Best Short, Short Story (General)
Intellectual Property Disclaimer: The characters in "Xena: Warrior Princess" such as Xena, Gabrielle, Argo, and anyone else mentioned from the series are the sole property of MCA/Universal, Renaissance
Pictures, and their creators. No infringement upon anyone's copyrights is intended. The use of these characters in this tale is for personal enjoyment only.
Content Disclaimer:. A loving relationship between two consenting adults of the same gender is described in this story.
I have always been different from the rest of my clan. My mother had told me when I was small that my father was a god but I didn't believe it..at least not at first. When it became evident that I could run faster and jump higher than any of my siblings or cousins, I began believing, just a little. Even though I could not speak, my hearing was extremely acute and I would listen to all the stories the elders told and dream of the adventures they described. As I grew older, I found I could even out think the smartest of the clan. It was then the elders held a council and requested me to attend.
"Daughter" the eldest of the elders spoke gently. "You have outgrown all who are around you. You run faster than our fastest, jump higher than our strongest. You hear the storms before they are even born. Your life is wasted here. It is time that you fulfill your destiny and this is not the place for it to happen. You must leave and find your future."=
"Where will I go, Elder?" I signed back. "I have never been away from home and family. How will I live? How will I protect myself?"
"Daughter, you have the blood of a god running through your heart. You are young and strong. You will live and you will prosper. We have seen it in the stars. You will bring great joy and pride to the clan. You will always be welcome here but your destiny lies elsewhere. You will have adventures and friendship that we can only dream of and we will tell all we meet and all we know that you are of our clan. We envy you, daughter. You have nothing to fear in that world. Now go. Say your farewells to your mother and friends and then be on your way. We will miss you."
With that, the elders turned and walked quietly away. Only the eldest elder stopped to look back. With a slow nod and a wink of the eye, he again turned away and followed the others.
Slowly, I walked over to my mother who had been waiting several paces away.
"Mother" I signed "Why must I leave?"
"It is the way, daughter. Your future has been foretold and we must abide by the will of the gods. I will always love you and I will miss you greatly. You hold a very special place in my heart. Go swiftly, now. It is the only way to shorten the pain. Bye my, daughter. Come back to visit me when you can."
"Then bye, it is" I signed " I will miss you and I love you" With that I left not daring to look back for fear I would lose the courage to leave.
During the first few weeks I stayed within a few days walk of the clan. Growing more confident in my ability to live off the land and fight off predators I distanced myself farther and farther away from them until one day, I realized I no long needed the security of their presence. It was then that I knew I could survive in this hostile environment. It was also then that I felt for the first time loneliness.
One evening, about three seasons after having left home, while getting a drink from a small stream I suddenly heard raised voices coming toward me. Listening carefully, I determined the intruders were coming through the woods across the stream. Backing quietly into the shrubs, I waited and watched. Shortly, a warrior came running through the trees chased by several attackers. The odds definitely did not favor the warrior. Unobserved, I watched the her turn at the streams edge to face her enemies. It was quite apparent as the battle progressed that the warrior was very good at fighting. Slowly, the enemy succumbed to the vicious slashes from her sword. All would have gone well for the warrior had she not stepped back onto a round stone and fallen into the stream. Hitting her head, she appeared dazed, a condition the attackers were very willing to take advantage of. Charging the fallen warrior, swords held high over their heads, they prepared to disembowel their victim.
Having watched the battle and witnessing the courage of this warrior , I could not stand the thought of one so valiant dying by the hands of such animals. Charging from the underbrush, only a few paces from the battle, I startled the two assailants in mid stroke. A quick kick to the head of one sent him to the land of the dead. The other decided that running was the better part of valor and high tailed it off into the woods.
After assuring myself that none of the remaining bodies held any life, I cautiously approached the fallen warrior who still seemed dazed from the blow to the head. Looking closely into dazzling blue eyes, I noticed how distant and confused they appeared. Definitely not a good sign. This warrior would need some care and protection for at least one cycle of the moon before she could safely go on her way.
Kneeling down, I gently nudged the stunned warrior's arm. Having gotten her attention, I carefully slipped my head under her arm and started to raise up. It did not take the her long to realize she had help. Pushing up on wobbly legs, she kept her arm around my neck and shoulders. Slowly I led her away from the stream and into the forest. Within 100 paces a small meadow appeared. Lowering herself to the ground by an old oak tree, she looked up at me staring into my brown eyes.
"Well, I don't know what to say. You certainly saved my hide back there. Thank you"
I knew this language even though it was not my own. In my youth, mother had taken me to the outskirts of several villages where we would listen to the language being spoken. We never stayed long and never let our presence be known. Mother would make me listen and then tell me what was meant by the words. Eventually, I grew to understand what was being said although I knew I would never be able to speak it. .
"Not much of a talker are you?" The warrior commented, smiling "Well neither am I. Still, it looks like we'll be spending a little while together. I certainly am not up to my old self so I guess I'm just going to have to rely on you to help me for a few days. Can't see too clearly at the moment and I've the most god awful headache. I think I'll just rest against this tree for a bit. Hope you don't mind standing guard for a little while. I'll return the favor in a few candle marks"
With that she fell asleep. Watching this warrior sleep, I began to feel a strange attachment toward her. It was similar to the bonding between my Mother and I. The need to be near her was overwhelming. I knew that when the time came for us to part, that I could not let it happen. I would follow her and protect her with my life if necessary. Perhaps the elders were right. Could she be my destiny? I think I would like that.
I had been standing guard the entire night. The sun was rising when I noticed that she was starting to awaken. Walking over to her, I softly nudged her arm in order not to startle her. Blue eyes, the color of the sky, gradually opened. Calmly, a hand reached up to stroke my cheek. I could tell that she was moving slowly in order to keep from scaring me. I was not afraid. Her touch was so gentle it branded my soul. She would be mine forever.
"I see you're still here. Thank you for guarding me. I feel much better now. Did you get any rest?"
A quick nod of my head assured her I had, although I had stayed awake all night
She smiled knowingly but did not comment about the untruth.
"I think it's time to leave. You are free to come with me if you wish." She stated quietly. "I could sure use the company?"
With that she turned and started walking towards the stream. I followed. What else could I do.
After a few paces, she turned to me and spoke.
"By the way, my name is Xena. What's yours?"
"Argo" I thought. "My name is Argo."
Cocking her head to the side she stared intently into my eyes.
"I know you can't tell me your name so I'm just going to have to come up with one of my own. Let's see, how about Storm? Nah, that doesn't fit you. Dancer? Nah!" Turning, she again started walking towards the stream.
"Argo, Xena. My name is Argo" my mind screamed at her.
Stopping once again, she slowly turned and glanced thoughtfully into my eyes.
"You know?" she stated softly. "I think I'll call you Argo. Yeah, I like that. How about you?"
A slow nod of my head indicated my approval.
"Well, Argo, shall we be on our way?"
"Yes" I thought. "This is truly my destiny. Even my clan had heard of the Warrior Princess. And I was to be her partner. I, Argo, the daughter of Pegasus, could ask for no one more fitting than Xena to share my life with. Life was truly going to be an adventure."