The Birthday Gift Part V

By Shadowdancer


DISCLAIMER: I didn't create Xena and Gabrielle, Alti, nor any of the other characters you recognize from the show, but I did create the ones you don't.





The equivalent of a candle mark and a half later, Gabrielle could be heard screaming, “NO!!!!!!!! NO!!!!!!!! XENA!!!!!!!!!! XENA!!!!!!!!!!!! “. All activity in the village came to an immediate halt at the sound of the heart wrenching, scream, and all knew, with a tremble of their hearts, what it was for, and waited for conformation of their worst fears. Another few moments had passed before Danalia came from the hut, having returned from her trip to the other Amazon village, and motioned Solari to her. After Danalia spoke to her, Solari looked as if she had just gotten the worse news she could have gotten, and appeared to be crying, or close to it. The other Amazons in the village watching the scene began to whisper to one another wondering what the great tragedy was; they all knew that the Captain of the guards never cried, or showed emotion of this sort. When Danalia had finished speaking to Solari, Solari nodded understanding once, and saluted the First Warrior. Appearing to wipe away tears, she walked away from the hut that had been assigned to Xena and Gabrielle and hurried to the center of the village and mounted the dais; raising the horn she always carried with her to her lips, she blew into it twice to call the warriors of the tribe to her. Soon the village was full of warriors, at least forty in number; not all actually belonging to this particular in actuality, and they all surrounded the dais awaiting the announcement that was sure to follow. Solari waited until all the warriors were there, or at least most of them, and then she announced their Queen and the First Warrior. “Amazons, the Queen and First Warrior approach” the Amazons all knelt to the ground and bowed their heads and saluted as Ephiny and Danalia walked up on the dais. As their rank in the tribe dictated they should bow.

Suddenly there was a loud clap of thunder in the center of the village, and there was Alti in all her evil glory standing on the dais with Danalia, and Ephiny, though she soon cleared the stage of anyone other than herself in record time, “We're on, let's go!” Xena quickly ran to the bed and drank the bit of Tears of Death that she still had, and gave the vile to Gabrielle and laid down. With in moments, the effects kicked in and for all intents and purposes, Xena was dead. “Dead ay? I guess I'm just in time to pay my last respects then. Bring her out here, I want to say good bye to her one last time”. “Amazons, go and retrieve Xena's body and bring it to the dais for the enemy to see and bear witness to a great warrior's death” Ephiny called; two Amazons went to the Xena and Gabrielle's lodge and soon came out with her body on a stretcher of sorts, and carried her to the dais where Danalia and Ephiny stood with Alti. Alti walked slowly to Xena's pale, lifeless, cold body, and circled it slowly like a vulture over fresh kill. After having made a full circle, she came to a stop once again at Xena's head, slowly raised her hand to just under her nose, and concentrated. The two Amazons who stood there, held their breathes, but they needn't have worried, there was no detectable breath. Next, Alti touched Xena's wrist; “Cold, cold as ice. Well Xena, I guess you really are dead after all. You fought one last battle and gave your life in the process, just like a true Warrior, the only way to go out. I salute you Xena, you were a worthy nemesis, a true enemy to the end. Good journey to Tartarus Xena, I'll see you there someday and then we can fight for an eternity”. Stepping back maybe four paces, Alti looked to the heavens, and vanished in a tower of flames. After the entire tribe took a deep breath, Ephiny called out, “WELL DONE MY WARRIORS! WELL ACTED!”. ;“ Gabrielle, how long before Xena comes around?” Danalia asked, “About a half a candle mark, can you have someone move her back again please?”

“Of course,” Danalia responded and signaled Tomara, and Talanin and they came and carried Xena back to her lodge. “Come and eat with us Gabrielle, there is nothing more you can do until Xena awakens and you have not eaten in a long while. Guards will be posted at the lodge so that she will not be disturbed and she will be well guarded”. “All right Danalia, thank you”. Gabrielle followed Danalia and Ephiny as the rest of the tribe returned to their lives. Half a candle mark later, Xena walked into the meal hut with a tall, muscular Amazon, Panthera, and her bond mate Amorin flanking her, she looked VERY self-conscious. She walked over to the table with a wrapped package in her hand. “Xena! You're awake, how do you feel?” “Yeah, I'm back from the dead. With all that's been going on I forgot this. Happy Birthday Gabrielle” Xena handed the present to the bard, Amorin and Panthera had stayed back about four paces but hadn't left her; they were assigned to guard her, and if anything happened to her, they would pay severely. Danalia and Ephiny ruled the tribe with gentle but firm hands, but Danalia was extremely strict when it came to her guards fulfilling their duties, and her warriors in general being the best they could be. If they failed, in a way that she believed they could have prevented, the warrior could easily be expected to be whipped, or some more lenient punishment depending on Danalia's mood. “Gabrielle? It's your birthday? Why didn't you say? Now we have cause to celebrate. “Oh Xena! A new scroll bag! And three new scrolls! Thank you Xena! Thank you!” Xena, still not fully awake, merely smiled. “ Tamara, bring Xena food and drink” the little Amazon girl answered “Yes Danalia, right away” and she hurried off, eager to please the First Warrior. “I see you've taken a liking to Tamara Danalia, she has your favor currently. Do you see potential in that one?” “Yes Ephiny, she's eager, quick footed, agile, strong for age, she tries hard, and is very intelligent”.

Danalia got melancholy suddenly and her mind went off somewhere. “Just like Lia at her age, she 's just like Lia”. Hearing Danalia's remembrance of her lost daughter, Gabrielle and Xena both sobered. Ephiny put a hand on her shoulder in a show of support, knowing and understanding her pain and then changed the subject abruptly. There will be a celebration for Gabrielle's part, I'll go and tell cook now”, Ephiny held Danalia's eyes a moment longer and then left abruptly with her usual quickness. “Well… I guess we better….” Xena began, and then a loud scream came from the very heavens themselves, and a loud crack of thunder. Looking up at the sky as they all did, Xena said for them all, “Alti, the gods have won, this defeated if not dead”. She lowered her head, and met eyes with Gabrielle, and Danalia, and then Gabrielle again. “Yes, but is she gone for good this time?” Gabrielle asked, and Xena half murmured, “Only time will tell Gabrielle, she has been defeated and killed before, and come back, only time will tell”.


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