PART II: Filed Under X For … Xena
"If travel is searching
And home what’s been found
I’m not stopping"
--"The Hunter" Bjork
Rage mingled with the numbing pain that coursed though his entire body. White light blinded him, piercing through his eyes, colliding with the rage and pain with what felt like a tremendous explosion. They rolled and boiled together like a thunderous, white-capped tsunami. ‘What had gone wrong?’, Gaelen asked himself. In his mind, the entire plan had played so perfectly, down to the last detail, but reality had forced upon him a glaring truth. This ‘master plan’ of his, this ‘conquest’ he had waged became a fiasco. It turned upside down before his very eyes in a matter of seconds. There must have been a moment when things would have turned in his favor, but what was it? Where had he gone wrong?
Even as he questioned himself, he knew the answer. It was trust—trusting that Xena would follow him like a lamb to the slaughter. That was it. He should have killed her when he had the chance, instead of playing with her like a piece of food. His other mistake had been taking Ares for a fool. The so-called god had been against him from the very start, siding with the ‘do-gooders’ he obviously despised. Gaelen had been overconfident, believing he could conquer those backward people with ease and gain the prize he so eagerly anticipated holding in his hands.
Now, it was evident that he was going to have to fight for what he wanted, because Xena would be there, at every turn, to intervene. His only chance to avoid her wrath was if his final ploy had caused Xena’s anger to shift to someone else … Gabrielle. The last sensation he’d gotten from Xena was anger. The anger was mostly directed towards him, but there was anger for Gabrielle, as well. Knowing well the rift between them that already existed, forcing the truth up into the air was sure to rip the rift near to its seams.
And if he was successful, what of Gabrielle? If Xena chose to turn against her in anger, what would she do? Where would she turn? His mind was a muddle of thoughts and feelings that didn’t make much sense to him. Perhaps, that was why he could not get the girl out of his head. The image of her face and the memory of her thoughts invaded his mind, boring in like some creature looking for a host to feed on. He abhorred those feelings, but he had to admit, something about Gabrielle was different. She was the only one who had actually seen him, had seen past the cold-hearted, merciless killer and saw something else. She’d shown him pity, had wanted to help him and … for a brief moment … had shown him kindness. But, what was he saying?! Pity? Help? Kindness? Those feelings were born of weak, emotional humans. He had long since risen past those feelings, had hardened himself so he could no longer feel those things. No. He would not allow himself to be softened, to become as pliable as they are. His level of existence was higher than theirs.
Xena, though, had leveled the odds. She had defeated him! He’d had no choice but to leave. No matter. He would regain his strength in another place. Here he could start over. And this time, he would not be so trusting.
Continued in Evanesce
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