The Xena Scrolls
By: Gabrielle Bard of Podedia
Scroll# 47: The Quest
August, 47 B.C.
….Xena I know you can hear me wherever you are. I know you always told me to be strong, but I can’t be, not now. You can’t leave me. I know its not your time. I can feel it in my heart. I just feel this emptiness I’ve never known before and it scares me. Xena above all just remember your destiny. Remember it and fight. Fight to come back. This world needs you. I need you. For my destiny is to be alongside you. I’ve known this since Thesaly and you know it too. Come back to me my dearest friend for I am lost without you.
Every night I see it happen again and every morning I wake up wishing that it were only a dream. My unbearable pain began when you took me to Syra the home of my worst enemy. You wanted so terribly to understand why. You wanted to understand why you brought your army down into that valley and why so many had to die. You blamed yourself for so much, but I know in my heart that you were only confused and young. I tried to comfort you by telling you that though the valley of Syra had once been a place of great death and destruction it had changed and become a place for vibrant life once again. My heart was certain that you would be able to change too. It was confident that your heart would heal from its own unbearable torments from your past.
As I watched you ride down into the valley to face your past there was peace in my own heart for you. I knew that your own peace of mind and heart would come through for you one day. But then I was suddenly taken by those barbarians and prepared for sacrifice alongside those innocent young children. Yet you came for me as always and you saved me from death once again. Your battle against them was flawless except for in the last moments when I had made another mistake. I had been so busy watching your flawless warrior skill that I allowed one of those children to get too close to the battle and the danger. Before I could act he found himself nearly facing his own death prematurely. As always you bravely stepped in front of him and did not allow him to die. You acted with your warrior instincts instead of reacting with too many thoughts. My own reactions put you into danger as you sacrificed yourself and your own life for that of the innocent blond haired boy. You had felt that his life was worth more than yours.
The moment was horrifying for me knowing that there was nothing that I could do to stop it from happening now. And so you took the blow and began your journey toward death. As I stepped in to protect you from the remaining barbarians I was wounded, but it was only a wound of the leg. It was only a wound that would one day heal. Yet this wound in my heart now is so great that I am more lost now than ever before.
As I prepared to take you to Mount Nestus where you said we should go I tried to wipe it all away. I tried to wipe away the blood that flowed out of your ears, and your mouth, and your nose. There has never been a time that you had looked more seriously injured than in that moment. Argo even sensed your death approaching. She was strong for me for she knew that I needed her to be. After traveling almost all night long I asked you if we should go north or south of the Streimen River. You mumbled and I thought you said north so that is which way Argo and I took you. You were right for we did get there early in the morning snows.
I was so tired and exhausted from traveling all night, but Argo kept me on our quest. And finally when we reached your old friend Nicklio I was certain that you would be okay. Yet Nicklio wanted to repair me first though I tried to tell him that it was not me who needed his help. He refused to help you for he could face a reality that I was unwilling to realize. Still I can not accept it. Your death was not supposed to happen that way. Not without me and not now.
I cried alongside you through the day for I could not leave you. I know that you could hear me. You could hear my every thought. Everything my heart ever said to you and everything my mind ever thought. Xena I miss you. But now I know that no matter how many tears fall from my eyes and down my face none of them has the power to return you to your life’s place. So I am preparing to take you home. But this journey is even more difficult than the journey to reach Nicklio for the word has spread through the land very quickly that you are now dead. I promise you that I will get your body back to Amphipolis again no matter what it takes. I shall die to fill your wishes. You belong home with your family next to your brother in Amphipolis I know. But I wish you would come back.
This afternoon as Argo and I have traveled toward Amphipolis. We were confronted by five henchmen. They were the usual kind that you always defeated with barely breaking a warrior sweat. These men angered me for they did not respect you the way they would have if you were still alive. All they wanted was to profit from my loss and your death. You would have been proud for I stood bravely to defend you. I have promised you in the past that I would bury you next to your brother. And that is where you will go no matter what. I may only be a small young village girl, but you have taught me well.
As I fought them I did not think. I only used my feelings for you to guide me. But you made sure that I did not have to fight them alone for you sent Iolas to help. I didn’t really need his help to fight our enemies, but I did need him. I needed Iolas to comfort my wounded heart, and I thank you for that Xena. Sadly, I must admit that for a brief time I have felt anger for your choice to leave me behind. My heart was not ready for this life challenge alone. There were so many things that I have left unsaid to you. Like how much I truely love you, and how much I appreciate your teaching me all of the lessons I’ve learned from you. It was after telling Iolas how I was feeling that he released me from my anger. He reminded me that though I had never said those things to you while you were here with me. You can still hear me now. I was comforted and ready to continue on toward Amphipolis reminded that even in death you can hear my thoughts.
I want you to know that Iolas was sad for you too. Even though you had hurt him in the past and tried to break up his wonderful friendship with Hercules he too still loves you. He shed tears with me and then told me that he must go. Iolas wanted to return to Hercules to make sure that the news of your death did not get back to him without first hearing it from Iolas. Hercules loved you too. Iolas was certain that he would take our loss hard. Yet no one loves you more than I do.
After Iolas left Argo and I alone again we continued on and found ourselves deep in the amazon forrest. It was scary traveling without you for I’m not yet as skilled as you. There are still things that I cannot sense, or hear, or feel the way that you always do. I’m still amazed at how you could know that someone was following us from so far behind. Your skills are truely brilliant like the light I have felt within your heart. Argo of course began to fuss before I realized that we were being followed. So I stopped and stepped forward declaring that those following show themselves. With relief it was only a group of our oldest friends. The amazons came sailing out of the trees just like they did the first time you took me to meet them. I remember how excited I was and how I didn’t understand what being an amazon was all about.
Then I remembered that you had taught me that amazon symbol for peace. So I declared myself peaceful and they did something very special. Though you never thought that you deserved the respect and love of the amazons they too love you. I watched them honor you in silence as they placed their swords upon your sarcoughagous. Ephiny was with them and I was glad to see her. It was comforting to be surrounded by friends in your abscence. Ephiny expressed her sorrow for my loss and invited me to take you to the amazon camp. There they were prepared to honor you with an amazon funeral fire. Yet I did not feel that you would have wanted that so I told Ephiny that I was going to continue onto Amphipolis.
She could see that I was suffering inside and Ephiny urged me to at least stay with the amazons for a few days. I told Ephiny that I would stay for a little while, but only because I needed to talk to Queen Melosa. Without you I know I need to find a new life and so I thought that maybe Queen Melosa could help guide me in your abscence. Ephiny then broke the news that Queen Melosa had also been killed. She had been killed in royal combat like the one you had enguaged in to unite the centaurs with the amazons against Krykus. My heart could barely take the pain of your loss and to find that Queen Melosa had been taken was a shock for me. And then I asked Ephiny who the new queen was. She looked to another of the amazons that I had not met the last time we had come to amazon lands. Her name was Velaska. Velaska had been the one that had challenged the Queen to the royal combat. And as you know Xena it is a fight to the death.
Veleska did not spare Melosa with mercy the way that you did. She argued that her combat against Melosa had been ruled by the tribunal as a fair defeat. But Ephiny seemed displeased about this. Yet she was also pleased that I had returned for by amazon law the Amazon Princess is the next in line to take the mask of the queen when she passes. Because of my right of caste Ephiny was delighted to announce that I was now the rightful queen of the amazons. I’ve suddenly found myself more lost and confused than before Xena. I don’t know what to do. My heart says that I am not ready to be an Amazon Queen. Last time we were here I learned the responsibility that a Queen must carry and it was more than I am ready for.
With my wounded heart I have decided to join Ephiny and my other amazon sisters for I need to mourn. Yet I feel that I am being pushed foward suddenly into a life that was not meant to be for me right now. Ephiny has explained to me the truth of Velaska’s challenge to Melosa. Melosa had adopted Velaska as a step daughter when her mother had been killed in a battle against the centaurs before you and I had come. Velaska had challenged Melosa once before, but was unsuccessful. Because Melosa had been her new mother she had been spared the penatly of the challenge. Yet Melosa banished Velaska from the amazon nation for her defiance of her mother as punishment.
After you and I had come to the amazon lands Velaska returned. She returned to challenge Melosa once again. Only this time if she lost Melosa would have had to take her life. I know in my heart that Melosa did not lose because she was less skilled or less of a warrior. She lost this second battle against Velaska because of her love for this child though Velaska had truely been the child of another amazon. Velaska has taken advantage of Melosa’s love for her and that is why Ephiny felt that the challenge had not been a fair fight. Ephiny explained to me the reason that Velaska wanted to be queen. She revealed that because Velaska’s true mother had been killed by a centaur Velaska did not agree with the new alliance. If Velaska had her way and continued to reign as queen then Ephiny, and her son Xenan would have to make choices. It would be impossible for them to live with either nation for she is an amazon and he has been born a centaur.
Ephiny has me thinking about my responsibility now, but I’m still not confident that I would make a better queen than Velaska Xena. She has been an amazon since birth while I’ve only been an amazon for only ten short seasons by a rite. I’m so confused Xena that I’ve decided to hear out Velaska’s side just incase Ephiny is just over reacting.
As I walked with Velaska today Xena I could feel her ambition. It is driven by something other than what drives Ephiny. Ephiny’s intensions are driven by a mother’s love for her son while Velaska’s intentions are clearly driven by vegence. Velaska tried to talk me out of chosing to accept the queen mask. If she had been a true leader she would have allowed me to make that choice on my own. A true amazon sister would have trusted in me to make the right choice.
Though the right choice for me would be to allow Velaska to continue to reign as queen for she is indeed much more experienced and better trained than I. Yet my heart tells me that the right choice for the amazons is for me to embrace this huge responsibility and take the queen mask. I know I am not ready, but my intensions are more noble than the intensions of Velaska. If she were to continue to reign as the queen I am certain that the amazons and the centaurs will be at war once again. All that you and I have done to unite them in peace will be destroyed and I can’t let that happen. Not now.
Xena I’ll always love you, but I know I have to let you go. I have always thought of you as my home, and since you have left I have felt so lost. Maybe my new home is here. And so I think I will tell Ephiny that I am going to accept the queen mask. Not only for your legacy, but for my own purpose. Know that you will be an amazon sister in death for you will have the proper funeral fire that you deserve. You will always be honored and remembered by the amazon nation and by the centaur nation. But after your amazon funeral know that I will keep my promise. I will take your ashes back to Amphipolis. And that is where I will finally let you go. I will say good-bye and then I shall return to the amazons and rule as their queen. Your memory will always be my guide.
Upon preparing for my ceremony I have been nervous yet there is a sense of excitement for I do indeed have a home. For the first time in days I am feeling confident of my direction without you Xena. Proudly I will walk through the ceremony and stand before my sisters and accept their honor to me. But I promise that I will not abuse this power or their trust in me. I will use it to benefit the good and to fight against what is wrong. There are so many people who have power in this world that should not hold it.
I have returned from my masking ceremony. Xena look. They have made me their queen. Me the little girl you found in Podedia. It’s time that I let you go. You see I have to find my own life. Just as you were searching for yours. You know there are two kinds of tears. Tears for those who leave you. And tears for those whom you never let go. And I won’t say good-bye to you Xena. For we shall be together again one day.
Before I go let me tell you what happened. I was taken before my sisters and presented with the mask. Velaska waited for me to make my choice. She was certain that I would chose her and forfeit all of my rites. But I did not do that, and as I began to accept my queenhood before the amazon witnesses she took vegence upon me for my choice. Her act was a violent one for she had thrown her daggar steeling the mask from my grasp. It was an act of disrespect. A true amazon sister would never show selfish vengence against her own queen. Now I am certain of the choice I have made. All of my sisters were as shocked and surprised as I, but Velaska did not stop there. She tried desparately to deface my name and Ephiny’s name. Velaska called me a fraud and Ephiny a lier declaring that neither of us could be trusted. It was true that Ephiny had been the only witness to Terreis giving me her rites, but she is honorable.
It was in Velaska’s moment of defiance that I decided to take control and demonstrate that I am indeed the right choice for my sisters. I took the queen mask and the knife down from their resting place on the wall behind me. I held both of them out. Then I asked Velaska to choose. This was her last chance to prove to me that she could be the right choice. If she had chosen to take the mask first then I would know that I should step down, but if she chose the daggar then it would prove the truth of her intensions. And so as every amazon was silent. My sisters watched. Velaska stepped forward and made the choice that I was certain she would make. She chose the daggar before the mask. And so I had proven to my sisters that though I am not as well-trained I am the right choice. Velaska left camp after that for I accepted my duty and my rite. There was a wonderful welcoming and celebration for my return.
It is much later now Xena. When I returned to see you just one last time before your funeral I caught Autolycus the king of theives trying to steal your body. He left me a bit confused. At first I was angry for I was certain that he had come to profit from your death like the five henchmen that stopped me a few days ago. But then he told me that you were in his body. He said that it was you who wanted to steal your own body. In my fit of anger I did not listen, but now I am left to wonder. Maybe everything that he said was really true. I need to know Xena if you are still here with me. Please show me a sign.
I am so excited. My hope has been restored Xena. Today I saw you. I mean I saw Autolycus. He has broken out of the amazon jail which was hardly unexpected considering he is a theif. But when he jumped upon your sarcoughagous as it began to burn in the fire he hurried to save your body from being destroyed. My sisters began an attack for his intrusion, but then he whistled for Argo like you do and he had your chackram. I watched him do the amazing flips that only you can do and he threw your chackram catching it like only you. That was when I knew that it was true. That was when I realized that it really was you.
I had no other choice so I left behind my sisters to join Autolycus to find you and to save you. He explained everything to me. Autolycus told me of how you had been with him for several days. He told me of how you had given him his inspiration for stealing the daggar of Helios. It is the daggar that is the key to your safe return home to me. I want to thank you for showing me that you are still with me. Your comforting words through Autolycus and the vision of us together has given me new strength inside. I must admit that it was a bit strange to find myself opening my eyes kissing Autolycus, but it was really you I know. Now I am going to send your sarcoughagus down the river like you had asked so that the amazons will not find it before we make it to the ambrosia.
Sadly Xena I must tell you that time is running out. Autolycus and I were followed to the temple where the food for the gods is kept. Velaska does not yet know that the daggar of Helios is the true key to the ambrosia. I think Autolycus still has it stashed away in his boot. You should know that though the amazon nation is now divided over your death and rescue many of them are behind you including Ephiny and Eponin. Unfortunately Autolycus has now been returned to us in the jail. Velaska has beaten him and broken his arm, but it is only a minor break and can be repaired. Autolycus is truely amazing. On the outside he appears only a thief for hire, but on the inside he has a truely caring heart. He is committed to helping you Xena.
You made a good choice when you chose Autolycus’s body. He has become so involved in your rescue that he has used his unusual skill for picking locks and freed us all from the jail. It was amazing the way he picked the lock by using only a small metal piece that held together Eponin’s clothing. Of course he was his usual seductive self, but I can overlook that flaw. And after we escaped we fought our way through those loyal to Velaska so that we could return to the temple of ambrosia. I exepect to find Velaska there as well. She’ll want the powers of a god. I’ve sent Ephiny and the others to fetch your body from the river to save us time. They will meet us at the temple and I’ will get you the ambrosia.
Xena this experience has been like no other. When I reached the temple Velaska was there, but your spirit witin Autolycus was growing weak. Velaska threatened me with the daggar of Helios, but then you stepped into me and helped. The feeling of being one with you was warm, and caring. It was passionate to fight a battle with your spirit inside of me. I never knew that part of you. I am glad that we have had the chance to connect in this way. Our battle was a memorable one for me. We fought Velaska upon the ropes and I found myself moving in ways that I never thought I could. I can see now why you enjoy the thrill of a battle so much. Yes there is your guilt, but your passionate love outweighs that. When the battle finally ended and Velaska fell to the ground upon the trap of spikes below. I felt your pain. You didn’t really want her to die, but there was nothing that you could do to save her and to save yourself. She had no intention of letting you come back to me. And she wanted to kill me.
As everyone who witnessed our battle together watched the Ambrosia fall from its place to the ground into the fire. I could hear their disappointment. But you and I knew that you had saved just enough to bring you back. It is amazing how you have every last detail mapped out within your mind as you go into a battle. You truely are the greatest warrior who ever lived. I don’t care what the other legends say. Of course when you left my body I felt the emptiness again though you had left me with the ambrosia that would return you to life. Ephiny and the others had brought you to me and so I opened your sarcoughagous. I placed the small bit of ambrosia into your cold lips and hoped that it would be enough to bring you back.
We all waited for a long moment and wondered. There was hope, but our disappointment grew when you did not awaken. Of course all that we really needed was patience for the ambrosia finally did work its magic and brought you back to me. It was wonderful to see you again. To look into your blue eyes and to hold you in my arms once again. I missed you Xena. It was the hardest week of my life without you. Please promise me that you’ll never leave me again. Don’t ever die without me. I know in my heart that your true destiny is with me and mine with you. Never ask that question again for you now have the answer and the truth.