Title: History of Secrets
Author: akire
Email: akire@mailcity.com
Status: Complete/Unbetaed
Category: Crossover: Highland/The Sentinel plus mention of other
Spoilers: umm, got a basic grasp of the Highlander universe?  Fine.  Oh
yeah, we're a Clan Denial fanfic.  In The Sentinel, we pick up after
Disclaimers:  D/P, Pet Fly really do own 'em.  Bastards.  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.
Stuff from the Burning Times
Summary: Blaer explains to Jim why he's so reluctant to tell anyone
about his Immortality. 
Historical Note:  The Malleus Malificarium was first published in 1484,
and was used by Witchfinders across Europe for the next 250 years.  It
was written by a pair of misogynistic monks and justified the
imprisonment, torture, rape and murder of countless innocents.  What I
mention here is just a taste of what they got up to
Dedication: For Cait.  No pears in this one **weg**  Lest We Forget,
hey sister? 

That's long enough. On with the show!


"You've got that look again."  Blair did not look up from his book as
he addressed his closest friend who was sitting on the other chair.

"What look, Chief?"  Jim tried for nonchalance.

"The look that says I've got a burning question for my good buddy, but
I'm not sure how to phrase it?" he replied airily before taking a bite
out of his apple.  "Just ask," he mumbled through his mouthful.

"Why didn't you tell me before?"

Blair toyed with acting dumb, but decided that game was a waste of
time.  "Its not exactly something you can blurt out over coffee and
toast."  He smiled at Jim. "Believe me, I thought about it."

Jim shook his head and leant forward to rest on his knees.  "Okay,
maybe not over breakfast.  Why didn't you just sit me down and tell me
you were Immortal?  Especially after the story broke in the
newspapers?"  Jim's eyes darkened as a thought occurred to him.
"You...know you can trust me with it, right?"

Blair dumped his book and snack and scooted over to rest a hand on
Jim's knee.  "Hell yeah, man, I trust you, all the way and then some.
I just..." he sat up and ran a hand through his hair.  "Shit.  Listen,
Jim, it's complicated."

Jim sat back and waved his arms about expansively.  "Sandburg, its
Sunday afternoon.  Unless you've got High Tea with the Queen of
England, we've got nothing else to do.  Spill!"

Blair slumped backwards and began making woo-woo noises.


"Shh, Jim, don't you recognise a flashback scene when you hear one?"


Germany 1510

With a grunt, Blaer buried the axe head deep into the stump and
gathered up the armload of freshly split firewood.  The nights were
turning cold again as the seasons changed, and he preferred to keep the
hearth fire ablaze as he and his family slept.

Unbidden, a soft smile touched his face as he thought of his wife and
daughter.  Young Lisle had turned five that summer, and he adored the
beautiful child as if she were his own flesh and blood.  It had been
hard for Mary to come to Germany, away from her homeland and all that
was familiar, yet it was better than staying in her village an unwed
mother.  Blaer had yet to regret making his offer to Lisle's mother,
the offer to be her husband, to be the father to the child she carried.
He had already made plans to leave Mary's town, his neighbours becoming
suspicious of the way he never aged.  When he left, he simply took her

In the years since Lisle's birth, respect had turned into affection and
grown into a mutual and steady love.  Their little family had carved a
niche for themselves on the outskirts of this village, growing
vegetables and trading them for what they could not produce themselves
on their tiny farm.

They were not rich by any one else's standards, but they were happy.

"Papa, papa!"  A piping child's voice rang out, and Lisle flew around
the corner to crash into her father's legs.  Automatically, she wrapped
her arms around him in a childish hug.

"Precious Lisle, be careful," he laughed as he tried to hold his load
away from his daughter.  "I nearly dropped this on your head!"

Laughing, she looked up at him, trust shining in her huge brown eyes.
"You'd never hurt me, papa.  I know you wouldn't.  Love you papa!"
Grinning, she turned and ran back around the corner to whatever game
her imagination had devised.

Smiling broadly, he continued up the path to the small mud and thatch
home he had built.  Inside, he dropped the wood on the pile.  

Mary was there, stirring a pot and looking at him with her laughing
eyes.  Lisle's eyes.  "Will that keep you warm tonight, Blaer?"

Grinning, he grabbed her around the waist and pressed a kiss against
her neck as she squealed playfully.  "Wench!  If you weren't such a
skinny scrap, I wouldn't need the fire to keep me warm!"

She batted his arm teasingly with the spoon.  "Be careful!  This skinny
wench is cooking your dinner."  Squeezing her once more, he released
her and sat down at the rough but sturdy table which dominated this
half of the house.

By the fading light that poured in through the half-open shutters, he
examined his hand.

"What's wrong?"

He grimaced.  "Splinters."

She made a moue of unhappiness then laughed when he stuck his tongue
out at her.  "Let me see."

Taking his hand in hers, she angled it to the light.  "Oh, yes, I see. 
Here."  Bending, she used her teeth to pull the large splinter out of
the soft, fleshy webbing between thumb and forefinger.  Spitting it
out, she smiled.  "Good thing your healing abilities don't need me to
kiss it better."  

She squealed with laughter as Blaer pulled her into his lap and kissed
her instead.


"She knew?"

Blair was sitting on the couch, a dreamy smile on his face as he
remembered Mary.  Her scent, the way her skin felt beneath his hands,
the way his eyes always seemed to be laughing.

"Mary.  Your wife!"  Jim pressed.  "She knew you were Immortal?"

Blair nodded, returning to the present.  "Yes.  Lisle too, though I
don't think she really understood.  We were living in each other's laps
in that house, I couldn't keep it secret.  I told Mary before we sailed
from Plymouth.  She asked, actually.  She had noticed that I looked
exactly the same way I did when she was a little girl not much older
than Lisle.  She was a quick one, Mary."

"We live together too, Blair.  We have been for years now.  I never

Blair nodded.  "Yeah, but I'm not chopping wood, working a forge or
building a barn every day here.  Besides, I reckon our house was
smaller than your bedroom.  When I say 'in each other's laps,' I mean
it literally!"

Jim shook his head.  "Okay, okay.  Say I buy that.  How does their
knowing relate to me...not."

"I'm getting there, man."

"Oh, not more flashback noises."


"Did you hear the news?"

"What news?"  Blair wiped the sweat from his brow as he threw another
handful of tubers into the tub.

"A visitor has arrived.  A churchman.  He's very handsome, dressed all
in black, riding in a carriage."  Her eyes were bright and teasing.

"Ahh, Mary my love, going to swap me for a younger man?"

"Maybe I should wed a man who's not old enough to be my great-great-
great grandfather."  She folded her hands together, the picture of
pious innocence.

He leapt up and wrapped her in a bearhug, dirty hands, sweaty body and
all.  "Ahh, you wench!  Did you bring lunch, or am I going to have to
work with only gossip in my belly."

She grinned and fetched her basket.  They enjoyed a brief lunch
together, but soon parted to do their afternoon chores.  If Blaer knew
that was the last meal he would ever share with her, he would have
lingered in her company.

But he was Immortal, not omnipotent.  

The mob came at dusk.  The man in black, the Witch Hunter, wanted to
drive out the devil with fire and pain.  Outsiders were prime targets,
and Blaer and Mary and Lisle, living on the edge of the village after
fleeing from over the sea, were clearly outsiders.  They had strange
habits and manners.  They did not attend church piously. They had their

They were dragged away from their home in chains, the mob hitting him
with brooms and whatever other implement they could lay their hands on.
The Witchfinder had done his job well, the mob were in a frenzy.


"He arrested you?"

"No, he was judge, jury and executioner, but he would never get his
hands dirty.  There was an afternoon gathering or something.  He
whipped them up into a frenzy, and we weren't there to defend
ourselves.  That made us guilty by default.  People aged quickly back
then.  Mary had aged, Lisle had grown, but I still looked the same.  I
had strange habits, I knew how to work metal.  Mary had skills her
mother taught her – how to grown herbs, how to ease childbirth.  Our
only child was unscarred by pox or disease.   Of course we must be
consorting with the devil.  There was no jail, so they locked Mary and
Lisle under the church at first."  Blair had not looked up at his
partner since he had begun this darker side to the story.  "The
Witchfinder, his carriage had in it all manner of tools of the trade."


"Confess!  Confess your sins and be saved!"

Blaer's voice was hoarse from screaming.  "I have not sinned.  I have
done nothing wrong!"  He could survive a hanging or even a burning,
unpleasant as that may be.  But if he confessed his guilt, what would
happen to Mary and Lisle?  The memory of his little girl's angel face
gave him the strength to resist.

"We know what you do at night.  Your neighbours have named you.  You
carry sin which must be absolved.  Confess!"  The thumbscrews were
tightened another turn.

His screams echoed back to him like disjointed ghosts.

The interrogation took on another tack.  "Who else joins you in your
Satanic rituals?"

Blaer struggled to retain some clarity of thought.  "There's no
rituals!  There's no-one else!  I swear it!  Please, make it end!"

The Witchfinder's voice was callous and calm.  "It will end when you
have confessed."


Blaer hung his head, panting and sobbing in pain.

"Very well.  String him.  One bag to begin with."  The Witchfinder's
assistants released the thumbscrews, an act which brought almost as
much pain as the tightening.  His arms were wrenched without warning
behind his back and tied together roughly.  He heard rather than saw a
rope being flung into the rafters.  So this was it.  They were going to
hang him.  He prayed to Mary's gods that his wife and child would
escape, that they would reunite away from this place and start fresh
somewhere else.  He prayed that they would focus on him and leave his
darling Lisle unharmed.

He waited for the noose.  

The Witchfinder stood before Blaer's face.  "Do you have any sins which
you wish to absolve?"

Blaer spat on his shirt.

His face remained impassive as he nodded to his assistant.  Rather than
a noose, Blaer felt his arms pull back and up.  "Name your conspirators
in your devil worship."

Blaer just glared ferociously as he could.

"Two bags.  We will continue until you confess."

His arms pulled up again with the tension on the rope.  He was now
standing on tiptoe.  Still he stayed silent.  Another nod, another
weight on the end of the rope.  His feet left the ground and Blaer
tried not to scream as his abused shoulders took his entire weight.
Frantically he tried to roll his joints, but his hands were too well
tied.  With a sickening pop, the shoulder dislocated.  He blacked out.

He came around again as water was splashed on his face.   He was lying
flat on his back on the flagstones.  "What deal did the Prince of
Darkness make with you?  Do you sacrifice infants to your Dark Lord?
Did you curse Goody Himlein's cow?"

Blaer snarled and spat, to distract the Witchfinder as his shoulder

"We have ways of telling if someone consorts with demons...Brother, his
shoulder?"  Blaer closed his eyes as his shoulder was roughly poked,
prodded and finally driven through with pins.  They bound his body and
watched as it healed from the cuts they inflicted

Leaping back, the inquisitors crossed themselves and mumbled holy

"Brother?  Prepare the flames.  Only St Michael's cleansing fire can
save this man's Immortal soul."


Some time during the monotone retelling, Jim had migrated from the
chair to the couch, his arm around the man he considered brother.  "Oh
my god, Blaer?  They burnt you."  In his mind's eye, he was seeing
Blair, terrified as he and Lash fought.  Being bound...what that must
have been like, after surviving such torture.

Brusquely wiping away tears, Blair nodded.  "That wasn't the worst."

Jim made the connection immediately.  "Mary."


They dragged him, naked and tied, through the dirt streets of the
village behind a mule.  Villagers he had shared bread with, laughed and
drank with, came out to spit on him, to kick dirt in his face and howl
threats and insults.  Yesterday he had been branded a demon.  Today he
was going to burn.
His captors, his torturers and executioners, pulled him to stand and
shoved him onto the makeshift stage beside the piles of wood and stake
he would be tied to.  Unseen hands prodded him to stand among the
tinder, fastened his bindings to the pole.  The Witchfinder was
speaking in that emotionless voice.  A phrase jerked his attention to
what the inhumane creature was saying.

"...diligence of God-fearing people have flushed out this family of
devil worshippers who have brought a great blight on your fair

Family?  Movement from the far side of the square caught his eye.  A
thin, child's voice raised in terror.  His heart leapt out his throat. 


The crowds parted.   Mary, her dress torn and filthy, Lisle clothed in
little more than rags, both being dragged along by men in hoods.  Mary
was maintaining a stoic façade, but Blaer recognised the terror in
those once-laughing eyes.  Lisle was sobbing and screaming, pulling at
her mother's hand.

One of the guards backhanded the girl casually, almost knocking her to
the ground.  Mary's scream of defiance was matched by Blaer's shout
from the pyre.  Rough hands shoved a gag into his mouth.  He bit down,
hard, and heard a man curse.

His eyes never left his family.  Were they going to make them watch?
Please, please, let that be why they are here.

Some cold, logical part of his mind reminded him that this was an
awfully large pyre for just one man.


"Blair?" A hoarse whisper came from somewhere above his head.  " Oh my
god, Blaer!"  Jim wrapped his Guide in a full-body hug, and the smaller
man jerked fully back to reality.

He spoke into Jim's chest.  "The rest of the day...I only have these
pictures, disjointed and...they're like I'm watching a movie that I can
touch and smell and taste as well.  Lisle running to me, latching onto
my leg.  The sound of the rope as they tie it tight.  Mary somehow
getting her fingers to touch mine around the bindings.  The smell of
charcoal and smoke.  Sulfur, from the packages they put around Lisle's
neck.  Mary asking me to remember them both.  The explosion as
Lisle...they knew and they paid the price.  I couldn't....I couldn't go
through that...she was so small, she trusted me....oh Lisle!"

For the first time in nearly five hundred years, Blaer broke down and
sobbed for the family that was wrenched from him that cold autumn day.


Winter 1510

The stone stood silent and still, half-buried under a carpet of white. 
The snow had stopped falling, but the cold winds heralded the approach
of a blizzard.

Ignoring the cold, Blaer knelt in the snow and ran his finger over the
rough scratches in the stone, crude words formed by hammer and chisel, 
strange letters barely legible.  Mary.  Lisle.  The date of the pyre.
One last word, carved deeper than the rest.


Hot tears coursed down cold cheeks.  Gently, he leant forward and
kissed the names of his wife and daughter, innocents who perished to
protect his secret.

Never again.  He would never let it happen again.

Closing his eyes to the pain, he plunged into the onrushing snow.