Thanks Nat! Don't worry, I'm sure Claire will met Max again. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Vienna, 12th of April of 2013 I was still in Vienna when, in March of 1815, I got the news that Napoleon had escaped Elba and had returned to France to reclaim his throne. I immediately felt the urge to get as far away as I could, but this time I didn't go. Instead, I decided that I wouldn't allow Napoleon's comings and goings to dictate my life. I was an immortal and I had just started my musical career - if those weren't good enough reasons to not be intimidated, I didn't know what were. It was a good thing too because Napoleon's return was short-lived. After a disastrous campaign in Waterloo, in which around seventy-five thousand men died, the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon once and for all. This epic battle took place on the 18th of June of 1815, three days after I returned to Paris. The first thing I did upon my return was, as usual, to look up Darius. I was looking forward to telling him all about my days in Vienna, the concerts and the connections I had made there, but for the first time, he was not there. I was worried, very worried. I sought out one of the other priests and asked about my mentor. He told me Darius had gone to the front, to tend to the wounded and offer solace when needed. I was even more worried, but there was nothing I could do, so I waited and hoped and prayed that he would return safely and soon. He did. Well, not soon, but safely. After I heard the news of Napoleon's defeat, I still had to wait almost a whole month for Darius. Every day I went to his church hoping to find him, and every day I returned to Valincourt Castle alone (yes, I was still staying with Robert and Gina). When Darius finally returned he wasn't alone. With him was another immortal, a tall and well-built man with dark hair and brown eyes. He introduced himself as Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. Yes, he stated the entire sentence – ‘I am Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod’, in one breath and with a heavy Scottish accent. I felt the urge to laugh, but restrained myself. I'll admit my first impression of him wasn't the best - I thought he was a bit of a bruit - but I soon realized I was wrong. My judgment was clouded by a tinge of jealousy because he had so quickly gained Darius' confidence. Also, I soon realized Duncan MacLeod was already a good friend of the Valincourts having even attended their wedding a century before which didn't really help me to get over my envy. But I did. It's hard to not like Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. He's so honest, forthcoming and honorable. He's also extremely handsome, which helps us girls like him. Here is a little of MacLeod's story. He was born in 1592 in the Highlands of Scotland and was adopted by the chieftain of the Clan MacLeod. In his clan, he was brought up to be a warrior (like Darius, amazing how many immortals' stories are similar) and to succeed his father in leading the clan. He never made it, though. In a dispute with a neighbouring clan, MacLeod suffered his first death. When he regained consciousness in his father's home, he found the entire clan mourning him. They were astounded by his reawakening and did not take it well. Believing this to be a case of sorcery, Duncan's family expelled him from their land. I can only imagine who awful it must have been for him to go through that. Anyway, a few years later, he was living not very far from his clan's land when he met another one of us, one he had heard of in legend. It was another clans-mate, Connor MacLeod (two immortals in one clan; the Highlands are apparently a good place to sprout immortals). The rest is the usual - Connor taught Duncan the ways of immortality and then Duncan set out into the world, which led him to fight in many battles, travel to many foreign lands and so on and so on... So, again I made a new friend. MacLeod stayed with Darius and the rest of us for a few months still, but eventually, he needed to move on. Another immortal who wanted to see America. I gave him a few pointers and he was on his way. When I saw him leave, I thought of Max and wondered what he was up to. I hoped he was all right. This is part of the immortal curse - no matter what you do, where you are or what you want, there is always a part of you that wants to be somewhere else and with someone else. You are never content. Maybe if I could keep everyone I love in one place, so that I could keep an eye on them, I wouldn't worry so much. But that is one thing we can't do, no matter how many centuries we live. Like with the wolves I raised back in my little niche of the world, I have to let my friends go and trust that they can take care of themselves. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ And this is Duncan MacLeod.