He has been walking for so long it's all he remembers. The light comes and goes, and he walks. He walks and walks and walks, until his four legs become two as he rises, and he walks and walks until he sees other things like him.
Similar, but not the same, though he won't realize that for some time.
"Well, aren't you a treat?" a pale, winged thing says. "Haven't seen one like you before."
He keeps walking. The thing leaves.
He is attacked on the edge of the territory. His attacker is young; he sees that at a glance. Wielding a stick, the boy swings again and again, but compared to the four-legged beasts that have been trying since before his memory begins, the boy is disappointingly slow.
"You'll have to take his head," a carrion-eater says, ears pricked forward.
He puts the boy on his back and hits his throat with a good-sized rock until his head pops off.
"Remember that feeling," the carrion-eater says, slinking forward. It licks its chops, mouth open in a toothy grin. "You'll need it to survive."
He leaves the carrion-eater to his feast.
He is Death on a Horse, Methos the legend, Methos the monster, Methos the mask. His brothers are so young and think him the same, and they ride and they rule, out of the sun into the horizon.
One captive watches him with a smirk. "My lord," he calls to Methos, and Methos turns, Kronos following his gaze. "My lord," he says. "You've come a long way."
Methos just looks at him, at his toothy grin and the shadow of wings at his shoulder.
"You don't know your place," Kronos growls. Methos doesn't stop him from punishing the captive; the next day, another corpse is left on the dirt as they ride.
He is nameless, slave to the cruelest master in the land. It isn't penance; he was bored. So far, he hasn't learned anything he didn't already know, when it comes to dealing pain. His master is a babe in arms compared to he who once rode a pale horse.
A pretty slip of a thing curls up against him in the slave quarters. "I'm frightened," she whispers. "Can you help me escape?"
He looks into her eyes, seeing white and gold and a dawn he can't remember. "Just start running," he tells her softly. "Don't ever stop."
She touches his cheek, finger tracing a scratch that healed the moment he got it. "Haven't seen one like you before," she says, and kisses his forehead.
In the morning, she's gone. No alarm is ever raised.
He is Benjamin, on trial for witchcraft. A dozen have already been executed by burning. He really hates burning.
Out the corner of his eye, he keeps seeing a shadow.
He is found guilty, of course, sentenced to die at sundown.
When night comes, they prepare him. Before the fire catches, a shadow rushes through, grabbing him.
"Silly man," the shadow says, setting him down by the ocean, far from any town. "You should be more careful."
The shadow leaves. He waits by the water till dawn, and then he starts walking.
"Well, now," a voice booms out behind him. "Ain't you a treat."
He raises an eyebrow, turning. The man grinning at him is short with dark hair and dark eyes, and he has wings of shadow. "I know you," Methos says.
"We've never been formally introduced," the man says, stepping forward. "I'm Gabriel." His grin broadens. "The Gabriel."
The wings flare out, filling the room. Only Methos sees them.
"Your daddy's got a message for you," Gabriel says. "You'll probably find it interesting."
"Yes," Methos muses, reaching for the closer wing, smirking at Gabriel's surprised sigh. "I suppose I will."