Eve Will Die This Day
by Alan Plessinger
Disclaimer: Xena: Warrior Princess and the names, titles, and backstories used in "Eve Will Die This Day" are the sole property of MCA/Universal. The author intends no copyright infringement through the writing of this fan fiction.
Xenaís body stiffened and she looked to the heavens, in listening mode. Gabrielle was used to this, and she waited silently for Xena to get her message.
Xena suddenly drew her sword and held it threateningly to the source of the information.
"NO!" she said. "No, it isnít fair! Iíve done all that was asked of me, and more! You canít do this!"
Xena listened, and shook her head angrily.
"You promised no meddling in the affairs of mortals! Thatís why IÖ"
Xena listened again, and seemed resigned.
"Very well. But this is the end of our alliance. No more dealings between the two of us. No more communication. The end."
Xena sadly lowered her head. She sheathed her sword, and Gabrielle asked her what was wrong.
"This is the last day of Eveís life," said Xena.
Gabrielle shut her eyes and looked away, in sorrow and in anger. What she thought was How much more, how much more will you ask of her, oh God? When will this end?
Gabrielle said, "Iím sorry." She felt sick, thinking what Xena would have to go through.
Xena turned and headed back to camp at a brisk pace. Gabrielle had to run to keep up.
"I donít regret getting involved in this, Gabrielle. I donít. Itís cost me 25 years of my life, and soon it will cost me my daughter, but mankind is better off for what we did. We couldíve stayed in Egypt, we couldíve hid, but we didnít."
"You could never hide from a fight, Xena."
"I know. Iím a warrior. I have a warriorís heart. I did what I had to do. I just wish Eve didnít have to pay the price for my decision."
"Isnít there anything we can do?"
"No. All that we can do is make sure that Eve goes out a hero. This is her one chance to redeem herself. Her last chance."
"So, youíre letting her into the battle?"
Xena didnít have a chance to answer, because they had made it back to the campsite. They found Virgil there, holding a sword to Eveís throat. Eve stood calmly, awaiting her sentence.
"NO!" said Xena, and drew her sword. She approached Virgil cautiously from one side, Gabrielle from the other.
"Virgil," said Gabrielle, "please donít do this. Iím begging you."
"Stay out of this," he said.
"Virgil, this is not what your father would want. He was a good man."
"Eve, why wonít you defend yourself?" asked Xena.
"And do what? Kill him?"
Xena got close enough to hold her sword to Virgilís throat.
"If you donít, I will."
"You wonít kill me, Xena."
Eve looked to Virgil with a quiet acceptance of her fate. Virgil was furious. He hated Eve, and he hated that this woman was so different from the one who had killed his father. He hated her for the change that had come over her. He hated the fact that she was making it so hard to kill her.
And he hated himself, because he couldnít do it. He began to shake.
Gabrielle said, "Virgil, you should know that Eve is taking part in a very hazardous battle, this day. She might not survive. But sheís volunteering, because sheís needed, and because itís the right thing to do."
Gabrielleís words gave him the excuse he needed. He lowered his sword, and Xena lowered hers.
"Thatís why Iím here," he said. "I thought you could use an extra hand."
Gabrielle ran to Virgil and hugged him. Eve looked to her mother.
"Does that mean Iím fighting?" Eve asked.
"Only if youíre ready and willing to defend yourself. This is war, not suicide."
"Are you ready to kill, if you have to?"
"Yes. But only if I have to."
"Thatís my girl. Letís do some drills, Eve. You might be a little rusty."
"Iím as good as I ever was."
Virgil went off to talk to some of the troops, and Gabrielle waited for Xena to get back.
"How is she?" asked Gabrielle when Xena returned.
"Damn good," said Xena with a motherís pride.
"Good, because we donít have much time. One candlemark before they attack. That was the ultimatum."
"Why do they even try? They know youíre here. Why do they still think they can defeat you?"
"Maybe they think Iím an old woman."
"Theyíre about to find out differently."
"Better. Heís going to give Eve a chance to prove herself. I feel a little guilty around him, sometimes, when I think how I treated Joxer. If Virgil has read any of my scrolls he must know I didnít always hold Joxer in the highest esteem."
"I feel bad about that, too. Joxer was never the hero he wanted to be, but he was lionhearted. We need to tell Virgil that."
"Iíll tell him. You need to spend some more time with your daughter."
"Yes, I do. Thank you, Gabrielle."
"Just for being understanding, and for sticking with me throughout this whole mess. I havenít always treated you all that well. And Iím sorry for what I did when I saw youÖ"
"Xena, itís OK. What you did any mother would do. Now, go!"
The casualties were severe. Men from the village lay wounded and dying about the battlefield. Gabrielle had a leg wound, but it didnít keep her from being useful and helping those that needed it. She limped from one soldier to the next, providing aid and comfort.
Eve, amazingly, was all right. She had a cut on her forehead, and a nasty shoulder wound that needed some stitches, but other than that she seemed to have survived the dayís battle intact. Xena headed her way with a needle and thread.
Gabrielle whispered to her, "Sheís OK! The prophecy must be false!"
"Whatever you say, Gabrielle," said Xena.
Eve looked up as her mother came to crouch down next to her. Eveís face and hair were covered in blood, her own and the blood of enemy soldiers. She was exhausted. Her muscles were shaking, and she was cold and muddy, but she managed to give a little smile to her mother when she knelt down beside her.
"Howíd I do?" asked Eve, and coughed a little.
"You did good, Eve. Iím proud of you."
Xena began cleaning and sewing the wound. She checked to make sure Eve wasnít coughing up any blood.
"I had to kill some of Ďem," said Eve.
"I watched you fight. Youíve got nothing to be ashamed of."
"Some of them were just kids, mother. They were frightened to death. They didnít want to be there. I did my best to let them live, if I could."
"Not everyone who follows a tyrant is a tyrant himself, dear. Some join up because their families need the money. They felt they didnít have any choice."
"I swear I didnít kill anyone I didnít have to, mother. Some of the kids I let live may be sacking another village tomorrow, for all we know."
"At least they have a chance to change."
"Iíve never been on the short side of a battle, before. Iíve always been the tyrant. I tell you, itís a lot easier that way."
"Do you want to go back?"
"That would be hard to do. Now that Iíve seen things from your side. Now that I know what itís like to protect innocent people. Now that I know what itís like to make you proud of me."
Xena smiled at her daughter.
"Thanks for letting me in the battle," said Eve. "I know you were afraid of losing me."
"I was. But I know how much you needed to do this."
"Iíve got to get a lot better, mother. I thought I was good enough, but if Iím going to do what you do Iíve got to be at least as good as you. Will you teach me?"
"Whatever you want, Eve."
Eve began to cry.
"I want to be like you. Iím sorry I ever shamed you, mother. I donít know why I did what I did. I had this rage in me I couldnít control."
"Thatís something you got from me. Something in the blood, I think."
"But you changed. And now Iíve changed, and Iím not going back. This is just the beginning. Youíll see. Even Virgil will forgive me one day. Iíll make you proud of me, I swear I will."
And Xena started to cry.
"I told you, Iím already proud of you."
"Donít cry, mother."
"Iím sorry. Itís justÖI love you so much, Eve. Iím so glad for the time we had together, even if it wasnít enough."
"Thereís always tomorrow. We have the whole rest of our lives together."
"I love you, mom. I love you so much. Ouch."
Eve began to shake uncontrollably. Xena dropped her thread and grabbed Eveís face, opening her mouth, peering into her eyes. She shook her and slapped her.
"Eve!" she cried.
It was too late. As her eyes started to roll back into her head, Eve said her last word, "MomÖ"
Xena hugged her daughter, and cried her tears onto her daughterís breast. She rocked back and forth with her daughter in her arms, howling in anguish.
Gabrielle came running. Xena looked up with tears in her eyes. She pointed with one hand to the guilty creature, scampering off.
Xena could hardly get the words out.
"Spider," she said. "Sand spider."
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