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The Xena Scrolls: Scroll #11: The Black Wolf

By Brandy Seymour | Xena Scrolls | 22 Apr 2020

The Xena Scrolls
By: Gabrielle Bard of Potedia
Scroll#11:  The Black Wolf

January, 48 B.C.


Scroll #11:  The Black Wolf


There was once this rebel group in a small village between Amphipolis and Corinth.  They challenged their leader Zercies for he taxed them into poverty.  Most in this small village did not have the courage to stand up and fight for what they knew was just and right.  Yet this rebel group had a leader who believed that if they all banded together against the wrath of Zercies they would be able to once again live their lives in peace rather than in suffering.  Of course Zercies was against his rival whose leader was known only as the Black Wolf.  The Black Wolf’’s identity was known only to those loyal to the rebel group which made it nearly impossible for Zercies to face his worst enemy directly.  He did not know who to punish for the rise against his laws.
After many months of rebellion against Zercies the village leader could see that he was losing his battle against this Black Wolf.  So Zercies decided that there would be only one way to defeat his enemy.  He decided that he would arrest all who were involved within the rebel group led by the Black Wolf and throw them into his infamous dungeon.  It was said that if one ever reached Zercies dungeon that they would never return.  Despite this Zercies promised to all who were taken to his dungeon that he would free those who turned against their fearless leader.  As all of the black wolves stood before Zercies not one stepped forward to reveal their leader.  Instead they stepped forward one by one declaring themselves to be the one and only Black Wolf.  Zercies was not amused by this and so all of the black wolves were sentenced to prison with seven days to decide if they wanted to live or if they wanted to die for the Black Wolf.
Fortunately for these courageous rebels a great heroine had recently traveled into town in need of new shoes for her horse.  When Xena arrived she ran into an old friend from her home in Amphipolis.  It was Hermia the mother of her childhood friend Flora.  Hermia was distraught for her daughter had been one of the ones captured by Zercies and taken to his dreadful dungeon.  As Hermia told Xena of the horrors brought upon them by Zercies she explained that no one was known to escape his prison except for through the grave.  Hermia was desperate to have Flora home safe for her daughter was all that was left of her family.  Xena tried to calm Hermia, but Hermia was upset.  Hermia continued her story with regret for allowing her daughter Flora to see the man she felt was responsible for her daughter’s rebellious ways.  Diamedes was also a known member of the black wolf rebels.  Hermia blamed Diamedes for convincing Flora that they could rise up and fight against Zercies in a cause to save the welfare of their village.
Xena was not so certain that her childhood friend had made the wrong choice for the warrior princess would gladly have made the same choice had she been in Flora’s place.  Yet Xena knew that she could rescue Flora from Zercies dungeon and promised Hermia that she would bring Flora home to her.
And so the mighty warrior princess went into action.  She stole her way into Zercies castle defeating his guards in an instant for their skills were not near those of Xena.  The warrior princess walked into Zercies chambers taking he and his magistrate Lord Coolose by surprise.  As Coolose called for the guards Xena explained that they had already met her and been charmed.  Then she was direct with Zercies as she made him an offer.  He wanted the Black Wolf by the end of seven days so that an example could be made of this Wolf at the feast of Zeus.  The warrior princess was very bold as she offered Zercies the identity of the Black Wolf in exchange for 10,000 dinars and a new pair of boots.  Zercies found himself amused at this offer and had decided since Lord Coolose had been unsuccessful in bringing the Black Wolf to him that he would indeed give this bold harlot a chance.
Xena was thrown into the dungeon with the wolf pack to complete her mission despite Lord Coolose’s suspicions of her loyalty to Zercies.  Coolose decided that he would keep a close eye on this warrior woman for if she did succeed his job would be at stake.  Yet Xena was clearly not interested in taking the job of a magistrate.  Once inside the dungeon she searched for her old friend and found her amongst the rest of the wolf pack.  Flora was surprised yet happy to see her old friend.  She declared that Xena had grown legendary in the ten years since she had left Amphipolis behind, but Xena assured Flora that she had changed and begun to create a new legend for herself.  Flora clearly had faith in her friend’s words for she did not fear Xena’s presence.  Instead they reminisced together of their days as children.  And Flora told of Zercies wrath against her village.
Xena explained her reasons for joining Flora inside Zercies dungeon as she prepared to escape with her friend.  This mission seemed so simple yet when Flora refused to jump upon Xena’s back to escape through the air shaft above Xena realized that it would take much more than a simple escape to rescue Flora.  Xena would have to rescue Flora and the rest of the wolf pack in order to succeed this time.  And though it sounded so easy to do it was not for the wolf pack did not have faith in Xena.  They had heard of her terrible reputation like many others across the land and at Daimedes request refused to join Xena.  The warrior princess had to earn their trust and it would not be easy.
It seemed that this small village needed more than a warrior princess to intervene within their affairs against Zercies.  Again they were fortunate for Xena’s loyal friend had returned from her own personal journey to join her best friend the warrior princess.  Upon Gabrielle’s arrival into the village she recognized that familiar white steed Argo.  It was then that she knew that Xena would be nearby.  And then she found herself suddenly confronted by the smith with a bill for food and horseshoes.  After Gabrielle paid 15 dinars for feed and shoes she asked of the smith where Xena was.  It was as if Xena had known already that Gabrielle would soon catch up to her.  And so the smith said only that he would reveal Xena’s whereabouts for an additional five dinars.  Clearly this smith drove a hard bargain, but no information regarding Xena could be taken lightly.
Upon paying the five dinars the smith spoke of how Xena had been taken to Zercies dungeon.  Immediately Gabrielle asked how one could visit a friend there, but was told that it was impossible.  No prisoner of Zercies was allowed a visitor.  And so Gabrielle realized that she had to find a way to get herself thrown into prison despite its reputation of escape being only in death.  The bard soon realized that Xena did not have her whip or her chackram with her and she would indeed need those.  So Gabrielle went into action with a plan of her own on how to enter the dungeon to join the warrior princess.
Her first idea was a simple one.  Gabrielle realized as she walked through the village market that she could deface the authorities in order to gain punishment.  So the bard purchased two tomatoes and set out to find the perfect target and opportunity to deface the law.  It did not take long to find a few of Zercies men lounging in the market and as the bard prepared to take aim at her victims she was suddenly interrupted by a most annoying salesman.  He introduced himself vibrantly as Salmoneous.  He tried to sell her many riches including a leather bag with the sign of the Black Wolf.  Yet Gabrielle was not interested in purchasing a leather bag or any other item for her only goal was to buy a one way passage into Zercies dungeon.
After fighting off the annoying loud salesman Gabrielle took aim and fired two tomatoes into the direction of Zercies guards.  Successfully she had hit them leaving the guards angered and enraged.  Gabrielle was certain to be punished for her crimes against them.  Yet the end result was not what she had planned it to be.  Her innocence was protected by the presence of the naughty salesman for Zercies men were certain that it was he who had snickered at them and thrown the tomatoes.  But it was not and though Salmonoeous tried to argue his innocence there was no justice.  Instead Gabrielle was left to wonder what her next move would be.
Of course Xena had already come up with a plan of escape for herself and the wolf pack.  As Gabrielle fought to get in they were fighting to get out.  Xena had quickly caught sight of the wolf pack’s plan of escape.  They had been digging a tunnel, but it would never work for the guards would most certainly discover it in time.  Xena’ s own discovery of the tunnel left the wolf pack no choice, but to follow the warrior princess.  But there was something more sinister going on inside of the dungeon that had at first gone undetected by the sharp mind of the warrior princess.  Just as she was planning to unite the wolf pack behind her in an escape the warrior princess was taken by Lord Coolose and the guards.  Coolose had planned on making Xena an example for the wolf pack.
He thrust the warrior princess into his death trap before all of the prisoners.  She was thrown into the pit of death where she would be drowned.  Yet Coolose was unaware of the super strength of the warrior princess.  As the water fell upon her and buried her beneath she prepared to escape death.  Coolose’s men tried desperately to keep the warrior princess down into the flooding pit of water, but their mistake was in interfering.  Xena took the end of one of their swords and bashed the guards with it.  Then she took the sword down into the pit and cut herself free from the hands of death.  She was triumphant as she flipped out giving her signature battle cry.  Though she was wet and chilled she had survived and proven that she was worthy of the trust of the wolf pack for her defiance against Zercies and Coolose.
Of course help was on the way for the warrior princess as her old friend Salmoneous had entered into the dungeon.  Xena knew that with his help they could get all of the supplies they needed to arrange an escape against Coolose and his men.  And so the hunt was on for belts.  Any man with a belt was seeked out by the sly salesman Salmoneous whose arguments were impossible to go against.  He searched every dark corner despite his cowardly demeanor while Xena prepared the wolf pack for their plan of escape.  With the help of Salmoneous the escape went off quite successfully.  As the wolf pack hid above the guards came to inspect and found nothing.  Not one soul was present in the dungeon.  In their confusion Xena and the wolf pack charged down onto the guards and defeated them to escape into the night.
And just as they reached freedom outside the castle they found themselves betrayed for Coolose and his men were waiting.  The wolf pack was quickly rounded up and returned to their captivity while Coolose basked in his glory before Zercies for foiling Xena’s plan.  He had seemingly exposed this fraud against Zercies, but upon finishing his statements Xena admitted that all he had said had been true.  She had made friends with the wolf pack and gained their trust.  And of course she had led them in an escape.  For what way would have been better to expose the Black Wolf upon being the trusted leader of an escape plan.  Zercies could see Xena’s argument and was slightly impressed.  He also found himself disappointed for Xena’s plan had failed because of Coolose’s suspicions against her.  Zercies then sent Xena back down into the dungeon with the wolf pack expecting results soon.
Of course the wolf pack was now distrusting of Xena for her escape had led them right back into the hands of their enemy.  Diamedes found himself enraged and prepared to take down this new enemy.  He did not trust the warrior princess before, and his faith was stolen by the failed escape.  Diamedes was so passionate about protecting the Black Wolf that he challenged Xena to a battle.  Though the warrior princess warned against challenging her skills Diamedes pressed on.  He bravely took on the woman he thought had come to destroy the Black Wolf.  Their battle did not last long for a few warrior moves against the advances of a village rebel were all that were needed to prove a point.  Xena ended the battle in a position to kill Diamedes with a large rock, but chose not to take a life.  She wanted to be sure that the Black Wolf had faith though the wolf’s protector did not.
Another day had passed and Gabrielle was still trying to determine her plan of entrance into the dungeon.  As she found herself eating a bowl of stew she realized that her answer was in the palm of her hand.  If it wasn’t a tomato it would be stew.  Stew was the key to entering prison.  After scouting out the front doors of Zercies castle for two days Gabrielle boldly approached the guards and smashed them directly in the face with a bowl of scalding hot stew.  Of course the taste was just right and so was the act of defiance for finally Gabrielle found herself being personally escorted into Zercies dungeon.
Once inside she immediately looked to find Xena.  There were many who had apparently been in the dungeon for years.  Some had been in so long that their best friends were the rocks among them.  It was a sad situation as Gabrielle scoured the dungeon for Xena.  She described to all the dark woman in leather, a gold breast plate, and boots.  The dark tall woman with the piercing blues eyes had obviously been there for there were a few with the marks of her wrath.  Hot on the trail of the warrior princess Gabrielle finally ran into her friend with Salmoneous the salesman who had foiled her original plan.  As Salmoneous argued with Gabrielle about getting him thrown into the dungeon all she could do was remind him of his interference with her tomatoes.  It was a long story that Xena decided wasn’t important to hear.  Instead she was intrigued to see the bard having gone out of her way to enter into the depths of the damp darkness.
Though the warrior princess always insisted that Gabrielle’s help was never needed the bard knew otherwise.  She introduced to Xena her stylish whip doubling as an elegant belt, and her innocent hat concealing a deadly chackram.  Xena was seemingly impressed with Gabrielle’s ingenuity deciding against a scolding lesson.  Instead she decided to use her help to join Salmoneous in finding as many shirts as possible.  Her next plan of escape was to use the shirts as floating devices and escape through the underground waterway beneath the dungeon.
For three more days Gabrielle and Salmoneous scoured the dungeon looking for shirts and argued amongst each other for both were smooth talkers.  They spent most of their time challenging one another to a competition of wits yet in between Salmoneous told of how Xena had come to be in the dungeon and of how he had known the warrior princess before.  He had many intriguing stories yet after three days Gabrielle was truly satisfied to be leaving his presence behind.  And so just as they prepared to escape the sinister traitor was identified.  Xena had discovered that there was someone on the inside working for Coolose.  That man had posed as a prisoner and delivered the message of the first escape plan.  That was how Coolose had stopped them before.  Xena would not allow that to happen again.
Though it seemed that escape would not be possible Xena had a much larger more complex plan to carry out.  When the guards came back after being discovered Coolose demanded to see the Black Wolf or all would perish.  His guards placed a golden staff below the air shaft where the light of day shone through.  It was declared that by the time the sun hit the head of the golden staff it would be time for all to face their deaths.  Yet this threat invited no one to step forward so Coloose had another threat.  He decided that he would sacrifice one who did not belong to the wolf pack hoping to flush out the vigilante.  Coolose’s guard then took Salmoneous to be delivered to the pit of death.  Salmoneous tried desperately to declare that he was the Black Wolf.  But his howls were not heard and barely convincing.  As the guard prepared to take his life Xena quietly urged the true leader of the wolf pack to step up for she had known who it was.  She asked the Black Wolf to have faith and so Flora stepped forward identifying herself.  Yet Diamedes too stepped forward declaring himself to be the Black Wolf for he loved Flora dearly, but the Black Wolf demonstrated her power.  She demanded that her faithful followers stop in their madness and allow the guards to take her.
And so in the next day upon the feast of Zeus the execution of the Black Wolf was to take place.  Xena was offered by Zercies a chance to take Coolose’s position as magistrate and given her money, and boots.  Zercies asked her to join him before the crowd as the execution took place.  Xena took his invitation with delight though she and the bard were about to join forces in carrying out the final plan of escape.  As the executioner brought out the wolf pack to witness the death of their leader and of their hopes he prepared the condemned for her fate.  The Black Wolf was placed upon the wood block restrained from escape by her chains.  All was silent as he lifted his ax above his head.  Slowly he prepared to strike, but just as the ax went down Gabrielle removed her hat and threw it across the square to the warrior princess.
Xena caught her chackram and then thrust it in the direction of death.  It took off the head of the ax instead of the head of the Black Wolf.  And then Gabrielle and the wolf pack lifted their own chains and waited to be freed by the chackram.  It cut through the binds of the law and freed the pack to fight another day against the wrath of Zercies.  Zercies found himself upset with Xena’s betrayal and promised to redeem Coolose, but that moment would never come to pass.  Xena drew her sword to free the Black Wolf from her chains upon the block and passed on the sword to fight against corrupt law.
And so it was faith that had won the battle this time.  It was the faith the wolf pack had for its leader the Black Wolf, and it was the faith that an old friend had for a warrior princess that saved the lives of many.  For all had faith in a cause of goodness battling against the corruption of evil.

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Brandy Seymour
Brandy Seymour

I enjoy politics and finance and filmmaking topics.

Xena Scrolls
Xena Scrolls

Xenaverse Timeline A Brief Overview In 1940 Dr. Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas the daughter of the late Mel Pappas joined forces on an archeological dig in Macedonia. What they uncovered were the first of over 100 ancient scrolls written by a bard from the ancient village of Podedia located in ancient Thrace. In the words of the late Dr. Covington, “These scrolls will revolutionize the way we look at the ancient world.”

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