Disclaimers: See Part One.
They slowly made their way deeper into the cavern; bodies tense; hands on their weapons; ready for anything. Hectate and Xena were leading, with Varia and Eve in the middle, Hades Aphrodite and Apollo taking up the rear. Odin and his Valkyires followed behind at a distance.
Mars (smirking): So the Warrior Bitch is near. What do you say Ares? Dangle the little blonde in front of her like a fish?
Ares (shaking his head): I have a better idea (patting his sword.) Give her an offer she won’t refuse (laughing evilly. Inside he was praying Xena would see that he was no threat and just follow his lead. He knew he didn’t have much time left and hoped it wasn’t too late.)
Gabrielle’s head reeled back from the punch to her face; blood ran freely from the various open wounds and her body felt like it was on fire. Again, she wondered how a Goddess could suffer pain.
Loki (walking around her): Now for the fun part. You’re whore will come running in here and she’ll have a choice. Surrender the Chakram or watch you die slowly and painfully. We both know what she’ll choose. Don’t we.
Gabrielle (shaking her head; the throbbing was horrendous): She’ll save me and send your sorry ass to hell (she nearly doubled over to the punch to her gut if not for the chains holding her.)
Loki (grabbing a fistful of her hair): She’ll choose the greater good over you, again…
Ares (walking in, the sight of Gabrielle suffering and in pain bothered him, because he could see things so clearly now): Be careful. Don’t underestimate Xena.
Loki (turning to face him): You would know. You don’t have much longer, Ares.
Ares (walking closer): I know. Nevertheless, I’ll have my satisfaction (grabbing Gabrielle’s face cruelly) and I’ll watch Xena suffer as I did all these years (shoving Gabrielle back.)
Xena (tensing and holding up her hand): We should be there. There are guards up ahead.
Varia (kneeling next to her): So Eve and I will run in create a distraction while you go in and kick some ass. With help of course.
Xena (nodding): Hades will go with you. Be careful, no chances.
Odin (pointing): Keep an eye on things.
Xena watched as the group split up; it seemed to easy. She cocked her head listening; stretching her senses; wondering where her soul mate was.
Apollo (watching the activity in front of them): If the four of us split up, we could move faster.
Hectate (agreeing): But whoever finds her (hearing Xena growl) well yes make sure you get her the antidote quickly.
Aphrodite (looking at the pouch by her side): Let’s go get Gabrielle.
They moved forward watching and listening. Counting the guards, they figured the odds were as even as they were going to get.
Eve (kneeling down and pulling a few smoke bombs out of her pack): Let’s give them a run for their dinars.
Hades (taking a few): Be careful.
Varia (kissing her lover softly): Meet you back here.
The smoke bombs bought them some time to run in there and dispatch a few of the guards. They would continue down the cavern looking for Gabrielle or get the information and leave.
Xena (swinging her sword around knocking down another opponent): Is that the best you can do?
Aphrodite (ducking): Hey, watch the hair (as an arrow nearly missed.) And watch the nails (kicking a guard in the chest.)
Xena (dispatching the last of the guard and looking at Aphrodite): You ok (a nod.) Good, come on this way.
Hectate (placing her sword near the guard’s throat): Where is she?
Guard (stammering): Don’t know…
Apollo (listening): We have more guards coming.
Hectate (nodding): If we use our powers then he’ll know we’re here.
Apollo (raising his sword): I think he already does (pointing to a bright flash of light.)
Mars (smirking): Welcome. I hope you enjoyed your visit because it will be the last thing you see.
Hectate (closing her eyes and raising her staff): Maybe, maybe not. Enough of the party tricks. Let’s do this.
Apollo (yelling): Where’s my daughter?}
Mars (laughing evilly; egging him on): In pieces, somewhere.
Xena (running in): She had better not be, for your sake.
Eve (ducking a blow to her head and kicking him in the chest): Dammit, there’s too many and they keep on coming (ducking as a body flew over her head.) Ah, the reinforcements have arrived.
Brunhilda (yelling and slamming the hilt of her sword into a guard’s head): You and Varia get out of here. There’s too many of them (dodging a sword thrust.)
Eve (shaking her head): Not without Gabrielle (running to her lover as she fell from a hit in the head.) Varia (screaming) dam you, get off her (punching one guard in the face and another in the knee.) Get the fuck off her (pushing another aside with a crack to the jaw.)
More Valkyrie came running in, their orders to protect Eve and Varia. Odin bellowing and sending a few guards aside with a flash bolt.
The cavern shook from the impact of the various God’s powers.
Xena (kneeling on Mars chest): Where is she (shaking the blood and sweat out of her eyes?)
Aphrodite (shoving a guard aside): Where are they coming from (ducking as someone swiped at her head with a mace) you know I don’t like this fighting thing, it’s dirty, ouch, hey no touching until you take me out to dinner (as a guard tried to grab her; she turned around and punched him) ouch that hurt. How do you do that?
Apollo (standing up and pointing): Now we have a problem (as Ares and Loki walked in.)
Aphrodite (wide eyed): And here comes the reinforcements along with more trouble.
Xena (holding her sword against Mars throat): Call them off (growling) before I slice him in two.
Loki (laughing): I hold the cards Xena, put down the sword or you‘ll never find her. All the weapons here have been dipped in the Titan’s tears. You lose Xena.
Xena (snarling): Call off the dam guards and maybe we can make a deal.
Mars (tensing): Come on Goddess kill me but it won’t save your friend (his head reeled back from the punch to his face.)
Xena (angrily): Let her go and you can have your plaything back.
Ares (twirling his sword): Xena he’s serious. He wants your Chakram in exchange for Gabrielle.
Xena (tightening her grip): No let her go and I let him go.
Hectate (looking around): You’re surrounded Loki and your guards, well as much fun as they were, they’re outnumbered and outclassed.
Loki (closing his eyes): No. (Looking intently at Varia and Eve) Varia, Eve’s intended. And Eve the former Empress of Rome, Livia. Varia you remember what she did to your sister? To the Amazons…
Xena (glancing at Varia): Don’t listen to him. Remember he is the god of tricks and illusions.
Varia (falling to her knees; images and screams of her sister and the Amazons dying in battle against the Romans; Livia standing there stained in blood): No…
Eve (kneeling down, reaching for her): Varia no. We’ve been down this road don’t listen to him. (Rubbing her back) please for us. He’s using you against us.
Loki (smiling): And you two (pointing to Aphrodite and Apollo) she destroyed your family. Your husband, all to protect these two, whom you’ve befriended.
Hades (moving in front of Aphrodite and Apollo): She was defending her family. I’ve accepted that, we’ve accepted that.
Ares (trying to get Xena’s attention): Xena, give me your word you’ll walk out of here and leave us alone…
Xena (struggling against her baser instincts to let loose): No. Varia come on fight him dammit. You love her. You’ve been over this. Don’t let the hatred win Varia.
Loki (concentrating): Love over hate after she destroyed your village; enslaved or raped your fellow Amazons. Killed your sister in cold blood.
Hades (grabbing Varia by the shoulder): No Varia. No. That was Livia, not Eve, not the woman you love.
Varia (struggling; sweating; part of her wanted to react; to lash out against the woman in front of her; the other part; the one who loved Eve fought for control): I (looking up into pain filled blue eyes) dam you, you killed so many of my Amazon sisters, my flesh and blood (drawing her sword.)
Hades (moving closer): Varia drop the sword.
Aphrodite (pleading): Put it down Varia.
Loki (laughing): I win. Either way I win.
Xena watched in horror as she started to move; watching as Varia raised her sword to Eve’s throat. Aphrodite and Apollo moving closer. Odin ordering the Valkyries to keep an eye on Loki. The grip on her dagger tightening as she pushed the blade into Mars throat. Hectate was gone and Ares, Ares was standing there calmly.
Gabrielle shook her head, one more good pull and she would be free. A dark flash of light in front of her and she tensed.
Hectate (smiling): Left the party out there. Came to find you. Xena’s in trouble and so is everyone else here (raising her hand and removing the manacles around Gabrielle’s wrists.)
Gabrielle (stumbling forward): What’s wrong?
Hectate (catching her before she fell; holding up the container): Long story but this will help. You need to stay strong though (handing her the vial.) Your will to live must be strong.
Gabrielle (sipping the concoction): Ugh. Thank you. Where’s Xena?
Hectate (softly): In the middle of a jam. Loki is using his tricks and powers to defeat her and he’s using Varia’s memories of Livia against her.
Gabrielle (weakly): Well then let’s go.
Hectate (grabbing her shoulder gently): Gabrielle you need rest. You going in there like this, battered and bruised well it could distract Xena and cost us all.
Gabrielle (determined): Or it could be the catalyst needed to beat these bastards.
Hectate (shaking her head): Thor needs time to ready the eye of Hephaestus. We need time to draw them out.
Gabrielle (fighting dizziness): And she needs me.
Hectate (nodding in understanding): That she does. And you need her. All right lean on me and let’s go find your partner.
Ares (holding his side): Xena give up. Take your family and leave. Give him the Chakram and walk away.
Xena (concentrating on the battles surrounding her): Varia put the sword down.
Mars (getting his arm loose; reaching up and punching her; knocking her back): Should have concentrated on a fight worth winning Xena (grabbing his dagger) now (leaning down and reaching for the Chakram at her side) you lose.
Xena (tensing): I don’t think so (watching as realization dawned on him. The Chakram at her side wasn’t real just a wooden copy.)
Loki (howling): Where is it?
Eve (reaching inside her cloak): Right here you coward, you lose.
Loki (holding his hand out toward Varia). Kill her. Kill the one who decimated your people.
Varia (shaking her head): No, love wins over hate. You lose. No one and I mean no one will ever use me against my partner.
Loki (angrily): But I thought…
Aphrodite (smirking): Love is stronger then hate. We were prepared for your tricks and illusions. We all knew what we were getting into.
Apollo (moving beside his sister): And we were ready.
Mars (ducking as Xena reached up to punch him): Now tell me where is she.
Mars (kicking her in side): In pieces, hopefully…
Gabrielle (materializing): No right here (her wounds had started to heal and she was feeling better; of course seeing her partner helped, a lot.)
Loki (stunned): How? No matter (raising his arms) you’ll all die (sneering. His hands glowed; his body shook and raised off the floor several feet; a loud roaring noise filled the cavern and a strong violent picked up from nowhere.)
Odin (yelling above the noise): Everyone out.
Xena (listening hearing the stone’s crack; this was getting too close): Move, move, get out.
Gabrielle (looking across the cavern; the ceiling looked unstable and Xena was the furthest one from the exit): Xena…
Aphrodite (grabbing her arm): Come on little one…
Apollo (pushing Eve and Varia ahead of them): All of us are weakened from the battle we need to move.
Eve (turning around and looking at her mother; running; her legs stretching; not enough time dammit; then seeing Gabrielle break free of Aphrodite’s and Hades hold): No. Dammit no…
Varia (remembering her promise and pulling her lover along with her): Eve I made a promise…
Hectate (pushing them both forward): They’ll make it…
Hades (ducking as some of the rocks fell in): Oh Gods, Gabrielle what the Tartarus are you doing (glancing as Gabrielle made a mad dash around debris and falling rock to help her partner who was struggling to stay up right.)
Xena (fighting to keep her balance; someone got a few lucky hits in and she was feeling it; her strength ebbing; her body fighting): Get them out of here (watching as Apollo and Hades shoved Eve and Varia forward; they were out; this cavern was collapsing and she couldn’t see any sign of Loki or Mars. Shock on her face as a warm body collided into hers; pulling her; the noise deafened her; she could feel the warmth and the bond of her lover.) Brie go. I don’t know if…
Gabrielle (reaching up and kissing her lips; yelling): Don’t care. Where you go I go. No matter what.
Xena (looking up as she felt the tremor as a large part of the cavern’s ceiling cracked; instincts kicked in; even as a Goddess she knew this was going to hurt; but with her injuries and Brie’s she didn’t know if they would make it; pulling Gabrielle tighter against her she pushed them both to the floor; roiling them towards a slanted slab and prayed their daughter and Varia got out.)
Eve (breaking Varia’s hold): Dammit, no. They’ve got a chance (running back into the cavern.)
Varia (angrily): Eve you get back here (pushing a body away from her as she ran to catch her lover.) Stubborn little shit, oh no you don’t (turning and running after her) I’m not letting you go.
The next few moments were a blur; one minute they were running down the cavern’s path; Varia only a few feet behind Eve and the next the ceiling was coming in on them in pieces.
Eve felt a surge of energy hit her body and in instinct she reached up to cover, her head and amazingly the rocks stopped falling down on top of them. Varia had caught up to her and had wrapped her arms around her.
Varia (shock): I said you were one of a kind and I guess this proves it (motioning to Eve’s hands, which were glowing.)
Eve (not understanding): How?
Varia (placing her hands on her shoulders): I don’t know. I think we can thank your parents love. Speaking of which…
Eve (glancing around and seeing her mother’s sword near a pile of rubble): There…
Varia (thinking): Can you…
Ares (materializing behind them; to find a blade at his throat): Easy. I’m here to help (panting.)
Eve (shifting and trying to keep the rubble from coming down completely): After you pulled all the crap, you have. You expect me to believe that…
Ares (raising his hands): I don’t have much time, get them out of here.
Eve (understanding; seeing the blood flowing from his side; noticing the pallor to his skin): You’re, you’re dying…
Ares (nodding): Go on. They need some help. I’ll hold this (looking at Varia) she’ll need your help. Get going.
Eve and Varia made their way around the fallen rubble and knelt down next to where Eve’s parent’s lay.
Varia (thinking): Can you do this?
Eve (nodding): I have to but I don’t know how.
Apollo (appearing behind her not fully solid in his weakened state): Concentrate Eve. Just move the debris and get them out. You can do it.
Eve (softly): How…
Apollo (bracing himself to help her): I’ll explain later just (glancing at the pile of rock) get that off them. Not much time kiddo.
Varia (moving closer to her partner): I’m here get them out…
Eve (closing her eyes; concentrating like she was told and trying to recall how she did it in the first place; felt the energy flow through her body and the rocks slowly lifting): Come on…
Apollo (smiling and silently encouraging her): That’s it. You’ve got, slow, easy…
Varia (smiling as the debris was removed): That’s it, come on (reaching for Xena’s arm) come on mom. We’re getting out of here.
Xena (smiling; coughing and relaxing her hold on Gabrielle): Thank you (glancing at Eve.)
Apollo (glad he was solid; taking Gabrielle from Xena and cradling her in his arms): Passed out again. Probably from her injuries.
Xena (leaning on Varia and Eve): No, I knocked her out. If we were going to die, I didn’t want her to feel pain.
Eve (understanding): But you’re…
Xena (softly): Too many injuries; the Titan’s tears and stress, too much (fighting to stay upright.)
Varia (tightening her hold): Let’s get out of here. Ares is waiting for us.
Odin (helping Ares): You’re dying…
Ares (nodding and smiling as he saw Apollo walking toward them with Gabrielle in his arms followed by Xena Eve and Varia): Yes.
Odin (forming a force field): Let go. It’ll hold for a bit. Let’s help them…
Ares (biting his lip): Thought you didn’t like her.
Odin (shaking his head): We have a checkered history. I don’t like her actions or who she was. But this Xena is different that was why I wanted to give them a place in Valhalla after the fight with some of the Viking Warrior’s.
Ares (gasping for breath): She’s a complicated woman.
Odin (chuckling): That she is but aren’t all women.
Aphrodite (pacing): Why can’t we go in there and help them. They could be…
Hades (trying to calm her): No. They’re too strong. How are you feeling?
Hectate (glancing at the setting sun): Recovery time is taking a little longer. I wonder where they went off too.
Aphrodite (looking up at the sound of footsteps crunching in the gravel): Thank, well thank me. They’re all right.
Apollo (smirking): Just a little banged up. Here (setting Gabrielle gently on the ground.)
Eve (helping her mother sit and restraining her as she tried to move to Gabrielle’s side): Hold it right there Goddess. You rest. You’re more of a mess then all of us except (looking at Gabrielle) actually she looks a lot better right now. So sit put.
Varia (taking a deep breath; her emotions were all over the map; she wanted answers and she wanted time alone with Eve, so they could talk; but she knew she needed to stay put and help her family; as complex as it was): What’s the plan?
Hades (softly): We need to regroup. None of our powers are strong enough to get us to Olympus and it looks like Odin is searching for Loki. And Ares well…
Odin (walking up to them): Loki is deeper in the forest with Mars. They’re regrouping. Thor has the Eye of Hephaestus ready though so…
Brunhilda (walking up behind and entwining their hands): I can send Eve and Varia to Valhalla until this blows over. They would be safe there.
Eve (arguing): No. We’re staying.
Hades (looking at Xena): She’s definitely your daughter.
Xena (smiling proudly): That’s more of Gabrielle’s attitude then mine.
Aphrodite (arching her eyebrow): No that’s the both of you.
Gabrielle (moaning): Hey…
Xena (leaning forward and nearly falling over): Hey little one. Easy (feeling a hand on her back) just…
Apollo (helping her): You almost landed on top of her. Wanted to make sure (backing up at the glare directed at him.)
Varia (looking around): I’m just going to stretch my legs a little. Be back.
Odin (looking up and motioning to two crows to keep an eye on her): Careful…
Eve (following behind Varia): Varia wait up.
Varia (turning around): Come on. All that ego and power tripping but…
Eve (looking around to make sure no one had followed them): It’s all right.
Varia (leaning against a tree; folding her arms over her chest): Eve I just need some time to adjust to all this. I mean there’s them (glancing in the direction of where the Gods were) then there’s you. (Seeing Eve’s concerned look) honey not like that. Gods no (leaning forward and pulling her into a hug tightly.) Not you baby. It’s just I well, you, then…
Eve (understanding; feeling Varia’s emotions): It’s ok (kissing her softly.) We’ll get through this remember.
Varia (nodding): I just want to be with you. Just you and me. None of the egos running around. Excluding your parents. Stuff like that and it just gets worst at times. I wanted to join with you so we can move on and…
Eve (pushing her to the ground): Honey, it’s ok. We’ve been through a lot lately. And when all this blows over I’ll ask my parents to send us someplace quiet and uninhabited. I know what you mean though.
Varia (leaning against her): I love you so much. You compete me. Did you know?
Eve (shaking her head): No. My mother never mentioned it and neither did my mom.
Ephiny (materializing): That’s because it’s what’s needed now.
Varia (moving in front of Eve to protect her): But you’re and…
Ephiny (laughing): Spoken like a true, love sick Amazon. It’s all right. The past is in the past. Well except a certain, someone needs to learn to forgive herself. Actually a certain bunch of someone’s (glancing at the both of them.) I came to help out though.
Varia (thinking): Ephiny. Ruler of the Aboria Amazons. You brought a peace treaty between the Amazons and Centaurs, right?
Ephiny (smiling proudly): Well that was part of Gabrielle’s doing and Melosa’s and Xena’s and a bunch of other people but let’s not talk about that. We need to take care of Loki and Mars and their undead army and deal with this before we end having a major disaster on our hands. So here’s what you two are going to do.
Gabrielle (wide eyed): You mean Eve. She lifted those rocks off of us.
Apollo (nodding): Yes. How though I don’t understand.
Hades (thinking): Did either of you two do anything…
Xena (glaring at him): No. No and no. End of that discussion.
Aphrodite (pleading): Can we just turn off the attitude for a moment? Xena I understand you’re upset with things but chill for a moment (getting a growl in return.) Little one I think you better do something…
Gabrielle (leaning over and whispering something in Xena’s ear; then smirking as Xena blushed): Now stop being such a bull love.
Xena (biting her lip): Fine. Ares sit down, you’re getting worse.
Ares (coughing): Yeah. Just think I need to lie down (and promptly passed out.)
Apollo (shaking his head): There’s nothing we can do now. His body is completely mortal and it’s shutting down. I can give him something so he’ll feel no pain and then…
Eve (yelling): Mother, mom (running over the top of the hill) we’ve got problems.
Varia (catching up to her): Big problems…
Gabrielle (eyeing Xena; teasingly): Don’t say it or what I said earlier will happen. (Patting Xena’s knee) and you can be best friends with you hands for (yelping and her mouth was devoured in a passionate kiss.)
Xena (licking her lips and standing, she was starting to feel better): What did you two do?
Varia (coming to skidding halt on the gravel): Well it’s like this…
Aphrodite Apollo Hectate and Hades listened intently to Varia’s tale and wondered how in the known world they were going to pull all this off. Then looking at Ares fallen body and glancing at his sword she smiled wickedly.
Loki (yelling): She’s coming ready the ledge. This time no one gets away. I’ll bury them alive myself.
Guard (running up): My Lord, I’ve seen something strange back there.
Mars (folding his arms over his chest): You’re overactive imagination no doubt.
Guard (shaking his head): No my Lord, I saw several woman with feathers and bows walking the forest. Seems as though they’re waiting for something (he never felt the blast to his chest but when he looked down, there was a gaping hole in his chest and he crumpled to the ground.)
Loki (looking at the fallen body): Overactive imagination. Probably playing in the tomb’s too much. Get this temple ready. They’ll be here shortly (glaring at the sky) and this time Xena there will be no escape.
Xena (pointing): Keep your eyes and ears open. He’s pissed this time and he’s regrouped at that old temple near the border. And you two (glancing at Eve and Varia) no more heroics. (Seeing Varia about to protest) hush. Things will get real hot under the collar get out of here the moment trouble breaks loose and Hades get your hide out of here as well (tensing as several shadows passed in front of them.) Brie (holding up her arm.)
Gabrielle (drawing her Sais): Six, three in front, two on the left and (concentrating) one behind us.
Xena (proudly): Good girl.
Apollo (holding his sword at the ready): You taught her well.
Eve (nodding): Tracking is just as important as combat. Without it you’d be lost or in some serious hot water.
Varia (unsheathing her own sword): Welcoming committee then.
Aphrodite (shaking her head): You go on ahead. I’ll stay here and keep an eye on Ares. In case, he comes around.
Hectate (softly): Be careful.
Gabrielle (walking forward, shoulder to shoulder with Xena; both of their senses on hair trigger; weapons drawn and waiting): Xena…
Xena (nodding; holding up her hand she ticked off two fingers and jumped forward twisting and turning into mid air): All right, show yourself.
Lyssa (stepping forward): Hello daughter (glancing at Gabrielle as several other Amazons stepped out of the shadows.)
Freya (holding the Eye of Hephaeustus): That should do it. Now to get them in here and trap Loki and Mars forever.
Thor (grumbling): And put Ares to rest. I don’t understand how he could betray his family and his followers like that.
Freya (softly): They don’t hold reverence for humans like we do Thor. We try to make peace with them but the Greeks and Romans toy with theirs seducing them; tricking them. We are no better at times but we cannot always be put in the same scheming categories as they are.
Thor (nodding): Ok we’re set. Now let’s get out of here for a bit.
Freya (softly): You go on ahead. We have time. I just want to make a few adjustments. Xena you entrusted me with these. They are of you and Gabrielle’s earliest adventures. This tomb will protect them until an heir on either side of your families reopens this place. But be warned if they open it, they might also release Ares and who knows what state of mind he might be in.
Loki (laughing at the guard trembling at his feet): You fool, what do you mean someone’s been inside the temple.
Guard (cowering): I don’t know who it was but someone was there.
Loki (raising his arm to fry this coward but a hand on his shoulder): What do you want?
Minerva (smirking): Be careful. Ares made many a mistake with Xena. But he never underestimated her.
Mars (folding his arms across his chest): Get them ready. We’ll finish this off and begin what should have happened two years ago, but instead of the Gods falling prey to Xena, humanity will fall prey to the Gods.
Xena (growling): Don’t call her that.
Lyssa (holding up her hands): I’m a dead Amazon Warrior, Xena here to help. Answering the call of a future Queen. I know your past but I also know you’re an honorable woman. Apollo sent for me to help you stop the Ragnarok.
Gabrielle (looking at the apparition of the woman Apollo had told her about; she was shorter than Xena with light brown hair): Why, I mean…
Lyssa (wishing she could touch her child): Because my life was in danger as were my sister’s. You know how you would do anything to protect the ones you love. I wanted you to grow up, see a side to life other than war and suffering (feeling Xena tense) if you had left her in Potedeia she would have ended up a slave suffering more horrors than you can imaging. You gave her life Xena.
Xena (angrily): And she suffered because of me…
Gabrielle (grabbing Xena’s arm; she understood better than anyone her partner; even her partner herself; that no matter how much she had been forgiven Xena would never forgive herself): Xena it’s ok. Just relax (rubbing her arm soothingly.) You know how I feel Lyssa; I haven’t come to terms with everything yet. Do we have time to talk (seeing a few more Amazons step out of the shadows?)
Lyssa (understanding): A little while. Loki and Mars are readying their army as we speak.
Xena (defensively): Don’t go to far.
Gabrielle (leaning up and kissing her on the cheek): Go check on Eve and Varia. I’ll be there in a bit.
Xena (caressing her face): I love you…
Gabrielle (pressing her mouth to Xena’s conveying her love and devotion and so many more emotions in that kiss): And I you Warrior Princess.
Lyssa (watching her walk away): She’s very devoted to you isn’t she?
Gabrielle (nodding): More than you can imagine. Lyssa I appreciate you coming forward and I understand your position. But you have to see mine. All my life I was led to believe one thing and do another, now I’m faced with things I never thought possible. There’s you and there’s Apollo. It’s hard to grasp all this at once.
Lyssa (waking with her): And in light of your recent injuries, this is just another side to a complex puzzle. If saying I’m sorry could change everything…
Gabrielle (looking around): It doesn’t though.
Lyssa (closing her eyes): I wish I could take all this away so you wouldn’t hurt. I wish I could change things but regrets are useless at this point. When the battle starts, I’ll be there if you want.
Gabrielle (watching her walk away): Lyssa wait (Lyssa turned around) stay with me until it starts. Maybe we can find some common ground and you can help me make sense of this (getting a smile in return.)
Eve (cleaning her blade): Will you stop that pacing? You’re going to wear a hole in the ground.
Varia (still pacing): I’m tense; nervous and whoa (feeling soft lips claim hers; her hands automatically moved to embrace her partner fully; pulling Eve tighter against her.)
Eve (panting): Relax. Things will be ok (leaning in for another kiss.)
Xena (walking up and shaking her head): Ehem (clearing her throat; yep Eve was definitely theirs; smirking) excuse me but um hey (turning her head as her daughter pushed Varia to the ground.) No respect (deciding to let them be and go check on Ares and Aphrodite.)
Hades (watching the forest intently): We ready?
Apollo (nodding): As we’ll ever be. Remember get Ares and Aphrodite into the temple. Leave the rest up to Xena and I.
Hectate (agreeing): And hopefully we can finish this up by nightfall.
Xena (kneeling down): How’s he doing?
Aphrodite (shaking her head): Came around for a bit, told me he was sorry for a lot of things. I never thought…
Xena (squeezing her shoulder): I know (thinking of her brother Toris and wondering if he was still alive and if so where was he.) Things are about to start. Make sure you stay low and be careful. Hades will be right with you and Eve and Varia will be doing a little distracting along with some help.
Aphrodite (nodding): You be careful. You’ve got a joining to attend.
Xena (trying not blush): Well um, we’ll talk about it later. Be careful.
Aphrodite nodded and watched Xena walk away. She hated this; hated the fact that people she cared about were hurting. Waiting for Hades, she leaned down and kissed her brother on the forehead.
Gabrielle (smiling at some of the things Lyssa was telling her): Thank you. Where will you go from here?
Lyssa (smiling): Back to the Amazon land of the dead. There’s a lot of people down there that talk about you and how you brought unity to the Nations. I’m proud of you.
Gabrielle (closing her eyes): Thank you but I had help.
Lyssa (standing): I’m going to join my sisters. Be careful out there and stick close to Xena.
Gabrielle (nodding): You too. Where will Ephiny be?
Ephiny (walking up to them): Right beside you and Xena. Someone has to keep you out of trouble.
Eve kissed Varia softly before they both had to meet up with her parent’s. She knew her mother had been there but at that moment calming her partner was more important then listening to her mother about safety That woman should talk.
Varia (unsheathing her sword): Love you.
Eve (smiling): Love you too. After this someplace nice and quiet with no distractions.
Varia (mischievously): You’re on.
Xena (walking up to them): Feel better?
Eve (trying not to blush): And how come you’re not with mom
Xena (softly): She’s taking care of something…
Apollo (yelling): They’re coming, over that ridge…
Xena (watching as Gabrielle ran up to her): This is it (pointing her sword at Eve and Varia, respectfully) remember what I said.
Eve (to them both): Be careful…
Gabrielle (nodding and unsheathing her Sais): You too. Let’s go Warrior Princess….
Varia (watching as several shadows fell in behind Xena and Gabrielle): Well at least we have some reinforcements.
Eve (grabbing her sword): Come on we’ve got to do some distracting, throw them off a little…
Mars (yelling): Get the Chakram and I want Xena’s head…
Minerva (shaking her head): Good luck on both accounts. I’ll see you when you come crawling home (vanishing.)
Loki (not understanding): She favors mortals….
Mars (raising his sword): It’s a long story. Let’s go…
Gabrielle met the first of her attackers. They stank of death and decay and she figured Loki must have stooped pretty low to raise an army of undead soldiers, but how. She caught the tip of a sword with her Sais and parried the attack easily. One dead only several hundred to go.
Xena was having fun at the moment. These warriors were dead with very little skill, which made them easy targets for the likes of her. Ducking as a war hammer whizzed by her head. She may be a Goddess but had no wish to test the theory out.
Loki watched the battle from a nearby hill looking for the perfect opening and saw it finally. Eve was alone for the moment without her bodyguards but the girl had skill. Smirking evilly, he transported himself to her side.
Eve (growling): Didn’t anyone tell you to stay dead. And take a bath (conking one over the head and he disappeared in a powder of dust.)
Loki (clapping; raising his arm he took them off the battlefield; to the abandoned temple): Well done. Where’s your toy?
Eve (angrily): Tricks again. Can’t you come down to our level and play fair.
Loki (laughing): As if you would know (drawing his sword) then again Livia (sneering) maybe you would.
Eve (angrily): Dam you. I am not Livia. My name is Eve, daughter of Xena and Gabrielle. Come on and fight you coward.
Their blades clashed and sparks flew, both opponents evenly matched for now with Eve as a Demi God and Loki as a full God.
Xena (watching the retreat and smiling as several of the Amazon undead chased them further off into the forest): Something’s not right. Dammit, Gabrielle (yelling and ducking a sword blow.) Go home you worthless bastards.
Gabrielle (running up, thankfully most of her injuries had healed): You bellowed…
Xena (eyeing her partner): You all right? (Gabrielle nodded) I can’t find Eve or Varia…
Varia (yelling): They got Eve…
Apollo (limping): Just a flesh wound. Little bastard had his sword tip dripping with the tears. It’ll heal.
Hectate (appearing): Come, there isn’t much time. Eve’s in trouble.
Loki (lobbing several fireballs at Eve): Come on you’re supposed to be Xena’s daughter. You can do better than that.
Eve (ducking): And is that the best you can do (stepping aside a falling pile of debris.
Xena (materializing behind him with Gabrielle in tow): Pick on someone your own size (hearing a loud rumble and realizing too late that it was a trap.) Eve get out of here. Varia’s waiting outside for you…
Eve (shaking her head; trying to keep her balance): No…
Gabrielle (reaching for her): Go. We’ll be fine.
Eve looked around at the light show going on as several other Gods and Goddesses appeared to stand beside her parents.
Xena (pleading and launching her own fireball at Loki): Go, please. Get out of here…
Eve (saluting them both with her sword): Yeah but you’re walking me in for my ceremony.
Gabrielle (smiling as they left the room and facing Loki): All right, bring it on.
It wasn’t safe for any of them to be lobbing fireballs and using their powers but it’s what the situation called for.
Mars (appearing with Eve and Varia tied together): It was so easy. Divide and conquer. Isn’t that what Cesar said.
Loki (applauding): And you all fell right into my trap. You know what I want in exchange for them or (pulling out his dagger) do you want to see them die.
Apollo (angrily): You lying bastard…
Hectate (placing a hand on his arm): Let them go. They’re mortals, no threat to you.
Mars (shoving them to the floor): One is mortal the other is half-mortal. Both pose a threat but (eyeing Xena’s Chakram) maybe we can make an exchange.
Gabrielle (angrily): You fight like a coward using innocent people…
Loki (pointing to the other God’s): I want them out of here Xena, all except you and your little blond plaything.
Xena growled and Gabrielle restrained her. Apollo struggled as did Hades and Hectate. Freya and Thor nodded knowing Xena’s tactical mind. They would wait but if it came down to it they would be back.
Xena (glancing at Apollo and Hades): Get out of here. We’ll handle this but (gesturing to Ares) leave him here.
Loki (waiting and grabbing Eve): Your flesh and blood is just like you. Cunning, ruthless when she has to be. But tell me will you choose the greater good over a loved one again or will you follow your pathetic heart this time.
Gabrielle (locking eyes with Eve; silently conveying her to have faith): Let them go, please.
Varia (struggling): You hurt her and I’ll rip you apart (wincing as she was kicked in the ribs.)
Aphrodite (yelling): You did what? No wonder they don’t want to hear your pathetic pleas to accept you as their fathers. The Amazons are waiting for the outcome. Of all the stupid idiotic stunts…
Hectate (soothingly): Trust me. They have a plan. And it’ll work. We just need to be patient.
Apollo (pacing): I just hope it works and they have time. The Ragnarok is nearly on us…
Odin (materializing): It’s done…
Hades (sighing): Now it’s up to her…
Xena (unhooking her Chakram): OK stop using them both as sparring bags (wincing at the sight of Varia’s bloodied face.) I made a promise to my partner. Never again the greater good over my family. So here, you want it you can have, it just let them go (holding out the Chakram.)
Gabrielle (reaching for her): Xena no, there has to be another way…
Mars (excitedly): Look at this, pity you don’t listen to your voice of reason. You’ve sealed your fate Xena and that of mankind…
Xena (looking at Gabrielle): Have faith Brie…
Gabrielle (gulping): Xena…
Loki (shoving Eve to Gabrielle): Hand it over. You have your sniveling brat…
Gabrielle (pulling Eve into her arms): Just relax sweetie I’ve got you.
Xena (growling and handing the Chakram to Mars): Here now let Varia go.
Loki (reaching for the Chakram): I knew you would do something heroic.
Ares (standing): Yeah kind of gets annoying after awhile doesn’t it (snatching the Chakram from him.)
Mars (wide eyed): But how? You were but then…
Ares (smirking): Guess you can’t keep a good God down. I’m dying but I got a little help to settle the score for you causing this (gesturing to the gaping wound in his side.)
Xena (pulling out the Eye of Hephaestus): Ares now throw it against that rock.
Gabrielle (pushing Eve towards the door): Go. Varia will be right behind you.
Mars (shoving Varia in front of him): Here. It’s not over yet Xena…
Xena (catching Varia): Oh yes it is. You lose.
Ares remembering what Xena had said when he was slipping in and out of consciousness he aimed for the rock she was pointing at and threw the Chakram. Xena tossed the Eye to Gabrielle who caught it and threw it at the same rock. Both of them grabbed Varia and shoved her out the door. They turned and watched as the Chakram and Eye hit the rock at the exact same time. A bright light filled the room and then they were forced to their knees because of the explosion.
Eve (grabbing Varia as the temple shook and the wind picked up): Dammit…
Varia (covering her partner’s body to protect it from the flying debris): Down. I gave them my word. Have faith Eve.
Aphrodite (shielding her face): What did they do?
Apollo (holding up his sword and forming a shield): Did the unexpected thing? Gave him the Chakram along with a little surprise.
Hades (wondering): I hope Odin and Hectate were right.
Hectate (noticing the wind dying down): Come on let’s go and see what happened.
Xena (coughing and shifting her body off her partner’s slowly): Brie (patting her face gently) come on baby. (Looking around she noticed that much of the debris had almost fallen on top of them then) Ares (looking around the room) Ares (softly.)
The God of War lay near where Xena and Gabrielle had fallen, clutching the broken Chakram pieces to his chest. His skin was pale and he wasn’t moving.
Gabrielle (rolling to her side): This is getting oh Xena is he (looking at Ares.)
Xena (nodding): Yes. He died protecting you and me.
Gabrielle (leaning on a rock to stand): How come…
Xena (holding up her hand): I don’t know Brie, I don’t know.
Eve (running in and skidding to a halt): Don’t ever do that to us again (wrapping Gabrielle in a tight hug.)
Xena (smirking): Varia (as she came running in.)
Varia (coughing): Figures you two would find an answer but how did you know.
Hectate (materializing): I switched the scrolls. He wasn’t reading about the neutralized Chakram he was reading about the old Chakram.
Aphrodite (kneeling next to her brother): You did good bro. Your with them now. Where ever they are. Tell Hephaestus that I love him and I’ll see him again one day. And tell Athena to go easy on Alanus (leaning down she kissed his forehead and said a silent good bye.)
Apollo (kneeling next to her): in the end, he did the right thing. He stopped a major war from happening and he gave the ultimate sacrifice (he caressed his cheek softly.)
Xena (helping Gabrielle with healing Eve and Varia): Next time I tell you two to get out of here would you please…
Eve (patting her mother’s arm): Everything worked out (glancing at the other God’s and Goddesses) well almost everything.
Varia (smiling as her wounds were healed): I like this. Wonder how long (feeling a strong hand clamp over her mouth.)
Gabrielle (smirking): Don’t go there.
Odin (pointing to the rock wall): Well that’s a permanent fixture here. It’s safer that way. I’m sorry about your Chakram Xena (bending down to pick up the pieces noticing it wasn’t the Chakram she had been carrying recently but the old Chakram she had carried many years before) what?
Hectate (taking it from him): It separated but how…
Hades (truthfully): Because that’s the one I left her when Ares tempted her. It was created from the same metal as the Eye of Hephaestus. I didn’t want to…
Aphrodite (sensing another argument): Hold it. Before everyone’s ego goes flying, around the room let’s take care of Ares and then get out of here. I’ve had it with caves and backward temples. I’m going to need a manicure; pedicure; massage and then well you get my point.
Odin (closing his eyes): Xena, Gabrielle can I use some of your powers for a moment. His tomb will be sealed until one of your ancestors releases him.
Xena nodded and took Gabrielle’s hand and then took Odin’s outstretched one.
Eve stood on the hill overlooking the temple and shed a few silent tears not for the God of War but for the man he could be at times.
Varia (walking up to her): They’re about ready to go back (wrapping her arms around Eve from behind.) It’s ok I’m here.
Eve (softly): You probably don’t understand this do you.
Varia (shedding her own tears): In a way I do. I didn’t know him like you or your mother’s did. But in some way, he influenced me, for the wrong reasons. But I read the stories Eve and I’ve seen how he was with both of them. I seen how he was with you.
Eve (biting her lip): He was at one point everything to me, but then because of them I realized how wrong I was. But in his own way he cared, he cared for them and for me. He never once let anyone hurt my mother’s if he could stop it and even after all the mess with Olympus no one could touch me either, except for you of course (turning and smiling at her lover.)
They stayed like that holding each other as the sun set.
Xena turned her back from the temple and walked slowly to where her daughter and lover stood. One chapter of their lives were closed but many questions remained; one was what had happened to Mars and Loki and would the world lose balance without the God of War.
Aphrodite (walking up behind Eve and Varia): You two about ready?
Eve (nodding and moving out of Varia’s arms): I’m sorry…
Aphrodite (holding up her hand): Don’t be. He died a hero. Something I don’t think even he imagined for himself. But he also made a lot of mistakes…
Varia (softly): He was your brother irregardless.
Eve (entwining her fingers with Varia’s): Anything on Loki or Mars, (Aphrodite shook her head.)
Xena (pulling Gabrielle up the small incline): Hey. How are you?
Aphrodite (smiling): Good. Things are quiet and I have to get ready for a joining and a big party…
Gabriele (softly; taking Aphrodite’s hand in hers): Are you sure? I mean maybe…
Aphrodite (shaking her head): It’s all right little one. I’ll be fine. Besides, I have the rest of my family that’ll be there for me (looking at Xena and Gabrielle then at Eve and Varia.)
Xena (smiling): Count on it.
Varia (nodding): Yep. So where did Hades, Apollo and Hectate get off too.
Aphrodite (looking around): Making sure the undead went back to where they came from. The Amazons are already settled back in. So let’s go home.
Xena (wrapping her arm around Gabrielle): Sounds like a great idea. We need some time to rest up before Eve gets married.
Eve (taking Aphrodite’s hand in hers): Come on you can stay with us for a few days.
Aphrodite (thankfully): In the Underworld or…
Eve (smirking): The Underworld of course. We can have on big party before the joining. Lots of food that type of thing.
Gabrielle (joining them): Yeah just some relaxation; peace and quiet; hot tubs that type of thing. How’s that sound?
Aphrodite (laughing): Great (turning around looking at Xena and Varia who looked about as thrilled as one could get) come on you two tough stoic warrior types. It’s party time.
Xena (grumbling; good-naturedly): Is there a remote island somewhere we can go?
Varia (she liked the idea of the party but not all the fancy frilly stuff that went with it): I hear the Amazons have a one (thinking.)
Gabrielle (turning around and grabbing the front of Xena’s leathers): You’re coming along and that’s an order.
Eve (doing the same to Varia): Like mom said.
Together the five of them walked into a white light as the sunset on the land and a chapter in their lives.
Author’s Note: This is dedicated in the memory of Kevin Smith a wonderful actor; husband; father and friend.