The Forsaken (Amazon Scrolls 7)
David J. Duncan
Notes: The characters from “Xena Warrior Princess” belong to StudiosUSA and
Renaissance Studios. All other characters are mine. Comments can be sent to
Prologue [Amazon Village c. 88 AD]
Gabrielle, Bard-Queen of the Amazons, writes….
After returning from helping the others, Xena informed me and Eve of what had
happened in the parallel universe. Imagine—a world just like ours! I’m glad that
we have new friends. Say what you want about David and the Child, they
definitely have a way of finding allies!
But the trip had its consequences too. As we learned from David’s counterpart
about an earlier ordeal with our adversaries at Genomex, so too does another
question present itself. What else happened to him during those years? Over the
next few scrolls, some answers will present themselves.
The answers start with an encounter beyond the mists—a place of taboos to the
priestesses and a mysterious outcast….
Chapter 1 [Althanor]
Cybelle opened her eyes and stirred from her trance. With the recent events, she
had forgotten about the date. The days fly by and once again, the calendar turns
to that day. She sighed and left her hut.
“What is it, Auntie?” Deirdre asked.
“Nothing to concern yourself with, my Dear,” the High Priestess lied. She
needn’t concern herself with this right now. “Watch the village, would you? I’ll
be back.” With that, she disappeared into the mists.
The younger priestess nodded in silent agreement. What is it now?
[Dark landscape somewhere in the mists—fifteen minutes earlier]
Somewhere in the mists, a lonely island withstood Nature’s siege. Bombarded by
pounding surf, eternally shrouded in overcast and denied the growth of beautiful
things, the land’s tall grasses and tree tops swayed in the stiff and cold gusts
of wind. Even if it weren’t mid-November in the outer world, it would remain as
Deep in those sad woods, a burial mound sat in the corner of a clearing. Unknown
to the world at large, the plot had no marker save a few fading morning glory
flowers and roses lying in a bouquet across it, symbolizing a contradiction of
Almost in response to some unspoken call, the mists coalesced, allowing a
mysterious robed figure to appear in front of it. The visitor’s garb—a long gray
cape covering a simple tunic of ash cloth as well as the hood covering the facial
features—concealed that presence to all but two others. Stopping before the
grave, the visitor produced a fresh bundle of flowers matching those on the
“Hi, Dee-Dee, it’s that time again, isn’t it?” a male voice asked. “Things are
okay. I’m sure you know about the family and activities. That faith you told me
to have is paying off at last. The kids are great. You’d be so proud of your
namesake. She’s doing what you would have done if given half a chance.” He
choked back a sob. “I know…keep control of myself. It just isn’t fair! Why did
they do this to you? WHY?”
“You know why,” Cybelle replied, appearing from the mists. “She broke our vows.”
He chortled sarcastically. “Your vows. Didn’t the Empress consider that she was
doing the goddess’ will? She kept me sane for a time!”
“That was her task. You seduced her from the Way. She was cast out and you
remember that. Such was the Empress’ decision in this matter.” Cybelle surveyed
the land around them. “Such is your punishment.”
“My punishment?” He glared at her; his eyes burning into hers from the dark
under the hood. “SHE LOVED ME! The Empress’ problem is that she never considers
long range implications of anything! That and she loves her games!”
“Have a care! She can hear us!” she advised.
“So? She’s already cursed me. She uses me like a chess piece with abandon. What
else can she take from me? From us? This is the least she can do!” he spat back.
“I’m abiding by my agreement, all right? Leave us alone!” He turned his back on
her and kneeled before the site. When she didn’t move, he snarled, “GO!”
She frowned. Even with everything he’s accomplished, still he clings to the
past. What a waste. Then for a brief second, she sensed other presences nearby.
What? Nobody is supposed to know about this! She swept the site with her senses
but whatever was out there was gone. I’m imagining things. Shrugging, she
disappeared into the mists, leaving the lone mourner there.
He stood, feeling the same vibrations. “It’s all right. Come out. She’s gone.”
As he said that, a female figure peeked out of the woods. She was slender with
long hair colored of the setting sun and dressed in the same rough cloth as his.
“You came back.”
“I always do. I won’t forget her. You hanging in there?” he replied, inspecting
her. “I wish I could do more for you.”
She nodded. “I know. Why did the glowing woman do this? What did we do?” Her
eyes watered with angry tears.
“She dared to love me. You, I have no idea of what you did. I don’t care
either,” he told her. When he started coming here, the Empress had instructed
him to leave a few things—milk and a few pieces of bread at the site but didn’t
tell him why. About five years into the vigil, a little red haired girl had
stumbled shyly out of the woods. Although she had been skittish at first, she
accepted his presence for some reason, allowing him to be her only friend. In a
perverse bit of dealsmanship, they had to forgo knowing the other’s identity.
But they worked around that. As the years passed, she grew into the woman that
stood there with him. “You have shelter?”
“Still living in the cave,” she answered. “Those wool coverings you gave me are
“And the garden? How’s that?” he asked.
“The herbs and food plants grow all right. Flowers won’t though,” she muttered
“That’s the nature of this place, Kid,” he informed her. “I wish I could be here
She remembered the glowing woman’s last appearance there with a shudder. “I
know. It’s so lonely here though.”
“I can imagine. But I appreciate how you watch the site,” he complimented.
“What else can I do? I wish I knew who she was. You know but you can’t tell me.
I wish I knew why!” she countered.
“Hopefully you will one day. At least, I can give you the usual. I did bring you
a treat though,” he declared, producing a small bundle. “Cinnamon raisin bread.
It’s something more than the usual.”
She accepted the bundle, appreciating the scent. “Better go. We’re bein’
watched!” She sprinted off into the woods.
He glared around the clearing. However, once again, he felt nothing. Strange.
“Take care, Dee-Dee. Someday, I’ll be able to see you in a decent place.” With
that, he vanished into the mists.
Unbeknownst to the others, Deirdre had followed her aunt to the dark place and
observed the whole stream of events. Who are these people? And why must they
remain in such a dark place? I need answers. With that, she vanished as well.
Chapter 2 [Amazon Village]
Gabrielle walked through the village, inspecting her sister Amazons as the
latter went through their motions. Everything seemed to pass normally for them,
as they squeezed in last training sessions prior to winter’s arrival. They seem
confident. Hopefully, we remain vigilant and can have peace for a while. Seeing Varia standing to the side, she asked, “How’s everything?”
“Fine, my Queen,” Varia replied. “The food stuffs and supplies are stored in the
hollow. Meantime, I figured some exercise might be good for the sisters.”
The Bard nodded. “Sounds good to me. Carry on.” She continued on her way down
the path. There she found Princess Jasmine shadow feinting by herself. While she
had wondered what the girl was doing at first, Xena had explained that this was
a form of meditation. She has certainly grown in the past year.
Seeing the Queen standing there, Jasmine paused. “Gabrielle, what can I do you?”
“You’re fine. I was checking on everyone. Everything all right here?” Gabrielle
“Pretty much. I was taking a break from studying for Dr. Alvaro’s exam next
week.” The princess shrugged. “Sound body, sound mind, si?”
Inside of her head, Gabrielle heard Francesca chuckle. That test of hers has the
students worried. Still they should do all right. “She would agree. By the way,
she says to keep up the good work.”
Jasmine arched her eyebrow and smiled. “Thank her for the encouragement if you
would. I appreciate it.”
Gabrielle was about to say something when she saw the mists congeal beside them.
Deirdre stepped into view and took a deep breath. “Hi, Gabrielle. Sorry about
dropping by uninvited.”
“You don’t need an invitation, Jasmine. You know that,” Gabrielle assured her.
Noting the troubled expression on the younger woman’s face, she continued, “What
“Can we speak with Nai-Jin? She might know something,” the priestess requested.
“Certainly. Jasmine, can you excuse us?” Gabrielle agreed.
“Of course. If I can be of service, you’ll let me know?” Jasmine replied.
“As always,” Gabrielle agreed, leading the priestess toward the seeress’ hut.
Now what? Professor, I hope this won’t involve us as well. While she and her
classmates liked adventure, they wanted to get through the semester unimpeded.
Why does it feel like that’s not going to happen?
[Nai-Jin’s Hut—ten minutes later]
The three women sat on the dirt floor of the seeress’ hut, discussing the
incident in the dark place and drinking tea to calm themselves.
Deirdre outlined the whole story to them, trying not to distort anything. “I
can’t believe Aunt Cybelle won’t tell me anything. She told me to simply mind my
Gabrielle frowned. “There’s more to this than meets the eye. I want to bring
Xena into it.”
Nai-Jin concurred, “This issue will involve all of us sooner rather than later,
my Queen. I have seen visions of a dark place. There is one who can appear and
disappear much as our guest.”
Appear and disappear? Gabrielle looked at Deirdre curiously. “Is she right?”
“Definitely. I couldn’t see his face but he can manipulate the mists as the
sisters can. There are priests among us who can do that. However, as my aunt
pointed out, none are to ask about him either,” the priestess informed them.
“Please, Gabrielle, don’t mention that I was there!”
The Bard stared anxiously at their guest. “Why, Deirdre? What could it be?”
“The buried woman and the child are forsaken, are they not?” Nai-Jin inquired.
“Yes—that’s right! How do you know about that?” Deirdre demanded fearfully.
The oracle cracked a warm smile. “Calm yourself, Child. I see what the goddess
permits me to see. This is not the first time I have heard of such encounters.
Rather, the process has continued for fifteen years. During that time, I have
seen a mysterious man appear, mourn deeply, leave an offering and depart. The
girl has lived a lonely existence, knowing nobody but the stranger, your Aunt
and the Faerie Empress. There is
something else that your aunt knows about as well.”
“Great. She’s going to lecture me for sure about this,” Deirdre fretted.
“We won’t mention you. I’ll just say that Nai-Jin saw it in a vision and we want
to know what it means,” Gabrielle assured her.
“Okay, Gabrielle, thanks,” Deirdre agreed, standing up. “I do need to be getting
back.” With that, she vanished in a puff of mist.
“We need Xena, Eve and Jasmine. I want them with me to speak with Cybelle,”
“As you wish, my Queen,” Nai-Jin agreed. “I shall prepare for our journey there.
Meet me back here in an hour’s time.”
“That would be great. Thank you,” Gabrielle accepted, standing up and leaving
After receiving another flash of insight, the oracle shuddered. We should be
careful of what we seek. Another dark secret lies just in front of us. Will we
like what we find?
[Cathedral of Crystal—Faerie Lands]
The Faerie Empress frowned at the events she saw in her view portal. How could
this happen? That was a hidden place! She cursed in an ancient dialect.
“I told you it wouldn’t last,” Grimwilkin indicated, hobbling over to her side.
“And he did not say a word.”
“I know that! But Cybelle was careless! She led Deirdre right to the site! The
Law is clear! The situation must stay in place!” she asserted.
“The Law or your pride?” he inquired pointedly. Like her, he also recalled the
circumstances by which this “arrangement” had been set up. At the time, he had
objected to the sentence and his view had not changed over the intervening
period. “The priestess did her duty. She kept him whole.”
“Have a care! She was doing my bidding!” she snapped.
“Have you considered that perhaps the goddess may have intended something more
for her? Neither of us can know her will, Milady,” he reminded her, trying to
maintain some restraint.
“I would know!” she retorted, storming from the chamber and disappearing in a
flash of light.
As you yourself said, Milady, have a care. This situation runs its course and
nothing stays hidden forever—much less the girl and the stranger.
[Althanor—High Priestess’ hut]
Cybelle glared at the visitors, not believing what they were asking. “I can’t
tell you anything about that. How did you find out?”
“Nai-Jin told us,” Xena replied evenly, knowing that their hostess was lying.
There’s something screwy going on here. She looked at her soulmate who shot an
affirmative glance back at her.
That cursed oracle of theirs! “The Empress has said that the matter must remain
closed!” Cybelle asserted.
“With all due respect, you would leave a girl all alone? Why?” Jasmine asked.
“You wouldn’t understand,” Cybelle retorted.
Gabrielle declared, “Maybe you can’t say anything, Cybelle, but I would remind
you to be civil with my Amazon sisters and me. We haven’t insulted you. Please
don’t do so to us.”
“Maybe the Empress won’t let her,” Xena suggested, crossing her arms and looking
pointedly at Cybelle. “It ain’t exactly the first time she’s kept something from
“Some things you don’t need to know,” the Empress insisted, appearing in front
of them. “Don’t pry into what doesn’t concern you.”
Jasmine stared at the Elf Queen. “Who?”
“This is the Faerie Empress,” Eve noted, doing a slight bow.
Jasmine shook her head, remembering what her friends had said about this
being. This is the woman who put on their wedding in that grand place!
“What is it now?” Xena insisted.
“Xena, be careful,” the Bard advised.
“No, Gabrielle, for once—I need to know because I know it’s going to come back
on us later,” the Warrior Princess continued. “Who is this girl? Why can’t you
“The girl is an abomination much like Hope. Her birth was unsanctioned,” the
“The mother is dead and gone. Her father will be with her but will never know
who she is. Nor can she know either of them.”
“In Eli’s name, how can you be so cruel?” Eve protested. “Hope seeks to reform
Seeing Cybelle roll her eyes, Gabrielle defended her daughter. “Eve’s right. She
did help us before against Ares and Callisto. She wants to change. Can this one
be any different?”
Xena glared at the others. While she knew it was true, she wasn’t going to
forgive Hope yet.
“You go there and you’ll face the goddess’ wrath,” Cybelle added.
“Hers or yours, Aunt?” Deirdre asked. “With all due respect, I agree with them.
What has that girl done to deserve this?”
“Silence, Deirdre!” Cybelle commanded.
“Answer the question, Cybelle,” Gabrielle requested.
“If the question is to be answered, I’ll let her do it,” Cybelle countered,
eyeing the Empress.
“As I said before, the girl is an abomination,” the Elf Queen declared. “Stay
away from there.” With that, she vanished.
Sensing that nothing else could be done there, Gabrielle stood. “Thank you,
Cybelle. We need to be getting back.”
“Always glad to be of service,” the high priestess quipped sarcastically.
Xena glared back at her before storming from the hut.
Eve led Jasmine out without further comment.
“Was there something else?” Cybelle wondered.
For a long minute, the Bard studied both priestesses. Then she shook her head.
“No. Thank you.” With that, she left.
Sensing another statement from her niece, Cybelle told her, “We cannot
intervene, Deirdre. This is the Faerie Empress’ will.”
“What of the goddess’ will, Auntie? What would she want?” Deirdre queried.
“We must trust the Empress to deliver those words to us,” the high priestess
declared. “Now I would like to be alone.”
The younger priestess shrugged and vanished in a poof of mist.
I wish they would all understand. Those two broke The Law and must be punished.
Despite the harsh words, Cybelle bowed her shoulders. Despite my loyalties, my
feelings remain divided. Why? WHY? She went into a meditative trance, hoping for
Chapter 4 [Amazon Village—hours later]
Xena sat on a stump at the village’s edge, sharpening her sword. Since she and
the others had returned from Althanor, the warrior had kept to herself, trying
to calm down. What in Tartarus is wrong with them? What did that girl do and why
won’t they talk to us about it?
“Mother?” Eve asked.
She looked up to see her daughter standing there. “Hey, Eve. Take a seat.”
Noting the frustrated look on the other’s face, she presumed, “It stinks,
“I’ve been praying to Eli for patience. How can they do that to those people? I
wish there was something we could do!” the Amazon princess declared.
Xena hugged her daughter’s shoulders supportively. “Yeah, I know. Somethin’
At that moment, a bright light appeared in front of them. It reformed itself
into a familiar man with long black hair and a beard. There is indeed, Xena.
“Who?” Eve wondered.
Xena smirked. “Eve, this is Eli.”
Eve stared at the spirit in front of them before she grasped his identity. Doing
so, she bowed to him. “I can’t believe it! You honor us with your presence.”
And you honor me with your devotion to the One God and the Light, Eve. Please
rise. You shouldn’t bow to me, he pointed out.
The former Messenger rose and took a deep breath. “Thank you, Eli.”
You’re very welcome, Eve. You asked to intervene in a situation, didn’t you? He
looked at them expectantly.
“I asked for your merciful assistance. Can we help them?” Eve clarified.
Yes. The One would appreciate it if you would do so. Can you get Gabrielle and
the one you call Jasmine, Eve? Bring them here.
“At once,” Eve agreed, rushing off as fast as she could.
[Five minutes later]
Eve rushed back with Gabrielle and Jasmine following closely behind. “Here they
Jasmine stopped at the sight of the male spirit. “Now who?”
Her Religion professor informed her. “Remember last week’s lecture?”
“Indeed. And…Eli?” the Arabian princess inquired not believing how this day was
Indeed, Jasmine-A ‘isha. You and the others have a mission.
“What?” Jasmine asked. “Eve, what is he getting at?”
“We’re going to that dark place to get that little girl,” Eve replied.
“Damn straight,” Xena added.
“What about the Empress’ warning?” Gabrielle wondered.
You have a higher purpose, Gabrielle. The scene has gone on long enough. Prepare
Feeling the comfortable weight of her scimitar on her back, Jasmine mused,
They’ll never believe this back at the university! This is actually Eli! THE
“Ready, Jasmine?” Gabrielle asked.
Jasmine nodded, fighting her anxiousness.
Then go forth and resolve the issue. Good luck, my friends. When it is finished,
I will return you here. Eli raised his hands and focused.
The Amazons vanished in a burst of light.
After that was done, he saw the Empress appear to his right. You have punished
those three long enough.
It’s the right thing to do, the Elf-Queen insisted.
The One disagrees. With all due respect, even you do not have the right to
interfere with destiny. He disappeared as well.
The Empress glared at the spot, shaking her head. We’ll see about that!
Chapter 5 [Dark Island]
As they arrived in the central clearing, the Amazon quartet surveyed their
surroundings and tried to ignore the elements surrounding them.
Almost in response to them, the wind picked up in intensity, howling about them
and whipping the intermittent rain furiously.
“You think the Empress is behind this, Xena?” Gabrielle asked.
Xena shrugged. “Could be. This would be her way to drive us back. There’s more
going on here though.” Spotting the burial mound, she motioned to the others.
“Hey. Is that what I think it is?”
“It looks like a grave of some sort,” Eve surmised, inspecting the site. “But
there’s no marker.”
Gabrielle frowned. “Then this is it.”
“What’s it?” Jasmine wondered.
Xena nodded grimly, following her best friend’s meaning. “This is where that
‘Forsaken person’ is buried. There’s no marker of any kind here.”
“Then what are the flowers doing there?” the youngest Amazon queried, inspecting
them further. “These come from Outer Earth and they’re fresh!”
“Yup,” the Warrior Princess agreed, looking at the arrangement. For some reason,
these flowers had a familiar feel to her but she didn’t know why. Somethin’
ain’t right here. A vibration came to her through the air. On instinct, she drew
her sword. “You feel that?”
“We’re being watched,” her daughter agreed.
Gabrielle held her scythes at the ready even as she called out, “Come out! We
mean you no harm!”
Silence was the only response.
“Please! We want to help!” Eve added. “We mean you no harm!”
From the trees’ cover on their left side, the red haired girl cautiously made
her way into the clearing. “How’d you get here? Nobody except the hooded man and
the green lady knows!”
“Hooded man and green lady?” Jasmine asked.
“The second one is Cybelle, I’ll bet,” Xena supposed, sheathing her sword again.
Seeing the girl eyeing them skittishly, she indicated, “We were sent to help
you. I’m Xena. These are Eve, Gabrielle and Jasmine. And you are?”
“What is ‘you are’?” the girl asked them.
“Don’t you have a name? Something that people call you?” Eve asked gently.
“People just call me like you did. Don’t know what 'name' is. You need to go
before glowing lady and the hooded man get angry,” the girl told them.
Gabrielle put her scythes back in their boot sheathes and stepped toward the
native. “It’s okay.” She held her hands up, signaling that she meant no harm.
“By ‘glowing lady’, you mean someone about Xena’s height with pointy ears, long
hair and glowing light around her. Right?” Getting a tentative nod, she
continued, “She’s a friend of ours. She knows we won’t hurt you.”
“But nobody’s sup’sed to know ‘bout me, the dead lady, or here!”
“Dead lady?” Jasmine inquired. “You know who this is?”
The girl stared at the Middle Eastern princess. “Nope. I know that the hooded
man misses her. He put pretty things there and gives me food and warm stuff.
Please go or he might get real mad.”
“Really mad? Has he hurt you?” Gabrielle inquired.
The girl shook her head and snapped, “NO! But he gets real scary. His face goes
all twisty and he screams. He cares ‘bout me!” She looked around frantically.
Xena focused on the area around them. As she did so, the fog thickened, limiting
the view to just a couple of feet around them. “Move it!”
In their center, an energy burst scored the grass.
“By the Prophet! That was close!” Jasmine noted.
Xena drew her sword and glowered. “Yeah. Too close! Ready?”
“Stop it!” the girl pleaded.
“He started it!” Xena growled, evading another blast from the fog. “This is
gettin’ real old!” She flung her chakram into the pea soup thickness. “That’ll
get his attention.”
The weapon impacted off of several objects on its flight before returning to her
hand. From the blood on it, Xena knew it had found its mark.
A snarling noise came from the fog.
“I thought it was a man,” Jasmine indicated.
“You’re gettin’ him mad!” the girl warned. “You hurt him! Now he hurt you!”
“What are we dealing with? He can’t be Pomira,” Gabrielle queried, readying her
Xena put her hand up, signaling for silence. “Step away from the grave.” Then
she challenged, “Step out where I can see ya!”
The growling continued but whoever it was kept his distance.
Xena grimly noted to herself. This is almost like dealing with…Nah! It can’t be!
[Within her head, Angie declared, “Xena, take it easy!”]
Angela? What is it?
From the fog, a burst of dark energy scored the ground, leaving a dank smell and
“Did you see that?” Gabrielle asked, her eyes going wide.
In response, a familiar scream pierced the stillness.
“Now he’s all ugly! Stupid people did it!” the girl yelled at them indignantly.
All ugly? Eve gasped. “Mother, Gabrielle! It’s him!”
“It sounds like the Jinn but it can’t be!” Jasmine protested.
Xena shrugged. “Hey! It’s Xena, Gabrielle, Eve and Jasmine! Get out here!”
From the fog, the hooded man came into view. As he did so, a glowing burgundy
stain soiled the fabric above his right arm. “Wha’ is it? How’d ya’ll git here?”
“By the Prophet! It is him!” Jasmine gaped.
Eve shook her head at the younger Amazon. “We had help. Can you let David out so
we can talk?”
“Nah. Glowy woman will hurt Big Bro ‘gain if ya’ll don’t git! Make ‘im forgit
‘bout ‘er!” he retorted savagely, lowering the hood and revealing himself as the
“Who is she? You know you can trust us!” Gabrielle pointed out.
“One like Cybbie. Cares ‘bout us. Witchie-Poo killed ‘er!” he snapped,
trembling. “She tol’ us ‘bout Little Woman ‘fore she died. Wants us to be hap—py!
Git ‘fore Cybbie an’ Glowin’ Lady make us forgit!”
The Amazons studied their friend’s face. Often they had seen him motivated in
fits of rage and overprotectiveness. But this was new—he was admitting that he
wasn’t in control there. There was fear in his eyes.
“She ain’t gonna do that,” Xena promised, looking to assure him. “Who’s your
“Don’ know. She’s been here all ‘long. She gotta stay put but Big Bro an’ Ah
give ‘er stuff,” he informed them. Turning to the girl, he said, “They’re cool.
The girl nodded. “Yeah. You know them?”
“Yeah. An Ah…” He fired a psychic pulse into the fog. “Show yer stinkin’ ass,
Cybelle stepped into view. “The agreement’s been broken.”
“Ya’ll did it! Na’ us!” He fumed, staring his little sister in the face. “Ya
made Big Bro hurt! Ya led Squirt here!”
“Squirt?” Cybelle asked hesitantly.
“He means me, Auntie,” Deirdre indicated, appearing beside them.
The High Priestess’ eyes went wide at the sight of her niece. “How did you find
“I saw it in my visions. As for how I got here, I followed you. And…” Deirdre
explained before stopping at the sight of the red haired girl’s hand. “She has
“One what?” Jasmine queried.
“Witchie-Poo’s mark,” the Child growled. “She cursed like we are! Ya happy now,
Cybelle’s eyes narrowed. “You think I wanted this for Dave? Look, you big freak,
IT WASN’T MY CHOICE! IF YOU WEREN’T SO STUPID, YOU’D GET IT!”
He screamed in protest; his eye turning blood red. “Ah oughtta whup yer ass fer
“That wasn’t necessary,” Gabrielle indicated, bracing for trouble.
“Auntie, stop it!” Deirdre agreed, stepping in between the two siblings. “Why
can’t we deal with this in a sane manner?”
“The Law is the Law. It is irrefutable,” Cybelle decreed.
“Screw yer law!” the Child roared. “Dee-Dee cares!”
“I do,” Deirdre agreed.
“Ah didn’t mean ya’ll,” he disagreed.
“You said ‘Dee-Dee’,” Eve pointed out. “If not her then….”
Xena motioned toward the grave. “He means her.”
“What did she do to deserve this?” Eve inquired.
“She loved us. Tell ‘em, Cybbie, ‘bout yer stinkin’ law! Tell ‘em how ya’ll
kicked ‘er out of misty place an’ stuck her here! She don’t deserve this crap!”
the Child dared.
“She was told what would happen and she accepted the penalty,” the High
Priestess declared. “You were her rite of passage. Not only did she fail, she
defied the Prohibition. She had no right to do what she did with you!”
The Dark One sniggered. “Lissen ta ya, Miss Priss! All Ah know is the glowy
lady’s playin’ ‘er games like she always does an’ ya’re her nummer one kiss
“She’s here because she loved someone?” Jasmine wondered.
Gabrielle shook her head at the younger Amazon, advising her to remain silent.
Eve, however, spoke up. “Love is not to be punished! How can it be? When was
“Durin’ our last schoolin’—af’er Lana’s parents were in ground. ‘Fore we met
Little Woman,” he told them.
“What do you know about duty? Such was hers!” Cybelle railed.
The former Messenger turned red in the face but kept her composure. “I can’t
believe you would ask that, Cybelle. My whole life has been about one duty or
another whether to family, Rome, Eli or my tribe. Yet, as Eli teaches, love is
to be treasured and cherished. This ‘Deirdre,’ whoever she was, made an impact
on him.” She mused for a few seconds before continuing, “That’s why Eli sent us.
The One wishes this to end.”
That is true. Eli’s spirit materialized in front of them. This is not the One’s
will. While she was to be banished, only the hidden realm is forbidden to her,
not the world at large.
“But the Faerie Empress said that was the case!” Cybelle challenged. “Who are
you that you would refute that?”
Eve retorted firmly. “You asked of duty a minute ago, Cybelle. Now I will
demonstrate it to you. This spirit is Eli, the prophet of my religion. In the
absence of Brother Paulus, you compel me to reassume my former mantle as
Messenger and speak for him. May he forgive me for this act. As you say we do
not understand your ways, you’re disrespecting ours as well.”
“And he’s our friend,” Xena added, stepping to her daughter’s side in a show of
Gabrielle pointed out, “Laws are meant to be bent and there is room for
“Within the Hidden Realm, the Faerie Empress’ word is supreme!” Cybelle
“Indeed it is!” the Empress concurred, appearing on the scene. Pointing at the
Child, she declared, “You know the penalty for this!”
His hands glowed. “Try it, Sweets! Ah’ve had ‘nough of yer games!”
Gabrielle stepped into between them. “That’s it!”
“This is not your concern, Queen Gabrielle. Nor will you dictate terms to me,”
the Elf-Queen refuted.
“I only seek to propose respectfully not to dictate. I have a compromise if you
want to hear it!” the Amazon Queen replied.
“Why not?” The Empress shrugged. “Humor me, Gabrielle.”
Fighting back her own indignation, Gabrielle proposed, “According to Cybelle,
the Law says that this woman had to be turned out of Althanor because of her
indiscretion. But as Eli has pointed out, only Althanor is forbidden to her, not
the Outer World or anywhere else for that matter. Therefore, I propose
translating her remains to another place where she would only be own as “a
friend” not as “priestess” or such. She would be buried with non-Althanorian
rites. I would not overturn the ruling of your priestesshood. Rather, I am
trying to grant her and this young woman here a measure of peace. Even if her
memory’s been struck from your ranks, she’s still a friend. As such, she can
buried in any other place with appropriate permission from the ruler.”
“Angela would agree,” Xena stated, speaking for her “roommate.” “In fact, she
suggests Ruthwen for the site.”
“Yeah in the pretty place,” the Child chimed in. “How ‘bout it?”
Cybelle turned to the Empress. “Milady, I defer to you.”
Before the Empress could say anything, Grimwilkin appeared, urging, “They give
you a way to save face, Milady. Might I suggest you take it?”
Seeing the eyes all looking at her and knowing that they were closer to the Law
than she was, the Empress conceded, “Very well. Take her to Ruthwen. But on her
monument, there is to be no mention of her former role as priestess.”
“Yeah. We got it,” Xena agreed. Turning to the Child, she asked, “That good with
you and David?”
“Yeah. We can do that. Cybbie needs to undo crap first,” the Child indicated.
Cybelle raised her hands and muttered a chant, undoing the containment field
over the grave. “There!” She glared at them before disappearing into the mists.
The Empress and Grimwilkin silently disappeared as well.
“I can speed things up if that’s okay,” Jasmine offered. “Maybe making these
stones something lighter?”
“Tha’s cool!” the Child concurred. After the youngest Amazon had used her mutant
ability to turn the stones into foam, he easily scattered them with a quick
telekinetic burst, revealing a slight indentation in the ground. With another
bit of concentration, he made the wrapped corpse float out of the hole and set
it gently on the ground. “Dee-Dee, ya better take off. Thanks though.”
His daughter smiled silently and walked through a mist portal, disappearing from
He focused, allowing the change to take place and Dave to reassert control.
“Professor?” Jasmine asked hesitantly.
“It’s me, Jasmine,” the medievalist concurred. “I don’t know about all of you
but I’m ready to get out of here.” Turning to the girl, he proposed, “How about
coming to Ruthwen with us since she won’t be here? There’s no reason to be
“You mean that?” The girl considered this for a moment, knowing that anything
was better than that place. “All right. I’ll try it.”
“Good,” he indicated happily while opening another portal. “Bus is leaving.” He
made the wrapped bundle float through it. “This way.”
The girl tentatively followed the body, trusting for some reason in the fact
that she would be all right.
After the Amazons had also stepped through, Dave looked around. “I won’t miss
this place.” He looked at Eli who watched him as well. “Thank you.”
You’re welcome. With that, the deceased prophet’s spirit vanished as well.
Dave took a deep breath and disappeared through the doorway, letting it vanish
behind him and leaving no trace behind.
Even as the last mists dissipated, a female spirit materialized and smiled
warmly. Thank you, Dave. Look after her well. With that, she disappeared as
Conclusion [A week later—Amazon Village]
As expected, Dave had Deirdre interred with minimal fanfare in her favorite spot
in the palace gardens—the grassy park area overlooking the west wall where they
had enjoyed the sunsets in life and she could do so once more. Jasmine and the
mysterious girl—who they had nicknamed “Red”—hit it off immediately and spent a
great deal of time together. Within the next few days, they would take the
newcomer to the future and meet still more friends. Overall, it would have
seemed that the experience was behind them.
Gabrielle stood in the doorway of the Queen’s hut one night, staring into the
starry sky. With all of the resulting tension from the standoff, she worried
that relations between the Amazons and priestesses would be damaged. I hope Cybelle understands why we did and why.
“I wouldn’t worry, Gabrielle,” Xena assured her from her hammock. “You smoothed
things over just right.”
“You think so?” Gabrielle wondered.
“I would say so. That was quick thinking to use what you knew of their Law to
improvise that compromise. Now everyone has something they wanted,” the warrior
“And if they don’t?”
Xena shrugged. “Tough. It’s done. I think the Empress is the only one who could
have anything to complain about and you allowed her to back out gracefully.
There shouldn’t be a problem. Besides Eve finally met Eli face to face so to
speak. I’d say it’s a good week overall.” She turned over and closed her eyes.
Gabrielle nodded and went to work on her scrolls. While not being tired, she had
a feeling that this story was just beginn ing.br
She had no idea how right she was. No idea at all….
THE END (for now)
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