The Xena Scrolls
Scroll #94: Fallen Angel
By: Gabrielle Bard of Potedia
March, 44 B.C.
After death it is said that we either go to the Ellysian Fields if we are heros and champions of the greater good or we find ourselves in the clutches of Tartarus if we are of evil nature. But I tell of a story so proundly different than that of our own mythology. Yes the Gods exist, but are they really the governing power of our vast world of indifference or are they only playing the rest of us for fools?
Gabrielle found herself upon a mountain of mystical beauty. There was an aura of tranquility which surrounded her. She knew that she had died, but where she had gone was unknown to her. And there beside her on this blissful mountain of paradise was Xena. It was a comfort to find that they had traveled together through their violent deaths onto this next destination which was to hold many surprises.
Time did not exist in this place they call heaven beyond earth. There are no doors to it. There are no special keys to unlock its mysteries like there are with Mount Olympus. It just exists. And so the kindred spirits were together in this strange new world knowing that they still had each other despite the hand of death. It was almost too good to be true and soon it was. Beings of light decended down upon them. There was this infinate feeling of unconditional love illuminating from within the depths of their bright lights. They had faces and smiles that could pierce through even the deepest darkest fear within one’s soul. As they touched the kindred spirits of Gabrielle and Xena it was as if light were illuminating from the new arrivals as well. These angels of peace and traquility lifted these tatterd spirits from the top of this infinate mountain above the clouds as the two radiated their love for one another and then to those who had come to repair them.
And then it happened. From fathoms below the mountain and the whisping white mist an army of dark angels attacked from all sides and seemingly all directions. Their voices were screetching with pain and anguish. There was hatred and agony screaming from the darkness of their black souls. The angels of darkness carried swords as the feathers on their wings moulted with each motion. Horns protruded from their heads as if knives had been thrust through them. Their eyes were black coals cutting through your heart. It was like taking a deep wound that would never be able to heal even if the best healer himself administered his best care.
As the angels of light battled to hold onto to their sisters the angels of darkness overwhelmed them with their black energy. The good was outnumbered by its evil counterparts. And so one of the new spirits dropped from bliss down into the deep dark abyss. The fall lasted for an enternity. Gabrielle had been taken from them without warning. There was nothing that they could do to save her. And so the soul of the bard was lost and alone in the pit of hell.
Hell was like a cold, dark, damp cave. Water dripped from unknown places and there were constant screams of anquish and pain. Gabrielle was distraught and afraid in this unknown dark place. She wondered who all of these lost souls were. Gabrielle wondered if they had all suffered the same accidental fate. As she tried to make sense of what had just happened after one eternity her soul was led into another. Gabrielle’s soul began to ache with hunger. Then another eternity passed as starvation began to wrack her being. It was seemingly a physical starvation, but it was really a hungry desparation to be with the One. This hunger built up within like a burning fire. It was eternally unbearable, and then one of the damned called Gabrielle’s name. The voice was seeminly familiar to Gabrielle although it was muffled by its own darkness. Gabrielle turned to see someone she had known for a very long time. It was like an old friend only it wasn’t. The soul that had come to antagonize her was the soul of Callisto.
Callisto looked just as the other dark angels. Tormented and broken and she even wreaked of the smell of physical decay. It was horrifying for this spirit which still contained light to bare witness to this final fate of a familiar foe. And though Callisto had been a foe to Gabrielle in life she was the only thing familiar for Gabrielle to cling to here in this pit of misery. Callisto tormented Gabrielle for etnernities trying to tempt her with the fruits of hell promising that they would satisfy Gabrielle’s intensely burning hunger. Gabrielle fought the temptations, but as the pain of separation grew from the One it had become too unbearable for even the soul that had given Xena’s darkness a new light.
It began upon Callisto’s command to her dark soldiers in this place they called hell. One hundred times worse than Tartarus could ever be. They forced the lucious fruit into Gabrielle’s mouth though the bard tried desparately to spit it out. It was with that which brought the begining of the end for Gabrielle’s soul. Unable to resist the temptations any longer Gabrielle tore into the vast fruits bathing in their temporary glory. Yet their short comforts only turned to burnings and desires as evil engulfed Gabrielle’s light turning it to total blackness. She had been taken by the otherside. Callisto’s dark soul filled with the laughter of Dahok’s wrath only this wasn’t Dahok. It was another power of uncertain origins. Callisto basked in her own glory for winning one for the darkside, but even her glee was again replaced by an even stronger hate and blackness.
As this process went on in hell Xena had been saved by the beings of the light. Although Xena had done much evil in her life on earth she had been saved by the light of unconditional love from a stranger who had become her soulmate. The first step to inducting her into the army of the beings of light was to be purified by the waters of the One. And because there had been so much darkness trapped within her radient light the clensing was painful and Xena almost did not make it back. After thrashing around in the waters her soul came to a peace and it was at rest. There was no darkness left only pure genuine love. Everything that had ever tarnished her had been treated and then released. It had been ages since the last time the spirit of Xena had felt this way.
As she looked around at the light beings who had surrounded her she felt their love and support coming from every infinate direction. There was no end and no begining to this love. It just existed. They were joyful for she had been saved. It was a triumphant victory for the light over the darkness. Xena’s spirit had emerged yet as it looked about there was something missing. There was one ray of love that was abscent from this group of supporters. The most important being to her was not there. Xena’s spirit was distraught for it could not fathom the idea that Gabrielle would never be saved. After all that they had been through in life, and after all Gabrielle had done to save Xena’s spirit from the point of no return in darkness…Xena could not accept this idea.
The archangel Michael approached her when she had inquired of Gabrielle’s existance. He was saddened knowing that he could not offer comfort to the spirit of Gabrielle from the darkness which had now been taken by the enemy. And of course Xena’s first reaction was to save her best friend as she always did in life. But this time she couldn’t. In this place she could not play warrior as she had on earth. Instead it was ordained that she would return back to earth in a new vessel to begin a new life. But Xena refused to move forward. She would not go anywhere without Gabrielle. Michael realizing that Xena’s spirit needed Gabrielle’s to continue its path consulted with the other beings and with the One. After many ages of debate it was decided that if Xena could pass the trial ordained to her she would be issued the wings she would need to join the battle of archangels.
Xena accepted the trail and went willingly. Once again ages went by as the light beings patiently waited and anticipated Xena’s return. And finally she was triumphant once again and then she was issued her beautiful soft white wings. Xena’s spirit was now a part of the army of white angels. It was now ready for battle. She would not wait and so the angels of light gathered and prepared to do battle with the angels of darkness once again. Just before enguaging into this next battle with the darkside Michael warned Xena of the temptations that would be there beckoning her. It was said that she was only to save one although she would be compelled to save many others. This was not the law of the One and so it had to be understood.
Eternities had gone by for the now dark soul of Gabrielle whose enternal torment would be the company of her evil foe Callisto, and Callisto’s torment would be that of Gabrielle’s hatred for her deeds of death to those whom she had loved in life. The light of heaven decended down upon the darkness of hell disrupting the confrontation of Gabrielle and Callisto. Archangels surrounded the soul of a once radient light whisping it away from the dark soul of Callisto. Callisto fought to hold onto her catch, but the light was too powerful and her darkness could not overcome it. Xena’s soul had broken the hold of darkness upon Gabrielle with passion as her angelic wings and vibrant sword charged through the darkness. As the archangel Xena held darkness back and away from the rest of her army alongside Micheal they escaped with Gabrielle into heaven. Xena continued to fight on and as she fell upon the soul of Callsito in battle her soul was touched within. As she held the darkness of Callisto’s being within her grasp something happened.
Xena looked into the darkness which lie helplessly before her and her light absorbed all of its pain. It absorbed the hatred and all of the unpleasant feelings it contained. As Callisto’s darkness vowed never to stop desiring revenge upon a warrior princess whom had once killed her family the soul of the archangel Xena could bear no more. A tear rolled down her cheek knowing that if it had not been for her own evil in life that Callisto’s spirit would be in heaven just as Gabrielle’s should have always been. And so with that Xena gave her only gift to the torn soul of Callisto damning herself and releasing an old foe from the clutches of evil and darkness.
In heaven Gabrielle went through the same process as did Xena. Her soul was purified and the beings were joyful that she was able to be saved. She had always been meant to join the archangels for the radience of her light had always shined brightly. Michael approached her smiling as he touched her with his light and with love. Gabrielle’s soul had been rescued from its torment, but with out Xena there to share in the celebration the triumph seemed sour at best. Michael explained to Gabrielle of Xena’s great loving sacrifice to Callisto. Sadness engulfed Gabrielle’s spirit knowing that her best friend would not be there if she had not come to save Gabrielle. As the confused innocent soul of Callisto stood before Gabrielle the bard her soul cringed with left over pain and anger from her relationship with Callisto in life. Gabrielle turned away from Callisto unable to face her old foe with forgiveness.
Michael then went on to explain how Xena could never be saved from enternal suffering now that she had taken Callisto’s place. This led to a new problem. He foretold of a shift in the powers of good and evil. Michael spoke of how even in death good and evil were at odds with one another in a constant struggle for control of the universe and its power. He stated that Xena’s evil was now so powerful that the only way to defeat it would be to lure her into a battle and massacre her demonic soul into pieces. Gabrielle was again saddened yet she understood the law and accepted it. There was a reluctance within her soul knowing what she must do. She had to help Michael and the other archangels to defeat the darkness of the warrior princess. Gabrielle knew Xena’s soul better than any other. She knew of the goodness which had sacrificed itself for Callisto and she understood the complex depths of its darkness. In life Gabrielle had helped Xena’s goodness fight against the darkness which had balanced the warrior. Gabrielle was certain that she could defeat that darkness again.
Upon volunteering to join Michael’s legions in heaven she was next sent on a trial. It was the greatest trial possible. Upon entering the white cloud she saw there standing before her the soul of Callisto. It was radient with light as Callisto smiled sending her love to Gabrielle. But Gabrielle could not bare to deal with this. Her spirit was hurting still knowing that Xena was in eternal suffering and that Callisto had been spared. Not only had Callisto taken Perdicus from her in life, but she had seemingly taken her best friend in death. Many many moments went by as Gabrielle’s pain flowed from within her soul. Callisto’s once dark soul was weeping inside to feel the loss which she had inflicted upon the young bard. Callisto was seeking Gabrielle’s forgiveness.
Gabrielle’s soul fought against the idea of forgiveness for many ages for all that it could feel was the pain of losing Perdicus and the memories of Callisto’s life long revenge against Xena. Callisto was aware of the suffering and the pain yet her memories of life beyond her family were fuzzy at best. She explained to Gabrielle with eloquence that though the angels and light beings had told her there was no love like the love of the One being she had felt it on earth through her family. They had given her the impossible in life, and in death she hoped soon to be reuinted with their infinate love. For many long moments Gabrielle refused to feel mercy or forgiveness for Callisto. She could only see the memory of a darkness and not the presence of the light that Callisto truely was.
Callisto spoke softly to the confused soul knowing that she may never receive Gabrielle’s forgiveness, but she had to try. If Callisto did not succeed in releasing Gabrielle from her anger then Gabrielle would not be able to move forward. Her anger would become an enemy to her in the next life and it would ultimately detstroy her soul as Xena had once detroyed the soul of Callisto. A powerful love flowed from Callisto touching Gabrielle’s heart. And then Gabrielle understood. She understood that even when Callisto was hurting in life she had truely loved and admired those that she had made suffer. Gabrielle’s spirit embraced Callisto for the first time. And a new partnership was born.
The two emerged together from the white cloud dust and then Gabrielle was given her wings by the One. She had earned them and Michael praised her for her courage and her strength. He then briefed her on the next battle that they were about to go into with the darkness. Michael explained that Xena would try to persuade Gabrielle to return to the darkness and that she was not to accept. Gabrielle understood this and so the battle began.
There was an irony to it all. Good v.s. evil and dark v.s. light had been a common theme in the lives of Xena and Gabrielle. And now in death they were battling each other once again over the same issue. The angel Gabrielle awaited the arrival of a soul that was once her friend in life. And when Xena arrived she fought against Xena’s darkness like a champion. Xena’s face was distraught with emptiness and a suffering starvation. Gabrielle could feel it and the power of darkness was so strong that even in heaven Gabrielle still felt that hunger and separation though she was aware that it was Xena her soul longed to rejoin. But even with all of the light that existed within Gabrielle it was no match for the infinate darkness of Xena. The archangel Gabrielle led Xena high into the heavens above the battle within the gates of heaven knowing that separating the army of darkness from its leader would be an advantage for Michael and the other archangels.
Gabrielle fought desparately to distract the darkness of the demonic Xena. Her soul ached knowint that it had to use Xena’s longing to be with her soul against Xena. The darkness searched stealfully and without rest until it consumed Gabrielle again. Xena’s evil pleaded and begged Gabrielle to join her in enternal hell. The demon was certain that if it could just have Gabrielle again that the unbearable suffering in the darkess would be less painful. Gabrielle’s soul broke within knowing that the laws of the universe could never be defeated by an archangel or a single soul alone. She gathered the strength from within hoping to be able to complete her mission to dissolve Xena’s demon and what was left of Xena’s soul into eternal oblivion. Gabrielle clashed swords with the demon passionately loving a soul she could never ever hate. Yet the love within Gabrielle was not strong enough to defeat Xena’s evil. And so Gabrielle’s wings were broken as she fell from the skies of heaven in the battle of good against evil.
Many of the archangels were falling to the power of evil though they fought with such radience and passion. The wounded angel whom had fallen from the sky could not muster the strength to rise again. She was helpless as she watched evil knock down all that was good around her. As Micheal continued to battle on he saw the angel Gabrielle fall . Then he caught sight of a powerful evil across the battle field as he rushed to aid the fallen angel, but Xena’s dark soul snatched her away from his grasp. She was to take Gabrielle to hell to join her. Gabrielle pleaded with Xena not to do it. She pleaded and searched frantically for just one glimmer of light that might still be within all of the darkness. With broken wings and spiritual wounds so deep with sorrow Gabrielle prepared her heart for eternal suffering once more. Suddenly in the next moment she had found that one last ray of hope within the spirit of Xena, but then it was too late as Micheal had plunged into the pit of despair alongside Xena and Gabrielle. As the three fell angels fell together into hell a tiny glimmer of light rescued all. It was the determination of Xena’s love for Gabrielle as the breath of resserection came to pass.
March 44 BC
#96 Animal Attraction
April 44 BC
April 44 BC
The Xena Scrolls
By: Gabrielle Bard of Podedia
Scroll #98 : Seeds of Faith
May, 44 B.C.
I reveal to you a story of truth and of tragedy. It is the heart breaking story of the courage of those who have chosen to follow the way of love and peace for all of the world. This story begins in the village of Pilos where followers of a great teacher were courageously led in the ways of love and peace, but were challenged by those who were not certain of its meaning. Xena and Gabrielle listened quietly as they entered the tavern to investigate what all of the excitement was about. One man wasn’t so convinced of the teachings of this new leader of peace. He threatened to shed the blood of the one who spoke of the word of peace. As he raised his schyth for the kill, but Xena’s chackram dissolved the conflict with grace. Xena inquired of the problem and the speaker of the word of peace stated that it was just a small disagreement.
Peace only lasted momentarily for a brawl broke out within the tavern as Gabrielle moved to stop another who had reached for a concealed weapon. Xena’s hope of being able to stop violence with words was struck down by this new conflict. It was a short battle as Xena and Gabrielle once again took control after a few moments of swords clashing. Then Xena discovered that the man whom Gabrielle had struck for his weapon had only been reaching for his handkerchief. Xena was not amused that Gabrielle had drawn her weapons mistakenly. It had been a foolish move. Xena scolded her friend for making a bad decision. The leader of the group of peace lovers expressed his own discontent with Gabrielle’s move.
Suddenly Ares appeared before them seemingly surprised to see that Xena was carrying a child. He snickered and asked who the father was. Xena expressed that Gabrielle would be taking the place of an abscent and unknown father. Ares was amused at this. Xena was curious as to why Ares had shown himself at a small village squabble for it wasn’t like the god of war to waste his time with such small matters when there were wars to tend to in the field. Ares did not answer Xena’s question and then Xena knew what it was that he had come to do. He had come to stop the twilight of the gods from taking place. Ares was afraid that these followers of a new peace would interfere with the order of the gods. Of course it was only myth and legend, but to Ares this was a real threat to his own reign as a god of Mount Olympus.
Once Xena had figured out Ares’s angle Ares was angered as he warned Xena to stay out of it. He reminded her that the choices she made were not only affecting her, but her child as well. Ares threatened to take Xena’s life and the life of her child if she found herself to close. And with that he vanished in standard god style.
Xena and Gabrielle offered to accompany the leader of these followers of the tavern to his own mentor for they had caused so much trouble. As they walked toward the other end of Pilos Xena again expressed to Gabrielle that it was not like her to be the first to draw a weapon when words had always been her strong point. Gabrielle was not phased by this. She reminded Xena of the many times that she had saved Xena from making the choice to kill many times before. Xena backed down realizing that Gabrielle was right and she apologized for thinking as a mother rather than as a warrior. Gabrielle reminded Xena that she was able to handle tough situations and that she was no longer the young nieve wide-eyed child that Xena had once met in the small village of Podedia many years before.
Xena was curious as to who this wonderful teacher was which everyone had seemed to follow so enthusiastically. The leader from the tavern spoke of a man called Eli. Xena and Gabrielle were surprised yet impressed that Eli had done so much since they had last met. They approached Eli as Gabrielle was excited to see her friend once again. She tapped him on the shoulder as he turned around he too was surprised to see an old friend. Eli was very excited to share of his teachings with his friends and they were eager to listen for Eli seemed to be on the right path whereas Xena and Gabrielle still felt confusion inside. Eli was brave as he preached to his followers and he spoke of not needing scared daggars, but only love to win the battle.
Gabrielle was warm inside feeling the power of Eli’s love and confidence. She joined him privately as they caught up with one another in time. Eli’s confidence in his work puzzled Gabrielle who was now a warrior. She had once followed him with such eagerness and now she felt shame for the choice she had made to take up arms. Eli sensed this and questioned her about it. Gabrielle denied feeling as though she had made the wrong choice, but she couldn’t see herself having stayed with Eli for her eyes had seen so much pain yet her heart yearned for something more. Eli did not look down upon his friend for choosing the way of the warrior over the way of peace. He assured Gabrielle that no matter what she did she would never be able to disappoint him.
And then Ares interrupted the reunion between two friends. He had come to make a deal with Eli and it was very simple. Ares demanded that Eli give up on his teachings of love and peace in order to save the lives of many including his own. But Eli was not afraid. Eli refused to back down as he questioned Ares about his current breath of life. Ares warned Eli that he had spared his life because there were always multiple ways to accomplish a win in the strategy of battle for which he had had much experience and expertise being the god of war. And then Ares disappeared again in standard god style. Gabrielle worried about her friend wanting to stand up to Ares on the premise of love and peace for she had seen before how neither were strong enough to escape the death and destruction of war.
Xena returned from her scouting to report that Ares had set up an army just a half day away on its way to sack Eli and his followers of Pilos. Eli was not phased by this as he continued on with his teachings. Xena urged him to pack up with his followers and move on, but Eli again refused. Eli would not be swayed by threats from the god of war for war had no power in his eyes. This frustrated Xena. She could not allow the death of a dear friend for his nieve ways of love and peace. Xena could not allow many innocent people to be slaughtered over these teachings. Though she as did Gabrielle wanted to believe in them they knew better. Xena went on ahead and left Gabrielle behind to protect Eli. It was a big responsibility, but Gabrielle was up for the challenge. This was another tough situation which she was confident in handling.
A night went by as Xena and Gabrielle anticipated the arrival of the wrath of Ares. Both were ready and both were prepared to do battle in the name of the greater good. And though Eli was confident of his teachings and his purpose in the world he too held fear within, but was comforted and reassured by the angels of heaven. Eli knew what it was that he had to do and so early the next morning he awoke to face his ultimate life’s challenge for there was no other way. Eli preached with even more passion than before as he rallied the powerful energy of his followers. Ares appeared once again before Eli flattered that Eli would do all of this in the name of challenging him.
Eli was not amused, but serious for he knew what was on the horizon. Gabrielle stood ready to protect the champion of love and peace as she drew her schyths. Ares once again demanded that Eli drop his teachings as he declared to the people that Eli’s words were lies. He swore to the people that Eli was leading them to their deaths. Ares declared his godhood commandingly looking to regain the respect of the people of Pilos. He was giving Eli one last chance. But Eli would not back down. Eli rose to Ares’s challenge and assured Ares that this was indeed his own last chance. The people themselves were the ones who determined their own fates.
Ares glared back at this defiance and raised his sword for the kill, but Gabrielle shielded Eli blocking the first thrust. Eli asked Gabrielle not to save his life with violence for it was wrong and it would harm the future of the world. Gabrielle struggled with this. Her heart wanted to listen, but her mind could not surrender what it knew of the ways of the world. Ares struck again and again Gabrielle shielded her friend from death at war’s hands. Eli took his student and once again pleaded with her not to save his life with violence and this time he looked into her eyes deeply. He reached into her soul and asked for its faith. Gabrielle’s mind finally surrendered to the will of her spirit and she lowered her weapons defenseless. She turned away for a moment as Ares lifted his sword for one last thrust.
The sword was clean as it went through the chest of Eli and then out again. Life’s breath had been taken from Eli by war’s desires as Gabrielle turned to see the nightmare before her. Eli’s body fell into her arms as he did not answer her as she called his name. The god of war stood before them triumphantly yet he was alone for no one cheered. All was quiet as all who witnessed the death of Eli were robbed of any word or emotion. Ares watched as Gabrielle fell with Eli’s body to the ground and disbelief had set in. She then looked upon Ares as the god of war disappaered from the scene.
Gabrielle could not believe that she had listened to Eli. She could not believe that she had allowed him to die at Ares’s hand when she had known all along that love would not triumph. Gabrielle wept in agony for her loss as angels took Eli from the world. Soon after Xena had returned from defeating Ares’s small army of death to find her friend clutching Eli’s body in mourning. Xena inquired of Gabrielle who tried to regain her composure for warriors did not cry on a good day. She was at loss for words. The crowd began to shout out betrayal as Xena questioned Gabrielle. Gabrielle would not have it. She rose from Eli’s lifeless body and challenged Xena who was disappointed that Gabrielle had chosen to listen to the teacher of love and peace. Gabrielle was intensely confused and angry. She had only done what she had thought was right. But now who knew what was right. Was Ares truely right? Was the world only shaped by warriors and the blood that their swords would shed?
The two friends were once again torn over a common theme. The warrior way or the way of peace and love had divided them yet again. Gabrielle mourned alone in the wasteland of the dessert practicing with her weapons once more. She punished herself for not doing what she had to do. Not only was she divided from Xena, but she was also deeply divided within. And then Ares appeared before the dead oak as Gabrielle turned to face him. The anger boiled within as she threw one of her weapons at his chest in fury. Ares smiled as he caught it short of its mark. He commented on the skills that Gabrielle had aquired since the first time they had met many moons before. Gabrielle was not humored by this. She threw another weapon at his forehead only to watch him effortlessly stop its forward thrust as well.
And then Gabrielle confronted him directly. She blamed him for Eli’s death. If it hadn’t been for Ares’s selfish ways Eli might not have perished at his hand. Ares felt Gabrielle’s pain and a part of him seemingly cared showing a slight compassion for the suffering warrior. He approached Gabrielle promising to show her what it would feel like if she only had the power to change the world. Ares stepped before the young warrior easing the pain into a blissful triumphant feeling. For just a moment Ares had released the young warrior from her anguish inside. It was amazing to Gabrielle that the god of war could so easily take away her pain. It was a pain that he had brought to her and now he was easing it.
Gabrielle did not understand. And Ares knew that he had her in the palm of his hand. Ares promised that Gabrielle had done the right thing. He vowed that might was the right choice even when it was wrong. And as Ares disappeared leaving Gabrielle with that thought she was seroiusly considering joining Ares hoping that there would be some resolution or something that could be learned from the Gods of the order of Olympus.
When Gabrielle finally returned to the village Xena was lighting a funeral fire in honor of the fallen soldier of peace. She sang her trademark funeral processional for yet another of her many friends who had fallen victim to the violence of our world. As Xena’s voice faded into the sound of the burning flames Gabrielle again mourned alone. Xena could see the confusion and the pain within her friend’s heart and she knew that she could not allow it to go unpunished. She decided that she would go after Ares, and she knew just who to confront with this task.
That night Gabrielle spoke to Eli’s spirit in the darkness of the village. She confessed to him how she had spoken with Ares and had considered learning from him, but she also asked of Eli what he had asked of her. She asked him to have faith in her and the choices that she would have to make as Eli had asked of her.
And on the next morning as Ares preached to the people of Pilos in an attempt to regain their faith in his own reign they refused him. Though their leader Eli had been slain they still believed in his message. The people of Pilos chanted the name of Eli with passion and in glory. Ares was displeased that the death of Eli had not drawn the fear that he had expected. Fear had always been his weapon of control against the people and now Eli’s courageous death had instilled the same courage within his followers. Just as Ares was about to slay another vicitm Gabrielle interrupted ready to fight for what it was she believed in. Ares shrugged her off not realizing that she had come to stand against him rather than with him.
Gabrielle had come to Ares with a lesson of her own as he had done the day before. The lesson she had learned was from Xena and it was one that she had always known since they had traveled together. Peace was worth fighting for no matter what the consequences. Ares was not amused and so he enguaged in battle with the young warrior. Gabrielle attacked her enemy with passion and determination. He defended himself smoothly as he brushed her aside like an insect. But Gabrielle refused to allow Ares to win this battle. She again threw her weapons against Ares who once again dogded them effortlessly. But he was angered at her challenge. As he approached the young warrior Gabrielle took his sword from the ground and prepared to finish what Ares had started. She moved forward upon him with a thrust of the sword, but Ares directed it into another within the crowd. He then threw Gabrielle to the ground and stole a sword from another in the crowd. Ares prepared to kill this champion of a greater good, and she prepared to take her death with pride. But just before he thrust the sword into his vicitm Xena’s chackram interrupted the blood fest.
Xena had come with her own weapon as Ares was caught off guard. It was a daggar. Ares was not afraid. He couldn’t beleive that Xena would come into battle so unprepared. Ares laughed at this display of bravery until Xena revealed that the daggar was not just an ordinary dagger. It was the dagger of Helios which was said to have the power to kill even the gods. Ares took a deep breath as Xena held the dagger to his throat about to take his life to pay for Eli’s. And as Xena moved for the kill she stopped. Suddenly it was all clear to her. Eli’s death was what would set in motion the twilight of the gods. She didn’t have to kill Ares. Ares had sealed his own fate by playing into Eli’s hands. Ares had been the fool. Xena told Ares that she was going to spare his life so that Eli’s death would not be in vain.
She threw down the dagger of Helios and turned to walk away. For Ares the battle was not over. He grabbed the dagger and then held it to Xena’s throat. Ares was going to win this battle one way or another. Someone was going to die. Xena took his threat bravely. She reminded him that if he took her life it would only make Eli’s cause that much more powerful. Xena knew that Ares would back down. And Ares did, but not without reminding Xena that it wasn’t over. They would settle this later.
As the god of war vanished from the crowd Xena and Gabrielle reunited their friendship in strength and with understanding. Forgiveness of each other’s faults and their love for one another most of all. And then it happened. The most spectacular thing. There before the two friends appeared the spirit of Eli and of Callisto. Eli was pleased to see that the faith between two friends was strong with one another. He thanked Xena for making the right choice in keeping his cause alive so that his death was not in vain. And then Callisto revealed that it was ordained that she return to earth to start a new mortal life. At that moment it was known that Callisto’s purified spirit had been the one who had given Xena a fresh start. So it was all about forgiveness of past sins, faith of loving friends, and knowing that fighting for one’s beliefs was not in vain. Standing up and fighting for love and peace was right even if it felt wrong.
#99 Them Bones, Them Bones
May 44 BC
July 44 BC
#101 Back In The Bottle
September 44 BC
November 44 BC
#103 Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire
November 44 BC
#104 Little Problems
December 44 BC
#105 God Fearing Child
December 44 BC
#106 Eternal Bonds
January 43 BC
February 43 BC
#108 Kindred Spirits
February 43 BC
#109 Amphipolis Under Siege
March 43 BC
The Xena Scrolls
Scroll #110: Anthony & Cleopatra
By: Gabrielle of Podedia
July, 43 B.C.
I sing of a story that has already been sung, yet sung by those who may not know the real truth that I shall cast upon this scroll. It is a battle of epic proportions for the affections of a mystical queen with a beauty that can never be described only imagined. And so it began with a message of violence and ended with a lesson of trust, and betrayal, peace, and hate, but most of all a star-crossed love affair.
Cleopatra arrived before Mark Anthony rolled in a rug wearing nothing, but chains. She had been informed that two notorious leaders of Rome were after her kingdom and so she had a plan to turn them against one another. It began with her seduction of this handsome man who walked with a confidence which surpassed that of Caesar. His ambitions matched those of Rome’s late emperor, but he loved Rome more than he loved any other. Upon her seductive arrival Mark Anthony was a gentlemen. He insisted that she wrap herself up for he was not to take advantage of the beautiful creature before him.
Anthony was interested in dealing yes, but nothing more. He wanted control of Cleopatra’s navy for it was the most powerful navy in all the land. Cleopatra had shown that she could be trusted by Anthony by exploiting her vulnerability and with this seductive act Cleopatra had gained the respect of Mark Anthony.
Back in Egypt Cleopatra’s companion Euris awaited her return only to find the identity of the second who was after Egypt’s treasures. It was the good Roman Brutus whom many had stated to be an honest and good man. Euris had met Brutus before and they had been friends in battle, but the lust for absolute power of Rome upon Caesar’s death had changed him. At first Brutus did not recognize this old acquaintance who had once pardoned him saving his life, but then as he protested to see Cleopatra her eyes could not lie.
Brutus was shocked that she had survived for no one had ever escaped the clutches of Ceasar’s wrath before, but he was also guilty for he was not there when she had needed him most.
They exchanged words neither truly respecting or embracing the other as Brutus then ignored her rejection to see Cleopatra pushing himself forcefully through Cleopatra’s guard. Euris followed closely behind disappointed at his lack of respect for her and so he had changed. He was no longer a good man.
When Brutus could not see Cleopatra he settled with delivering his urgent message to a friend of Cleopatra. Xena took the message and made it clear that Cleopatra would most certainly receive it. Brutus warned of Mark Anthony and of Caesar’s adopted son Octavious. He swore that the two were out to kill Cleopatra and at that the conversation closed.
Late that night a cloaked intruder broke into Cleopatra’s bed chambers sneaking in upon her bedside. Just as the intruder had made his way upon the queen in her slumber fire bombs were thrown into her chambers from outside the walls below. This awoke the queen and startled the intruder. The cloaked one caught ablaze and screamed in terror as the flames burned his clothing. Cleopatra and the intruder escaped the flaming attack of her chambers. And once they were safe it was revealed that the intruder was none other than Caesar’s adopted son Octavious. He spilled his insides with fear as Mark Anthony approached Cleopatra. Octavious had come to deliver yet another warning to the queen of Egypt. Brutus had warned of Anthony and Octavious, but now Octavious was here to warn of Anthony although he did not say it directly for the presence of Anthony.
There was a mystery to unravel for it seemed that Cleopatra’s life were in eminent danger. Cleopatra met with Mark Anthony hoping to seal the deal of his honesty for her navy. Again she tried her hand at seducing this man, but he refused her a second time. Cleopatra and Euris were unprepared for his rejection of Cleopatra’s advances and so they had to decide what to do next.
Even though Cleopatra had only intended to play a game at first
Euris could see that Anthony was getting to Cleopatra’s heart and she didn’t like what was going on between them. Mark Anthony had sent Cleopatra a flower as an invitation to join him in a night of passion later. Euris warned Cleopatra of this rugged man with a passion for blood. She warned Cleopatra that if she was not careful that he would win her over and that would be the end of Egypt and it would be the end of peace between two great nations. Cleopatra swore that there were no feelings there. It was all just business as usual.
Euris was interested in this new development in the turn of events. She found herself in the prison to investigate the character of the young Octavious. What his real motives were and why he was a player in this game of warriors was uncertain in her mind. And as Euris questioned the young wide eyed Octavious he stated that his only intentions for Rome were of peace and unity rather than power and war. He seemed very hopeful for his future as Rome’s potential leader. Octavious wanted to ensure peace something that his father Caesar before him had never been about. This impressed Euris and it even reminded her of a girl she had once known. A glimmer of hope embraced her heart after hearing the words of hope and peace coming from the lips of a man who was in a position to make it happen.
Cleopatra and Anthony met up that night in a secluded quiet place. Mark Anthony once again refused Cleopatra, but it wasn’t her advances that he refused. Anthony had professed his undying love for this radiant flower. He wanted her love and not her navy. He confessed to Cleopatra that he was once told by another man that the beauty of a woman such as she would bring a man to his knees. Anthony stated that a woman as Cleopatra could make a man surrender a nation and so it was that Anthony would surrender his best battle plan refusing to accept her navy. For Anthony believed that if he were to accept Cleopatra’s navy that she would never believe that his love for her was true.
And now there was just one problem with the plans of Cleopatra and her companion. The problem was one that no one could have ever predicted and it was the most powerful of all the forces involved. It was love for was just that simple, yet something as simple as love can make a battle between nations complex. There was honor at stake here, friendship, and a promise. The question was which was most important?
During their romantic interlude the two lovers were attacked by some men loyal to Brutus. Cleopatra stood back and watched as Anthony fought off six Roman soldiers killing every one of them with a passion for their blood. He killed all six in his heart, yet Cleopatra had spared the last man. She convinced Anthony that he could be of use and so the last man had been spared. And then a message for Brutus was sent. Cleopatra knew that she could not save Mark Anthony from his fury for blood and war. It was a reminder of someone she had once known. Someone that she never wanted to meet again. There would be no escape if she should surrender and let her love for Mark Anthony take precedence over the promise of friendship.
Cleopatra met with Euris and they compared notes upon the two men with Octavious’s youthful dream to Anthony’s strategic force of destruction and blood. And then there was Brutus more of a pawn than he could ever have imagined. Cleopatra confessed to Euris of her love for Mark Anthony. And Euris understood. Could his death be avoided by an alliance with young Octavious going against Brutus?
Upon the next sunrise Cleopatra sat on her court with Euris by her side. The power hungry Brutus entered her court hoping to make a deal with her regarding her navy. As Brutus approached the great queen of Egypt his eyes could barely believe what it was they were telling him. This was clearly not the mystically beautiful Cleopatra before him. This was none other than the great warrior princess. Xena sat upon the throne of the queen and it was all clear to him now. He had succeeded in murdering the queen with a violently urgent message between two serpents. Brutus was angered to realize the trick which had been played out flawlessly by Xena and her longtime friend. Gabrielle demanded of Brutus what could possibly constitute the murder of yet another of her most valued friends. His answer to her was simple. It was all for the good of Rome. Gabrielle could not accept this answer. Murder for a nation was not justified in her mind. She, Xena, and now Cleopatra had all perished at the hands of Roman leaders. Yet Brutus argued with pride that he had been the one who had taken down the ambitious bloodthirsty Caesar with his own hand.
Each of these men, Mark Anthony and Brutus, had professed their undying love for the nation of Rome and its people. In reality they only loved themselves as did Caesar before them, and the blood that they would shed to gain the power of being Emperor of Rome would flow longer than the Nile. It was clear what was to be done. Xena then commanded Brutus to go to the mouth of the great Nile where she had caught word that Mark Anthony was about to set an attack on Egypt. She promised Brutus that she would send Cleopatra’s navy to reinforce his victory over the powerful Mark Anthony. Brutus refused the offer. He did not trust Xena. But then Gabrielle spoke. She would join Brutus as a signature to contract this deal. Brutus had known Gabrielle. After all she had saved him from the amazon laws which had condemned him to death. She had once intended to unite the Amazon nation with the Roman nation in peace. Brutus reminded of these things agreed to the deal. To him with Gabrielle the deal was as solid as a victory.
And so the battle on the Nile was about to begin with Octavious in command of the Egyptian navy about to discover his destiny, Cleopatra identity unknown to Mark Anthony, and then Gabrielle alongside Brutus her once old friend.
Gabrielle was angry at Brutus for not being the honorable man that he had once been. She was angry that he had allowed power to take his conviction from him. And most of all Gabrielle was angry that Brutus had not stood by her when she had most needed him as he had allowed Ceasar to crucify her. Yet Brutus was not phased by her harsh words for he had harsh words of his own. He had no mercy in his heart and it was laid out very clearly to the young warrior. Brutus reminded Gabrielle that people change and that she too had changed. He reminded her of a time when she had been a champion of peace. Now she was a warrior. His point was taken by Gabrielle as if he had taken his sword and plunged it through her stomach. There was no remorse and only one thing left to do.
Suddenly, the battle on the Nile raged into action. Roman soldiers of Anthony’s vessel leaped onto Brutus’s fortress upon the water as it rammed into Anthony’s lead vessel. Swords clashed. Men screamed in anguish as the weapons of the enemy were thrust through their chests and slashed across their faces. As the Egyptian navy approached the battle both sides were about to boast of their secret alliances with Cleopatra and Xena. But Cleopatra and Xena were one in the same. This was known to Brutus, but not to Anthony and soon the Egyptian navy began attacking both armies from behind.
Brutus realized that it was all over. His dreams of becoming emperor of Rome were about to be destroyed. He had been betrayed by the one he was most certain would not commit such a sin. As he turned to find her in the spoils of battle he screamed violently with hatred in his voice and in his eyes. Gabrielle heard his cries against her as she turned to face him with a moment of regret touching her heart. She hurt for him inside knowing that if the situation had been reversed that there could be no forgiveness for what she had done. Part of her wanted to ask for his mercy. But mercy was not an option for Brutus.
And as she looked upon him he charged forward raising his sword. Gabrielle fought weakly not wanting to battle Brutus for friends did not kill one another. She only defended herself. One thrust, two, and then Brutus struck her in the face. She could feel the pain of battle. This was real. He was not a friend, but a vessel for evil.
Now her survival was at stake. Brutus kept thrusting his sword forward and back across the young warrior’s face knocking the breath from her lungs as if drowning her under the Nile. She fell to the deck wrenched with physical pain thoughout her body. It was almost as if a part of her felt that she deserved to feel this pain for the choices that she had made. They were the wrong choices. The choices which she had always vowed never to make. And then she hoped for his mercy once more as she turned to look him in the eye, but he could see nothing. There was only the blood of a new sworn enemy as he kicked her face with his boot and then raised his weapon above his head preparing to thrust it into her chest. Death was on the deck waiting to take someone this night and the young warrior had decided that it would not be her. She would not allow evil to take her life a second time.
The warrior reached for her sword lying beside her battered bones and then looked evil directly in the eye. Hatred boiled up inside her for all that evil had taken from her spirit and her soul. It was at that single moment that she realized that Brutus was the one who had stolen away her innocence, and it was all in the name of Rome! The warrior’s sword thrust forward. Vengeance and rage commanded it. Forward, through the skin, across and through the mortal neck of the enemy it went. Her hands gripped it tightly and her muscles tense as the weapon slide through its victim. The enemy fell to the deck and with his last words he revealed to all the identity of Xena. And then emptiness set in. Death had taken its victim. Another dark soul had been eliminated. Inside of the warrior’s heart was rage dissolving into hollow illness. And then it passed as relief set in. She had survived death in battle. It was a good day on this night.
And just as she rose to her feet she gazed upon the bow. There stood Xena before her lover Mark Anthony. She too had betrayed him in the name of battle and for the cause of a promise of her friendship to the late Cleopatra. Anthony was unforgiving of this betrayal and Xena knew that there was no way to repair the damage. She knew what she must do. Anthony thrust forward as his passionate love for Cleopatra turned to blackness like the night sea. He was empty and lonely inside yet blood thirsty for someone to pay for his heart’s pain. Betrayal had robbed him of any ounce of goodness that may have resided within Anthony’s heart. Though he was raging out of control swinging his sword wildly Xena handled his advance with an almost graceful touch. She was gentle as she fought him. She fought him with love though he would die at the end of her sword. His hate and ambition were no match for graceful love. And so as if she were tucking in her lover she gently poked her sword through the body of Mark Anthony looking him in the eye hoping only that he could read the message her own eyes contained within.
By morning there was joy across the land of Egypt for they had been spared and an alliance made with Rome’s new young leader Octavious. Xena spoke to the Egyptian people and to Octavious. She reminded them all of what their union meant. Xena reminded them of Cleopatra’s own sacrifice and asked them to respect that her death should not be in vain. Finally Xena left it at that. The battle was over, but inside the loss of her lover still tormented her. She had sacrificed for Cleopatra the one who had sacrificed more than love for her nation. And though Xena was torn apart inside Gabrielle loved her friend for the choice she had made more than she had enjoyed thrusting her own sword into hate itself.
The Xena Scrolls
By: Gabrielle Bard of Podedia
Scroll # 111: Looking Death In The Eye
August, 43 B.C.
Her celebrations at Thebes and Egypt were cut short because Xena the mighty warrior princess fought both night and day for the life of her newborn child as she continued to sing the rage of her Olympian foes. The ceaseless battles finally drove her to the fates in search of answers. There in the temple of the fates it was made known to Xena that because her child was to bring upon the twilight of the gods Xena must die in order to calm the storm of battle. Their prophecy wasn’t completely understood at first. Xena demanded of them a time that this was to happen, but the fates stated that there was no set time or day for this event.
As I entered the temple to join Xena I overheard these prophecies that the fates had revealed to Xena. And when I looked into Xena’s eyes I could see that she was willing to give her life for her child if it would bring peace to Eve’s life. But there had to be another way. Xena’s death couldn’t possibly be the only way to resolve this conflict with the gods. I aruged with Xena reminding her that she had always believed that we held our own fates within and that only we could determine what our own ultimate fate would be. Xena did not disagree because she had figured out the true prophecy that the fates had revealed to her. Xena did not have to die. She only had to appear as if death had taken her.
As we left the temple of the fates we set off toward Rome. On our way there we were attacked by the gods once again. They revealed themselves as their power ravaged the forest around us. Burning flames shot through the air narrowly missing Xena’s child. And then all was quiet as Xena knelt down and reached for her chackram. She listened and suddenly she made her move. The chackram bounced off of an invisible being revealing to us that Hades was present. He had sneaked up on us using the helmet of invisibility.
And then Athena appeared with her own army of followers. Xena announced that Hades had been found, but Athena was not laughing. Everyone standing there in the forest knew exactly who the real target was. Eve was in mortal danger and the gods were passionately determined to bring death upon her. And so the battle raged on as Xena took on Athena and I fought Hades. Yet even the skill of a mighty warrior princess and her friend were no match for the power of the gods. And just when it seemed that we would not survive this battle Xena had an idea. We decided to return their helmet to them and so as I tossed it in the air Xena’s chackram destroyed it sending the power of the gods back upon them.
After narrowly escaping with our lives we took shelter for the night in the company of Octavious the new leader of the Roman army and a new ally unknown to the gods. As Xena and I treated our wounds from the battle I inquired her of something that Athena had said in battle. She had suggested that Xena did not trust her friend with her child’s life and this bothered me. But Xena denied that there was a lack of trust within reassuring me that it didn’t matter which of us had been protecting Eve. We just got lucky this time. However, Xena did have a plan to escape death though it seemed inevitable. Her plan was simple, but first we had to pay a visit to the god of arts and crafts.
Upon entering his dark temple he was working on crafting a new helmet to replace the one that had been destroyed by Xena’s chackram in their most recent confrontation. Xena entered quietly, but as he turned around he caught sight of her. He was surprised to see her, but realized that this was his chance to get to Eve for if mother were here child couldn’t be too far away. Xena taunted him into a battle. He did not resist the temptation proclaiming that his hobby was to kill the mother and her precious child for the will of his brothers and sisters. The fight between the two was intense as he picked up a large ax. Xena blocked his first thrust with her sword, but he caught her on the recovery as she fell to the ground.
He narrowly missed her head as she dodged his next move. Xena used her sword to rob him of his weapon and then returned masterfully to her feet. He then grabbed for a large heavy chain knocking Xena across the temple into a pillar. It was a mortally wounding blow and Xena’s body was wracked with pain. As he approached to finish her off he asked her how it felt to be in the presence of death. Xena responded by revealing to him that she had hoped death would come for her. And then the beautiful Celesta appeared with her candle shining brightly. She floated toward Xena gracefully. And then it was my turn. I captured Celesta with my own chain and then I was attacked by her brother the god of arts and crafts Hephestus.
Our battle was short for his power was overwhelming as he knocked me to the ground. He had his ax and was about to make his move on me when Xena stepped in the join our battle. She was badly injured and could not heal for death had now been captured. And though Xena suffered she fought with great strength as we were side by side. Together two friends defeated the wrath of one god sending him down into a bottomless fiery pit. After defeating Hephestus we took our prize in hiding.
Xena’s plan was a simple one. We had to capture the essence of death from Celesta’s tears, but gathering that essence was not a simple task. Late in the night in camp as I sang to Eve Xena challenged Celesta. Celesta could not understand why two people who had once saved her life were now going to take it. She was seemingly disappointed in the current actions which we had partaken. Xena realized that if she did not act soon Celesta might figure out the implications of our plan so she set up an argument with Death. Xena told Celesta that motherhood had made her harder. Celesta was still not convinced that giving birth to a child would constitute such a dark change within Xena who had been known for fighting on the good side. Death did not realize that she was only a pawn within a much larger scheme.
Celesta continued to plead with Xena reminding her that death should not be feared, but embraced for it’s purpose was to relieve the suffering of mortals, and to only take them when it was their rightful time. Xena suddenly became angered at Celesta’s weak plea for release. She shot back at Celesta reminding her that her son Solan was taken by the hands of death. One could feel Xena’s emotional pain as she recalled the loss of her son at my daughter’s hand. Hope had been the one who had decided that it was Solan’s rightful time. This memory was a painful reminder of the suffering that death had caused in both of our lives. Xena continued as she brought up the death of Marcus her lover, and of Lycious her beloved brother. She spoke of how much Lycious had meant to her. Our game of pain against the wrath of death had turned into an emotional waterfall of anguish.
I tried to interrupt Xena reminding her that it may not be possible for an immortal like Celesta to understand the pain of suffering because indeed suffering ended for those who were taken from us, but for those left behind it had only just begun. Xena refused to let up. She was determined to make Celesta realize what the pain of loss felt like for if she did not succeed in obtaining death’s tears then her plan to save Eve would not be possible and Xena knew that she could not bare the pain of losing another child. Xena tried another angle. She used Celesta’s brother Hades asking Celesta to imagine what it would be like without him. Celesta was getting closer to understanding the pain of loss within the lives of mortals, yet she still would not shed a tear. Xena tried one more angle. She asked Celesta to imagine what it would be like for Hades to lose her. And then it happened. The essence of death trickled down from Celesta’s shimmering eyes.
Xena gently collected the tears from the face of death for safe keeping. But our plan was still incomplete. I reminded Xena that though we may become immortal as death’s candle burned out, the other gods would be certain to inflict eternal pain and suffering to all. No one would be able to heal. Then Xena realized that they would start with those most vulnerable and so she sent me to defend. Xena sent me to find Joxer. I ran into him at a local tavern and as always he was drinking and telling stories to all of the patrons. When he noticed that I had come in he greeted me immediately, but our reunion did not last long for Athena’s army had followed me. Joxer was unaware of the danger he was facing flirting with the warrior women. I played along knowing what it was that I had to do.
Suddenly Athena and Hades appeared before us. I drew my weapons and thrust forward ready to battle them. Athena swiftly moved toward me with a boot to the face. For a brief moment there was a strange pain and then I realized that if I fought to the death that I would not die, but suffer an agonizing physical pain. Athena then went for Joxer certain to get the information she desired about Xena and her child. Joxer bravely stood up to her though he quickly asked for mercy. I then revealed to Athena and Hades that Xena was planning to take Eve to the ocean. The information was not enough for Hades as he prepared to deal me my own mortal pain to suffer. But Athena warned him that his infliction upon me would be no good to them. They needed a healthy bargaining chip.
I was taken back to camp where Xena had been expecting my arrival with Athena and the other gods. She mocked them with little fear reminding them that Celesta’s time was just about to expire as the candle of death was about to burn itself out. Xena was sarcastically gleeful as she invited them to join her in a celebration of immortality. But then Athena reminded Xena that though she and Eve would be immortal as Celesta’s existance was fading the gods would hunt them down for eternety. They were playing right into our hands. I spoke up asking Xena to let the candle burn, but Xena insisted that I be released with the release of death. I joined Xena and then the god of war appeared. He asked Athena for a head start in the race against Eve, but Athena refused. Xena flipped onto the cart grabbing the reins of the horses and we were off. As we sped through the forest in the hours of the early morning Ares again asked Xena for her love, but as always Xena refused him coldly. Ares was disappointed yet again at her rejection and then he vanished from the cart.
Xena coaxed the horses again as we gained more speed. We were being followed by Athena’s army of gods from all sides. It was almost time to complete our mission as we approached the edge of the land. There standing before us was the presence of Hades as we prepared to do battle against the raging foe. Xena and I now found ourselves looking death in the eye. Suddenly there was blast of power streaming through the air narrowly missing the head of Xena ; 6 @ ……. .. . . … ..