The Xena Scrolls: Volume 2: Scroll # 35: Intimate Stranger

The Xena Scrolls

By:  Gabrielle Bard of Potedia

Scroll#35:  Intimate Stranger

February 23rd, 47 B.C.


     In life there is a fine line between what is a dream and what is a reality.  Though sometimes it is difficult to define.  The warrior princess awoke from several nightmares which dealt with her guilt.  These nightmares were so intense that Xena awoke from them in a cold sweat.  Soon after she could not stand the lonliness which had set in as a result so she softly woke the bard from slumber hoping she could receive some comfort. 

     The cool morning air rushed over Gabrielle’s face suddenly for Xena had pulled back her blanket from her face.  It was still dark out for the sun had not yet risen.  Gabrielle looked over to Xena seeing the warrior’s chest violently rising and falling.  Xena’s eyes were distraught with worry and with guilt as she held her forehead with her right hand leaning her back up against a tree.  Gabrielle sat up on her elbows with concern and inquiry asking the warrior princess if there was anything wrong.  As usual Xena would not answer the truth.  She only said that it was time to continue their pursuit of Theodoras Callisto’s first in command.  Since Callisto’s death Theodoras had taken over her army.  His goal was to take Athens though the bard had heard that all he really wanted was to sooth his heart’s pain.  Theodoras had been in love with Callisto and now his violent army expressed his pain with each village it retained. 

     As the two women prepared to scout Theodoras’s nearby camp the uncomfortable silence between the two friends ceased.  Xena broke in with an inquiry of dreams.  She asked the bard if she had ever experienced a dream.  Gabrielle sensed Xena’s heart was within a confusion.  It was obvious now that it had been a dream that had brought it to this place.  Gabrielle then replied that she had indeed dreamed before.  She said that it was within her dreams that her best stories would come flowing through her soul.  Yet it had been a long time since she had dreamed.  Gabrielle had not had a single inspiration within her nights since the violent murder of her beloved Perdicas. 

      The warrior princess found herself saddened by this loss within the bard.  Gabrielle was still feeling numb with the pain of her loss despite Callisto having been gone.  Then Xena broke into the bard’s numb feelings with her own waves of guilt.  She began to open up her fears to her friend which had been building within her recent nightmares.  It was on this morning that she had awakened from them yet again.  Xena described having had four successive dreams.  The first began like a normal scouting mission.  She said that she was with Gabrielle and they were following two of Theodoras’s men.  Xena said that she remembered jumping down from the trees and then Gabrielle joined her upon command.  Gabrielle had asked Xena if she was certain that these men belonged to Callisto’s army.  Xena had confirmed that they had and were most certainly going to rejoin their new commander.  Then she asked Gabrielle if things were okay.  Gabrielle expressed her discomfort with the thought of Callisto again.  Xena understood her friend’s pain.  Then explained that Gabrielle’s pain was the reason that they had to stop Theodoras and his men so that they could all be brought to justice.  The bard seemingly understood this and then left Xena to rejoin Argo in the brush. 

      As Xena stood to hunt down the enemy she heard a familiar voice calling her name.   She turned with her weapon drawn and discovered that it was her mother.  Cyrene kept asking Xena when she was going to return home to where her friends and family loved her.  The warrior princess had said that she felt confused and afraid that Cyrene was present.  She then told her mother it was not safe for her to be there.  There was danger just beyond the trees where Theodoras was with his men.  Xena could not attack with her mother there for the guilt of her past deeds began to intrude.  Then Xena found herself realizing that it was all a trick.  That it was not really her mother who stood there before her.  And as she approached the imposter Cyrene revealed her true identity.  She was Ares the god of war.  He was still after his favorite warrior princess.  Ares commended Xena for rejoining his darkness for he was certain that she would one day command his next great army. 

      Xena was not at all amused by his presence.  She despised it and reminded him that his ambitions were only a dream.  Then Ares showed the warrior princess her recent fault.  He accused Xena of being a murderer.  When Xena tried to defend herself he only reminded her that she had been the one who killed Callisto.  The warrior princess desparately fought against her guilt.  She had killed Callisto for a justice.  Callisto’s death was justice for the death of Gabrielle’s Perdicas.  But Ares persisted with more.  He claimed that the warrior princess had murdered Callisto because she had allowed her to sink into the quicksand despite Callisto’s innocent pleas for help.  Ares declared that if Callisto’s death had been in the name of justice then it would have been a fair fight by the sword.  Yet instead Xena had just let her enemy die helplessly unable to rescue herself.  Ares insisted that this act had ensured that Xena was a murderer when she did not try to save the once innocent.

     Xena’s guilt began to rise as she tried deparately to hide it from Ares.  But the god of war then showed her a vision.  It was the dark memory of the day that she had watched Callisto die.  Callisto was sinking rapidly as she called out to Xena.  Her eyes no longer of firery rage.  They only spoke of a childlike innocence and fear.  Callisto reached out to Xena as she called for her rescue.  Xena tried desparately to distance herself from all of the guilt within, but could not.  Her hands which held her sword then pulled her toward the vicitm.  The warrior princess tried desparately to fight it, but the sword then plunged into the victim as Ares laughed triumphantly.

      Suddenly Xena awoke from this first nightmare with great fear.  She jumped to her feet from her slumber swinging her sword wildly ready to do battle.  Her warrior senses were confused as she scanned the camp.  There was nothing there, but a frieghtened crow and Gabrielle sleeping soundly alone.  Xena then slowly approached her friend desparate for comfort.  As she turned Gabrielle’s shoulder to awaken her the bard’s face turned into that of the dead Callisto.  Callisto’s brown eyes stared lifelessly.  They stared deeply into Xena’s freightened soul.  The warrior princess jumped back in disbelief as she saw the  endless blood dripping from her hands. 

       This time she awoke to the face of Gabrielle who had been trying to save her from her nightmares.  Gabrielle had shaken the warrior princess startling the guilty soul.  Then the bard’s soothing voice expressed its pity for the soul that could not release itself from deep guilt.  Xena then felt safe again as she asked Gabrielle if she felt what Ares had said  was true.  Had she really executed Callisto by allowing her to die helplessly within the quicksand.  Gabrielle’s voice was reassuring to Xena telling her that she had only done what had to be done.  These were the words that Xena desparately needed to hear from her friend.  Xena continued by expressing how every dream she had had was about Callisto and no one else.  The guilt ridden warrior continued by explaining that it was Ares taunting her and saying that she really had become a murderer when she did not try to save Callisto from her own darkness.  The warrior princess felt guilty for not giving Callisto a chance to change the way that Hercules had given Xena that chance to change. 

     Gabrielle  sharply yet confidently refused that statement for she said that Callisto had chosen her own path and demise.  It was not Xena’s responsibility to try to change Callisto according to the bard.  Gabrielle continued soothing the guilty warrior’s soul with more words yet they began to sound confusing to the warrior princess.  The bard said that just because Xena had not tried to change Callisto or to show Callisto any mercy as others had shown Xena that these things did not make Xena a murderer.  Xena began to move away from the bard slowly though Gabrielle’s hands did not release her shoulders.  Gabrielle continued her strange twisted soothing statements.  She said that if Hercules had chosen to judge Xena the way that Xena had chosen to judge Callisto then Xena would most certainly be dead by now.  Xena then questioned the bard with alarm.  Gabrielle continued as her words became more harsh and that soothing familiar sound suddenly began to change its tone.  She said that Xena deserved death more than did Callisto for it had been Xena who had created Callisto.  Though it was Gabrielle’s face that Xena saw her voice was now that of Callisto and before the words could finish the warrior princess awoke a third time.  That was when she had awakened startled Gabrielle out of slumber.  Finally Xena had reached the safety of  reality.  Yet even then there was seemingly little comfort for the warrior princess’s heart.

      As the two friends continued scouting on after exchanging their woes and dreams Xena’s pace suddenly quickened.  Gabrielle’s concern rose as her own thoughts of pain deminished into the alertness of preparing to do battle.  Xena then knelt down before some footprintes in the mud along the road.  Gabrielle followed inquring the warrior princess uncertain if they were following the trail of Theodoras.  Xena answered her friend with confidence saying that Theodoras and his men had gone over the river through the woods toward a deserted village.  Not only were they following the trail of the enemy, but there was another man following as well.  In fact, Xena was certain that this lone warrior was about to get himself killed.  Gabrielle pieced together the sarcastic comment and realized that it was Joxer that Xena spoke of.  Somehow he had managed to find himself right in the middle of the action once again.

      When Xena and Gabrielle finally arrived on the outskirts of the deserted village they found that Theodoras was about to execute Joxer.  The so called warrior challenged Theodoras proclaiming that soon the Athenian army would storm the camp and seize Theodoras and his army.  Theodoras was slightly amused, but more irritated at the annoying intruder.  He had decided that he was going to have Joxer killed this time for he was growing tired of dealing with his idocy.  Theodoras was angered when Joxer mentioned the name of the woman he had loved.  He then said that he would spill Joxer’s blood carving him from the inside out.  Joxer was defiant yet slightly fearful at the thought of his violent oncoming death.  He tried to talk his way out of it reminding Theodoras that he would need Joxer as a hostage when the Athenians came to take his army.  Theodoras ignored Joxer’s pleas as he and his men began to beat their victim senseless.  Joxer was helplessly hanging upon a rope as Xena’s battle cry raged out from within the woods.

      Suddenly Theodoras and his army dispersed into the woods looking to kill the warrior princess.  Yet she had already arrived into the village as she flipped violently crashing through the walls of a large barn.  Within the barn was Joxer hanging from the ceiling beams.  Gabrielle entered through the gaping hole left by Xena’s wrath as she and Xena scanned the barn for any of Theodoras’s men.  No one was present except for the idiot who proclaimed that he had been the one who had scared the enemy off.  Gabrielle was prepared to go after the enemy into the woods, but Xena declared that it would not be wise in the night.  She decided that they would camp and so Gabrielle went to fetch the blankets.  Xena began to pace within the barn planning her next move.  Joxer could barely stand being ignored any longer demanding that Xena free him from his ropes.  The warrior princess finally decided to free him, but not without punishment for his stupidity in acting alone.  Joxer suddenly found himself eating the dirt with little sympathy to follow.

     As the friends prepared to try to recapture their dreams Gabrielle approached the warrior princess staring off into the distance.  She brought a blanket to cover Xena’s shoulders realizing that though Callisto was gone from the world her presence still lurked within it.  Xena then continued expressing her guilt.  She was now certain after having her terrible nightmares that her guilt was real.  Xena really felt that she had committed an injustice allowing Callisto to die in the sinking pit of quicksand.  Gabrielle was disappointed for she now realized that Callisto had truely won despite her death.  Callisto had taken Xena’s light turning it into an endless guilt while she had handed Gabrielle endless pain and empty rage within her own heart.  Gabrielle expressed her disgust with the situation as she spoke these thoughts aloud.  For Xena was wishing that she had not killed Callisto, Joxer had developed a death wish because he had not succeeded in killing Callisto, and Gabrielle now felt that the world would have been a better place had the blonde nemisis never existed at all.  With that the bard left the warrior princess within her guilt unable to console her friend beyond her own heart’s lingering pain.  And so Xena’s nightmares continued relentlessly and without end.

     Upon the early morning before the next sun Gabrielle found herself suddenly awakened by Xena’s jolting her shoulder.  The bard was startled out of her slumber barely able to focas on Xena’s quick words.  Xena said that she had finally figured out what was really going on all of this time.  She said that Callisto was back somehow with the help of the god of war.  Gabrielle suddenly found herself alarmed by the thought of Callisto’s return.  She was uncertain of how she would deal with another face to face meeting with her worst enemy.  When Gabrielle inquired of the warrior princess what she felt that they would do next.  Xena responded with zest.  She said that they must immediately go onto Amphipolis for Callisto was certain to strike there next.  The bard did not understand how Xena had come to this conclusion so easily.  Xena continued explaining that because of Callisto’s undying revenge for her she was most certainly out to kill Xena’s mother.  There was someting eerie about Xena’s quick knowledge of her enemy’s certain motives.

      Just when Gabrielle was about to awaken Joxer to join them on their new mission Xena grabbed the bard’s arm.  She then told Gabrielle that it was best that they leave the idiot behind.  Xena was certain that he would only get himself killed.  Gabrielle could most certainly understand that.  And so as Gabrielle prepared herself and Argo for their journey to Xena’s home Xena vanished for a short time.  Gabrielle found herself increasingly confused.  She began to wonder if maybe she too had been having a strange dream.  Yet her concern dissolved upon Xena’s return as the sun began to rise.  Xena, Gabrielle, and Argo traveled together.  Yet the entire journey seemed like a strain and a struggle.  Argo was extremely fussy on this morning.  It was unusual for Xena’s horse to be so upset.  Gabrielle tried to figure out what may have spooked Argo, but most of her effort had gone into keeping Argo still.

     Then Xena started revealing her plan.  It was not typical for her to be so open and seemingly vengeful.  She said that Callisto most certainly had gone to fetch her army.  Xena was planning on reaching Theodoras before Callisto could regain control.  Argo continued to express her discomfort.  Gabrielle wondered if maybe it was because of Xena’s guilt.  She wondered if maybe it was the guilt begining to poison the warrior princess’s heart.  Then Gabrielle asked Xena if she would take Argo from her.  The bard was certain that Argo would calm down if Xena were to take the reigns.  Yet Xena refused to comfort her horse.  Instead she declared that Argo was only behaving in this way because she sensed Callisto as she had the last time they had gone up against Callisto.

     Then Xena turned to Gabrielle proclaiming that she had a confession.  She said that it was not right that she had been the one to kill Callisto before.  Xena said that Gabrielle should have been the one to spill the blood for her vengence deserved to be tamed.  The bard suddenly found herself disturbed by Xena’s sudden change.  Before Xena had fought desparately to keep Gabrielle from drawing Callisto’s blood.  And now she was determined to convince Gabrielle that it was her responsibility.  Gabrielle listened to her friend as Xena continued.  She said that her guilt over the issue was about to tear her apart.  The bard’s worst fear was seemingly playing itself out.  Gabrielle did not know what to do or how to visualize the truth.

     The bard then tried to verbally make sense of things.  She asked Xena if what she had said was the truth.  The bard wanted to know if Xena truely felt it was her responsibility to kill Callisto.  Xena’s reply was strange.  She disputed that statement only to say that Callisto was most certainly after her mother.  Gabrielle stated that Callisto had to be stopped short of killing Cyrene.  Xena did agree with this, but her blank stare pierced through Gabrielle like fire as Xena said that stopping Callisto wasn’t the problem.  She continued stating that once Callisto was stopped there had to be a resolution.  Xena seemingly did not know the resolution yet Gabrielle sensed that there was something beyond.  The warrior princess then stated that she was not so certain that she could go through with killing Callisto again.  Then she walked away from Gabrielle and Argo leaving the bard to contemplate Xena’s strange new demeanor.

     As the day wore on Gabrielle found herself even more confused for Xena began to teach her the art of vengence.  She had chosen a small tree to be the devout enemy and commanded the bard to strike it down.  But Gabrielle had already made up her mind.  She had already learned that the vengence would not calm her raging heart.  Gabrielle’s efforts were futile against Xena’s constant beckonings as she scolded the bard for not trying hard enough.  When Gabrielle tried to talk her way out of learning the truths of vengence Xena only pursued further.  She told the bard that it was not about vengence at all for Callisto was already dead.  All that she asked of the bard was to send her back to Tarturus where Callisto belonged.  Xena proclaimed that Gabrielle’s heart could bring the strength of vengance forth for it still existed within the bard.  Gabrielle knew Xena was right.  She had only buried those lustful feelings deep within.  Yet Gabrielle was afraid to release them openly knowing the damage that would most certainly follow.

     As Gabrielle prepared to strike at the tree once again Xena’s rage spilled out with even more power.  The bard suddenly found herself frustrated as she turned to face her friend.  There was definately something wrong within.  As Gabrielle searched Xena’s eyes for some light Xena calmed her tense muscles for a moment.  She shifted the sudden suspicion to a challenge.  The warrior princess then asked Gabrielle to allow Xena to play the part of Callisto.  Gabrielle found this sickening and not at all amusing.  Xena persisted with the charade saying that she only looked like Xena, but that she was really Callisto.  Though the idea seemed impossible the bard’s mind momentarily grasped the idea as truth.  She thought that maybe it was a true explanation to this situation yet her heart worked desparately to deny it.  Then Xena beckoned her to strike and so weakly Gabrielle struck for she did not wish to unleash vengeful feelings upon her best friend. 

     Again Xena persisted trying to belittle the bard with insults, but even that did not allow Gabrielle to strike a powerful blow.  Yet Xena tried once more to grasp the vengence with the bard.  She began to describe the sensation of killing Perdicas and of how she had felt his blood on her hands as he died.  Gabrielle’s rage began to surface as her soul began to boil and the darkness emerged from within her heart.  Then Xena finalized the statement by belittling the bard again telling her that she was incapable of killing the one who had taken her love from her.  And with that Gabrielle lost all of her senses.  Her self control was completely gone.  Her muscles tensed within her arms and her legs thrust forward with the staff as it struck Xena in the chest violently.  The warrior princess suddenly fell to the ground for Gabrielle had knocked the wind out of her friend. 

     As Xena rose slowly from her defeat Gabrielle’s darkness quickly retreated into realization.  The bard suddenly felt great guilt for what she had felt and acted upon.  She turned away from Xena who praised her yet Gabrielle did not feel like a celebration.  Instead her stomach felt ill.  As if she wanted to purge it of the evil lurking within.  Xena then continued to stroke the bard’s dark ego telling her that she was proud of the action against her.  Gabrielle expressed her deep concern for having felt hatred within that moment.  She had truely believed in her mind that Callisto was real within Xena’s eyes and that was what had allowed her to strike.  Gabrielle did not want to face that moment again, but Xena only commented that hatred had to be faced no matter the consequences.  Then Xena handed the bard her weapon, but this time it was not just a simple fighting staff.  Xena had fashioned it into a spear using the breast daggar that Gabrielle had once purchased for herself.  Then Xena said that she was going to take care of the one who was following closely behind.  Upon her abscence Gabrielle found herself barely able to move or to function.  Instead she just stood against the tree and stared at the weapon of death that now faced her.  She sensed that this was a moment of choice.  Gabrielle desparately hoped that she would not make the wrong choice.

     After many moments of spying the weapon Gabrielle finally picked it up.  She began to inspect the point of the weapon as she tested it up against the tree.  The bard questioned her resolve wondering if she would be truely able to make the choices that Xena had to make every day with the sword.  There was still a great deal of uncertainty within her as Argo began to stir upon Xena’s return.  The warrior princess seemed a lot more at ease as she grabbed a drink to quench the thirst of her passionate encounter with war.  When Gabrielle inquired of who had been following them Xena said that it had only been one of Theodoras’s men.  Then she confidently brushed off the situation stating that she had been able to scare him off. 

     Gabrielle prepared to grab Argo to continue on their journey, but Xena’s calm nature began to shift back into that crazy uncertainty for the bard.  She said that Argo would not be going with them onto Amphipolis.  Xena stated that she feared for Argo’s safety.  Again this was unlike Xena for Gabrielle had never known the warrior princess to go anywhere without her horse alongside her.  Gabrielle investigated this with a question for she wasn’t sure that an emotionally distraught horse should be left out in the woods alone.  With Callisto lurking about she might fall victim.  Xena was certain and persistant that she should leave Argo behind.  She was so confident that she asked Gabrielle to move ahead while she hid Argo’s briddle.  Gabrielle looked to Xena once more with grave concern, but she did not argue with the warrior princess.  She was often cryptic about many things. 

     Gabrielle walked on alone for about two hours until she began to hear some very strange sounds lurking behind.  The bard circled back upon her path to investigate what was just behind her.  To her surprise she caught sight of  Joxer walking alongside Callisto, and then suddenly she heard the distant sound of the roaring chackram.  Then the chackram was in plain view, but it was not Xena who tamed it.  Callisto took the mighty weapon as Joxer narrowly escaped its wrath.  He fell backward passing out after Callisto tamed the weapon.  Then she prepared to return it to the warrior princess only to find herself confronted by the warrior woman.  She warned Callisto not to send back her weapon for she would only recapture it.  Then Callisto demanded to know where the bard was, but Xena played her off without revealing a single detail.  Gabrielle strained to hear the dialogue between the two women, but found it muffled by the sounds of the wind blowing through the brush.

     All she could do now was watch and hope Xena would be triumphant.  The sounds of screams and battle cries broke through the rustling plants as the two women flipped across one another clashing their swords into action.  It seemed all of their battles began this way.  And then they would face one another swords ready.  Callisto was seemingly on the defensive in this battle as Xena attacked to perry.  The warrior princess swung missing Callisto as the blonde jumped backward.  Xena then charged forward with even more aggression and force.  There was great power and strength, but it was not coming from Xena.  It was coming from Callisto.  Callisto seemingly fought to avoid drawing blood.  She only fought to defend.  Strangely it seemed to the bard that Callisto was fighting like Xena and Xena like Callisto.  She thought maybe it was because Xena was seeking a justice fairly deserved. 

     Then Gabrielle saw Callisto flip and roll to the ground dodging another advance.  Gabrielle thought that Callisto could have easily taken the advantage against Xena, but for some reason she had chosen not to.  Instead she knelt down in the mud blocking Xena’s downward motion from behind.  Then Callisto spun around from the ground looking to strike at Xena’s feet, but the warrior princess flipped over her to escape the move.  Callisto rose to face Xena who attacked high against the blonde.  There was a massive struggle for control.  Callisto used her sword to hold off Xena’s.  Xena twisted her sword to disarm Callisto who suddenly kicked Xena’s sword from grasp.  Then something extraordinary happened.  Callisto ran up Xena’s chest flipped backwards and kicked Xena in the face.  It was the same move that Gabrielle had seen Xena use many times, but this was the first time Callisto had ever used it.  Then there was a pause in battle as Gabrielle thought of this.

     Yet her suspicions were rested when Xena mirrored the move that Callisto had made.  Then Xena flipped Callisto by the arm only to have the move reversed by Callisto.  Callisto then kicked Xena who fell back and then she slid a daggar from her boot returning to the offensive against Callisto.  The blonde warrior did not have a weapon.  Instead she dodged each strike and then jumped into a reverse flip using her legs to capture Xena into submission.  As the women fell to the ground Xena ended up on the bottom as Callisto took control.  The daggar held steady with neither woman taking the advantage.  Gabrielle suddenly sprung up from the brush realizing that she had to enter into the battle.  Callisto was about to take Xena’s life.  Gabrielle arrived behind Callisto with her spear pulled to attack.  The bard was prepared to take Callisto’s life.  Gabrielle was totally focased and could hear nothing.  Her blood raced through her veins as the vengence began to rise.  Suddenly her concentration was broken by Xena’s voice.  Xena commanded her to kill the blonde warrior, but before Gabrielle could respond her ears were filled with Callisto’s voice asking for soft mercy. 

      Callisto continued explaining to Gabrielle that she was about to tell her an impossible story.  Then it was out.  Callisto proclaimed herself to be Xena.  Her voice was calm unlike usual.  It wasn’t phsycotic or crazed.  Yet Xena responded quickly saying that Callisto’s statement was only a trick.  Callisto quickly replied with the trick being that of Ares.  She said Ares and Callisto worked together to use her own guilt against her.  This had been how Xena had become Callisto while she slept during the night.  Gabrielle found herself suddenly confused.  There was a fine line between vegence, and truth.  Xena then spoke up once again reminding Gabrielle that Callisto had taken Perdicas.  Gabrielle fought the urge to kill knowing that Callisto might be telling the truth.  Callisto’s explanation explained why Xena had been behaving so strangely and why Argo had been upset.  Then the vengence rose and almost overcame the bard’s resolve. 

     Callisto broke in one last time.  She asked Gabrielle to question Xena about her dreams since Perdicas had died.  The bard found herself confused by this strange request coming from the blonde warrior.  She wondered how the blonde even knew what she and Xena had talked about the night before.  Xena accused Callisto of tricking the bard once more.  But Gabrielle felt that the question was a valid one.  it would prove the truth in all of this confusion.  And so Gabrielle asked Xena to answer knowing that it would be simple.  Xena hesitated and then struggled to find the phsycotic words that would pull vengence from within Gabreille’s heart.  The answer Xena gave was wrong.  Xena said that Gabrielle had been dreaming of her vengence, but that was not the truth.  Then Callisto calmly broke in proclaiming that Gabrielle had dreamed of nothing since Xena had killed Perdicas.

     And so it was true.  Callisto was Xena and Xena was Callisto.  Somehow the impossible had happened and they had traded bodies.  Gabrielle was stunned and Xena relieved for she had won this battle of truth with words.  Xena looked to her friend who dropped her weapon as Callisto took the moment to escape running for the horse that Joxer had brought along with Xena.  Gabrielle then looked at Xena totally astonished by the incident.  In disbelief Gabrielle was stunned only interrupted by the sound of a flying daggar approaching her.  When Gabrielle suddenly snapped back into reality she looked up to see death.  Yet Xena was there to save her capturing the daggar within her hand.  Then Callisto rode off only she looked so much like her friend.  This left the bard with Xena who looked exactly like the one she despised.

     Again doubt rose within Gabrielle as she looked to the blonde woman who now stood before her.  The person that was once Xena rode off triumphantly as she recaptured the chackram and screamed through the woods.  This thought was chilling.  Gabrielle could not understand or comprehend.  She then asked the blonde if it was true.  Xena confirmed that she was really the bard’s truest friend.  Gabrielle was very upset.  She did not want to face this new reality.  The bard wished it were a dream, but this was truely reality.  Then Joxer awoke lost for a moment only to discover that he had missed his oppritunity to kill Callisto once again.  When Gabrielle asked Xena how this had all happened Xena revealed a plan and of how it all began.

     On the night before she had been standing staring out into the woods.  As she leaned up against the doorway she had fallen asleep.  Xena had been unable to distinguish her dream from her reality for she had just experienced the three nightmares hours before.  As Gabrielle and Joxer slept Callisto had come.  She beckoned Xena into the fog and into the darkness.  This led her into the depths of Tarturus where Callisto taunted her with her guilt.  Then Xena realized what had been happening to her.  She had been a victim of Ares who had taken the world of dreams and the world of reality making them into one.  This allowed Callisto to become his new warrior that would replace the many rejections of the warrior princess.  There was only one way to allow Callisto and Ares to succeed.  They had to bring Xena to admitting her own guilt.  The two had been successful and so Callisto was released from Tarturus as Xena and Xena found herself trapped forever.

     Xena had only one hope of escaping her guilt and eternal life within Tarturus.  She seeked out Hades who would be the only one that could help her.  Xena argued with Hades over the truth of her identity for he did not believe that she was the real Xena.  He too knew as Gabrielle had known that Callisto was very clever.  Hades continuously refused to believe Xena’s story though she seemed to know every secret of the underworld.  There was only one way that the dead could escape the underworld and it was through the guilt of those who had killed them.  This made sense to Hades, but he still did not believe.  Then Xena spoke of her beloved Marcus and of how together they had saved Hades kingdom from Atyminious.  Again Hades decided that everyone knew of that information too.  Then Xena reminded Hades of what had happened in the end.  She reminded him of how she had stabbed Marcus through the heart before him.  Her love had been unmistakeable.  Hades had been the only man to witness that knowing that Marcus would have kept that moment to himself.  Finally Hades relented although he was still displeased with Xena for allowing her guilt to free Callisto.  He said that he could only give her one day to repair her mistake for his displeasure would yield no more.  

     As soon as Xena had returned to life within Callisto’s body she found something that nearly broke her heart.  Argo had been badly wounded by Callisto though Xena was able to save her horse.  Joxer of course had to jump into the conversation reminding Xena that he had come to Argo’s aid.  The idiot was courageous and brave with his heart, but abscent with his mind thinking he could go up against Callisto alone.  Xena had thanked Joxer for his help in trying to protect her beloved horse.  She then explained that Callisto had meant for Xena to have to kill her own horse certain that it would break Xena’s heart. 

     Soon Xena, Gabrielle, and Joxer had reached the cave near Amphipolis where Callisto had told Gabrielle she was going to take the people.  Armed with fire bombs Gabrielle and Joxer awaited Xena’s command for an attack.  Callisto had killed Theodoras and taken over his army as Xena.  She was preparing for Xena’s arrival as Xena had suspected.  Callisto was preparing to burn the people of Xena’s village to death the way that Callisto’s family and friends had suffered at the hands of Xena’s own army.  Then Cyrene called out to the dark nemesis unaware of the evil that lied within her.  Soon Cyrene’s senses were sharpened with truths as she gazed into the eyes of the enemy playing the part of her daughter.  Callisto then left her within fear and requested that the first torch be thrown at the feet of Xena’s mother.  She wanted Cyrene to meet certain death even if the warrior princess were to arrive before death had taken her. 

     Callisto was unaware of the danger that lurked within the cave waiting to strike.  She taunted the idea of the warrior princess’s arrival, but found herself interrupted by the arrival of Ares warning her of her out of control vengence.  Callisto did not heed Ares’s warning of Xena’s skills.  She was blinded by her vengeful goals against the warrior princess.  Callisto proclaimed that Ares was no longer in control of the situation for he had promised her satisfactin and she would have it.  She didn’t care what happened to Xena after that.  Callisto was certain that Xena would be reclaimed by Hades in Tarturus before she could stop Callisto.  Then Ares left his newfound creation with anger.  He too had underestimated his new warrior queen.  She had used him to have her vengence and now he was defeated.  As Ares disappeared Xena gave the command as Joxer and Gabrielle began to hurl the fire bombs into the cave.  Callisto’s army put out their torches immediately as the dispersed from the cave fearful of Callisto’s arrival.

     Yet Callisto had already been there and now Xena flipped into action.  Callisto was ready for battle against Xena.  She was ready to satisfy her vengeful heart.  And so the battle began as Callisto drew her sword and clashed with Xena’s.  This time Xena moved offensively within Callisto’s body.  She tried a new series of moves to catch Callisto off guard as she spun around several times an perrying with her sword after each spin.  Xena delivered a few kicks and then received a return kick from Callisto which disarmed her of her weapon.  Suddenly Xena began to fade into the setting sun as she warned Callisto that her vengence would never be realized now.  Callisto would not give up her victory over Xena for she reminded her that Xena would always know who had killed her loved ones despite being in Tarturus.  Then Callisto turned and ran for the people of Amphipolis locked away helplessly within their cell.  But before Callisto could get to a lit torch Xena made one last move.  She took a poison dart from the cuff of her wrist armor and plunged it into Callisto’s juggular. 

      Gabrielle and Joxer dashed into the cave with their weapons raised ready to do battle against Callisto.  Yet they were too late for Xena had finally disappeared forever returning to the depths of Tarturus.  Then Callisto ripped out the poison dart from her neck.  She appraoched the people of Amphipolis, but fell to the ground passing out into slumber from the poison dart.  Gabrielle realized what Xena had done.  She was making one last attempt to return Callisto to Tarturus.  Gabrielle and Joxer could only hope that Xena would return to them when it was finally over.  And so the battle raged on within Tarturus.  The battle of guilt and vengence persisted.  Xena put a face upon the vicitms that Callisto had ever taken.  She had called upon Callisto’s mother who came to reclaim her innocent child.  Callisto retreated to denial, but soon she put herself on trial.

     And then it was finally over as Xena’s body fell into Callisto’s.  As Callisto slowly rose to her feet those who had weapons held them steady.  Gabrielle then faced her enemy prepared to do battle, but the enemy had not returned.  It was Xena still within Callisto and Gabrielle was still in despair.  She did not want to believe that Xena could not return to her the way she had remembered her friend.  Callisto then proved her innocence to the bard with the words of her truest friend.  Xena spoke of Gabrielle’s own words about her belief in the power of love.  Gabrielle had once said to her friend that the true weapon against the cycle of violence was not vegence, but love.  Suddenly Gabrielle realized the she was seeing a reflection of herself within.  It came through the face of the enemy and the eyes of her truest friend.  Though Xena would never be restored to herself her soul had learned a lesson that Callisto could never understand.

     Early the next morning as Gabrielle awoke she found it difficult to rise from her slumber.  For the first time in weeks she had a dream though she wished it had been reality.  Then the bard found Joxer who stood with the blonde warrior princess.  He was clearly still shaken by the new home which now housed the soul of the warrior princess.  Gabrielle heard Xena thank Joxer once more for his courage in protecting Argo.  When Gabrielle approached Joxer’s nerves were on edge as he jumped back startled by her arrival.  The bard tried to calm him down reminding him that there was nothing left to be fearful of.  Yet Joxer protested that he was completely at ease.  As he left the two friends alone Gabrielle found herself missing Xena again.  Though her friend was right there with her it was still a great reminder of the one who had taken Perdicas from her.  Xena put Gabrielle’s heart at ease reminding her to think of Perdicas and the love she had for him when she looked at the face of Callisto instead of the hatred it commanded.  And so as the two friends moved foward together Gabrielle began to sing the song of Perdicas.  Her love for him was endless as was her love for the warrior princess.

The Xena Scrolls: Volume #2: Scroll #28: A Solstice Carol

 The Xena Scrolls

By:  Gabrielle Bard of Podedia

Scroll# 28:  A Solstice Carol

December 23, 48 B.C. 

     I sing of the king whose name was Silvus for he could not find the love in his heart to allow a celebration of winter solstice.  An older poor couple was brought forth to him in the king’s the court for they had not one dinar to pay him though they owed for their taxes.  Silvus had no mercy upon them and he sentenced them to ten winters in prison for their humble crimes against his kingdom.  Yet he was not finished for their crimes were not all read.  It was discovered that they had also been guilty of celebrating the time of the winter solstice.  This enraged the king even more for he gave them two more winters for this crime which they had committed.

      Thus on the very same night a warrior princess and her loyal sidekick Gabrielle entered into Silvace’s kingdom unaware of the laws which forbade the celebration of solstice.  Gabrielle was excited for it was the eve of solstice and it was a time of giving and of sharing love and hope.  Xena of course was not as excited, but the bard insisted that they each shop in the market and buy a gift of solstice for the other.  They were not to spend more than five dinars for their gift, but Xena did not see the point when she could just as easily give Gabrielle the five dinars.  Gabrielle argued with her friend reminding her that it was the surprise of the gift and the thought involved in choosing a gift that made this tradition a special one.

     Upon arguing the solstice tradition the two were interrupted by a thief who had stealthfully passed between them stealing Xena’s prized chakram.  As they watched the thief disappear into the crowd in the market they noticed that he was only a child.  They decided to separate splitting up to trap the thief between them.  The chase was on as Xena bolted closely behind the young thief watching his every move.  She noticed that he only tried to steal one other item from another unsuspecting shop keeper.  Xena decided to give him space and to follow him for he was not the typical thief.

     And then as he passed through the back alley way Gabrielle again caught sight of him.  She was about to confront him when Xena motioned quietly for the bard to follow.  The two women watched as the boy entered into a large old building which looked to be an orphanage.  This was definitely not a typical robbery.  Xena and Gabrielle followed their thief through the doors of the orphanage and looked to see why he had stolen Xena’s chackram.  There before them stood a large beautiful solstice tree with all of the beautiful trimmings and bright golden decorations.  There were candles burning upon each branch illuminating the room and there upon the top of the tree was the most lovely star the bard had ever seen.

     However, Xena was not so impressed by this beautiful star for it was indeed her stolen chakram which sat radiantly upon the top of the solstice tree.  Xena was a bit offended that someone would even think of her chakram as less than a deadly weapon, but Gabrielle was tickled to see the many functions that the graceful chakram held.  The young boy was scolded by the lady who ran the orphanage for indeed he had stolen Xena’s chakram yet the bard found it cute that he would go to any length to find a star in the spirit of solstice.  Xena approached the wonderful tree and took the chackram from its resting place on top.  It had been wrapped in little red, white, and gold bows which brought out so much color.

     Suddenly the doors of the orphanage were busted open for there were the guards of Silvus and the bailiff who sat upon Silvus’s court.  The bailiff held an order upon a scroll which read that the orphanage was to be vacated by midnight for they had been sentenced for celebrating solstice.  Not only that, but if they did not leave they would have to pay a penalty of 10,000 dinars for their crimes.  This was not fair, and seemed a cold-hearted deed.  Xena took matters into her own hands.  She took her chakram bows and all throwing it around about the soldiers wrapping them like solstice gifts together and bound. 

     As the warrior princess took the four guards of Silvus to a prison within the orphanage Gabrielle took the bailiff noticing that his heart was not as cold as the words upon his parchment.  She asked of his name and he said that it was Senticles.  Gabrielle had heard of this name Senticles as she searched within her memory to find out who he really was.  And then it came to her.  Gabrielle remembered that she had once been given a solstice gift that had been crafted by Senticles himself.  It had been a little wooden toy lamb whose mouth would open if it’s tail was pulled.  Gabrielle expressed her joy as she remembered how happy that toy had made her feel as a child.

     Senticles was delighted for a moment to see the joy that his craft of toy making had brought to Gabrielle, but expressed his sadness for toys had been outlawed the day solstice had been banned.  When Xena had returned she had wanted to take Senticles to the cell with the other solstice haters, but Gabrielle convinced her that Senticles was not one of them.  Instead they would use Senticles to help them in releasing the ban upon this most wonderful holiday. 

     Gabrielle then asked of Senticles why solstice had been banned, and Senticles told of Silvus’s wife Analia whom had passed away upon a Solstice eve many winters before.  His heart had been broken on a night that was meant for joy and so the bard could understand his loss, but now it was time for Silvus to stop mourning and to celebrate once again.

     Gabrielle had her own plan though Xena was opposed.  She wanted to fight this battle without weapons for the bard was confident that it could be done.  Xena of course wasn’t certain, but Gabrielle pleaded with the warrior princess reminding her that it indeed was a peaceful time which should be resolved with peaceful measures.  Gabrielle promised Xena that if her plan did not work that they would most certainly smash heads to release these saddened people of Silvace’s kingdom.

     The first thing that had to be done was to gather the necessary supplies.  Gabrielle was given 35 dinars for it was all that Xena had left herself.  There was a very long list, but Gabrielle promised Xena that she would be able to haggle and get everything on the list.  And as they parted Xena caught Senticles trying to escape his duty to the people of Silvus for he was a coward who could not bear to think of what Silvus would do to him if he found out about his deeds with the warrior princess.

      The hour was growing late as Gabrielle entered the market place.  It was now dark and some of the shops were beginning to close up.  Yet as her eyes roamed about seeking a deal she was interrupted by the sounds of a man cursing and a donkey screaming.  Gabrielle turned about to watch as she discovered that this stubborn donkey was not about to move anywhere, and the man shouted back.  She interjected hoping that she could be of some assistance to this man his donkey and their struggle.  The man declared angrily and with frustration that he was about to take this beautiful animal to the tannery.  He was certain to get 50 dinars for the donkey. 

     Gabrielle was suddenly upset for how could someone take a loving animal to the slaughterhouse on the night of solstice eve.  Without another thought she offered the scrawny middle-aged man 20 dinars for his animal.  He refused for he did not want to give up his 50 dinars.  In fact, the man said that he would not take less than 25.  But then Gabrielle reminded him that his donkey was only worth 50 dinars if he could get it to the tannery.  It was quite obvious to the bard that this donkey was not about to budge.  She then offered him 30 realizing that he wouldn’t even get 50 despite what he had claimed.  The man suddenly stopped trying to struggle with the donkey and he declared that he would take 35 dinars.  Gabrielle smiled with delight and then suddenly realized that she had just spent all of their money to save this donkey from the slaughterhouse.

     Yet then she realized that she had done something in the spirit of solstice and it did not matter that she had spent all of their money on this poor stubborn donkey.  So she took the donkey upon exchanging her last 35 dinars and gave him a name.  She called him Tobias.  Upon reaching the orphanage Gabrielle had been told that she could not bring Tobias inside.  As she tried to take him back out into the cold Tobias refused to budge once again.  She was beginning to feel the same frustration that the former owner had experienced with this stubborn animal.  Then suddenly someone whistled and Tobias responded.  Gabrielle was delighted to see that this donkey had been trained just the way Argo had been trained by Xena.  As Gabrielle took her new friend back out into the cold she tried to comfort Tobias and promised him that she would stay outside with him.  She did not want her new friend to be lonely.

     Upon Xena’s return Gabrielle realized that she had to explain why she had been unsuccessful at obtaining the list of things needed to complete their mission.  As Xena came into the orphanage Gabrielle confessed persuasively that she had made a wonderful investment by saving the poor animal from the tannery.  Xena could not argue or be upset with her friend for she knew how big the bard’s heart truly was.  Gabrielle had only done what she thought had been right.  That was what the warrior princess loved most about her misguided young friend.

     Xena then explained what had happened while she was at the castle.  She had found all of the things that they had needed to complete their mission, but King Silvus had not been so responsive upon her visit to his bedside.  He had called upon his guards when he discovered that Xena had come not to rob him, but to convince him to restore the celebration of solstice and to ease up on his tax laws.  It was clear that the next part of their mission was to be completed.  Yet they needed just one more person to get involved so Xena turned yet again to Senticles.  She found him in the court working very late as he always did.  Xena entered quietly behind him watching as this old toy maker changed sentences and numbers allowing some mercy to enter into the lives of the poor and unfortunate.  Xena found herself touched by this and was certain that he would get involved.

      She approached him complementing him on his good deeds, but he was modest and almost nervous that anyone had even discovered his small deed.  Xena then asked of him to join her and Gabrielle to carry out their plan yet he refused.  He would not go further than changing the numbers upon his parchment, but Xena reminded him that she could easily give word to Silvus of Senticles’s deeds against Silvus.  Senticles had no other choice, but to join the warrior princess and the bard in convincing Silvus otherwise.

      And so the first part of Gabrielle’s plan had begun.  Xena was dressed as the beautifully charming fate Clotho.  Clotho had been the fate of Silvus’s past and she was there to remind Silvus.  Silvus was afraid at first, but listened as he shook in his bed.  Clotho insisted that he come with her to visit his past, but Silvus refused.  Then Clotho reminded him of what would happen to his own future if he chose not to come with her.  While Xena performed before Silvus, the toy maker performed behind the curtain making his magic believable.

     Once Silvus was convinced of the power of Clotho he reluctantly put on his robe and joined Clotho and they went down to the basement of the castle.  It was old and musty.  There were cobwebs all about for no one had been there for years.  Yet the warrior princess had been there earlier when she had discovered the picture on the wall.  It had been of Analia and Silvus together and Analia’s eyes were very similar to Gabrielle’s.  As Clotho guided Silvus through his past there before him was a shadow .  It was the living breathing shadow of Annulya.  She spoke lovingly to him yet within a ghostly voice.  Clotho then turned to the king and began to speak to him as the suspended shadow fell suddenly to the ground.  Gabrielle fought violently through the robes which she wore for she could not see what was going on.  And then suddenly the shadow was hoisted back into the air.

      Analia then told Silvus that it was now time for him to let go of the pain of his past.  She encouraged him to leave her in peace though she apologized for leaving him in her death so many years ago.  For a moment Silvus was convinced of this mysterious shadow until he realized and reminded this shadow that she had not died, but she had left him.  Suddenly, Silvus became angry and almost distraught.  Then he fainted and fell to the floor.  Gabrielle was concerned that maybe they had gone too far, but Xena assured her that it had only been a drug that she had put into the king’s wine which would allow him to sleep, but for only a short time.

     Then Xena took Silvus back to his bed chambers and Gabrielle whistled for Tobias to take her back out to the ground outside the castle.  Once Gabrielle touched the ground she began to look for Senticles for he was supposed to have been watching Tobias.  It was obvious to the bard that his cowardice had won out and Senticles had abandon the people of Silvus once again.  Yet she saw Tobias and was delighted at how smart this animal truly was.  It was as if despite the absence of Senticles this beautiful animal knew just what he had to do.  For that he had saved the mission.

      While Gabrielle took Tobias to search for Senticles Xena returned with Silvus to his bedchambers.  There was little time before the drug from his wine would wear off and he’d be certain to figure out what was really going on.  Xena changed costume as well for phase two of the plan required that she become the fate of the present.   Lachesis rudely awakened the sleepy Silvus to take him on a journey of the present.  At first Silvus was angered yet again at his suddenly being ripped out of sleep, but Lachesis convinced him otherwise.  She began by asking him to change into common clothes so that he may walk about his subjects undetected.  Lachesis desired to show the king his ugly ways from the perspective of those who know him best.  Even Silvus seemed unaware of his arrogance being the king.  This showed in his initial defiance of Lachesis’s request of him, but it did not last.  With Xena behind the mask of the present convincing the king to so ask he had been asked was not a problem.

      Meanwhile Gabrielle found herself amongst the local townspeople in search of Senticles’s home.  The people knew just where to find Senticles and so Gabrielle followed his trail straight to his front door.  She knocked and called out to him for she was certain that he would be cowering there.  After a few moments of  persistence and determination Senticles finally answered.  Gabrielle was quite agitated that her new warrior friend was not so enthusiastic about helping in the greater good.  She scolded him for leaving and asked him what had happened.  Senticles was quick to defend his cowardice explaining that there were two guards that had come by while he was watching Tobias.  Tobias had been tied to a rope which acted as the pulley in making Gabrielle rise above the floor as the shadowy spirit of Analia.  When Senticles had run away it had almost blown the cover of Xena and Gabrielle.  Gabrielle questioned Senticles harshly wondering why he ran away from his responsibility to herself and Xena.  Senticles responded with a new defense.  He explained that he had seen Xena fight earlier and that he was confident Xena was more than capable of rescuing herself and Gabrielle.  Senticles’s faith in Xena’s interest in protecting him had been lacking.  Before Gabrielle could continue interrogating Senticles for his irresponsibility and cowardice Senticles responded that even Tobias was safer than he within the wrath of Silvus for a donkey would not be punished for a crime against Silvus.

     Gabrielle was disappointed in the toy maker whom had once brought the power of love and hope to children all over Greece.  She could not grasp what had taken that from him.  He seemed to be selfish as Silvus.  Gabrielle could not convince him otherwise for his heart had seemingly been damaged beyond repair.  With that Senticles had demanded that Gabrielle walk away and leave him alone for he wanted no part in goodness ever again.  As Gabrielle’s heart sank for his loss of hope she turned away preparing to give up and move on with the plan without Silvus.  But just as the bard turned away from Silvus she saw the most beautiful sight.  It was the sight of thousands of toys which Silvus had made for children.  There were dolls, and rocking horses, wagons, and more.  All were shimmering with hope waiting for the heart of a child to be their new home. 

     The bard was taken aback and in awe of the spectacle of all of those toys.  She felt like a child again as her eyes roamed about the beautiful toys.  Suddenly it came to her like Zues’s lightening.  She realized that the way to Silvus’s heart was still through the hearts of children.  The innocence within began to speak as she inquired of Silvus about the toys.  Of course he answered as she had expected, but then quickly scolded himself for leaving the toys about.  Gabrielle realized there would be a little work involved in winning him over, but she was confident that she could do it.  The bard then ran toward the toys and began to frolic about picking up a doll as she noticed that its eyes opened and closed.  Silvus rushed to Gabrielle’s side taking hold of the doll that Gabrielle had taken and began to explain how it worked.  But before he could get a second word out Gabrielle moved onto another toy. 

      She had spotted the very same toy that had been given to her as a little girl.  Gabrielle pulled a little wooden lamb off of the shelf before here and began pulling the tail as it made the little sounds of a lamb.  Her heart fluttered for in this moment she was a child again as Silvus followed watching how his work had touched the heart of someone he knew.  Gabrielle could sense Silvus’s heart opening up with delight and so she decided to take a leap of her own faith.  She planted the seed for Silvus suggesting that all of these wonderful toys could make more children happy again.  They could begin at the local orphanage.  For a moment Silvus was with Gabrielle again as Gabrielle began taking toys off of the shelf to be packed for delivery.  Yet Silvus was again reminded of the law of Silvus which stated that toys were illegal.  He was still hesitant despite the light in his heart.  Gabrielle continued to push despite Senticles’s doubts.  She moved ahead with new plan in mind taking the bag which Silvus held suggesting that it could be used for transport to the orphanage.  The bard continued to stuff toys into the bag as Senticles tried to plant doubt.  Gabrielle spoke against doubt explaining that when Xena was finished with Silvus that the king himself would hand out the toys to all of the children of his kingdom. 

     Then Gabrielle moved onto the issue of disguise.  Senticles would need a disguise to get past the guards so that he could deliver the toys.  Just then Senticles halted hope once again.  He did not like to be pushed into a small corner, but Gabrielle refused to allow his excuses to prevail any longer.  She reminded Senticles of his worst fears.  He feared being locked away in a small space.  Yet he was already locked up and had not even realized it.  His heart was confined to the law of the land which had been created by Silvus’s hand.  Gabrielle expressed that Senticles only had himself to fear for it was his own doubts that had held him back.  It was not Silvace’s law.  Gabrielle pointed out that Senticles was afraid to stand up for his heart’s desire and the heart’s desire of others.  Then she sealed the deal reminding him that he was the one in control.  It was Senticles who made the choice for life and the lives of others.  And so Senticles had seemingly been convinced to stop running and hiding to stand up and fight.  Even if it meant that fighting would entail making toys and delivering joys.  As expected Gabrielle, Senticles, and Tobias ran into the guards on their way to the orphanage, but they dodged them easily with Senticles’s new disguise.  Yet they would have to find a new way into the orphanage rather than using the front door in order to avoid the risk of their own arrest.

     It seemed as if the plan was back on track once again as Lachesis had just arrived at the orphanage with Silvus.  Upon entering the orphanage Silvus expected to have the door slammed in his face already aware of his impending deeds.  Yet the young boy whom had answered did not recognize his king without his crown and royal robes.  Instead the boy invited the stranger in for food and drink despite how little they had.  Lachesis urged the boy to continue sharing their hardships at the orphanage in order to paint a better picture of the king’s terrible wrath.  Silvus was angered as he listened to the boy speak of how terrible the king was.  There was not one thing nice about Silvus to the boy or to any other child at the orphanage.  Yet a stranger was welcome to share in their secret solstice celebration for the orphanage was to be shut down at midnight.  When the stranger inquired he was reminded of the law.  If taxes were not paid then the land went back into the hands of the king.  The orphanage had been taxed beyond its means and could no longer stay open.  All of the kids would be out in the street by the next morning.  Without a home the children were not afraid to break the law of celebrating solstice.

      After being described as the most tyrant king upon the Aegean the stranger listened as the children’s choir sang.  Lachesis was hoping that the king was convinced of his crimes, but instead she was shocked to find otherwise.  At the end of the celebration as the time struck the hour Silvus rose from his place with rage.  He blamed Lachesis for his nasty deeds of the past several years for it was she and the other fates that had separated Analia from him in the first place.  It was an unexpected turn of events that not even Xena could have predicted.  And so the king stormed off toward the doors of the orphanage.  He’d had enough of the fates’s silly games.  As he opened the doors he was greeted by the forces of Silvus.  The soldiers were not pleasant and they demanded his surrender, but Silvus resisted his own arrest.  When Silvus defied his own law the guards laughed in his face certain that he was not their king.  Instead the officer proclaimed himself to be the queen of the amazons and so the battle began.

      Lachesis transformed into Xena as she kicked down the columns which held up the foyer.  This gave her and Silvus the time to escape as she whisked him back through the doors inside of the orphanage.  When they reentered Lionel the young boy whom had been so kind to the stranger warned that they should leave now.  Yet just as he had spoken of the arrest that awaited them Silvus passed out from shock and Lachesis was no more.  As soon as Lynal realized that it was Xena that had brought in the stranger he warned that the guards they had trapped inside the basement earlier had escaped.  Xena was not so worried about those guards any longer.  She was more concerned with a new plan.  As Lynal directed her down into the basement she took Silvus to be watched by the keeper of the orphanage. 

     Lynal took the rest of the children to a safe hiding place as Xena looked about to design a last-minute change of plan.  But just when it seemed that things were beyond repair Senticles and Gabrielle dropped in through the air.  They had entered into the orphanage through a fire shaft which had been not so comfortable for the bard.  Yet Senticles was happy as a boy as he jumped up from the ground with his toys and danced with joy.  He picked up Gabrielle and began to dance with the bard as Xena watched with delight and Senticles chuckled within his disguise.  He wore a red suit with a large white beard that Gabrielle had found back at the basement of Silvus’s castle.  It was all too perfect for the warrior princess who now had a new plan with two new warriors at her side.

     Using Senticles’s toys and the decorations of solstice Xena, Gabrielle, and Senticles defeated the guards of Silvus.  It was beyond imagination that a battle could be won by the joy of toys alone, but it was all that had been needed to have Silvus’s laws defeated.  As the battle raged on an army of children arrived as they picked up arms and loads of toys.  The guards of Silvus were made fools for they were being defeated by women and children.  Just as the battle came to a climactic roar Silvus appeared defying his own laws.  He was the final blow to the demise of local law.  As the battle ended he declared that the orphanage would not close and that no one would be evicted. 

     In the next moment things turned solemn as a dark figure emerged from the basement.  Silvus’s fears rose as he begged the future not to take his life.  The king had hoped that this act to redeem himself would save him from the fates, but instead it healed him.  Just as Gabrielle was about to explain who was behind the dark robe the hood of disguise was lifted.  Silvace’s lips spoke the name of his beloved who stood before him with regret.  Analia had heard his desperate pleas as he had come out of his shock in the basements.  She realized now that she too had made mistakes.  Both of their selfish mistakes had caused the suffering of many innocent people.  And so the two worked out their differences and let love back into their hearts.

      As the morning sun rose Xena and Gabrielle took Argo and Tobias down the road onto their next journey.  Xena praised Gabrielle for her choice in battle plans for this particular battle and the bard was pleased that she had impressed Xena.  The giving did not stop at that for on the day of solstice the four of them ran into some weary travelers.  Gabrielle offered them a solstice gift reluctantly giving away her new found friend Tobias so that the three could make the long journey west.  Upon saying good-bye to Tobias Xena offered protection for the young couple and their newborn child, but it was refused.  And so as Xena, Gabrielle, and Argo continued on down the path Xena surprised Gabrielle with another gift.  It was one of Senticles’s toy lambs.  Gabrielle felt guilt for not having the time to find a gift for Xena, but instead the warrior princess insisted that the bard’s friendship to her was a gift.  The bard could not offer to the warrior princess any other gift worth more than her undying  friendship.

Xena Scrolls: Volume 1: Scroll #21: Beware of Greeks Baring Gifts

The Xena Scrolls
By: Gabrielle Bard of Potedia
Scroll#21: Beware of Greeks Baring Gifts

June, 48 B.C.

There once was a face that was so beautiful that it launched a fleet of one thousand ships. The face was that of the beautiful Helen from the Trojan city of Troy. She was so stunning that every man who ever set eyes upon her wanted her for his own. And that is why a fleet of ships had been launched for it was the fleet belonging to King Mentalaeous of Greece that seeked her beauty. His heart reached out to her so deeply that it began a war between the Greeks and the city of Troy which lasted for ten years. The battle had been a bloody one for King Mentalaeous wanted to steal Helen from the one whom had already stolen her heart. Paris the king of Troy held Helen’s heart within his and built a fortress so strong and so tall that not even the most powerful army could bring down its walls.
This story had been told by the bard Gabrielle many times to her family and friend back in Podedia before she had begun her adventurous travels alongside the warrior princess. Gabrielle found herself once again reminded of this story as she and Xena came down from Mount Poolus and found themselves running low on food and supplies. The bard regretted that she had not decided that they should stop in the last town before leaving the mountain for now she was desperately hungry. Xena and Gabrielle had only a mere half of an apple to tide them over until they could get to the next town. Yet Gabrielle thought of maybe stopping in Troy since they were so close by. She was certain that they would have food and supplies there. But Xena refused to allow that for she knew very well how true the story of the ten-year war really was. The warrior princess felt that it was much too dangerous for her to take the bard into a city of bloody war. Gabrielle didn’t argue for too long, but assured Xena that if she could go without out food then the bard could too. Yet the statement was somehow not so convincing for Gabrielle’s stomach rumbled in disagreement persuading the bard to continue to persuade the warrior princess.
As the two continued on down the path the serenity of the quiet forest was broken by the distant sounds of a battle. Just up ahead about a half a mile Xena and Gabrielle witnessed an attack upon a lone soldier. They heard the lone soldier cry out for a peaceful passing, but instead he received an attack. There was a duel of four against one which seemed quite uneven. Xena quickly decided to ride into battle asking that Gabrielle stay behind for her own safety. The warrior princess leaped into action upon Argo and rode swiftly toward the action of the battle. As Argo took her into the heat of the action Xena flipped from her horse double kicking two of the four dressed in Greek uniform. Xena was fierce as she fought against the four. She drew her sword as it clashed with those of the enemy. The warrior princess quickly resorted to using brut strength and force as she kicked her way through the lines and punched faces like the claps of Zeus’s thunder.
Suddenly the warrior princess ran up the side of a tree and flipped down from a branch onto the enemy down below. Just as the warrior princess was landing upon the shoulders of her victim the battling bard arrived to assist her friend in any way that she could. The bard pulled out her staff and attacked the enemy swiftly as the warrior princess jumped from his shoulders. Gabrielle knocked the enemy to the ground with two quick thrusts of the staff. Yet the two brave women had been too late in being able to save the lone soldier. Just as Xena again pulled out her weapon she delivered a mark to the face of one of the enemies. It was the first blood that had been drawn by the warrior princess though her enemies had thrust their own swords into the stomach of the lone soldier.
Soon after Xena’s mark of warning to those who dared to tempt her wrath the four of them fled for their lives. They were cowardly as they retreated from their own battle. Xena quickly ran to the aid of the victim whose stomach was bleeding with its open wound. The brave soldier struggle to hold onto life as he awaited the warrior princess. He had a message for her sent directly from Helen of Troy. The message directed that the warrior princess go to Troy for the lives of thousands of men depended upon it. Xena was disappointed that she had been too late to help the lone soldier in saving his life. His name was Mityobous. As Xena held his hand within her own he faded from life into the hands of death. Gabrielle watched as his soul left and entered into the freedom of the Elysian Fields. When the bard asked if what she had just witnessed had been his end the warrior princess confirmed it. Yet the bard quickly inquired of the warrior princess about Helen of Troy. She could not believe that Xena would keep such a secret from her. It was the secret of knowing Helen. The bard realized that she could have used that information to her advantage in persuading the warrior princess that they should indeed go to Troy. Yet the warrior princess had already decided. She would take Gabrielle and they would go to Troy to join her friend Helen and to help save the lives of thousands of men.
The journey toward Troy was short for the closer that Xena and Gabrielle were to the legendary city the more blood they saw. Xena took Gabrielle away from the front lines of the Greek army knowing that there would be little chance for survival. The bard could see as they passed the corpses of men who had been taken by the wrath of blood that their deaths had been displayed for years by the Greek army for all to see. It was the testament of Mentalaous that he and his army would one day storm the mighty gates of Troy and steel Helen from their grasp. After a day of grueling travel and difficulty in alluding the Greek army Xena and Gabrielle had arrived at the outskirts of the great city of Troy. As Gabrielle looked upon the fortress she found herself in awe for its walls were much taller and stronger than she could ever have imagined.
The bard looked upon Troy in disbelief for not only did they have to make it to the walls they would have to climb them. And getting to the walls of Troy would be short of a miracle for there was the entire Greek army to reckon with. Xena and Gabrielle would have to fight through those dark forces of the battle. The bard was uncertain that she would be able to fight with the strength and stealth of the warrior princess. Yet Xena was seemingly satisfied that they would make it to the fortress walls with little more than a warrior sweat. As Gabrielle asked Xena if she had a plan of action Xena’s response was candid. She only asked the bard if her boots were laced and as Gabrielle looked down the warrior princess grabbed her arm and whisked her away into the fierce battle toward the walls of Troy.
Troy stood upon a hill and as Xena and Gabrielle fought through the lines they had to struggle up the treacherous hill through the dead of years passed. The smell was unpleasant for Gabrielle had not smelled war in this way before. This was the closest she had ever been to a battle of epic legend. Though she had fought alongside the amazons against Krichous the warlord it was nothing compared to the death and the destruction of a war which had lasted for ten years. Gabrielle gave out a weak battle cry though it was more out of fear and uncertainty rather than the confidence of the warrior princess. Yet there was a comforting feeling fighting alongside the warrior princess. Xena charged ahead as Gabrielle struggled to stay close as instructed. The warrior princess slashed through the men that approached as Gabrielle tried to keep them at bay. It was in this moment that the bard found herself realizing that she needed more training.
As Xena and Gabrielle neared the mighty gates of Troy the Trojan command began to shout out for the opening of the gates. Xena had not expected that it would be so easy, but there was little time to question this. She instructed Gabrielle to go ahead of her into the safety of the walls of Troy as one of the commanders emerged to help Xena fight against the enemy. He was a very heroic soldier. As the Greek army advanced hoping to take advantage of the open gates the soldier instructed that Xena go to safety first, but the warrior princess would not allow that. Soon the Greek archers began to prepare launching their cross-bows. The brave Trojan commander quickly retreated into the gates of Troy warning of the advance as Xena followed quickly. Just as he ordered that the gates be shut the Greek archers released their arrows of fire into the mighty gates as they closed.
Gabrielle found herself awestruck by the feeling of a real battle and by the efforts of the brave commander that had opened the gates for she and the warrior princess. The bard felt compelled to introduce herself, but before she could speak her name the brave commanding soldier turned to her and revealed himself. Gabrielle was shocked for the face that she saw before her was the face of her betrothed. It was Perdicous the man she was to marry before she had decided to leave Podedia for a life alongside the warrior princess. The moment was an awkward one for Perdicous was the last man Gabrielle had expected to see in the city of Troy. Yet Perdicous himself seemed just as surprised. The warrior princess sensed the tension between the two who had once been on the threshold of marriage. Yet she was relieved that Perdicous had been in Troy for it had made her entrance much easier than she had expected.
After Gabrielle had explained to the warrior princess her past relationship with Perdicous Xena was already back to the business at hand. She asked of Perdicous where she could find King Paris and Helen of Troy. Perdicous explained that it was against their regulations that anyone was allowed to see Paris or Helen without the consent of Deifabous. Deifabous was the brother of Paris who was second in command next to Paris. Xena tried to explain that she had been to Troy to see Helen before and it had never been a problem, but Perdicous was firm in his duty. Of course the warrior princess would not take no for an answer. She told Perdicous that she would cover for him if he were questioned by his superiors. Then suddenly the warrior princess was off to find her old friend Helen. This left Perdicous and Gabrielle within a strange situation. The two were uncomfortable at best as they struggled together to find the words to express their feelings.
Perdicous finally broke the uncomforable silence with a direct reminder of Gabrielle’s selfish desires. He reminded her that the last time that he had seen her she had been dashing out-of-town in search of a warrior princess she barely knew. Gabrielle could feel the pain of a man who had loved her deeply. There was a guilt that rose within her which she had not yet confronted. It pained her to feel that her choice to leave her mediocre life in Podedia had broken the heart of her betrothed. Yet just when Gabrielle was about to make recognition of her mistake Perdicous would not allow it. Instead he stood firm and spoke of how his place now was in the city of Troy. It was a place he had come in search of the love he had himself been robbed of. Perdicous had looked to Gabrielle’s great stories of Troy to find the love that he desperately needed to fight for. It was in this moment that Gabrielle realized that Perdicous was still the helpless romantic that she had always remembered him to be.
Then she reminded him of the reasons that he was not a true soldier. She reminded him of the time that he had almost drowned in the river to save the hat she had once lost. Gabrielle reminded him of the time that he had almost gotten himself run over by a carriage when he had tried to impress her in another one of his desperate attempts to show his love. Perdicous would not listen to Gabrielle. It was clear that his pain was still very real over her rejecting the idea of marrying him. He wanted her to suffer and he wanted her to be responsible for his life changing decision to leave the peace in Podedia for the war of Troy. And when Gabrielle tried to remind Perdicous of what he was missing back home he continued to ignore her.
The bard knew Perdicous well. They had shared so much together as children and as young people in love. Yet Perdicous continued to work diligently within his duties. Gabrielle tried desperately to persuade him otherwise, but instead he just continued to ignore her as the call to duty took him back to the walls of the fortress. There he quickly picked up a cross-bow for one of the men of the Trojan army had been shot by the Greek archers. An arrow had struck the young soldier through the chest. Perdicous ran over to the fallen soldier and ripped the burning arrow from his chest. He then ran to the top of the fortress and loaded the bloody arrow upon his own cross-bow. Gabrielle watched as Perdicous then took aim upon the Greek archer and shot him through his own chest. Suddenly the men upon the walls of Troy began to shout and cheer. They were congratulating and honoring Perdicious who had received vengeance for the death of a fellow soldier.
The act seemed remorseless to Gabrielle and she began to fear that her choice to leave him behind in Podedia had been the wrong one. Gabrielle felt extremely responsible for this knowing that it wasn’t the pain of his lost friend that he fought for. It was the pain of his lost love that drove him to take lives. Gabrielle did not like what she saw. it was horrifying to know that the hopeless romantic she had always known could be more than just a simple farmer. It was difficult for the bard to understand how a simple farm boy could become a vicious killer.
As Gabrielle wrestled with the demons of her own misplaced choices and of those of Perdicous Xena found her way to Helen. When she arrived Helen was relieved that Xena had received her message. Helen explained that she had had a terrible vision which had led her to send Mityobous. When Helen asked where Mityobous was Xena regretfully explained that he had died delivering Helen’s message. Yet the warrior princess explained that only a brave loyal soldier could have carried Helen’s urgent message. Helen the discussed with Xena what her intentions were. She explained to Xena that she wanted to leave Troy and to be taken to Mentalaous in the hopes that it would appease the Greek king and stop the long bloody war. Helen was certain that if she were to leave Troy and surrender herself to Mentalaous that the lives of many Trojan soldiers would be saved. It was obvious to Xena that Helen had been carrying a great weight upon her shoulders. Helen blamed herself and her happiness for the loss of so many lives. It was a burden that Helen could no longer bear. She was willing to sacrifice her own well-being in exchange for the lives of many brave soldiers.
However, Xena was not convinced that Helen’s plan was the answer. The warrior princess was certain that the war was no longer about Helen’s happiness. She was certain that it was about emerging into victory. Xena reminded Helen that Paris and the Trojans would seek out Mentalaous and the Greeks if she were to go with them. The trail of blood would follow the face of Helen wherever it went. Xena then told Helen that there had to be another solution to this war. She reminded Helen that Paris loved her and that it would be a mistake to throw away that love in the blind hope that lives would be saved. Helen had only met Mentalous once and she did not know him. Xena was certain that Helen should stay in Troy.
Soon Xena found herself face to face with Deifabous. He had charged into Helen’s bedchambers with his armed guard. They denounced Xena’s presence and he declared before Paris that Xena be taken prisoner. Helen pleaded with Deifabous that Xena be treated as her guest, but it was clear that Deifabous did not trust in Xena for she was a Greek warrior. It was clear that she was the enemy. Just as Paris was about to make his decision Xena noticed that one of Deifabous’s guard had a fresh wound upon his face. She realized that he was one of the men that she had fought outside of Troy as she had tried to save the loyal Trojan Mitybous. Quickly Xena drew her sword and attacked the enemy revealing him to all. As she fought against him she exposed him as a traitor. Yet before the traitor could be asked of his actions he was immediately killed by the sword of Deifabous.
The battle in the bed chambers of Helen was quick. Xena found herself frustrated that the traitor had been killed yet she found herself suspicious of Deifabous as a result of his actions. She remembered that Perdicous had told her that Deifabous was an excellent soldier. If Perdicious’s word had been true then Xena realized that Deifabous would not have killed the traitor. He would have wanted the same information that she seeked. Only another traitor would take the life of his own men to contain his secret. That was the moment in which Xena realized the truth of Deifabous yet she was uncertain of his motives. Deifabous realized that Xena was aware of his actions. He tried desperately to defend himself and his actions to his brother Paris. Paris’s trust in his brother blinded him to the act as he overlooked Deifabous’s tragic mistake. Neither Xena nor Deifabous had won the battle in Helen’s bed chambers. Instead it had created a new internal war within Troy. Deifabous declared to his brother that he would have all of his men throughly investigated in order to find the traitor amongst them though his words were worth less than a sold handshake.
Soon Xena returned to Gabrielle hoping that the two betrothed had worked out their differences. Xena could see that they had not for Gabrielle appeared saddened. Yet Xena was almost certain that the two would work things out. Xena told Gabrielle that she should stay with Perdicous for she had something that she had to do. Gabrielle wanted to join Xena, but was aware of the danger surrounding Troy. The young bard realized that there was less danger in a tangled web of emotion than there was outside the walls of Troy. And so Xena left her once again with the nagging of her past demons. Her mistake to leave Podedia without saying good-bye to Perdicous had caused his life to be a tragic one. Gabrielle thought of the moment in which he had killed that Greek archer and she saw that despite his celebration he was empty inside. Perdicous’s victory in the kill was not a victory at all. It was the unresolved issue of his feelings for Gabrielle that haunted him. The bard had to figure out how to resolve these feelings for she herself felt the flames of passion rising from within.
As Xena continued on in investigating Deifabous and his motives she discovered that Helen was about to try sneaking out into the danger of the bloody war. It was obvious that Helen was not convinced of Xena’s words. Helen was still certain the her leaving Troy was going to save lives. Xena quickly caught up to Helen as she was about to make her mistake. Once again she tried to reassure Helen, but as the two conversed they caught sight of Deifabous. Paris’s brother was sneaking out of the secret walls of Troy into the battle field. Xena instructed Helen to await her return as she followed Deifabous to investigate. What Xena found was Deifabous making a deal with Mentalaous. He was promising to surrender Troy and Helen to Mentalous, but Xena still did not know why. The warrior princess could not understand the gain in selling out Troy to the Greeks.
Quickly Xena returned inside the walls of Troy to warn Helen and Paris of what she had witnessed. She revealed to Paris the betrayal of his brother Deifabous. But just as she was about to convince Paris of the betrayal Deifabous stormed through the doors of the royal bed chambers. He insisted that his meeting the Mentalaous had entailed an agreement of peace for the Greeks had surrendered to Troy. Not only that, but the Greeks had offered the Trojans a gift of peace just outside the walls. Paris found himself overwhelmed with joy for this meant that he had won the long bloody war. Xena soon realized how quickly she was losing this battle within the walls of Troy. Helen was convinced yet Paris was not. Paris was blind to the truth that Helen’s visions had shown her. Deifabous took advantage of this situation and reminded Paris that Xena was a Greek warrior and most certainly the enemy attempting to break down the ranks of the Trojans. Paris quickly ordered that Xena be taken to the dungeons below with the other prisoners. Helen desperately pleaded with Paris, but Paris did not hear her. He ignored Helen’s better judgement to her dismay. Xena herself tried one last attempt to warn of greeks baring gifts.
As the Trojan guard surrounded Xena she prepared to escape yet as she prepared to battle her way through the guard she caught sight of Deifabous. He was about to pull his dagger upon the innocent Helen. Xena could see that he would take her life and the life of his brother if he had to in order to protect his interests. The warrior princess stood down and allowed herself to be taken into custody. As she was taken Deifabous and Paris rejoiced and declared that there would be a festival and a celebration of their victory on that night. Every Trojan soldier attended the celebration and enjoyed food, drink, and many other luxuries. It was a party like no other with riches beyond that of any other city Gabrielle had seen. Athens was the only city that compared to the riches held by the city of Troy.
On the next morning Gabrielle found herself still sorting through her feelings with Perdicous. Perdicous then brought to mind another story of their history. He reminded her of the time that the two of them had stolen corn from the farm of one of their neighbors. Gabrielle thought of this and laughed and then remembered that it had been Perdicous who had taken the blame in order to protect Gabrielle from certain punishment. In that moment Gabrielle realized why Perdicous was fighting in this bloody war. She realized that his love for her was so great that he would do anything for her. He became a soldier hoping to impress her just as he had tried to impress her hundreds of times before. When Gabrielle spoke of her concern for Xena Perdicous reminded Gabrielle that Xena was capable of taking care of herself. It was his tone that spoke to the bard. He was jealous of the warrior princess for taking his love from him. Her warrior way had appealed to the bard. Perdicous seeked to appeal to Gabrielle in the same way. It was in this moment that Gabrielle knew what she had to do to repair Perdicous’s broken heart.
Yet as they walked toward the palace of Helen and Paris to seek out Xena the gates of Troy were opened. The gift of the Greeks was being pulled into Troy. A gift of a Trojan horse made of wood symbolized a certain victory over the Greeks. The horse stood almost as tall as the gates which had protected Troy from demise. And though the horse had stood quiet all through the night early the next day there was a sudden burst from within. Betrayal came from within the symbol of victory and peace as the Greek army began to battle against the helpless Trojans within. Most of the Trojan army was drunk from the festival and unable to battle against the stealth of the Greek army.
While the war had come within the walls of Troy Xena found herself still trying to figure out the motives of Deifabous. Upon his entry he gloated in his victory over the warrior princess and promised her to those Greeks whom he declared that she had betrayed. Deifabous turned the other Greek prisoners loose and allowed them to battle against the warrior princess certain their rage would defeat her. Yet the warrior princess used her prison bench as a weapon and then as an escape tool. She constructed a lever out of three enemies and a bench using the first two attackers as the foundation, and the third as her thrust to escape. As she flew up through the shaft into freedom she saw that the war had spread within. Quickly Xena seeked to find the bard and when she did she instructed Gabrielle and Perdicous to take everyone to the temple of Aphrodite. As Gabrielle and Perdicous fought Gabrielle found that her staff was no prepared for the wrath of the anger sword.
Bravely Perdicous fought through the Greek lines into the temple as Gabrielle led the innocent to refuge. Yet somehow all ended up within the temple of Ares out of the confusion of the Greek raid. Thousands of Trojans fled as Gabrielle and Perdicous escorted them into the safety of the temple. Soon Xena joined them as then tried desperately to seal off the doors from the enemy advance. Helen joined the group with Xena as they seeked out a secret storage supply. Helen never thought that they would ever use this supply, but the violence and blood had finally run her into the corner. Xena quickly accessed the situation and had a plan for escape. She gathered the necessary supplies for a smoke screen would be their only chance to escape.
Gabrielle and Perdicous tried desperately to hold onto hope. Though Perdicous reminded Gabrielle that the entire Greek army was just outside those doors waiting to take them all. Their presence was obvious by the sounds of the thunderous banging against the doors. Gabrielle could see them buckling and knew that it was the last chance for her to mend her mistakes with Perdicous. She took his face into her hands and looked into his eyes. He tried to apologize for his own mistakes, but Gabrielle would not allow it. She knew it had been her own mistake of not saying good-bye that had led Perdicous to this inevitable death in Troy. It was for nothing, but a broken heart. Gabrielle then expressed not with words, but with a passionate kiss her honesty and her feelings for her betrothed.
Just as the doors were about to come crashing apart Xena had arrived with the smoke screen. The warrior princess prepared the escape while leaving Paris with Helen to mend his own mistakes. He had not trusted in Helen’s judgement and he had insulted Xena. Paris was full of regrets for his blind ego had led to the demise of his city and of his people. But mostly his love for Helen had been destroyed. As the two began to mend their wounds they were suddenly interrupted by the arrival of Deifabous. He had come through a secret door and quickly he disappeared with Helen of Troy. Gabrielle had arrived just moments later upon Xena’s request to retrieve Helen and Paris for their escape. When Gabrielle arrived she found Helen missing and Paris lying in death’s arms.
Quickly Gabrielle called out to Xena as Xena lit the smoke screens. She spoke of the tragedy in the supply room. Yet through this tragedy there was hope for now all of Troy could escape through Deifabous’s secret door. They would not have to fight through the smoke screen and the Greek army to freedom. Instead all were led by Xena out through the back of the temple and into a regrouping position. All Trojans were led into the massive wooden horse which stood proudly and tall in the wake of the burning city. They awaited the Greeks return upon discovering that they had all escaped the temple of Ares. Soon all could hear the angry cries of Mentalaous ordering his men to remove the gift. Mentalaous himself had been betrayed for he had been promised Helen yet instead he had been given more rage. His rage was in not receiving Helen the one he had fought ten years to capture.
As the horse was pulled to the outside of the ruined city Xena and the Trojan army exploded from within. Gabrielle and Perdicous fought alongside Xena and the Trojans hoping to drive them into a retreat. Quickly the surprise attack was followed by the surrender of the Greek army for there was no prize to be won. The prize had been stolen as Paris lie dead and Deifabous had taken all. Xena quickly left the battle and trusted Perdicious and Gabrielle to continue on as she rushed to recover her friend from the true enemy. Just outside the walls of Troy Xena awaited Deifabous who was surprised to find her waiting for him. He quickly took weapon forth and fought against the warrior princess. Though Deifabous was a skilled soldier able to rob the warrior princess of her own sword she quickly retaliated kicking his sword to the ground.
The odds were evened into a hand to hand combat yet Deifabous would not fight hand to hand with the warrior princess. Instead he picked up a broken staff out of the rubble and began to attack the warrior princess. He struck her three times before she was able to get into position, but soon she was in control once again. Xena took a grip upon his weapon stopping his advance. Suddenly she ran upon the side of the mighty walls of Troy and flipped kicking her enemy to the ground. Deifabous had been knocked unconscious and been defeated. Helen was relieved to be saved by the warrior princess. Xena left Deifabous with a prize. It was the crown of Helen upon his head for the warrior princess wanted Mentalaous to be greeted by the true enemy.
Xena had foiled the plot of Deifabous and freed Helen of Troy. She had also saved many lives, and allowed Gabrielle to mend her relationship with Perdicous. As the battle in the field ended Gabrielle hoped desparately that Perdicous would join her and Xena. Perdicous was not certain of Gabrielle’s true feelings certain that her passionate kiss had only been out of desparation in a dire situation. He proclaimed that she did not owe him anything and that he would be just fine without her. Perdicous would go on living, but he had finally been able to forgive her for leaving him behind. As Gabrielle watched Perdicous walk away she was full of sadness. Of all that travels that she and Xena had this was the most painful. It reminded Gabrielle of what had been missing and of what she had been seeking. She wanted her love, but realized that she had missed it.
Perdicous himself had decided that he would go onto the next city to find a new conquest to fight for. He needed a new cause for the cause of love had been won. For him he had won against his anger toward his loss, but there was still a lot of uncertainty within him. He decided to travel with Helen for she too seeked a new conquest in life. Hers was freedom for the first time. Helen was finally free of the burden of death that had imprisoned her for ten years. And as Xena returned to the bard on the deserted field of battle she wondered why Perdicous had decided not to join them. Xena had been just as certain as Gabrielle had that he would have joined them in the end, but unfortunately the two friends learned at Troy that some battles no matter how hard they are fought can not be won by the heart alone.

Xena Scrolls Volume 1: Scroll #18: Warrior, Princess

The Xena Scrolls
By:  Gabrielle Bard of Potedia
Scroll#18:  Warrior, Princess

April, 48 B.C.

      In the kingdom near Liberia there once lived a young princess who looked very much like a warrior.  Though her manners were that of royalty.  King Lius was her father and he had sent for the warrior princess after hearing of their resemblance from his cousin King Sisyphus.  When the warrior princess arrived at the castle gates she found herself stunned at her reception for the guards bowed down to her.  She had not expected royal treatment.  Then she entered into the halls of the kingdom where she met with more guards.  They too bowed down to her as if nervous of her presence.  It was unlike her usual experience of having to fight her way through men.  Her entrance into the castle was so easy that she was told to go right into the bedchambers of the king to visit.
The warrior princess did not agree that a visit to the king’s bedroom would be appropriate, but soon she found the king.  He arrived to meet her in the halls as she found herself unwelcome by a strange intruder.  The intruder came up behind her though the warrior princess had known he was there.  She quickly spun around to do battle sending a flames through the air.  The assassin was soon defeated for the torch was more than he could bear.  He ran from the castle guard who were in pursuit of their latest intruder.  Then the king suddenly smiled welcoming the warrior princess.  He was impressed not by her combat skills, but by her piercing blue eyes and dark hair.  Xena was the exact image of his daughter the princess Diana.  The king was pleased by this for it meant that he had finally found the warrior who could do battle with his daughter’s attackers.
When Xena inquired of why she was attacked the king reported that his daughter was to wed into the kingdom of Liberia at the end of two days.  He had been looking for someone who could pose as his daughter and protect her through until she wed.  Xena was very uninterested in taking this job for she only worked for those who were less fortunate than the royals.  In fact she was insulted that this king thought that he could bribe her with his royal riches.  As the warrior princess had decided that she would not trade for the princess king Lius was filled with disappointment.  He tried desperately to find a way to convince Xena that this job was for more than just a royal princess.  King Lius argued that if she did not live to marry Prince Minious of Liberia then many slaves would not be freed for Liberian law forbade it.  But if Liberia were to marry into his kingdom then the laws would be void for in his kingdom slavery was not allowed.
Xena contemplated this for a moment and then decided that she could take the job.  The warrior princess could bring freedom and new life to so many by switching places with the princess.  And so King Lius decided to take the warrior princess to her test.  He wanted to see if she could pass as Diana amongst his castle subjects.  And so the first test was with the lovely Tynia who was Diana’s caregiver.  Tynia was responsible for entertaining the princess and befriending her.  King Lius was certain that if Xena could fool Tynia then his plan to protect Diana would succeed.  When the two met for the first time Tynia asked if the princess was ready for dinner for they were having a few of her favorite delicacies.  Xena played the part well and very convincingly as she agreed that she was indeed feeling hunger.  Then Xena made her first mistake, but covered for it well.  She had stated that she would love to fill her stomach with many bites of Kishka.  Kishka of course was princess Diana’s black terrier not suitable for dinner.  Tynia was confused for just a moment, but then Xena declared that she had only been joking.  Just as she had joked with Tynia when she had inquired of her costume.  Xena said that her costume was for a ball that would be taking place just after the wedding.  Tynia agreed that the warrior costume was suitable for the beautiful princess.
King Lius was pleased to know that Xena would pass as Diana despite her rough warrior manners.  Yet Xena warned that in order for his plan to work he must send Diana outside the castle walls where the assassins would not be looking for her.  The king was completely against for he had not allowed his daughter outside the castle since her mother’s death when she was a child.  Then the Xena convinced him that she would be safe in hiding alongside her friend Gabrielle for no one would even recognize her on the outside.  And so the next part of the plan was put into motion as Xena met with Diana again who had been intrigued by how much Xena looked like her.  She too had noticed the rough manners of the warrior princess as did her father before.  Diana and Xena switched costumes as they spoke of Diana’s wedding day to come.  Xena asked if she loved Minius, but Diana had never even met him.  The only thing she knew of Minius was of his brother Philemon.  Philemon had been the one who had been courting Diana for his brother, but by the way that Diana had described Philemon to her Xena realized that she had fallen in love.  Arranged marriages were seemingly wrong, but they were the way of the royals.  Xena felt pity for the lovely Diana knowing that the fawn haired sky blue-eyed Philemon had a heart already waiting for him.
When Diana emerged from her changing Xena immediately noticed the red bows that she had incorporated into the leather straps.  Xena quickly removed them to Diana’s dislike, but Xena reminded her that she had to look dark if she wanted to truly mirror the warrior princess.  Diana was expressing her excitement of getting venture outside the castle walls for the first time in years.  She yearned to know more about the little people who were her subjects in the kingdom.  Xena could see that Diana was right for the young princess had much to learn of those who resided within her kingdom.  She had been sheltered from the harsh realities that existed within her life without ever knowing about them.  And as she prepared to leave she helped the warrior princess into her costume making sure that she looked as well-mannered as a warrior princess could manage.
Not long after Diana left the castle walls upon Argo Xena found herself confronted by yet another intruder.  He entered into Diana’s bedchambers with a bouquet of red roses.  Xena beat him into unconsciousness ripping the roses apart looking for danger.  Yet there was not danger just a symbol of love.  The roses had been the kind gesture of a young man matching Diana’s description of the courageous, and brave Philemon.  Xena awoke him from his slumber with a glass of water.  Philemon rose from the floor still feeling that there was danger lurking.  He had come to take the princess on her daily walk into the courtyard, but suggested that they not go since there had been another recent attempt on her life.  But the warrior princess did not fear danger.  She had come to seek it out.  Xena also regretfully thanked the handsome Philemon for his lovely gesture of roses.  Then she asked him if he could take her on a tour of the entire castle.  Philemon was delighted and was certain that he could protect the safety of the beautiful princess.
The tour of the castle was lovely for Philemon filled it with his admiration of the princess, but as they walked the princess seemed more interested in knowing more of his brother Minius.  And so Philemon answered her questions about Minious.  He told her that Minious was a good man, but that he was a scholar while Philemon was only a diplomat.  Philemon seemed disappointed that he could not impress the princess not knowing he who he was trying to impress.  Then he continued to answer the princess’s questions about the Liberian slave laws and about the slave traders who were against the union of their kingdoms.  She expressed her fears that there were people within Liberia who were against freedom for slaves and that was who was trying to take her life.  But Philemon assured her that the kingdom of Liberia wanted freedom for its slaves indefinitely despite its archaic laws.
Suddenly, seven masked assassins arrived into the courtyard interrupting their castle walk.  They were sent to kill Diana, but Philemon stood bravely by her.  He drew his sword and like a gentleman instructed the princess to move away to safety.  Xena could see that he was brave, but knew that he could not take on seven men alone.  She prepared to do battle though Philemon would not know of her involvement.  He charged forward to ward off the killers.  Philemon handled the first three valiantly and with impressive skill, but as the fourth and fifth man charged for him he became overwhelmed.  That was when the warrior princess stepped cautiously into the battle.  From behind the brave Philemon she sent the killers into pain they would never forget.  She fought without her weapons and her power was too much for the enemy.  Her kicks were like the thrust of an assasin’s knife as her punches sent them into the fountain.
Soon the battle had ended as the cowardly assassins retreated realizing that they could get close enough to the warrior princess to take her life.  Philemon rose from defeat with a bloody nose, but certain that he had successfully protected the lovely princess.  Yet the warrior princess was not finished for there was so much she needed to know as she chased the retreating assassins.  Philemon stopped her reminding her that a princess does not fight.  Xena then noticed his injury and tended to the bloody nose.  Philemon found himself shocked at the princess’s reaction to his blood for she usually fainted at the sight of one drop.
While the warrior princess battle the evils that lurked within the castle the bard worked on her scrolls.  Yet her writings were coming with some difficulty.  The bard found herself interrupted by an old man who planned to kidnap her for a profit.  Gabrielle did not fear him for she had just caught sight of Xena’s arrival.  She warned the man of his impending defeat for he would not enjoy the wrath of the warrior princess.  The old man laughed at the bard’s threat certain that she was bluffing.  Yet the bard was certain of Xena’s fury for she had seen it many times before.  Suddenly the man grabbed the bard as he tried to choke her.  Gabrielle called out desperately to Xena who seemingly did not want to get involved.  After many moments of desperate struggle Xena the princess ran into battle.  She delivered a weak punch that couldn’t possibly scare a child.  The old man turned away from his victim to see what the disturbance was only to find a princess playing the part of a powerful warrior.  She did not look powerful in her stance as if uncertain of what to do next.  Trying to look as mean as possible the princess failed to look larger than her foe.  Suddenly she turned away in fear as she ran down the path toward Argo.  Gabrielle then realized that she could handle this one man on her own.  The bard picked up her staff from the ground and delivered the enemy to the ground.  She took his feet with one move and then cracked him twice with the staff.
That was all it took to defeat him.  He was a simple inexperienced foe who prayed only on the weak unaware of the power of the battling bard.  Gabrielle was pleased of her defeat and realized that the warrior princess had been testing her.  When she finally caught up to the princess she found herself curious of the details at the castle.  Then the princess took a note from her breastplate and handed it to the bard.  Gabrielle was curious about the castle, but more curious about Xena’s strange behavior.  After reading the note she began to laugh for she thought that this was just another test of her warrior skills.  But the princess insisted that she indeed was princess Diana.  Gabrielle could not believe it and she continued to argue with the princess about being tested, but then the princess fell apart.  She became hysterical showing her fears.  The princess described a day of getting lost at least three times, and of missing her father after being away from him for only hours.
It was the fear and hysteria that alerted the bard to the true identity of the one who stood before her.  Yet it was amazing for Diana had the same piercing blue eyes and long dark locks of the warrior princess.  Finding herself in awe Gabrielle bowed down to the princess expressing her excitement in meeting the princess.  Then Diana warned Gabrielle of her own behavior for no one was to know Diana’s true identity.  The princess was correct and Gabrielle realized that she had her work cut out for her.  Not only did she have to look after the princess, but she had to teach her the life of the warrior princess so that she could behave more like a warrior.  And it wasn’t an easy task.  As the day wore on Gabrielle realized just how little Diana knew about the world outside the castle walls.  She was more nieve than the bard as she expressed her continuing excitement in meeting the ordinary people of her kingdom.  Diana told of all of the wonderful things that she would do once she was Queen of the land.  Gabrielle did admire her for her desire to relate with her people, but it would be many years before the young princess would truly understand what relating to them meant.
Back at the castle the warrior princess was learning about life as a royal princess receiving all of the treatment and the pampering.  It was more than she could take as Tynia brushed her hair for one thousand long strokes.  Tynia was preparing the princess for her first meeting with Minious at a special banquet held for the two engaged.  The warrior princess only made it to about eight hundred or so strokes before she could take no more.  She stopped the brushing session immediately for she was more than ready to attend the banquet.  King Lius arrived to escort her to dinner concerned that she would not be able to fool those who had known Diana since childhood.  But Xena was certain that she would be able to convince them.  She was also certain that she should attend so that she could find out who was working against Lius and his daughter.
As the beautiful princess was escorted to the dinner she walked alongside King Lius and Philemon.  Philemon spoke with excitement for he could no wait to hear the princess play her enthralling melodies upon the harp.  While the many royal guests gathered for this most special occasion the warrior princess asked the king to inform her on some of those who were in attendance.  One man she caught sight of across the room had been talking to Minius the one who was to wed her.  He had a look she knew all too well and so she asked of his business with Liberia and Minius.  Xena was told by the king that he was Romeous.  A simple and loyal business man who was quite prominent and well-liked.  Lius did not expect that Romeous would be involved with such a dastardly plot against his daughter.
Finally all sat down to dinner and went on with the first toast of the evening.  The princess was given the honor by her father and she used this opportunity to inspect the reaction of the guests.  First she toasted to her husband to be and their marriage to be.  Then she stood again and toasted to the end of slavery.  Most about the table had agreed with great excitement that slavery would soon be a thing of the past in Liberia.  As the princess sat down she rose once more and declared death to the traitors of the land.  She was firm and over dramatic as she delivered her last toast.  Her words rose some eye brows and great suspicion from those in attendance.  Yet the words themselves did not encourage those against her to strike her down.  Instead the King apologized for the words that his lovely Diana had been coached by her father to say.  When Diana seeked her approval from him to cover from her drama of the latter he took light of the matter and brought laughter to all who dined.
As dinner came to a close Philemon suggested that she play them a tune for he was not certain that this was his Diana.  There was something clearly different about her attitude and her personality of which he could not understand.  Many of the other guests agreed that she should indeed play for them.  Including the good man Romeous who seemed irritated at this charade.  When King Lius tried to cover up Xena’s diguise he suggested that his daughter had been tired.  He even went as far as to say that she could not play that way.  But instead Xena chose to meet the challenge and rose from the table to play the harp.  Of course her manners had demonstrated that there was something not quite right with the usually lovely princess.  Yet Xena sat down upon the chair to prepare a tune for all.  Placing her fingers softly upon the strings she closed her eyes.  Then she felt the music which lie within her mind.  The tune she played was of destruction for every last string had been broken.  It was clear to all who were against her that she knew who they were.  There was no more hiding behind false images, yet it would take more to convince Lius of that.  Smiling quaintly the princess apologized as if confused by the broken strings, but King Lius suggested that just maybe they had been strung a bit tightly.
While Xena the warrior princess dined with royals princess Diana dined with the bard.  Gabrielle prepared for nightfall placing bed rolls upon the ground.  It was the life of the warrior princess, yet Diana did not understand.  She could not believe that anyone in her kingdom ever slept upon the ground.  And then Gabrielle decided that maybe a bit of bread and cheese would ease her displacement.  But when the princess tried it she most certainly did not like it.  The princess spate the stale bread upon the ground trying not to allow the bard to catch sight of it.  Then the princess suggested that they go down to the local tavern.  She had riches to spend and plenty of money.  Diana was certain they could feast and dine well.  Gabrielle refused the idea for she realized that there was a lesson for the princess to learn.  If she was going to get to know the lives of those ordinary people she so admired then she was going to have to learn how they lived.
As the two sat down to bed near a temple to Aphrodite Gabrielle and Diana were becoming comfortable with their unlikely situation.  Until an old beggar approached and stood over the princess startling her with freight.  She jumped up and hid behind the bard as if expecting Gabrielle to protect her.  It was strange for the bard to find herself standing in front of a warrior princess rather than behind.  The old beggar was not a threat.  He had only come to ask for a spare crumb.  Diana seemed offended when his actions implied starvation.  She was certain that no man, woman, or child was starving within her kingdom.  Suddenly the princess caught herself and became the warrior princess once again.  Though Diana did not believe the truth Gabrielle had known it well.  She reached for their last lump of cheese and graciously gave it to the man.
His eyes glowed with appreciation for the compassion of the giving bard and then he called out to his family beyond the brush.  A wife and three young children came from hiding to rejoice and give thanks.  The sight of a little blue-eyed innocent girl brought sorrow to the heart of the princess.  She realized now what she had never known.  That there was indeed corruption still existing within her castle walls.  But after this humbling experience she had decided that she would change things for the better of all.  Her first good tiding for the poor was to offer a feast to this family.  She dashed off to the local tavern and brought back more food than these poor could ever have imagined.  It satisfied her heart to know that she could offer them comfort and all sat down together and enjoyed a banquet of their own.
Late into the night a gruesome discovery was made back at the castle.  Romeous reported to Philemon that a high-ranking general within the castle had hanged himself to avoid the shame of his betrayal.  Once Lius and Xena were told Lius was certain that the danger was over.  He instructed that the princess be brought back home to be wed upon the next day.  With satisfaction and relief King Lius slept well for the first time in weeks.  Yet Xena was not convinced that the general had been the real traitor.  Her suspicions were confirmed later that night after Philemon had spoken with Minious about his feelings toward Diana.  As Philemon left his brother disappointed to find his lack of interest in his wife to be he ran across the castle guard carrying a chair to cut down the hanged.  When Philemon realized that there had been no chair in the room where the hanged had been found he was certain of what Xena had already suspected.
Unfortunately Lius’s guard had already gone to bring back the princess before the news had reached him.  He found Diana with her people telling the story of how she had killed Cyclops instead of Centaurs with her round killing weapon.  The little girl was memorized by the beautiful princess with piercing blue eyes and then asked her to demonstrate the mighty power of her shiny round weapon.  Without a thought Diana released its wrath though Gabrielle tried desperately to stop her.  The bard had seen the power of the chackram and had known that only one woman could tame its wildness.  It flew about out of control narrowly missing the bard and those near her.  The chackram had bounced off a keg of water and then finally come to rest after robbing the king of his crown into a nearby tree.
Diana was pleased to see that her father had returned for her and prepared to return to the castle for her wedding.
Early on the morning of the wedding Gabrielle arrived at the castle with Diana, Lius, and their guard.  Upon entering through the gates into the courtyard there stood the once leather clad warrior princess.  She was sporting more of a fluttering pink gown which was very out of her style.  It was obvious that she had tired of the charade despite all  of the wonderful experiences that it offered.  Gabrielle was delighted to be reunited with her friend.  Diana appeared just as satisfied that the danger was seemingly over.  Then Xena declared that she was quite tired of being a princess and could not wait to restore her dark beauty.  Gabrielle waited as Xena and Diana disappeared to switch roles into their proper place.  And then Xena returned ready to ride out into danger again unlike her counter part Diana had been.  Gabrielle then left with Xena and argue traveling on down the road seemingly finished with a job well performed.
Yet this tale is not over for there were more surprises in store.  As Diana prepared to dress into her wedding gown Philemon found himself charging into her bed chambers to warn her of the danger that still existed with in the castle walls.  He told Diana what he had discovered about the truth of the general’s suicide.  For it had not been a suicide at all.  When Diana heard the news she instructed Philemon to go out and get Xena to come back so that she could stand in at the wedding.  Philemon dashed off quickly in hopes that he could reach Xena in time.  Fortunately he had caught up to Xena and Gabrielle entering into a nearby village.  Philemon summoned Xena making her aware of the danger that still lurked.  Xena quickly reacted charging upon Argo on down the road leaving Gabrielle behind.
Soon Xena arrived at the castle just in time for the wedding.  But what she witnessed was so intense that no one ever suspected.  As Diana walked down the aisle preparing to wed Minius.  He stood waiting for her below a danger that awaited.  Just before Diana reached the altar in her beautiful white dress she suddenly turned violent breaking into a warrior spirit.  For it was not Diana at all.  It had been Xena.  Xena had fooled everyone knowing that the real traitor was still about.  She let out a valiant battle cry as she ran up the wall flipping into action.  Xena kicked and punched like thunder crashing down every enemy about her.  Then she did something even more strange.  She reached for five loose arrows upon the ground.  Then she smiled with a crazy grin and dashed up to where the harp stood.  Xena was creative as she found the harp to be more useful as a weapon rather than an instrument.  She took the five arrows and shot them across the banquet hall toward the truest criminal of all.
The arrows flew flawlessly toward their target.  They were certain to hit their mark.  As they had come to rest.  There plastered to the wall was the loyal businessman Romeous for Xena had known his kind all the while.  She had known it was him on their first meeting in the banquet hall the night before at dinner.  He had acted in the manner that all criminals do for he had been too confident in his success.  Of course Minious had not yet realized that it was the warrior princess whom he had almost wed.  And he declared with great disgust that he would not marry such a mannerless woman.  Yet Xena had known what she was doing for she had planned it all along.  She saved a life and freedom, but she had also saved true love.  For on their way back to the castle a leather clad Diana had stopped the path.  She had pretended to be Xena only to discover the true feelings of her betrothed.  Philemon declared without awareness of how much he loved Diana, but he had been afraid to tell.  He had been afraid that Diana loved only Minious.  Then Diana revealed herself.
It had been Philemon who had shared with Xena his knowledge of her charade.  He had told her he had known she wasn’t Diana before the second switch was made.  For Diana did not catch and she did not like blood.  So Xena did all of the work for she caught true love bringing it together, and prevented blood by storming the castle wedding.  As Xena and Gabrielle finally found themselves leaving the castle Gabrielle asked her what it had been like.  Gabrielle wanted to know if Xena had truly enjoyed being a princess or if it was just an overrated job.  Xena had said she would never want to be a princess who ruled within the castle walls.  It was too much work and not enough fun for a warrior princess to stand.  For a royal princess was not allowed to play with a sword and a warrior princess lived by one.  Then a servant walked by and she took two ouerderves.  Handing one to Gabrielle Xena consumed the other declaring despite it all there had been perks.  And so all ended in triumph.  Social injustice would one day end and love would be how it began.