See chapter one for author's notes and disclaimers.
Willow awoke to find herself safely ensconced in Adam’s embrace. Grinning up at his face she found him smiling down at her. “Good morning, Lykia,” he murmured against her red curls, pressing his lips to her temple.
Placing a soft kiss on his throat, she didn’t even give a second thought to the name he’d called her, nor to the one she used when she responded. “Good morning, Methos.” Looking up at him once more she marveled at how gorgeous he looked when the sunlight shone against his now tousled hair. ‘Wait…sunlight? We weren’t outside…and his hair isn’t that long…’ questions began to bombard her thoughts.
Apparently not noticing the frown that now graced her features, Methos released her and moved to cover himself, handing Willow her dress as he did. ‘A toga?’ She then turned her attention to the garment in her own hands. Finally her brain registered the names they had called one another. Realization dawned, ‘It’s a dream…or memory. My mental barriers must have slipped.’
Before she could muse on this revelation any further, the shouting of voices drew her attention. Several men on horseback had entered the clearing in what she now recognized to be an olive grove. They quickly circled the pair, and Methos had his short bronze sword held before him, trying (and failing) to keep Willow shielded with his own body.
With alarming speed, the men advanced and it wasn’t even until she felt warmth on her chest that she realized she’d been stabbed through the back. The pain was terrible, and the sight of a gleaming bronze point sticking out from her ribs made her want to vomit. She cried out in pain as the owner of the sword twisted it sharply, inflicting as much damage as possible, before withdrawing it.
Blinking once, Willow found herself looking down at the body of a girl with the same red hair as herself. It was like an out-of-body experience, except that wasn’t her body. She determined that her dream had shifted from first-person to third-person, and she watched in horror as the men not engaged in battle with Methos hacked at the girl’s body until it was no longer recognizable as a human being. Her ancient Greek was somewhat rusty, but she found she could make out the words ‘bitch’ and ‘whore’ as the men spat on the mangled corpse.
She heard a scream filled with rage and turned to watch Methos dispatch his attackers with inhuman speed and accuracy. Soon the clearing was covered in blood and bodies, and Willow’s dream-self sank to her knees as she watched Methos inflict the same dismemberment on the men as they’d done to Lykia. She gasped after catching a glimpse into the eyes of the only living being left before her. His eyes flamed with pure unadulterated hatred and bloodlust. He was a terrible sight, covered head to toe in blood and gore, as he mounted his horse.
The dream jumped and she found herself in a square in Olympia. It was now night and buildings were ablaze all around her. Methos was running around like a madman, hacking at everything that moved. Men, women, children. It didn’t matter; he killed them all.
Slowly, a rider on a black horse approached, and Methos’ head rose to meet the man’s gaze. Whereas she would have felt great fear to encounter the eyes that the rider stared into, the strange man with the scar down his eye threw his head back and laughed. The cruelty of it made her shiver in disgust.
Methos approached the horse and stared at the man levelly as he began to speak. “Well, well. I’d come to see if you could be persuaded to reconsider my offer, but it looks like you’ve given me my answer, hm?”
A maniacal glint appeared in the rider’s eyes as he dismounted, and Willow decided that he was most definitely insane. He held out an arm parallel to the ground, palm facing down. Methos mimicked the gesture and stepped toward the man so that their palms rested on one another’s shoulder. “Welcome, brother,” the insane man offered.
With a smile that sent chills of revulsion down her Willow’s spine, Methos responded. “Yes, brother.”
Willow jumped again, and she found herself face down on the back of a horse, watching sand go by as she painfully bounced along. Soon the dizzying ride stopped, but what came next was no better. Strong hands roughly pulled her from the animal’s back and threw her forcefully onto the burning hot sand.
She tried to take in her surroundings, but the brightness of the sun left her blinded. A shadow appeared over her, and she found herself looking up into the face of, well…Methos. His hair was much longer and very unkempt, and the blue war paint covering half of his face highlighted the planes and angles, making him a fearsome sight indeed.
He reached down and none-too-gently hauled her to her feet, dragging her along beside him as he made his way towards a tent. With his much longer stride, she had to run to keep up. When they reached the tent, she found herself once again thrown to the ground like baggage. Reaching down to her, he grabbed the neckline of the simple dress she wore with both hands and pulled in opposite directions. The flimsy fabric ripped apart leaving her naked before him.
Willow moved her hands to cover herself the best she could, but was rewarded with a vicious backhand across her cheek. Gasping in pain, she looked up into eyes filled with hate. His voice was as hard and cold as steel when he spoke, “You stay alive as long as you please me.”
Before she could even think, she found his body covering hers and his powerful hands harshly squeezing and pinching her most sensitive places. When she cried out in pain, he slapped her again. One of his hands moved out of sight and she heard cloth moving. Suddenly she felt the worst pain she’d ever felt in her life, excluding times doing certain spells. The tears streamed down her face as he brutally raped her. She screamed again and again as the torture continued.
When the horrific dream finally ended, Willow awoke with a harsh intake of breath, covered in sweat and shaking violently.