Archivist's notes: This was a Mid-week Challenge issued on the Holyground Forum. The challenge was to incorporate the following elements into a story: take two or more characters from the HL universe. They have just seen a movie, and have very differing viewpoints on what they saw, and they are debating about it between themselves. Attention should be paid to the setting they are in, as much as the content of their arguments and observations. Just sitting around somewhere amorphous won't do.

In the Practice of Perfection

MacNair

Email me!

"It could never be said he was the True Man, you fashioned him with a flaw. If you had made him well enough in the first place, he would never have lost who he was." The man speaking glared at the perfect face across from him.

His opponent leaned back in his seat and gazed at the dark-haired man with amusement. "The point was to wear at him until the flaw was found and exploited. Does it chafe you that it was a mere pawn in the game that brought him down?"

"You call Evil a pawn? How was anyone to win against someone so powerful and conniving?" A pause for breath before adding dourly: "True Man never saw it coming and did not recognize Him until it was too late."

"And by that time he was set on a course that he could not veer away from and the One was unable to sway him from it. Not exactly the design, was it?"

"There should be a rule that one cannot use a powerful minion from two steps away to destroy the world. What kind of a war is that? And where is the justice of simply dismantling a creation from the inside out only to toss him, broken and misguided from his proper design, against the Perfect One? Of course he will be destroyed when he has been torn so far from his own foundation!"

"You weep because they both lie in ruins? Tsk, tsk. Most unbecoming of you."

"I grieve for the world that may be destroyed if this is not well thought out on your part."

The man with the perfect face ignored this last and chose to focus on the creation. "It would not do to underestimate the repercussions of bending the True Man out of his form. He was tempted into self-blame, he listened, and he walked on within its grasp. There is always payment and judgment for harkening to Evil. The wages of sin and all that."

"But the One, by destroying the True Man, has destroyed himself along with him. He simply cannot be the Perfect One if all of creation is destroyed in the process of winning over Evil. Evil has triumphed."

"But Evil was ultimately killed, dear friend," the excellent voice reminded.

"The point of the exercise was to save him, not destroy them both and everything else along with it! What does it gain to be the only One? Evil must be put down, but not at the cost of the creation."

"Point taken. A Creator is only called that because they create, not destroy."

Silence.

The man with the faultless face spoke conversationally: "The issue is: there is no point in creating absolute perfection unless I just want copies of myself. An absolutely perfect True Man has no freedom to choose anything - even to choose the Perfect One over Evil. A boring lifeless creation. A way must be found to redeem the imperfect and place them beyond the grasp of Evil. While the Perfect One chose a way to remove him from Evil's power; he ended up destroying the True Man and in doing so, destroyed the world with him.

"Redemption?"

"Redemption," said the flawless one.

"True Man is imperfect by design. He will die because of Evil who is diametrically opposed to all things good. The Perfect One must find a way to redeem True Man and destroy the Evil without destroying the created in the process." The dark-haired man ticked off each point on the ends of his long fingers.

"After all this time, you finally see the Master Plan?"

"You should have told me all of this at the start of the Game," he returned crossly.

A deep chuckle resonated from the man across from him. "What would be the fun in that? Creating takes only the wave of a hand and then it is done ... the Game is much more entertaining."

"Only someone as eternal as you would say such a thing. I've been playing this with you for 5000 years and haven't won yet!" he muttered. "Okay, let's try it again."

Methos reached for the fallen pieces and placed them back in the squares where they belonged. The first warrior was powerfully built and had dark hair that abruptly grew long and dangled down his back as soon as he was in place at the start of the Game. The second was slighter and plain of face, with eyes the color of cloudy skies. A damsel, a castle, a pawn or two. Horses. Must have horses for the occasional dung tossing when I get too irritated.

Across from him, the other man restructured his own lines: misshapen beasts and sullen warriors with eyes that glowed red inside masks of curving bones. Dark fortress towers and scuttling minions with scythes in their hands that looked suspiciously like crosses when given a quarter of a turn.

"Remind me why can't I change the Perfect One's name again?"

"We keep his name the same so we don't mix him up. You can change True Man's name as much as you want."

"Tell me I don't have to put him in those damn tennis shoes this time!"

"Ahhh, young one, he's not suppose to be flawless ... remember?"

Muttering was the only reply while the last few pieces on the enormous playing field were put in place.

"Good verses Evil and don't forget the redemption," Methos spoke aloud.

"Now you're understanding the Game," he smiled. "Ready when you are."

"I think it's fitting that you're playing Evil, you know, Devil's advocate and all."

"Yes. It's the only time I get to be bad."

"I'm not so keen on this being good all the time," Methos said dryly, wagging a forefinger at his opponent. "I suppose you just want me to practice?"

God laughed and moved his first piece.

MacNair

3/1/01

Players:

Jacob Kell - Evil, archetype of Satan

Connor MacLeod - True Man, a created being, archetype of mankind

Duncan MacLeod - Perfect One or One, Savior, an archetype of Christ

Comments from the author: many suggestions were made as to possible additions to this short MWC story. This is a chess game setting, Endgame, and there were many pieces left unidentified.

By including other elements from the series: Darius would be a bishop, who changed sides from evil to good in the middle. Dawson a castle watchtower. Amanda, Ceirdwyn, others that have shaped Duncan as the Perfect One could all be incorporated. Richie, a knight ... an archetype of Isaac, Abraham's son. Methos failed to play well enough to save Rich and the shock of it took the Perfect One out of the game for a long time. The angle of Methos himself entering the game at one point, on a whim, and becoming a horseman - having to orchestrate his own redemption through MacLeod.

The possibilities were limitless, but they would have diverted this from the original challenge and buried me in the complexities. Thank you to everyone who had suggestions and realized that the whole HL universe could be a chess game. Sharz, lynnann,Vi, Janeen, and Bridget - thanks for your support and encouragement of my writing.