The Xena Scrolls
Scroll #32: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
By: Gabrielle Bard of Podedia
January 21st, 47 B.C.
All was silent in the Baccae forrest for Gabrielle did not hear a single note. The music of Orpheous did not speak. It was now six young girls from the neighboring villages who had all disappeared without a single trace. And so this place was the hunting grounds of Baccus whose wine was the blood of innocent young women. It was said that only Orpheous’s song could tame the wild beast. Xena was certain that the beast had risen once more into his furious spree of vicious crimes.
Gabrielle knew this famous old story all too well. It was told to all young girls in her village who did not behave. They said that a single bite from a baccae could turn a young innocent woman into a wild soulless creature whose only allegance is to Baccus. And once bitten she is loured into his lair to drink his blood. If she does there is no way to save her. She becomes a baccae forever. They say that baccae women can take on many forms. Sometimes they just go roaming the forrest as wolves. Driven with an unquenchable thirst for blood they track their intended victim relentlessly. Until they corner them. Then they tear them apart lim from lim.
Carefully Gabrielle constructed the tale for Xena as they ventured through the depths of the Baccae forrest. Xena had asked what the bard had known although Gabrielle was not so certain that these stories were of truth. She was convinced that they were told only to scare people and there was nothing really to fear. Yet the forrest itself seemed dark and treacherous like no other forrest they had traveled through before. Just as the bard turned the corner around a tree she was instantly flattened by surprise. There before her an idiot stood screaming and then Gabrielle screamed in terror as her imagination had been in high gear. Then she fell to the ground instantly after being knocked over by the bumbling idiot known as Joxer.
Joxer was screaming and ranting as he went running up into the trees. He had been running from a pack of wolves who were now attacking the warrior princess. Two wolves ran right past the bard within a breath as Gabrielle stayed still upon the ground in terror. Xena quickly drew out her whip as she scooped up the bard protecting her from the vicious wolves. The warrior princess held them back as they growled and sneared at their intended victims. Then they barked and howled their warnings showing their vicious teeth. These wolves looked bloody with their mouths foaming ready to strike at any moment.
Joxer began to taunt them feeling as if he had defeated them somehow escaping within the trees. One of the two wolves then rushed up the tree toward him as if it had heard every word with complete understanding. It growled as it sunk its teeth into Joxer’s boot. He suddenly found himself challenged yet again as the wolf began to tear the boot off of Joxer’s foot. As Joxer screamed and struggled the warrior princess suddenly shifted her attention in his direction as a third wolf brushed by from behind the bard. Gabrielle shrieked and then Xena slashed her whip in the direction of Joxer’s enemy. After several long moments of Xena’s whip against the wolves they finally retreated from the scene. Soon all was quiet again as it had been before.
Joxer began to laugh boisterously as if nothing had really happened. He climbed down out of the tree and Gabrielle found herself concerned. She asked him if he had been alright for the wolves had gone straight for his limbs as the stories told. Joxer declared that he was just fine and that he had been in control of his unfortunate situation. He said that the secret to defeating a wolf pack was to wear them down. It was as if he were an expert, but Gabrielle found herself not at all convinced of his self proclaimed skill. And then Xena asked him what he was doing in the baccae forrest. He said that he was on a life saving mission. Then the idiot handed Xena a package. It was a large bag of some sort. With pride he had said that it was from the great Morpheous and that it was exclusively for the warrior princess.
Gabrielle found herself going from utter disgust at his antics to complete intrigue knowing that this bag was from Morpheous. As the bard leaned in closer to get a better look Xena asked Joxer what was in the bag. Joxer’s only statement was that the package could speak for itself. Then Xena reached into the bag and pulled out something truely horrid. It was the live head of a man who screamed in agony as the warrior princess held him by his hair. Suddenly Joxer ripped the head from Xena’s grasp and sat down upon a boulder with it. He began to part the hair down the middle declaring that Orpheous should never be handled that way again. It was strange for he had seemingly been traveling around with this head for quite a while. Joxer had a personal relationship with the head of Orpheous.
As Xena began to analyze the situation she declared to Orpheous that she suspected that his demise had been the work of Baccus himself. Orpheous did not argue. He only confirmed that Xena was correct. Gabrielle found herself horrified yet intrigued for it seemed that Xena knew everyone who she had thought to be only ficticious. Orpheous went onto explain that Baccus had hunted him down and decapitated him leaving him alive to bear witness to the crimes he could no longer prevent. Xena asked Orpheous of his lire. Orpheous said that his friend Melodous was keeping it safe and in hiding. He was certain that if they could return to Melodous that together he and his friend could stop Baccus as Melodous played the lire and Morpheous sang.
Gabrielle suddenly realized that the events of the past few hours had all been a part of that seemingly false old legend. She felt real fear now as she confirmed through Orpheous that the six missing innocent girls had been taken by Baccus himelf. It was clear what their mission was. They had to help Orpheous so that he could save the young innocent girls of the world. And with that the warrior princess commanded Joxer to make Orpheous presentable and then they would be on their way. Xena seemed almost disgusted with the situation yet she knew that it could not be ignored. As long as Baccus could run free he would wreak havoc everywhere. Not only that, but Baccus was certain to be on the hunt for Orpheous’s lire. There was little time to spare.
Then Gabrielle was curious to know just how Xena had met Orpheous. As always her story was cryptic and tragic. It had involved Xena’s army on a day when she had gone up against Baccus and his army. During their fierce battle an innocent woman was caught in the cross swords. Unfortunately there was nothing Xena and her army could do to protect her from Baccus and so the young woman perished. Xena was certain that it had been Baccus who had killed her although Orpheous had blammed both. Gabrielle found herself confused for a moment for she did not make the connection between Orpheous and Xena. And then Xena revealed that last detail with regret. The young woman who had died had been Orpheous’s bride.
Soon the four friends arrived at the village of Melodeous where the lire was being kept in safety. Gabrielle gazed down below at the foot of the hill through the gates and noticed that there was a festival in progress. Joxer explained to Gabrielle that it was common for every year they held a festival here to ward off the wrath of Baccus. He said that they even dressed up in fancy costumes and held a contest. The winner would receive a prize. As Gabrielle observed the people dancing in the streets and listened to the music from down below Joxer commented that he was certain he knew who this year’s prize would go to. The bard knew who Joxer was talking about. He was speaking of Orpheous whom Joxer had cleverly disguised as a scarecrow. It was kind of amusing to the bard for she had never known a muscian without hands or a body.
Upon entering into the village Orpheous rode upon Xena’s horse as he led his new allies to the home of his friend Melodeous. When they went inside all was silent the way the forrest had been. There was a strange feeling as Orpheous called out to his friend. Yet there was no answer only more silence. Then there was another gruesome sight. It was Melodious hanging from the beams of the ceiling. Again Xena proclaimed that it had most certainly been the work of Baccus. Gabrielle heard women screaming outside as Xena then asked Orpheous if he knew where Melodious may have hidden the lyre. When they looked to find the lyre it was missing for Baccus had taken it.
Now the stakes were much higher as Xena was about to rush off to hunt down Baccus, but the bard would not allow her to go alone. Xena rejected Gabrielle’s protest asking her to stay behind to protect Orpheous. Without him the lyre was useless and so Xena was off. Gabrielle found herself very worried about Xena not knowing what Xena was up against. Only the stories that she had heard could tell her, but they were not very comforting thoughts for the bard. She tried to listen to Joxer and Orpheous chat about music only to discover that Orpheous was quite a crank. He had a terrible attitude, but what could one expect from a muscian without his hands. She continued to listen as Joxer played Orpheous’s instruments. Joxer belittled the helpless musican for his craft proclaiming that his mother had dreamed of her son becoming a musican. It was clear that Joxer had little respect for Orpheous. Yet there was little Orpheous could do to get away from Joxer’s antics. He yelled at the idiot to put down his instruments, but Joxer continued to annoy him.
Gabrielle found herself becoming frustrated with Joxer and Orpheous so she ventured outside onto the balcony. She hoped that the excitement of the festival below would take her mind off of her irritation and her concerns for Xena. As she watched the activities below something seemed very strange. Everyone seemed like they were enjoying themselves yet she kept hearing those sudden screams like before when they had first entered into the village. The bard decided that she would go investigate to be sure that there were no baccae lurking about. If she could not help Xena find Baccus she could at least stop the baccae from taking more victims.
As she entered into the festival something about it seemed very powerful and mezmorizing. Though Joxer had said that it was a festival to ward off Baccus she soon discovered that these people were not against Baccus at all. In fact they seemingly worshipped him as they chanted along with the music. They chanted about blood and about dancing. Gabrielle quickly decided that she would have to blend in so she began to dance to the sounds of the mystical music and chants. So many women were dressed in costume that it was difficult to tell who was a baccae and who was not. Gabrielle tried looking into the eyes of every young girl she danced along side yet she found herself seemingly surrounded by women with fangs. Thought it was frightful Gabrielle found herself soothed by the muscial chanting. She kept dancing, and dancing until she could no longer distinguish herself between what was real and what was play.
Suddenly the moment of pure soothing pleasure was interrupted as Joxer had entered into the festival. He had been looking to find the bard in the crowd and when he finally approached her he was abrupt. Joxer grabbed her arm and yanked her out of the mezmorizing trance. Gabrielle found herself angered by his intrusion. He declared that she had been dancing with baccae and that he had come to rescue her from them. Gabrielle was insulted by his comment confident that she would be able to identify a baccae if she had seen one. As they argued with one another Xena arrived taking Orpheous from the stranger that Joxer had carelessly left him with.
Joxer then asked Xena if she had gotten the lyre back, but Xena reported that she had been unsuccessful in her conquest. Instead she had run into the three baccae who had stolen it. They had been attacking some innocent men by a campfire just outside the village. Xena had to battle them fiercely, but she was certain that they would find the lyre in Baccus’s lair. Joxer broke in once more going over Xena’s plan. He asked her if it meant that they would be going to retreive the lyre. Xena confirmed that he had been right as he continued to lay out the plan. Not only did they have to retrieve the lyre, but they needed Orpheous to sing, someone to play it now that Melodeous was dead, and with that the girls would be freed and Baccus could be slain.
Xena was seemingly impressed yet irritated for she had not wanted her plans to be completely revealed before those who clearly worshipped Baccus. Yet it was too late and now the word was out. Joxer was proud of himself for having constructed Xena’s plan so successfully. He smiled with his goofy teeth, and then Xena said that she and Gabrielle would be going on the next part of the mission without Joxer. Joxer was suddenly crushed for he was certain to be a part of Xena’s plan. Now he was offended and upset as he reminded the warrior princess that he had been the one that had assembled the group of four. His initial greeting was not exactly genious, but he did have a point. If it had been anyone else his persuasion would have succeeded, but this was the warrior princess he spoke to. She could not afford to have such a careless idiot tagging along. Xena was certain that his presence would complicate the plan so she rejected him once more.
Joxer turned away from Xena angry. Yet he had one last attempt. Xena had everything she needed accept for someone who could play the lyre. He then proclaimed that he had not wanted to reveal his secret, but he had indeed known how to play the lyre. His mother’s pleas with him as a youngster had won out. Yet Joxer wanted to be certain that his secret wasn’t made known. He proclaimed that he had a reputation to protect, but Gabrielle could not see anything valueable about the idiot. Yet Xena did need a lyre player and so that was his way to reenter the mission.
Xena and Orpheous then walked ahead as Joxer grabbed Gabrielle once more. He was clearly upset again, but this time it was about Xena. Joxer was certain that he had seen a baccae bite upon her neck as she had turned away. Gabrielle was not so certain of his accusation for if she had been bitten she should have turned into a baccae. Yet Joxer would not let the issue go for he proclaimed that it took time for a baccae bite to take effect. Again he played expert to something that he was clearly without knowledge. Gabrielle was only a bard, but had discovered very quickly that the lyre player was little more than a nusance at best.
He continued to persist about the bite he had most certainly seen. Joxer said that it had been the real reason that Xena did not want him to be present at Baccus’s lair. Gabrielle was still not at all convinced. She decided that she would end his feeble charade at pretending to be a warrior once and for all. Gabrielle was prepared to march right up to the warrior princess and ask her to reveal her baccae self. Yet Joxer jerked Gabrielle backward fearful of Xena’s baccae tendancies. He then took the bard’s staff and ripped out his daggar to sharpen it. Gabrielle found herself busting with irritation as she took back her weapon struggling with the idiot as they argued. Suddenly Xena turned around to notice that the two were quarreling. She asked what the issue was over, but neither Joxer nor Gabrielle were inclined to answer. Instead they stopped their quarrel and continued on down the path toward Baccus’s lair.
Their travels led them into the darkness of the night. At dinner Joxer’s imagination became even more dramatic as he stared at Xena with his beady brown eyes. Suddenly the irritation was so great that the bard’s cooking knife slipped and she sliced her hand open. Joxer took the knife which had dropped to the ground and implied that there was danger afoot. Gabrielle knew what he had been referring to yet Xena was still in the dark. Then Xena rose from her place on the log and walked over toward the resting head of Orpheous. She tried desparately to comfort him knowing his pain and anger over his loss. Though she felt responsible she had done the best that she could to try to save Euridicy. Orpheous would refused to accept Xena’s apology. It was obvious that he held her responsible despite all that she had tried to do. Orpheous made it clear that this journey to take down Baccus was the price that would never be enough to bring back Orpheous’s wife.
Xena was angered by his attitude and lack of appreication for her efforts to help him. She picked up the knife and suddenly hurled at a tree near the fire where Gabrielle and Joxer sat. The two looked at one another as Joxer was certain that her action had confirmed that Xena was indeed a baccae. For the first time Gabrielle was filled with fear for if the warrior princess was truely a baccae then time was running out. That night as they slept Xena stood guard. She awakened the bumbling idiot with fright as she stabbed a sand spider with her daggar. This made Joxer more nervous than before as he played off his fears of the warrior princess. He proclaimed once more that he was an expert on killing baccae. Yet Xena knew he was only fooling himself.
On the next morning they set off for the catacombs where the graveyard of the driads was located. There they would find the bones of the driad which was the only weapon that could be used against a baccae. Both Gabrielle and Joxer had never seen a driad. Joxer inquired about what it was as Gabrielle wondered if they would have to dig up the bodies of the dead. Xena explained that they would not have to dig anything up as she jarred an old box loose. Joxer then laughed for he was certain that the draids would not jump out easily. Yet his laughter suddenly turned to screams as he was being dragged into a grave by something from beyond. Xena and Gabrielle quickly rushed to his aid as he began to sink into the ground helplessly.
The struggle was difficult for even the strength of the warrior princess could not pull him out alone. He sank deeper and deeper as Gabrielle held tightly to his arm. Yet he was taken beneath the ground in the struggle. Gabrielle pulled harder, but found that the arm she held was not Joxer’s. It was the arm of the dead man in the grave which was a shocking discovery. Gabrielle screamed, but then she and Xena dug down into the grave in search of Joxer. Soon they found him and slowly pulled him out together. He could barely breath, but was very fortunate for soon Xena and Gabrielle had been able to rescue him. As Joxer rolled out of the pit of death he could only complain about his missing boot which he stated had been worth at least fifty dinars.
There was little time to complain for there was yet another startling surprise. Suddenly fire pits shot out from the ground and from them emerged three winged creatures made only of bone. They shrieked with a horrid sound that made the ears curl. Xena and Joxer drew their swords as Joxer ran from the sight. Gabrielle took refuge behind the warrior princess as Xena began to swing her sword wildly. These were the driads that Xena had been searching for. All it took to kill one was to make contact with the sword, but it was easier said than done. One of the three driads attacked the helpless Orpheous as it tried to capture his head and fly away with it. The warrior princess caught sight of the fury and drew her chackram to save him from capture. Quickly is soared in the air and struck down the first driad. When it returned Joxer was making his own kill striking down the second.
Again he was quite proud of his accomplishment. It only helped him with his delusions about being a true warrior. He then taunted the third and final driad as Xena struck it down before them. Again all was quiet as everyone began collecting the driad bones. Orpheous had thanked Xena for saving him, but it had been the first time he had ever shown his appreciation. Joxer was still gloating about his kill against the winged creatures as he declared that the bones of a driad were as sharp as a nail. Gabrielle began to feel strange as she collected the bones left near Argo. It was as if she were begining to lose her concentration. She tried desparately to listen to what Joxer was saying to Xena, but all she could hear was that she had thought that Xena was a baccae.
Suddenly Gabrielle felt herself losing control. It was like no other feeling in the world. Her mind lost its wits and her body filled with hot blood as she popped up from the ground and turned to face the enemy. Yet when she caught sight of her enemy it was her friends. There before her stood Xena and Joxer. Gabrielle’s mind confused beyond recognition as her eyes filled with nightmare visions. For a moment she could focas only to hear Xena pleading with her to fight it. Yet the short moment of clarity ended once more as Gabrielle had turned into a baccae and soared into the air with her invisible wings. She whisked by Xena and Joxer flying into the catacombs nearby. Gabrielle’s soul was being pulled toward a force so strong and full of darkness.
The goodness in her heart fought desparately to regain control, but instead it was replaced by the insatiable urge to bite. There below her she caught sight of the enemy once again. Gabrielle scaled the walls and the ceiling of the dark catacombs following her intended victims. Her heart continued to fight, but instead she had to bite. Suddenly she swooped down upon Joxer catching him from behind. As she knocked her victim to the ground he struggled, but Xena’s skill prevailed. Again Gabrielle soared through the air her blood angered by the urge. Xena pleaded with Gabrielle to continue to fight against the raging force. As Gabrielle tried to fight within she was again whisked away by the darkness. She found herself within the lair of Baccus the evil one.
It was familiar like a vision. The vision she had had two days before. Her baccae eyes saw there before her more of her kind. All were enthralled to dance, and to drink the blood within the alter. Gabrielle’s eyes spotted the one and only Baccus sitting upon his mighty throne. There were hundreds of baccae women lining up to drink from his wine. As Gabrielle tried to rage against it she found herself within her own fright. Slowly she reached the head of the line trying to regain her mind. Instead she found herself face to face with the evil one. He had horns wrapping around out of his head. His face was red like blood and his eyes were yellow piercing through the soul. As he handed her a cup of blood he encouraged her softly to drink from it.
Gabrielle’s mind was enthralled by the great one. Yet her soul still fought the darkness. But the harder she fought to regain her sanity the more Baccus’s eyes pierced through her light. They reached deep down into her soul and lit it with agony and fire. Gabrielle could no longer resist the temptation as her blood began to boil. Slowly she raised the cup to her lips and as about to drink from its bliss, but a familiar sound pierced the air. It was Xena’s chackram that had stolen the cup. The blood crashed to the floor slowly as Gabrielle watched it splatter into oblivion. Then she turned to see the light. It was Xena the warrior princess.
Xena had prevented the fatal drink as she began to fight hundreds of baccae. Joxer had arrived alongside her and quickly went with Orpheous to seek the lyre. Gabrielle began to feel her mind coming back although the blood still boiled violently within. Her heart yearned to help the warrior princess fight, but her mind could do nothing. Instead she had to use all of her strength to continue to fight the battle within. Baccus soon raged against the light as he took Gabrielle to the alter once again. He then drew another cup of blood and handed it over to the helpless bard. Its power was so great that again she was pierced within her soul. Gabrielle raised the cup to her lips. She could almost taste its wonderful richness, but then she heard Xena shout out to her and then to Joxer to play the lyre.
Suddenly there was an aweful sound. It was like the sounds of dying animals. The sound screetched through Gabrielle’s ears. It was unbearble as she dropped the cup of blood to the floor. And then he was gone. Baccus had left the alter for Joxer. He flew up to the top of the lair where Joxer and Orpehous made music together. Upon his arrival the music stopped. Yet the warrior princess was already scaling the walls. She struggled to the top to confront Baccus as she drew a daggar and thrust it into his stomach. Baccus fell to the ground far below. He was motionless for a short time. All of the baccae women found themselves within a state of confusion as Gabrielle again fought the darkness within.
Soon Baccus rose again he laughed with evil intent. He declared that only a baccae could kill him and Xena was not one of them. The forces within Gabrielle were like a violent storm. Only the sight of Xena’s light could bring her out of her rage. As she looked upon Xena above he heart realized what she must do to win against the rage. Gabrielle then flew up to join Xena. She approached the warrior princess who pleaded with her friend to bite her. Gabrielle’s boiling blood lusted for Xena’s blood as she sunk her newfound fangs into the neck of the warrior princess.
This victim’s blood was able to sooth the rage within Gabrielle’s body momentarily. She could begin to feel some sanity returning to her mind. Quickly Xena too developed fangs and piercing evil eyes, but together they swooped down upon Baccus. The warrior princess thrust her weapon into his stomach once more and this time her attack was a success. Baccus suddenly lost all of his power within the darkness and disappeared into a ball of fire. As the darkness began to dissapate within and about all was restored to its original beauty. Even Orpheous himself received a gift for his body was miraculously returned. All the women seemed happy yet unaware of what had just happened to them. And thanks to Xena the baccae were turned into the beautiful women they were before.
And so Xena, Gabrielle, and Joxer continued on down the path. Joxer was already prepared for the next mission yet three can often be a crowd. Neither Xena nor Gabrielle were prepared to deal with the idiot any longer. Gabrielle decided that she would reveal their next mission. She told Joxer that they would go up against Medusa the woman with the snakes coming out of her head. This legend could be scary for a young man for it was said that she could turn even the mightiest of men into stone. So Joxer quickly decided that he would sit this next one out. He proclaimed himself to be mighty yet he would not test his strengths against Medusa. As Joxer left the friends behind Gabrielle thanked Xena for saving her from her baccae self. Xena told Gabrielle that she was thankful too for Gabrielle had saved the warrior princess from the wrath of Joxer the Mighty.