Immortals: Entering the Game
by Jennifer Quail
The following is a story based on Highlander: The Series. It involves no copyrighted
characters. I do need to say that concepts of Immortals, Watchers and the Game
come from the movies and the show. I mean no harm, this story is not for profit.
I.E., Please don't sue me for infringement. I don't have any money.
All characters not from the series are reserved to me. This story is for distribution on the
Internet. Please contact me if you wish to post it anywhere. I love publicity.
After the fall, Genna knew things were different.
She'd been out rock climbing in the Pass, a favorite hangout for students from her small, relatively secluded Southern university. The Devil's Kitchen was a series of huge rocks scattered at a kink in the river's winding course, a perfect playground for the more daring among the student body. Genna had always been one of the more adventurous. Fortunately, she hadn't been alone that day. While climbing over a granite slab that protruded like a sideways tombstone from the bank, she'd slipped and fallen.
Her first thought after regaining consciousness was how little she actually hurt. Then she noticed that she didn't really feel anything. She couldn't move anything, for that matter. She was aware of blood on the back of her neck. Above her on the rocks, her friend screamed-she must not have been out long, her panicked mind thought, or Brooke would have noticed...Her limbs felt unnaturally stiff, but at least she was beginning to feel a tingling in her fingers.
By the time Brooke had made it all the way down to her, Genna could feel everything again, and to her surprise and consternation, nothing hurt. Even her head, where she was sure she'd struck a rock, seemed to have stopped bleeding.
"Oh my God!" Brooke dropped to her knees beside Genna. "I thought you were dead! Can you move at all? Is your back hurt?"
"I think-" It surprised Genna that she could talk at all. "I think I just had the wind knocked out of me. I think I'm okay." She reached slowly behind her head and fingered the wound. It was still sticky and damp from the blood, but it didn't seem to be bleeding at the moment. "I better see a doctor."
"We ought to go to a hospital! After that fall-I thought you'd broken your neck!" Brooke offered her a hand as Genna slowly stood up. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"Like I said, I'd better have the doctor look at me." She looked back up at the rock. She'd fallen a good twenty feet onto sharp rocks. By rights, she was dead. She didn't feel dead. In fact, she didn't feel half as bad as that kind of fall should have left her feeling. As Brooke steadied her solicitously on the slow climb back to the car, she noticed that her balance was normal, all her wounds had stopped bleeding and the bruising, what should have been the worst part, was minimal at most. Something was definitely wrong.
He hadn't planned on stopping in the small, western Virginia college town for long. An old friend had died, like so many had before and, if he could keep his head about him, would continue to do, and he needed to pay his respects. Not at the funeral directly, of course, where there was some chance the widow might recognize him and cause a scene over his unchanged appearance. Instead, he waited until he could visit the grave side privately. Over time, he'd learned that was the best way.
Why he decided to go for a walk around town he didn't know. Perhaps it was simply the old-fashioned charm of the place. The town was remarkably unchanged since his last visit fifty years earlier. The names of the shops had changed, and of course the cars were different, but by and large it was the same place. The path he chose lead him up onto the hill where the campus of the liberal arts college was perched, red brick buildings overlooking a gentle expanse of green lawn. He strolled slowly down the brick pathways, taking in the youthful atmosphere of college. He almost regretted never going to any sort of higher learning institute. Then again, there was always time-
The sensation flooded through him, gripped at his insides, sent electric charges racing through him and his pulse pounded. Automatically, from caution bred over centuries, his hand went to the hilt of his sword beneath his long coat. The icy blue eyes scanned the people around him. Somewhere, nearby, was another Immortal.
He spotted her ahead of him on the walk. A young woman, short and compact, dark hair in a thick braid, a long face and high forehead, with dark, wide eyes. She was standing still, books clutched in one arm, her other hand rubbing at her temple. "Genna?" the girl beside her, obviously a friend, asked. "Are you all right?'
He relaxed slightly. Whoever she was, she wasn't prepared for battle, and he wasn't going to provoke one. Then he watched her more closely. She didn't even look around for the source of the sensation-she looked confused by it, in fact. "I'm fine," she said finally, voice on edge. "It's just-I don't know-like a headache, but not quite-" She frowned and shook her head.
"Maybe from your fall?" He perked up his ears. A recent injury..."Maybe when you hit your head-"
"Doc said I didn't even get a concussion, for all I should have been dead," the other said irritatedly, but he could tell she was more than a little worried. "I'm fine. It's probably just my allergies or something."
His heart leaped, and his hand came away from the sword. A recent injury, not recognizing the warning...she didn't know about the Game. She was new, and she didn't know what she was, yet. A new Immortal, ready to be trained-or to have her head taken by the first opportunist who came along.
We'll see about that, he thought, and then, pretending to be absorbed by the bulletin board about the Dean's List and the Honor Roll, he waited for them to pass by, then followed them. Genna...he turned the name over in his mind. Another name to add to the long list he kept-hopefully under the category of ally.
Genna cursed under her breath and bent over the excavated pit in front of her. She was supposed to have help with the project for the archaeology field course, but for the second time in two straight days, she'd ended up digging the test pit alone. Not that she really minded-the National Forest was a pleasant enough place to be. So far she'd seen at least six different wild birds, and somewhere in the nearby woods she could have sworn she'd heard a deer moving about. She was only a few hundred feet through the brush from the main structure the class was excavating, but they'd all gone in almost an hour ago. Now there was nothing but her and the noise of the forest.
The sensation came, setting her head reeling. The trowel slipped from her hands as she reached up to grasp at her temple. Deep within her, her innards twisted as though from nerves of the worst kind. Allergies, she thought, it has to be, that or some kind of reaction from that fall. As quickly as it had come the sensation abated, and she straightened up-
To find a man staring at her. He was dressed much like anyone who lived around the county, in a dirty cotton shirt and stained overalls. His boots were more lace than leather now, and a red-socked foot was visible through the toe. But what drew her eye immediately was what he held in his right hand.
A sword. A nineteenth-century cavalryman's sword.
She looked into narrow blue eyes. He spoke first. "You're trespassing here. This is my place."
"This is park service land," she said. He had the accent of a local, at least. She backed out of the pit, careful to keep it between her and him. "I think you're the one who's trespassing."
He snorted. "I was here before there was a park service! I warned all of you to stay away. You're the first in fifty years who hasn't listened."
Genna's brow furrowed. He was perhaps forty, at the oldest. "I think you might have had a bit too much to drink, mister, whoever you are. Why don't you go on back wherever you came from and let me work?"
He grinned, and she saw the yellowed, tobacco-stained teeth. "Oh, I'll be goin'. Right after I take your head." And without any further warning, he swung at her with the sword.
Genna leaped backwards without thinking and the blow came short. Stumbling away, she grabbed for the nearest weapon-the brush axe the site supervisor had leant her to clear the area. She couldn't run-she'd kill herself on the rocks and fallen trees that made the undergrowth a death trap. He made another quick slash-intoxicated or crazy he might be, but he knew how to swing a sword. She tried to parry the blows with the axe, but it was not designed as a fighting weapon. He was driving her steadily back to the edge of the little clear area, and there was nowhere to run.
The same sensation returned, more forcefully. Genna didn't have time to ponder it, but to her surprise, her attacker also pulled up. He turned to look at the pathway from the other site. Genna looked, too, and there was another man there, this one as handsome and groomed as her assailant was ill-kempt. But her attention focused on his right hand, because he, too, had a sword.
"Let her go, James," the newcomer said, voice soft and accented. "She doesn't know what she is."
"Battle's joined, Stefan. You can't interfere," James-that seemed to be his name-snapped. "You know the rules."
"That rule doesn't apply when you're assaulting someone who doesn't even know she's part of the Game," the other said, tone amazingly mild. "Put away your sword."
James turned to the newcomer, seeming to forget about Genna. "Very well, my Teutonic friend. I'll postpone taking her head-until after I take yours." He moved to attack position, sword tracing lazy arcs in the air.
"We don't need to fight," the other man said, but he brought his own sword up to defensive posture. "Genna, run. I'll catch up." She remained in place, frozen with fear and an odd fascination. "Genna, run! Now!" The command in his voice broke through her strange paralysis, and as she turned to run she heard the clash of metal against metal behind her.
She ran without thinking, stumbling over logs and rocks and through clumps of heaven only knew what kind of plants, not sure where she was going or why but only that she had to run. She finally stumbled to a stop at the edge of a mountain creek, collapsing on a slick wet boulder and gasping for breath. It felt like she had run for miles, but she could still hear the sound of swords against each other. And then, suddenly-
The noise was like the rush of wind in a storm, and the air was alive with energy. Unthinking, she rose to her feet, her heart pounding and her breath coming in long, low, gasps. The power...it was so tangible she could almost see it...the thunder, the lightening, the crackle of fires as trees exploded in showers of sparks like they'd been struck by lighting...and somewhere in all the chaos, a man's voice, shouting out wordlessly, primally, the scream of a victor. The tempest abated as abruptly as it had come, and she sank down on the rock, body trembling and mind reeling. She couldn't form a coherent thought-the image of the man coming at her with the sword burned in her mind, and their words-"what she is-rules-part of the Game." What were they talking about?
The sound of pebbles rattling beneath boots brought her attention to the bank of the creek, just as the same sensation of lightheadedness and nervous tension returned and departed. Standing before her, sword hanging casually from his right hand, was her savior. He was a good six feet tall at least, strongly built, with dark hair that was almost black and ice blue eye that, though frighteningly deep, looked on her kindly.
"My name is Stefan," he said, smiling in a way that softened his face. "You're probably a little confused."
"A little?" she managed to stammer. "Some nut tries to kill me-what happened to him?"
Stefan's smile was no longer pleasant. "He's dead."
Genna shivered. "You killed him. Why? Why were you there? Who was he? Why did he want to kill me? How did you know what was happening?"
"I've been watching you," he said, and casually he withdrew a handkerchief from within his long coat and began to clean the blade of the sword. "I was waiting for the right time to approach you, but James-James McDonnagh, that was his name-made it necessary to step in. As for why I killed him, and why he wanted to kill you-" Stefan paused. "In the end, there can be only one. Some refuse to wait for that end. Some try to prevent that end by hiding, and killing those who threaten their solitude. James was like that."
"One what?" Despite the fact that he had saved her life, despite the sword he held and obviously knew how to wield, Genna was becoming irritated. "Who are you?'
Stefan lowered the sword and looked her straight in the eye. "I am an Immortal." He said it so calmly, so sanely, that Genna found herself believing him. And then he delivered a coup de grace in that same tone, and she nearly fainted. "And so are you."
The little roadside café, which barely earned that name, was well enough off the beaten path that the only other customer were two plaid-clothed locals who looked as if they hadn't moved in years. Stefan ordered them coffee and waited until Genna had her hands curled around the cup before speaking again. "I'm sure you have a lot of questions. I know I did, when I found out."
"Questions? I'll say!" She looked up at him from narrowed, suspicious, eyes. "Let me get this straight-not only are you some kind of immortal, there are others like you, and you go around killing each other because 'there can be only one?' And to top it all off, you claim that I'm one of you? To say the least, I have questions!"
"I'm here to answer them," Stefan said amiably.
"Good." Genna set her cup down. "Why the hell should I believe you?"
Stefan sighed, never losing that inscrutable smile. "Tell me, have you recently had a-"near-death experience," I believe they're calling them nowadays. A time when you should have died, but you came back with no injuries?"
Genna's brows furrowed. "I fell-I was rock-climbing and I slipped. I thought I'd broken every bone in my body, but I guess I wasn't hurt as badly as I'd thought."
Stefan nodded. "You were hurt that badly. You died. That was your initial Quickening. When you woke up from being "dead," you stopped aging. You also, I'm sorry to inform you, lost the ability to have children. The good news is, you'll live forever-or until someone takes your head."
"Takes my head?" She remembered he'd kept talking about that...
"The only way an Immortal can die is if someone cuts off your head. That's what I did to James, that's what he wanted to do to you. You were an easy mark for him, alone and unprepared. You wouldn't have been a very powerful Quickening, though-too young, and you've never taken anyone else's head." He took a sip of coffee. Not quite as fine as fresh-ground, in a mountain shack in Columbia, but serviceable.
"That lightening-the flashes I saw-that was-"
He nodded. "Not only did I take his head, I took his power. I can't really explain any further. A Quickening is something you really have to experience to understand."
Genna shivered. "So every time Immortals meet, they fight?" The whole concept still seemed ridiculous, but his eyes had a hypnotic quality to them.
Stefan laughed. "There wouldn't be any of us left to have the Gathering! No. But we always have a warning. Did you feel anything when I approached?"
"What, like the earth moving?" she shot back. "Sorry. You're not that good-looking."
Stefan laughed in spite of himself. "Let me demonstrate." He slid out of the booth and walked to the men's restroom, off to the side of the cashier's counter and out of sight of the booth. A few minutes passed, and then he reappeared-
And Genna felt the same dizziness, the lightheadedness, the buzzing sensation in her temples. Stefan sat down across from her, the smile even more enigmatic. "Like that, you mean?" Genna asked.
"That's a warning. It's different for every Immortal. It lets us know that another one of us is nearby, and we have to prepare." He noticed how her hands were shaking, and reached out to take them in his own. "I know, it's a lot to take in."
Genna stared at her hands in his. "How do I know you're telling the truth?"
Stefan sighed. In the old days, this would have been easy-toss her off a cliff, drop her in a lake, shoot her or stab her-anything to show her that she could survive where a Mortal would die. Of course, in the old days people took a lot less convincing. "Here. I promise I won't hurt you." He reached up his sleeve and withdrew a slender dirk. "A gift," he said, displaying the silver blade with the elegant gold-and-ebony inlay, "from a Bedouin chieftain. Now watch." Better to demonstrate on himself first. Carefully, he ran the razor-sharp blade diagonally across his forearm, wincing just a bit, cutting deep enough to raise a thick red line. Genna gasped, but her horror turned to astonishment as the bleeding stopped and the wound closed before her eyes. "Now," Stefan said, "give me your arm."
"Are you nuts?" But before she could protest further, he cut across her forearm.
"I'm sorry," he said, "but this is for the best."
Genna cried out in pain, but then, suddenly, she realized that it no longer hurt the way it should. She felt the pain ease, and the skin slowly stitched itself up. "My God," she breathed, and as her eyes turned back up to his, he saw a look he'd seen so many times before-the look of a new Immortal who had just fully realized that he was telling the truth. "You really are telling the truth." She stared down at where the skin now showed no sign of having been damaged.
"Welcome to the Game," Stefan said softly.
Genna and Stefan sat on the steps of the University athletic building, watching the lacrosse players goofing off on the lawn. "So," Genna finally said. "What do I need to learn about being an Immortal?"
Stefan drew in a long breath and blew it out again. "Well, have you ever handled a sword?" She stared at him, somewhat blankly. "You did notice that we had swords."
"No, I'm blind and oblivious. But why do I need a sword?"
Stefan bit back a laugh. Obnoxious or not, he liked her mouthiness. "It's the way of the Game. When we meet, more often than not, we fight. And when the final Gathering comes, when we feel the pull to battle, we will need our swords." Then he smiled and dropped the prophetic tones. "Practically speaking, it's the easiest way to take someone's head off when they don't want to part with it. You'd do well to learn to use one. For your size," and he eyed her critically, "I'd suggest a saber of some kind. You're too small for a broadsword, and I'd suggest you wait a while before learning to use a katana. Macleod would be a better teacher for that blade, anyway. The saber, I can teach you."
Genna eyed him appraisingly and a touch critically. "Are you good?"
"Good?" Stefan drew himself up to his considerable stature. "Liebe Fraülein, you are speaking to the swordmaster of the court of Kaiser Rudolph, first of the Hapsburgs."
"I don't suppose you have references," Genna said, and then the history class and German lectures stored in the back of her brain caught up. "Wait a minute-Rudolph, first of the Hapsburgs? That was in 1500! How old are you, anyway?"
That one took him aback. Dark brows furrowed and he thought about it. "I'm about eight hundred, I suppose. I'm not exactly sure what year I was born. I wasn't from a very wealthy family, at least not by modern standards-took me a while to learn to read and use a calendar! It must have been around twelve hundred. Must have, because my first death was in the third crusade and that came throughout the eleventh century." He glanced at her and smiled. "I think I look pretty good for an old man, eh?"
Genna could hardly keep her jaw from dropping, falling off and rolling away. "You're eight hundred years old? You fought in the crusades? You were in the Kaiser's court?" She shook her head. "Either you're crazy or I am."
"I told you I was Immortal. I'm not even the oldest, not by any stretch of the imagination. Methos is almost five thousand, or so he claims." He stopped; she was starting to glaze over. "I was born in what is now Germany during the crusades. My parents were very minor nobles, and I was a younger son. When the Crusades needed more soldiers, I volunteered." The brilliant sun of the Holy Land reflected off the gold sandstone of Jerusalem. Around him he heard the alien music of Arab battle cries and the clash of metal against metal. His vision was clouded by the swirl of Arab robes and the flash of a Muslim's saber- His fingers rubbed at the angled scar on his collar bone-a few inches one way or another and his first death might well have been his last.
"Hey. Hey!" A sharp tugging at his sleeve brought him back to the present. "You okay?" He found himself staring into a concerned and frightened pair of brown eyes. "Are you all right? You looked kind of...I don't know..scared."
"Sorry," Stefan apologized. "Just a bit distracted." He blinked a few times. "Happens sometimes. Now, how would we find time to teach you swordplay? You need to get started as quickly as possible, before someone like James comes along and tries to take your head."
"I do have classes to go to, and I have to study," she protested automatically, although even as she spoke she realized that not having a head on her shoulders might prove more inconvenient than time sacrificed to fencing practice. "Then again...I suppose that on Mondays, Wednesdays-"
"Every day," Stefan said flatly. "At least a half hour every day. When you're not doing that, three days a week you should do strength and stamina training. Sometimes you'll need to run instead of fight. How free are your weekends?"
"Not much anymore, I guess," Genna muttered.
In spite of himself, he laughed. "This area seems to have plenty of natural training areas-rivers, mountains, forests, that sort of thing. Weekends, we can go out in the field."
"You're going to teach me?" she interrupted.
"Of course." He said it as though it were a matter of course. "Every Immortal needs a mentor."
"So why do you want to be mine?"
He hesitated. It was a valid question. "Because I was the one who found you. I've been watching you for a few days now, just enough to establish that you weren't aware of what you were and that you wouldn't be a threat if I confronted you. It's a good thing I was there, by the way, or he would have taken your head."
"I know, and I'm grateful, but you didn't really answer my question." Impulsively, and she was not usually an impulsive person, she reached out and turned his chin to her. "Why are you taking me on as a student?"
Stefan blinked, staring into dark eyes that were piercing. He hadn't lived eight hundred years to be stared down by a twenty-year old, however. "Because I also decided I liked you." He grinned, and he saw that he was still capable of disarming with a smile. "I think you need help, and I know that I can help you. If you do what I say, you'll be set for the rest of a very long life."
Genna nodded slowly, trying to drag her attention away from mesmerizing blue eyes. "I hope." She stood up. "Let's go see about getting you some credentials. You're going to be our new fencing teacher."
The first meeting of the University fencing team took place on the balcony of the new gymnasium, with a circle marked off in fresh new paint on the floor and the noise of basketball practice drifting up from the floor below. Stefan had a bag of fencing gear, the masks and protective gear, and another, slimmer bag, with the silver grips of fencing foils peeking out of the end. The prospective team members were seated on folded gymnastic mats, most looking a little apprehensive at the stranger standing before them. Stefan's fencing garb was highly unusual-black instead, and obviously well-worn. The soft leather boots he wore came up to mid-calf and muffled his footsteps when he walked. His sword, a saber, was obviously not merely a practice weapon. The blade, glistening silver, had dark engraving in a delicate filigree pattern, and the gold hilt lacked the wide protective guard of the fencing swords. The end of the hilt had a deep red gem, smoothly faceted, imbedded in the gold.
"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen," he said in that same matter-of-fact tone he'd used to explain Immortality to Genna. "My name is Stefan Krägen, and I have been retained by the school as the instructor for this fencing club. Do any of you have any prior experience fencing?"
There were a few raised hands; most people came here from prep schools or the better-off public schools that had things like fencing teams. The surprise, and reason for the smile Stefan quickly hid, was Genna's among them. They'd already started practice. "Not too bad. Foil fencing, for the most part?" More nods. He turned to the equipment bag and drew out a saber. "Anyone ever saber fenced?"
Only Genna and Scott Rogers kept their hands up. The boy, a fellow sophomore, turned and stared at her. "Girls don't fight with sabers. You're not strong enough."
Stefan didn't bother to hide the smile. Instead, he offered the saber, hilt first, to Genna. "A practice round, Genna?"
Smiling a bit enigmatically herself, she took the saber and a mask. When she stood, the others noticed that she, too, wore a dark-colored fencing suit. They stepped to the fencing ring, and in the manner he'd taught her, she extended the blade, parallel to the ground, and he crossed his sword with hers. "Just for practice," and her voice was a little more serious. I won't take your head if you won't take mine.
"Just practice." Then he backed off and shifted to an attack posture. Genna barely had time to ready herself before he lunged. Her parry was more effective, far more, than it had been a week previously when he'd begun teaching her. She still wasn't strong enough to assault him directly, but as he'd been trying to teach her, strength wasn't all of fencing, or even the half. Skill. Swordsmanship. And, when Immortals truly battled, trickery. Now the fencing was clean and by the rules. She dreaded ever having to face Stefan in a battle to the death. No matter how long she practiced or how much he taught her, she had a feeling he was holding more than a few stunts back. Genna found herself being driven steadily backwards, and she dodged, rolling underneath his blade and bracing with her left hand while she parried with her right. Behind the wire mask, she could swear she saw him grin. Then she ducked again and made it to her feet-in time for Stefan to hook her sword's guard and fling it aside, swinging the blade back and stopping less than a hair's-breadth from her neck. Against her will, she flinched, and he could see the muscles in her throat tighten.
Carefully, his blade never moving, he lifted his mask. "Never, ever, ever," he said slowly, "leave your sword hand vulnerable. It does you no good if you're disarmed."
Rogers, who had managed to hide his surprise, protested, "But half of her moves were illegal! You can't touch the ground with your hand! And that wasn't a legal touch at the end-you just swung at her neck."
"Would you like to try to beat her in a fair round, sir?" Stefan offered dryly. "I think that she's disproved your statement about too little strength for the saber." His smile turned slightly evil. "As for the legality of my moves-would you care to try your hand against me?" Rogers grimaced a little and didn't say anything. Then he looked back at Genna. "Until the end, that was nicely done. But never lose your sword."
Genna sat back down beside Brooke, who stared at her. "When did you start fencing?"
"Last week," Genna said, "when Stefan got in to town."
"Stefan, huh?" Brooke nudged her. "On a first-name basis?"
"He's nice, and not as scary as he acts," Genna protested.
"And he is really hot," Brooke said with her usual pointedness. "Gorgeous." Her eyes narrowed with a predatory gleam.
"Forget it, Brooke," Genna said. "He's too old for you."
"What? No way," Brooke replied. "He's not that old."
"Trust me," Genna said flatly. "Way too old."
Stefan studied the apartment. The building, called the Crestview, was an old mansion from the southern town's heyday that had been split into little apartments. The one he was standing in, the one he had rented, consisted of four rooms in almost perfect shotgun style. From the back porch, which opened into the kitchen, the doors were perfectly aligned all the way to the bedroom, which opened on to the front porch. The rooms were unfurnished, but he could afford to buy decent furniture. He didn't own much-one like himself preferred to travel light, even after eight hundred years. Clothes, a sword, a few books he was fond of, and some trinkets acquired here and there-nothing a few suitcases couldn't carry.
The sensation came and went, but this time, he didn't bother to turn around. "So, how do you like it?" Genna asked. "My friend's boyfriend used to live in this building. He says it's a quiet place."
Peering out the window at the cemetery across the street, he couldn't disagree. "The neighbors won't be too noisy." He turned around. "Convenient to campus, too." Then his brow furrowed. "Where do you live, anyway?"
"Graham Hall, 109," she said. "Room D. There's a window leading to the parking lot by the door so I could get out quickly if I had to." Genna grinned. "I hope you're only inquiring out of concern for my security. Although if you have ulterior motives, I would be flattered."
Stefan ducked his head, surprised at the flush of warmth that flooded his cheeks. Instead of replying, he reached into his pocked and tugged out a key with a paper tag. She caught it on the fly, barely having to think before reacting. "Now if you need to find me, you can."
"The key to the apartment?" She turned it over in her hands. "Now I'm really starting to wonder about your motives."
"We'll see." He wasn't sure where that had come from, but now it was her turn to blush. "Now, about tomorrow-"
Genna groaned. "There goes my weekend."
"We're going out to this Pass you've told me about," Stefan continued. "Rock-climbing is good for strength training."
"That's what got me into this in the first place," Genna muttered.
Stefan placed a hand on her shoulder. "Sooner or later, it would have happened. You were lucky, too-no one saw you die in an obvious manner. Getting shot, for example, or having your body crushed in a car accident, and then bouncing back right before your own autopsy, can be hard to explain. You'd have had to leave, take a new identity. At your age, in your situation, that wouldn't have been easy."
Genna nodded slowly. It could be worse. A lot worse. "What will I tell my parents?" she whispered, voicing the worries she'd had for weeks. "How am I going to explain this?"
Automatically, he slipped an arm around her shoulder. "You won't have to worry about that for a long time, but when you do, you'll have figured something out. You're an Immortal. You'll learn to live with it."
"I'll have to," she sighed, apparently not noticing his arm. He couldn't see the faint smile on her lips.
"You will," he promised. "It won't be easy. But you won't be on your own." She looked up, and this time, he saw the smile, and returned it.
Coming soon: The next installment of Immortals: Knight's Opening. The fencing team
gets going, Brooke begins to wonder about their new teacher, and Genna faces her first
challenge as an Immortal when an old friend of Stefan's comes to town.