This is a pre-story to my Fin Story. It was inspired by the History Channel and as I watched the show I thought; “Hmmm, that might be an interesting story.” So what ever way you feel about this tale blame the History Channel.
Disclaimer; I of course do not have any rights to Xena or Gabrielle they belong to many corporate and shadowy figures in the business. I am just borrowing them for a little while.
Gabrielle arrived from Japan by boat to her homeland of Greece . Xena had died in Japan and yet her spirit was still with Gabrielle. Xena seemed to be able to come to Gabrielle, she could even make herself visible to only her or others at her will. It was a great comfort to the battling bard as she descended the boat holding tightly to Xena's urn feeling the great warrior near by.
“Well Xena, we're home,” she said as she stretched and threw her carry-all over her shoulder and started down the road to Athens . “I want to stay in Athens at a nice inn for a few days. I think a bit of rest is in order after the hell we have just been through.”
Xena's spirit appeared next to her, she was walking beside her with a slight smile on her face. “I think that is the perfect idea. You need to rest for a while.”
“I think I just said that.”
“I know that is where I heard it.”
“I learned from the best.”
*** *** *** ***
Gabrielle was fast asleep in her camp on the way to Athens . She woke to the sound of something moving in the woods just outside of camp. Her eyes opened and she reached for the chakram. Xena appeared beside her and her eyes moved toward the right. Gabrielle nodded and quietly got ready to strike.
The intruder slowly approached the camp. Suddenly Gabrielle leapt in front of her stalker. She was just about to threaten him with the chakram when she recognized the face in front of her. She knew him, she knew him very well.
“Wiglaf! What are you doing in Greece ?”
“Nice welcome, my friend.”
“That is what you get when you sneak up on a girl.”
“Cute, really cute. Where is Xena?”
Gabrielle looked down at the urn by her bedroll; tears once more stung her eyes. She cleared her throat and could not answer him right away. The spirit of Xena appeared only to her soul mate and gently put her hand on her shoulder. Gabrielle felt the warmth of the touch and was grateful. She placed her hand on Xena's and replied; “She died in Japan . I came home to rest and bring the ashes to lie with her mother and brother.”
Wiglaf walked to her and drew into her a sweet hug of comfort. “I am so very sorry, Gabrielle.”
He pulls back and sighs. Gabrielle looks up to him and asks, “What brings you all the way to Greece ?”
“He sent you?”
“No, he has decided to go on a suicide mission…he is not…well, he is not himself. He is going up against a monster…”
“What do you mean? He is not himself? What monster, there is no Grindle, what can you be talking about…”
“Well, when our king passed away, Beowulf inherited the title. He was the next noble in line and everyone was overjoyed because he is such a good man. He has done very well, everyone loves him and he has done very well for our country…”
“What, go on? You can tell me.”
“He was doing very well, but the God Loki turned him into an old man. He is a trickster and both Thor and Odin can not turn him back. Now a great dragon, one of Loki's pets, is destroying village after village. Slowly but surely he is going to destroy the whole kingdom.”
“So Beowulf is going after the dragon and then Loki?”
“Yes, I made him promise to wait till I came back with you and Xena.” He looked heartbroken. “Now, I don't know what I am going to do…I…”
“No, Gabrielle...” said both Wiglaf and Xena's spirit.
Steely green eyes met them both, “Don't argue with me. I have earned this. You know that.” She was speaking to them both but she was looking at Xena.
Shocked by her new steel, but knowing her as a very determined woman, he nodded. “If you say so…”
“I say so. Let's go.”
*** *** *** ***
As Gabrielle and Wiglaf headed back to the harbor to take Beowulf's ship back to his Kingdom of Geats , Xena appeared again only to her soul mate's eyes.
“Are you out of your mind?! A dragon and Loki? He is a God!”
Gabrielle gave her friend a look and shrugged.
“You tell Wiglaf to go scout ahead.”
Gabrielle's lips thinned and she shook her head no.
Xena gave her an exasperated look and walked ahead to Wiglaf and whispered in his ear. He stopped dead in his tracks and turned to his friend and said, “You know what? I just got an idea I think it would be good to scout ahead. You wait here, ok?”
“Gabrielle looks a bit disgusted but nodded.
“Why are you so upset? I am a scout; it has nothing at all to do with your warrior skills.”
“I know, go ahead. I'll set up the camp.”
“Thanks, I should not be gone too long.” Gabrielle nodded again as he took off. Once he was out of ear shot, she spun around to where she knew the warrior was with her hands on her hips.”
“What did you do?”
Xena shrugged with a smirk, “I just made a suggestion.”
“You are worrying me. Why are you taking on this mission? You know how dangerous this is. We both almost died last time…I…”
“I want to help, Beowulf. He did save both of us last time. Warrior code.”
“Yes he did. You know I appreciate him and cherish his friendship. You, however, just went through hell and I won't let you face that so soon…”
“You are not going to change my mind. I love you but I know my own heart and mind. You know that. Are you going to support me or hinder me?”
“I will always support you, you know that…”
“Yes, I do. Yes, I am very tired…and yes, I am still in mourning for you, but I know I can help them. I feel it in my soul.”
They stared deeply into each other's eyes. Xena lowered her head and sadly nodded.
**** **** ****
The journey north was miserable all the way to Geats. As they disembarked from the ship a worried Wiglaf asked, “Are you sure you're up to this? You look sick.”
“Yes, I'm fine. I am just not a good sailor.”
“I will be fine, I promise.”
“Ok, if you're sure.”
“Yes, I am fine.”
“Ok, we are going to head to the castle first. It will be us, the King and five other warriors that were hand picked by him.”
Xena whispered in Gabrielle's ear, “When you meet with Beowulf suggest that it is just you and he that face Loki before you go after the dragon.” Gabrielle looks surprised but nods.
Wiglaf accepted the nod as her understanding of what they were up against. “We will be at the castle in 20 minutes. You can recover from the voyage, ok?”
“That's fine. Thanks.”
*** *** *** ***
As they entered the large castle, Gabrielle was surprised by the change. It was so dark, all the windows were draped and there were only a few candles in entry hall.
“Why is it so dark in here?”
“The king does not want to even have a chance of viewing his reflection in the glass of a window. He had all the mirrors removed and even the pots have been blackened so he can not see himself.”
Wiglaf turned stopped and looked at her saying softly, “He also can't stand sympathy. Especially from you Gabrielle.”
“I am sure you remember how he feels about you.”
She blinked and said, “Still?”
“Yep, he says he will always love you. He knows you love Xena and he accepts that. It won't change his feelings. So please don't say anything like that to him. Just treat him as you always have.”
They entered the main chamber from the ante-chamber and the King's back was to them. From the back he was still the same man. The same size and shape, but when he turned Gabrielle had to steel herself not to react. He was a withered old man.
His eyes brightened and looked just like they used to when he saw her. His voice was slow and gravely and she had to strain to hear him. “Gabrielle, you're here!”
He came right to her and hugged her, and she returned it though she felt him shaking slightly with emotion and age he felt the same. He was still solid and warm. When they pulled back and she looked into his bright eyes she could see the reflection of the man she knew.
“Gabrielle, thank you so much for coming. Where is Xena?”
Gabrielle's face fell as it always did and said softly, “She is dead.”
“Yes, she died in Japan .”
“But why did you come alone? Didn't Wiglaf tell you what we are up against?”
“Yes, don't worry. After what I just went through in Japan I can handle this.”
“Oh? It was that bad?”
“Worse than I can tell you. I …never thought I would go through anything like it. It made going after the Grindle feel like my childhood.”
“I am so sorry to hear that. I am sorry you went through that and on top of it lost your soul mate. I am sure Wiglaf told you what happened to me. None of the other Gods can help me. They have tried. We lost 4 Valkerie in one of the battles. It will only be us against the Dragon and a God. Are you sure…?”
“Yes, I am. I would like to talk strategy with you.”
“Yes, I think you and I should go see Loki alone and then we all will go after the dragon. Wiglaf can lead the men to watch the dragon and keep him in his lair while we have a chat with this God.”
”You still have his sword don't you? Wiglaf told of us of your exploits since we left. So you stole his sword and he did this to you in revenge.”
“Yes, it is what started it.”
“So we will use the sword to lure him to his cave. Then we will confront him.”
She shrugged and gave him a disarming smile. “I have no idea, yet.”
*** *** *** ***
“So how will this work?” Gabrielle asked Xena when they were in the sleeping chamber that Wiglaf had escorted them to.
“Loki will have heard of me and my reputation. We just won't let him know I am dead.”
“So he is thinking he is facing the Xena the God Killer. I guess that will work but both Wiglaf and Beowulf know you're dead...”
We will have Wiglaf with the other men out side the lair of the dragon and we will go alone to the cave. You will have a private chat with the King, and I know Beowulf. He will be able to handle it.”
“I see. Then while you have him all distracted we will back you up with whatever physical action we can.”
“Yes, but we have to be subtle, I would prefer we use intimidation then if need be. You and Beowulf can attack, but I am hoping that you won't have to do anything but appear to be back up.”
“You make it all sound so simple.”
“Gabrielle, that really sounds simple to you?”
Gabrielle merely smiled at her friend.
**** *** *** ***
Wiglaf was sent ahead to the dragon to await their signal with the four soldiers as soon as they were gone, Xena appeared to Beowulf.
“You look so solid.”
“I am not sure why I do, but I think it is the way I died in Japan . It gave me a control over my spirit. But I only have a certain amount of time I can appear this way, so we'd better get moving.”
“I feel bad leaving Wiglaf and the others by that beast.”
“Don't worry,” said Xena. “The dragon won't attack. He will wait for his master's call and we will keep him too busy and confused to do it. Besides, I think it is better that only we approach him. It will seem more appropriate to a mind like his.”
“I suppose so,” replied Beowulf as they approached the cave the God was staying in to direct his pet in his rampage. Once all the worthy soldiers and townspeople are in Valhalla , he would be able to take what he will from the land itself.
Until Beowulf approached the Gods, they had no knowledge of this. He was too crafty for them. After they tried to help the King, Loki tricked them to the point that they were now unable to leave Valhalla . It was now one way the dead go up, but the Gods could not come down till Loki removed his curse. And he wasn't about to do that.
They silently approached the guard, while Gabrielle and Beowulf got ready for the attack. They were easy pickings. Though Xena itched to get into the fight, she was proud of her love for each swift fight move she made and it took no time at all for the four men to be bound and gagged.
Xena signaled, and they slowly approached the opening of the cave. There was no one else in sight. As they entered, they were startled to see this evil God. He looked like an old balding man sitting at table writing. Xena was not fooled. He was a famous trickster and she was on full alert. Forewarned, so was Gabrielle, and after feeling his wrath Beowulf could only feel pure anger when he looked at him.
Xena walked in and leaned against a wall. She met Gabrielle's eyes and she knew she was ready with her part of the plan.
“Ah, the famous black haired Valkyrie of Odin's. I hear you are now a killer of Gods. Why didn't you take out Odin and Thor?”
“Odin and I have an understanding, and Thor was not here when I had the ability. Now I see someone who I am delighted to kill.” She said staring at the God with her most evil stare.
“I? I am merely a servant.”
“Yeah right, like I am a mere farm girl.”
“I see.” He suddenly saw Gabrielle and Beowulf. His eyes narrowed. “Why are you here with this loser?”
“He is my friend, which is why you're the target of the killer of gods.” She said crossing her arms.
“I? I had nothing to do with his transformation, though I am very happy about it since he stole my sword.”
Beowulf growled and made a move toward Loki. Gabrielle put a hand out and whispered, “No, stick to the plan.”
The god watched the interaction coldly thought he could not hear what they said he sneered, “Even as an old man you can still capture a pretty maid.”
“Wrong,” said Gabrielle.
“She is with me; he is our friend, now as for you…” She walked toward him. He stood up and backed away.
Loki was a coward; he backed up and put his arms up to cover his head. Suddenly a chakram was whizzing around the room. He had not seen Gabrielle bring it out from under her cape and throw it. All he knew was what it was that it could kill him.
He started to run from wall to wall and the chakram followed him. Xena merely watched and so did Gabrielle with a smirk. Loki was running wildly yelling, “Stop it!!!!”
Xena chuckled and asked, “Why?”
“I will reverse the curse!”
“Then do it already.”
He was now running around trying to avoid the flying killing sphere. Gabrielle and Beowulf were safely in the opening and Xena was safely leaning against the wall by the entrance. They just watched, amused. Xena, however, knew she could not remain visible much longer and knew that the God needed to restore her friend and take his pet home before she faded.
Suddenly Loki spoke in an ancient Viking language saying, “Bring the king to himself!” and he pointed at Beowulf.
When struck by the spell Beowulf fell backwards against a wall. Gabrielle dropped beside him. When she turned him over, she watched him transform to his correct age. He was groggy, but fine.
Gabrielle smiled and reached out for the chakram which, after one more pass by Loki, came right to her hand.
Xena then said, “Now call off the beast or I will have my partner send the chakram back to finish the job.”
Crying, the now pitiful god nodded and said softly in the same ancient language, “Go home my pet.”
“Thanks. Now, if I were you I'd leave this land for a long, long time because Thor wants your head. I would go to another Universe because there is no where you can hide here.”
The god was shaking all over and looked at the now restored Beowulf. Then he looked at Gabrielle who was holding the chakram ready to release it. He nodded and said, “You are right, Warrior. I think I will leave for few centuries.”
“Forever,” said Xena.
“Fine then Forever.” Then in a flash of fire he was gone. A few minutes later after she made sure the evil god was really gone forever, Xena smiled lovingly to Gabrielle and then vanished.
“Is she gone forever too?”
“No, she just can't stay visible. She is still here,” said Gabrielle knowingly because she felt the warrior put soft arms around her middle from behind her.
*** *** *** ***
“So all that is here is her spirit?” asked Wiglaf as he stood by his now restored king.
Gabrielle's eyes filled with tears and she nodded. She felt a warm hand fall on her shoulder. “She is with me all the time but yes, she is a spirit. It is the way she died in Japan .”
“I am so grateful to you both, but I am also so sorry, “said the King
‘Thanks so much, my friend. What is important is that you're restored back to normal so you can rule the land with the kindness I know you have. And the evil God and his pet are gone for a long, long time.”
“Yes, but Gabrielle…”
He nodded, but she could read the sorrow in his eyes. “I understand.”
Gabrielle walked to her friend and hugged him then walked to Wiglaf and hugged him. She pulled back from Wiglaf and looked into his eyes and whispered, “Take good care of your King.”
“Always,” he whispered back.
She smiled at the two men and left feeling her partner beside her.
“She seems so alone, “said Wiglaf.
“She is,” replied the King sadly.
*** *** ***
Gabrielle was in a state room on a ship that was bringing her back home to Greece . She was looking out of the porthole and she felt her partner behind her.
“You saved him, Xena.”
“He is such a kind man.”
“Yes, he is. That is why he is our friend.”
“Where are we going now?”
“ Egypt .”
Xena stroked her cheek, “Good Choice.”