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15 September 2011 @ 07:14 pm
Highlander The Raven Fic 1/1  
HAPPY BIRTHDAY jinxed_wood!

So, jinxed prompted me for the Highlander Flashfiction challenge to write a story about Jeremy Dexter meeting Amanda for the first time. I did and you can read it here. While I was writing that, Dexter decided he also wanted to tell me about his first death so here that is as a little birthday present for the person that inspired it.

I hope you have a fabulous day in New York hon!

Big thanks to aeron_lanart for the beta. As usual, nothing is mine.

Dexter Scrivener did not want the life that was planned out for him. A foundling, he was taken in and apprenticed to a scribe. From the age of four he was subjected to hours of study in Latin, English, French, German and Italian and as soon as he was tall and strong enough he acted as messenger for his master, running letters and documents to various addresses in their quarter of the city.

He knew he was luckier than some; the scribe was not wealthy but they were never wanting for food or clothing and being without child of their own, the scrivener and his wife treated Dexter as their own son. Often he would deliver a message to the smith or the cooper and find his counterpart with fresh bruises or stripes across his back. When he was twelve, the cooper’s apprentice vanished; Cooper claimed he’d run away, but the town suspected otherwise.

But the life of a scholar was not for him.

When the mummers would come to town, he would wish that he could leave with them, or somehow become a knight like those in the stories and battle fierce dragons and win the hands of fair maidens and their castles full of treasure.

But the scrivener and his wife had been kinder to him than he deserved and he would not betray the love and faith they had in him.

So he continued in his duties and his studies, learning everything his master wished to teach him; not only the languages and law that he needed for his profession, but also courtly etiquette and fencing. Skills perhaps more suited to a noble than a scribe and Dexter could not prevent his curiosity from enquiring to his master’s motives.

“You are more than you realise, my boy. One day you will see that and you must be ready,” was Scrivener’s cryptic reply.

Dexter did not mind his studies so much, for he seemed to have a natural talent; not only did he learn how to handle a blade quickly, he was charming and eloquent without really trying. The scrivener had little more to teach him in matters of court than the rules of etiquette.

Once he had mastered his rote learning, Dexter also found a joy of reading. He discovered that beyond the dry tomes with which he had been educated there was a whole world of adventure and imagination waiting for him. Legends of Camelot and Sherwood Forest had as much hand in shaping the young man’s sense of morality as did Scrivener and the Bible.

His master caught Dexter reading tales of Robin Hood one day. Dexter thought he would be furious, but instead his master let out a loud and melodious laugh.

“You shouldn’t believe all that you read in books, my lad,” he said with a smile and a twinkle in his eye that Dexter had not seen before. His master muttered something else as he turned and walked away; it was too low for Dexter to understand, but it sounded as though he said “Of course Corwin is the hero, and I’m made out to be the villain of the piece.”

He passed the age at which he would finish his apprenticeship but Scrivener made him his partner and his heir and so Dexter stayed in his home.

Occasionally they moved to a new town when his master declared there was no longer enough work, but Dexter liked the adventure of going to a new place so he never questioned his master, no matter what his doubts may have been.

A likeable and charming lad, Dexter made friends with other apprentices, chatting with them when they came to the scrivener on an errand or when he saw them in the street. Not that any of the other apprentices had any free time for friendship; their masters were much more demanding than Scrivener.

Dexter was particularly fond of the blacksmith’s apprentice William; even though he was much younger than Dexter, he was a thoughtful and intelligent lad, perhaps better suited to a scribe’s life had fate worked out differently. William was beaten mercilessly by his master, often when he’d done nothing wrong; he may have been unsuited to the physical labour of being a smith but it was not for lack of trying. Henry the Smith had a foul temper and strong arm that seemed to only be made stronger when he had a drink in him.

It had often given Dexter cause to wonder how a drunkard could work around hot coals and metal all day and have not done himself any serious harm.

One day near his nineteenth birthday, Dexter had gone to the smith to read a letter to him. The news was not good, but rather than take his ire out on the messenger, Henry took up a hot poker and began beating William with it.

Seeing that the smith was about to kill his friend, Dexter stepped in to stop him, but succeeded in very little. Smith was bigger and stronger than Dexter and soon overcame him.

The last thing Dexter remembered was the smith’s fist coming toward him, pain and then falling into blackness.

*-*

The boy had fallen awkwardly, hitting his head on an anvil as he went down. As he lay motionless on the floor, blood pooling out from his head, Harry Smith knew he had killed the boy.

Shock hit him like a bucket of cold water and now, stone cold sober, he was worried. Scrivener was soft on the lad and would demand some kind of recompense. It was one thing to beat and kill his own boy, but killing another’s apprentice could be costly.

Grabbing his stunned apprentice by the collar he shook the boy until he looked him in the eye.

“He slipped, didn’t he,” he said, his voice close to a growl. The boy nodded mutely. Satisfied, Henry let him go. “Run and fetch his master. Tell him there was an accident,” he instructed, confident the boy would lie for him. If he didn’t… well, he’d deal with that later.

It was only a few minutes until the boy returned, but it felt like a lifetime to Henry. The boy ran in, breathless, and moved into a dark corner to resume staring in mute horror at the body on the floor. He was followed moments later by Matthew Scrivener. The scribe seemed supremely unconcerned and Henry internally let out a sigh of relief; perhaps the man didn’t care for his apprentice as much as he had thought.

The scrivener went straight to where the boy lay and leaned down to listen to his chest and mouth. The he looked at Henry and smiled grimly.

“Count yourself lucky, Smith. The boy yet lives,” he said. “Hurry, help me get him home.”

*-*

It was near dark when Dexter regained consciousness, confused to find himself in the comfort of his own bed. His head was pounding and his right eye was sore, but even this began to fade as he gathered his wits and looked about him. Matthew was seated on the small stool that occupied the corner of the chamber and he smiled warmly when he saw Dexter was awake.

“Welcome back, my lad,” he said with amusement.

Dexter pulled himself up to sitting and then swung his legs off the edge so he could face his master.

“I remember I was in the smithy… William!” Dexter exclaimed and started to his feet. Before he could take more than a step toward the door, Matthew rose and placed a hand on Dexter’s chest to stay him.

“William is fine. But you were badly injured; it would be suspicious if you were to make a miraculous recovery,” he said and gently pushed Dexter back onto the bed.

“But I feel fine, just a little sore,” Dexter protested, his confusion growing.

“Give it a moment and you’ll feel fine, but the smith cannot know that,” Matthew answered.

“I fell.”

“Yes, Dexter, and you died. Now you are like me; you’re Immortal.”

“Immortal?” Dexter had known of Scrivener’s Immortality for a few years now, ever since he questioned why his master had no grey hair like his wife, but he’d never dreamed that he might be too.

“I always told you that you were more than you realised,” Matthew replied. “Now, get a good night’s rest. Tomorrow we’ll begin your real training for the Game.”
 
 
 
squeakypiggysqueakypiggy on September 16th, 2011 02:03 am (UTC)
Loved it ^_^ Going to go read the other story that was linked with it. Wonderful!
But, I don't want to be a pie,: amanda & beccaidontlikegravy on October 23rd, 2011 05:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
She went that-a-way...: amanda smilesjinxed_wood on September 22nd, 2011 07:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, I really, really, loved this. I especially like the fact that Dexter had a loving childhood! Now I'm off to comment on the other fic, because I'm a doofus and missed it the first time around!
But, I don't want to be a pie,: amanda & beccaidontlikegravy on October 23rd, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you hon, and apologies for the delay in replying!


Something just tickled me about the idea of putting Dex in Matthew McCormick's house and him doing his best by him but he still turned into a thief (but one with a heart of gold, obviously!). In my personal canon, after what he would have considered failures with both Corey and Dex, Matthew would have stopped taking students *grin*