by The Digital Mage (27 May 94)

Here is a piece of fiction I wrote originally for the Highlander list, but I am at the moment trying to post anything which will give people something good to say about the list.

The fiction itself was written on the fly, its only the first part but the other parts aren't written yet -though I have a vague idea where it is all heading.

Comments and helpful sugestions are encouraged -post to me direct though.


Jan walked slowly down the street. The wind blew strongly and a rogue page from a newspaper blew around his feet, like a cat eager for attention. Jan smiled grimly to himself; he had once more left a world behind him, a world that had been his life for two decades. But recently he had found it difficult to keep up the facade. Too many people were asking too many questions, and he had too few answers.

He had made the arrangements for false documentation, birth certificates, driver licences and so forth. He would now be known as Steven Carmichael, a widower and freelance journalist. Even though he had gone through this sort of thing before, it was hard, leaving friends and lovers. Sometimes he wished he could meet someone like him, a woman who could endure the rigours of time with him. Sometimes he envied the mortal man.

Jan stooped as he reached the chariot of steel, glass and rubber. He removed the key from his pocket and unlocked the car. Opening the door he slid into the driver's seat and pulled the door shut. He did not immediately start the engine, instead he sat in silent contemplation for a few scant moments; then with a shrug and a sigh that seemed to indicate that he was finally resigned to a course of action he was reluctant to take, he turned the ignition, and soon the automobile was winding its way out of the city.

The sign ahead welcomed him to the city of Charleston, a change for him, no damned skyscrapers to block out the sun. Jan had already bought a house here, one dating back to the 1800s. It had seemed familiar to him, a tie to the past that made him feel less isolated from the rest of humanity.

The tyres skidded slightly on the gravel driveway, Jan had never fully mastered the skills of driving a manually operated car, he was more at home in the saddle of a horse.

"Yes!" he thought to himself, "I must find out if there is a stable nearby."

He exitted the car and looked up at the old house; it looked so welcoming in the bright sunlight. The gables held swathes of ivy, each small leaf held a drop of dew which reflected the early morning rays, and sparkled like jewels....

...the jewels were exquisite; finely crafted, and inlaid in a gold necklace of such delicate intricacies, that it almost seemed too fragile to wear -but the Countessa wore it well. Jan took her hand and caressed it with his lips. Their eyes met again and a coy smile played upon the Countessa's face.

"A dance?" Jan inquired. The Countessa nodded, took the gallant soldier's hand, and entered onto the ballroom floor.

"You do know that it would not be seen as correct if I allowed you more than the one dance" spoke the Countessa as they danced.

"To hell with what is correct. Why should I not dance the whole night with you? I am a soldier yes, but what does that matter in the game of love?"

"But Sir Jan, I feel that you do not realize the lengths my father will go to, to prevent my relationship with you."

"Let him try and stop me. Let him even try to kill me. Nothing will stop my love for you." A wry smile spread across Jan's face.

"You should not jest about such a thing. My brother David has already killed three men in duels to defend my honour". The Countessa's voice is filled with genuine concern, but Jan shrugs off the warning. He is content that his 'uniqueness', will prevent anything stopping him marrying this woman.

Jan gazes down upon the frail form of his beloved, aged and sickened she lies motionless in her bed. The physician has done all he can, and still the Countess will die. And Jan curses his immortality, curses his inability to have grown old with this woman, curses his inability to die with this woman; curses what he is. And a tear trickles from his eye, traces its path down the contours of his face, and splashes upon the Countess' ivory hand, it glistens in the candle-light....

....glistens like the dew upon the ivy leaves. Jan breathes deep, a heavy weight burdens his heart once again -so many times, so many times.