The Xena Scrolls: Volume #2: Scroll #31: Remember Nothing

The Xena Scrolls
By:  Gabrielle Bard of Podedia
Scroll # 31:  Remember Nothing

January 16th, 47 B.C.

I sing of a time when Xena the Warrior Princess never existed, and her best friend and loyal sidekick Gabrielle remembered nothing.  It all began on this day eleven years in passing since the death of Xena’s brother Lycious while fighting against the warlord Cortese.  Xena had lead the way in the fight to protect her home village of Amphipolis from the spoils of an evil warlord, but at the cost of the life of her dearly beloved brother.  The warrior princess had carried this guilt upon her shoulders for eleven years now as she had blamed her beliefs in fighting for the cause to protect her village, family, and friends.
Every year on this day Xena would come to the temple of the fates as she lit three large candles.  The first candle was for the maiden, the second for the mother, and the third for the crone.  She asked for the fates blessing and for their mercy upon her brother’s soul so that he may rest in peace.  After making this proclamation Xena’s sidekick Gabrielle entered the temple as she had been listening to Xena’s prayers for her brother.  Gabrielle expressed that she wished she could have known this great brother Lycious for she could feel how important he had been to Xena.  In fact, Lycious was still very much a part of Xena, and very much alive within her heart though she mourned his loss greatly.
Suddenly there were screams which came from outside the temple.  Xena the warrior princess and her faithful sidekick Gabrielle exited the temple to investigate the disturbance.  Once outside the temple they discovered that an army of evil warriors descending upon the monks of the temple attacking them in an attempt to destroy the temple of the fates.  Soon Xena the warrior princess burst into action as she twirled around upon the steps of the temple knocking out ten warriors with a quick move.  Then she flipped from the steps to the front of the temple where she met another skilled warrior in mask.  This skilled warrior appeared to know her quite well and most likely was yet another of the evil men she had encountered during her dark past.  She fought him gracefully as she blocked his kicks, but he slipped one by her as she took it across her face.
This mystical warrior flipped around her looking to set himself up for the next offensive strike, but Xena was not fooled for it was obvious that she knew his fighting style well.  She quickly took him out only to be attacked from behind by another young warrior.  Her sidekick Gabrielle shouted to warn her friend of the danger which lurked behind and with one move she put the final blow to her skilled enemy and whisked her sword from its resting place thrusting it into the attacker from behind.  The sword slid in smoothly.  Then as she turned to face the coward whom had met his death he fell to the ground and his helmet came loose.
It was only a young boy who had been taken by evil and had given his life in the thirst for blood.  He was now a lifeless young boy as Xena looked upon her bloody sword.  Once again she had caused the death of yet another young boy like that of her brother who had died at the tender age of fifteen at the battle against Corteeze.  As Gabrielle approached Xena, Xena stood as if she had drawn blood for the first time.  The guilt had built up within her and now after this event it had overcome her.  She stared at her bloody sword and then found herself drawn back into the temple of the fates leaving Gabrielle stunned with the lifeless young boy.
Once inside the temple Xena saw something extraordinary.  For the first time she had been given the privilege of seeing the faces of the three fates.  They proclaimed to her that it was rare that anyone was permitted to see their faces, but Xena had saved their temple from its attackers and now they were prepared to reward her for her heroic deed.  But Xena did not feel heroic.  She felt sick to her stomach as if this last kill had been her first.  Xena defied the fates offer explaining to them that she did not deserve a reward for taking the life of a young innocent boy.  She had known that he had only been caught up in the wrath of war as many young men and women do.  Xena’s wish was that she could have that young boy’s life back.  That was what she truly wanted and further more she had professed that if she hadn’t drawn blood and become a warrior in the first place life would have been simpler and better.
And so the fates bestowed their power upon Xena releasing her from all that she had done and they had given her a clean slate.  But there was just one condition for restoring all that had been lost as a result of Xena’s warrior path.  That one condition was that she was never to spill one drop of blood for if she would do so that would be the event that would turn the tables back to the current life path she had been on.  Xena explained to them that it wasn’t possible for she was a warrior.  How could a warrior live true to her way without spilling a drop of blood?  The fates proclaimed that it was not possible for a warrior to be a warrior without the spoils of blood.  They made it clear to Xena that in order for her to receive this gift they were bestowing upon her she must give up the warrior way.
Xena left the temple disgusted and almost unbelieving that they would give her such a gift.  When she stepped outside she called for Gabrielle, but Gabrielle did not come.  She looked frantically about, but there was no one around.  All of the dead warriors that had been there before she had entered the temple had disappeared, and there were no others around.  The moment was quiet as the wind whisped across the face of the warrior princess.  And then she was no more.  Xena looked down to see that she no longer wore that famous leather, and she no longer felt the weight of the mighty sword she had always carried upon her back.  As she looked down she noticed that she was dressed in one of her most favorite dresses as it felt soft and light.  There was no weight of blood only the power of pure light could be felt within.  It was a strange release for Xena for she did not understand at first.
And then she heard a familiar voice calling her name.  It was a man’s voice.  And as she turned around to see who it was she found herself to be greeted by the handsome young man named Lycious.  Xena could not believe that this was really happening.  Her brother was a grown man and he was alive.  Lycious was beautiful with his blond curly hair, and his dark piercing blue eyes.  Xena was overjoyed as she ran to throw her arms around the brother she had not seen in over ten years.  The brother she had lost had been given back to her for she had never drawn blood at the battle against Corteeze.  Lyious was surprised to see Xena in all of her excitement.  He didn’t understand that for her he had been taken from her for eleven long years.
And as they walked Xena couldn’t stop looking at him.  She couldn’t stop feeling the immense joy to be in his presence once again.  And as always Lycious still looked up to his big sister.  He still looked to her for guidance and support.  Lycious trusted in Xena as always.  And then Xena noticed that Lycious was wearing his barillas token.  It was a token worn by all of the young boys of her village as a sign of good luck and good fortune.  She couldn’t believe that he still wore it.  Infact, she teased him for it until he reminded her that it had been this token which had spared his life from the arrow that almost took it at the battle of Corteeze.  And then Xena realized how truly important this token was.  It was a symbol of her own good fortune.  Lyious was still confused at his sister’s sudden strange behavior so he suggested that she go home.  As he walked on down the peaceful green pasture in the forest Xena realized that for the first time in many years she was able to be home.
All she had ever wanted was to be able to have that place where she could be accepted and loved for she had shamed her village and family as a warrior, but now all had been restored.  As she skipped into the village the day was beautiful for life now had new meaning and it had joy for Xena.  She had never committed any of the wrongs that had caused her to hurt so many in her alternate life .  And when she arrived home she was still uncertain that all of this was real.  It was more like a beautiful dream than reality.  She looked upon the kitchen table and at the flowers upon the window.  It was as if she had been seeing life for the first time again.  Xena was as youthful and innocent as Gabrielle had always been.  She was the light of hope instead of the darkness of hate.
As Xena looked through her box she sifted through the keepsakes, the sentimental jewelry, and then suddenly from behind there was a presence.  Xena spun around with the reflexes of a warrior pinning her attacker to the wall instantly.  Only this was no attacker, but a suitor.  In fact, this suitor was none other than Mufias the boy next door.  According to Mufias he had been courting Xena since before the battle of Corteeze.  He was confused at Xena’s reaction to his entrance.  Mufias inquired if Xena had, had a bad day at the inn where she and Lycious worked side by side housing the great travelers of Greece.  But it had not been a bad day at all and Xena was hoping that Mufias was the only surprise that awaited her in a life of love.
And though Mufias was a surprise to Xena he was a pleasant one for he was tall, with dark coarse hair, and deep brown eyes.  His nose was a bit peculiar, but he would be just fine for Xena.  At least this Mufias was not some evil warlord like the many she had been courted by as a warrior like Draco, or even her great lover Marcus.  A passing thought of sorrow came to her as she thought of Marcus, but she knew and believed that things must have turned out better for him in this life because she had never gone to his camp to save that girl to stop a war.  Xena’s presence in his life had been a confusion which had led to his demise for he had loved her with all of his heart.
As Xena’s mind wandered Mufias interrupted reminding Xena that if she was getting cold feet about their wedding that he would only wait about fifteen more years on her before he would give up on courting the beautiful princess.  Apparently this Mufias was very much the comedian of the family clan.  But his comedy turned to sudden tragedy when Mufias also reminded Xena that it had been her mother’s last request that Xena and Mufias wed one another.  And so the surprises continued although this surprise was tragic for Xena’s mother had been lost as a result of Xena, Lycious, and the others deciding that retreating to the hills was their only hope against the wrath of Corteeze rather than to stand up and fight.  Mufias also mentioned that she and Lycious had been involved in the reconstruction of their village of Amphipolis and that her mother had died of a broken heart for the loss of everything she had ever known to Corteeze.
Xena immediately went to her mother’s tomb because although she had been gone for ten years it was as if she had just lost her mother.  She was mourning this loss knowing that if she hadn’t killed that boy in the battle at the temple of the fates she would never have been led to this alternate reality.  Xena cried for her mother as the tears streamed down her face from the depths of her innocent heart.  She professed to her mother that she was sorry and that though she would lose her mother and her friendship to Gabrielle at least the world would be a better place.  Without the existence of the warrior princess Gabrielle would never have left her family to join the warrior, and Xena would never have shamed her mother and all of the others she loved dearly from her village of Amphipolis.  And so Xena had reasoned that this choice was her only choice and it was for the best.
After mourning for her mother Xena found herself walking through the village once again.  It was a very vibrant place and she was happy to know that without a drop of blood she and her brother Lycious had been able to help lead the effort to rebuild their lives after war and destruction.  Yet while Xena was at the market she saw something that disturbed her.  An old man in the market was attacked by a warrior for accidentally bumping into him.  The warrior held a knife to the old man threatening his life.  And just when he was about to thrust the knife within the neck of the old man Xena pulled the rug right out from under him knocking the evil man to the ground.  She had clearly taken him by surprise though she played it off like a master proclaiming that she had only been checking the price of the rug and didn’t realize that the warrior had been standing on it.
The evil warrior held back from his anger and forgave the pure soul for her accident because she was a beautiful woman.  As he walked away from her he demanded that the rest of the warrior men bring out the slaves to collect the pickings for a dinner to the warlords in the area.  Xena was unaware of who was there, but all of these warriors she recognized for she had killed many of them in the battle for the greater good in the alternate reality.  But that was over now though there was a part of her that was still uncertain of how she was going to live her new life without blood shed.  It would be nothing short of the greatest challenge she had ever faced.  As she thought deeply the maiden appeared before her telling her not to have a second thought of it.  She was confident that Xena would make the right choice.  The maiden knew that Xena had a burning passion to be the warrior she had been destined to be in her other life.  Yet there was so much at stake for Xena.  No blood was allowed if she were to be a warrior here.
Then as the maiden disappeared into thin air Xena saw a vivid familiar face.  It was the face of her best friend Gabrielle.  Only Gabrielle was not who she had been in the alternate reality.  Gabrielle was a slave.  She was collecting food at the market for the dinner of her evil masters.  As Xena looked into the eyes of this familiar face she saw pain.  She saw grief, and she saw anger.  These were things she had never seen within the bard before.  How could it be possible that Gabrielle’s life would hold a worse fate than leaving her family?  But then as she tried to search Gabrielle with her eyes to be recognized within Gabrielle backed away from her with fear and suspicion.  And then she clumsily backed into the leader of the warrior gang in town.  It was the one that Xena had confronted about the old man.  The warrior leader was angered at the slave’s clumsy move and he raised his club to her to beat her as punishment.
Xena could not allow this to happen to her best friend.  She would not see Gabrielle beaten by these thugs.  Xena stepped in saving Gabrielle from the strike of the club only to anger the evil warrior even more.  Now she had made herself a target.  And then just as the warrior was about to attack Xena Mufias stepped in apologizing for Xena’s actions.  He claimed that it was all just a misunderstanding for they had been looking in the market to purchase a slave for themselves, and Gabrielle was perfect.  She was exactly what they had been looking for.  Mufias urged Xena to go along with his story and she did so with great reluctance for she did not see Gabrielle in the light of a worthless slave as did Mufias.  But that was all he had known.  He never knew Gabrielle the way Xena had known her.
Gabrielle looked to Xena with disgust knowing that she was just another piece of meat to be sold or a possession to be owned, used, and abused.  There was such a burning fire of anger within her emerald eyes.  And just when Xena thought that she would be triumphant in releasing her friend from the wrath of evil by a simple purchase the warrior leader rejected the sale for he said that the warlord Mezentious liked this one too much.  Xena was crushed for she couldn’t save her friend.  She couldn’t come to the rescue as she had always been able to do in the alternate reality of the warrior.  And then she watched helplessly as Gabrielle was dragged away in the binds of slavery as she struggled against Mufias to get to her friend.  Xena called out to her friend frantically, but her pleas were not heard by fate and not by Gabrielle.
But Mufias was not humored at Xena’s actions.  He scolded her for thinking that she could ever make a difference in the world.  In fact, he couldn’t understand why she would be so passionate about saving a worthless little slave girl.  But this wasn’t just any slave girl.  This was Gabrielle that they were discussing and for Xena there was no question about it.  Gabrielle had to be rescued from her binds in this life for if Xena had been a warrior Gabrielle would never have been a slave.  Again Xena was at fault for wanting this new bloodless life.  Xena could not live with herself knowing that Gabrielle’s soul was bound in chains.  As she argued with Mufias he reminded her that in this world she had to learn to go along to get along.  And then he left Xena alone to think about her latest actions.
Suddenly within all of her confusion the crone appeared before her.  She reminded Xena that Mufias had been wrong.  Xena did have the power to make a difference and Xena knew what the remedy was.  The remedy was to draw blood and to go back to the life path of a warrior which was true to her destiny.  But Xena could not believe that the world was a better place with the warrior princess in existence.  She argued with the crone that her life was better this way, but the fate reminded her of the life of Gabrielle and how different it was on this current path.  Yes things were different within this alternate reality, but this was Gabrielle that they were talking about, and Xena did not believe that Gabrielle was beyond saving.  Xena had faith that she would be able to find that light within Gabrielle that she had always loved during her life as a warrior.
Later that night Xena went to the supply market just before close to purchase a chicken.  She needed some information from the man at the market who dealt with the warlord Mezentious.  Xena was determined to save Gabrielle no matter what she had to do to get there as long as there was no blood spilled.  She had a plan and she would start at first light sneaking into Mezentious’s castle to retrieve the life and soul of her best friend.  Her plan was ingenious as it always was with the warrior princess.  She arrived at the castle within the delivery of goods under the wagon.  Xena had anticipated that they would do a check for stowaways so she was prepared.  And when the wagon stopped they did check only to find the red wine of a drunken wagon man.
As the goods were unloaded Xena made her way into the castle hiding around a nearby corner.  She watched her best friend work diligently in the binds of slavery.  And as she watched she noticed many of the other female slaves looked very familiar to her.  In fact, they looked a lot like the amazons she had known as the warrior princess.  Then she recalled her conversation at dinner the night before with Lycious of how he had said the amazons had been captured and demoralized by the warlord Chricous.  She realized that the only reason that these amazons were even here was because Chricous had been the one who had forced a war between the amazons and the centaurs which as the warrior she had been there to stop.  But now there was regret for she realized this too was her fault.  Lycious had wanted to start plans for an attack on these warlords last night, but Xena knew that she was bound to life without a sword and so she knew in her heart that there had to be another way.  The problem was that the answer had been eluding her.
Xena waited for the right moment and then suddenly she snatched Gabrielle startling the young slave girl.  Gabrielle was astonished for this woman from the market was obviously not one to take no for an answer.  The slave girl was almost angered for she could get in trouble if she were found talking to an outsider.  Xena reminded Gabrielle of their meeting in the market the day before.  Gabrielle confirmed that she remembered, but was less than pleased to see Xena.  In fact, this was unlike the Gabrielle that Xena had known before.  As her sidekick and best friend Gabrielle would have been over joyed to be reunited with her friend, but Xena had to remember that Gabrielle did not know her like she had known Gabrielle.
The slave expressed her disgust for the offer to be bought for her services while at the market the day before.  Xena had realized then that Mufias’s offer had offended her friend, but she couldn’t explain herself to this slave girl yet for her story was so outrageous that Gabrielle wouldn’t understand.  The explanations would have to wait.  For now Xena had to get Gabrielle back to freedom, and as she prepared to explain her plan to rescue Gabrielle to her freedom she was interrupted by a cold rejection.  Gabrielle walked away from Xena, and expressed that she was not inclined to do anything more than get back to work before being caught with Xena on a pleasurable break.  Xena could not take no for an answer.  She couldn’t accept that Gabrielle would not want to be free.  So Xena reached out to her friend once more with her heart, and as she did so Gabrielle reminded Xena of what happens to runaway slaves for she had tried her way at freedom once before.
The slave girl pulled down the sleeve of her old blue rags and revealed to Xena the marks of a scar that could never be healed.  She stared coldly at Xena as if she had convinced Xena that freedom was not an option for this slave girl now.  Her life path was that of a slave and nothing more as her fate had been sealed.  She was as worthless as the next slave.  Xena’s heart broke upon this sight for she could feel the pain of Gabrielle.  She could see how much had already been lost as a result of the fate of a slave.  Xena expressed to Gabrielle her sorrow of this great pain for it had been her fault again as Gabrielle’s name suddenly slipped from her lips with great compassion.
This intrigued the slave girl for just as she was about to walk away from Xena she looked upon this strange and stubborn young woman as if she had seen a ghost.  How did she know her name?  And just as the slave inquired of Xena, Xena revealed her own identity hoping to break through once again.  Xena could see how serious this truly was and how much of that beautiful light she loved about the bard had been lost.  And then she tried to convince the slave to try for her freedom once more, but was rejected once again until she mentioned that her brother Lycious would be able to protect her from this evil.
The slave girl was once again intrigued for she had heard of this Lycious person.  In fact, she had heard of him at dinner with Mezentious and Crichous on the night before as they had been disguising their plans to team up with a third powerful warlord.  Xena recognized all of these names from her life as a warrior, and in that life she had defeated them all.  In fact, she had defeated them all with the help of her loyal sidekick Gabrielle.  The slave girl continued by explaining that she had known about Lycious because it was said that he had run to the hills against Corteeze instead of standing up and fighting.  How was a coward going to protect her?  Xena could understand this reasoning and again she felt responsible.  The slave girl continued to express how though she was only a slave she could still see and she could still hear life happening around her yet life for her was over.  It had been over for a very long time.
Xena could see that Gabrielle though drained within was still as sharp as ever and this gave her hope for if Gabrielle could still hear and see life she could still write about it as she always had in the alternate world.  Xena knew that she had to get her back.  She tried getting through to Gabrielle’s heart by touching on that fiery part of her that had always believed in goodness and fighting for it no matter what the price.  But this slave girl once again rejected her.  It was as if she didn’t care.  This was unlike the Gabrielle Xena had known.  Xena reminded the slave girl of all of the people who would suffer as a result of these three sworn enemies banning together.  This certainly would snap her out of this dismal depression, anger, and hatred for Gabrielle had always cared more for others than she had for herself.  Xena thought of the time Gabrielle had taken an arrow to save a child during a bloody war almost ending her life.  But even that part of her had been seemingly lost as she once again tried to reject Xena.  Gabrielle reminded Xena that she didn’t even really know her.  But Xena did not believe that.  Xena recanted by reminding Gabrielle that maybe she didn’t even know herself.
And then it happened.  Xena could see a tiny bit of fire reviving from within this slave girl.  It was that fire that she had always known and loved.  It was that little bit of passion for others that was still within this Gabrielle that Xena had tapped into.  She had finally talked Gabrielle into another escape attempt.  Xena’s plan wasn’t going to fail this time.  And so they carried out the plan as the slave rolled Xena out in a large wooden meat barrel.  She rolled her right into the middle of the action as all of the slaves continued to work and unload the delivery.  Then the slave girl was stopped  under suspicion as one of the guards approached to check the goods.  He took a mug and unplugged the cork at the bottom of the barrel waiting for the liquor to come out.
Gabrielle waited nervously realizing that if this stranger’s plan failed she would be back under the whip to be punished for another escape attempt.  All that she could remember was the wretched pain and agony of the whip across her fair skin.  She cringed for a moment for not a drop of alcohol came out of the barrel.  Just as he looked to the slave girl for an explanation Xena suddenly exploded from within the barrel stringing the culrpit up by some rope.  She fought off a few of the close guards swiftly with a few kicks and punches, but without a weapon.  Xena instructed Gabrielle to put out the burning fire as she prepared a little contraption for successful escape.  This contraption was a simple one for it was only a large board placed upon a barrel on its side.  As Gabrielle put out the flames with a broom Xena called to her for the burning broom, and as always Gabrielle learned quickly and adjusted well just as she had as Xena’s trusty sidekick in the reality of the warrior.
Xena quickly took the broom setting fire to the armor of her attackers.  They screamed with agony, but not a drop of blood had been shed.  She quickly barked out another instruction to Gabrielle telling her to jump upon the contraption that she had set up.  Gabrielle was confused as to what this was supposed to do to help her escape.  For a moment she questioned this strange woman’s actions, but jumped upon the board obediently.  And then Xena cried out with her signature battle cry and flipped upon the opposite end of the board launching Gabrielle into the air out the chimney into the back of the trader’s wagon that Xena had arrived on.  But for the plan to be finalized Xena had to make her own escape so she burned the rope of the man she had strung up as she jumped upon the board ready to fly.
Soon she was back with her friend taking Gabrielle to the free life she deserved.  Xena was certain that Gabrielle would thrive once all was repaired for Xena’s faith in Gabrielle was strong.  She had no doubts that the bard would live once again.  When they arrived back home to Amphipolis Xena had given Gabrielle her mother’s dress.  It would be a first step in restoring that pure soul that she had always known and loved.  And Xena would accomplish this without blood.  She had to succeed.  Gabrielle took the dress with uncertainty for she had not yet figured out why this strange woman seemed to care.  She explained to Xena that the one thing she had learned in life was that she could trust no one.  Xena explained to Gabrielle her reasons for fighting so hard to bring Gabrielle to freedom.  She explained that Gabrielle reminded her of a friend that she had always known.  Xena described to Gabrielle a beautiful pure soul who was full of stories, light, and of love.  Gabrielle then glared back at Xena, and coldly reminded her that she had better take another look because she was not that person.
Then Xena knew that this was serious.  She realized just how much damage had been done to the young girl from Podedia.  But Xena was determined to breath life back into that vibrant soul yet.  She would not give up.  Xena left Gabrielle to change.  When she entered the front Lycious was there to congratulate her for rescuing this slave girl.  He looked up to Xena for it, and because of her action in the name of goodness he was determined and ready to plan an attack on these warlords.  Lycious was ready and willing to give his life for this cause of goodness.  He was full of drive, excitement, and energy as he went onto explain to Xena his plan of attack.  Lycious wanted Xena to lead one of the fronts for he knew how skilled she was from their sparring practices.  But Xena did not want this for there had to be a way to live and do good without shedding blood.  Lycious did not understand this as he continued to explain his battle plan.
As Xena argued with him Gabrielle appeared before them.  She was polite and apologized for interrupting them.  Xena looked upon her friend in her new clothes, and realized that it truly was the same Gabrielle for Gabrielle had always been one to eavesdrop because of her great curiosity in wanting to know what was going on around her.  In fact, it was this habit of eavesdropping which had given Lycious valuable information regarding the seriousness of their current situation.  This was almost comforting because for the first time within this life she saw the light of Gabrielle beginning to shine a bit brighter.  How pure she looked with her hair brushed and all cleaned up.  Xena was pleased and so was her brother Lycious.  It could be described as love at first sight.  Xena saw a chemistry between her brother, and this slave girl that she could never have foreseen, but was not surprised by it.
As Lycious looked into Gabrielle’s eyes she looked back.  He too could see that light, and Xena knew that he could love her the way she had always loved her as a warrior.  Lycious offered Gabrielle a chair graciously.  For the first time in two years this slave girl felt like a real human being.  A small smile spread across her pure face as she accepted this man’s charming offer.  And then suddenly there was a knock at the door.  Gabrielle jumped up from her perch in fear for it was her only reflex.  But Lycious tried to put her fears at rest explaining that it was only Mufias.
When Lycious answered the door Mufias appeared, but so did the army of Mezentious.  Mufias had made a deal with Mezentious.  In exchange for the return of his slave girl the deal was that the triple alliance would not attack Amphipolis, but as always the evil warlord cannot be trusted.  Then Mufias was left behind as Lycious tried to pursuade Xena to fight with a sword in the hopes that they could save themselves and their new friend Gabrielle.  But Xena refused to take up arms once again, and the three of them found themselves in Mezentious’s dungeon locked away in cages.  Lycious was not happy with Xena’s choice not to draw blood.  In fact, he was disappointed in her for this wasn’t the way he had thought that his sister would go down.
Lycious tried desperately to free himself with his barillas token as he was cutting with it in the wrong direction.  Xena tried to help her brother explaining to him that he should cut against the grains, but Lycious was not amused.  He was angry at Xena’s choice, and he couldn’t understand why she had not chosen to stand up and fight.  Xena reminded Lycious that it had been Mufias that had betrayed them, but Lycious was not in agreement for he felt that Mufias’s actions had been for the best intentions although they had failed.  Then Xena realized that somehow she would have to explain herself for she couldn’t bare to lose her brother’s respect.  She tried desperately to explain in some way as she fumbled for the right words, and then out of frustration she found herself about to tell the true story.  But then she realized that he would never believe her so she had said that it had been fear.  But it was never about fear for Xena.  It was about releasing herself from the shame of her past blood lust in the life of the warrior.  She then realized that if she had told Lycious she would not fight because it would result in his death that he would have gladly died to change things for the better.  Xena was beginning to realize that this life was a losing battle.
And then as she thought about this she heard sobs of anguish coming from below.  They were the sobs of a defeated soul.  Gabrielle had never sobbed that way before.  It was a pain within her that Xena did not recognize.  She realized that this pain was her fault too for Gabrielle would never have been a slave if Xena had not made the choice to live a blood free life.  Gabrielle agreed that it was Xena’s fault for she would never have remembered what it had been like to be free if it hadn’t been for Xena.  Gabrielle confessed to Xena through empty eyes that she didn’t know whether to thank Xena or to hate Xena.  And then Gabrielle scoffed at Xena’s earlier reference to a great friendship.  But Xena could not hear that.  She would not allow Gabrielle to sell herself short.  Gabrielle felt worthless again, and Xena couldn’t bare that feeling illuminating from her friend.  Xena then confessed her deep love for Gabrielle passionately reminding Gabrielle that she was her friend.  But this slave girl remembered nothing.
Suddenly two warriors came in to take one of them to Mezentious.  They chose to take Lycious, and just when they were about to cut him down one warrior turned on the other.  There was a great duel and Xena took advantage of the situation.  She grabbed hold of a loose knife hurling it to the rope which restrained her from the ground.  With great accuracy she hit her mark as always and released herself from her binds in warrior style.  As she reached the ground she burst out ready to face the warrior left standing at the end of the sudden duel.  But this was not an enemy.  The warrior removed his shroud of mystery.  He had been Mufias.  Mufias had realized his mistake and was now ready to follow Xena and Lycious in their beliefs.
Gabrielle looked down upon her new friends with disbelief.  Just when things had looked bleak they had come through again.  Xena and Mufias quickly released the two remaining prisoners, and Lycious had forgiven Mufias restoring their kinship of family.  Then Mufias explained their plan of a quiet escape to Xena and Gabrielle only to find that Lycious had plans of his own.  He was going to take on the entire party of warriors because they would be surprised and unsuspecting of his arrival.  Lycious also had faith in Xena that she would stand up and fight for what she believed in.  And so they soon found themselves within an epic battle.  It was the single event which Xena had fought so hard to avoid, but it was obvious that avoiding battle was impossible.
Lycious had entered triumphantly knowing that he would win his sister over in a decision.  Just as he had made his stunning entrance Xena saved him from an oncoming pickax meant to take his life by catching it barehanded.  And then the fight was on.  However, Xena still did not pick up a sword.  She fought skillfully as she disarmed a warrior only to pass the weapon onto Mufias.  Lycious kept urging her to arm herself, but she refused knowing the consequences of holding a sword.  Xena had always said that when you pick up a sword you become a target.  She refused to put herself in that position for she knew that she would most certainly have to draw blood.  Xena battled on without blood until Lycious looked her into her soul between kicks and punches only to say that she should not fight destiny.  And then Xena took a moment to reflect in the heat of a bloodless battle.
It was as if everything was in slow motion for her as she saw the events which were unfolding in this bloodless world she had been living for the past few days.  She compared the good with the bad on both sides of the dinar, and then as she gazed across this great battle to crush the evil triple alliance she saw her worst nightmare unfolding.  It was Gabrielle.  The young innocent bard from Podedia had a new fire within her as if she had made a new discovery.  A sword had fallen to the ground before her.  She made the choice to pick it up, and in less than a split moment she had made herself a target for blood.
Suddenly from across the battle the warlord Mezentious caught sight of his slave girl defying him in battle as he charged forward to take her life.  His last words to her were unkind for she was just another prize from the spoils of war to him and nothing more.  The slave girl knew this and she didn’t care anymore.  She had the power now  for she held the sword.  And then she made her choice thrusting the sword through the chest of the warlord Mezentious.  Xena watched as her friend died before her not in body, but in spirit for she had chosen blood lust, hate, and evil as her savior rather than to embrace love and peace.  At that moment Xena realized that this was not Gabrielle.  It wasn’t the friend that she had always known for the blood, and the hate illuminated violently from those tarnished emerald eyes.  Now Xena knew it was truly too late for the slave girl Gabrielle.
And so Xena had made her choice.  She looked to Lycious who had passed her a sword.  And then she looked to him one last time to say a regretful good-bye knowing that he had to die in order for her friend to live, and for all who had been saved by the warrior princess to be restored once again.  The warrior could feel the presence of an approaching enemy from behind as she thrust her sword into his stomach.  The battle raged into the sound of another familiar voice warning her friend of the danger which lurked from behind as she whisped around with one graceful quick move knocking the attacker to the ground without one drop of blood.  Her attacker had been only a young boy, and as the other evil warriors fled the scene Xena warned this young boy that he had been given a second chance.  She demanded that he change his ways avoiding bloodshed for her sacrifice to him.  He agreed to do so in fear, and then he too fled from the wrath of Xena the warrior princess.
Gabrielle stood beside her friend watching the young boy flee with the others, and then suddenly Xena grabbed the bard embracing her friend tightly.  The bard did not understand what was wrong with her friend.  But Xena laid Gabrielle’s suspicions to rest by thanking her friend for being the light.  Gabrielle then inquired of Xena about going back into the temple to see the fates once more, but Xena refused.  Gabrielle then asked Xena  why she seemingly was not herself, but Xena replied by telling her sidekick that she was more herself now than ever.  And as the two best friends left the temple of the fates Xena asked Gabrielle if she thought that the fates truly had control over our fates in life, and the paths we must walk.  Gabrielle wasn’t so certain that the story of the fates and their power of destiny was truth, but then Xena sung to the bard her story of the warrior princess who never existed and of the slave who remembered nothing.

The Xena Scrolls #1: Sins of the Past : Volume #1

The Xena Scrolls 

Scroll  # 1:  Sins of the Past

July 2, 49 B.C.

 

     It was a warm day in Podedia when the bard awoke as she moved softly through the village.  It was a time for new beginnings.  For old allies to become new enemies and for new friendships to be born.  There was this tall dark woman roaming through the lands of Greece seemingly uncertain of who she really was or what life path she was to take.  This dark one was known as Xena the warrior princess.  It was said that she had a cruel heart and a violent horrific past.  Leading army after army into village after village only to leave them in total ruin and destruction.  She was known for looting small towns, and killing anyone who dared to defy her passion for rage.  That passion was said to be an evil passion among men throughout Greece. 

     Most feared her and if they did not fear the Warrior Princess they served her dark reign in the hopes that they would reap the riches that she took from many.  But this dark woman trusted no one.  Even those who appeared to be her greatest allies she did not see as friends.  They were only numbers to be controlled and power to take to the next level. 

      In the recent past word spread throughout Greece that Xena the warrior princess had had a run in with the great Hercules son of Zeus.  She defied Hercules and their confrontation was said to have ended in mercy.  It would seem that Hercules had seen something other than a cold-hearted war lord within this mighty warrior princess.  And thus this day in Potedia began.

     It was just as any other day in my small village.  Children playing on the farms, wives doing their daily chores of washing, cooking, cleaning, and caring for the brood loving their husbands faithfully while the husbands tended to their farms and shops.  Yet there was something about this day that was to change the face of world as I knew it.

     I had heard the great stories of this evil warrior princess and of the many other warlords that had terrorized the countryside.  Many travelers had often passed through Podedia and so my worldly education was satisfied.  And even though these wonderful travelers had stories of great pain and suffering there were always those that carried the stories of triumph and adventure.  Those were my most favorite stories to learn of.  They gave me a passion and I discovered my calling yet it was seemingly not a permissible lifestyle for a young maid such as myself.

     This was a frustrating thought knowing that all of this passion for storytelling would go no further than this small village of Potedia.  Who knew if I’d even be fortunate enough to tell my stories to travelers who might be able to pass them on,  But then again…what excitement is there to tell about a small village called Potedia?  What could the outside world possibly want to hear about us?

     All of my education meant nothing more to me than did my daily life in the fields helping my father or in the kitchen alongside my mother.  The only time I ever felt alive was when my sister Lila and I would sneak into the taverns late at night hoping to catch those weary yet exciting travelers.  Lila wasn’t as keen on going as I, but she always went. 

     And then late one night as Lila and I were enjoying the stories of one of the great travelers we heard word of a warlord planning to raid our village.  It wasn’t the great warrior princess that this traveler spoke of.  It was yet another dangerous kind.  His name was Draco.  It was said that Draco and his army were planning on sacking our village and taking all of the women to sell as slaves to others within the evil field of the warlord.  At that moment I came to a realization.  No matter what I had to stand up and fight.  I had to fight for my village, my life, my family, my friends, and for anything that I had ever loved.  The thought was scary at first yet I wasn’t going to let Draco and his approaching army take me for his cause of evil.  I had too much to live for to lay down for evil.  And so my mind was made up.

     Lila and I had a plan.  We decided to go through the village and warn every one of the danger which awaited us all.  Yet no one seemed interested in the cause.  They seemed even less willing to fight for what was important to them.  Everyone just brushed off the arrival of Draco and his army as a normal everyday event.  But it wasn’t.  People were afraid to fight.  They were afraid to protect themselves because of what they had heard about the pain and suffering of other villagers just like us.  The people of Potedia only hoped that Draco would spare them.  They were counting on bargaining with Draco.  Villagers had heard of warlords sparing others for a price, donation, or sacrifice if you would want to call it that.  It just didn’t seem fair.  And it didn’t seem right.

     Our village had been fortunate for several years.  We had had excellent luck and had been protected by the will of the Gods from these creatures of evil yet today it was different.  Draco’s army had moved in through the dense fog during the early hours of the morning.  It was just before sunrise.  He was calm and cool.  In fact he didn’t appear to be threatening at first.  Was it true that our village was going to be spared?  And then just a few hours later as the sun rose over the valley Draco’s army began rounding up all of the women of Potedia.  His army escorted us out of our homes and took us into the forest.

     They were going to use us as slaves and sell us to traders.  Draco’s men were rough and unkind.  Shoving the weak around, and beating the strong as they took us further away from home.  During the journey I kept thinking to myself that this couldn’t be.  How could the Gods we trusted have let this happen to us?  We had always done what we were asked in worship.  Potedia had a high respect for the Gods.  Wasn’t that what they wanted?  Or had we not done enough? 

     I thought about this all the while as mothers sobbed and young women wept for their husbands.  And then I knew that this great pain was only beginning for us.  For the moment I was with my sister, my mother, and my father, but once we were sold they would be gone.  We would all be slaves to evil.  Anger and fire began to burn inside me as I kept running the future over in my mind.  Things that seemed unimportant only hours before became very important.  My dreams were shattered and my life worth even less than what I had anticipated.  I couldn’t take the thoughts that were flooding through my soul and I couldn’t bare to feel the pain of my friends, and neighbors as we walked on.

     At that moment I had made a decision.  I had decided that I was going to stand up and fight once more.  What could I lose?  Even if no one else followed it wouldn’t matter because I knew that I would rather die a thousand deaths than to allow evil to take my soul.  And so as our group moved on I stopped.  I stopped moving forward and stood folding my arms as if I were a dissatisfied customer at the market.  And I was.  Others within our group began to follow stopping in defiance against Draco’s men who kept moving forward.  Then my sister Lila stopped beside me and asked me what I was doing.  Of course I knew exactly what I was doing.  Lila then beckoned me to keep moving for she feared that they would beat me for my defiant action.  She was trying to keep her voice quiet as she spoke to me, but I stood firm and I spoke loudly in response.  I wanted Draco’s men to hear me.  I wanted them to hear the people of Potedia.

     Speaking with great conviction and defiance of the warriors I tried to drive the rebel spirit into the others around me.  Then I stepped forward and demanded that the army take me if they were going to take anyone.  I demanded that they spare the others.  The warrior men didn’t agree to my offer and they began to shove me around.  Others in the group began to stand up and they too received the same treatment.  And then just as one of Draco’s men was about to raise his hand to me she appeared.  It was the dark woman.    My heart stopped as I was being restrained by the vagrant warriors.  It looked to be a confrontation between warlords.  Our lives were hanging in the balance at that moment and who knew which fate would be worse?

     And then it happened. The dark one who was unarmed and not in full armor took on the leader of Draco’s men.  She kicked him in the face once, twice, three times knocking him senseless.  And then she began to take on the rest of Draco’s men.  She took their spears from them knocking out two more.  She fought with a vengeance.  This woman was seemingly fighting for us, and so we began to fight back.  As we fought passionately for our freedom and for our lives Draco’s men began rounding up the women again including myself.  One of the evil warriors captured me, but my capture was short-lived for the dark one had soon picked up a broken spear and thrust it at my attacker.  I was now free from my restraints as I knocked him to the ground.  It felt good to be free again. 

     And as I gazed up to get a better look at this dark woman I saw another of Draco’s men knock her down from behind.  Then the leader of evil laughed for his victory was certain.  Now the warrior woman was surrounded by the remaining warriors, and just when it seemed that she had been defeated something extraordinary happened.  From underneath the earth she suddenly pulled two weapons.  One was a sword and the other a round thing known as the chakram.  And then she threw the chakram disarming all of the men surrounding her.  It was amazing the way that little round weapon glided through the air honing in on its targets all in one throw! 

      She leaped forward spinning around to face the leader of Draco’s men.  The warrior woman grinned with delight.  She fought off two more of Draco’s men with her sword and had finally reached the leader of Draco’s clan.  The leader shook in his boots for he now had to face this awesome woman warrior alone.  He thrust forward attacking her, but his attack was short-lived for with a single move she had disarmed him of his weapon into the tree above.  All was quiet for a single moment and then she laughed and declared that he must be from Draco’s army.  And then the warrior woman took her sword and ripped off the stripe of the leader.  He did not resist her for he was gripped with fear of this warrior woman.  Then she gave him a message revealing her identity.  She was Xena, the warrior princess!

     The small battle in the forest ended quickly with the lone warrior woman being the champion.  And what a rush it was!  Maybe she wasn’t so bad after all.  Maybe everything I had heard were stories and nothing more.  They always say that most great stories only hold a kernel of truth within them.  And even if the evil stories about her were truth I could see that there must be more beyond that.  She had given her life for us.  We were thankful.

     Xena had taken us back to the village and reunited us with our brothers, and fathers.  Husbands and wives rejoiced and yet with all of this wonderful energy the warrior woman seemed distant.  It was like having a celebrity such as Hercules in town, yet there was something different and mysterious about her.  Everyone knew Hercules, but no one really seemed to know Xena only her jaded reputation.  And then it dawned on me that this was my chance to have a real story to tell travelers.  I could tell them of the great heroism of Xena the Warrior Princess and how she was a changed soul.  Yet there was still one question.  Who had led the evil warrior princess onto a path fighting for the people rather than against them?  This I was going to have to find out.

     So I invited the great warrior princess to stay with us for a few days to rest before traveling on.  But the town’s people, and my father refused.  And so did Xena.  In fact she didn’t want anything to do with me.  She just kept brushing me off.  I tried to impress her with my education, but she knew what I was up to instantly.  She told me that I didn’t want to make her mad by trying to follow her, but with a little persistence I felt that I would make some sort of break through.  I wasn’t the kind to be put aside so easily.  Okay so I was only a lowly little bard from Potedia, but I was proud. 

     Later that day Lila and I spent a lot of time discussing the many possibilities for Xena’ s change of heart.  Lila thought that maybe the warrior princess was schizophrenic.  But I didn’t feel that way.  There was just something about her that I couldn’t put my quill on, but I had to find out.  And so I kept up with my persistence and I even decided at one point that I would take Xena’s suggestion.  I was going to travel with her.  I mean she was probably lonely and needed a companion.  All I could think of was the adventure and seeing everything that there is to see.  I wanted to meet the Gods, I wanted to meet the greats, philosophers and bards alike.  Heck maybe we could even go to Athens! 

     I couldn’t see straight in front of me.  My head was spinning with thoughts of the warrior princess.  And then at sunset Xena had returned to the our village briefly to prepare for her next destination.  In my father’s barn as she dressed herself with brass armor and sharpened her sword slipping into those leather boots she spoke of a meeting that she had just had with Draco.  She told me that he had spared our village only at the expense of turning south to attack her home village of Amphipolis.  The warrior princess was serious in tone and with a grim expression.  She was focused on her mission at hand.  The dark one had been summoned to her roots because she had saved mine.

     With this little bit of information I began to see just a little glimpse of this dark one.  It didn’t look as dark on the inside as some may have insisted.  My heart jumped with enthusiasm.  Not only could I travel with her I could show her the path of good.  It was my own little cause and with her there what could be lost?  Absolutely nothing and so I continued to persist in my suggestion of being her companion.  And again she turned me down.  As she jumped onto her great white horse she told me that she didn’t need anyone and that I wouldn’t want to go with her to where she was going.  And then she rode off.

     For a while I was stunned as she disappeared on the white horse in the distance of green hills.  I walked back to my home with such great disappointment as my high hopes had just busted into oblivion.  My thoughts were that she really did need me.  She just didn’t realize it yet.  Later that night as I was lying in bed in the darkness I decided that I was going to go after her.  So I quietly packed my sack with everything I expected I would need for my journey.  I knew once I met up with her I would have much to write about so I took some fresh scrolls and quills.

     Just as I was about to escape the dread of my little village Lila had awakened.  I couldn’t lie to her so I told the truth.  I spoke of my future and of my plans.  She needed to understand that my place couldn’t possibly be in the little village of Potedia for the rest of my life.  There was a much larger calling for me that I could feel strongly.  And I had especially been feeling this since the arrival of the warrior princess.  Although Lila was afraid for me and somewhat disapproving she was supportive of my decision.  She gave me a tight long hug as the tears rolled down both of our faces.  I loved my sister and family dearly, but I knew I had to go through with it all.

     The pain of leaving was greater than I wanted to deal with so I cut our good-bye short and exited through the quiet home and out into the darkness of the night.  It was a chilly early morning in late summer and there was a thin fog illuminated by the moonlight.  There was so much excitement within my spirit yet there was a tinge of fear.  I really had no idea where I should start.  Of course my education had included geography, but who knew that I would actually have to use it to travel to another village such as Amphipolis. 

      As the morning twilight began to fade into the sun rise I crossed over the last green hill that separated me from my past.  And then I could no longer see Potedia.  It was just me and the great forest.  I must have walked for many, many miles before I decided that I had better try to hitch a ride.  But on my way to the road to Amphipolis I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere for I found myself meeting up with this one-eyed blind Cyclops.  I didn’t know that they really existed, but as I had crossed over a bridge and reached the other side he captured me within his wooden cage.  At first I was struck with fear for the stories I had heard of Cyclops’s were that they enjoyed eating the flesh of humans.  I wasn’t about the allow myself to be this ugly giant’s breakfast.  So I did the only thing I could think of.  I told him I knew Xena the warrior princess.  Surely that would strike some fear into him.  But that didn’t work for she had been by earlier in the day and she had been the one who had blinded him in the first place.

     Just when it seemed I would be doomed I came up with another idea.  I swore to this giant ugly Cyclops that I was out to destroy the warrior princess.  That got him.  At first it was a little unbelievable to him, but I convinced him that she would never suspect such a youthful girl to be a sworn enemy to her so it would make it that much easier for me to get to her.  The fact that he was blinded helped my case for he couldn’t see how small I truly was compared to the warrior princess.  But he didn’t have to know that.  He demanded that I bring him back a leg of the warrior princess when I had finished my deed.  But who needs one leg when you can have them both?  Then he agreed to release me and upon my release he demanded more of the warrior princess, but I warned him that he was asking for a little too much.

     Luckily for me I knew that there was a main road somewhere near the village of Potedia so I headed in that general direction after my encounter with the dumb Cyclops.  Hours went by before a traveler passed and was kind enough to stop for me.  Of course I had to lie on the ground in the middle of the road to get some attention, but it worked.  The god Hermes had blessed me with this older fellow who was hauling some hay.  At first the old fellow wasn’t amused by my clever skill in getting his attention, but I pleaded with him.  In fact, I promised him a fresh steed for his services from my father Dolan of Amphipolis, and I promised to tell him some great stories.  I was going to tell him the story of Edipus King of Thieves which had been told to me by a great traveling bard once.  With a smile he helped me up onto his wagon although he has expressed to me that there were no horse dealers in Amphipolis.  Who knew he was a seasoned traveler?

     Things were already going very well.  I told so many stories, but most of them were my stories about the Gods or stories that weren’t my own.  And then after a while he asked me why I was going to Amphipolis and so I told him my great story of my encounter with the Warrior Princess. He couldn’t believe that she had agreed to a travel companion, but he didn’t have to know that the details had not been completely worked out.  In my heart I knew they would work themselves out.  Besides I was determined.

     Finally after many hours we came to my stop.  It was just five miles north of Amphipolis for we had to take a detour away from the army of Draco approaching the village.  The excitement was building within and as I said good-bye to the gentleman he wished me good fortune.  And then I was off on the last leg of my trip.  It took a long time to finally reach Amphipolis, but  when I finally arrived I knew just where to find the warrior princess.   Across the way I spotted her trusty white steed.  As I approached her horse there was a commotion just inside the tavern.  Deciding to investigate this little event I walked inside the tavern and all of the towns people were in a fury.

     They were furious with the one who had saved my village.  People cursed her and even her own mother had turned against the warrior princess.  They spoke of a great battle which Xena the warrior princess had led them into which had resulted in many village deaths years before.  At that moment I felt her pain and anguish although I didn’t fully understand it.  It seemed as if she had no one in the world.  Even Xena’s mother was angry at Xena.  All she wanted to do was to protect her people, family, and friends, but no one wanted to stand up and fight.  It was just like my village.  Xena was just like me.  Only I couldn’t figure out what had turned her to the darkness.  I had a few conjectures.  Maybe it was her failure to save all of the people in the last battle?  Or maybe it was something else.

     I kept listening and I stayed low.  After Xena’s mother had left Xena to the wolves Xena asked of her people to go ahead and fight her.  No one moved and not a word was spoken.  Xena then pulled her sword and asked the people of Amphipolis to take their revenge on an unarmed woman knowing that they feared her.  And then the towns people began to throw stones and other various objects at Xena.  She took all of it.  Every bit of anger, and hate that resided within that little village of Amphipolis she took.  There was seemingly so much sadness in her heart, but Xena was careful to stand strong.  It was as if she was taking responsibility for everything.  I couldn’t bare to watch this scene as they descended upon her.  She wasn’t going to save herself so that was when I stepped in.  I told every one of Xena’s real intentions.  I spoke of how she saved my village, and I scolded them for treating her with disrespect for her deeds.

     After convincing the villagers of Amphipolis to spare Xena’s life we were asked to leave.  Xena was bewildered by my actions, but I knew what I was doing.  I picked up her sword off of the table where she had surrendered it for her execution and returned it to her mighty hands.  It was quite a strange experience for it was the first time I had ever handled a sword.  She took it and lead the way out of the tavern.  I followed her with great pride for I was clearly in with her now.  But when we reached the outside of the tavern she jumped upon her white horse and was about to ride off again without me.  Now this couldn’t be right for I had just saved her life.  I suggested that I could jump upon the horse behind her, but she refused me once again.  So I played my final card.  I reminded her of what I had just done for her in the tavern.  I could see that it was not going to be easy to gain her trust.  That part of her legendary story was true.  But then for a moment she thought about my coming to her defense back in the tavern.  When I saw that look in her piercing blue eyes I knew I was in.  She reached down reluctantly and helped me upon her horse. 

     It was my first step in becoming her traveling companion.  I was excited to know where we were going to go next so I inquired of her.  She had said that we were going to go and visit her brother.  I couldn’t wait to meet him because if he was half as exciting and skilled as Xena then I knew we would get along and maybe we would have something in common.  He had to be better than Perdicas my betrothed back in Potedia.

       When we arrived at her brother’s I came to a sudden dark realization.  Her brother Lycious had been killed in the great battle at Amphipolis where it had all begun for Xena.  This explained why Xena’s mother had been so angry at Xena.  She must have blamed her daughter for the death of her son. At this dark lonely place Xena went inside to pay respects to Lycious.  For a moment I stayed outside with her horse, but I couldn’t resist knowing more.  I peaked quietly around the corner in an attempt not to disturb her.  Lycious’s tomb was beautiful and designed with much love from family and village friends.  Xena quietly approached his tomb as small tears began to trickle down the warrior’s cheeks.  What a contrast that was.  One wouldn’t visualize an evil warlord to have the ability to feel compassion.  Yet this warrior woman was feeling something.  There was light within her soul still after all of the horrible things that she had done in the days since the death of Lycious. 

     I was beginning to understand why all of the people of her village were angry at her.  They had blamed her for the deaths of their loved ones.  Even her mother was angry at her.  Again I could feel her pain and I knew that I had to make it known to her that she had someone.  She felt so alone.  She had to know that someone was there.  I approached her.  There was a great urge to console her, but I was afraid of what she might do.  I was afraid that she would reject me and I felt I needed her as much as she needed me.  She was still cold in response to my compassion for her, but there was light seeping through the cracks.

      Later that evening Draco came storming into Amphipolis with his army.  He made Xena an offer.  Xena refused it and she was defiant.  She challenged him to a duel.  It was to be a fight to the death.  This battle of two warlords took place on the heads of the villagers of Amphipolis.  It really was a peculiar location for a battle, but then again all great stories have this element of the impossible.  But believe me it was possible!  The battle was intense as Draco smashed Xena with his weapon.  Xena took a few shots, but delivered them back with the same caliber of force.  I felt the energy as I cheered my new friend on.  And after flipping and tumbling, jumping and leaping, the fight came to a standstill for a split moment.  Suddenly Xena delivered the final blow to her opponent the warlord Draco.  He fell backwards off of the townspeople’s heads and onto the floor in the middle of the crowd.  He was surrounded by the villagers of Amphipolis.  Just as he was knocked to the floor Xena maneuvered through the air gracefully flipping to the ground.  She held her weapon to him and had chosen to do the unthinkable.  She had decided that she would spare his life.

     As Draco rose from his defeat one of his men was about to pull a weapon on the merciful champion when Draco struck him down.  Though Draco was an evil warlord he showed his humanity by saving Xena and accepting his defeat.  It was as if he had a high respect for the one who had struck him down.  She had taken two villages away from him in the span of just two  days.  On a final word of this conflict it was made known to Draco that he was not to interfere in the affairs of the people of Amphipolis ever again.  Xena made it known that she would be there if he should ever try his fate again.  Maybe next time he wouldn’t be so lucky.

     After Draco’s exit Xena’s mother invited me to stay with her.  Xena didn’t seem to be too keen on the idea, but she didn’t have a choice because I had traveled all of this way and I wasn’t about to go back to little Potedia.  In fact, now I had two great tales of the warrior princess.  I wasn’t about to stop there.  I had to know more.  I had to do more.  Xena was the answer to all of my prayers to the Gods for a life of travel and adventure.  I was ready.

     Xena’s mother was kind and she seemed glad to hear that her child had done some good in the world by saving my village.  And of course I had to tell the story once again.  Everyone was going to hear about this kind-hearted warrior woman.  It was hope for all and it had to be spread throughout the countryside.  Yet Xena didn’t seem to carry much hope in her heart.  She just seemed more confused about her situation.  And she was still very secretive.  In the day or more that I spent in the village of Amphipolis Xena kept distant, but was tolerant of my presence.

     And so the next morning Xena was off again.  She was leaving her village with an uncertain destination.  I had to rush to catch up to her because I knew that she would try to leave me in the village hoping that she could get rid of someone who was seemingly a pest to the warrior woman.  But I knew I wasn’t anything of the sort.  I was a friend and probably her only friend at this point.  I followed Xena all day long until nightfall.  I was waiting for her to run into some more trouble so that I could prove to her that she really did need me and that I could be a great warrior too.  I just needed a little practice and education.  And though I had been following her all day she had known I was behind her all along because when I approached her camp I had to admit that I was an amateur at this traveling the high road business.

      She then insisted that I was going to be taken home to Potedia on the very next morning.  I refused her reminding her that I would just keep following her when she tried to leave me again.  I struggled to explain to my new friend of how I didn’t belong back there.  She didn’t understand what it was like to be different.  And just when I had expressed my disappointment in her rejecting my company once again she understood me.  She understood what it was like to be different and out-of-place for she too was different and out-of-place.  She had once been evil and now she had a new purpose in life.  Xena was just a little uncertain of what that new purpose was.

     And then I knew what it was that I must do.  I had to show Xena her light.  I had to show her what she was capable of and to show her what I could see within her.  Of course it was the least I could do for the one who had saved my life beyond the breath in my lungs.

     The very next morning Xena and I packed up camp.  We walked for a few miles and Xena warned me that we would be facing a lot of danger and trouble.  I told her that I expected that.  She then asked me why someone would want to follow her into all of that.  I told her that it was what friends do for each other.  And after  what seemed like a very long pause my anticipation was dissolved.  Xena the Warrior Princess grabbed my arm and helped me up onto her horse.  The strange thing about it was that even though I had traveled a great distance from Potedia stepping upon Xena’s horse felt like home.  I grabbed on tightly feeling great enthusiasm for I knew our journey together was going to be a special one.  And then as before it was a day for new beginnings.  It was  acquaintances beginning new friendships and for sins of the past to be forgiven.  And if not by the sinner by those who felt  great  compassion for her.

 

                                                            Gabrielle

                                                                                   The Bard of Potedia