The Xena Scrolls
Scroll #38 : A Day In The Life of
By: Gabrielle Bard of Podedia
March, 47 B.C.
It has recently been brought to my attention that waking up alongside Xena the Warrior princess must be described to all who dare inquire about a day in the life of. The first step to a day is often treacherous and sometimes deadly. In waking up on this day there were no exceptions for Xena and I were awakened by an attack of some henchmen sent by the warlord Zagrious. The battle began with only two as Xena sprung out of sleep into action sending lightning speed punches and thunderous kicks at the two intruders whom had entered our small camp. They had caught Xena somewhat off guard being that she had been in slumber, but the Warrior Princess is never sleeping as soundly as some might hope for. Knocking one henchmen down, and then another she grabbed the nearest weapon she could find. It was our only frying pan.
She smacked a third in the face and went choe-boe to pot with a fourth man. But even he was no match for the agile warrior princess. Six more henchmen descended upon us from the surrounding woods and Xena decided that it was time for a wake up call. Flipping through the air she gave her signature battle cry and landed squarely on my leather water bottle. Water shot out like an arrow from a cross-bow rudely awakening me from my slumber. Suddenly anger broiled from within for the action of the Warrior Princess, but there was no time to argue about her method of waking up. There was a battle to join.
Surrounded on all sides I reached for my old friend the trusty staff. Then I delivered one blow and then a second knocking two of the henchmen flat on the ground. As I rose up to my feet from the knees Xena could see that I was clearly out numbered so she quickly resorted to flinging the frying pan at them like a chackram. It flew through the air with almost the same grace, but not the same sharpness as the chackram. The frying pan wobbled through the air bouncing off the heads of one, then two, and knocking out three men with just one thrust. As it continued on its course it was haulted violently by a tree so it could not make its return home as did its predicessor the chackram. As the frying pan dropped to the ground Xena spun around behind her to take care of the man who was about to jump upon his feet to continue the battle. She gave him the pinch with just one unified motion as the words began to fly.
Not only had she disturbed my slumber, but she had destroyed the only means of cooking that was left. In fact, just the week before she had thrown our only cutting knife at yet another of the many warloards out to destroy her. To Xena anything was a useable weapon and nothing was sacred. No object organic or inorganic was safe from her wrath of destruction. Now that the battle was seemingly over and Xena was in control all I could do was pick up what was left of my bent frying pan. This was the last quill. After all of my recent sacrifices to the warrior princess and this was how she respected me. My next move was to argue and to express my anger over my loss. This diverted Xena’s attention from the final moments of battle. Our squabble over cooking utensils led to a forgotten prisnor on the ground who was losing life fast as the blood flow to his brain was quickly thinning out. The man struggled to interrupt our squabble reminding Xena that she had intended to interrogate him. The pinch interrogation is the most quick and efficient way for Xena to find out vital details reguarding the enemy at hand. It is the standard method and most preferred by the warrior princess. Although it doesn’t seem all that humane I will admit that it is much less painful than other well-known forms of torture such as having burning splinters shoved under one’s fingers so eloquently described by a tramp I once met.
As was demonstrated on this morning waking up is not always pleasant in the company of the warrior princess; however, finding your way is entirely another challenge. Based on the information of the interrogation Xena and I knew little of the location that we seeked. On this particular day the goal was to find the village of Piedmont. It was the village that the warlord Zagrious was planning to loot. The only problem was that no one thought to ask for directions during the standard interrogation process so we were at a loss. Xena had never been to this part of the countryside which was actually quite surprising since the warrior princess seemed to always have the answers to everything on any other day or in any other situation. Yet who could think to complain for this scenario was quite normal. As for me I was still irritated about the loss of my only good frying pan. I decided that it was time to stick it to the warrior princess, and then it happened.
As I challenged the warrior princess on her mistake in gathering information Xena suggested that the next time she pinched someone for information that I should ask the quesitons. She then stated that I often asked good questions. Now there was shock for a moment. Xena was actually complementing me for once. This emotion quickly led to excitement. Suddenly I was feeling confident in myself about asking quesitons. And then it happened. Oppritunity soon came running just over the hill down the path. A heavy-set, blond haired, blue eyed village man was moving into our direction. He was waiving his arms and calling out in desparation. This was my chance to try my hand at the pinch interrogation. He was going to give us the information we seeked. Yet the warrior princess suggested that maybe this man didn’t need to be pinched prior to an interrogation. Just as I was feeling my moment of glory she smacked it down yet again.
Upon his arrival the man was stunned by the presence of the warrior princess. One would have thought that she was like the Goddess Aphrodite, or Athena, or someone of that status, but it was only Xena. No one special really. But Hower was dumbstruck. He informed Xena and I of the giant known as Gareth. Apparently Gareth was threatening to stomp their village to sticks if they didn’t pay him what he had asked. There was only one problem. This scencario created a delemma for Xena and I.
Making a decision isn’t always easy when so much is at stake like in this case. Saving Piedmont or taking out the giant no one could decide really. There was only one solution to this problem. There were the two villages Laurel and Piedmont. Each had its own uniquely dire situation. One was dealing with a gaint while the other a warlord. To me it would be quite a contest of decision. In sizing up the situation I took out some fresh srcolls and began to make my list of the pros and cons. There could not be a better method in coming to a fair decision. And no sooner had I begun my list did the warrior princess whip out a dinar flipping it through the air. She seemingly ignored my hard work, and had come to her own conclusion with just one simple action. The fates stated heads we were to take on the giant.
Of course this was not an acceptable means of decision making in my opinion, but it is sometimes difficult to argue successfully against the warrior princess. Not only that, but once again Xena had demonstrated her lack of confidence in my abilities as a sidekick. There was only one thing left to do. Continue the arguement about the frying pan because after all it wasn’t a suitable choice of weaponry. Without a good frying pan to cook that fish Xena liked to eat so much there would be only raw fish to sooth the beast with in my stomach now. Maybe the lovesick Hower had a spare pan back in his village.
Now in traveling to Laurel there had to be a way to pass the time. One of the daily travel games Xena and I like to play is warlords and victims. It always begins with my interrogation of Xena. The first rule to the game is process of elimination. One must find out if the warlord is male or female, and in our case living or dead. This all stems from our travels together of course. Xena naunchelanltely answered my first two questions easily. We had a male dead warlord. In fact, Xena stated that this particular warlord was “very dead.” One would think that this game would be simple, but nothing is ever simple with the warrior princess.
Yet I had thought of the perfect question. I wanted to know if the warlord we were talking about had been killed by a certain warrior princess. Xena answered gleefully as if she were hiding the ultimate secret and riddle. Her answer to my quesiton was of course a yes which for a moment led to personal excitement. I knew of every warlord that Xena had ever killed. At least within our travels together. I was betting that Xena would not cheat and go outside the rules of the game. She would never name someone that she had killed prior to meeting me. It wouldn’t be a fair game and I would have to complain. Xena hates it when I complain. This is why I kept complaining about our current lack of a frying pan. Yet there was a bright side to the day. The weather was completely beautiful. It couldn’t have been more perfect with the sun shining warmly on our exposed legs and arms. Usually it gets cold a lot in traveling with the warrior princess. Yet this moment of peace and tranquility quickly passed.
For a moment I tried to calm myself with the peace and serenity of mother nature as we traveled through the forrest onto Laurel. I got lost in the moment, but only briefly for I was reminded of the presence of the lovesick Hower who was constantly turning back around in awe of the warrior princess. He seemingly couldn’t get enough glances back at her. Suddenly it occurred to me how I could get back at the warrior princess. She would never expect my next move. Suddenly I turned to the warrior princess spinning around with my staff in an attempt to knock her flat on the ground. Effortlessly she stopped my staff dead in its motion with only one hand. The look on her face was priceless for she did not even blink one of her blue eyes. She just held my staff steady with that smirk on her face that turns me ridged.
This only frustrated me more yet I was certain that if I had been just a moment quicker in my motion that the warrior princess would have been on the ground. I would have been laughing joyfully at my triumph over her. Yet she insisted that I hadn’t even been close. She wouldn’t begin to give me the satisfaction of almost knocking her flat onto the ground with my staff. I was of course defiant of her confidence in her warrior abilities. Yet Xena was more defiant of my fire against her on this day. It was a battle of wills now. I was determined to win it. The stakes were suddenly raised. Xena looked into my eyes as if she were going to give away something within our little warlord game, but again I was rudely interrupted as the warrior princess brushed me aside and consulted with Hower for more information about the giant Gareth.
Hower had said that Gareth’s actual size was unknown to his village people. In fact, their only evidence of his existance was the fact that he had constantly been sending them threats. The stomping of Laurel was the consequence if they did not comply with his demands. It was at this moment that it dawned on me to ask another question. I wanted to know why Hower and the people of Laurel were so certain that this Gareth was a giant. To me Gareth sounded like another Zagrious with only a slightly better plan of attack. It was genious like the warrior princess to state that a giant was coming to stomp the village if it didn’t supply the army with goods and services. Yet Hower went on to explain that he and his village friends had seen the destruction of neighboring villages in the next valley who had not complied with Gareth’s wishes. In my own mind I visualized what a village might have looked like destroyed by a warlord versus one destroyed by a giant. It seemed to me that the two villans would leave little behind their wraths. Of course a giant might flatten a village whereas a warlord might burn it to the ground.
Xena seemed convinced that there was a giant for she then wanted to know if Gareth had ever been to his village. Hower replied that Gareth had never actually been there which led Xena to a new strategy. Watching her mind work like that is often fascinating, but I can never let her know about that. Her head is already way too big. Suddenly there was a loud grumbling from the pit of the warrior’s stomach. This was my chance to hound her about her mistake in chosing to use the frying pan as a weapon instead of a cooking utensil. I wanted to burst with laughter, but Xena held it off when she reminded me that she hadn’t had breakfast. Of course no one had had the pleasure of a good morning meal. I held my tongue, but only because I was just as hungry. The warrior princess might use this against me if I pressured her any further with the frying pan issue at this moment.
Xena then asked Hower if there was water nearby. She was planning on having fish for lunch. Now this was a laugh and I couldn’t resist it any longer. I decided that I didn’t care if I didn’t get to eat. I wanted blood and vengence for even if Xena did catch enough fish to eat it would all be raw and not cooked. Again I needled the warrior princess about this issue. Xena only responded with disgust and frustration. She couldn’t control the beast with in that pressed me to argue about the old trusty frying pan. Me without my frying pan is like Xena without Argo. No one was truely happy. We were all tired, hungry, and ready for action. Except for Hower of course. He was happy as a piece of flying parchment.
Briefly I decided to try to forget about the frying pan as we headed for the creek. It wasn’t a long journey to get there and I was glad to get off of my feet for a bit. Xena loved to fish. Maybe that was her way of dealing with being hungry. Somehow it seemed to sooth her. Those slimy creatures slivering through her hands somehow gave her solace. In fact, a sword in her hand gives her solace. As for me I started back in my thoughts of our game from earlier. I was hoping that would get my mind off of the pain in my stomach. My next question to the warrior princess was if this was a warlord or royalty we were talking about. Xena answered while tying her hair back for the kill. She said that it was a warlord which was suddenly quite puzzling. It was a victim obviously, but most victims are not warlords. Yet it did make sense for Xena kills warlords sometimes.
I was truely stumped as I tried to piece all of these little bits of information together. None of it made sense yet it all fit together somehow. As I was falling within the depths of my memory Hower returned from his short walk. I wasn’t really certain where he had gone off to, but he interrupted my thoughts asking why Xena didn’t use a fishing pole. Most people don’t understand the tequnique of the warrior princess. As I sat there and stared at the warrior princess standing in the creek I found it quite barbaric to sit there and watch her leaning over into the water. She would seemingly listen for the fish underneath the muddy waters. It was like eavesdropping on nature. Suddenly I had a new source of pain for her. I would distract her from hearing the fish so that she wouldn’t be able to capture lunch with out a fishing pole. In my opinion she was just showing off for Hower. Yet who knew why. He wasn’t all that attractive.. Hower had a more humble look about him unlike the warrior princess full of fire and rage.
My next question to Xena as I laughed at Hower’s inquiries was if the warlord was Dagnon. Xena responded barely divided from her fishing stating that Dagnon was not the answer. She was barely listening to me and suddenly she ignored me realizing what I was trying to do. Xena loudly responded to Hower asking him if he wanted trout or perch. Hower responded back greatly impressed with the skills of the warrior princess. I decided to prove that she wasn’t capable of wining every battle. My answer to the warrior princess ignoring me was in asking for salmon. There was no way that she would be able to produce a salmon from that creek.
Xena called me knowing that salmon were out of season and that this creek was not capable of supporting salmon. She had beaten my wit again. Now this was getting really serious. I decided to go for the kill. She would never capture an eel out of that creek. Xena’s response was candid yet irritated. She read me like a scroll, but I had won this battle as I triumphantly smiled and nodded to Hower who was seemingly enjoying our little squabble. He probably thought Xena was cute or something. I don’t view the warrior princess as cute. Anyone who has ever dared to do that has ended up on the ground or worse. Yet triumph was interrupted by Xena’s next statement. She had seemingly observed some wagon tracks just on the other side of the creek leading toward Piedmont. This meant that Zagrious and his army would soon strike there. It was a shame that Piedmont was going to have to suffer the wrath of Zagrious and all because of a dinar toss. I would have personally decided upon saving Piedmont rather than Laural for I was still not convinced that the giant Gareth even existed.
Xena responded to my arguement of her dinar toss explaining that she was not going to allow the destruction of Piedmont. The warrior princess was often too full of pride to even realize that even she could be wrong sometimes. I argued with her that there was no possible way that she could be in two places on the same day at the same time. Xena continued to listen for the fish as she responded saying that she didn’t have to be in two places at once. It didn’t make sense. I couldn’t figure out her angle. In life and in sport Xena is always a tightly woven mystery. Yet that is what makes the warrior princess so fascinating. Just as I was thinking about this for a moment Xena suddenly moved into the water with her powerful arms. She struggled with what seemed to be a dangerous beast below the surface. It was definately not a trout or a perch. Suddenly Xena shouted that eel was coming out of the water and lunch was about to be ready.
Water splashed violently as Xena had yanked the long slithery black beast out of the water. She struggled with it for a few moments trying not to allow it to escape. Just when it seemed she would lose the battle against the eel it came flying in my direction slapping up across my face slithering down into my lap. It was slimy and slippery. The beast sqirmed violently across my exsposed legs as I tried desparately to free myself of its grasp. It screetched loudly as I struggled to my feet grasping the slime in my hands and finally releasing it into the tall weeds along the bank. Xena just grinned with that silly triumphant smile. It was actually more like a goofy childish smirk. Then she leaned back down to listen to the fish in the water once more. I was humiliated in front of a guest companion and I didn’t like it too much. There had to be a way to beat her at her own game. It was just a matter of figuring it out.
Hower quickly chimed in softly and with his soothing voice. He tried to settle me down into a change of conversation. Hower asked me if Xena might be interested in settling down and getting married someday. I knew I was going to have to try to let Hower down gently for Xena would never settle down. She was too wild and barbaric for that. Somehow Hower seemed to find it attractive that she was throwing our lunch in my face. I tried to keep my pride as I kept talking through the fish smacking up against my face. With each fish it seemed they were larger than the previous fish. Each bash was more harsh that the previous slap. It was as if Xena were kicking me while I was down. Again I tried to keep my composure and ignore her childish games, but she would not be ignored. At least not by me.
I decided to surrender for the moment as I asked Hower to go fetch some firewood for our lunch. He gleefully went off to fetch wood for Xena’s lunch as I loudly reminded everyone that we were going to have to find some way to try to cook these raw slimy fish. As Hower left to seek fire brush Xena proudly sat down up against the tree next to me all wet, smelly, and sweaty. She was a big nasty fish and could not have smelled worse. The warrior princess obviously didn’t have time to take a bath after her catch. I of course had given up on proving to Hower that the warrior princess was not for him. He was too dumbstruck. Even raw fish for lunch couldn’t dampen his lust for the warrior princess.
As Xena smiled I could not be angry for she was just being playful at my expense. Yet I still didn’t appreciate it. I began to explain to her that Hower was in love with her. She wasn’t phased by it for all she could do was wonder why so many men kept falling for her. I explained that some guys just liked her dark long flowing hair, and her deep oceanic blue eyes. Even her leather wardrobe could draw a crowd as long as it was the warrior princess who was wearing it. Of course our battle of wits was subsiding for the moment because our focas was now on Hower who kept staring and guawking at the warrior princess as he picked up firewood from afar. As our conversation wore on Hower shifted his scavenger hunt from firewood to wildflowers. I don’t think the warrior princess noticed his boyish smile meant to grab her attention. Instead Xena was concentrating on how to deter Hower from his lusts for her. She thought maybe a wardrobe change would do the trick; however, she was only joking. Xena just didn’t seem to be herself when she wasn’t wearing her leather suit and golden breast plate. Life wouldn’t be the same without those articles of clothing. They were like a personal attachment and trademark.
Here was something new to attempt to tease her with. I suggested a chainmail might help with her wardrobe issues, but she just laughed and stated that it would probably only attract a slightly more rambunctious crowd as if warlords like Draco weren’t bad enough. This thought led me to glance back at Hower for a moment as he gingerly plucked another dandillion from the ground and admired his work. He certainly took much more time and care for his courtship than someone like Draco would. Xena interrupted my thought by explaining that life without bathing and wearing a smelly wolfskin might work. She had a point and I could certainly imagine how much more difficult life with the warrior princess would be if she ever followed through with that change. I could still feel the slime all over my own skin just thinking about it knowing how much Xena liked to fish. She still smelled even now. This led me to my only response which was to remind Xena that she would most likely be traveling alone if she made that a permanant new lifestyle. Dodging all of the lovesick Howers in the world was not worth that.
This of course brought laughter to both Xena and I for the first time the entire day. We were finally settling down with our rivalry as Hower returned with a handful of purple wildflowers. He offered them to his obsession as Xena tried to accept them graciously, but somehow she appeared more disgusted with the idea. Xena rose to help Hower get the fire started for lunch yet she appeared very reluctant. Hower paused for just a moment until he was certain Xena was not within earshot. He then giggled with glee and celebration feeling that he had finally gotten the attention of his new found romance. All I could do was smile and pretend to be excited for his accomplishment knowing that he would only find himself disappointed in the end. As he walked away my thoughts turned to the challenge of cooking the slimy beasts that had attacked me earlier.
Then it suddenly occurred to me that the perfect tool for cutting the fish would be Xena’s chackram. It was the sharpest weapon I had ever known and since she had thrown our last good cutting knife at a warlord the previous week it would have to double as a pearing knife. Soon I was sawing off the heads of Xena’s catch. Two pearch and one rather large eel. I began with the eel, but soon had to resort to using a large stone on the ground to hold it in place while I worked. The job was a bloody one, but I was determined to eat lunch reguardless that it was a an eel. Before I could finish gutting lunch Xena returned and revolted against me in anger. She ripped the chackram out from my grasp and shouted out that it would smell like fish for days. The warrior princess wasted no time in whipping out an old rag to wipe the aquatic blood dripping from the chackram’s blade.
Hower appeared to be stunned and unable to respond or even begin to handle the anger of the warrior princess. I handled it by snapping back. Someone had to stand up to her fury. As I rose to my feet I quickly yanked my rag from Xena’s grasp. This was when I reminded her of how she had used our knife the previous week. I wanted Hower to know exactly what he was getting himself into. This was my oppritunity to gain some ground on the warrior princess. Then I turned away and ignored her while she stewed in her anger over the chackram. It was time for her to know how it felt when friends didn’t respect belongings. She was going to learn manners even if it killed me. Of course she turned away from me leaving Hower speechless until he came up with the perfect solution. He offered to clean Xena’s chackram for her. As I would have expected Xena refused. No one is allowed to touch her prized chackram.
Instead Xena’s fury was high as she turned to Hower seriously and asked him how much further it was from his village. Hower replied that it was directly east about a two hour’s walk. I was waiting for the next blow from the warrior princess as I tried desparately to figure out how we were going to eat lunch. Without a knife, a frying pan, or even the chackram we would definately be eating raw fish and eel from the bone. As I tried to come to terms with raw fish in my stomach, and sinking my teeth into the outer layer of skin Xena told Hower that he had an important mission for him. This snapped me to attention for if she were seriously sending Hower on a mission I needed to know why she wasn’t asking me to perform the job. Of course Hower was exstatic to be asked to help Xena with a mission. She explained to Hower that he needed to deliver a message from her to Zagrious. It was simple yet cryptic. Both Hower and I listened intently. The message was this. Xena would not get in Zagrious’s path if he agreed not to enter into hers. And that was it. Hower appeared confused and I found myself even more mystified. When Hower asked Xena if there was more to the message she was candid and confident stating that there was no more. She then turned away from her audience and walked to join Argo. Hower then looked to me as if I had all of the answers to the mystical warrior princess, but I didn’t. Instead I just explained it to him how it is. I’ve learned that Xena works in mysterious ways and that one doesn’t question them. Although I still do question the warrior princess often. She hates that about me too.
And so Hower set off to find Zagrious while I tried to figure out what Xena was doing. She obviously had a plan, but I was still trying to figure out how she could be in two places at one time. There was no way that she could make it back to Piedmont in time to save it from Zagrious. Not only that, but she had just told Zagrious that she had no intention of impeding on his territory. I decided after thinking on this over raw fish that it wasn’t important for me to know. Instead I just decided that I would work on one of my scrolls of a time when the warrior princess seemed a little less myterious. The thought of Joxer was even a bit of a relief after the day that Xena and I were having. Of course most days are like this one.
About an hour from Laurel Xena experienced a call from nature. I was certain that it came about as a result of the raw fish not in agreement with the stomach of the warrior princess. My stomach was struggling to keep them down. I decided that the only way to ignore the raw pain in my side would be to re enact a dramatic interpretation of my experience with Bacchus and his baccae slaves. I was feeling the rage of a baccae over the rude wake up call, the raw fish for lunch, Xena’s constant insults , inconsideration, and the fact that when I reached into Argo’s saddle bag to write another verse a corner of my scroll was now missing. The baccae in me had taken hold at this point. This was the last straw. My prize possession was being used as toilet paper for Xena’s call from nature. Again she had gotten the better of me wining the battle of wits. I had only used her chackram for fish, but she used my scrolls for far worse.
As I rounded the corner of the horse toward the bushes the triumphant warrior princess emerged seemingly relieved and in good spirits. Yet she also seemed quite prepared to deal with my wrath over the scrolls. As I ranted she made up a lame excuse stating that there weren’t any good leaves in the bush. Yeah that was a good one. There are millions of leaves in the bushes. I’ve used them many times and there are always at least ten possible leaves amongst hundreds. There was no way I was buying into that excuse. I could see it in her eyes and all over her face. Xena was about to laugh in my face boisterously. Before she could let out a peep the earth beneath us moved. I was almost knocked off of my feet by the loud stomping sounds approaching through the forrest. The entire earth shook about us and then Xena just fizzled my anger by reminding me that the giant was our enemy not each other.
The warrior princess had a point, but I was still livid.
Although Xena appeared to travel with me for laughs and my own daily humiliation I do have a lot of skills to offer. In my struggle to remind her of this she ordered that we take cover into the trees from the open field. While running for cover I came up with a brilliant plan as to how we would buy time. I suggested to Xena that we make a sign with Laurel and post it in the wrong direction so that we could mislead the giant. That would most certainly delay him since according to Hower he had never been to their village. Xena ignored the suggestion as she scaled up into the tallest tree she could find. The warrior princess was looking to see exactly how much time we had before we would be battling the giant. I don’t think she had a plan of action in place for him just yet. She had been too focased on Zagrious determined to prove to me that she could be in two places at the same time. I was still unconvinced. Although I did finish building my sign. My hope was that I had been able to spell Laurel correctly.
About this time Xena had jumped down out of the tree and was in a bit of a rush to move on. She was frustrated with my need to finish the sign telling me that giants didn’t know how to spell so it didn’t matter that I had even made the sign. Even so I was determined to post it so I did. I posted it right in front of an offering statue to Aphrodite. As I struggled to get it to stay in the ground Xena grabbed me by the clevage point and yanked me toward Laurel. She was still unappreciative of my work.
Soon we were back to our game of warlords and victims. I had yet to determine if who we were talking about had dark hair or light hair. Xena responded that it was someone with dark hair. I was begining to think that this was definately a warlord, but I was still grappling with the victim status. Then I thought that maybe it was someone with a heavy build. Xena quickly replied to that with a negative response. That eliminated a few people from my list. Maybe it was Draco because he wasn’t fat, and he was dark haired. He was also buff, but that would be too easy. I decided that my next best guess would be Toxious. Xena’s response trailed off with a no. She had suddenly switched gears again as we were entering the village of Laurel. The warrior princess was thinking out loud. Her words were simple. All she could say was the word interesting. Of course I couldn’t figure out what was so interesting about this little village. We had been to millions of other villages just like Laurel. They all looked the same to me. In fact, most of them reminded me of my home village of Potedia. Peace loving villagers tend to live very similar lives all over the countryside. Laurel was no different.
A thought occurred to me in that moment. Lining the main road into the village with birch trees to go with those lonely goats and chickens might be nice. It would be a step out of the normal landscape anyway. Xena of course was not talking about the asthtetic appearance of Laurel. She was more interested in the fact that there seemed to be no one there. There was not once soul roaming the streets. No one was shopping at the market. It was ghostly and almost eerie. Life in this village seemed a bit too quiet. As Xena and I looked about we were suddenly on high alert until the silence was broken by the sounds of a struggle. Xena and I turned to look behind our path to see a peasant woman with dark hair struggling with a baby goat. She was the only voice other than that of the goat which had spoken since Xena and I had arrived in Laurel.
Xena decided to approach the peasant in blue. It seemed as if the woman had not even noticed our arrival until she turned to see who it was that had called out hello. This was when things turned into a strange surreal experience. The peasant woman’s facial expression went from surprise, to awe, to excitement all in a matter of moments. Then she requested confirmation that Xena was who she appeared to be. Xena was modest confirming her identity as she looked behind her. The warrior princess was clueless as to the fame she was experiencing. She also failed to realize that it was because of my scrolls that she was enjoying this praise.
As the peasant woman struggle to hold onto her goat she could barely contain her exasperation for she was finally getting to meet her idol. Xena the legendary warrior princess whom she had heard so many stories about. In fact, the woman spoke of all of Xena’s adventures including how Xena had liberated Prometheous, and unchained Death. It seemed that the favorite legend had been those that involved Xena defeating Callisto. All of this was within what seemed to be a single breath. Though this woman was seemingly impressed with Xena I found myself impressed that my stories had made it this far. I was flattered that even people who lived in villages as quiet as Laurel have been able to enjoy my scrolls about Xena and our adventures together. Xena appeared not to be phased by her status, and soon I found myself as unexcited about it when the peasant approached me unable to figure out who I was. She didn’t even know my name although she did try to give me a name. It was a miserable fumbling of syllabols.
Yet the peasant woman made up for it when she began to ask me what it was like to travel with Xena. In fact this was my inspiration for a day in the life of Xena. I was glad to oblidge the most intimate and embarressing details of Xena’s life for Xena had been indulging in my humilation all day long with Hower. The first question was if Xena liked to snooze in the buff, but just as I was about to answer Xena interrupted. She resorted to the mission as the reason my fun had to end. Sudddenly that threw the peasant woman, whose name we later found to be Minya, into action. Minya explained that she and her boyfriend Hower were the only people from their village who had been brave enough to stay behind to defend their village against the giant. Everyone else had apparently run to the hills for safety. Xena’s battles for the greater good had some how inspired these two villagers to become heros especially Minya. Minya went onto explain that she was highly qualified to help with this mission. She described herself as tough and bold, and that she was able to read quite well. According to Minya literacy was scarce in this part of the valley. If nothing else sounded promising within this situation one had to hold onto Minya’s determination and exhuberance to impress the warrior princess. She was just as bad as Hower, but in a slightly different way.
Then Minya suddenly found herself wondering about Hower whom she had forgotten about within the presence of the warrior princess. Xena then had to explain with a bit of guilt that she had asked him to do her a favor. She promised Minya that Hower would return. I found that to be quite funny since Xena had yet to figure out how to tell Minya that her boyfriend had fallen for her while he was away looking for help. Suddenly even Minya was a bit demanding. She wanted to know what Xena’s plan was to defeat the giant. In fact, that was the big mystery that all of us had been waiting for an answer to. Xena finally came right out and answered it. She didn’t have a true plan formulated yet. I knew it! I had known it all along. Xena had only been sending phony messages to Zagrious to delay him until she could figure out what to do. That was exactly what I had done with the giant. It was a good thing too since Xena needed some more time to think. Yet as always Xena would prove that she still didn’t value my skills to be as crafty as her own. Quickly Minya found herself begging the warrior princess for a command. With one sly glance Xena had come up with the perfect plan.
That was when Minya graciously offered us a nice warm bath which was quite relaxing. It had been quite a while since Xena and I had had a bath inside. The water was blissfully warm and relaxing although Minya was a bit overzealous in attempting to please the warrior princess. She was exactly like Hower only the female version of him. As Minya kept returning with large buckets of hot water to keep the bath maintained Xena and I turned our thoughts again to the game. My next guess was Mezentious. Xena again replied that I was wrong. Still determined to win the game I prepared to try at another guess. Just then Minya returned yet again filling the steaming bath with more scalding water. She must have been boiling endless pans of water over a fire the size of an Amazon funeral fire. When she asked if the warrior princess was too hot Xena was gracious yet it was obvious that she was begining to feel just as uncomfortable as I was.
This led me back to thoughts of the giant Gareth. I inquired if Xena had come up with any new ideas on how to deal with him. Xena’s response was again without an answer. It appeared to me as if she was struggling to find the answer. These occasions were rare, but when they come along I always try to include my input. For a moment I drew back from conversation as I scrubbed Xena’s back hoping to release some of the stress and the tension she was feeling. Part of it had been of my doing, but I still wanted to make up for it. So then I had a suggestion. It was actually the perfect plan. We had used it before against Golliath when he went up against David and the Isrealites. It had worked before and the day couldn’t have been more perfect for this plan. The sun had been out shining brightly all day, and there were no clouds in sight. I spoke these thoughts out loud to Xena reminding her of the previous success of this plan of action against giants. Of how we could ask Minya to gather all of the mirror in Laurel so that we could get Gareth to take off his helmet and expose his soft spot. Using the mirrors to blind him with the sun’s reflection we could easily take out the giant. Xena seemed uninterested in trying that one again. I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t want a guarunteed win in battle. It was almost frustrating and personal again, but I refrained from taking it personal this time. I was begining to understand that what Xena enjoyed most about the heat of battle was that each battle was unique to her. Each battle had its own personality and though Gareth was a giant like Golliath this was different for the warrior princess. Xena sensed my understanding of her and it led her to offer to take away the tension in my back. She too was begining to feel slightly guilty for all of the bickering that had gone on between us on this day.
Then it happened again. Minya came running with the scalding hot water which fell directly onto Xena again. This time Xena almost snapped at Minya demanding that Minya ease up on the fresh bath water. I was glad that Xena finally put a hault to Minya’s overly gracious offers. Her presence led me to remind Xena of how much she too was within the grasp of Xena’s warrior princess haze. Xena reluctantly agreed that it was true that she had not just one, but two secret admirers to deal with. For some reason this made her uneasy although she did complement Minya on wanting to be so helpful. It was almost as if Xena felt slightly connected to Minya in some way. Xena was finally learning to appreciate being idolized instead of despised. In the days when we first met it seemed that Xena had enemies in every village that wanted her blood. Now she was being worshipped like Hercules or Aphrodite.
This led me into reminding Xena of our third problem of the day. The problem of Hower and Minya. Hower being in love with Xena would definately put a damper in Xena’s new found relationship with Minya. Xena did agree that this was an issue, but it was obvious that it was the furthest thing from her warrior mind. I could allow her take on the giant and try to make it back in time to wrestle with Zagrious, but there would be no way that Xena could handle Minya and Hower’s relationship issue. This was definately my territory because it always takes a more sensative person to help straighten these emotional issues of love out. It was nice to know that there would be at least one thing that I could do to make the greater good better today.
Yet as I basked in my own pride Xena found herself offended that I didn’t feel she could handle that third issue. Again she wanted to rise to the occasion and prove to me that she could handle that better than me too. Xena’s zest for competition was begining to truely annoy me. I asked her why she was so set on competing with everyone and being the best. Her response was weak, but forceful in tone. She accused me of being overly competative. Xena did have a point. I was and I had been all day, but mostly with her and she definately had me beat at that. This I stated as a fact. She could not deny it and just as she tried desparately to come up with a retort to the naked truth Minya arrived yet again with another bucket of scalding hot water. It splashed a divide hotter than the lava of Vesuveous. Minya obviously didn’t hear Xena the last time she requested that Minya cease in her work. This time Xena shouted and it got Minya’s attention. It was obvious that Minya was quite fearful of disappointing her idol. Xena then thanked Minya as her new disciple knelt down with excitement. Minya inquired of Xena’s plan hoping that there would be an answer. Yet Xena was truely stumped.
As the warrior princess fumbled with her own confidence I stepped in to save the day. I told Minya to go ahead and gather all of the mirrors in the village to prepare for the giant’s arrival. If Xena was unable to come up with a better more ingenuitive plan then at least we would be ready when the giant came. Minya looked to Xena for confirmation that this was the plan. Now Xena was stuck for I had forced her into using her old plan, but the only problem was that Xena explained that it was only a contigency plan. It didn’t matter to Minya though. She dashed off faster than a bolt of lightening to please the warrior princess. I found myself irritated that Xena was still not going to go with my latest suggestion. The competition was on as our battle of wits continued. Xena didn’t want me to ever get the last word or the last command. I had found her weak spot and she was trying desparately to defend it. Xena only responded by first playing it off as if she didn’t know what I was talking about and then she had a retort. She accused me of being an ametuer reminding me that being a real warrior means being flexible within any battle situation. This was just as irritating as the sudden lump underneath me which Xena discovered to be the soap. Suddenly we found ourselves within a wrestling competion within the bath splashing each other until we couldn’t see anymore. And again the warrior princess beat me.
I had finally decided that I had come to the end of my rope with her for the day. While she was outside talking with Minya and Hower who had just returned from his lastest mission I went shopping. Since there was no one around I couldn’t go to the market so I decided to trade, but there was only one problem. Minya was the only one I could trade with since everyone else had run for the hills. Yet it would be easy. All I had to do was pick out a frying pan that I liked and I was certain that Minya would find something enticing that I could offer to her in exhange. When I finally managed to join everyone outside again I overheard Xena talking to Hower planning to send him on another mission. She was still unable to deal with that problem too. She just kept sending everyone away from Laurel hoping that her ulitimate plan would ferment in her mind. It seemed to me that Xena had lost her mind.
Xena told Hower exactly verbatum that Zagrious had refused her offer. When she repeated back to Hower word for word Zagrious’s response Hower seemed impressed and in awe. Xena then told Hower to go back out and find Zagrious to warn him not to come near Laurel. She also wanted Hower to make sure Zagrious knew that Piedmont and any other village was his for the taking. Hower was exasperated and ready for action saying good-bye to Xena. He practically blew the warrior princess kisses through his eyes. Xena’s way of dealing with this was to order him to say good-bye to Minya whom he wouldn’t even take the time to glance at. Hower did say good-bye to Minya, but it could barely be heard by anyone. Then he went running, and leaping away to find Zagrious to deliver Xena’s latest message. It seemed insane to me that Xena would continue to send Hower out to tell Zagrious a lot of nonesense. Apparently Xena had known Zagrious before and they had been warlord pals in the past. This led me to think that maybe Zagrious was the answer to the game. As I approached Xena while Minya was finding herself struggling to deal with her new reality Xena ordered me to do something about their current state of emotions. Although she didn’t actually say that I should she alluded to it. Of course I had better plans for Minya. Soon I was on my way to gaining ground against the warrior princess. After trading to get Minya’s frying pan I had come up with my answer to Xena’s warlords and victims riddle. Since I was on a role I decided that I would try my hand at the element of surprise just one more time.
As they say practice makes perfect. I had seen Xena go into a barn up the path and decided that she would be at her weakest when in deep thought. I took my staff and listened intently from outside. There was not a peep. The only thing that I could hear was Xena breathing deeply within meditation. She was definately not expecting an attack. Quietly I inched around the corner through the doorway of the barn. As I peeked in I could feel that Xena’s eyes were closed. She was totally focased on her thoughts. I knew that now was my chance and so I went for it. As I drove forward into the barn with my staff in the ready Xena suddenly jumped up high into the air kicking down two buckets full of water and giving her battle cry. She hit each bucket simultaneously with her warrior boots as she spun around in mid air prepared and ready to face me in battle. Although I knew now that I was whipped I still had to attempt to make the striking blow. Just as I lifted my staff to thrust it into the chest of the warrior princess she landed spinning around to face me. She kicked my staff effortlessly to the floor in the final movement of her entire body. It was amazing I have to admit, but it didn’t help me in winning the battle. All I could do was throw my arms down in frustration and aggitation. Just when I had thought I would beat her with the one two punch I had lost my battle advantage.
Yet at least I still had my wits about me. Quickly I brushed off my loss in the battle to approach the warrior princess with my answer to the riddle of warlords and victims. Already she had turned her back to me and fallen back into deep mediation. I approached her from behind and whispered slyly into her ear. The answer was most certainly the great Centaries. She responded quickly with a negetive answer. It was short and it was spiteful. Frankly, the warrior princess was driving me insane which led me to my earlier suspicion. I then demanded to know if it was indeed someone she had fought before I had met her. The answer had to be yes, but it was no. My emotional breaking point was now for my wits had been smacked down just as hard as my staff had. So far I had lost two out of my three advantages with little effort from the warrior princess. Now that I had finally given up on warlords and victims I was dying to know the answer. Xena slyly spun back around to face me smiling as she spoke the name of Theodoras.
Now that couldn’t be right for Theodoras had been killed by not Xena, but Callisto. Xena had a clever supporting arguement for that as well. She proceeded to remind me that Theodoras had been killed by Callisto when Callisto had been in Xena’s body. Who knew that Xena would go that far in being certain to defeat me in cold blood, but she had. She wasn’t wrong, but she wasn’t right either. Yet who could ever get the warrior princess with that. As Xena stood in the barn within her own glory there was a nasty sound which had come from just outside the barn. It snapped and suddenly Minya could be heard struggling and crying out in pain. Xena quickly moved outside to investigate as I picked up my staffed off of the floor. As we made our way outside all was still very quiet in Laurel, but Minya stood alone rubbling the sting of the whip off of her face. Xena called out forcefully to Minya. She wanted to know why a peasant woman would take it upon herself to play with weapons of mass destruction without proper training.
Minya argued with Xena reminding the warrior princess or me rather that she had traded her best frying pan to me in order to gain a piece of Xena memorabilia. Okay so even though Xena had beaten me in battle and with wits I still crushed her with surprise. I had forgotten about my trade from earlier and I had no idea that it would bring out the anger that it did. Xena was furious that I had traded her weapon. What she didn’t realize was that I had let her off of the hook for it was the chackram that Minya had truely wanted. Quickly I had to defend my choice for Xena was fast approaching in her fury. I retorted with the fact that we needed to be able to cook our food reminding Xena of the fact that the fish were still not settling within my stomach. I had matched her fury with my own emotional fury, but it wasn’t enough to mask my real pain. Xena called me on my excuse knowing that the real reason I had traded her weapon was to get back at her for using my scrolls as back up toiletry. This was true, but it didn’t seem to matter.
Xena decided since that trade had already been made that there was only one way to resolve this issue. She turned immediately back to Minya and demanded that Minya return it to her. Minya was firm and did not budge. She was certainly more assertive than her counter part Hower. It was kind of nice to see that someone else could stand up to the warrior princess. Minya reminded Xena that a trade had been made and in that transaction the whip had become her property while the frying pan had become ours. Not only that, but Minya went one step further in reminding Xena that Hower was hers and that I belonged to the warrior princess. That part of the deal didn’t sound all that attractive, but it certainly was amusing. What was unfolding was emotionally interesting about the warrior princess. For the first time that I could ever remember she was being told no. I had never seen anyone be able to tell the warrior princess no and be successful in keeping their lives. Minya was quite courageous and bold in standing up to her. I was quite impressed. Then Xena realized that she had lost. Both Minya and I had ganged p on her and there was no way to win. As Xena looked back at me with disgust I tried to hide me laughter, but I’m not really sure if I masked it all that well. Then she looked to Minya and instructed her to be certain to get all of the mirrors ready at the north end of town. Xena quickly brushed Minya out of her way as she went to find out how close the giant was.
Minya would not allow Xena to have the last word. Instead she forced Xena to pause as she moved toward Argo. The two dark haired tall women exchanged a glance of toughness as Xena walked away seemingly hurt by this gesture and disrespect. As Xena saddled up onto her horse I realized that Argo was the only one who truely understood the warrior princess. Argo was the only one that Xena could go to in her times of emotional need. I began to feel even more low as I watched Minya drive the final nail into the coffin as she taunted the warrior princess as Xena rode out of Laurel. I realized that I had deeply bruised Xena’s pride. Not only that, but I had created a new enemy for Xena. The poor warrior princess was having a bad day and all I had done was make it worse for her. I decided that I had to do something to make up for it. The begining of that would have to be in repairing Minya’s relationship with the warrior princess.
My scrolls were the perfect solution to the problem for it had been my scrolls that had given the warrior princess that certain glow within Minya’s heart. It wasn’t fair that Minay had met the warrior princess on an off day. And so I sat down in the barn with Minya and helped her read some of my scrolls. In fact, we read the story of Baccus and the beautiful girls that Xena had rescued from his wrath. I had to remind Minya of Xena’s heart and commitment to goodness. As Minya read the final lines of the scroll I asked her how she liked the story of Xena’s kindness and bravery. She really did enjoy the story which pleased me, but Minya then responded by asking for the stories in which Xena was the harlot that stole the men of good and decent women. I looked to her and softly scolded her for having such mean thoughts toward the warrior princess. Desparately I wanted to project my guilt into Minya’s heart knowing that it had been my fury that had been injected into hers. I then reassured her that Xena was out to find Hower and to straighten things out for the two of them. My lack of confidence in the warrior princess had not boded well for the faith and belief of others.
Yet just when I was about to turn Minya’s heart back to Xena Hower arrived in a tizzy. He seemed nervous and unable to stop shaking with fear. Yet his fear was more in hurting Minya for he began to confess that he had fallen in love with the warrior princess. My own heart sank for it was as if Hower had broken up with me for it had sealed the deal of any hopes to restore Minya’s faith in Xena or Hower. Minya looked to me with disgust and frustration. Her anger was more from being hurt by her idol and her lover. Both had gilted her today. Suddenly Xena entered the barn with business and nothing more. As she was about to discuss our dire situation I interrupted her hoping to remind her of how important it was that we restore Minya and Hower’s relationship. Xena ignored this issue with the dire details of the giant. She had confirmed that it was indeed Gareth by the size of his footprints. Xena explained that our time was extremely short which meant that our mirror plan was out. Then as Xena was about to address the situation with Minya and Hower Hower stepped in to explain to Minya who Gareth was. But Minya already knew. She quickly filled in the rest of the details cutting Hower off. Minya detailed that Gareth was the meanest giant to ever walk the earth and she continued onto explain that he had killed Xena’s friend the giant Golliath’s family. Both Xena and I were impressed for Minya continued on to tell the story of the battle of the Isrealites and the Phillistines and of how it was there that Golliath met his own demise against Xena. It was as if Minya had been there herself and she explained that she had read it in one of my scrolls.
As exciting and impressive as that statement was there was work to focas on. I turned back to Xena and asked her if Gareth was wearing a helmet. Xena explained that indeed he was and that it also had a heay nose guard which would most certainly protect his soft spot. I still didn’t understand why the mirrors wouldn’t work until Xena explained that heavy rain clouds were quickly moving in from the west. It was all a timing issue and Gareth was moving slower than the weather. Our situation seemed grim, but Xena seemed to be in control. It was as if she had already made another plan. As I waited with Minya and Hower for the answer to materialize Xena moved deeper into the barn. Then she paced back and looked to me for an answer. She wanted to know if it had been true that Zues killed giants with lightening bolts. Indeed it was true, but my faith was being tested as she spoke. Using a lightening bolt and actually being able to handle one were two different things. Especially since neither Xena, nor I, nor Minya or Hower were gods.
We were racing against time through trial and error yet somehow the warrior princess kept trudging forward. Xena led Howard, Minya, and I back out just beyond the lookout tree into the open field from earilier in the day. It was about a mile just outside of the village. Once we arrived she began constructing a strange new weapon. It was made out of some old worn out blankets that Minya had provided, and one of Hower’s ropes from his stable horse. There was only one problem. It seemed that there was a piece missing. Xena spent a few moments in thought as the three companions looked on hopelessly. We all thought Xena had lost it by this point, but nobody had the heart or the will to tell the warrior princess. Suddenly Xena called out to Hower who was excited that she needed him for something. It was as if she were holding the key to a big mystery and only Hower would be important enough to be told about it. The warrior princess quickly reached for Hower’s waste only to rip his belt buckle right off of his belt. Hower’s pants did stay on, but there was a sense of embarressment within him as the warrior princess went back to operating on her new contraption.
It looked nice as she was tying the final touches onto it, but I still didn’t see the vision. That was when I finally had to ask her what it was. Xena’s response wasn’t all that promising. She didn’t even have a name for her diamond shaped cloth with two sticks, and some old rags on a string hanging from a belt buckle. Yet the warrior princess continued to be confident in her new accomplishment. She went onto explain to me that all that needed to happen was to be certain to get the weapon up into the air. I was still lost because I didn’t see exactly how this was helping us conquer the giant. It was too soft and light to do any real damage. At least with the mirrors one could attempt to blind the giant. This was stretching it for me, but at least the warrior princess was creative. Xena seemed to ignore my lack of faith in her vision explaining that it would be the perfect weapon to nail the giant with if we could just get it into the air to harness the lightening bolts.
Okay so it sounded great, but I was still lacking the vision of how this thing was going to get into the air. Xena continued to explain her vision as she expressed it with such passion and glory. She spoke of how the wind would carry it and in a sense there was the small possibility of success. If only Zues were feeling frisky with the elements he might actually help the warrior princess with her plan. Yet gods are not known for their respect of humanity. I was actually shocked to see that Xena was evening turning to this as a valid alternative, but I decided to sit back alongside Hower and Minya and hope for the best. That was all that one could do at this point.
The warrior princess then held the weapon straight up in the air pointing the top of the slender shaped diamond toward the heavens. She let out a cry and released it into the air with force as the winds began to pick up slightly. Suddenly the diamond began to fly as it took the string off of the small roller that Xena had designed to tame it. It was amazing to watch as the wind began to carry the weapon further and further into the air. Suddenly it seemed possible that it may be able to reach the heavens toward Zues and his lightening bolts, but just as I was about to feel the excitement and the confidence that Xena seemingly felt the diamond deflated as the winds died down and it plummeted dismally to the ground. It slammed down with force as Minya let out a snicker and Hower looked extremely disappointed and confused. Minya was still on her high in defeating Xena back in the village for possession of Xena’s whip. Of course I had fueled that. I was really begining to feel sorry for Xena. This was a rare feeling, but she seemed to be a broken washed up warrior out to prove she was still the best.
I approached the warrior princess and knelt down beside her trying to offer some support. It was like trying to let Hower down in knowing that Xena would never be his, but only worse. This was my best friend and she was going off of the deep end to think that she could harness the lightening of Zues. The desparate warrior princess was frantic in trying to repair the damage to the tip of her diamond weapon. As she tried to smooth out the rough edges I tried to let her down easy. She needed to realize that now was the time to move onto another plan or a more solid idea. Her latest idea was too abstract even for me. Yet the warrior princess was extremely defensive and could not admit defeat. She snapped at me demanding to know what my plan was, but the truth of it was that I didn’t have one either. Xena was extremely stubborn as I tried to hold down my temper. I only wanted to explain to her that I was there to help, but she didn’t see it that way. Instead she ignored me as I tried to explain to her that there would be a day that she would be wrong despite all of the times that she had already proven herself to be right. On this day I was certain that fate would step in for it was about to become a rainy day for the warrior princess. She was havind difficulty accepting this.
Xena continued to venture on her own out beyond the realm of normal thoughts as she decided that the solution to her problem would simply be solved by running with her new weapon. Suddenly the warrior princess jumped up from her latest defeat and began running all about the field desparately trying to get a response from the weapon. This self-humiliation went on for several minutes as I tried desparately to restore my faith in my friend and her skills. I breathed in deeply and out slowly as I spoke within my mind and desparately called out to my soul for restored faith. Hower simply became more enthralled with the warrior princess finding that she was rather cute when she was frustrated while Minya gave up on winning him over. For Hower Xena could do no wrong and so Minya decided to return to the village.
There was a point that Xena had found that her weapon was tangled in a rather large bush, but even that could not stop her in attempting to defeat the wind. I began to realize that no matter what she would never give in. This made me feel less threatened by all of the times that she challenged my will. If the will of nature couldn’t prove itself right then I would never be able to either so I decided to stop trying. Instead I built up some faith again, but just as I was about to jump back into the game Xena hurled her weapon across the open field and it flew again for a brief time only to come crashing down right on top of my head. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling to be attacked by a diamond that slightly resembled a giant amazon queen mask, but it did knock some sense into me.
If Xena was going to go down I would go down with her since I was her best friend and friends stick by each other until the end. Even if it was against the biggest meanest giant to ever walk the earth. And so we spent the next several moments working together as a team for the first time of the day. I grabbed the parchment as Xena stood several feet away and began to run as I ran with her still holding the parchment. Suddenly I felt the power of Zues lifted the parchement from beneath me and I let it go up into the heavens once more. My excitement and hope were restored as I cheered with the warrior princess on our accomplishment together. The parchement stayed in the air for several minutes until Xena finally decided that her weapon would work. She handled it with percision as she controlled it like her chackram only it was more graceful as it floated freely. Quickly Xena’s mood had changed from frustration to relief. It seemed that she had now solved at least one of our problems, but there were still two more. Yet the warrior princess had moved onto the final problem for she had already solved the problem of Zagrious.
I was impressed as she explained that her intentions in sending Hower with cryptic messages to Zagrious was to ambush Zagrious and his army at Laurel using the giant. She was planning on being certain that both would face each other just before they reached the village limits. Now that her flying parchment worked she would be able to harness the lightening to defeat Gareth as soon as Gareth has smashed up Zagrious’s army. Now this was all very wonderful news to me and a bit of a relief, but Xena wasn’t going to stop there. She decided that she was on a role and handed over her flying parchment for me to tame while she went back to the village to attempt to straighten out the mess she had made with Minya and Hower.
My taming of the parchement did not last long for became so powerful that it stole the weapon from my grasp sending it slaming out of control into a tree in the wood just beyond the village. After chasing the parchment down I decided to return to the village to check on Xena’s progress with Hower. When I arrived she was inside the barn again talking to him. I was a little insulted by her arrogance in thinking that she would be able to resolve the relationship problems of Minya and Hower. As I listened just outside the door I heard her tell Hower that he didn’t have a chance with her. She tried to be forceful with him and nasty, but it didn’t seem to dampen his resolve. Instead he responded to her force with denial. Yet he insisted that it was Xena who was denying her feelings for Hower. He was certain that the warrior princess would come around. Then he continued to brush Xena’s horse as if it were going to impress her. It didn’t matter anyway. I had a new attack planned for Xena and she would never suspect it.
As the warrior princess exited the barn I found myself climbing up onto the roof in anticipation. She called out my name in desparation. I knew that her next command would be to take care of the situation with Hower, but that wasn’t enough for my ego. I needed more and so as I waited she came out around the corner of the barn. She knew I was lurking because I could see her shoulders tensing up in anticipation. The warrior princess is always aware of her surroundings even when she can’t see them. I still had the advantage because she would never suspect me from the air. As she walked around the corner of the barn expecting me to jump out with my staff I lept from the top of the barn in an attempt to knock her down. Instead I landed flat on my chest knocking the wind out of myself for a moment. As struggled to rise back to my feet I grabbed for Xena’s breast plate for balance. She just glanced at me with her warrior smirk knowing that she had beaten me again. It was now becoming more of a game rather than a direct challenge of wills. I had tried giving a battle cry on my way down, but realized that it had been what had given my position away.
Xena responded doubtfully to my assumption that my mistake had been the battle cry. My next question had already been answered, but I still had to ask her how things had gone with Hower. As I had expected she commanded me to take care of that situation and then I had to explain that her flying parchement was now stuck in the trees. Our truce had not lasted long and so the day drug on toward the climax of all three of our issues colliding simultaneously. I dreaded having to bring reality into the love life of Hower, but as I sat there with him in the barn for over an hour he kept proclaiming that he and Xena were destined for each other. It became a saliloquey that drug on forever and repeated itself in circles. My attempts at convincing Hower that Minya was the one he was meant for ended dismally as I myself had to admit defeat in the arena of emotional repair.
As I trudged back out into the world away from Hower’s fantasies I caught sight of Xena who had returned with her flying parchement in tact. She was talking with Minya who appeared to be very responsive to the warrior princess. Suddenly, Minya was running back into the village as if she were going to deliver a message to Zagrious only Zagrious was already coming. I approached the warrior princess with curiousity as she explained that she had given Minya some personal advice on dealing with men. Apparently whatever Xena had said sparked something in Minya although Xena didn’t appear so confident about Minya’s trust in her at this point. Whatever was said I could only hope that it was going to work because Hower was hopeless as far as I could tell. I decided that the only solution to his problem would be found in being kicked around by the warrior princess. Xena jokingly disagreed with me stating that he’d probably enjoy a beating. She was right of course. The beast known as man is a creature of lust.
Our conversation suddenly turned to a more serious tone in the next moment when Xena reminded me of how important it was for her succeed in defeating Gareth. If for no other reason than to repay Goliath for having to die against the Isrealites and for the loss of his family when he once saved Xena from Gareth’s wrath. It was in this moment that I was reminded of why I traveled with Xena. She need someone there to remind her that she was doing the right thing. The warrior princess needed my support and to be reminded that Goliath’s death was for the good of others. I soothed Xena’s concerns for Goliath reminding her that he could hear her thoughts. He could feel Xena’s friendship and love for him even in death. I had to remember this myself every day for Perdicas was forever listening to me.
As I was falling into that thought and that wonderful feeling it was interrupted by the sounds of stomping echoing through the woods and the ground shaking violently beneath me. Hower quickly came running out of the barn shouting out about the approaching giant with worry. Yet Xena was not at all worried. She was extremely pleased for Zagrious had fallen right into her trap. The warrior princess was reminded in this moment of how Gareth couldn’t resist stomping an army to pieces for he had stomped her army once on the battle field. She spoke her thoughts outloud as Hower found himself surprised that one of Xena’s hairy brained plans had worked. He suddenly had faith in the warrior princess and he wondered if all of Xena’s plans worked as she had constructed them in her mind. Xena wasn’t certain that the rest of her plan would work, but it was all that she had to work with. With Zagrious out of the way the only contender would be Gareth who was still coming to Laurel reguardless of the outcome. Everyone had to be ready for battle.
Waiting for Gareth was the most uneventful part of the day. Xena, Hower, and I spent what seemed to be hours just sitting and waiting in silence. The only sound that could be heard was Xena’s chackram being hurled out at the campfire pot, to the dry bones hanging from the abandoned butcher shop, to the old wagon wheel at the edge of the village and then back again. There was the occasional sound of the giant approaching, but he was certainly in no hurry. He was probably consuming the army that he had just stomped to bits. I found myself pacing and twirling my staff with bordom as Hower just stared at Xena attempting to figure out a way to get her to admit her love for him I would assume. He kept shooting her these flirtacious glances that the warrior princess completely ignored, yet Hower didn’t seem to notice. Finally the boredom became a bit overwhelming for me and I was getting impatient with Gareth. I sat down next to Xena on the log by the campfire and asked her what could be holding the giant up. Xena explained that he was probably taking a rest after all of his hard work destroying Zagrious’s army.
Then she finished wiping off the debris from the chackram’s blade and hurled it out again as I watched it hit the same three objects for the hundreth time. Hower seemed impressed at how effortless and accurate Xena was with her weapon. She never missed her mark. This was nothing new for me, but I was very concerned for Minya now because we hadn’t seen her for the entire hour. Hower was falling deeper into his warrior haze fantasy and the giant was about to arrive. Xena explained that her hope for Minya was that Minya had finally looked past their differences of the day and taken her advice. Just as she finished that statement the conversation was interrupted by the sounds of an angry and crazed warlord.
Hower jumped up startled from the chair in which he had been seated backwards in. There was alarm and worry in his eyes. I don’t think he believed that Xena was a real warrior because she hadn’t really demonstrated her skills well today. Yet it seemed that Xena wasn’t the only warrior having an off day. Zagrious was insane. His anger and frustration had reached the boiling point. The man couldn’t control his emotions which Xena has often said can lead to mistakes. Xena was having a great time and agreed that it was a tough day for those who made their living as warriors. Yet she wasn’t phased by Zagrious, or Gareth, or Hower, or even me and my antics. She was completely poised and ready to battle as Zagrious approached expressing how much he despised Xena’s change from looting and steeling, to saving the day. He spoke of her like a true bard, but without the admiration. As he approached with his scratched up face, and his half sword he was suddenly approached by the dark haired woman dressed in leather.
It was Minya. She stood before the battered warlord ready for action. Hower suddenly appeared upset and worried as he ran around the side of the barn to save Minya from the wrath of Zagrious. Yet just when it seemed that Minya needed a man to defend her Zagrious attacking finding himself running straight into the heel of Minya’s powerful hand. She gave him a good beating with just one thrust under the nose sending him flattened onto the ground. He was knocked out and defeated. There was nothing left to pick up as Hower found himself enthralled with Minya’s warrior skills. Of course Minya was dressed in leather which she assumed was the real attraction. Indeed she had taken Xena’s advice and it was refreshing to see that Hower and Minya were back together with all of their differences worked out. That was the last we had seen of them for the day. As Xena and I found ourselves relieved that Hower wouldn’t be another tag along in our travels together.
There was somehow a sense of relief in the resolution of two of the day’s issues and Xena and I both breathed a sigh of relief for the load which had been lifted from both of us. Yet there was still one problem left to tackle and it was a giant problem. The sounds of laughter coming from within between Hower, and Minya were suddenly drowned out by the sounds of Gareth’s giant boots approaching the village. As the earth shook beneath us again I looked to Xena who was no longer relaxed, but poised yet again. Her first words in response to her poised body stated that Gareth was headed toward the giant’s burial ground before he would return to smash through Laurel. There was a bit of good news to this for it gave Xena some time to set up her flying parchment, but it was still not certain if this wild plan was going to work. Yet I had to have faith that the warrior princess would succeed in defeating the giant for she had succeeded in both Zagrious and the relationship of Hower and Minya.
Even Xena as she continued to speak was not certain of her plan, but her heart was where it always is. She was concerned for the safety of the people that she was attempting to save. Xena directed me to be certain that if her plan failed that I was to make sure that Hower and Minya’s lives would not end in a lost cause. My heart was touched as the concern flowed out of the heart of the warrior princess and I decided that it was time for me to lay my irriations to rest. I didn’t want to part with the warrior princess on bad terms for I had sold her whip for a frying pan just to get back at her. It was wrong and it wasn’t thoughtful of me and as I expressed my regret and sorrow for my actions to her she only paused me to remind me that she too was sorry. Xena apologized for disrespecting me when she had thoughtlessly used my scrolls for the call of nature. It made me feel better about my bad behavior toward the warrior princess to know that she too had been able to stand up and admit when she was wrong. Our arguements of the day had been silly and petty. Xena established that by parting in saying that we were even despite all of our battles of will.
Soon the warrior princess was off for the final leg of the mission. She rounded up her flying parchment and dashed out of the village toward the edge of the woods. When she was close enough to the path of the giant she seeked out and found a tree that would bring her to his eye level. Xena bravely scaled the tree with her flying parchment and positioned it at the top. Then she awaited Gareth along the path toward the burial ground. Soon all of nature felt to wrath of the giant approaching as all of the birds fled and the deer found themselves almost frozen with fear. Every animal in the forrest scattered leaving Xena to be the last one standing against the giant. As Gareth walked up the path Xena called out to him to get his attention. With just two giant steps he was at the tree where Xena awaited him. As soon as he recognized his old foe in battle Gareth was angry and tried to swat Xena down out of the tree. Xena was ready to react for she jumped down from the top of the tree down to the waist of the giant. She knew that his slow movement would be a distraction in itself as he tried to swat her from the tree. It was then that she took the oppritunity to fasten the weapon to his metal armor near his belt.
Suddenly the chase was on and it was the most dangerous part of Xena’s plan. She had to be able to outrun a giant, get him out into the open, and hope that Zues would be throwing down lighting by the time they reached the giant’s burial ground. The chase was long and vigourous, but the warrior princess stayed steady as the approaching dark clouds gave her the hope that she needed to defeat the giant and win the battle for to pay her debts to her old friend Goliath. As they approached death within the giant’s burial ground Xena kept tuanting her foe as she dodged the bones of the giants who had once ruled the earth before Gareth. The grounds were littered with danger as Xena lept forward and rolled over an old jaw bone. Gareth tried to use the bones to his advantage as he disrespectfully picked off an old arm bone and hurled it at the warrior princess. She made another move to dodge him attempting to take cover within a giant skull. Soon Zues came to the rescue as the winds picked up and the lightening bolts began to fly.
Gareth was still attatched to the flying parchment which had stayed strong up into the heaven the entire chase. As the evening began to fall into the day and the day into the night Xena approached Gareth certain that Zues would soon throw down the final blow that would catch her flying parchment and send Gareth crashing to the ground. Xena spoke out loud to Goliath whom she was certain was there with her in spirit guiding her to the defeat of Gareth. Gareth found himself making one last stand against the heavens as he raised his giant powerful shoulder into the air preparing to smash Xena with his fist. Just before he was about to take the final blow against the warrior princess and all of his enemies Zues threw down his most powerful bolt and hit the flying parchment which faithfully guided the power of Zues into the giant’s back. Gareth had been stabbed by the power of Zues as he fell with a giant thud to the ground. Xena was sent several feet into the air as her body absorbed the immense energy of Gareth’s fall. The power of Zues and the death of a giant was so large that even I could feel the death of Gareth from the little village of Laurel. Yet as soon as I heard it I knew that it was over and I had faith that Xena would return to Laurel soon.
Darkness had fallen by this point as I prepared the camp fire in the streets of Laurel. I cooked dinner with Minya for Xena when she would return from her rough day of warrior life. Minya’s frying pan was excellant and I was thankful that Xena would be able to enjoy the fruits of her loss of the whip. Upon Xena’s return she was quiet and reflective as she sometimes is at the end of the day when the battles were tough. I did most of the talking as I often like to do because somehow it helps to sooth the beast within Xena’s heart. As we finished with dinner I had begun to prepare the bed rolls by the fire. Both of us were exhausted and going to bed, but glad the day was over. The storm clouds had passed by now bringing a beautiful scene in the night sky. Xena began to talk about the stars and of how they seemingly formed giant pictures in the sky. Maybe she was looking for Goliath up there in the heavens. She even thought that she had seen a giant dipper that he could have used to eat dinner in the heavens with his family safe and together. Of course for me it only looked like a giant bear with a giant head, but cute little ears.
The warrior princess was yawning by now and near sleep, but I was certain that she was poised and ready for anything that might come her way. And so I decided to test my theory knowing that it would most certainly be true. I grabbed my staff from my side and jumped into action lunging from my back to my stomach in an attempt to make contact against the warrior princess. Just when I had thought that I would be defeated effortlessly by the strength and agility of the warrior princess I felt the tip of my staff make contact with the bridge of Xena’s nose. This sent Xena’s body jolting with surprise and sudddenly I felt very small inside. As I desparately tried to apologize for my mistake the warrior princess just brushed it off. She was in a bit of shock and even some anger, but realized that the only way to get out of this new arguement was to surrender and call it a night. She rubbed her sore nose and rolled over hoping to reassure me. I felt guilt, but it dissolved into wonder for I would not have been so understanding had I been nailed by Xena. Her forgiveness of me on this day seemed endless, and as I settled back down to that comforting thought I suddenly realized that it wasn’t forgiveness she felt for me, but pity. Xena had felt sorry for me and decided to let me win just one time. Now this I could not stand for. This was why she appeared to have so much faith in me. She wanted to go to sleep and didn’t have time to argue. I decided that I would show her the truth of this. I owed it to her since she had so rudely awakened me by jumping onto my leather water bottle and squirting me in the face with it.
As I attempted to start a new arguement with Xena her only response was a weak yet firm statement. She just stated that it was time to go to bed. I couldn’t really argue with that. And so I lay still next to the warrior princess feeling the closeness of our friendship. Knowing that we are there for each other through the good and the bad, the smelly, and even the ugly. This was enough for me. And so yet another day had ended in the life of Xena the warrior princess and her loyal companion the bard Gabrielle. Yet I was still thinking about how I knew that she let me hit her though she has sworn otherwise.