The Maid of Orleans
Fanfiction by Emby Quinn
Disclaimer: I do not own Highlander or any of the characters therein. I don't own Jeanne d'Arc either. All original characters are my own creation.--eq
New Orleans, Louisiana
June, Present Day
The evening air was sweet and balmy, and a gentle breeze brought the distant sounds of a jazz trumpet from somewhere near Jackson Square. On a Saturday night the narrow, grid-laid streets of the French Quarter had the atmosphere of a party where everyone was invited, and there were clusters of people going to one night spot from another, or just walking around admiring the local sights.
On the corner of St. Peter and Decatur stood a tall man in a long black coat. He didn't look particularly menacing--his face was pleasant enough, and he had something of a scholarly look about him. His dark hazel eyes scanned the crowd with an air of curiosity that camouflaged an innate wariness.
"You don't have to do this, you know," said the woman standing beside him.
"I'm going to have to meet them sooner or later," he sighed, shoving his hands into his pockets. "It might as well be tonight as any other time."
"Try to contain your enthusiasm," Lucinda remarked wryly as they crossed St. Peter and began walking north through the scattered crowd. "For God's sake, Methos, you're acting like I'm taking you to meet my parents."
"Your parents wouldn't be likely to take my head off, would they?"
"Probably not, since they've been dead for twelve hundred years." She took his arm and squeezed it reassuringly. "For the last time, Aidan Kerrigan doesn't hunt heads anymore. In all the years I've known him, he hasn't even tried to go after anyone."
"Maybe he was just waiting for the right target to come along."
"Stop that. Now, we're almost there, please, try to be sociable? For me?"
"It's for you that I'm doing this, Lucinda--trying to make nice with your friends." They were near the door of the pub when the sensation washed over them both. Lucinda hesitated only a moment, but Methos froze in his tracks. Not just one Immortal, but a whole gathering of them waited nearby. Four others, at least. One of them at least as old as Lucinda, and with a lot of Quickened power at his command, too. Every survival instinct he possessed was screaming at him to back off, turn on his heel and head in the other direction with all due haste.
Lucinda looked up at him and sighed. "Come on, let's go back home."
He put his hand over the one Lucinda had tucked into his arm. "No. No, it's all right."
"Are you sure?"
"Course not," he grinned at her. "Let's go in, shall we?"
"Everyone, this is Adam Pierson. He's an old friend. A very old friend." Lucinda smiled and did not wince when Methos trod significantly on the toe of her high-heeled pump. "Adam, this is Aidan Kerrigan."
A sturdily-built, broad-shouldered man with a scar that stretched diagonally across his face stood up. He was nearly seven feet tall, and when he took Methos's hand to shake it, the elder Immortal wondered for a moment if he would be getting that hand back. "Well met," the massive man grunted. "So you're that Doctor Adams fellow she's been carrying on about, then?"
Methos cast a half-panicked glance at Lucinda--What have you been telling them about me!--which she blithely ignored. "Henri de Lioncourt..."
A slender, fair-skinned man--at least Methos assumed it was a man--stood. He was clad in skin-tight black leather that clung to his reed-thin frame. "Welcome to New Orleans," he said with a nasal French accent that sounded at least partly put-on.
"And this is Marie."
The beautiful woman with flowing black hair and caramel-colored skin did not rise. She offered a dainty hand to Methos, her dark eyes flashing at him. She smiled when he kissed it. "He's a charmer, this one, Lucinda."
The other woman beamed. "That he is. Now, where's Pat?"
"Right behind you, mauvorneen!" Lucinda was snatched from Methos's side, and he spun on his heel, his hand instinctively half-reaching inside his coat. He saw her being spun about in the arms of a tall ginger-haired man, and they were both laughing. "It's about time you brought your boyfriend in, darlin'," he said in an Irish brogue that did not sound affected in the least. He set Lucinda on her feet and turned, holding out his hand to Methos. "Patrick Finnegan, at your service, sir!"
"Pleasure." Methos managed a smile as they shook hands.
Finnegan grinned at Lucinda. "Man of few words, is he?"
"Only at first meeting, Pat. Wait till he gets his feet under him, he'll never shut up then."
Lucinda didn't seem to notice the scathing look Methos gave her as he pulled a chair out for her. He sat beside her, trying to quell the urge to suddenly remember urgent business elsewhere and take his leave. He hadn't been around this many Immortals in quite some time, and the effect was threatening to overwhelm him.
"A round of beers, I think!" Finnegan announced, clapping his hands together. "On the house, of course."
"Nothing American, Finn," growled the scar-faced man across the table.
"This is an Irish pub, Kerrigan! We serve beer, not pig swill!"
Methos felt himself begin to marginally relax. If this place had decent beer, perhaps it wasn't going to be so bad after all.
An hour or so and a couple of beers later, Methos was definitely beginning to feel, if not totally at ease, at least less apprehensive. Lucinda obviously knew and trusted all these people, and they all seemed to have the same regard for her. At first he dreaded troublesome questions about his past, but gradually he came to understand that they were not going to be forthcoming, at least not for a while yet. It was also quite clear that, however much Lucinda may have talked about him over the years, she hadn't divulged many cold hard facts about him. When the alleged Frenchman, de Lioncourt, asked him what he did for a living, he replied "Professional college student," which earned a scattering of laughter.
Finnegan drifted back and forth, sometimes commenting on a snippet of conversation, but mostly attending to the other patrons and talking with the resident regulars.
Around ten o'clock, de Lioncourt excused himself. "This has been charming," he said, "but I have to meet someone elsewhere. If you will excuse me, I bid you all good evening."
After he was gone, Lucinda rolled her eyes with a patient chuckle. "That's our 'Ennui'," she said, deliberately mispronouncing his given name, "off to troll the goth clubs for the nancy-boy du jour. He's the one that runs the fetish shop over on St. Philip."
"Skinworks? I've seen it," Methos said, taking another sip of his beer.
Lucinda gave him a look. "You weren't into that sort of thing when I knew you last."
"I didn't say I was 'into' anything, I just noticed the shop, that's all. It's kind of hard to miss with all that purple neon on black velvet."
"Subtlety hasn't ever been Henri's strong suit." Lucinda rested her elbows on the table, propping her chin on one hand. "Do you know, he's been around since the 1800s and he's never even taken a head? I think that's the real reason he's here--that and the Bohemian atmosphere, of course."
"I've tried to teach him how to defend himself," Kerrigan muttered. "Doesn't like fighting much. Says it's barbaric."
"Henri is young yet," Marie said. "He'll learn...or he'll die." She stood up, prompting the men at the table to get to their feet. Heads turned all over the pub; Marie was the sort of woman who commanded attention. Methos had never expected any woman to be able to draw attention away from tall, blonde, leggy Lucinda, but somehow the lovely half-caste managed it, and did so without any apparent effort in that regard. "Come on, Lucy, I need to powder my nose."
Lucinda gave Methos a quick kiss and went off with the other woman, leaving him alone at the table with Kerrigan. The two men regarded each other with sidelong glances for a long, tense space.
Finally Kerrigan broke the silence between them. "It's been a long time, Methos."
A prickle of alarm shot through Methos, but he didn't outwardly react. "You're looking well, Kerrigan."
"So are you. I'm not surprised you've still got your head." The larger man grinned. "Anyone who can get away from me has a real talent for survival."
"Yes, well, I hope you're not planning to pick up where we left off." Methos tried to sound nonchalant, but his eyes were wary. "Fifteen hundred years is a long time."
"Sixteen hundred, but who's counting?" Kerrigan shrugged. "I'm done with the Game. Nowadays I teach other Immortals--young ones, like Henri--to look after themselves. I haven't taken a head in almost a hundred years."
Methos looked at Kerrigan, measuring him. He saw no apparent sign of deceit. "You never mentioned to Lucinda that you knew me?"
"She always referred to you as 'Ben'. I had no idea that her beloved doctor was the world's oldest Immortal."
Methos finished his beer, marshaling his thoughts. "So...when did you decide to abandon the Game?"
"You mean, when did I decide that taking heads wasn't its own justification?" Kerrigan chuckled. "Well, my reputation began to precede me, and with communications improving over the past couple of centuries, word of my arrival began to spread before I ever got where I was going. It was getting harder and harder to find anyone who would be willing to face me." He shook his massive head ruefully--and, Methos noted, with a touch of self-reproach. "I ended up back home in Ireland around the turn of the century--the last century, I mean to say. I never much liked the idea of England ruling over my homeland, and I found that there were people there who felt just as I did. Wanted to kick the British out of Ireland altogether."
"Wait a minute," Methos said, almost laughing. "Are you telling me that you founded the IRA?"
"Not so loud," Kerrigan admonished, "this place is full of Irishmen. No, I didn't, but I was there when it came about after the first big war. In less than two years, we got what we wanted--Ireland was free. Or most of it, anyway. The northern counties wanted to stick with Britain, and that was their lookout as far as I was concerned." He sighed deeply. "But others didn't see it that way, and before anyone could blink, civil war broke out." He paused, searching for words. "I'd seen it a hundred times before, mind--but this time was different. This was my home, these were my people, killing each other. And I couldn't stop it. I'm a warrior; I didn't know how to make peace."
"So you left."
"Aye, after being shot by men I thought were my friends for 'speaking treason'. I came to the States, kicked about down the East Coast for a while, and ended up here. I met Lucinda and Marie, and when I found out they weren't interested in the Game, I decided that I wasn't either. Not anymore. I found that...somehow...I'd changed."
No, you pretended to. Maybe you even convinced yourself you had. Methos was startled until he realized that the words weren't his own. The echoed voice of a man seven years dead was speaking in his mind. But inside you're still there, Methos. You're like me.
No, Kronos, he answered silently. There was never anyone else quite like you. Thank whatever gods may be. "So you don't think you'll ever want to grab your axe and start up again, then?" he asked aloud, as much for his own sake as for Kerrigan's.
"I've wondered that myself," Kerrigan answered frankly. "Don't know. Hasn't happened yet, and I won't worry my head over it till it does." He waved at the bartender for another round. "And if it should...it won't be here. I gave my word, and I never break a promise made in good faith--particularly to a lady. Or two."
Methos nodded, smiling slightly, and in a knowing way. "Fair enough, I suppose."
Lucinda freshened her lipstick, leaning close to the wood-framed mirror along one wall of the ladies' room. "So what do you think of him?"
"I think we make him very nervous." Marie studied her reflection, her sharp dark eyes seeking any flaws, and finding none. "He's a conundrum, this man of yours. He pretends to be unassuming, but he carries a lot of baggage around with him. He doesn't like anyone to know what he's thinking, and he's never comfortable unless he's got the upper hand."
Lucinda capped her lip liner and laughed. "I wasn't asking for a personality assessment, Marie. I was asking what you thought of him as a person."
Marie flashed perfect white teeth at her. "It's what you think of him that matters, isn't it?" Her face softened as she put a slim brown hand on Lucinda's shoulder. "You love him very much, don't you?"
Lucinda nodded. "I always have."
"And he loves you?"
"He'd have to, I suppose, to put up with me this long." Lucinda gazed into the mirror, looking past her own image. "I didn't make it easy for him."
"Lucinda, don't do this." Methos stood in front of the door, arms folded, regarding her with narrowed eyes. "I don't really think the French want your help."
Lucinda ignored him. She was strapping on her armor, newly bought and fitted, carefully constructed to give her a more male appearance.
"It's a different world now, Lucy," Methos coaxed, switching from scorn to persuasion with no effort. "There are no shield-maids anymore. Women aren't welcome on the battlefield. It's the Age of Chivalry, or haven't you been paying attention?"
Lucinda paused and gave him a venomous look. "Those damned Normans will conquer the world if they're allowed," she grumbled. "They took my home, and they took England, but I'll be damned if they take France, too."
"What are you going to do about it? Ride out onto the battlefield and kill them all single-handed? That didn't work against the Mercians, it didn't work against the Danes, and it certainly didn't work against William the Conqueror. Haven't you learned anything in the last five hundred years?"
She took her sword from its place on the wall and fitted it to her belt. "I've learned a great deal. I've learned that you were always more than just a scholar. I've learned that you lie whenever it suits you. I've learned that I can't trust a word you say unless it's in your best interests to tell the truth."
Methos bit back a snarl and stepped forward. He took her upper arm in a tight grip and spun her to face him. "I was through with fighting and killing centuries before I met you. I've let you throw yourself into useless conflicts, then carried your cooling corpse off one battlefield after another, and for what?"
She met his eyes with scorn. "You killed Edward," she said in quiet accusal.
"Are you still carrying a grudge about that?" He gave her a rough shake. "That was three hundred years ago--and Edward challenged me! I told the fool we weren't lovers, that I was your teacher, nothing more--but he wanted you, and he decided he had to kill me to make you his. Did you expect me to just kneel down and offer him my head?" He screamed the last four words in her face. "Would that have satisfied you?"
"I expected you to be honest with me!" she screamed back at him. "All that talk about having studied the 'art of war' for its own sake, rather than actually participating in battles--that was a lie. It was all lies!"
"My past is none of your concern," Methos hissed through gritted teeth. "I took you on as my pupil so you would learn how to survive as what we are. If I hadn't taught you, you'd be dead now."
"And if I hadn't been in Dalriada with you for twenty years, my brother Eadwald wouldn't have been killed."
"You don't know that! You don't know anything, because you don't want to!"
"I fight for what I believe in! I don't run away and hide and wait for things to change."
"Things have changed." He was back to persuasion again. He relaxed his grip on her arm and stepped back a pace, looking at her intently. "They're always changing--borders, rulers, beliefs...causes. Part of what we are is learning to change with the times. The Vikings, the Danes, the Anglians and the Mercians--they're all gone. You need to find your place."
Lucinda stepped away from him. "I know my place," she said with steely calm. "It's on the battlefield, driving the English out of France. And that's where I'm going."
His face hardened, and he stepped aside to let her pass. She walked out of the house they'd shared for nearly three centuries without once looking back.
New Orleans, Louisiana
June, Present Day
"We didn't see each other again for a hundred years," Lucinda finished softly, running one manicured finger along the spotless edge of the porcelain sink. "By then, I realized he was right--the world had changed, and I needed to find a new place in it." She turned and faced Marie with a bemused smile. "The longbow and the cannon made me obsolete, and the Age of Chivalry made me an anachronism. An unwanted one."
"But he wanted you," Marie pointed out.
"Oh, yes." Lucinda nodded. "Enough to come after me, one last time."
19 October 1453
Lucinda felt awareness return with a double shock--the pain of healing arrow-wounds and the presence of another Immortal--a powerful one. She lay with her eyes closed and assessed her surroundings. She lay on a dusty stone floor, indoors somewhere. It was cold, and she shivered, wincing with the movement.
"Good morning," a voice said cheerfully. "Have a nice lie-down, did you?"
Her eyes flew open. "Methos!" She started to sit up and gasped as her injuries reasserted their presence. She looked down at herself; she was wearing a clean muslin shift, and she could feel the tightness of bandages wound around her body, holding her wounds closed.
"Careful, you're still full of holes. We don't want you dying again." Methos was sitting on the floor beside her, wiping his hands clean of blood.
"You...did this? Bound my wounds?"
"That I did. I've been studying medicine in Heidelberg for the past few years. I think I have a knack for it." He gave her the small, wry smile she remembered so well. "I really should thank you, you know--for giving me the opportunity to put my newfound medical knowledge to practical use. They could have used you for a textbook illustration when I found you." He gestured to a pile of bloody, broken arrows behind him. "You looked like a pincushion. Obviously the English longbows are very effective."
"Hahk..." Lucinda cleared her throat and tried again. "How did you find me?"
"It was easy; I just looked for the biggest, bloodiest battlefield in France. I knew you were bound to be there."
Lucinda groaned and let her head fall back. Her eyes scanned the dim interior. It was dusty and empty, the windows were shattered, the walls were filthy, but..."This is our house," she said.
"Well, what's left of it, anyway. Neither of us have been here to keep it in order, and the English troops stole whatever wasn't nailed down."
"Bastards," Lucinda muttered.
Methos scoffed. "We weren't using it. After you left, I went on a trip across Asia. On the way back I stopped in Germany." He stood and picked up his black bag, setting it on a window ledge. "I've been studying at the University of Heidelberg. I heard that the wars were coming to an end here, and I decided to find out what had become of you."
Lucinda closed her eyes with a quiet sigh and lay there for a long while, wincing as her flesh knit itself back together.
New Orleans, Louisiana
June, Present Day
"So you stayed with him after that?" asked Marie. Lucinda had never been so forthcoming before about her past, particularly not with the man she'd called Ben, who now went by the name of Adam Pierson. Marie suspected that neither name was even close to what the man was originally called--a strong life-pulse, he had, and it was possible that this was the legendary Methos she'd heard rumors of...but even if he was, it wasn't her business. Lucinda, on the other hand, was her friend. "Or did he have to lock you in a cellar again?"
Lucinda seemed to shake herself out of a reverie and snapped her handbag shut. "No. I went willingly that time. We stayed together until the Great Fire drove us apart." She took Marie's arm with a smile. "Now let's go before the boys think we've skipped out on them."
"Or before Kerrigan scares poor Adam to death?" Marie grinned as they headed for the door.
"I know Adam seems a bit nervous, but really, it takes a lot to really scare him." Lucinda winked. "Just trust me on that one."
If he's who I believe he might be, Marie mused as they headed across the crowded, noisy pub, then I wouldn't be a bit surprised. And he must have a great deal of courage to have come here. Or he loves you a lot. Or both.
It was well after three in the morning when Methos and Lucinda left Finnegan's. The night was cool and pleasant, the streets not too crowded, so they walked hand in hand along the Moonwalk, enjoying each other's company in companionable silence after the happy noise and chatter of the pub.
Lucinda paused in front of the French Market, looking up at a gilded statue. Methos followed her gaze and found himself looking at the life-size image of a young, simply pretty girl riding a magnificent horse, carrying a banner in one hand that bore three embossed fleurs de lis.
"Saint Joan," he murmured.
Lucinda nodded. "A fairly good likeness, too."
"I don't suppose you had anything to do with that?"
She shook her head and laughed. "No, this is a copy of a monument back in France. The city of Orleans presented it to us in the 1970s." She looked down and read the inscription--or rather, recited it from memory. "Joan of Arc, Maid of Orleans, 1412 to 1431, Gift of the People of France."
19 October 1453
Lucinda spent most of the day sleeping under Methos's heavy travel cloak. She woke near sundown, her wounds no longer stinging with every breath. She sat up cautiously, testing her body and finding it equal to the task.
Methos was by the long-disused fireplace, where wood he'd gathered during the day was now blazing merrily to keep back the night's chill. He stood and dusted off the knees of his plain leather trousers. He took two steps toward her, reached down a hand and pulled her to her feet. "Feeling better?"
Lucinda nodded. "Thank you."
He squeezed her hand and let go. "There's another civil war brewing in England," he said with a casual air.
"The Lancastrians are after the throne again. King Richard's trying to quash the rebellion. He could probably use some help."
"I'm sure he could."
The defeated tone of her voice made him look sharply at her. "I won't try to stop you going."
"It's not my fight." Lucinda sat on the windowsill beside the black bag. "Not anymore. Eadwald's gone, East Anglia's gone, the Saxons are gone, Edward...got himself killed," she finished, glancing at Methos. "There's no point to it, is there? To any of it. The fighting, the killing, the dying...none of it makes any difference in the end. One king dies, another takes his place. The borders change, the people change, but life goes on...except for those who've died." She rested her elbows on her knees. "The curse of immortality, I suppose--we outlive our principles."
Methos set the bag on the floor and sat down beside her, looking at her searchingly. "I tried to tell you that," he said gently. "A hundred years ago."
"I know." She nodded, blinking hard. "I wouldn't listen. If I had, then maybe..." Her voice shook, and she raised a shaking hand to her eyes.
Methos was shocked. He'd never seen Lucinda weep before, not even for her dead brother. He rested his hand on her shoulder. "What happened?"
She choked on a sob. "They burned her. Those hypocritical bastards, they burned her alive."
He searched his memory for recent news of the French and English wars. He had to go back twenty years before he hit on a reference. "Joan of Arc?"
"I met her when I was helping defend Domremy from the Burgundians." Lucinda was weeping openly now. "They were--they were fighting for the English. They burned her village. We saved the people, but they lost everything. Joan came to me afterwards and asked me to take her before the Dauphin. She said that the voice of God had told her that she could save France."
Methos couldn't help smiling in disbelief. "And you believed her?"
"She was--convincing." Lucinda struggled to control her tears. "If you'd heard her, you would have believed her. I rode with her to Chinon to see the Dauphin. She convinced Charles that she could do it. I taught her how to ride, how to fight, how to carry a sword. She was fifteen years old, and that girl turned a rag-tag band of displaced knights and gentry into an army that drove the English out of Orleans. She knelt at Charles's feet when he was anointed King at Reims." Suddenly she turned and thrust her hand through one of the few remaining panes of glass in the window frame. "And that bastard sold her to the English!"
"Hey!" Methos caught her hand and pulled it back, wrapping it in a cloth to stop the blood.
"They took her at Compiegne. She was cut off from the rest of us and they just swept down and carried her off." She was crying again. "I thought the King would ransom her, but then I heard she was going to be executed. No one would come with me to save her. I rode for three days nonstop through English holdings. I rode my horse to death, and then I started walking. I got to Rouen in time to hear her screams as they burned her alive." Her voice broke. "They threw what was left of her in the river...they didn't even bury her..."
"Oh, Lucy..." Methos pulled her against him and let her cry herself out against his shoulder. He rocked her back and forth as one would a small child in distress. She wept herself hoarse against him, until finally her sobs quieted and her tears stopped.
"It wasn't your fault," Methos said quietly. "Joan made her own choice. Because of her faith and her devotion, France won the war."
"But Joan died!" Lucinda snapped, pushing away from him. "She died horribly, alone, amongst her enemies, condemned as a heretic, after a terrible defeat. She didn't know she'd saved France. She'll never know..."
"But we know." He took her hands. "The people of France know. They won't ever forget her."
"I won't ever forget her," Lucinda said, looking down.
Methos looked at her for a long time. "Lucinda?"
She didn't glance up. "What?"
"I'm going back to Heidelberg tomorrow." He paused, bracing himself inwardly. "I'd like it very much if you'd come with me."
Her eyes rose to meet his. "After everything I said...when I left you behind...and after all I've done since then--you still want to teach me?"
"I want to be with you." He took her shoulders again. "I want you, Lucinda. Not the shield-maid, not the Immortal Amazon, not the seasoned warrior. You." He smiled wryly. "I can't seem to get you out of my system, no matter how hard I try--and believe me, I have tried."
Her hand reached up and touched his face softly. "I didn't even try to forget you," she whispered. "I knew it wouldn't be any use." She leaned forward, hesitated, then pressed her lips shyly to his.
For a moment he responded to the kiss; then, getting hold of himself, he drew back. She had never wanted their relationship to include sex--she'd taken the "maid" part of "shield-maid" quite literally--and he feared she might be offering herself to him through some misguided sense of gratitude. "Lucinda," he said, as gently as he could, "you don't have to do this."
She smiled. "I know." Her fingers traced over his mouth, and he shivered and closed his eyes. "But I want to." Her hand slid down his neck to his chest, caressing him, learning the lines of his body underneath the shapeless muslin shirt he was wearing. "You asked me once," she whispered, "and I told you I wasn't ready. You said I should let you know when I was." Her hand slid inside the neckline of his shirt, fingers tracing his collarbone. "I'm ready."
His breath hitched. Trying to marshal his thoughts, he forced his eyes open so he could study her. Her pale face was flushed, her eyes bright, her lips full and slightly parted. Her desire--desire for him--was unmistakable. For the space of half a dozen heartbeats he considered all the possible responses, all the probable consequences, and all the reasons he should carefully, tactfully, definitely refuse her.
Then he took a deep breath, threw all caution aside, and pulled her down with him to the dusty floor.
New Orleans, Louisiana
June, Present Day
Methos took note of her melancholy tone as she recited the inscription aloud. "You're not still beating yourself up about that, are you?"
"About Joan's sacrifice? No." She looked past the statue, up at the star-speckled sky. "She made her choices just as I made mine. She did what her Voices said and didn't listen to anyone else."
"Sounds like someone I knew once, back in the day."
Lucinda scoffed at him. "I never heard voices. I was just damnably stubborn."
"Was?" Methos teased. "Pardon my saying so, but you haven't changed that much."
She swatted him playfully on the arm. "Smart-ass."
"That was your last chance, you know," Methos told her. "If you hadn't agreed to come back to Heidelberg with me--if you'd gone rushing across the Channel to dive into the civil war in England--that was it. I was ready to wash my hands of you once and for all."
"But you didn't--because I didn't."
"No, you didn't. And I'm glad. We had a good time, didn't we? In Germany, and later in England, after the war had ended and Henry was on the throne..."
"You taught Elizabeth well," Lucinda said. "She was a good queen. Probably the best ruler England ever had."
"I was just her tutor. Elizabeth had a quick wit, a ready mind, and--as I believe she herself said--'the brain and heart and lungs of a king'."
"Especially the lungs," Lucinda giggled. "I can still hear her shouting down the Council when they tried to argue with her."
"Well, they wanted her to marry."
"But she didn't want to. She knew any man she married would end up being ruler of England in her place."
"That's the way the world was at the time. And the Council was desperate to secure the line of succession--they wanted Elizabeth to have an indisputable heir."
Lucinda nodded ruefully. "She wanted you to rule after her, you know."
"Ah, I never was one for politics," Methos said with a dismissive shrug. "The idea of sitting on a fancy chair with a half a stone's weight of gold on my head doesn't appeal to me in the least. It always seemed a bit too much like holding up a banner that read 'Hullo, I'm in charge, come kill me'." He looked up at the statue of Joan again. "We've known some remarkable people, haven't we?"
"That we have. And it's amazing how much of history the historians have gotten wrong."
"History changes," he told her. "Not only is it written by the winners, it's constantly being revised to suit the tastes of those who come after."
"Maybe that's the real reason we're here," Lucinda said with a sort of dreamy thoughtfulness. "Because we're the only ones who know what really happened."
"Could be." Methos put his arm around her. "Come on then, let's go home."
They walked down Decatur together, arms about each other's waists, leaving behind the statue of Joan, the Maid of Orleans, holding her banner high as she gazed eternally out over the lights of the city.