Ok this is my first attempt, it may be great or it may suck that’s for you guys to decide. Its set after FIN2, actually 7 years after it. It goes into Xena’s origins and is meant to set up the background for a series of stories if you enjoy this one!
Disclaimer: Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer, Alti and any other characters mentioned from Xena’s series belong to Rob Tapert and Co. Not me!
As for my creations here’s why I chose these
Angana – means Fire; hot; destructive; unperishable in Sanskrit
Keara – Means dark in Gaelic
Story: There are a few characters in the story
that were real people and I’ve used them as part of the story as Xena’s series
– was a general of Sparta who died during the battle of Amphipolis. Lulus was
in Troy and Julius Ceaser claimed to be his descendant (which I thought was
just a nice little add-in) Oh and Cambria was the Roman name for Wales. As for
the Chinese, Greek and Arabic translations it was all Google’s fault
Violence: Well this is Xena we’re talking about
Sex: Nope, not in this part anyway
Genre: Same as the show, you can read it as you wish to see it.
If you like it, if you think it sucks or if you just want to tell how you’d like the characters developed by all means let me know firstname.lastname@example.org
The Dark Soul
A lone warrior sat beside the fire, our heroine Gabrielle. The light illuminating her blonde hair, her green eyes lost in deep thought.
She was older than the last time we saw her, with a few more scars and her demeanour spoke of someone carrying a burden that no soul should carry alone. There were no signs of the scrolls that she was world famous for producing, only weapons.
She looks troubled; we had read so many of her stories which told us why she may feel this way and as only Gabrielle could she was reliving another of the losses she had endured bringing with it very deep wounds, this was nothing new but it seemed as though this loss was different, this loss it seemed had not yet healed.
‘It’s seven years tomorrow, so where is she? She never leaves me alone for this long’
Gabrielle sighed heavily, she felt exhausted and alone. The fire she had started danced in high into the dark night but it did not ease the chill Gabrielle felt.
“I don’t know why I feel like this Xena?” She said absent-mindedly to the sky.
“I’ve been scared before, but this time it’s different” the night gave no answer.
Gabrielle frowned, then challenged the night
“Where are you? Aren’t you supposed to be haunting me?”
A silvery presence grew steadily in front of her; it seemed weakened and took a good while to become the shape of her beloved friend. They both new that Xena’s spirit was fading, Gabrielle’s stories that kept Xena’s memory alive were now old, the last one was of the raven haired warriors death. Gabrielle hadn’t written a single word since that day. The blonde woman was angry at the apparent desertion by her friend and voiced her frustration
“Some things never change, you may be dead Xena but you still keep secrets from me”
“What makes you think I’m keeping anything from you?”
Gabrielle deepened her frown “Well, I haven’t seen you since I got back from the last mission, and you never leave for more than a few days unless.... well, unless you’re keeping something from me”
The presence shrugged
“Some habits die hard Gabrielle”
The Bard snorted
“Nice use of words. The only time you ever keep things from me is when you think I can’t handle the situation, so what is it this time? Let me guess; someone’s in trouble, I’m the only one who can help and you’re trying to protect because you think I’m in danger?”
The presence raised a dark eyebrow
“Sounds like you know everything already, so I guess you don’t need me around?”
Gabrielle leapt to her feet and exploded at the ghostly figure
“How dare you! I am the one who has to fight alone! I am the one who still feels the cold and the fear! And all because you had to be a martyr! ....”
The tears started to roll freely down her face
“...You left me Xena... I.... I don’t know if I have enough strength to keep fighting alone”
The silvery presence went to her friend
“Gabrielle, you’re not alone, I’m still here”
Xena felt once again the rising frustration she couldn’t comfort her friend, she couldn’t protect her and the mission that Gabrielle was about to face would certainly mean her death and that meant she would be reborn and more ominously Xena would be alone and not only that but she would cease to exist, no rebirth, no heaven or hell, just nothingness.
“So ... are you going to tell me what I’m going to face?” fear seeped into Gabrielle’s voice, she could feel a shiver run down her spine, something was different about this new mission and it made her uneasy.
Xena motioned for Gabrielle to sit and then sat down beside her “Have you noticed the change in the way you are feeling lately?”
The Bard nodded
“You aren’t the only one who feels that way, even the spirits are being affected by it”
Gabrielle looked to her friend
“What is it Xena?”
“Well two days ago I felt a darkness seeping from the furthest region of Britannia and so I went to investigate”
“What did you find?”
“I found death. The darkness had gone by the time I got there but I did see a village of hollow spirits next to the mountains, they couldn’t speak to me but they did give me this” Xena pointed to the scroll she held
“It’s a spirit scroll; it recalls the last minutes of life. This one belongs to Kynan...”
The light on the campfire dimmed and the story sprang to life
The darkness rises
4 Brothers stood at the foot of the tomb; they had to survive on the highest peak for three days and nights as part of their coming of age ritual. There were a series of abandoned tunnels high up towards the top of the mountain, where a traveller could take refuge. The tunnel the 4 men had found themselves in wasn’t marked on their father’s map. It was too cold to venture any further so the eldest brother decided they should stay there until the sun rose.
The youngest brother Kaydin wanted to explore the tunnel and deciding it would be best to stay together they all ventured alongside him. The exploration had led them down a series of dark crawlspaces which finally opened up into a large cavern, where in the centre stood a tomb, made of slate with carvings all around the sides and on the lid a plaque with inscriptions in 3 different languages, The eldest brother examined them but kept well back, he felt uneasy:
Δεν βρέθηκαν λέξεις
“Do you know what they mean?” The tallest brother who stood next to him asked while he examined the markings
“Well the top one is Greek.... I think, then there’s Chin and finally..... The language of the Arabs, I’m not sure what it means though... it’s probably just the name.”
“They must have been famous!” The tallest brother exclaimed
The youngest brother nudged his way to the front “hey maybe it’s Xena of Amphipolis!”
A murmur of excitement ran through them but the eldest brother shook his head “No Xena was killed in the east wasn’t she? And didn’t Gabrielle take her ashes to Amphipolis”
“Maybe Gabrielle just said that to stop any grave robbers”
The eldest brother snorted “what could they rob from ashes?”
“Fine. Who could it be then?... I know lets open it and see if there’s any armour or maybe Gabrielle’s scrolls that will tell us that it’s Xena!”
The eldest brother looked at the slate object wearily
“I don’t think we should open it, besides if there are scrolls they’ll probably be in one of those tongues on the outside. We won’t understand them.”
Kaydin kicked the ground impatiently “Oh come on Kynan! Where’s your sense of adventure! Don’t you want to know what a tomb with three foreign tongues is doing buried in Cambria?”
“I think we should just leave it alone.... but it seems I’m out voted”
The three remaining brothers murmured agreement and took their places on the corners of the tomb. Placing the torches they had made in the holders on the walls. Kynan hesitantly joined them as they all strained to slide the lid they managed to break the seal which covered them in an explosion of dust.
Kynan coughed “great! Let’s hope they didn’t die of anything contagious!”
It took the four men another great effort to slide the lid back - a collective gasp swept over the room as they saw the contents.
“But... the tomb must be ancient!” He eagerly plunged his hand inside “wow she’s still warm... maybe she’s still alive?”
“KAYDIN! Don’t touch her... That tomb was sealed, whoever or whatever she is; we’d better leave her there”
Kaydin disobeyed his brother “no we can’t just leave her there, she may need our help”
Kynan stepped backwards retrieving his light and looked desperately at his brothers who were all leaning over and staring in at the resident
“Nobody who is dead could need our help. Just think about it, she had no air! That tomb could have been here for centuries and I really don’t want to be here if she wakes up!”
He turned to lead them out but was stopped a screams of terror and pain behind him. The eldest brother spun around to see and his two brothers slumped on the floor, blood oozing from them. He searched desperately for Kaydin, he was nowhere to be seen but his voice echoed softly around the cave with his dying breath
“Run Kynan.... you.... have to..... Run”
“I’m not leaving without you!” He edged forward grabbing a rock from the floor, fighting back his tears as he passed his brothers. He felt his heart pounding in his ears
‘How am I supposed to fight this if I can’t hear it coming?’
Having made it to the tomb he looked inside....nothing. Whoever or whatever had lain there was now up and walking around. His breath was now ragged and adrenaline flowed through his veins making it painful to suck in the air he so desperately needed. He suddenly realised how dark it as the chaos had blown out his brother’s torches and the only light came from his solitary torch. He gripped it tighter. ‘Maybe this is just a nightmare, they can’t really be dead, nothing moves that...’
The thought was cut off by a sudden warm feeling in his stomach; he looked down and saw a long black claw right the way through it. There was no pain as he fell to the floor and he watched the torch that had somehow fallen from his grip. He lay there helpless on the floor and knowing that he was already mortally wounded he searched for his killer ‘it couldn’t possibly have been her’
A low, deep woman’s voice drifted through the silence “You should have listened to your brother” The figure stepped out of the shadows a little.
The torch light lit her dimly and he barely saw her face but there was no doubt she was beautiful. He thought she must be tall but he couldn’t be sure, dark hair and tanned like the Gauls. “Are you Xena?” The woman shook her head, he met her eyes and he felt frustrated that he couldn’t see their colour, noticing this she smiled at him kindly.
“My brother...he thought.... who are you?”
“For you, I am death”
“And we woke you?”
“You should have heeded the warning on the lid”
He smiled at the irony “it wasn’t in our language,”
She laughed softly “ah, that’s unfortunate for you”
He swallowed hard and fought off a wave of fear
“You are so beautiful... I don’t understand why?”
The woman smiled again and sat next to the man so that he could see her better, the colour drained from the man’s face as he saw her eyes. In the ever dimming light he could see their red glow and the swirling blood that were her irises.
“I don’t think you want to know” she smiled again and the light went out.
Gabrielle poked the fire subconsciously “So what was she?”
Xena stayed silent, looking worried;
‘What could worry a ghost?’ Gabrielle unconsciously shivered as the thought crossed her mind
Xena cleared her throat
“Well I went and checked out the tomb, the inscriptions were pretty to the point, with a lot of warnings and the way she acted talking to her victim means it could only be the resting place of one woman:
黑暗中的龍 which means ‘The Dark Dragon’ In Chin”
It was clear Xena thought Gabrielle would know of the myth and looked a little shocked of her ignorance.
“Could it be the work of the Green Dragon?”
Xena shook her head impatiently
“No he was only known in the East. The Dark Dragon is older and far more dangerous”
Gabrielle shook her head
“I didn’t think that was possible, what did the other languages say?”
Xena smiled, letting herself get swept away by the conversation. Gabrielle’s eagerness reminded her of happier times; times when they hadn’t long started travelling together; when she was flesh and blood and Gabrielle was a more carefree. It took her several moments of being lost in this thought to realise that Gabrielle had repeated her question.
“Huh? Oh right the inscription”
Xena wrote the symbols in the air and Gabrielle smiled and tried to figure out the letters
“Ok.... ‘Κακο δρακο’ is Evil Dragon but.... hang on.... Δεν βρέθηκαν λέξεις means ‘one who has no soul’. But that’s impossible Xena how can any living being have no soul?”
An elegant eyebrow rose in question. The bard quickly backed up her question
“Well Callisto was evil, so was Alti and they had souls!”
Xena smirked and agreed
“True. And legend says she did once have a soul but she traded it to a Dark spirit named Keara to save her village from a huge army.” Gabrielle sighed
“She sold her soul? I thought that was more Lucifer’s style?”
“Yes but Keara didn’t come from this realm”
“Sounds like something Alti would do”
“Right again, Keara was Alti’s inspiration. Alti had learned of her work while she was an Amazon and it wasn’t hard to sway her towards evil, but as you said Alti kept her soul.”
“So why did Keara want the Dark Dragons soul?”
Xena’s eye’s darkened as if there was an internal fight about how to answer
“Well there are many theories but what is known is that her real name was Angana she was a shining light, like you her soul was pure and good. She was single-handedly raising two sons and she was not much more than a child herself. The father was recruited for Zeus’s army but died not long after. Keara knew that removing her soul would insure that any descendants of hers would be the bringers of destruction and evil, that they would have to fight an internal battle with the dark”
Gabrielle nodded “I didn’t know evil was a team effort? What was in it for Keara?”
“Unfortunately Keara wasn’t any one being, they describe her as a source, like a mist that can be in any one person”
“Ah Keara is a name for becoming evil, what did she do?”
“Well the tale says that she made a treaty with the Spartans who taught her how to fight. With the help of the general Brasidas they tricked the enemy troops into thinking they weren’t going to fight and then attacked, routing them. 600 of their troops died and only 7 Spartans.”
“General Brasidas? But Xena that was the battle of Amphipolis!”
Xena nodded “yes, and as you know Brasidas lost his life that day, so Angana with no mentor became unstable, as you know yourself when you kill a person it changes you”
“So what did she do?”
“Well there are many stories, she raised her own army and left her sons, she rampaged through most of the known world murdering innocent people, being driven by dark forces. She founded the Society of Assassins and was available for hire, but it wouldn’t take much because she enjoyed her work.”
“How did she end up in Cambria?”
“This is where the story becomes a little more vague, some say she became a Bacchae driven by her thirst for blood, but the reality was much worse. She made it her custom to drink the blood of her victims but she didn’t need it, this with the ever growing dark inside her prompted a group of Athena’s best soldiers to track her down, together her and Hades entombed her alive, but removed her soul first so that she could be reborn. Problem is it didn’t work, there was no soul to take as she’d sold it and it was too late once they’d trapped her.”
Gabrielle gasped “So what did they do?”
“they put warnings on the tomb, they made her most prised weapon the seal that only a God could break and hid it from civilisation, only thing was if she woke up or anyone released her there would be a soulless, blood drinking highly trained assassin wandering around hell-bent on conquering the known world”
Gabrielle studied her friends face; even in death she could still read the expressions
“But those boys didn’t break any seal?”
Xena didn’t answer instead she shifted restlessly, uncomfortable under Gabrielle’s searching eyes. Desperately searching for something to concentrate on she cursed her ‘condition.’ When she was alive she could do little things like sharpen her sword, mend her armour or even warm herself by the heat of the fire, anything not to look into the green eyes that right now asked too many questions.
The bard noticed that Xena was uncomfortable ‘slowly does it’
“So she wants to take over the world huh?”
Gabrielle rolled her eyes
“Oh, very original and what happens when she accomplishes that? Does hell come to earth? Does the world end?”
Xena laughed at the scorn
“That doesn’t bother you?”
“How can it? My world has already ended in a lot of ways” Gabrielle shocked herself with her response ‘that was a little raw’
Xena’s face changed into one of worry “don’t say that Gabrielle, please”
“It’s true Xena, I mean I’ve lost my husband who was murdered, My daughter who was the spawn of an evil demon, my parents were beheaded, Joxer was stabbed by Eve, I’ve died too many times to remember and then when I thought I had been through everything you died. So forgive me for feeling a little numb”
A wave of remorse washed over the spirited warrior “I’m sorry, if I had never met you your life would be so much different”
Gabrielle smiled. “Xena I would go through it all again, don’t you understand what I’m trying to say? There is nothing that Angana can do that I haven’t already been through, I’ve already lost most of what I hold dear. so what happens if she wins?”
“She gets her soul back”
‘And then we’re in trouble and not even death will bring you any peace’
“And then everything we worked so hard and died for will mean nothing. All the evil I killed will rise again and I don’t want to think about the results”
Gabrielle stared long and hard into the fire
Xena sensed the desperation in her friend.
“No, only those I’ve killed” Gabrielle looked on the edge of tears
Xena growled at herself ‘ok, that was meant to bring comfort.’
“Why just you? What aren’t you telling me? Xena if I have to fight her, I need to know”
Xena sighed, she didn’t know where to start, this was one story that she hoped only she would have to know. So she started with the one object that they could both relate to.
Xena pointed to the Chakram
“For a start? That, is hers... well one half”
The bard stared at her friend in disbelief
“What? But you told me Ares gave the Chakram to you”
“Yes and he stole it from her tomb,”
“This was the seal?”
Xena nodded again
A terrifying thought washed over Gabrielle and she fought to control the panic now coursing through her
“And you thought it was a good idea for me to walk around with some evil creature’s weapon! What if she comes to find it!?”
There was no sugar coating this one. ‘Oh boy, here goes’
“She maybe already on her way, but we’ve got time and her presence won’t go unnoticed for long”
Gabrielle got up and paced by the fire “time to do what? Prepare for my funeral? Xena this is crazy!”
Xena instinctively went to hold her friend but only managed to put her hand through Gabrielle’s shoulder causing the bard to shiver.
‘Being dead sucks’
Gabrielle smiled weakly at the gesture and looked into the blue eyes. The internal war she witnessed there finally reached its conclusion and the younger woman saw a decision being made deep in those eyes.
“I am the only one who can stop her”
“Well its either me or Eve and I won’t let her die”
Gabrielle’s face changed in recognition
“What were the sons’ names?”
Xena smiled knowingly “you catch on fast don’t you?... well one was named Lulus and the other was called Atreus”
Gabrielle shook her head “Angana is your grandmother!”
“Yes and it states that only her blood can stop her, that’s why you have help bring me back”
Gabrielle’s breathing stopped momentarily
“What?! ..... But what about the souls you died for? What will happen to them?”
A conflict broke out in her heart, the thought of getting Xena back brought a feeling back that she hadn’t felt in the 7 years since Xena died. It was joy.
‘Could it be possible?’
A second wave of feelings rose to the surface and Gabrielle swallowed hard, Sensing Gabrielle’s emotion Xena had to hold back tears of her own. She slumped down by a tree and chewed her lip thoughtfully
“Gabrielle if she gets her way they’ll be doomed anyway, but we’ve only got one shot at this. We have to do bring me back tomorrow”
“On the anniversary of your death?”
“Yes, you see it’s said that your soul renews itself every 7 years, that’s why if you break a mirror you get bad luck for that time. There’s a window in which you can return on the anniversary. Gabrielle if I don’t find a way there’s no hope.”
Gabrielle smiled through a sob “So it’s for the greater good huh?”
Xena smiled reassuringly “yeah, it’s for the greater good”
Gabrielle had risen early that morning; her destination was Amphipolis and Xena’s tomb. It took 3 years for her to finally place the ashes in the family crypt and she had avoided the place ever since.
‘It held too many memories, too many ghosts.’
Absent- mindedly running her hands over her Sais, she stared off into the distance. Many thoughts ran through her mind, they were old thoughts and memories. She felt a cold presence behind her and a familiar voice.
“Do you remember the time Aphrodite gave you that scroll that made everything you wrote down reality?”
Gabrielle chuckled “yeah, how can I forget 3 naked me’s running around! Not to mention all the fish you caught!”
Xena feigned impatience “yeh, don’t remind me. It certainly taught me not to tell you what to write!”
They both laughed and smiled happily, Gabrielle closed her eyes. ‘If I just close my eyes it’s as though nothing ever happened’
“What made you think of the scrolls?”
“Well, I was just thinking that you don’t write anymore, I’m hoping that if we survive you might start again”
Gabrielle smiled in agreement
“You know I may do that”
A village lay desecrated, villagers had been slaughtered where stood, an eerie mist enveloped the dark cloaked figure that held the last remaining soul, her hand squeezing his throat just enough to cause panic.
“So this Gabrielle, She has my Chakram?” Angana loosened her grip on the terrified villager so he had just enough air to speak
“Yes....but it was Xena’s!” The man desperately added, hoping that the extra information would save his life.
“Xena.... who is Xena?”
He looked incredulously at her “She....she....was a warrior, went about fighting evil and Gabrielle was a bard. When Xena died she... she took over”
“Where did she come from this Xena?”
“Amphipolis...she.... came... from... Amphipolis”
The man strained to see inside the hood that obscured her face but he only saw black, he blinked straining to see the features of this evil woman, her red eyes glowed at him sadistically.
“How... did she get hold of my Chakram?”
“Ares.... In Gabrielle’s scrolls, she said Ares gave it to her”
“Ares? The God of war?” the man nodded “I didn’t think he had it in him, does Zeus know?”
“I...don’t.... Xena killed the Greek Gods long ago.”
“Really? That’s my girl, well you were helpful”
Angana’s black nail extended itself slicing the man’s throat; as he slumped to the floor and she glided over the dead. Under the hood two red eyes glowed deeper as she spoke to the air
“Well then, I’d better find this Gabrielle”
“You seem like much too nice a lady to be travelling these roads alone” A burly thug had stepped into Gabrielle’s path.
Gabrielle threw her sai, which embedded itself in a tree right next to where the thug stood. He turned and ran. The cold presence behind her tutted
“Wow Gabrielle, you aren’t much for small talk these days”
Gabrielle shrugged and retrieved her Sai without breaking the horses steady pace “I’ve got things to do,”
a reproachful look from Xena made her add
“And....hopefully I’ve made him see the error of his ways”
“Uh huh.... well it’s a good thing that Amphipolis is just ahead ‘cos I hate to think what you’d do to the next guy”
Gabrielle didn’t answer; the sight of Xena’s town tied her stomach in knots. The people were always so friendly and she didn’t know if that made things worse.
“Come on, if we get this right I’ll be able to irritate you properly by sunset!”
Gabrielle smiled wearily. ‘it must be a dream’
Xena’s spirit catapulted off the horse and broke into a run
“Come on! Last one to the crypt’s a hestian virgin”
Gabrielle laughed and her horse broke into a run. She called after Xena
“I don’t think either of us could ever be accused of that!”
They both laughed. Gabrielle was aware of the reaction of the villagers to her talking to herself and smiled at the muttering.
‘Maybe dreams do come true?’
When Gabrielle caught up with her Xena was half was through the crypt wall. ‘I really hope this works’
The Tomb door opened and Xena’s spirit stood inside the doorway
“Come on, times a wastin’”
“Alright, alright” The bard entered the crypt and saw Xena’s resting place, her sword and her amour were a little rusted, and the reef Gabrielle had placed along with the last scroll Gabrielle had written lay on the lid.
“So how do we resurrect you again?” The details that Xena had gone through were a little fuzzy with the nerves
Xena pulled a mocking face “haven’t we been through this enough times already?”
“I want to be sure, it’s so simple. How can it be that easy?”
Xena rolled her eyes “come on where’s your faith?”
“Ok, Ok so I just mix the chards from the Chakram, place it with this mirror, my blood and some of your ashes?”
“Don’t forget the water Eli blessed”
Gabrielle followed the instructions carefully
“Say the incantation.....”
Gabrielle read the ancient spell aloud and a crackle of electricity illuminated the room, the spirit disappeared.
“What now Xena? Did it work? Tell me”
“Say please” came the playful reply
Gabrielle laughed nervously “please”
“Turn around Gabrielle”
As she turned she gasped, There stood her friend in the flesh and completely in the flesh. Xena examined herself to make sure nothing was missing and grinned at the result. “You’d think they’d find a way to add clothes into the spell wouldn’t you?” She grabbed for her armour
Tears were streaming down Gabrielle’s cheeks, “By the Gods, you’re really alive!”
“Come ere!” Xena pulled her into a big bear hug
“What you think? I may have aged a little, but the armour still fits” The warrior proceeded to parade around “Feels good to be back”
“We’re going to have to get you new clothes”
Xena raised her eyebrow “why?”
Gabrielle chuckled “well the armour has left rust marks all over the leather... and well it smells funny”
Xena sniffed the air “you think? Wonder why that is....” She pulled a corpse belonging to a rat from under her breastplate “...ah ha, I thought it was a little snug”
“Come on; let’s go find a hot bath and some new clothes....”
Xena wrapped her arm around the bards shoulder
“sounds like a plan....”
End of Part 1
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