PART 1. Passage.
“Where you go, I'm at your side.”
“I knew you'd say that.” Gabrielle smiled at the ghost of her soul mate.
Gabrielle went below deck into her cabin, the cabin that was meant for her and her blue eyed lover. The cabin was fairly well lit considering there were no windows. Candles of all colors adorned nearly every square inch of the room. There was a bed with a down mattress covered with an elegant red Egyptian silk quilt. Gabrielle walked over to the ornate bed and slumped down with Xena's urn in her hands. The black jar felt as cold as her now broken heart.
*Xena must have had this all planned out.* Gabrielle thought while looking around at the beautiful room. She never pictured a ship could be anything but horrible. She clasped onto the jar and brought it to her lips and gently kissed the lid.
“Why did you leave me, Xena? You can't be gone! What will I do without you?” Gabrielle sobbed. Her once bright emerald eyes now shone almost gray. Tears rolled down her cheeks. Gabrielle let them fall, not fearing the pain and heartbreak that she felt in her soul.
The first week onboard the ship went by slowly. The green eyed woman kept to herself in her cabin. She saw no one those first seven days. She ate when food was brought to her cabin door, but only managed to swallow a couple bites at each meal. The captain, Azim Ashadd, was beginning to worry. He didn't know Gabrielle personally but had met Xena in her earlier conqueror years. They had often shared a few mugs of port between pillaging villages in the Middle East.
Captain Azim walked across the slick deck of the ship and down the stairs to Gabrielle's cabin. He rapped gently on the door,
“Please go away..” Gabrielle groaned.
“Gabrielle, My Queen, It's been seven days…” Azim stated anxiously, “Please come out of there and get some fresh air.” Captain Azim beckoned, almost pleading.
Gabrielle sighed. She slowly got up and walked to the door and gently pushed it open.
“Hello, Gabrielle!” the captain gleamed.
“Hi….did you need something?” Gabrielle asked half-heartedly, hoping he'd say no.
“No, of course not. I, well, myself and the crew are worried about you. You've been cooped up all alone for a week straight. I know you are grieving and you need your time, but you can't let it kill you. No one is worth that kind of pain.” The words slipped out of the captains' mouth before he could think twice, or even once for that matter.
The green eyed blonde glared at the captain, who did not seem to notice the emerald eyes piercing through his heart.
*How dare that little shit tell me how I should feel. How dare he! This kid has no idea what it's like to have a soulmate, much less have her be gone…forever!* Gabrielle fumed with anger and she tried to calm herself down.
A few moments later, while the captain rambled on, Gabrielle relaxed a bit and asked, “And what it is I should do?”
“Well,” Azim started, “There are some other women on the crew, maybe you could find someone to chat with…or..” he trailed off.
“I'm not really up to talking right now. I'd really rather be alone if that's ok with you.”
Gabrielle immediately turned around and slammed the door. Captain Azim walked heavily back up to the deck, accepting his defeat.
Gabrielle burst into tears and slumped to the hard, cold wooden planks of her cabin floor. Her back leaning against the hard door. Emerald eyes unleashed diamond-like tears down pale cheeks.
“Twenty-three days left of this journey…I'm miserable, how can anything ever be ok again?” Gabrielle softly questioned the darkness.
Two more weeks had passed aboard the ship that has been heading toward Egypt. Gabrielle awoke and glanced into the mirror beside her bed. Tears had left salt water stains down both of her pale cheeks. Her eyes were dark and sunken in, from both exhaustion and depression. She had lost a few pounds, enough to make her collar bone appear quite prominent. Sorrow had taken its toll on the young bard. She was alone and scared. Gabrielle had not seen or heard from Xena since the departure from Jappa.
“Land HO!” Captain Azim shouted.
PART 2. Arrival.
Gabrielle sighed, “Well, it's now or never, I guess.”
She packed up what little belongings she owned into her tattered leather saddle bag and hooked Xena's chakram to the latch on her belt. Gabrielle took a deep breath and walked up the stairs onto the deck of the ship, just as it was pulling into the harbor. The only thing that put a smile on the petite blonde's face was the sight of dry land. Gabrielle raced up the stairs and across the ship deck as fast as her ill body would carry her and bumped people out of the way to reach the sandy shore.
The bard fell to her knees into the warm sand and turned her face upwards to let the rays of golden sun dance across her ivory face. She didn't even notice the ebony haired woman approach her.
“Gabrielle?” the woman asked.
Gabrielle seemed lost in thought, in a far away place…finally she seemed to wake from her trance, “Oh!” Gabrielle exclaimed surprised, “Hi..Yes…I'm Gabrielle.”
The dark haired woman smiled warmly, “Hello, Gabrielle. Welcome to Egypt, the Land of the Pharoahs. My name is Sabella, confidant and lover of the Queen.”
Gabrielle smiled warmly at Sabella, “So, you've been expecting me?” Gabrielle contemplated, “Well, I guess news travels fast.”
“Yes, Gabrielle. All of Egypt has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Xena's predecessor. Now, please come with me, you will be our guest at the palace. Oh, and Gabrielle? Please accept my deepest sympathies. Our hearts, as well as the hearts of the world have been heavy since hearing of Xena's death.”
Gabrielle cringed. This was the first time anyone had actually spoke of Xena's departure out loud.
“She was an amazing warrior. Her stories have been told around the world for decades.” Sabella continued.
“Th..Thank you, Sabella.” Gabrielle bowed her head in respect.
The two women walked silently up the sand path up to the brilliant white palace. Sphinx heads made of gold surrounded the outside of the building and brilliant blue and gold painted in delicate designs around the doorways. Gabrielle and Sabella entered the great hall. Slaves immediately arrived at Sabella's feet.
“Addamma, please take Gabrielle's things to her room.” Sabella gently told her servant. Addamma nodded her head.
Gabrielle stood in shock at the elegance of the palace, “Wow, it's beautiful!”
“It is. Isn't it?” Sabella beamed, “Just wait until you see your room. But for now, the Queen is expecting you.” The chocolate brown eyes danced at the thought of her Queen. A look that Gabrielle knew all too well. It was a look that she had often when she thought of her Warrior Princess.
“Tell me, Sabella…why is Egypt in so much need of my help? Why not someone else?” Gabrielle asked as casually as possible.
“Well, my dear Gabrielle, Xena promised many moons ago to help us defeat the armies of Rome.” Spoke Sabella gently.
“But, Xena isn't here. It's just me..”
“Because Gabrielle, you are Xena's chosen and the ONLY person that can help us defend our state.” Replied the bronzed skin woman, putting her hand to rest gently on Gabrielle's shoulder.
Gabrielle continued thinking about how she was expected to lead an army and win…without Xena.
Xena's chosen, huh? Gabrielle thought to herself. If I were her chosen, how could she just leave me like she did?
“If there is a reason for our travels together it's because I had to learn from you, enough to know the final, the good, the right thing to do.”
Xena's words echoed in her head as she and Sabella reached the large solid gold doors that led to the Queens throne room.
You better be right, Xena. Gabrielle thought to herself.
Sabella knocked on the door and gently ushered Gabrielle into the room, it was a wonderful sight. Paintings covered the walls. Large, soft pillows adorned the ivory marble floors and rose petals were scattered carefully around. The Queen looked up from her bath,
“Hello Sabella, my love.”
Sabella scooted over to the Queen and sat on the edge of her luxurious perfumed bath. She gave her Queen a deep and sensual kiss, not caring that Gabrielle and numerous servants were present, Gabrielle's faced flushed red with embarrassment. The two women gently broke their kiss.
“Don't be shy, Gabrielle. Please, come closer.” The Queen smiled brightly. She rose slowly out of the bath, her naked body wet and smelling of rose perfume. Sabella covered her naked Queens' body with a silk sheet.
“Um..hi.” Gabrielle stammered and stared at the Queens beauty. “It's lovely to meet you.”
“It's lovely to meet you too, my dear. Welcome to Egypt.” Her highness offered her hand for Gabrielle to kiss. Gabrielle took the hand that was offered and gently place and small kiss on the top of her bronze hand. The Queens scent was intoxicating.
It's no wonder the world falls at her feet. Gabrielle smirked.
“Many weeks on board a vessel have finally brought you to us. We are so grateful to have you here, Gabrielle.” The Queen cooed.
“I'm happy to be here.” Not wanting to interrupt, she made her statement short.
“Well, Gabrielle, it's getting late.” The Queen turned to Sabella, “My love, would you please run Gabrielle a hot bath and show her to her room?” Requested the Queen.
“Of course.” Smiled Sabella and bowed her head slightly to her lover.
Gabrielle's room was directly at the end of the short hall, adjacent to the Queens bed chamber. Gabrielle entered her room, the walls adorned with flowers, clothes and satin gowns filled her armoire. What she saw at the end startled her. A battle dress, black leather with green and blue gems. The small blonde touched the garment and stood shocked. She had not smelled leather since Xena had been alive. The battling bard touched each one of the jewels lovingly. She realized immediately that the jewels across the bust and abdomen made an X, the rest were scattered like the stars.
Like her and Xena's love for one another, it was only there for Gabrielle to touch and admire. She gave a slight smile at the thoughts of the Queen. Servant girls bustled in and out of her bed chambers, filling the large bath with fresh hot water. Gabrielle peered out her window just as the sun was starting to set on the Nile. The last of the ships dropped anchor in the harbor for the night. She was engrossed in thought, she didn't even realize that Sabella was calling to her.
“Gabrielle?” asked Sabella for the fifth time, finally tapping the pale blonde on the shoulder. Gabrielle startled, “Oh! Yes…I'm sorry, I was just…um…thinking…”
Seeing the solemn look on Gabrielle's face, Sabella gave her warmest smile, “It's alright, Gabrielle. After what you've been through, I completely understand. Your bath is ready. The oils are beside the tub with the clean linen.”
“Thank you, Sabella.” Gabrielle smiled inwardly. She couldn't wait to take a nice luxurious bath.
“Do you need anything else?”
“No, thank you. You've already done plently.” Gabrielle smiled.
Sabella nodded and left Gabrielle alone with her bath and her thoughts.
I need you, Xena! Where are you? Gabrielle questioned silently and one single tear rolled down her sand stained skin. She quickly undressed and tossed her tattered and dirty clothing aside. The blonde eased her way into the steaming water. Floating candles fluttered around the water beside her, giving off a soft yellow glow. Gabrielle reached for the lilac scented oil and poured some into the bath.
Gabrielle sighed, I could get used to this!
The hot water seemed to wash all the stress away from her mind and body, at least temporarily. Gabrielle allowed herself to soak in the pool after a thorough washing.
“How am I supposed to do this? It's impossible. Yes, the Land of the Pharoahs has the best navy around, but how can I save all these people from Rome?? Rome of ALL places!” Gabrielle exclaimed to herself. She hung her head forward, exhausted. After a long while, the water in the tub had started to cool, so Gabrielle climbed out and wrapped herself in a towel. She sat on the side of her bed and leaned back.
“I love you, Xena.” She whispered into the darkness before Morpheus claimed her.
PART 3. The Plan
Knock knock knock
“Gabrielle, may I come in?” questioned the Queens gentle voice. Gabrielle stirred but did not wake up. Another knock at the door, “Gabrielle? Are you ok?”
Gabrielle jumped up and realized that she didn't even put on a sleeping gown before she fell asleep.
“I..umm..yes! One second!!” She attempted to spit out while digging through the closet for something to put on. The Queen entered the room without another warning and grinned widely. Her eyes roaming up and down Gabrielle's nude body. A slight blush began to creep up Gabrielle's neck and settled in her cheeks.
“I..I'm sorry! I fell asleep and..” the Queen held up her hand to silence Gabrielle.
“Please don't apologize. It's ok. I won't be long. We have an ambassador from Rome arriving in an hour and I need you there. Your wisdom and experience is greatly needed.” The Queen stated, handing Gabrielle a traditional Egyptian gown. Gabrielle gratefully accepted it and quickly slipped it over her head.
“Yes, of course I will be there.” The embarrassment slowly subsiding.
“Perfect! I will see you in an hour!” The Queen turned and walked out. Gabrielle stood dumbfounded for a second.
Now what? Battle plans? Peace?
She dreaded the meeting. The blonde paced around her room for several minutes and came across a gold garter. She slipped it onto her thigh and carefully attached Xena's chakram to it. She stuffed a few pieces of bread into her mouth from the night before and took a long drink of cool water. Gabrielle opened her door and began walking towards the Great Hall. A large feast had been prepared and glasses of wine placed at every seat. She rolled her eyes, remembering the stale bread she had hurriedly ingested. Gabrielle took a seat at the small table and began to sip on her wine, glancing around the room.
Sabella and the Queen appeared and both smiled at Gabrielle, who returned their warm smiles.
“I see you've found the food.” Giggled Sabella.
“Yea I did. I didn't start yet.” Grinned the little blonde.
“Good. We will be joining you.” The Queen simply stated.
The Queen took her place at the head of the table with Sabella to her right and Gabrielle to her left. After devouring the first of any real food she'd eaten in over a month, Gabrielle questioned the ladies, “Where I the roman captain?”
The Queen lightly wiped at the corners of her red painted lips with a cloth and glanced at Sabella.
“You see, Gabrielle…I haven't completely introduced myself.” The Queen smiled and Gabrielle saw what she thought were shooting stars in the Queens once chocolate brown eyes that now turned into a sparkling sapphire blue.
Her eyes…they changed color! They look so much like Xena's!
The Queen continued, “My name is Isis. Goddess of Magic and the Giver of Life. Sabella is my lover and shares some of my powers.”
Gabrielle's jaw hit the floor in shock. She had never thought twice that the Queen had never told her her real name.
“It's alright, my dear. You aren't here for a war. I took care of the Romans a long time ago.” Isis spoke gently, consoling her new mortal friend.
Gabrielle instantly cut her off, “Then why am I here??” Gabrielle choked on her words as tears welled up in her eyes.
“My sweet, Gabrielle. Let me help you understand. I saw Xena's death many moons before Xena even contemplated coming here and before you both went to Mt. Fuji. Being a goddess from an entirely different world, I could give no warning…or stop it..So I did the only thing that I could do. I gave word that the Land of the Pharoah's was in need of a girl with a chakram. Now knowing if both of you would arrive…or only one. My hope was for the first.” Queen Isis bowed her head as a glittered tear fell down her cheek.
Gabrielle sat in her chair listening intently to Isis and willing the cascade of tears to ease. She could not stop the tears anymore than she could stop Xena from staying dead.
“So, Gabrielle, my question is…do you want Xena back?” Isis prodded gently, cupping the shaking blondes face in her hands. Her brilliant blue eyes piercing through misty green.
“Yes, of course I want her back! I NEED her back! I cannot live without her, Isis..” Gabrielle pleaded, “Please, I'll do anything.”
“Excellent! That's just what I wanted to hear!” Isis had never looked so celestial.
PART 4. A Miracle
That night, the women hosted an extravagant party at the palace. People from all over joined in, drinking and dancing, Gabrielle was the talk of the party. Gabrielle was beginning to grow impatient with everything. She had no idea how Isis would even be able to bring Xena back. She wasn't even sure she could.
A party? Now?? What could all of Egypt possibly be celebrating?? Gabrielle slumped back in her plush pillow frustrated. She was on her third glass of wine when the Queen approached.
“Gabrielle, please relax. I know you're anxious, but miracles take time.” The Queen reassured her friend.
“I know…”Gabrielle's head was foggy with wine and frustration, “But just HOW are you going to bring her back?” Gabrielle snapped at the Queen.
“My dear, that I cannot tell you. All will be revealed to you soon enough. For now, enjoy the festivities.” Isis stated as she laid her hand gently on Gabrielle's arm. She walked away and left Gabrielle with her thoughts. Gabrielle suddenly became caught up in the last few precious moments that she shared with Xena. Sabella sat next to Gabrielle and poured her another glass of wine.
“Oh, thank you Sabella.” Gabrielle said flatly.
“You're welcome, friend. I know you don't think that Isis can bring Xena back, but she can. I know she can.” Comforted Sabella.
“I sure hope so.” Gabrielle said in a whisper, “I think I'm going to turn in for the night. All this wine is going straight to my head.”
“Ok, Gabrielle. Dream of Xena.” Smiled Sabella sweetly.
Gabrielle stood up from her cushion and made her way to her sleeping quarters. She took a piece of parchment and her quill from the tattered saddle bags and began to write, for the first time in over a month.
I sing a song of Xena
My lover, my world, my friend
In a land far away
Across oceans gray
The ancient land of Jappa
Where many souls would stray
The selflessness of a woman
The love of a lifetime
It all came to an end
She fought a valiant fight
Freeing ten thousand souls
“but I must stay dead”
Harder words to hear were never spoken
The sunset cascading on the mountains edge
I felt her one last time
Suddenly she disappeared
My heart and soul was gone
Forever from my life
If I could see you one more time
I'd look deep into your eyes
To tell you that I love you, Xena
Until my life is done
Xena's words echoed in her head, “Gabrielle, if I only had thirty second to live…this is how I'd want to spend them, looking into your eyes…”
Finally the wine took over her and she laid back onto the bed, closed her eyes and dreamt of Xena.
Gabrielle awoke early the next morning and walked down to the dining hall, hoping to find Isis or Sabella. She found neither. So she wandered to the Queens large bathing area and there she saw Isis with Xena's ashes, just as she was emptying them into a small pot of water.
“What are you doing with those?” Gabrielle shouted a little louder than she meant to. Sabella ran up to the panicked woman and rushed to explain.
“Gabrielle, wait! It's ok! Come sit with us and we will explain everything.” Sabella gently pulled Gabrielle by the hand toward Isis and the pot. As Gabrielle got closer, she looked down into the pot. Amongst Xena's ashes she saw oils of all types and then she noticed something magical. The oils and ashes swirled together, appearing like the midnight sky. Blues, purples and blacks joined with the ashes and made them look like stars. The concoction reminded Gabrielle of one of her favorite memories with Xena.
<<<They were both laying side by side on their sleeping furs and gazed up at the sky.
“That bunch up there looks like a big dipper.”
“Yea, you know. Like one of those cups that you draw water out of a bucket.”
“It looks—It looks like a bear to me.”
“How do you get a bear?”
“Look it…Look..there's the body; look..see the little ears and –tail.”
-Gabrielle smacked Xena in the nose with her staff.-
“Xena? Oh, no—I'm so sorry! Are you alright?”
“I'm sorry. I…I never thought I'd…I'd really hit you…I..”
“It's alright. Let's just try and go to sleep now, ok?”
-Gabrielle kissed Xena's cheek-
“Did you just let me hit you?”
“No, you nailed me fair and square.”
“You did, didn't you? You…you let me hit you, because you feel sorry for me.”
“Go to sleep.”
“Alright. I know you let me hit you.”>>>>
Gabrielle smiled at the memory. Meanwhile, Isis continued to stir the contents of the pot, still deep in concentration, she looked at Gabrielle.
“Gabrielle, I need a lock of your hair.” She commanded.
“Wh….Why?” Gabrielle stuttered.
“Because you and Xena are soulmates. I need a part of you and a part of her.” Isis simply stated, not giving any further explanation.
“Ok..” Gabrielle said as she unhooked the chakram from her garter and swiftly cut off a lock of her hair. She handed the lock to Isis and put the chakram back into its place on her garter. De ja Vu hit Gabrielle suddenly and she remembered another time when Xena had needed her hair.
<<< “Xena! I have something really important I need to speak to you about. Do these boots work with this skirt? Ow! You cut my hair?”
“My little, golden fleece?”
“Of course, it's perfect. It's _my_ hair.”
“And the color is gonna work just beautifully with this.”
“A bent nail? You cut my hair to put a wig on a bent nail?”
“It is not a bent nail. It's a hook. Look, I disguise it with your hair, attach it to my flying parchment, and we GOT him.”
“A fish that Lyceus and I discovered when we were kids. He's wily, Gabrielle. He's smart, he's cunning, he's a GREAT opponent. Every time that Lyceus or I would catch him, he would find a way to escape. But this time-- no.”
“Well, that's fine-- except for one thing.”
“You're not SACRIFICING my hair for a fish.”>>>
Coming back from her dream world, Gabrielle moved uneasily on her cushion still staring into the pot, waiting for something to happen. For anything to happen….and finally, it did.
“Gabrielle?” Xena's voice quietly echoed in the pot, barely audible.
“Xe…Xena??” Gabrielle sat stunned.
Was that Xena??? It couldn't be..I must be hearing things..I'm going crazy!
“Gabrielle, it's me!” Xena cried.
“Where are you?” Gabrielle asked through the lump in her throat. The starry mixture within the pot began to bubble.
“I…I don't know.” Xena sighed.
Just then the Queen interrupted, “Xena, my name is Isis. I am the Egyptian Goddess of Magic and Life. You are currently in limbo. Now, I need you to listen very carefully, this is important. I need you to look back onto your life with Gabrielle. Remember as much as you can, every loving moment and every adventure.”
Xena closed her eyes and remembered the first time she had met the feisty little blonde that would become her friend, soul mate and lover. She remembered the teasing, the silly games and most of all, she remembered the times they would make love and just stare at the stars while they held eachother. While Xena was lost in thought, Isis spoke to Gabrielle,
“Gabrielle, hold my hands and remember your life with Xena.”
“Ok.” Gabrielle said and took the Queens hands. One of her favorite memories was the time that she ate the nutbread.
<<<”By the gods!”
“What is it?”
“You are BEAUTIFUL!”>>>
Gabrielle had been afraid to tell Xena any of her feelings towards her up until that moment. The nut bread not only made her hallucinate, it made her fears disappear. Of course Xena could think of Gabrielle, she was all Xena every thought about. So many lives they've lived and so many deaths they've died. Even while being crucified, Gabrielle was never far from Xena's mind.
<<<”Gabrielle, you're the best thing in my life.”
“I love you, Xena”>>>>
Suddenly the thoughts of Xena and Gabrielle started to mingle. Both women thought about Gabrielle's last birthday and the poem from Xena, written my Sappho.
There's a moment when I look at you
And no speech is left in me
My tongue breaks
Then fire races under my skin
And I tremble and grow pale
For I am dying of such love
Or so it seems to me.
Both women had tears in their eyes at their last loving moment. Gabrielle suddenly felt the hands of Isis tremble, but didn't dare open her eyes.
“It is finished.” Whispered Isis. The palace began to shake like an earthquake that only the four women could feel. Isis gasped, causing Gabrielle to finally open her eyes. There, infront of her sat Xena, still holding Gabrielle's hands. Between them, an empty pot. Beside them, a crying Sabella.
“Oh! Xena!” Gabrielle cried, unable to control the cascade of tears.
“Gabrielle!” Xena gasped as she pulled Gabrielle into her still strong arms.
Gabrielle ran her fingers through Xena's long black mane and gazed into her lovers sparkling blue eyes, “Is it really you?”
“Yes, It's really me.” Xena smiled as she took the blondes head into her hands and gently placed a kiss on her lips, “I'm back.”
Gabrielle smiled back and Xena and remembered Isis, “Where's the Queen? Where's Isis?” Gabrielle asked as she looked at Sabella.
“Xena's soul needed a vessel. So Isis gave Xena hers.” Sabella cried.
“Oh, Sabella…I can't thank you enough!” the young woman embraced Sabella and dried her tears.Return to Main Page