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By Rebecca L. Stephens
The characters of Xena, Gabrielle and the horse Argo are owned by MCA, Universal, Action Pack and Renaissance Pictures no infringement is intended. The story was written by me and completed on 26 Mar 1997.
A village on the coast. A man is approaching wearing a ragged coat and hood. He is heading for the house of the local healer. He knocks and is lead to a chair.
Healer: What is your aliment friend?
Man: You have been cursed by the Goddess Herra for your lack of obedience.
Healer: We worship Poseidon, Herra has no power here.
Man:(stands up and walks to stand in front of the healer)(slowly he begins to take off his hood) From this day forward all who are 15 and older will die with the fever that I carry. It is a gift from Herra to punish those who do not worship her.
Healer:(shock and fear)(screams) Poseidon help us your people. (running out of the hut to warn the village).
Man:(puts his hood back on and we see his red and fever blistered face)Laughs(evilly)as he leaves the village.
Xena and Gabrielle are camping on a cliff over looking a beautiful bay with the waves waiting in line to get their turn to caress the shore.
They are sitting around the camp fire watching the sun slowly going down on the sea: Xena is sharping her sword and Gabrielle is going over one of their adventures just to make sure she has got all the details right.
Suddenly the wind begins to pick up and the ocean begins to rise: Xena and Gabrielle both go into fighting stance to confront the ocean as it continues to rise above their heads.
Just as fast as the ocean rises it takes the shape of a man with a crown on his head and he holds a trident in his left hand.
Gabrielle: The God of the sea? I have never seen a god made out of water before, What do you think he wantís with us, we are not doing anything to his sea?
Poseidon: Greetings, Xena, warrior princess and Gabrielle the greatest Amazon bard that ever told a tale.
Xena:(Impatiently) What do you want Poseidon?
Gabrielle: Xena, why do you always have to be so impatient with a god?
Xena looks at Gabrielle and raises her eye brow, then looks back at Poseidon awaiting an answer.
Poseidon: Xena, I need your help?
Xena: (Sarcastically)Oh really. Why does a God need the help of mortals?
Gabrielle:(Happy) Xena, wow a god needs help from the Warrior Princess and her Amazon Bard.
Poseidon: Xena I donít have much to do with humans so this is difficult for me.
There is a small fishing village by the name of Argos. It is a small distance down the coast from here. It is taking the wrath of Herra. She has put a curse on the village, all the humans above the age of 15 come down with a fever and after about a week of this fever the adults die. There is no cure in Greece.
Xena: (eyes showing mistrust) Whereís this cure?
Poseidon: It is across the sea. On an island that once held great knowledge and the birthplace of many civilizations.
Gabrielle:(Excited) Wow, an adventure on the sea.(Shock)Atlantis, I thought that was just a myth?
Poseidon: Yes. I will guarantee you both safe passage to the island and back, but,
Xena: here it comes...
Poseidon: I will not be able to protect you on the land and once you return I am sure that Herra will have heard of your journey.
Xena: Poseidon we will have to think about this. You know I donít trust the words of a god. Any God!
Gabrielle: Xena, I canít believe...
Xena:( Looks at Gabrielle and with the look that is telling her to hush. Of course Gab pouts and huffs).
Poseidon: I understand your reluctance, after all the gods have not been always kind to the race of humans and if I could have done it by myself I would have already have done so. But, you know the rules, no other god can undo what another god has done.
Xena: I will consider your request, but we have to think about this.
Poseidon: There will be a boat on the beach at dawn. Some children from the village will come and take Argo to the village. She is under my protection always. Thank you Warrior Princess.
Xena: We didnít agree, Poseidon?
Poseidon:(with a slight grin), I know you didnít, but it is good to be prepared just in case.
Poseidon begins to shrink back into the sea.
Gabrielle:(Making preparations) I better cook up some extra food, it will be hard to start a fire on a ship.
Xena: What are you talking about, I did not say yes.
Gabrielle:(Exasperated) Xena, you know your going to do it. It is for a defenseless village. When did you not accept to help a defenseless village? Especially one which will be composed of orphans in less than a week?
Xena: I donít trust the Gods, they always have more going on then what theyare willing to tell us. Why do you think Poseidon just conveniently left out "Why" Herra had cursed the humans in this village?
Gabrielle: We canít do anything about what the Gods do to each other. We can do something about what the Gods try to do to the humans in this village. Look how many times you have defeated Ares and he is a God?
Xena:(looking at Gabrielle) Yes, we have defeated him, but he is still around. Waiting till the next time.
Gabrielle: Well, we canít lock up all the Gods in Lava pits. Ya know.
Xena grins at this knowing that her friend is right and also knowing that she will again sail the sea.(with this thought the grin begins to fade)(she looks back at the sea)
Xena:(Serious) Gabrielle, I donít like boats.
Gabrielle: (Smirking)The Warrior Princess getting sea sick. Now that would be in interesting tale.
Xena:(semi-hard) I donít get sea sick, Well..... I.....( she begins to remember her days as a pirate captain), alright well go in the morning.
She has not told Gabrielle yet of the times before she was known as the Warrior Princess. Or why she found and followed Ares.
Gabrielle: (noticing Xenaís far away look) Xena, you been on a sailing ship before?
Xena: Yes. I sailed to many different ports. I....Well.....(knowing she would have to tell Gabrielle). I was a pirate captain and just beginning to be a Warlord. This was before I became the monster of the Warrior Princess. We use to raid villages along the coast and take food and tribute. I was creating an outer perimeter around Amphbolis to make sure no-one would ever threaten my village again. We only killed in defense and well those who werenít on our side. I donít remember this village of Argos either. Maybe it wasnít here when I was raiding the coast?( Far away look in her eyes and something else, regret, pain). Gabrielle, Do you remember when we went back to Calistos home village of Ciera? The place which began your Quest to bring me back from the dead. Well, I remembered want happened that drove me to be the favorite of Ares.
Gabrielle: (stroking the fire with a stick)( She looks up at Xena with concern in her eyes) Yes, the place where I almost lost you.
Xena : Well you didnít lose me and I was always with you.( She looks at Gabrielle with gratitude and appreciation). Anyway, As a Pirate I made a deal with a Roman named Julius. We were going to rule the world together. I really cared for him. He betrayed me and set me out on a beach tied to a cross to show he would do any thing for Rome. My crew and I were a warning to all others not to resist the power of Rome. One of my crew had gotten away. She wasnít much older than you were when you and I started out. She was from the land of the Gauls and she is the one who taught me the use of pressure points. She came in the night and cut me down from the cross and took me to the healer Negleo on Mt. Nestas.(Smiling) You remember him donít you ?
Gabrielle: (Smiling) Yes, I remember him, He told me to let you go. I couldnít give up though.
Xena: Anyway, The Romans are not kind to their prisoners and were very upset that I had escaped. I had been with the healer and Malila for almost a week before the Roman soldiers found me. One of them had a clear shot at me. He...fired...and I should have been dead....but...Mílilla...through herself in front of the arrow and died FOR me. She had told me when she took me to the healer that it wasnít my time to die as the reason for saving me from the cross and (pause, anger)from that arrow. From that day forward until Hercules my path was set. I became the dark Warrior that people run in terror from. The mountain you took me to was where Mílilla died. It was the only place I could think of to go to die.
Gabrielle: (feeling hurt, and sad at the same time) Xena...
Xena:( puts up her hand for Gabrielle to let her finish)It wasnít my time to die then either. While I was in Tartarus, resigned to paying for my sins, Malila came to me, She ask me if there was a reason I should live? She told me that I had done so much and could I do more? I saw you and all the things you have learned and the things I have learned from you. I kept hearing you call my name and telling me to fight. I remembered how I felt when I thought you had died at the temple.(Painfully)I just couldnít leave you, the time wasnít right. I was being selfish in wanting to just give up.( slight grin)After all I am a Warrior Princess and if an Amazon bard wouldnít give up her life, well I canít let you out do me, so I fought to come back to life and yo... Anyway, I am sure the day will come when the time is right , but for us I think it will be a long time.
Gabrielle: I will remember you said that. We will be together for a long time before entering the Elysian fields. Together!(mumbles) Queen.
Xena: (looks at Gabrielle and smiles, deep and affectionately)(mumbles to herself, I am not sure I will enter the Elysian fields, but I know you will)Gabrielle I do love having you here, your such a positive influence on my life. What was that last part you mumbled?
Gabrielle:(suspiciously) Thanks. And it was Amazon Queen.
Xena: Oh ,right(flamboyantly bows) yooouuurrr mmaaajjjassttyyy.We better get some sleep,(she lays down on her bedroll next to the fire) I think were in for a long journey.
Gabrielle:(not tired)( It isnít often that Xena tells a part of her soul) How long do you think it will be?(hoping to continue the conversation)
Xena: Gabrielle, go to sleep!
Gabrielle: Oh, all right.(huffs)( and lays on her bedroll)Not fair I am a Queen after all!!
As they sleep they both dream the same dream. They dream of arriving on a beach of black sand and walking through a jungle to a city buried by black sand. At the center of this city is a dead tree. Some of the bark from the tree is in a basket the color of Xenaís Chakram.
Xena and Gabrielle awake at dawn and both glance down at the beach and see a sailing ship waiting for them. There are two boys holding Argoís reins. They pack silently to leave.
Xena: Argo, I know you donít like strangers, but it is only for a little while.
Gabrielle: (pets Argo on the neck) Hey girl I have fresh apples.( hands the apples to the boys)she gets two a day OK? The boys smile but say nothing.
The group heads down to the beach where Xena and Gabrielle board the boat and as soon as they are a onboard the sailors raise the sails and the wind picks up and the boat begins to slide through the water.
Xena: (Turning to the Captain of the ship) Is your crew from Argos?
Captain: (Looks at Xena) No! We are from the village of Poseidon.(The Captain has a very far away look in his eyes(as he turns back to the front of the ship)
Gabrielle: He doesnít talk much does he?
Xena :Most captains are quite and suspicious. And I am sure heís heard of me.
Gabrielle: Well that will make for a silent trip. Iíll bet youíll like peace and quite, huh?
Just the sound of the waves hitting the ship, in quite harmony and...
Xena: (grinning and interrupting)I have a bard as my companion, my life is not quiet now, just peaceful.(before Gabrielle can get a word in)Gabrielle take some of this it will prevent you from losing your breakfast.
Gabrielle: Why would I lose my breakfast? I have been on a ship before.
Xena:Yes you have, but you never left the coast line and we are going into open water. The sea gets very rough and if your not use to it, your stomach wonít want to hold on to your breakfast.
Gabrielle: I think I can handle my stomach. Thanks anyway.
Xena:(raises her eyebrow)OK but donít forget I offered.
Shortly after that the ship enters open water and well Gabrielle is slumped over the side losing her breakfast.
Xena:(smiling and waiting for Gabrielleís hacking to subside)I told you. Do you want this now you at least youíll be able to eat later.
Gabrielle: (holds up her hand and turns around about to say something, but immediately turns back over the side of the ship hacking)
Xena: (goes to the other side of the ship looking at the horizon in front of them).
She is smiling and remembering.
Gabrielle: ( choking out the words)Iíll take... my medicine now,... Please?
Xena:( goes to her friend smiling, and hands her the medicine) I have been a sailor before, all the new swabs get sea sick their first time out.
Gabrielle: I am stubborn remember. Thank you.(she drinks the medicine).
Close to the afternoon the men on the ship begin humming. Xena begins to sing the song that Mira use to sing. The sun is setting and the ship continues and after everyone has eatiní and the watches have been posted the captain comes to Gabrielle.
Captain: (still somewhat distrustful and a quick glance at Xena then looking directly at
Gabrielle)(politely) Miss I..heard you speak earlier of being a Bard. Could you tell my crew a story? Please. Being sailors they donít get much time off for stories.
Gabrielle: (Grinning) Sure I would love to tell some stories(looks over at Xena still grinning then back at the captain) What would you like to hear?
Captain: Any story that doesnít have to do with the sea.
Gabrielle: Have any of you heard the tell of Prometheus?
Sailors begin sitting down in front of Gabrielle ready and waiting to hear the tale.
Xena: (rolls her eyes and mumbles) These sailors are going to be up late tonight.
Gabrielle: Begins to tale the tale of Xena and Hercules saving Prometheus from Herraís chains.
Xena:(watching Gabrielle tell her stories and looking out over the water)(she sees the
captain walking up toward her) Hello Captain.
Captain: Hello Xena. I am sorry about how I acted earlier, but I wasnít sure the rumors about you helping people were true.
Xena:(lifting her eyebrow at him knowing her name)It is understandable.
Captain: I want to thank you now for what your doing for Argos.
Xena: What exactly is happening in Argos?
Captain: A couple of days ago a man came through, he looked like a beggar. There was something different about him. He went to the village healer and shortly after without staying for the night he left. The next day the healer who now had a slight fever went to check on a village elder and well things just got worse. Everyone who was above the age of 15 got the fever. My sisters kids came and told me the tale. They had know one but me to come to. After they told me the story they stopped talking. Silence is deafening when the children are no longer children.
Xena: We were told that Herra had brought this curse on Argos. Do you know why Herra would have a reason to curse Argos?
Captain: I donít know. Out here we are simple fisherman. Poseidon doesnít require us to bow down everyday and thank him for the gifts of the sea. He seems to be fair and a caring God. (leaning in closer to Xena and timidly)We donít have much use for any of the other Gods. We honor our families we honor ourselves we help strangers we understand and do not judge others on their differences. We look at people on their similarities. I think Herra is doing this to acquire more followers and punishing those who wonít follow her. And if she didnít do this directly she had her hand in it. This man must be a fanatic, either way innocent people are dying. Just because you donít believe in someone else religion or you donít agree with the way they do things doesnít give anyone the right to systematically wipe them out. I also believe the reason the children are spared is So, they can reteach the distraught orphans their beliefs, and further their hatred of others. I donít understand the Gods, They make our life very miserable sometimes, What would happen if we killed each other off? Then there would be know one to worship them.
Xena: That is something to think about, is it? This man do you know if he carried the curse with him to other villages?
Captain: I donít know ,but knowing Herraís reputation?
Xena: (smirking) Yes knowing her reputation.
Gabrielle:(walking up to stand facing the Captain and Xena) Hi, What did you think of my story?
Captain: (walking off) They were great. Thank you Gabrielle.
Xena: (still thinking about the Captains words) Your stories are always great.
Gabrielle: (looking at the Captain and then back at Xena) Thank you but I only told one story. I am taking a break. You didnít hear did you?
Xena:(semi-serious) I am sorry Gabrielle, but I was there remember?
Gabrielle: I know, but I have done some fine tuning and I wanted your opinion.
Xena: Gabrielle, I am sorry, but I am sure is was perfect, I trust you, you know.
Gabrielle:(smiling) I am glad. What were you and the Captain taking so quietly about? It was like you didnít even want the Gods to hear.
Xena:(smiling and shaking her head)We didnít want the Gods to hear. You pick up on some of the most elusive things.
Gabrielle:(beaming on the compliment)Thank you ,but you didnít answer my question.
Xena: We were discussing the possibility of the man who brought the fever to Argos would take it to other towns are not?
Gabrielle: With Herraís reputation, Iíd bet 1000 dinars it is yes.
Xena: We could use a 1000 dinars.
The men start talking loudly, and calling for more stories.
Gabrielle: (smiling)Well my fans are waiting.
Xena: (smiling) Yes, best get back to them.
As the last story comes to a close everyone starts going to their designated places of rest. Gabrielle goes to where Xena has laid out their bedrolls out on the deck and Xena is covered up and looking at the stars. Getting into her bedroll Gabrielle joins Xena in quit awe of the heavens. And the harmony of the waves caressing against the ship.
The next morning everyone is looking at the island that has appeared on the horizon. The sailors are quite in their work and Xena is in deep concentration.
Gabrielle: (walking up behind Xena) Morning, it is hard to sleep late without a tree to block the sun from your eyes.
Xena: (turning to Gabrielle) Morning, Iíll have to remember you said that>
Gabrielle: (huffs).(serious) Is that the island were going to?
Xena: (serious) Yes.
Gabrielle: It looks like the one in my dream two nights ago.
Xena: Did you walk through a jungle to a dead city with a tree in the middle?
Gabrielle: Yes and the tree looked dead too.
Xena: Interesting ,I had the same dream, I guess Poseidon didnít want to leave anything to chance.
Gabrielle: What God ever does?
Xena: I donít trust this. So far everything has been to easy.
Gabrielle: Xena, donít say that, you might call attention to whoever is listening to make things harder.
Xena: Sorry, just instinct.(Xena turns to look at the Captain) Is this the island of the dead? I mean Atlantis?
Captain :Yes, and I have no idea how close I can get the ship to it either. I have never even wanted to see it on the horizon.
Xena:(nodding) I never wanted to get this close to it either.
Gabrielle:( questioning on her face and concern) I thought this was Atlantis and the isle of the dead is where you pay the ferryman a dinar to take you across the river of Styx?
Xena: (serious) That is a different island. This one is an island that was destroyed by a volcano or a God and supposedly the birthplace of many races. No-one ever returned after the volcano and the treasure hunters that came here never came back, hence the reputation.
Gabrielle:(excited) I get to be the first Bard to tell the tell of this island. I am going to have to remember details.
Xena(serious): Remember we are to get the basket. Donít take anything else. Story has it that the people who died here take the souls of the living if they think there going to take there belongings.
Gabrielle: I can remember that.
The ship has gotten closer to the island and the Captain starts giving orders for dropping the sail and lowering the life boat.
Once the life boat is lowered Xena, Gabrielle and two sailors climb in. The two sailors begin rowing the rest of the short distance to the island. Once close Xena and Gabrielle get out of the boat, getting there feet wet. The two sailors are looking around frighted.
Xena motions them to stay in the lifeboat and she grabs the anchor and places it in the sand .
Xena and Gabrielle walk away from the lifeboat and start following the path they saw in their dreams. They are both in fighting mode. Going through the jungle very carefully, but as quick as possible. Neither of them speak. They both notice that there is no sign of life on this place. Just silence.
They arrive at the city and carefully, not to disturb anything go directly to the tree and Gabrielle grabs the basket and turns to leave. Xena takes out her breast dagger and cuts off a few pieces of bark directly from the tree and slips the bark into the breast daggersí sheath and then stuffs it in tight with the dagger. She then turns to catch up with Gabrielle, so they can leave this place quickly.
They return to the lifeboat and as soon as their on board, the sailors start rowing furiously to get back to their ship. No-one looks back at the island and no-one speaks until they are back on the ship and sailing away. Xena goes to the water barrel and pulls out to cups of water and goes and sits down by Gabrielle. Xena begins checking the continents of the basket.
Gabrielle: That place gave me the creeps. everything there was dead. I felt like
if we stayed to long I would be dead.
Xena: (after she finishes stirring the continents of the basket in the two cups of water). The name fits doesnít it?( handing one of the cups of potion to Gabrielle) Here, Iwill drink first, if nothing happens then you need to drink. Then we are going to have the crew drink some. Hopefully, it will protect us from the fever when we get back.
Gabrielle:(serious) What do I do if you get sick?
Xena: (bringing out her breast dagger still in its sheath and pulling the dagger out empties the bark on to the bench) Mix this with another glass of water.
Gabrielle:(quizzed) OK. (dawning)So thatís what you were doing that you had to run to catch up with me.
Xena: Yep, I donít leave to much to chance.
Gabrielle: (smiling) Thatís why I stay around- your optimism. Why would any one want to go to that island anyway? I thought people enjoyed life.
Xena:(Lift eyebrows then smiles at the joke) That is why people come here. They want to enjoy life by treasure hunting. It is easier to take from someone than it is to honestly work for it. And supposedly the dead donít fight back.
Gabrielle: Greed is a cruse from the Gods.
Xena: The Gods do not use money Gabrielle only humans do. The curse is not from the Gods.
Xena: I am still feeling OK. Time for you to drink.
Gabrielle takes drinks the potion. And Xena gets up to make enough for the whole crew. The rutin is the same on the trip back now the sailors are filled with hope of helping their relatives. Gabrielle gets a standing ovation for the nights story.
They all wake early watching the sun rise and waiting for the site of land. Everyone is alert for anything.
Just after the sun rises land is spotted and shortly after the outline of the village is can be seen.
As the boat gets closer though you can hear people shouting and some of the houses are on fire.
Gabrielle: Would you look at those grown men trying to raid a village of totally helpless children and their parents. I hate it when that happens.
Xena:(looks at Gabrielle)(Smiling) Yea, Letís go have some fun of our own.
The ship shortly after pulls up to the dock. Xena Leaps off with her battle cry and takes down two bandits. The Crew is still getting the ramp attached to the dock. As soon as the ramp is attached Gabrielle leads the rest of the crew to fight the bandits. Xena has already taken down four others and is busy with swords in the square with the leader of the bandits. Gabrielle takes down two with her staff who tried to go help their leader. Some of the of the sailors are going through the huts, to make sure everyone is out others are trying to put out fires, And as Gabrielle looks over at Xena she is putting the bandit leader out for the count. The bandits that are still able to are running away. Xena walks to the town water barrel and pours in the potion. The crew from the boat are bringing the towns people to drink the water. Xena and Gabrielle lend a hand. Within a few hours people who had the fever start to get up and moving about. Children are talking to their parents people are happy again. All is well again in Argos.
Gabrielle:( finds Xena in the stables with Argo) Are we leaving so soon? (petting Argo)
Xena: Yes. we need to get this stuff to the other villages just in case. Anyway you have to win your 1000 dinars.
Gabrielle: (grimacing)And whoís going to pay me?
Xena: I guess youíll just have to keep telling tales.
Gabrielle: Did you see the Caption of the boat.
Xena: Come to think about it ,no. Letís go make sure he didnít get hurt.
As they leave the stables, small groups of villagers and sailors thank them as there going to their homes.
As they get closer to the docks they see the Caption on the ship waiting for them. Xena looking at him very suspiciously. Walks up to the ship and notices that the ramp is no longer attached and that the riggings have been untied.
Xena:(scowling)Why did you not get off the ship and help the village?
Captain: Thank you for all your help, Xena Warrior Princess and Amazon Queen Gabrielle.
The ship begins to float down past the dock. Xena looks on with realization on what is happening.
Gabrielle: How did he know I was an Amazon Queen? Did you tell him?
Xena: No. I didnít tell the Captain about you being the Queen of the Amazons.
Gabrielle: Then how did(as the look of shock and recognition set in)
Captain: I now know why you two are the favorites of many of the Gods. If you need anything from me and I have it within my power it shall be granted. Thank you again and safe journeys. Argo goodbye and you are my favorite.
Argo: (makes a whining sound)
Gabrielle: (still shocked)(And looking at Argo) That was....
Xena:(interrupting and turning Argo to head out of town) Yes it was Gabrielle.
Gabrielle: I canít believe it was...
Xena: Believe it.
Gabrielle:(running to catch up with Xena)(recovered somewhat from shock) Xena, know one is ever going to believe that Poseidon hug out in human form for two days with other humans.
Xena: Well, many still donít believe that the world is round either.
The two friends are walking into the forest to the next village
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