by Joseph Connell
Author's Notes: Well, that's it. Story finished. Bad guys dead (we think). True love reunited and reaffirmed. Its been a wild and crazy ride and I can't say I'm disappointed with the results. Hope you enjoyed all this as much as I did.
I am deeply indebted to the following people for reaching this point:
Cìaràn Llachlan Leavitt, for some much needed reality checks.
Malea Thomas and Katrina Blau, for their constant encouragement.
The partnership of Barton and Lowes, who provided much needed moments of inspiration and amusement.
D.J. Redhawk, without whom I would have had neither the framework nor the inspiration for all this.
Most especially, Claudia Wilde (pronounced "Wyld"), who had nothing to do the beginning of this epic...and who had everything to do with it reaching its end in any coherent fashion.
I also owe the following bards thanks for letting me borrow elements form their stories:
Llachlan for the irrepressible Gwenn Camlann (the cause, some might argue, for "The Broken Blade").
Penumbra for allowing mention of the club The Rapture...and the reason Rickie gets so many odd looks.
Felioness for letting me mention a certain girl's school faculty member with a taste for nubile flesh and corporeal punishment.
D. Joan Leib for letting me 'hire' a pair of male bouncers out of her story "Learning the Ropes".
Miguel Cura, who isn't a bard but one hell of an artist, and who kindly allowed his postcard to be used in the course of this story.
Nene Adams, who brought Morgan and Vanessa's ancestor Fyvie to London (via her "Gaslight" series) and was the architect of that unusual looking railway car we saw back in part 10 (also from the "Gaslight" series).
On a semi-related note, one of the frequent "comments" (to put it mildly) about this particular story has been how extremely difficult it has been to tell the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys.' This was entirely by design. In the words of Robert Neinlein in the novel "Friday": "...the side of the angels is rarely self-evident." I've also had complaints about all the mentions of events from episodes of "Xena" and "Highlander" I've included, which are nearly impossible to follow unless you've watched both series.
In order to try alleviating this confusion a bit I offer the following. As my stories are interrelated, I am including characters from previous ones. Hope it helps.
Xena: (b. approximately 67 bc) Immortal, warrior, wanderer.
Gabrielle: (b. approximately 63 bc) bard; Queen of the Grecian Amazon Nation; partner and lover of Xena's; died approximately 20 ad.
Rickie Gardner (b. 1979) college student, partner and lover of Xena's since 1998; believed the reincarnation of Gabrielle.
(circa 44 bc)
Marc Bron: Clan elder.
Cormac: Second eldest; half-brother of Marc Bron.
Caber: Scottish cousin of Marc Bron.
Dortha: Half-sister of Cormac, clan healer.
M'llia: Adopted sister of Dortha; murdered by Roman soldiers circa 50 bc.
(circa 1940 ad to 1980 ad)
Elisabeth Kieran O'Donhugh: Clan elder; administrative clerk, US War Department.
Nathaniel Byron: Half-brother to Elisabeth O'Donhugh; US naval officer (1934 - 1953), attached to Naval Intelligence.
Richard Armistead: Half-brother of Elisabeth O'Donhugh; investment banker.
James O'Donhugh: husband to Elisabeth, father of Jonothan.
Jacquiline Angelique de Anan-Byron: wife of Nathaniel.
Don Roberto Del Turo: Fourth cousin to Richard Armistead; trader, Amazon Basin
David Del Turo: Son of Benito; college student (1942 - 1950), university professor (1952 - 1970)
(circa 1980 ad to 2005 ad)
Jonothan O'Donhugh: (b. 1961) Clan elder, 1980 - 1999; reportedly shot and killed in 1999, body never found.
Marie de Anan: Cousin of Jonothan O'Donhugh; Clan elder, 1999 - present; manager and owner of Anan Galleries (London, Madrid, Berlin, St. Petersburg).
Manfred Emanuel Armistead: Cousin of Jonothan O'Donhugh; third eldest of the Clan; investment banker and head of the Armistead Foundation.
Myriam Jessup: Half-sister of Marie de Anan; fifth eldest of the Clan; author, historian; seer.
Victoria Inana Dunross: Sixth eldest of the Clan; socialite, college student.
Enzo Del Turo: Cousin of Jonothan O'Donhugh; agent provocateur.
Janice ("Janie") Elisabeth O'Donhugh: Daughter of Jonothan O'Donhugh.
Morgan: Pure-bred Irish Wolfhound; family pet of the O'Donhugh's; companion of Janie O'Donhugh; mother of Vanessa.
Vanessa: Youngest daughter of Morgan; companion of Victoria Dunross in the United States.
The Watcher Society:
Joseph Dawson: Senior member and de facto head and elder of the Society.
James Horton: Brother-in-law of Joseph Dawson's; leader of The Hunters (Rogue Watchers); killed in Paris, France in late 1996.
Alexander Devon: De facto leader of The Hunters since 1997; solicitor; senior partner of the firm Silas and Devon.
Virgil Samuel Price: Head of Gamble & Price Shipping; drug importer; member of the Hunters since 1992.
Emil Holt: Watcher assigned to Xena Amphipoulis; officer in the Portland Police Department.
Lady Cora Blaylock: friend and former lover of Xena; head of the Blaylock Estate; patron of the arts; charter member of The Veterans Association.
Gwenn Camlann: Immortal; socialite; former Queen of the Britons (circa mid-400s ad).
Gorddon Feingson: Immortal; soldier; killed by Xena in the Amazon jungle in 1940.
Janice Antigone Covington: Archaeologist; decedent of Gabrielle; long-time partner of Melinda Pappas; mother of Helena Covington; died 1979.
Melinda Evangeline Pappas: Linguist; decedent of Xena (via her elder brother Toris); long-time partner of Janice Covington; mother of Henry Pappas; died 1970.
Helena Covington: Archaeologist; mother of Laura Covington
Henry Simon Pappas: Anthropologist; legal guardian of Laura Covington and Emily Pappas.
Michael Giovanni: Heir Apparent of the Giovanni Crime Family; assassinated in London by parties unknown in 1999.
Inspector Joel Hopper: Head of Special Investigations, London Metropolitan Police Department; contact of Jonothan O'Donhugh.
Detective Paul Richard Mallory: Member of Special Investigations, London MPD; killed in the line of duty in 1999.
From Xena: Warrior Princess -
"Destiny": M'llia's first and (so far) only appearance; it also hints at involvement of other members of her clan in Xena's life.
"Ides of March": the crucifixion (as detailed in flashback here) seemed an excellent point for Xena's Immortality to be revealed, never mind it was simply an incredibly powerful episode.
From Highlander -
"The Hunters": the first appearance of Jim Hortan and his 'head' Hunters; includes the death of Darius.
"The Watchers": introduction of Joe Dawson and the Watcher Society.
"Unholy Alliance": a two-parter involving the alliance between the Immortal Xavier St. Cross and Horton, their goal being to eliminate every Immortal in sight, especially Duncan MacLeod.
"Counterfeit": another two-parter; this time Horton uses a lookalike of Duncan MacLeod's dead lover Tessa Noel to get at the Highlander, only to be killed by MacLeod.
"Finale": yet another two-parter (you see a pattern developing?); the records of the Watcher Society fall into the hands of the ruthless Immortal Kalas, who threatens to make them public unless MacLeod surrenders to him.
"Judgement Day/One Minute to Midnight": the Watcher's find themselves under siege by a vengeful Immortal who's wife was murdered by Horton.
"Archangel/Avatar/Armageddon": MacLeod and the Watcher's are attacked by the Zoroastrian demon, Ahriman (who behaves suspiciously like a certain Persian fire demon whose name begins with "D"); Richie and a fair number of Watchers loose their heads (literally) in the process; Dawson emerges as the senior-most surviving member of the Society.
As always, comments can be sent to me. Please be polite; I have a fragile ego.
Until next time...
5/01/99 - 1/17/00 Washington, DC