Interview with Xena and Gabrielle with Indie Huffman.
Indie: Good evening and welcome to another edition of "History Shapers." Our guests tonight are perhaps the two most influential people in shaping the divine realm; Xena, the Warrior Princess from Amphipolis and Gabrielle, the Warrior Bard from Potadeia, chronicler of their adventures. I am your host, Indie Huffman. Welcome!
Xena and Gabrielle: Thank you.
Indie: A little background for our viewers. Over their life span, Xena and Gabrielle have come in contact with a variety of deities as well as spiritual forces. The Greek gods, the Norse gods, the Hindu gods, angels and archangels, the Fates, Dahok, Alti, even Mephistopheles and Lucifer. No one in history has had a greater hand in shaping the divine pantheon as these two women. One could say they were fated for this destiny. What do you think Xena?
Xena: I've said on many occasions that I don't believe one's fate is pre-determined. I believe in forging one's destiny according to the choices you make in life. To answer your question, no, I don't believe Gabrielle and I were "fated" for this destiny.
Indie: Gabrielle, what do you believe?
Gabrielle: After the life I've lived, I have to agree with Xena. If I had accepted my "fate or destiny," I would have married a farmer in Potadeia, lived a boring life and died in complete obscurity.
Indie: Yet you believe you are soulmates for eternity, destined to find each other life after life. Isn't that a "fated destiny?"
Gabrielle: Yes, I believe we are eternal soulmates, but there is no guarantee we will always find each other. I think in each life that we live, we will search for each other, just like everyone searches for her or his soulmate. Sometimes you find each other, sometimes you don't. And even when we find each other, it is still a choice to be together. This is love, not a pre-ordained divine command.
Indie: You have a point. I hadn't considered from that perspective. The word "fate" has figured prominently in our conversation. Let's talk about the Fates. I can't prove or disprove this statement: the three faces of Fate are still around, spinning the life threads of men, women and gods one could say. Some say the Fates were or are the most powerful deities there ever existed. Not even Zeus himself was able to change fate once it was decreed. You've met the Fates, haven't you? What were the circumstances of that meeting?
Xena: Gabrielle and I had just saved a temple to the Fates from being raided. At the end of the battle, I killed a soldier who could not have been more than 15 summers old. I was distraught with guilt when I ran inside the temple. The Fates appeared to thank me for saving their temple and granted me with the wish to live my life without the sword.
Indie: Yet, your life had been the life of the sword, the life of the warrior. What happened?
Xena: Choices. In that life, the person that matters more than life to me didn't have a life worth living (looks at Gabrielle). My choices had far reaching consequences I didn't understand until that moment. I believe that's what I was supposed to realize. The Fates kept showing up in that life. I didn't understand why they wouldn't let me be. Now I know.
Indie: Long before the Olympians gods held court, the Fates had prophesied their twilight. The sign was the birth of a child "not begotten of man." As it turned out, that child was your daughter Eve and for a while, you had the power to kill gods. One could say you became instruments of fate.
Xena: I guess that's one way of looking at it.
Indie: But you disagree.
Gabrielle: May I?
Indie: Of course!
Gabrielle: Xena and I were protecting our child from harm, parents protecting their children. We didn't ask for this destiny, we were caught in a power play between the Olympians and the God of Eli. The power to slay gods evened out the field. Actually, you could say that Xena cleaned up a divine mess….. again!
Indie: How so?
Gabrielle: Think about it! The Olympian gods couldn't find their way out of a room with only one door! The debacle with Dahok, Ares loosing his sword, Hades loosing his helmet, Aphrodite stealing the North Star, Xena had to fix all of that. I think they became so afraid of the prophecy, it became self-fulfilling. Remember King Gregor? There was a prophecy about a child who would reign in place. His royal guard did everything possible to kill this child until Xena made him understand the child would reign in his place not as a usurper, but as an heir. If Zeus hadn't been so unshakable in his quest to kill Eve, Hercules would have not killed him. If Athena and the other gods hadn't tried to turn us into toast, they would still be alive. Xena was defending her family, just like any mother would.
Xena: I believe the prophecy was a wake up call to the gods to change their ways with mortals. For the most part the gods acted like spoiled children in their dealings with mortals. People were tired of it. Eli's message told people to take control of their lives. If the Olympians had treated their worshipers like people and not taken them for granted, they would still be around, their temples full their followers plenty.
Indie: But you have to admit, Eve's conception was rather "unusual." She was a special child.
Xena: No doubt about it. The pregnancy was a complete surprise. I've always believed that this pregnancy was a chance to make right some of the wrongs in my life. All I wanted was to raise my child and live a normal life, as normal as my life could be, with my family.
Gabrielle: I may also point out Eve is not unique. Isn't the man called Jesus also supposed to have been born "not begotten by man?"
Indie: That's what his followers believe. Gabrielle, you gave birth to special child too, Hope. Why didn't your child survive?
Gabrielle: I'm sure you are aware of how Hope was conceived. I loved my child just like Xena loved Eve; I will always love my child. But Hope was never given a chance to choose her path. Dahok used her for his twisted purposes since her birth. Dahok was evil, his path a bloody one. His cult was littered with the blood and bodies of innocent people. Hope was responsible for a lot of that blood and dead bodies. I'll never know if it could have been different. I didn't get the chance to be of any influence on my child. That will always be my deepest regret… The Olympians didn't lift a godly finger to protect the people from Dahok. Only Ares did something and that was to switch sides. Xena had to clean up that mess too.
Xena: The price was too high. Gabrielle lost Hope, I lost Gabrielle…
Indie: But if I'm not mistaken, in your search for Gabrielle you saved the souls of hundreds of Amazons who were stuck in Amazon limbo.
Xena: I was given the chance to right another wrong. How could I not take it? It was what Gabrielle would have done.
Indie: Indeed! Thanks to you, Dahok and his cult are a footnote in divine history and not a chapter. The Amazons have their after life again. (Pause) Let's leave the Olympians for the time being and talk about the Norse gods. You returned to the North after ten years. Why? Why willingly tangle with those gods?
Xena: Another mistake I needed to right. Before my first trek to the North, Odin used to be more involved with his people. Did you know he spent most of his time trying to figure out a way to prevent Ragnarok? I changed all of that in my quest for absolute power. I created Grendell and Grendell was killing a lot of innocent people. When Beowulf asked for my help, I couldn't say no.
Indie: You didn't kill any of the Norse gods. As far as we know, they are still around.
Xena: And Odin must have found a way to prevent Ragnarok. What century is this?
Indie: The twenty-first century.
Xena: Gabrielle must have done a great job of telling our stories if you are still talking about us this far into our future.
Indie: She did. The scrolls were discovered in an archaeological dig in Alexandria, about 60 years ago, very well preserved. The discovery had incredible repercussions in the world of academia because they told a different account of what were considered accurate historical facts. It also threw the theological spectrum into a spin, challenging long held religious beliefs. We're still dealing with the after shocks. It's hard for people to let go of old beliefs and old history.
Gabrielle: Gods! Not bad for a peasant from Potadeia!
Indie: Let's get back to the pantheon. Your encounters with Mephistopheles and Lucifer are the substance of legends and myths. What do you make of them?
Xena: Mephistopheles killed my mother. Her spirit couldn't rest in peace until she was avenged. So I did what I had to do to protect my family. I couldn't save her when she was alive, but I could make sure her spirit rested. It was the least I could do after I put her through so much shame and pain. Nothing to it.
Indie: Nothing to it? You almost became the Princess of Darkness! Eve nearly died! The archangel Michael thought you were too strong and sent another archangel to help you into the pits of hell!
Gabrielle: Good ol' Michael! Xena had to fix some of his problems too.
Indie: You believe Lucifer was one of Michael's "problems?"
Gabrielle: You got that right. If you were to believe Michael's version of the story, Lucifer volunteered to send Xena to hell. He was arrogant in his demeanor, very sure of himself and Michael let him do this assignment. Frankly, I think Michael saw a way to get rid of Lucifer and left him to his own devices. He hardly fought against Xena and Lucifer when he showed up! It was like fight was the last push Michael gave Lucifer to hang himself. Xena has always been a great judge of character. She saw Lucifer's weakness form the beginning and let those weaknesses be his own undoing.
Xena: It wasn't easy. The dark power was seductive, very sensual. There were some moments I thought I wasn't going to be able to resist its allure and pull back. But love saved me; love always saved me.
Indie: Do you think that was Michael's plan all along, for you to defeat Lucifer and turn him into the Lord of Darkness?
Xena: I think so. But he knew if he'd ask me to help him, I would have said no. Therefore my family had to be threatened somehow for me to do this. I know I was manipulated and this doesn't make me happy. But once my family was threatened, I had but one choice.
Indie: I word to the wise, DON'T MESS WITH XENA'S FAMILY.
Xena: You'll live longer.
Indie: This wasn't the last time you had dealings with Michael. He "recruited" you one more time to deal with another problem; Caligula.
Xena: Eve was in mortal danger with Caligula. But Caligula was damaged. He wasn't himself. I regret the way I manipulated him into killing himself. I'm not proud of that.
Indie: Are you aware the Caligula's short reign was one of the bloodiest of the Roman Empire?
Xena: So I am told. But Michael's concern was not for the people's well being; his concern was for a powerful deity that could cause problems for his deity. He didn't hesitate to place my child and Eli's messenger in danger to achieve his purpose. I don't think he's any better than the Olympians were.
Indie: We're back to the Olympians. On what we could consider your first brush with the 21st Century, you restored Ares and Aphrodite's godhood.
Xena: It seemed like the right decision at the time.
Indie: Are you having second thoughts about this?
Xena: I would be lying if I said otherwise. It seems like Ares had been rather busy all these centuries. Wars every century, more efficient weapons to kill more and people. You tell me if it was the right decision.
Ares: (Appearing in his usual blue cloud) Ouch Xena! You hurt my feelings! Is that a way to talk about your most devoted fan?
Indie: Ares?!?! As in Ares, the God of War? The Ares?
Xena: Ares! What do you want?
Ares: What I've always wanted. You! Just think about it! You are the greatest warrior who's ever lived. With my help, you can rule this century and fix is from its ills. Up until now, I've worked in the background, a whispered word here, a dream there. And you have to admit, all these advances in warfare have led to other advances to improve the lives of mortals. But with you, I can be out in the open, leading side by side. What do you say?
Xena: The answer is still the same. NO THANKS! The price is too high.
Aphrodite: (appearing in a cloud of pink smoke) Chill out bro! Haven't you learned anything after all these centuries?
Gabrielle: Aphrodite! It's been a long time my friend.
Indie: Aphrodite?!? (To no one in particular) Are we getting all of this on tape?
Aphrodite: Hello babe! Long time no see.
Ares: Dite, this is between Xena and me. Do me a favor? Make like Christopher Cross and ride like the wind. Okay?
Aphrodite: That is so ancient history! You are wrong bro. It hasn't been between you and Xena for a long time. It ceased to be between you and Xena once Gabrielle entered into her life. Weren't you paying attention? "Love saved me; love always saved me." Despite all the wars Ares has inspired, love is still the stronger of the two. Love is what inspires women and men to improve, to go beyond their instincts, and use their minds and hearts. Love is what moves mortals to try to create a better world for them and their children. As you said yourself so many years ago, without hate, we wouldn't know love.
Indie: That's pretty profound Aphrodite. Am I to assume that you have been, to use Ares' words, placing a whisper here, and a dream there too?
Aphrodite: Hey, I'm not all fluff. Some times, yes, but every time you see love displayed, I've been around. Before you get righteously indignant, no, I don't manipulate mortals into loving one another or falling in love. All I do is awaken the feelings for mortals to act on them. I am not and never have been a matchmaker.
Voices: She speaks the truth!
Indie: Who said that?
Fates: (Just appearing; no smoke) We did. We are the Fates.
Indie: The Fates? I didn't think you truly existed. Frankly I believed you were just a convenient excuse for people's misdeeds. (To no one in particular) Are we still taping?
Clotho: We were.
Lachesis: We are.
Atropos: We will always be.
Clotho: We see many things.
Lachesis: We see many paths.
Atropos: We know many lives.
Clotho: We spin lives.
Lachesis: We spin destinies.
Atropos: We don't make choices.
Clotho: Lives make choices.
Lachesis: Choices make destinies.
Atropos: Destinies make history.
Fates: Xena and Gabrielle surprised us.
Indie: Wait a minute! Are you saying what I think you are saying? You don't determine people's lives after all, that the choices we make determine our destiny. What about the prophecy about the end of the Olympians? You mean to tell me you didn't control those events?
Clotho: We see many things.
Lachesis: We see many paths.
Atropos: We know many lives.
Fates: We are the Fates. (They disappear)
Indie: Wait! Don't go yet! There are about a million questions I want to ask you! What did they mean? Are they always this obscure?
Xena: For the most part.
Indie: What did they mean?
Gabrielle: It's simple. The Fates can see many paths and they know people, even the gods. They have a pretty good idea of what people and gods will chose based on what they know. When they prophesy, the prophecy is based on the most likely outcome. Zeus was too proud, he thought he was infallible. He killed his father Cronos and became the king of the Gods. He couldn't believe something like that could happen to him. The Fates saw many possible outcomes, but knowing Zeus, they proclaimed the most likely to happen. The fact that they've been right so many times speaks of their wisdom and knowledge.
Indie: But they said you surprised them! What did they mean?
Xena: Do you know how many times we died and came back to life?
Indie: Yes, it is well documented in Gabrielle's scrolls.
Gabrielle: Every time we died, we were supposed to stay dead. But we didn't. Every time Atropos used those shears to cut our strings, somehow we managed to come back. Call us stubborn, but no one had done that to the Fates before.
Indie: Point taken.
Ares: Excuse me, but I'm still here. Xena, what do you say?
Xena: What I've told you many times before Ares. My path is no longer your path. Once this conversation is over, Gabrielle and I will go back to our time. It will be as if it never happened. Give it up Ares. Leave me be!
Ares: I can't! It's who I am. I'll never give up on you Xena (disappears in a cloud of blue smoke).
Aphrodite: Neither will I. Later babes! (Disappears in a cloud of pink smoke).
Indie: Goodness! (Looking somewhat perplexed). You two are something else. We are almost out of time. One last question. After all you dealings with gods and goddesses, who do you believe in? Xena?
Xena: I believe in my soulmate. I believe in her love that would not let me go. I believe in her love that goes beyond time and space.
Gabrielle: I believe in my soulmate. No truer love has ever existed.
Indie: Thanks to both of you. Xena and Gabrielle, the future is forever in your debt. We got more than we ever bargained for. To our viewers, thanks for being with us this week. We hope to see you next week when our guest will be Queen Elizabeth I. Until then, I am Indie Huffman saying good night!
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