Warnings: Two women in love with each other; and I’m writing more comedy. Take your pick which is more deadly to your sense of morals. Sex and violence kept to minimum under those constraints. I promise to kill a few people in the next one to make up.

Disclaimers: Any resemblance between the characters described in this story, and those in a certain show produced by Renaissance Pictures, is only coincidental. But I tried. After some of the ‘comedy’ episodes of the fourth season, I figured I couldn’t do any worse. But then again...

The Gabrielle Effect

A Farce in Three Acts

by Kamouraskan


Act 1. The Set Up


Scene: Cyrene’s Tavern.

Our story begins quietly in a small but seemingly prosperous inn near the centre of the town of Amphipolis. It is daytime and our imaginary camera slowly pans through the temporarily empty tavern portion of the inn, until it falls upon a tall figure in armor slumped alone in the corner. Going closer we see that it is a ravishingly attractive, dark woman, somewhat the worse for drink. On the table in front of her there are several empty flagons and a scroll which has been read several times by disconcerted blue eyes. She sips at her drink, her mind focused on some object only she can see. Two fingers tap at the side of her mug pensively. Her attention suddenly shifts, and she turns her gaze to the opposite wall, where the God of War appears in a shimmer of God dust.

Ares leans casually against the wall.

"Xena. Xena. Xena. Drinking alone. And quite a bit, it seems. You can’t say I didn’t warn you. That’s what always comes of opening your heart to love."

There is no response from the warrior except a look of disgust. Ares strolls over and places his hand on her shoulder. Cocking his head, he says, "Come here often, Princess?"

The bleary blue eyes glance to the offended shoulder and she growls, "Move it or lose it, Ares. And I am not talking about your hand."

Ares smiles, but removes his hand quickly, then coolly leans against the wall again. "Where’s your little pal, What’s Her Name?"

There’s a small slur in her voice as she turns to stare at the God of War. "You know, I’d like to think that you had something better to do, but..."

"I always have time for my favorite. Especially when she seems so down." Ares smiles and waves his extended hands . "Hey! I’ve got an idea..."

Xena snorts. "Yeah, I’m sure you do. But I’d have to be a lot drunker and angrier than this, to break my promise...."

"To the blonde? That would be the same blonde who promised never to leave you?" Ares makes a show of searching about the tavern "Funny, I don’t see her around. Again."

"She needed a break. Just a vacation."

"Of course. I know a woman whose husband just left to go to the apothecary for some herbs."


"He took three suitcases. To this day she’s still telling her friends that he must have stopped off to get some milk. "

Xena closes her eyes in frustration, when an idea occurs to her. There is a glint in those cerulean orbs, and a smirk briefly flashes. None of this is seen by Ares.. She turns and stands suddenly, grabbing hold of his armor, clutching him and with great exaggeration begins sobbing. "Oh Ares, I don’t know what to do."

Ares backs up in complete shock, carrying Xena with him, who is still gripping him. Xena continues to babble. "She was supposed to be here today," and her voice rises, "and instead I got a NOTE... What am I going to do without her?"

Unable to deal at all with this unwarriorlike emotion and trying to regain control, Ares begins to try to pry off the leach-like grip.

"Xena. Xena?" Ares gives a nervous laugh while still working on the grasping fingers. "Listen to me. I have a this really nice army just a few miles from here. You’ll love them. Just waiting for the right commander. They’re rough, but young. With proper training, some weeding out..."

"I can’t. I can’t do anything without her. You don’t know what I might do..." the Warrior is laying it on thick now.

"Sure I do! You could be having fun!. Like the old days. Remember the old days? A thousand men waiting for a single word from you? Ready to throw their lives into battle, willing to die for the Destroyer?"

The Warrior shakes her head emphatically. "Nothing’s fun anymore without...without Gabrielle!!!"

Ares is near panic, unable to think, now. "Xena, uh, the leathers, Xena, you’re getting tears all over them. Damn it, snap out of it!"

The warrior quietens slightly. "If she doesn’t come back, I might as well just stay here," there is a pause as if she has just had a revelation. "Maybe I could try farming...?"

"No. NO!" The God of War has now moved from being shocked to horrified.

"But what am I, without my sweet Gabrielle?"

"How would I know? Look , you could wait here, look, stop it! I’ll , just stop crying! How about if I go get her!"

Hidden from him, the blue eyes gleam as she thinks ‘Gotcha!’. The sobbing diminishing slightly, and the tear stained face emerges and stared beseechingly into Ares’.

"But, I couldn’t have you hurt her, or force her to come in any way; she has to want to come back to me of own her own accord," Xena snuffles, wiping her nose on Ares chest. "and I can’t owe you a favour , Gabri...elle... wouldn’t like that either..."

"Fine. It’s a freebee. I’ll just go talk with her. I promise. But, please? Stop crying!" The God of War adds forcefully. "And No Farming!"

"I think there’s this old man, he said he needed a shepherd." Xena looks innocently into Ares’ face. "I could get to like sheep, couldn’t I?"

Ares pushes her away. Pointing both of his index fingers at her. he says "Stay ...Here. I’ll be back. And keep away from the sheep." He disappears in his customary shimmer.

Immediately, Xena stands up straight, pulling at her nose while her mouth forms an evil smile. She looks about the empty tavern and chortles, "That was different." Then finishing off her mug, and pleased with herself, she salutes a certain parchment. "Paybacks are a bitch, love. Stand ME up, would you. Ha!"

Xena’s mother, Cyrene enters, looking from side to side. "Xena? Did I hear you talking to someone?"

She turns a satisfied grin to her Mom. "Just Ares, with nothing to do."

"The God of War? Here?" Cyrene’s face is concerned.

"It’s all right Mom, Not to worry. He’d never do any..."

She looks about the tavern in horror. "But it’s so messy!"

Xena gives her Mom a strange look. "Ares spends a lot of time on battlefields, Mother? They get pretty messy occasionally."

"Yes, but...What did he want?"

"Just the usual. He’s got an army nearby. Thought because I was without Gabrielle I might listen to him." She hold up her index finger. "But get this, I siced him on the Bard." She smiles proudly.

Cyrene is shocked. "Because she was late?" Xena nods happily.

"You sent the God of War after your soul mate because she was late?"

Xena almost begins to back away from the advancing woman. "Mom, it was just a joke. It’s okay. I made him promise not to hurt her, and he’s bound to a promise to his Chosen."

"And you thought that this would be funny?" Xena nods, wiggling her eyebrows.

"Well, you can just call him back," but she sees Xena’s expression and loses her steam for a moment. "well no, maybe not. But you will get on your horse right this minute, and do whatever you have to do to straighten this out. NOW, young lady."

"Mom...." Xena says firmly, unmoving.

"Don’t you ‘Mom’ me! Just go!"

Moments later, a grim and grumbling Xena strides to the stables, where she collides with her brother Toris.

"Where you off to?" her brother asks, as she helps him up off the ground..

"Gotta go get Gabrielle." Xena resentfully grouses.

"She’s in trouble? Same old, Same old, huh? How d’you know?"

Xena’s eyes dart for a moment before she answers. "Uh... it’s that connection thing, we just know..."

Toris nods understandingly. "Ahhh..."

Scene: Mount Olympus

Camera pans throughout white marble expanse, freezing as Ares strides in, finding Artemis lying on some pillows watching the mortal realm in a mystic pond. Various snacks are scattered about.

"I knew it." He exclaims with bitterness. "The great huntress is vegging out, watching mortals and eating junk food."

The Patron of the Amazons leaps to her feet and returns his glare. "Don’t mess with me, now, I’ve had a bad day."

"Fine. Just tell me where your (makes hooking motions with two fingers of both hands) Chosen is, and I’ll go".

Artemis just laughs. "Oh, no. I don’t think so. And you know very well I haven’t made Gabrielle my Chosen officially. As long as she keeps turning down the mask like it was a plate of Hor d’eurves...."

"Gabrielle? Turn down food? Have you ever spent ANY time with this girl?" Ares mocks her quietly.

"Girl? Listen, if she was my Chosen you never would have dared try to hustle her the other day. So, let us understand something, that WOMAN is under my protection. Got it? Stay away from her."

Ares bites back a retort and replies piously, "But I’m on a mission of love, to reunite the soulmates, and if you’re so worried, you can come along."

"Xena asked a favour of you?" Artemis looks at him skeptically. "Hmmm, I’d come just to make sure you keep on track, but....since it’s a mission of Love...." The Goddess calls out, " ‘DITE??"

"Oh, crap." Says the God of War.

Scene: The Queens Hut, Amazonia

The Queen of the Amazons sits at a desk, head slumped on the top, clearly depressed. An Amazon warrior, Eponin enters.

She addresses the Queen sarcastically. "Well, congratulations. They’ve left."

Without moving her head, Chilapa mumbles "I’m a warrior, not a diplomat."

Eponin glares at her. "Well, if the treaties with the Centaurs fall apart, and we go from having valued allies along our own borders, to having them attacking us as well, you’re going to have to be one Tartarus of a warrior."

Chilapa stares upwards. "Dear Artemis, what did I do?"

Eponin begins to itemize a list on her fingers. "Well, lets see. You sent their delegation to stay in the stables..."

"But that’s where they always stayed!"

"I think Ephiny would have usually removed our horses! Cleaned it out first? And then there’s the banquet. You put bales of hay on the main table!"

"But that’s what they eat!"

"Gabrielle always made sure there were snacks, carrots, and she would have the grains specially picked and served on platters..."

Chilapa stands. "All right! I’m not Ephiny, I’m not Gabrielle. I don’t do this stuff well. What do we do now?"

"I suggest that you swallow any pride you have, and get our errant Queen to come back and negotiate a new treaty."

Chilapa mulls it over, staring at the Queen’s mask hung in the corner. She glares at it and turns back to Eponin. "We know where she is right now, we always have someone on her, right?"

"She’s the holder of the Rite of Caste. We always track her. What I don’t understand, is, that she turned down the mask to be with Xena, and apparently at the moment she’s not with Xena..."

Chilapa stands, begins to pace. "You know I’d hand the mask over to her in a second if I thought she’d take it. Maybe if we approached her properly...showed some respect, we could get her to return."

Eponin is doubtful "Gabrielle’s never been one for that sort of thing..."

"Well, she’s older, maybe it wasn’t done right before. You say we have no immediate problems, and word about the break with the Centaurs can be kept quiet for a while, right? So, what if we took a full complement of the honour guard, fifty would be enough to impress and still leave the village safe, and we’d never be more than two days ride away..."

Eponin mulls this over. "But in case it doesn’t work, we better have a cover story..."

Scene: Meg’s Tavern.

Long shot of sleazy whorehouse cum tavern. Camera eases through crowds of tables, finally picking out an older couple seated ,arguing, oblivious to the trade going on about them. The older man says "I don’t see why you have a problem with this. She’s our daughter, and she has a responsibility to the farm."

His wife looks upset. "But dear, she works so hard for her money..."

Her husband interrupts. "Now that she’s finally dumped that warrior, she’s sure to have saved enough to help us...."

They are interrupted by an eccentric looking goofus. His eyes light up to see them..

"Hey, you’re Gabby’s parents aren’t you?" They look up guardedly and watch in amazement as the interloper slips trying to move around their table and falls face forward to the floor. The couple glance at each other and sigh.

"You’d be Joxer, right? I think we met before, but since then..."

Turning but still lying on the floor Joxer delightedly smiles. "Gabby told you about me?"

"Warned is a better word." Herodotus puts out a hand and helps Joxer up. Once up, the warrior without a clue calls over to a table. "Meg! Autolycus! It’s Gabrielle’s parents!"

Turning back, he asks the annoyed couple. "You’re a ways from Potadeia. Where you headed?"

There is another exchange of glances. Hecuba speaks out." Well, we heard that Gabrielle was no longer with Xena, and we thought..."

Herodotus interrupts. "We thought we should see if she’s all right."

Joxer is shocked. "Not with Xena? I’m their best friend. She may need me! Where is she?"

Gabrielle’s parents don’t answer as they stare at the couple approaching them. The woman is a dead ringer for Xena. She smirks and says " Hi yah."

Joxer intercedes and explains, "this is Meg, she’s a friend of Xena and Gabby’s. She’s a... the owner of this...fine establishment. And this is..."

Meg interrupts, "we just call him Mr. Stinky."

Autolycus pauses, closes his eyes, and then extends his hand, "Autolycus, The KING...of Thieves."

Speaking out of the side of his mouth, Herodotus says, "These are our daughter’s friends, dear..."

Scene: The Holy City of Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth and Family

Our camera moves past various hawkers and customers meandering about a busy marketplace. Gabrielle, dressed in a simple peasant costume is being escorted past a series of vendors and indoor stalls, by a tall, dark and chaste priestess. Leah points proudly to an object displayed with much embellishment, surrounded by guards, hanging on one wall.

"Made of the puwest of gold, encwusted with jewels, The Platter of Zeuth!"

Gabrielle examines the item. "Is that why you brought me? Why is it so important that you had to dwag, drag me here?"

"Gabwielle. I know you to be an honouwable pethon. And I must be assuwed that you will not weveal what I am about to tell you."

"Leah. You know I will help you if I can, but I was supposed to be meeting Xena today..."

"Gabwielle, this concehns the Godhood of the most thacwed Hethtia!" Leah lowers her voice to a whisper, " It has been twapped in that very platteh!"

Gabrielle stops to stare at the plate again. "Then Hestia is a mortal?"

"No, thank all that ith holy. She ith thtill an immohtal. But unless a pehthon who is pew of heart can be found..."

"What of heart?"

"Pew, she hath to have pewity, pewneth..."

"Ah." Gabrielle nods. "Then why do you need me?"

"Gabwielle, I know I once said many hawsh things to you. But I twuly believe you have a special..."


The priestess smiles. "Yeth. And only a pehthon who can apwoach being one with the great Hethtia, can help uth in thith time of cwithith."

Gabrielle spots a puzzle on one of the vendors tables and absently begins to work the pieces into position. She glances up at Leah. "So how did Hestia lose it?"

Leah stops dead. "What Awe you thaying?"

Gabrielle rolls her eyes. "I was referring to her Godhood..."

"Oh." Mollified, the priestess continues "Well the plate wath cweated and enchanted by Zeuth ath a twick to twap the powers of hith wife. But when it wath prethented to Hewa, she neveh touched the platteh, only the fwuit it contained."

"So...how did Hestia get caught by it?"

Leah blushes. "I’m afwaid our beloved patwon felt the need to do the disheth afteh the meal."

Gabrielle is only partly listening, as she finds the last pieces of the puzzle board. "So you have it, why can’t you just give it back now?"

"The platteh mutht be pwethented to the mohtal who motht cleahly embodieth the vihtues of Hethtia, who will then fweely return the Godhood. Theh ith a giwl, Mahta, who theems to have thweatened motht of the challengehth in ordeh to thecuwe her victowy."

Patting the last piece in with satisfaction, Gabrielle looks up at the clear dismay in Leah’s voice. "Why would it be a problem if Marta wins?"

"We thuthpect that, inthtead of offewing the Godhead to Hethtia, we bewieve she intends to make demandth, pothibly even take the holy powehth unto hehthelf!"

Gabrielle is perplexed. "Leah, I guess I’m flattered, but why do you think I might be able to challenge her? You know I’m not... I was married."

"But he died wight afteh the cewemony. Wight? "

"Well, a little later...."

Leah glows at this confirmation. "That’th wondehful!"

Gabrielle frowns. "I think it sounds better than it lives."

Leah is instantly apologetic "No, I’m tewibly thowwy for your gweat loth, but that ith jutht the thoht of thing that will give you thympathy in the eyeth of the judgeth."

Gabrielle sighs and shakes her head. "Well, what are the requirements?"

Leah begins to enumerate. "Contethtantth can not be a Hethtian Priethteth, or have a membeh of their immediate family who ith a Hethtian Priethteth..."

"Fine so far..."

"The contethtantth must be couwageouth, stwong, demure..."

Gabrielle becomes more hesitant. "Well, two out of three..."

"...modetht, coy, humble, retiwing, quiet...

The Bard stares at the Hestian Priestess. "Right. I think you should be talking to Autolycus if you want to get at that thing, not me. Who would ever think that I was any of those things?"

Leah smiles and looks slyly at the table they just left. "The town counthil."

"They’re the judges? Those guys?" Gabrielle stares appraisingly at a group of bozos struggling over the puzzle that Gabrielle had just solved. She smiles to herself.

"This is really important to you?"

Leah nods beseechingly.

"All I have to do is be disgustingly quiet, shy and demure for two days?"

Leah nods again.

Gabrielle says a quiet apology to a certain warrior princess. "All right, I’ll give it a shot."

"Pwaise Hethtia! I’ll thign you up wight away!"

But as they walk away, the camera remains on the town councilors as they finally work together. Ramming the wrong piece of the puzzle in with a rock...

Gabrielle’s Journal

Voice over shot of Gabrielle writing:

"So, I am once again delaying my return to Themascara. This time apart has been so hard, and I’m going to owe Xena big time.. but I know her, she’ll come up with some sort of payback, and then we’ll be okay. And as worried as I am for her, I think this separation will be good for both of us. I know our relationship will be stronger, more equal..."

Quick cut to Scene: Outside Amphipolis

Xena, riding furiously, talking to herself "I’m going to find her, throw her over my shoulder, and if I have to tie her to Argo, I am going to bring her home..."

Scene: Halls of War

Ares: "Look. Are you ready yet?"

Aphrodite: Look, Bro. You’re not really going to just chat with Sweet Cheeks are you?"

Ares: "I’m just going to have a nice little chat."

Aphrodite: "Maybe I’ll have a chance at seeing some flying pigs while I’m there, too.."

Scene : Amazon Border

Chilapa, to fifty mounted Amazon warriors: "As you know, our beloved Gabrielle, Queen by rite of Caste, is alone and without a protector. We cannot allow this to continue. We march to show her our devotion, and our love for her..."

Scene: Meg’s Tavern

Joxer: Are you SURE they want us to come along? I think..."

Autolycus: Well, you’re at least half wrong right there. No, I know all about that Festival, and Gabrielle needs me. And so does a certain piece of dinner ware. I think we’ll just go in, get out, and then everybody will be happy. Certainly I intend to be."

Scene: Gabrielle’s Quarters

Gabrielle: ( still writing) As much as I miss you, Xena, I have decided to stay for another few days. To accomplish just this one little thing on my own, to help our friend, and to prove to myself that I can work for the greater good, without any disasters. Even if it is only a bit of acting, it really is important to me. Then I promise to come home and burn off this chaste and quiet stuff with my favorite Warrior.

It’s been very hard being away from you, but at least it’s been quiet. And I think I can finally lay to rest that Trouble Magnet reputation..."

Act two : Convergence




Warnings: Two women in love with each other; and I’m writing more comedy. Take your pick which is more deadly to your sense of morals. Sex and violence kept to minimum under those constraints. I promise to kill a few people in the next one to make up.

My sincerest thanks to Archaeobard for her inspiration. She maid this story come alive for me.

Disclaimers: Any resemblance between the characters described in this story, and those in a certain show produced by Renaissance Pictures, is only coincidental. But I tried. After some of the ‘comedy’ episodes of the fourth season, I figured I couldn’t do any worse. But then again...


The Gabrielle Effect

A Farce in Three Acts

by Kamouraskan Kamouraskan@yahoo.com

Act 2 Convergence

Scene: Guest Quarters of the Mayor

Exterior shot of classical villa. Various servants clad in robes move about an exterior courtyard. Camera follows two up a flight of stairs into Gabrielle’s room. Gabrielle is seated, wearing a rather dowdy and plain dress, covering as much of her body as is possible and still see and breath. She directs the servants to lay her things on the bed and thanks them as they begin to leave. She stops the younger woman.

"Katia, is it?" She inquires.

Katia ducks her head. "Yes Mum?"

"I think you left something..." The Bard carefully shows her a small braid of hair. The servant blanches. Gabrielle tilts her head. "Is there some problem...?"

The maid takes the braid and stutters, "I, well, I think...It’s this medicine I was given by the local healer. " She whispers, "it’s supposed to remove my moles..."

Gabrielle tries not to flinch as another braid falls to the ground. The maid continues. "Please don’t mention it to anyone, Miss. I’m hoping no one will notice." Another clump falls to the ground. Two beetles crawl out.

Gabrielle tries to be nonchalant. "Is it helping the...ah...mole?"

Katia smiles. "Oh yes, wonderfully! And it’s so worthwhile. I think it’s been stopping my acceptance to the college of historians. Being attractive is so important, don’t you think?"

Another braid falls. Gabrielle stares at it waiting for it to discharge any passengers. She is not disappointed, as a small weevil pokes it’s mandibles out. Gabrielle looks at the braid in her hand.

"Ah, Katia?"

"Please, everyone calls me AB, It’s for my range of talents." She recites proudly.

Gabrielle returns the smile. "AB, I have to go and...wash...perhaps we could, chat later?"

The girl courtsies and leaves.

Gabrielle sighs with relief as the door closes. The camera continues to explore the room, showing the austere but expensive furnishings. It stops in the corner where Ares appears. Arms crossed over black leather, he is spoiling for a fight. Gabrielle takes a deep breath and waits, muscles taut.

"Nice digs." Ares saunters over, eyes burning. "Believe it or not, you really surprised me. I can’t believe you could do this to her."

Gabrielle doesn’t back down. She returns his glare.

"What do you want, Ares?"

"You know you’re even beginning to sound like her."

"Good." Gabrielle is trying, but it’s clear that her firmness is mainly for show. "Now if there wasn’t anything else..."

Ares smiles, but there is no humour in it. "Well, actually there is." He strolls over to Gabrielle whose eyes glance to her belongings and hidden weapons. "Xena is unhappy. And for some reason I just do not get, you’re the answer to that problem. So I’m here to escort you home."

There is a long pause. Gabrielle looks quizzically at Ares. "Have we met?"

"I knew you might be a little skeptical..."

"You’re telling me you’ve come to get me and Xena together?"

"In a nutshell..."

Gabrielle moves forward now, eyes blazing, her fear of Ares forgotten. "What have you done to her this time!"

"What have I done to her? I think we’ve got things a little turned around. You’re the one who broke her heart, got her thinking about sheep herding, crying all over my leathers..."



"Tall, dark, has this round killing thing, eyes to die for..."


"Because I told her I’d be held up for a day or two?"

"Held up? For a DAY OR TWO!"

Gabrielle looks at the contorted face of the God of War and begins to crack up. "She cried all over your leathers, and got you to come for...me?" She breaks into fresh giggles. "Gods, I miss the best stuff sometimes."

Ares is pacing about furious, and begins waving his finger. "That, Damn HER. AND she made me promise not to harm you in any way... She’s TOAST! Burnt on both sides..."

Gabrielle is still trying to recover. "Oh please, you know you can’t do that either. What exactly did you promise?"

"That I’d CONVINCE you, of your own free will, to return to her."

"Well you’re just going to have to wait..." There’s a knock on the door. Gabrielle looks at the muscular leather clad WarGod and goes "Uh oh."

A young male voice outside inquires "Miss Gabrielle, uh, are you alone?"

Gabrielle grabs Ares’ shoulder and hisses, "Go. Now, or you’ll ruin everything."

Ares moves back, shocked at her familiarity. "I’m not going anywhere without you."

Gabrielle rolls her eyes, and searches through the room. Spying a door, she opens the closet and gestures to Ares. "Fine. Then get in here and be quiet."

In a very quiet but menacing voice, Ares says "I am Ares. God of War. I do not hide in closets."

Gabrielle tone is just as dangerously quiet. "If you won’t get in there, everything I’m doing will be fouled up, and I can’t leave. What’s it going to be?"

"Miss Gabrielle?"

There is a momentary standoff, but Ares moves to the closet with ill grace. Gabrielle moves to the door. to open it.

A shy but handsome young lad is revealed through the crack in the door. He is not wearing a red shirt, but he might as well be. Gabrielle stands in the doorway, staring downwards, hands clasped demurely. "What is it, Horace?"

Blushing the young lad responds. "I, I just wanted to make sure that all was to your satisfaction, and to welcome you to my father’s home, Miss Gabrielle."

Gabrielle rewards him with a smile, causing his heart to beat triple time. "Thank you so much, Horace. But I do not think it proper for me to be speaking with you so near my...sleeping quarters without escort."

"Oh, my! I am sorry, Miss Gabrielle, I would never..." Not wanting to leave, he desperately tries to begin a prerehearsed speech. "I , I, I also wanted you to know that though my father will, of course be scrupulously honest in his judging of the competition, I must tell you that your work all this month with our local children, your nomination by the head Priestess Leah, and your obvious sincerity, virtue, and beauty, " here he pauses for a short breath, "has found a place in all of our hearts."

Gabrielle restrains the need to roll her eyes, and blushing slightly, takes her leave. Enraptured, Horace continue to stare at her until the door is completely closed. Behind the safety of the door, Gabrielle wipes off an imaginary bead of sweat. Ares saunters out of the closet, smirking.

"Nice kid. How long does he have to live?"

Gabrielle gives him her best LOOK. "Ares, either help me or get out of here before you screw it up. Let me explain this in simple terms. I am staying here, until I finish helping our friend Leah. I have to win a sort of competition to get the Platter of Zeus, and to do that I need to act, well, differently."

Ares seems intrigued. "Differently?"

"Well, demure..."




"Yes?" Gabrielle is injured.

"What else?"



Ares ponders this for a moment. "Well, I know that this would certainly be my wish list, but we both know that that ain’t gonna to happen."

There is another knock on the door. A quick movement and Ares is hustled to the closet again. As the door is shut on the outraged face of the war god, Gabrielle beams happily. "That, I could get to like..."

It’s Katia again. Taking the scroll from her, Gabrielle quickly closes the door and shakes out the hair and three earwigs. Unrolling it, she reads aloud:

"Greetings to Gabrielle, of Potadiea. My hopes for a fair and interesting contest. As a token of my respect I am sending in this missive my hints for removing blood stains from plain cheap linen, and tickets on the next goat out of town.

Marta of Grahamus"

Gabrielle stares up at the ceiling. "Oh, dear Gods please?"

There is a shimmer of light and Aphrodite appears. "Hey Sweat Cheeks, you called?

"No." says Gabrielle firmly. "Don’t take this personally, Aphrodite, but No, Not. Definitely."

The Goddess ignores this and begins looking around the room. "Where’s Are?"

Frustrated, but keeping her cool, Gabrielle begins to explain again. "I’m in the middle of a sort of, mission. Part of it requires that I be, well chaste." Gabrielle grins, " So of course I can’t have men in my room, so he keeps having to hide."

Aphrodite takes a moment to absorb this.

"You’re telling me that everytime anyone comes by, Ares hides to save your reputation?"

Gabrielle points, indicating the small door. "He’s in the closet now."

The Goddess thinks about this. Then giggles. "That could explain a lot about the tension he has around Hercules..." Still giggling, she goes to the closet and opens it. A huddled Ares glares at her.

"I THOUGHT I told you to STAY in the CHARIOT!"

"Yeah, Right. I would have, but the tunes you have are so lame." She turns for sympathy to Gabrielle. "I mean he has the choice of almost all the music through Human History, and all he listens to is DiscoVegas trash and Tom Jones! Yeach..."

"I was handling things here, " Ares tries to interrupt, but is completely ignored.

"I mean, for a while there he had it rigged so it would play Flight of the Valkyries wherever he went, and that was pretty cool, but then he got into this big royalty charge dispute with Odin, and now it’s all Englebert Hump his Dink or something..."

Ares grinds his teeth and then clenches his fists. "Look. You two stay here and have fun. I’m going to go speed this up and just grab that damned plate." and he vanishes.

Gabrielle strikes her forehead with her palm. Worried, she looks to Aphrodite, and says, "I think you better get after him. Because if he touches that plate he could..." and she stops. Thinks a bit. Then smiles at the Goddess of Love.

"You know, we haven’t had a chance to talk lately, and I have soooo many questions for you..."

Aphrodite looks suspicious. "Okay, Sweatums, what’s going on...?"

Gabrielle gives the Goddess her most winsome smile. "I just realized that here I am. A woman in love. A Bard as well, knowing nearly nothing about the, well, physical aspects of love, and here is the Goddess herself! How could I be so foolish as to waste this opportunity?"

Aphrodite preens herself, her suspicions forgotten. "I was wondering just when you would get around to ask..."


Scene: Amazon Encampment outside of Town:

Interior of large tent. Epinon enters first. She appears concerned. "Are you really sure that was Artemis?"

Chilapa hangs the mask up on a peg. "How by Hades Nuts would I know?"

"Well, you’re the Queen, I figured you’d be able to tell..."

"Look, I’m not Frigging Ephiny or Gabrielle, we’re all agreed about that, right? The Patron doesn’t call me up twice a moon and take me out for beers, o-KAY!"

Epinon is still worried. "It’s just that she’s never appeared like that in front of everybody, given orders..."


"...thrown fireballs,"


"...scratched her butt..."



Scene: The market place, night.

Quick pan of empty and darkened market. Ares appears beside the Platter Of Zeus. Goes over a check list on his fingers.

"Let’s see, diddled the Amazons, now we steal the plate, head back, grab the irritating blonde, take her to Xena, screw around with their heads..." he rubs his hands together, and walks towards the display, "on schedule..." He thrust his arm out, palm open, and the plate detaches itself from the wall and flies to his hands. Immediately there is a sound similar to a refrigerator shutting down, and the platter glows for an instant. Ares stares at it.

"This is not good."

At that moment a rope drops at his feet. He stared down at the coil, and then looks up as Autolycus shims down to stand in front of him. Auto recognizes the God of War.

"Ah, This isn’t Delphi, is it? Gee, I must have made a wrong turn near Albecoyque..." He begins to try to climb back up.

Ares grabs a foot and yanks Autolycus to the ground.

"You. Thief."

Even lying on the ground Autolycus can’t let that go. "KING ...of Thieves."

Ares is not impressed. "Right. You always research anything you’re gonna steal, right? Give me the scoop on the plate."

The King...of Thieves looks at the plate and catches on. "Oh! I take it, we are experiencing temporary difficulties? Shortages in the God departments? Sorry, but if there are no bolts of fire about to be rained on me, I think I’ll..."

Ares grabs Autolycus by the throat, and the thief squeaks out "So, how can I help?"

Ares smiles. "The plate...?"

"A mortal, not already pledged to any Gods, judged by other mortals as being as like Hestia, pure and chaste, quiet and..."

"Yadda yadda... I know that part."

"This mortal has appear on the alter at Hestia’s Temple and to freely agree to release the captured Godhood’s..." Ares drops Autolycus, who lies on the ground stroking his throat.

Aphrodite appears, smiling. "What did I miss?

Ares slumps. "Go away."

Autolycus moves to shelter behind the Goddess. "Mastermind here, just lost his God stuff."

His sister laughs. "What? How’d you manage it this time? I thought you told Daddy you wouldn’t take your hand off your sword..."

Ares, picks up the platter, and with a smile shows it to Aphrodite. "Well, I was looking at this plate here....Have you noticed? You can see yourself in it..."

"Really? "Aphrodite grabs the plate. The refrigerator sound occurs again, and the plate glows momentarily. "Ahhhh! Not agaaaaain!" Aphrodite wails as Ares begins generating short barking laughs.

Autolycus looks on in amazement.

"Let me get this straight. There really are people who worship you guys, right? How do you survive? Does Athena cut up your meat for you at the table, or what?"

The two Gods look at each other. Ares stares at Autolycus.

"I guess we have to help Gabrielle pull this off, if only so I can fry this moron..."

Autolycus looks at their customary wardrobe. "Big talk for a guy who can’t walk around in the streets right now.. I think there might be a store for peasants near by..."Aphrodite begins to wail again. "....So unless you’d like to make nice-nice, I have some people waiting for me..."

Scene: Outskirts of Town

Crane shot lowers onto campfire. Joxer and Meg happily regaling Gabrielle’s parent’s with ribald stories. Hecuba has fake smile plastered on, Herorotus is stone faced, Joxer and Meg are just shit faced.

Joxer is trying to explain his relationship with our heroes. "They’re always doin’ stuff like that to me. But they don’t really mean it. I mean, there was this time that they sent me into town with their last dinars for medical supplies..."

Meg interrupts: "And you came back with those "magic" beans?" She slaps him on the back, laughing.

Joxer continues "So, you should have heard the things they said to me. But when I came to, Xena had figured out that the beans would work as a pain killer anyways, and later Gabby wrote this great children’s story..."

Meg adds "And filled five other scrolls too..."

"...And Xena told me she found her spirit guide, and that they exchanged essences..."

Meg interrupts: "Gabrielle tol’ me a raccoon just peed on her leg...."

Gabrielle’s parents exchange looks.

Herodotus stands. "We have to go...."

Joxer staggers up with them. "But it’s dark...."

Scene: Exterior of Mayor’s House

Camera pans up bodies of Ares and Aphrodite. the Love Goddess is attired in clothing similar to her costume in the alternate universe, Ares in heavy woolens. Both look thoroughly uncomfortable.

Aphrodite is sniffing her arm pits. Ares objects. "Do you have to keep that up? The clothes were clean, and anyways, they were necessary if we’re going to keep an eye on her and not blow her cover."

"How do you know Gabrielle’s father’s name anyways?"

"Anybody that prays as often as he does to strike Xena down, gets my attention."

"But I don’t look anything like what’s her names sister..."

Ares hears someone approaching the door, and hisses, "PUT A LID ON IT!"

Aphrodite shakes her head. "Listen, Bro. This is all your fault, when this is over, don’t think I’m not going to..."Ares is gritting his teeth.

The door is opened by Horace. Ares moves confidently forward. "I believe my daughter is here? Gabrielle of Potadiea? I’m Herodotus, and this is her MOTHER, Hecuba." Aphrodite winces.

Horace is nearly overcome. "Miss Gabrielle’s parents? Of course, the resemblance is unmistakable! Please, please come in."

They enter, while Horace continues to gush. "I am the eldest son, Horace, I’ve only had the briefest time to spend with..."

Ares nearly glows with inspiration as he cuts off the flow. "Horace is it? Gabrielle has told me so much about you. Tell me, what do you think about my charming, unattached daughter..."

Scene: Gabrielle’s Room

Gabrielle is smiling. Almost painfully. Horace is holding her hand and burbling away. "I think I will fly in joy! Who would have thought of it?"

Gabrielle turns to a smirking Ares. "Yes, Who?"

"Married! To the most beautiful woman in the world! I have so many people to tell, things to arrange...oh thank you, Sir!" kissing Ares on the mouth, and shaking Gabrielle’s hand, he exits.

There is silence in the room.

Ares breaks it. "You don’t have to thank me now..."

Gabrielle regards him like something that crawled out of the sewer, or Katia’s hair. "I think I’ll let Xena thank you for me..."

Ares doesn’t seem too worried. "Well, now that your ‘unattached’ status has been dealt with, you should be a shoe-in. But I think I should know more about this Marta, from her letters, she sounds like my kind of girl."

Gabrielle doesn’t take this bait. "Oh yeah. From what I hear, she’s more into decorating, she’d probably use your Godhood so she could outfit your armies.

Ares shrugs. "I think I could live with that."

"From what I’ve seen, she just adores the colours pink and sunshine yellow. And I must admit, it would be interesting to see her trying to colour-coordinate all the battles..."

Ares decides to commit. "Why didn’t you say this at the beginning? She WILL..NOT... WIN."

Scene: A Tavern in the City of Hestia

It a very elegant tavern, but a tavern nonetheless. The camera pans over the tables until it reaches the door. It swings open to reveal a very dark, and angry Warrior Princess. Her entrance is unnoticed as Horace races past her, throwing a pile of dinars on a table, calling out "Drinks to celebrate my betrothal! Gabrielle of Potadeia has agreed to marry me!"

The camera moves in for close-up of Xena’s face. The eyes are like stones.

Scene: Gabrielle’s Room

Slow pan about the room.

Gabrielle is lying on the bed with a wash cloth on her forehead. Aphrodite and Ares are eating, and getting drunk. Gabrielle raises her hand and removes the cloth. Opens it slowly and finds another clump of hair. She closes her eyes wearily. There is a banging at the door which is partly opened. Horace calls through the breach

"Gabrielle! Sweet, dear Gabrielle. Something absolutely horrendous has happened! I just heard while I was celebrating our betrothal, that the city is surrounded by those horrible Amazons! They say they have been commanded by Artemis to take the city unless we release their Queen immediately! And no one knows anything about her!"

Gabrielle squeals "Amazons!" Clasping her hands together, looking properly terrified, she slams the door shut on her fiancee and turns to face the former God of War .

Her voice is dangerously quiet. "Artemis? Appeared before MY Amazons?"

He frowns. "I sort of stopped off on the way to get the plate. I thought I would be more effective as someone they liked."

Aphrodite snickers "You really are out of the closet."

Gabrielle eyes begin to glow with fury. Ares shrugs. "They were an army. They were peaceful. I couldn’t leave them like that. It‘s what I DO!"

Gabrielle raises a fist. "You’re doo doo, DAD!"


Next week: "It’s Not My Fault!"






Warnings: Two women in love with each other; and I’m writing more comedy. Take your pick which is more deadly to your sense of morals. Sex and violence kept to minimum under those constraints. I promise to kill a few people in the next one to make up.

Disclaimers: Any resemblance between the characters described in this story, and those in a certain show produced by Renaissance Pictures, is only coincidental. But I tried. After some of the ‘comedy’ episodes of the fourth season, I figured I couldn’t do any worse. But then again...

Mail is always responded to at Kamouraskan@yahoo.com

The Gabrielle Effect

A Farce in Three Acts

To read Act One, click here

by Kamouraskan



It’s Not My Fault!


Scene: Guest Quarters of the Mayor of the Holy City of Hestia

Exterior shot of palatial villa. Cut to interior of guest room

Gabrielle is pacing furiously about the room, shooting the occasional visual dagger at Ares who seems amused. Aphrodite is lounging on the divan.

"All right. The first priority is to get someone to call the Amazons off, and convince them that they are not under some holy command to..." There’s another quick glare directed towards the God of War. "So I’ll send a message..."

Ares coughs, clearly enjoying himself: "I hate to interrupt your plan, since it seems to have started so well....but I think you’re missing a few pieces of information." He settles comfortably into a chair. "Don’t you think I would have anticipated you sending a message to halt a perfectly nice attack?"

Gabrielle puts her hand to her head for a moment. "So you told them as ‘Artemis’..."

"That they should ignore any message, even under your seal. You’re being tortured."

"Thank you."

Ares waves his hand negligently. "Anytime. Oh, and I had a chat with Autolycus..."

"Great! He’s here? He can..."

"He’s here to steal the plate."

Gabrielle slumps onto the bed.

"...and you know your friend Meg? He’s traveling with Meg..."

Gabrielle blanched. "Oh Gods. she’ll come into town, and...be...MEG!"

Ares continued happily. "And of course she’s traveling with..."

Gabrielle lies down on the bed, anticipating this one.

."..Joxer..." The ex-God paused. "But what I think you should find interesting is that they somehow met up with your real parents..."

Gabrielle pulls the sheet over her head.

There is a knock at the door. A groan is heard from beneath the sheet.

Ares smiles. "I’ll get it."

The door opens an inch and Horace’s voice floats through. "Ah, Beloved? Gabrielle? There’s a someone here to see you.? In leather?"

Aphrodite looks at the Bard-sized lump under the sheet. "Well, that certainly narrows it down..."

Horace’s swallow can be heard. "And I think she wants to kill me?"

The blanket is torn away, and Gabrielle almost leaps up with fresh hope in her eyes. "Xena!"


The bard looks at the grinning God of War, and wails quietly. "Xena?" She calls hesitantly through the small opening "Do you think you could tell her...to come back a little later...?"

There is a cry and Horace comes flying in though the door, flinging it open.

"That would be a No?" guesses Ares facetiously

Horace rebounds off a wall and runs to the door and throws it shut. He reaches into his belt and pulls out a dagger. Staring lovingly at Gabrielle, he cries with fervor "Stay back, my dearest! I will protect you!"

Both Aphrodite and Ares attempt to egg Horace on, but while his back is turned, Ares says to his half-sister "It was just a matter of time..."

She nods and whispers "I was only wondering how, not really the when..."

Horace catches a bit of this, and an angry Gabrielle stares all of them down, saying: "It’s okay Horace, it’s just an old joke, and one that was never funny. No one’s going to die."

"Die?" Horace squeaks.

Ares and Aphrodite both nod and smile, pleased that he’s finally got it.

"No one’s going to die Horace, because Xena is, well, a sort of...a project of mine..."

There is a growl from the other side of the door. Horace retreats from it quickly

Gabrielle is now more or less talking to the door, rather than to Horace. "You see, I’m trying to help Xena with her VIOLENT tendencies..."

The growl only becomes louder and more menacing.

"...And if she could just GO somewhere and COOL OFF for a little while..."

The door is kicked in, flattening Ares with it. A stone faced Warrior Princess stands in the wreckage of the door frame.

Aphrodite stares appreciatively at the figure. "That would be another ‘No’?"

Gabrielle is torn between hurling herself into her partners arms, and slugging her.

Horace runs over to try to remove the door from off of Ares. "By the Gods," he shakes a fist at Xena, "if you’ve hurt her father, you’ll pay!"

This strikes the warrior hard. She swallows, and stares at the form under the door. "Her father...?" Her eyes widen.

Gabrielle quickly points to Aphrodite, saying, "You do remember my mother?"

Aphrodite chimes in "Hi Princess!"

"Your MOTHER?"

Aphrodite winces, but adds, "You really have GOT to meet Daddy though..."

All rush to lift the heavy door off of Ares. He is slightly dazed, but recovers quickly when he sees Xena’s expression. Simulating outrage, he yells: "Damn you, Xena.. You’ve been nothing but trouble for my daughter ever since you first met her...."

Xena turns to Gabrielle. "YOUR father?" The Bard smiles helplessly. There is another knock behind them. They all turn to look down at the wreckage of the door, before turning to the smashed doorway. Standing there are two shocked town councilors.

"Miss Gabrielle, we are here to be your escort for the day.... Part of the judging..."

Gabrielle immediately begins to simper, and taking Horace’s hand, and leads him to the doorway.

"Horace. Gentlemen, there has been just the worst misunderstanding, and I think I need to talk to Xena, for a moment privately, to calm her down, give her some medication, that sort of thing,..."

The elder councilor’s eyes grow stern. "I am sorry, but we are to observe all of your interactions with everyone. That was clearly explained to you."

Gabrielle mutters a few words under her breath which end with, "of course..." There is an awkward moment as the servants and Town Council escorts stand watching the unhappy partners in the hallway. Gabrielle tries not to touch her lover, who is becoming angrier every moment.

"Umm, Xena?" Gabrielle begins. "I was wondering if you would do a small favour for me." The warrior’s expression doesn’t change. Encouraged, she continues. "It would be really helpful if you could take a message to the Amazons camped outside of town..."

Xena interrupts. "You want me to LEAVE? You want me to go to the Amazon’s and leave you with your ...‘Father’ and your ... ‘fiancé’?"

Gabrielle glances to the witnesses and laughs uncertainly. "If you wouldn’t mind?"

Xena stares long and hard at her lover. "I’m going to go to the Tavern. I’m going to see if they have a bottomless keg. Test it. For a long while. And then I’m going to see how many people I can get to fit in it." And without a backward glance she strides off.

"Or you could do that." Gabrielle sighs.

The bard takes a deep breath. Turning to the locals, she tells them firmly, but in her softest tones, "Horace, I’m sure that you can understand how upsetting this has all been... Gentlemen, I am sorry, but I must change, and I can only allow my parents to be present..."

Horace takes his cue, and looking cautiously both ways down the corridors, exits. Gabrielle grabs the former Gods, and together, with Aphrodite complaining, they pick up the door and lean it to block the doorway .

Gabrielle turns to her ‘parents’, and with eyes flashing, hisses.

"Okay. Lets get a few things straight here, RIGHT? You’ve just chased off our best chance of getting things straightened out. So we’re all going to have to work together now... or I want you think about thousands of trained fighters making pine cone place settings for Solstice, because that’s what ‘s gonna happen if Marta wins this contest. And if by some fluke inspite of you, I actually win; since we know that there has to be a God of War, after I dance on the plate for a while, I may just make it Joxer, GOT THAT!"

She calms down for a moment, lowering her voice again. "Now I’m going to give you some simple instructions, and I want them carried out, no extras, no game playing, or you both better get used to traveling on foot. RIGHT!"

Ares turns to his sister. "I always admired her, just a little, you know?"

"Shut UP! Now, Ares, you are going to go talk to Xena, explain the situation without any additional mind games, or you will be hearing the Joxer the Mighty song everywhere from here to Rome."

Ares shudders.

Somewhat more politely, the bard turns to Aphrodite. "Goddess, we need your help too if you ever want to get back to doing...what you do so well. I need a Xena to go to talk to Amazons, Meg or Leah have done it before. Try Leah first, at least she knows the risk. Check the temple. Now let’s MOVE IT!"


Scene: Tavern of Village of Hestia.

Interior pan of silent, terrified and frozen in place villagers making forced smiling faces at glowering Warrior Princess drinking in corner.

Ares enters and strides over. Xena raises her tankard. "Hello, Ares."

"Gabrielle sent me." He snarls each word.

Xena takes this quietly. "Right. You know, once I was told the signs of the end of the world? This is a new one. Ares telling me that Gabrielle sent him. Must write it down."

Ares doggedly repeats himself, while clenching his teeth and hands. "Gabrielle sent me."

Xena leans back. "Okay. Great. Is it a Strip-O-Gram?"

"Keep laughing. I just want to deliver this message, and then I will never have to say the words ‘Gabrielle sent me’ again..."


Scene: Market of City of Hestia

Gabrielle, followed by escorts, comes upon a group of little kids, standing around a table where a hard faced woman is making a display with their unwilling help. She is very similar to Gabrielle, same build, short blonde hair, but there is no light in her false smile. She is wearing a gown indicating she is the palace steward. The children see Gabrielle, and run to her shrieking with delight.

The Council escorts comment to each other. "There, see that response? Children naturally fall for her as well. They recognize in her, their own innocence and gentleness."

Meanwhile the kids are demanding more stories.

"Hello there, Children." greets the bard.

"Gabrielle? What about the story of the Bachae? Or where Xena chews up the rats...."

Gabriella tries to be fair. "I think you’re supposed to be helping Marta..."

"Screw her! She’s a crazy Psycho bitch!"

The other kids concur. "Yeah! She’s making Sesame Tofu with asparagus! That is SO gay!" "You gotta whip her ass, Gabrielle!"

"She tried to get Kennit to speak clearly, and when he wouldn’t, those guys with her...dragged him off and whacked him!"

Gabrielle angrily stares at Marta and her henchmen. "By the Gods! Those Bastards!"

"That’s what WE said."

"Okay, children. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to need your help. What are her weak points?"

"Well, she’s a crazy psycho Bitch..."

"Yes, I know..."

"And she cracks real easy..."


Amazon Camp Outside of Town.

Camera opens on Priestess Leah, standing in the Queen’s tent dressed as Xena, in the middle of trying to convince the Amazon’s that Gabrielle is fine. As she speaks the camera swivels around the room until it holds on the cold, disbelieving faces of Epinon and Chilapa.

"Tho ath you can thee, thehs weally ith no weason foh thisth Cwithith, I, Thena, Woeyah Pwintheth, thwear it...."

Chilapa gestures to the guards who move forward and grab Leah by each arm, and with her protesting slightly, they carry her over to a bench where a seated and disconsolate Meg, similarly dressed, is revealed.

Chilapa turns to Eponin. "So, they’re not delusional OR constructs of the Gods?" The Regent asks.

Epinon sighs. "No. One is a Hestian Priestess. A Hestian VIRGIN priestess. And the other is hooker named Meg. I think they hang around, because Xena’s life isn’t strange enough..."

"Why haven’t I heard about them? Why doesn’t Gabrielle tell ME this stuff?"

Eponin shoots her a look. "Well, she made you Queen. Maybe she figured that was a big enough favour for a while..."

Chilapa is not amused. Still glaring at her second, she calls out "Next!"

Xena, and it is clear from her expression that it really is her, strides in glowering, stopping in front of the two Amazons. "Gabrielle’s okay." she states flatly.

Chilapa indicates the other two Xena’s in the corner. "We already seem to have cast the part. Maybe if you showed a little more enthusiasm...."

Xena purses her lips at this, then does a somersault in mid air, landing on the table and hauling up Chilapa by the throat, begins to shake her like a fetish doll. She then says with no change of inflection. "Gabrielle’s okay."

The four women all chirp. "Hi, Xena!"


Scene: Market Place

Camera focuses on the Platter of Zeus, then pulls back to reveal Gabrielle and Marta assessing each other. Both women are smiling. The camera cuts to the four council members observing.

"I knew that they would get along," says one.

"Yes, they both have that mother Gaia goodness that was bound to find an echo in the other." They all nod approvingly.

Marta is giving the younger woman a patronizing look. "So, you’re Gabrielle. You have such a way with children, but then, you’re almost one yourself..."

Gabrielle smiles benignly. "Thank you. So do you; A pity, it’s such a bad way."

Marta reacts as though she hasn’t heard properly. "What?"

"One of them told me they saw you began to unhinge your jaw, so that you could swallow them whole." Gabrielle’s smile doesn’t change it’s genuine sparkle.

Marta’s eyes bulge. She recovers quickly and resumes her placid expression. "You have such a delightful sense of humour."

"So do you," returns Gabrielle with a grin. "Too bad it’s taking the place of any sense of style or taste. I mean, " the bard gestures at the table filled with hand made craft items. " look at all this crap! Just how old ARE you by the way?"

Marta has reached this position by threatening young overprotected virgins. Her eyes literally begin to boggle. Her henchmen move in. Gabrielle takes Marta’s hand tenderly and finds a pressure point.

The four Council observers watch as the two women embrace. Tears begin to flow from Marta’s eyes. "Women find it easier to establish these close relationships, don’t they?" One comments.

Marta waves off the thugs while still trying to smile through the pain. All seems to be going well when the bard hears a familiar voice calling "Gabrielle...Dear?" Gabrielle lets go of Marta and hangs her head, before turning around.

"Hecuba!" she finally exclaims.

Hecuba hugs her daughter. Gabrielle hisses into her ear. "Mom. I can’t explain, but it’s very, very important that you are not one of my parents." She looks to the thugs and Marta, staring at them speculatively. "Your life could depend on it. Where’s Daddy? Could you convince him..."

Herodotus’ scratchy voice calls out. "Daughter? What in Hades name do you think..."

The councilors move forward. "YOUR Daughter? we thought...?"

Horodotus bulls his way over to them, ignoring the looks being sent to him by his wife and daughter. "Yes, MY daughter. And more ashamed of her I have never been. Hanging about with thieves and prostitutes, doing drugs, having unnatural relations with other women..."

A horrified Horace and the Mayor are now at his side. They stare aghast at each other and then the bard. "Is any of this true, Miss Gabrielle?"

Gabrielle swallows hard and states firmly. "I have never seen this man before in my life."

Herodotus is rendered speechless for a moment. One of the Guards of the Plate sighs, and removes his headgear revealing himself to be Autolycus. He points a finger accusingly at Herodutus and proclaims. "Not only is this man clearly insane, but I have been watching him for days. He’s a well known thief!"

Herodutus spins about to stare at his wife. She primly responds to his unspoken question. "I have known Gabrielle since she was a girl, and I can tell you; this man is not her father."

This strikes Hero like a blow to the chest. He begins making gasping noises. Hecuba throws an entreating look to Gabrielle, before exiting with the soldiers dragging her husband away, asking "Is it a nice jail...? Perhaps I could clean it a little for you..."

Gabrielle whispers to Autolycus. "Now, if we could have registered her for this damn competition..."

Another voice interrupts. "Gabby? Where are they taking your parents?" The bard’s face sets as she recognizes Joxer’s voice. Autolycus winks at Gabrielle and says, "Please. Let me handle this one."

She nods with relief. Auto goes to the Captain of the guard and points to Joxer. "I can honestly attest that this man is a danger to himself and others. For the good of the whole community, lock him up until he’s sane, ...or ... whichever else comes last."

The guard looks over to Gabrielle. "Miss..?" he questions

Gabrielle looks imploringly at him. "Could you..? Really?"

Joxer is hauled off, backwards, yelling, "Don’t worry, Gab. I’ll figure out the plan. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine..."

Autolycus moves back to Gabrielle. "So. I was wondering if when you’re finished with this plate..."

Marta, frozen in astonishment, shakes her head and finally moves. "Wait a minute! Hold everything! What just happened here?"

Gabrielle stage whispers to Auto. "Isn’t that sad. But at least the mind didn’t go first..."

Marta explodes. "You BITCH!" She leaps at Gabrielle carrying her to the ground while Gabrielle ineffectually struggles, calling out, "Help, help?"

As they haul the steward off, hissing and scratching, the council members all nod to one another.

Scene: The Temple of Hestia

Exterior shot of temple. Switching to interior shot of graceful columned shrine. Marta is being held by two soldiers. Ares and Aphrodite are waiting expectantly with Autolycus.

Gabrielle is standing on the altar. She is looking through the crowd, but not finding anyone she hopes to see. She lifts the plate and asks, "Shouldn’t we wait just a little longer..."

The mayor shakes his head. "I’m sorry. But the time is upon us."

Ares pumps his fist, mouths "Yeah!" and smiles like a hungry cat at Autolycus. Auto moves closer to Gabrielle.

"So what do I do?" The bard asks the mayor.

The mayor answers uncertainly. "I’m not sure. But I do know that a bolt of lightning from Zeus should crash through that window and strike the platter right about..."

Gabrielle blinks once. "While I’m holding it?" she says incredulously.

Ares pumps his fist again and repeats "Yeah!"

The mayor tries to reassure Gabrielle. "Well, that’s where your innate purity will protect you, you see."

Autolycus calls up to Gabrielle. "Gab, don’t take this the wrong way, not that I’m worried for you or anything, but just in case you’re charcoal in moment, could you sort of hold your hands more over this bag...?"

She glares him and takes a breath. "I can do this. Okay...."

There is a crash, and a bolt of lightning smashes through the room connecting with the plate. Gabrielle’s face shows her pain and the plate begins to glow, blinding all about it. The maid Katia, for reasons known only to her hair dresser/ local healer, bursts into flames and is incinerated. A small ball detaches itself and strikes Aphrodite. A second, strikes Ares, then a third flies about the room searching, and finally strikes Marta.

The special effects fade away, and all are left standing, gasping in shock. Gabrielle gapes at the now regal figure of Marta. "Hestia?" she gasps.

"Yes, Gabrielle," the Goddess replies. " I don’t know how to thank you. The form of being a mortal drove me mad, and I became the figure you knew as Marta the Steward. The embodiment of all that was evil in my position as Goddess of the Hearth and Family. Can you forgive me?"

Gabrielle babbles something before Hestia dissolves, but catches Ares flexing his hands and staring at Autolycus. She jumps between the two.

"Ares..." She states. "You owe me big time, and you still haven’t fulfilled your promise to your Chosen. I’m asking that you leave him alone." Then she turns to Auto, still speaking to Ares. "But only for what he’s already done. From here on in, if he screws up, he screws up on his own."

Autolycus whines, "What kind of protection is THAT?"

Aphrodite, now glowing with pleasure, comes over to ask: "Hey, sweetie? You had him. Why didn’t you ask for something like protection for your self or your honey?"

Gabrielle snorts. "Like he would have kept THAT promise..."

Ares saunters over "Speaking of Honeys..." he points to the door where 3 Xenas now stand. "Bit of overkill maybe, but I believe my job is done here." and he vanishes. Aphrodite gives Gabby a kiss saying, "I’d offer you a gift, but I see you have multiples of everything you need." She waits for a second. Ares reappears and grumbles, "You still have the keys." She smiles and they both evanesce.

Gabrielle is preoccupied with segregating the three Xena’s. "I know I should be getting better at this." she says. One Xena scratches her butt, the other looks shocked when Gabrielle’s stare lingers on her breasts. The last one just stands with her arm crossed. Gabrielle runs to her.

Horace and the Mayor look on gaping. The Mayor covers his son’s eyes and suggests, "Don’t worry son, there’s still that nice poet Sapho you’ve been writing to..."

Scene: fade

Camera pans to sky, there is a dissolve and the camera tracks downward through trees, finally holding over a campsite.

It is late night. Two women under skins, lying on their sweat slick backs, staring contentedly at the stars. No cigarettes are in evidence, and non-subtexters are figuring that they’ve just finished a heavy sparring session. Xena turns to Gabrielle and grins. "So how did you spend your summer vacation?"

"I told you. I don’t want to talk about it." There is a smirk on Xena’s face; Gabrielle seems slightly troubled. "Xena? You were supposed to figure out what to do about my father and Joxer."

"Tomorrow." Xena smiles. "Maybe tomorrow..."

Gabrielle relaxes and lays her head on her warrior’s shoulder. Music plays softly as crane shot moves gradually upwards until the fire is a small glowing spot in centre of trees.

Fade to black, but for some strange reason, no credits are super imposed.

Return to Main Page