Warnings: Violence, cannibalism, slaughter, m/m rape, totally evil and unredeemable immortals. Hmm. At least it's not mushy slash for a change. This story stands alone but is actually background for my Voyagers AU. Lyric for "Falling Away From Me," courtesy of The Morrigan, follows the story.

Fall Into Darkness

by Laura Mason

The need to hunt for food slowed him, but Methos couldn't continue tracking them without nourishment of some kind. There had been nothing left in the village or in his home; everything left was destroyed. Only what he'd carried along on the hunt was intact. So he'd slung the carcass on his back again, refilled his waterskin at the well despite the smell now coming from it, and gone after them

Revenge was useless, he knew that. And if the tracks had shown an army, even a band of raiders, he might have gone in the opposite direction rather than continue a quest that couldn't bring her back. But the trail showed only two men with a lone animal, heavily loaded. Loaded with the treasures of his village. Again. Another tiny, peaceful place destroyed for the meager wealth it claimed. Nothing they owned was worth Cara's life, worth hacking her body to pieces to steal. They'd taken the fruits which she'd dried in the sun so carefully. He could remember watching her gather the harvest, how she'd thrown her head back when he'd moved in behind her to kiss her, how she'd twisted in his arms, laughing. Cara's soft throat had been eaten away, and as he stared at her body for long moments, he realized it had been one of her attackers, not a scavenging animal.

His sorrow didn't dim his vision or slow his hunt. Two men who could destroy a village, brutally kill all those people -- they weren't men, they were evil monsters. There were only two. Methos could stop them, though he'd been unable to stop so many in the past. He would kill them as soon as he caught up to them. And he would catch them, soon, even though he'd stopped to gather and hunt. They were careless, leaving a trail anyone could easily follow. Moving slowly, confident that there would be no pursuit. Fools.

***

At last he had them in sight. When they camped that night, he crept closer and observed. One man was large, his voice loud enough to carry to Methos' hiding place. The other appeared to be a youth, a slave. A badly-treated slave, at least this night. The slave unloaded the mule, set up a tent, started a fire and cooked a meal. In return, his master rested and drank, then finally ate. When the one-sided meal was finished, the master beat his slave, then he pulled a long knife and cut him, delicately, until the boy's screams filled the twilight. The screams led to a rape. Only when the slave was sobbing did his master rise, kick him aside, and retire to the tent.

Methos couldn't see anything more until the moon rose, hours later. The slave was still where he'd been left. Dead or simply worn out? Well, once the master was dead, he'd deal with the slave as necessary. The big ugly man, more like a demon than a human -- he was the one responsible for Cara's death. The slave didn't have any weapons.

Knife in hand, he crept toward their camp. When he felt the ringing in his head, he cursed. An immortal. Of course. Who else would be so stupidly confident and still live? Knowing that the other now had warning of his approach, Methos abandoned stealth and tried for surprise, running to the rear of the tent and slashing through it, hoping to catch his prey unprepared. But no, the big man was up and already out of the shelter. He sheathed his knife and pulled out his staff as he moved into their camp.

They met in the clearing near the remains of the fire. The man was strong and large, confident as he twirled his own stave. The long blade at his side was one of the finest Methos had ever seen in this part of the world. Probably stolen. The slave-boy moved away from them, dark eyes large as he watched his master and the stranger silently engage. Methos had only a moment to be glad he'd kept his strength up as he tracked them. Then his full attention was claimed by the battle, his mind searching for a way to outwit and outmaneuver the evil bastard he faced.

The blows he couldn't avoid were bone-shaking, but his agility kept him out of range of most. Still, it was a losing game until he worked himself close to the fire. When his opponent struck and missed, thrown off balance for a moment, Methos stooped and grabbed a handful of the hot ash, which he ground into the monster's face. Though his own hand was badly burned, he had plenty of time while the idiot bellowed his pain to pull his knife and inflict a deadly wound. When the monster was temporarily dead, Methos quickly sawed through his neck, the pain from his hand somehow satisfying. He was still alive, still able to feel. Unlike this abomination.

The last thing he did before the Quickening hit him was spit on the dead face. Then he was in a maelstrom of pain and darkness, burning through his nerves as he fell. Screamings of sound beat at him, beating him down into the ground. His throat hurt and he thought he was screaming though he couldn't hear himself. He'd never enjoyed taking heads, but this was unlike any Quickening he'd experienced. The world was spinning and he writhed, feeling hollow, as the burning pain seemed to go on for hours. When it was over he managed to stumble to his feet and grab the terrified slave before collapsing.

"Now you serve me," he growled. And the idiot nodded and stayed, even as Methos' grip loosened and he lost consciousness.

The faint light of dawn and the noise of the waking birds brought him back. Methos rose filled with hatred and anger. The anger was easy: he stabbed the youth who'd brought him a cup of water. The hatred would not be so easily dispelled.

Methos examined the camp, choosing which things would be packed and what would be destroyed or left behind. He would travel light. He wanted more death, to drink the pain of everyone around him and feast on their flesh. Only the weaponry he found brought a light to his eyes as he imagined using it on a village, hearing the screams of the women and the curses of the men.

When he glanced toward the headless body he chuckled. The man's arm had been gnawed during the night, though not by the bugs and vermin swarming over it now. Another mystery solved, though Methos didn't remember why he'd cared. Meat was meat, and feeding slaves was expensive. He retrieved the fine blade and turned away, leaving the body to nature's ministrations.

When the boy gasped back to life, his new master approached him. Not a child after all, just starved. Methos recalled wanting to free the slave, but now that wish was gone, as were most of his desires and memories. There was nothing left of his life with Cara or any memory of those he'd loved in his two thousand years. All lost, never to be found. Now he only remembered the warmth of blood spilling, the stench of rot. The ecstacy of power. When pain and fear-filled eyes met his, he spoke.

"I am Methos. You live to serve me. You will not escape me, not even through death, until I wish it. Now prepare a meal, boy." His slave nodded and moved to obey. "What is your name?"

The slave did not answer, though he appeared to be thinking.

"Can't remember the time before you were a slave, hmm?" Methos laughed, though a part of him remembered what it meant to be a slave, how the master robbed you of your name, your body, your life. The memories faded, falling away from him. They wouldn't keep him from enjoying this young man's body, or from keeping him as a slave forever, if he wished it.

Still, it wasn't wise to rule strictly through terror. An unhappy slave might attempt to recreate the beheading he'd witnessed last night. A little kindness -- very little, Methos guessed -- could bind this slave to him. A careful sharing of power might even make his slave willing to accept the violence Methos knew he would inflict. Soon, he promised himself. Maybe they'd head for a settlement and abduct a few women so the slave could share the fun.

"Prepare enough food for yourself, as well. Your new name is Caspian."

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The lyric for "Falling Away From Me," by koRn, follows. On first reading this, it screamed "Richie" at me,. I went into a panic since I don't write Richie. So instead, I let this story tell itself. As I mentioned above, it's background to my Voyagers series, in which Methos knows how to help Mac with the Dark Quickening because he's been through one himself.

Hey, I'm feeling tired
My time, is gone today
You flirt with suicide
Sometimes, that's ok
Hear what others say
I'm here, standing hollow
Falling away from me
Falling away from me
Day, is here fading
That's when, I would say
I flirt with suicide
Sometimes kill the pain
I can always say
'It's gonna be better tomorrow'
Falling away from me
Falling away from me
Beating me down
Beating me, beating me
Down, down
Into the ground
Screamings of sound
Beating me, beating me
Down, down
Into the ground
(falling away from me)
It's spinning round and round
(falling away from me)
It's lost and can't be found
(falling away from me)
It's spinning round and round
(falling away from me)
Slow it down
Beating me down
Beating me, beating me
Down, down
Into the ground
Screamings of sound
Beating me, beating me
Down, down
Into the ground
Pressing me, they won't go away
So I pray, go away
It's falling away from me
Beating me down
Beating me, beating me
Down, down
Into the ground
Screamings of sound
Beating me, beating me
Down, down
Into the ground