CH 52

Captain Ron grew a drunken grin as he watched Fitz pay close attention to the girl named Sofia on his lap. In the busy night club, Ron was eyeing chicks. Most already had some sort of date. Sofia had come from somewhere to fawn over Firtz's curly blonde hair. She had initially sat down beside him, but as the loving looks between them increased with the alcohol intake, she'd moved over onto his lap.

Lucky guy! The dark haired Italian beauty looked to be in her early 20's, and had a fixation on the old Immortal, which Fitz was loving.

Sofia then asked the critical question. "I spent too much tonight!" she complained, "And I didn't get a hotel room. Is there any chance you have a place for me to stay?" she asked, gazing at Fitz.

Fitzcarin smiled broadly. "How can I not help out a lovely lass such as yourself?" he asked and kissed her. "Come with me, I'll take care of you, darling."

Sohia picked up Fitz's glass and said," Dear, it's rude not to finish your drink before we leave."

Fitzcarin tossed his drink down in a gulp, hooked Sofia's hand under his arm and they walked out.

Ron let out a sigh. He decided his girl hunting for the night was over. He got up and followed them out. He scanned the crowd for Fitz's watcher. He didn't see anyone he recognized or anyone paying attention to the couple.

Going out the door, Ron noted Fitz and his catch wandering off to the left. Passing an alley, Sofia reached in her purse, pulled a silenced pistol out and shot Fitz in the side. As he grunted and bend over to fall, she quickly towed him into the alley.

"Hey!" Ron called. He looked around for a cop. Not seeing one, he approached the alley to peek around the corner. Fitz was against the wall, holding his side and gasping for breath. Sofia pulled out a whistle and gave a quick toot. At the other end of the alley, another man appeared wearing a long coat and holding a sword. Sofia turned to look at the man. "This the one?" she asked.

"Good work. You can leave now," he told her, and jerked a thumb behind him.

Sofia hurried down the alley.

Fitz turned his head to see the man. "Not one for a fair fight, are ya?" he asked in a gasp.

The man laughed. "Fair fights are for suckers. Oh, I'm Gino Gatto. Make this easy on yourself, just kneel and bow your head."

Fitz choked out a chuckle. He then lunged low, pulling a short sword from behind his coat stabbed at the man's groin. Gino danced back and swung to knock the blade away.

"Bastard!" Gino spat and swung to take Fitz's head. Fitz parried that blow and rushed in again to kick Gino in the balls, then stabbed his foot. He jumped back as Gino swung again to miss. Fitz feigned another lunge. Gino moved back and swung at air.

Watching the duel, Ron felt his arms grabbed. "Like watchin, do ya?" another man whispered in his ear. Ron was pulled back away from the corner. Besides the man the grabbed him from behind, a third man walked past him into the alley, drawing a sword.

"Fitz, behind you!" Ron called. A knee was driven into his back. The one holding him pulled hard and tossed him down. In the alley, the sound of swords rang.

Ron tumbled onto the sidewalk. He quickly got up to the man facing him.

The man just stood in place. "You better go, fast," he intoned.

Fitz cried out in pain. A few seconds later, the lightning of a quickening began to crackle through the air. Ron turned and ran.

.

Lorenzo grabbed Fitz's head and grinned at Gino. "I got this one, grab his body."

"Aldo! Come get the body," Gino called.

Aldo made sure the one eyed man was still running away, then went into the ally. "You couldn't finish him, Gino, get your own body. I was just watching your backs. There was a guy with an eye patch watching you. We need to get out of here."

Gino grumbled, put is sword away and hefted the body up. They went to the back of the alley. A van appeared in the back, Sofia behind the wheel. They all got in and left.

In the front passenger seat, Gino grumbled to Sofia, "Next time shoot him in the heart."

"I tried! Our arms were in the way!"

"Think that guy will squeal to the cops?" Lorenzo asked.

Bruno snorted. "Doubt it, he was a watcher, I saw the tattoo. He'll report it, sure, to his own bunch. They don't tell the cops anything."

"Lucky for us," Gino said with a grin.

Sofia drove to a river bridge. She stopped. Bruno and Lorenzo quickly got out, threw the body, then the head into the river. They took off.

.

Duncan was at the construction site for the second hotel near where the ground was being redistributed for the small lake. The 'cheap' hotel closer to the road as Amanda called it, was getting the last finishing done on it to open for business. Work here was going well. Besides the second hotel getting started and the 4 acre lake all but scooped out, the golf course that was going to be across the lake was taking shape, partially with fill from the new lake. The usable peat from the land was all but gone. That meant he was going to have to foot the bill himself until the roadside hotel was in business. All in all, this place was helping to finance it's construction. Not a bad deal.

On the now dirt road coming up to the construction site, Duncan noted Joe's car coming. He was about to head out, but waited and went up to Joe's car as it entered the turn-around area.

"Hey Joe, what's up?" Duncan asked. "I was just checking on the progress here."

Joe looked out over the scenery. "Looks like it's going to be nice when it's done." Turning to Duncan, his tone was a little more somber. "We got a report. Two days ago in Paris, Fitzcarin lost his head."

Duncan looked down and frowned. "It happens."

"There was a watcher present. Fitz left the bar with a girl. She took him into an alley and shot him. Then at least 3 men came to take his head. The watcher said at least two were Immortals," Joe explained.

Duncan looked up. "Know who they are?"

"A bunch out of Italy. From what I know, it was suspected they gang up on other immortals, but this time they were seen. The girl is Sofia Morelli. She's human. The men in the group are Also Cumo, Gino Gato, Lorenzo Fosco, and Bruno Marco. Gino seems to be the leader of the bunch. Gino is the older one. They were all Mafioso at one time. Gino targets pre-immortals specifically from the mob. When he finds one, he has the hit made, the scoops the body before they wake up."

"He's building an immortal army," Duncan said.

"Yeah, and clearing away the competition." Joe added. "Just thought you should know."

"Any sign of them coming this way?" Duncan asked.

"Not that I know of," Joe said. "They have been staying round western and middle Europe. That doesn't mean they'll stay there. Duncan, these guys play dirty."

"Thanks, Joe," Duncan said curtly.

"I'll let you know if I hear of them coming this way," Joe offered, then drove off.

.

Back at the vacation house they were renting, Gino reclined on a lounger, enjoyed the sight of Sofia in a bikini top and short skirt in the lounger beside him. Aldo came out from inside.

"I swear we covered every inch of Paris. That other guy we sensed seems to have disappeared," Aldo said with a huff.

Gino glanced at him. "He most likely sensed us and fled. No matter, we'll get him eventually."

Aldo eyed Gino. "Gino, not that I'm complaining, but we keep whacking these guys and we've yet to have a decent payday."

"I assure you, a payday will be coming, and it will be glorious." Gino then smiled at Aldo. "We're not after a suitcase of money, or a handful of jewels. Our payday is everything. Power over everyone. We won't just be visiting places, we'll own them. It won't be having a couple billion in the bank, we'll be owning the banks. Aldo, pick something you want. Any woman, a country, a continent, and it will be yours. Legend has it there were four horsemen in the last Apocalypse. They killed whoever they wanted and took whatever they wanted. No one could stop them. THAT is the payday we want to have. To get it, we have to remove the other immortals in this world."

"That may take a long time," Aldo said.

"We have forever, Aldo. Be patient," Gino assured him.

"What about these watchers we learned about?" Also asked. "If they are watching us, then they must know where other immortals are."

Gino grinned. "You know, Aldo, that is a good idea. Mr. Eye patch that saw us, keep a lookout for him too. Call Lorenzo and Bruno, let them know we want a word with that guy."

"He's a sailor," Sofia said. "The one you whacked the other day talked about the boat that he gave to a Katy, That man, Ron, is the Captain of that boat."

"Did you hear the name of the boat?" Gino asked her.

"It's called The Sea Witch."

Gino turned to Aldo. "Start looking."

.

Methos had sensed other immortals around. He even saw two of them. Side by side, walking down the street. They were scanning the street, searching. He slipped away from them. Going back down to the waterfront, he noticed Captain Ron was pacing back and forth between the barge and the boat. Hands in the pockets of his long coat, Methos wondered why Ron looked distressed.

Spotting Methos, Ron walked over to him and stated, "Adam, they saw me!"

Methos looked around and said, "Anyone can see you. Which 'they' are you taking about?"

"The ones who killed Fitzcarin," Ron said firmly. "Adam, they broke the rules! They had a woman lure him out and shoot him, then they attacked him from the front and behind!"

Methos blanked. "How many were there?"

"Three I saw, plus the woman. Her name was Sofia, I didn't get a last name."

"Damn," Methos said softly. Four on one, Fitzcarin didn't stand a chance. These guys didn't play by the rules.

"I really want to get out of here, but if I did, Kaede's going to be mad I left her friends here," Ron explained.

Methos looked up at the sun. "The good thing is they won't come til after dark. Where are the newlyweds?"

"Sightseeing. They usually get back around eight or so."

"Got a gun?"

Ron held up his hands. "Never had one. No sword, either."

"Some help you are," Methos grumbled. "All right then, get the boat ready to sail. You said this Sofia led Fitz into their trap?"

"Yeah, they were waiting, and she does have a gun. I don't know if they will come after me or not. Sofia knows about the Sea Witch, Fitz told her."

"Any other good news?" Methos asked with a frown.

Ron shook his head. "That's it, I think."

Just upstream was a bridge with a tunnel under it. Methos nodded to it. "Well, let's not advertise where we are. Sail up under that bridge, We'll tie the boat up under there."

Ron ran up on the boat. Methos helped him untie, then got on with him. Under the bridge was narrower, what looked like utility barges and boats were tied up to each side. Methos had Ron sail out the other side and turn around. Going back down stream slowly, they found a spot to tuck the Sea Witch in between a barge with barrels on it and a boat that had a crane.

Once they were tied up, Methos told him, "If they are looking hard, they will still find us, but they will have to come into the tunnel to do that. We can see Duncan's barge from here, you'll know when the newlyweds return. When they do, got get them and leave. You also might want to call Kaede and let her know what's happening."

Ron paused. "You know Kaede?"

"Since she was small. I also know four immortals and a woman with a gun isn't even a challenge for her," Methos stated. "Call her."

.

Tom and Rachel were tired from their day of seeing the sights. Heading back early, Rachel wanted to cook a meal on the barge and relax, which was fine with Tom. Walking along the river walk, they went under an overpass and saw the barge beyond.

Rachel frowned. "Where's our boat?" she asked.

Tom scanned the river side. "Maybe Ron took it to fill up the gas tank?" he asked.

Rachel got her phone out an called Ron. When he picked up, he didn't even say hello.

"Rachel, you and Tom go in the barge and pack your things. Let me know when you're ready to leave."

Surprised by this, Rachel asked, "Ron, where are you? Where's Kaede's boat?"

"Rachel, I witnessed a murder, the ones why did it saw me. They know about the Sea Witch. I hate to cut your vacation short, we can go some place else, but we can't stay here," Ron told her.

"Did you call the police?" she asked, shocked at what he was telling her.

"I called Kaede. She recommended we leave. These guys … aren't for the police. I hid the boat until you two can get ready to go."

Seeing Tom eye her, Rachel said, "Ron saw a murder, he hid the boat." she told him. To Ron, she said, "Hold on." Looking at Tom, she explained, "He called Kaede, she said we should go. I imagine to keep us out of trouble."

"I take it someone is after him now?"

"Sounds like it."

"Then, we should go."

Rachel told Ron, "I'll call you as soon as we're ready."

.

Bruno, the stocky man of the gang, stood on a bridge looking around as he called Gino. "Yeah, Gino! I'm on a bridge by the church and I can feel another immortal, but I can't find him! … Yeah, it's like he should be right here … I tried that, I walk to either side and I lose him … What, under the bridge? Ok, I'll give it a try."

Bruno went to the railing and picked the closest steps down to the water. He lost the 'feel' again. Coming to the bottom of the stairs, he picked it back up, along with a motor noise.

A yacht came from under the bridge and motored downstream. The man with an eye patch was driving. He quickly called Gino back.

"Yeah, Gino, it's the eye patch guy! I think the immortal is on his boat … I don't know, wait … he's slowing down … he stopped beside the barge that's here … It's on the other side of the river … Ok, Ok!" He put his phone away and ran back up the stairs to cross the bridge.

Running across the bridge, he glanced at the boat. A couple on the barge were getting onto the boat. He got to the stairs down to this side and the boat pulled away. Taking the stairs two at a time , he kept his feet under him, trying to get to the boat before it pulled away. He didn't make it. The boat was out in the river and heading downstream. As it picked up speed with help from the current, he slowed and stopped. "SHIT!" he spat. He called Gino again.

Panting from his run, he said, "Gino, they got away … yeah it was this Sea Witch … Under the name? Ahh, someplace in England … I don't know! Bright something, I think … Naw, I don't think it was Brighton… OK, it might have been Brightsea, Yeah, I think it was! … on my way back."

.

Adam watched the man who'd ran after them stop and get on his phone. "Was that one of them?" he asked Ron.

Ron nodded. "Yeah, the guy who tossed me on the ground."

Topside with them, Tom asked, "Ron, we can call the cops. They will give you protection."

"Or get killed trying to protect him," Methos stated. "We're doing the smart thing. Disappearing."

"Think they will follow us?" Tom asked, sounding worried.

"They'll try," Methos stated. "Ron, how close can you get us to Glen Finnen?"

Ron shrugged. "I have to check the maps, but at least to the coast nearby. Think they will go to Brightsea?"

"I'll bet your life on it," Methos said firmly. "I'll take the helm, go down and plot a course up the western side of Scotland. Before we do anything else, we have to get Tom and Rachel home intact. These guys play dirty."

"You think they might hurt them?" Ron asked.

Methos cast him an even stare and asked, "Do you want to go face Kaede and tell her you let her friends get hurt?"

Ron winced. "I'll go look for a safe place to drop them off so they can get home safe."

"Good man."

Ron went below. Not long after he did, Rachel came up and handed her phone to Methos. "Kaede wants ta talk ta ya."

Methos took it. "Adam."

"So, what did you do?" Kaede asked.

"It's not me! Ron saw…" he glanced at Rachel. "Fitzcarin get beheaded. The ones who did it are coming after him, possible me also. We're bringing Tom and Rachel back first, before I deal with them."

"Them? Got any names?" she asked.

"Go ask Joe, I'm sure he has. I wasn't sticking around long enough to ask them with others around."

"If ya got trouble gettin Rachel an Tom home, gimme a call. Doan lead those fellas here." Kaede said firmly.

"I wouldn't think of it. Ron's looking for a place to drop them off. He'll call you when he finds a good port."

Kaede grumbled and said, "Lemme talk ta Ron."

Methos handed the phone back to Rachel. "She wants to talk to Ron."

.

A train ride to the Chunnel, under the English Channel, then another train east and by the end of the day, Gino and his crew were in Brightsea. Gino figured it would take that yacht close to a week to get here. By the time their mysterious Immortal arrived, they would be ready.

There were a couple marinas here. Sofia was tasked with watching who came into the bay. Gino and Bruno took one marina to go pretend to be interested in sailing, Lorenzo and Aldo took the other larger one. Everyone was to call the moment the Sea Witch was spotted.

While Gino's gang waited, Ron docked briefly in Brighton to drop off his passengers. Methos took Tom and Rachel to the train station headed north, then left to get ready to deal with this group of Immortals. Ron was to take his time returning to Brightsea.

.

Two weeks of waiting and Sofia was tired of watching ships and boats coming in and out of the river. Positioned between the marinas with a pair of binoculars, she sat on a bench, bored. slouched down, she got on her phone and played a game on it while glancing at the water now and then.

"Waiting for someone?"

Sofia jerked her head to at the tall man offering her a smile as he approached. She noted his short trimmed dark hair and the confidence in his stride, hands in his pockets. Nodding to the water, he asked, "Got friends coming in?"

She had to smirk at that. "No, but I am waiting for a boat to come in."

"Really? What boat is it? Maybe I know them," he asked casually.

"Ever heard of the Sea Witch?" she asked.

"Ahh," he said in a drawn out sigh. "I have. You know who owns that boat, don't you?" he asked and sat down by her.

"Some woman named Katy," she said. "You know her?"

He cast her a grin and shook his head. "Not Katy. Dame Kaede Kikumura. You do know she's is not one to mess with."

Sofia laughed. "Are you talking about that witch woman?" she asked.

"The very one," he agreed. "Seems she let her friends borrow her boat, and some misguided people chased them out of Paris. From what I understand, she's not happy with those people."

"Too bad for her," Sofia stated.

He grinned at her again. "Actually, it's too bad for those people. See, she knows who they are, and Kaede isn't one to go lightly on killing one of her friends, either. Short curling haired blonde man. His name was Fitzcarin. Ring a bell?"

"No," Sofia said abruptly. "Never heard of him."

While Sofia had her full attention on Methos, her gun drifted up and out of her purse.

"Sure you have!" he said. "You sat on his lap at a bar, lead him out to an alley and shot him, the let your friends finish him and chop his head off."

Sofia reached into her purse. "I've got a gun," she stated and stood up.

"Really?" he asked brightly. "Can I see it?"

Giving her best stare as she backed away, she said, "Follow me and I will shoot you!" She reached for her gun, then searched her purse. Her gun was gone.

"It's not me you have to worry about," he told her. "Why don't you tell me who took Fitz's head, and you just might live."

"Stay away from me!" she growled and turned to flee. She got three steps then saw a woman covered in a long coat and shawl turn to eye her. The woman's eyes were red. Her hair was pink. She brought out a gun and asked, "Was this yours?"

Sofia froze in place. It was her gun. Fear crept up her spine. That woman had somehow stolen her gun when she was sitting here. "Gino's coming to check on me," she said, hoping to save herself.

Kaede grinned at her. "Good. Soon I hope?"

Sofia moved to run away and found she was held in place. The woman walked towards her. "Where is this Gino?"

"He's an immortal, he'll kill you!" Sofia stated, again hoping to scare this woman off.

"I'm shaking in my shoes," Kaede said flatly. "Call him. Tell him the Immortal he's after is going to kill you."

Sofia's fear grew. "I didn't do anything," she cried.

"I you don't call him, I will kill you here and now."

Sofia got her phone out. Breaking her gaze with this scary woman, she punched the speed dial for Gino.

"Find something?" he asked.

Sofia's voice hitched as she got out, 'The Immortal we're after…."

"What about him? Did you find him?" Gino asked.

"Tell him," Kaede sang, then reached out and wrapped a mind hand around her throat.

"Sofia?" Gino asked.

"She said …. She's going to kill me," Sofia said in a squeak.

Kaede thrust a mind hand into her chest. Grabbing her heart, Kaede squeezed enough to stop it from beating.

Sofia gasped and clutched at her chest. She dropped her phone. Gaping at Kaede, she gasped weaker, then she collapsed. Kaede held her heart from beating until she was sure the woman was dead.

From the phone, a man cried, "Sofia? Sofia answer me!"

Kaede picked up the phone. "Your Sofia is dead. She said you were coming to kill me. Are you? Or are you too scared?"

"I will come fuckin kill you!" he snapped.

"I'll be waiting, same bench as she was waiting for me on. First I have to throw this worthless whore away." Kaede hung up. She nodded to Methos. He got up and walked across the street. She then called an ambulance and told them she saw a woman collapse.

Kaede laid Sofia flat on her back and pretended to try and resuscitate her while she made sure Sofia wasn't coming back.

When the ambulance came, Kaede stopped to wave them down and did her best to look frantic. The paramedics took over trying to revive the corpse. They quickly got her on a stretcher and in. A Bobby came by to ask what happened. Kaede told him she saw the woman collapse and called an ambulance. Being who she was, the cop didn't question her any further.

When the cop left, she felt the presence of an immortal coming up behind her. Kaede turned to face two men. They stopped twenty feet away.

"Why kill Sofia?" the older looking one asked.

"Because I could," Kaede stated.

"Your death is going to be very slow!" he growled.

"Here I am, come get me," Kaede replied flatly.

He produced a gun. "Start walking," he ordered.

Kaede chuckled a dry chuckle. "You shoot that and not only will people see and the cops come, I will make you suffer."

"We'll have your head by then," he growled.

"Then shoot and suffer the consequences," she replied as she eyed him. She felt another presence coming up from behind her. She glanced to see two more men. "Is this all of you?" she asked. She stepped towards him.

"We're going to hurt you bad before we take your head!" the younger man said with a sneer.

Kaede laughed at him. "Ya got no idea how much danger yer in right now do ya?" she asked.

From behind, one of the men said, "Gino, There's another one close by. Don't know where."

Kaede grinned.

Gino looked around. Returning his hard gaze to Kaede, he said, "Think you're smart, huh?"

"Smart'er than you. I'm just tryin ta decide where ta take yer heads," Kaede said in a conversational tone as she looked around. "Doan wanna bloody up the walkway here. It'd be rude fer folks who wanna walk here."

Gino waved his gun and said, "Go down the steps over there, down to the water's edge."

Kaede nodded. "It'll do." Shooting a mind hand out, she grabbed his gun and twisted to yank it out of his hand and throw it in the water. She then wrapped each of the four men by the throat. "Let's go." She pulled then towards the stairs.

Eyes wide in shock, the men stumble walked as they tried to grab at whatever was around their throats. Kaede got them single file going down the steps. She stood at the top of the sea wall, leading them along. When they were lined up along the small beach, still grabbing at their throats, she turned them to face up at her.

Kaede waved bye bye to them and ripped their heads off. The bodies fell. A glow appeared around each. The glowing bodies lifted up off the ground. Then thin shafts of lightning split the air as the bodies dropped and the glows raced at her.

The glows all hit Kaede the same time as the first bigger lightning bolt. Kaede recoiled and screamed from the energy coursing through her. She stumbled back, then fell to her knees as more bolts came. Her body jerked again and again as the bolts kept coming. Out of breath from peeling out her scream, Kaede gaped at nothing as the bolts kept coming.

Kaede became scared, she was in pain, and the pain kept coming, and she couldn't breathe. The agony of the shocks going through her wouldn't let her take a breath. Feeling dizzy, the world began to fade away. Kaede fell flat on her back as lightning bolts still appeared to strike down on her. One hit a street lamp, making it explode.

Finally the lightning stopped. Kaede sucked in a much needed breath as visions flashed before her eyes. All she could do was lay there and pant, sucking in breaths and quivering from the shocks. She also felt burns on her.

Holy GOD, that hurt! She dimly noted tendrils of smoke rising.

Getting back enough vision to see, she saw Adam standing over her, looking down on her.

"That was impressive," Methos told her. "I never saw four Quickenings at once before."

Kaede tried to reply, but her mouth wasn't working yet. She tried to raise an arm to indicate she needed help to get up, but her arm only came up a bit, quivering, then flopped back down.

"Did you know your clothes are smoking?" he asked.

She croaked out, trying to talk. "I … ne … hep … me…up…"

He cast her a grin. "Sure, after you rest for a bit. I don't think you can stand up right now. Don't worry, people are watching, but no one is coming close. After what just happened to you, I don't think they dare."

"fu … Ya …git …" she croaked out as her body convulsed a few more times.

"Relax," he said and squatted down by her. "Deep breaths, wait until the energy is absorbed."

Kaede frowned at him. "It friggin hurt," she got out in one breath.

"I bet it did," he agreed. "One will drop you to your knees. You just took four at once. I'm surprised you didn't pass out."

She nearly had. Doing as he said, just lying there taking deeper and deeper breaths, the pains faded. She was still sore all over, but was regaining control of her limbs. Looking at the sleeve on her left arm, she noted burn holes in it. When she did manage to sit up, Methos helped her stumble to her feet.

"We should go," he said.

Kaede looked up and saw people watching from across the street. She nodded and let him lead her away. She was never, ever going to do that again!