a bad battle?"

Methos laughed. Suddenly excited, he dropped an arm across Guinevere's shoulders, and put the other back round Kronos. "Not when we were fighting it brother," he said, and laughed happily.


The trumpets sounded. From all across the south of England, the massed forces that had long ago sworn themselves to Arthur's servitude, gathered in impressive ranks at the first light of dawn. Arthur, dressed in white, with a long white cloak fastened across his shoulders, rode across the front of the first company, Merlin by his side. Their eyes moved in tandem along the rows of horsemen and infantry, the gleaming swords, the erect spears, the lines of shields with their countless different crests. So many of England's lords had sworn their allegiance to Arthur now, along with so many of their Welsh counterparts, that the country must surely be unified soon. All it needed was for this one final victory to be his, and Methos would rule these people as their true king.

"Have you ever seen a sight like that brother?" His eyes wide, Methos gestured at the armies stretching out before them.

"Probably." Kronos grinned. "But not for a long time."

"It's the greatest army that's been assembled since the Legions were here." Methos shook his head, momentarily dumbfounded. "Soon the country could well be ours."

"Yours, brother. I don't want it." Kronos flashed his old friend another grin. "It's no fun if they want you to rule them. There's no challenge with a bunch of tame servants."

"Perhaps." Methos smiled, and glanced back as MacLeod rode up, accompanied by Lancelot and Gawain. "How do the frontiers look, Donald?"

"Fine, my liege." If MacLeod was uncomfortable surrounded by the Immortals, he did not show it. It had never seemed to bother him; and he had never shown any great surprise when Methos had told him the truth after the Grail Quest. "If anybody tries to attack our rear, or our sides as we march north, I don't think they'll succeed. In fact we have a few surprises for them."

"Good." Methos nodded in satisfaction. "I've put Percieval on the right flank, and Owain on the left. Lancelot, Gawain - you take command of the first four regiments. That gives us a pretty good sized reserve. I'd like you to take command of them, Donald."

"My liege." Donald nodded shortly, the mounted equivalent of a bow, and Methos frowned thoughtfully, looking at the Highlander, but not seeming to see him. "Is everything alright, Arthur?"

"What?" Methos smiled. "Sorry... Donald, are you sure that you want to do this? Don't get me wrong but-"

"Arthur." Donald interrupted him smoothly, his eyes smiling gently. "Do you doubt my ability to fight? You have no understanding of age; no comprehension of what it does to a man. I'm a year older than Guinevere, and that doesn't necessarily make me an old man. Age is only relative. I've heard you say that before."

"True." Methos lowered his eyes. "I'm sorry, Donald. I didn't mean to insult you. But after all that we've been through together, you have to forgive me if I want to protect you now. Of all the battles we've fought, this is likely to be the hardest."

"I know." Donald let the smile grow from his eyes to the rest of his face. "But I've never been afraid to die, your Highness. I've ridden by your side for thirty-seven years, and I have no intention of leaving you now. I may be mortal, but I see no reason to hide from death."

"Fair enough." Methos watched the white haired Scotsman as he rode off to take command of the reserve. He was glad that MacLeod was coming with them. The mortal was an emblem of continuity.

"What now, your Highness?" Gawain asked, preparing to leave with Lancelot to take his own command.

"Now we wait until the sun is fully up." Methos glanced towards the east, where the yellow disk was nearly half visible. "Then we get underway." He looked over at Kronos. "Take over would you, Merlin? Just for a while? I have to speak to Guinevere before we leave."

"If you like." Kronos watched the other Immortal as he rode away. He was not sure that he understood his friend's great attachment to the mortal woman. Kronos had tried similar relationships in the past, but he had not had the inclination to see them through to their only possible conclusion. He saw no sense in staying to watch a loved one grow ever closer to death. Methos did not seem to look at it that way.

The king rode past the serried ranks of his armies, and through the gates of Camelot. As if she had known he was coming, Guinevere stood in the courtyard. Methos dismounted and went to her, taking her hands.

"I had to come and say goodbye again," he said, sounding a little embarrassed by his own sentimentality. "I left Merlin shaking his head at me. I don't think he's quite got this emotions thing sorted out yet."

Guinevere laughed at him, at the absurdity of the king's vague romantic gestures. "Don't apologise Arthur," she said. "I'm glad to see you. I'm only sorry that I'm not going too."

"I'm not." He frowned. "I'm not forgetting how a long journey and a hard life killed Uther."

"A battle isn't the same as a quest." She smiled. "But I understand. And I don't think that I could go without you. I'm not as young as I was. It just scares me, Arthur, to see you riding off. You say that this is likely to be your last great fight with Mordred - well I'd just got used to the idea that you're immortal; that I don't have to worry about ever losing you. Now suddenly there's a chance that you won't come back."

"But I still worry about you." He smiled at her, lowering his head slightly, and staring at her feet. "I always have to worry about you."

"I know. But no matter how unfair it sounds, I would rather have you worrying about me than me having to worry about you." She pushed him away, laughing in gentle mockery. "Now go and be a hero. Your armies are waiting."

"I know." He grinned. "I'll bring back Mordred's head on a pole."

She grimaced. "Please don't. I have no where to put it."

They both laughed at that, then Methos turned to leave, walking back to his horse. Bedievere stood holding its bridle, and he nodded a greeting to the king.

"Good luck sire," he said. "I wish I was coming with you."

"I know, and I'm sorry. But I need a man that I can trust to guard the castle while I'm gone." Methos swung up onto his horse. "Take care of her Bedievere." He could have been talking about the castle, but both men glanced back towards Guinevere.

"I will, my liege." Bedievere smiled up at Methos, "Strike a blow at Mordred for me; for Galahad."

"With pleasure." Methos turned the horse about, and rode from the castle, one hand raised in farewell.

Outside, Kronos looked up as the king approached. Neither spoke of Guinevere; there was nothing to be said.

"Are you ready?" the younger Immortal asked. Methos nodded.

"I am now." He glanced towards the horizon, watching as the sun finally eased itself above the hills, and into the sky. "It's time to ride."

"I'm ready when you are." Kronos wheeled his horse about, to bring it alongside that of Methos. The king raised his arm as a signal to the massed ranks behind him, and slowly they bean to head northward. Somewhere, the beat of a drum echoed a rhythm through the infantry. A trumpet called out a simple, ringing tune, and another answered. The cavalry began to move, and the armies of King Arthur fell into step with each other. Soon, the guards at the walls of Camelot could no longer see them.


Mordred climbed down from his horse and stared about. A great flat expanse of land stretched out around him. It was the perfect place for a battle. There would be room for the cavalry to sweep in with their swords, and plenty of places from where he could stand back and watch. He smiled. Even if Arthur joined in the fighting, he would not be able to share in the dangers facing his men. They would die, and he would be powerless to stop it. That amused Mordred. He cared little for the mortals who had chosen to fight for him, but he knew that Arthur was different. His men were important to him, and it would hurt him to send them into battle. Such weaknesses were sure to be his undoing. Mordred felt the approach of another Immortal, and turned to meet Morgan.

"You're slipping," she told him. "It might not have been me."

"Of course it was. I can tell your approach by now." He frowned about at the prospective battlefield. "So this is Camlan? You chose a good place."

"Of course I did."

"And you're sure it's not Holy Ground?"

"Not now, not ever. I checked with everybody. It's not Holy to the Druids, and it's certainly not to the Christians or the Jews. If there's anybody else, I couldn't find them."

"Good." He smiled contentedly. "Once my men have killed Arthur's; once he's seen his last supporter die, I'll take his head and have done with it. I give Merlin to you."

"Why thankyou." She sounded sarcastic. "But I was planning to take him anyway."

"I rather thought you were." He smiled, his back turned to her as he scanned the horizon. "I wonder how long we'll have to wait."

"Days yet. It would have taken them at least a week to gather their armies. Probably a good deal longer. Then another week to get up here. They'll be wanting to conserve their strength."

"True, but I've already been waiting a good while." His voice had dropped to almost a whisper, and his eyes had once again acquired the red glint that made them seem so deadly. "I want to kill Arthur, so I can get on with my life. That man has plagued me long enough. Turning the people of this country against me, keeping me from coming here, stopping me from completing my plans." A shiver ran through him. "The Grail... felt good. It should have been mine forever."

"Ours," Morgan corrected, her eyes burning holes into Mordred's back. "You've waited this long, Mordred. You can wait a few days more." She turned to leave, looking back before she vanished into the trees. "What does happen, when Arthur is dead? Where do we go then?"

"Does it matter?" He smiled. swinging round to look at her, his eyes unnaturally bright. "Killing him is all that matters. Nothing else is important."

"Nothing else?" She raised her eyebrows, and walked away. Something in Mordred's face worried her. He had become obsessed, and that was dangerous. If he could not see past this immediate goal, he might not survive to see it through. Before too long, she would have to decide whether or not she really cared.


The armies had been marching for days. The call had gone out across the country, and men had come to join Arthur as he travelled northwards, bringing with them stories of Mordred's forces. The Dark Knight had the support of many men, it seemed, and his own armies were far in excess of anything that the king had imagined. One night, as a new moon stared down at him, its pale light barely touching his face, Arthur stood on a hillside, and stared down onto the valley beyond. It was a great expanse of land, open and unforgiving; and stretched out on it were Mordred's men. There were many of them, and he gazed at them forlornly, his dark eyes trying not to see them.

"Arthur..." The footsteps had already told him that it was MacLeod, and he did not need to turn around; but he did so anyway, to avoid looking at Mordred's armies any longer.


"You need rest. Tomorrow-"

"Tomorrow is nothing for me." Methos smiled bitterly. "Tomorrow I may take a few mortal lives, but my life won't be in any danger."

"It will be if Mordred has anything to say about it."

"Mordred?" The king laughed shortly, without humour. "He'll stay out of the way until it's all over. Until my men and his men have eradicated each other. That's when I'll fight him. I won't even see him before then." He shook his head. "It's just not right. This battle is between me and him. You people shouldn't be involved."

MacLeod smiled. "If it's any consolation, we don't mind."

"Most of them don't even know."

"True." The Highlander tried to put some encouragement into his voice. "But all of them know that Mordred is evil, and a threat to us here. Goodness knows what he would do, if he could gain a foothold in this country. He'd be a tyrant. Nobody wants that. It's true that it could all be over if you were to meet him on his terms. It may well be worth it in the end."

"I hope so." He smiled suddenly, although it was not much of a smile. "Thanks MacLeod."

"My pleasure." The Scotsman turned to leave. "I'll see you tomorrow night, on the other side of the battlefield."

"Yeah. Tomorrow night." As MacLeod walked away, Methos turned to stare back out at the valley below him. He couldn't decipher this strange confusion of feelings that was bothering him so much. These people were mortals, and at one time he would not have given a second's thought to their passing. The only person he had truly cared for was Kronos, and maybe Silas. Caspian had never meant much. He was too hard to get close to. So why did the lives of all of these mortals mean so much to him that now, as he stood on a hillside in the north of England, he was actually coming to regret the necessity of a battle? Wars had been his lifeblood. In another time, almost all that he had needed had been that charge of adrenalin, that flash of fury, and the elation of a kill. Now, something had changed. He felt oddly as though he were growing up; after a three and a half thousand year adolescence. He was not altogether sure that he liked the feeling.

"You think too much Arthur." It was Kronos, and he was frowning. "Far too much, if you didn't even know I was coming."

"I knew."

"Then why didn't you turn around?" Kronos shook his head. "I could have been Mordred."

"Merlin... I think I know your aura by now." Methos smiled suddenly. "What pearls of wisdom have you come to offer?"

"Huh?" Kronos looked confused. "Me offer you a pearl of wisdom? Are you feeling alright brother?" Methos laughed.

"Sorry. It's just that first MacLeod came to try and cheer me up, and now you've turned up too."

"Oh. Well I didn't come to cheer you up." Kronos stood shoulder to shoulder with his old friend, staring at the waiting armies of their great enemy. Methos could feel the tension in his comrade. Other things changed, but he sometimes doubted whether Kronos ever would. "Look at them all," the younger Immortal breathed. "Tomorrow we'll cut a path right through them." He glanced at the sky. "We'll have the sun in our eyes, but that won't be a problem for us, right brother?"

"Right." Methos sounded distracted, and Kronos made a disparaging face.

"You were excited before," he pointed out. "Don't let your conscience spoil your fun, brother. By the end of tomorrow you could be taking the greatest Quickening of your life." He tipped his head back, and took a sharp intake of breath, his eyes bright and wild. "It's been so long, brother." Methos grinned.

"I feel almost sorry for Morgan," he said. "She had such high hopes for you."

Kronos shrugged. "If she had wanted me as an equal partner, brother, I might well have gone to join her. I may not be your equal, but at least you make me feel as though I am." he grinned. "Most of the time. Now come on." He turned away, slapping his old friend on the shoulder. "You need to sleep. Tomorrow is a long day. Banish your conscience, and just think of the fire." His eyes flashed like the stars. "If you like, we could paint our faces. That would look good on the battlefield tomorrow."

Methos laughed, suddenly unable to stop himself. "It would look positively absurd," he said. "Maybe it always did."

"But nobody would have dared to say so." Kronos grinned at him. "Come on; time to sleep."

"Okay." Methos followed Kronos back towards the camp. Their troops stretched out as far as the eye could see, sitting around countless campfires, sleeping or exchanging stories. The two Immortals settled themselves by the nearest fire, where Lancelot and Gawain were sleeping. The other Immortals stirred at the approach of the king and his magician, no doubt feeling them through their unconsciousness. Neither awoke; they were still inexperienced in the ways of immortality.

Leaning back, Methos gazed up at the moon, and cast a sidelong glance at Kronos, lying beside him. Somewhere, beneath his concerns, there was a spark of the old excitement, and the old Immortal smiled. Kronos was probably right. Perhaps he should just enjoy the battle tomorrow; even Immortals had to face the fact that each fight could be their last.


The dawn stroked the eastern hills with a delicate silver light. Methos stood staring at it from the head of a column of his cavalry. Kronos, as ever, was beside him, his sword already in his hand. Lancelot and Gawain were nearby, their men ready to ride forward. MacLeod was nowhere in sight, but Methos knew that he was somewhere at the back, ready to lead the reserves in, when the battle was fully underway. The arrival of fresh reinforcements was intended to improve the odds, but Mordred was sure to have reserves of his own.

Slowly, as the sun rose, Methos drew his sword, and lifted his arm, Excalibur catching the light, and reflecting it about him. Behind, he heard the shuffling of the horses, and could almost feel the tension. For a second he thought about his reservations, considering whether he really needed to call this battle at all; then he let his eyes travel downwards, to the sea of warriors waiting on the battlefield. Something stirred within him, and he smiled. It was still there; the old excitement, the old bloodlust. It was oddly reassuring. He brought his sword arm down hard. As one the sea of men and horses leapt forward. Thundering down the hill, they raced onto the flat stretch of ground that awaited them.

Mordred's men, standing in expectant formation, lifted their shields at the approach of their enemy. The mass of leather and metal formed a wall that seemed almost impenetrable; but the attacking forces knew differently. As the two groups of infantry clashed loudly, Methos sent a section of his cavalry forward. The horses charged through the first line of shields, their hooves churning up the field, spraying dirt into the air. With a vibrant clang that echoed about the field, the cavalrymen attacked the line of shields with their swords. A section of Mordred's cavalry came up to confront them, and the mounted swordsmen fought each other, trying to pitch each other into the confused mass of infantrymen, bitterly fighting beneath them.

At the edges of the battle, Methos glanced over at Kronos. The other Immortal was straining at the leash, and Methos felt the excitement wash over him. There was already a growing sea of mud in the field, creating an atmosphere of chaos, making the battle an anonymous tangle of figures. The two Immortals looked at each other, each reading the excitement on the other's eyes. Without a word they spurred their horses forward, charging into the midst of Mordred's infantry. Shoulder to shoulder they began to cut a path through the men. Mud sprayed into the air, the red tint of blood joining it, and making the ground increasingly treacherous. The horses began to slip in the confusion, pitching their riders headlong into the furious battle that was raging on the ground. Maintaining a tenuous grip on their saddles, Methos and Kronos fought on, towering above the others, looking down on the writhing mortals, and finding it increasingly hard to tell their men from Mordred's. As they fought on, the sound of beating hooves reached their ears, and they both looked up to see another section of Mordred's cavalry charging towards them across the field. From the other side, Lancelot and Gawain came forward, their respective regiments moving as one, flying across the field to meet the charge. The two huge bodies of men met each other; a sea of mounted soldiers that crashed together like waves in a stormy ocean, disorientating, wild and, to Methos and Kronos at least, perfectly joyous. Lost in the midst of the turmoil, they were pulled from each other, each able only to catch the occasional glimpse of the other as the tides of men and horses shifted. Kronos charged forward, his sword flashing in the sun, making short work of those who were in his way. Somewhere to his right he could feel Methos, himself showing little compassion as he fought through the massed ranks of the enemy. Lancelot and Gawain, likewise, were taking full advantage of the confidence that came from immortality, taking wild risks as they broke a path through Mordred's cavalry.

With a last violent slash that unseated his closest opponent, Methos found himself out of the main body of men. Although the noise still raged around him, the sudden inactivity beyond the edge of the battle momentarily confused him. He lifted his sword, red with blood, and gazed at it, then looked up. At the top of the hill nearby he could see two figures sitting on horseback. They stared down at him, and his eyes met with Mordred's. Despite the distance between them, that prevented him from being able to see more than his enemy's silhouette, Methos knew that Mordred was smiling. A sudden burst of rage flooded the old Immortal's mind at the sight of the cause of all of this, sitting back to watch the madness unfold; then the shifting masses of the cavalry engulfed Methos again, and the hill was lost from his view. He whirled Excalibur about him, the rage within him translated into violent action that made him a ferocious figure. Accompanied by Kronos he began to decimate Mordred's cavalry, indiscriminately allowing his anger to escape until, finally, a passing infantryman cut the king's horse out from under him. The swathes of foot soldiers engulfed him, and he found himself lost in the masses. Unperturbed, he caught the nearest infantryman by the shoulder, spinning him around and engaging him in a sword battle from which their could emerge only one victor. His conscience fully overpowered, Methos let the elation wash over him. The thundering of hooves, the dying screams of horses and men, the shouts of the cavalry leaders and the clash of iron on iron all echoed in his ears, sounding like beautiful music to the old Immortal. His eyes were bright and wide, and the blood raced through him, hot and excited.

The day wore on. MacLeod led his reserves in when the sun was at its highest. It was a hot and windless day, and the reinforcements were a welcome addition to the tired forces already on the field. The Highlander could not see his king and the other Immortals, for they had all lost their horses, and were adrift in the muddy sea that covered the field. The reserves moved forward to join in the fray, and the reinforcements of Mordred's army came to meet them, creating a new burst of violence that fired up the fury once more on the field, where many of the men had been losing heart. The reserves had not been on the field for long before the rain began to fall, small drops at first, then bigger ones, until sheets of water were falling from the sky. A roll of thunder echoed about the field, and from somewhere in the confusion Methos heard Kronos laugh. The younger Immortal suddenly appeared in front of his old friend, slashing through a line of men that stood in his way. Patterned with a bizarre mix of mud and blood, his shirt torn to ribbons, Kronos seemed to be almost drunk with excitement. A streak of lightning cut across the sky, like the weapon of some god, anxious to join in with the battle below. The thunder rolled closer, almost drowning out the noise of the fighting. Methos grinned at Kronos, the sudden charge in the weather fuelling his own excitement, and Kronos returned the smile, his eyes wild.

"Morgan?" Methos asked. Kronos tipped his head back into the rain, revelling in the chaos it caused, drinking in the thunder and lightning as it crashed around him.

"Who can tell?" Although there was no possible way that he could have seen or heard the man coming, he whirled about, cutting down an attack that had come from behind. "We're winning brother! They're falling back. A lot of them are dead."

"A lot of our people are dead too." Methos was still straining through the rain, and the tangle of mud-cloaked figures, trying to catch a glimpse of anybody that he recognised. "Have you seen the others?"

"Others?" Kronos was dismissive. "Lancelot and Gawain will be fine."

"And MacLeod?"

"MacLeod? He's indestructible." Kronos was gone again before they could speak further, hurling himself into the nearest crowd of men. Many of them had abandoned their weaponry, and were struggling furiously in hand to hand combat, resorting to trying to drown each other in the mud. Methos changed direction, heading back to the main body of fighting men. They may indeed be winning, but there was still a lot of fighting to do; and the tide of the battle could yet turn against him.


On the hillside, Mordred stared down at the seething mass of men, his face contorted into a vicious scowl.

"We outnumbered them two to one," he growled furiously. "And look at them, cutting our men to ribbons."

"Arthur is a great leader," Morgan said thoughtfully. "His men would do anything for him."

"And why will my men not do the same for me?" He swung round to face her, his eyes fierce and flecked with red. "Why are they down there, allowing Arthur's men to defeat them?"

"I don't know." Morgan did not flinch at Mordred's display of anger. She had seen it many times before. Instead she met his gaze coolly. "What do we do now?"

"Do?" Many expressions chased across Mordred's face - bitterness, anger, hatred and disbelief. Finally he settled on cunning decisiveness. "Now we put the rest of the plan into action."

"Rest of the plan? What else is there?" She gestured down the hill. "The plan was to destroy Arthur's men, and then to kill him."

"The plan was to try and destroy Arthur's men." Mordred's eyes glittered insanely. "I have other plans; contingency plans. There are other things that I can destroy, that will hurt Arthur more than the loss of his men ever could." He turned his horse about, and began to ride down the other side of the hill, already dismissing the battle from his mind. Morgan followed.

"My spies tell me that Queen Guinevere has not accompanied Arthur to war this time," Mordred continued as he rode down the hill, taking it for granted that Morgan was following him. "That means that she's still back at Camelot."

"You're planning to attack the castle? It's never been done successfully before."

"Not yet, no. But I have another army waiting." He smiled at her. "You did notice that I hadn't sent all of our men onto the field this morning?"

"Of course." She nodded shortly. "So we take the rest, and attack Camelot. They won't be expecting that."

"And by the time Arthur comes riding after us, there'll be nothing left of his castle but a pile of broken wood, and his good lady wife will be just a memory." He smiled. "A very painful memory. But we will have to move fast; very fast."

Despite her earlier concerns, Morgan laughed. Through his insanity, and his dangerous obsession with destroying Arthur, she was still close to Mordred. At heart they were the same, and the destruction of Camelot would be a sight worth seeing.


The day faded into night, and the battle wore on. The sinking sun cast an eery red glow about the field, which was compounded by the almost non-existent light of the moon. Mordred's men were either too stubborn or too scared to give up, although most of their spirit was gone. The night grew cold, and as the rain became just a memory, the mud became heavier and stickier. The field was harder to negotiate, the treacherous ground increasingly littered with the dead bodies of horses and men. Even Arthur's men were beginning to lose heart, as they skidded and slipped in the mess of mud and gore, trying to fight for their balance as well as their lives, barely able to see what they were doing in the darkness. Still they struggled on, Mordred's men unwilling to stop. A handful of cavalrymen still battled at the edge of the field, and the few hundred infantrymen, Arthur and Merlin among them, fought on, waiting for the sun to rise again.

It came at last. Its earliest light revealed a pitiful scene, as Mordred's last few men tried to defend the battlefield against the victors. Kronos, merciless and strong, was still cutting through them with his sword. If they refused to surrender they were still fair game. The sun rose higher, its warmth returning, but unable to cast any cheer onto the field. Eventually, weary of seeing the useless slaughter continue any longer, Methos called a halt. Mordred's men now no longer numbered even a hundred, and many of those who were alive were wounded in some way. The king shook his head at their foolish tenacity. Their lack of enthusiasm in the fight had granted him a sure victory even before it had become dark, but they had carried on fighting regardless. It was madness, but he suspected that Morgan's hypnotic powers had been at least partly responsible. He called Kronos over, planning to head for the hill where he had last seen Mordred. It was time for that final confrontation.

"What is it Arthur?" Kronos was playing the part of the savage again, with his shirt blowing in tatters, and blood streaked across his face and torso.

"It's time to search out our friends." Methos scanned the horizon. "I wonder where they are." They began to walk from the field. At the foot of the hill where Methos had seen Mordred, Kronos stopped.

"I can't feel them," he said. Methos shrugged.

"So? We're not in range yet."

"No, I don't mean like that." Kronos frowned. "I can feel her when she's around, brother, even if she's not within normal range. I'd know it if Morgan were here; anywhere here. She's not."

"But then why-" Panic flashed across Methos' face. "That's why their men kept on fighting! They wanted to keep us here while Mordred got away!"

"Away? Where?" The younger Immortal's face cleared in sudden understanding. "Camelot!"

"He must have had some other forces in reserve." Methos was filled with dismay. "Travelling fast, with who knows how much of a head start - the night at least - they'll be there before we can stop them."

"Then we'd better not waste any more time." Kronos turned about, already heading back onto the battlefield. He called to MacLeod, and to Lancelot and Gawain, filling them in as they made for their camp of yesterday, where fresh horses waited. Percieval and Owain followed. There were only a handful of horses available, but most of the men were too tired to be of use anyway.

"What are we planning to do, Arthur?" MacLeod swung up onto a horse.

"I don't know. The seven of us can't do a whole lot, but at least we left a fair sized garrison back at Camelot." Methos kicked his horse forwards, concern showing on his face. "If we can't catch Mordred up, the best we can do is to make sure that he doesn't get too much of a head start. Otherwise our friends back home will be lost forever."


Guinevere walked through the courtyard of Camelot, looking at the flowers that grew there. They had been pulled up more than once, by knights who thought that a castle was no place for flowers, but they always grew back again.

"You're worried, my lady." Bedievere strolled up, and Guinevere smiled a greeting.

"Not especially," she said. "I'm sure that my husband will be victorious."

"I'm sure he will; but it doesn't hurt to worry." Bedievere glanced up at the guards on the walls of Camelot, as he had every day since Arthur and the armies had vanished north. "I still wish that I'd gone with them."

"So do I." She sighed. "But I'm too old to fight battles."

"MacLeod went."

"MacLeod likes to be near Arthur. It's his duty to protect him - to watch over him. And anyway, MacLeod is strong still. I'm not, not any more." She laughed. "But that's not what you want to hear, is it Bedievere."

He laughed too. "I don't mind. Perhaps I can make you feel better with a little sparring practice?"

"Perhaps that might work." Guinevere pulled out the sword that she always wore, and weighed it in her hand, as if getting the feel of it. Bedievere drew his own sword, and they saluted each other formally. As they were about to begin to fight, a shout rang out from the walls.

"Soldiers approaching!"

"Soldiers?" Bedievere turned from the queen, and scrambled up onto the walls. In the distance he could see an army - a thousand men at least - marching towards the castle. They were too far away for him to be able to see them clearly, but instinct told him that this was not Arthur. "Oh no..."

"What is it?" Standing below him, Guinevere looked up, concern furrowing her brow. He glanced back down at her, knowing that there was little sense in trying to disguise the truth.

"Men, my lady. About a thousand, approaching from the north."

"Arthur?" She looked more hopeful than anything else, and he shook his head.

"No, I don't think so." Immediately she climbed up beside him, her expression serious.

"Then we'd better make preparations. We have four hundred men here, and enough provisions for a siege. We can hold them off."

"For how long?" Bedievere was looking grim. "The king could be-"

"The king will be here." She frowned. "Just as soon as he can be. We can hold on until then."

"He took all of his men with him. there aren't anymore that he can call on. Wherever they are, they're not going to be in the best shape for another fight."

"We'll manage. Four hundred isn't that few." Guinevere looked away, back out towards the oncoming soldiers. "Camelot hasn't broken under an attack yet."


The spare section of Mordred's army drew to a halt, surrounding the castle. The guards of Camelot stared down at them, their faces showing their concern. Although they had faced off many attacks before, without a suggestion of the possibility of defeat, this time they did not have Arthur to spur them onward. It was clear as they stood at their posts that their confidence was not strong.

Mordred rode to the front of his men, looking up at the castle. He spotted Bedievere, recognising him as one of Arthur's friends.

"Surrender, and we won't hurt anybody," he called up. "Just open the gates and let us in."

"I don't think so." Bedievere glowered down at them, desperation lending him anger. "Camelot doesn't surrender to anyone."

"Then Camelot will regret it." Mordred gestured at his men. "We'll take this castle and destroy it, and you with it."

"That's been tried before." Bedievere smiled. "No one has succeeded yet."

"I haven't tried before." Mordred turned his horse to move away, allowing his men to prepare their attack. Now that he stood at the walls of Camelot he could see that it would not be easy. It had been built to last, by people who knew their craft well.

"Lord Mordred!" One of his men called to him, pointing back towards the north. "There are riders approaching."

"Riders?" Mordred rode closer, and looked to the horizon. He could see seven horses, but no more. "That'll be Arthur no doubt. I wonder if those are all the men he has with him."

"Arthur!" One of the guards on the walls of Camelot had seen the approaching riders. The fact that there were only seven of them did not seem to worry him. Arthur was coming to lead the fight, and nothing else mattered. He turned to his comrades. "To arms! To arms for Arthur!"

"Fool!" Grabbing a bow from one of his men, Mordred shot the guard down. He tumbled from the walls, landing face down in the courtyard. A murmur of anger whispered its way through the other guards. Bedievere allowed himself a moment of rage.

"To arms!" he called, and leapt down from the walls. The other guards followed. As Arthur approached, inside Camelot his men armed themselves, taking up formation by the castle gate. As the seven riders drew closer, Bedievere let out a yell, and a pair of guards swung open the gates. The four hundred men of Camelot charged out into the forces confronting them, and caught by surprise Mordred's men scattered. Riding closer, the seven riders split up. Lancelot and Gawain headed for the back of the castle, Percieval and Owain for the far side. MacLeod, leaning low in his saddle, hacked through Mordred's men with his huge claymore. A number of soldiers tried to drag him from his horse, but he held firm, and their grasping fingers succeeded only in tearing his clothes, and pulling loose the spare arrows and the dagger at his belt. He slashed at their hands, riding on through them.

Methos and Kronos rode hard after a large group of the scattering attackers. They found themselves in the clearing beside the lake, and dismounted, sending their horses away from danger. The men also dismounted, weapons in hand, looking black. The Immortals split up, moving in on their targets, faces wary, movements cautious. Methos lunged at some of the men, his sword whistling through the air, beheading one of his opponents almost without thinking. To his left he was aware that Kronos had been surrounded, and his friend was dragged to the ground beneath his attackers, their weapons cast aside. Methos frowned, but ignored the proceedings. He had his own problems. He fought on, whirling his sword with more violence than finesse. The men facing him began to fall back, and he charged through them, making them retreat with speed. At the edge of the trees a few of them fell, fatally wounded, and the others turned to run. The stories of Arthur had not escaped them, and they had heard that he was enchanted. This sudden ferocity convinced them of it. Breathing heavily, Methos turned to go back to Kronos, grinning at the sight. His old friend was staggering out of the edge of the lake, looking decidedly unamused. Two of his attackers lay on the bank, their necks broken. A third was backing away, his face showing his fear. As Kronos stepped from the lake, the man turned, and began to run for the trees. Kronos picked up his sword and almost casually threw it after the lone soldier. It caught him in the back, quivering for a moment between his shoulder blades. The man fell down and lay still.

"You're a bit wet," Methos observed, unable to keep the smile from his face.

"You don't say." The other Immortal scowled, and retrieved his sword, wiping it clean on the grass. "I am getting sick of fighting people in that lake."

"Well look on the bright side." Methos let the smile take over his face. "At least you're nice and clean now."

"Huh." Kronos smiled, a little reluctantly. "I'm also very, very tired." He tried to wring the water from his trousers, and with some irritation he tugged off the last remaining shreds of his shirt. It was not often that he admitted to such things as exhaustion. Methos nodded in agreement.

"I know, brother, but there's more to be done yet." He began to clean his own sword. Kronos glanced back in the direction of Camelot, and frowned.

"Methos..." he said, his voice low. The old Immortal glanced up. Flames were beginning to light the sky. He stared at them, frozen for a moment.

"Camelot..." he whispered. "Guinevere! Come on Kronos." He began to run towards the flames. After a second, the fatigue still showing, Kronos ran after him. There was urgency in their movements, concern written in their speed, but from such a distance it was hard to see whether there was anything left to defend.


Lord Bedwin, nobleman of England and dedicated enemy of King Arthur, lay in his dungeon cell, listening to the shouts that came from beyond the castle walls. He had heard Mordred's voice, and he smiled, knowing that it was time for him to do something decisive. He stood up and walked to the door. A lone guard remained in the room beyond, listening intently to the battle. He evidently wanted to run to join in, but he was afraid to leave his post.

"Guard!" Bedwin smiled, his face and voice friendly. "Come here for a moment."

"What do you want?" The guard approached cautiously, his expression wary.

"Your friends sound like they could use your assistance." The nobleman looked hopeful. "Mine too."

"You'd fight for Arthur?" the guard asked, looking dubious. Bedwin nodded enthusiastically.

"Of course I would. Against Mordred anyway. What do you say? We might make all the difference if we join the guards on the walls."

"Possibly." The guard's eyes darted to the door, thinking of his friends beyond it, and knowing that he could not stand there doing nothing for much longer. Finally he grabbed the keys and unlocked the cell door. "There," he said, and left without further words. Bedwin watched him go. Left alone, he went to the rack of swords on the wall, and tugged one down. He ran from the dungeon, out into the fresh air beyond. It felt good, but he did not have the time to savour it now. He raced into the main section of the castle. Torches burned from their brackets in the wall. He tore them down one by one, throwing them onto the floor, the wall hangings quickly catching light. Onwards through the castle he ran, starting fires throughout the length of the main corridor, hurling torches through doors into the rooms beyond. Finally he emerged into the daylight at the other side of the castle. Guinevere stood there, her eyes hot with anger, her sword drawn. She swung for him, and he jumped back. Onwards into the flaming corridor they fought, smoke rising around them, sparks leaping about above.

"This is crazy. We'll both be killed." Bedwin sounded desperate.

"Not both of us." Guinevere worked him back further into the castle, her sword swinging furiously. He tried to fight back, but his skill was not as great as hers, and he was distracted by the flames. Finally, with a look of cold triumph, Guinevere ran her opponent through. Bedwin collapsed onto his knees, and his eyes flared with anger.

"Mordred will win," he gasped, and pitched forward. Guinevere pulled her sword free and stared down at him, looking disgusted.

"No he won't," she said.

"Or maybe he will." The voice came from behind her, and she turned. Mordred stood in the corridor, surrounded by the flames. He whirled his sword about, grinning at her. She backed away, certain that she could not beat Mordred. The flames were beginning to gain strength around her, and she knew that she had to reach the safety of somewhere that had yet to catch fire. Only then could she hope to face the evil Immortal. Suddenly gripped by fear she began to run away down the corridor, Mordred's footsteps sounding loud as he came in pursuit.

At the same time, Methos and Kronos skidded to a halt outside Camelot. They had had to fight to get there, through soldiers from both sides, and it was clear that another battle was unfolding. The dust was already turning to mud, and the blood of the dead was spreading across the ground. Methos looked up at the flaming walls of Camelot. The fire had not yet gained a stronghold, but it was obvious that it soon would if it was not stopped. There was no one to stop it of course.

"I have to look for Guinevere," he said. "I can't see her out here anywhere. Nobody seems to know where she is."

"Mordred and Morgan aren't here either." Kronos looked about. "I can feel her though; she's not far away."

"Then you'd better go and find her." Methos turned back to the castle. "I'll find Guinevere, and then I'll find Mordred, and deal with him."

"Okay brother." Kronos glanced up at the flames. "Take care."

"Of course." Methos turned to leave, but paused to look back. "You too brother."

"Naturally." The younger Immortal found a smile, "I hope she's alright; really."

"So do I." Methos smiled briefly, and ran into the castle. After a second, Kronos spun around, and headed off in search of Morgan.


The castle was hot, and filled with smoke. Methos pushed on through it, knowing that if Guinevere were inside, she would head for a place where the flames were least evident. Instinct led him towards the throne room, and as he ran on he heard the distant clashing of swords. A burst of fear leapt up within him, and it mingled with the flash of energy that told him an Immortal was near. He could sense that it was Mordred. He ran faster, anxiety coursing through him. Without slowing down, he dashed around a corner, and into the throne room, skidding on the floor, looking wildly around. He froze. Mordred straightened up, pulling his sword slowly from Guinevere's body. The blood dripped from the powerful weapon, spilling onto the ground, and Mordred looked up, his expression one of distant scorn.

"That was too easy," he said, with some amusement. "You really should avoid these mortals, Arthur. They're just too weak."

"I'm going to kill you Mordred." The old Immortal's voice was cold. He felt the grief within him rising into rage, and his eyes widened as he stared helplessly at Guinevere. Images flashed through his head of their last words together. She had been worried about him, but she had been the one to die. His shoulders shook, and Mordred noticed.

"Or perhaps I shall kill you, Arthur," he said, stepping away from the body. "I enjoyed killing your wife. It felt good. Her face was fascinating to watch as she died. Have you ever truly looked at someone's eyes as they die, Arthur? Have you seen the fear and the pain? The disbelief? Quite fascinating. Perhaps you'll look the same. It's different for us of course."

"Guinevere..." Methos had heard all of Mordred's words, although he did not at first appear to react to them. Instead he stared at the body on the ground. Another mortal woman dead. Someday perhaps he would learn to leave well alone, but he doubted it. The grief grew stronger, and he almost ignored Mordred, taking a step toward Guinevere. Suddenly he wanted to go to join her. For a brief moment he wanted it all to be over. No more chasing after countless horizons; no more limitless years. All he wanted was the chance to follow Guinevere now, and to go to wherever it was that she had gone.

"Are you ready to die, Arthur?" Mordred's voice was mocking. Methos tore his eyes from Guinevere, and looked straight at his enemy. The anger cut at his heart, and something inside of him burned. He grinned.

"Guess again, Mordred. I'm going to live forever."

"Do you think so? I'm going to have to convince you otherwise." They moved closer. The grief in Methos' mind was rapidly making way for rage. He let the cold anger flood through him, and raised his sword. It was not for him to go now to join his dead wife. He had no idea if dead Immortals even went to the same place as mortals. It didn't matter anyway. He wasn't going to die; at least not today. His sword clashed with Mordred's and he felt the other man's strength. Mordred looked into Arthur's eyes, and saw the cold rage and the determination, and for a second he doubted his own power. They fought on, moving about the room, the flames crackling in the corridor beyond, edging ever closer.

"I'm going to win," Mordred growled fiercely. The red tints were unnerving as they chased across his eyes, flashing wildly. "I'm going to kill you Arthur. I've dreamt of it for years. You've ruined everything. Destroyed all my dreams..." His voice had faded to a whisper, deadly and cold. Methos could see the insanity written on the other Immortal's face.

"And you've destroyed mine." He swung his sword again. "Camelot in flames. You killed my wife! It's all done with now. I doubt I can pick up the pieces. It'd take years to gather another army. My rivals will begin to split the country again." His movements became wilder, more furious. "Thirty-seven years! Thirty-seven years it's taken, to get this far. To try and get these people to unite together, and now I'll probably have to start from the beginning again. Do you have any idea how many men died at Camlan? Because of you?"

Mordred fell back, his step faltering. The violent tumble of words had been accompanied by a sudden burst of strength and speed. Arthur's words pleased him on one level. He was glad to see how much pain he had caused the king to suffer, but he could see the fire it had lit within his enemy. He swung his sword, but Methos met it with his own. His face darkened.

"You wanted to own the world, but you've destroyed mine. You wanted to be the most powerful Immortal on the planet; to rule the rest of us. but that's not going to happen, Mordred. It's over. It ends now." He swung his sword again and again, his strength seeming to increase with each blow. He cut sharply, and with a sudden flash of intense fury, he let the sword swing hard with each syllable. "There can be only One!" In a blur of metal, the sword spun, and Mordred's eyes widened, seeing where its path would end.

"No!" he shouted, and tried to move away. His body could not react fast enough, and with barely a sign of a change in speed, the sword completed its smooth swing. Mordred's head rolled across the ground. Methos watched it as it rolled closer to him, the tension flooding from his body. He stared at the head, his rage growing again, and suddenly he kicked out, sending the head flying across the room, and into the flames beyond the door. He was still gazing after it as the Quickening overtook him. A wind tore through the room, annihilating the flames that were beginning to touch the door frame. The tapestries were torn from the walls, and blew about the floor. Methos shuddered as the first flashes of lightning engulfed him. They snaked up his arms, curling about his chest and his head, pulling the sword from his grasp, and forcing him to his knees. His eyes grew wide and bright, and the power flooded through him, charging his soul, making him yell out with pain and pleasure. His fists clenched, the knuckles white, and he leaned backwards, experiencing everything; all of the power and the knowledge. All of the life-force that had been Mordred's, and all of the other Immortals that the evil one had killed. Finally it was over. He knelt where he was for a moment, gasping for breath, then he stumbled to his feet, and went to Guinevere, kneeling beside her, and cradling her head in his arms. There could be no farewells, no final parting. She was already dead, and had been before he had reached her. He sighed.

"I'm sorry Guinevere," he said, his voice dejected. "I'm sorry. I should never have let him get away from Camlan. But there was nothing that I could do. I just wasn't quick enough."

"Arthur." He looked up. MacLeod stood in the doorway. He saw Guinevere and lowered his eyes. "I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault." He smiled down at his dead wife. "She looks like she's asleep, doesn't she?"

"Yes, I suppose." The Scotsman came into the room. He saw the headless body, and looked up inquiringly. "Mordred?"

"Yes. I killed him. I enjoyed it." He smiled crookedly. "I seem to be good at killing people."

"Aren't we all. It would appear that it is surviving that is the hardest thing to do." MacLeod picked up Excalibur and cleaned it off, holding it out to the king. "Come on Arthur. It's time to leave. There's still a battle going on outside. The men need to see you."

"Of course." He nodded, still staring down at Guinevere, then glanced up, reaching out for Excalibur. His eyes settled on MacLeod's outstretched hand, and he frowned. Amongst the blue tattoos that decorated his friend's arm, one was suddenly clearer than the rest. A branching, forked design within a circle. The same mark that had been worn by the Grail guardian, and the woman that had given him Excalibur. MacLeod glanced down at it self-consciously.

"Funny how it went unnoticed all these years," he said off-handedly. Methos smiled.

"For some reason I'm not surprised," he said. "You always did seem to know things. What are you MacLeod?"

"I'm a Highlander." He grinned. "And I was sent to help you. To see if I could help you to beat Mordred. Somebody decided that we'd all be better off without him." He looked serious. "Arthur, this isn't the time to talk of such things."

"No. Later perhaps." Suddenly he looked worried. "Have you seen Merlin?"

"Merlin?" MacLeod shook his head. "No. Not for some time."

"He went after Morgan. I don't trust her." He looked up. "Go after him, MacLeod. Please. See that he's alright."

"Okay." MacLeod turned to leave. "Arthur - you can't stay here much longer. The whole of the castle is in flames."

"I know. I'll - I'll leave in a minute." He stroked Guinevere's hair absently. "I just want to stay with her a moment longer - you know? Just make sure she's okay."

MacLeod nodded shortly, and left. Alone, Methos stared down at Guinevere's face. She looked peaceful. It was a peace that he wondered if he would ever share. As the noise of the flames grew louder in his ears, he lowered his head over Guinevere's, and began to cry.


Kronos walked into the clearing by the lake. it was as deserted as when he had left it shortly before, the bodies of the men he had killed still lying at the edge of the lake. There was no sign of Morgan, but he was close enough now to feel her presence. He just wished that he could see her as well. As he walked further into the clearing, his shoulder set firm, his eyes darting about, she stepped from the shadow of the trees. Her sword was drawn, and she tossed it lightly in her hand as she approached him.

"What's it to be Merlin?" she asked, stopping a short distance away. "Will you join me, or do I have to take your head?"

"Join you?" He laughed. "You mean like I did before? As your slave? I'm afraid not."

She smiled. "Your choice. But if it's any consolation, you were my all time favourite slave."

He walked closer, sword ready. "I guess we're running out of alternatives."

"Not necessarily." She glanced towards the flames in the distance. "Mordred is dead."

"Mordred?" He grinned. "Then Arthur has won."

"Yes, for now." She moved even closer. "Think about it though. Mordred is dead. That means I need a new partner. And I always did like you better, Merlin." Her dark eyes were bright and alluring.

"Huh. Merlin. I always did hate that name." He grinned. "Tell you what; if you can guess what my mother called me, I'll join you."

"You're an Immortal; you don't have a mother."

"That's a technicality. You know what I meant."

She sighed. "You don't have any intention of joining me, do you. You won't ever turn against Arthur. One day it'll be your undoing."

"Probably." He shrugged. "But not today."

"You think?" With a sudden yell, she swung her sword around, taking him by surprise. He jumped back, feeling the tip of her sword miss his chest by a hair's breadth. Without further words he swung up his own sword, and their weapons clashed loudly. It was clear from the outset that Morgan was an expert with her weapon, but he had expected that. Even making allowances for her skill at magic, she could not have survived this long without being an outstanding swordswoman. They circled each other warily, moving with an easy grace, their swords testing each other, crossing and lunging at each other, as the metal blades performed an intricate ballet in the air. To a spectator it would have been an awe-inspiring battle to watch, as the two skilled fighters battled together, swift and smooth, their swords natural extensions of their arms.

"You can't win, Merlin," Morgan told him. "I don't like to lose."

"I'd noticed." Kronos was not used to talking as he fought, and he frowned. Morgan pressed on.

"There is still time for you to change your mind."

"I don't think so."

She smiled. "It's a pity. You're good; the best I've ever fought. Perhaps I'll even shed a tear for you when I've taken your head."

"I doubt it."

"So do I." With a sudden lunge, Morgan twisted to one side. Kronos felt the point of her sword cut across his left arm, and he winced, angry with himself for leaving her such an opening. "Tut tut. You're getting sloppy, Merlin."

"Like hell I am." He pushed forward, and his own sword caught at her left elbow, cutting through the skin. She let out a gasp, and her eyes flashed.

"I'll get you for that."

"Good. Now shut up and fight."

They closed in on each other again, their blades flashing in the sunlight, meeting and parting, darting about in the air, painting invisible pictures in the wind. Kronos was vaguely aware that MacLeod had appeared from somewhere, and was watching, but he ignored the mortal. This fight did not concern him. Morgan's sword flashed at him again, this time cutting across his chest. Anger flared up inside Kronos, a sudden burst of hot fury that momentarily shut off all thought.

"Dammit! That hurt!" Casting aside all caution, he came at her, his sword almost a blur, and he saw sudden fear in her face. He swung his sword in a powerful arc, and her weapon flew from her hand, landing in the grass. She stared after it, then looked back to Kronos.

"Now what?" she asked. A frown passed across his face. His sword was raised, ready for the final strike, but the momentum seemed to have been lost. He faltered. Indecision showed in his eyes. Slowly he lowered his sword, staring at her, breathing heavily, and frowning in confusion.

"Now?" he asked.

"You don't have to kill me, Merlin. If you won't join me, so be it. I'll go away. You'll never see me again, I promise. Not unless you want to see me, of course." She moved closer, gazing into his eyes, and he frowned again. Behind her he could see MacLeod moving. He had drawn his own sword, and was coming up behind Morgan. Somehow the image did not quite fit in Kronos' mind. The frown chased across his face, and he looked back at Morgan. Her eyes called him to her, and he had to obey. Part of him wanted to kill her, but another part of him couldn't. He opened his mouth to speak, then backed away again, his indecision clear. In the corner of his eye he saw MacLeod raise his sword, and suddenly Kronos realised what the Highlander was intending to do. He shook his head, the confusion welling up inside him.

"Donald - no!"

Morgan started to turn, her eyes widening in fear as she saw MacLeod's sword descending. It was too late to duck. She let out a scream, but never had the time to finish it before the sword fell. Her body crumpled lifeless into the dust.

Donald stared down at the body, and then at Kronos. "I'm sorry, Merlin," he said, sounding genuinely regretful. But I had to do that."

Kronos raised his head to look at the Scotsman. He seemed about to say something, but broke off as the wind started to pick up, and the grass began to blow about their feet. The Immortal took a step back. His eyes widened, and at that moment a clap of thunder echoed across the sky. MacLeod also moved back, staring at the scene in fascination. He had heard of the power of a Quickening, but he had never witnessed one. He saw the tendrils of blue lightning emerging from the body of the dead Immortal, leaping into the sky - snakes of pure energy, twisting and writhing. Thrashing about, they engulfed Kronos, cracking across his body like lashes from a whip. The Immortal raised his arms into the air, feeding on the energy, and he sunk to his knees. The pain was obvious from his expression, but MacLeod could see ecstasy written in his eyes. He took a few more steps back, the wind blowing dust into his face, as he watched the incredible scene in front of him. Gradually the lightning seemed to be growing less intense, the wind less powerful. Finally the noise ceased, and the last of the Quickening's power faded. Kronos shook slightly, then fell forward onto all fours, shaking his head to clear it. MacLeod ran to him, and helped him to his feet. Concern showed clearly on the old Scotsman's face.

"Are you alright lad?" he asked. Kronos nodded breathlessly, and then frowned at MacLeod.

"Lad? MacLeod..."

"Sorry." The Scotsman shrugged. "I forgot."

The Immortal shook his head wearily. "After seeing all that - you forgot?!"

The Highlander laughed. "It's not my fault," he said, as they began to walk back towards Camelot. "I'm only human."


Back at the walls of Camelot, the battle was still raging. Nobody, it seemed, was aware that both of the leaders of the assault were now dead. MacLeod and Kronos split up, moving into the battle, each seeking to defend what there was left. The forces of Camelot were holding their own, and it was clear that there was no immediate danger of their being overthrown. Their losses were great, however. MacLeod stared about him, seeing yet another battlefield before him. It was not as big as Camlan, but it was no less treacherous, no less insane. He shouted across the tangle of fighting bodies.

"They're dead," he called. "Mordred and Morgan are dead. Lord Bedwin is dead. There's no reason to keep on fighting."

There was no pause. Nothing changed in the scene before him. He sighed, and raised his sword again. It would be a shame to die when it was all virtually over, but the battle still had to be fought.

The clash of sword on shield carried on. The numbers of men thinned, as more of them met their deaths on the field. There seemed to be no let up in the fighting, and the noise did not fade. Methos, fighting near the gate, found his way blocked by some of the most tenacious of Mordred's men. He cut into them, still fuelled by anger, and felt himself beginning to make some headway through them.

"Arthur!" A voice called to him, and he turned. A young man, his face lit by the obvious desire for glory, came forward. "See if you can fight me, Arthur."

"Don't be a fool." Methos ignored the boy, but he was persistent.

"See if you can beat me, Arthur," he called, and stabbed forward with his sword. Methos knocked it aside. The boy came at him again, and Methos, angry with himself, realised that he could not shake the young man off. He pushed him back, oblivious to the other men moving around him. The boy kept coming on, still trying to fight him, anxious for the glory that would come with the killing of the king. Finally, frustrated, Methos pushed forward. His sword pierced the boy's chest, and the mortal fell to the ground, looking amazed, and disbelieving.

"You damn fool," Methos told him. "You people have such frail lives, and you're prepared to waste them for nothing. I didn't want to kill you." The boy gazed back at him, his eyes wide and staring, blind to everything. Methos pulled his sword free, shaking his head, angry and upset. He turned, and looked straight into the eyes of another of Mordred's men. A sudden pain flashed through the king, and he looked down. His chest felt as though it were on fire, and he already knew what he would see. A sword stuck from his body, blood seeping from the hole that the weapon had made. He could feel it running down his front inside his shirt. He looked up into the face of his attacker, and the man pulled his blade free, grinning coldly. As Methos stared at him, the man raised the weapon again.

Nearby, Kronos knocked aside a handful of attackers. He had taken a few blows himself, none any more serious than he had received from Morgan. In a few hours he would have forgotten all about them. Distantly, through a shifting mass of men, he saw Methos go down. Even through his concern, he did not forget to use his old friend's alias.

"Arthur!" The panic in his voice was clear. He ran forward, leaping over dead bodies, skidding in the mud. With a few wild strokes he cut down the king's immediate attackers, and dropped to his knees beside his old friend. "Arthur?" he asked. Methos fluttered his eyelids vaguely, and a smile crossed his face; weak but there nonetheless.

"I'll be alright," he said. "It's only fatal." Kronos grinned.

"Yeah, I know brother. But I'd better get you out of here all the same." He got to his feet, and picked Methos up, carrying him from the battlefield, somehow managing to keep his feet amidst all the mud. MacLeod saw him leave, and chased after, followed by Lancelot, Gawain and Bedievere. Ignoring them, Kronos carried Methos into the safety of the trees, walking on until the noise of the battle was faint. Then he laid his old friend down on the ground.

"Now what?" The king's voice was faint.

"I don't know. Too many people saw you get hurt. I'm sorry, brother, but you can't go back."

"Damn." Getting weaker, Methos glanced back toward the battle. "Then it's all over. And for nothing. I never managed to unite the country."

"You've planted the seeds of unity, Arthur. Somebody else will finish the task." MacLeod crouched beside the king.

"But I've lost everything. I'll be walking out on my men while the battle is still going. Abandoning them, without knowing if they're going to win. Camelot is in flames. I've lost everything."

"Not really." MacLeod laid a hand on the king's arm. "You can start again, in another place."

"This was my home. I wanted to stay here." Methos shook his head. He could no longer see clearly, and the pain in his chest had taken over his whole body. "I guess it's over for us all." He looked about. "Lancelot? Gawain?"

"We're here." The knights were standing nearby, and Lancelot spoke for them both. "We were going to leave anyway; stick together. Camelot is finished with, and the Round Table has gone. There's nothing here for us now."

"I understand. Good luck." He reached out a hand and they both shook it; then they were gone. Methos searched out Kronos with his failing eyes. "Brother? It looks like we have to be going again."

"It does, doesn't it." He grinned. "We're beside the river. I'll float us downstream in your boat. We can rest up somewhere until you're healed."

"Good." He nodded. "But there's something I have to do first. Where's Excalibur?"

"Here." Kronos pressed the sword into his old friend's hand. Methos nodded.

"I have to give it back, but I don't know how. What should I do with it MacLeod?"

"Throw it into the lake." MacLeod handed the weapon to Bedievere. "Go on."

"Into the lake? Excalibur?" Bedievere looked from the Scotsman to the king. "Alright." He vanished, and reappeared a moment later. "It's done."

"What happened?" MacLeod asked. Bedievere shrugged.

"Nothing." Methos laughed weakly.

"Bedievere... go and do it properly." Bedievere did not move for a moment, then he turned and left. Shortly afterwards he returned with a sword in his hand.

"What happened?" Methos gasped.

"I threw the sword into the lake," Bedievere told him. "Then this woman came out of the trees. She had a tattoo on her wrist. She gave me this for you." He held out the sword, but the king was too weak to take it. Kronos took it instead, and slipped it into the sheath at the old Immortal's waist.

"And now what? What are you going to do? MacLeod? Bedievere?" The old Immortal spoke weakly, aware that Kronos had moved away to fetch the boat. Methos had kept it nearby for when he went fishing with Guinevere.

"With your leave, sire, I'm going back to join the fighting," Bedievere said. Methos nodded, hearing the knight move away, but not seeing him. It was too late now to worry about all that he had just heard.

"And you MacLeod?"

"Me? I have things to do. It's my turn now to go and guard the Grail. It hasn't had a proper Watcher for twelve years. I probably haven't got a lot of time left, but I guess I ought to use what I have."

"I understand." Methos heard Kronos approaching, pulling the boat downstream. "Good luck."


"MacLeod?" Methos was staring up at the sky, but his eyes were sightless.


"The Watchers. You don't just watch the Grail, do you."

"No, we don't." The Scotsman smiled, although he was aware that Methos could no longer see him. "Far from it." He looked up, and his eyes met with those of Kronos.

"I thought so." The old Immortal's voice was faint. MacLeod glanced down at him, wondering distantly what other things his king was going to see now that their roads were parting.

"Don't worry about it now," he said gently. "Just go to sleep, Methos."

The old Immortal did not react to the name. "Yeah..." he whispered. "See you in another lifetime MacLeod." His head rolled to one side as he died. MacLeod looked up at Kronos. There was something disturbing about the scene, even though he knew that Arthur would recover. Kronos did not speak, but merely lifted up his friend's body, and put it into the boat. He climbed in and picked up the oars, pushing away from the bank.

"Good luck," MacLeod called. Kronos looked back as the boat floated down the river, and he smiled; then they were gone around a bend. MacLeod stared after them for sometime. Then he smiled. He had things to do. A long journey lay ahead of him. He had a heavy heart for the part of his life that was now over; but he knew that he had to put it behind him, and carry on. Unlike the two men floating away down river, he had only one life to live. He glanced back towards the sounds of fighting. The last flames of Camelot sunk lower, and vanished into the dying sunset. He sighed and turned away, preparing to head towards his own destiny. Arthur's world was done with. It was time to begin again.


"Hey, dig this!" The tall student stood up, and the love beads around his neck swung merrily. "Is it important?"

"What?" The archaeology professor, a young man who did not look much older than his students, stepped forward to take the object. "It's an arrow head," he said, and threw it back.

"Really? Cool." The student turned it over in his hands. "What do you reckon it'd go for back home?"

"David... Archaeology is not about money. It's about history, and heritage." The young professor smiled. "And it wouldn't fetch much. Arrowheads are too common."

"Shame." The boy turned away, and vanished into another of the excavation trenches. At the same moment a girl straightened up, an object in her hand.

"What about this, Jean-Paul?"

The professor turned to her, and took the artefact. It seemed to be made of metal, and had been turned by the years into a battered and rusted ghost of its former shape.

"It's a dagger!" Interested now, Jean-Paul turned it in his hands, examining the hilt. There was something there, beneath the rust, and he rubbed at it, holding it up to the dying light. A design caught the sun, and he breathed in sharply. The juniper badge of the clan MacLeod. Softly he whispered something to himself.

"There he goes, being all French again." David popped up from the trench long enough to laugh.

"That wasn't French." The girl frowned. "It was Gaelic. My father speaks a little. I didn't know you spoke it Jean-Paul."

"Oh, I'm full of surprises." He offered her a distracted grin, and then laid the dagger down amid the other items being taken for further study. What could a MacLeod dagger be doing on an English battlefield? If it was more recent, he could have understood it, but this field was centuries old. It lay in the sight of a castle, now no more than the barest of ruins, which had caught the attention of some history teacher, and had sparked off this whole excavation. The castle had been razed to the ground, probably more than a thousand years ago. It was frustrating, at times, trying to piece together the truth about historical events. It was all so vague, so confusing, with so many cryptic clues and hidden secrets. That was what had attracted him to it in the first place, for he had so many hidden secrets of his own.

"Is it important?" the girl asked, sounding hopeful.

"It could be, yes." Jean-Paul kept his tone nonchalant. The dagger was certainly important to him, if not to the American university that paid his salary. There were stories amongst the MacLeods, of a clansman who had gone south to help an English king fight an important battle. Jean-Paul had heard them, many years ago, when he had been a child. He had always considered them to be nothing but legends. He flashed her one of his boyish grins, the kind that had won him more than the usual amount of female students. "Come on. It's time to pack up for now. It's getting dark."

One by one the students climbed from the excavation, and began to walk across the fields, heading back to the tents that were their home. David had nicknamed the camp Draft Dodge City.

Left behind, Jean-Paul bent to pick up the dagger. As he stared at it, a gust of wind blew, ruffling his dark blond hair and making his long coat blow around his knees. The sword beneath it brushed gently against his legs, and he smiled. There was nothing like an ancient battlefield to stir the senses. It was filled with mystery, and the anonymous souls of all those who had died so long ago. Surely if there was anybody who could unravel their secrets it was a man who was a part of history himself? Jean-Paul DuGuerrier might look young, but he had seen more than a few centuries go by.

He picked the dagger up, tossing it gently in his hand, his mind travelling back to the last time that he had heard the name of the MacLeods, when someone had last called him by that name. It seemed a long time ago now.

"So who were you brother?" he whispered, forgetting himself again, and speaking in Gaelic. Only the wind answered. "Who did you fight for and what happened to you?" An owl shrieked loudly, and Jean-Paul smiled, reverting to his French-accented English. "You're right," he told the unseen bird. "No one can answer that now. They're all dead; everyone of them. All gone long ago." He replaced the dagger in the tray, and began to follow his students back to Draft Dodge City, his mind drifting back to other battlefields, in other times, remembered only by him. As he wandered off, thousands of miles away a lone figure closed a book, reaching the end of the story at last. It was always interesting to read the different tales that had been written about Arthur, and to see how they had been changed by the years. With a sigh, Methos stood and wandered out onto his balcony, staring into history. Then he smiled. Those days were gone; long gone, and he had another life to live. Arthur might be dead, but the legend always carried on.


Nothing much. The battle of Camlan probably took place in 542 AD, and King Arthur would have 'died' around then. Information is a little vague for obvious reasons. The calendar that Methos spoke of is the Julian calendar, commissioned by Caesar in 45 BC. It started the twelve month system. Before then there was a ten month system, so it's understandable why Methos finds it so difficult to figure his age out accurately.

No one knows where Camelot was, though it's generally assumed to have been in Southern England. Camlan was probably by the Scottish border. Everything else is really just conjecture. Arthur's existence has never been conclusively proved, so it's up to you what you believe. Merlin is an even more confusing figure (although apparently not to the VPFC, without whom he would undoubtedly have kept his shirt on...!)