Gabrielle's Destiny

by Candideyes

Disclaimers: No copyright infringement is intended; all characters from Xena: Warrior Princess are copyrighted by their creators and corporate types who have the contracts to prove ownership. This story is for entertainment purposes and I do not profit by it. Please do not link or reproduce without permission. Destiny, and various amazons are characters from my own little wicked mind. I own them and they answer to me only.

Sexual Content: Not really. This is definitely PG-13. It was written in a similar manner as the show.

Language: Not a lot of swearing in this story.

Violence: Duh. It is still a Xena story. I don't do the best fight scenes but there are plenty in this story including a lot of people who die.

Humor: Although this is a serious and intense story, Destiny is a smart-ass. I hope you find her funny. Xena and Gab have some funny lines too.

Love: Eternal love between two women is a main theme. I view the characters as being lovers however like the show there are nothing more than affectionate hugs and kisses between Xena and Gabrielle. I guess you would call that subtext.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to the readers of my first story who were kind enough to give me encouragement to write this story.

Spoilers: This story follows the end of 'Waking up With the Conqueror', a story I wrote to bring Xena back. The story can be found at the Academy of Bards at (Yes there really is a Post Fin Conqueror story.) The following is a short synopsis:

Aphrodite sends XWP fan Desire' Love back in time to save Xena but this is Aphrodite we're talking about so Desire' ends up in the Conqueror's realm. She must find the chronos stone, get through to the Conqueror's heart, protect Gabrielle from being crucified and stay alive in the process. Eventually everyone makes it back to Japa. It seems that the fire that killed those 40,000 unfortunate souls during a snowstorm, (Does anyone remember it was snowing or should I have my television repaired?) was not caused by Xena. That's right ladies and gentlemen Xena was not responsible. (But then we all knew that right?) Read the story and find out who was responsible. (And no it was not the TBTB.) Desire' makes it home and finds out she is the reincarnated soul of Destiny, a woman who's life will be forever entwined with Xena and Gabrielle. This is the story of Destiny.

I don't believe that you need to read the first story to enjoy this one. Hopefully though if you like this story you may want to check out the other one. There are a few references to Xena feeling a sense of déjà vu regarding Destiny. It seems Aphrodite screwed with the gals memories and planted Eve in Japa so they don't have any memories of their time traveling friend, only Xena's haunting feelings that she has met Destiny before. Enough babbling. I hope you enjoy.

Feedback: This is my second story. Constructive criticism is welcome, however, adulation, flattery, applause and all positive reactions are greatly encouraged to stroke this OLE gal's ego. Please stroke me at I am a cat you know.


Xena and Gabrielle sat at a table inside of the busy tavern. Gabrielle was making up for lost time eating heartily as her partner watched silently laughing. The two had gone through quite an ordeal, barely defeating death yet again. The boat ride home had been a long one and Gabrielle had not kept down a meal for many days. Egypt would be a new adventure or so it seemed to them.

"Gabrielle slow down. The food isn't going anywhere," Xena said laughing.

"Funny Xena. It just feels so great to be on dry land. It's nice to be hungry again," defended Gabrielle. "Why are you picking at your food?"

"I ate on the ship remember."

"Thinking about Eve aren't you?"

"Yea. I just wish she had stayed with us for awhile instead of running back to Greece so soon," answered Xena wistfully.

"She's a big girl mom," teased Gabrielle. "She'll be all right."

"I can't help but worry about her. She's thinking about picking up the sword again because of what happened in Japa."

"Xena she's been struggling with that decision for a long time. That's why she went east, to spread Eli's message and do some of her own soul searching."

"I just don't want any of the events in Japa to affect her decision."

"And you don't want her to pick up a sword again," interjected Gabrielle.

"Is that so wrong?" asked Xena defensively.

"No but if she does you know she'll fight for the greater good."

"I don't want her to have a life like mine."

"Oh so your life has been so horrible with me is that it? Of course that would explain why you left me out of that wonderful little plan in Higuchi," answered Gabrielle irritated.

"No that's not it and you know it and I promise no more secret plans," defended Xena.

"You got that right. I'll be watching you from now on warrior princess. If I didn't know better I would say you were trying to get rid of me," replied Gabrielle attempting to stifle a yawn as she spoke.

"I don't ever want to get rid of you. I just don't want you following me to the other side if I should die before you," stated Xena very softly.

"Then no more dying," answered Gabrielle placing her hand on her partner's as she spoke. "I need you okay?"

"It's a deal," answered Xena picking up a piece of stew with her fork. Both women looked tenderly into each other's eyes, silently communicating their love for each other in the noisy tavern before resuming their meals.

"How did Eve end up in Higuchi?" asked Xena breaking the silence in between bites of food.

"She said she could feel that you were in trouble," answered Gabrielle.

"How did she find us at the teahouse?"

"I don't know. You're really bothered she was there aren't you?"

"I barely remember her being there until after you revived me. My memories are very hazy."

"Maybe it's one of the effects of being dead. You lost a lot of your memory when Eli brought us back."

"That was different," answered Xena.


"All my dark memories were gone. I remember the teahouse with Akemi and you and ghost killer. I remember defeating Yodoshi and traveling to Mt. Fuji. I even remember watching my daughter ride off with Kenji but everything else is fuzzy about Eve until after the sunset."

Gabrielle looked at her with a quizzical expression on her face as she set her fork down on the table. "That is a bit odd. I have the same vivid memories yet I barely remember Eve being there."

"Maybe it's just our parental instincts kicking in. No one wants to remember their child in danger," interjected Xena yawning. "I guess the travel is catching up with me. We should think about finding a room for the night."

"As soon as I'm finished," answered Gabrielle. Xena smiled as Gabrielle continued her relentless attack on the food. Moments later she watched as Egyptian soldiers came through the door scanning the establishment, their eyes resting on Gabrielle.

"Uh oh, this can't be good," muttered Xena as the soldiers walked over to their table.

Six uniformed men walked up to the table. Four of them stood at attention behind their commander. One stood behind the warrior princess. Xena sat with her hand near her chakram as the soldier began to speak her eyes drooping from fatigue. "I am Bakare, commander of the Egyptian navy," started the commander looking at Gabrielle. "Are you the queen of the Amazons?"

Gabrielle nodded fighting to keep her eyes open, eventually slumping over in her chair. Xena's reflexes were slow and before she could respond she felt the sudden impact of a soldier's weapon hit her across the back of the head. She slumped forward enveloped in darkness.


The dungeon was built with stone. Six cells lined the walls, three on each side. A tall man with curly brown hair stood in the front cell, his hands around the bars looking into the adjacent cell holding two unconscious prisoners. The second one contained a large column where Xena and Gabrielle were chained back to back, their heads bowed in darkness. He waited patiently for the prisoners to awaken.

Finally Xena shook her head, trying to open her eyes and focus on her surroundings. She realized her arms were shackled when she tried to push the hair from her eyes. Desperately she looked around for Gabrielle.

"She's behind you," said the prisoner observing the scene intently.

"Gabrielle!" yelled Xena. "Gabrielle!" Xena turned around to look behind but the column obstructed her view. She listened to the sound of moans coming from behind as her partner regained consciousness.

"Xena," answered Gabrielle as her eyes began to focus. "Where are we?"

"You're in the Pharaoh's dungeon," answered the tall man.

Xena turned to look at the man across from her. "Who are you?" she asked.

"My name is Carminius. I've changed since we last met. You haven't though."

"Why does that name sound so familiar?" asked Gabrielle.

"You fought with my Father against Caesar and Pompey," replied Carminius.

"Flannigas?" asked Gabrielle.

"You remember. I knew it wasn't you Gabrielle."

Xena listened to the exchange between her soulmate and the young man. She was busy searching for a way to remove the bonds without any luck.

"What do you mean Carminius? Why are you in an Egyptian dungeon?" asked Gabrielle.

"I knew you couldn't be the amazon queen everyone is talking about. I came to Egypt to get away from the destruction in Greece. When the guards knocked you out I attacked them. I had to talk to you," he answered.

"Why have we been arrested?" interrupted Xena. "And what do you mean destruction in Greece?"

"Greece is a battle zone. An amazon princess has waged war on Greece. Athens is the only city that hasn't fallen to her army."

"Slow down Carminius. Who is this amazon you speak of?" asked Xena.

"Princess Destiny of the northern tribe. My guess is they will use you two as a bargaining chip," he answered.

"Why would they care about us?" asked Gabrielle.

"They think you are Destiny's Mother. And any friend of the queen's is an enemy to Egypt."

"Why would they think I am her Mother?" asked Gabrielle.

"You look exactly like her. She is the queen of the northern amazons. They are a mighty tribe with several hundred of their finest warriors fighting for princess Destiny," answered Carminius.

"But I am a queen of the amazons Carminius. We haven't been to visit the northern tribe in almost thirty years. Cyane is their queen. Their numbers are small and they moved to Greece over a year ago," replied Gabrielle.

"Carminius none of this is making sense," interjected Xena. "Have you seen these amazon warriors or are these just stories made up by bards?"

"I've seen them Xena. I've seen the queen walking among the dead after a battle and I have seen princess Destiny lead her army. "

"When did this queen appear in the north?" asked Xena trying to absorb the information.

"I don't know," responded Carminius.

"Can you tell us anymore about Destiny?" asked Gabrielle.

"They say Destiny is invincible, that she is an unbeatable warrior trained with the skills of the warrior princess. She even has special powers and it is rumored that she has the blood of a very powerful god flowing through her."

"What kind of powers?" asked Gabrielle.

"When she runs through battle arrows seem to stop and fall before they penetrate her. I have seen her lift things with her mind," he answered.

"Does she use these powers to fight?" asked Xena.

"Oh no, she fights like you Xena with a sword in her hand. She rarely uses her powers in combat except to deflect arrows," he answered.

"When did you see her use these powers?" asked Gabrielle.

"I followed her once. She often leaves the war camp unescorted."

"Not a very smart thing to do when you are leading an army," interrupted Xena.

"She can take care of herself Xena. A dozen mercenaries ambushed her. They didn't have a chance."

"Sounds like someone else I know," added Gabrielle. "Did she use her powers to defeat the men?"

"No. She used her powers to lift her horse onto the funeral pyre after she stopped her attackers," replied Carminius. "She only uses her powers to defend herself."

"Can you tell us anything else?" asked Xena.

"It is rumored that she can change shapes but this I have not seen."

"What exactly do you mean Carminius?" inquired Gabrielle.

"They say she can take on the shape of whoever or whatever she wishes."

"Can she take the shape of another person?" asked Xena.

"They say she takes the shape of various animals. That's how she defeated the Spartans in Corinth. Their catapults were disarmed the morning of the battle but no one saw her. Three of the guards reported seeing a stray dog nothing more."

"That doesn't prove anything," interrupted Gabrielle.

"But that also doesn't mean it isn't true," interjected Xena. "Carminius what does she look like?"

"She's very beautiful like you Gabrielle. She even resembles you a bit only she never smiles. She's much more serious like you," he explained pointing at Xena. She's not as tall as you are Xena but she's definitely taller than you Gabrielle. Her skin is golden brown with dark freckles across her chest and she wears a very large breast plate if you get my meaning," he added grinning.

"Carminius what about hair color, her eyes, you know something that could actually help us in identifying her?" asked Gabrielle frustrated.

"Her hair is very dark like Xena's but not as long though longer than yours Gabrielle. Her eyes are the palest green I have ever seen. When the sun reflects in them they appear yellow like the eyes of a tiger. In fact she even has a tattoo of a tiger on her left calf. It is of a tiger jumping through a Ring of Fire. Many of her supporters wear the mark on their backs."

"That should make finding her easy," interjected Gabrielle.

"That and the thousands of soldiers she commands surrounding her," added Carminius.

Gabrielle looked at Xena who appeared to be deep in thought and unaware of the conversation. "Xena did we lose you?"

Xena shook her head and looked at Gabrielle. "What?" she asked pausing. "No I was just thinking."

"Care to share?" asked Gabrielle curiously.

"When I was out to conquer the world I had my own crest. It was of a lion jumping through a chakram. Some people called me the lion of Amphipolis."

"I'm just glad you never tattooed it on your back," stated Gabrielle.

"And if I had when we met are you saying you wouldn't wear my mark?" asked Xena a small grin forming on her face.

"You got that right warrior. I'm not a tattoo kind of gal," replied Gabrielle.

"You sure painted yourself in India," accused Xena.

"And that eventually wore off, thank the gods. Back to the subject at hand."

"Oh right. Murderous warlord taking over Greece who is invincible. Carminius is there anything else we should know?"

"They say she is on a quest for revenge," answered Carminius.

"Great so we have a very evil woman with lethal fighting skills and God like powers taking over Greece. We should have gone to Chin for vacation," said a very frustrated warrior princess.

"She has formed an alliance with Rome."

"Why is Rome involved?" asked Gabrielle.

"Their army is lead by a very ambitious commander. It is rumored that he will marry Destiny after Greece has been conquered."

"I gather that Greece won't be enough to satisfy their need to conquer," interjected Xena.

Carminius nodded. "The Pharaoh knows that when Greece falls they will come to Egypt next. I suspect he is going to use Gabrielle to negotiate a treaty," added Carminius.

"Then let him," stated Xena.

"Excuse me Xena. What does that mean?" asked Gabrielle.

"Carminius will you be able to get out of this prison and back to Greece?" asked Xena ignoring the pleas of her soulmate. Carminius nodded his head in response. "I need you to deliver a message to the Athenian commander. Let him know I will be in Greece soon and ready to fight."

"How are we getting back to Greece?" asked Gabrielle, exasperation in her voice.

"Just play along Gabrielle. Let them think you're Destiny's mother."

"How is that going to help?"

"Know your enemy. If Destiny plays along than we get a free trip to Greece. If not than we can clear this mess up and go to Athens," answered Xena.

Bakare walked in as soon as Xena finished her sentence. "I see you two are awake. We will be leaving for Greece shortly. You will stay chained during the trip over," he said then quickly left the building.

"Looks like we're going to Greece Gabrielle. Just think of the dinars we'll save on the boat trip alone," quipped Xena.

"Funny Xena. Me chained to you on a boat is not gonna be a pretty sight," answered Gabrielle.


She was a small woman about five and a half feet tall with medium length black hair with brown highlights. Her skin was golden brown from years of training as an amazon warrior. She had pale green eyes that glowed with intensity beneath the golden skin and dark hair. Although short in stature she was strong and athletic with well-defined legs and sculpted arms. She wore a black leather battle dress with a plunging neckline that reached just above her navel and gold armor that covered her breasts, stomach, shoulders and back, knee high skin tight black leather boots and black leather bracers trimmed in gold around her wrists.

A black quiver filled with arrows lay against her right shoulder, the bow in her right hand. A sword lay in its sheath across her right hip, the hilt carved in gold with the head of a tiger carved at the base. An intricate tattoo of a tiger leaping forward through a circle of fire was etched on the side of her left calf signifying her as the leader.

After one year of notable conquests, she rode atop a midnight black stallion at the front of her army prepared for this defining moment in her life. It was her destiny. After all she was Destiny.

The Athenian army was massive but they weren't indestructible. Their arrogance would be their demise. The soldiers in her charge knew they would be lucky to survive the onslaught but they would follow Destiny into Tartarus and she was brave enough to lead the battle.

Destiny charged into the middle of the army with her legion, much smaller than the many legions of soldiers they would battle today. Shields went up as arrows came plummeting down from the Athenians. The Calvary continued its charge as a soldier here and there fell from his horse, struck by an arrow that flew by the protection. Destiny rode her black stallion up the middle, shooting arrow after arrow, each hitting its mark. The arrows that flew around her seemed to miraculously fall to the side never penetrating her skin.

As she drew nearer, her sword was drawn and she charged into the soldiers, taking out any man who dared to challenge her. She pulled her horse up to survey the damage around her. Her legion was out numbered but fighting bravely. She pulled back and signaled for the slow retreat. Her soldiers followed their orders, moving backwards as the Athenians followed behind. Every thing was going as planned until she heard one of her commanders give the word to attack.

The world seemed to move in slow motion for her. Her entire army was behind the first legion, engaging in hand to hand combat with the Athenian army. Even with all of her legions they were still outnumbered and there would be no element of surprise. The first legion was caught off guard. They were trying to retreat but in doing so they were running into fellow soldiers.

She turned around to deflect the blow of a sword coming from a charging horse, the sword cutting her across the arm leaving a trickle of blood. The soldier pulled his horse to Destiny and attacked. The blows were swift but Destiny was able to block then counter strike sending her sword through the unfortunate soldiers chest. Three more soldiers surrounded her horse, one piercing the chest of her faithful steed. Destiny pulled herself into the air in a double somersault behind the men as her favorite stallion fell to the ground.

Pale green eyes turned dark with rage as the monster came out of its cage. She laughed as the soldiers watched her ready to charge. After all she was just one small woman. "You cowards," she growled. "You've killed my horse and now you will die!" she yelled as the men ran toward her. She ducked under the first man, throwing him over her shoulder and out of her way. The second man came at her swinging his sword in the air. She ran to his right, smashing his arm with a strong blow then taking his head off with one swing of the sword in her left hand. She followed with a left side blade kick to the third man sending him to his back throwing his sword into the air. She caught the sword in her right hand and buried it into the chest of the fallen man. Hearing the footsteps of the third soldier she brought her hands together around her sword and threw it over her shoulder behind her, driving it into the soldiers chest, then pulling it out before she ran toward the battle.

She sliced her way through any soldier that came near her, ducking arrows that flew by, even catching a couple in her hands. The monster wanted blood and she would take out as many of the enemy as she could until her mind came back into focus. Her army was being defeated and retreat would be her only salvation. She charged up to an Athenian soldier on horseback and tackled him off of the horse killing him with one swift movement of her hands, snapping his neck then mounted the horse and reared back as she gave the call to her men to retreat swiftly.

She turned the horse around and followed as the rest of her army retreated away from the Athenians, sickened by the cheers of victory coming from the enemy. Mother would not be happy.


The army came to a stop along the side of the forest. Destiny paced atop her new mount trying to control the anger within. Her plan was destroyed because of a soldier's insubordination and she would have to make a stand in front of the army. The soldiers waited patiently for the wrath of their leader. Many of their friends had been lost today making the battle the first failure under Destiny's command.

After several tense moments Destiny pulled her horse around to the front of the army. "Commanders forward, now!" she yelled, her voice low and menacing. Nine men on horseback came forward forming a line in front of their leader. "Dismount now!" she yelled as the men jumped from their horses. "Seconds forward now!" Nine more men on horseback came forward lining up behind their commanders. "Take their horses and move back now!" The men quickly obeyed rounding up the horses and backing up in front of the other soldiers.

Destiny walked her horse down the line surveying her men her contempt noticeable in her eyes. "We failed today! Many men lost their lives yet not one leader among you has been harmed not even a bruise or a scratch." She stopped in the center of the line. "Did you even show up at the battle? I ride at the front of my legion and I expect you to do the same!" The men stood nervously in front of her, praying that today they would receive a second chance. "Who gave the command to charge?" The nine men looked around at each other afraid to admit who made the mistake. Moments passed as Destiny looked on, her eyes dark green stones as the monster looked on. "Amazons in position."

A dozen women warriors came down from the trees with bow and arrow in hand pointed at the nine commanders. The men looked around to the side at the weapons pointed at them growing increasingly nervous as the seconds ticked away. Destiny raised her right arm up ready to give the command to shoot when Hector, one of her commanders stepped forward and fell to his knees. "I gave the command. You were out numbered and needed relief," he answered, his voice shaking.

Destiny waved the amazons off. "Rise Hector." Hector did as he was told, thankful that Destiny's tone seemed to calm down immensely. "Do you trust me Hector?" she asked.

"Of course I do General," he answered.

"Are you a man of your word Hector?" she asked, her voice controlled as she spoke each word.

"Yes I am General," he answered.

"You are neither," spat Destiny. "And because of it hundreds of men have lost their lives today."

"But general," interrupted Hector. "We were out numbered. We were losing."

"Shut up Hector before I take your head off right here," she growled back. "Of course we were losing. We were one legion against many. That is why I signaled the retreat, to bring the battle to you idiot. Look to your left Hector. The battle should be going on right here and right now if you had obeyed my orders and trusted me. I have five hundred warriors in that forest waiting for a battle they will never see and hundreds of men dead because of your insubordination."

"But I thought," stammered Hector. Before he could finish Destiny somersaulted off of her horse standing directly in front of the cowering commander, her face just inches away from his.

"You were not paid to think little man!" she spat into his face. "You were paid to listen to my command," she continued as she backhanded the soldier. The force of the blow sent him flying to the ground. "Who is his second?" she asked facing the nine men still on horseback. Luther walked his horse toward the front to let her know he was Hector's second. "Get down. Chain him to his horse and take him back to camp. You will be given instructions later on how to deal with him! And get some help from your men if you need it!"

Luther and a couple of soldiers picked the fallen man up and subdued him while Destiny walked back and forth in front of the remaining eight soldiers. She looked each man up and down then into his eyes. They stood at attention under the careful scrutiny of their leader. "You boys look rather smug," she purred. "Now that Hector is being disciplined maybe you think you boys are off the hook. Is that it?" she asked as she stared into the fearful dark brown eyes of a commander. The man stared back tentatively. "I guess I need new commanders!" she yelled. "You boys have one chance to survive but you must defeat me first." Destiny stepped away from the group feral green eyes glowing in the fading sunlight.

"But general," cried the second commander. "Not one of us can defeat you. It's a death sentence."

"There are eight of you against little OLE me. Take your chances boys and draw your weapons," she growled as she unsheathed her sword. The men stood frozen on the ground. "Come on boys," she taunted as she approached the first soldier knocking him to the ground with a front blade kick. The other men began drawing their weapons as she turned around and ran her sword through the second unfortunate soldier. The next two soldiers ran at her with swords drawn. She leaped into the air taking them out with a double kick and flipping backwards out of striking distance from the other four men. The four men ran at her. She took the first soldier out with a right roundhouse kick then a left roundhouse kick for the second man. Before a third could reach her she turned her body around and delivered a low kick to the third man taking his legs out from under him and catching his sword as it left his hand. She battled the last man standing with a few swift strokes of the sword before she landed a blow that separated him from his head. She heard the footsteps behind her as one of the fallen men stood up and charged her. She lowered her body to avoid him, sending him flying over her shoulders then grabbed her sword with both hands and swung it over her shoulders piercing the second attacking man through the heart. She yanked the sword out from the body and brought it down in front of her through the chest of the soldier lying at her feet.

Destiny turned around to face the last four men as they tried to compose themselves, blood splattered across her neck and chest. She somersaulted into the air as they ran for her, kicking two of them onto the ground as she flew past them. She picked up a sword from the ground and charged the two standing men. With lightning speed she rammed one sword into each. Before the men could fall she used them for leverage, climbing onto their shoulders and delivering two perfectly placed back blade kicks to the soldiers behind her. As the men fell to the ground she pulled the swords out of their chests and walked over to the last two men who remained alive. They lay side by side holding their heads. Destiny walked in between the two men, a feral grin and a look of disgust on her face. She laughed as she brought the swords down into the ground through their bodies and walked away.

"Now," she yelled as she turned to address the troops. "Does anyone else want to challenge my command?" The men stood silently looking at the fallen men then back at Destiny. "Who commands this army?" she yelled.

The men looked around and began chanting "Destiny!" as she walked around the fallen men, withdrawing her own sword from one of the dead bodies.

"Amazons back to camp!" she yelled as the men quieted down. Hundreds of warriors came down from the trees and retreated as Destiny contemplated her next move.

She stood in front of the men her face now covered with blood, the bright crimson stains intensifying the color of her eyes. "Seconds dismount now!" The men jumped quickly to the ground to report. She walked up and down the line looking at them. "You are now my commanders. Is there any man here who will not follow these new leaders?" she asked looking up at her troops. She waited for a response that never came. "Then there will be no more misunderstandings. As a reminder I expect you men to put your fallen comrades to work," she growled pointing to her new commanders. "I don't want anyone to forget who is in charge here. You boys will take them and place their heads on a stake in front of your legion in camp. This will serve to remind you of what happens to those who disobey a direct order from me"

"If anyone chooses to disobey me I will place your head on a stake. Do I make myself clear?" She pointed at the line of men looking nervously at the dead bodies.

"Yes General," came the reply from the men.

"Commanders you will report to me tomorrow with a complete count of soldiers in your legions. I want to know about injuries and deaths. You have until sunset tomorrow to complete your assignments. Everyone dismissed and go back to camp now!"

Destiny watched as the troops turned around and began the trip back to camp then turned her horse around and rode in a different direction. She urged the chestnut stallion into a gallop and rode hard toward the amazon camp. Maybe there she would find solace.

She was tired of the death and wondered why she had been given such a birthright. As soon as Athens fell she would be onto her next conquests, Egypt, Britannia and Gaul. Then she would have divine help and not have to carry the burden on her shoulders. It was what her Mother planned for her.


Destiny walked her horse through the dense forest, giving the steed a chance to cool down after the long hard ride. She listened as the guards announced her arrival through a variety of bird whistles then stopped with her hands clasped over her head in the customary sign of peace.

Three warriors fell from the trees masks made with brightly colored bird feathers covering their faces. One by one they removed their masks bowing in respect to the blood soaked warrior. "Relax. I'm not here on business," replied Destiny. The amazons stood up and walked with Destiny through the forest to the village.

A full blue moon illuminated the peaceful village, quiet during the late evening hour. Destiny was escorted to the queen's hut, her arrival announced before she entered the building.

Varia watched silently as the weary brunette entered the hut, bloodstains dried across her battle dress and body. "You look like hell," stated Varia as she clasped the warrior's arm.

"I feel worse than I look," answered Destiny, a tired grin on her face.

"What brings you here so late?" asked the queen.

"I'm sure you've heard news of the battle already," answered Destiny.

"Yes. I am sure it's just a setback," replied Varia.

"Yes, just a setback," repeated Destiny staring aimlessly past the queen. Several long moments of silence passed.

Varia recognized the vacant look of her friend. Years of endless fighting seemed to be tearing away at her soul piece by piece. "I take it you're not here to recount the details of the battle," Varia said quietly interrupting the uneasy silence.

Destiny's eyes blinked twice as she refocused her attention to the tall brunette standing before her. "Onto plan B. Roman soldiers will be passing through the forest in a couple of days. I want you to assure them a safe passage."

"It will be done. Is there anything else I should know?" asked Varia.

"Xena and Gabrielle were spotted in Egypt. I expect them in Greece any day now. You should expect to hear from them soon." Destiny paused, her eyes void of expression. "How will you handle them?"

"Gabrielle is a queen and Xena is a friend to the nation. They are welcome at the village."

"Xena is a Greek and will fight for Athens if she reaches the city in time." Destiny glared intensely at the amazon queen.

"What are you asking me to do?" asked Varia tentatively.

"Who are you loyal to Varia?" Destiny stood inches away from the tall brunette's face, her eyes never leaving the queen's.

Varia bowed her head in respect. "I am loyal to you."

"Good. Then I will leave instructions with Myrene before I go."

"Do you plan to kill Xena?"

Destiny turned away from her before answering. "One of us must die. Gabrielle will not be harmed."

Destiny turned around to look at Varia's expression, blue eyes filled with melancholy. "Is there anything else?" asked Varia.

Destiny lowered her head looking at the floorboards.

"You could have sent a messenger Destiny. Please talk to me. I know you didn't ride all this way to take a bath, which you need I might add."

Destiny looked up a small grin lighting her face for a moment. "I guess I just needed to see a friendly face," answered Destiny, her eyes filling with tears as the events of the day caught up with her. Varia moved toward the smaller brunette embracing her with strong arms as the woman cried softly on her shoulder.

"I'm tired of killing," she whispered. Varia continued to hold the distraught woman, offering words to console her. After several minutes Destiny broke the embrace and collected herself, wiping the tears from her eyes. "You know if you ever tell anyone about these visits I will have to kill you," she stated a devilish grin on her face.

"You have my word. One day you might even talk to me," replied Varia.

"Yes and maybe one day the killing will stop." Tired eyes focused sharply on the tall brunette. "I have one more request before I leave."

"Go on."

"Ravenna will lead the amazon legion into battle. Have her report to my camp tomorrow. She has already been given her instructions."

"I can wake her if you wish."

"No need. But you should know if I do not succeed in killing Xena she is to give the order to shoot to kill."

"Please Destiny I can't ask the amazons to kill Xena," pleaded Varia.

"The order must be carried out," demanded Destiny as she walked to the door and opened it. "As I stated earlier one of us must die. The fate of the nation is on the line. Make sure she carries out the order." Destiny was on her horse and galloping out of the village before Varia could register a response. Destiny continued on only stopping to give Myrene final instructions when she reached the last guard post before leaving amazon territory.


Destiny reached the war camp as the first rays of the morning sun peaked above the horizon, her body tired and caked with the day's blood as a reminder of her failure. She sat atop the chestnut horse watching as the camp began to show signs of daily life. She could fight wild tigers, take on one hundred elite soldiers and fight the best of the gladiators without fear but when it came to facing the disappointment in her mother's face her courage dissipated with each step as she drew nearer to the main tent. Tentatively she strolled into the tent. Her mother sat behind her desk watching as her only daughter walked through the door.

"Where have you been?" asked Hope irritation in her voice.

"I had business to finish up at the village mother," responded Destiny.

"Your business is here Destiny. Father is most unhappy with you."

"And you mother. Are you unhappy with me?"

"Father will not wait any longer Destiny. I need those soldiers," answered Hope ignoring the derogatory remark.

"Yes mother. It will be done. I give you my word. A message has been sent to Antony for reinforcements. They will be traveling through amazon territory. I went to Varia to notify her of the developments."

"You should have sent a scout. I need you here."

"Romans on Amazon land mother. I felt it was important enough to prepare her in person. I can't afford any more problems."

"Very well. How soon will they be here?"

"Antony should be here shortly to go over the battle plans. His troops should arrive within three days."

"We can't lose this battle Destiny. The consequences are unacceptable."

"We won't mother. Even if the warrior princess shows up we will be able to defeat the Athenian army on numbers alone. I will personally take care of her in battle when the need arises."

"What happened on that battlefield? You told me the plan would work."

"I also said it was risky mother. We should have waited for Antony's forces. Too many men lost their lives."

"And yet I have no sacrifices for Dahak. Why is that?" hissed Hope.

"I barely got my men out alive. I am not going to risk their lives to save the dead," yelled Destiny.

"So we have to rely on Rome."

"Yes mother. Their legions are stronger. It will take longer to accomplish our goal but fewer lives will be lost."

"I don't care about the losses. What will this alliance cost us?"

"For now Rome," answered Destiny trying to hide the disgust on her face. "It is a minor setback. I can be very persuasive you know."

"How can you be so sure of Antony's loyalty?"

"I will accept his offer of marriage. He will not betray me."

"Destiny marriage to Rome is not part of the plan."

"He's a good man mother."

"Don't let your emotions get in the way of your duty."

"I won't mother. I am allowed a little bit of fun aren't I?"

"Just make sure your fun doesn't sidetrack you."

"I will. When the time is right he will be gone."

"Good girl. Has there been any word that Xena is in Greece now?"

"As of today no but I have scouts in the field who have yet to report. They were spotted in Egypt several days ago."

"Notify me immediately when they arrive."

"I will mother," answered Destiny rolling her eyes as she spoke, a very droll expression on her face. Years of death and destruction had blackened her heart.

"I worry about you. The fire is gone from your eyes. I need you ready to win at all costs. You cannot be complacent."

"Mother I just need some sleep. I have been on a horse for several hours. Nothing more."

"You're my daughter. I can't help but worry."

"Is there anything else?"

"No. A bath has been drawn in your tent. Go wash up and get some rest. You look awful."

"Thank you for the commentary," hissed Destiny.

A knock was heard at the door and a young scout walked into the tent. She handed Destiny two scrolls before she was dismissed. Destiny opened the first scroll a grin forming as she read the contents.

"Good news I take it," stated Hope as she watched her daughter read the note.

"It appears Antony is already here." Destiny grinned, thoughts of the handsome dark general invading her thoughts.

"Don't let love get in our way daughter."

Destiny looked at her mother dismayed by the accusation. "I just need to relieve a little tension mother, nothing more." She opened the second scroll and read it. An evil grin appeared on her face. "It seems as though you have been kidnapped mother," stated Destiny, a feral look in her eyes. "I must go save you."

"Xena and Gabrielle are finally in Greece," responded Hope.

Destiny continued reading the scroll. "They were captured in Egypt. A representative has been sent to negotiate your release."

"Perfect. This will change our plans. Athens can wait," stated Hope.

Destiny's eyes became dark as anger built up inside of her. "No. I have worked too long and too hard for this mother. Athens is surrounded. Their water supply has been cut off, their food supply poisoned and after tomorrow their fountains will be contaminated. They will be forced to come out and fight us. With Antony's forces we will crush them," she yelled her hand balled into a fist as it came down hard onto the desk in front of her mother.

Hope stood up defiantly looking intensely into the eyes of the small brunette, emerald eyes dark with rage. "This is not a game! Do as you are told."

"I was told to conquer Athens and I will. If I am to defeat the warrior princess I will do it on the battle field with honor."

"This isn't about honor. Do not make father angry Destiny. The consequences will not be good!"

"When she has been defeated in battle I will earn the respect of those conquered and they will bow at my feet under my rule. Accept the terms mother."

"Now is not the time to be insubordinate!"

"You created me mother. Accept it!" yelled Destiny before storming out of the tent. As she stomped through the camp soldiers cleared a pathway careful to stay out of the emotional leader's way. She stood in front of her tent taking deep breaths to contain her anger, driving the monster back into its lair.

The flap of the tent opened revealing the majestic form of the Roman. He was six feet tall with dark bronzed skin, a thick muscular build, short brown hair and large brown eyes.

"Your bath awaits you my love," Antony whispered his voice low and seductive.

Destiny put her hands in front of her to push the large man away as he attempted to kiss her. "You really don't want to touch me yet," she whispered looking down at her blood stained body.

"Not your blood I hope," he replied moving to the side to allow Destiny into the tent. Inside a servant was emptying hot water into a second tub.

"You must have seen me ride in," quipped Destiny as she began to remove her armor. Antony quickly came to her side.

"Here let me help you," he husked removing the gold armor from her dress and swiftly removing the garment and armaments adorning her body. Destiny sat down on the floor and watched the handsome dark man as he unlaced her boots and slipped them off of her feet. When he finished he handed the uniform and armor to the servant with instructions to have them cleaned.

Antony offered his hand to Destiny and helped her to her feet, leading her over to the first tub. Destiny stepped in immersing herself under the water. By the time she broke through the surface the water had turned a deep crimson from the dried blood. Antony offered his hand escorting her into the second tub filled with steaming water placing her in front of him.

"This feels nice," purred Destiny leaning back into the powerful chest of the Roman.

"I will make you feel even better," Antony whispered into her ear as strong hands reached in front caressing firm breasts.

"Don't stop," she moaned leaning her head back to kiss the handsome man. She sighed after breaking the contact. "I failed Antony."

"You lost one battle but you will win the war."

"That battle should never have been fought. I should have waited."

"Destiny it was a good plan. If your men had listened to your command you would have won," defended Antony.

"A lot of men died because of me," started Destiny.

"It's war darling. Rule number one people die. Rule two, you can't change rule number one."

"Doesn't mean I have to like it."

"I know. That's one of the many reasons why I love you."

Destiny turned around in the water leaning with her arms on either side of Antony. "And here I thought you just wanted me for my body," she purred before claiming supple lips, her tongue demanding entry. Antony's hands reached around her back, stroking the soft golden skin.

"You know I'm in love with you," he replied breathlessly.

"Yes I do," answered Destiny her lips brushing across the coarse bronze skin of his neck.

"Have you thought more of my proposal?" asked Antony moaning from the erotic touch of the small brunette.

"Yes," she replied in between kisses as she worked her way down to his chest licking droplets of water from the sensitive skin.

"Yes you've thought about it or yes is your answer?" he asked as large hands enveloped her head tilting it upward.

Destiny looked into his soft brown eyes. "Yes is my answer."

Antony pulled her toward him kissing her fervently. "Soon you shall be Empress of Rome."

"And conqueror of Greece," she added. "I will be needing your troops. Will that be a problem?"

"They will be here in two days providing we can travel through amazon territory."

"Already done. After tomorrow night the Athenians will no longer have water and will be forced into battle." Destiny straddled his stomach lowering herself onto his hard muscular body.

"How will you manage that?"

"The how is my little secret. I will poison the fountains located in the middle of the city. The river has already been stopped. Now no more talk," she purred pressing her lips to his.


One dozen Egyptian soldiers sat atop their mounts surrounding the warrior princess and the bard as the sun began its decent from the sky. Bakare sat atop his steed at the front of the group waiting patiently for word from Destiny's war camp. Xena continued to work quietly at releasing her hands from the chains that held her arms captive behind her back as a hawk flew over the area. The majestic bird was very vocal as it made it's way over the trees lining the open road, soaring past the negotiating party and disappearing into the trees a distance in front of the waiting Egyptians.

Moments later the sound of thundering hooves was heard as a white stallion charged forward carrying the figure of a small dark warrior. Destiny came to a halt several paces in front of Bakare her eyes taking quick inventory of the men in front of her. Feral green eyes glared intensely into the eyes of the Egyptian leader. "You must be Bakare."

"Yes and you are," started Bakare.

"The representative you wish to speak with," answered Destiny.

"I was expecting the amazon princess Destiny," he replied.

"Then you should get to know your enemies better," she spat offended that the leader would not recognize her. Bakare watched her looking up and down at the person before him. Destiny was dressed in her black battle dress trimmed with gold armor. "You were expecting an amazon perhaps or at least you believe this is not how an amazon dresses."

"How do I know you are here on Destiny's behalf?" asked Bakare.

"You will just have to trust me. Why else would I be here?" she asked careful not to allow her enemy to see the royal mark on her leg. "What is your business?"

"We have the amazon queen as stated in our message to the princess."

"I can only see Egyptian soldiers. Perhaps you should show me who it is you think you have," Destiny said her voice steady and in control.

"As you wish," replied Bakare as he motioned to his soldiers. The line of men on horseback parted as two horses carrying the warrior princess and bard were led toward the front of the line. The soldiers took their positions on either side of the women as Destiny walked her horse a few paces forward.

She stared at the legendary figures before her looking into pale blue eyes trying to contain her stoic appearance. Xena was every bit the impressive presence the legends had made her out to be. Gabrielle was an exact replica of her mother only her eyes were warm and inviting, not cold and emotionless like her mother's eyes.

"Well it appears you do have an amazon queen," she stated a devilish glint in her eyes. "You could have saved us all some time Bakare if you had simply asked if she has a daughter named Destiny."

Bakare became very nervous noting the cold hostile eyes of the small brunette in front of him. "A question she would surely have lied about."

"No she looks like the honest type to me. But Destiny is not her daughter and therefore we have no reason to negotiate," answered Destiny as she nonchalantly backed her horse up. "Kill her if you like," she added preparing to turn around.

"Of course she's the amazon queen!" shouted Bakare.

Destiny turned to face the Egyptian commander, a menacing look on her face. "Are you the best Egypt has to offer?"

"We are the Pharaoh's elite," he answered.

"Then Egypt shall be quite easy to conquer," she hissed. "Know your enemy Bakare. If she were who you claim her to be she would be wearing my insignia. Do you see my mark on her back?"

Bakare shifted uncomfortably in his saddle looking quizzically over at Gabrielle as the words sunk in then looked back at Destiny. Her horse was now positioned to the side exposing the majestic mark of the tiger above her boots signifying her position as the leader of the Amazons.

"Positions men!" he shouted as his soldiers lined up next to him, crossbows loaded and ready pointing toward Destiny. Destiny shifted her eyes forward to address the Egyptian leader green eyes growing black as the monster awoke from its nap. "I think we can come to a more reasonable conclusion. I'm sure your mother will be willing to negotiate for the life of her daughter, Destiny."

"You know who I am," answered Destiny coyly. With skilled fingers she reached for the bow attached to the saddle, stringing a single arrow and pointing it directly at Bakare. "Are you ready to die Bakare?" Cold stones of peridot stared fearlessly at her intended victim.

"If you kill me my soldiers will kill you and then they will kill Xena and the amazon queen. Are you ready to make that sacrifice?" asked Bakare believing he was in control of the situation.

"I don't care about them. In fact if you don't kill the warrior princess, I will eventually," answered Destiny her eyes quickly averting toward the warrior and bard before settling back on the commander's gaze. "Only you will die then your soldiers one by one because I will kill them."

"Listen little girl. You are outnumbered. Put your weapon down," cried Bakare.

"Oh now you're just making me mad," hissed Destiny as the monster jumped forward. "Go ahead. Take your chances!" Two arrows rose from her quiver and sailed swiftly through the air taking down the guards closest to Xena and Gabrielle.

Bakare motioned for his men to attack as he ducked below his horse's head to avoid the arrow pointed his way. Six crossbows were engaged sending arrows directly toward the angry brunette. Destiny watched as the leader cowered behind his horse, pointing her weapon instead toward the guard flanking Bakare and firing as the six arrows stopped in mid air and dropped in front of her. With lightning speed she restrung the bow shooting five more arrows, each one hitting it's mark and killing its intended victim.

The rear guards burst forward on their horses charging the white stallion, swords up. Destiny reached for her swords, one in each hand and met the challenge, taking the first two guards out by impaling them each with her weapons. Left unarmed two guards released crossbows aimed at her chest. Destiny caught both arrows in her hands and charged the guards reloading their weapons. Before they were successful she jabbed the projectiles into their necks and watched as they slid from their horses. The last guard turned in retreat galloping away as fast as he could. Bakare turned to follow but was stopped as the small brunette leaped from her horse onto his back tackling him to the ground. Before he could defend himself strong arms encased his neck snapping it like a twig.

Destiny pulled a key out of the slain leader's pocket and picked herself up from the ground watching the dust fly as the only survivor continued his escape. She brushed the dirt from her body and walked up to the warrior princess and bard staring intently as she tossed a key to Xena. Xena responded by catching the key in one hand her eyes never leaving those of the small warrior standing in front of her.

"You might want to release your friend," stated Destiny a smirk forming on her lips. Xena led her horse closer to Gabrielle and released the chains holding her hands while Destiny walked over to Bakare's horse rummaging through the saddlebag. After a few moments she pulled Xena's chakram out of the bag admiring the beauty of the weapon. She walked nonchalantly over to Xena and held the item in front of her. "I do believe this belongs to you," she stated as the warrior princess took the proffered gift.

"Who are you?" asked Gabrielle.

"A little slow on the uptake arentcha?" asked Destiny winking at the amazon queen, sarcasm dripping from her words. "I am crushed. You don't see the family resemblance? Oh that's right, they say I look more like my Father." She paused for several moments watching the two women look uncomfortably ahead. "I am Destiny."

Moments of silence passed as Xena and Gabrielle looked at each other, puzzled expressions on their faces. Destiny gazed at them before jumping into a backwards somersault and landing in the saddle of her horse. "Well if you'll excuse me," she started as she gathered the reins into her hands. "I'm rather busy now, lands to conquer and all," she added sarcastically as she directed her horse around. "Yah." Horse and rider galloped away before Xena or Gabrielle could respond to her admission.

Gabrielle kicked the sides of her horse urging it forward in pursuit.

"Gabrielle wait!" yelled Xena.

Gabrielle came to an abrupt halt looking back at her partner. "Xena we have to go after her."

"Let her go. You've seen what she's capable of," answered Xena.

"That's why we have to go after her."

"Gabrielle she's smart. If we go blindly after her she might lead us into a trap."

"So what do you suggest?"

"First these men deserve a proper funeral. I suggest we find a safe place and set up camp. After we take care of these men we need to visit her campsite. I heard the men talking on the ship. They said she has Athens surrounded. We'll start there. Afterward we'll pay a little visit to Varia. Hopefully Carminius was able to get into the city. If so he will be looking for us at the village."

"Xena she looked at me as if she recognized me."

"Apparently you look just like her mother, enough to convince those soldiers."

"Meg and Diana looked just like you. I guess I could have a double in Greece."

"You don't really believe that do you?" asked Xena.

"Xena Hope is dead. She's been dead for almost thirty years."

"So we thought. You saw those arrows fly. Hope used the same powers."

"If you're right that would make Destiny," began Gabrielle.

"Your granddaughter," finished Xena.

Gabrielle looked at her soulmate, emerald green eyes filling with tears. "I don't think I can go through this again," she whispered.

"Gabrielle we won't let Athens fall and if she is your granddaughter I will make sure she isn't harmed." Xena gently placed one hand on Gabrielle's knee to console her.

"Not harmed? Xena we have to stop her whatever the cost. She's more dangerous then Hope ever was."

"She's dangerous I'll give her that. But Hope was motivated by evil. That woman isn't."

"How can you say she's not evil? She just killed eleven men like it was a typical day of work."

"For her it was. Look we need to find out more about her in order to defeat her so don't rush to any conclusions just yet."

"So we gather information about her and find her weakness. Then we can destroy her."

"Yes but I think we can protect Athens without killing her."

"Why not just kill her?"

"Because she might just be your granddaughter."

"So. Hope was my daughter."

"Look I can't change the past but if she is your granddaughter I think she is worth saving. Just leave it at that. Now come on. Let's get going. We have a lot of work to do." Gabrielle nodded as the two warriors began their task to honor the dead soldiers.


Destiny walked cautiously into the tent. Her heart was racing as the small blonde stood up from behind her desk and approached her. "Hello Mother. I see you've dealt with Hector," stated Destiny referring to the man on the cross in front of the camp.

"And I gather you rescued me," replied Hope a droll look on her face as she looked up at her daughter.

"Of course mother. I wouldn't let any harm come to you."

"So where are they?"

"Probably setting up a funeral pyre for those unfortunate Egyptians."

"You let them go?" asked Hope angrily.

"I told you mother I will kill Xena in battle. As for Gabrielle, well I don't think she was in the mood for a family reunion just yet," answered Destiny sarcastically.

"You could have killed her tonight Destiny. Why didn't you?"

"Life is a journey mother. It's not all about the destination so let me enjoy the ride for now," answered Destiny defiantly, her legs trembling with fear as she awaited the wrath of the demigoddess before her.

"Daughter this is not a game. Her blood will bring the glory of Dahak. With Father's help Athens could be crushed like a bug."

"And how will I rule if I can't defeat them on my own?"

"With an iron fist," spat Hope, green eyes dark with anger.

"I cannot rule without respect. The Roman legions are on their way. Athens will fall under my hand." Destiny stood tall exuding confidence as she spoke.

"You know what will happen if you don't succeed this time," replied Hope, compassion clouding her eyes. "Why are you taking such a risk?"

"You said it was my destiny Mother," she answered quietly, her head bowed, eyes searching the floor as she spoke.

"Will you be able to kill Xena when the time comes?"

Destiny's eyes shot up to look into her mother's eyes. "Of course I will mother. She is my enemy," she replied trying desperately to be convincing.

Hope looked at her daughter with pleading eyes. She could see the pain etched on Destiny's face. "Go now. Antony is waiting for you in your tent. You two have much to discuss."

Destiny nodded her head as she walked toward the door, her mother's eyes following her as she walked. Hope sat down at her desk, deep in thought. No matter how hard she tried she could not dim the light in her daughter's heart and she feared it would result in her own destruction.

She tried to remember when Destiny became more important in her life than her Father's wishes. When Destiny was a child she cared for her and raised her to be a warrior, careful not to coddle her with love. She stayed distant knowing her young charge would only grow stronger without the crazy notion of love. Destiny could defeat any person living as a warrior but in her heart she knew the young woman despised killing. Hope shook the thoughts from her head and went back to the scroll she was writing.


Destiny peaked into the entrance of her tent. She looked longingly at the handsome Roman laying on the pillows waiting for her. He lay with his back to the entrance. Destiny walked quietly behind him, a dagger drawn as she approached. With the silence and agility of a leopard, she pounced on him, the dagger at his throat. "Never trust anyone," she whispered into his ear.

Antony froze as the cool blade made contact with his skin. "I am at your mercy."

"Yes you are," she purred. "Now what should I do with you?" She pushed the dark man onto his back, straddling his waist.

"My sword is at your service my lady."

Destiny placed the dagger into her cleavage and placed her hands onto her captive's chest, caressing the strong muscles through his shirt. "Then service me," she said breathlessly as she leaned toward the dark man's head brushing her lips with his and demanding entry with her tongue. Antony responded by opening his mouth, inviting the sweet taste of his love in with a passionate kiss.


Xena and Gabrielle crouched on top of the grassy ridge over looking the massive war camp set up by Destiny's army. A long wooden stake with a human head impaled on top was placed in front of each group of tents. A cross bearing the broken body of a soldier was placed near the main entrance leading into the camp.

"Xena I have a really bad feeling about this," stated Gabrielle. "What kind of woman could be so cruel?" Gabrielle cringed as soon as she said the words remembering the story of Xena's conquests while traveling with Borias. "Sorry," she muttered.

"Don't be. I did the same thing in Chin. Her camp is even set up like mine," answered Xena. "We need to find out more information about her."

"If you have any questions you should just ask," came a low voice from the trees. Xena and Gabrielle jumped up to look around. Within moments a small dark brunette somersaulted out of the tree behind them and landed onto the ground. She was wearing brown suede amazon leathers with a quiver of bows on her back and a sword sheathed on her right shoulder. Her pale green eyes watched with intensity as the two legendary figures stared at her, weapons ready. "What's the matter? Cat got your tongue?" she purred. "Its not nice to come in unannounced."

"Are you really Destiny, the leader of this army?" asked Xena.

"I've already answered that question. What's wrong? Am I not what you expected?" asked Destiny as the monster lifted up his head ready to pounce.

"Well actually you are kind of small to be leading such a large army," Xena chimed in, a sneer on her face.

Destiny's face turned red as the rage boiled within. Two arrows rose from their quiver and raced through the air toward the warrior princess who caught them before they found their mark. Both dark warriors ran toward each other their swords drawn as metal clanged against metal and a battle ensued. They fought hard searching for an opening in their enemy's defenses. Each thrust by the warrior princess was parried by the small brunette's sword. After several attempts in a matter of seconds Xena swung her sword through the middle hoping to catch Destiny off guard. Destiny anticipated the move leaping high into the air above the sword twisting in mid air and catching Xena in the face with a side blade kick sending the warrior flying backwards onto the ground.

She was faced with the battling bard as she landed. Gabrielle landed a left punch to her stomach followed by a right to her head sending the small woman to the ground.

A low menacing growl came out of Destiny's mouth as Gabrielle stood over her ready to land a fatal blow. Pale green eyes burned into emerald as the sais fell from the bard's hands. Destiny placed her hands behind her pushing herself from the ground and flipping backwards out of the blonde's reach as Xena ran toward her partner.

"I don't want to fight you," hissed Destiny.

Gabrielle picked up her weapons and started to walk forward, anger on her face. "Then this will be an easy fight for me."

Xena grabbed her by the shoulder. "Wait. Can't we try talking first?"

Destiny watched both figures, her sword now in a ready position, her eyes dark green with anger, and a feral grin on her face. "Fight, talk, it really doesn't matter to me." Destiny's tone was condescending.

Gabrielle's emerald green eyes looked like fire as the rage inside of her built. "Fight."

"Talk," Xena answered in unison with Gabrielle.

Destiny laughed at the two women, a smug look on her face. "Do you guys always agree like this? Which is it?"

"I'd like to wipe that smug grin off your face right now," answered Gabrielle, pointing at the small brunette.

"Oh now we act matronly. Little late dontcha think?"

"Gabrielle, calm down. Don't let her get to you. That's her game," interjected Xena.

"You should know princess. You were a great teacher," purred Destiny.

Xena's face turned cold at the term princess. She took several deep breaths to calm herself before replying. "Today you mentioned a family resemblance. What did you mean?"

"Is this where we have that little family chat?" she asked with a mocking tone. "I won't talk with weapons drawn."

Xena and Gabrielle looked at each other and nodded, then put their weapons away. "Will you talk now?" asked Gabrielle.

"As you wish," answered Destiny placing her sword back in its sheath.

Three warriors stared at each other silently. After several moments a very impatient Xena spoke. "Are you going to answer my question?"

Destiny smirked, toying with her guests. "What question was that princess?"

Xena's eyebrows furrowed. "You're not going to make this easy are you?"

"Where would the fun be in that?" asked Destiny.

"Who are you?" asked Gabrielle frustrated by the small brunette's conduct.

"I told you. I am Destiny," she answered giggling at the agitation she was providing. Like a cat with a toy she loved the game.

Xena took a few more deep breaths, running her tongue over her teeth trying to stay calm. "Who are you related to?"

"Why Gabrielle of course. Where do you think I got my lovely size from?" she replied, a sarcastic grin on her face.

"How are we related?" asked Gabrielle.

"Finally you get to the point," she teased. I am the granddaughter of the one true God Dahak. My Mother is Hope and I am the Destroyer. Any questions?" Gabrielle and Xena stood in stunned silence at the admission as Destiny continued to grin back, a devilish glint in her eye. "See something you don't like looking back at you grandmother?" asked Destiny mockingly.

"I don't believe you," replied Gabrielle as she fought to keep her feet planted on the ground.

"Fine," answered Destiny backing away as she watched the stoic expression of Xena change to complete astonishment. "What's the matter princess? I'm not the insidious creature you expected?"

"Hope has been dead for a long time," Xena said calmly.

"Oh that's right. You tricked my brother into killing her." Destiny paused for effect before continuing. "How many times have you been dead Xena? Remember Grandfather is a God. I won't be so easily tricked," answered Destiny with a menacing growl. "I was raised as a mortal. I know the value of a life."

"Tell that to the nine soldiers hanging in front of your camp," interjected Gabrielle.

"You know nothing of me!" shouted Destiny, her eyes burning with rage at the accusation. Her body tensed as Gabrielle walked toward her.

" Heads on a stick. Nice touch. Only pure evil could have such results."

"I am not evil!" demanded Destiny. "I am a warrior, nothing more. Those men betrayed me! You know about betrayal dontcha Xena?"

Xena walked toward the two small women, her hands ready to draw her weapons. "Yes, I know about betrayal," she answered quietly. "It will blacken your heart."

"Or it will make you stronger. Rome is mine. Athens is next. It is my destiny." Xena watched as the young woman talked, noting the expression in her eyes as she fought to remain focused.

"To murder innocent people," hissed Gabrielle standing face to face. Xena stood next to Gabrielle, her hand over her chakram ready to protect her soul mate.

"I am not a murderer!" screamed Destiny as she backed away from the small blonde, her hands balled in fists as her body shook with tremors from her rage. "This is my path, to conquer and destroy. It has been chosen for me and I will triumph!"

"You are just like your mother. No will of your own. There is no triumph in blood shed!" Gabrielle said her voice quaking with anger.

Destiny's breathing sped up as she listened to the words of her grandmother. "Don't you dare judge me. I have my own will, the will to survive. Where were you when I was growing up?"

"I have been fighting for the greater good and I will bring evil like you down."

"You don't get it do you? This is the greater good. I am fighting evil. I have seen things, been through things that would make even you and your warrior princess cringe. And I have taken down the evil that was present. I won't stop until I have finished."

"Not without a fight!" yelled Gabrielle.

"If you're not with me than you're against me." Destiny whistled sharply. A white horse came galloping forward stopping several feet behind Destiny. "I will see you on the battlefield. It is my destiny to kill you Xena. Ready to lose your head again princess?" she added dryly as she somersaulted backward onto the waiting mount. Xena watched the woman with questioning eyes. "It's my job to know my enemies. This area will be swarming with warriors any moment. I suggest you two not stick around for very long." Destiny jabbed her legs into the sides of the horse and rode off as warrior and bard stared silently at the disappearing figure on horseback.

She rode hard until she was well out of sight from the warrior princess and the bard. After dismounting her horse she changed forms and took flight landing on the branch of a tree within sight of the secret passageway leading into the city and waited patiently.

Eventually the door opened up revealing a tall Greek man with curly brown hair. She watched as he crawled out of the small space and left the city. When he was out of sight she changed forms, taking on the figure of the tall young man she had just seen.

"So this is what it feels like to be a man," she whispered to herself, taking note of the various new body parts. Quickly she opened the door and climbed in. Her objective would be accomplished within a few short minutes.


Gabrielle and Xena stood for a few moments before talking.

"Xena," started Gabrielle.

"Let's go Gabrielle. It's not safe here. We can talk later." The two women took off through the forest, not stopping until they were a safe distance from the war camp. Gabrielle leaned her head against a tree. The thought of Hope still being alive left her with a flood of horrible memories as she fought valiantly to control the contents of her stomach. Xena walked behind her and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Hey, it's gonna be okay," she whispered.

"Okay," yelled Gabrielle as she turned to look into the azure eyes of her partner. "Hope is alive and her daughter is just as evil. You saw her Xena. She was just toying with us. How do we defeat that?"

"Like we always have. With love," answered Xena, trying to reassure her partner.

"Xena you can't defeat evil with love every time. She's more of a threat than Hope ever was. She has god like powers and she can fight as well as you."

"She's not like Hope."

"What?" asked an exasperated Gabrielle.

"Didn't you see it in her eyes? She's tough but evil is not her inspiration."

"Xena I can't go through this again," cried Gabrielle, tears flooding emerald green eyes. "You saw the carnage at the campsite. We have to destroy them both now!"

"You're right. We have to stop her but Gabrielle I saw something in her eyes. She was giving us clues. I think she wants us to stop her."

"Why? You heard her. This is her destiny. I will kill her with my own hands if I have to."

"No you won't. It's me she wants. She won't even fight you."

"Even better Xena."

"Gabrielle don't you see? She fights with honor. That's not exactly evil."

"What do you suggest?"

"Know your enemy. We need to find out more information about her before we can fight her and I think I know exactly who to start with."

"Ares?" asked Gabrielle.

Xena nodded and walked a few feet away calling the war god's name. Within moments a brilliant light was seen as the God of War stood before them. "Xena it's so nice to see you again and with your head attached." Ares looked over to Gabrielle. "Gabrielle what's wrong? You look like you've seen a ghost. Or should I say the daughter of a ghost?."

Gabrielle looked over at the God of War glaring into his eyes, her anger re-igniting.

"Enough Ares!" demanded Xena. "What's going on?"

"War Xena. Isn't it fabulous? You can't win this time Xena. She will kill you."

"I'll take my chances. What's in it for you?'

"Xena don't you think these wars are enough for me? It's given me my immortality back. So much blood shed. It really is a thing of beauty," teased the dark god.

"How long have you been involved Ares?" asked Xena.

"It doesn't matter Xena. I've finally found a warrior who can defeat you."

"For Dahak? Why?"

"Because Dahak is stronger than all of us, even that god your daughter works for. Destiny was trained to be you and I must say she is magnificent even if she is a bit on the small side. She has fire just like you had when you were under my wing. And just between you and me," he whispered into Xena's ear, "She is hot."

Xena rolled her eyes as she listened to the war god's words, disgust clouding her eyes. "What does she want with Athens?" she asked.

"Just another land to conquer. Hope is quite the proud mother you know," he answered looking at Gabrielle with a twinkle in his eye. "Roman legions are on their way as we speak. It's just a matter of days before Athens falls. And she will rule as my warrior queen."

"Why is Rome involved with this?" asked Xena.

"Because a certain Roman general is quite smitten by her charms," answered the war god. He paused waiting for Xena to comment. "Oops you didn't know. Antony is the Roman commander. They will be married after this battle and eventually they will rule Rome together as it is her birthright. She knows how to use men to her advantage. She learned from the best."

"Who did she learn from?"

"Why you of course. Hope taught her to be just like you. Oh by the way, thank you Gabrielle," he teased, a gleam in his eye.

"What does Gabrielle have to do with any of this?"

"Everything she learned came from those scrolls you wrote," he answered pointing a finger at Gabrielle. "Thank you for being so thorough with your journals," he added laughing.

"Hope has my scrolls. How did they fall into her hands?"

"You might want to ask your amazons that. Well I should get going. I have a war to watch."

"Wait," started Xena. "You mentioned Antony. He's dead."

"His father is dead," answered Ares. Xena looked at him with shock on her face. "Antony was married to Octavia before he fell to Cleopatra making Augustus young Antony's uncle. He looks just like his father did. Anymore questions before I leave?"

"Yes, I have one," interjected Gabrielle. "Who is Destiny's Father?"

" Oh that one you'll have to figure out on your own," mocked Ares. "Her name is Destiny," he added and with a brilliant flash of light he was gone.

"Caesar," whispered Xena.

"Did I hear your right Xena?" asked Gabrielle.

"Her name is Destiny," answered Xena as she turned to face Gabrielle placing strong arms on her soul mate's shoulders. "It fits. Ares just might have given us the bargaining chip we can use with Antony."

Gabrielle looked into intense blue eyes as she pondered the information. "Do you think Antony knows about her parentage?"

"We'll have to find out but if he's anything like his father he will feel threatened by an alliance with a member of Caesar's family. Come on; let's go talk to Varia. Maybe she can give us some answers," replied Xena as the two began their trek to the amazon village.


Destiny walked quietly into the tent waiting for Hope to look up. "Hello Mother."

"Once again you had the chance to kill Xena. Why didn't you?"

"This argument is getting old mother. I have things in control."

"This is not a game!" shouted Hope smashing her fist into the desktop.

"Yes it is a game mother! And I'm winning."

"You're winning? Don't forgot who put you in this position!"

"Thank you mother for restoring my birthright!" hissed Destiny. "I'm the one leading this army. It's me out there every day fighting for the glory of Dahak," she added pointing angrily toward the door.

Hope stood toe to toe with Destiny. "Don't you forget who taught you everything you know little girl." Destiny cowered at her mother's fees as cold complacent eyes stared back at her.

"I won't mother." Destiny lowered her head sheepishly. "I will destroy her on the battle field."

"Good girl," replied Hope. "Were you successful last night?"

"Yes mother. The fountains have been contaminated. The Spartans will block the advancement of the Athenian naval forces and Antony will send reinforcements to the front line. We just have to wait for them to arrive."

"Go now. We will talk later." Destiny nodded her head and walked out of the tent.


Xena and Gabrielle reached the first of the amazon guards by dawn. Sensing them both women offered the amazon salute of peace. Six amazons came down from the trees, their faces covered by traditional amazon masks. The leader pulled her mask away from her face, brown eyes staring in disbelief at Gabrielle.

"I am Gabrielle."

Myrene looked Gabrielle up and down averting her eyes toward the tall dark warrior before replying. "I am Myrene. Varia has been expecting you," she said staring back at the small blonde, a look of wonderment on her face.

"Why is Varia expecting us?" interjected Xena.

"Let's just say she is aware of the bad blood between Queen Gabrielle and her daughter," answered the amazon.

Gabrielle's eyes grew wide as she listened to the words spoken. "Bad blood? She is the child of darkness. I would say there is more than just bad blood. She is a murderer."

"Please you will need to discuss this with the queen. Obviously you know a different Hope than I do. She is an ally to the amazons," answered Myrene.

"How can the amazons form an alliance with such evil?" asked a bewildered Gabrielle.

"Varia will explain. I will need your weapons."

"What? We are friends of the amazons. How dare you ask us for our weapons," Xena said walking angrily toward the amazon, steel blue eyes burning a hole through her.

Gabrielle put her hand on Xena's shoulders before she could move closer. "Xena stop. She's right Myrene. I am still a queen by right. Why is it necessary to ask for our weapons?"

"I mean no disrespect Queen Gabrielle. It is by order of princess Destiny. We are at war with Greece and Xena is Greek, not an amazon," replied Myrene.

Xena threw her hands up in frustration as she fought to control her anger. "Gabrielle this is ridiculous. How is Destiny an amazon princess?"

"It is complicated," answered Myrene. "Varia will address any questions you may have. Give me your weapons and you will be escorted into the village. No harm will come to you."

"How do I know that?" hissed Xena.

"The princess has ordered it to be so."

Xena shook her head at the amazon refusing to let go of her weapons. "Xena," started Gabrielle. "We need to trust the amazons. Please give her your weapons." She took out her Sais and handed them over to Myrene. Reluctantly Xena complied and followed the amazon and Gabrielle as they completed their journey to the amazon village.

Both warrior and bard were amazed as they neared the village. They were met by several warriors whom were unfamiliar to them as they walked through the forest. The amazon village was alive with a couple hundred women, many more than when they were last there with their sisters. It was reminiscent of the first time they entered the village many years earlier when Queen Melosa ruled. They followed Myrene silently into the queen's hut.

Varia stood up from her seat as her guests arrived. "Xena, Queen Gabrielle, it is good to see you," she said as she bowed in respect to Gabrielle.

"So good Varia you had to strip of us our weapons," hissed Xena.

"Xena I mean no disrespect. It came from a higher order," answered Varia.

"Varia you are the queen. Why are you taking orders from anyone?" asked Gabrielle.

Varia motioned for blonde and brunette to sit down as she began to speak. "I will answer your questions. Please sit. Myrene bring in Queen Cyane now."

Xena and Gabrielle complied and took a seat next to each other inside the hut. They waited patiently as Varia presented five goblets for drink and proceeded to serve the glasses to her guests. As the queen leaned over to pour the drinks Xena noticed the tattoo across her back, a tiger jumping through a Ring of Fire.

"I see you wear the mark of your master," Xena said with antipathy.

Varia continued her task then paused glaring at the warrior princess before taking a seat in front of her guests. "I take it Myrene has informed you of the current situation between Destiny and Athens," she stated ignoring the rude remark as the two women nodded their heads in agreement. "Did you notice anything different about the village as you walked through?"

"Yes. It has grown immensely since we were here last," answered Gabrielle.

"You can thank Destiny and Hope for that," replied Varia as she sat down in front of her guests.

"What does Hope have to do with any of this?" asked Xena. Before Varia could answer Myrene and Queen Cyane came into the tent. Cyane bowed to Gabrielle who stood up and offered the same respect to the petite blonde. All three women sat back down to finish their conversation.

"Myrene was raised in the northern amazon tribe where Hope ruled," stated Varia. "Myrene please tell our friends about your tribe."

Myrene nodded in acknowledgement and proceeded to shed some light onto the situation as Xena and Gabrielle looked on quietly. "I was ten when Gabrielle came back to our tribe. At least we all thought she was Gabrielle. The resemblance is amazing," she began looking at Gabrielle once again in disbelief. "She challenged Cyane for the mask and won, sending Cyane and a few amazons loyal to her into exile.

"A challenge is a fight to death. That's out of character for Hope," interrupted Gabrielle.

"But not out of character for you, Gabrielle," interjected Xena. "Continue Myrene."

"We were told to never speak of their tribe again. Doing so would be treason. She introduced us to her baby girl Destiny. Many members of the tribe thought the child was little Eve."

"Why would you think that?" interrupted Xena.

"We knew Gabrielle would never come back alone unless you were dead. The baby was the same age as Eve. She even looked like her with dark brown hair and pale colored eyes that changed to green as she grew up."

"How come you never asked this woman about Destiny's parentage?" asked Gabrielle.

"We knew the Olympian gods were hunting little Eve. The queen never offered us an explanation and we never asked because we were afraid in doing so we would be putting the child's life at risk," answered Myrene. "Either way we thought she was our princess by birthright or right of caste. Shall I continue?" Xena and Gabrielle nodded their heads in response. "Destiny stayed at the village and trained as a warrior, becoming our finest protector when she was still a child. She fought in her first war when she was only eleven."

"How could you let a child so young fight?" asked Xena.

"Destiny reached maturity by then. She was already taller than the queen and looked much like she does today. She was by far the strongest warrior. She killed the leader of the opposing army which lead the way to our victory."

"She lost her blood innocence at eleven?" interrupted Gabrielle stunned by the information.

"Yes," continued Myrene. "She was our protector until the queen felt we could defend ourselves and sent her away when she was twenty summers old to study in Chin, Scandinavia and finally Rome.

After three years the tribe lost contact with her. The Queen didn't find out until much later that Destiny had betrayed her commander during her tour in the Roman army. She was sold into slavery as a gladiator where she fought for three years to survive. She became a hero to the people, which did not make Augustus happy. Word came to the Queen that she had been arrested for treason against Rome and she left immediately to find her but was too late. Days before Augustus broke his engagement off to Livia it was reported that Destiny had been crucified by the Romans." Myrene stopped to take a drink from her goblet.

"She was crucified," repeated Xena, memories of her own experiences on the cross flooding her brain.

"That must be the betrayal she mentioned," added Gabrielle her eyes turning soft as she momentarily felt compassion for the small brunette. Thoughts of headless men invaded her senses turning the expression on her face cold again.

"Yes," agreed Myrene. "She hung on the cross alive for eleven days." Warrior and bard gasped as they listened to the story. "She was speared twice and on the ninth day her legs were mercifully shattered, however, by the eleventh day she was still breathing. It is said that she was given mercy and handed over to the Queen. They came back to the village several moons later. Destiny was completely healed. There were no signs of the nails in her hands and legs and her broken bones were mended. We were told that her god had rewarded her for her bravery. The only physical difference was in her eyes. The softness was gone from her expression.

Hope confessed her real identity to the tribe and asked forgiveness. She said that it was easier to assume your identity rather than explain that she was your daughter. She explained that her father was the one true god and she was sent to resurrect the amazon nation. Destiny would lead the amazons to greatness. Our numbers were in the thousands by then and she was forgiven. A regent was designated to reign over the tribe but Destiny's status as our princess and heir to the throne remains in place if Hope dies."

"You sold the amazons out. How could you forgive Hope after she admitted to being the daughter of Dahak?" asked Gabrielle.

Brown eyes turned black with anger as Myrene confronted Gabrielle. "We didn't sell out. At first we thought she spoke of the God of Eli. I grew up with Destiny. She is a true amazon. She will never let harm come to this nation. She has proven herself over and over again."

"When did you find out about Dahak?" asked Xena calmly.

"About a year ago. Destiny sent for five hundred of our warriors and asked for volunteers to come to Greece and live here with Varia. Our land was becoming crowded. More will arrive after things are settled down here."

"And the warriors. Where are they?" asked Xena.

"They fight in Destiny's army," replied Myrene.

"They fight for Dahak," spat Gabrielle. "How come we didn't hear about this from you Cyane?" she asked pointing an accusatory finger at the petite blonde.

"With respect Queen Gabrielle," began Cyane. "I only heard about Destiny when she came to us with Myrene. Most of our sisters died on that beach. It was a welcome relief to find out that we had an unknown tribe in the north. Their relationship to you was an asset."

"How could you not know about a growing tribe? I thought you amazons always stick together," interjected Xena.

"Usually we do Xena. A village elder explained to me that to speak of the tribe was treason and the only stories of Gabrielle that were allowed were the stories of your travels together," answered Cyane. "We have to think of our future now. Thanks to Hope and Destiny we have one. If they are successful the future of the amazon nation will be secure."

"How can you be so sure?" asked an exasperated Gabrielle. "She was born from evil. She will turn on you."

"No she won't," interrupted Varia. "She is loyal to the amazon nation."

"Even so Varia," started Xena. "How can you be loyal to a god like Dahak? He will only bring darkness into the world."

"Xena you have seen firsthand what the gods have done to us. Who protected us when we were being slaughtered by Bellephron? Where is Eli's god now? My first loyalty is to the nation. We will continue to be protected," answered Varia

"Varia remember what Ares tried to do to you. She's working for him. You know that can't be good," pleaded Xena.

"Ares works for Destiny. He is nothing more than a lap dog for Destiny's pleasure," answered Varia defensively. "She seems to have a thing for bad boys."

"Tell us more about Destiny. Why do you trust her so much?" asked Xena.

"I can tell you why I trust her," interrupted Myrene. Xena motioned for her to continue. "She was one of our best hunters. One day the two of us went hunting. A leopard approached above us. I never heard the beast and he pounced on me. Destiny dove forward taking the animal down before he could touch me. It was amazing. She tackled the animal and stared into his eyes until he released his grip then she started petting him. She put her life in danger to protect a sister. If you ask around you will hear more stories of her bravery."

Xena sat listening to the story, heavy in thought. Since her return from Japa her memories of that time were hazy at best. As she listened to the amazon's words she felt a sense of déjà vu but couldn't place the thoughts. It was the same feeling she had when she first set eyes upon the small amazon who introduced herself as Destiny.

Her thoughts were interrupted by Varia's voice. "Myrene, Cyane thank you for your input. I would like to speak to Xena and Gabrielle alone." Both warriors stood up and bowed then made their exit as Varia continued to speak. "Destiny is not evil."

"There are nine dead men that would disagree with you," replied Gabrielle, still unconvinced about the stories she was hearing.

"So you have already been to the war camp," answered Varia. Both women nodded. "She is a fierce leader Gabrielle. Those men disobeyed her during the campaign against Athens. She lost hundreds of men as a result."

"So she executed them and hung them up in front of the camp?" asked Xena.

"She did not execute them. Except for the leader, the man crucified, she allowed each soldier a warrior's death."

"A warrior's death?" asked Gabrielle.

"She allowed each man to battle her in a fight to the death," answered Xena. "With her skills the men didn't have a chance going one on one. It was still an execution."

"Xena, it was one against eight. Of course it still was no contest. The ninth man was taken back to Hope for judgement. She would never use a cross for punishment."

"Varia how do you know that Dahak won't betray you?" asked Gabrielle.

"We don't. I do know that as long as Destiny succeeds she will have her grandfather's favor and we will be safe. If she fails we will join the fight against Dahak but not before."

"Varia what will happen if she fails?" asked Xena.

"Dahak has already put a price on her head."

"How do you know this?" asked Gabrielle.

"She came to me after the last campaign. She was very distraught at the loss of her men. She has one last chance to succeed, either kill the warrior princess or defeat Athens. He is very arrogant and wants to come into the world in a blaze of glory through the blood of hundreds of soldiers or the blood of the most powerful warrior in the land. You Xena." The warrior princess jumped up in a defensive stance as she finished the last sentence, her eyes staring forward at her weapons on the table behind Varia.

"Relax Xena. You are safe here by the princess' orders. Please pick up your weapons if it will make you feel safer. I was going to give them back as soon as we finished our discussion." Xena walked over and picked up the weapons, put them back in their proper place and handed the Sais to Gabrielle.

"Varia you started to tell us what would happen if Destiny fails. Please continue," interrupted Gabrielle.

"If Destiny fails Dahak will seek her life blood to bring him into the world."

"He will kill her?" asked a bewildered Xena.

"She believes that Dahak will come into the world with or without her. If it is not her blood he receives than he will take the lives of many innocent people in her place. If she fails she will die trying."

"But if she defeats Athens Hope will use the blood of the dead soldiers. We can't let that happen," replied Xena. "There has to be a way to stop the invasion, save Destiny and destroy Dahak once and for all."

"Xena we have to stop the evil now. If that means killing Destiny and Hope we have to do it," cried Gabrielle as she stood up to walk around.

"Gabrielle if you could just meet her and spend some time with her I think you will change your mind," answered Varia.

"I have met her," Gabrielle said as she turned around to confront the queen. "She's quite a piece of work. I didn't see any of the compassion you speak of!"

"Put yourself in her shoes. Imagine what your life would be like if you were raised from birth to be the destroyer. Think of how you would react if you were betrayed and used to kill people for sport. She became known as the merciful gladiator. Whenever possible she spared her opponent's life. Listen to her sister's stories and then will you see how much like you she really is," defended Varia.

Gabrielle lifted her hand to head trying to absorb the information. "I need to think about this."

"We have prepared a hut for you. There is food and drink for your comfort. If you would like a bath my guard will escort you," replied Varia as she motioned for the guard to come in.

"Go ahead Gabrielle," interrupted Xena. "I have a few more questions for Varia." Gabrielle nodded and left the hut as Xena turned toward Varia to speak. "This seems more personal than you are letting on. What haven't you told us?"

"Xena you once told me that I was the one to lead the amazons back to greatness. You were wrong. Destiny is the chosen one."

"Varia," she responded, "Get to the personal part."

"She saved my life Xena."

"When? How?"

"She was the one who saved me from Livia. I was on the ground when Livia killed my sister. I froze staring up at her as she brought her sword around to take my head off. Suddenly a small female body with long dark hair was standing in front of me. She stopped Livia by grabbing her sword hand in mid air and punching her in the face with her right hand. Livia flew backward several feet from the blow. I heard a whistle as the woman turned around and picked me up off of the ground.

Pale green eyes stared into my soul. Before she could talk she lifted herself off of the ground using my shoulders as leverage and kicked Livia in the stomach with both of her legs. Livia flew back even farther this time.

Destiny grabbed me by the shoulders. She told me it was too late to save the others but she could save me. Then she put her arms around my waist and lifted me up with her as she somersaulted onto the back of a horse that responded to her whistle. We rode out of the village away from the Romans.

When we were a distance away she stopped the horse. I asked her why we were stopping. She told me she was an amazon sister and that I would have to go on without her. When I asked her why, she told me that if she joined me the Romans would hunt us down or take revenge against our sisters. I didn't know what to do and stared down at her as the soldiers came toward us. She yelled at me to hurry and grabbed my hand."

"Why are you stopping?" asked Xena.

"I was just thinking about what she said to me next."

"What was that?"

She said that one day we would meet again and together bring the amazon nation to greatness." Varia paused looking out the window. "Before I could respond she slapped the back of the horse and I took off at a gallop. When I looked back she was fighting ten or more soldiers. Eventually I found the amazon village and they took me in. One moon later a warrior named Aela came into the village. She was from my tribe. She had escaped from the slave ship and told me what happened to the Roman soldier who saved me."

"I can understand your loyalty," acknowledged Xena.

"All of her suffering was for me. Don't you see? She betrayed Livia and took my place as a slave."

"No we're missing something. Why would she attack the village and save only you?"

"She wasn't with the soldiers. When we met again she told me a little more about that day. Livia didn't know she was an amazon princess. She was taken into custody when she refused to engage in the raid."

"Okay so she broke free and saved you. You've told me what she is capable of. Why did she allow herself to be taken into custody in the first place?"

"I don't know. She won't talk any more about that day or Livia."

"So my daughter is a sore spot with her."

"She has vowed vengeance against Livia. I never told her that Eve and Livia are the same person."

"Thank you. What about after the crucifixion?"

"She rarely speaks about it. She did tell me once that she survived so long on the cross because of Dahak's blood flowing through her. As long as he exists she can only be killed by decapitation or drowning. If she loses his favor that will change."

"I can't imagine her drowning."

"She can't swim Xena. It's her only fatal flaw."


"Xena, if you can save Athens and Destiny I will support you. Until then I will not betray her or the nation and I will not put my warriors at risk."

"Fair enough Varia. Answer one more question. What is her relationship with Antony?"

"She speaks of him with affection," responded Varia. "There has been talk of a wedding to bring the two countries closer together after the campaign."

"I will be leaving tomorrow. Is Gabrielle still welcome here?"

"She is always welcome here Xena. Good luck."

"Thank you," answered Xena as she turned to walk out of the hut. Xena stopped at the door and turned back around to Varia. "Can you arrange a meeting with Destiny?"

"Xena she has orders to kill you. I don't think that is wise," answered Varia.

"She hasn't yet Varia. Why is that?" Varia looked at Xena and shook her head. "I don't think she will. Please get word to Destiny that I will be at the East Side of the camp inside the forest when the moon is high tomorrow and keep this between us."


Xena quietly opened the door to the hut and looked inside. Gabrielle sat at the desk; her head slumped over in her hands, the dim flickering of a candle the only light in the room. The small blonde raised her head to look at the tall warrior, confusion and frustration outlining her face.

"Hey, you look terrible," started Xena.

"How do you expect me to look? My daughter is trying to take over the world lead by a granddaughter I never knew existed," answered Gabrielle.

"It could be worse," replied Xena as she entered the hut.

Gabrielle took a deep breath and sighed. "How could it be worse?"

"We could still be in Japa," quipped Xena smirking at her partner.

Gabrielle raised her head, a small smile forming on her lips. "Never again," she answered. "You don't have any other ghosts you need to tell me about right? I mean I have heard the last story of your past deeds haven't I? No more former girlfriends I should know about?"

Xena sat down on the bed and began taking her bracers, armor and boots off as she spoke. "I told you many times on the boat. No more secrets. It's your ghosts we have to worry about now."

"Thanks for reminding me," replied Gabrielle placing her head back on the desk. "So what's the plan?"

"We have to help Athens defeat Destiny's army, recruit her to our side and defeat Dahak."

"Destiny is loyal to Dahak. We have to kill them all Xena."

"No we don't but I'm afraid we will have to choose between Hope and Destiny."

"There's no choice Xena. We have to defeat them all and that means killing all of them."

"I disagree. Destiny is not evil. I got this feeling when we met like I've met her before. I know it sounds strange but the feeling is very strong. She's worth saving."

"Xena I've reconciled my failure as a mother. I can't go through this again."

"Come here," stated Xena as she patted the space on the bed next to her. Gabrielle arose from the desk and slowly walked over and sat down next to her soulmate placing her head on her shoulder. "I'm sorry," whispered Xena placing a kiss on Gabrielle's forehead, her arm around the small blonde's waist.

Gabrielle looked up at her, eyebrows furrowed in a puzzled expression. "What for?"

"For never giving you the opportunity to be a mother," answered Xena. "From day one I believed Hope was evil and I took her away from you. I thought I was doing the right thing but after meeting Destiny I fear I was wrong. I am so sorry for the hurt I caused you."

"Xena we've been through this before. I've seen the evil Hope is capable of. She killed Solon."

"Think of everything we've heard today about Destiny, your granddaughter. She was born from evil. Her mother, grandfather and even her father were all evil yet the light that shines so brightly in you is inside her as well."

"Were we at the same campsite last night?" asked Gabrielle horror in her eyes.

"Yes. Gabrielle you've heard the testimony. She probably could have killed us last night but she didn't."

"She's toying with us. That's what evil people do."

"Evil isn't her motivation," answered Xena. "Love is."

"What?" asked Gabrielle, exasperation in her face.

"She loves her mother. That's her motivation."

"That's sick."

"Not really. She was raised as an amazon. Isn't loyalty revered among the nation?"

"Yes but she's on a path to conquer the world. That's not what the amazons are all about."

"Look we know she survived a crucifixion. Dahak must have healed her because she bears no scars from the ordeal. Varia told me more after you left."

"What did she say?" asked Gabrielle.

"The commander who betrayed her was Livia. She saved Varia that day during the raid and was condemned to slavery by my daughter, as a gladiator."

Gabrielle looked at Xena in disbelief taking a deep breath as the words sunk in.

She promised Varia that one day they would meet again to build a strong amazon nation. Then she gave herself up. She truly believes that she is helping the nation."

"Why didn't she run with Varia?"

"She didn't want to put her sisters in harms way. That is not the act of an evil woman. Gabrielle I lost my way when I was betrayed and you know of the evil I caused. She's your granddaughter and she's lost her way."

"I'm not convinced Xena. I saw the coldness in her eyes that Myrene spoke of."

"I saw a confused child trying to cover her emotions. She lacks focus and has a nasty little temper. Those are flaws that can be exploited to our advantage."

"Xena her orders are to kill you."

"So why hasn't she? She's had two chances today plus she commands the amazons yet we're here as guests."

"I'm an Amazon queen and I was stripped of my weapons."

"She did that to let us know the amazons are loyal to her."

"What about the arrows she shot at you?"

"She lost her focus and her temper."

"She tried to kill you."

"She knows I can catch arrows. She threw a temper tantrum because I referred to her as small. Seems to be a sore subject with her."

"Really?" asked Gabrielle bewildered.

"Yes. She was in complete control with Bakare until he called her 'little girl'."

"That could make her even more dangerous."

"Or it could work to our advantage."

"I don't know what to think anymore Xena. I do hope you're right about her but I just don't see it."

"It would be nice for you to have a granddaughter even if she looks like your big sister."

"Xena why are you so focused on saving her?"

"Closure. When I saw that dead knight in Britannia I thought the only solution was to kill your baby. How else could I protect you? I never gave you a chance to be her mother. Maybe things would have turned out differently. If I can give you your granddaughter back then maybe I will find forgiveness," answered Xena blue eyes clouding with moisture as she spoke.

"But we forgave each other for those events."

"I've never forgiven myself Gabrielle," replied Xena a lone tear escaping down her cheek. Warrior and bard sat silently in retrospect for several moments before Gabrielle broke the silence. "I know what my first act as a grandparent will be."

"What's that?"

"Slap that smart ass mouth right off of her face," answered Gabrielle grinning.

"Gabrielle!" exclaimed Xena.

"What? She's worse than you," answered the bard jabbing in her partner in the ribs playfully.

"We had better get a few hours sleep. We have a busy day ahead of us."


Xena opened her eyes startled to find herself in the hall of wars, Ares standing patiently in front of her. "What's going on," yelled Xena as she jumped from the throne, her sword drawn pointing toward the dark god.

"Relax," started Ares pushing the sword away from him nonchalantly. "We need to talk."

"About what?" asked Xena defiantly.

"About you, Dahak and this battle," answered the god of war.

"Why do you care all of a sudden?"

"Xena I've always cared about you. I don't want to see you die."

"Then I won't die."

"One of you will Xena. She can beat you."

"Always the optimist Ares. The question is will she?"

"So you think because she is Gabrielle's granddaughter she won't kill you out of the goodness of her heart."

"Something like that. She's not like Hope."

"But she loves Hope and she will kill you on her orders."

"Well I guess we'll just have to wait and see won't we?"

Ares face became dark with anger and frustration. "You don't understand. One of you has to die unless I can convince you to let it go. I have some pull Xena and I can make it so you and your little girlfriend can live happily ever after."

"In a world with Dahak? No thanks," retorted Xena.

"If you push her into a corner Xena she will fight back. You don't know the whole story."

"Then why don't you tell me. Starting with why you've interrupted my sleep."

"Morpheous has an agreement with Dahak. When the dark one enters the world he will spare the dream god. In exchange Morpheous will turn all dreams into nightmares."

"I see the nightmares have already begun," quipped Xena.

Ares looked at Xena with contempt, ignoring the comment. "I've made a side deal with Morpheous. This is a dreamscape. It's the only way I can talk to you without Dahak hearing the conversation."

"So you're playing lap dog to Dahak again Ares. It didn't work the first time so why do you think you will succeed this time?"

"Because this time Hope is much more powerful and she has Destiny leading the way," growled Ares. "You're right about her motivation. It is about love, the love of power."

"You're reaching for something that isn't there Ares. Tell me the real reason. Why are you so worried?"

"I'm not worried. Destiny has a job to do. Since you came into the picture that job has changed. The war with Athens is secondary. Her main objective is to kill you and with your blood Dahak will come into the world."

"Ares I know all this. She's had two chances to kill me yet here I am talking to you. Why is that?"

"It's simple really. She want's to kill you on the battlefield and she can Xena."

"She doesn't want to kill me Ares."

"She will kill you Xena. She won't betray Dahak."

"If you were so sure of that you wouldn't be here talking to me," replied the warrior princess smugly. "What aren't you telling me?"

"You can't kill Dahak. Once he comes into this world he can only be destroyed by his own blood."

"Then I will convince Destiny to switch sides."

"She won't betray Dahak, not for you, Hope or the amazons."

"Why? It's not because of a loyalty to Dahak."

"Have you heard of the expression a fate worse than death?" Xena nodded her response. "There is no fate worse for Destiny if she betrays Dahak."

"What aren't you telling me Ares"

"Destiny didn't die on the cross. She was executed when they brought her down. That's all I can tell you."

"Then she isn't afraid of death."

"She's more afraid of death than she is of life. Don't push her."

"Why did you bring me here Ares.

"Because I care for you Xena."

"Ares you're fighting on the wrong side."

"I'm fighting on the winning side Xena. Dahak is more powerful than all of us. He won't be denied this time."

"But your heart is not in the battle Ares. Give me something that will help us defeat him."


"Because it's the right thing to do. Didn't you learn anything when you were mortal?"

"I won't take the chance of betraying Dahak," stated Ares turning away from the warrior princess.

"You wouldn't have brought me here unless you wanted to help. You want me to succeed. Come on Ares. Let me help Destiny. Do it for your sister."

"What does Aphrodite have to do with any of this?" asked Ares.

"What do you think is going to happen to her if Dahak takes control? Do you really think he's going to keep the goddess of love around in a world devoid of love?"

"I just assumed," began Ares.

"That he would spare her because she's your sister. Come on Ares. He wants to rid the world of love. When he's through with Destiny he'll probably do the same thing to her. Help us Ares. This conversation stays here."

Ares paced up and down for several moments before turning to confront Xena. "What's your plan?"

"First we have to help Athens," responded Xena.

"Antony is the key to the battle. He has troops coming from Rome to reinforce Destiny. That's all I can tell you."

"Is Antony in love with her?"

"Yes. They are to be married."

"Will you do me one last favor Ares? For old times sake."

"If I can."

"Bring a message to Antony. Ask him to meet me at the East Side of Destiny's camp tomorrow night before the moon is high. Explain to him that he must keep himself hidden."

"What is going on tomorrow night?"

"I am meeting with Destiny. You stated early that your relationship with her is more than business correct."

Ares nodded. "Do you think that is wise? She will challenge you to a fight."

"I'm counting on it," answered Xena, a devilish grin on her face. "I will speak to Antony afterward."

"What aren't you telling me Xena?" asked Ares.

"Nothing Ares. Just give me the chance to talk to him. That's all I'm asking you to do."

"He loves her Xena."

"Pray that he has his father's passion."


It was late in the afternoon. Xena and Gabrielle were preparing to leave the hut when they heard a knock on the door. "Come on in," yelled Gabrielle and Xena in unison.

Varia walked into the hut and greeted them. "It seems you have a visitor," she stated before standing to the side of the door and allowing the young man to come in. Xena walked over to Carminius offering her arm in salute.

"Good to see you Carminius," she replied.

"And you Xena. I'm glad to see you and Gabrielle are well," answered Carminius glancing over at the small blonde.

"I see you've met Varia already," started Xena. Carminius nodded. Xena looked over at the amazon queen before continuing. "Varia, he is on our side. I fought with his father against Caesar when he was just a boy."

"Very well Xena. I see that you and Gabrielle will be leaving the village. Your horses have been saddled and are waiting outside for you."

Gabrielle walked toward the door linking her arm with the queen's and walked outside with her. Once they were out of the hut she turned to Varia and embraced her. "Remember Varia we are all on the same side," she whispered into her ear.

"I hope so Gabrielle," she answered. "Scouts will be posted and ready to report back to me after the battle. Be safe." Gabrielle nodded and walked back into the hut.

"Athens is growing weak. The food supply has been tampered with and the river has stopped flowing. The only water supply left is the fountains within the city," explained Carminius.

"Is the army ready to do battle?" asked Xena.

"Their weapons are strong. The catapults are being heavily guarded. They are expecting reinforcements from the Navy to arrive in the night. They should be able to travel from the harbor through the walls to the city by morning."

"They can't rely on their Navy," replied Xena pacing the floor of the hut. "How did you get in and out of the city undetected?"

"There is a secret passageway through the tunnels under the city. I will take you through tonight."

"Gabrielle you stay inside the city tonight. I need to contact Antony."

Gabrielle glared at the warrior princess, a disdainful look on her face. "Is there something you aren't telling me Xena?"

"Carminius can you wait outside for a moment?" pleaded Xena, her eyes never leaving the emerald green eyes of her partner. Carminius nodded his head and strolled outside the confines of the hut. "Gabrielle I need to meet with Antony tonight. It will be much easier to travel in and out of the city alone."

"I thought we were a team."

"We are," started Xena, both hands around the small blonde's shoulders. "I need you inside of Athens to check the water supply."

"Carminius just told you the status of their supplies," replied Gabrielle. "Stop trying to protect me."

"He mentioned that the only water supply is from the fountains. Destiny isn't stupid and if she can switch forms there is a good chance those fountains may not be safe. We can't afford to lose any soldiers during the night," answered Xena.

Reluctantly Gabrielle acquiesced. "You will tell me everything you plan on doing won't you?"

"I will follow you and Carminius to Athens to speak with the commander. Then I will go to the campsite. Ares will bring Antony there. He's already sent word," explained Xena.

"How do you know he will show?" asked Gabrielle.

"He will. Antony is a follower of Ares. I just have to convince him to switch sides. I'll come back to the city before sunrise."

"What if he isn't convinced?"

"Then we'll have to come up with a better plan."


The sky turned a brilliant shade of crimson as the sun made its ascent in the west. Xena, Carminius and Gabrielle waited for the sun to disappear completely leaving a blanket of darkness in the sky. They crawled along the grass using the shrubbery to shield their bodies as they made their way toward the secret passageway, careful not to be seen by any of the enemy soldiers guarding the walls of the city.

The door to the passageway was covered with grass. Carminius quietly opened the sealed door and led the way through the narrow opening that led to the city's underground tunnels. After a long walk the passageway led to a second door leading into the city.

Carminius lead Xena to General Pericles' command post while Gabrielle made her way to the fountains. Xena reported her findings to the leaders explaining her intentions before the morning's battle. Gabrielle arrived out of breath before the meeting was over. She walked over to Xena holding a water skin for her to take.

"I think you were right Xena," she said breathlessly as the warrior poured the liquid in her hands and sniffed it. Not sure herself she took a small sip tasting the water before spitting it out.

"You have no water Pericles," stated Xena looking toward the commander. "This has been tampered with."

"My apologies to you. The only safe water can be drawn from the fountains," answered the tall Athenian.

"This water came from the fountains," answered Xena.

"That's impossible," cried Pericles as he grabbed the water skin from her hand and took a sip, spitting it out as soon as the liquid reached his sensitive taste buds. "I don't understand. Those fountains have been heavily guarded by my men. The only person to draw water from them has been Carminius!"

"Excuse me sir but I haven't been near those fountains," interrupted Carminius.

"That can't be. I saw you last night before you left," replied Pericles excitedly.

"It wasn't me sir."

"Look there's nothing we can do except prepare to fight," interjected Xena. "Just make sure no one else drinks from the fountain. We can't afford to lose any soldiers. I will be back later tonight with word from the Roman commander," she added then shook hands with Pericles and left the room with Gabrielle.

"Gabrielle you will need to explain what happened after I am gone," Xena said as they walked through the underground tunnels.

"Do you think there is a traitor inside the city?" asked Gabrielle.

"No," answered Xena.

"How then?"

"Think back to our first conversation with Carminius," replied Xena.

Both women continued walking in silence as they neared the exit. "Destiny can change forms," answered Gabrielle as they came to a stop.

"And she knows about the secret entrance. That's why I need you to stay here. Don't let anyone else enter or leave the city."

"Xena you can't go. What if she has someone waiting outside for you?"

Xena turned around to look at her partner, placing large hands around her shoulders. "It's a chance I have to take."

Gabrielle stared at her silently for a few moments before Xena began to speak again. "There's something else I need to tell you. No more secrets." Xena paused for a minute before continuing. "I'm going to the campsite to meet with Destiny."

"Xena it's not safe," answered Gabrielle, panic seizing her senses. "She has orders to kill you."

"I don't think she will. If she wants a fight I will give it to her."

"Xena I can't lose you again," cried Gabrielle. "Please don't go."

"I have to. Our only chance is to get Antony to switch sides. I don't think she wants to kill me."

"And what if you're wrong?" asked Gabrielle tears forming in her eyes.

Xena reached down placing both arms around her partner and hugging her fiercely. "Then I'm gonna fight like hell to come back to you. It's the only way," she answered, kissing Gabrielle on the top of her head.

"Thank you," whispered the bard.

Xena pulled back pale eyes gazing into pools of emerald. "For what?"

"For being honest with me."

"It's for the greater good," reassured Xena.

"This greater good crap is getting old," grumbled Gabrielle. "Just come back to me."

"I will," Xena answered softly then turned away and climbed through the opening.


Xena walked with stealth through the forest toward the eastside of Destiny's camp. When she reached the opening just outside of the trees she stopped to look around, sharp ears listening for any signs of movement. Instinctively she somersaulted backwards into the air landing on the branch of a mighty tree just a few feet away from where Antony sat quietly on a lower branch.

"You need to be more quiet to stay unnoticed by Destiny's ears," she told the dark Roman.

"The warrior princess I presume," he answered.

"And you are Antony," she answered her eyes taking inventory of the handsome soldier. "You do look just like your father."

"Then you knew my father."

"Antony I fought against Rome when Caesar was in control but I have seen him."

"So why would you ask me here tonight?"

"Because Rome will not benefit from Dahak's rule."

"So you're here to talk me out of the war effort. Why do you care about Rome?"

"Because Rome cares about my daughter."

"Awe yes, Eve the messenger of Eli. She hasn't been seen in over a year."

"She's back. Destiny is Dahak's granddaughter. She's not who you think she is."

"Those are unkind words to say about the future empress of Rome," replied Antony.

"Do you love her?"

"With all my heart."

"Your father was a very passionate man also. She's using you. Dahak will rid the world of love."

"She loves me Xena."

"We'll see. Stay here. I'm meeting with Destiny. I will ask her about you. If she truly loves you then you have nothing to worry about and I will leave."

"If you live that long," replied Antony.

Xena leaped out of the tree landing in front of the trunk searching for signs of the small brunette. She walked a few feet in front of the tree and sat down to wait. Several minutes later a shadow approached from the campsite. Xena could make out the figure of the small warrior as she drew nearer.

Destiny walked purposefully toward the warrior princess stopping when she was a good ten feet away in front of her. "I received a message you wanted to speak with me," she stated, pale green eyes staring forward, a stoic expression on her face. "State your business."

"Straight to the point. I like that," answered Xena. "You look tired."

"Thank you for the commentary," hissed Destiny. "I take it you've found out about the fountains."

"Very clever. So what does it feel like to be in a man's body?"

"Very strange actually. I would have liked to have explored the possibilities but I had business to tend to."

"Busy conquering lands and all," quipped Xena. "Is Antony part of your business plans?"

"He's a delicious part of those plans," Destiny answered slyly. "Conqueror of Greece, Empress of Rome has a nice ring to it dontcha think?"

"Sounds like you love him."

"Love has no place in my heart Xena but he is quite useful."

"You would marry a man you don't love."

"Love is not a prerequisite for marriage. It's a business contract, one I will derive great pleasure from."

"Where does Ares fit into your plans?"

"He is the god of war. And quite a yummy one at that," replied Destiny with a twinkle in her eye.

"You sound like you're rather intimate with him."

"Intimate no but he does know how to give a woman pleasure." Destiny paused for a moment glaring back at the warrior princess skeptically. "Why are you so interested in my love life?"

"I just want to know where I stand with Ares."

"What's wrong? Did you have a little spat with my grandmother?" teased Destiny.

"I care for Ares, that's all."

"You're not jealous of me are you?" Xena looked away for a moment avoiding the inquisitive eyes of the small brunette. "Don't worry princess. As soon as he leaves my bed he goes back to Olympus and pines away for you like a lovesick puppy."

"So I still have a chance."

"Enough with this talk," answered Destiny growing weary from the conversation. "I don't have time for this."

"Did I hit a nerve?" taunted Xena.

"No! I came here for a purpose not for chitchat. I have a proposition for you Xena."

"Go ahead. I'm listening."

"As you know I have Athens surrounded. You have a chance right now to save lives."

"Go on," prodded Xena.

"I want a fair fight. My army against the Athenian army. If the army chooses to stay behind the city walls I will bring the battle into the city where innocent citizens will be killed."

"That's if you can break down the defenses," interrupted Xena.

"Heard of a little thing called black powder?" asked Destiny, a feral grin on her face.

Xena's eyes widened in shock fear gripping her as the small brunette continued.

"It's amazing the things you can learn while on vacation," purred Destiny. "Don't make me use it. Convince Pericles to bring his army out of the city otherwise I promise you a bloodbath tomorrow and innocent women and children will die."

"How do I know it isn't a trap?"

"You have my word as a warrior."

"I'll think about it."

"Think about it long and hard Xena. You don't want to make me mad."

"You don't scare me little girl," hissed Xena.

Destiny's eyes turned black with rage as she let out a loud menacing yell and unsheathed her sword lunging forward. Xena responded by unsheathing her sword to meet the first brutal thrust. Metal clashed against metal as the two warriors started to duel. Each thrust was blocked by the warrior princess her eyes never leaving the angry woman. Destiny swung her sword low at Xena's knees. She jumped out of harms way bringing her sword down on Destiny's head only to have it blocked. The two warriors glared at each other, weapons locked.

"You're too good to be fighting for Dahak," cried Xena.

Destiny powered her sword upwards pushing the tall brunette backward.

"And I suppose Eli's god is worth fighting for," answered Destiny before jumping into a spin and kicking Xena in the chin, pushing her backwards. Xena stumbled before regaining her balance, grabbing her chin with her free hand.

"Nice one," she said before lunging straight toward Destiny who blocked her thrust. The move brought Xena within inches of her opponent-knocking Destiny across the face with a rising elbow sending the smaller woman backwards. "Try fighting for yourself," she added.

Destiny opened her mouth clicking her jaw as she came forward again. "I am fighting for myself," she replied looking for an opening. Xena's sword came forward across her neck nicking her as she moved backward out of the way.

"Losing your focus little girl," taunted Xena as the small woman rubbed the wound feeling the trickle of blood running down her neck. With a menacing growl she lunged forward kicking both feet into the air and knocking the sword out of Xena's hand.

"I'm not about to lose my head over you," hissed Destiny running forward slashing her sword at Xena. Xena ducked under the sword moving gracefully to the left side of her opponent kicking her elbow, the force of the blow dislodging the sword.

Both women paused for a moment staring into each other's eyes before Destiny lashed out again with several punches toward the warrior princess, each one deflected until Destiny kicked out with her left foot hitting Xena squarely in the stomach. Xena bent over for a second only to be met with a rising knee snapping her head backward. Destiny flipped backwards picking her sword up from the ground and resumed her attack.

Xena was in a ready stance holding her own sword in front of her as the two warriors clashed again. The fight continued as both women parried and blocked looking for a opening. Metal clanged against metal as the match wore on, both women now glistening in the moonlight, sweat covering their bodies. Destiny pushed Xena backward. She lost her footing for a split second leaving her belly exposed. Destiny lunged forward swinging with all of her might slicing an opening across the leather battle dress throwing Xena backwards as blood poured from the open wound.

Destiny watched stunned as Xena's free hand covered the wound. "This meeting is over," she stated and turned and walked away. Antony waited several minutes after Destiny was out of sight before coming down from the tree.

"You're injured. Let me help you with that wound," he stated.

"Don't worry about me," she answered grimacing from the pain. "It looks worse then it is. What did you think of our little conversation?" she asked picking herself up slowly from the ground, her hand still covering the wound.

"I'm in. She'll never know what hit her," he answered.

"Good. I'll bring word to Pericles. Have your legions come in behind Destiny's army. Keep the amazons behind you. Once they see you fighting they will retreat. Let them."

"But they are under Destiny's command," objected Antony.

"I will get word to their queen in the morning. Leave them. And I want Destiny alive."

"I can't promise that."

"She will kill you Antony."

"We shall see. Do you have a horse nearby?"

"Yes. I'll be fine. Go now before someone sees us together."

Antony nodded and left as Xena let out a low whistle then waited for her horse to arrive. Slowly and carefully she mounted the animal and left for Athens.


Gabrielle paced back and forth waiting inside the tunnel for Xena to arrive, fearful that she wouldn't come back safe. Her heart skipped a beat when she heard the door to the entrance open watching as Xena stepped into the tunnel, her hand covered with her own blood.

"You're hurt," cried Gabrielle running over to help her partner.

"It's nothing," answered Xena breathlessly. "Just need a couple of stitches and I'll be good as new."

Gabrielle removed Xena's hand to inspect the open wound still bleeding. "You look pale," she said. "We've got to fix this."

"She could have killed me tonight Gabrielle," stated Xena stopping for a moment to catch her breath.

"Is that supposed to comfort me?" asked Gabrielle.

"She had me. She could have split me in two."

"It looks like you moved out of the way just in time," replied Gabrielle.

"I didn't. She pulled back then she just left the fight. That's three chances to kill me. Three strikes and you're out," answered Xena screwing up her face as she finished her sentences.

"That's an odd phrase," commented Gabrielle.

Xena shook her head and nodded. "I have no idea where that came from."

"Were you successful with Antony?"

"Yes I was."

"Good then let's get you into the hospital and take care of this wound," responded Gabrielle placing one arm around Xena and helping her out of the tunnel.


Destiny walked quietly toward her tent careful not to disturb her sleeping comrades, praying that her mother would already be asleep. She slipped inside the tent unnoticed, thankful for the tub of hot water sitting inside, covered so the heat would not escape.

Her body still glistened with beads of perspiration from her intense encounter with the warrior princess. Her hands trembled from emotion as she removed her armor and clothes. After completely disrobing she examined the wound in her neck, covered with caked on blood, a souvenir from Xena. She wondered to herself whether or not the warrior had spared her life or if she had in fact just been too quick for the final blow to prove fatal.

Destiny pulled back the cover and jumped into the steaming water, immersing herself completely before reemerging above the surface. Leaning against the side of the tub she picked up the soap and began the task of removing the days grime from her skin and hair. Moments later she could sense she was not alone.

"I was hoping you would show up," she purred before dunking under the water to rinse the soap off.

With a brilliant flash of light the god of war appeared in front of her dark brown eyes drinking in the intoxicating sight of the small warrior. "You look tired," he whispered softly as he walked behind her. "Thought you could use a hand."

"So you're here to wash my back," she answered lifting the soap into the air for the dark god to take.

"Something like that," he replied, taking the soap from her hand and applying generous amounts down her back as Destiny leaned forward. Strong arms stroked the golden brown skin as the small warrior purred gently luxuriating in the touch.

"You could've have killed her tonight Destiny. Why didn't you?"

"There will be time for that tomorrow," she replied flatly.

"Destiny you know the consequences if you fail. Why take such a risk?" he asked as strong arms continued to knead and caress pliant skin.

"Ares you sound like my mother. I'm sure you can begin a more interesting topic of discussion then this," she answered before dunking her soap filled body under the water.

Ares resumed massaging her tense muscles when she leaned back against the tub. "I care about you. I don't want you to get hurt."

"Come on Ares this is Destiny you're talking to not your warrior princess. I'm not the love of your life, lust of your life maybe." Destiny purred when she felt supple lips pressed against the back of her neck.

Ares stopped his gentle ministrations to reply. "That doesn't mean I can't care for you."

"You're the god of war. That's what I like about you. Leave your emotions at the door unless you're taking over your sister's job. I have to deal with that love crap from Antony. Isn't that enough?"

"Love isn't such a bad thing," replied Ares.

Destiny turned around suddenly facing the dark god, one hand placed forcefully over his lips as she began to speak in a whisper. "Ssh, don't say that. He might hear you." Pale green eyes stared boldly forward at the dark god. "I'm not gonna lose you too. You're much too fun," she added excitedly before pressing her lips against his in a searing kiss. "Remember that for your own survival."

"But," he started his lips now uncovered.

Destiny placed her hand back over his mouth, "No, say no more." Ares nodded in compliance as small hands caressed his face pulling him toward her. Destiny pressed her lips against his, her tongue forcing his mouth open seeking the fire of desire that lay within. Strong arms wrapped around her waist as he lifted her out of the tub and carried her to bed to continue their passion into the early morning.


Standing in front of her mother's tent Destiny took one last look around the campsite as her soldiers prepared for the day's battle. She hesitated before stepping inside dreading the final confrontation between her and her mother. As usual Hope was sitting behind her desk, dark green eyes glaring at her with hostility as she approached.

"Hello mother. You look cheery."

"Don't start with me daughter."

"I have a name mother," hissed Destiny.

"You have a job to do yet you have failed miserably. When you fulfil your duty I will treat you with respect not before."

"How about love mother? Will you show me love if I succeed?"

Hope stood up slowly and walked in front of the desk, her eyes never leaving her young charge. "I have spent my life raising you, teaching you to be strong, comforting you when you were hurt," she began.

"Comforting me?" interrupted Destiny. "You told me not to cry after I broke my leg mother. I was only five. That wasn't comfort."

"I taught you to be strong!" defended Hope.

"You taught me not to feel!" shouted Destiny her voice breaking as she fought to contain her emotions, tears welling up in her eyes.

"Where did love get you? Crucified by the Romans! I brought you back into this world and made you strong."

"So I could be your puppet and do your dirty work," interjected Destiny her hands balled up in fists, her legs trembling as she spoke.

"I gave you an opportunity to rule this world in Dahak's name. Be grateful."

"And I have done everything you have asked of me. Just once I would like to know that you love me," answered Destiny pale green eyes pleading for affection.

"You could've killed Xena last night. Why didn't you?" asked Hope changing the subject.

"She ran!"

"That's not what I heard."

Destiny stood defiantly in front of her mother's face. "Then you heard wrong."

"Today is your last chance to kill the warrior princess. Dahak is not pleased with you."

"And you mother are disappointed in me. I'm not the daughter you wished for am I?"

"Just do as you are told and you won't disappoint me."

"But you still won't love me."

"You know what will happen if you fail. If you don't kill Xena tomorrow don't come back. You will not be welcome."

Destiny was aware of the consequences should she not succeed but hearing the words come from her mother's mouth sent a jolt of pain through her heart. She looked into her mother's eyes for the last time before turning around to leave. She paused at the entrance looking out of the tent. "Did you ever love me mother?"

She stood there for what seemed like hours waiting for a response that never came. When she looked back Hope was sitting behind her desk, quill in hand writing on a piece of parchment. On quivering legs Destiny opened the flap and walked out. Silence was the answer she expected.


Destiny followed the trail up to the temple in the early morning hour. The sun was just beginning its journey into the sky as she approached the massive stone structure. She dismounted from the white stallion and strode purposefully through the front door toward the back of the building.

A large stone pit stood in the center. A wall of brilliant orange flames shooting several feet into the air protruded from the ground, sparks of fire piercing the musty air around the temple.

Destiny walked up to the fire ignoring the sparks falling all around her. "Impressive," she started looking into the raging inferno. "Dontcha think the sparks are a bit much?" she asked, a mischievous twinkle in her eye.

A low rumble was heard as a shower of sparks fell around and on top of the small brunette. Destiny stood her ground ignoring the needles of pain pummeling her skin caused by the shower of fire. The sparks dissipated as the evil god began to speak in a low gravely voice. "You show no fear Destiny. I admire that quality."

"I have served you faithfully. Why should I fear you?"

"Yet you have never once set foot within the walls of my temple to visit me," answered Dahak.

"I've been busy, conquering lands, acquiring power and slaying thousands of soldiers to sacrifice so that you may enter in to this world. No time for chit chat," answered Destiny drolly.

"A cause I believe that has escaped your heart," answered the god of fire.

"I've been led to believe that you prefer a warrior without a heart. Have you changed your mind?"

"I stand corrected."

"I have stayed away out of respect choosing not to stand in your presence until I possess the rage you seem to appreciate so much."

"And that time is now. You do not appear to be filled with rage child."

"I have learned to mask my emotions to focus on the task at hand. I have done your bidding, fought in your name. It is now time to reward me."

"But you failed to defeat the warrior princess."

"I have given you thousands of blood sacrifices. Hasn't that been enough? Why have you waited so long to enter this world?"

"Because there are only two warriors in this world worthy of my entrance, you and the warrior princess."

"I am loyal to you grandfather. If I cannot bring the warrior princess to you I will give you my own life. It will then be your decision if you choose to have me fight by your side."

"Your offer is noble but you lack the fire I need to help me rule this world. If power was your motivation you would ask for something in return."

"But I do grandfather," hissed Destiny walking closer to the fire. "I am tired of doing yours and mother's dirty work without getting something in return. I will rule by your side not mother. I am the warrior. She is the one who is expendable. Three times she has failed you. What makes you think she won't fail you again?"

"What are you asking me to do?"

"I think you know what I am asking for. I am the destroyer. I have made all of this possible not Hope. Whatever happens, whatever you may think, just remember that I am the one who will be faithful to you. In the end Hope will fail you. I will not!"

"If you succeed I will give you what you ask for."

"Fair enough," replied Destiny turning away from the fire. Halfway to the door she turned around to face Dahak one last time. "Think of how I have served you in this last year and think of how Hope has served you. Would she be willing to die for you? I am." Destiny turned back and walked through the hallway of the temple.


Destiny sat on top of her stallion several hundred feet in front of the walls of Athens, her troops lined up behind her awaiting the start of the final battle. Summoning up all of her strength she willed the gates of the city to open.

Pericles waited on the other side of the walls, bewilderment in his expression as the gates opened on their own. He peered outside staring into the feral green eyes of the small warrior. Across the top of the front wall stood several Athenian soldiers lined up with crossbows in their hands loaded and ready to shoot. Pericles gave the order and slowly walked out of the gates his army standing in formation behind him.

Destiny grabbed her bow stringing one arrow. She gave a loud yell and charged forward on her horse. Once she was within striking distance she shot the arrow into the first guard on the wall who fell before he could release his weapon. Dozens of arrows flew through the air aimed at the small warrior as she continued to restring, shoot and restring taking man after man down as her army charged forward. Not a single arrow could penetrate the area surrounding her and her horse.

Pericles charged forward and the battle was on. With half of the wall disarmed Destiny placed her bow back onto its resting-place and picked up her sword charging into the sea of men. The sound of metal clashing and thundering hooves reverberated throughout the land.

Destiny disposed of several soldiers as she rode closer to the city searching for signs of the warrior princess. One by one men were slain their blood glistening in the early morning light against her sword. Sharp ears listened for the sound of the Romans to assist her outnumbered army.

She pulled the reins up to switch directions observing the fighting going on in front of her. Through the dust she finally identified the bard fighting valiantly against two of her soldiers on the ground. She turned as the sounds of hooves drew near. Looking up she could see the warrior princess in the distance and the alert of the Roman legions.

Antony rode atop a chestnut stallion dressed in his white battle gear adorned with gold. Confident that success was near she rode toward Xena. Within seconds she was in front of the tall dark warrior her sword held high in the air as both horses circled each other.

"It's over Destiny. Retreat now and the Athenians will show mercy," stated Xena.

"But it's just beginning Xena. I have the manpower I need for victory," answered Destiny.

"Then look again. Antony is a man of passion. He won't share his love even with the god of war."

Destiny gazed into deep blue eyes before turning her eyes back toward the Roman legions. She froze as she watched the battle. The Romans were battling strongly attacking her army instead of the Athenians. Her eyes grew wide as she cried out, rage boiling within her blood. "No! What is he doing?"

"He's fighting for Athens now," replied Xena. "Call a retreat now! This battle is senseless."

The monster was wide-awake inside of Destiny. She pulled the reins of her horse and charged into the battle, slicing a path toward the tall Roman. Antony heard the cry of his former beloved and charged forward, anger pushing him toward her.

"No!" cried Xena as the small woman raced away.

Destiny cleared a path until nothing but dirt stood between her and Antony. "What have you done?" she cried confronting the dark Roman.

"You betrayed me!" he cried.

Destiny pushed her horse forward jumping onto the back of the chestnut stallion and tackling Antony to the ground. They rolled around on the ground as the battle raged on around them. Destiny rolled on top punching him in the face.

"You could've had it all," she said holding onto his shirt. Antony pushed her away and jumped to his feet as Destiny leaped up to face him and unsheathed her sword. "We were going to rule together."

"How can I trust a woman who sleeps with another man?" asked Antony lunging forward with his sword. Destiny blocked the series of swings and backed up.

"He's the god of war. It's business!" she defended continuing to block the advances of her opponent.

"I loved you but I love Rome more."

"And I love Rome. Together we could've made Rome the greatest power the world has ever seen. Don't let love blind you."

"I am not blind. I now see you for what you really are."

Frustrated Destiny went on the offense. She swung left then right then swung low catching the lower part of his stomach.

"I will not let Rome fall to a Greek demon," cried Antony backing up to regain his composure.

"I am my father's daughter you fool. I am a daughter of Rome," she answered lunging forward her sword blocked before she could further wound him.

"You are the fool."

"Your father fought loyally for Caesar. I am his legacy," cried Destiny as she continued her onslaught.

"Do not speak his name!" shouted Antony, sweat glistening in the sunlight as fatigue set in.

"Caesar was my father! Xena betrayed you. Together we could have ruled the world!"

"Xena showed me the truth I needed to know!"

Destiny placed both hands around the hilt of her sword and attacked relentlessly pushing the Roman backward looking for an opening. "You fool! You betrayed me and you betrayed your father's name. Xena is the woman who killed your father!"

Antony paused stunned by the information. "That's right Antony. It was Xena dressed as Cleopatra who killed your father. Brutus murdered Cleopatra before your father ever stepped onto Egyptian soil. She used his love to destroy him!"

The words distracted the Roman long enough to give Destiny the opening she needed. With both hands around the hilt she lunged forward plunging the weapon through the exposed chest of her betrothed. Antony clutched his chest, blood spurting from his mouth as he looked up at Destiny, his life draining quickly.

Destiny gazed into deep brown eyes fighting to control her emotions as she pulled the sword from his chest. "I loved you," she whispered as Antony closed his eyes and fell to the ground in front of her. Slowly she stood up to survey the battle scene. Recognizing the futility of the situation she gave the call for retreat.

Xena pulled her horse to a stop a few feet in front of the fallen warrior an expression of grief on her face. "It's over Destiny. Walk away," she stated.

Destiny turned to confront her rage clouding her eyes. "It is not over yet," hissed Destiny. "It's time for you and me to fight."

Xena threw her sword down and looked at Destiny compassion in her eyes. "It's time for us to fight on the same side. I won't fight you."

"What!" shouted Destiny. "You will fight me!" Destiny ran toward the warrior princess blinded by rage. She was met by a sharp kick to her chest sending her backwards onto the ground. She picked herself up and was met by six soldiers surrounding her, crossbows pointed directly at her.

"No!" she yelled jumping high into the air and flipping backwards out of the circle. Before the soldiers could respond she jumped on her horse and galloped away from the city with Xena following her. She steered her horse over fallen bodies, kicking away anyone who stood in her path until she was on the outside of the battlefield surrounded by her faithful amazons. Xena stopped before her and watched the small woman. They were now surrounded by the amazons all standing with bow and arrow pointed at them.

"Amazons attack!" she shouted. Every warrior watched her not moving. "I gave you an order! Do as your told!"

Varia stepped up to the front to confront Destiny. "I will not allow the order to be followed."

"Do not choose now to disobey me Varia. The nation's survival depends on you!"

"I will not allow a sister to be killed!" answered Varia defiantly.

Destiny growled grabbing the reins of her horse prancing side to side. "I said shoot! You defy me you defy Dahak!"

"It's over Destiny," replied Varia.

Destiny unsheathed her sword pointing it down toward the amazon queen. "They will do as I say or I will kill you!"

Varia stood her ground ignoring the order. "You won't kill me and I won't kill you."

Destiny screamed in frustration looking back at the warrior princess sitting on her horse ready to defend herself. "Damn you Varia!" cried Destiny. She pulled the reins hard and let out a blood curdling scream as the stallion reared up on his back legs then charged forward into the wall of amazons. The warriors dove to the side as the horse came nearer allowing horse and rider to leave unharmed.

Varia walked up to Xena. "We're on the same side now Xena."

"The order she gave was to shoot her not me wasn't it?" asked Xena.

"Yes. You must stop her. She's gone to sacrifice herself to Dahak."

"Let her," interjected Gabrielle walking up to the warriors. "We've battled Dahak before and won."

"Gabrielle he's too strong. We need her," stated Xena.

"Go to the cliffs," Varia said. "She can't swim. You'll have to ride hard to catch her."

"I'll go now. You know where to meet Gabrielle," answered Xena.

"Xena don't give her another chance to kill you," pleaded Gabrielle. "If Varia had listened to her orders you would be dead already."

Xena steered her horse around away from Gabrielle. "That order wasn't to kill me," she answered clicking her heals into the sides of her horse before riding away.


Destiny rode hard as the cliffs came into view. The sun sat low in the sky hidden by a few errant clouds as she came to a stop several feet from the edge. She dismounted from her horse and looked over the side surveying the ocean looking for an opening between the rocks. "No need to split my head in two on the landing," she muttered into the open space.

Slowly she removed her armor, quiver and sword and laid them next to a small tree growing near the edge. She paused to consider her actions concentrating on the task ahead. "As I promised grandfather I give you my life," she said holding her arms to her sides. She was so deep in meditation she never heard the pounding of hooves coming closer.

"No!" yelled Xena as she neared the edge of the cliff. Startled Destiny looked around then back toward the ocean and dove into the cold waters beneath her. Frantically Xena stripped off her weapons and jumped onto the ground. After searching for an opening between the rocks she dove in after the small brunette.

The force of the dive propelled her deep into the ocean's depth. Opening her eyes she searched for the small brunette and swam after her as she fell like dead weight toward the bottom. Xena grabbed her by the strap of her battle dress and pulled her upwards, using strong strokes to pull them to the water's surface. She broke the surface and swam toward the shore, pulling the small woman onto the sandy beach.

A loud thunderous noise was heard as she laid Destiny on the shore and began blowing life back into her body. After a few breaths she massaged her chest. "Come on don't quit on me now," she whispered. She resumed breathing into her mouth four more times and pounded on her chest until Destiny responded.


The thunder stopped when Destiny spit up water and regained consciousness thrashing her head from side to side disoriented. She looked up into the pale blue eyes of the warrior princess. Before she could react Xena reached over and jabbed both hands into her neck immobilizing the small brunette as a trickle of blood dripped from her nose. A rumble was heard again as the small warrior could feel her life draining from her.

Xena quickly rolled Destiny over onto her side as she gasped for breath. With skilled hands she shackled both arms behind her back and released the pinch. Destiny gasped for breath and coughed as the feeling came back in her body. "That ones gonna bite you in the ass," hissed Destiny.

"Relax. I took it off," replied Xena chuckling. She proceeded to wipe the excess water off of Destiny. "Now get up," she added lifting the small brunette onto her feet.

"Why did you save me?" asked Destiny.

"Let's just say I'm paying back an old debt," answered Xena.

"To who?"


"I get it. You want her to have the privilege of killing me."

"No!" yelled Xena. "She's your family."

"And she can't wait to get to know me," replied Destiny sarcastically. "I could see the love in her eyes when we met."

Xena glared at Destiny and jerked her by the chains. "Let's go. You have a lot to learn."

"Oh so now I get to be taught by the warrior princess in person," answered Destiny smugly as she struggled to keep up with the taller woman. "No thanks. I've already learned all of your lessons Xena. That's how I got to be the person I am today."

"Well obviously you missed a lesson or two," Xena replied as she pushed the young woman forward up the slope toward the horses.

"And which lesson would that be?"

"Respect!" spat Xena pushing the young woman forward.

Xena led the way up hill constantly checking on her reluctant charge, chuckling at her discomfort. Destiny was silent as she casually blew air upwards trying to deflect the droplets of water invading her nose. Xena continued to chuckle as she watched the younger woman struggle.

"What are you laughing at princess?" asked Destiny.

"You of course," responded Xena as she stopped to wipe the water from her captive's face. She stared into familiar pale green eyes as she finished her task. "If you need help just ask."

"I don't need any help from you," replied Destiny defiantly.

Xena laughed. "Sure you do. You would be dead if I hadn't helped you back there."

"That was the objective princess," hissed Destiny. "I didn't fall. I jumped. You prevented me from achieving my goal and now I'm stuck here wet and miserable in chains listening to your futile attempts of civility."

"One day you will thank me," teased Xena as she urged her forward.

"Yea well today is not that day."

"Oh stop with this act. It's very unbecoming."

"What act?"

"Your evil tough act. I know better."

"You know nothing about me. I was born evil."

"So now you're evil. Back at the camp you wanted to take Gabrielle's head off when she called you evil."

"I've had time to rethink my position. If Gabrielle says I'm evil then I must be evil."

"Gabrielle is wrong. So far all I have heard about is how you have helped your sisters at great risk to yourself."

"Every act has a reason Xena. My reasons are selfish."

"Saving Varia was selfish."

"My life was already forfeit. There is no honor in killing defenseless women."

"Your life was forfeit for refusing to engage in a surprise attack on an amazon village."

"I was raised as a warrior to fight with honor like you."

"I think Cyane would have disagreed with you. I didn't always fight with honor."

"Yeah well I didn't like that lesson," snarled Destiny.

"You spared many lives in the gladiator ring."

"I killed many more than I saved."

"You were fighting for your life."

"So were they. They were innocent slaves forced into the ring and I killed them."

"There is no shame in wanting to live."

"Only guilt," whispered Destiny.

"And evil people don't have guilt," replied Xena smugly as she made her point.

Destiny shook her head and growled at the taller woman, her green eyes dark with anger.

"What's the matter? Cat got your tongue?" teased Xena.

"I killed all of my commanders because they didn't obey me," answered Destiny.

"So I heard. You gave them a warrior's death. Their insubordination cost a lot of men their lives. They weren't the ones who betrayed you today so I would say your actions as a commander were justified, a little intense but justified."

"How can you justify my life Xena?"

"Destiny the world needs heroes like you and frankly I'm just getting too old for this. It's time for me and Gabrielle to retire and enjoy ourselves," answered Xena with a chuckle and a twinkle in her eyes.

"Oh pulease," started Destiny. "I am not gonna traipse around the world helping people just so I can end up in Tartarus having the crap beat out of me for eternity by Hades. Oh that's right, Hades is dead. Thank you by the way. I would've enjoyed watching that. I'm sure your god will punish me just as harshly because of who I am so why don't you just let me go so I can start my sentence now!" spewed Destiny. Destiny began to tremble as dark memories came back into her mind. She fought to control the tears forming within her eyes. "Let me go please Xena," whispered Destiny through the tears. "At least let my death be gentle."

Xena stopped to look over at the small brunette. Tears streamed down the young woman's face as she struggled in vain to hold onto her stoic expression. Pale blue eyes clouded over with moisture as Xena looked into the distraught eyes of the young woman. Gently she reached down and placed both hands onto the golden brown face and wiped the tears away with her thumbs, her eyes never leaving Destiny's. "What have they done to you?" she whispered.

Destiny looked into the gentle blue eyes, her expression frozen, her heart beating erratically as she fought to contain her composure. "If I help you defeat Dahak will you let me die in peace?" she whispered back anxiously.

"No! That is not an option!" exclaimed Xena.

"Fine!" answered Destiny, her eyes turning dark with rage. "It wouldn't have worked anyway. I won't kill my mother!"

"Then I will kill her!"

"You can't kill gods anymore Xena."

"Hope is that powerful?" asked Xena. Destiny nodded in acknowledgement.

"Let me go Xena. You have no choice. Dahak has been planning his return for almost thirty years. If he doesn't get my blood soon he'll start taking innocent lives."

"We always have choices Destiny. I won't let you die and I won't let Dahak win. So get used to it."

"You have no idea the evil he will unleash on you and me."

"I've fought evil before. I'm not afraid."

"Maybe I am!" shouted Destiny. Destiny turned her head away from the warrior princess in shame.

"There's no shame in fear," replied Xena.

"I'm not afraid to die," defended Destiny.

"No. You're afraid to live."

"You're wrong."

"Prove it," answered Xena.

"My life isn't worth the hundreds of innocent lives that will be sacrificed in my place."

"If Dahak comes into the world thousands of innocent lives will be lost. What about your amazons? Who will protect them from the darkness?"

"Aaaaarrgh," grumbled Destiny.

Xena laughed at the anguish of the small woman. "Hate being wrong don't you?" asked Xena.

Destiny's face contorted into an angry scowl. She took a couple of deep breaths and glared over at the warrior princess as they neared the top of the cliff. Xena helped her captive onto her stallion then mounted her own horse.

"Excuse me. Aren't we forgetting something?"

Xena looked at the frustrated woman one eyebrow raised upward, a quizzical expression on her face.

"My armor and my sword. You're not just gonna leave them on the ground are you?" asked Destiny.

"Oh yeah." Xena dismounted and walked to the edge of the cliff, picking up the equipment to examine it. "Very nice," she purred admiring the fine craftsmanship. "Don't you think the gold is a little flashy?"

"It suites me."

"Yeah it's pretentious," quipped Xena looking over at her captive who was growling back.

"Mother didn't want me looking cheap when I ruled the world," quipped Destiny.

"Do you always do what mother says?" asked Xena, a touch of sarcasm in her voice.

"If I did you would be dead," answered Destiny. The two women rode in silence for the remainder of the journey.


Gabrielle paced nervously back and forth in front of the fire. She worried about the fate of her friend at the hands of her granddaughter and feared she had snared Xena into a trap. She would wait a few more moments and begin searching for her partner.

Gabrielle turned around hearing the sound of footsteps through the brush. Xena strolled up to the campsite-leading Destiny still on her horse. "Honey we're home," stated Destiny sarcastically as Gabrielle glared at her with contempt. "What's wrong? Not happy to see me?"

"Behave yourself," interrupted Xena as she helped the small brunette off the horse.

Pale green eyes glared at the battling bard. "Dontcha you feel the love?"

"Come on," Xena said shoving the young woman forward toward a tree. "Sit down." Destiny stood defiantly in front of the tree until Xena pushed her down.

"Do you treat all of your guests this well?" hissed Destiny. Xena ignored her and continued her task. Gabrielle watched silently as she finished tying the small brunette securely to the tree.

"I suppose we get do endure the pleasure of her company for the evening?" asked Gabrielle still staring into the pale green eyes of their captive.

"Hey don't look at me. I tried to make your dreams come true, grandmother," purred Destiny.

"She tried to kill herself," answered Xena pulling Gabrielle away from the campsite out of earshot of the young woman.

"And that's a bad thing?" asked Gabrielle.

"Jeez now I see the family resemblance," quipped Xena. "Gabrielle I told you I wasn't going to let her kill herself. Dahak will come into this world with a vengeance."

"Gee Xena I thought you saved me because you loved me," shouted Destiny, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

Warrior and bard moved further away from the campsite. "Destiny can help us defeat Dahak. We just have to convince her," stated Xena.

"Ah yea, like that's gonna happen," yelled Destiny.

Xena and Gabrielle moved further away from the tree holding Destiny. "You heard her. She isn't going to help us. What did you expect? She's Hope's daughter," argued Gabrielle.

"And you know so much about raising a daughter dontcha?" taunted Destiny. Gabrielle turned around glaring at the young woman who was sitting against the tree, a devilish grin on her face. "Hit a nerve didn't I?" Warrior and bard moved several more feet away from the camp barely in sight of their captive.

"Gabrielle give her a chance. She's your family. She isn't the evil woman you think she is."

"No she's just a human killing machine."

"Everybody's gotta have an occupation!" shouted Destiny, a grin on her face. "Did I mention I can read lips?"

"Arrggh," growled Gabrielle. "She's making me crazy. Any minute now I'm gonna slap that grin right off that little girl's mouth."

"Argh, that's just mean," Destiny said, her eyebrows furrowed as the monster jumped from its lair. Every muscle in her body tensed up as she raised her arms breaking free from the ropes, the chains coming undone as she stood up.

"Come on Gabrielle. Take your best shot. Put evil in its place," shouted Destiny walking toward the warrior and bard her arms out to her sides. Gabrielle stood up to meet the challenge. "You're just like everyone else. You judge me yet you know nothing about me," continued Destiny.

"You're evil just like your mother," hissed Gabrielle standing within a few feet of the hostile brunette.

"You'd be evil too if your mother sent you down the river," spat Destiny. Emerald green eyes turned dark with rage at the accusation. "Go ahead Gabrielle. Think of me as evil. It will help eliminate the guilt." Destiny and Gabrielle stood toe to toe silently for a few long moments. "Cat got your tongue grandmother."

"If I had my way," started Gabrielle.

"You'd just kill me now," finished Destiny. "So what are you waiting for?" she taunted. "Come on. Evil incarnate is staring you in the face. Remember who I am. I'm Hope's daughter. I'm Dahak's evil spawn. Of course I am my father's daughter. You remember him dontcha? Julius Caesar."

"Gabrielle don't!" shouted Xena as the bard moved forward both hands in front of her as she jabbed them into Destiny's neck. The small brunette stumbled backward choking, blood trickling down from her nose.

Destiny stared into her grandmother's eyes anger emanating from within. "You shouldn't make me mad grandmother," she hissed. Gabrielle stared down at her arms as they rose from her body against her will moving toward Destiny. Seconds later her arms stabbed her neck releasing the pinch.

Destiny moved to the side away from Gabrielle holding her neck gasping for air. "I told you that was going to bite you in the ass princess," she said, a feral grin on her face before she walked toward the campfire.

She turned around amused by the expressions on her captor's faces. "Thank you so much. I've always wanted to learn that move. Are you two going to stand there all night?" she asked nonchalantly.

"What is your game?" asked Gabrielle walking tentatively toward the fire with Xena close behind.

"Life is a game Gabrielle. I don't care to defend myself to you. You're not the first to prejudge me."

"I've only judged you based on what I have seen," defended Gabrielle.

"Ah yes. You have seen me kill on the battle field."

"I watched you slaughter those Egyptians."

"The ones armed with crossbows. Obviously you disagree with my military tactics so lets just agree to disagree."

"How can you be so casual about the killing?"

"I wasn't raised in a pleasant little village. I was raised to be a warrior. I made my first kill in battle when I was eleven. And my second and my third. Can we talk about something else?"

Xena sat down next to the young woman. "How come you didn't release yourself when I first chained you?"

"I haven't mastered that power yet. It only works when I'm angry," answered Destiny.

"You seemed pretty angry back at the beach."

"I was frustrated not angry."

"Are you going to help us defeat Dahak?"

"My life is forfeit. I will do anything I can to destroy him before he destroys me."

"What about Hope?"

"I can't kill my own mother."

"What was she like growing up?" asked Xena.

"She was good to me and to the amazon nation. She always said love was a weakness but I'm sure she loves me doesn't she?" answered Destiny wistfully.

"Would she fight against Dahak?"

Destiny lowered her head as tears threatened to invade her eyes. "She warned me not to come back if I failed." Xena placed her hand on the young woman's shoulder. Gabrielle watched quietly from the other side of the fire. "The ceremony will start at sunset tomorrow night. Hope will start killing my warriors as a sacrifice unless you bring her my dead body. You two have until tomorrow to rethink your position," added Destiny. "I'd like to get some rest if you don't mind."

Xena pointed toward an empty bedroll motioning for her to use. Destiny laid down on top of the blanket curling up into a ball, her back toward the fire. Xena and Gabrielle sat quietly until they heard the soft sounds of Destiny snoring. Silently they walked away from the campsite to talk.

"What do you make of her?" asked Gabrielle.

"She's confused and scared. That accounts for her erratic behavior," answered Xena.

"She doesn't seem to be afraid of anything."

"She hides it well."

"So what do we do?"

"In the morning I'll send word to the Athenian commander. We're going to need help."

"What about Destiny?"

"We're not going to sacrifice her."

"Thank you."

Xena looked at her partner, a bemused expression on her face. "You're starting to soften up."

"I don't know what to think. It might just be wishful thinking," answered Gabrielle.

"After everything she's been through she still has your light," replied Xena. "It's been dimmed but it's still there."

"I hope you're right Xena."

"This time I am. Come on. Let's get some sleep. We have to save the world tomorrow," quipped Xena.


Eve opened her eyes to survey her surroundings. She looked around recognizing the hall of wars, searching for Ares. With a brilliant flash of light the god of war appeared before her.

"What am I doing here?" asked Eve.

"I'm here to help you," stated Ares.

"I don't need your help."

"Do you know that at this very moment your mother is preparing to do battle with Hope and Dahak?"

"My mother has her own free will," answered Eve.

"She will die Eve. And so will Gabrielle. But you can prevent it. You can save the world."

"Destiny will never betray Dahak."

"She already has."


"That's not important. What is important is that I can lead her to you."

"Do it," replied Eve.

"I will bring her tonight. I have left a battle dress and armor for you at the temple. You can't miss it when you wake up. I have also provided you with a sword and mask."

"Why a mask?" asked Eve.

"She doesn't know who you are Livia. It's best you stay anonymous."

"It will be done." Eve woke up from her dream inside the temple. To the right lay the armor promised to her from the god of war. Silently she changed into the battle dress and armor left by the dark god.


Destiny woke up in the familiar surroundings of the hall of wars wearing only her sleeping shift. The god of war stood in front of her a solemn expression on his face. "Made a little side deal with Morpheous did we?" she asked slyly, a smirk across her face. "What exactly don't you want my grandfather to hear?"

"Destiny you're always suspicious of me. Isn't it possible that I called you here just to spend time with me?" asked Ares pulling Destiny from the chair and into his arms. She gazed sensually at his dark features before Ares pulled her toward him strong arms enveloping her waist as he leaned down placing a tender kiss upon her lips.

Destiny looked up at the dark god before speaking. "There's about as much of a chance of that as there is of the warrior princess coming back to you." she quipped raising her eyebrows, a small grin on her face.

"Ouch. You really know how to get a guy where it hurts," answered Ares breaking the embrace.

"Don't you forget it," she teased poking her finger into his chest.

"I won't. I saw what you did to Antony."

Destiny tensed up when she heard the dark god's response. She looked wistfully down at the floor and took a deep breath before speaking. "An unfortunate turn of events."

"That's a rather callous way of describing the murder of your betrothed."

"It wasn't murder. He died a traitor in battle. What would you have done?"

"You have a point," answered Ares his arms folded over his chest, one hand stroking his goatee as he observed the small brunette. "That's not why I brought you here."

"Care to share?" interrupted Destiny.

"You may have lost the battle but not the war. There is another way to bring Dahak into the world without killing yourself or Xena."

"Go on," encouraged Destiny.

"You were born to destroy the messenger of Eli. Kill her and you will be safe from the wrath of Dahak."

"Yes, kill the messenger. Of course I would need to find her before morning. I suppose you know where she is."

"She's at the temple of Eli waiting for you."

"Sounds easy enough however murder isn't exactly a noble act."

"She won't give up without a fight."

"The pacifist Eve is going to fight with a sword. It's still murder."

"Don't under estimate her Destiny. She wasn't always peaceful. She was a warrior like you and a very formidable foe."

"Well then she shall die tonight for her god," purred Destiny moving closer to the dark god. "But first let's take advantage of our privacy," she added grabbing Ares leather vest and pulling him down for a passionate kiss. The contact lingered on for several moments, tongues dancing against each other in the heat of passion until Ares broke the kiss-pushing Destiny away.

"We can't," he stated breathlessly. "We have work to do."

Destiny moved toward him pulling him into an embrace, running her fingers through the silky hair on his muscular chest. "We have plenty of time for that," she responded before running her lips over his breast taking his left nipple into her mouth and biting gently.

A moan escaped his lips before he pushed her backward. "Now is not the time," he said weakly.

"Now is the perfect time," Destiny answered with a low throaty growl. "You want me. I can tell," she added her hands roaming down his back.

"I can't," he protested. "I,"

"You what?" she asked turning her gaze upward pale green eyes dark with lust. "Don't grow a conscience on me Ares. That's not a quality I'm looking for just now."

"What does that mean?" asked Ares nervously.

"You think you'd be taking advantage of me after betraying me," purred Destiny.

"How have I betrayed you?" asked Ares defensively.

"Relax Ares," she answered stroking his chest. "You haven't betrayed me. I know you've switched sides."

Ares fought to remain stoic his eyes dark stones disguising his panic.

"You're willing to betray Dahak to save your sister. Nobility is a rather attractive quality on you."

"I don't know what you're talking about," he answered.

"Come on Ares. Eve has been cleansed by that god of hers. If she dies by my hand Dahak will be destroyed. Now if I had killed her before the cleansing her blood would have brought Dahak into the world with enough power to destroy Eli's god."

"How did you find out?"

"I know many things. How I know them is not important."

"So you're not upset with me?"

"For trying to trick me into destroying Dahak? Of course not. Everything you do is for survival. I rather like that about you. Now back to the business at hand," she answered pulling the dark god into her forcefully and capturing his lips.

"I may need your help tonight. Xena is probably sitting against a tree right now watching me sleep so that I don't run off. I'll need a diversion to get away."

"I'll pay Xena a visit tonight," started Ares. "Destiny remember that Eve will be fighting for her life. She can stop Dahak by killing you. Don't be complacent. She's a tough warrior."

"You better hope that I win. I think you would miss me more," purred Destiny removing the leather vest from the dark god's chest and kissing him.

"You're not like other mortals," gasped Ares after breaking the intimate contact.

"Don't you forget that. Xena may be the love of your life but I can offer you so much more," she husked in between kisses.


Xena sat against the tree trunk keeping an eye on the small warrior while Gabrielle slept peacefully. Even asleep Destiny appeared animated. She blinked her eyes a couple of times trying to shake the sleep from her body. She would give Gabrielle another hour of sleep before waking her to take over guard duty.

Looking over at the small sleeping form of Destiny no longer curled up she noticed her sleeping shift lying beside the blanket covering her body. "That's odd," she thought to herself. "I don't remember her removing her clothes before going to sleep." Xena continued watching as Destiny rolled onto her back. Her eyes were still closed but a devilish grin appeared across her face as small sounds emitted from her throat.

Curious Xena resumed staring at the small woman as several low growls could be heard. Cautiously she stood up and walked toward Destiny listening to the sounds coming from her throat. Xena shook her head as the woman appeared to be groaning, each sound becoming louder then the one before. The woman seemed to be smiling but she couldn't be sure whether or not the dream was causing her some pain as she tried to differentiate the sounds.

Worried that Destiny could be experiencing an unpleasant nightmare, she placed her hand on her shoulder and shook her softly.


Destiny could feel a hand on her shoulders while in the throws of passion, the dark god on top of her bringing her closer to her peak. "No," she cried between moans.

"Destiny wake up," whispered Xena shaking her on the shoulder with more force. Destiny continued to sleep, the sounds growing in succession. Worried about the nightmare Xena shook the small woman vehemently. "Wake up."

"No!" cried Destiny shaking her head from side to side as Xena attempted to calm her down placing strong hands on her shoulder to comfort her.

"Hey it's okay," replied Xena gently. "It's over."

"That's the problem!" Destiny answered glaring up at Xena and pushing her away. Destiny threw the covers off hastily jumping to her feet completely naked, her hands balled into fists as she continued to growl shaking her head. "What'd ya do that for?"

"I thought you were having a nightmare. You were groaning like you were in pain," answered Xena a bemused expression on her face as she looked over to check on Gabrielle who continued to sleep peacefully. "I didn't want you to wake her."

Destiny started jumping up and down in frustration shaking her hands at her sides. "All the black powder in the world exploding by her side couldn't wake her up. Arrgh," she yelled still shaking. Looking frantically around she eyed the small stream several yards from the campsite and stalked toward it ignoring Xena as she walked into the cold water immersing herself up to her shoulders.

Confused Xena ran after the agitated woman stopping at the side of the stream. "What's wrong?"

"I wasn't having a nightmare and I was moaning not groaning," Destiny said looking up at Xena, a menacing look on her face.

"I'm confused. What just happened here?" asked Xena her eyebrows furrowed in frustration.

"A tip for ya princess. Don't get between two people and their passion," hissed the small brunette. "It was this or I kill you."

Xena's expression changed as she processed the information. "You," she started.

"Ares," interrupted Destiny. "I was with Ares until you interrupted us. Are you happy?"

"You two were?" she started her head cocked to one side. "You mean," she added using her hands to symbolize the meaning as Destiny nodded her head.

"Your timing is bad, really, really bad," spat Destiny.

"Oh that's, oh no," stammered Xena scrunching her nose like she just smelled something distasteful. "Oh no, that's just, oh yuk. Too much information," she added shaking her head in disgust.

"It relaxes me before a battle," defended Destiny.

"Let's just keep this little bit of information secret from Gabrielle okay?"


Xena watched Destiny pouting in the stream for a few moments, a small grin appearing on her face before bursting into laughter realizing the consequences of her actions.

"Yeah that's gonna improve my mood. Keep laughing princess."

"You gotta admit it's pretty funny."

"You're not the one in pain over here." Destiny sat in the cold water a little while longer before walking out of the stream toward Xena who was still smirking.

"Do you feel better?" asked Xena.

"As good as it's gonna get tonight. You couldn't just wait a few seconds longer could ya?" she asked growling as Xena started laughing again at her discomfort.

"Sorry," mumbled Xena walking toward the campsite with Destiny. "Why did Ares want to see you in a dreamscape tonight?" asked Xena.

Destiny stopped walking and turned to face the tall warrior. "Isn't it obvious or do I have to spell it out for you? That's what our relationship is about, pleasure." Destiny paused for a moment. "Don't worry he still pines away for you, the love of his life."

"Is that all?"

"Do I love him? The answer is no. Love has no place in my heart but I do enjoy pleasures of the flesh." Xena grinned as Destiny spoke. "What are you grinning about?"

"You. You remind me of myself when I was your age. Sex without emotions but I've learned to put the two together. It's a very powerful combination."

"Yeah well I prefer to keep the two separate. It makes things simple."

"So Ares is just a play thing to you."

"Something like that. If you don't believe me ask him yourself."

"I might just do that. What about Antony?"

"Not you too? He was a gorgeous man. He served his purpose."

"Come on Destiny. You're not as cold as you let on."

"Xena I have spent the last year preparing to live in a world devoid of love. What did you expect?" answered Destiny flustered. Both women started walking back to the campsite. Destiny stopped a few feet in front of the fire. "I cared about him. I didn't want to kill him."

"Why did you?"

Destiny placed her arms across her chest and contemplated the question. "Would you rather I'd have spared him then spent my life seeking revenge like you did with Caesar? At least this way only two people get hurt."

"Ouch. I guess I deserved that," answered Xena wistfully as memories of the pain caused by her obsession flooded back.

"I'm sorry. That was low. It was not my intention. If you haven't already noticed I have a nasty little temper and together with lethal combat skills it's a deadly combination. I simply reacted with anger or maybe it's just the evil I was born with."

"You're not evil Destiny."

"Don't be so sure. I am Dahak's granddaughter. Hope is my mother and Caesar is my father. It's in my blood."

"You are so not like them. I should know. They were all my enemies."

"Why do you trust me?"

"Did I say I trusted you?" quipped Xena grinning. "I see the good in you and it far out weighs the evil. I see Gabrielle in you."

"Wish I slept as soundly as she does." answered Destiny grinning. "I need to put some clothes on. I'm freezing," she added rubbing her arms.

"Go ahead. I'm gonna take a little walk along the perimeter before waking Gabrielle," replied Xena walking away from the fire.

"Say hi to Ares," whispered Destiny walking to her bedroll to dress. Xena smiled to herself and continued walking ignoring the sly remark.


Xena stopped walking outside the camp, just out of sight. Before she could call his name a brilliant flash of light appeared and with it the god of war.

"I've been expecting you after that rude interruption," stated Ares.

"I heard about that. So sorry," answered Xena chuckling.

"We need to work on our timing."

"Funny that's exactly what she said. What do you want with her?" demanded Xena.

"Isn't it obvious? I'm her obsession. She's just like her father that way."

"I don't believe you. You always have an ulterior motive."

"You know Xena if it wasn't for Caesar's obsession over you she never would have been born."

"What are you babbling about?" asked Xena frustrated.

"Hope took advantage of Caesar. That's how Destiny was conceived."

"Would you say something that makes sense?"

"It's really very simple. Even when Caesar was planning your destruction he continued to dream of you in his bed every night. Hope's powers were very strong and she was looking for a sire for the second destroyer. She wanted a mortal since our union didn't work out very well."

"That's an understatement," interrupted Xena.

Ares gave her a disdainful look. "Anyway she decided on Caesar. Shortly before he was murdered on the Ides of March she changed forms. She appeared as you in his dream. She planned to kill him after the deed was done but unfortunately Callisto woke him up before she could plunge the dagger in him. So you see in a way you were a part of her conception. Maybe that's why you feel so maternal every time you're around her."

"That's just sick," replied Xena furrowing her eyebrows in disgust.

"But very successful," stated Ares.


Destiny dressed in silence, careful not to disturb Gabrielle listening as Ares kept Xena occupied. She picked up her sword quietly and walked stealthily toward her horse and saddled him. She checked one last time to make sure Xena was unaware of what she was doing then led her stallion slowly away from the campsite. Once she was out of earshot she mounted the steed and pressed him into a gallop.


Gabrielle opened her eyes taking in her surrounding, freezing when she spotted herself looking back at her.

"Hello mother," stated Hope her voice low and gravely.

Gabrielle jumped to her feet panic gripping her senses. "Where am I?"

"Relax mother. This is a dreamscape. I'm not here to hurt you. I need your help."

Gabrielle looked at her suspiciously. "You're out to destroy the world. What could you possibly want from me?"

"I don't care about any of that. I need you to save Destiny."

"From Dahak?" asked Gabrielle.

"From herself. I don't have much time to explain. Destiny has left your camp. She's gone to kill Eve."

"Xena's daughter? Why would she want to kill her?"

"Ares sent her."

"Ares is working with you?" shouted Gabrielle excitedly. "I don't get it. Why would you tell me this? Why would you want me to stop her? This is exactly what you want."

"No mother it's not what I want. Killing Eve will destroy her. I can't let that happen. I need you to trust me."

"How do expect me to trust you after everything you have done to Xena and me?"

"Because you know about the bond between a mother and a daughter. You did love me at one time didn't you?"

"With all my heart," answered Gabrielle without hesitation.

"She's not like me. I've done everything I can think of to turn her toward her dark side and nothing has worked."

"I've seen some of the things she has done Hope. I think you have succeeded."

"No. What you have seen is the warrior I created. Everything she does has been for me. Please we don't have much time just let me explain."

"Go on," replied Gabrielle.

"I raised her to be the greatest warrior in the world. I sent her to Rome to fight along side of Livia, a warrior with a ruthless reputation. I thought some of her would rub off on Destiny. Instead Livia softened. The two became very close so I sent Ares to mentor Livia. I wanted to break them apart. I suggested the raid on an amazon village knowing how loyal Destiny was to the nation. I had hoped she would revolt against Livia. Instead Destiny was determined to change her so on my word Ares had Livia sell her into slavery to the gladiators."

"How could you do that to your own daughter?" Gabrielle asked her eyes filled with horror.

"I wanted to get her mad enough to tap into her dark side. After two years of fighting she began showing mercy to her opponents. Augustus had always been jealous of her so it was easy to convince him to order her death and tell Destiny it was at Livia's command. I thought this would bring out her rage. With that rage she would have been capable of saving herself but she never got mad. Her heart was broken and she gave up. By the time I arrived she had already been crucified.

It was then that she learned about her true parentage. Dahak healed her and we returned to the amazon village. She became very quiet excepting her birthright. Since then she has followed my orders with the promise that the nation would be spared. Everything she does is to protect the amazons nothing more."

"She's killed hundreds maybe thousands of people. How will killing one more destroy her?"

"She doesn't know that Eve is really Livia. If Xena had to kill you to save the world do you think she could do it?"

Gabrielle stood silently considering the question, one hand under her chin. "If it was for the greater good she could do it."

"Do you really think that? Let's say she could kill you. How would that affect her?" Gabrielle stood quietly not answering. "Mother it would destroy her. She would rather be dead then kill you even if it saved the world. Destiny still feels the same for Livia even after everything that has happened to her."

"I don't believe you. After every thing you have done to her how can you expect me to believe that Destiny is more important than you and your father's plans?"

" I raised Destiny to be strong. I didn't want to love her. Destiny has always been loyal to me. After the crucifixion she became a ruthless leader. She used men to her advantage. She killed in battle after battle. She lusted after power and was invincible doing every thing right in my eyes to achieve our goal. Then a funny thing happened to me. I fell in love with my daughter."

Hope's expression changed dramatically as she continued to speak. The usual cold dark stare in her eyes faded replaced by the gentleness of a mother's love. "Every day my love for her grew and every day the love inside of her heart disappeared bit by bit. I would walk by her tent after a battle and listen to her cry while everyone else in the camp was celebrating our victory. The only thing worse in her life then learning she wasn't Xena's daughter was learning that you were not really her mother. Eve will be wearing a mask. If she doesn't take that mask off Destiny will kill her. Please don't let that happen."

"You really do love her?" stated Gabrielle.

"Yes but you must hurry or it will be too late."

"Why would Eve conceal her identity? That doesn't make sense."

"If Destiny kills Eve it will destroy Dahak. She's switched sides."

"I knew there had to be something in it for you. You tried to trick me."

"Do you really think Xena is willing to sacrifice her own daughter? I know I'm not." "It would crush her," answered Gabrielle contemplating her decision.

"There's no time to think about it mother. If you don't stop her I will destroy every thing you love. If you save my daughter you'll still have a chance against Dahak. Now go."


Gabrielle woke up and looked over at the empty bedroll then searched for Xena in the empty campsite. "Xena!" she yelled as she leaped onto her feet and ran toward the horses. "Xena!"

"Looks like someone's calling for you," stated Ares. With a flash of brilliant light he was gone.

Xena ran back to the campsite and saw Gabrielle saddling one of the horses. Taking a quick inventory she realized that Destiny and the white stallion were both gone. "Where is she?" she yelled running toward Gabrielle.

"No time to explain. Saddle up," answered the bard. Xena grabbed the other saddle and threw it over the horse.

"What happened?" asked Xena as she continued to work.

"She's gone to the temple of Eli," answered Gabrielle.

"Why is she," started Xena. "Eve's there," she added her eyes wide open with terror.

"She's gone to kill Eve."


Destiny arrived in front of the temple about an hour later. She dismounted her stallion and walked toward the structure searching for signs of life. As she neared the temple a woman emerged from behind the doors dressed in a short sleeve maroon battle dress covered by silver armor, her face covered by a silver mask concealing her identify.

Eve walked steadily down the steps and through the gates stopping in front of Destiny her sword drawn. "You must be Destiny," stated Eve using low monotone sound to disguise her voice.

"How do I know you are Eve?" asked Destiny.

"Some would say this is a suicide mission. I wouldn't be here if I wasn't Eve."

"Fair enough," replied Destiny drawing her sword. "We were born for this moment. One of us must die."

"It's for the greater good," interjected Eve.

"So they say," responded Destiny delivering the first blow.

Eve kept both hands on the hilt of her sword deflecting the first strike, the force sending sparks into the air. Destiny continued on the offense attacking with powerful thrusts, each one blocked by the masked warrior. Both women continued to parry and thrust searching for an opening.

Both blades locked as the warriors stared at each other both hands around their swords. "You're better then I expected. Nice moves," stated Destiny catching her breath. Both warriors spun around in opposite directions their swords clashing against one another. The battle raged on for several minutes in the cool night air, both gladiators evenly matched.

With blades locked again Destiny spun around using both hands to strike near Eve's head. Eve ducked under the blow responding with a low swing that Destiny jumped over. Eve moved backward anticipating the next move. Destiny moved forward faking a kick with her left foot then following with a right front blade kick to her opponent's chest throwing her into the gate.

Destiny lunged forward kicking the sword out of Eve's hand. Standing over her Destiny took one final look into her opponent's eyes then using both hands around the hilt she lifted her sword high above Eve's head ready to strike the final blow through her chest.

"NO!" Gabrielle's cry pierced the silence as she thundered toward Destiny on her horse a couple of lengths in front of Xena.

Destiny hesitated looking back as Gabrielle and Xena charged toward her.

"The mask!" yelled Gabrielle. "Make her take off the mask. She isn't who you think she is!"

Destiny looked down at Eve growling. Bending over she laid down her weapon and reached over to remove the mask. Eve moved away from her holding the mask to her face with both hands. Destiny reached down and jabbed both hands into her neck applying the pinch, surprised when it seemed to work. Reflexively Eve removed her hands from her face grabbing her neck, the source of her pain.

Destiny ripped the mask from her head staring into the deep blue eyes of the woman she once loved and called her friend. "Livia," she whispered softly her body trembling from the realization of what she might have done. Slowly she stood up paralyzed with emotion then bent back down and removed the pinch her eyes never leaving Eve's. She heard the whooshing sound of Xena's chakram passing over her, narrowly missing her head by a fraction of an inch and embedding itself into the wall.

She stood and turned around walking forward, looking blankly at the warrior princess who was now past Gabrielle. Xena pulled her horse to a stop and somersaulted into Destiny, powerful legs throwing the small woman backwards. Destiny fell to the ground landing near Eve, the tall dark warrior on top of her growling as she grabbed onto Destiny's armor and hauled her up to her feet.

"Stop!" yelled Gabrielle bringing her horse to a halt and dismounting.

Xena ignored the plea-punching Destiny in the face with a powerful right hand. Destiny staggered back absorbing a second blow to her stomach. "You tried to kill my daughter!" yelled Xena her face filled with rage.

"I told you not to trust me," Destiny answered defiantly.

Xena struck out with a rising elbow to her face snapping the young woman's head back. Destiny stumbled to the ground. Gabrielle reached Xena and tackled her before she could do anymore damage. "Stop! She couldn't kill Livia! I won't let you kill her," she said lying on top of Xena.

Destiny picked herself up from the ground walking blindly from the two women on the ground. Xena pushed Gabrielle off and jumped up to confront Destiny swinging a powerful right hook followed by a left, right and another left. This time Destiny blocked each swing. "I'm not a punching bag," hissed Destiny defending herself. Xena followed with a succession of kicks each one blocked by the small brunette, both women moving with lightning speed as they battled. Xena found an opening and kicked Destiny with another powerful front blade kick to the stomach only to be met with a kick from Destiny that landed on her stomach. Both women flew backward several feet from the impact.

Gabrielle ran over to Xena holding her sais in front of her. Xena jumped to her feet only to met by a powerful rising elbow to her chin from her partner. The force sent her back to the ground.

"Stop Xena! You don't know the whole story!" cried Gabrielle as Eve moved behind her.

Destiny picked herself up from the ground and slowly walked away from the group ignoring the cold steely glare of the warrior princess.

"She tries to kill my daughter and you choose now to defend her!" spat Xena watching Destiny walk toward her horse.

"Killing Eve would have destroyed Dahak," defended Gabrielle.

"She's right mother," added Eve. "Had I been able to kill her I could've defeated Dahak."

Xena jumped to her feet her eyes still resting on the small brunette as Destiny mounted her horse. Gabrielle put her hand against Xena's chest. "Let her go. It was a fair fight."

Xena took several deep breaths trying to calm her anger as Destiny rode off. "How do you know this Gabrielle?"

"Hope came to my in my sleep. She warned me."

"She wanted you to stop my daughter from killing her."

"You're wrong. She wanted me to stop Destiny from killing Eve."

"Why are you defending Hope?"

"Think about it Xena. Who was killing who when we rode up?"

"She would have killed Eve if I hadn't stopped her," answered Xena.

"Get over yourself. Boy you can be blind when it comes to your daughter," hissed Gabrielle.

"Listen to her mother. She's right. I wore a mask to hide my identity. When she recognized me she took the pinch off. If she hadn't you would have killed her with your chakram."

Xena shook her head trying to sort out the details of the night. "So your god offered you as a sacrifice to destroy Dahak?"

"Yes mother. That's why I was brought into this world."

"No more. I want to talk to this god," growled Xena.

"Mother please don't question his actions," answered Eve.

"Look there's got to be a way of defeating Dahak without sacrificing our children," interjected Gabrielle. "I need to find her before she does something crazy."

"Go ahead. We'll catch up," replied Eve.


Gabrielle took off on her horse in hot pursuit of the small brunette. She found her trail and followed it for several minutes before reaching the edge of the forest and finding the white stallion. The footsteps led toward the trees.

Gabrielle slowed up cautiously looking into every tree and behind every bush, her sais in her hand in a ready position. "Destiny," she called out. The forest was deathly quiet as Gabrielle stopped, listening for any sound to break the silence. A rustle of leaves alerted her to possible trouble on her left. Before she could react a tiger pounced from a low lying branch throwing its body against the bard and sending her to the ground, a fierce roar emitting from it's throat.

Instinctively Gabrielle slugged the beast on the back of its head with the handle of her weapon. "Owe," growled the beast raising a paw to the back of it's head as it slid off the small blonde changing back into the natural form of her granddaughter. "A tiger pounces on you and all you do is hit it on the head. Are you suicidal?" hissed Destiny still rubbing her head.

Gabrielle stared in amazement as the tiger transformed into her granddaughter. "Tigers aren't native to Greece," answered the bard.

"Oh. I didn't think of that," replied Destiny sheepishly.

"Besides you really need to work on your growl."

"What's wrong with my growl?"

"It's a little weak."

"Enough with the little comments!" cried Destiny raising her hands and swinging them into the air.

"You really have a short complex."

"Look at me! I'm supposed to be a fierce warrior!"

"At least you're taller than me."

"That's true. Of course who isn't?"

Gabrielle smiled ignoring the sarcastic remark. "There are advantages to being short."

"Not in a battle."

"That's not true."

"Oh do enlighten me."

"People under estimate you because of your size. I'm sure that has been a deadly mistake for many of your opponents."

Destiny cocked her head absorbing the words. "That's true. I never thought of it before."

"Use it to your advantage. It might save your life one day."

"I will." Destiny smiled at Gabrielle before shaking her head, her expression changing. "Wait this wasn't supposed to happen. You're getting all parental on me."

"Is that such a bad thing?"

"Yes. It's not supposed to happen."

"What did you expect me to do?" asked Gabrielle picking herself up from the ground as she spoke.

"I expected you to kill me. Aren't those things you carry sharp?" asked Destiny pointing to the sais in her hands.

"What good would that have done?"

"I don't know. At least you would have had the pleasure of doing it. Consider it a going away gift."

"I finally see the good in you and you try to trick me into killing you. Thank you for your thoughtfulness."

"What good? I'm evil remember? I could have stopped Dahak tonight if I had just killed Eve and I couldn't even do that. So I ran. Damn amazons. If they had just followed orders."

"Why did you spare Eve?"

Destiny looked away from Gabrielle her eyes filling with tears as she sat deep in thought. "Because she's Livia," she responded her voicing shaking with emotion. "My life is forfeit now."

"Your life was forfeit when you didn't kill Xena."

"That's why I tried to kill myself but thanks to her my plan was thwarted."

"Your plan? What possible good could have come from your death?"

Destiny rolled her eyes at Gabrielle. "Well besides the obvious. I promised my life to grandfather if I failed. In exchange for my loyalty he would have brought me back. At least then I could have chosen sides. Now he knows that I'm a traitor but at least he won't think to look for me in the forest and I can live out my life as an animal."

Gabrielle stared at her in disbelief. "What side would you have chosen?"

"Which side do you think I would have chosen?" Destiny looked at her nervously then stood up and turned away from the bard. "Well I gotta go."

"If you run away from your problems now you'll always be running."

"Fine with me," stated Destiny walking away. "See ya." Destiny disappeared into the nearest tree leaving Gabrielle on the ground. Moments later a majestic gold and black leopard jumped onto the ground near the small blonde.

"This isn't going to solve anything," Gabrielle shouted at the leopard.

"Works for me," answered Destiny. Just then a roar was heard through the bushes. Gabrielle and Destiny turned around staring into the golden eyes of a wild leopard. Gabrielle stood in a defensive position as the leopard Destiny walked over to the new arrival. "Relax he won't hurt you." The beast walked up to Destiny nuzzling her under the chin. Gabrielle watched stunned as the leopard continued to nuzzle Destiny, nipping her on the neck then walking around her to sniff her tail as Destiny jumped from the touch. Gabrielle laughed as the amorous leopard continued to fondle his new love.

Xena and Eve heard the commotion and walked up to Gabrielle, standing behind her watching the scene unfold as Gabrielle attempted to explain between chuckles.

"Whoa enough big boy," cried Destiny backing away in circles while the leopard followed her scent. Seconds later he pounced on her licking her face. Destiny struggled to get up only to be tackled from behind as the aggressive animal attempted to mate with her. "Hey, stop that. We barely know each other. Help," cried Destiny struggling to get up before the animal could accomplish his mission. "Gabrielle!" cried Destiny desperate for some aide. The bard walked behind the leopard striking it on the back of the head with her weapon using all of her force. The animal fell forward onto Destiny who pushed him off with her front paws and rolled away, changing back into her natural form as she moved.

"Was I entertaining?" yelled Destiny lying on the ground. She looked up to see Xena and Eve laughing heartily along with Gabrielle. All three nodded in unison.

Destiny growled as she picked herself up off the ground, trying hard to hold onto her angry expression. A grin formed on her lips as she thought of the absurdity of the situation. "Fine. That idea sucked," she stated smiling. "Son of a Bacchae. Just my luck I get attacked by a horny leopard," she added stifling a giggle.

"I thought you were going to have kittens," quipped Gabrielle laughing so hard she was doubled over as she spoke.

"Now there's a story for your great, great grand kids," added Destiny laughing.

After several long moments the laughter subsided. "Why did you bring her here?" asked Destiny pointing toward Eve.

Xena stepped in front of her daughter, her hand hovering over the chakram to protect Eve if needed.

"Relax Xena. I couldn't kill her in the heat of battle. I'm not gonna do it now. Still wanna kill me?"

"No. And I'm not going to let either of you two die," responded Xena. "It's time we were all on the same side."

"You know the horny leopard is looking pretty good right now," quipped Destiny.

"Why not stand up and fight back Destiny?" asked Eve.

"Fight for what? Dahak will come into this world and he will destroy me. At least when I was on his side I had a chance."

"A chance for what?" asked Gabrielle.

"At peace," answered Destiny.

"In a world without love?" asked Eve.

"Don't you dare talk to me love Eve. And I don't want to hear about that god of yours. What makes you think he is any better than Dahak?" Destiny said walking toward her.

"Because he allows free will and promotes love not violence."

"Back up Eve. Let's talk about your god. Where was he when Mephistopheles unleashed hell on earth killing your grandmother? Oh that's right he sent his archangels to send your mother down to hell for her efforts when she defeated him. Then he offered you up as a sacrifice to that whacko Caligula. What exactly was that for except to make you a martyr in his name?"

"Every action has a purpose. It is not for me to question why. He is the god of love."

"Is that why he sent Michael to kill Aphrodite? Now there's a scary deity spreading all of that love around has got be a threat to him. Even now he has offered you again as a sacrifice. Why did he give Xena a child only to take her away from you? Where was he when the amazons were dying on the beach because of a crazed demigod?"

Eve stood in front of Destiny speechless as she continued her ranting. "Where was he when I was enslaved? He was up there smiling waiting to get his revenge on me. And why? You knew me Eve. What did I ever do to deserve his wrath? And now you guys want me to go against my mother for your god. So he can continue his eternal punishment?" Destiny paused for a moment to catch her breath. Her body trembled as she spoke, pale green eyes clouding with moisture as tears began to run down her cheek. "I can't do that," she added choking as the words came out.

Gabrielle walked toward her granddaughter placing a consoling hand on her shoulder. "They have really brain washed you against Eli's god haven't they?" asked Eve.

Destiny's face turned red with rage as she stomped away from Eve pacing. "Have you heard anything I've said? No one brain washed me. Your god now has final judgement over me because I betrayed Dahak. Newsflash. He's already passed judgement on me!" yelled Destiny.

"Destiny calm down," cried Gabrielle grabbing the distraught woman and holding her. "How can we help you if we don't know what's going on?"

"Destiny what happened to you when they brought you down from the cross?" asked Xena.

Destiny ran her hands through her hair, pale green eyes staring blankly forward as the memories came crashing down. "They killed me," she whispered choking the tears back.

Gabrielle looked at her intensely, one hand brushing away the tears from her cheeks. "How," she asked softly. "Go slowly."

" I was taken off the cross and laid on the ground. My arms and legs were tied with rope, each rope leading to a horse."

"By the gods," whispered Gabrielle her mouth wide open in horror as she listened to the story. Eve and Xena stood behind her with similar expressions.

"My arms were already dislocated. I had lost a lot of blood from the wounds and my legs were shattered. Then I scream and scream as the sound of hooves grows fainter and fainter but I'm still alive. I hear that sound over and over in my dreams. You can't imagine the pain I felt of having my limbs torn from my body. I open my eyes and a Roman soldier stands over me with a sword then darkness." Destiny burst into tears as she completed the story. "I wasn't afraid to die."

"What happened next?" asked Xena walking over to the small blonde and brunette, one hand around Destiny's shoulder.

"That's when I met Hades. He said he had a special place for me. A place that would make Tartarus look like the Elysian Fields. I asked him why. That's when he told me about Hope and Dahak. I thought I was the daughter of the great amazon queen Gabrielle. I thought I had lived with honor." Destiny stopped to catch her breath for a moment. "He told me that I was to spend eternity in hell because I was the granddaughter of Dahak. For three days they tortured me."

"What did they do to you?" choked Gabrielle tears streaming down her cheeks as she listened to the story.

"I was to relive my death over and over for eternity. For three days I could feel every moment of pain after I was taken down from that cross. That was my eternal punishment before I fought for Dahak. Imagine what I have to look forward to now." Destiny broke completely down sobbing into the shoulder of her grandmother as she stroked the fine strands of dark hair. Gabrielle buried her head into Destiny's shoulders crying softly with her as Xena and Eve looked on silently, tears running down their faces.

Destiny looked up at Xena with pleading eyes. "Why didn't you kill me in battle? At least Dahak would have protected me."

Xena gazed down at the small brunette speechless, unsure of what to say. "She didn't kill you because she saw what I couldn't see," interrupted Gabrielle.

"That doesn't help me now does it?" stated Destiny. "If I fight Dahak and lose I will suffer an even worse fate."

"You don't know that," interrupted Eve.

"Do you know differently? Can you guarantee me that?" hissed Destiny.

"I assure you that you will be judged fairly," answered Eve.

"And what will you be doing when I am fighting Eve? Watching the battle from a distance spouting your words of love? I'll make you a deal. If you fight I will fight."

"No. Eve has laid down her sword. She fights with words now," interrupted Xena.

"Still willing to sacrifice Gabrielle's kids and not your own?" hissed Destiny. Pale blue eyes dark with anger stared back at the small woman for several moments as the tension thickened.

"Besides you held up a sword pretty good against me tonight. Come on Eve. I saw the fire in your eyes when we were fighting. It's in your blood."

"She's right mother. If she can fight so can I," answered Eve.

"But Eve," started Xena.

"No buts. It's my decision," finished Eve.

"Good. Then it's settled," replied Destiny.


There was a fine mist in the air at dawn when Xena woke up. The fire had been extinguished from the moisture of the evening. Xena walked quietly around the campsite trying not to wake the others.

She smiled at the sight of Destiny sharing her bedroll with her daughter. She had been very shocked earlier when the small brunette made the offer to compensate for the lack of blankets to keep Eve warm in the cold night. Now Destiny lay peacefully on her right side facing Eve, her left arm draped around her daughter.

Xena turned around stepping on a branch and snapping it in two, the noise waking Destiny. Her eyes widened with embarrassment when she realized where her arm was. She withdrew the limb quickly looking back at the source of the noise, staring into the twinkling eyes of the warrior princess.

Carefully she slipped out of the covers and stood up. "You hush. Don't you say a word," growled Destiny pointing back at Eve.

"What?" asked Xena innocently.

"I was cold. I like to cuddle. That is all," she hissed.

"I didn't say a word," defended Xena.

"Keep it that way. You say anything I'll kill ya."

"Again I see the family resemblance. Are you always this cheery in the morning?" asked Xena chuckling.

"I'm hungry and I'm tired," replied Destiny a pouty expression on her face.

"We'd better go kill something then," stated Xena walking over to Gabrielle and waking her gently. Reluctantly Gabrielle woke up using one hand to shade her eyes from the early morning sun.

"Is it morning already?" inquired the bard.

"Yes," answered Xena softly. "We're gonna go catch breakfast. You and Eve get the fire going." Gabrielle nodded slowly rising from her bedroll. Xena walked over to Destiny who was standing ready holding her bow in her hand. "Are you going to just stand there or are you going to wake her?" asked Xena pointing at her daughter.

Destiny glared at Xena a mischievous twinkle in her eyes. "If you insist." Destiny walked over to Eve and leaned down. "EVE WAKE UP!"

Eve leaped from the bedroll looking around the camp disoriented as Destiny jumped backward out of reach laughing.

"Oh you are evil," quipped Xena trying desperately not to laugh at her daughter's discomfort.

Eve shook her head growling and glared at Destiny. "Just like old times isn't it?" asked Eve.

"Yeah except I used to do it as a joke. Today I just wanted to piss you off," answered Destiny raising her eyebrows and grinning like a Cheshire cat. "Now would be a good time to leave the camp Xena." She walked toward the tall warrior leaving Eve behind to stew over the incident. "You go that way," Destiny started pointing to the north. "And I'll go that way. Last one back gets to skin the rabbits."

"It's a deal," answered Xena shaking hands with Destiny. Both women took off running in opposite directions while Eve and Gabrielle set out to collect firewood.

"Gabrielle do you think Destiny will ever forgive me?"

"It's gonna take a lot of time. Her emotions are every erratic right now. If she didn't care she would've killed you last night."

"Or let me freeze to death," added Eve rubbing her arms for warmth. Thirty minutes later the two women had gathered enough wood. Gabrielle began the task of starting a fire while Eve unloaded spices and utensils. Both heads turned when they heard the sound of feet thundering toward the campsite. Destiny and Xena ran into the clearing arriving at exactly the same time, each holding a dead rabbit by the ears.

"Gabrielle are you sure her and I weren't switched at birth?" deadpanned Eve.

Gabrielle shook her head watching the two grown children catching their breath. "Good you can each skin your own rabbit."

Xena and Destiny looked at each other nodding in compliance and sat down across from Gabrielle and Eve, rabbit in hand. Destiny pulled a large dagger from between her breasts as Xena looked on.

"That's a really big dagger," noted Xena.

Destiny looked down at her chest. "Really big breasts," she quipped.

"And I thought your breasts were dangerous," quipped Gabrielle.

Both women started skinning their animal watching Gabrielle and Eve struggle with the fire. The morning dew had settled against everything in the forest leaving all of the logs at least partially damp preventing the start of a good fire. Destiny looked up from her task suppressing her laughter. After several minutes Xena and Gabrielle looked up again finished with their rabbits.

"Done," they stated in unison.

"Good then maybe you two can get this fire started," Gabrielle said throwing the flint to the ground frustrated with the lack of results.

Xena stood up walking over to help the ladies while Destiny continued to sit grinning at the spectacle. "I can get it started."

"Be my guest," answered Xena.

"Back away and I will," replied Destiny.

"Fine." Xena backed away.

Destiny sat on her log waiting for everyone to clear a path.

"It might help if you actually moved toward the wood," stated Gabrielle.

"I'm comfortable where I'm sitting," answered Destiny, a sly look on her face. As soon as the path to the wood was clear she raised her left arm, a serious look on her face. A small ball of fire appeared in her hand. With careful aim she threw it toward the damp wood. Moments later a blazing fire appeared. Three pairs of eyes widened in amazement at the feat.

"You could do this yet you sat there all morning watching us struggle to start a fire?" Gabrielle said walking angrily toward the small brunette. "That would have been very helpful an hour ago!"

"Yes but not nearly as entertaining," replied Destiny sucking in her cheeks trying to contain her laughter.

Gabrielle walked up to her and whacked her on the side of the head. She turned around and glared at Xena who was trying hard to refrain from laughter. "That's right warrior. Don't you dare laugh!" threatened Gabrielle pointing her finger at Xena.

Eve who was standing next to her mother took advantage of the situation and whacked Xena across the side of the head.

"Owe what was that for?" asked Xena rubbing her head.

"You want to laugh. That's what that's for," answered Eve.

"Thank you," added Gabrielle. "You two are insufferable!"

"Jeez Hope never hit me," interjected Destiny.

"Maybe she should have," replied Gabrielle. "What did she do when you misbehaved?"

"She usually threw things at me using her powers," answered Destiny casually. "You know, knives, swords, arrows, any kind of blunt object that could do damage. How do you think I learned to catch arrows?" she added chuckling.

"Are you always this serious?" inquired Gabrielle.

Destiny hesitated before answering, a peaceful smile across her face. "It's been a long time since I've laughed," she replied softly.

"You used to laugh and make jokes all the time," interrupted Eve.

"That was a very long time ago," responded Destiny wistfully gazing into the flames.


Gabrielle walked to the stream dishes in hand and began the mundane task of washing them. From nearby a tree a twinkle of light appeared revealing the goddess Aphrodite sitting against the trunk.

"After all the two of you have been through together I can't believe you still have to do the dishes," stated Aphrodite breaking the silence and startling the small blonde.

Gabrielle lurched forward instinctively, stumbling knee deep in the stream as she struggled to hold herself upright. After regaining her balance she stared in the direction of the sound glaring at Aphrodite who was standing with her hand over her mouth, her eyes wide with shock.

"Aphrodite, don't startle me like that." answered Gabrielle.

"I'm so sorry. Really I am. I just wanted to say hi," defended Aphrodite.

"Don't just stand there. Give me a hand."

"OH right." Aphrodite walked down to the edge of the stream and offered her hand to her friend. "Do you forgive me?" she asked when Gabrielle reached solid ground.

Gabrielle nodded her response. "And for your information we do share cleaning duties. I lost a bet this morning. That's all."

"Yeah okay," replied Aphrodite, a cheesy grin on her face. "I hear congratulations are in order."

"For what? Making it out of Japa alive?" mocked Gabrielle.

"That's a given. I hear you are a grandmother. Lookin good grandma," kidded the goddess punching her playfully in the shoulder.

"Lets just hope I live long enough to look like one," responded Gabrielle.

"You're going up against Dahak today aren't you?" asked Aphrodite her smile vanishing as she spoke.

Gabrielle nodded her head. "We suspect that Hope is holding the amazon warriors hostage in return for Destiny. We're waiting for word from the village before we make a move."

"Can you really trust Destiny?"

"We don't have a choice. She's confused right now. Only she or Hope have the power to destroy him and I don't think Hope is going to switch sides any time soon."

"Destiny seems pretty volatile right now," interjected Aphrodite. "I mean come on, wanting to live your life as a leopard is pretty radical."

"How do you know about that?" asked Gabrielle curiously.

"Where do think the love leopard came from?" answered Aphrodite smugly.

"You sent the leopard?" repeated Gabrielle impressed.

"Of course. Ares told me she's our only hope against Dahak. I know how much she enjoys men. I figured I would give her a little reminder of what she would be missing in the animal kingdom."

"I'm impressed Aphrodite. She definitely wasn't ready to mate."

"Actually I came here to ask you guys not to be too hard on Ares. I know he does stupid things but he was just trying to save me."

"By getting Eve killed?" interrupted Gabrielle.

"I know it was a dumb plan but it was kind of sweet if you think about it."

"I don't think Xena would agree."

"I know but Ares knows he can't kill this god. He loves his immortality. Besides he's grown rather fond of Destiny since Arte died.

"Do you mean Artemis?"

"Yeah. For twenty-five years she thought Hope was really you and Destiny was really Xena's daughter. They appeared shortly after that incident on the beach. It seemed kind of coincidental that Xena would take her own life on the beach and then Gabrielle would suddenly appear at the amazon village farthest north with a dark haired baby of the same age."

"If she thought that the baby was Eve why didn't she kill her? The Olympians believed she would bring about the twilight."

"And instead we brought it on ourselves. Arte wasn't as sure. Besides she wasn't gonna pass up the chance to watch the daughter of Xena being raised by queen Gabrielle as a true amazon princess. When the tribe started to grow she was certain she had made the right decision."

"How do you know all this?"

"Arte confided in me. She knew you were my favorite. I didn't want to see you and Xena die so I kept her secret. By the time anyone found out about Hope and Destiny's true parentage most of the Olympians were dead and Ares and I were mortal. And you and Xena were on a boat to that god forsaken place in the east."

"Why didn't you and Ares do something to prevent things from going this far?" asked Gabrielle.

"Gabby I'm not the warrior type. And Ares was afraid of Dahak when the Olympians were still alive. Switching sides was second nature for him. He just didn't know that I would be sacrificed in the process."

"Let's pray that Destiny is more loyal to the amazons. I'd better get going back. They might start worrying about me."

"Alright, later," said Aphrodite and with a twinkle of light she was gone.


Destiny sat on a log across the fire from Xena, both warriors sharpening their swords in preparation for the impending battle. Eve was quietly repacking the saddles.

"So tell me about your god Eve," stated Destiny.

"He is the light. He believes love is the way and people have free will. Their lives shouldn't be controlled by the gods," she answered.

"Except for his chosen few whom he offers off as sacrifices," interrupted Destiny.

"I don't question the will of my god," answered Eve.

"My point exactly. Maybe you should. I was told the same thing about Dahak and look where it's gotten me," replied Destiny. "Look at the wonderful things I've done in the name of my god."

"Eli's god is about love and peace, not evil and destruction," responded Eve.

"He sent an archangel down to kill Aphrodite, the goddess of love and he offered you to Caligula and me."

"I'm willing to die for my beliefs just like you," defended Eve walking behind Destiny.

Destiny continued sharpening her weapon staring ahead at the warrior princess. "That's where we're different. I had no intentions of dying last night only killing you."

"You wouldn't think twice about killing my daughter again?" asked Xena, pale blue eyes cold with anger piercing the small brunette.

"If it was the only way. Believe or not I do have my own free will. Lucky for you Xena I have a soft spot for the woman your daughter used to be," answered Destiny.

"I'm not comfortable with this conversation. It's not making it easy for me to trust you right now."

"Maybe you shouldn't," replied Destiny defiantly. "I am still the second destroyer even if I'm not so insidious."

"Will you be able to kill Hope if the need arises?" asked Xena staring into Destiny's eyes.

"I don't know."

"Does Hope love you?"

"Yes," hissed Destiny.

"Then you grew up with love," stated Xena.

"Not that mushy kind of love but she showed me love. Did she shower me with hugs and kisses? No. Did she tell me she loved me? No, never. Would I sacrifice eternity in hell just to hear her say I love you one time? Without hesitation," answered Destiny her expression changing from defiant to wistful as she finished her answer.

Destiny was so deep in thought she didn't notice Eve standing behind her. She was holding a spider that fit perfectly in the palm of her hand and started petting it, lifting it up for Xena to admire. Catching her unaware she gently placed the creature on the small woman's bare shoulder.

Destiny reacted instinctively when she felt the tickle on her skin and looked over at her right shoulder to see the cause of her discomfort. Her eyes widened in horror recognizing the body of the spider.

"Yow," she cried jumping from the log and shaking her arm in an effort to dislodge the bug. "Get it off me. Get it off me," she screamed shaking her body as the creature started for her neck.

Within seconds Eve grabbed the spider and jumped backward out of Destiny's line of fire, laughing at the spectacle. Much to Destiny's dismay Xena joined in the laughter as well. She glared at Eve giving her a menacing look before walking to the other side of the fire.

"I can't believe you did that," stated Destiny trying to shake the terror from her body.

"The big bad warrior is afraid of an itsy bitsy spider," interjected Xena between laughs.

"They're nasty little creatures," spat Destiny.

Gabrielle walked up to the campsite trying to discern the situation. Eve and Xena were laughing uncontrollably and Destiny was sitting on a stump pouting. Before she could find out what the commotion was all about, Myrene, the amazon scout rode into the camp.

Horse and rider came to a stop. "You were right Xena. Hope is holding the warriors hostage. Varia will meet us in front of the temple with the other warriors from the village. They want Destiny or the amazons will die."

"Gee there's a shocker. Can you tell me something we don't know?" asked Destiny sarcastically.

"Destiny we await you're orders," answered Myrene.

"Maybe you hadn't noticed Myrene but we lost. Xena is in charge now. Gabrielle is the queen here not me."

"With respect Destiny. You will always be an amazon to us and our leader."

"Happy days. Tonight I will be a dead amazon then."

"Destiny if you think you will lose today then you will," interrupted Gabrielle.

"The mission is to save the amazons. We'll deal with Dahak later."

"So what is your plan," asked Xena.

"Simple. I'll go up the middle to the temple throw a few fireballs and take out their artillery. They only have crossbows. You and Gabrielle and Eve and Varia will follow behind me and go to the entrance to the right of the temple. The amazons will be there. Bring them to safety and I'll hold Hope off."

"That's the stupidest plan I've ever heard!" interrupted Xena.

"And just how many samurais did you go up against in Japa?" asked Destiny.

"Okay it's the second stupidest plan we've ever heard," interjected Gabrielle.

"But in the end it worked," defended Destiny.

"Yes but not without sacrifices," answered Gabrielle shaken by the conversation.

"Did you really think there wouldn't be sacrifices?" asked Destiny her voice rising in anger.

"I just found you Destiny. I don't want to lose you," answered Gabrielle.

"Something will be waiting for me on the other side of those walls. Some great evil. I don't know exactly what it is and I need all of you to help my sisters. Unless something goes terribly wrong I can defend myself but not if I have to worry about you. If something happens to me Varia will explain to you why it is so important that you stay alive."

"What do you mean by some great evil?" asked Xena.

"I can't explain it. It's been in my dreams for many days. I believe it was planted there to keep me in line. If something goes wrong I will yell for you but you must get the amazons to safety first, please," pleaded Destiny.

"We will," answered Xena. "Come on. It's time to go.


Destiny sat on top of her mount several hundred feet in front of Dahak's temple waiting for Varia and the other warriors to arrive. Xena walked her horse toward the small brunette and stopped beside her.

"It's just the two us. What aren't you telling me about this great evil?" asked Xena.

"I'll answer your question if you'll answer mine," answered Destiny.

"Fair enough," agreed Xena.

"I'm afraid you get the losing end of the bargain. There's not much more to tell. I can tell you only that it has to do with my past."

"How do you mean?"

"I have been having dark dreams, reliving my most painful days. There is a presence of evil. I know it's there watching me. I cannot see it but I know Dahak sends it. You know Xena evil never really dies it just recreates itself. There will be evil in the world for thousands of years to come." Destiny paused heavy in thought. "Now for my question. Why do you trust me?"

"That's easy. I see Gabrielle's light in you."

"You barely know me."

"I see it in your eyes even though you try to hide it. I trust my instincts."

"You trusted your instincts when Hope was a baby but now your greatest fear is that you were wrong and that your actions caused great pain to Gabrielle."

"You're very perceptive but it won't change my mind about you. You've had too many chances to kill me."

Varia and several amazons rode up on horseback as the conversation continued. "It's difficult to kill the ones you love," whispered Destiny as Varia came up to her.

"Excuse me but I must speak with you Destiny. It's important," stated Varia.

"Go ahead, "answered Destiny.

"Alone," responded Varia.

"Okay. Xena if we're both still alive tonight then you should trust me but not before," replied Destiny following Varia away from the group.

Gabrielle and Eve rode up to Xena to watch the private conversation. The amazons lined up behind them. Varia looked very solemn as she spoke. Destiny's expression turned from concern to anger to rage as she listened to the amazon queen. Everyone watched as Destiny gave Varia an answer then turned and ran hard toward the group.

Destiny stared at Xena and Gabrielle her eyes cold her face expressionless. "There has been a change of plans. Get the amazons out. I will still create a diversion. You will have one chance. If you don't succeed you will all die. Get them out and leave at once. Stay away from the temple. Goodbye."

"Destiny wait," cried Xena and Gabrielle in unison.

Destiny turned her horse around to face them. "You have one chance then leave! I told you Xena you shouldn't have trusted me. Dahak just won."

Before Xena could respond Destiny gave out a loud cry and spurred her horse forward charging the temple. Several crossbow arrows came toward her falling to the ground around her. Using her bow she shot many of the men down and began throwing fireballs into the ground in front of the temple. The soldiers in front of the temple became disoriented giving Xena and Gabrielle the opening they needed.

"Varia what did you say to her?" asked Gabrielle.

"Not until the amazons are safe. You heard her. If we don't go now they will be lost," answered Varia before kicking her horse and following Destiny through the smoke filled grass.

Xena and Gabrielle followed Varia with Eve and the rest of the warriors not far behind. There were less soldiers then expected and taking them out proved to be much easier then originally thought. A well-aimed fireball knocked an opening into the temple for them to go through. As Destiny had stated the amazons were lined up in rows their hands tied behind their backs. The room was separated from the main hall were Dahak remained in fire form.


Destiny came to a stop several feet in front of the temple doors, somersaulting into a dismount. Very few men stood in front of her as she neared the entrance. Those who got in her way were easily disposed of with her sword.

She opened the double doors and walked slowly inside, her eyes adjusting to the darkness on the inside. Dahak's flame burned high at the back of the temple. Hope stood behind the fire, her expression fixed and unreadable.

Destiny looked away her eyes searching the temple. She stopped at the altar frozen by the sight in front of her. A young boy about eleven years old with long blonde hair and green eyes was tied with rope across the altar. Above the boy stood a shamaness with dark black eyes, an evil grin on her face as she stood with a dagger above her head ready to pierce the boy's heart. It was the evil in her dreams.

"Alti," whispered frozen with terror as she watched the shamaness towering over the boy. "Noooooo!" she cried running forward as fast as she could watching as the knife started its downward arc toward the altar. Jumping into a double forward somersault she reached Alti seconds before the knife could pierce the boy's skin, kicking the tall evil woman several feet away.

Quickly she untied the boy's hands and legs using the dagger that Alti had dropped, her legs shaking with fear. She grabbed the boy momentarily to her breast. "Go now. You must leave," she cried pushing the boy away from the altar.

The shamaness stood in front of her as soon as she turned around. Alti grabbed her by the throat lifting her feet off the ground. "A fate worse then death," she growled with a low gravely voice. "Enjoy your memories destroyer."

Destiny was suspended in mid air. She could see her memories flashing by. They started with her broken leg when she was five. Realizing what Alti had planned for her she mustered all of her strength to fight back. She felt an arrow pierce her stomach and started bleeding. A loud rumble was heard as the fire in the back was now changing form. Destiny pushed her hands forward jabbing Alti in the neck and stopping the flow of blood to her brain.

Alti continued holding on blood trickling from her nose. The memories went forward to her crucifixion. Destiny could feel the nails pierce her hands one by one followed by her legs, fighting hard to suppress a yell, blood pouring from wounds in her hands and legs. She was unsuccessful, instead screaming loud enough for Gabrielle to hear her from the other room.

Gabrielle heard Destiny's scream and ran toward the sound after Varia and Eve assured her they had been successful. Xena followed behind. When they reached the main area they were greeted by the demon Dahak who stood in the pit where the fire once burned, laughing at the spectacle created by his evil. Hope stood emotionless behind him.

Gabrielle saw Alti holding Destiny by the throat, blood now pouring from two additional stomach wounds. She ran to the young woman's aide her sais in hand when Destiny let out a blood curdling scream, tears running down her face with blood oozing from her shoulders and hips as she relived the tearing of her limbs. Gabrielle reached Alti just in time driving both weapons into her back, the assault causing the shamaness to lose her grip. Destiny fell backward onto the ground motionless, still screaming and crying.

Gabrielle ran to the ground placing her hands around Destiny's face, tears forming in her eyes as she watched the young girl suffer. Destiny could only move her eyes staring up into the soft green eyes of her grandmother.

"Look at the bright side," she said softly in between sobs. "I can't feel the nails in my hands and legs."

Gabrielle's expression changed as a soft smile formed on her lips the teardrops running down her face. "Hang in there. Don't die on me."

"Gabrielle please help me," pleaded Destiny choking down the tears her eyes closing tightly to fight the pain. "Please finish it."

"What? I can't," started Gabrielle realizing what she was asking.

"Please. Let the last thing I see be the love in a mother's eyes."


"Please. Use my sword and save the boy. You've got to save the boy," begged Destiny unaware of the fight that was beginning in the back of the temple.


Xena was standing in front of the evil god. He stood about seven feet high with a dark red complexion, horns stretching from the top of his face. He stood towering over Xena laughing smugly.

"Why are all you evil male gods so ugly?" quipped Xena. "You and Lucifer must get your make up done by the same guy."

"Now is not the time for insolence," bellowed Dahak. "You can still change your mind. You would make a great warrior for the darkness."

"When hell freezes over!" shouted Xena running toward the evil god.

Dahak laughed throwing his hands in front of him, a gust of wind throwing Xena backward several feet. Hope took advantage of her father's lapse in concentration and ran toward her daughter and Gabrielle.

"Please mother move. Let me help her," cried Hope.

"I won't let you touch her," hissed Gabrielle.

"Go save the boy. I'll finish here. There's nothing you can do now. I'm you're only chance," answered Hope.

Gabrielle looked up at Hope the cold expression now gone replaced by a softness in her eyes. She backed away reluctantly her eyes never leaving her daughter. Hope kneeled on the ground and placed her hands around Destiny's neck. After a few tense moments Gabrielle watched as the blood started to thin on Destiny's body, her cries now softening. Realizing Hope was healing her daughter she turned to look for the boy.

He was standing behind her watching in horror as Destiny cried. Gabrielle grabbed the boy who struggled to hold his ground. Dahak noticed what was happening and threw another force of wind directed toward Gabrielle slamming her into the wall. He followed with another blow to Xena who had regained her composure and was running toward him. She flew back a second time. He raised his hands and another gust of wind appeared, this time sucking the boy into the air toward him.

Hope held onto her daughter concentrating to heal every wound on her body. Destiny lay with her eyes closed as the life flowed back into her. Slowly the blood disappeared from her body.

Destiny opened her eyes cautiously. She was weak from the trauma inflicted by Alti. She looked up to briefly see the soft green eyes of her mother who's healing hands had brought her back from the torture she endured. In a flash they were gone, replaced by the same green eyes on Gabrielle's face.

"You have betrayed your own father!" shouted Dahak. "I will not let that go unpunished."

Hope walked steadily toward her father emerald green eyes now black with rage. "You promised not to hurt her father," answered Hope.

"You have grown soft Hope because of your love for your daughter," he said kicking the warrior princess to the ground again as he yelled.

As Hope continued to walk a sword lying on the ground arose and flew through the air toward Dahak who deflected it with the sword in his hand. "I will not let you do to her what you have done to me father," she hissed. As she walked two more swords and a dagger flew toward her father, each one deflected easily by the powerful god. Dahak continued to yell his dismay as his daughter neared her. With one swift stroke he plunged his sword into Hope's chest and laughed.

"No!" cried Gabrielle running toward her slain daughter. Gabrielle held her daughter's head as the life slowly drained from her body.

"Mother, I love you," whispered Hope before closing her eyes for the last time as Gabrielle wept.

Xena picked herself up from the ground freezing in her tracks when the demigoddess fell to the floor. Destiny rose from the ground, pale green eyes dark and empty as she walked toward Dahak, an evil grin across her face. The monster appeared to be in control as she strolled over to the still body of her mother. She gazed longingly at her mother before raising her eyes toward Dahak, a sinister glint in her eyes.

"A present for me grandfather," she hissed then paused looking back at her mother. "And it's not even my birthday."

"Now you choose to fight by my side!" Dahak grabbed the young boy, holding him in front as a shield.

"I have always been on your side. Now that mother is out of the way I am ready to rule as your destroyer just as we discussed," she answered calmly before turning toward Dahak, pale green eyes turning feral at the sight of the small boy in front of Dahak. "Leave him out of this. This is my battle not his."

The small blonde boy stood defiantly in front of the evil god trying his best to be brave.

"How do I know you are sincere?" asked Dahak.

"If you had just killed Hope to begin with we wouldn't be having this discussion. I could have killed Eve and destroyed you. I didn't. What better way to win Xena's trust then to spare her only living child?"

"Then you shall rule in my name granddaughter. It is after all your destiny," answered Dahak laughing.

"And I am Destiny," finished the small brunette walking to his side. "Now let the boy go and we shall finish what we started." she demanded.

"He stays with me," answered Dahak. "We shall enjoy this battle together."

Destiny glared at the evil god furious at him for involving the boy. She took a couple of deep breaths to calm herself before turning toward Xena. She looked directly into the bewildered eyes of the tall warrior. "What's the matter princess?" she mocked. "At a loss for words?"

Xena stood glaring back at Destiny speechless. "Oh that's right Xena. You thought I had Gabrielle's light. Silly girl," teased Destiny. "You were half right. But it was Hope you should have been trying to save. She is the one with love in her heart. Look at what it has done to her."

Gabrielle rose from her place next to Hope walking toward Destiny. "What are you doing? This isn't you," cried Gabrielle. Before she could get within striking distance Destiny lunged forward landing a perfectly placed front blade kick into the bard's chest, sending her several feet backwards.

"Not now grandmother. I have some unfinished business," stated Destiny casually. "Now where were we?" she asked confronting the warrior princess.

"No more time for talk," growled Dahak.

"Now, now," she started pointing playfully at the powerful god. "Be patient. Xena is mine. You promised."

"Then be done with her now," hissed Dahak.

"Xena," started Destiny. "What are you going to do now? Only I can kill Dahak and we're on the same side." She walked toward the tall dark warrior, her sword drawn and ready to strike. "You traveled a long way just to die," she teased. "Again," she added as she brought her sword up to strike the first blow.

"It's you who will die and that two bit god you call grandfather!" yelled Xena as she deflected Destiny's first blow then a second as the small brunette closed in on her. Sparks flew from the power of the swings as blade struck against blade. Both women fought powerfully each trying to find an opening. After several parries and unsuccessful lunges Destiny flew in the air twisting her body around to land a side blade kick into Xena's chest, the force of the kick sending her backward several feet.

Destiny ran forward to meet her as she bounced up regaining her composure in time to deflect the smaller woman's sword with her leg as she stood up. Destiny somersaulted into the air over Xena kicking her in the back as she came down toward the ground and picked up her sword. Xena staggered a few feet away from the blow and turned around to face the small woman staring back with cold empty eyes. Destiny ran forward as blades clashed again, only stopping when each woman stood within a foot away their swords blocking each other as the combatants stared at each other.

"Save the boy," whispered Destiny through clenched teeth.

"What?" asked Xena.

"Kick me into Dahak," answered Destiny. She circled Xena then spun around in the air, her chest exposed allowing Xena to connect with a front blade kick to the chest sending her flying through the air toward Dahak.

The evil god instinctively backed away pushing the boy to the side as Destiny landed at his feet. "You're gonna have to do better than that granddaughter!" bellowed Dahak.

"Jeez I have a name," hissed Destiny. She stood up and turned toward her grandfather. "If I knew the boy was safe maybe I would have better focus to do my job!" she shouted.

"Fine. What do you suggest?"

"Buddy come here," she said pointing to the boy. "Go over to Gabrielle. She'll keep you safe for now." She patted the boy on the shoulder and pushed him away.

"Now let's finish this." Destiny turned around and ran toward Xena. Once she was within striking distance Destiny thrust to the right then the left both hands around the hilt. Xena skillfully deflected each blow. Destiny spun around in the air catching the warrior princess off guard with a roundhouse kick, knocking Xena's sword from her hand. Destiny hesitated for a moment giving Xena enough time to retaliate with her own kick knocking the sword out of her hand.

Destiny lunged forward, her hands on Xena's chest as the two struggled against each other in hand to hand combat. Xena grabbed Destiny in the same manner and both women held on trying to wrestle the other to the ground. Xena placed her foot along Destiny's stomach flipping her over her head. Destiny held on to Xena and both women rolled over the ground a couple of times like revolutions of a wagon wheel. They were several feet away from Dahak by the time their momentum stopped.

"Give me your chakram," whispered Destiny.

"What?" asked an exasperated warrior princess.

"Not much of a vocabulary during a fight huh princess?" started Destiny. "Only I can kill Dahak. So unless you want me to kill you first give me the chakram."

Before Xena could respond Destiny reached over and took it from her hip. She turned toward Dahak and let the weapon fly through the air toward her grandfather.

"Oh no," cried Destiny as the weapon flew by Dahak's head missing him by inches then careening off the wall and flying toward Gabrielle.

"Gabrielle duck!" yelled Xena. Without hesitation Gabrielle jumped back on the floor grabbing the boy with her as the chakram whooshed closely over her head creating a breeze as it sailed by.

"You dare betray me granddaughter!" cried Dahak his voice loud enough to make the walls of the temple shake. Destiny jumped from the ground forgetting the errant weapon still flying through the air.

"Duh, and the name is Destiny," she shouted. "What did you expect? I'm my father's daughter," she replied defiantly as the chakram came directly toward her head. Xena dove forward taking the young woman down with one hand, the other hand catching the chakram before it could strike Destiny down.

"Damn thing has a mind of it's own," grumbled Destiny.

"Only I can use it," whispered Xena. "Or Gabrielle."

"Must have thought she was Hope," quipped Destiny. "What do we do now?"

"Just follow my lead," answered Xena as she picked the young woman up placing Destiny between herself and Dahak.

Xena placed the chakram in Destiny's right hand. "I'm left handed," cried Destiny staring intensely as her grandfather prepared to strike back, a massive fireball growing in his hand. "This is not good. Hurry!"

Xena grabbed the chakram and placed it in her left hand in front of her. Placing her hand over the smaller woman's hand she guided the weapon in front of her. As Dahak released his own weapon of destruction, Xena guided the arm backward then forward. "Release it now!" she yelled. Destiny did as she was told moments before the fireball struck her. The powerful force sent her and Xena several yards backward, crashing into the wall of the temple before they landed in a pile on the ground. The chakram sailed through the air cutting through Dahak's neck like a knife through butter. The powerful god yelled as the weapon hit him then fell to the ground with a thunderous noise.

"Xena, Destiny!" yelled Gabrielle as she ran to the fallen women's aide followed by the small boy. Eve and Varia ran into the main hall when they heard the noise. Seeing the distraught boy, Eve ran to him, embracing him as he cried for the fallen warrior. Destiny lay motionless in Xena's arms. Xena slowly opened her eyes trying to regain her focus as she looked up into Gabrielle's comforting eyes.

"You did it," whispered Gabrielle.

"It was a team effort," replied Xena.

"Destiny, wake up," cried Gabrielle patting her gently on the cheek, concern etched in her face when the young woman didn't respond. Destiny lay still on top of the warrior princess her eyes closed, a peaceful expression on her face. Xena gently moved Destiny away from her and checked her pulse as Gabrielle looked on helplessly.

"Her pulse is very weak," whispered Xena placing her ear over the young woman's heart. "I can barely detect a heartbeat"

"Don't let her die. Not now," pleaded Gabrielle. Xena continued her examination of the fallen woman as Eve and Gabrielle looked on.

Eve held the small boy hugging him tightly as he cried. "She'll be okay," started Eve. "She's in god's hands now."

"Oh that's comforting," mumbled Xena low enough to go unheard.

"She can't die. Do something Xena. I can't lose her. Not now." Gabrielle fell to her knees, pulling the slain woman's head into her lap as she cried. "Please don't leave," she pleaded as Xena looked on silently.


Destiny stood on top of a cliff looking down clothed in a white dress. "White is not my color," she stated looking down at the clothes covering her body. The place seemed vaguely familiar to her as she stared downward into the abyss. "If they think I'm jumping into that thing they are sadly mistaken," she yelled out loud.

"Oh now. If that's where you belonged you'd be down there already," boomed a deep baritone voice behind her. Startled Destiny jumped forward losing her footing and falling off of the cliff. She plunged downward screaming until she felt a strong hand grabbing her and lifting her up. Moments later she stood at the top of the cliff staring into the deep blue eyes of Michael the archangel.

"Do you throw all of your guests over a cliff and scare them to death?" hissed Destiny.

"Scare them to death. That's a good one," answered Michael laughing.

"So I'm already dead?" she asked. "What happens next?"

"Come with me," he answered shaking his head. "Someone wants to see you." Michael pulled Destiny into his arms and lifted off the ground, coming to a stop at a cliff several hundred feet away before setting Destiny back down. Her eyes widened as she looked behind him. Hope was standing a few feet away smiling back at her daughter.

Hope walked up to the small brunette capturing her in a bone-crushing hug. Destiny cried as her mother's arms enveloped her. "I'm sorry," whispered Destiny.

"It's okay," started Hope with a soothing voice. "It's okay to cry." Destiny looked up at her mother confusion clouding her eyes. "I've never been more proud of you," she added.

"I love you mother," choked Destiny.

"I love you Destiny," whispered Hope. "Be happy." Destiny closed her eyes relishing the moment she had lived her entire life to experience. When she opened her eyes Hope was gone.

"Where is she?" asked Destiny.

"She has been given a second chance. She will wait to be reborn," answered Michael.

"And what happens to me?" asked Destiny.

"Heaven isn't ready for you princess. You have unfinished business. Only you will know what to do."



"So you're sending me back?" asked Destiny.

"Well not me personally. He misjudged you once. He won't do it a second time. You do want to go back don't you?"

"Yes, but I don't understand."

"And he likes it that way. Continue the path you're on and we'll meet again," answered Michael.


Destiny could sense the darkness around her. Every inch of her body ached as she listened to the sounds. All she could hear was the quiet crying of Gabrielle and the boy. Slowly she opened her eyes trying to focus as she regained her strength. Her head was cradled in Gabrielle's hands, the blonde's eyes closed as tears streamed down her cheek. "Trying to drown me," whispered Destiny. Gabrielle opened her eyes staring at the small brunette in disbelief.

"Thank the gods you're alive," cried Gabrielle hugging her grandchild. Destiny reached both hands around the small blonde returning the embrace while Xena, Varia and Eve looked on, smiles of relief washing across their faces.

"Okay enough of the mushy stuff all ready," stated Destiny breaking the contact a grimace on her face.

"What's wrong?" asked Gabrielle.

"Look's like I've lost my powers," answered Destiny. "Guess I'm stuck in human form for now on."

"That's not such a bad thing," interjected Xena.

"Yea but I was kind of looking forward to kittens," quipped Destiny.

"Can you get up?" asked Gabrielle.

"I think so," answered Destiny as her grandmother helped her to her feet. She searched the room looking for the boy her eyes stopping when she saw him cradled in Eve's arms. She ran to him pulling him to her breast and hugging him fiercely, one hand stroking him on the head as she continued to squeeze him tightly. "I love you. I love you," she cried kissing him on the top of the head. "Thank goodness you're alright."

"Stop with the mushy stuff," he cried squirming in her arms to escape. "Love is a weakness."

Destiny pulled away from the boy a horrified expression on her face. She held his hands and looked intensely in his eyes. "Don't you ever say that again, ever. Whoever told you that is an idiot."

"But you told me that," he interrupted.

Destiny paused, a sheepish look on her face. "Right. I'm an idiot. I was wrong," she stated vehemently. "Don't ever forget that."

"That you're an idiot and you were wrong. I won't forget," he deadpanned.

"Are you two related?" asked Xena chuckling.

Destiny grinned at the boy running her hand across the top of his head ignoring the snide remark. "No silly. Love is not a weakness. It's the greatest strength and the most precious gift in the universe. I love you baby," she said pulling the boy toward her for another hug.

"I love you too," he whispered. "And don't call me baby."

"I won't," Destiny answered. "Are you ready to meet some great people?" The boy nodded in response. Destiny broke the hug and grabbed him by the hand, turning toward Xena, Gabrielle and Eve who were all watching the scene with wonderment. Varia looked on smiling.

"This is Eve, the messenger of Eli," she started pointing at Eve. "Next to her is Varia, queen of the amazon tribe in this region. And this is Gabrielle, also queen of the amazons," she said pointing to Gabrielle. The boy's eyes widened with delight as he was introduced to the small blonde. "And what makes Gabrielle such an important queen?" she asked looking at the boy grinning. The boy shook his head in anticipation. "She rides through the lands having great adventures with Xena, the warrior princess and Gabrielle's faithful side kick," she finished smiling mischievously at Xena. Xena cocked her head side way raising one eyebrow in question while Gabrielle grinned like a Cheshire cat.

"I would like you to meet my most precious gift. This is my son, Solon."

Xena's mouth dropped open when she heard her own son's name, stunned by the information. Tears welled up in her eyes as she smiled at the boy then at Destiny. Gabrielle walked up to him and hugged him. "It is a pleasure to meet you Solon," she whispered in his ear.

"Does that make you my great grandmother?" asked Solon.

Gabrielle placed her hand on his shoulder. "I guess it does," she replied.

"I have a birthday coming up soon," he added.

"Solon behave," interrupted Destiny. "That's rude."

"It's all right," offered Gabrielle. "How old will you be?"


"You're almost a young man," interrupted Xena grabbing the boy and hugging him.

Xena turned to Destiny embracing her. "Thank you," she whispered.

"I hope you don't mind I named him after your son," she asked.

"I'm honored," answered Xena wiping a tear from her face.

"Actually mother suggested the name."

"But Hope," started Xena.

"I know that now. I wish I could have met him."

"You would have liked him. Of course with your track record concerning men I'm not sure I would have let you anywhere near him," teased Xena.

"Play nice," growled Destiny.

"Oh I will." Xena walked over to Solon who was talking to Gabrielle and Eve. "Excuse me Solon can I borrow your mom for a few minutes?" asked Xena.

"Sure," he answered.

"Good because we have some unfinished business," she added grabbing Destiny by the ear and dragging her away from the group as the small brunette howled in discomfort."

"Owe, what the hell is that for?" cried Destiny rubbing her ear after Xena released her grip.

"Don't you ever touch my chakram again," Xena said, an evil grin appearing on her face.

"Okay okay. Be nice or I'll start calling you grandma too," teased Destiny a smirk forming on her lips as Gabrielle laughed behind her.

"Don't you ever call me that."

"Doesn't Eve call Gabrielle mother? I thought you two shared," quipped Destiny.

Xena glared at the young woman for a moment trying to contain her anger. "Listen little girl," started Xena. Suddenly the dagger on the altar rose up sailing through the air toward Xena. With skilled hands the warrior was able to stop the weapon in front of her.

"Oops," replied Destiny walking backwards away from the tall dark woman, one hand covering the smile on her face.

Xena walked purposefully toward Destiny a feral grin on her face.

"Sorry," squeaked Destiny. "Guess all of my powers weren't lost."

Xena stopped to stare at the young woman noticing her discomfort. "You really have to work on that temper," she yelled throwing the dagger down in front of Destiny.

"Don't call me little," whispered Destiny.

Xena lost control of her stoic expression and burst out laughing while the others took a breath of relief and joined in.

"Does that mean you're not gonna try and kill me?" asked Destiny.

"Not today anyway," answered Xena before pulling the smaller woman into a hug and leading her away from her daughter and soulmate. "You remind me of someone even though I can't figure out why."

"Having nightmares again Xena?" teased Destiny.

"I want you to answer a question for me," responded Xena ignoring the sarcasm.


"You told Dahak you spared Eve to gain my favor," started Xena.

"I was bluffing," interrupted Destiny.

"Remind me never to play poker with you," mumbled Xena smiling at the smaller woman. "You knew her sacrifice would stop Dahak but you spared her anyway."

"Like Dahak said love is a weakness just don't tell my son that. He deserves a chance at happiness," interrupted Destiny her face filled with sorrow. "Come on. We have a job to finish," added Destiny walking toward her mother's lifeless body as Xena looked on.

"I'll start gathering some wood," stated Xena.

"No!" cried Destiny and Eve in unison.

"Fire will only bring them back. How do you think Hope survived the last three times you killed her," explained Destiny.

"Their bodies must be taken to the ocean," added Eve.

Destiny stared at Eve disbelief in her eyes. "How did you know?" asked Destiny.

"I have friends in high places," answered Eve shrugging her shoulders and looking up toward the sky.

"But Michael sent me back because I had unfinished business to attend to that no one else knew about," replied Destiny confusion in her voice.

"And you have. Only this isn't what he was talking about. When the time comes you will know," answered Eve.


Destiny stood alone on the ship as it sailed deeper into the ocean. Solon was left back on shore with Varia and the other amazons. Xena, Gabrielle and Eve stood several paces away as hollowed eyes looked aimlessly into the calm waters. Both bodies had been wrapped in cloth and lay on the deck of the ship waiting to be sent to their watery grave.

The shores of the harbor grew fainter in the distance until all traces of land were gone from her sight. Destiny could feel herself frozen in time as she thought about the events that brought her to this moment. The only sound came from the ripples of the waves and the wind along the sea and the occasional bird adding to the melody. The silence was broken by the soft footsteps of her grandmother.

Gabrielle stood quietly next to the small brunette, a compassionate hand resting upon her shoulder. "It's time," she said softly.

Destiny gripped the rail of the ship tightly as she fought valiantly to control her emotions. A small hand gently covered her own. Pale green eyes filled with tears as she turned to face the small blonde, her head bowed down as she inhaled deeply to fight the ache in her heart.

Gabrielle pulled Destiny into her arms offering her words of comfort. "It's okay to cry," she whispered stroking the back of her head as small sobs came from the distressed young woman. Destiny broke the contact and quickly composed herself allowing Gabrielle to lead her over to Xena and Eve who stood next to the bodies.

As the bodies were committed to the ocean Destiny began to recite a verse.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou annointest my head with oil: my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

All four women stood silently for several minutes. Xena and Gabrielle stood behind Destiny their hands on her shoulders as she cried in anguish over the loss of her beloved mother.

"Those were beautiful words," whispered Xena breaking the silence.

"My singing could wake the dead not comfort them," answered Destiny, a weak grin across her face.

"Where did you learn that psalm?" asked Gabrielle.

"I learned it from your story about David and Goliath," answered Destiny. "I'm not sure what it means but I always thought they were fitting words for a funeral," she added, a wounded expression on her face.

"Does this mean you believe in god?" asked Eve.

"You're not gonna start preaching on me are you?" pleaded Destiny. "Let's just say that I had a better experience with your god the second time around and leave it at that," answered Destiny.

"What does that mean?" asked Gabrielle.

"When I was unconscious I was taken to a place between heaven and hell and visited by Michael."

"You were dead!" interrupted Gabrielle alarmed by the admission.

"I guess. I was in white and standing on a rock when he threw me over the cliff. Of course then he saved me and brought me to another place. It was still a better reception than the last time I was there," rambled Destiny while Xena, Gabrielle and Eve looked on. "Mother was there."

"Hope was there!" exclaimed Xena.

"How is that possible?" asked Gabrielle before Destiny could continue.

"She's to be reborn mother," interrupted Eve.

"She wasn't all bad," added Destiny quietly. "She did give her life for me."

Everyone stood in silence as the information was absorbed. "The amazons are a strong nation because of her," stated Destiny. "She did do a lot of good even if it wasn't always for the right reasons."

"Maybe one day you will tell me about her," stated Gabrielle breaking the silence.

"I'd like that," answered Destiny. "Oh that reminds me," added Destiny turning around toward a bench on the ship. "I have something for you." She walked to the bench and picked up a large leather bag and walked back to Gabrielle. "These are for you." She pushed the bag into Gabrielle's arms.

"My scrolls!" exclaimed Gabrielle looking into the bag. "But how?"

"You left them in your hut at the village before you went to Egypt. Don't you remember?" asked Destiny. Gabrielle looked into pale green eyes perplexed as she shook her head trying to remember the events. "They say the memory is the first thing to go."

"Hey, respect your elders," replied Gabrielle her eyebrows furrowed as she spoke.

Destiny nodded her head and smiled playfully. "Yes ma'am," she replied trying unsuccessfully to suppress a smile as Gabrielle swatted her across the shoulder. "Everything I learned came from those scrolls."

"You learned to be annoying from her stories?" asked Xena an evil grin on her face as she chuckled.

"The stories are all about you, princess," Destiny countered giving Xena a deadly look.

"I definitely recognize that look," interrupted Gabrielle pointing at her granddaughter.

Destiny's expression softened as Gabrielle spoke. Her mind wandered to thoughts of her future, one without her mother in her life. "If you will excuse me I'm going to take a walk around the ship." She turned and walked away before hearing a response.

Xena and Gabrielle sat down on the bench along with Eve looking through the newfound treasure in the bard's hands. Gabrielle gazed after the small brunette. "I'm worried about her Xena."

"She's strong like you Gabrielle. She'll be okay," answered Xena.

"But she's so confused right now."

"Wouldn't you be?" asked Xena.

"I guess so. I don't like her being a warrior."

"That is something you can't change."

"You once said that warriors don't live to old age. That scares me. I don't want her to die young with a sword in her hand."

"Well we've survived okay and she is as good as us," replied the warrior princess placing her arm around Gabrielle in comfort.

"Better," boasted Gabrielle as she laid her head on Xena's shoulder.


Eve walked up to Destiny who was standing at the opposite end of the ship staring out to sea. "How are you?" she asked.

"I've been better," replied Destiny a chilling sound in her voice.

"Can we talk?" asked Eve.

"Talk," answered Destiny never looking away from the ocean.

"I'm sorry."

"For what? Betraying me? Selling me into slavery? Ordering my death?"

"I never ordered your death," answered Eve.

"You made no effort to stop it."

"I know and I'm sorry. I can't change the past."

"And I can't forget the past."

"Do you think we can ever be friends?" asked Eve.

"We tried that once. Unfortunately you didn't inherit your mother's loyalty to friendship."

"I've made a lot of mistakes in my life. The greatest one was my betrayal to you."

Destiny wheeled around staring directly into the blue eyes of her tormentor. "Why?"

"I was jealous of you."

"What?" asked Destiny her head cocked in disbelief.

"You had a mother. Mine was taken from me when I was a baby."

"And now you have your mother while mine lays at the bottom of the ocean," replied Destiny turning back to look over the rail of the ship. "If you don't mind I'd like to be alone."

"Of course. Maybe we'll talk again," responded Eve before walking back toward her mother and Gabrielle.

"Maybe," whispered Destiny.


"Give her time," stated Xena as Eve sat down on the bench next to her and Gabrielle.

"I don't expect her to ever forgive me. I took her away from her son," answered Eve.

"The wounds will heal in time," interjected Gabrielle. "She's been through a lot in her short life."

"Her son will keep her grounded," added Xena. "I sure didn't see that one coming."

"I don't think any of us did," stated Eve.

"How old could she have been when she had him?" asked Gabrielle.

"We were born a week apart. That would have made her sixteen when she gave birth," offered Eve.

"That she definitely doesn't get from you," said Xena thinking out loud.

"What?" asked Gabrielle and Eve in unison.

"Nothing. I was thinking of something else," she answered.

"I wonder what his father looks like," interjected Gabrielle.

"Probably tall dark and handsome," answered Xena. "Remember Varia said she has a thing for bad boys."

"Like someone else I know," muttered Gabrielle.

"Past tense. Don't change the subject," growled Xena placing her arm around Gabrielle and pulling her closer, kissing her on the cheek.

"Solon's hair is awfully blonde to have two brunette parents," stated Eve.

"He definitely has her green eyes," added Gabrielle.

"He's pretty tall for his age. The father is definitely tall," continued Xena.

"Where do you think his father is?" asked Eve.

"Jeez you three sound like a bunch of cackling hens," interrupted Destiny walking toward the trio. "To answer your question Eve, Solon's father is dead. He died shortly after my son was born. His father had blonde hair and was very tall but he was one of the good guys. It's only been in the last year that I have developed a taste for bad boys."

"Did you hear every thing we said?" asked Xena.

"Pretty much," answered Destiny. "I have very sensitive ears. Anymore questions? I don't mind answering them."

"Where does your son live now?" asked Gabrielle.

"He lives with his older brother Xenos at the centaur camp outside of the village."

"Centaur camp," repeated Xena.

"Xenos?" repeated Gabrielle.

"I told you mother did some good things even if they were for the wrong reasons. The tribe of Kalaopis relocated when I was a baby. How do you think our numbers have grown so quickly? There are a few Gabriels running around the camp along with a few Xenos and Xenons. They're very popular names. The name Gabrielle has been reserved strictly for princesses."

"Is Xenos your son also?" asked Xena.

"Oh no. He's only a couple of years younger then me. He was born during the second year of mother's reign."

"I think we need to travel to this village and check things out," stated Gabrielle.

"I think you're right," agreed Xena standing up to stretch her legs.

"Destiny can I ask you one last question?" inquired Xena.

"Go ahead. I have nothing to hide," answered Destiny.

"When we hit the wall inside of the temple my head hit the stone wall but you were knocked out maybe even dead. Why is that?"

"That's easy. My head hit your head," replied Destiny a grin forming on her face. Xena cocked her head sideways in bewilderment. "There's a lot more give in that wall then in that hard, thick skull of yours," added Destiny quickly walking away from the warrior as she laughed. Xena stood in silence while Gabrielle and Eve chuckled as they watched the small brunette walk a good distance away from them.

"You know Gabrielle, I wouldn't worry about that sword getting her in trouble," started the tall warrior. "That mouth of hers is going to get her killed first," she quipped.

"Too many warrior princess stories," yelled Destiny from the other side of the ship. "I lost my powers not my hearing," she added grinning.

"I told you Gabrielle. That mouth is going to get her killed," answered Xena before she took off running toward the small brunette. Destiny laughed and started running in the opposite direction around the ship before climbing up the masts as Xena followed in hot pursuit.

"Which one is supposed to be the parental figure?" asked Eve.

"I have no idea," answered Gabrielle. "I have no idea."


Note from the author.

Although I enjoyed many story lines of XWP the ending of the Hope arc wasn't one of them. Two of the problems I had were how she died and that she died with absolutely no redemptive qualities even though her mother was Gabrielle. This was my chance to satisfy the story ending.

Now that you have read about Destiny I hope you will join me and read about what happened to Desire' after meeting her soul mate, Danni. Their story begins where 'Waking Up With the Conqueror' ended, kissing passionately in a redneck bar in Las Vegas. The story is titled 'One In a Billion' and can be found at the Academy of Bards at:

Back To Main Page