Xena's thoughts throughout and right after Sins of the Past

A Lesson Learned
by Marie E. Costa


Gaia! But she prattles on...the rest of her family has barely
spoken to me. I can't blame them. I'm sure they've all heard
of the Warrior Princess and her love of blood...but I did save
them...can't they tell I've changed?

Here come the menfolk...leave? No problem! I was planning on
it. Soon as I finish lacing my boots. Ha, she even defies her
family...listen to her argue on my behalf, and she's betrothed? He'll
have his hands full. He'll never tame her - not that boy.

Take you with me? Oh no! I travel alone...Why would she want
to leave this place...she's obviously loved...he seems like a
gentle enough soul...so rare in a man...there I let her know
how lucky she is to be loved by...It's not enough! Listen to
her questions...Gaia she's a smart one...but no I won't be
responsible for anyone ever again...no more armies...no more
loved ones...just myself. I'll have to threaten her.

Don't even think about it. What? She asks so innocently...as
though I can't hear the wheels turning inside her head...
Following me. I reply pausing for emphasis...You don't want to
make me mad...Now...do you? There! That ought to keep her safe
at home...she'll marry that boy and forget all about traveling...I just
have to make one stop to ensure the safety of this village before
I go home. Draco...talk about gentle...not!


The tavern - home...oh Gaia I feel my heart pounding...is Draco
right? Look at them stare...they know me...grew up with me...
or are parents of those I grew up with. Mother. I can hardly
breath...Please love me...welcome me. Oh! She moves so quick,
and now my sword is at my throat...if it is my destiny to die at
your hands...for all my crimes so be it...I'm sorry...I can't
speak but, read my eyes...mother...please you used to...when I
was oh so young...

"Weapons aren't welcome at my tavern - neither are you." She turns
away...Am I so easy to disown? Never mind me or my reason for
coming, I brush my needs aside...emotions just get in the way. Draco
is coming...let me help stop him.

"We would rather die before accepting help from you again!" She
spit the words at me...my own mother. "Go away, Xena"...at least
she used my name. Betrayal! Not my town? I gave so much for
this town! Not my people? Then who is? Not my Mother? But
I need my mother...Bite it down - emotions are for the weak...I need
no one. They hate me...even mother...Draco's right. I gotta get out
of here before I lose control.


I need my sword. This will be the last time I ever enter this
tavern...homeless...for real. I remember every nook and corner
as I reach for my sword...I can picture playing under the tables
...such bittersweet memories...As I reclaim my sword mother walks
in...I should have known she wouldn't still be in bed...she always
was an early riser, just like me. The gods have given me one last
chance. Please let her listen to me...even if she hates me I want
her alive. I speak; "If you won't mount a defense than you must
leave here."

A silence broken by bitter words; "You came all this way just to
say that"...the accusation louder than any verbal condemnation.

"No that wasn't the only reason." I admit to her alone...where none
can witness my defeat. Slowly I turn.

"What other purpose could you have?" her painfilled eyes tear at
my soul. My gentle mother never deserved me.

I need to confess...even if it won't change anything; "I wanted to
come home...I thought maybe this time I could get it right."

"I don't think anything will ever take away the shame and sorrow
you've brought on your kinsmen."

"Probably not...but...I'm gonna spend the rest of my life trying."

I hear her dare to hope. Am indrawn breath, "Oh, Xena...I wish
I could believe you..." her voice trails off.

I try to think of a way to convince her, but the villagers show up.
They lie, I try to tell her, she won't listen...her words...they cut.

"Do what you will with her!" She said and left me to them...they
want to kill me...I see it in their eyes. So be it...if it will ease their
heartpain...make her happy...I don't deserve to live...I can end it now
by submitting to them. But they still fear me...

I taunt them...fear making them slow to throw the first stone...I
just want it over with. Lyceus I'm coming to join you.

What the...? It's the girl from Potedia! What's she doing here? I
told her to stay home...now they'll kill her...Why is she fighting
for me? She doesn't know me! By the gods...they're listening to
her...but I was ready to atone for my sins...Oh Lyceus what am I
to do?


Lyceus I miss you so... no one ever understood me the way you did...I
lost my way...but I found it again... It's hard to be alone...

You're not alone...I can only stare unbelieving at the girl...I still don't
know her name...I'll send her home when this is over...whether they
want me to or not I will protect this village.


After everything they offer me their loot wagons...what fools....I can't
stay here.

I sense mother walking in...I need to voice what's in my heart. She
can't see it. " Mother...forgive me please."

"I forgive you, my little one. I forgive you. So happy to have you back
again." She's hugging me...little one...her pet name for me...she still
loves me...I wish I could stay safe in her arms forever..."You know I
can't stay for long." She squeezed me tighter...she understands...


Back on the road...it sure seems strange. All alone. No army. Safe
though knowing mother cares. Here I sit still taking to you brother.
I'll always miss you. You're not alone...that's what the little girl from
Potidaea said...right before she disappeared. I hope she's all right. A
feisty one that's for sure. I think you would have liked her. I think she
knew I was going to send her home...she's an innocent...they'd eat
her alive out on the road. What the?...Lyceus it's the little girl I was
telling you about. Now what do I do?

Listen to her talk; "I'm not the little girl that my parents wanted me to
be. You wouldn't understand...so she thinks? And I suppose she
thinks I am the girl my mother wanted?

"It's not easy proving you're a different person." Does she know what
I mean? She's giving me a questioning look...I toss her my sleeping
blankets. I smile...she's hard to resist..."Sleep over there."

I'll sort it out in the morning...


"You know where I'm headed there'll be trouble."

"I know."

"Then why would you want to go with me?" I'm truly puzzled by her.
She doesn't know me, yet she risked her life for me. She had no
reason to leave the safety of her home but she did. I fear it's a case
of hero worship...and I am no one to be worshipped...what am I to
do with her? If I send her back, what's to stop her running
again? What if she ran into some bandits...slavers...or worse next

"That's what friends do...they stand by each other when there's

Silence for a minute well I digest this information...I haven't had a
real friend in a very long time...I'm not sure I know how to be one.
I should send her home - home to her betrothed - to a family that
loves her. Friend...but it felt good inside when she said that...she's
waiting for a sign.

"All right...Friend." Silence again but this time a warm, comforting


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