Methos arrived at the stone circle at day break to start the preparations. He set up the alter and drew the circle into the dry earth. It had been almost two thousand years since he had done temple preparations but once he started it seemed like just yesterday. Methos had always preferred the pagan ways to the current religions they always seemed much more real and sincere.
Once everything was set to his satisfaction Methos sat down in the middle of the circle and began meditating. It was going to be a long night and he wanted to have a clear head when the ceremony began.
At about six in the evening Duncan showed up with a basket of food Diana had cooked. She had been worried Methos had forgotten to eat. Duncan stood just outside the stone circle. Methos had already changed into his robes and had markings on his face from long ago.
“I take it you’ve played this part once or twice?” Duncan joked.
Methos opened his eyes and stood up stretching slowly. He turned and noticed the basket “A few times. So is that for me?” He asked indicating the basket.
“Diana said I better make sure you’re fed.” Duncan grinned as he continued “Her exact words while packing it were… If he doesn’t want to eat you have my premition to sit on him and force feed him.”
“She said that did she.” Methos replied with a smirk “Well then I guess you better hand over the food.” Duncan handed over the basket and Methos opened it and set up the food. He noticed that there were three plates. He understood and made three equal plates. Methos handed one to Mac who gave him a questioning look and then placed the other one on the alter. He lit a candle and whispered a prayer.
“May the spirits accept this humble offering. Blessed be.” Methos finished and walked back to where Mac was sitting.
“What was that?” Mac asked gesturing toward the alter.
“How old are you McLeod?” Methos asked sarcastically.
“Four hundred and some change, why?” Mac replied.
“I would have thought you being that old and having a degree in history would recognize a offering to the spirits.” Methos reasoned as he began to eat.
“I understand what it was. I just never saw you do anything spiritual before. I didn’t think you believed in any religion.” Duncan shot back.
“I have my moments and Celtic Paganism has been a favorite of mine for a very long time. Besides with what we’re doing tonight a little extra help couldn’t hurt.” Methos shrugged.
They finished eating in silence both caught up in their own thoughts. Before they knew it the food was gone. Methos started clearing the dishes and containers, putting them neatly back into the basket.
“OK who are you and what have you done with my friend?” Duncan joked as he started helping Methos clear everything away.
“Ha ha very funny.” Methos said as he made a face “How much longer till the others arrive?”
Duncan pulled out his pocket watch “About another twenty minuets. Why?”
Methos looked around “Just enough time.” He said more to himself than Duncan. Methos walked over to the alter and pulled a beautifully crafted dagger out of a sheath at his waist “Do you believe in magic Highlander?” Methos asked with a smirk.
“I would have said no before Arimon came along. Now I think anything is possible.” Duncan said as he watched Methos lift the dagger into the air. Duncan felt a breeze begin to blow around him some how the coolness of the air was comforting.
Methos began a chant in a language that Duncan didn’t understand but before long he saw blue sparks start to shimmer around the blade. Duncan watched in awe as Methos manipulated his quickening to empower the weapon. When Methos was done he laid the dagger down with the other items on the table. He looked over at Duncan and shrugged “It helps if the ones you’re working with believe as well. That I hope will do the trick.”
“What did you do?” Duncan asked as he walked over to stand beside Methos.
“Nothing really just giving a helping hand. Diana has to learn to focus her energy. I just gave her a little head start. I did this with all the priestesses I trained.” He was idly straitening everything one last time.
“So why aren’t you doing the rights?” Duncan asked.
“First we are calling on the Goddess in all her forms. A priest can’t achieve this as well as a Priestess. Second you have to be sacrificed and I don’t think Diana is ready to kill you even if it is only temporary.” He explained.
“I guess your right.” Duncan said about that time a SUV came up and parked next to the other cars. Methos looked a little anxious but he quickly hid the reaction.
“Hey guys want to give me a hand over here?” Joe yelled. Duncan smiled at his watcher and ran over to help.
“Gods I hope this works.” Methos muttered under his breath and followed Duncan.
Duncan went to the back of Joe’s SUV and helped ReShef get Richie and place him on to the alter. Methos had stopped in front of Amanda and Diana.
“Well look at you, as beautiful as the Goddess herself.” Methos stated as he took Diana’s hands.
“Flattery will get you everywhere.” Diana joked “Of course you’re not so bad yourself.”
“OK you two can get a room after this is all over.” Amanda said as she grabbed a couple of duffle bags out of the SUV. “Here make yourself useful” she said as she handed Methos the duffle bags with a grunt. Diana snickered at the pained look Methos shot Amanda.
“Do I have to do everything around here? Honestly a little respect for your elders would be nice.” Methos complained good naturedly.
Diana slipped one of her arms through his “Come on old man I’ll help you walk over to the circle. We can’t have you falling and breaking something.”
“I can’t win for losing.” He said rolling his eyes and took Diana over to the circle. They unpacked the bags and Methos went over to the alter to arrange Richie properly. Once everything was prepared they looked at the sky.
“Won’t be much longer.” Methos mused “Are you ready for this?”
Diana looked at him and took a deep breath to calm her nerves. “As ready as I’m going to be.” She replied.
The sun was completely gone. “Showtime!” Amanda exclaimed trying to lighten the mood. Everyone took their places. Diana stood at the center of the circle in front of the alter. She took up Richie’s sword raising it toward the sky. She took one last deep breath to center. Once she felt herself calm down she opened her eyes and began.
“I call upon the ancient ones that they may consecrate this circle. May they see fit to bless us with their presence, that this may be holy ground for so long as the circle of power holds.” As Diana spoke the wind started wiping around and they could all feel the pulse of holy ground begin to thrum under their feet.
“This may actually work.” Amanda whispered to Joe. He barely noticed as he watched Diana work.
Diana began walking the circle with the sword pointing toward the ground. “In a time before time that is neither present nor past. In a place between we beseech the Gods to give us the power to return out friend to his rightful place, here with us. So that we may right a wrong done to him.”
They all watched in silence as a blue energy began to come from the sword toward the ground. The blue energy was pulsing on the ground as she passed when the circle was complete the energy pulsed up and formed a dome surrounding the stones nobody could move in or out of the circle until she let the energy down. The thrum of holy ground became so stronger that even Joe could feel it.
“By the Gods I knew she was a natural, I just didn’t realize how strong she was.” Methos whispered to Duncan.
“I think we need to talk when this is over.” Duncan replied quietly not wanting to interrupt Diana’s concentration.
Once the circle was complete Diana went back to the altar. She laid the sword next to Richie. She took a moment to center herself again then opened the leather bound book she and Methos had used to translate the incantations. She picked up the dagger and dipped its tip into the bowl of water.
“May the spirits of water come and lend us your strength and wisdom.” Then she lit the incense and moved the dagger through the smoke. “May the spirits of air come and lend us your strength and wisdom.” Diana then lit a candle and placed the tip of the dagger in the flame “May the spirits of fire lend us your strength and wisdom.” Last she sprinkled salt around Richie’s body “May the spirits of earth lend us your strength and wisdom.”
The winds picked up again and the dagger began to glow an electric blue. Diana looked at the dagger she could feel Methos’ energy. She looked over at Methos and Duncan and nodded her head and they moved to the altar. She lifted the dagger with both hands “I call upon the Goddess in all her forms may she empower this weapon with her energy. May she lead it to strike true to release Richie’s spirit and let it settle in his body where it belongs. May she see fit to bring our friend back to us.” She lowered the dagger and handed it to Methos. Diana’s hands were trembling she had seen Duncan die before but that didn’t ease her mind at this moment. Diana picked up the chalice of wine and turned to Duncan.
“Do you Duncan McLeod freely sacrifice yourself to release Richie from your body?” She asked.
“Aye, I do.” He replied Diana handed him the chalice and he drank from it. She took the chalice and turned to Methos.
“Than may your aim be true.” She answered and Methos stabbed Duncan through the heart. Methos pulled the dagger from Duncan’s body and turned to Richie’s body and stabbed it through the heart as well. Duncan collapsed next to the alter and died. The Mehthula crystals started to glow and they transformed into a crystal ball. Everyone stared at the sight.
“It’s all true I finally have it!” ReShef whispered he pulled his sword and started toward Diana, she had to destroy the circle of power. Methos turned just in time to see ReShef moving toward Diana. Methos moved to shove Diana out of the way but he was to slow. ReShef took his long sword and ran it through Methos and into Diana. She looked at Methos in shock then started to fall forward the light leaving her eyes. Methos caught her feeling his own life force fading.
“No, Gods no please don’t leave me.” He whispered as blood started running out of his mouth. The circle of power collapsed and the thrum of holy ground was gone. ReShef moved to the alter and grabbed Richie’s sword then moved behind Methos and raised the sword to sever Methos’ head but before he lowered the sword. Amanda ran up behind him and took ReShef’s head with her sword. The head fell to the ground with a hollow thump. She looked down at Methos the grief on his face was over whelming. The quickening began and Amanda was hit by ReShef’s life force but it was hitting the stones as well and intensified. The standing stones began glowing and the crystal glowed brighter the energy shot from the crystal and engulfed Richie’s body. Then a bolt of lightning hit the hilt of the sword that skewered Methos and Diana. A few minutes later it was all over. Amanda was on her knees panting, Methos was collapsed over Diana both of them dead. Duncan still lay on the ground dead and Richie’s was still on the altar.
Joe walked cautiously over to Amanda first “Hey you Ok?” He asked putting his hand on her shoulder.
“Yea, I will be. Check on the others.” Amanda replied Joe went over to Methos and Diana the sword still impaled both of them together. He knelt down the best he could and felt for a pulse on Diana.
“Damn!” Joe cursed looked over at Amanda and shook his head.
“Oh god! Methos is going to be devastated.” Amanda sobbed.
Joe grabbed the sword and pulled it out of the couple’s bodies. Amanda had made it over to Duncan just as he took his first breath. He looked up at Amanda and knew there was something wrong. “What happened?” He whispered.
“It’s a long story I’ll tell you in a little while but the short of it is ReShef betrayed us." She whispered.
Duncan sat up and looked around. He spotted Methos and Diana lying on the ground ReShef’s body behind them. He looked at Dawson and saw tears running down his face. “She’s gone Mac.” Dawson answered the unspoken question.
Duncan could feel the quickening radiating from Amanda so he knew who took ReShef. He pulled himself up and went to the altar. Duncan gently pulled the linen from over Richie’s face and relief flooded his face “He’s healing look!” Duncan stated and pulled the linen all the way off. Blue flickers arced off Richie’s body and it was plain to see his neck was healed with the exception of a faint line showing where it had been severed.
A long hard sob broke the silence as Methos revived “Diana!” He was up and grabbed her still body “No! Please don’t leave me.” He whispered as he pulled her into his lap tears streaming down his face.
Duncan looked up from Richie’s body to see why Methos was so distraught. He saw Diana was not moving. Duncan quickly left Richie and knelt down next to Methos. Duncan tried to take Diana so he could see what he could do. Duncan touched her arm and pulled back as if he had been shocked. “What the…” He looked over at Amanda and saw she felt the new thrum of quickening wash over her senses as well “It’s not possible." Duncan whispered not believing his senses but he watched as Diana took a gasping breath the first of her immortal life. Methos was to deep in his grief to realize she was not only alive but awake.
“Methos.” Diana whispered he was holding her so tight “Methos please. I can’t breathe.”
Methos was so surprised he almost dropped her he loosened his grip and looked down at Diana “Your… But… I watched you die. How?” He was in shock “I don’t care your alive and …” He pulled her shirt up to where the sword had pierced her “Healed. Thank the Gods. How do you feel?” Methos was just so glad she was alive.
\ “Confused. I have all these images in my mind of you in different times and I have a head ache.” She stated she was still pale “I’m assuming that ReShef is dead.”
“Yes, Amanda took care of it.” Methos said as he brushed Diana’s hair back.
“What about Richie?” Diana asked looking at Duncan.
“He’s healing.” Duncan offered.
“Good I think I’m going to close my eyes for a little while.” She whispered curling up closer to Methos.
“Well how the hell am I gonna write this one up?” Joe asked “You know what, I think its best this never makes the chronicles.” He went over to Richie’s body “Well the crystals are toast.” He stated as he picked up a shard the crystal disintegrated in his hand. “We need to take care of all this. I’ll call in a cleanup crew for ReShef but we need to get Diana, Richie and the evidence out of here.” Joe stated as he started placing items in a duffle bag.
Duncan took Richie and placed him in the back of the SUV laying his head in Amanda’s lap. Then helped Joe clean everything up. Methos picked Diana up and placed her in Duncan’s car. They all went back to the bed and breakfast to wait for Richie to revive properly and Diana to wake up.