Lamenting Hearts

by Doc

Copyright © 2-25-2001

Disclaimers: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle are the property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. This is written purely for pleasure and enjoyment of sharing in these characters. No copyright infringement is intended.

TIMELINE: This story takes place at nightfall on the same day as the events in To Helicon And Back.

SPOILERS: If you don't want even the slightest hint to events in the episode, To Helicon and Back, please take this as a warning and do not read further. Or if you're like me and spoilers simply pique your interest more, by all means, read on.

VIOLENCE: References are through memory of the events of the day only.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I was greatly moved by the events and emotions in the episode, To Helicon and Back, and this is the result of my thoughts.

Comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

The Heart of an Amazon

The perimeter is secure. We've divided the watch between the twelve of us that remain. Sitting on my bedroll, alone in my thoughts, I look back on this day with deep regret. My sisters show no sign of resentment toward me for my actions this evening, misguided though they were. I recall writings from Ephiny and Cyane, queens of great respect, telling of the strength and courage of a queen who chose to fight with words instead of weapons, with love instead of hate. Arrogance and pride allowed me to think these traits a weakness. Who better to be a queen than a warrior with zeal and skill in battle? I was wrong. It was a lesson I should have learned from my previous encounter with Queen Gabrielle. She looked to the good of the Nation while I looked to the lives. And it was that focus and my hand that almost cost us our noblest queen. By all rights my body and spirit should have been among those of our sisters that we set free in the funeral pyres this night, but to my surprise Gabrielle's mercy prevailed.

I listened to her passionate plea that the blood, shed by our sisters, not be in vain. Even now, somehow her words move me. I watched in silence as she pushed back unshed tears for the pain of the decisions she was forced to make. Decisions that I know go against her very soul. I saw the conviction of her words as she fought valiantly against the enemy and when she held that fatal blow as her name rang out from that one clear voice. And in those moments I saw that her strength was far greater than mine. She fought for the strength of the Nation.

The Heart of a Warrior

She lies here on the bedroll next to mine with her back to me. It is a sign that she wants privacy in her thoughts and I respect it. What I told her is true. War is tough on the soulÉand none more so than hers. There is a constant battle within her to follow the path of friendship or the path of love. I would gladly have taken the lead to save her from the pain of this guilt, a guilt I know so well, but we both knew the role she was to fulfill. But knowing does not completely prepare one for the loss.

Now I understand that look of regret and loss that I so often saw reflected in her eyes, for I felt it in my heart as I looked upon her this day. Never before have I felt such fear that she will slip over the edge and I will lose her to the rage that keeps tempting her. She spoke of this herself. I watched in terror as she pursued a man and raised her hand to strike the fatal blow. I heard my voice calling her name, hoping that it would break through her battle lust one last time.

I hear her soft cries and I offer my help but she remains inconsolable just as in the forest. I lift a silent prayer as my own tears slowly track down my cheeks, for she is my 'Greater Good'.

The Heart of a Queen

I led more than three quarters of our warriors to their death this day. I feel no honor in that. There are twelve Amazons left in the tribe, not counting Xena and myself. I made decisions that I never would have thought myself capable of. Decisions, though right for the Nation, weigh heavy on my heart. It is not in me to ask for other's lives in sacrifice but that is exactly what I did today. My heartsickness grows more with each passing decision. There were so many times when I found myself walking that fine line between honor and rage.

I know that I have appalled Xena with my actions today but I hope she will forgive me. She is right, I was not the Gabrielle she knows and I'm not certain where that Gabrielle is anymore. With each battle I feel I lose more of myself. It hurts beyond belief to see that loss mirrored in her eyes.

Xena's protective mode is in full force now. She has heard my soft cries and offers her help. I remain as before. Then my mind takes me back to that single moment when I hear her voice calling my name. I'm reminded that it is she who rescues my soul, time and time again, from being sucked into the dark hole of despair and I slowly roll over to face her. Her eyes keep a constant vigil on me. I reach across and her hand meets mine halfway. I see the tears in her eyes and what remain of my defenses vanish.

"XenaÉcan weÉtalk?" I feel her hand squeeze mine.

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