In April 18, 1999, Man of Void This story takes place somewhere in the beginning of the second season of Xena: Warrior Princess TV-series. It contains very mild violence but I can't see how anyone who likes Xena could be offended because of it.
My name is Kullervo. I'm a warrior. Well, in fact I'm a thief, but I'd like to think of myself as a warrior.
Right now I'm sitting up on a branch of a tree beside the road to Athens with Rod. Rod is my best friend in the whole world. To be honest, he's also my only friend. He doesn't speak much since he can't speak our language too well. He's from another country, a country Romans call Hispania. His real name is Carlos Rodrigo Juan Alonzo y Cervantes, so you see why I call him Rod. I come from another country, too. My home is far away in the north, from where I was captured by rough, bearded men, and brought here as a slave in their ship.
So anyway, Rod and I are hiding in a tree waiting for unsuspecting travellers to rob. We've been waiting for hours and my limbs are feeling numb because of all that sitting and not moving. Suddenly, I see our first victims, two men. The first one is a really big and muscular fellow. Bad for him, he is unarmed. The other is two heads shorter, armed with a sword. I give Rod a sign that we're first going to take out the large one and the rest will be easy.
I draw my dagger and get ready to jump on the big guy. Just a moment more. Wait... wait.. NOW!
I wake up with a massive headache. Those men are gone, and the last thing I can remember is a humongous fist coming at my face. I have absolutely no idea how long I've been unconscious. Rod is waking up beside me cursing in his language. It does not sound nice, believe me! And the headache - I wish someone could knock me out again. I'm quite sure Rod would be happy to do that for a dinar or two. Heck, he would sell his mother for a dinar or two!
Okay, so I confess our very first robbery was a total failure. In my current condition I just can't make another effort for a some time, so we decide to go deeper into the forest for a while to take a rest. I see my dagger on the ground and pick it up. It's not good to be unarmed, you know.
We walk a few hundred yards to the forest, then rest for a few hours. I'm starving, we haven't had a chance to eat all day since we don't have any food. The day is turning night and our luck finally turns. Rod sees a glow of light in the darkness. He has excellent eyesight, I still can't see anything.
We get up and sneak closer to the light source. I think I can hear a woman's voice but I can't get the words.
Ha! Now I can see them. There are two women settled around a fire on a cozy looking little camp. The blond one is telling a story. I think she's rather cute looking. The other (a gorgeous black-haired woman wearing black leather armor) is deeply focused into listening to the story. I think it's about some guy named Hercules. I wonder who that is. It would be a shame to rob them, such a nice couple, but a man's got to do what a man's got to do. Besides, I could eat a horse and they have food cooking!
The story pauses for a while and the women seem to have a little conversation, probably about some story details. Then the blond continues from where she has stopped.
"Let's go, Rod."
We step to the opening.
"Good evening, ladies. We are poor and hungry travelers and come far away. You don't mind sharing some of that good smelling food of yours with us, do you? We will pay what we can," I say smoothly.
Rod has a mean grin on his face. I don't have to look at him, he always wears it. The women look at each other hesitating and after a moment the blond says, "Good evening to you too. By all means, we'd be happy to share our meal with two handsome gentlemen like you. We have more than we can eat, anyway."
"What a moron," I think. This is going to be so easy.
"I just reconsidered, we're going to take it all. Plus all your supplies and money, thank you very much. Be good and maybe, just maybe, we'll spare your lives."
"Oh Zeus, they're bandits!" yells the blonde frightened and they both jump up to their feet. Does she look scared!
"Oh, goody, at last some action!" says the dark haired, big, tall (boy, she's tall) woman. "Don't worry, Gabrielle. Stay back, I'll protect you." She doesn't look scared, not at all. More like stupid, perhaps.
"NO, Xe-" is all the little blonde has time to say, before the tall one interrupts.
"Hush! Don't call me by my real name." She slowly turns to us saying, "We don't want to scare them off, do we?". She has an hint of smile playing on her face and her eyes make a cold chill run up and down my backbone. Not until now I notice that she has quite a nasty looking sword on her back. And some strange round thing hanging on her hip. But then again, she's only a woman and there are two of us. But I can't help wondering what her real name is and what's so scary about that.
"As I was saying, er, Zima," says the cute one turning to the tall one, "What right do you have to always have all the fun!"
"Well, I'm the warrior of our team, just to remind you. I do the fighting, you tell the stories. Got it?"
"Not fair! If you just let me fight, I could become as good as you are."
"Ha! In your dreams, brat."
"I'll show you brats you ... "
Unbelievable, they're fighting about which one has the privilege to get killed first. Or is this some kind of game?
"Ladies, ladies, could we just get on with the robbery thing?" I say.
"Shut up!" they shout simultaneously. "Can't you see we're in the middle of something."
Well, what can you do. They're arguing with each other totally oblivious to the fact they're being threatened. That annoys me a lot. I throw a glance at Rod, he doesn't seem to be too happy either. This has to end. We start to advance. I'm going to put this dagger of mine right between those well formed ribs. Nobody plays with mighty Kullervo! Nobody!
"Stop that and give me your money! At once!" I hear myself yelling.
"SHUT - UP !" shouts the smaller woman, wasn't she called Gabrielle. She grabs a long walking stick from somewhere, swings and hits and before I know it I'm disarmed, lying on the ground. This can't be happening. How can anyone use a wooden staff with that kind of speed and skill. And what does the girl do now? She turns to that - Zima-woman or whoever she is - and says she is sorry. Sorry! For what!
"I'm sorry I lost my temper. I just hate when I'm interrupted. Where was I?"
"You had some complaints about my clothing, right?"
I notice my dagger on the ground behind Zima. I nod to Rod, who seems to read my mind. He's already creeping in that direction. In a while I get up standing right behind Gabrielle. Their argument is getting louder and louder, looks like they're getting physical, too. Some other time this would be really interesting to watch. Anyway, I'm grabbing the blond from the neck to choke her. Hey, it's not fair to move! She just slipped through my hands.
I fall down again. This time the reason is Zima's fist. I bet she had tried to attack Gabrielle, who did some evasive action.
Mostly, because I have landed on the campfire and the pot of boiling water on it. Thank gods I have good reflexes.
"Ha, missed me. Now BACK OFF!" cries the blond and pushes her back with the staff. Zima stumbles a few steps backwards and Rod screams in pain. That bitch stepped on his fingers as he was picking up the dagger. Bad luck, huh?
Oookay, I've had it. Those two barely noticed us and still we are the ones getting hurt. They cannot be human. They must be evil spirits, yes, that's what they are. They should be destroyed. But not by me, I'm out of here. Rod seems to have the same idea when he follows me through the bushes.
Evil spirits. They keep fighting with each other even after we're already far away. Although the last thing I hear, I could almost swear it, is laughing. Evil, mean laughing.
You know, I think I'll give up this thief profession. Somehow it just lost its glamour. I think I could be a great farmer, though. Hmm, that sounds comfy. I'd have two cows and a pig. And a fat wife and five kids. Maybe I could persuade Rod to settle down near me. But then we must live near the beach. Rod likes fishing, you see.
So, if YOU ever walk in the woods and see a nice looking little blond woman with tall goddess in black leather, stay far away from them. They are nothing but trouble.
Some evil spirits were hurt when they heard, that they had been mistaken for sweet Gabrielle. Some others were proud to be mistaken for Xena, though.
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