Disclaimer: I don't Highlander (or Stargate when I get to it)
Rating: Starts off PG, but some chapters are M.
Beta Reader: Evenmoor
Author's Note: This was originally posted on the Official Highlander Message Board. It began on the 3 August 2009 and was completed on 8 January 2012. I hope you enjoy reading through the centuries as the story unfolds. Update (2014): I had plans on turning this story into an ebook, however that is not going to happen for the moment. So An Ancient Destiny is now reloaded for everyone to enjoy once more. You may find if you've read this before, there are fewer chapters. That is because I put some of the Journal chapters together. I've also added an Epilogue to the story. I hope if you've already read this story, you enjoy it again and again. For those of you who are reading it for a first time I hope you like it.
Chapter 1: The Foundling
Bronze Age – 1028 BC
The smell of blood and death hung in the air like a thick blanket; dead bodies littered the sands where they fell while trying to flee. Death and his brothers had ridden in and taken what they wanted and destroyed the rest.
Methos wiped the sticky red blood from the blade of his sword and re-sheathed it. He tossed the ripped cloth back onto the body he'd ripped it from. The fool had thought he could outrun death. Death had proven him wrong.
Movement out of the corner of his eye alerted him. He climbed down from his horse to investigate the ruins of what had been a shelter. He felt drawn to it; a niggling sensation nagged at the back of his mind. Lifting away the dried thatching he saw an infant, a girl, sucking on her fist. Had he'd not sensed what he did; his first thought would have been to kill it. Though killing it now would be a worse fate. She was destined to be like him and his brothers. Death would have her frozen as an infant, a fate he would not bestow on her.
He lifted the infant into his arms, her blue eyes focused on his. A shiver ran up his spine and he nearly dropped her, cursing his own reaction. He turned to the captives, now slaves to the Four Horsemen, pointed at one young woman. "You! Where is this child's mother?"
The frightened girl hugged close to the others. "No mother. Found."
"Sun… sunrise, last," the girl stuttered.
Kronos rode over to him. "What is it, brother?"
Methos mounted his horse, the child cradled against him, "A foundling."
The other Immortal edged his horse closer and looked at the child, sensing what Methos had, grinning. "Well done brother," he jeered. "We have a little sister." He turned his horse away from him. "Let's ride," he ordered.
Caspian and Silas ushered the slaves from their horses, following, both of them grinning.
Methos kept the infant cradled against him as he rode, as well as keeping her out of the sun. He found his mask, which he'd removed, did not frighten her, nor did his half-painted face; she seemed content. The ride was long, however, and by the time they'd reached camp, she was hungry and cranky. As she cried loudly, Methos dismounted, frustrated; he knew nothing of babies. What was he supposed to do with her?
"Silence that child!" Kronos snapped angrily, having tired of the noise.
Methos glared at him, then at the terrified slaves. "I need a woman to wet nurse this child!"
A woman, pushed forward from the group, stumbled forward. She felt for the child. "She's…. she's hungry…." she said softly, a waiver of fear in her voice.
He snarled, grabbing her by the arm he pulled her into his tent away from the others, thrusting the child into her arms. "I am Methos and you will look after this child; your life will be worthless if she suffers."
The petrified woman nodded. Sitting, she adjusted her clothing and let the infant girl suckle hungrily at her breast as she had done the child she'd lost.
Methos turned away, baffled by the way he was acting. His actions were disorientating. He was a Horseman, an Immortal, not some weak mortal.
"Horseman," the woman's voice laced with fear for speaking out.
He turned back, snarling. "What?"
"She needs a name," she stammered. "She was not given one."
Methos hesitated, recalling a name, one that he'd heard in passing during his childhood. "Nyssa; her name is Nyssa," he said, and then stalked from the tent.
Kronos and his brothers were waiting, brothers by everything but birth, but brothers nevertheless. They were all Immortal and feared.
"Tell me, Methos," Kronos said with an air of smugness in his voice. "Are you going to raise this child, our sister?"
"I will be her guardian, the slave can raise her," Methos said, trying to sound disinterested.
"You trust our sister to a slave?" Caspian stated, baiting his brother.
"She knows if Nyssa suffers, she will suffer worse."
"Nyssa," Kronos looked at Methos with surprise and amusement. "You named her?"
"Nyssa is nice," Silas said pleased by it.
Methos quickly reigned in his feelings, snapping out a snarled answer. "She needed a name, I gave it to her."
"Fair enough, brother," Kronos said, grinning as he walked away, Caspian going with him.
Silas smiled at Methos. "I like it, brother. It is a good name."
Methos nodded. Of all his brothers, he liked Silas.
The larger Immortal grinned. "I will make her something to play with," he said and then strolled away.
Sighing, Methos went back into the tent; he needed to know what the infant would need. It bothered him that he felt drawn to this child. It was more than the fact she was pre-immortal, so much more.
"Woman, do you have a name?" He asked the slave.
"Chava," she answered him.
"What will the child need?"
Chava told him, finding he listened. She cringed at the sounds of screaming coming from the outside, not wanting to know the fate of the other women from her village.
Methos saw her reaction. "Look after the child and that will not be you."
"You won't touch me?" She asked surprised. She was not young, as the others, but she was not old.
"You're here for Nyssa, not my pleasure," he answered and then left the tent, ordering a slave to find what Chava needed. As the slave ran to do his bidding, he saw Kronos watching him. Brother or not, Methos swore when Nyssa was of age, Kronos would not get near her.
"Brother!" Silas called out to him. "Come." He laughed as the slave he'd been enjoying ran from the tent, her clothing half ripped.
Methos grabbed her and hauled her over his shoulder, walking over to Silas as she whimpered. "Lose something, brother?"
Silas laughed. "I like them feisty," he jeered. "Come join me, I have another inside."
Chuckling, Methos followed his brother inside the tent, the girl still slung over his shoulder, but not for long. After all, they did share their bounty.
A few sunrises later, as Methos rode into camp, he could hear Nyssa's cries. His scouting had taken him away for the entire day and most of the night. Now hearing her distressed cries tore at the coldness of his heart. That alone sent shivers down his spine and he buried his feelings deep. Since her arrival in camp, she'd barely left his sight, seeming to bond with him more than his brothers.
Leaving his horse in the care of a slave he walked towards his tent, hoping to get there before his brothers acknowledged his return. He wasn't that lucky.
A bedraggled Kronos appeared from his tent. "Our little sister has missed you Methos," he remarked, his sarcasm thick. "She's been voicing her displeasure most of the day. Perhaps next time Caspian should do the scouting or I'll let him deal with her. Sister or no sister!"
"She will become accustomed to my absences," Methos retorted ignoring the threat as he walked away from him
"Of course she will, brother," Kronos remarked, smiling sadistically he returned to his tent.
Methos, without missing a step, went into his. He saw Chava pacing with the baby, trying to hush her.
His arrival startled her. "She will not settle," she said quickly.
He pulled his armour off and secured his sword. "Give her to me," he ordered.
Chava carefully laid the baby in the Horseman's arms, wondering to herself how someone like him could be so gentle with a foundling child. "She has been feed, she is dry."
Methos smiled a little, as the baby's cries became sniffles then no more. "That is better, is it not, little one," he said softly.
Chava smothered a smile as the baby cooed in his arms and then dozed off. "Do you wish me to take her?"
"No, I will keep her with me," he said as he sat on his bed.
She grabbed a rag and wet it, quickly moving to his side. She wiped his face, being careful not to wipe the dye from it. "You've ridden far?"
"Yes," he answered and then demanded. "Get me wine!"
After carefully wiping each hand as he held it out, she moved to pour him wine, giving it to him. With a nod from him, she returned to the other side of the tent and settled on the furs where she slept. The tent was not large, but he had made room for her and the babe. She watched him as he drank the wine and then left the goblet next to his bed; he lay on his side with Nyssa beside him, his arm wrapped protectively around her.
When he was asleep, Chava stood and, without disturbing him, removed his boots and covered him. The first time she'd done this he'd attacked her, thinking she was doing the same to him. Now he was used to her. Even though she knew he slept light, she still did it. In addition, he knew she did it.
'You play a dangerous game,' a voice whispered in her ear.
She knew who it was, moving away from the Horseman and the babe, to her own bed. "It was the right decision. They were destined to be together," she whispered.
'Time will tell.'
"Indeed it will, Moros," she said softly, and then no longer sensed the presence of the Ancient being.
Chava woke early to find Nyssa was awake. The baby had a hand full of Methos' hair. Moving silently, she rose, slipped from the tent and return moments later. Kneeling next to the bed, she untangled the Horseman's hair from the baby's fist. Asleep he looked younger than he was, almost a boy. He was no boy though and he was older then he revealed. Scooping the baby up, she stood and went about changing and feeding her.
Methos had lain still, keeping his eyes closed. He'd known when she had woken. Left the tent, and returned. When she taken the child from his arms. He could kill without remorse, yet the cry of one small child bothered him. Not all, only this child. He didn't think of her as a daughter, nor a sister. However, he and other Horsemen had claimed her as such. Whatever it was that had drawn them together, Methos had a feeling it had been for a purpose, perhaps a higher power at work.
Chava knew he was awake, she continued feeding the babe at her breast. Keeping her eyes lowered as he rose, pulled on his boots, and went from the tent. Methos was a man of mystery, one she knew was destined for more. She knew of the hidden scrolls he kept, of the writings he did. She wondered if his 'brothers' knew he could read and write in hieroglyphs, though she doubted it, chuckling at her own musings.
Methos was about to enter the tent when he heard Chava talking to the baby. He stopped and listened.
"One day, little one, you and Methos will bring peace to all. That, my little Nyssa is your destiny," she said quietly. "The future will show you both such wondrous things, though it will also bring sorrow. But your love for each other will see you though."
He pondered her words, then pulled back the flap of the tent and walked in.
Chava looked, and then quickly lowered her eyes; she adjusted her clothing as the baby finished nursing. She busied herself with the babe as he pulled his tunic from his body, throwing it on the bed, to pull on one she'd cleaned in the river. He pulled on his armour and finally his cloak. A slave brought him a meal, quickly leaving. There was more on the plate then needed, but she knew why. He would eat only enough to satisfy his hunger and then leave the rest for her.
When he was done, he did as he always did and left the plate, still with food on it for her, and rose, taking his sword and death mask. "We will be gone most of the day; do not wander far from camp."
She nodded, carrying Nyssa over to him. "She will miss you."
"She will learn," he said; his blunt harshness not noticeable in his actions as he ran a finger over the baby's forehead and then walked out.
Chava smiled and picked up the discarded tunic. Nyssa began to fuss in her arms at his absence. "It's alright, little one, you have a place in his heart," she promised. "You always will, which is why he misses you as you miss him." She carried the baby out into the morning light, Nyssa fussing more.
The Four Horsemen were mounting their horses for another raid on an unsuspecting village; Methos looked over and saw Chava and the baby, who was voicing her displeasure at his leaving.
"Fine voice our wildcat has," Silas mused. "Perhaps we will hear it on our return?"
"Nyssa will learn, brother," Methos told him, looking away. "No sister of ours will be weak."
"Strong she'll be," Silas agreed, looking over he saw the baby had settled, now wrapped in what looked to be Methos' tunic. He hid his amusement. He didn't mock his brother's actions, not like Caspian and Kronos did.
Kronos rode over to them. "Let's ride."
Nodding, they turned their horses and rose out of camp with him and Caspian.
Chava hurried back inside the tent, wrapping Nyssa in Methos' tunic had settled the baby. She could smell his scent on it, which calmed her. Laying the now-sleeping baby on her bed, she took the meal Methos had left her and sat to eat. As dangerous as it was for her, she knew the times ahead for Nyssa would be more dangerous and she would not always be there to protect her; her time was limited with the baby. Until Moroscame for her, she would do her utmost to nourish Nyssa the best she could.
Extracts from the Nyssa Chronicles – Translated by Dr Daniel Jackson
– I am Methos. I begin this as a record for Nyssa. She was found by a Bedouin tribe as an infant barely two days old. The Four Horsemen – myself, Kronos, Silas and Caspian, raided the camp. I found Nyssa under rubble and recognized she was pre-Immortal. It was my decision to keep her alive and take her back with us to the Horsemen camp. I am putting her into the care of a wet nurse, Chava, who had lost her own child. I also gave Nyssa her name.
[Side Note: Unbeknownst to either of them, this is the first time Methos and Nyssa have contact with an Ascended being. The wet nurse named Chava, is was really one of Ascended sent to look after Methos and Nyssa – Dr Daniel Jackson]
To be continued in - Chapter 2: Blessed by the Gods