Touched by Magic
A sequel to Then the Night Comes and The Lightning's Hand (ordering information for the first two novels can be found at the bottom of the page).
The aftermath of MacLeod's battle with Ahriman and the subsequent problems with the fabled Sword of Nuada, along with a little prodding from Amanda, have convinced Duncan MacLeod that what he and his clan of friends really need is a good, long vacation-preferably someplace warm and exotic and fun, far away from ancient enemies, curses, Immortal challenges, and the like. His first mistake was in assuming that anything in his life could ever be so simple. His second mistake was deciding to take his friends along with him...
Join MacLeod and the rest of the "clan" for a little humor, a little angst, and a whole lot of adventure in the magical town of Las Vegas, Nevada! Check below for some excerpts of text and artwork from the upcoming novel.
Color cover by Leah Rosenthal. Interior artwork by Leah Rosenthal. Graphics by Laura Virgil. Color back cover by Karen River (see below). 175 pages. 129,000+ words. US buyers may pay below. Please email for international rates.
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From the beginning of the novel...
Methos dropped his black leather carry-on bag and spread his arms wide, as if to embrace the McCarran International airport and all of its occupants within his grasp. "Ah-America," he enthused. "Big cars, big rooms, big beds..." He paused a moment, staring around the terminal with wide eyes, taking in the clanging, whistling sounds and bright lights of the slot machines filling up the waiting areas, "...big money."
It had been ages since he'd indulged in gambling; the slot machines seemed to have become extremely high-tech in the meantime. He stripped off his long black coat and draped it over one arm. Even in the air-conditioned terminal, he fancied he could sense the dry heat of the Nevada desert in mid-summer. Just the mere hint of it felt good after so much time spent in damp, cold climates. He was already looking forward to changing into lighter weight clothing.
Duncan MacLeod suddenly appeared at Methos' side, looming over the other man in a manner that was almost threatening. MacLeod wasn't much taller than Methos, only a bare centimeter over six feet, but he was much broader in the chest and shoulders. A slightly swarthy complexion was matched by MacLeod's dark brown eyes and long, dark hair. He'd tied his hair back in a ponytail for their trip, but it was coming loose now after so many hours of travel, long wisps of hair falling around MacLeod's face. At a little over four hundred years old, MacLeod was less than a tenth of Methos' age...and yet he still sometimes managed to sound like an elder scolding a child when he addressed Methos. Methos found it somewhat amusing under most circumstances, so he tolerated it for the sake of their friendship. After all, he never missed out on an opportunity to needle, goad, or otherwise poke fun at MacLeod's antiquated notions of chivalry and the like. Turnabout was fair play.
After all, what were friends for?
MacLeod scowled, not looking the least bit amused by Methos' enthusiasm. In fact, he'd been in a foul mood ever since they had left New York City. "The 'big money' is mine on this trip" he pointed out. "Keep that in the back of your mind. In fact, keep it in the front of your mind." Only the barest hint of his Scottish origins was revealed in his accent nowadays, the original thick burr shaped and changed by centuries spent in England, France and the Americas.
"You just don't understand, Mac." Methos grinned happily, refusing to allow MacLeod's frown to ruin his happy mood.
If nothing else, he was glad to be back on solid ground. Flying, even in first class, always gave him a headache, and great heights still made him extremely nervous. As much as he marveled at the ability to fly, the novelty of the experience had worn off decades ago. Now it was just another reason to worry about a potentially sloppy form of dying. He'd known Immortals who had died, albeit temporarily, in plane crashes. None of them expressed any desire to repeat the experience anytime soon. It combined some of the worst ways to perish, all wrapped up in one messy package. There was also the persistent rumor he'd heard when he still belonged to the Watcher organization that an Immortal had actually died a permanent death in a plane crash, decapitated by shrapnel. Betting his life wasn't the kind of thrill that usually appealed to Methos these days. Terra firma was extremely welcome under his feet and the slot machines were already looking inviting and fun. He could do with a bit of fun after the last year or so. For that matter, so could MacLeod, if he could only manage to loosen up a little bit.
Besides, MacLeod was the one who had insisted upon paying for this trip. It was a little late now to be complaining about the cost, not to mention rude. Methos intended to take full advantage of MacLeod's generosity but he didn't appreciate the Highlander's assumption that he was going to squander his money like water. Methos intended to squander it like water, but that was beside the point. It sometimes seemed as if MacLeod wanted to think the worst of him lately and it was starting to become annoying. Of course, sometimes MacLeod's suspicions were justified-as in the case of Methos' intentions regarding MacLeod's not inconsiderable wealth and his plans to spend a goodly portion of it on this trip-but that, too, was beside the point.
"It's a cornucopia disguised as a country. Where else can you have a pizza delivered anywhere, anytime?" he blithely continued. He really hadn't spent much time in the United States during the latest century...an oversight he thought he might want to remedy soon, or at least before the millennium. Ever since MacLeod had invited him on this little jaunt to Las Vegas, he'd been reading every guidebook about the town he could get his hands on, and he was already looking forward to quite a long list of things to see and do.
MacLeod hitched his own somewhat larger carry-on bag higher on his shoulder as his stern frown softened into a fond smile. "So, this is the culmination of five thousand years of civilization to you, huh? Takeout?"
The look on MacLeod's face reminded Methos of one of the reasons he put up with this particularly bothersome youngster. Just when he started to get really irritating, he made Methos feel...safe. He returned the smile with complete sincerity. "Try to think of it from my perspective, Mac. Not only do you not have to go out and hunt for your food or grow your own crops-"
"-Or raid the nearest tribe," Nicholas Shaw put in from beside MacLeod with a smug little grin. He pulled the strap of his backpack off his shoulder and let it fall to the floor where it landed with a thump and a rattle. Not quite as tall as MacLeod, Nicholas was a bit more stocky, squarely built where the Highlander seemed to be all fluid muscle. Although he shared MacLeod's straight dark hair and eyes, and even his slightly swarthy complexion, his features were completely different. A slight tilt to his narrow eyes hinted at Asian or perhaps Native American ancestry, even while the overall effect of his rounded chin, narrow nose and high cheekbones gave the suggestion of someone of very mixed extraction. Like all Immortals, his true heritage was completely unknown.
Methos paused momentarily to throw the student Immortal and archeologist a sharp glare. He was already beginning to regret the fact that he had finally told Nicholas some of the gritty details of his past with the Horsemen. Nicholas was incessantly curious and now that he knew a little of Methos' past, he seemed to determined to learn the rest of it. Of course, historical questions were hardly something new from Nicholas. It was just that lately he seemed even more obnoxious about trying to ferret out the truth. Methos suspected that the young man had missed out on a good career as an investigative reporter when he had decided to follow in his Uncle David's footsteps and became an archeologist.
"Yes," he agreed with Nicholas good-naturedly. MacLeod seemed to have a knack for choosing students who were brash and outspoken. Methos had quickly learned that simply agreeing with Nicholas often at least slowed down the questions for a few moments. "None of that is necessary anymore. Your sustenance arrives right at your doorstep, already cooked and neatly packaged for your eating convenience. We have finally achieved Nirvana!"
"Oh, spare me," MacLeod murmured, turning to check on Amanda's progress down the jetway from the plane.
From a little later in the novel...
MacLeod was amused to catch himself glancing at Methos for at least the tenth time. The late, lamented Sean Burns would have probably smiled and nodded in understanding. This was no paranoid reflex brought on by a mistrust of Methos. Keeping an eye on his "people" was an instinct so deeply rooted inside of MacLeod that he could not override it, even at the threat of death. He had observed his father protecting his clan in one way or another from the moment he had first opened his eyes until the dark day he was banished from the clan. Even his banishment he could understand as his father's effort to protect his people from a creature he saw only as an evil and dangerous demon.
MacLeod had watched, loved, and emulated his father. He could no more turn off that ingrained instinct than a leopard could change its spots. As a Chieftain's son, this was who MacLeod was and what he would always be.
Of course, keeping tabs on Methos was sometimes a necessity as well as an instinct. MacLeod had come to learn there was always a chance Methos was up to something. Currently, he was leaning over one of the spot-lit display cases in the center of the Giza Galleria Mall, the Luxor's collection of shops selling Egyptian goods, both modern and ancient. An expansion to the original hotel only a year earlier had added the shopping mall, additional hotel rooms, and a motorized walkway leading to the Excalibur, the giant castle of a hotel next door. Apparently, the Luxor's designers had taken the opportunity to expand the owners' collection of artifacts and put them on display, as well. Some of the shops offered purely tacky tourist souvenirs-plastic mugs with awkward looking, blue plastic pyramids perched on the top, key-chains, various T-shirts with the Luxor logo and the like, postcards, and so on-while others were displaying true antiquities, some of them thousands of years old. Many of the smaller-and even some of the larger-items were for sale for prices ranging from a few hundred dollars on up to thousands and more.
MacLeod found something unsettling in the intensity of the stare Methos was casting into that square case. Hands shoved in the pockets of the lightweight tan coat he had chosen to wear inside the cool of the shopping mall, MacLeod casually steered himself over to Methos' side.
A pair of hazel eyes flickered toward him before returning to the object in the display. "I know it dates back to before your preferred eras of antiquity, but do you recognize that?" Methos pointed with his chin at the object in the case.
MacLeod saw an object very much like a pale ivory boomerang resting nestled on indigo velvet, the highly polished ivory reflecting the high intensity spotlight inside of the case. It was carved with shallow images of fanciful animals in the style of Egyptian hieroglyphs. "Well, I know it's a magician's wand, but only because I've seen it in a book." He considered it for a minute before Methos' silence began to raise his suspicions. Being used to dealing with Methos and not at all surprised lately by the coincidences and twists of fate his life tended to take, he made a leap in logic. He glanced back at the ancient Immortal sharply. "Don't tell me-that isn't the-?"
"If it isn't a reproduction, it most certainly is," Methos said, his voice a strange mixture of reverence and greed.
"It can't be. When you told me about the wand in Scotland last year, you said Ahriman-Kummaya-stole it from you and the Horsemen. He'd been entombed for a thousand years. It couldn't end up here. Maybe it's a standard set of inscriptions. You know, the same magician's work."
Methos shook his head. "These things weren't created in mass production. It was a highly personalized object. What's the old saying? You wait long enough, everything comes back again."
"It's too much of a coincidence. It can't be the same wand!" MacLeod turned back to stare at it himself. "There's no way to tell."
"Well, in a manner of speaking, my name is on it," Methos said, a touch of irony suffusing his voice. "Or so I viewed it at the time," he added hastily. He gestured with one long finger. "The inscription in the center reads 'Death passes to life; life passes to death.' "
MacLeod whistled softly. "So, this is supposed to be Khufu's magic wand itself?" He leaned closer to the encased artifact. "The one that's supposed to be able to re-attach a severed head?" A shiver went through him, and he didn't know if it followed more from the excitement of the revelation or because Nicholas was strolling over to join them. No doubt the young archeologist had noticed their interest in the display case.
"As they say round these parts, the 'real McCoy,' " Methos said dryly.
"Hey guys." Nicholas joined them and inspected the wand. MacLeod watched his lips move slightly as he read the hieroglyphic inscription. "Hmmm. Nice work. Old Kingdom."
"Could it be a reproduction?" MacLeod wanted to know.
"Not likely," Nicholas said. "That's real ivory and its obviously made from a hippopotamus tusk. I don't think they'd go to the risk of breaking the law just to impress the tourists at large. You can do a pretty good job of a plastic lookalike and the tourists wouldn't be able to tell the difference." He leaned over and studied the wand as closely as he could through the thick protective glass. "I can see how a layman would mistake it for a replica; I don't think I've ever seen an actual artifact that old in such good condition."
"It's the real thing," Methos insisted. "Even if it were a forgery, where would they have found the model for the exact same inscriptions? As far as I know, no one's seen and recognized that wand in nearly three thousand years."
Nicholas glanced toward him, his expression incredulous. "You know this wand?"
"He described it to me when we were chasing after Kummaya," MacLeod explained. "Told me a story about how Kronos and company stole it off a caravan and then Kummaya stole it off the Horsemen." He shrugged. "We'll never know how it got here, of all places."
"It's not that much of a stretch," Methos pointed out. "The builders of this casino hotel are obsessed with the Khufu pyramid. They modeled their structure after the Great Pyramid. This is supposed to be the Khufu magic wand."
"But how would they know that?" MacLeod wondered. "I know that you've said the stories about Khufu and the magician are a well-known 'myth,' but how would anyone know that the wand really existed and what it looked like?"
Methos shrugged. "I don't know. But there it is." His mouth quirked up at the corners. "Coincidence, perhaps? They aren't as rare as some people think."
Nicholas whistled. "So that thing's the actual wand Khufu was supposed to have used to put the head back on a decapitated-?" He looked back and forth between MacLeod and Methos. "Uh. This would be kind of significant to us Immortal types, wouldn't it?"
"Kind of," MacLeod agreed. "About as significant as anything you can imagine."
"If it worked," Methos added with a touch of sarcasm.
"We could always ask Cassandra," Nicholas said.
"How would she know?" Methos' sarcasm had leapt off the scale now.
Nicholas ignored Methos' snide tone. "She's got her own wand. She knows about this kind of thing."
"Assuming, of course, that you believe in conjuring, this kind of thing goes back a thousand years or more before she was born and started conjuring with weeds and stones. Even three thousand years old, she would be 'New Age' compared to this."
"Well, magic is magic," Nicholas insisted. "It couldn't hurt to ask her."
"No, it couldn't," MacLeod said grimly. "Because if this thing can do what you say it's supposed to do, it wouldn't be a good idea to leave it just lying around here."
"I second that," Methos added. "Apart from the fact that technically it belongs to me, of course."
"It was stolen property," MacLeod said acidly. "That hardly makes it your 'property.' Besides, I thought it belonged to Kronos-?"
"Mine by default. The others are gone, and the original owners are hardly around to claim it."
"I'll go get Cassandra," Nicholas said, looking grateful for an excuse to extricate himself from the escalating argument. He headed back into one of the shops lining the far wall.
"Look, it's irrelevant who owns it. The point is if we've learned anything from the whole fiasco of this last year, it's that ancient artifacts that can help an Immortal cheat at the Game are too dangerous to just leave lying around!" Methos said stridently. "You just said so yourself. Can you imagine? Even if this thing can't do anything, if another Immortal recognizes it and thinks it can-"
"If there's even a chance this thing can put a head back on a dead Immortal," MacLeod sighed, "it would be too much of a temptation. It would cause chaos."
"We have to steal it."
"Now wait a minute, that isn't the solution to everything."
"What are you going to tell me? That we offer to buy it from the hotel, or whomever may have loaned it to them?" Methos scoffed. "And when they turn us down and we steal it anyway, they know exactly who to look for because we expressed interest in it a few days before? Oh, and by the by, we've conveniently left the imprints of our credit cards at their hotel?"
"Methos, we came here for a vacation, not to play at grand larceny!"
Cassandra arrived with Nicholas just in time to hear MacLeod's protest. "In my experience, he would consider grand larceny a highlight of the trip."
Methos sneered at her. "It must be a strain, always trying to watch me through three thousand year old lenses."
"From where I stand, they aren't necessary. I can see through you quite clearly. Is this what you want to steal?" She turned to look down into the display case.
"Adam says it's the genuine item; Khufu's wand. What do you think?" MacLeod intervened in the interests of peace.
She was silent for several moments while she took in the artifact. Glancing left and right, she finally raised her hands to either side of her face and closed her eyes.
Methos made a rude noise, but otherwise kept his own counsel.
Presently she dropped her hands and glanced at MacLeod and Nicholas. "It's an object of great power."
"Right," Methos said. "As if you could tell."
"Adam," she shot back. "How do we Immortals know when we are on Holy Ground?"
"That's different," Methos protested. "That's a built-in ability to detect consecrated ground. It has survival value. That way we don't inadvertently fight on Holy Ground without knowing what it is. You're not going to tell me-?"
"If ground can be consecrated, so can holy objects," Cassandra sighed. "I have every Immortal instinct the rest of us do. But I'm also a sensitive. My Immortal senses are naturally enhanced, just as some of my normal senses are."
"She's got a point," MacLeod added. "She's the only Immortal I know who can sometimes tell who's approaching simply from their 'buzz.' "
"Big deal. I can do that sometimes since Bordeaux, with you," Methos grumbled.
Nicholas was openly intrigued by Cassandra's words. "You can feel something coming off of that thing?"
Cassandra beckoned him. "Come and try for yourself, Nicholas. Remember the training sessions at the cottage, when we worked on your special empathy for ancient objects?"
MacLeod smashed an elbow into Methos' side, cutting off the rude comment he just knew the other man would be unable to resist making. Methos emitted a grunt and glared at him.
Nicholas drew closer, hesitantly raising his hands a bit and focusing on the wand in the case. He frowned. "I feel-something. It's almost like static electricity or something. Not like those wooden figures we were practicing with. Stronger."
"It has much greater age." Cassandra looked puzzled. "As Duncan has probably told you, the longer it's been since ground was consecrated, the less of a 'charge' it has. Neglected, it may lose its Holy Ground status altogether. The same applies to objects. I don't understand why something this ancient is still emanating with power...it's almost as if it was newly consecrated."
Methos made a half-stifled noise that could have been amusement or simply disbelief.
MacLeod ignored him. "Is it actually Khufu's wand?" he wanted to know.
"I wouldn't know," Cassandra shrugged, eyeing it. "I'm not old enough."
"I'll bet you don't get to say that very often," Methos quipped.
"Compared to you, everyone is young," she muttered. Then she hesitated and glanced at the object in the display case again with renewed interest. "If this is King Khufu's magic wand, then it was supposed to have the ability to restore a decapitated head."
Methos sidled up next to her. "And what Immortal could possibly resist such a handy little item in their bag of tricks, hmmm?" he purred, almost into her ear.
She drew away with an involuntary flinch. Then she looked at MacLeod. "It needs to be in a safer place."
"You see? Even Cassandra says we steal it," Methos said with satisfaction.
MacLeod rolled his eyes. "Am I the only one here who wants a simple, quiet, normal vacation?"
Cassandra shook her head. "A dishonest Immortal could view this wand as an irresistible advantage in the Game. It has the same dangerous potential as the Sword of Nuada."
"You wouldn't want it to fall into the hands of another big, bad Immortal like Kummaya, would you? Gwydion?" Methos added, somewhat sarcastically.
"How do I always get mixed up with things like this?" MacLeod mourned, turning his face up to the ceiling.
"You don't have to get involved with this at all," Methos smiled reassuringly, with a friendly slap to his arm. "We'll take care of it for you."
"Oh yeah? And just what do you plan to do, tiptoe down here at night and stuff it into a bag?"
"Too many security measures," Nicholas said casually, sweeping the display case and several mounted cameras pointed at the area with a trained eye. "Probably a few exotic ones we can't even see."
"No problem," Methos nodded. "Besides you, we've got a true professional along. The esteemed Miss Darieux-"
"Wait a minute!" MacLeod objected, a sinking feeling in his gut telling him the situation was rapidly sliding out of his control.
Methos' eyes suddenly lit up. "I have a friend who lives near here who might be able to help us, in fact," he said, ignoring MacLeod's objections. "He has a ranch. Breeds racehorses now...but he used to be in the business. I was going to pay him a visit anyway. He'll be flattered if I ask him to help us."
" 'The business?' " MacLeod said, his eyes narrowed. "I don't like the sounds of this!"
"Stop making such a fuss over it," Methos said. "The hotel's probably got this thing insured to the nines. They can't appreciate its value beyond a simple tourist curiosity. They have no idea what it's truly worth. They'll investigate for a bit and then stick a few ushabti in there instead."
"And what about human guards? Or just workers at the hotel? Guests? This place never closes down, you know. If you get caught at this little operation, are you going to kill them?" MacLeod said caustically.
"That wouldn't be necessary," Cassandra said quietly. "If it becomes a concern, I can use my voice to make any observers forget."
Everyone turned to stare at her.
She turned pink and her mouth twitched. "We wouldn't want anyone to be hurt," she pointed out.
Methos grinned. "Well, well. Even the Girl Scout wants to pitch in. Now how can you argue with that, Mac? We'll just wait for the last night we're here, pull off this little caper, and pack our bags for home. No muss, no fuss."
"I get the wand," Cassandra put in. "I'll know how to dispose of it safely."
"Oh no, you don't," Methos turned on her. "You'll think of some way to use it against someone. Namely, me."
"In the event you lost your head, why on earth would I ever want to restore it to your shoulders?"
Nicholas scratched his ear. "She's got a point. If the thing actually worked, it would pretty much be a defensive weapon."
"Look Junior, when I whack off someone's head, I want them off my score card. I don't want them coming back for another crack at me," Methos said. "When we get that wand, I'm personally going to make sure it goes into a vat of acid."
"Wherever you go with it, you're not going alone. You can't be trusted with it," Cassandra growled.
"Is that a date?" Methos grinned spitefully.
"Just what I've always wanted to do. Date the Death god," she sneered. "Maybe we should call you Anubis." She looked him up and down. "You do resemble a jackal."
"Cassandra," MacLeod scolded.
"More like the 'avoidance of death' god, nowadays," Nicholas quipped, getting into the spirit of the by-play. "It does seem a shame to destroy such a beautiful artifact. But I'm sure I don't want to go through that whole mess like the one with the sword again. Guess we should go get Amanda, huh?"
Methos nodded. "We can discuss a plan over dinner; I'm starving. Where were we supposed to meet Joe and Anne to eat?"
Duncan MacLeod threw out his hands in a silent appeal to heaven. Without another word, he let his arms drop, turned, and walked back toward the casino.
Methos stared coldly at the slot machine, its lights glowing malevolently at him. "Well, my adversary, you've managed to loot me of every dollar I put into you save one. I hope you're satisfied with your victory."
"Are you talking to that machine?"
Methos sighed and closed his eyes at the sound of Cassandra's voice behind him. He had hoped to avoid her for the rest of the day. Well, at least he'd had an hour or so of relative peace, even if this blasted slot machine had finally defeated him. "As if I'm not depressed enough."
"They didn't build resort casinos as elaborate as these by letting players like you win," Cassandra pointed out acidly.
"I know that. I just thought I could beat the system if I played long enough." Methos raised his hand. "Say goodbye to my last dollar." His voice was ripe with resignation as he slapped his palm down on the spin button.
"Oh, for goodness sake," Cassandra sighed, exasperation dripping from her voice. She slid a hand down the face of the machine as the wheels spun, then she stalked away.
The wheels slammed down on three neon stars, one right after another.
Instantly, the machine went berserk, sirens and bright lights exploding all over it and around it. Methos staggered backwards, blinking for a stunned moment, then he turned to stare after the retreating woman. "Wait! Wait! What did you do?"
Cassandra turned around, uncertainty flickering on her face.
A group of security guards and hotel staff hurried past her, rushing up to surround Methos and pound him on the back. One shoved a bottle of champagne into his hands and threw confetti into the air.
"You won! You won!" the woman in the skimpy casino costume shouted into his ear, over the noise of the sirens.
"What? Will somebody please tell me what's going on?!" Methos was becoming extremely agitated.
"The jackpot! You won the progressive jackpot!" The woman gestured to the electronic screen over the bank of machines. With eyes wide, Methos turned to follow the direction of her pointing finger.
* * *
From across the casino, MacLeod and Amanda suddenly heard a loud commotion followed closely by bells and sirens going off. A moment later, the sound of a prolonged, primitive scream erupted over the gaming floor, bloodcurdling and otherworldly enough to make every player freeze in their tracks and turn their heads.
"Oh, no," MacLeod moaned, locking gazes with Amanda for one panicked second before he headed off in the direction of the racket at a run. Amanda was close behind him.
A large crowd had gathered by the time they arrived. Jolting people out of the way to penetrate the crush, MacLeod jumped up and down a few times, trying to see over the surging crowd, and then pushed his way through. He reached Cassandra first. She seemed to have a headache, one hand to her brow and her eyes tightly shut.
"What happened? What did he do this time?" MacLeod demanded.
"He didn't. I'm afraid I did," she moaned, blinking at him. "It's all my fault."
"Did what?" Amanda elbowed her way to their sides, her eyes wide. "What did you do?"
"He wanted three of something. I should have minded my own business."
"Cassandra, what did he win?!" MacLeod grabbed Cassandra's shoulders and gave her a hard shake.
"What's two million dollars in British pounds?" she asked tiredly.
MacLeod and Amanda opened their mouths, but no sound came out.
"Oh, and a Jaguar. Blue, I think...or maybe it was silver."
The primitive howl sounded again from within the crowd of well-wishers gathered around the slot machine.
"Cassandra," MacLeod growled furiously.
"I felt sorry for him! He was down to his last coin!" Cassandra spread her hands in a universal gesture of sheepishness. "I'm already paying for the mistake," she said glumly.
"Well, he won't give it back, that's for sure," Amanda grinned, "no matter how he won it."
Please note that only the cover of the printed zine will be in color. Other artwork presented in color above is printed in black and white, but we offer some of it here in full color for your viewing pleasure!
For any questions regarding Leah Rosenthal's artwork, please e-mail her at email@example.com. Leah takes commissions and also will make hand colored prints of her artwork.
Also now available:
Then the Night Comes by Ann Wortham & Leah Rosenthal. A new Highlander novel offering an alternative resolution to the fifth season cliffhanger Archangel and the aired sixth season episodes. Richie Ryan is dead at the hands of his best friend and mentor, Duncan MacLeod. Horrified at what he has done and believing he is pursued by an ancient demon known as Ahriman, MacLeod flees Paris to seek help from old friends in Cornwall. Joe Dawson, Cassandra, and Methos soon follow and the pursuit of who-or what-Ahriman truly is soon involves many of MacLeod's friends in a desperate race from Cornwall to Scotland to Wales. Along the way, Methos must confront more specters from his past, MacLeod learns a few lessons, Joe has a new friendship which is deepening, and Cassandra must learn to deal with a Methos who is, in many ways, different from the man she once knew. Flashbacks take our heroes from ancient Egypt to ancient Babylonia and to Barcelona, Spain along the way. Then the Night Comes is rated PG with no overt sex, either straight or slash.
The Lightning's Hand by Ann Wortham & Leah Rosenthal: A sequel to Then the Night Comes. Ahriman, a.k.a. Kummaya, has been defeated, our heroes have returned home for a well-deserved rest, and the ancient Sword of Nuada has been retrieved. All is well in Duncan MacLeod's world. Even his friends, some of them deadly enemies of each other, have managed to come to a truce of sorts. Several months have passed in relative normalcy. Of course, nothing in MacLeod's world ever stays normal for long! Whilst being moved from David Shaws' estate to the British Museum, the deadly sword is stolen...and it is feared that it has fallen back into the hands of an Immortal. MacLeod fears that Amanda has succumbed to a desire to own the object, while Cassandra suspects Methos...and, of course, Methos suspects Cassandra, who considered the sword a sacred relic. Suspects abound and the chase is on to find the culprit!
Reflections by Lynn Montgomery, a novel focusing on Methos and his days with the Horsemen. Joe and Duncan play major roles in the present-day segments. Rated adult for slash between Methos/Kronos and Methos/original character.
Revelations #1, an adult Highlander zine. Our first issue is extremely Methos oriented. In fact, there's not a single story without him in it! Mostly slash, with one heterosexual story. Revelations #2, our second issue has just gone into print (July 1999) and contains mostly Methos/Duncan stories. Check out the links for more details and ordering information. Submissions are now open for the next issue.
So Speaks the Hero #1, a Highlander genzine, is now available. Our first issue has a wonderful selection of stories and poetry. Tons of Methos fictions, Duncan, Amanda, Joe, Richie, Kronos...they're all here! Color cover by Leah Rosenthal; color back cover by Karen River. Illustrations by Dani Lane, Smap, Jorgensen and Rosenthal. Check out the link for more details and ordering information. Submissions are now open for the next issue.
Coming Soon: Cry Wolf, a sequel to Touched by Magic! Click here to read an excerpt!
If you are interested in submitting to any of our upcoming publications, please click here to view our submission guidelines.
We accept money orders, cash (at senderís risk!) or credit cards and echecks (via Paypal) in payment. For further ordering and pricing information regarding any Ashton Press fanzine, please contact Ann Wortham at firstname.lastname@example.org.