Title: Fortuity Series: part of the general timeline Author: akire Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Status: C/U Category: Crossover: Highlander/SG:SG1 Spoilers: umm, got a basic grasp of the Highlander universe? Fine. Oh yeah, we're a Clan Denial fanfic. SG, familiarity up to The Curse is assumed Disclaimers: D/P and Gekko really DO own them. If you don't recognize it, its probably mine. If it's silly or crazy, definitely is mine. But if anyone sends the lawyers after me, I'm sending out the boys with swords ;) Oh yeah, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If you recognize a specific fanfic creation, it belongs to its author (when this series is finished, I may tally them up). Rating: PG, prob. Hey, I'm not offended by much, if it should be rated higher, tell me! Content Warning: purists beware. Language may offend some readers. Summary: Okay, Danya and Reia are old friends...but where did this friendship actually start? Notes: just getting a bit of backstory out of the way.... On with the show! ~~##~~ Banks of the River Seine, circa 1000BC The rain pelted down on his bare head, rivulets of icy water dribbling down his back and face. Cold beyond caring, Danya automatically tried with numbing fingers to pull his hide cloak tighter around his shivering body. He had been following this river for days, simply because it provided a direction when he had none. He estimated it had been nearly four moons since Iodros, his beloved teacher, had met his fate at the blade of Kronos. Even as he thought the name, he spat angrily into the mud. Kronos and his band of murderers had chased the centuries old man for three days before capturing him. Even if Iodros had managed, somehow, to kill Kronos, he would not have made it out of that confrontation alive. Sniffing, blinking back a fresh wave of tears, he wiped his drenched hair back from his face one-handed. If Iodros had even shown a glimmer of gaining the upper hand, no doubt Kronos would abandon the rules of their combat and invite his cohort into the fray. He was an Immortal with no respect for the rules of the Game – who knew where he learnt such abject cruelty, or what else he was capable of? As they had for days, images arose in his mind, haunting him with memories from happier days. Crouching in the lee of one of the huge, solid trees which spaced the bank in these parts, he scrubbed his face and tried to regain control of his senses. But the images came, merciless in their intensity. Iodros, his dark eyes brightening with gentle humour as he coaxed Danya into listening to what he had to say. Infinite patience and small smiles as he educated the untutored, desert-raised Immortal in the skills which would keep him alive in the years to come. The small homilies, delivered in the Greek's native tongue which awoke in Danya a desire to learn more than just the staccato dialect of his own Egyptian village. Danya looked down at his hands, recalled when Iodros covered them with his own to demonstrate some skill that the younger man was yet to master. 'Khronos paideuei tous sophous, Danya. Khronos paideuei.' He clenched his fist tightly. Khronos had taught, just a different Kronos... His head snapped up as the Immortal Buzz rippled across the back of his mind. Springing into a crouch, he drew his sword quickly. Despite his grief and rage, he had not neglected his practice. He would need all his skills to take his retribution from the murderer of his teacher...his father. Eyes sweeping the gathering gloom, he tried desperately to spy his opponent first. The mud was slippery under foot, the wind strengthening, the rain coming down hard, each droplet like a dart against his exposed skin. It was not a day he would choose for a battle – he could only hope that his unidentified opponent was of the same opinion. The small hairs on the back of his neck stood upright, just as they had when he had arrived too late to save his teacher. Spinning rapidly, he caught his first sight of the other Immortal. Not as tall as he, bulk difficult to determine under a heavy cloak. Over their shoulder, he saw a horse standing obediently docile, reins tossed casually around a tree. He raised his sword in silent salute, and his opponent did the same. A hand reached up to the throat and loosened the clasp there. The cloak dropped back and was thrown over the same tree that the reins were tied to. Danya spared a quick glance to ensure his own pack was up against the tree still, not liable to get caught underfoot. His opponent was a woman, slender and well-dressed, her shirt finely woven. She lowered her salute. "I am Reia." He bowed slightly, never taking his eyes off his opponent as Iodros had taught him. Iodros had always instructed that if you were going to kill someone, the least you could do was be courteous when establishing formalities. No doubt Kronos had observed no such niceties. Mentally chastising himself for his wandering attention, he introduced himself. "Well, Danya, it is not the best day to fight, but the Game must be played." Her voice carried a note of humour under the thick accent as she spoke the local dialect. "There can be only one," he murmured in reply, the words tasteless in his mouth. Reia smiled, obviously anticipating an easy victory from this bedraggled man dressed in the coarsest of clothes. She then launched her first attack, testing his skill and strength. Danya parried, half his attention on his footwork. The mud was slippery, and finding his footing was a treacheous business. His back foot found a clump of the local grass which had somehow managed not to be covered in the mud. He instantly switched from defensive to offensive, using the traction it created to propel him forwards. She blocked his attack, her eyes expressing a slight respect even as she mentally reassessed his skill level. She too was obviously working to find a place to stand and fight, but her heavier boots, designed for riding, seemed to be coping better with the conditions than Danya's road-worn sandals. Danya grunted and pulled back slightly as her heavier sword connected with his lighter one, sending shockwaves down into his rain-frozen fingers. They had exchanged no words since the fight had begun, but during this respite they eyed each other down the combined length of their weapons. The gloomy light played off the flats of the blades, reflecting back slightly. His blade was a deep, metallic red, sunlight at dusk, whereas hers ran closer to silvery-white, more like the color of the moon. "What kind of blade is that?" He asked as he tightened his grip on his own weapon. The humour was more obvious now. "What kind of Immortal are you, who are more concerned with the manufacture of my weapon than what I intend to do with it!" She swung heavily, and he blocked automatically, grunting slightly as his arms jarred and ached with the impact. His strength was draining away rapidly, and he knew that he would not survive if he remained on the defensive. But this woman knew where her advantage lay, and offered no respite or opening. She swung hard, laterally at chest level. Instinctively he brought his sword up to deflect the blow rather than stepping back out of range. The unusual sound of metal shattering was his only warning as he flung himself back. Even then, the tip of that unusual sword gouged a path through his chest. Fire burning, he flung the broken sword at her in a last-ditch attempt. But even as he fumbled for his belt dagger, she thrust her weapon through his stomach. He tasted bile and the unique tang of blood on the back of his throat as his knees gave way underneath him. One hand automatically clamping over the neat wound in his belly, his other hand was flung forward to stop him dropping face first into the mud. He swallowed convulsively and closed his eyes as he felt the cool edge of her blade run gently along the back of his neck. "Any last requests?" She asked conversationally. "I promise to cut clean." "Yes," he said with a snarl. "If you find the Immortal named Kronos, kill him. And don't cut clean for him." The sword which she had been rhythmically running over the skin of his neck with a feathery touch paused suddenly. "And what is you quarrel with Kronos?" she asked. He could sense the intensity of her interest in what he had to say. "I want him dead. He killed my teacher, unfairly and without honour or respect. He and his band." For a moment, he recalled that surreal moment on the hill as the last of Kronos' men prepared to ride away. "Iodros might have won a proper combat, but he could not survive such an ambush." The sword lifted away entirely. "Iodros is dead?" There was a trace of true emotion under her tone, the faintest notes of real grief. He took a chance and eased back onto his haunches. "You knew my teacher?" he asked incredulously. She nodded, weapon still drawn but lowered. "Describe him!" "A Greek man of great wisdom and humour. A patient teacher and a good friend. Had no head for wine." Danya nodded slowly. Iodros often tricked his hosts by watering down his drink until it was almost transparent. But the old man's peculiarity was not common knowledge, only a true friend would know such a detail. Reia swung the sword down and rested the point in the mud. "If he is truly dead, then I grieve with you, Danya, student of Iodros," she stated with ritualistic formality. Danya recognised that these were solemn expressions from a culture he had no knowledge of. Walking over to where he had flung his sword, she picked it up by the hilt. The top half of the blade had been cleaved clean off – if that sword wasn't his only protection, he would have been impressed at the damage. He watched as she tsked slightly and dropped the ruined weapon back onto the rain-soaked ground. "I cannot let you go hunting Kronos without a weapon," she said without turning to face him. Danya was now thoroughly confused. Blindly he pushed his rainsoaked fringe back off his face as he watched her stride over to her horse. As he pushed himself to his feet, his stomach wound healed, she returned with another sword in hand, of similar construction to her own. "Danya, you are no doubt wondering why I haven't taken your head?" She smiled sweetly. "Kronos," he said, answering before he knew what he was saying. "You want Kronos dead too." She nodded once, eyes on the mud. "He has caused too much pain...Iodros, and many others." Shaking her head once as if to clear her thoughts, she resumed in her standard brisk tones. "Danya, if you never come after my head again, I promise to never fight you, and to be your ally should you need one." His head was reeling. An alliance? Between Immortals who should be battling for the Prize? But, a little voice in his head whispered, doesn't Kronos have allies? How will you overcome him if you cannot match his strength? "Your head is safe from my blade," he said slowly, trying to find the words in his limited vocabulary to convey how seriously he intended to take such a promise. She laughed lightly. "A mouse is safe from your blade at the moment. Here." She handed him the second sword. "This weapon should serve you well." He became aware that his mouth was hanging open. "You are giving me a sword?" Reia nodded. "Returing a favour Iodros once did for me, young one. Take it, and use it well. Just not on me." He examined the blade in the light. Like hers, it reflected silver. "It's a new metal, they call it many different names. The smiths find it in the remains of falling stars. The man who made these insisted on calling it thunderbolt iron for some reason." She smiled again as she led him towards her horse. "Where will you go now?" He pointed downstream, searching for the phrase in the local language. "Baine kata ton potamon, Reia," he finally answered in his rough Greek instead. She shrugged. "And I am going up. But I have no doubt we will meet again, Danya." She slung herself easily astride her horse. "Remember your promise, young one, and I will remember mine." He nodded, head reeling slightly. "I will." She raised a hand. "Until we meet again. Ekhe tukhe agathe." She slung her cloak around her shoulders and refastened the clasp. He raised his own hand. "Khaire." She smacked the horse's flank and was gone in a flurry of hoofbeats. He watched until her dark shape vanished into the gloom. Vaguely, in the manner of one recovering from an unexpected shock, he wondered how long this unusual alliance would last. ~~##~~ Translations (Ancient Greek): "Khronos paideuei tous sophous..." Time teaches the wise. "Baine kata ton potamon" I am going down (the) river "Ekhe tukhe agathe." Good luck to you "Khaire." Goodbye (in this context) And for those who are interested, Danya's old weapon was bronze, whereas Reia's was iron. Iron production was just getting serious around this time as we move out of the bronze age.