The Crystal Necklace

by David J Duncan

Disclaimers: Originally Written December 1998; Revised April 2001

Note: Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer, Ares, Caesar, Bodaceia, Callisto, and Discord are from the show "Xena Warrior Princess" which is under StudiosUSA and Renaissance Studios.
It was created by Rob Tapert and John Schulian. All other characters are fictious and of my own creation. Any use of real names is purely
Summary:  In this segment of "The Dubois Chronicles", Ares seeks to conquer the otherworldly enclave of Althanor.  Accordingly, he sends Roman troops into the future to steal a certain necklace and kidnap Cybelle Rogers.  What happens when Angie Dubois, Cybelle's sister-in-law, finds Xena's sword and chakram in a museum display is another story.  After the initial battle, Angie and her husband, Dave, go back in time and team up with Xena and Gabrielle to take on Ares and certain events fall into place.....  Comments are always appreciated!!!  Please send them to  !  Thanks!

"Another day. Another plot foiled," a dark man fumed from his throne deep inside of a temple in first century Greece.  He was Ares, god of war, and his bearing magnified the power behind his words. Standing nearly six and a half feet tall, clad in leather, and having the most steely gaze, he was quite intimidating especially when he was angry. On this day, he was furious.

"Why?" he demanded. "Why does that mongrel half-brother of mine always ruin my plans? And he had to corrupt my greatest warrior!" He pointed at a stone pillar and a fire ball scored its side. "Too bad, Xena. You could have been my Warrior Queen, ruler of the known world...."

"Maybe she was always the goody two shoes at heart," a female voice laughed from behind.

Ares' countenance soured even more. He spun on his heel to see a woman dressed in jet-black leather and having a mane of hair to match. Her eyes held a mischievous sparkle. "Not now, Discord," he hissed.

"Aw, c'mon...What's the matter? Your prize pupil beat you.  Too bad, get over it...." she continued.

"You're really pushing it!" he tersely informed her.

She grinned and came still closer. "You could always find another woman to take her place," she suggested.

"No way," he refused. "Not among the Amazons or any other mortals. If she exists, that woman would be known to me."

"True, long as your keeping your eyes open," she smiled wickedly.

"Oh, you know I am. You know I am," Ares agreed as a grin formed across his face.


A stiff wind blew across the Britannic plains chilling its inhabitants and those travellers who traversed it. On this particular evening, two women made their way toward Londinium for supplies. The leader travelled on foot. She was fairly well-built. Her golden hair hung down her back and used a walking staff. She also talked endlessly with her companion.  Her friend who patiently listened to every word, rode on the chalk-white steed, Argo. Unlike the first woman, nobody would mistake this person's profession. After all, when standing, she was about six feet tall, clothed in leather and chest armor, a broadsword on her back, and a circular chakram hanging above her right hip. Her hair was jet-black and her countenance was grim.

The walking woman asked, "So, what did you think when Hercules....?"

The warrior held up her hand abruptly. "Hold it!" she interrupted while stopping Argo.

"What is it, Xena?" the other asked, readying her staff for a fight.

"There's trouble ahead. Get ready, Gabrielle," Xena explained. Almost at a second's notice, the Warrior Princess tensed, leapt from her mount, and had sword and chakram at the ready when she hit the turf.

Just then, a band of marauders stepped into the path in front of them. "Hello, Ladies," the leader, a swarthy Persian, smiled. "Your horse looks so over burdened there."

Xena chuckled, "Argo's fine. Now, move along. We're in a hurry." Her hand grasped the chakram even firmer.

The man shook his head and demanded, "Oh no. Either you share your goods, or it'll be your funeral." He motioned for his gang to attack with a single motion of his hand.

"They don't realize what they're in for," Gabrielle mused.

Xena arched her left eyebrow, narrowed her eyes into slits, and took her opponents' measure. "No, it will be yours," she stated. Flinging her chakram, the weapon caromed off of a nearby tree, a stone wall, Argo's saddle bag, and then, with almost an independent will of its own, took out three attackers before returning to its mistress's hand. Turning to her companion, she yelled, "Now, Gabrielle!"

The Bard nodded and with two quick movements of her staff, took out three more marauders.

Meanwhile, with the quickness of a jungle cat, Xena girated between opponents. Gripping one man's shoulders, she swung her legs into a flying kick that disabled three more men.  Then, landing between the last two men, she delivered a haymaker which knocked one into the middle of the next week.

The last brigand snuck up behind her with his sword raised.  "Prepare to die, Witch!" he thought and tensed....
...And with patented ease, the warrior's right hand raised her sword to parry the man's thrust. Turning to face her adversary, she scorned, "Nice try, Little Man." After dodging another attempt on his part, she stifled a yawn and batted him unconscious with the hilt of her sword. "But not good enough." A quick glance told her that the attackers were out of commission and that Gabrielle had fared as well as she had.

"Thanks for the warning, Xena," Gabrielle nodded.

"No problem," the Thracian warrior agreed as she resumed her place on Argo's saddle. Then, a strange feeling settled in her gut. Something was going to happen soon. Something awful. She decided to keep a watchful eye as they continued down the path to Londinium.


A frigid wind also blew across New York City in December 1995. At the Museum of Natural History, a mysterious necklace demanded scholarly attention. This piece of jewelry had come from Glastonbury, leading many people to believe that it had a link to Stonehenge. 

However, one scholar disagreed with that theory. David Dubois had come to New York to study the piece. Along with him were his wife, Angie, a noted oncologist, their daughters, Lauren, Karen, and Deirdre, Angie's parents, his sister, Cybelle Rogers, and her husband, Mike. In the next room, Dave's mother, Sarah, and Angie's parents, Bill and Jennifer Blackwell, examined some paintings.

Walking through the facility, Dave felt a tingle creeping up his spine. So many memories laid in the display cases...from his professor's many expeditions. Dr. Anthony Samuelsohn had been a prominent historian and a part-time archaeologist for half a century before his untimely death in 1989. Over that career, he had been very productive as a scholar and as a researcher. In fact, it was that interest which he instilled in Dave that drove the latter to investigate the necklace.

"Hey, Sweetie," Angie stirred him from his reverie.

"Huh? Oh, Angie...yes?" he asked.

"My folks and your Mom wanted to take a break. They offered to take the girls for lunch if that's okay," she explained.

He smiled. The kids didn't get to see their grandparents enough, that was for sure. "Sure, sounds good. When did they want to meet back here?"

"Oh, about four or so. Why don't you go on ahead and look at the necklace? I'll be there in a minute," she told him.

"Okay, see you in there," he concurred and walked into the room.


In the next room, Cybelle watched the rest of the group depart for the snack shop next door.  Normally, she wasn't into museums. Heck, she had been learning about 2000 years of history until just recently. For two mortal years, or what had been a decade to her, she had secretly trained over in Britain to become a priestess knowledgeable in Celtic lore. At the end of that period, she and her husband had returned to the States and took up residence in Massachusetts. 

Now, for the first time since her return, Cybelle was drawn to a piece of her in New York. She was glad that her brother had made the trip from Tucson. Perhaps, he would know why she felt the way that she did. Seeing him enter the chamber, she decided to follow him.


Just inside of the main exhibit hall, Dave encountered a slender man with a gray suit, dark hair, and shades to match. The guard stood tall and patrolled the area with grace.

"Excuse me, Steve," Dave coughed.

The man was indeed Steve...Steve Petersen, an FBI agent and Dave's longtime friend. "Hey, Dubie. Glad to see that you could make it," he smiled. "How's everyone?"

Dave looked around curiously. His psychic senses were picking up on something in the room. "Okay, they're getting lunch. Angie will be here in just a minute, however," he noted.

Steve nodded, "Sounds reasonable." Then, he spied Cybelle and Angie at the door. "Please feel free to come in, Ladies."

"Thanks, Steve," Angie stated.

"No problem. Come and take a look at it," he offered, leading the group toward the dais.

Dave and the others followed his lead. When they reached it, he felt that the vibrations were centered there....right with the necklace. It was a beautifully woven golden piece encrusted with blue crystals. In its center, an azure sapphire sparkled in the light. The mysterious runes along its sides added to its allure. 

"Nice, isn't it? Funny, they say it's a Druid piece..." Steve commented.

"That's because it is...." Cybelle thought to herself.

As Dave and Angie passed their hands over the glass, the sapphire started to glow. When Cybelle did likewise, it flashed brightly.

"Did you see that?" Angie whispered.

"What did you do?" Steve asked Cybelle.

"Nothing," she muttered and continued to stare at the necklace.

Her brother studied her carefully. "Somehow, Cybelle has a hidden talent just as Angie and I do. Interesting...." he noted.

Angie tapped his shoulder, "What's with Cybelle? She seems to be entranced by the

"I don't know," he shrugged and walked up to Cybelle. "Hey, Sis?" he asked.

"Huh? Dave, what's going on?" she queried.

"Not much and I hope that it stays that way," he worried. Somehow, he knew that things would never be the same again....
Discord lounged back on a bed of satin pillows, sipping red wine from a golden goblet. She was not amused that Ares had scoffed at her suggestion to find a replacement for Xena.

"Xena this, Xena that, Xena...Xena...Xena," she muttered sarcastically. Then, she waved her hands in the air, creating a glowing portal in the air. "Let's see if I can cause trouble. Too bad that Callisto's stuck in limbo otherwise I would unleash her on those two," she mused while watching events from across history. Then, the viewer picked up on Cybelle's link to the necklace. "Whoa! I'll bet that the brunette chick might be the answer!" she realized and teleported away to Ares' throne room.


The war god watched Xena's dismantling of the marauders with an icy glare. Then, before she could spot him, he teleported back to his throne find Discord in his seat.  "Discord, you know that I don't let anyone sit there but me!" he snarled.

"Even for great news?" she supposed.

"This had better be really good," he advised.

"Oh it is....I found your successor to Xena," she smiled.

"That's not funny," Ares shook his head. "And now, you're really pushing your luck with me."

"I'm being serious. Look...," she told him and conjured up another portal which depicted the events in the museum. 

He nodded appreciatively. "Yes, she is worth grabbing," he admitted while stroking his beard.

She sauntered over to him. "Am I good or what?" she inquired suggestively.

"You have your moments. Now, I need a legion," he commented and raising his hand, summoned a group of men. "All right," he directed, "I need you to get something for me...." he started. When he had completely detailed his intentions, he presented the leader with a glowing emerald stone. "Use this to get there...and don't fail me. Both Caesar and I will be displeased if you fail," he insinuated.

The legion's leader bowed briefly and looked at the stone. Its glow seemed to encompass everything around the martial group, and a moment later, they were gone.


For a long minute, Dave leaned over the case with a magnifying glass examining the
necklace. "Interesting...Celtic, possibly fourth or fifth century, he guessed.

"Maybe some further clues might pop up," Steve joked.

Bad choice of words...for at that moment, the light dimmed, and a faint humming noise came from everywhere.

"Dave?" Cybelle inquired. "What is it?"

Angie ran over to her husband. "Dave, did you just feel something strange?" she asked.

At first, he didn't sense anything. But then, the noise progressively increased and in the corner, the air shimmered and started to swirl, forming a nexus. "I have a bad feeling about this," he hissed.

"Normal bad or really weird bad?" Steve sighed.

"Both...And I let Angie talk me into leaving my gear at the hotel," he shook his head.

She rolled her eyes. "Well, you can't walk around New York with an arsenal on you!" she argued. "Honestly!"

Then, strange soldiers...Greek or Roman by their uniforms... erupted from the portal and glanced around. One legionnaire pointed at Cybelle and bellowed in Latin, "Take the Girl and the necklace for Ares!"

"Not on your life, Buttwipe!" Dave disagreed and charged into the melee with his bullwhip at the ready.

"I suppose that we fight?" Steve asked, drawing his gun.

"What do you think?" Angie tersely replied and fired two psychic pulses, taking down some of her enemies.

As more soldiers seemed to spill through the gap, it became increasingly obvious that the three defenders couldn't defeat the horde on their own.

Finally, one of the soldiers broke through the mess. With a single motion, he broke the case with his sword and claimed the necklace. Then, with his other had, he firmly grasped Cybelle's arm. "Ares wants to talk to you!" he told her.

"No!" she disagreed and began to think up a workable chant.

Before she could do so, however, the Roman knocked her unconscious and threw her into the portal before following closely behind.


Angie kept fighting yet she gradually lost ground to her opponents. 

Then, on top of the other noise, a firm and determined voice advised, "Come to me...Come to me...I can help you."

She followed the summons out of the main chamber, down a series of ornate corridors, and into the "Ancient Antiquities" area. "Now what?" she wondered. She studied the Egyptian, Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek, and Roman items until she spied something unusual. In the corner case, a set of leather armor and a metal breastplate seemed to glow on its own. Angie surveyed the display. Behind the armor, she noticed a sword rusted with age and a circular metal disk with an intricate design.

"Do I or don't I?" she wondered and bit her lip nervously. A sudden loud crash echoing from the main hall made up her mind. "Well, here goes! I hope that my coat is thick enough!" she thought. She swung her arm and broke the glass case. Fortunately, her parka protected her from the shards. 

An alarm wailed in protest, but with the confusion elsewhere, nobody noticed it.

Angie gripped the sword...and felt an overwhelming electric jolt. The aura now enveloped her as well. A thousand needles stung her simultaneously and her hair stood on end. "Wha?  What now?" she asked fearfully.

"Rest assured," the voice told her. "I will not harm you. I only wish to help." With that statement, an explosion of light triggered still more changes. Angie's form shimmered. The items in the case flew onto her. Knowledge and memories flowed into her mind. Where Angie had Xena looked about the area. After 2000 years, she was ready to sling her chakram again for justice.

"Now to deal with Ares' troops," she growled and rushed toward the battle.


Steve pumped round after round into the soldiers. Dave moved between them, kicking, punching, whipping, and blasting them as he went.

"Now, I wish that you had your gear too!" Steve yelled.

"Me too!" Dave agreed. Then miraculously, he felt a familiar weight on his back and in his right hand. Somehow, his quiver of arrows and bow were there! "What? Well, this is no time to look a gift horse in the mouth! Okay, Boys! It's Party Time!" he snarled, firing shaft after shaft into the legionaries.

Then, he noted a woman entering the room. "Angie?" he called. However, the Amazon sure could fight. She seemed familiar too...especially in the way that she laid into the Romans. With whip, sword, and...could it be a chakram?....she ripped through them like a scythe through wheat.

Steve bellowed, "Hey, Dave! How could Xena be here? I thought that she was only a myth!"

Dave stole a look at their ally. He was right...but the way that she was going, he wasn't going to stop her at that point.

The Roman second-in-command saw that Cybelle and the necklace had been taken. 
Accordingly, he barked, "Retreat!" He held up a brightly glowing emerald and the legion vanished in a flash of light leaving only the three defenders...and a lot of questions in their wake.


"Where did they go?" Dave gasped and looked around.

Steve studied his friend, "I don't know where you got your arrows from. However, they sure came in handy." Then, he turned his attention to Xena. "So, let me guess...Xena Warrior Princess, right?"

"So I've been called," she nodded. "By the way, Angela is all right. You might say that we worked out an arrangement."

Dave glared at the warrior. "You better not have hurt her!" he growled low.

Steve grasped the other man's shoulder. With everything that had happened to that point, they didn't need a battle between them at that point.

"She is unharmed," Xena reassured Dave. "Without her help, I couldn't have assisted you."

Dave nodded, "Okay, I'm sorry. Look, we need to compare notes...and I know just the place.  C'mon!" However, as they turned to leave, he noticed an emerald shard in the corner. "I wonder if this was from the same stone....?" he noted to himself.

"Find something?" Xena inquired.

"Maybe, we'll talk about it when we get to our destination," he explained and motioned them down a maze of corridors and to a dead end. A solitary knight faced the three compatriots.

"Now what?" Steve asked.

"Watch!" Dave smiled and pulled on the knight's lance. As he did so, a large panel creaked open and slowly revealed a hidden office. "Follow me," he directed. After the three had entered the hidden room, the door eased itself closed once again. The room inside was lined with bookcases whose tomes dated between the 1880s and the 1990s. An antique oak desk sat against the far wall. Three chairs would allow the group to sit down. 

Dave settled into the chair behind the desk and looked around. "Yup, it still feels the same," he sighed.

"What? How did you know?" Steve asked. "Wait a minute! Was this Dr. Samuelsohn's old office?"

"Bingo!" his friend told him. "After all of the time that I spent here as a grad student, I could find this place blindfolded." Then, he cleared his throat to signal a change in subject. "Well, now...shall we get back to the matter at hand? We know that our attackers aren't from this time.  But, where are they from???"

Xena arched her left eyebrow. "I believe that I might have the answer to that question," she stated.

"Go on," Steve urged.

"Those men were Greek and Roman legionnaires under Caesar...." she began.

"Julius Caesar?" the FBI agent interjected. "But?"

Dave cut him off with a wave of his hand. "Go on, Xena. Please..." he requested.

"Very well," she nodded. "They serve the war god, Ares, as well. He teleported them here."

"And the glowing green stone...The Chronos stone, right?" Dave guessed.

She concurred, "Right. But, what was their intent?"

"They stole a valuable crystal necklace and Dave's sister," Steve pointed out.

"But why the necklace? What would Ares want?" Xena pushed.

The question hung heavily in the air for a full minute before Dave asked Xena, "Was Caesar moving troops en masse towards southwestern Britannia?"

The Warrior Princess scratched her chin and pondered this query. Then, a memory popped into her head. "Indeed. When Gabrielle and I fought his troops, he bragged that I couldn't stop his next plan. His mistake....," she seethed.

"He has to be heading for Althanor," Dave indicated.

"So, what do we do now?" Steve queried his allies.

"Are we going there?" Xena asked.

"Yes, in a few hours...but first, I need to settle things here. I need to check on my daughters first," he explained.

"Certainly, I will change back when we get to the main floor," she agreed as they left the room.


"Wow!" Angie gasped, after the transformation. "What happened?"

"You don't remember?" Steve asked.

"No, I don't," she huffed impatiently. "The last thing that I remember is being in the ancient display area and holding a sword...."

"You did a lot more than that, Princess. Trust me," her husband snickered.

"Now, what's so funny? You two sound like I changed or something.....," she demanded.

"You did. Xena Warrior Princess actually," Dave baited.

She snorted, "You've got to be kidding! Steve, he's kidding, right?"

He shrugged and glanced at her husband who was laughing by that point.

"Right?" she insisted putting her hands on her hips.

"We're deadly serious," Dave managed to tell her while letting a little amusement into his voice.

"Oh right....and I suppose that I did the back flips, punches, karate kicks, and threw that discus thing....," she joked sarcastically.

"It's called a chakram, Angie," Dave cracked. "And yes, you did all of those things. Now, since we need to talk to our parents, we do want to keep a calm facade, don't we?"

"That's for sure. C'mon, let's go find them," she agreed and we headed for the museum's main exit.
Ares and Discord sat in the temple's throne room. While they were perplexed by the problems and bumbling of their proud lackey's troops, they loved the energy of the battle unfolding on the screen in front of them.

"What odd clothes," she criticized. "Still, they fight well."

He nodded grimly, "Yes, I agree. Those men are Caesar's handpicked troops out there and they are still wiping the floor with them. Then, they saw Cybelle and the necklace vanish into the portal. "Ah, our prizes will be here shortly. Come...we must greet our warriors." He strode purposefully through the door with Discord following closely behind.


"What were you doing?" the legion's leader fumed at his men. He was a lanky yet well-built man in his early thirties. He had a severe military haircut and a piercing gaze which cut right through to his men's very souls. He was Julius Caesar, the most ambitious general in the Roman Empire. Right now, those designs meant assisting Ares and these incompetent plebes were not about to ruin this opportunity for him!

"Pardon us, Great Caesar," his lieutenant trembled. "The two men fought like tigers. We did get Ares' prizes. But then, Xena appeared and...."

The report startled Caesar and he turned suddenly. "Did you say, Xena?" he seethed. "Are you certain?"

"How could I not be, Sir?" the other continued nervously. "Who else dresses in leather, outfights everyone, and throws that damnable chakram about???"

The Roman leader nodded, "True, few fight like she does...Yes, I suppose that you did well enough getting the girl and the jewelry. Very well, you are dismissed."

The subordinate bowed silently and led the other troops from the room.

Caesar paced to-and-fro, listening as the footsteps echoed in the distance. Xena frustrated him.  But, he would defeat her. After all, wasn't he Caesar? Was it not his destiny to control mankind and rule the world? He decided to savor his position before deciding how to best deal with his men.

However, Xena continued to dominate his thoughts. "How could she...?"

"Xena is nothing, if not resourceful. Remember that," a voice lectured suddenly.

Caesar spun to face Ares. "Then you heard?"

Ares grinned with amusement. He blew on his fist and rubbed it against his chest. "Of course, I know? Am I not the god of war? Remember, Caesar, while you are a great general, I am the god of war...."

Caesar eyed the other cautiously.

"...I made you...," Ares continued.

The Roman's nerves began to flare.

"And I can break you," Ares finished tersely. "No secrets. Understood?"

"Of course not," the other assured him. While he hated to cave into a Greek god, Ares had a point about their relationship. If there was one thing that Caesar understood above all else, it was the nature of power.

"Good," the war god nodded. "Have your men taken the shrine yet?"

"Yes, the pagan building is ours," Caesar reported.

"Excellent. Now, if you will accompany Discord and myself, there is one more spell to be performed there. We will have one more priestess...under my control of course," Ares revealed and, with a wave of his hand, teleported them from the chamber.


The Shrine outside of Silchester had contained a thriving Druid community. After the Romans' attack, it was abandoned and silent. It was here that the three conspirators appeared.

"Mmm...The mayhem," Discord savored.

"Yes, I love the scene of a battle," Ares concurred. "Come, let's get to the temple."

Caesar nodded and motioned for a Roman priest to follow them.

The group walked through the town and climbed the stairs to the shrine. Therein, they found the chamber and altar intact even if the Druids' religious decorations were gone...."

"Good. Everything is ready," Ares smiled and snapped his fingers. 

Cybelle's shimmering form appeared and floated to the dais.

"Now, for the other piece," she noted and pointed her right index finger at the altar. The necklace appeared around Cybelle's neck.

The Roman general looked at the priest. "Do your work now!" he ordered.

"Yes, Great Caesar," the other man agreed and hesitantly opened the Druid's book of chants.  Then, he began to chant an ancient chant once, twice...and then, a third time. The air crackled with eldritch energies and the unwitting priest became their focal point. He channeled their energies into Cybelle.

Ares, for his part, walked over, and, grasping the woman's right hand, filled her with still more energy. Having done this, he backed away to his previous position once again.

"It...It's too much!" the priest screamed and disappeared in a blinding flash as the energies reached a crescendo.

Then, Cybelle's eyes snapped open and she released a silent scream as well. When the light had subsided, she rose from the platform clad in traditional Celtic robes instead of her twentieth century garments.

"Excellent!" Ares approved and stepped toward the priestess.

She considered this man and his companions. "I'm sorry...but who are you?" she asked.

"I am Ares, god of war. The woman is Discord and the man beside her is Caesar," he explained.

"Yes, Ares...Now, I know...I'm...supposed to help you...," she recited entranced.

"Indeed. Now, please rest. We will be traveling to Althanor soon enough," he urged. "Come, we will get you to some place comfortable." In a flash, the foursome disappeared from the temple grounds.
The scene at the museum went pretty much as Dave had expected...considering that there had just been a major disturbance inside of its main display. Fortunately, Steve's federal connections took care of Manhattan's Finest. In the meantime, Angie's parents agreed to watch the girls. For its part, the university extended Dave's and Angie's respective leaves. After attempting to reassure his mother, Dave left her with his brother-in-law, rejoining his wife and friend back inside of the

"So, now what?" Angie asked him.

"Now, we go after the necklace," he pointed out. "Steve, can you run interference for us?"

"Well...It's going to be a pain, but yeah, I can hold the bureaucrats at bay until you get back.  Good luck, you two," the agent agreed.

Angie scratched her head. "How are we going to get it back?" 

"With this," Dave revealed and pulled the emerald shard from his pocket. "It's from the stone that the Romans used. Take my hand."

Angie sighed nervously. While she was nervous about this procedure, they needed to go after Cybelle. There was no choice in the matter....She grasped his hand and touched the gem's splinter.

Suddenly, the jewel fragment glowed brightly. Angie and Dave felt a intense electric charge and then, they disappeared from the museum.

Steve shook his head. "Why can't they ever do anything like a normal couple?" he wondered.  "Oh well, good luck. Come back safe and sound, will you?" Having said those words, he turned and walked back towards the detectives and the panicked family members, still trying to figure out what to say to them.


Dave and Angie fell through what seemed to be a kaleidoscope of flashes and paisley colors.  The trip seemed like it would never end.

Angie's nerves momentarily got the better of her. "Dave! Where are you?" she implored.

"Right here," he reassured her and grasped her hand.

"So when...?" she asked.

"Soon, I'm sure," he maintained.

"When?" she repeated.

"So...." he started to answer.

"Wait, what's that?" she indicated and pointed straight ahead of them.

He looked and saw the glowing spot rushing up to meet them. "Hang on!" he advised and took her hand. 

As they hit the spot, another brilliant flash surrounded them, and they felt themselves hit something hard.

Dave looked around. They were in a grassy meadow and none the worse for wear it appeared.  "Are you okay?" he asked his wife.

"Yes, but I feel different...I don't feel Xena anymore!" she noted.

He surveyed the territory around them and saw a familiar sight behind her. "That's because of two things," he guessed.

"Which are?" she followed.

"First, we're back in Roman times and, as for the second item, turn around," he indicated.

"What now?" she muttered and turned around. When she saw the person standing behind her, Angie's eyes bulged. "Oh wow! It's you!"


Xena had not slept well that evening. She felt that something was about to happen. So, just before dawn, she rose from her resting place, saddled Argo, and rode away towards the east.  About an hour later, she stopped her horse, dismounted, and took a close look around. Nothing.  Then, on a whim, she looked up and saw the bright spot appear. "What the...?" she asked. A man and a woman sprouted from it and fell to the ground below. The Warrior Princess decided to investigate.

Then, the woman wailed, "I don't feel Xena anymore!"

This statement froze the Thracian warrior. "Feel me?" she mouthed silently.

The man noticed her and advised his companion to turn around.

When the woman had done so, she came face to face with Xena. "Oh wow! Xena, it is you!" she realized.

Not sure what to think, Xena drew her sword.

"Xena, we aren't your enemies! We need your help!" the man told her.

She stopped and glared at him. "Then, what is your purpose here?" she demanded.

"We're travelers from a distant land. We came here to retrieve a necklace and rescue my sister.  If we leave them with Ares and Caesar, the world will no longer be the same," he continued.

"And what of Althanor?" Xena demanded. "What about the Romans' designs on it?"

"We also want to protect that place," Angie insisted.

The warrior scratched her head and finally, agreed, "Very well. Come on, we need to get my friend."


When they had arrived back at the camp, Gabrielle was leaning over the fire. "Oh, Xena. I was just cooking a meal," she explained.

Her friend nodded, "Smells good. Gabrielle, can you dig up two more portions? By the way, the man's name is David, and the woman is Angela."

Gabrielle concurred, "Absolutely." Then, she looked at the others. "So, you two are on the road as well?"

"Yes, we've come a long way," Angie told her.

The Bard took this information in and turned to her friend. "Xena, what's going on?" she whispered.

"Well, Ares is up to his usual no good," her friend advised.

"We have some big problems. There's a crystal necklace and a powerful lady who's wearing it.  Everyone in our family has psychic abilities," he added.

"What kind of abilities?" Gabrielle inquired.

"Watch," he advised and focused on her staff. The weapon rose into the air and started to spin.  The motion continued and the spinning increased. Finally, the staff slowed and finally stopped its motion before settling back to the ground.

"Nice trick," Xena admired. "But, if Ares is doing something, we'll have to move fast."


The sun bore down on the travelers with unparalleled fierceness as they proceeded along the twisting, dusty trail. Finally, late in the day, the mists intensified.

"We're close," Dave murmured.

The Warrior Princess nodded.

"Close to what?" Gabrielle probed.

"Althanor," Angie stated.

Just then, a triumphant trumpet echoed through the woods.

"Company!" he snarled.

Xena listened intently and grimly agreed, "Roman legion!"

Angie turned to her husband, "So, now what?"

"Now, we fight," he noted and climbed up into an adjacent tree to gain position. 

At that point, a small sortie of Caesar's legionnaires crashed into the clearing and attacked the group. 

The Thracian warrior whirled and danced through the air, lashing out at anything in a Roman uniform. The chakram ricocheted, caromed, and careened off of still more adversaries.

Gabrielle's staff and Angie's sword found still other enemies.

Dave pumped a hail of arrows into the onslaught, slowing their progress....But, since reinforcements kept coming, the effort would not be enough. Realizing this fact, the librarian exchanged looks with Xena and nodded. "Retreat, ladies!" he directed. "Into the mists!"  Snagging his whip on a nearby branch, he swung to the ground, and motioned for the others to follow him.

Angie and Gabrielle followed him. The latter, not seeing her friend with them, turned and yelled, "Xena! Come on!"

The warrior reluctantly agreed and took off after her friends.

The Romans followed but were soon lost in the intensifying mists.

Finally, after running for what seemed like hours, the group stopped in a small clearing. There, a young woman with bright red hair and a white robe watched them approach.

"Xena, Gabrielle, David, and Angela, I trust?" she inquired.

"Right," Xena agreed. "And you are?"

"I am Genaria, a priestess of Althanor. Come! We do not have much time!" Genaria bade her companions and waving her hands, created a misty fog bank in front of them. "Please!"

Dave took Angie's hand, "C'mon, Princess. Let's go."

She nodded and the couple vanished into the fogpatch.

The Warrior Princess was about to question his decision but heard the legionnaries' approach.  "Let's go, Gabrielle," she decided and plunged ahead, followed closely by her partner. 

Genaria looked about and stepped through the portal herself just before the Romans caught up to them, leaving the latter to wonder where they had gone.

Caesar was not amused. His men finally had Xena cornered along with her friends only to let them escape! That commander would never fail his leader again...for he had a lunch date with a lion in the Coliseum. "Almost..." he seethed.

"But 'almost' doesn't count," Ares mockingly baited.

Caesar spun to see his ally behind him. The war god could either have been peeved or amused. It was so hard to read his moods.

"You know, Caesar. I'm beginning to think that you don't deserve your great reputation," the war god continued.

"Is it my fault that my men can't follow orders?" he hissed.

Ares stroked his ebony beard and a cruel yet amused smile spread across his face. "But, you trained them. Mark my words. Next time, you will lead them personally and the praise...or fault will be on your head."

"But, if they vanished," Caesar protested.

The Olympian shook his head. "They vanished...because of a priestess....They're in Althanor, and if you seek Xena, then that is where you must go," he detailed.

"Indeed," Cybelle agreed as she stepped in front of the Roman. "However, if you want me to lead your pitiful band of troops into Althanor, you are out of luck. I will guide you to the crossroads, but no farther!"

"Why, you insolent British witch!" the Roman general growled, drew his sword, and charged her.

Discord, who had followed Cybelle into the chamber, moved to intercede. Ares stopped her effort in this regard with a look.

"He needs this lesson," he whispered in her ear.

She smiled and nodded. This would be fun to watch.

As Caesar charged, he heard the priestess chant something strange and felt himself start to rise. Cybelle had called upon her elemental abilities to hold him above the ground. Then, she spun him like a top four times and pancaked him against the nearby stone wall.

"Bravo. Well done!" Ares complemented.

Cybelle shrugged, "His ego needed to be brought down a couple of notches. Now, if you will excuse me, I need to meditate." With that, she left the room.

Discord slithered up to her deified companion and surmised, "She's out of control."

Ares shook his head, "No, she has her own will, but I have her under my control. Trust me."

Caesar sputtered, "That...that woman!"

"Get it out of your mind...and just focus on your troops! Remember, I won't tolerate another failure. We attack at dawn," the god informed him.

The Roman leader nodded and strode purposefully from the room.

Discord sighed, "I hope that you realize how powerful Cybelle really is."

"Of course I do," Ares shrugged. "But she is under my control, and I will manipulate her as I see fit."

"It sounds like a gamble to me," she supposed.

"Everything's a gamble. Just have faith in my strategy," he mused.

Discord nodded and teleported from the room leaving him to his thoughts.

The group followed the unfamiliar priestess through what seemed to be a soft white tunnel.  As they looked about, they could see nothing to their left or right, only what lay in front of them.

"So, where are we going?" Angie asked.

"Althanor," the priestess replied. "In fact, we are here." She pointed to a bright light shining through at the end of the misty cylinder. "This way."

The group stepped into the light and found themselves on the edge of a bustling settlement of druid priests and priestesses.

"Is this?" Gabrielle inquired.

"It is," Xena stated.

"Indeed," Dave agreed. "Excuse me, Genaria....where do we..?"

"I will show you to the high priestess's hut. Come!" she advised and led them up the path.  After a five minute walk through the village, the high priestess' hut loomed before them.  The building was a simple thatched structure with clay walls, and a roughly-hewn wooden door. "She waits for you inside."

The four companions entered the dwelling. It was sparsely decorated with the bare earth serving as a floor and a small cot occupying one corner.

In the midst of everything, a fifty year old woman sat in silent meditation. As if she sensed her visitors' approach, her eyes snapped open and she smiled, "Oh yes, you are here. I know who you are and why you are here already. Please sit down. Thank you for coming."

"You're welcome," Xena nodded. "Now, if we might know more about our situation...."

The priestess limped slowly over to an ancient bookshelf. Leaning on the venerable tomes for support, she rubbed her left temple. "It is a desperate time for us all," she worried. "A great evil is preparing to assault this place. It has possession of a powerful token and a member of our order whom they've convinced to betray us!"

"Yes," Dave concurred. "The crystal necklace enables Cybelle to find this place again."

"Indeed, she will....and she will have Caesar with her," the priestess continued.

Gabrielle looked at her friend, "Can you deal with your feelings?"

Xena's expression darkened. "Of course, I can!" Then, she savored the possibility of a confrontation between her and the Roman leader before asking the priestess, "What do you see?"

The Althonian leader concentrated for a minute and revealed, "Yes, Caesar will meet you again at dawn with a legion and Cybelle. You four are our only hope."

"Geez," Angie pondered despairingly. "Talk about long odds. Xena, can I talk to you later in private?"

"Certainly," the Warrior Princess agreed. "I'll find you. Okay?"

The oncologist managed a small smile. "Okay."

Dave bowed to the priestess. "We'll do our best. Now, I think that we need to plan our strategies."

Xena studied her new friend carefully. Dave had a brave heart that was for sure...and didn't scare easily. Those qualities would come in handy during the next day's affairs.

"All of Althanor thanks you," the priestess mentioned. "I will see you at dawn. Now, if you would please excuse me?"

The four visitors bowed briefly and departed for the guest dwelling.


After a brief chat with Xena, Angie wandered along the edge of the settlement. She needed to be alone in order to think. The moonlight peered through the treetops, illuminating the clearing around her. However, by morning, this area would be swallowed by the tensions of conflict. "Sometimes I wish that Dave and I could lead normal lives," she wished.

"You probably could, but then, you would be denying yourselves," a voice advised from behind.

Angie whirled and drew her sword. But it was only Xena. "Xena! Oh gosh, you startled me!" she jumped.

Her friend smiled, "True...but you're too preoccupied if you are letting me so far inside of your defenses."

"I'm just wondering about tomorrow. I guess I'm letting my mind wander more than I'd like...." Angie explained.

"Ah, I thought so. Angela, I'm sure that you'll do fine, but if you would like some pointers, I would be happy to oblige," the Warrior Princess offered and drew her own blade.

For the next half-hour, the ladies thrust and parried with their swords. Using her mental talents, Angie anticipated and reacted to her counterpart's moves, thus holding her own. 

Xena was secretly impressed but pressed on. After they stopped the exercise, she
complemented her new friend, "Not bad at all. You should do well tomorrow."

"I hope so," Angie replied.

"Don't worry. I'm sure that David would agree with me," Xena cheered and rubbed her shoulders.

"I'm sure," he chuckled and stepped into the torchlight. "I don't want you doubting yourself for another minute. Just maintain your focus and you'll do fine. Trust me."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence, Dave. It means a lot," she beamed and embraced him tightly.

"No problem," he smiled back at her. Then, he turned to Xena. "Thanks for working with her."

"My pleasure," the warrior chuckled pleasantly.

"It's going to be a great honor to fight alongside you in the morning, Xena," he affirmed.

"That goes double for me," his wife added.

"As always," Gabrielle chimed in while stepping into the light.

The Warrior Princess beamed at her companions. She knew that Gabrielle would stay the course no matter what. But, these two people...she couldn't quite place why, but she felt that they could be trusted with her life if need be...and that they would be friends for a long time to come. "But, that's silly," she mused. "They're from another place." Then, she collected herself and asked, "Remember the signal fire that I left burning when we broke camp?"

"Yes. And?" Angie remembered.

"I made arrangements that if we didn't return within twelve hours of sending that signal, a search party should be sent after us. The head priestess just agreed to send one of her followers to guide them through the mist. So, if I'm right...." the warrior detailed.

"Let's hope so," Dave responded.

It would be a long night for them all....


Dawn came too quickly for Dave's liking. He spent the night in a lotus position, feeling the Earth's natural energies and vibrations. He tried to expand his perceptions into the mists, but came up with nothing. Somewhere, on the other side of that wispy shroud, Ares was putting together his invasion force and Cybelle would be with them. What would happen to her? If the situation became dire enough, could he harm his own sister? Too many things, too little time....

Then, he felt another presence nearby. Breaking off his meditation, he opened his eyes to see Xena watching him.

"Couldn't sleep either, huh?" she guessed.

"Yeah...nerves and unanswered questions. And you?" he told her.

"I did for a while. David, what's bothering you? I sense divided loyalties within you," she postulated.

"It's's Cybelle. If it comes down to killing her to save Althanor, I don't know if I could...." he sighed.

She nodded thoughtfully and patted his shoulder. "I know, but you have to forget that she's your sister. It sounds heartless, but it's the only way. There are too many lives at stake."

He shook his head, "But it's not that easy. I mean...I...I know that you're right, yet...."

"...yet you don't know if you can finish the job," she finished his thought and released a deep sigh. "David, you have to let go of your doubts. If you can't, then Ares has already won.  Look, I can't tell you what to do. Only you know what's right for you. I know that we haven't been friends for very long, but somehow, I sense that you are stronger than you like to admit and that, I can have faith in you. My instincts tell me that you'll do the right thing when the crucial moment arises. Just trust yourself, okay? See you in a few hours." She turned back toward the guest rooms.

"Thanks, Xena," he beamed. "I really appreciate it!"

"No problem," she concluded and walked away.

Dave sat back down and stared at the mists for a while longer. Dawn would be coming soon....

Caesar smiled to himself, "Soon...very soon, I will be at the gates of Althanor. Then, I can break the Britons' spirit." He savored this thought as if it were the sweetest honey. That success would at least make up for having to rely on Cybelle to guide them here.

Across the clearing, Ares stared into the mists and paced. 

Dawn was only an hour away. He could afford to be patient.


Althanor's high priestess had not slept well. On this day, her people's traditions could be lost forever. She hoped that the newcomers would be able to protect them. "May the gods help them," she desired. Then, sensing their approach, she collected herself and queried expectantly, "The time is upon us. Are you prepared?"

"We are, Lady," Angie grinned.

"Yes," Gabrielle added.

Xena and Dave concurred with a simple nod apiece.

Then, the Warrior Princess stepped forward and announced, "We have the reinforcements which your student guided here as well." She let out a shrill whistle, and a small band of men appeared in the fog outside. "Would the spokesperson speak forth?"

A thin man stepped forward wearing a disk on his chest, a combination of plate and chain mail, a pointed helmet on his head, and an ancient sword at his left side. He seemed cocky...almost arrogant in his manner.

Dave stared at Gabrielle. The Bard smirked and was obviously trying to contain her
sarcastic laughter. He noted that there was something familiar about this guy from the legends....

The man announced, "Okay, Your Eminence. You can begin the fight now that the men and I are here. I'll take'em on easily."

That statement identified him in Dave's mind....It could only be one person. "You have to be Joxer."

Joxer smiled, straightened, and allowed his ego to swell another seven notches. "You've heard of Joxer the Mighty?" he supposed.

Xena growled at Dave, warning him to cut it out.

He nodded in silent compliance.

Then, the Thracian warrior turned to Joxer. "Yeah, he's heard of you all right," she
muttered. "Now, let's go!"

"Okay! Look out, Romans!" he declared and ran off into the mists at full speed.

Angie chuckled incredulously, "Is he always like this?"

"Uh huh," Gabrielle agreed humorously "Words can't describe Joxer."

Then, a loud crash echoed from outside of the hut followed by an expression of pain from the proud warrior.

"I guess that we had better join him before he gets all of the action," Dave cracked.

Xena rolled her eyes and, after a quick bow to the priestess, she headed outside.

Joxer was everything that the legends said....Everything and more.


An hour later, Genaria had deposited the sortie back into the clearing undetected by the Roman scouts. Considering their company's size, that accomplishment was no mean feat.

"Good luck, my friends," she bade and vanished back into the portal, sealing it up behind herself.

"The Romans are close by," Xena said in a low voice and looked at Dave and Angie. "Can you sense their positions?"

The two psychics concentrated. Dave whispered, "The legion seems to be about fifty feet ahead of us."

"Okay, let's do it!" Xena agreed.

However, at that moment, the world exploded in a fiery orange haze.


Cybelle paced nervously as she tried to quell her doubts. Although she had a duty to restore order to Althanor, was Ares telling the truth? And, why did he side with the enemy of her people? Finally, why couldn't she shake the cobwebs from her head? Something wasn't right in all of these machinations.....

Ares observed her with great interest. "She is trying to break free of my control. 
Fascinating....If she and her brother meet, it will be a powerful battle indeed," he mused.  Then, he caught Cybelle's eye and requested, "I sense company, my Dear...could you please?"

Cybelle lapsed back under his influence and smiled, "Yes, let me welcome them," she cackled amusedly, sang a chant, and waved her hands. An orange aura flowed from her person and exploded taking out all of the nearby flora with it.

The morning breeze carried the smoke away after the impact. Dave quickly accessed the company's casualties: twelve dead and five more men injured. "Great," he muttered sarcastically and readied his bow.

"Dave, are you okay?" Angie coughed.

"Yeah, I'm fine...and you?" he replied.

"Just a few bruises," she shrugged.

"Xena?" he called out.

Through the mist, the warrior walked into view. "I'm here and ready to go," she indicated.

"I'm here too," Gabrielle added, leaning on her walking staff.

"I'm ready as well," Joxer chimed in, albeit sounding more secure than he really felt.

Dave took another survey of their forces. "Doesn't look that great, but we only get one shot," he assessed and narrowed his brow. He looked at Xena. "Now?"

"Now! Charge!" she directed and executed a leap into the legion's main forces. Dave's shafts and an occasional mental burst took down more soldiers as did the others' efforts in that regard.

Ares watched this fight from afar. "Let Caesar's troops waste themselves," he thought. "Then, I'll come in and pick up the pieces."
The Romans surrounded Gabrielle. With every man that she whacked with her staff, several other soldiers seemed to take his place. Finally, one legionnaire knocked her out from behind.

"Gabrielle!" Joxer exclaimed caringly and made his way to her side. Upon seeing her blood, his anger grew. He would let no further harm come to her. "Who's first?" he challenged.

The others laughed, "Ooh, 'Joxer the Mighty', I'm so scared. Move it, Chicken-Bait!"

"Make me," the newcomer refused.

The leader drew his sword. "Fine" he agreed.

With speed and skill that he didn't know about, Joxer stabbed the man before he could do anything else.

The others moved in on him....


Xena slashed, parried, and kicked her way methodically through the Roman lines. Although she knew that they were badly outnumbered, she knew that if she could carry the fight to Caesar himself, all might not be lost. Ten minutes later, she spied the Imperial leader and grinned menacingly. With a final flip, she vaulted the last of the leader's bodyguard, and landed behind him. "Turn, Caesar!" she hissed.

The general turned and admired, "Xena, we meet again...."

"Hopefully for the last time," she asserted while readying her sword.

However, since underconfidence wasn't one of Caesar's problems, he only scoffed at her statement, "Xena, surely you can see that your forces are outnumbered. Surrender now!"

She scrunched her brow and swung her sword. He parried and the duel was on. Steel continued to ring against steel and a thrust met a counter-thrust. As if engaged in a deadly waltz, the two antagonists circled each other, bobbing in and out.

Finally, he lunged with his blade and missed. "Damn!" he cursed.

Xena smiled ferally and stabbed him, "Too bad, Caesar!"

Recoiling from the blow, Caesar couldn't believe it. She had bested him. "There will be another time, Xena...." he wheezed while dropping to his knees.

"Oh no, this time, you're dead," she asserted and raised her sword for the killing blow.

"Maybe, maybe not," another voice contradicted from behind.

The Warrior Princess spun to see Ares behind her with a diabolical smile painted across his face.


Meantime, Dave and Angie had fought their way through the legions. Several soldiers had nicked him before he dispatched them to Tartarus or wherever the Fates sent them. His Better Half had held her own without a scratch. They could both feel Cybelle's presence. A few minutes later, they saw her standing away from the fighting.

"What is she doing?" Angie wondered.

He looked at his wife and then, his sister. Something didn't seem right. It was as if...."Yes, Cybelle's fighting Ares' control!" he realized. "Which means that we have a chance! C'mon!"

As they approached, the priestess stirred. "Well, well, it's the identity crisis and his associate," she baited.

"C'mon, Sis. Fight him!" he pleaded.

"Please!" Angie added.

For a minute, sweat dampened the priestess' brow, and she spasmed in agony. Slowly, she regained her composure and the evil smile reasserted itself. "Not bad, 'Big Brother'," she cackled. "Now, you both can die!" With that comment, she waved her hands and the pyre burning behind her redirected itself, steaming for her brother and sister-in-law.

Dave pushed Angie out of harm's way and started forming a shield of psychic energy. However, the flames scored a partial hit on him, throwing him backward against a giant oak tree. "Ooh...kay," he moaned and took a rapid inventory of himself. He could smell his clothes smoldering and feel his skin irritation. He was lucky in that he only had first-degree burns but they were enough to force him into a painful stupor.

"Dave!" Angie exclaimed and rushed to his side.

"Oh, it's the ever faithful wife! How she clings to him!" Cybelle taunted.

The oncologist turned toward the priestess. She had about had enough of the damage which the possessed woman had inflicted on her husband. "Shut up!" she directed. "SHUT UP!" She felt the psychic energies building up inside of herself which she released in one giant burst.

Cybelle flew backward, skidding hard across the ground. Still, she got back up angry and ready to strike again. "Well, at least the girl has spunk. You can sure pick'em 'Brother Dear'," she laughed and fired again.

Angie failed to avoid the blast which slammed her hard against a massive stone wall.

"Angie!" her husband called and somehow made his way to her side. A rapid examination told him that she was still alive but unconscious and in a great deal of pain.

He backed away from her slowly. Then, he felt the spasms start first in his back, spreading throughout his body, and registering in the tense look on his face. The Beast which he kept locked away burst free. He felt himself sliding backward and a red haze obscured his vision.

Despite the hold which Ares had over her, the priestess recognized the transformation in her brother for she had seen it on several other occasions. "Well, you've let it out again, haven't you? Tsk...Tsk," she scorned.

His mouth had already contorted itself into a cruel smile but managed to spit out, "Are we gonna talk or are we gonna dance?"

Cybelle suppressed a shudder. Ares' help or not, this would be a difficult fight. "If you insist," she steeled herself and fired another flame burst.

He evaded the attack with ease. "Cute, but you should vary your tricks!" he lectured. "Like this!" He fired a psychic pulse throwing his sister backward.

Angie had regained consciousness by this point and leaned against the tree for support. The dark display made her gape in horror. "This wasn't supposed to happen!" she panicked.
There were no easy answers as the battle raged on....


"It's hopeless, Xena," Ares crowed. "You're outnumbered and surrounded. Oh, and you can't be everywhere at once. Do you kill Caesar or help your friends?"

"What are you talking about? They're holding their own," she countered.

Ares nodded, "True, but for how long? Observe over there...How long can that clown, Joxer, hold off the Romans before they kill him and Gabrielle? And on the other side, looks like the terror twins are getting ready for 'Cain and Abel II". Now, can you allow them to do that? What would their parents think?"

She raised her sword over Caesar's head once again. But was he worth it? Then, she looked a Dave. He had been forced to release his anger and look what was now happening. In the end, there was only one choice. "Damn you, Ares," she cursed and shot him a dirty look. "This isn't over!"

"Oh, I'm counting on that," he nodded and shooed her away with a wave of his hand.

Xena glared at him again and then, she was off to intercede elsewhere.


Joxer wobbled on his feet. He had fared better than anyone would have expected but eventually, the constant struggle overwhelmed him. Eventually, the Romans overpowered him.

"Any last words?" one particularly short legionnaire asked.

"Go to Tartarus!" Joxer cursed defiantly.

"After you, Fool," the other laughed and raised his sword.

Joxer picked up his friend's face. He wanted to kiss her, but, even under the circumstances, couldn't bring himself to do so. "Sorry...I tried," he apologized to her.

However, just as the killing stroke was about to start its downward plunge, a silver streak flashed out of the sun, severing the blade from the handle.

"What?" the soldier wondered incredulously. Then, he saw the boot break his jaw just before he lapsed into unconsciousness.

Xena stood between the remaining soldiers and her friends. "Joxer, can you walk?" she inquired.

"Yeah, listen, can you divert their attention, and I'll get Gabrielle out of here?" he replied in a surprisingly sensible fashion.

"I'll keep them occupied! Just go!" she directed and went to work on the other Romans.

Joxer nodded. Then, cradling his beloved friend in his arms, he ran toward safer quarters....


"So!" Dave snarled. "Let's see how you like this!" He concentrated and sent another pulse into Cybelle, knocking her back onto the ground. "If you don't stop, I'll really cut loose...."

"No," she seethed and built up still more mystical energies.

Angie wavered on her feet and her head pounded. "If only I had the strength," she wished.

Cybelle grabbed her head and began to shake violently. "No...I won't kill him...Get out! Get out!" she demanded. Then, as suddenly as it had begun, the shaking stopped and the priestess looked at her brother again. She was back in control. "Wow!" she gasped. Then, she saw Angie and ran over to help her sister-in-law.

As he was still too angry to realize what had just happened, Dave stepped between the two women. "Don't...even...think it!" he growled.

"Dave, it's me! I'm back in control. C'mon, snap out of it!" Cybelle requested.
Her plea reached a chord deep within his mind. Somehow, the anger abated and dissipated. A painful spasm later, Dave was calm again.

"Dave?" they asked apprehensively.

"Yeah, it's me," he huffed breathlessly.

They embraced, thinking that the worst was behind them.

Ares materialized behind the three relatives and saw their embrace. He was truly disappointed in the priestess and realized that he would have to take matters into his own hands. "Oh, isn't this a touching scene?" he chuckled menacingly. "But, once I smash through the gates of Althanor, Cybelle, you will be mine again."

Dave stood up and glared at the war god. "Fat chance," he hissed.

The Olympian admired this mortal's resolve. He really did. However, his impertinence needed correcting. "Oh really, I think that you need a lesson in respect!" He submarined a fire ball at the young librarian.

Dave grinned and constructed a mental shield to deflect the missile. "Now, didn't your mother ever teach you not to play with fire?" he deadpanned. Despite his frayed nerves, he was putting up a good front.


Cybelle crept over to Angie. "What is he doing? Is he nuts?" she panicked.

"Oh, he knows what he's doing," Angie sighed. "Believe me, this is old hat for us."

The priestess stared wonder found at the raging confrontation in front of her.


Ares smarted at Dave's last comment. "No, Hera let me do as I so!" he growled and fired another fire ball.

His opponent easily dodged that burst as well. "Now, I know who was writing Cybelle's script," he taunted.

The war god snarled and kept firing energy blasts. Sooner or later, this mortal would wear down and then, he would receive a stern lesson in the realities of mortals and immortals....


Xena continued to fight on against the waves of Romans. She wondered how they would beat these troops. But then, a horn sounded and waves of blue-painted Picti and Celts crashed into the rear of the enemy lines. Their leader, Bodecia, a muscular, red-headed woman, drew up in her chariot.

"Once again, we meet, Xena," the Celtic queen greeted.

"Bodecia," Xena replied appreciatively. Despite their past history, she knew that the Celtic queen would be of great assistance.

Then, the two warriors noted the battle on the other side of the field between Ares and Dave.

"Go help him!" Bodecia urged. "My forces will contain Caesar's rabble!"

Xena nodded and hurried off to assist her friend.


While this has been really entertaining, I'm starting to get bored!" Ares scowled and submarined another blue-white blast from his hand.

Dave formed an angular shield from his psychic abilities which turned the bolt back on Ares. The blast threw the war god back against the stone wall and singed his leather outfit. "You really should be more careful. Now, look at you, imagine what it's going to cost to replace those threads!" he taunted.

Ares smoldered with rage at this taunt. No mortal talks to him like that! He pummeled the mortal with burst after burst. 
Eventually, his opponent caved under the bombardment but still managed to erect a shield.
"Now, you're finished!" the Olympian crowed and held another blast over his opponent's head.

At that moment, Xena interceded. "No, Ares, stop!"

"Get out of the way, Xena!" Ares spat.

"No, he fought well. Spare him," she pointed out.

Ares hesitated. "You do have a point. But you alone can't stop me."

Angie forced herself to stand away from the tree. "You'll have to kill me first," she challenged.

"And me," Cybelle added. Her eyes glowed with yellow energy and she growled, "Have a care, war god. You are far from Olympus. If you fight me here...this close to Althanor, I will bury you! Back off now!"

Ares shook his head. He knew that the priestess was lost to was Althanor. "Another time, then," he scowled and teleported away.

"Good, he's gone," Dave sighed with relief and managed to stand. "Is everyone here?"

"Uh huh," Angie noted.

"Bodaceia's troops have Caesar's forces under control. Unfortunately, Caesar's disappeared as well," Xena indicated with a frustrated tone.

"We have a lot of injuries," Joxer piped in, looking at Gabrielle.

"Well, I...geez...who put the world on spin cycle anyway?" Dave slurred. Everything went dark and he fell to the ground.

Angie tried to reach him. But, she too fell to the ground.

Joxer gasped at the latest two maladies to their party. "Now what?" he asked Xena.

She studied the two travelers. "They need medical attention now. We have to get them back to Althanor. But how?" she reported.

Cybelle tapped her on the shoulder. "I can summon the portal if I may," she noted.

The Warrior Princess nodded, "Do it."

The priestess focused and within seconds, the mists formed next to them. "Let's go," she directed and dragged her sister-in-law by the arms through the portal.

Xena nodded and picked Dave up on her shoulders through the mists. Joxer still had Gabrielle. Once they were through, Cybelle waved her hand and the mists dissipated behind them once more.

Once back in Althanor, Xena, Joxer, and Cybelle rushed their friends back to the house of healing. There, the head priestess waited for them and instructed her followers to minister to the wounded.

"How are they?" Xena probed anxiously.

The head priestess looked up from her examination. "Gabrielle will recover quickly. However, David and Angela will need time....," she explained.

"Is there anything that I can do?" the Warrior Princess asked.

The other nodded, "Yes. You may give her a tiny bit of your life energies. For some reason, she seems to already share a bond with you."

"I don't why, but for some reason, I share the same feeling," Xena agreed and held Angie's hand. "Let's do it."

The priestess nodded and recited an ancient spell. Slowly, by degrees, energy sparked between the two women. Xena felt a tiny piece of herself being ripped away and flowing into Angie. With that, the rite was completed.

Angie's eyes fluttered open. "Huh? Wha? Oh, Xena...where?" she probed half-dazed.

"Althanor," her friend advised.

"And Dave? Goodness me!" Angie exclaimed and turned toward the two women. "Can't you do something for him?"

The priestess assured her, "Calm yourself, Child. He will heal, but he has paid a terrible price. His personal demon won the day."

"But, he controlled it in the end," Cybelle indicated from the corner of the room.

"Indeed, but he is a long way from where he has to are you, Young One," she replied matter-of-factly.

"What?" Cybelle asked confusedly.

"You must remain here and redeem your arts," the other told her.

"I can't! I have my husband and son!" the young priestess protested.

The older priestess nodded, "I see. Well, how about a week to cleanse yourself and then, a few days each year when you go back to your own time to renew your commitment. That is the best that I can offer you, Child, Now, come. Your brother will heal and we need to talk in private."

Xena watched them leave. Then, she walked over to Joxer's cot. He lay there with his chest and left leg wrapped in bandages.

"I must look awful," he coughed. "Thanks for bailing me out back there."

Her brow arched and she stated, "Joxer, you did most of the work in beating off those attackers."

"Yeah, right. You're just being nice," he doubted.

She shook her head, "Look, you saved Gabrielle and single-handedly beat off eight Romans.  Today, you fought like a true warrior and...made me proud to be your friend." Her eyes sparkled at him and she rubbed his shoulder.

Joxer almost came out with some pithy remark, but he didn't want to spoil the moment. "I'm only following your example, Xena. Thank you," he replied.

She savored these words. He was growing and developing as a person, that was for sure.  "You're welcome, Joxer. Now sleep," she bade him.

He nodded and dozed off.

After checking on him, Angie, and Gabrielle one last time, she left the chamber. Rest was the order for everyone concerned at that particular moment, herself included....


Cybelle and the head priestess walked into the forest until they came to a circular ring of granite. 

"Walk into the center of the ring and focus ++ E@C|fPA3OـP2B#R3b$r%C4Sբcs5D'ң6Tdt& EF۫VU(euɥ͌fv7GWgwѤ׍8HXhx鯏)9IYiy䪩*:JZjzm!1AQa"q2焇#BRbr3$4CS%cs5DT &6E'dtU7()۫euɥ͌FVfvGWgwѤ׍8HXhx鯏9IYiy䪩*:JZjz ?UlF˭ JoA0&\,M K0a}9\ 9Ճ4r2I_i0!:]:l)1Q,Ld gHmֆefI3, view  
e 廼W[KKp;mode=forward&messid=87326498&nFolderID=1">

"I hope so," Angie worried.

Just then, Dave's eyes creaked open painfully, "C' can't...give up...that...easily," he tried to laugh.

His wife exclaimed happily, "Dave! You're awake!" She embraced him tightly.

"Hey!" he coughed and whispered. "Not so hard. Good to see you too."

"Nice to see you awake, David," Xena agreed cheerfully.

"Thanks to you, Xena," he whispered.

She grinned, "You're welcome. Now, Angela, why don't you get some rest and let your husband do the same?"

"Okay," she reluctantly agreed and stumbled back over to her resting place. "But, I'll be close by."

"I'll remember that," he smiled and fell back into a deep slumber.

Feeling very much relieved, Angie did likewise.


Ares stalked pensively around his temple. His plans were dashed. Worse still, instead of taking Althanor for him, Cybelle had turned against him. Finally, Caesar was injured badly and would need time to heal.

"C'mon, Ares. You'll get another shot at Xena," Discord assured him.

"I'm sure," the war god agreed reluctantly. "Still, it would have been nice to have
succeeded. I can't believe that we were stopped by mere mortals!"

Discord shook her head, "There was nothing mere about them and Xena's Xena. Cybelle will bear watching however."

Ares turned back toward his companion with a smile already forming in the midst of his ebony beard. "Someday...." he muttered to nobody in particular.


Meantime, back in Althanor, the recovering heroes were being filled in on what had
happened on the battlefield.

"Joxer did what? Xena, you have to be kidding!" Gabrielle protested in disbelief.

"No, he saved you," she smiled, enjoying the moment. "Ask David and Angela."

Dave started to snicker but Angie playfully elbowed him. "C'mon, let's not rub it in," she winked.

Joxer grinned over in the corner of the room. "C'mon, Gabrielle, I am your friend after all," he assured her.

" 'That is what friendship is all about. Standing up for each other and following them no matter how difficult the road is....' " Xena started to paraphrase.

The Bard recognized her own words and conceded, "Okay, Xena, you win. Thanks, Joxer."

"You're welcome. Thanks for being my friends," Joxer replied pleasantly.

"No problem," Dave responded and stood up using his walking stick for support. "I thought that you would like to know about the other factor out there today."

"What was that?" he asked.

"Here near Althanor, your prowess matches your heart and desire. That is why I could stand up to Ares, and you could go against those Romans. You are a warrior, Joxer," Dave explained.

"Thanks," he sighed. "It's sure nice to hear that."

"Yes and I would like to thank you too," Cybelle added while entering the structure. "Once again, I am a priestess and not Ares' tool, thanks to you."

"No trouble at all, Sis. It is nice to know what you were doing for those years when you away at school," he commented.

"And, if we can be of any help, let us know," Xena chimed in. "Meantime, there's a surprise for Angela as well."

"What is it?" Angie pressed.

The warrior shook her head. "Not now. You'll find out when the time is right. Now come, it's time for feasting."

The group followed her lead toward an enjoyable evening.

A week later, the group was ready to depart. Dave's leg and Angie's bruises had healed. Xena needed to check on events in Gaul. As they walked out of their lodgings, the head priestess and Cybelle joined them.

"Remember, Young One," the priestess instructed Cybelle. "A priestess' life is one of training and hardship. I will expect you here for the Beltane festival."

"I will be here. Thank you," Cybelle agreed.

"My friends," the priestess continued. "The gratitude of Althanor goes with you. May you be blessed. Our doors will always be open to you."

"Thanks," Angie beamed.

"Thank you," Dave agreed.

"You have our gratitude as well," Xena spoke for her companions.

The old woman smiled and pointed toward the forest. Then, she turned and headed back toward her hut.

Cybelle summoned the mists once more and the group walked through them. When they emerged, they were back at their original battlefield with the Romans. Argo still grazed there, waiting for her mistress patiently.

Xena eagerly ran over to her mount and soothed the horse's feelings over the long wait.  After a minute, she climbed into the saddle once more.

The priestess summoned another portal and they found themselves back at the spot where Angie and Dave had first entered that time.

"Well, I guess that this is it," Dave sighed.

"Seems that way," Gabrielle concurred. "Go peacefully."

Xena waited for her comrades' remarks. Then, she stepped forward. "It was an honor to fight with you. David, nice work against Ares. Angela, it's great to be your friend. Cybelle, it's nice to have met you. If you're ever back this way, look us up," she complemented.

"Remember Beltane. I think that we might all be there," Cybelle indicated.

"Then, we'll see you there at the festival," the Warrior Princess replied pleasantly. 
"Farewell, my friends."

Dave smiled and looked at his sister. She nodded and held up the sapphire in the center of her necklace. Angie, Dave and she all touched it, and the stone flared brightly. In a flash, they vanished.

"Where?" the Bard wondered.

"They went home," Xena noted. "Speaking of which, we're heading for Gaul. Joxer, want to come along?"

"Sure thing," he agreed.

"Then, let's go," she indicated and they headed down the path toward the rising sun.


Steve Petersen had decided to take a walk back through the crime scene one last time. It had been a strange week and he wanted to be sure that he hadn't missed any clues.

Suddenly, in a flash of onyx light, his three friends appeared.

"Wow! Glad to see that you're all back!" he exclaimed in surprise.

"Thanks, Steve," Dave grinned. "It was some adventure. Now, if you'll excuse me...."

The group followed him outside of the building. Right at the back, there was two small tombs: one for Anthony Samuelsohn and his wife, Paulette.

Angie rubbed her husband's shoulder. "Go on," she urged.

Dave nodded and started, "Hi, Tony...Mrs. Samuelsohn, it's Dave. Tony, do you remember the Amphipolis dig from 1955? Well, I met Xena...yes, that Xena. She's quite the woman.  So, I guess that you were right after all, not that I ever doubted you. Thanks again, Tony."

Steve tapped his friend on the shoulder. "I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I need to get back to DC. Take care, everyone. At least, life never gets dull around all of you," he concluded and waved as he walked off toward the street.

Cybelle looked at her relatives. "We need to put our heads together and think of something to say to Mom and the others," she realized.

"I'm sure that we will. We always think of something," he assured his sister. Giving his wife a hug, he inquired, "Isn't that right, Princess?"

"That's the truth," Angie giggled as the group followed Steve's path toward the street.

The loose ends came together rather easily. Mike and Sarah didn't bombard Cybelle with questions as expected. The twins and Deirdre were happy to see their parents as well. Two days after their reappearance in the museum, the Dubois family flew back to Tucson, ready to resume their normal lives.....


The sun rose early the next morning. Dave awoke with it and, as he needed to ponder the previous two weeks' events, he went for a jog. The desert air, still cool with the evening's chill, refreshed him as he progressed mile after mile. "Three laps more and then, home for breakfast with Angie," he grinned and rounded the corner of Broadway and Swan, heading north.

Meanwhile, Angie awoke as well. "Let's see," she thought. "Coffee...but first, the kids."  She peered into the girls' room but all three sisters dozed soundly. "Good," she cheered to herself and walked into the kitchen. A quick grind of the coffee mill later, Angie started the beans perking.

"Okay, now let's see what I am going to wear today," she thought and returned to the
bedroom. She padded across its plush blue carpet and opened the closet door. "Not bad, but not today," she thought while passing on a creme-colored blouse in favor of a burgundy one.  Just then, out of the corner of her eye, she turned toward the mirror, but her reflection was no longer there....

Instead, Xena stood there, smiling warmly, "Good morning, Angela."

Angie jumped, "Wow! I must be dreaming!"

The warrior shook her head. "This is no dream, trust me. I am now a permanent part of you," she explained.

Angie nervously stammered, " did this happen?"

From two incidents actually. When you picked up my sword in the museum, we formed a bond. Then, in Althanor, I gave you some of my life energy to help you heal. The act made our bond permanent," Xena postulated. "I hope that we can adjust...."

"So, anything that you know, I know...." Angie guessed.

Xena's image rubbed her chin and, after a moment's contemplation, continued, "Right."

"So, I can read Greek?" the oncologist quizzed.

"Among other ancient languages," the Warrior Princess nodded.

"So, how do I tell Dave?" Angie wondered. "This is going to be quite a shock."

"I don't think that's going to be a problem," Xena chuckled. "Look behind you."

Angie turned and saw her husband standing there in the doorway behind her. "How
long...?" she asked.

"Long enough to take in your unique conversation. Hi, Xena," he beamed.

"Good morning, David," the image returned the greeting. "And how is Cybelle?"

"Fine," he explained. "She will be down here in about six months for a visit. Meantime, we have a few other adventures upcoming. It's good to have you around."

"You bet," Angie agreed. "I'm looking forward to it."

"Thank you both," Xena stated gratefully. "By the way, I saw your daughters. They're beautiful!"

The two parents beamed with pride. "Thanks, Xena," they chorused while walking back into the kitchen to eat breakfast. 

"Would you like to join us?" Angie invited.

"Yes, thanks," she accepted. While she did not need to eat, she would enjoy the fellowship.  Indeed, the feeling which her instincts had given to her at Althanor had proved accurate.  David and Angela would indeed be great friends...her second family and they would have many great experiences together in the months and years to come.


(Look for the Forever Knight/Xena connection to begin with "Trouble in Toronto" and to continue with the other installments of the Dubois Chronicles at . Thanks for your interest!)

Back To Main Page