An Azerian Were-Cat in Paris

(A Highlander cross-over tale)

Act 1

 Scene 1a: Durani Empire, Exterior, forest: It is late autumn afternoon, nearly sunset

Felicia feels the thrill of the approaching Full Moon. She carefully folds her chainmail and places it in a large backpack. She pares down her extensive collection of knives down to three: one at her belt and one slipped into each boot. The pack is hung in a tree, out of an animal’s reach. Without the armour there is freedom: she spins around once for the joy of it, making a sound halfway between a laugh and a purr.

Scene 1b: Paris, Exterior, near the river: Clouds drift across a Full Moon on a pleasant spring evening

Two dark-haired men approach from a distance, the figures resolve into a familiar pair: Duncan and Methos. We hear Methos’ voice commenting on Theatre not being what it once was, followed by Duncan’s laughter. As Mac’s houseboat comes into view, he invites Methos in for a drink.

Scene 2a: Durani Empire, Exterior: deeper in the forest

Felicia weaves through the trees in an easy, loping stride: already she seems like a part of Nature. A startled rabbit leaps away suddenly: Felicia breaks stride as though to pounce, then veers away from the chase. Time enough for that later. The autumn leaves shine in the slanting rays of the sun.

Then, among the warm tones, we see a flash, like a glint of metal. Felicia freezes instantly. She sniffs the air: oiled steel, leather and the unforgettable scent of unwashed Dwarf. She growls softly, regretting that she had left behind her crossbow. Knowing what to look for, she quickly identifies four fully armed and armoured dwarven warriors. The tiger lurking just below the surface is longing for a fight, but Felicia knows she wouldn’t survive alone.

Despite conflicting instincts, she raises empty hands and calls out, “Hail and well-met, Bearded Ones. I’m just passing through this lovely evening, and I have no quarrel with you.” The only response is the whoosh of a battle-axe being readied.

Scene 2b: Paris, Exterior: the Seine, near the houseboat

Both Immortals pause, an instinctive reaction to the familiar warning of the Buzz. Duncan looks warily in all directions, while Methos seems startled, almost afraid. Duncan quickly waves him to the barge while drawing his katana. “I’m Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. I’m not looking for trouble tonight, but I will defend myself.”

A figure steps into the moonlight; there is a whisper of steel as the stranger unsheathes an elaborate sabre. “I have no interest in the Clan MacLeod. I want the so-called World’s Oldest Immortal: the past his prime Methos who would rather show his back than his blade.”

Duncan risks a quick look back at his friend. Methos shrugs helplessly as he scrambles onto the deck of the houseboat: “Not my fault” he mouths silently. Duncan sighs audibly as he turns back to his opponent.

Scene 3a: Durani Empire, Exterior: same forest, nearly sunset

Felicia knows she’s on her own. Her companions are already quite familiar with her true nature, and won’t expect her until dawn. Briefly she considers sending out a mental alarm, but the Empress’ Gift only works in animal form. If she Shifted now, she might lose herself. Her only chance was to get out of this situation before dark.

She flashes her best fast-talker’s smile: “Look, I like a good racially-motivated feud as much as the next person, but this really isn’t a good time for a fight. How about we both go our separate ways, no honour lost on either side.”

One of the dwarves barks a laugh: “But it’s always a good time for a Fae bashing.” Felicia risks a quick glance to the West. She sees the sun dangerously close to the horizon, and two of the dwarves trying to surround her. The fact that she hadn’t heard those walking stoves was a bad sign.

Scene 3b: Paris, Exterior: a full moon night, with a light mist coming off the river

Duncan didn’t like this Immortal already: the stranger’s sword looked older than he did, and he had the overconfident attitude of a bully. Mac slips out of his trench coat, letting it drop behind him. “Methos is just a story. Nobody could be that old, not even one of Us. But if you’re going after my friend here, then you’ll have to take me out first.”

The stranger hesitates for a moment, then seems to pull together his bravado. He flourishes his blade and grins. “No argument here. After all, two heads are better than one.”

Scene 4a: Durani Empire, Exterior: forest at sunset

Felicia growls softly, the tiger within stirs in response to the “Fae Bashing” comment. She looks around one more time, to fix the location of her opponents in her mind, then gazes upward into the canopy. With unnatural agility, Felicia makes an acrobatic leap, swinging herself onto a tree limb overhead. The dwarves, confused, pause for one fatal second. Without the elf in the middle, two of the encircling dwarves are now conveniently facing one another.

Felicia calls up a spell: first pointing at one dwarf, then making a throwing gesture at the other. Suddenly a throwing axe leaps from the first dwarf’s belt, flying towards his partner. It’s hard to see in the fading light, but Felicia is rewarded with a solid « thunk » and a gurgling scream. The sun touches the horizon, flooding the forest with a red glow; the smell of blood is in the air.
Fighting down the tiger inside, Felicia looks for an escape. Some magical Poltergeists provide excellent distraction as she retreats from her overhead perch. Already beginning to feel her body change, Felicia is desperate. She activates her precious Teleport necklace, but just as she tries to pick a target, the full force of the tiger submerges all rational thought. She feels the sickening wrench of magic gone horribly wrong…

Scene 4b:  Paris, Interior: dimly lit, in an old stone passage

The stranger has retreated into this ancient passageway, thinking he is clever. Duncan follows, as comfortable fighting in close quarters as he is out in the open. The Highlander parries a wild swing, noting that his opponent is the type to mistake vehemence for skill.  Mac fights easily, a calm efficiency born of centuries of combat. The combat is fierce, but short; the stranger’s wild, all out attacks soon leave him tired; leading to a fatal mistake. Duncan dodges an overreaching lunge, hamstringing his opponent.

Duncan brings up his katana; “It’s a pity you know, I never even found out your name.” Calmly, dispassionately, the Highlander brings down the blade in a finishing stroke. Feeling the energy begin to gather, he braces himself for the Quickening. The force when it hits him is stronger than he expected, seemingly ferocious. Four centuries never prepared him for anything like this; the katana falls from his hand and as he blacks out Duncan is almost certain he hears a bestial roar…

Scene 5:  Paris, Interior: smoky passage, littered with the debris of an enclosed Quickening

Two bodies lie in the aftermath of the combat; slowly one of them stirs, groaning. Still weak and disoriented, Duncan is shocked into action by the warning of an approaching Immortal. Making a rolling dive for his fallen blade, he gets as far as “I’m Duncan MacLeod…” before he finds himself inches away from a pair of ice blue eyes. These, in turn, are above a set of large white teeth.

A magnificent white tiger is crouched possessively over his katana. Its head dips down to sniff the bloodstained blade, somehow still managing to maintain eye contact. The gaze moves from Duncan, to the blade, to the headless corpse, and back to Duncan again, as if it had come to an intelligent conclusion.

If the Buzz had a voice, this is what it would be. A feeling both within him and around him, it spoke not in words but in concepts. « Ma Cloud. Warrior: Hunter, not Prey ». The presence withdrew, leaving behind a sense of approval and reluctant admiration.

In a single graceful movement, the great cat arises and steps back from the sword. It pauses, as though expectant. Only when the Highlander reaches down and retrieves his blade does the apparition slip away, fading into the mist like a ghost cat.

Menu Next