* TRAIL OF TEARS * (DISCLAIMER)

"Trail of Tears" is an original fan fic work set in the
Highlander universe.  Duncan MacLeod, Richie Ryan, Joe
Dawson & Sgt. Bennett belong to Panzer/Davis, no copyright
infringement intended.  Altea Werner is a creation of
the Highlander Fan Season (HFS), check out the link on my
Infernal Link's page.  Allison Waters, Seann Filteau,
Gage Zanski & Sara Doyle are MY creations.  If you want
to post this story on a different web site, you must include
this disclaimer.  Thanks so much and enjoy.  

**TEASER**


The sensation struck him, stirring through his bones.  

Gage Zanski sat up suddenly in bed, his hand moving 
for the T’ai Chi sword resting against his night table.  
He slid out of bed, dressed only in faded jeans.  He 
pulled on a t-shirt and opened his bedroom door.  There 
was movement from below, boots sounding on the lower 
floor.

“I am Gage Zanski!”  the Immortal called out, moving 
down the steps carefully.  

Gage leaped over the banister and landed on the foyer 
floor.  He spun his sword carefully, all his senses aware.  
Something moved behind him and he spun, then cursed as 
the cat scampered away.  

A dark form moved behind him.  Gage spun and brought 
his sword up, but two blows from the curved sword wielded 
by the huge man sent his blade spiraling away.  Gage leaped 
out of the way as the scimitar swung down and dug into 
the floor.  The man wielding the sword spun, drawing the 
blade out of the floor in one swift movement and sliced 
through the air and carved through another one of Gage’s 
walls.

“Look...I’m unarmed,”  Gage tried.

“You had a sword a minute ago,”  his opponent laughed.  

Gage continued to back up.  He knew the house’s layout 
by heart.  A few meters behind him, he had two katanas 
mounted on the wall.  He turned and grabbed for one, his 
hand closing around it’s hilt, as the other Immortal swung 
his scimitar down towards him.  

A rumble of thunder crackled across the midnight sky.  

A white mist arose.

=====

Moonlight streamed in through the window, into the 
bedroom.  On the bed, Tim Bennett rolled, engrossed 
in deep sleep.  It had been a rough day - a homicide 
and two robberies.  He had been exhausted when he 
arrived home after a seventeen hour day, and had fallen 
asleep fully dressed with no time to eat dinner.

Suddenly, a loud rumble of thunder echoed through the 
skies.  Bennett’s body stirred, but he remained asleep.  
The crashing sound of splintering glass woke him.  

Bright blue light flickered madly through the window, 
bathing the dark man in freakish, unnatural light.  
Bennett could only look on in amazement as a tendril 
of electricity snapped past in front of his window.  

Bennett looked out the window and gasped in horror. 
The house across the street - Bennett identified it 
as belonging to Gage Zanski - was the origin of the 
light display.  Windows were smashing open on Zanski’s 
house, and bolts of lightening flew through the air.

Bennett was on his feet in a second.  His bedroom 
door was open, and he ran through it, flying down 
the flight of stairs.  He was out the front door 
before he realized he was unarmed.  	

He didn’t care.  What could it be?  Some kind of 
electrical storm?

Bennett ran across the pavement, noticing that the 
flashing lights had stopped.  Zanski’s front door 
was locked solid - despite a burn mark across the 
front of the door - but every front window were 
blown out.  Bennett’s police officer mind realized 
that the windows had been smashed out from the inside.  

Bennett, careful to avoid broken glass along the 
edges, stepped inside the house.  His hand moved 
instinctively towards his belt, but his palm closed on 
thin air instead of the hilt of his Glock semi-automatic 
pistol.  The walls of the house were scored by burn 
marks - and deep cuts.  Bennett frowned - what could’ve 
caused the cuts?  Not an electrical fire, that was certain.

A body lay in the foyer.  Bennett collapsed to his knees 
and vomited.  The corpse was headless.  


Act One

====	Scene 1.

“Hey, we’ve all been there,”  the hand dropped on 
Bennett’s shoulder.  The tall black cop sat on Zanski’s 
porch, hunched over.  Several police cars, an ambulance 
and a fire truck were parked in front of Zanski’s home.  
A lot of neighbors had come out of their homes and 
were watching the body (cloaked in a sheet) being 
wheeled out of the home.  

“Yeah,”  Bennett said, standing.  

“Where are you going?”  Someone called.

“To the station!”  Bennett replied.  “I’ve got some 
checking to do.”

One name repeated within Bennett’s head.  Duncan 
MacLeod.  Duncan MacLeod.  

====	Scene 2.

Bennett pulled his sedan up in front of the building 
five hours later.  He exited his car and fed a few 
quarters into the parking meter.  The sign above a side 
entrance read “DeSalvo’s Dojo”, but it was in fact 
MacLeod’s Dojo.  Bennett walked up the doors and opened 
them.

Bennett walked down the corridor.  Suddenly, the ringing 
clash of swords reached him.  He broke into a run, pushing 
his way through a pair of glass doors into a martial arts 
dojo. 

Two men danced around each other, swords swinging through 
the air.  Bennett recognized one of the men as Duncan 
MacLeod.  He hadn’t seen the antique store owner in almost 
seven years - and why had he done that to his hair? - but 
he knew who he was.  A slender, ivory hilted katana was in 
his hand, swinging through the air against the other man.

The other fellow was a few inches shorter, slimmer, but 
just as powerful.  He had short cropped black hair, and 
his sword curved dramatically.  Bennett recognized 
MacLeod’s opponent’s sword as the same type as used by 
Morgan Freeman’s character used in “Robin Hood: Prince of 
Thieves.”

“What the hell --?”  Bennett asked.

As soon as the two combatants realized they weren’t alone, 
they stepped back from each other.  MacLeod spun his sword 
so that it lay against the back of his arm.  The other man 
tucked it under his coat.  

“MacLeod!”  Bennett snapped.  “What the hell is going 
on here?”

MacLeod saw Bennett and sighed.  Why now, after seven years?  
“Sergeant Bennett...it’s been a long time.”

“What is it with the swords?”  Bennett demanded.  “Who are 
you?”

The dark haired man smiled.  “Seann Filteau, at 
your disposal.”  Filteau smiled warmed at MacLeod.  
“It was...fun, as always, MacLeod.  I’ll stop by 
later?  Perhaps we can have some coffee?”

MacLeod glared daggers at Filteau.  The other man slipped 
out the side door.  MacLeod placed his sword up against 
a wall, and turned to face Bennett.  

“How have you been, Sergeant?”

“Oh, just fine, MacLeod.  I’m a lieutenant now, you may 
have noticed.”

“What brings you by?”  MacLeod asked, pouring a glass of 
water and drinking it quickly.

“Oh...investigating a murder.”

“Whose?”  Duncan asked.

Ballin relished this moment.  “Gage Zanski.”

Duncan’s fingers tightened.  Gage Zanski had been a member 
of the Dojo for nearly two years.  A good friend.  Not a 
great swordsmaster, but he and Duncan had tried to spar 
once a week or so.  

“How did he die?”  Duncan asked.

“Decapitated.  There was a sword next to his body.”  
Bennett pointed at the katana.  “Similar to that one.”

“That’s a one of a kind sword, Sergeant.”  Duncan shook 
his head and corrected himself.  “Lieutenant.”

“Really?”  Bennett asked.  “Is that why you decided to 
make it into a public display about three years ago or so?”

Duncan didn’t answer the lieutenant.  John Garrick had 
been projecting images into his mind, and at one point, 
Duncan had seen the cloaked Immortal that hid in his dreams 
standing in day, plain as sight.  He had pulled his katana 
and fought -- only to discover he had been fighting an 
illusion.  

“Look,”  Bennett pressed.  “Army CID has been doing some 
covering for you ever since that Horton thing in Paris.  
There was a headless body -- well, three, actually -- 
connected with that.  Jason Talbot, in New York City.  
Xavier St. Cloud and...somebody else, in Paris. How many 
were you responsible for?”

Anton Le Gris, Duncan thought but didn’t answer.  Gunned 
down by mortals, and then beheaded by Xavier.    

A sensation struck at Duncan.  An Immortal.  Filteau, 
back?  Or Richie?    

“Well, how many?  Why are you running around chopping 
people’s heads off, MacLeod?  How can you explain Kuyler?”	

Duncan shrugged, moving to stand inconspicuously next 
to his katana.  “I guess he cut himself shaving.”	

“Shaving?  What about Gabriel Piton?  He’s about to 
murder some girl, you show up, get her out of there, 
and when you come out -- the last person out of the 
building -- you leave Piton beheaded.  You’re lucky 
that girl ‘forgot’ what happened.”

“That’s all very interesting, Lieutenant.”  

Where was that damn Immortal?

A blonde woman entered the Dojo.  Her hair was worn 
short, and she was slender.  She wore a long black 
trench coat, and an icy expression on her face.

The sensation - the Buzz - was coming from her, Duncan 
knew it.  He didn’t recognize her, was she here to fight?

“Duncan MacLeod?”  She asked.

“That’s right,”  Duncan said, curling one hand around the 
hilt of his sword, using his body to shield that act from 
Bennett’s eyes.

“I’m here visiting.”  The mysterious Immortal said.  

Duncan looked at her.  “Is it hunting season?”	

“You know, funny thing about that, my...uncle...died 
outside of hunting season as well,”  the female Immortal 
lifted a wooden practice sword off the wall and spun it 
through the air.  She pointed it at Duncan.  “Did you 
know him?”

“I don’t know,”  the Highlander replied.  

Bennett knew a second meaning was being conveyed in the 
conversation - he just didn’t know what.  “What was your 
uncle’s name, miss?”  He asked.

The Immortal looked at the black man.  “And who, exactly, 
are you?”

“Lieutenant Tim Bennett, Seacouver Police Department.”

“Oh!”  She brightened.  “You probably know him.  
Well, knew him.  Andrew Ballin.”  Her rage focused 
on MacLeod.  

“Chief Ballin?”  Bennett wondered aloud.  “Yeah, I 
know him.  He’s lucky he got himself killed, because 
otherwise he’d be doing life in jail.”

She shrugged.  “You might be surprised.”  

“I guess he got a bit ahead of himself?”  Duncan 
quipped.

The woman smiled and tossed the practice sword aside.  
“Well, MacLeod.  Who wants to live forever?  Someday, 
you’ll get ahead of yourself as well..=  I’ll see you 
around.”  She turned and walked out of the dojo.  

Bennett glared at Duncan.  “Andrew Ballin was found 
decapitated - you remember, when Tessa witnessed 
the murder of that Wheeler woman.”

Pain struck Duncan.  He closed his eyes.  “Yes, I 
remember.”

Bennett saw the reaction.  “I’m sorry.  I heard 
about her death.”

Image: Tessa, lying on the street.  Blood pooling 
under her.  

“Yes,”  Duncan said, weakly.

“MacLeod...what is going on here?  Do you know that 
woman?”

“No,”  Duncan replied.  

“I’m going to keep an eye on you.”  Bennett promised, 
turning and walking out of the Dojo.  He opened the 
door for a man with a shock of grey hair and a cane.  
Duncan nodded at Joe Dawson as the Watcher entered 
the dojo.

“Hi, Joe,”  Duncan greeted.

Joe smiled in return.  “I’ve got some bad news, Mac.”

“Gage Zanski’s dead.  Yeah, I know.”

Joe frowned.  “You didn’t...”

“No, I didn’t.”  Duncan replied.  “The man who just 
left is Tim Bennett, he...”

“My god, I thought the cops dropped that 
investigation!”

Duncan pursed his lips.  He should’ve known that 
Joe would know about the police investigation into 
the string of beheadings that had followed him for 
several months and from Seacouver to Paris.

“They did.  Bennett lives across the street from Zanski.  
Do you know who did it?”

Joe shook his head.  “No, but there are quite a few 
Immortals in the area.”

“Like Seann Filteau?”  Duncan asked.

Joe nodded.  “Have you seen him yet?”

“Yeah, we had a little...argument...that Bennett walked 
in on.  Someone else, too.  A female Immortal.”

Joe shook his head.  “Did you get a name?”

“Not hers,”  Duncan told him.  “Her teacher was Andrew 
Ballin.”

====	Scene 3.

FLASHBACK: 1992

Duncan stepped along the water’s edge, dressed in leather 
trench coat.  He held his katana held combat ready in his 
arms.  The sense of an Immortal struck him, and he noticed 
the man dressed in a yellow coat approaching.

“Must be useful being a cop, Ballin,”  Duncan said, anger 
in his voice.  “If you kill one of us, you can be the first 
on the scene.  No questions, no suspicion.  Just good solid 
police work.”

“I wasn’t coming for you yet, MacLeod,”  Ballin retorted, 
bringing up his broadsword and holding it in front of his 
face. 

“Of course, it works just as well for mortals!  Why Ann?  
She was your woman.”

“She wouldn’t let go,”  Ballin said, stepping forward.  
“Everywhere I went, so did she.  At the end, she 
threatened to expose what I was to the world if I didn’t 
go back to her.”

“How many others have you killed?”  Duncan asked.

“Does it matter?  They never live forever.”  Ballin 
smiled, then swung his blade out and advanced.  “And 
neither will you!”

Duncan blocked, and swung, and the two Immortals danced 
around each other, blades swinging, deflecting, lunging.  
Finally, Duncan leaped off the uprising they were standing 
on, seconds before Ballin’s blade bit into metal hard 
enough to cause a fountain of sparks.

Ballin charged forward, and Duncan blocked a swing and 
slammed the dragon-head of his katana hilt into Ballin’s 
chin.  Ballin staggered back, but kept the grip on his 
sword.  Duncan waited for him, and Ballin didn’t disappoint, 
rejoining his attack.  

Ballin lunged, and Duncan knocked his sword away, swinging 
for Ballin’s neck.  Ballin ducked and slid away, and Duncan’s 
blade cut into a lightpost, slicing it in two.

Duncan cursed as he dodged the falling lightpost, but 
quickly spotted Ballin again.  The two Immortals clashed, 
circling each other, swinging their swords the way 
centuries of use had taught them.

Ballin staggered back as Duncan’s blade ripped into 
his arm.  The cop Immortal quickly ascended a flight 
of stairs leading to a walkway.  Duncan followed, but 
Ballin had the advantage - he was on higher ground.  
Duncan pressed his attack on the second landing, 
and knocked Ballin over the rail.  Duncan gripped 
the rail and followed his opponent.  

Ballin was staggering away, his left arm useless 
at his side.  Duncan let Ballin take the offensive, 
and deflected his weak attacks.  Duncan stepped 
aside, and spun his katana.  Ballin stepped forward, 
swinging his blade down.  Duncan brought his up, 
blocked it in one move, knocked it out of Ballin’s 
hand in a second move, and slashed his sword across 
Ballin’s chest in a third.  Ballin cried out, but 
Duncan swung his sword, silencing him forever as a 
crackle of thunder split the sky.

====	Scene 4.

PRESENT

“Ballin, huh?  Boy, Mac, these old fights just 
won’t leave you alone.”

Duncan started to say something, but the loud sound 
of screeching tires echoed from outside.  There was 
a loud thump, and then the sound of a car engine accelerating.  
Duncan was out of the dojo and in the street seconds 
later.

Tim Bennett had been walking across the street to his car 
when he had been hit.  He lay sprawled on the street, blood 
pooling under his head.  The driver who had hit him hadn’t 
stuck around, and skid marks led into the distance.  
Thankfully, the street that the dojo was on wasn’t 
very busy.  

“How is he?”  Joe called from the doorway.

“He’s dead!”  Duncan said, scooping up Bennett’s body 
and carrying him back to the dojo.  

“Then shouldn’t you leave him there?  And call the 
police?  Or an ambulance?”

“Probably,”  Duncan said, pushing his way into the 
dojo and hurrying to the elevator.  Joe had to rush 
to get inside, but he did.  Duncan dropped the gate 
and twisted the key.  The elevator rose.

“Uh....”  Joe began.  “Is he...”

“Immortal?  He is now.”

Act Two


====	Scene 5.

When the elevator reached the loft, Duncan dropped 
Bennett onto the bed.  The wounds across the man’s 
chest and face were beginning to heal, but he had 
not yet wakened.  

“What are you going to tell him?”

“How about that the car killed him and this is 
heaven?”  Duncan wondered, flashing a smile at his 
friend.  

“Very funny, Mac.  I mean it!  The guy’s neighbor loses
his head, he comes here asking about decapitations - if 
you tell him about the Game, you could be thrown in jail?”

“So what should I do?”  Duncan snapped, stepping 
towards Joe.  “Let him wake up and wonder why he 
isn’t dead?  Leave him unable to defend himself 
against another armed Immortal?”

Joe shook his head.  “I didn’t mean that, Mac...”

Duncan nodded.  “I know.  Look, Joe, he’s going 
to wake up in a little bit.  Would you mind waiting 
down in the dojo?”

“Yeah, no problem, Mac.  You want to use me 
as...?”

“Supporting evidence,”  the Highlander smiled.  

Joe entered the elevator and it descended, Joe got 
off and it rose again.  No sooner had the elevator’s 
motor stopped grinding than a full blown buzz of an 
Immortal hit him.  Duncan looked and put on his best 
face as Lieutenant Bennett’s eyes opened.  The man 
sat up on the bed, his eyes wide.  

“What...”  he gasped.  “What’s going on?”

“Take it easy, lieutenant,”  Duncan told him.

“Where am I?  What happened to that car?”  Bennett 
groaned, looking at his shirt.  He howled.  “Where 
did all this blood come from?”

“The car hit you.”  Duncan said.

“Why aren’t I in a hospital?  What is going on?”  
Bennett screamed.

“Calm down,”  Duncan told him, but Bennett had 
already ripped his shirt off.  

“Where are the wounds?  Where did this blood 
come from?”

“Calm down!”  Duncan hissed.  Bennett was impressed 
by the sudden out lash of emotion from the dojo owner.  
“You were hit...and killed...by that car.”

Bennett looked at Duncan.  “The car killed me?  
Would you mind explaining why I’m still alive?”

“You and I,”  Duncan said, “are Immortal.”

“Immortal.”  Bennett repeated.  “Yeah, right.”

Duncan produced a small knife, a sgain dhub, 
from a drawer next to his bed.  He showed it to 
Bennett.  “We are Immortal, Bennett.”  With that, 
he sliced open his palm.  Bennett winced for Duncan, 
and grabbed a towel, wrapping Duncan’s hand in it.  

“You moron!  What are you doing?”  Bennett snapped, 
spotting the phone at the far end of the loft.  He 
started walking towards it, but Duncan grabbed 
Bennett’s sleeve.  The towel fell away from Duncan’s 
hand.  The wound had healed aside for some dry blood.  

“I...I don’t believe it.”

“It’s true,”  Duncan replied.  “I am Duncan MacLeod 
of the Clan MacLeod.  I was born in 1592 in the Highlands 
of Scotland.  I died for the first time in 1622.  I took 
my first head in 1624.”

“Your first...what?”

Duncan sighed.  “Do you know how to use a sword?”

“A...I took a fencing class in college.”  Bennett 
frowned.  “Why do I need to know how to use a sword?”

“Gage was an Immortal, like us,”  Duncan said.

“But...he’s dead!”

“Everyone dies,”  Duncan agreed.  “Even us.”

“Death...by decapitation?”

“That’s right.  It’s the way the Game works.”

“The...Game?”

“We each have a shot at ultimate knowledge.  When only 
a few of us remain, we will gather in a far away land 
to fight for the Prize.”

“And the Prize is...?”

“All the knowledge and power of all the Immortals 
who ever lived.”

“How long have Immortals existed for?”

Duncan smiled.  “Since the dawn of mankind.  
Thousands of years.”

“But, you’re...”

“Four hundred and seven years old,”  the Highlander 
replied. 

“And...”

“There is more.  Lots more.”  Duncan stood, walked 
to his dresser, and pulled out a white turtleneck.  
He tossed it to Bennett, who quickly pulled it 
on.  “The driver who hit you fled the scene.  No 
one saw the accident.  You’re lucky,”  Duncan 
smiled.  “When most Immortals die their first death, 
they have to leave town in a hurry.”

“What about you?”  Bennett asked.

Duncan nodded.  “I was killed in combat with a rival 
clan in 1622.  I died slowly of the wound - but 
when I recovered, I was cast out of my clan.  You’re 
lucky in another regard...you didn’t have to wander 
the Highlands for two years without knowing what 
you were.”

“You didn’t know that you were Immortal?”

“I thought I was bewitched by the devil,”  Duncan 
told him.  “I tried to kill myself dozens of ways.  
I threw myself off cliffs, I stood unprotected 
against the elements.  Finally, I tried to drown 
myself.  I wedged between two rocks on the coast.”  

Bennett nodded.  “And...?” 

“And, I was found.  By an Immortal.  Connor 
MacLeod...”

“Of the Clan MacLeod?”  Bennett finished. 

“He’s living in New York city nowadays.  Come on, 
there’s someone I want you to meet downstairs.”

“Another Immortal?”  Bennett asked.

Duncan shook his head.  “No, a Watcher.  They’re 
a society who know about Immortals.  They keep records 
of the lives we lead.”

“And you let them?”  Bennett wondered, entering the 
elevator behind Duncan.  Duncan brought the gate down, 
and the elevator began its descent.  

“We only found out about them a few years ago,”  Duncan 
said.  “But they’ve existed for centuries.”

“What’d they do, get sloppy?”  Bennett teased.

Duncan shook his head as the elevator came to a stop.  
He slid the wooden grate up and smiled warmly at his 
new Immortal student.  “They were killing us.”

Duncan stepped off and Bennett took a deep breath.  
“That’s reassuring.”

====	Scene 6.

Seann Filteau moved with purpose down the street.  He was 
furious that his fight with MacLeod had been interrupted - 
by a pre-Immortal of all things!  His life over the past few 
years had been a string of victories.  He had finally avenged 
a sixty-year debt against Gage Zanski owed to his dear friend, 
Robert Carter, who Zanski killed.  

Filteau had been Immortal since 1786, when he had been killed 
during a battle between the British Man-of-War he had been a 
gunner aboard and a pirate clipper.  Carter had been a ship’s 
officer, a lieutenant, and had hidden him away until the ship 
had docked.  Then Carter had snuck him off the boat and taught 
him to fight with a sword.  Filteau had taken his first Quickening 
within months of becoming Immortal, and he and Carter had remained 
friends.

Until 1856, when Gage Zanski had taken Carter’s head.

And then Filteau had discovered that Duncan MacLeod was living 
in Seacouver.  That had been a stroke of luck.  Their past was more...
convoluted, multiple run-ins over a period of centuries.  

Filteau smiled.  He would have MacLeod’s head.

A young woman stepped out of a back door a few meters away.  There 
was a slight Buzz emanating from her.  A pre-Immortal.  Filteau 
walked up to her and applied all his charm.  “Hello,”  he said, 
charmingly.

The young woman looked up and smiled, stunned at his handsome 
features.  “Hello.”  

“I’m Seann Filteau,”  the Immortal said, holding out his hand.  

“Sara Doyle,”  the young woman replied.

Filteau smiled lovingly.  
	
====	Scene 7.
	
“We follow, we watch...”  Joe said, sitting next to Bennett in the 
dojo office.  “But we never interfere.”

Duncan snorted.

Joe sighed.  “Well, we never interfered.  It seems to be a force of 
habit these days, though.”

Bennett leaned forward.  “Why did you start?”  

Joe looked at Duncan.  The Highlander nodded his head, and Joe turned 
his attention back to Bennett.  He hated having to tell this story, 
it tarnished everything he believed in.

“There was a Watcher named James Horton.  He...had some problems.  
He began fearing that Immortals would dominate mortals.”  Joe paused.  
“He found other Watchers who felt as he did - and they started killing 
Immortals.”

“How?”  Bennett asked.  

“Surprising them,”  Duncan replied.  “Stunning them with 
an electrical shot and taking their heads.”

“James started in Ireland.  Dublin, to be specific,”  Joe continued.  
“Ryan O’Hagan, Elena Galati, Peter Ferguson and Thackery.  He was about 
to go after Hugh Fitzcairn...”

Duncan clenched his jaw.  Bennett noticed, then motioned for Joe to 
continue.

“Fitz knew something was up,”  Joe said.  “He and Thackery had set up 
a meeting to talk about the beheadings in Dublin.  Thackery never 
showed, and Fitz got nervous - he came to Paris.”

“And Horton followed him.”  Duncan muttered.  “He killed a priest
 - a very old priest - named Darius.  That’s how Fitz and I knew we 
were being hunted by mortals.”

“How?”  Bennett asked, curiously.  “Just because some priest
got his head cut off?”

“He was beheaded on Holy Ground.”  Duncan said.  

Bennett shook his head.  “So?”

Joe snorted.  “Holy Ground!”  

Duncan suddenly realized what Bennett was missing.  “Holy Ground 
is sacred,”  he explained.  “We can’t fight there.  No one - no 
Immortal - would ever break that rule.  It’s tradition.”

“So, when you found Darius dead...you knew it was a mortal.”

“But not which mortal,”  Duncan smiled.  “They kidnapped Fitz, 
and came after me.”

“What happened?”

Duncan shrugged.  “I got away and freed Fitz.”

“So he’s still alive?”  Bennett asked.

Duncan shook his head.  “No, he died two years later - thanks 
to Kalas.”

“Sounds like you didn’t like him very much.”

“He killed a lot of good friends of mine,”  Duncan said, thinking 
of Paul, Timon and Peter Hale.  

“Dangerous being a friend of yours?”  Bennett wondered.

Duncan didn’t answer.  

“So Horton died in that CID thing?”

“No, he faked his death and escaped.”

“Is he still out there?”

“Not anymore,”  Duncan said cryptically.  “Unfortunately, 
he killed more Immortals before he died.”

“How many Immortals are there?”  Bennett asked.

It was a question Duncan had never thought to ask Joe Dawson.  
The Watcher was taken aback by the question, and Duncan wondered 
if Joe even knew the answer to the question.  “Uh...well, we’re 
not exactly sure.”

“Why not?”  Bennett asked.

“Well, for one thing, ever since the whole Galati/Shapiro 
thing, the network has been a bit disrupted.”

“The...what thing?”  Bennett asked.

“A black moment in the Watcher/Immortal relationship,”  
Duncan interjected.  “War was at risk.  It was averted...by 
the death of Jakob Galati.”

“A Watcher?”

“An Immortal.”  Duncan didn’t look at Joe.

“Um...right, so...not every Immortal has a Watcher.”  Joe 
continued.  “But there are a lot of Immortals.  Thousands, all 
over the world.  Some are very new...like you...some are very 
old.”

“Who is the oldest Immortal?”

Duncan and Joe exchanged quick glances, and Joe spoke quickly.  
“Methos.  But he’s a myth, we’ve never had a tail on him.”

“You’re lying,”  Bennett said.  “Twenty plus years as a cop, 
and I know you’re lying.”

“Don’t press.”  Duncan whispered.  “Methos doesn’t exist.”

Bennett shrugged.  “Maybe.  Maybe not.”  

Bennett and Duncan both stirred at the same time as a 
sensation filled their bodies.  “What’s that?”  Bennett 
asked.

“It’s how we recognize other Immortals,”  Duncan said, 
grabbing his katana.  “How we prepare for combat.”

“Combat?  You mean the beheading bit?”  

“Yeah,”  Duncan replied.  “The beheading bit.”

A red haired man walked into the Dojo, his hand inside the 
long coat he wore.  Bennett hadn’t seen this young man for 
a long time either, but he recognized him instantly.  “Richard 
Ryan?  What did you do to your hair?”

Richie looked at Bennett and grinned.  “Sergeant Bennett!  
Welcome to the dojo!”  Richie noticed that Duncan had his 
sword out.  “Uh...Mac?”

“He knows,”  Duncan replied, lowering the katana.  “He 
just became Immortal less than an hour ago.”

“Mac,”  Richie said, concern in his voice.  “Altea had a 
bout with some fellow earlier this morning.”

Duncan’s brows furrowed.  “Who?”

“I don’t know.  She didn’t know.  Medium height, black 
hair, and a scimitar.”

Duncan’s jaw hardened.  “How is she?”

“She got sliced up some, but she’s alive...and so is 
he.”

“Yeah, I know.  Bennett walked in our swordfight, and he 
left.”

“Where do you know him from, Mac?”  Richie asked.

“Where’s Altea?”

“Out hunting for him.  I wanted to come along, but...”

“She refused you?”  Joe smiled.

“Yeah, well...she wants this guy pretty bad.”

“Not as bad as some, I’d say,”  Joe said, looking at 
Duncan.

====	Scene 8.

FLASHBACK: 1794

Man-of-War HMS Seafury

The deck rolled, and Duncan MacLeod was nearly knocked off 
his feet.  A high pitched whistle sounded from outside, and a 
splash of water funneled into the air.  

“Come on, you!”  An officer sounded from across the deck.  
“Get that gun firing!”

Duncan had been a gun captain aboard the Seafury for two months.  
His job was to prime, aim and fire the gun.  There were five other 
members of his gun crew, including another Immortal - Seann Filteau, 
his number Three, who loaded the gun.

The Seafury had been tracking a pirate ship along the coast of 
Africa for several weeks.  Now, they had finally found the ship and 
were going broadside to broadside.  Cannons roared against each 
other, and the Upper Gun Deck was filled with smoke and blood.

Crew members threw the dead and badly wounded out of portholes.  
The two ships were coming closer and closer, and on the deck above, 
Duncan could hear the firing of muskets.  “Prepare to board!”  
Someone yelled.

Seann and Duncan exchanged glances.  “She’s ready!”  Two shouted, 
after the crew had used handspikes and ropes to lever the gun back 
into firing position after firing.  The ship’s roll brought the 
cannon into perfect firing position and Duncan lit the fuse.  The 
cannon went off, and slid backwards from the recoil.  

“Stop firing!”  The officer yelled.  “Prepare to repel boarders!” 

Suddenly, the presence of another Immortal filtered through to 
Duncan and Seann.  Another Immortal...but where?

Seann drew his saber and hurried over to Duncan.  “Well, I guess 
this is it.”

The Highlander nodded, dropping his hand on the young Immortal’s 
shoulder whom he had come to call friend over the two month period 
they’d served together.  “Watch yourself, Seann.”  He drew his 
katana.  His sword had been greeted with some suspicion when he’d 
joined up, but he had convinced the lieutenant in charge of new 
enlistees that it was a family heirloom, and as strong as any English 
blade in existence.

From above, the sounds of clashing steel rang out.  Duncan charged 
up to the main deck, and was set upon by two pirates armed with 
cutlasses.  Duncan joined the fray excitedly, his katana swinging 
through the air and ringing off his opponent’s blades.

Seann joined the fight a second later, slicing his sword through 
one of the pirate’s ribs.  As that man collapsed, Duncan cut the 
other one in two with a swift slice.  

“MacLeod!”  Seann called out, pointing upwards.  “They’re in the 
rigging!”

Indeed, several pirates were climbing through the riggings to get 
to the sails.  Duncan cursed as it became obvious that the Royal 
Marines hadn’t noticed them!  “Come on, Seann!”  Duncan called out, 
racing for the ratlines on the opposite side of the ship.  

The two Immortals leaped onto the ratlines (rope ladders) and 
began climbing with great speed.  Duncan paused long enough to 
slip his katana into a sheath, but Seann didn’t even wait that 
long, his saber in one hand.  Still, Seann moved faster, 
quickly reaching the main topsail yard, where he surprised two 
men trying to light the sails on fire.  He knocked one off balance, 
and that man fell screaming to the deck.  The other drew a 
cutlass, and they began sparring very carefully on the yardarm.  
If one of them was unbalanced, they would fall to their death. 

Above the main yard, on the fighting top, another pirate 
drew a musket and aimed it at Seann.  He fired, and Seann 
staggered, stumbling off the yard arm, crashing to the deck.  
Duncan swore and resumed his climb, emerging onto the fighting 
top through the lubber’s hole.  The pirate turned and used 
the musket as a club.  Duncan grabbed it and spun around, 
throwing the pirate off the fighting top.  

The pirate on the yardarm leaped up, wrapping his arms 
onto the fighting top and pulling himself up.  Duncan lanced 
out with his katana, spearing the man through the eye.  
The pirate cried out and fell.  

“Seann!”  Duncan screamed out, but the other Immortal was 
“dead” and couldn’t hear anything.  Even if he could, the 
sounds of swords clashing and guns firing drowned out 
anything he could’ve said.	 

Someone landed on the fighting top behind Duncan.  The 
Highlander spun, facing a pirate armed with a cutlass.  
“Walter Coligan, at your service.”  The pirate said, 
raising his sword in a salute.

“Our Game is not for spectators,”  Duncan replied, 
guarding with his katana.

“Look down, MacLeod.  Do any of them seem to be paying 
attention to what is happening up here?”

Duncan steadied himself as the boat rocked beneath him.  

Coligan stepped forward, swinging his sword.  Duncan brought 
up his katana and met his blow.  

Far below, the deck was lit on fire by pirate crew members.  
  
====	Scene 9.

PRESENT

“So...” Bennett said.  “I go from investigating a bunch of 
decapitations to learning that I need to cut people’s heads
off to survive.  How wonderful.”

Joe stood in the Dojo, placing calls on his cell phone in 
an effort to track down Filteau.  Duncan, Richie and Bennett 
sat in the office.  

Richie smiled sympathetically.  “Well, Bennett - the reason 
Mac took me in was because I witnessed a swordfight.  Imagine 
seeing someone chop somebody’s head off...it was...”

“Scary?”

“Wierd.”  Richie said with a laugh.  “But, yeah, I was scared 
of Mac for a long while.”  

“So, you weren’t Immortal when...”

“No.  I was ‘killed’ in a mugging accident.”  Richie looked 
up at Mac.  He paused.  “Tessa was killed in the same shooting.”

“I was in the station when the call came in,”  Bennett said, 
shaking his head.  “I’m sorry we never found that punk.”

Richie almost said we did, but held back.  

A presence tickled the senses of the three Immortals.  They 
turned as one as the outer door to the building opened and 
footsteps approached the dojo.
	
Altea walked into the dojo, a long black coat billowing behind 
her.  She smiled at the familiar faces of Duncan, Richie and Joe.  
She frowned at the black man, but walked towards the office.

“Tim,”  Duncan introduced.  “Meet Altea Werner.  Altea, this is 
Tim Bennett.  Tim just became Immortal.”

“Really?”  Altea smiled.  “It’s nice to meet you.”

“Been Immortal long?”  Bennett asked innocently.  	

Duncan shook his head.  “Uh, Tim...asking an Immortal 
their age is kind of...”

“It’s okay,”  Altea smiled.  “I’m...new.”  {In a relative 
sort of way,} she thought.

Joe’s cell phone rang, and the Watcher excused himself, 
moving into the dojo to take the call.  

“So, MacLeod,”  Bennett asked.  “You going to show me 
how to use a sword.”

“Yeah,”  Duncan said as Joe reentered the office.  

“Mac,”  the Watcher said.  “Filteau was spotted fifteen
minutes ago.”

“Where?”  Duncan asked.

“You know that new Convention Center that the city’s 
building on Cullen Street?”

Duncan nodded his head.

“He’s there.  Met some girl and is taking her on a 
tour of the city.  I’ve got two Watchers keeping an eye 
on them...”

“I’m there,”  Duncan said, standing and grabbing his 
duster off a hook.  He looked at Richie and Altea.  
“Would you two stay here and keep an eye on Tim?”

“Yeah, sure Mac.”  Richie agreed.  Altea nodded.  The 
Highlander walked quickly out of the Dojo.  Joe made his 
excuses almost immediately thereafter, and left as well.

Altea shedded her coat and lybrs, propping it against 
the wall.  “C’mon, Bennett.”  She said, walking into the Dojo.  
She selected two katanas from the wall and handed one to the 
police officer.  She drew the blade from the sheath, and 
motioned for Bennett to follow suit.  

She assumed a combat stance, one leg behind her.  She lifted 
the sword above her head, stepped forward and brought it down.  
It cut the air with a loud swoosh.  Bennett duplicated her 
stance (Richie was at hand to make sure his stance was correct)
and brought the sword down.  

“Good,”  Altea said, correcting his grip on the sword.  
They resumed their stances and stepped and cut down at the 
same time.  “Good.”  Altea grinned.  She stepped back, then 
stepped forward, cut downwards, brought the sword back above 
her head, stepped forward again and cut.  

Bennett followed her movements, and he and Altea ran through 
the movement repeated.  “Okay, now we’re going to try a lunge.  
Step forward, but stab - like this.”  She ran through the 
procedure, and watched Bennett do it as well.

“Okay, good.”  Altea smiled.  “Slow motion, now.”  She stepped 
forward, bringing her sword in for a vertical cut.  Bennett 
blocked with the tip of his sword.  Altea shook her head.  
“No, not like that. When you attack, you strike with the weak 
part of the blade.”

She pointed at the tip of the blade.  Slowly, holding the 
katana with both hands, she brought the sword down from above.  
Bennett brought his katana up and blocked with the tip again.  

Altea shook her head.  “Hold it there,”  she instructed.  
“That’s a weak position for a block.  A little more force, 
and...”  Altea applied more force to her sword and brought it 
down.  Her blade slid easily along Bennett’s blade and was 
suddenly at his neck.  Bennet gulped.

Altea withdrew her blade.  “Block with the strong part of 
the blade, here.”  She pointed at the gentle curve of the 
sword near the tsuba.  “You have more strength here.  Now, 
an overhead cut.”

“Me?”  Bennett asked.

“Yes.”  Altea replied.	

Bennett gripped the katana and brought it down from 
above.  Altea blocked with the strong part of the sword...
and then suddenly stepped to the side, moving her sword 
fluidly to the back of Bennett’s neck.	

“And then move like that.”  Altea finished.

Richie smiled and walked over to a wall mounted rack.  
He drew two wakazashis, companion blades to the katana 
that were shorter.  He spun them through the air.  “C’mon, 
Bennett...let’s see what you got.”

Bennett looked at Richie.  Altea stepped back and sheathed 
the katana she was holding.  “You sure, Richie?”  

“Yeah, I’m sure,”  the Immortal replied.

Bennett smiled, and suddenly leaped towards Richie with a 
lunge.  Richie dodged back, riposting with the sword in 
his right hand and slashing with the one in his left.  
Bennett pulled back and swung vertically, forcing Richie 
to back up a step.  The thief turned Immortal was a bit 
surprised by the ferocity of Bennett’s attack, but he recouped 
quickly.  He was more used to the Bastard sword he had 
inherited from Grahame Ashe (via Duncan MacLeod), but 
he had always wanted to use a pair of wakazashi.  Still, 
Bennett had the advantage of reach...

No longer!  Richie stepped into a lunge and used the 
two swords as a vise to knock the katana out of Bennett’s
hands.  

“Uh...nice move,”  Bennett said.  

Richie spun the wakazashis away and handed Bennett 
back the katana.  He grabbed his bastard sword, and 
the two circled each other.  Richie stepped forward, 
swinging the broadsword in a wide sweep at Bennett’s chest.  
Bennett brought up his katana, held in his right hand, and 
twisted his wrist so that the broadsword clanged into the 
strong part of the katana.

Bennett applied force to his block and knocked the 
bastard sword away, stepped forward and slammed the hilt 
of his sword into Richie’s jaw.  Richie cursed out as he 
stumbled backwards, swinging his sword madly to ward off 
an attack.

Altea laughed, stepping forward, her katana out.  “Richie, 
go upstairs and take a shower.  You stink!”

Richie smiled.  “Oh, sure, like you and the 
Sergeant here don’t.”

“I look good sweaty.”  Altea smiled.  “And, Richie?”

“Yeah?”

“Make some lemonade, alright?”

Richie nodded, rubbing his jaw.  “We’re going to 
work on basic moves,”  Altea informed Bennett as 
Richie walked to the elevator.  

“Did you learn these from MacLeod?”  Bennett asked.

“He’s taught me some moves,”  Altea admitted.  “But 
I learned swordplay from Darius.”

“The one killed by...?”

“Yes,”  Altea admitted.  “I was buried alive for 2,000 
years.  Continuous death.  I was freed by some archeologists, 
and Darius found me.  I knew how to use the axe, but he taught 
me about the Game, and how to use a sword if need be.  He tried 
to convince me that a sword would suit my purpose better... 
but the axe is all I have left of the life I once led.”


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