The Xena Scrolls
By: Gabrielle Bard of Podedia
Scrolls #49: Destiny
September, 47 B.C.
3 months and 21 days since visiting Syra Callisto’s home. 3 months 13 days since Xena died at Mount Nestus.
We spend our lives trying to understand what our own true destinies will be. Wading through the waters of the unknown we find ourselves often confused and drained within our spirits. Though we do not consciously know our destinies there is always a part of us that holds the deepest truths within. This confusion of destiny and of what direction the warrior princess was to travel had haunted her. One day as she had found herself with Gabrielle near the place where Callisto was born. She had taken Gabrielle with her to the valley where the village of Syra had once existed. It was there that she had taken so many lives and tainted the spirit of one young girl. The bard could read her friend well. She could see how guilty Xena felt about the wrongs that had born upon Callisto’s most tragic loss of her family.
Gabrielle tried to comfort Xena. She explained that though Xena had been the cause to Callisto’s own destiny Xena had changed. Once a warrior of evil and of darkness, but now it was clear that Xena had turned toward light. Gabrielle was proud of her friend and to see the ongoing growth that had been taking place within her friend’s spirit since their first day of meeting. The bard was philosophical explaining that once Syra had been the location of great death and of awful destruction. But on this day it had healed and it now held vibrant beautiful life once again. Gabrielle knew that Xena’s soul could go through that same transformation for it had already begun on its journey. Two winters had gone by since Xena and Gabrielle had begun their travels together. Gabrielle was certain that they would share many more that way.
Then Xena spoke of how she needed to go down into the valley once more to confront the horrors of her past. She hoped that there she would find the answers she seeked about her own destiny. Gabrielle stood over the valley watching Xena disappear into the tranquility. She waited patiently for the warrior princess to return. Gabrielle hoped that Xena would find the answers that she so desperately seeked. The bard’s wait seemed endless. And then after many moments had passed Gabrielle found herself kidnapped by a group of strange men. They were almost not human and they did not speak the same language. These people were of strange custom for they took Gabrielle to a sight not far from the valley into the woods. There Gabrielle was tied to a relic which hung between two trees. She was tied alongside several young children.
The barbaric men prepared for a ceremony. It seemed to be one of a sacrifice. To whom they were sacrificing was not clear. Maybe it was Hades for their relics surrounding the camp were of skeleton remains hanging from all of the trees about the camp. In the center was a pile of wood, and rock. There it seemed that they would place their fire. As Gabrielle thought of how her situation would progress the warrior princess came storming into camp upon her trusty steed Argo. She flipped off of her horse in style and was holding Gabrielle’s staff which had been robbed from her earlier. Gabrielle watched as the warrior princess gracefully worked with the staff flipping it behind and over her shoulder then back around. Xena used the staff long and swiped it across the two barbarians which stood between her and the victims. Then she suddenly reached for her chakram and threw it cutting down every hanging relic and freeing all who were being held captive. It was amazing the way that the chakram had sailed in a circular path across the site and then returned after one throw to the hand of the warrior princess.
Xena then called out to Gabrielle and instructed the bard to catch her weapon. The warrior princess threw it across the battle to her sidekick. Gabrielle used her most familiar and effective move. She thrust the staff across grasping it firmly with both hands. It moved forward and knocked down one of the enemies in front of her. Then she used her favorite cross over move to rob the enemy of his balance. Quickly the battling bard acted and took the other victims rushing them away from the heart of the battle and onto safety. Xena stayed behind and continued on. There were at least ten more barbarians to deal with and to disable. She decided after fighting a handful of them that it would be better to finish the battle within a second location away from their relics.
She rejoined Gabrielle and the group only to urge the bard to keep moving. And so the bard ran further down the path and just out of reach of the battle. There she stopped to watch Xena finish the battle ready to step in just incase Xena needed her help. Xena fought without her weapons. She did her favorite running up the enemy’s chest move flipping and then kicking him to the face. Xena quickly flipped into a tree above and then back down to surprise three more of the barbarians. The warrior princess then finished off the rest of the group fighting in the center of a battle circle spinning quickly with agility as she punched and kicked through the lines.
As the battle neared its end one of the children from the group had stayed behind to watch Xena fight up close. The blue-eyed boy could not resist the power of the warrior princess. He emerged thinking that it was safe to rejoin his new found hero, but there was still a live barbarian ready to attack. The barbarian took his knife and cut a rope hanging from a tree. This released something deadly. It was a large log swinging down out of the trees toward the helpless child. Xena quickly acted and jumped in front of the young boy pushing him out of harm’s way. But then it was too late. The warrior princess was violently hit by the oncoming log which had gained momentum. It slammed into her body and pushed her across the woods into a tree where she was crushed between the trunk and the log.
The remaining barbarians quickly approached their victim and Gabrielle knew that it was now that Xena needed her help. Gabrielle entered into the battle slamming one of the barbarians from behind with her staff. The blow had knocked him unconscious. A second barbarian swung around behind the bard and jabbed her in the outer right thigh with his knife. The blow sunk into the muscle quickly bringing sharp pain and cramping. Gabrielle then took her staff and jabbed back as her leg gave out and she fell upon the injured warrior princess. The battle had finally ended, but Xena was in terrible shape. Gabrielle looked to her friend hoping that the damage had not been serious. Yet it was obvious with blood running out of her ears, nose, and mouth that Xena was on the verge of being taken by death.
Gabrielle touched Xena’s face trying to revive her friend. She called out to Xena whose eyes struggled to open. Xena was aware that Gabrielle was there by her side as she struggled to instruct her friend where she must go. Gabrielle was told that Xena had to be taken to Mount Nestus. As Gabrielle tried to remember the way she was certain that it was too far to be reached in time. With her injured leg Gabrielle knew that it would be nearly impossible to get her friend to Mount Nestus. But Xena insisted barely within consciousness. Gabrielle realized that she had to find a way to get Xena there. No matter the pain or the danger Gabrielle had to take her friend to that far away place. The bard whistled for Argo and then prepared a contraption using the relics and rubble from the barbarian camp. Gabrielle and Argo then began their journey to save Xena’s life.
Xena had also begun a journey of her own. It was a journey that would answer the question that she had been asking just before the battle against the barbarians. It had all begun back in Amphipolis with Cortese’s brutal attack upon Xena’s village. That day was one of many events that would shape Xena’s true destiny. After losing her brother and many friends within that battle Xena made conquest her goal. Yet it was conquest to protect her home rather than to conquer. Though the young warrior princess had known early that in conquering one would more effectively protect her home. The warrior princess had stolen and looted many villages along the way. Syra had been one of them and sadly Xena’s army had burned it to the ground within its passion for conquests. Certainly there were many riches to be gained, but there were also many enemies out there waiting to rob the young conqueror of her power.
After the events of Amphipolis and of Syra there was another day that connected Xena toward her destiny. It was the day that her army had sacked the village of Nexous. There they had obtained many riches yet they had also captured a soldier. At the time he was of no identity yet he was dressed well. His armor was flashy and his defiance was hardly possible to overlook. Xena’s soldier known as Tallus badgered the new captive for he felt the disrespect of the flashy soldier. The captive did not submit to the fear which Tallis tried to overpower him with. Instead the young soldier held onto defiance. His confidence was amazing and intriguing. He proclaimed to Tallus that his capture was merely a barbarian. This implied that Tallis was of less intelligence. Tallis found himself offended and rose his sword after a beating did not faze the captive. Just before he was to strike the captive Xena stepped in and saved the life of this most intriguing man.
He was of a different breed. She had never seen someone so confident and so sure of who he was. When asked why he did not even fear death the solider replied that he did not fear death for he knew what his true destiny would be. Xena was taken by this answer and so she asked him what his certain destiny was. And then the man revealed in a very forward manner that his destiny was to conquer the world. The young warrior princess found herself slightly amused by this answer. Then Xena explained to Tallus that they should not kill this soldier for he was a Roman nobleman and they could gain wealth from his capture. She was certain that this man would fetch at least 20,000 dinars. Suddenly the soldier intervened declaring that the Roman nobles would never believe that she had him within captivity if she asked for so little. This bold ego driven soldier suggested a price of at least five times more than what Xena had suggested. The warrior princess was again amused and sent Tallus off to be sure that the message sent would demand 100,000 dinars for this soldier’s release. Though she was still intrigued and asked of a name from the self-proclaimed conqueror. He then proudly spoke that his name was Caesar. Julius Caesar he repeated with more conviction this time. Xena shouted out to her comrades the name of the captive for the message.
Upon the next morning as she and her army set sail upon the seas. They began to go through the riches which they had obtained the day before upon attacking Nexous. One of Xena’s men opened a beautiful large chest and something emerged from it. It was not gold, or diamonds. This was a living person. It was a skilled warrior. The warrior was cloaked in disguise as he moved swiftly to take out his enemies. He did not carry a single weapon only the power to disable. His technique was to use pressure points. No one could stop his wrath as he took down fifteen of Xena’s men. He moved with speed, accuracy, and grace. Xena had even fallen victim when she tried to take out this magnificent warrior. The warrior princess was struck in the leg and unable to continue combat.
She watched as the warrior scaled to the top of the crow’s nest and just as the warrior swung onto the sails of the ship Xena threw two knives slicing through the fabric taking down the skilled warrior. Her men quickly took control of the warrior as Xena rose from resting her paralyzed leg. The warrior was then revealed to be a young woman. She was beautiful and not of Greek heritage. Caesar himself had been intrigued, but not impressed with her performance. Just as Xena’s men were about to take the young girl’s life Xena halted her execution. The girl pleaded for her life within her own language. Caesar spoke to her presuming that Xena’s heart would spare the life of the lighting speed warrior.
Xena was again impressed by the nobleman. He was highly intelligent and most definitely a future threat to her and her conquests. This man was more educated, but had yet to prove that his skills matched those of the warrior princess. She could see that both of these new captives could match her in a different way. Each had skills that Xena seeked to obtain for herself. The young Xena knew that she must learn from each of them their strengths. And so she asked Caesar to tell the girl that her life would be spared if she would in exchange teach the warrior princess how to use the pressure points in battle. Smoothly he spoke to the slave girl and then the girl spoke back agreeing to exchange her warrior skills for her life.
The girl was then escorted down into Xena’s cabin below awaiting a visit from the warrior princess. As the crowd of men dispersed from the deck Xena again spoke with Caesar for she was still very intrigued with his certainty of knowing his destiny. As they conversed he spoke to Xena with more knowledge. He gave her more insight explaining how he had figured out the origins of the young warrior girl. Caesar said that she was from the provinces of western Gaul. He declared that there were three provinces in Gaul and that she spoke the Gaelic from the western province. Caesar also revealed that the girl had probably originally been a stowaway from the land of the pharaohs for her light brown complexion gave away her birth place. Rome was known for capturing people from the northern lands of Egypt to sell into slavery back in his own land.
Xena realized that indeed this Caesar had his entire life laid out before him. Every detail had been mapped out within his intricate mind. She was slightly jealous that someone could have that kind of greatness and power despite being a captive. It was in that moment that Xena decided that she would get involved with Caesar. Slyly she proclaimed that his next destiny of the moment would be to dine with her in her cabin later in the evening. It was a lustful invitation as Caesar was freed from his binds. And then she left him to contemplate her sinful beauty for it was clear that the young Xena enjoyed the sport of playing with a man’s heart. It was a new challenge and a new conquest different from the ones she had always engaged in before.
Xena then went down to her cabin to learn from the warrior girl. When she entered into her cabin Xena noticed that the girl was working to free herself and escape the chains of captivity. It was obvious that she had done this many times before. The girl had escaped slavery and been running from it her entire life. Xena walked in so that the girl could see that she was present and watching the girl’s every move. This slave girl expected punishment for all slaves were punished for attempting to escape. But Xena was different. She could see that the young girl was much more valuable as an ally fighting alongside her rather than in slavery. Xena approached her fearful subject and then asked her softly to show her how to kill using the pressure points. The girl showed Xena in silence, but spoke within her eyes. She did not really want to show the warrior princess the power of pressure points. Xena demanded that she show her upon her own neck for it was that point that could kill the enemy. The pressure points in the legs and arms could only disable. Xena wanted to bring fear into her enemies for they would be less likely to challenge someone they feared. She had learned that from Cortese.
And so the slave girl did as she had been asked. Reluctantly she quickly put the move of death upon Xena. Xena was upset for her subject had done the move much too fast and she could not learn it if she could not truly see and feel it. The young warrior princess asked her subject to take the move off and do it slower so that she could learn. As Xena suffered her subject watched her suffer and did not move to release her. It was as if the slave girl was irritated that Xena had wanted to kill rather than to defend. Xena could see as her pain within grew that this girl contemplated taking her life for her decision. Yet in the last moment the young girl took off the pressure and released Xena from death’s grip.
The warrior princess breathed heavily clutching her throat with relief. She was disgusted with her subject for her clever joke. And so Xena asked the subject to show her again, but this time on herself. The young girl took Xena’s hand’s and placed her fingers upon the veins that would be shut down. Quickly she pushed Xena’s fingers into the grooves of the neck and turned the pressure onto herself. The feeling was a strange one yet Xena immediately felt the rush of power that it gave her. She backed away from her subject and watched gleefully as the slave girl suffered and her fear rose. Xena then contemplated allowing this girl to die for she had played such a cruel joke moments before. Yet at the last moment Xena too decided that she would have mercy upon her subject. She released the slave girl from death and declared that she too could play jokes. That moment led to a most wonderful and loyal friendship between two young women though Xena had never known what the slave’s true name had been. Xena had given her slave freedom, and her slave had given Xena the power to deliver fear. It was an ironic twist.
Later that night Caesar finally came down into Xena’s cabin to exchange lustful excitement and passions with a young warrior princess. He was intrigued by her looks for she was beautiful yet barbaric. Xena was just the kind of person that Caesar felt he could never ally with. Barbarians were the uncivilized beasts that he had to control and to conquer. He had to add their lands to his own in order to build the ultimate empire for Rome. Yet Caesar complemented Xena for the red dress she had stolen from another raid during her many conquests. He realized that it was the only way that a barbarian would be able to obtain any kind of wealth or power. It was unfortunate, but Caesar was not sympathetic.
Then Xena knew for certain that she wanted to ally with Caesar. She offered him the opportunity to be a part of her army. Xena dreamed of a conquest with Caesar for if she were united with his intelligence, charisma, and charm she and the people of Amphipolis would always be safe. Caesar found her reasons for conquest interesting at best. Her passions came from within her heart and all that she had done was to protect those that she loved with a few laughs along the way. It was a reckless existence he thought, but then he was asked of his driving force. Caesar then explained to Xena his desire to be great. When Xena asked him what made a person great he explained that it was only achieved by a chosen few. He knew for certain that he was to be great for it was part of his destiny.
Caesar’s confidence was dangerous, but it was what attracted the young warrior princess to him most. The two shared in a passionate affair together for several months while Xena and her sailing army awaited payment from Rome for Caesar’s return. And then one day their passions were separated for Rome came to retrieve its prize general. As Caesar bade his farewells to Xena she asked him to promise that he would return to her. Caesar promised his lover that he would indeed return to her in time. As Xena watched her love leave her behind her heart-felt the pangs of separation. Just as Ceasar left the shores to return to Rome he saluted his loving partner with an honorable Roman salute. And then the warrior princess was certain that she would indeed see her friend again.
Many seasons went by as the ebb and flow of life for the warrior princess and her army continued on. They continued their lustful conquests conquering Syra along the way and many other helpless villages. And after each conquest she and her army would return to sea sailing within the tranquility of Poseidson’s ocean. And then the day finally came when Xena’s separation was no more for her love had returned to her as promised. The young warrior princess’s heart leapt with joy for she would be with Caesar once again. Her aimless life of conquering others was seemingly over for she would be a part of something that would build an empire. It was in the night that Caesar returned. Xena and her young warrior friend stood upon the bow of the ship as Xena watched him returning to her. Her excitement clouded her mind as her friend warned her of Caesar’s true intentions. Yet Xena was certain that Caesar would never go against her for they were in love.
Finally Caesar’s great ship docked with Xena’s and the two found themselves face to face once again. The moment was silent and long for neither moved toward the other. There was almost a slight tension in the air as one of Xena’s men drew his sword. But Xena insisted that Caesar was indeed their friend. Then slowly the two approached one another as all watched their reunion. Xena’s heart felt a powerful love within it. She had so much to give and so much to do for her lover. There was total admiration and she was prepared to sacrifice for him. When they finally approached they looked into each other’s eyes and prepared to share in a passionate kiss. Caesar gently moved for his lover and then as their lips were about to touch he drew his dagger and took Xena into his custody. He ordered his men to fire upon Xena’s army and to kill them all. This battle of betrayal ended quickly for without Xena’s leadership her army was helpless against the powerful Romans.
As Caesar prepared to take Xena and her army away he had not been able to find the young slave girl. When he asked Xena of her loyal friend she declared that her friend had betrayed her and she had been killed. It was a punishment fit for the crime and Xena’s heart was now broken for she had been betrayed by her passionate lover. Caesar did admit that he indeed had feelings for the warrior princess during their affair before, but his feelings were stronger for Rome. His love for Rome outweighed his lust for the warrior princess.
As Xena’s dreams revisited her earliest past Gabrielle and Argo had finally reached the Strymon river, but Gabrielle did not know where to go beyond there. She was uncertain if Mount Nestus was north or south of the Strymon. The bard desperately tried to bring her friend to consciousness long enough to find out which direction they must travel. It was clear that Xena was delirious. Gabrielle was also finding herself tired and weary for her injured leg was slowing them down. Despite the pain and the exhaustion Gabrielle finally continued on north of the Strymon with Argo leading the way.
Of course Xena’s dream had not ended. On the morning following Xena’s capture she and her army were taken to the same beaches where she and Caesar had parted before. Caesar had prepared 135 crosses to kill every last man within Xena’s army. They were all tied and ready to be escorted to their deaths. As Caesar admired his work alongside his officer Brutus he explained to him that in order to defeat a woman such as Xena one had to divide her passions from her senses. He called this technique divide and conquer. He had taken Xena’s heart and separated it from her mind leaving the young warrior princess helpless against his wrath.
Then he approached Xena as she was strung up to her cross and sent into the air to suffer. She suffered inside and now he was going to kill her. So wounded now Xena wanted to die for if love wasn’t real then life wasn’t worth living. Caesar then gave the order to break her legs for it would be the fate of all who had conquered alongside Xena. The Roman soldiers sent the mallet crashing into Xena’s legs disabling then forever and robbing her of all that she had ever been given in life. Her pain was so great that her soul became numb. And once each man’s legs were broken Caesar and his men left them all to die.
Yet there was a force of goodness left for late into the night Xena’ s loyal friend broke into camp and took out the few Roman guards left behind by Caesar’s army. She did not kill them for her power was never used in that way. The young girl then freed Xena from her binds and certain death for a second time and took the weakened warrior princess to the top of Mount Nestus. There Xena was greeted with kindness by a healer named Niklio. Nicklio quickly went to work on the injured woman for her legs had been shattered. The skilled healer reset the broken bone fragments as he spoke the name of the slave girl upon his lips. For the first time Xena knew who her loving friend was. Her name was M’Lila and though Xena was torn apart inside her hope was restored for a moment. Her loyal friend had been the truth of love while Ceasar had been the betraying love. For several days Xena was cared for by Nicklio and M’Lila as Caesar’s men searched for the escape barbarian.
Nicklio found himself impressed by Xena’s ability to heal for her body was gaining strength faster than he had anticipated. His healing techniques were in using special needles to bring the feeling back to the damaged limbs and feet. As Xena’s body was healing so too was her heart for M’Lila was there to love the broken warrior. M’Lila stayed by Xena’ s side as the warrior princess recuperated and though they did not speak the same language their loyalty and love for one another held their souls together. Yet even love alone could not defeat the darkness of conquest for it came back to haunt the warrior princess.
Just before she was to return to full strength Caesar’s Roman guard had found her. They burst into the home of Nicklio and began their wrath of destruction. Nicklio was knocked unconscious as the Roman’s prepared to take Xena’s life. One of them held a small cross-bow and aimed for the warrior princess. But M’Lila’s loyalty was so great for her friend that she sacrificed her own life for that of the warrior princess. Xena held her friend in her arms as M’Lila passed onto the world beyond leaving Xena behind. Upon the death of goodness came the birth of hatred.
Xena the warrior princess then fought with vengeance against the intruding Roman soldiers. She killed them all without mercy and gave the last man a signature death using the moves taught to her by the deceased M’Lila. As the last Roman solider perished within his last 30 seconds Xena declared the birth of her own darkness with a new purpose in life. It’s purpose would be the total destruction of the world for it held nothing, but darkness.
Finally, Gabrielle and Argo had reached the top of Mount Nestus. It was late in the night and cold. Snow fell upon the ground softly as the bard collapsed with exhaustion and physical pain. She could barely move when Argo continued on pulling the body of the warrior princess forward toward the healing house. Gabrielle rose from her anguish and continued forward finally reaching Nicklio’s door. She desperately knocked hoping that someone would answer her cries for help.
The door finally opened and it was Nicklio. He recognized the warrior princess and knelt down to observe her state of health. Gabrielle could only beg and plead with him for it was obvious that Xena was indeed in bad shape. The bard knew that her friend was close to death despite her own hypothermic illness. Nicklio quickly brought the body of the warrior princess inside who was barely breathing. Gabrielle continued to plead with Nicklio to do something for her friend. But Nicklio refused to do anything for Xena for it was only Gabrielle that he could tend to now. And as Nicklio aided the bard in repairing her injured leg and restoring her body temperature to normal Gabrielle watched her friend. Her nerves would not allow her to sit still and her heart could not stop feeling the need to help Xena.
Finally Gabrielle was able to return to Xena’s side. Nicklio knew that Xena was going to die, but Gabrielle had not yet accepted this fate for her friend. She could not accept that Xena would leave her behind alone. Gabrielle for the first time was feeling very lost inside. A part of her was seemingly separating itself. As the desperate bard tried to revive her friend she begged for Xena to wake up again, but the lifeless warrior princess was now gone. She demanded that Nicklio do something, but he looked to the bard regretfully unable to rescue her from her pain. Gabrielle sobbed uncontrollably unable to regain composure. She cried on by Xena’s side for hours waiting, but Xena had already gone.