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Scroll 73

by Richard Carter Jr

This is from a recently discovered scroll (c. 1150 BCE) by a previously unknown Greek scribe, Hymnia. It relates a eulogy apparently being given by Hymnia's mentor.
-- Richard Carter Jr


My teacher would not allow the day to be a sad one. "The Gods," she said, "will be making a grand celebration, and we must do the same." When our ex-queen joins the pantheon, and again can grasp the hand of Hercules, her long journey will at long last be complete. Fortunate are we to have known her, and fortunate are we that tales of her life will be praised for generations.

Like Proteus, the Amazon Princess hid behind a mask to veil her pain. It passed the notice of no one. The passing of a loved one leaves a deep scar. It wasn't until the day grew long, when all the speeches praising our noble founder had been given, that the Poteidaian took her place in front of the alter where the shrouded vessel of our resting champion laid.

She placed her honored staff, a gift from a warrior long gone, against the alter. She faced the gathered and thought long.

"Oh, I'm going to miss her so..."

Many people who had been strong, now could restrain themselves no longer. Though they were respectful, their sobs could still be heard.

"I'm happy that she went to the other side before I did. She lost so much -- her village, her brother, her daughter, and Agrolios; Hercules, Iolaus, Salmoneus,... Everyone she ever loved, died. Except me. Xena gave me so much. Thank the gods she was spared the pain of being left behind."

Now even my mentor could not remain stoic. Many near her stepped forward, but our great sage motioned them back down.

"I'm ok. I can get through this. It's not like I haven't spoken for Xena at her funeral before -- but this time I know she's never coming back. Heh, I can imagine what Xena would say if she saw me like this. 'Don't go getting mushy on me.'

"I don't know what I can tell you about my friend that you haven't already heard or read. As I look out at all of your faces, I wonder how many of you wouldn't be on this earth if not for Xena's deeds."

A voice in the throng cried out, "And yours!"

With a blush, "Thanks, but I only helped a little. Xena is the real hero in the truest sense of the word. She not only saved lives from vicious warlords and vengeful gods, but she taught all of us, me especially, what it means to love another person without any reservation."

Many faces betrayed the truth of our honored speaker while she once again reflected.

"She always said that I was like a sister to her. Now, I had a sister. Lila. I would have died for her... but the bond that Xena and I shared was much closer than that. She knew it first.

"Maybe she needed to know it first...

"I'm going to miss Xena. My big sister. My teacher...

"When I go into the library and see the shelves of scrolls I wrote of our adventures, it makes me realize how much Xena did. The years she fought. The friends she lost along the way.

"I have something."

The traveler reached into a fold in her garment and pulled out a golden vial.

"I've carried this around for -- a long time."

She turned and walked to the body of her friend. She opened the vial and placed its mysterious contents into a small opening of the shroud. The silence was louder than the thunderbolt of the Olympian king as she quietly stood.

It was as if minutes passed, but it was surely only moments before she once again returned to face the mass of mourners.

"Throughout the life I spent with Xena, we helped many we loved to the other side. Only once did I ever see Xena broken by her grief. When Xena is laid to rest, she will carry with her a lock of hair..." In a whisper, "Carry her safely, Argo."

No longer could the tears be dammed. "I can't..."

No one with a heart could watch the grief-stricken bard without echoing her pain. All who were gathered were consumed by their loss.

As if given the strength by the gods, my teacher was able to gather herself. She turned to face our fallen hero.

"Goodbye Xena. Warrior Princess."

She regained her staff, and with all eyes following her, she stepped out to a clear area. She faced the heavens, and she was lit by the gods. She took a breath, but a sob made her falter. Once more she found strength...


- Hymnia

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