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The Master
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Highlander 1.0: The Watchers


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Rome, Italy
May, 2006


This is the last time I take a dare that requires me breaking the law, she thought as she slipped through an open window, an act that wasn’t too hard for her small 5 foot 1 inch frame, on the ground floor of the large three story building. The Room she found herself in was dark but there was just enough light coming from outside that allowed her to look around the room. As her eyes grew used to the dark she was able to make out some of the shapes that lined the room, most were display cases with unseen objects while others were statues that made eerie shapes in the moonlight. She couldn’t help but think back on the scary movies she has watched as a child, which often had some young girl creeping around an old scary house with similar shadows cast in the walls; the only difference was this room was spotless. A normal 19 year old college student or at least she liked to think so, Samantha Adams had signed up for an exchange program after one semester at New York University so she could follow her dad, Dr. Samuel Adams, into the field of Archeology and Classical civilizations which led her to the American University of Rome to study in their Archeology and Classical Heritage program. It was in her classes that she had learned about a vast collection, the largest private collection in Rome, owned by Dr. Jake McAsh which was kept in his house. Ever since then she knew she wanted to check out the collection which had led to a dare from her roommate to sneak into the house and take a photograph proving she had done it with out being caught.

*****

Awaking with a start, Jake McAsh looked around the room to see nothing alarming but something had woken him up. Sliding out of the bed he threw on some clothes and headed down stairs deciding what ever it was it must be coming from downstairs all the while thinking to himself how lucky it was that Cybele was in Athens at the moment as she didn’t take well to being woken up in the middle of the night. Deciding not to arm himself he simply walked into the room and turned on the lights to see a small blond woman frozen in place a look of fear filling her face, she was no more then 20 and was dressed in black tights with black hooded shirt, her hair was only just above her shoulders, she was standing near his desk a camera laying on the floor at her feet where she had dropped it when he turned the lights on.

“Well Hello there,” she was stunned at the man’s response, as well as how well he spoke English. Having never seen him she had formed an image of the man she had expected and this person was not it at all. Not only did he speak perfect English, with a slightly strange accent he was far younger then she had assumed. The Man before her was no older then his mid 30’s, his short black hair was just long enough to run fingers through it and he appeared unshaven, which wasn’t surprising given the hour. His style of clothes was much more casual consisting of a pair of black jeans and a black t shirt that did little to hide his figure. He was not at all the typical historian she had encountered in her studies and he was tall, at least a foot taller then she was. He wasn’t all that muscular but she was sure he could hold his own in a fight. The thing she noticed most about this man was his dark eyes; they were alert, far more alert then what one would expect at this time of night, she had a feeling that he had been sizing her up as soon as he walked into the room but the remarkable thing was that they looked older then she would have thought. It was a look she had seen from her Grandfather and his friends who had fought in World War 2 who had grown tired of the fighting.

“Don’t worry,” the man walked over to the desk and picked up the camera to hand back to her. “I haven’t called the cops. If I may be so bold, what is your name?”

“My name is Samantha, Samantha Adams,” Samantha replied hesitantly as she finally got a real look at the office she had been in. The walls in front of her were lined with all kinds of artifacts from swords to vases and sculptures many of which would be worth millions as well as old black and white photos. “This is quite a collection; it must have cost you millions to assemble.”

“You’d be surprised, Samantha,” Jake had a funny smile that Samantha couldn’t understand. “Adams is a good name, known many people by that name, any relation to John Adams?”

“I never thought to look into it,” Samantha was feeling more at ease as she watched him move, each step was deliberate as he never removed his eyes from her. She was sure if she had made any move against him he’d have her defeated before she could blink.

“You should, John Adams was a good man, a bit loud but good,” Jake finally came to a stop at the back of the room under a large painting of some Civil War battle. “So why are you here Samantha, Samantha Adams?”

“I had heard of your collection and wanted to see it,” Samantha took her eyes from a photo which had caught her attention as Dr. McAsh walked by it, it appeared to be a bunch of men in American Military uniforms along with some woman, some of the men were standing while others were sitting in front of a large white house. It was clearly an older picture, the man in the center appeared to be George Custer, a hero of her Grandfather’s, but one of the men appeared to look like Jake McAsh only with a Goatee and longer hair. “My Roommate dared me to sneak in here and then take a photo to prove I was here.”

“Dares, games of the young,” Jake waved his hand over his desk that sat in between the two of them. It looked like a normal desk, there was a picture of an exotic looking woman with jet black hair on the left corner, on the right a picture of a young brown haired woman with almost green eyes and in the center of the desk, an open notebook with what was likely Dr. McAsh’s handwriting, next to the notebook an older looking book also sat open this one written with an unknown language, at least to her, but judging on the notebook, which appeared to be half filled, it was known to it’s owner. “It’s an early form of Gaulish, a language that at one time spread through most of Ancient Europe. It tells a tale of an immortal hero doomed to walk the earth in search of his one true love.”

“Does he find her?” Samantha looked up from the writings.

“Eventually,” Jake gave that knowing smile again as if he knew a joke that she didn’t.

“She was a royal princess forced to marry a king who already had 3 wives. When she meets the hero she falls instantly in love with him and he fell in love with her. Outraged the king has her killed triggering a battle between the hero and king and after the war was over the hero is forced to continue his search. The Gods took pity on the hero and brought back the princess granting her immortality so the two could travel the world together.”

“What a great story,” Samantha wiped away the tears that had started to run down her cheeks.

“The old ones often are,” Jake stepped around the desk towards her. “So this bet of yours, what is it you win?”

“She gets to do all the chores for a week,” Samantha returned to the present.

“Well then,” Jake waved his right arm in front of him. “Carry on, I won’t stop you.”

Jake stood in front of the desk as Samantha took several photos of pictures, statues and ancient weapons offering incite on what ever she stopped to look at. She made sure to take a photo of the Picture she had seen earlier of Custer and the man who looked like Jake. Once she was finished Jake led her to the front door being sure to tell her to come by again if she had any questions.

“She’s lucky,” a female voice spoke out from the stairwell. “Had Cybele been here, she might have been killed.”

“No harm done, just a curious student,” Jake turned back to look at the black haired woman dressed in a robe and black rimmed glasses. “If you could, look up Samantha Adams in the morning.”

“She’s not the only one who’s curious,” she pulled out a note pad from her robe pocket to write down the name. “Any reason?”

“Call it a gut feeling,” Jake placed his hands on her shoulders and gave the woman a light kiss on the forehead.

“She isn’t one of you guys is she?” She looked up at Jake who kept his hands on her shoulders.

“Don’t worry Lindsey,” Jake smiled “She isn’t going to do anything, now go back to sleep.”

“Yes Dad,” Lindsey was still uneasy but knew the man she called Dad well enough by now to know when everything was okay.

Jake watched as his adopted daughter ran back up the stairs to her bedroom, almost 24 years old now she had moved to Rome soon after Jake had and settled in to serve as his assistant. Very few people outside of their friends knew that she was the daughter of a friend of his who was killed in an accident when she was 3 or that he had taken her in soon after the accident. Walking back into his study he stopped at his desk to look at the photo of Cybele that he kept on his desk as he thought of the story he had told the girl. “The Old Ones usually are.”

Last edited by Rogue9a, 5/23/2013, 1:37 pm


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The Master
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Re: Highlander 1.0: The Watchers


A week had passed since she broke into the house she sat in front of the Computer screen researching American military units in the mid 1800’s in an effort to break open the mystery of the photo she had seen at Dr. McAsh’s office that had distracted her so much. She had been about ready to call it a day when she stumbled across the photo on a page about the 7th Calvary, as she was looking at it; it became clear why she couldn’t keep the image out of her head. In the photo standing next to Tom Custer on the right of General George Custer stood a man named Jacob Peterson, who looked just like Dr. Jake McAsh. Going further she looked up Jacob Peterson’s name in the military records and discovered the same man had been a General towards the end of the Civil War serving under Thomas Jackson and A.P. Hill.

“What are you researching there, Ms. Adams” A young voice with a light Italian accent caused her to look up from her notebook to see one of her teachers, Ms. Camane Vestale, standing there with a book of Roman history in her hands.

“Just something that had been bothering me,” Sam scrolled the page until a photograph of Jacob Peterson came up, she couldn’t be sure but she thought she heard Ms. Vestale gasp. Thinking nothing of it she turned back to the young teacher whose long brown hair had been kept in a pony tale rather then loose as it normally was. “Doesn’t he look like Dr. Jake McAsh?”

“Well with longer hair and a goatee but he does,” A concerned look spread across Ms. Vestale’s face as she looked around the library, clearly distracted by something else. “Maybe he’s related, after all he was married. Well I better get going.”

Samantha was about to question her teacher about the married comment when she found that the young woman had appeared to vanish. She didn’t remember telling her that Jacob Peterson had been married to a Virginia widow named Abigail Williams or the fact she had a son. Deciding to print off the page Samantha collected the papers and left for her dorm room where she could continue her research on her laptop. While it wouldn’t have the link to the libraries records or resources there were plenty of places to find information on a Confederate General who went on to travel with the 7th Calvary until his death at The Little Big Horn.

Unknown to Samantha, her conversation had been overheard, slipping out from behind a bookshelf a man dressed in Black watched as she left. Placing the book he was pretending to read back on the shelf he followed her, a pro he never got close enough for her to notice that he was behind her, stopping only when he saw that she had entered her dormitory.

*****

Jake barely had time to object to the intrusion when he looked up to see Camane rushing into the room, followed by his assistant Lindsey Benson, that alone was enough to get his attention as he rarely saw her off school grounds or away from her home which had once been a temple for the Vestal Virgins. Putting down his pencil he waved Lindsey away and waited for her to stop and tell him what was wrong but she stopped at one of his photographs.

“You have a problem,” Camane turned from the photo to look at Jake. “A student of mine saw found this photo in the libraries computer archives and is looking into it.”

“I see,” Jake leaned back in his chair.

“I would have expected you to be a little more upset,” Camane was surprised at the lack of emotion he expressed.

“And what would that accomplish,” Jake stood up and walked over to Camane to set his hands on her shoulders. “Besides I’ve met this student and have done my research, she’s smart and way to curious for her own good, so I’m keeping an eye on her, our secrets will be safe.”

“How did you know she would find out?” Camane shook her head; she was always surprised by Jake’s almost prophetic nature and this was no different for her.

“She hasn’t found anything,” Jake declared as he led her towards the front door. “I did see that she was paying the picture a little more attention then anything else but it’s a bit of a leap to go from that looks like me to that is me. So don’t worry, everything is taken care of, just go home and watch your head.”

“Speaking of that, I felt one of us as I was talking to Ms. Adams, I don’t think they were friendly,” Camane kissed Jake lightly on the cheek and headed back out the way she came. Standing where she left him Jake turned back towards the photo on the wall and smiled to himself before heading back towards his desk.

“What’s going on?” Lindsey came back in after she watched Camane leave. She had only been living in the house for a few months but it was long enough to know who his regular visitors were which was why she had been more concerned then she would normally be as the young woman was not someone she had seen before.

“Just that girl I from last week,” Jake leaned back into his chair. “Seems she’s even more resourceful then I imagined.”

“I didn’t know what to think when she barged in here like that,” Lindsey sighed, relieved that it wasn’t someone out to get him. “Before I forget Cybele called, said she is almost done in Athens and will be coming home next week.”

“Thanks,” Jake smiled as he thought of his lover and looked over at her picture. “Any plans tonight?”

“I have a date,” Lindsey turned back from the doorway to face him, a little confused about the nature of the question. He had never asked her before about her plans and the fact he had caused a chill to run up her spine. “Why do you ask?”

“No reason,” Jake had heard talk of a new immortal in the city and with Camane’s warning it only added to the rumors. Forcing a Smile he looked up from his work and hid his feelings from Lindsey. “Just worried you were spending all your time cooped up, you two have a good time.”

“We will,” with that Lindsey left the office and headed up stairs to her room to get ready for her date. She had known him long enough to know when something was bothering him but if he didn’t want to share it she wasn’t going to make him say anything.

Last edited by Rogue9a, 5/23/2013, 1:38 pm


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The Master
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Re: Highlander 1.0: The Watchers


Samantha Adams was a little surprised to be sent to the Student Affairs office as she sat waiting she saw a steady movement of students coming and going. She had been going about her day when one of the teachers aids she kind of knew ran up to her and told her that she had a meeting at the Student Affairs Office which wasn’t all that rare she just hasn’t been requested before. All kinds of thoughts ran through her head from troubles with her financial aid to problems at home, even the thought of a teacher recommending her for a job had come to mind. After a couple minutes passed a tall woman who appeared to be in her 40’s and dressed in a very formal business suit came out of the offices and waved her over. Silently she started leading her towards the offices in back and after a quick pause to make sure she had still been following proceeded down a flight of stairs into what appeared to be the basement. It was after she opened a set of double doors Samantha found herself in a kind of library, only this was filled with serious looking men and woman all of which only gave her a causal look before returning to what ever work they were doing. The Woman came to a stop outside another set of double doors and pointed to a spot where she waited while the woman went inside. The room was pretty large and was kept pretty cool; the bookshelf full of old looking books that lined the wall likely had something to do with that. There must have been 20 to 25 people in the room hard at work, some were transcribing some of the books, and others were cleaning another set of books. When the woman stepped out of the room she motioned for Samantha to enter. After stepping through the doors she found herself alone, as the woman shut the doors behind her leaving her in a room that looked a lot like Dr. Jake McAsh’s only larger and with more artifacts. On the other end of the room an older man, at least in his late 50’s she thought, stood watching her from beside the desk. He was a big man but by no means fat, he was clearly a strong man as well as well lived. He reminded her a bit of an older Jack Dalton from the TV Series her dad loved, MacGyver.

“Well Hello there Ms. Adams,” The man said, a slight Texan accent betraying the fact he wasn’t from Italy. The 2nd man in a week she had met who wasn’t from this country outside of her fellow students. He tossed a folder on the desk and waved her to come closer.

“Hello,” She replied tentatively

“No need to be nervous,” the man laughed as he motioned towards an empty chair next to the desk facing the back of the room, almost as if a secretary would sit there to take notes. “You have nothing to fear from me, and you aren’t in any trouble.”

“Why am I here then?” Samantha felt her nerves quieting.

“You are here because we noticed you,” The man’s smile put her at ease as he himself sat down behind the desk. “Not a thing happens here that we don’t know about.”

“Is this about Dr. McAsh?” Samantha started fidgeting with the hem of her skirt.

“You might say that,” the man poured a couple glasses of brandy and set a glass next to her on the desk. “What do you know about him?”

“Well I know he’s a dead ringer for a Jacob Peterson who joined Thomas Jackson’s unit in 1861 followed by A.P. Hill’s in 1863 and General Lee’s in the final days of the war. I know he married the widow of one of his aids in 1866 and that he befriended George Custer and started traveling with him in 1870. Also that he died at the Little Big Horn in 1876 leaving behind his wife, Abigail Williams Peterson, and two children.” Samantha picked up the glass and carefully took a sip. She hadn’t really had a drink before since she wasn’t 21 yet but this was Italy. After taking the drink she started coughing as the brandy burned down her throat.

“What anyone would have found about Jacob Peterson,” The man lit up a cigar and leaned back into his chair, seemingly not worried about her reaction to the drink.

“What I also found out was that before 1860 there is no Jacob Peterson,” Samantha felt a little braver maybe the result of the drink starting to lay out what she found. “First time we see his name is in the Will of a Patrick Morgan who only goes back as far as 1836 where his name appears in the will of a James Kent who was killed at the Alamo.”

“You’re pretty good,” he sat up in his chair and set the cigar in the ashtray. “What if I told you those suspicions you have are real and that James Kent, Patrick Morgan, Jacob Peterson and Dr. Jake McAsh were all the same person.”

“I’d ask if you were making fun of me,” Samantha didn’t know if she should be insulted or embarrassed as she listened to this man’s claim.

“Your Dr. McAsh is Immortal,” James said bluntly, causing Samantha to take down another drink in shock. “He is one of the oldest men in the world; we don’t know much of anything about his early history, just that he’s around 4500 years old. He’s had many names but we call him Kyros, it’s the name he had when we first discovered him 3700 years ago.”

“And who are you?” Samantha’s head was spinning as she tried to wrap her head around what this man was saying. Never would she have come to the conclusion she was hearing, at most she was thinking someone had forged historical records.

“My name is James Ryder and since 1977 I have been a Watcher,” James pulled back his sleeve and showed her the blue tattoo on the inside of his left wrist. “We watch and record Immortals and we never interfere, well most of the time. We don’t know how many there are, only that they battle each other to the death, which happens when they lose their head and the winner takes their quickening, kind of a life force, until there is only one left. They call it the Gathering and to who ever is left standing, well they get the Prize and all the acquired knowledge of all the Immortals with which they can either help the planet or leave it in darkness. This building that you are in right now is home for the Kyros Project, we’re basically piecing together a history for Kyros; by going through the watcher chronicles and his own writings. We’re kind of a spin off of The Methos project in Rome, another ancient immortal who is believed to be the oldest man on the planet at over 5000 years old. You my young Samantha Adams are either lucky or unfortunate to be intelligent enough to see the holes in his created life.”

“What do you want from me?” Samantha asked weakly, her mind filling with questions as the world she knew was shattered.

“We’re always looking to recruit the brightest and best of each class to join the Watchers,” James refilled the glass. “One of your teachers is actually a researcher for the watchers and flagged you for recruitment and so here you are.”

“What is it you want me to do?” Samantha watched as James stood up and walked around the desk. Following suit she followed him as he walked towards the doors.

“Nothing at all,” James smiled. “If you agree you’ll start your training, your classes will remain the same, you will just receive training to become a watcher in your down time, and you will be mentored by a young woman you already know, Ms. Jessica Avery.”

“Ms. Avery?” Samantha was surprised to find that the woman in charge of the university’s Heritage club was a watcher though based on what she had been told it made sense, it appears to be the kind of thing a watcher would do. “When do I start?”

“You can start right away,” James led her to the exit. Before she could leave a young man, maybe 25, with dark blond hair came in the front door which caused James to go pale as if he had seen a ghost. Turning his attention on the newcomer he appeared to forget about Samantha as the young man was pulled away. Not knowing what to do, she decided to sit in a chair that was sitting near the doors. As she sat down she could hear James start a conversation. “What are you doing here?”

“He’s not dead if that’s what you are hoping,” the newcomer was saying as they stepped into James office.

“That would be relief if he was,” James closed the doors and led the man towards the mini bar next to the desk. “I guess he’s in town then, Mike.”

“Yes,” Mike Temple had been a watcher for 5 years; he had been a young 23 year old kid fresh out of a 5 year tour with the Army that ended in the spring of 2001. With no future he spent most of his time in bars until one day he had met James Ryder. That meeting had changed his life, he quickly signed up to be a watcher and after a year of training he was assigned an immortal. Unfortunately it wasn’t a watcher’s dream choice; he had been assigned Franklin Ward, a 500 year old immortal who had a thing for young girls and hunting immortals and was always out to make a name for himself, which led to him often challenging well known Immortals. The fact he was now in Rome could only mean one thing, while the city had about as many immortals living in it as Paris there was only one who had a big enough name for him to target and that was Kyros.

Last edited by Rogue9a, 5/23/2013, 1:46 pm


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The Master
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Re: Highlander 1.0: The Watchers


There are few men like Franklin Ward, born into royalty in the 14th Century; he was a cruel man who hunted peasants on his family lands for sport. It was one of these hunts that ended his life, having underestimated his younger brother’s ambition he went on one of his hunts and was murdered by his prey with help from his brother. Surprisingly for Franklin he didn’t stay dead instead he found himself bloody in the middle of a forest, always one to hold a grudge Franklin had joined his family’s rival and destroyed everything. Today he was still a hunter, only his prey had changed from male peasants to young girls and old Immortals, it was the Immortals who brought him to Rome today, standing alone in the shade of a tree as he watched as all the young college girls walked by thinking of all the things he would do to them. He was hunting a pair of ancient immortals who were known to be living in Rome, the man known as Kyros and his lover Cybele. The trouble he was having now was the fact he didn’t know what either of them looked like. He had come across one immortal at the school’s library but she had escaped before he could question her so now he waited hoping that she or any other immortal would walk by.

Jake had chosen that time to arrive on the campus to check out some artifacts recently found in a dig near the old Roman Forum, dressed in a suit and a long coat he could easily pass as a teacher if he had decided to wear his tie. Since the meeting was a last minute engagement he had chosen to come alone and giving Lindsey the night off to enjoy her date. Passing through the park to shorten his trek across the campus it was virtually deserted which didn’t worry him to much since it was late but as he passed by a small grove of trees the warning buzz went off alerting him to another immortal. Coming to a stop he waited as a smaller hark haired man stepped out of the trees, he was in all black except for the silver blade of his sword which he had out ready to attack. The man’s face was kind of pale and his eyes were dark, he had an air of aristocracy about him.

“You wouldn’t be Kyros now would you,” The strange man spoke in a low voice which held a slight British accent.

“Who wants to know,” Jake mentally prepared himself for battle as he eyed the man’s weapon of choice. The man was armed with a bastard sword as they were known in the days he had owned one, it was about three feet long all together and could be used one handed or with both hands. It was a weapon that was rarely used by the newer immortals, instead favored by the immortals who had trained with them in the middle ages.

“My name is Franklin Ward,” as he said his name he pulled the weapon up into a fighting position. “And I have come for your head.”

“So be it,” With one fluid move he had his long coat off and tossed to side and had his two Roman Gladius’ ready for combat. Franklin made the first swing going for the quick kill which was easily blocked by both of his blades. In response Jake swung his left sword down at his enemy’s leg attempting to maim him, unable to move his sword down to block the move he jumped back and howled in pain as the tip of Jake’s blade sliced through his pant leg and cut open his thigh.

Samantha was kind of delighted at the prospect of seeing an Immortal up close as she followed her new boss James and the young man she had met just moments before, Mike, to where he had last seen the immortal named Franklin Ward. It didn’t take long for her to read up on the man as they made their way to the park the campus was built around from which they could now hear the sounds of metal hitting metal. She may not have been able to figure out what was going on based on the sounds but it had been clear to her that the two men knew at once what it was as they soon took off running towards the wooded area of the park. Struggling to keep up she nearly ran into James as he came to a stop on a hill over looking the battle below. She recognized Dr. McAsh at once, he was covered in sweat and his shirt appeared to have a few cuts but he looked better then his opponent who she assumed was Franklin Ward. He had a large gash from his left shoulder to his right hip and his left arm was hanging at his side a stab wound to the upper arm making it useless. Franklin swung the sword at Jake’s hips but it was blocked effortlessly by the sword in Jake’s left hand which was held upside down while the sword in Jake’s right hand was held the way she normally saw swords. She saw at once that Franklin had made a mistake in his attack as Jake plunged the right sword into Franklin’s chest stabbing through the heart, with his left hand Jake flipped the sword into the normal hold and cut the wounded man’s head off. What happened next caught her by surprise as she fought her lunch from coming back up; the grove of woods appeared to explode as lightning struck Jake repeatedly in what she figured was the Quickening from what James had told her. Just as soon as it started it was over and Jake fell to his knees only his twin swords keeping him from falling on his face.

As she collected her thoughts she saw that James was on the phone while Mike had collected the fallen sword. She could hear Jake on talking on a phone as well; telling someone that something had come up and he wouldn’t be able to see them until the morning. She didn’t know how much time had passed but it didn’t seem to be to long before an unmarked black van pulled up and its occupants went to work on collecting the body. When she looked back at the rest of the scene she was shocked to discover that Jake had disappeared, James didn’t seem to notice as he spoke to the driver of the van while the body was sealed in a body bag and loaded onto the Van. Once the Van had driven away she was shocked at how undisturbed the area looked if she hadn’t witnessed the end of the fight she would never have known it had happened. Along with the body the men in the van also scooped up much of the blood soaked dirt as they could before leaving.

“So Ms. Adams,” James had returned to her side on top of the hill. “What do you think?”

“You do this for all dead immortals?” Samantha looked back up at the kind face she had grown to trust.

“The ones we are there for,” James put his hand on her shoulder and turned her away from the scene. “There have been times when we aren’t there and the other Immortal is a bit sloppy resulting in the Police getting involved.”

“Is that what I will be doing?” Samantha stopped as they approached her dorm room.

“That will be up to you,” James pulled his collar up to protect himself from the biting wind singling a coming storm. “You can be in the field which as its risks or you can be a researcher which can be a little boring at times but both can be rewarding. Good Night Ms. Adams.”

“Good Night Mr. Ryder,” Samantha had a lot to think about as she watched the man turn and head down the sidewalk back towards the Student Services building which she had discovered housed the Headquarters for the Watchers in the Mediterranean region. With one last look she looked back towards the park she went into the building.

The End…

Last edited by Rogue9a, 5/23/2013, 1:49 pm


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