All Our Flowers

By Phantom Bard

Disclaimer: This work of fan fiction was created and posted for non-profit entertainment only. My apologies to the owners of the copyrights. The characters are all from of the Xena Warrior Princess TV series. Please note that this story contains spoilers, dialog, scenes, or backstory from the episodes, "Sins of the Past", "Return of Callisto", "A Good Day", "A Friend In Need", and "The Xena Scrolls". This story was inspired by the lyrics from the Pete Seeger song, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone", as recorded by The Kingston Trio on Capitol Records.


Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing.

Where have all the flowers gone? Long time ago….

Where have all the flowers gone? Young girls picked them, every one.

When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?

The warm breeze of a long lost summer lovingly caressed a small patch of flowers. They grew on a low mound, clustered densely in the center, becoming sparser at the margins before finally trailing off entirely. The mound rose, cloaked in coarse grass and barely noticeable, at the center of a fallow field that the sisters had discovered not far from their family's farm. They were out exploring their tidbit of the known world, just far enough from their mother's eyes to be on an adventure, but not far enough to get lost.

"Oh, look at all the daisies," the dark haired sister exclaimed with a squeal of delight, "c'mon, help me pick them." She dropped to her knees and started gathering the bright blooms, one after another, into a rapidly growing bundle.

The girl's sister stood still for a moment before joining her sibling. She really would have enjoyed watching the daisies sway in the breeze instead of picking them, but she also knew that bringing a bouquet of flowers to their mother would make her happy. She started helping her sister, picking a flower here and a flower there, carefully selecting only the best, and taking a moment to examine each one, as if trying to learn it's secrets.

It seemed that only a short time had passed before her sister was chattering again.

"You're such a slow poke. I've already got a whole bunch, and you've only picked a few. Why do you have to spend so much time looking at them? They're all the same."

"No they're not. Look, this one's got a little…" she stopped, her mouth still open. She carefully looked at the ground all around them, her head turning to the right and then to the left, just to make sure. The small mound of soil they were kneeling on was bare of daisies. Not a single one was left, and except for the five she had picked, all the rest were clutched tightly in her sister's fist. When she continued, her young voice trembled with sadness and foreboding. "Oh, Lila, you picked them all. Now there'll never be another daisy here ever again." Two years and a lifetime separated them, a lifetime of the heart.

"You silly goose. Of course there'll be more. They'll grow back in a couple weeks and anyway, it's not like they're precious. They're just daisies."

The blonde sister looked at the mound of soil again, and for the first time she noticed the stone hidden in the long grass. It was weathered, irregular, and partially buried, but she could see the ancient letters engraved upon it. They had picked all the flowers from some forgotten grave.

"They are precious…they are, or at least, they were to whoever planted them here. This was someone's resting place…like grandma's."

"Then it's been so long that no one remembers or knows the person's name. I'm going home. You're no fun, Gabrielle." Clutching her bundle of daisies, she got to her feet and began striding back to the farmhouse, leaving her serious sister still kneeling behind her.

"Somewhere, someone remembers," the blonde whispered to her sister's retreating back.

Where have all the young girls gone? Long time passing.

Where have all the young girls gone? Long time ago….

Where have all the young girls gone? Gone to young men every one.

When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?

Perdicus threw down his sword in the middle of the battle and then I saw him talking to Gabrielle before he walked away. Neither one of them had been paying any attention to Callisto's men who were still all around them. He coulda' gotten her killed.

"Where's he going?"

"The answer's yes, Xena. I'm going to marry him."

By the gods, just two years ago you fled your home so you wouldn't have to. Back then I even wanted you to stay and marry him, but you followed me anyway. Now I don't want you to go. The road'll never be the same without you…I'll never be the same without you. I'll be alone again. When did everything change? How could this happen?

"…may the same force that molded the beauty of these rose petals bless your union for all eternity."

It's done. Gabrielle actually married him. My best friend is Perdicus' wife…and she's happy. She deserves to be happy; she deserves it more than anyone I know. I can never stand in the way of that. She's made her choice and followed her heart. But…

I never told her there was any reason not to. I never told her how I really feel…and now I never can. Well, at least I can be happy for her…can't I? At least, I can try. My blessing is the only joining gift I have to give her. One last time I can make her happy.

"I'm so happy for you." There, that wasn't so hard.

"I'm going to miss you…so much."

"Hey, it's not like we'll never see one another again. I'll visit you all the time."


"I'll be knocking on your door so often you'll be sick of me."


"I'm not going to let you say 'Goodbye'. That's not what this is. We'll see one another other again soon." Please be happy, Gabrielle. Please have a good life.

Being around me has brought her into danger so many times. There've been so many close calls…Thessaly, Troy, Morpheus, Callisto. Well, never again.

"Goodbye, Gabrielle." I'll always love you.

Where have all the young men gone? Long time passing.

Where have all the young men gone? Long time ago….

Where have all the young men gone? Gone to soldiers every one.

When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?

He was a Greek mercenary who had risen to command the Hoplite Legion of Darius in Caesar's army. They'd met him when he'd helped them fight off a company of Caesar's men who wanted to execute a group of women and children. They were just poor villagers who'd already been robbed by Pompey's army. Xena didn't like him at first. Maybe it was the uniform. He was also a father who'd wanted his son to grow up and live a peaceful life; a husband who'd vowed to his wife that the monster of war wouldn't follow him home. He'd joined the army to earn money so he could buy a boat and fulfill his dream of becoming a fisherman. He was a good fighter who didn't care for fighting, didn't revel in bloodshed, and didn't seek glory. He was a good man. He should have been one of those who survived, for Phlanagus had much to live for. Perhaps because of that, the monster had wanted him all the more.

Gabrielle had just hastened a rider off to gather volunteers from the nearby villages. The armies of Caesar and Pompey were encamped less than a day's march apart, gathering to fight their civil war in the surrounding valley. It was a Roman civil war, but it would be fought on Greek soil, and it was the Greek people who would suffer.

As she walked back to rejoin Xena, a young man approached her. He was no taller than she herself and probably hadn't seen more than sixteen summers, but he wore a determined expression. It was an expression she'd seen before; the expression of one who can only imagine the consequences that their actions might bring. It was an expression she'd worn herself not so very many seasons ago. Now she wished she'd been able to wear that expression a bit longer. But there'd been Troy and Thessaly, Amazonia and Britannia, Tripolis, and Chin. Between him and I lie perhaps five years…and two lifetimes, she'd thought.

"I heard you're looking for people to volunteer," he said. She noted a quiver of arrows over his right shoulder and a strung bow in his hands. A hunting bow, not a warrior's bow like the ones the Amazons carried.

"What's your name?"


"Temecula…this is war. I've seen it and you don't want to jump into this."

"I, I know…and I'm afraid. I've never shot anybody before."

"Let's keep it that way, okay?" At least he's smart enough to be afraid, Gabrielle thought as she turned away. He'd stopped her.

"Look, this is my home. My family's lived here for generations…it's all I've known."

"We need someone to send back signals." She cast a questioning glance at the homemade hunter's bow he held, "…are you any good with that?"

With confident familiarity he'd knocked an arrow, drawn, aimed, and let fly. The arrow crossed the village square, impaling an apple on the way and pinning it to a doorpost. It would have been a good shot even for an Amazon.

"That'll do." What else could she say? They needed help, and anyway, he'd just be shooting signal arrows into the air.

But the monster that is war is full of surprises. Xena had manipulated both armies of Romans, and both Caesar and Pompey had been surprised. They hadn't been the only ones.

In the cave before the battle, Temecula had asked, "Is Phlanagus going to be okay?"

"Yeah," she'd assured the boy, "he's with Xena."

"It's just that I've known him all my life. He's been like a father to me. Somehow the idea that he's a soldier and he's…he's killing people…" he trailed off. "I wonder what that's like…to kill someone." He didn't seem to like the idea.

"It changes everything," she'd told him gravely, "everything." And it can never go back to being like it was, because you can never again be innocent of the blood staining your hands. You'll see it in your dreams and recall it spilling at the strangest times. Maybe it will haunt you as it does Xena; as it probably haunts Phlanagus…as it haunts me.

When the battle started, Xena had been preoccupied with the leaders. Gabrielle had rallied the troops. She'd seen through Caesar's feint, and when he'd pulled the center of his line back, she'd led the charge so that he couldn't disengage. His counterattack had cost the lives of so many, Phlanagus among them.

For one frozen moment as the enemy raised his sword, Gabrielle had had a chance to save him. She'd found a javelin lying at her feet and the distance should have been within her range. But she'd never thrown a javelin in her life. Time stretched out its torment, and as she'd watched in slow motion, her shot fell well short. She'd watched the father and husband being impaled. He'd died as a soldier, and he'd died a warrior's death. He'd died in her arms.

The man who'd killed Phlanagus was immediately felled by an arrow. With a hiss, the shaft had slammed into his breast, and Gabrielle had recognized the red fletched shaft. She had turned to find him and caught the look of shocked surprise on his face as the dead man fell. Temecula had killed his first man in battle; a shot to avenge the man who'd been like a father to him. Things would never be the same. In that moment a soldier had died, and a soldier had been born. Both changes were irreversible, and both saddened her heart.

Later, as she'd watched the flames of the pyres swallow the bodies. She couldn't decide which hurt more, because in looking at the broader picture, she could see that it had been a good day of fighting. Yet now the cycle would run its course for another generation. Tomorrow some army could hope to recruit another fighter with blood on his hands. The monster had been fed a good man's hopes and a boy's blood innocence.

Where have all the soldiers gone? Long time passing.

Where have all the soldiers gone? Long time ago….

Where have all the soldiers gone? Gone to graveyards every one.

When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?

She was older now. She'd outlived almost everyone she'd known. So many had died along the way; friends, family, loved ones, enemies and even gods. She still looked young, but she felt so very old. Somehow she had survived the deadly years. Across those years she heard her own voice, begging a warrior, "you've got to take me with you…teach me everything you know. I want to be like you."

"I am like you now," she whispered to the silent walls and the sprits of the departed.

Along her calves she wore a pair of sai. On her back swirled the enchanted Eastern Dragon. A scabbard held a deadly sword from a far away island, steeped in violence and heartbreak. At her waist, she bore the chakram. She'd become the friend of kings and gods, a renowned bard, a Queen of the Amazon Nation, and now, perhaps the greatest warrior of her time. But only half her soul still lived. She had once stood in this very doorway, 35 years before, and she'd offered a promise, "you're not alone."

She stepped slowly into the mausoleum, gently treading the limestone beneath boots that had paced away the leagues of the known world. The layer of dust accepted her footprints, as had the sands of Aegyptus, the soil of Greece, the mountains of the east, and the woods of the north. The silent space welcomed her to a homecoming of sorts, though not yet for her. Finally, at the far wall, she gently placed a dark urn into a niche carved into the limestone. It was done.

"I've brought you home, my love," she whispered. "I've kept my promise, and someday I'll join you…maybe here, maybe in some life yet to be. Once I thought I could make a new start by leaving my home, just as you thought you could make a new start by returning to yours. I guess it was true for both of us, wasn't it? Now, by returning you to your home, I'll be making a new start again. I'll continue the way of life we’ve led. I'll continue fighting for the Greater Good. It's the only thing I have left now that you're gone. Now that I'm alone."

From the doorway, out of a shimmer that spoke of a presence no longer of this life came a whispered promise, "you're not alone."

Where have all the graveyards gone? Long time passing.

Where have all the graveyards gone? Long time ago….

Where have all the graveyards gone? Gone to flowers every one.

When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?

The ancient Thracian City of Amphipolis was first rediscovered and excavated in 1949 by a joint team from the University of South Carolina and the Macedonian Antiquities Bureau. The initial expeditions were led by Drs. Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas, who had been instrumental in the discovery and translation of the first "Xena Scrolls". Under their leadership, a residential area, including a smithy, tavern, and mausoleum were eventually unearthed. The nature and quality of the artifacts they found were beyond all expectations. At first though, the digging had proceeded slowly due to the uncertainties about exactly where to dig.

Two women stood side by side on a windswept slope. About three hundred yards below them, the Stryma River wound past a point of land, heading towards the Aegean Sea. They were facing northwest, and over their left shoulders, the afternoon sun glared down harshly, baking the rough grass under their feet. A dozen yards away, a couple children, the daughters of locals who had been hired to dig and sift earth, happily played, chasing each other before stopping to pluck a few wildflowers. Further downhill, along the river, the encroaching construction of postwar rebuilding could be seen. Soon the land where they stood would be paved over and developed. The shorter woman turned to her dark haired companion while absently wiping the sweat from her forehead with the back of a hand. She resettled the worn fedora on her head and spoke softly.

"She's talked to you again, hasn't she, Mel." It wasn't a question. Dr. Covington had seen her partner's eyes glaze over for a couple minutes, and it was a look she'd seen before, more frequently in the last few years.

"She most certainly did, Janice, she most certainly did."

"So do you know where we should dig now? We've spent three weeks and dug about three dozen test trenches and come up with nothing."

"Right over there, my love, in the center of that abandoned field." An arm swung up and a long finger gracefully indicated the spot. "Do ya see that there slight mound?"

"Huh. Now that you mention it, yes. The one with the flowers all over it?"

"Those're daisies, Jan, but yes, that's where Xena said we should dig."

"And somewhere below it lies the forgotten grave of the Warrior Princess, the greatest find of our careers, and one of the most sought after sites in archeology."

"They're both there, Janice…Xena and Gabrielle, along with her mother, her brother, and several other relatives. It's the family's mausoleum. Eve's scroll tells us that."

"We'll take them to a new home, before the growing city paves this place over."

"Yes, we will. The land where Amphipolis once stood is as valuable today as it was in their time. It's always been a prime location, on the Stryma, at the mouth of the vale between the highlands and the sea." Through other eyes, Melinda Pappas had seen what had been in this place in another time.

The pair fell silent. The hill they stood on had been occupied since the Neolithic, and in later years, artifacts would be found dating back to 6,000 BC. Amphipolis was founded as an Athenian colony in 437 BC, and had stood for almost 2,000 years before falling into ruin after the Byzantine era. Soon it would be a city again. Janice Covington resumed.

"It's incredible. The greatest warriors of their time, forgotten for all these centuries. During their lives they were famous throughout the known world, but then after their deaths they were completely forgotten."

"Somewhere, someone has always remembered," the brunette whispered.

The End

Return to the Academy

Phantom Bard, Brooklyn, NY, August 12, 2003

Author's Notes: "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" was written piecemeal from tidbits of lyrics. Pete Seeger had kept a couple phrases in a notebook for years before the idea for the song gelled in his head. This was shortly after the House of Representatives' hearings, in which he was cited for contempt. Seeger performed the song and even recorded it as part of a medley, but with only three verses. Seeger gave the words to a camp counselor, Joe Hickerson, who added two verses. Later, The Kingston Trio recorded the song, though at first they didn't know who had written it! A version is copyrighted to Pete Seeger in 1961, but the words are slightly different. The lyrics I've used for this story are those recorded by The Kingston Trio in 1960. (Amazingly, they are still performing 45 years later).