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There And Back Again The Horsemen's Tale

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This story is No. 1 in the series "The Horsemen". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Cordelia makes a different wish in season three and lands Willow and Xander in a new world, with a few changes. last two chapters added

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Highlander > Willow-CenteredangrymonkeyFR18820,614337785,79321 Sep 0525 Oct 05Yes
CoA Winner

The Abbey

thank you for editing Rognik

Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these characters.

Raiting:FR18

spelling should be better in this chapter.
Thanks for the reviews and for continuing to read this story














Rebecca’s Abbey, 814 A.D,


Two horses were racing towards the fortified abbey. They were moving like the flames of hell were licking at their heels. Behind them were twenty mounted riders. By the looks of the horses, the chase had been going on for some time. One of the two riders began yelling, “Sanctuary” as loudly as he could.

The servants opened the gates for the two fugitives. Then closed them after the two had made it in. The travelers dismounted as one of the abbey stable hands approached them. The man who had yelled for sanctuary said, in a vaguely foreign accent, “We are seeking protection from the local baron.”

A few minutes latter Lady Rebecca hurried into the courtyard. One of her servants had told her a young couple had come seeking sanctuary from the baron’s men due to religious persecution. She decided to see the two she was sheltering for herself. If they turned out to be thieves or bandits, she would have to consider throwing them out. It was just too dangerous to have the baron as an enemy.

As she approached the two cloaked figures, she felt the buzz. One of them let out a joyful laugh. He pulled back his hood revealing the young face of her father. “Rebecca, I always knew you would make it this far.”

Rebecca ran forward and hugged Xander while his companion stood to the side and watched. She then spoke in Yatak, “It’s been over a thousand years. I didn’t think you were still alive, father.”

Xander hugged her tightly. “You know no one out there is good enough to take me in a fight.” He then turned to Willow, who took off her hood, “This is my wife, Beth. Beth, this is my daughter.”

Rebecca noticed the red hair and green eyes so like hers. ~Father certainly has a recurring taste in women.~ She was somewhat disturbed that her father would marry a women who looked so much like her.

“I’m happy to finally meet you,” Willow said to Rebecca in Yatak. “It is one of my greatest regrets that I was separated from my husband when he raised you. From what he has told me, one could not hope for a better daughter or student.”

“Oh,” Rebecca momentarily lost her careful poise but quickly recovered. “Father never mentioned you.” Rebecca had looked at the woman and made the same assumption most people made of her father, that Willow was younger than she appeared.

Willow looked at Rebecca carefully, “There’s a lot in both our pasts we choose to keep to ourselves. I think Mathew kept some of his past to himself to keep it from affecting you. Though he claims not to be ashamed of it, I believe he would have done things differently given the chance.”

Rebecca didn’t know how to react to this. Her father had always told her everything about the two hundred years he had lived before adopting her. There wasn’t any room in that time period for him to have had an immortal wife. Xander noted her confusion and said in the local language, “I realize there is much we should to talk about, but it’s been a long journey. Maybe we can discuss it over a hot meal?”

Rebecca nodded and switched languages as well. “Of course, you two must be hungry. Running from religious persecution must be exhausting.” She was sure to let her disbelief show in her tone.

Xander kept a straight face for about three seconds, then broke into a grin. “What, being chased down after stealing the gold from the altar of the baron’s family chapel doesn’t count as religious persecution?” Rebecca glared at him and he added, “We were bored, ok?” Willow coughed, so he further amended his statement. “Alright, I was bored. Happy?”

Willow grinned at him cheekily, “Yes.”

Rebecca rolled her eyes and smiled. “I see you haven’t matured much, father.”

Xander requested they have dinner with Rebecca in her study, away from the servants. When Rebecca asked about this Willow explained in Yatak, “Over the past few centuries, we noticed a group of mortals called Watchers. They chronicle the lives of immortals and try not to interfere. Both Mathew and I have been able to stay out of their books so far, and would like to keep it that way. We noticed on our way in that one of your male servants has the mark of a Watcher.” Willow paused. “It might be a good idea for you to treat us like a couple of inexperienced new immortals for the rest of our stay.”

Rebecca simply nodded as she absorbed all this. “Interesting, I had no idea a group of mortals knew so much about us. It is probably a good idea to stay out of their books if you can.” She then turned to Xander. The revelation that he had had an immortal wife had raised some long held suspicions. “I will be blunt, father. I often suspected you were older than you pretended. After living for over a millennium, I felt like I had achieved some experience and wisdom. However, when I look at you, I still feel like a child. I want to know who you really are. As your daughter, surely I have that right.”

Though she hid it well, Xander could tell his daughter was hurt by the lies he had told her. He gave a quick look towards Willow, who gave him a slight nod; she would support whatever choice he made. He looked at Rebecca and asked, “What is the age of the oldest immortal you know of?”

Rebecca thought for a second. “A man called Richard once told me that his teacher, Cassandra, said that the oldest of our kind left after the fall of the Horsemen was the man known as Methos. He was supposed to have been born approximately 3000 B.C.”

Neither Willow nor Xander reacted to the mention of the Horsemen. Xander said carefully, “My earliest memory is of me begging Beth to wake from a coma when we were still the children our bodies look like. That was over 400 years before Methos was born.”

Rebecca was stunned. She never would have expected her father to be over 4000 years old. “Well, I don’t feel so bad for feeling like a child anymore.” They sat in silence for a few minutes as Rebecca realized something. “It seems strange that you two were both mortal at the same time, in the same place. I have never heard of such a thing.”

Willow spoke up, “We don’t know why it happened this way. Neither of us can remember our past well enough for that. I have the impression we weren’t always meant to become immortal, but I don’t remember why.”

“Surely after all this time, you have some idea of what the point of the game is, or what we are?” Rebecca’s shock was quickly turning into excitement as she began to learn about her family’s past.

“Sorry, don’t have a clue. I don’t think we ever knew,” Xander said apologetically.

They spent the rest of the night talking about each other’s pasts and catching up on the events of the past millennia. Over the following weeks Willow began to form a close friendship with Rebecca. As the two got to know each other better, Willow started spending more and more time in her more innocent and friendly personalities. Willow enjoyed spending time in these states. It was rare that she could find anyone other than Xander that she trusted enough to show this side of herself. The only other immortal she even got along with was Yomet. Both Willow and Xander tended to be so hostile towards any immortals they encountered that their meetings usually ended in a fight or the other immortal running off. Mortal relationships were also quite easily dispersed. The fact that both of them had died at such a young age made it difficult for them to stay in one place for more than a few years without being noticed.

One thing that Rebecca found fascinating about the pair’s relationship was that it was extremely open. Xander had once mentioned that every century or three they’d assume new identities, not as husband and wife but as brother and sister. They did this so they could live out a lifetime with a mortal of their choice. Mostly they would stay in the same area as the other, but occasionally they would end up on different continents. When Rebecca had asked Willow why they did this she answered, “As much as I love my husband, sometimes I need to know who I am without him. Otherwise we tend to get a little short tempered with each other.” Her father had joked that he didn’t know whether to be threatened or relieved that while on their respective trysts, Willow almost always chose women to spent time with.

Both Willow and Xander had shared many details about their past with Rebecca they had never told another soul. One thing they kept strictly to themselves, however, was their names. Both considered this something so intimate, neither could ever tell another. Their names held the weight of their shared histories; something only their onesided pen pal Giles was entitled to.

With all this sharing, it was only a matter of time before one of the two ancients let something slip about the Horsemen. As fate would have it, the one to slip would be Willow.

Three months after Willow and Xander arrived, Willow and Rebecca were both working on some needlework. Though neither liked sewing all that much, they both knew it was important to keep their skills as “proper” women up to snuff. It was always a good idea to be able to blend into the culture they stayed in. The women were discussing why there weren’t more ancient immortals.

“Even if they can survive the headhunters, I think most of our kind become tired with the world as they watch the civilizations they were born into crumble and fall,” Willow opined. “Not many can accept change easily enough to be able to adapt to each new age. One day, they just find it easier to give into the madness that comes with the memories, or leave an opening for their opponent during a challenge.” She shivered at this final thought.

Rebecca understood the weariness of age only too well. “I felt like that before I founded this abbey three centuries ago. If I hadn’t met Darius, I think I may have given up then. He gave me the idea of founding a sanctuary.” She paused for a second. “I don’t think we can put all the blame for the lack of the ancients solely on depression, however. I heard the Horseman slaughtered a lot of the old immortals. From what Richard told me about them, they were an unstoppable force that left nothing alive in their path. I’m not sure how much to believe, though. How could four men be that dangerous? They were only immortal after all. Besides, you and Mathew never mentioned running into them, so they couldn’t have been that thorough in their hunt.” Rebecca stopped talking, noticing that Willow was looking away and fidgeting uneasily. “What’s the matter, Beth?”

“We kind of were the horsemen, I mean not all the horsemen, only half, since there were four and all. I’ll just stop talking now” Willow babbled out in a rush. She silently cursed. One of the downsides to splitting up her personalities was that when she was kind friendly Willow, she had a very hard time concealing the truth. She quickly prepared to shift into a “harder” persona in case Rebecca’s reaction led to a confrontation.

Rebecca, however, said nothing. She just continued with her needlework, looking at Willow thoughtfully. After a few minutes she spoke, her tone slightly distant and strained. “This doesn’t surprise me too much. Father always loved fighting more than could be considered normal, even for one of our kind.” Rebecca paused, her hands stilling. When she began to talk again, her voice shook slightly, “Were you as bad as Richard said?”

Willow looked at the Rebecca, who was starting to look more and more like an upset hundred year old, rather than someone who watched the fall of Rome. She knew lying would not help this situation, so carefully taking the woman’s hand, she said as gently as she could, “We were probably much worse.” To Willow’s surprise, Rebecca did not break into tears or rage. The younger immortal only closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Willow was extremely impressed by Rebecca’s control. She could feel the woman’s emotional turmoil. There was anger, betrayal, and disappointment, but not much surprise or shock. The emotions were almost enough to make Willow dizzy.

When Rebecca spoke, it was in a soft almost childish voice. She only said one word, “Why?”

Willow didn’t even know the full answer herself, but she settled for the simplest of reasons. “I think we slowly stopped caring, and there was no Darius there to tell us to build a sanctuary.”

It took Rebecca almost a month before she had could accept father’s past. Even then, their relationship wasn’t the same as it had been. She was now slightly more distant with both Willow and Xander.

The couple spent a little over three years at the abbey. When they finally decided to take their leave, they made sure that they would send messages to each other. This way, they wouldn’t go another millennium without seeing the other.

Over the centuries, they heard many stories of Rebecca and her students, including ones of the young thief, Amanda. Willow got the impression that the young immortal tended to attract almost as much trouble as her husband did. The three older immortals rarely met in person, mostly due to the fact that both Willow and Xander wanted to avoid the Watchers’ chronicles. Even so, they made certain to see each other at least once a century, just to keep in touch. Rebecca would often have to go to great lengths to lose her Watcher for a few months for these occasions. Rebecca kept her teacher/father’s past to herself. Not even her most trusted students knew that Methos was not the oldest man to walk this earth.


~~~~
1992 outside the ruins of Rebecca’s abbey

Rebecca examined her situation with a strange detachment. She was on her knees with her hands on the ground, her sword was lying off to her left, and seven feet in front of her her husband was struggling to his feet after being tossed to the side by Luther. Her former student was now standing over her, preparing to sever her head. She cursed the fact that she had given him the chance to use her husband as a hostage. In the back of her mind she was disappointed that one of her students was such a coward they resorted to using a hostage to take a head.

As Rebecca felt Luther’s blade come down on her neck she couldn’t help but pray that someone killed him before her father found out who killed her. Luther didn’t deserve War’s revenge, no matter how lost he had become.
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