The Xena Scrolls
By: Gabrielle Bard of Podedia
Scroll#27: Is There A Doctor In the House
November, 48 B.C.
Pride holds a cost larger than ourselves. If only we could choose the peaceful value of life over blood and death putting our own selfish pride aside. For there was once this king. His name was Lubarious. He was a brave warrior and a great hunter. Lubarious was so proud of his hunting skills that one day he decided to test them in the sacred forest of the great goddess Artemis. His pride was so costly that he had angered Artemis taking the lives of many of the beautiful creatures which roamed within her sacred forest. She was so angry with him that she turned him into a deer like those he had hunted so mercilessly.
At first Lubarious thought of the misfortune of being transformed into the creature that he had once skillfully hunted down. But then he became so fond of the peaceful ways of the deer that he actually grew to love them. Of course he still missed his friends and family which made him very sad. So Artemis took pity on him and turned him back into his human form. For this he became a better king and a much happier man. He had learned that the true secret of life is to find peace within oneself and to share it with the world for life can only be what one makes of it.
Gabrielle was reminded of this wonderful story when she and Xena found themselves traveling through the city of Thessaly for they had found it lying in ruins. There was not one sign of life. Not a man, nor woman, nor child were to be found alive within the terrible destruction. It had only been a few weeks, but the pain of their deaths was still smoldering nearby. Xena and Gabrielle continued on their way deep into the forest beyond. It was not long before they found themselves trapped within the grasp of a bloody civil war.
This war was between the Mitoans and the Thesselians. It had been going on for several months for there were the corpses of the dead lying all around the forest. As the two traveled cautiously through the death and destruction they found themselves so close that one could hear the sounds of a battle raging beyond control. Swords clashed, and men screamed. It was one of the most tragic things that Gabrielle had ever seen. She could not believe how much blood had been spilled over a battle between brothers. Xena explained that the issue had been over religion for one side disagreed with the other upon their morals and beliefs.
Gabrielle was fearful of what they might see next and suggested that maybe they should take the southern route around Mitoa in order to avoid becoming innocent victims. But then suddenly there was the sound of a woman suffering not far away. Xena and Gabrielle rushed to see who was calling out only to discover an old friend. It was Ephiny of the Amazons and she had been hiding under a pile of leaves. She had been there for at least two maybe three days and was quite weak. Xena noticed that she had a large gash across her forehead and Ephiny mentioned that she had also sustained a broken leg.
When Gabrielle asked Ephiny what she had been doing out in the middle of this terrible war Ephiny spoke of her pregnancy. She and her loyal husband Phantes had been traveling toward Athens so that she would be able to give birth to their child. While traveling they had found themselves caught in the middle of all of this war. They had been attacked by the Mitoan army as the brave centaur Phantes was killed trying to protect his wife and unborn child. The Mitoans had laughed upon killing the gallant brave centaur tearing his lifeless body to pieces before the eyes of his beloved. They left Ephiny for death after she fought them upon losing the father of her unborn child.
While Gabrielle was preparing Ephiny to travel to a safe place Xena had decided that she was going to save Ephiny and her baby. Not only that, but she had also decided that she could stop this bloody war between the Mitoans and Thessalians. Gabrielle was not so certain that this choice was a wise one for she could see no reason for them to get involved, but Xena was certain that she would be able to take on this challenge and that she would be successful at accomplishing her goal. Again Gabrielle feared the worst although she had seen that Xena had triumphed in battle many times before. The bard scolded herself for expressing her sadness of this bloody war feeling that even Xena would not triumph within this battle alone for the devastation seemed larger than the largest of warriors.
Not far from where Ephiny lay Xena discovered the general of the Mitoan army just beyond some trees rallying his troops. They were planning on taking a nearby Mitoan healing temple for it was the only thing left standing between Mitoa and Thessaly. He was certain that victory would be theirs if they could take the temple. Xena allowed the general to send off his men and then she used her chakram to take him out, but not to kill him. Then she approached the unconscious general and gave him something that he would never forget. She took her mighty blade and thrust it into his shoulder.
Soon after the injury he awakened from his unconscious state and Xena took him with Gabrielle and Ephiny to the healing temple. He was against going inside for he was certain that his rank would call death upon him as he entered this Thessalian temple. Xena was determined to show him what his pride had done as she ripped the symbol of his rank from his clothing. Marmax was shocked at the warrior princess’s action and her boldness, but realized that he could not argue against it.
Once inside the temple the young bard found that her heart was breaking for what she saw was great pain and loss. She could not understand why life was without value when it came to war. There was a bit of shock for Gabrielle had not imagined that she would find a healing temple that would house so many broken souls. The warrior princess quickly glanced about to assess the situation. She sent Gabrielle to find a place for Ephiny to rest and to prepare for the birth of her child. And then Xena approached the priests in charge.
The head priest was an older one. He introduced himself as Gaylen. Gaylen also had two other younger priests working alongside him. Their names were Hippocrates, and Democratis. Gaylen was enraged that this warrior woman would think to bring into his temple the injured enemy. Quickly Marmax the general of the Mitoans was taken to the holding area with the rest of his captured and injured comrades.
Of course Xena ignored Gaylen for she could see that he and his apprentices were not able to heal with the help of their gods alone. The warrior princess decided to take immediate action as she began to access the wounded. First a young man came in suffering. He was a Mitoan and Gaylen objected immediately to her intervention. Again the warrior princess ignored him and proceeded to heal with the fine medical knowledge that she possessed. And as Xena worked above the chaos and in openly defying the powers of the healing god Asclepius yet another pair of wailing wounded were brought into the already full temple.
One of the men had a deep painful chest wound while the other had been shot through the windpipe with an arrow. Gabrielle returned to Xena’s side listening to these awful sounds of suffering. Men who wheezed struggling to take their last breaths of life as their chests violently rose and fell. The sounds of the dying were almost unbearable to hear, but the bard knew that she must help in any way that she could. Suddenly, Xena barked out an order for some rags and a hollow reed. Hippocrates quickly jumped to aid the warrior princess as he found himself suddenly fascinated by this warrior women who seemed to have the power to heal.
Upon Hippocrates return Xena demanded to see Marmax at the operating table. Upon hearing his name Marmax arrived intrigued by this woman’s disrespect for anyone. He was clearly irritated that he had been brought here and at first refused to help Xena upon her firm request. Yet Xena persisted in taking command of the general and he once again surrendered himself to her demands. She gave him the rags and asked him to hold them down onto the chest wound sustained by the victim. He did so as she inserted the reed into the man’s chest so that he could be given more air.
Suddenly, the second victim screamed and Xena responded quickly to his pleas. He had a neck wound and the blood was flowing out quickly. The warrior princess then asked for cobwebs as she broke the shaft of the arrow and then pushed the remaining arrow through. Quickly she took the hollow reed from Hippocrates and inserted it into the hole so that the suffering man could breathe again. Gabrielle watched as Xena then took the cobwebs from Hippocrates in an attempt to fill the wound and stop the blood. Xena called to Gabrielle to compress the wound of this suffering soul. The bard found herself putting her hands into the heart of the war holding the compresses upon the man.
Soon his chest was calming and his cries were subsiding as these amazing healing women had given him breath once again. Democratis was so very enthralled with the young bard and her beauty as Hippocrates agreed the taller one was impressive. Xena and Gabrielle were momentarily annoyed for there was no time for love when the fight for life was not over. The warrior princess realized that she could use the admiration of these two young priests to help save more lives. She called to Hippocrates and asked him to separate between those who would live and those who would not be saved. He was appalled at first for he did not feel that he could make that choice in the presence of his god Asclepius. It had obviously been taught to him by Gaylen that life and death were not up to the people of the earth.
Xena realized that Hippocrates was not yet ready to accept his duty so she gave him a new task as she drew her sword. She gave it to him instructing him to take it to the pregnant woman to set her broken leg. Hippocrates could understand this kind of healing and so he took the sword and followed the warrior princess going to work. The warrior princess had sent her sidekick onto tend to the soul of another wounded victim although his wound was one of the spirit. Xena knew that the bard could heal that with her powerful words and the light that she carried in her heart.
Gabrielle had been reluctant to tend to the soul of a man who could not put his pride aside, but then saw the opportunity in which she had been given by the warrior princess. The bard could not swing a sword, throw a chakram, or kill in the face of war, but she could use her powerful words and a beautiful story to convince one of influence to call off this silly feud. And so Gabrielle tended to the shoulder wound of general Marmax and told the story of Lubarious for she knew that Marmax could relate to a skillful hunter for it was he who hunted the beautiful people of Thessaly.
In the beginning of the story Marmax was pleased for he admired Lubarious’s bravery, but then he scorned Lubarious’s choice of defying Artemis to hunt within her forest. Gabrielle could clearly see that Marmax was missing the point so she continued on. She spoke of how Lubarious’s choice to hunt within Artemis’s forest had been the best choice he had ever made for it taught him the valuable lesson of finding peace within himself rather than trying to create it externally. Yet by the end of this beautiful story with a happy ending Marmax had still not understood what the bard had been trying to tell him. She left his side upon dressing his wound disappointed that she had been unsuccessful in her quest to sway his mind.
Upon returning to Xena’s side Gabrielle found herself in the midst of great suffering, pain, and agony. These were all Thessalian soldiers about to be sent to their deaths for the pride of general Marmax and his army. Suddenly, Gabrielle heard Xena call out for more supplies. She needed another hollow reed and the bladder of a pig. Hippocrates had returned to Xena as well realizing that Xena had been right to choose for some of the wounded could clearly never return to us despite what was done for them. Xena then inserted a knife into the chest of the new patient as his body flailed about upon the Asclipious’s altar. His blood spilled upon the alter staining it with the ugliness of war. She then stitched up his neck wound hoping to stop some of the blood loss.
Gaylen had returned to find the sacred altar in ruin defaced with the blood of the dying enemy for this man was a Thessalian. It was the last that he could tolerate of this healing woman’s presence. Gaylen demanded that the Thessalian guards within his temple kill the warrior princess for she was going against all that was allowed within the temple. The two guards prepared to do battle as the warrior princess reached instinctively for her sword to find that it was missing.
As the enemy approached she resorted to her powerful combat kicks which were a threat enough for this woman still tended to the sick and wounded as she fought against them. Upon defeating their weak advances upon her Gaylen scolded the warrior princess for her disrespect of the gods. Yet Xena had no remorse for her crimes against them for she declared that the gods would not heal these men. Her belief had always been that one must take action in order to make something happen. As the two argued over who was right and who was wrong within this realm of healing Gabrielle found herself unable to keep her patient from his suffering. She and Hippocrates worked together pumping air into his lungs with the pig’s bladder and hollow reed yet as they pumped harder and faster the man lost more and more blood. His breaths became shorter and fainter until finally his chest stopped.
As the distraught bard called out to Xena for help Xena came to find that this man could not be saved. She called off the efforts of Gabrielle and Hippocrates realizing defeat. But Gabrielle did not want to be defeated. She could not understand how the man could die when she and Hippocrates had worked so hard to save his life. Xena tried to comfort the bard and to help her understand that there were just some things that were beyond what they could do to help in the face of suffering. Gabrielle promised to Xena that she would work harder next time still feeling guilty that she had failed.
Then Gaylen interjected into their conversation and spitefully declared that indeed the warrior princess could not heal that man. Xena regretfully agreed that indeed that injury was one that could not be healed for the man had lost too much blood.
Marmax returned to see what a toll this experience had taken on the youth that traveled alongside this warrior woman as he watched the young bard try to comfort another dying man. He could clearly see that Gabrielle knew the man would die, but she spoke gentle words to him knowing that it was those words that she could offer and nothing more. The young Democratis sat alongside Gabrielle as he watched her tend to this man. He too was enlightened by the bard’s great power and strength within. Then Marmax confronted Xena for bringing the bard into this mess. Xena could see that he was right for the pain that Gabrielle was feeling within was almost as great as the physical suffering that each of these men were experiencing within their dying hour.
Yet the pain was still not over for another man came forth to the altar. He was screaming in pain for his leg was badly diseased. Xena proclaimed that for this man to live he must give up his leg in return. The man was upset and could not conceive of cutting off his leg. But the truth was revealed bluntly by Xena for she said that his choices were very simple. He could live without his leg or die with it. Marmax was outraged yet again by her even emotionless tone. Yet she looked to the victim and asked him what his choice would be. The man sighed and asked the healing woman to take his leg in exchange for his life.
Xena then went to work once again asking for a sword, a shield, and a torch. Then she asked for Marmax to assist her again, but this time he stopped defying Xena’s request for he refused to help the enemy. Marmax turned to walk away when the warrior princess boldly revealed to him that she would just give him another wound to match the one he had already sustained. At that moment Marmax realized that it had been Xena who had wounded his shoulder. He knew that she was serious and chose not to challenge her further. He participated in this operation taking the shield as Xena heated the sword with the torch. Then she used her pinch to mask the pain that was to follow. Slowly she prepared to take the diseased leg and then with one motion his leg was separated. The man screamed in shock, but the warrior princess knew that in time he would heal physically yet within she was not so sure.
As the man who lost his leg screamed in terror and shock Gabrielle was stopped suddenly by another distraught injured soldier. He pleaded with her speaking of a little boy lost out in the woods near the river. The little boy was his son and his name was Perayous. Gabrielle found herself becoming confused within all of the chaos and the pain yet realized that someone had to save this little boy. She could not allow an innocent child to be killed for the pride of a battle gone sour. As Gabrielle went for the door Deomocratis pleaded with her not to go out into the blood, but Gabrielle ignored him. If she had to give her life for the life of that little boy then she would do it without question.
The bard dropped her healing weapons and took up her staff to prepare to defend the innocent in the midst of all of this horror. It was not far to the river and she knew that she could save the little boy. She began to call out to him upon approaching the banks of the river finding herself suddenly confronted by a Mitoan soldier. He moved to strike forward as the bard blocked his advances. And then she saw the little boy behind her. He was fearful and alone. Her heart bled for him as she knocked the Mitoan soldier off of his feet onto the ground.
Gabrielle quickly turned to run for the boy and carry him to safety, but just behind his innocence she saw another Mitoan soldier raising his sword to take the boy. The bard threw herself in front of the boy using her staff to block the enemy, but was unable to defend against his fury. The soldier slashed his sword across the bard’s shoulder and chest. The pain was sharp, but quick. She fell upon the little boy who was curled up in a ball in terror. Then she waited for the enemy to leave and as they left she struggled to her feet. She took the little boy although the pain was difficult to overcome.
Suddenly from behind a Thessalian soldier approached realizing that the young woman and child were in need. He took them to the healing temple hoping that they would be safe there. Upon her arrival Gabrielle was barely able to breathe. She saw Xena approach in shock of what had just happened. Immediately Xena tended to her badly wounded friend. Xena hoped that she could save this victim for this victim was real. It was not just another soldier. As Xena worked diligently upon her friend’s wounds Gabrielle called out for Ephiny. Ephiny came and Gabrielle asked her to lean in close for she wanted to give Ephiny her right of caste. Ephiny would not take it for she would not lose another Amazon sister the way she had lost her husband. She pleaded with Gabrielle as she took her hand.
As Xena worked the temple began to shake for the enemy was now on the doorstep. There was no shelter left for the weak as the entire structure rocked and began to come down. The young priests jumped into action telling Xena that they be sure to get the wounded and the innocent to safety outside the temple. However, Democratis was distraught for he had allowed Gabrielle to go out alone into the battle after the little child. As he and Hippocrates took the patients outside and down the steps Democratis himself was struck in the chest by an arrow. He fell slowly as he was stunned by the sudden invasion into his body.
In the next moment the old priest Gaylen knelt down before the altar crying desperately for the god Asclepius to descend down upon his temple and stop the madness. As all was falling apart Hippocrates picked up the pieces bravely as Xena instructed him on how to treat his wounded friend. Then she asked Marmax to step forward and to do his part in healing by encouraging his army to stop the fighting. Marmax’s spirit had seen more than the light for the expecting mother had sung to him the tragic story of her husband and her loss. She had convinced him of the wrongs that he had committed and now he saw two more innocent before him who didn’t deserve to die for his pride and victory.
Upon his decision the battle suddenly ceased as the first of his soldiers entered into the temple. He was forceful with them for they didn’t understand at first what it was that they should preserve. Marmax explained to them that negotiating would be how they would win the remainder of this terrible war. So many had been lost already. He would not be responsible for the deaths of anymore. And so Marmax’s soldier went out into the field to deliver this peaceful message. It was the first time in a long time that he himself had been humbled the way that Lubarious had been humbled. Finally Marmax understood what Gabrielle’s story was meant to be. It was his lesson, but he had learned that lesson only upon her nearing death.
Xena sat alongside her friend regretfully as she expressed her mistake within her own pride. The warrior princess had been so determined to prove that she could win this war against pride that her own pride may have cost her the one she valued most. Marmax stood beyond and could hear all that Xena spoke of realizing that she too had been wounded deeply by this war senseless war. Xena regretted not taking the southern route as Gabrielle had suggested, and then Marmax interjected with hope. He delivered words of encouragement to the healing warrior confident that Gabrielle would make it through.
Though death itself was near so was the promise of birth as Ephiny found herself about to bring her child into the world. Marmax called to Xena unaware of what to do. Xena responded yet again to her call to duty and realized that Ephiny’s baby was breech. The situation was serious, but it was obvious that the exhausted mother was not going to give birth to her child naturally. Xena would have to cut it out to save both of their lives.
Marmax retrieved the supplies needed to perform the miracle of birth. Xena concentrated as she carefully took the pain from the expecting mother with the pressure points. Then she placed a candle before Ephiny upon the table and asked her to focus onto it looking deeply within the passionate flame for Phantes. Ephiny concentrated and felt her husband’s presence as Xena began the procedure. She ran a knife through the flame of the candle and carefully made her incision. Across the stomach and then down the middle. Xena instructed Marmax to pull back the layers of skin upon the top and there just inside the gift was revealed. It was a beautiful baby boy with four legs. He was definitely the child of a centaur. Marmax was delighted to be a part of this miracle as was Xena, but this joyful moment was interrupted by the other side of birth.
Xena quickly ran to Gabrielle’s side as she saw her friend struggling. The bard’s body shook and jolted violently. The warrior princess was unable to act for she could not heal this. This was beyond her control. Gabrielle’s spirit then fluttered about seeing all who stood about. She then saw the white light and the gates opening into a beautiful place. It had vibrant trees and vast colorful fields. She found herself greeted by those whom had already left her. There were her grandparents, and her uncle Meropes. Her spirit trembled with joy to be reunited with all of these people that she had missed.
But then amongst the laughter and the joy Gabrielle was touched by another vibrant young soul. It was Talus the boy who had gone home with Celesta leaving her behind. Talus was glad to see her, but told her that she must turn around and go back for there was still so much that she had to do. Gabrielle was saddened for a moment for she did not want to leave this most peaceful place, but Talus insisted that she must go back. Then he took her to a special temple and showed her the things that she must do before she could return. Gabrielle’s soul was excited and agreed to return to Xena for she saw how much the warrior princess still needed her.
Upon leaving the Elysian Fields behind she waved good-bye to all those that she had to leave behind again including Talus. He smiled brightly knowing that Gabrielle’s spirit would not return until it had full-filled its promises to Xena. And then her spirit floated above her body once more looking down upon what she saw. Marmax’s army was retreating and sending out word of truce to the people of Thessaly. Gabrielle’s spirit realized that she and Xena had succeeded in stopping this terrible war. Yet her joy was interrupted by the sensation of emotional anguish. It wasn’t her own, but the anguish of someone very close to her. She saw Xena lying over her trying to bring her back to earth.
Xena was struggling and fighting a battle that she could only win if Gabrielle were to return. The warrior princess’s heart began to break for the body did not respond. Xena pounded on the bard’s chest jolting the lifeless body, but still Gabrielle did not return. Marmax and many others tried desperately to convince the warrior princess that she must give up and let Gabrielle go. But Xena would not give up for she could not allow herself to be responsible for the death of another beautiful innocent. She cradled the bard in her arms and rocked her crying with desperation. The pain which radiated from Xena’s soul was so overwhelming that Gabrielle could not allow Xena to be alone any longer.
Gabrielle struggled to return into her lifeless body, but suddenly found herself taking a breath as her eyes flew open. Xena’s spirit was suddenly relieved for her best friend had returned to her despite all that had been lost. And so that is how the healing warrior, and Marmax found their own peace. It was through the cost of their pride that their eyes were opened for the first time so that they could see the happiness of a life without blood and war, and the miracle of the birth of innocence.