Convert This Page to Pilot DOC FormatConvert this page to Pilot DOC Format

Twisted Paths

by Scott Carpenter 

©Copyright Scott Carpenter December 13, 1996 

Sithus was long into his day with the instruction of young Malus. "When your attack follows though you need to be ready with the other end of the staff," Sithus demonstrated an attack with his staff on a target. "When you attack be ready to use the other end immediately, you can block a blade with one end and deliver a blow with the other." 

Malus watched intently. From afar Gabrielle watched as well. This man is the best she had seen use a staff outside of the Amazons. "Maybe there is a story to be told here." She said to herself, then headed for the road to Amphipolis. 

Sithus finished his instruction with the boy with a bit of advice. "You keep practicing Malus and you will get the hang of it." 

Malus hefted the wooden staff in his hand as he left. "I will sir. See you next week. " 

Sithus grumbled to himself. "If that boy calls me sir again....." As Sithus set aside his staff he looked up to see a young women walking up the road alone. "Odd" he thought. 

As Gabrielle approached Sithus he greeted her. "Hello, where are you headed young lady?" 

Gabrielle eyed the man she watched from afar and believed his intentions to be good. "To Amphipolis." 

Sithus now knew that she was not from the area. "There has been trouble in this area; raiders are all over this part of the country. May I be allowed to escort you to town?" 

Gabrielle was intrigued by his offer. "I'm sure I will be fine" 

As they were speaking four of Artinas's men watched with a gleam in their eyes. "Only one man and a girl." one mutter's, "Should be easy pickings." They sprang from the woods and attacked. 

As the men broke from the trees Sithus saw them and reached for his staff. "Those are the raiders I was talking about; sure you want to go alone?" 

Gabrielle looked at the four men running their way. "Hmm, no, not really" Gabrielle readies her staff. 

Sithus was intrigued. The girl carries an Amazon fighting staff but does not look like an Amazon and is willing to fight. He pondered to himself. His staff was readied as well. "They usually are not very good. But be careful." 

Gabrielle watched the four approach. "Right." 

The first of the men reached Sithus and was met by a wicked blow to the leg. As he fell, other blow struck him in the side, he rolled away in pain. The first to Gabrielle slowed his approach and smiled. "We don't have to fight deary, you can come quietly." 

Gabrielle was not impressed. "I go where I want when I want." 

The smile left the thugs face. "Fine, have it your way" He attacked. Gabrielle deflected his blade to the side and hit him in the side. The thug winced in pain. "That will cost you little girl" He swung again only to be met by another blow to his head. This sent him to the ground where he was hit yet again. 

Sithus was circling with his next opponent, this one a bit better with a blade than the other. "Just give us what we want and we will let you live." 

Sithus could only laugh at the fool. "Our lives are not at stake here, yours are." The man attacked and Sithus dodged the attack. "You will have to do better then that." The man turned in rage and attacked again. "Angry attacks get you killed." Sithus dodged this attack as well and delivered a blow to the mans midsection, as he passed another was delivered to his back sending him sprawling on the ground. Sithus turned to see Gabrielle engaged with the last of the raiders. 

Gabrielle has gotten the better of the four to deal with. She fought with all her knowledge but this one was good. He knocked her staff from her hands and smiled. "You won't be killed. But after I take you to our camp you will wish I had killed you." 

As the thug approached her he felt a tap on his shoulder. "Excuse me is this yours?" 

The man turned and his face was met by the end of Sithus's staff. Blood poured from his nose as he limped off with his friends. 

Sithus was impressed by Gabrielle's efforts. "Well that was an interesting way to start the evening now wasn't it?" 

Gabrielle picked her staff from the ground and looked at the man before her. "Yes it was, I have had some evenings like this." 

Sithus recognized the markings on Gabrielle's staff. "So how is it you carry an Amazon fighting staff yet you look nothing like an Amazon and have hardly the training an Amazon should have?" 

Gabrielle was caught off guard by his words. "Well this is a long story, have you got some time?" 

"Oh yes lots of time I am intrigued." Gabrielle told of traveling through the Amazon hunting grounds and trying to save the Amazon who gave her the right of cast. She told of how she and her friend stopped a war between the Amazons and the Centaurs. "Very interesting story, you should be a Bard." 

Gabrielle could tell he liked the tale. "Telling stories is a hobby of mine, by the way my name is Gabrielle." 

Sithus shook her hand and felt a confident yet gentle grip. "Nice to meet you Gabrielle, my name is Sithus. It is a bit late to go into town, would you like to spend the night? I have a spare room you may use." 

Gabrielle thought for a moment, she could usually get a pretty good feel for people and he seemed friendly enough. "Well I am supposed to meet my friend in Amphipolis in a couple of days so I suppose I can." 

Sithus headed for the house. "Good, lets eat shall we? A good battle makes me hungry." 

As Sithus sat food on a table he remembered what Gabrielle had said before. "So your meeting someone in Amphipolis in two days?" 

Gabrielle had been looking at the various swords and pieces of armor hanging on the walls of the house. "Yes we are going to see her family. She has not been back for a while." 

Sithus thought of his family. "It's good to see family now and then. Now I have a question for you. Would you like some instruction in the use of your staff?" 

Gabrielle gave Sithus an odd look. "I think I do pretty well with my staff." 

Sithus liked her confident attitude towards her skill. "Oh you do quite well with your staff, but you need to work on your technique. You did not get much in the way of training from the Amazons did you?" 

Gabrielle remembered her brief training as she inspected a sword over the mantle of the fireplace. "No, not much. Most of what I have learned has been on the job training." 

Sithus motioned Gabrielle to the table as he placed two bowls of stew on 

the table. "Well if you would like I will give you some training in the use of your staff while you wait for your friend. If we do not see her in two days we can go into town and see if she is there." 

Gabrielle stirred the hot bowl before her and pondered the possibilities set before her. To learn new things and maybe surprise Xena. "That sounds fine to me." 

As Sithus sat down to eat with her he was reminded of someone from long ago. "Good, first thing in the morning we will get started." 

At sunrise Sithus was up and feeding the animals. He made a light meal for himself and Gabrielle and went to wake her. As he pushed the cloth from the door he saw she was still asleep. "This girl likes to sleep in. Gabrielle wake up. It is time to practice." 

Gabrielle rolled over without opening her eyes. "I'm coming Xena, just give me a minute." 

Sithus recoiled from the name, he moved from the bed and exited the room. "Xena is coming here? I'll be ready for her." 

After a few minutes Gabrielle stumbled out of the room and sat down with a big yawn. "Sorry I slept late, it's a bad habit of mine." 

Sithus moved to the corner of the room and picked a staff from three standing there. "That's all right, we have the whole day ahead of us. Now eat something and we can get started." 

They both entered the practice area with staffs in hand. Sithus considered his options in training. "OK you seem to know that a staff has two ends, that boy Malus only seems to be able to use one end of his staff but he is learning. Have you practiced kata before?" 

Gabrielle twisted her head and gave him an odd look. "Kata? What is that?" 

Sithus had found the key he was looking for. "Kata is simply practicing moves, here I'll demonstrate." Sithus went through a variety of maneuvers, seemingly blocking strikes and delivering them. "That is Kata, it is not a set of moves in any sense, it is simply a practice technique." 

Gabrielle recognized this as something she had done in the past. "Yes I have done that." Gabrielle backed from Sithus and made a series of moves. 

Her prowess with a staff was impressive. "Good, very good. We will go to the next step then. Attack me!" 

Gabrielle nearly dropped her staff at his words. "What?" 

Sithus took up a defensive posture. "I said attack me, you attack me and I will defend myself." 

Gabrielle did not move from were she stood. "I usually don't attack anyone, they usually attack me." 

Sithus lowered his staff. "Oh! OK" Sithus brought his staff around and Gabrielle blocked the blow, he delivered another with the same result. Sithus did not want to kill this girl with quite a bit of talent so he took it to her lightly. 

Gabrielle knew he is not going all out so she blocked a blow and hit Sithus in the leg. "I thought you were going to teach me and not toy with me." 

Sithus could hear the anger in her voice and see the frustration in her eyes. "Sorry, I didn't want to go all out on you the first time out but if you like I will." Sithus began to whirl his staff and then attacked. His attacks were quick, quicker than Gabrielle at times, she was knocked from her feet. Sithus helped her up. "You are good, you do not need much in the way of training, only a bit of polishing up." 

Gabrielle began to brush the dirt from her clothes. "So where do I need polishing?" 

Sithus walked in front of her. "Well for one thing you need to use your height as a weapon, you can get low and deliver blows to your opponents legs like this." Sithus rolled to her side and swung his staff, he contacted the back of her legs but did not follow through. 

Sithus moved to her side. "Men have a higher center of gravity than women, that you can use to your advantage as well." Gabrielle watched as he showed her an attack for using against men and then one for women. "OK, I can do that, but what else?" Sithus set his staff aside. "How good are you with a sword?" 

Gabrielle set her staff aside and a serious look washed over her face at his words. "I have never used a sword, I was told when you pick up a sword you become a target." 

Sithus smiled slightly. "That is true, but you do not need to use a sword only know how one is used. Once you learn how to use one you can better understand how to defend against one." 

Sithus went into the house and returned with two blades, one is a narrow curved blade and the other narrower still and much shorter. "You will use this blade, I know it is not much to look at but looks can be deceiving. This blade's advantages are its size and weight, being shorter and lighter gives it the advantage of speed. Very important when your life is on the line." 

Gabrielle took the blade and hefted it, "Nothing like Xena's sword" she thought to herself. "Okay, teach me." 

Sithus began instructing her in parrying with the blade. "Keep eye contact, that's how you learn to pick up their next move" 

Gabrielle wondered a bit. "Xena said that to me when I wanted to use a blade against Callisto" 

Sithus and Gabrielle spent the rest of the day with swords, practicing attacks and defense. They worked on tumbling maneuvers as well, rolling out of the way of blows and attacks. Gabrielle was good at this. 

At the end of the day they were both tired but have gained some valuable experience from each other. Sithus gathered his staff and swords up. "Tomorrow we will work on you defending against the sword Gabrielle, you should be able to use what I taught you." 

Gabrielle massaged her wrists. "Will we be going into town tomorrow as well?" 

As he walked to the house Sithus stopped as if he has heard something and then turned to her. "Yes we will leave at noon." 

Early the next morning Sithus was up and going through his usual routine of cleaning the barn and feeding his horses. He checked the perimeter of his house and found boot tracks that were not there the day before, "Raiders" he thought, "They will be dealt with soon." He went inside and found Gabrielle awake. "Well this is a pleasant surprise compared to yesterday." 

Gabrielle was rubbing her arms. "Well I am a bit sore from yesterday and I decided it was to hard to sleep in." Sithus reached for a bundle of cloth from a shelf. Unrolling long strips he began to wrap Gabrielle's wrists. "As long as you got some sleep you will be fine." 

Gabrielle felt the tension disappear in her wrist as he wrapped them. "Oh I slept all right." 

Sithus finished one wrist and started on the other." Good, now lets eat and get to our practice shall we." 

Sithus and Gabrielle ate and readied themselves for practice, Gabrielle warmed up with her staff while Sithus did the same with his sword, 

Gabrielle watched him for a while. "He is as good as Xena with a blade if not better. I wonder if they have ever met?" 

Sithus stood before her with blade in hand. "Okay, are you ready?" 

Gabrielle set her feet apart and readied herself for his attacks. "Ready as I'll ever be." 

Sithus approached Gabrielle with careful steps and begins to circle her. "Remember keep your opponent in front of you and keep eye contact." Sithus attacked with several blows, Gabrielle blocked the blows and delivered attacks of her own. "Good, good, keep your feet moving." Sithus attacked again and again, never with the same move. Gabrielle moved and blocked blow after blow and delivered attacks of her own. She knew some of her attacks would have connect if Sithus had not been so good. 

Xena was riding down the road to Amphipolis, she heard sounds of combat ahead as she neared the bend. She made Argo pick up the pace a bit. As she rounded the bend she saw Gabrielle fighting with a man near a house, she knew that house "Is he still here" she muttered?" She kicked Argo into a gallop "Hyaa" 

As Xena and Argo come barreling down the road Xena let out her battle cry. "YIYIYIYIYIYIYIYI" Both Sithus and Gabrielle turned as Xena leapt from Argo and flipped into the air from the saddle. She landed between Gabrielle and Sithus. 

Xena smiled at Gabrielle's attacker. "I'll take care of this one Gabrielle, get back." 

Gabrielle tried to get between them. "But Xena he's...." 

Xena pushed her back. "He's dead is what he is." 

Sithus looked at the women warrior in leather before him. "Your Xena?" 

Xena smiled a wicked smile as she spun her sword in hand. "Yes, I'm Xena." 

Sithus spun his sword as well. "Well this should be interesting then." 

Sithus attacked and Xena blocked the blow; their swords could be heard connecting for miles. Neither one had the upper hand; Xena flipped over Sithus and he rolled to one side. Then Xena kicked at Sithus and he sidestepped and swung at Xena, she leapt and avoided the blow. Xena backed off her opponent and grabbed her chakram. 

Gabrielle could move as Xena lifted the deadly ring from her belt "Xena no!" Xena threw the chakram to her left, it bounced from a tree to another tree to a wall. As it did, Sithus attacked again and spun Xena's sword from her hand. As the chakram neared his head he turned and caught it. 

He quickly turned to Xena and held it to her throat. "Go ahead, do it." Gabrielle looked on, frightened at the sight of the chakram at Xena's throat. "Okay, I will." Sithus kissed Xena and then hugged her, lifting her off her feet. "Xena it has been too long." 

Xena smiled. "Sithus you have not changed a bit, you still get the best of me." 

Gabrielle was stunned at what she has just witnessed. "You two know each other?" 

Xena set her hand on Gabrielle's shoulder. "Oh we go way back. Sithus was the one who taught me to use a sword." 

Gabrielle was shocked by the revelation. "He taught you!! When?" 

Xena took her chakram from Sithus. "When Cortes attacked Amphipolis I wanted to defend the village but I had no skill in the use of a sword. Sithus volunteered to teach me and the rest is history." 

Sithus looked Xena over. "It seems I taught you too good it seems. After Cortes was routed and I went to Athens for studies you went a bit too far with your endeavors." 

Xena looked away. "I did get out of hand didn't I?" 

Sithus turned her head back to face him. "Yes you did, when I heard you tried to kill Hercules I knew you had gone too far. I was on my way to get you when I heard that you had changed for the better." 

Xena was shocked by the words. "Get me?" 

Sithus locked his eyes on hers. "Yes, and it was not easy making the decision to kill one of your best friends, that is never easy. I'm glad you found your way to the side of good Xena." 

Xena contemplated what she had just heard, Sithus a dear friend had planned to kill her if she had not stopped her rampage. "I guess I stopped in time then. Would you really have tried to kill me?" 

Sithus shook his head. "Yes, Xena, I would have, one way or another I would have." 

Xena whistled for Argo. "So what have you been teaching my young friend here?" 

Sithus watched as Argo returns to Xena's side. "Oh a little staff work and a little sword work, something you didn't do." 

Rage filled Xena's face when she heard him say sword work. Her head snapped to look at him. "I don't want her using a sword Sithus!" 

Sithus could see the rage. "That wasn't my decision Xena and she is good enough with her staff anyway. I have only taught her how to defend against the sword by teaching her how one is used. 

Xena's hand tightened on the sword still in her hand. "Why have you taught her the sword Sithus? I never wanted her to learn to use a sword." 

Sithus had only seen this rage in her face a few times in the past. "It was her decision Xena, or is she your slave?" 

His words struck home but still there is rage. "No she is not my slave, but why the sword?" 

Sithus now knew she cared for Gabrielle a great deal. "It is her life to live Xena. If you are not going to control it, than let her." 

Xena let the tight grip on her sword slacken and placed it back in the sheath. "I will let her control her life Sithus but she carries no sword." 

Gabrielle had been watching this frightening exchange between the two of them and was glad to see it was now over. She realized now what had been bothering her. The things that Sithus had said were familiar. He had taught them to Xena. 

The angry exchange now over, Sithus and Xena walked towards the barn with Argo. "By the way, I see you got the hang of the chakram finally." 

Xena looked at the chakram on her belt and then to her friend from long ago. "Yes, it has saved me a few times." 

Sithus smiled as he opens the barn door. "I told you it would. Now lets go inside and catch up on things. I heard Toris is in town and its a good thing with the raiders around." 

Xena stopped removing Argo's saddle. "Raiders, where?" Sithus saw the concern on her face. "Here and around Amphipolis. Why." As Gabrielle walked up to the two of them Xena began to tighten the saddle again. "Come on Gabrielle we are going." 

Sithus put his hand on hers. "Xena wait, it will be dark before you get half way. Let's wait till morning." 

Gabrielle could see she was upset. "Xena, lets wait. Besides this is a great story; another person out of your past." 

Xena looked at her friend and at Sithus. Even after all these years he still was in good shape and as handsome as ever. "Fine, first thing in the morning." 

Sithus helped her again to unhook the saddle from Argo. "Good, good. Now when I heard you were back attacking villages a few months back I couldn't believe it. Then I hear it was some impostor. I was getting ready to go after you again and then I find out that you were still good. It got a bit chaotic for a while." 

Xena pulled the saddle from Argo's back and set it aside and removed her bridle. "Yes it did." 

As Sithus walked to the house Xena stopped Gabrielle and waited for Sithus to go inside. She faced Gabrielle. "Why have you gone against me and learned to use a sword!" 

Xena's words hit Gabrielle hard, as if she had betrayed her. "Why can I not learn to use a sword Xena? Sithus only taught me how to use one so that I understand what I am up against when fighting a person armed with a sword." 

Gabrielle's reasoning did not convince Xena. "Well we shall see." Xena walked to where Sithus had set the swords down and brought them to Gabrielle. "Choose!" 

Gabrielle did not understand at first and then knew what she was doing. Gabrielle took the blade she had used in training. 

Xena drew her blade as she stood before Gabrielle. "So you are a sword fighter now? Defend yourself Bard!" Xena swung at Gabrielle who simply ducked the attack. Xena swung again at Gabrielle and the swing was blocked. 

Sithus went to the window at the sound of steel meeting steel. He knew what Xena was doing and would not interfere. 

Each attack by Xena was progressively more intense than the next. Gabrielle began to take the fight to Xena with moves of her own. As the two friends lock blades Xena made a move to disarm Gabrielle, but before she could Gabrielle slipped a foot behind Xena's leg and tripped her to the ground. As she fell to the ground her sword was dislodged from her hand, Gabrielle brought her blade to Xena's throat. "How am I doing so far." 

Sithus moved from the window when he saw Gabrielle use the last move he taught her. 

Xena looked at the blade pressed to her neck by her friend and then to Gabrielle. "Well I guess he taught you well enough." Gabrielle removed the blade and extended her hand. 

As she helped Xena to her feet Sithus called them in to the house eat. Walking toward the house Xena placed her hand on Gabrielle's head. "You will have to show me that move sometime." 

As the two walked into the house Sithus looked to Xena. "So what's this I hear about you being this Callisto?" Xena looks at him. "It's a long story." 

Sithus smiled. "I have time for an old friend." 

Inside Xena walked around looking at things, she saw things she remembered and things she did not. She lifted a sword from above the mantle, a wave of memories flooded over her. She remembered things from long ago, like they were yesterday.......... 

"Okay Xena. A sword is your friend and your enemy. Unless you respect it's power you will never master it. And once you use it and kill someone you will be changed forever. Do you still want to learn?" 

Xena looked at her new friend. "Yes Sithus. We can't just let Cortes take what he wants without doing something." 

Sithus pointed to a bench near the house." All right, pick a blade from those over there. Get one that feels right." 

Xena rummaged through a pile of swords hefting and swinging each one. Near the bottom of the pile she found a blade that had the right balance for her. "This one will do." 

Sithus stood confidently before her. "Okay. Now first thing is to watch your opponents eyes, that's how you anticipate their next move and keep moving." 

Sithus saw her standing in front of the fireplace as if in a daze. "Xena, Xena!" 

The thoughts cleared from her head as he spoke. "What? Oh sorry I was thinking." 

Sithus looked at the blade in her hand "After you left I hung your practice blade there to remind me of you. I was carrying it when I left to find you, I thought maybe I could convince you that what you were doing was wrong and that blade might help remind you of your better past." 

Xena looked him in the eye and then hung the sword back up. She turned to him. "It might have. After I saved that baby and Darfus sent me through the Gauntlet I was still hoping to go on. I tried to kill Hercules again you know." 

He walked to her. "Yes he told me about that. And he told me how you had changed after that as well." 

She remembered her dark past and her journey out of the dark. "I have a lot of things to make up for." 

Sithus took her hand in his. "You are and you will. Now lets eat and get some sleep, tomorrow we have work to do." 

The next morning Sithus was up earlier than normal. He went to the barn and feed the horses, he brushed the small black horse he has been training and gave her a pat on the head, all of his work would hopefully payoff today. 

Xena arose from her bedroll at the sound of the barn door being opened and looked around, she turned to look as Gabrielle turned over on the bed, the girl she once knew is now a women. "Gabrielle get up." 

Gabrielle opened her eyes and they are met by a ray of sunlight. "Is it morning already? I was having this wonderful dream. Want to hear about it?" 

Xena began to roll up the blankets." Maybe later, we have work to do." 

Gabrielle sat upright. "Right, work." 

The two walked out of the room and found food setting out but Sithus was nowhere to be seen. Xena looked out the window and saw him by the barn, he had saddled Argo and two other horses. He must have intend for Gabrielle to ride with them. "So how are your horse riding skills coming along Gabrielle?" 

Gabrielle took a piece of bread from a bowl and looked at her. "You know Argo has a thing against me." 

Xena walked to the door. "I'm not talking about Argo, I think Sithus has saddled a horse for you. 

Gabrielle moved to the window and looked out, she saw Sithus with two other horses, a large black horse and a smaller black horse. She headed for the door as well. 

"I see Argo likes you, she won't let just anyone saddle her." 

Sithus patted Argo on the back. "Really? We got along pretty well I thought. Besides I think she likes Thesis. Gabrielle this is Thesis, Thesis this is Gabrielle, you do everything she tells you understand." 

Thesis shook her head up and down and walked over to Gabrielle and nosed her. Gabrielle looked at the beautiful horse before her. "Hello Thesis." Thesis shook her head again. 

"I have been training her for a year, she is a good girl and obeys well. We have a long ride ahead of us and riding double did not seem like a good idea." 

Xena turned for the house. "Well lets get ready and go then." 

Sithus went inside and removed a blanket from a chest near the window. He than took a long box from inside. Xena watched as he opened it and removed a sword inside of a scabbard, he drew the blade and checked the edge. Xena remembered that blade from years ago, when they fought Cortis. She remembered the story Sithus told of traveling to the East and acquiring that blade along with other things. 

Sithus attached the scabbard to a back harness and picked up his staff, as he headed for the door he stopped and walked back to the chest. He removed one more thing and then headed outside. 

Gabrielle was standing next to Thesis petting her. "Gabrielle I have something for you." Gabrielle looked at the cloth in his hand. "What?" 

Sithus unwrapped a knife in a leather sheath. He drew the blade and Gabrielle saw a knife with a blade about six inches long with a slight upward curve. "You never know when you may need a good blade." He stepped behind her and affixed it in the middle of her back horizontally, tucked into her clothes. "OK reach back there and see if you can reach it." 

Gabrielle reached behind her and felt the handle, she could not quite get a hold of it. Sithus adjusted the blade to a different spot. She reached again and drew the blade. "With a bit of practice you will get the hang of it." Gabrielle put the blade back in its place. 

Xena had finished armoring up. "Are we all ready?" 

Sithus adjusted the sword on his back. "I'm ready. Gabrielle?" 

Gabrielle tied her staff to the saddle. "Ready." Xena wheeled Argo around. "Lets go then." 

The three of them head down the road towards Amphipolis at a walking pace, they would be in town by noon. They talked very little, saying only a few things about the past. Xena remembered taking this same trip years ago with Sithus, she remembers the night she spent with him thinking it might be her last. 

As they approached Amphipolis they heard sounds of battle ahead, they need no prodding to get their horses into a gallop. As they got closer to town they could see fighting going on all over town. 

Xena saw a familiar figure in the thick of the fighting, Toris her older brother. She charged ahead. 

Sithus saw Toris as well, he wondered what kind of reception he would get from him. 

Xena rode through a few fights, she halted Argo and flipped from the saddle "YIYIYIYIYI" She landed next to Toris and thumped a raider on the head with the pommel of her sword. 

"Fine time for you to show up little sister. " 

Xena kicked the body from in front of her. "You know I don't like missing a good fight Toris. I brought some help with me." 

Toris looked up to see Sithus on a large black war-horse, he leapt from the saddle onto a pile of raiders who are pummeling a villager. He also saw Gabrielle climbing off a smaller horse. He watched her send the horse away at the edge of the fighting. "You brought her along! And what's Sithus doing here? " 

Xena punched a raider in the face. "Not now Toris we are in the middle of a fight." Xena headed for the nearest attacker, her blade sent him to the ground in a heap, the memories of years past sent her into a frenzy. 

Sithus extractedhimself from the pile of raiders and hit a few with his staff. As he looked up he saw Toris and nodded, Toris returned the nod and took on another opponent. Sithus turned his attention to a raider as well, two blows with the staff and he was out of the way, he wheeled and struck another in the back. 

Gabrielle got off Thesis and told her to follow Argo who was now moving from harms way, Thesis followed Argo out of town. A raider saw Gabrielle and charged at her, at the last second she ducked his blade and tripped him. He sprawled head first into a wall and knocking himself out. Gabrielle moved farther into town. 

Sithus had dropped his staff and gone to his sword, he was a blur of motion, cutting and slashing his way through opponents. Gabrielle turned from helping a girl and spotted Xena and Sithus in the midst of the fighting, raiders fell one by one under their blades. She was glad they were on her side. 

Toris backhanded a raider and looked around, Xena and Sithus had finished off the last the other raiders. They all looked for Gabrielle. 

Gabrielle has just dispatched a raider and had an odd feeling. She ducked and heard a sword whoosh over her head. Spinning her staff behind her she felt it connect. She turned and saw a large man looming over her. She realized that this must be the warlord in charge. 

Artinas laughed, his raiders had been beaten by Xena and two others of obvious skill but at least he would get one last kill in before he left. 

This little girl has given him a headache and she would pay. "You will pay for that little girl." He lifted his sword above his head. 

Xena reached for her Chakram, Sithus stopped her hand. "What are you doing?" 

Sithus watched as Gabrielle moved. "You forget, I trained her." 

Gabrielle ducked below the swing of Artinas's sword and punched her staff forward into his gut, she rolled to his side and swept his legs from under him. She stood before him and held him down with her staff. "Who's laughing now." Artinas looked up at the girl standing over him and groaned. 

As the raiders were tied up Toris approached Sithus. "I thought I would never get this chance Sithus." He swung his sword and drove the point into the ground in front of Sithus and then extended his hand. 

Sithus took it. "Still leading with your left foot Toris." 

Toris smiled. "You don't miss much do you." 

Sithus shook his head as he pulled the sword from the ground and handed it to Toris. "No I don't Toris. Your little sister did pretty well don't you think?" 

Toris took the sword. "Not bad." 

Xena glared at the two of them, the two favorite men in her life making jokes. She prodded Sithus in the back. "Sithus you still swing a mean sword, even at your age." 

Sithus turned and glared at her. "My age! I'm as old as you are. Toris is the old man here." 

Toris poked Sithus in the shoulder with his finger "Hey!" 

Xena whistled for Argo, she trotted back into town with Thesis in tow. 

Gabrielle walked up to Sithus and kissed him on the cheek. "I wanted to thank you for teaching me and for letting me ride Thesis. " 

Sithus brushed a lock of hair from her eyes. "You are quite welcome Gabrielle, let me ask Thesis some thing." 

Sithus walked to Thesis and said something to her, Thesis shook her head. "Thesis says she wouldn't mind letting you ride her for quite some time, that is if you will let her take you where you want to go?" 

Gabrielle's eyes lit up at his words "Your giving her to me!" 

Sithus held out the reins. "Yes, that is if you want her?" 

Gabrielle looked at Xena for answers. 

Xena could only shake her head. "Don't look at me it's your decision." 

Gabrielle looked at Thesis and then to Sithus. "Yes I will take her." 

Sithus placed the reins in her hands. "Good, that will make her happy." 

Sithus walked to Xena. "I don't suppose you are sticking around are you?" 

Xena looked at him and then at Gabrielle who was petting Thesis. "We were only coming to visit for a day and then we were heading onto Thrace." 

Sithus looked as Gabrielle stroked the head of Thesis. "It figures, you drop back into my life and then you are gone again. You come back again so we can catch up on old times." 

Sithus extended his hand. Xena reached for it and pulled him to her, her face inches from his. "You owe me a rematch." Xena kissed him and then hugged him. 

"You will get your rematch Xena." 

As Xena and Gabrielle headed out of town one way Sithus headed the other, He stopped and watched them go. Xena turned in her saddle and saw him, she lifted her hand as he did the same. Friends paths intertwining in so many ways. 

Sithus was cleaning his sword and heard a clanking squeaking sound coming up the road. He lifted his head to see a young man in a odd assortment of armor, he hailed Sithus. 

"Hi, hey is this the way to Amphipolis? I'm looking for Xena." 

Sithus set his sword aside. "She was there but she has left. Who are you?" 

Joxer placed his hands on his hip and looked Sithus in the eye. "I am Joxer the Magnificent." 

Sithus smiled as he heard the name that Gabrielle and Xena had mentioned. "Oh I've heard of you." 

Joxer was startled by this but regained his composure. "You have? Of course you have." 

Sithus picked his blade from the bench and slid it back into the sheath. "Yes Gabrielle told me a very interesting story." 

Joxer twisted his face. "Gabrielle! That irritating little blond." 

Sithus laughed at the reference to a very capable women. "That irritating little blond makes a Hydra look like a puppy now. She says you could use some instruction in fighting Joxer." 

Sithus put his hand on Joker's shoulder and lead him to the practice area. "Now first thing we need to do is get rid of some of this armor and that helmet has got to go. So how good are you with a sword?" 

Joxer beamed. "I'm a master with a sword." 

Sithus could tell he was full of confidence among other things. "Well if you are not now you will be in a few months." 

The End

Joxer was not hurt in this story but he did lose his helmet. 

Fan Fiction

Return to my Fan Fiction Page