The Characters from the TV show Xena do not belong to me and I will receive no dinars from this story, which is mine and mine alone.
These are my musings about the grand finale of Xena, my all time favorite show.
'It's a beautiful, sunny day. I wish I could enjoy it more, aargh...' Gabrielle stretched and winced. 'but, I'm sore in places I didn't know I had muscles.. We've been working for over a moon, repairing Joxer and Meg's inn. I never realized before that you use a totally different set of muscles for this kind of work than for sparring. I don't remember when I've been this tired and sore. But, we're almost done. Thank the gods. I think Xena is just about a kilo short of patience with chopping logs and hauling them up here to replace the burnt out wreckage caused by her battle with the gods. When Virgil found us in Athens, he said that Meg and his sisters wanted to return home and reopen the Inn, not knowing it was not much more than a burnt-out shell. If not for the storm that night, it might not be standing at all. So, here we are. It's actually much nicer than I remember it, especially without the shrine to us. Boy, was that embarrassing! Poor Joxer. I miss him. I've never had a truer friend, other than Xena. She misses him too. Well, back to work. Meg is expected in a few days and I don't think she wants to find us here after what Eve did to her husband. And, Xena's anxious to get back on the road. She never could tolerate staying in one place for too long.'
"Hey Gabrielle, if you're finished smelling the flowers would you hand me some more of that clay moss? I've got a hole here as round as my arm." Xena bellowed.
"I'm coming, I'm coming." Gabrielle yelled back.
Two days passed as the kitchen was restocked and the huge cooking hearth was repaired. The three friends enjoyed Gabrielle's venison stew and the sweet port they'd brought with them from Athens and, as a special treat on their last night with Virgil, Gabrielle made Xena's favorite cherry pastries.
"Mmmm, Gabrielle, this is bliss." Xena purred as she stuck her tongue inside the delicate confection and licked out more of the sweet filling.
Gabrielle watched with interest, realizing how long it had been since she and her partner had been alone and able to express their affection. She found herself anxious to leave in the morning for more reasons than to avoid upsetting Meg. "I'm glad you are enjoying it, Xena."
"Xena's right, Gabrielle. You cook almost as well as my Mom. And, that's saying something." Virgil said right before he shoved half a pastry into his mouth and grinned.
Gabrielle turned up her nose and grimaced at her friend's gluttonous display. "Yeah. Umm, thanks."
Xena suddenly stopped her chewing and stood at attention.
"What is it?" Gabrielle asked as she froze in place.
"We have company coming in fast on horseback. Virgil, you expecting anyone?" Xena said.
"No. But, it's probably someone who heard the Inn was reopening." Virgil offered.
"Well, they must be awfully hungry." Xena snarled as she headed out the front door.
As the figure approached, Xena recognized the silken garments as those indigenous to Chin. And, on closer look, recognized the daughter of her old friend and mentor, Lao Ma.
"Gabrielle." Xena said. "It's K'ao Hsin."
The bard looked closely and recognized her friend. "It is. What is she doing in Greece!?!"
The warrior and bard stood side by side as the small black horse stopped less than twenty paces from them and K'ao Hsin dismounted.
"It is a great joy to see you looking well, Gabrielle." The traveler greeted. "And, you, my sister." K'ao Hsin hugged Xena tightly to her breast and kissed her tanned cheek. "I have missed you, greatly."
Xena released her hug. "What brings you to Greece? How did you find us?"
"Your daughter, Eve, Messenger of Eli, told me where I might find Virgil and he would know where to find you." K'ao Hsin looked at the handsome young man standing behind her friends. "You must be him."
"Oh.., yeah. Um... Hi, I'm Virgil." The young man was struck by the delicate woman's beauty and fumbled to untie his tongue. He squeezed between Xena and Gabrielle to shake K'ao Hsin's hand.
Xena pushed Virgil out of her way, wanting to hear news of her daughter. "K'ao Hsin, tell me, is Eve alright? You wouldn't come all this way to pay a social call." Xena studied K'ao Hsin's face and felt her heart pounding in her chest.
"Your daughter sent me to bring you back to Chin to fight a terrible evil that she herself could not." K'ao Hsin averted her eyes from the intense stare of the Warrior Princess.
"K'ao Hsin, my daughter, is she..." Xena couldn't bring herself to speak the words.
"Yes. I am so sorry, my sister, but your daughter is dead. Killed by the warlord, Yieng, to prevent her spreading the message of peace to my people. She has many, many followers, Xena. She posed too big a threat to him."
"By the gods." Gabrielle took her partner's hand in hers.
"How? ..... How did she die?" Xena's question was barely a whisper.
K'ao Hsin sighed heavily and went on. "He had her captured, then executed in the city square, in front of her followers, as an example. She died bravely. She honors you."
Xena stood there, trembling with rage. "Gabrielle, we leave for Chin at first light. Pack our things. Virgil, go to Athens and arrange passage. Thank you, K'ao Hsin. I....." Xena shook the tears from her eyelashes, then marched off into the woods with Gabrielle close on her heels. She broke into a run, stomping her feet onto the hard ground with all of her might, on and on through the forest until each breath burned her lungs, soothing the ache in her heart.
Gabrielle kept her distance, but stayed close enough to keep her distraught partner in sight.
Xena stumbled, gulping in deep, pain-filled breaths. She pulled herself up by the bark of a nearby tree and continued on, brutally taxing her already tired body, trying to out-run the horrible blackness threatening to take over her soul. She ran, stumbling and cursing along her way, until she reached the edge of a fast moving river. Winded, her body and soul in agony, the once unbeatable Warrior Princess sank slowly to her knees releasing a mournful keening sound that ripped through the tender heart of her partner, bringing a sob to her throat as she watched and prayed to Eli to help her soul-mate through the pain.
"EVE! .....Oh, gods! Eeeeeeeeve!" Xena wailed as she clutched her womb, tears flowing down her beautiful face, contorted in agony. Heart-wrenching sobs tore through her entire being. She rocked back and forth upon her knees as Gabrielle carefully approached.
"Xena?" Gabrielle said, softly. "Xena, it's Gabrielle..... I'm here." The small bard knelt next to her suffering partner and reached a trembling hand to pet her back. "I'm so sorry." Gabrielle choked on the words, her heart breaking for the loss of the daughter she shared with the warrior, who knelt, broken before her.
Xena took a shuddering breath. "My children are dead, Solon and.....Eve. Why? ..... Why are they dead, Gabrielle? Is it me? Am I cursed by the gods? My children have suffered because I am their mother....." Xena clutched her abdomen again and sobbed.
Gabrielle pulled Xena's body to her own. "No.....Xena, it's not your fault. Eve had an important role to fulfill. She did not die in vain. We have to remember that it was her choice to spread the message of Eli. She could have turned her back on it, but she chose to be true to her way. We should be proud of her." Gabrielle kissed the dark head and stroked the tear streaked face. "We both have regrets about Solon, but he is in the Elysian Fields. He's happy, Xena."
Gabrielle leaned against a wide tree stump, shoulders sagging in emotional and physical exhaustion. Xena crawled between her soul-mates parted legs and allowed Gabrielle to hold and comfort her until blessed sleep took her to the land of Morpheus.
Gabrielle quietly wept as she remembered the birth of Eve, the feel of the tiny infant as she landed in her waiting arms, the awe and overwhelming love she felt as she handed Eve over to her mother. 'How did it come to this, Eve, this nightmare? Your mother needed you. When you left her to spread Eli's message in Chin, she accepted your choice but cried that night in my arms. How does she accept this? They say the dead can hear our thoughts. So, hear this. Your Mother is going to avenge your death. I am going to do everything I can to protect her, but I'm going to need your help. Don't let me down.'
Xena awoke, taking a minute to realize where she was and why she was lying upon Gabrielle in the middle of the forest in the middle of the night. "Oh gods! She's dead. My child is dead." The groggy warrior whispered out loud as she felt the weight of her grief heavy upon her shoulders. Quietly she pulled herself up to her feet and walked down to the water's edge, removed her clothing and slipped into the frigid surf. The fast-moving water awakened the warrior's body and erased some of her emotional and physical exhaustion. Her mind wandered through all her memories of her daughter, both good and bad, replaying the scene of the last time she saw her daughter alive. 'I should have gone with you. I could have protected you and you'd still be alive. It's all my fault.' "It's all my fault!" Xena exclaimed as she tore into the current and swam until she exhausted herself again.
Gabrielle felt the loss of Xena's warmth and searched for her. She sat at the edge of the river, watching her soul-mate work out her emotions, allowing her the space she needed. Xena finally swam up and smiled grimly. "Let's go pack and eat. I want to leave as soon as possible."
"Xena, I'm coming with you." Virgil insisted.
"No, you're not. We didn't work our butts off restoring your mother's inn for nothing. Your family needs you. Your place is here, my friend. I won't have your life on my conscience, too." Xena held Virgil's shoulders in her strong hands. "You are very brave; just like your father."
Virgil pulled away from Xena and swiped at the tears meandering down his handsome face.
The warrior shook her head, then lead the way for Gabrielle and K'ao Hsin onto the large sailing ship. They waved their goodbyes to Virgil as they left upon their journey.
The trip was uneventful, with the three women working as deck hands for their room and board. The work was strenuous and the days were long, but passed quickly. There was little time for talk, which Xena particularly appreciated.
While Gabrielle and K'ao Hsin slept deeply, night after exhausted night, Xena suffered from nightmares, wherein she watched her daughter being crucified in the city square by a demon in the form of the warlord, Yieng. She found herself pacing the decks and planning how she would execute her child's murderer, slowly and painfully, freeing the people of Chin from yet another monster.
"Xena, we are grieved at the loss of the Messenger, your beloved daughter. Please accept our deepest condolences." The new leader of the followers of Eli proffered. Xena nodded and quickly brought the subject around to strategy.
"I need to know where he is camped, how many are in his army and what weapons they are using. Do they have the black powder?"
"No. Praise the one god. They have many crossbows and catapults that shoot fire. There are maybe two hundred soldiers hidden in the hills beyond the eastern shore of the great sea."
"That's nearly a day's ride from here. They must not plan to attack any time soon. Probably Yieng thinks that, with Eve .....dead, he can just march his army into the city and take it. That's good. Tell me about Yieng. What is his relationship with his men? Who is second and third in command? Does he have more than one stronghold?" Xena rattled on.
"I can answer your questions, Xena." One of the refugees piped up. "I just returned from a scouting expedition. I have made a map of their camps. I know where Yieng sleeps. I could take you there." The young man claimed.
"Good. What is your name?" Xena inquired.
"I'll meet you here at first light, Rodhan. I want you to draw me a map of the camp. We can plan our attack then. Now, we'll need a place to sleep, and food."
"Follow me." Rodhan brought Xena and her friends to a modest hut, where furs were spread upon the ground, making a comfortable bed. There was a roaring fire in the center of the one room dwelling. "I'll have your food and drink sent in right away."
"Thank you, Rodhan." Xena answered and proceeded to remove her armor.
The three women made themselves comfortable and ate in absolute silence. Sensing the bard and warrior needed to talk, K'ao Hsin excused herself to go check on the condition of the refugees.
"How about some hot tea and honey to take the chill off, Gabrielle?" Xena asked, as she put the water over the fire, retrieved her saddlebags, and prepared the soothing treat. Then, she took her cup and busied herself, sharpening her sword.
Gabrielle walked up behind Xena, wrapped her arms around the leather clad waist and hugged tightly.
Xena stiffened. "What are you doing?"
"Loving you, Xena. Don't forget that I love you. Don't let your lust for revenge take you away from me." Gabrielle took a deep breath and lay her head on her partner's strong back.
"Please, don't do this to me, Gabrielle." Xena closed her eyes tightly and tried to pull away, but her soul-mate just tightened her hold and kissed the beauty mark on Xena's shoulder. "Oh, gods." Xena sighed. "I can't do this." Xena yanked out of her partner's embrace and ran out of the door into the brisk evening air. She didn't stop until she was sure she was out of range of curious eyes and ears, then sat upon a small boulder and let her tears flow freely.
'I have to stay focused. I have to hold onto the pain and the anger. I'll need it.' Xena told herself as she collected her wits about her and returned to the hut and a brooding bard.
Gabrielle was writing in a scroll when Xena returned. The warrior walked to where she'd dropped her sword and sharpening stone, sat facing away from her partner and proceeded with the nightly ritual.
Gabrielle's heart thudded in her chest. Anger raged in every fiber of her being and she was damned if she wasn't going to be heard. She quietly set aside her scroll and confronted her soul-mate from where she sat. "I loved her too."
Xena stopped, unsure of what she'd heard. "What...?"
"I said I loved Eve too. I delivered her into this world, changed her diapers, protected her from the Romans, and loved her like my own. And..., and....you just act as if I have no more feeling than that sword you're always tending, and it hurts, Xena...... I hurt...too." Gabrielle's face crumpled as she burst into tears and turned away from her partner.
"By the gods...., I'm such an ass." Xena scolded herself and lay down her sword, then quickly sat beside the sobbing bard. She took Gabrielle onto her lap and held her close. "I'm so sorry..... I've been so wrapped up in my own pain that I neglected yours. Please, forgive me, Gabrielle." A huge knot formed in the warrior's throat, preventing her from saying anymore, so she kissed and stroked her soul-mate's short blonde hair, offering comfort and understanding. She lay her down upon the sleeping furs and held her until they both entered the realm of Morpheus. It was the first peaceful sleep Xena had since she heard the tragic news of her daughter's death.
"Rodhan, do you think it possible to get behind Yieng's lines of defense and into his camp?" Xena asked as she looked over the map the young man had drawn for her.
"If we are few and stealthy, yes, I do. What is your plan?"
"I'm not sure yet. I'll have to actually see the lay out. But, from studying your map, I think we just may be able to kill this weed at its root." Xena smiled and patted Rodhan on the back. "Collect twenty of your best men. I want them armed with swords, knives and crossbows. And, Rodhan, no family men, if possible. Do you understand? I'll scout out ahead and meet you here," She pointed to an area on the map, " in these caves in seven candle marks."
The young man swallowed down his bile and nodded, solemnly.
"Good. Gabrielle will come with you." The warrior looked deep into Rodhan's dark eyes. "Keep her safe." Xena commanded; then, she grabbed her supplies and loaded them onto a horse that the young man provided.
"I will guard her with my very life." He bowed and watched as Xena galloped away.
Gabrielle awoke with a start, realizing by the level of the sun and the awful taste in her mouth that the tea Xena made her was laced with sleeping powder and she had overslept by several candle marks. Hurriedly, she collected herself and ran out to find Rodhan.
"Where is she?" Gabrielle demanded.
"She's gone on ahead. We are to meet her before nightfall and plan the attack." Rodhan explained, nonplused by the little woman's attitude. "You will come with us."
"How long ago did she leave?"
"Two candle marks. The men will be ready to leave shortly. We have a horse for you and you can share in our supplies."
"She's not going to wait for you. We have to leave right now." Gabrielle demanded.
"But....." Rodhan was completely puzzled.
"You don't get it, do you? Yieng killed her daughter. She wants revenge on her own terms. She intends to face him alone. We have to stop her. I'll need the fastest horse you've got..... Now!"
Rodhan quickly collected the supplies Gabrielle would need and set them upon his fastest steed. "Be safe, Gabrielle. We will be close behind."
Gabrielle galloped off, her horse's hoof beats mirroring those of her heart.
Xena circled the camp, comparing it to the map Rodhan provided her, until she found the lair of her prey. Noting that there were only three guards protecting Yieng's lavish tent, the warrior smiled, pleased with his arrogant belief in his own omnipotence.
Silently, she approached the rear of his tent. Using her boot dagger, she sliced through the animal hide like through sand, providing herself with a clear view of its inhabitant. Yieng sat upon colorful silk pillows, smoking what Xena recognized from her own past as an opiate. Her prey may not be so much of a challenge after all.
Stealthily she slid into the tent and up behind Yieng. She held her knife to his throat and hissed in his ear. "I would be very quiet if I were you. Though it's a lovely day to die and I am happy to oblige, I want to have a chat with you first." Xena ran the blade along his neck, the sharpened edge drawing a thin trickle of blood making the warlord wince at the sting of it.
"You must be insane." Yieng barked.
"Oh, I might be and with good reason." Xena sneered. "See, you took from me something that was very precious."
"Tell me what it is and I will replace it." Yieng offered.
Xena's eyes narrowed and waves of danger flowed from her. She pulled the blade slowly down the side of Yieng's face, enjoying the fear oozing from his pores. "I'm afraid what you took was irreplaceable..... Tell me, Yieng, do you have any children?"
"I have many children." He boasted.
"Mmmhmm. Do you love them?"
"I don't have to stand for this!" Yieng demanded.
"Oh, but you do. You see this is all about being a good parent. I tried to be a good Mother, but I let my daughter come to Chin alone. She came to spread Eli's words of love and peace and you murdered her." Xena spun Yieng around to face her and, gripping him tightly around the neck with her right hand, lifted him off the floor. "You killed my child, you bastard!"
Yieng struggled, making far too much noise, alerting the guards, who rushed to his aid. Xena was disappointed that she'd have to cut short her interrogation. She sliced his throat to the bone, then threw his carcass at the intruders with a roar.
The stunned guards hesitated a moment, giving Xena all the time she needed to dive through the slit in the tent and scramble into the trees, jumping from one to another in true Amazon style. The alarm sounded in the camp followed by a cacophony of noise and confusion. "I'd better get out of here and head off Rodhan's men before they march into a bee's hive."
Xena traveled through the trees to retrieve her horse and headed back toward the refugee village. She hadn't ridden far when Rodhan and his men came into view, but Gabrielle was nowhere in sight. Xena approached her new friend with all speed.
"There is a mess up there. I killed Yieng. Where is Gabrielle?"
"She went on ahead to stop you. You didn't see her?"
"Son of a Baccae! Come on." Xena spit out the words as she spun her horse around and headed back the way she came.
"I want you archers up on those rocks, keep far apart and deep in the shadows. Take out as many as you can without being seen. The men with the red scarfs are the Captains. Take them out first. Your people won't have to worry about Yieng's army with their leaders dead. Don't stay in one spot too long. Let's confuse them. Keep an eye out for Gabrielle. Rodhan, pick out your best two men at hand-to-hand combat and check the tents for Gabrielle." Xena commanded. "If you get her out, signal the others by tying a white scarf to a cross bow arrow and shoot it straight up in the air. Then everyone meet back at the village."
"Where will you be?" Rodhan asked.
Xena looked up. "The trees. Good luck, Rodhan."
"You too, Xena."
Quietly the men followed Xena's commands.
Gabrielle scampered over the high rocks in search of her partner, wishing she were more adept at traveling through the high trees, a talent never well honed.
'Where are you?' The young Amazon Queen searched without success. The obvious upset and confusion unfolding convinced her of Xena's recent appearance, but there was no sign of the Warrior Princess now. Finally deciding that her partner had made a hasty exit, she proceeded to do the same. She hopped into a massive old pine, slowly and carefully leaping from branch to branch away from Yieng's camp and toward her waiting horse, when movement below caught her eye. There were archers positioning across the rocks she'd just left. She searched below her but did not find her partner. Suddenly, the air was filled with arrows and the sound of screaming and running. Gabrielle felt like a sitting duck in the trees, but was loathe to journey further away knowing Xena had to be in that camp looking for her. She took a deep breath, jumped and rolled under some brush, then scampered back up the rocks, beside one of Rodhan's archers.
"Where is Xena?" She asked the stunned young man.
"She's in the camp looking for you. They are going tent to tent."
"Thanks." Gabrielle slid across the rough surface as she searched the camp below for a way to enter unseen.
From the trees above Xena could see Gabrielle dart into a tent that was far from the confusion below. She somersaulted from her perch and ran as fast as she could to intercept her.
Gabrielle was knocked to the ground, a large hand covering her mouth and nose so she could make no sound. She struggled briefly before familiar sultry tones tickled her ear. Her heart filled with relief and she let herself be dragged from the tent and helped up into the trees. The two women quietly traversed the pines away from the fighting until they felt safe enough to speak, then hugged each other tightly.
"You left me behind. Why do you do that?" Gabrielle was obviously furious.
Xena sighed. "I didn't know what was going to happen. I wanted you to be safe."
"You mean you didn't want me to stop you from killing Yieng..... Xena, he killed Eve. He deserved to be punished. I just didn't want to lose you in the process. Do you understand?"
"Yeah..... I do..... I'm sorry, Gabrielle." Xena held her partner close and kissed the golden hair of her head. "I'll go signal the men that you're safe. Wait here."
"Not a chance, Warrior Princess." Gabrielle stated, leaving no room for argument.
Xena shook her head in defeat. "Then let's go. But be careful. Yieng's men will be shooting at anything that moves."
"You fools!" Yahtsi exclaimed. "You are playing right into their hands." He grabbed his father's second in command and shoved him to the ground. "Go find your Captains, if there are any left, and tell them to move their men into the trees before they are all slaughtered. Wait for my instructions there."
"It will be done."
"I will find the she-demon who killed my father myself." Yahtsi grabbed his double cross bow and quiver filled with arrows and snuck out of Yieng's tent through the gash left by his father's assassin. With the grace of a cat he took to the trees, careful to dodge the stray arrows passing dangerously close behind.
In the shadows of the high rocks, Rodhan's men were running low on arrows and waited patiently to make every one count. They were puzzled when the camp no longer returned their fire and their targets disappeared into the trees. Before they could ponder the situation further, an arrow raised high into the air with a long white scarf flowing from it.
"It's the signal. She's found her. Let's get out of here." One of the archers proclaimed. They all scurried toward their horses and fled back toward the village and safety.
Xena and Gabrielle continued to travel through the trees toward the horses. They couldn't travel as quickly as Xena would like due to the bard's obvious lack of prowess at leaping from branch to branch without losing her balance and plunging to the straw covered ground below. Xena would go first, wait, ready to catch her partner if need be, then continue on. She made certain Gabrielle had a good hold onto the branch above her head before she turned to somersault onto the next tree when she felt the searing pain of the cross bow bolt. With inhuman strength, Xena managed to reach the other tree and scamper behind it as she looked about for the archer.
"XENA!!!" Gabrielle screamed in horror, then watched as another arrow darted past her partner, missing her by less than a fingers width. She heard the cock of the crossbow's mechanism, then the swirl of Xena's chakram. Not knowing what else to do, she lay down on the large branch upon which she stood, making herself a smaller target and protecting her chest. The bolt hit with enormous force, nearly knocking her from her high perch to certain death below. The pain in her hip burned like fire and brought tears to her eyes.
Xena watched helplessly as the arrow hit her partner. She tried to scream but she could not take a deep breath without intense pain. Only her need to protect Gabrielle kept her from welcoming the blackness that would free her from it.
Gabrielle was terrified as she watched Xena slide down from branch to branch, the macabre site of the arrow sticking out from her chest sending waves of nausea through her. 'This can't be happening. Xena!'
The felled Warrior Princess dropped from the lower branches onto the soft ground and lay still.
Yahtsi cautiously approached the assassin, sword at the ready. He kicked at the woman who's life's blood poured from the wound he had inflicted. "You killed my father. Now, you die."
Gabrielle watched in disbelief as their enemy raised his sword above his head and swung.
He didn't see it coming. He only felt the pain for an instant as the boot dagger plunged into his heart. He stumbled back, a look of shock and disbelief on his face. He was dead before his body hit the ground.
Xena smiled a feral grin as she heard his body hit the ground. Fighting the lack of air and the awful pain in her chest, she struggled, shakily, to her feet and to the base of the tree where Gabrielle lay holding on for dear life. "Gabrielle, how bad are you hurt?"
"It's my hip. By the gods, it hurts." Tears stung the bard's eyes again.
"I'm coming to help you down. Hold on." Xena took her knife and cut off the cross bow bolt, the pain nearly bringing her to her knees. She hungrily sucked in air, and with all the courage and strength left in her, began climbing up to help her injured friend. She reached the branch Gabrielle lay upon and rested.
"How bad is it?" Gabrielle asked.
"It will heal. But not for a long time, I think. I'm going to lower you to the next branch. Give me your hands." Gabrielle did as she was bade and the process was repeated until she lay upon the cool soft straw below.
Xena sat on the branch she'd just lowered her partner from, leaning her head against the cool bark, pain shooting through her chest and arms like hot pokers. The darkness swam around her and she knew as sure as she knew her love for Gabrielle was eternal that she could fight it no longer.
Xena's eyes focused upon a vision dressed in white robes tied with a golden belt, and a garland of fresh spring flowers in her hair. "Eve?"
"Hi Mom! Gosh, I'm glad you're home. I've been waiting for you all day." The little boy dived into his mother's arms.
"Solon? Oh...Solon." Xena held her son to her breast and kissed his sweet head.
Eve helped the slightly dazed woman to her feet and they hugged and kissed wet cheeks. "Welcome home, Mother."
Xena looked around her at the beautiful garden that seemed to go on forever. "Where are we?"
"The Elysian fields, Heaven, Nirvana. It has many names." Eli's voice was soft and melodious, riding on the breeze.
"I'm in Heaven!?!" Xena exclaimed in disbelief.
"It's alright, Mother. You've earned the right to be here..... for eternity." Eve explained.
"Yes, my friend. You and your children and, someday, Gabrielle." Eli reassured.
"Gabrielle? She's hurt. She needs me." Xena's joy turned to worry for her soul-mate.
"Yes, she does. And, you can go to her for one last time, to say goodbye. Fear not, my friend. You and your partner will be reunited. But, for now, comfort her. For, she must survive to lead the villagers in the way of peace and love."
"Xena?" Gabrielle watched as her soul-mate's eyes closed and she slowly listed to the right and toppled to the ground. "Xena!?!" The bard crawled to her soul-mate's side and lay her head upon the stilled chest. There was no sound, no reassuring heart beat. Just emptiness, the shell of what was once her most precious partner. "No.....Xena!!! Gabrielle wailed in agony. You can't leave me. I can't live without you... Xena!!!" She sobbed, pulling the lifeless form into her shaking arms.
"I'm here, Gabrielle." Xena's soft, sultry tones were heard over the din of the bard's sobs. The distraught woman raised her head toward the sound and saw the Warrior Princess standing before her in glowing white robes, flanked by Eve and Solon.
"Xena?" Gabrielle muttered as she wiped the tears from her eyes.
"It's me, Gabrielle. I'm in the Elysian Fields with my children. I'm so happy, Gabrielle. Please don't grieve for me. It was my time. When it is yours I will come for you."
"Please, Xena, I don't want to live without you." Gabrielle entreated the spirit before her.
"But, I'll always be with you, Gabrielle. You won't see me but you'll feel me near. And, soon, we'll be together again. Our souls are destined to be together. You know that. But, for now, Eli wants you to help his people."
"I don't care about what Eli wants. I want to be with you. I love you, Xena." Gabrielle struggled to her feet.
"And, I want to be with you. But, we must wait. And you do care about Eli's way. I know you do. So, does he. That's why he chose you." Xena approached Gabrielle and took her into strong arms.
Gabrielle was surprised that Xena felt solid and warm and could even smell her spicy scent. "I can feel you. How is that possible?"
"Let's just say I called in a favor..... I love you, Gabrielle. I will always love you." Xena tilted the bard's head up and kissed her gently, yet passionately, with all the love in her heart.
"Oh no." Rodhan fell to his knees at the side of his fallen friend and leader.
Xena's spirit faded and Gabrielle collapsed to the ground, unconscious.
"Here! They're here!" Rodhan called out to his two companions. The men ran up and stopped short at the sight of the two women lying upon the forest floor.
"Xena is dead. Gabrielle is injured.
We'll take them both back to the village. We have to give Xena the burial
she deserves..., a hero's burial." Rodhan wiped a tear from his eye. "Thank
you, Xena. My people will honor your name for generations to come."
May 5, 2001
What are your views?
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