The Xena Scrolls
By: Gabrielle Bard of Potedia
Scroll#16: Fistful of Dinars
March, 48 B.C.
I sing of a virtue worth more than the largest treasure upon the earth. It is the virtue of trust and of a journey begun by four divided in half. This tale began with a man whose name was Likous. He held an important clue which lead to the lost treasure of the Sumerians. Likous had spent three years seeking out his old friend Xena. They had once been friends in a battle of long ago. At the end of Likous’s journey he did find Xena, but not before being sought out by Klonyx. Klonyx was a drunken murrauder who had heard of the Sumarian treasure. He had heard that Likous had the clue that would lead the way. Many had heard of Likous and of his valuable clue and the poor traveler was weary for he had endured attacks by many.
It was now the end of the road for Likous and he faced death by the sword of Klonyx, but just as Klonyx struck Likous down Xena the warrior princess appeared. She recognized her old friend and came to his aid. Despite her arrival it had been too late for Klonyx had gotten what it was that he had come to obtain. He took from Likous his pouch that had been so carefully guarded for three long years. As Xena and Gabrielle knelt down to aid Likous the dying man-made one last request of his friend. He struggled to tell her that she must recover his pouch that had been stolen. So as Likous prepared to embrace death Xena instructed Gabrielle to stay with him while she went after Klonyx. Gabrielle took the hand of the dying man knowing only that she could comfort his spirit for there was nothing more that would save him.
Xena quickly ran catching distance upon Klonyx who had been certain that he would escape her wrath. But just before he disappeared into the thick of the woods Xena the warrior princess flipped into action and stopped him from advancing. The warrior princess then delivered a furious punch into the face of the enemy. She had not intended to kill him only to find out his reasons for following Likous, and taking his pouch. But unfortunately for Klonyx there had been another whom had been following closely behind. It was the murdering assassin Thersites who appeared from beyond the brush. He had thrust his knife into the back of the unsuspecting Klonyx. Klonyx fell to his brutal death by assassination and then dropped the valuable clue to the ground. Xena quickly swiped the pouch before Thersites could rip his knife out of his latest victim.
Then she looked inside of the pouch to find a Sumerian dinar and a tiny piece of parchment. She quickly read and digested the parchment before Thersites could get a look. The warrior princess chewed up the parchment and swallowed it basking in her victory over the assassin. If the assassin wanted to find the Sumerian treasure then he would not be able to kill the warrior princess for she was now the only living person who knew the path to riches. Xena knew upon meeting with Likous why it was so important for her to seek out the Sumerian treasure for it held more than treasure, but only she and Likous had known. She had also known that there were four clues to obtain before being able to cash in on the riches. Xena now had Likous’s clue, and Thersites had two more. There was just one more clue and then the journey toward the treasure could begin. Thersites mentioned that the final clue was held by the warlord Petracles. Xena then instructed Thersites that she would seek out Petracles’s clue and meet Thersites with his clues by the traveler’s road by the next sun.
After Thersites had gone Xena returned to Gabrielle and to Likous who had already passed. Gabrielle sadly reported the loss as Xena spoke well of her old friend. Then he was given honor as Xena and Gabrielle bade him farewell. Xena then asked Gabrielle what she knew about the legend of the lost treasure of Sumeria. The young bard’s eyes lit up with excitement for all that she had heard about this treasure. It was known by bards as the largest treasure in the world hidden away somewhere beyond the ruins of old Sumeria. This treasure was said to have held wealth beyond mortal imagination. That of course was all that had been told to the bard of the secrets of the lost treasure. It insured that Xena and the deceased Likous remained the only two who held the entire truth of Sumeria.
Xena then asked Gabrielle if she had heard of the titan’s key. Gabrielle had indeed heard of the titan’s key never knowing of its connection to the lost treasure. As she boasted of her knowledge of the titan’s key she spoke of how it had been meant to unlock the halls which held ambrosia the food of the gods. Yet as she spoke and began to put together the pieces Gabrielle realized that they were clues within themselves. Xena confirmed that Gabrielle’s mind had been right in where it had gone. For the titan’s key was located within the lost treasure of Sumeria. This meant that their journey was not to hunt for riches, but to capture the ambrosia before Thersites or any other darkness could. The power of immortality was not something that could be taken lightly or given to one of assassination.
Gabrielle quickly rounded up Argo preparing to travel to the camp of Petracles. As the two friends traveled Xena warned Gabrielle of the dangerous man that they were about to encounter. Thersites had been dangerous enough, but Xena warned that Petracles was a charmer. Petracles was capable of lying, of murdering, and of many other devious ways. Xena was firm in letting her young friend know that trust was not something to take lightly when Petracles was involved. Because of the warrior princess’s certain description of this warlord it was obvious to the bard that the two had some kind of a history. Yet Xena was not yet ready to share it with her friend.
Soon they arrived at the camp of Petracles who had just defeated another helpless flock of villagers. He was meeting with the village magistrate who desperately tried to cut a deal in exchange for her life. Being the typical warlord Petracles explained that he could not leave without taking lives, livestock, and supplies for he would lose the respect of his army if he were to show any softness. It was in that moment that Xena and Gabrielle entered into his tent as he argued with the latest victim. Petracles seemed a bit shocked and caught off guard that the warrior princess would show up at his door. He had indeed never forgotten her as looked into her eyes with inquiry. Gabrielle found herself in awe of this man who seemed less than horrific. Petracles was dark, handsome, and cute. He had bulging warrior muscles and deep blue eyes. Gabrielle looked into those eyes not feeling threatened yet Xena had specifically said that they were not to be trusted.
Then Xena asked Gabrielle to show Petracles the one piece of Sumarian treasure held by Likous’s pouch. Gabrielle took it from the pouch and handed the large round gold piece to Petracles. He looked it over shocked, yet suddenly realizing why Xena had come. It was his dream to find the treasure and Xena’s clue was the key. Of course the warrior princess took this opportunity to help those who needed it. Petracles was about to become the richest warlord on the face of the earth so giving a few cattle, and horses back to the villagers would not cost as much as it had just moments before. Petracles quickly forgot about the riches he had taken from the village for the lost treasure held much more value to him. The villagers left quickly fleeing with their lives and their livestock.
Soon it was only Petracles, Xena, and Gabrielle traveling through the woods toward the main road where Thersites awaited them. Xena walked ahead as Gabrielle found herself still fascinated by the handsome cunning warlord. He had long brown locks and his complexion was olive in color. Gabrielle for the second time was finding herself attracted to another bad boy. Her first attraction had been Sphirus, but this bad boy was different. He definitely had that warlord spirit, but there was something missing from the darkness.
As they walked and chatted Petracles began to try his hand at testing the bard’s resolve of his charms. He used Gabrielle’s intrigue and interest in Xena’s history as his way to get through. When Gabrielle asked him of why Xena had thought so cautiously of him he replied that indeed he was all of the nasty things that had been said of him. Petracles told Gabrielle that Xena had been correct in advising her that she should watch out for a man like himself. The warlord said it with great pride and confidence. This intrigued the bard more for she could not understand why someone would like to be hated so much by another. Then he took the moment and shot out his question. He asked the bard why Xena was in search of the treasure.
Gabrielle realized what his game was and delivered her answer, but it was not embedded with any information. She playfully scolded him for trying to pull one over the queen of talking. Gabrielle knew that she had always been a great talker and was certain that her wit was a match to that of Petracles. It was his wit that attracted her to him and he quickly began to play upon that. Petracles said that he could match her wit any day. Gabrielle then competed explaining that she had talked her parents into buying her a horse at the tender age of five. Of course Petracles had talked a warlord out of his army at only fifteen. The bard was not willing to give into this battle of wits so easily. She then brought up her encounter with a Cyclops and of how she had talked him out of having her for dinner. Petracles then came back with the ultimate challenge. He had once talked Xena into marrying him.
Gabrielle found herself satisfied with the defeat of witty stories, but she had not lost the game for she had finally found the information which she had seeked. It was the answer to the question of what history these two warriors had with one another. Things were clear to the bard now and suddenly Xena called out to her friend to join her steps ahead. As Gabrielle surrendered to Petracles he was aware that he had given the bard the game, but it would be to his advantage in the end. When Gabrielle reached Xena, Xena scolded her for talking to Petracles. Gabrielle reminded her friend that she was quite capable of handling these adult situations. Gabrielle found herself insulted that the warrior princess had forgotten that yet again.
By the next sun the three had reached the main road where Thersites awaited their arrival. If the assassin could have killed them all and run with the clues it was obvious that he would have. Xena had been sly when she had decided to digest the map. It insured life for all who traveled with the murderer. Thersites had hoped that the warrior princess would have killed Petracles for his clue leaving two instead of three, but he was more irritated to discover the bard who traveled with Xena for she had no clues. The greedy assassin expressed his disappointment of having to divide the riches among four, but Xena quickly reminded him of who was in charge grabbing him by the short hairs upon his chin.
Once Thersites realized his mistake he backed down from his challenge against the warrior princess’s decision to travel with a warrior. Thersites had hoped to get a larger share of the treasure since it was he who had two clues. Petracles of course was not in agreement to this for he felt that a warrior was much more valuable to this mission than an assassin. As the two continued to argue some angry travelers approached from the road. The head of the group was an old white-haired aristocrat whose name was Marleous. Marleous had come for Thersites for he had paid five-thousand dinars to receive the head of Cavotas. He had hired Thersites the assassin to do the job, but Thersites had been sidetracked by the treasure hunt for days. The angry Marleous threatened Thersites when his requests were ignored by the assassin. To Marelous it was important that the job of the assassin be completed on this sun, but for Thersites the head of Cavotas was just another job.
Then Marleous declared that if he could not have the head that he had paid for then he would take the heads of four that he did not. Marleous’s four men then drew their weapons and prepared to do battle against the four treasure hunters. Yet Marleous’s challenge was nothing for Thersites then made good on his promise for bringing a head to Marleous. Only the life which was taken was that of Marleous by the swift activation of a hidden wrist knife. Thersites was definitely a professional at killing his victims which made him that much more dangerous and volatile. Upon killing Marleous the men who had drawn their weapons quickly retreated back to the main road in fear of their lives. Then the assassin took five-thousand more dinars from his latest victim for a job completed.
Gabrielle was beginning to find distaste for this assassin. Though she had been gravely warned of the wrath of Petracles she did not feel that it was Petracles that she should fear. Petracles then took this opportunity to remind Xena and the others that he would not be treated with disrespect despite his being an assassin. To most he was a murderer, but he corrected all who doubted the difference between a murderer and an assassin. Assassins worked for money while murderers did their killing for pleasure. It seemed to the bard that maybe Thersites was both.
Soon the four found themselves traveling deep into Payason territory. The Payasons were known to be a dangerous tribe of men who killed any man who set foot upon their lands. It was obvious to the bard as they continued on that the ways of the Payasons were not to be taken lightly. There were the stripped corpses of many who had fallen victim to their wrath littering the lands upon spinning wheels of death. Everyone in the group of four was gripped with fear including the warrior princess. Yet it was important that the treasure be found for it held power too great for humanity to embrace alone.
There were the sounds of the tribal drums as they began to beat faster and faster. The drums pounded to intimidate the intruding party as it approached an old rickety bridge. Just before reaching that bridge the Payasons rained arrows down upon the four travelers. There were so many arrows flying that one could barely see through the mass of dangerous weapons. Despite the danger and the close brush with death the warrior princess led her comrades to the bridge that was shown on the map. Xena then sent Petracles to the other side to check for a path out of the territory. Petracles went bravely as he stepped cautiously across the bridge. Halfway across one of the old boards gave way busting as Petracles’s leg fell through. Yet his strength caught him from the impending fall and he recovered with skill. Petracles then finished the journey across the old bridge and drew his sword preparing to face the enemy upon the other side. The vicious arrows followed him, but there were no Payasons awaiting them on the other side. He then gave the call for clear and Xena began to send Gabrielle across the bridge.
The bard stepped gingerly upon the wobbling mass of wooden planks, and worn ropes. She had difficulty keeping her balance as she was nervous from what she had seen of Petracles’s journey. After only five steps Gabrielle suddenly felt the bridge erupt into a violent shake as the assassin jumped upon the weakening bridge. It could not hold two people for it barely held Petracles alone. Xena shouted at the defiant assassin who ignored her pleas. Gabrielle tried desperately to regain her footing and her balance above the running water below. Down was a long distance and one could barely see the water at the bottom of the steep canyon. Gabrielle’s heart raced with fear as she could feel the assassin approaching with his massive weight giving weakness to the bridge.
Gabrielle carefully stepped over the center point where Petracles had almost fallen through. Now she was nearing the other side as she struggled to keep her balance. Yet Thersites had little patience and no conscience. He tried to push the bard forward only to cause the worn ropes to tear down the support that held the bridge together. The bridge tumbled down toward the water at the bottom of the canyon as Gabrielle held tightly to the planks. It slammed into the side of the canyon and then Thersites began to climb over the bard to reach the top. There was no consideration for Gabrielle as he reached the top almost knocking the bard to her death. Gabrielle called out for Xena desperately for she could barely hold on.
As soon as Thersites reached the top of the canyon Xena flipped across and grabbed onto the planks. She grabbed onto her helpless friend who struggled to hold on. Xena then helped push Gabrielle to the top as the bard pulled herself up. Upon reaching the safety of the other side Gabrielle was helped up by Petracles. His face seemed satisfied that all had ended well. After she had reached her feet once again Gabrielle boiled over with anger. She began to charge forward hitting the ungrateful assassin and scolding him for his actions. Xena and Petracles had to pull the bard from her rage though she was lucky to have been spared by the assassin.
Later that night as they entered into more quiet territory Xena had decided that the four should set up camp. It was an uncomfortable night for all because few trusted those they traveled with. The assassin was driven by greed, the warrior princess driven by duty, the bard by adventure, and Petracles by passion. Gabrielle was nervous to be sleeping alongside an assassin and she expressed her dislike for him to the warrior princess. Xena agreed that Thersites was a threat, but she was still certain that Petracles held more of a threat for he wasn’t as obvious as was Thersites. She had said that there was nothing hidden about Thersites yet Petracles had an unknown side. That was what Xena distrusted most about Petracles. It was what she did not know of him.
Then Xena left the bard sitting by the fire contemplating her fears of the assassin. Xena felt that maybe it had been Thersites action on the bridge that had swayed Gabrielle’s opinion of him so she seeked to resolve the bard’s fears. The warrior princess approached Thersites with a threat. She reminded him again that if something bad happened to Gabrielle that she would be sure that his life would cease by her hand. Xena was quite serious about this for she was certain to let the greedy assassin know that she could do without riches. Yet she could not do without her best friend. Thersites called the warrior princess on this realizing that there must be something more to this journey if the warrior princess had not been involved for the riches it held. Xena then left him to ponder that knowing that he could not be allowed to find out the true nature of her intentions. Yet when she turned to find Gabrielle, Gabrielle had disappeared.
The bard had gone to seek out Petracles for she wanted to find what it was that Xena did not trust about this man. Gabrielle was still intrigued and as she rounded the corner of the trees beyond there stood Petracles. He heard Gabrielle approaching and swung around with his sword drawn ready for battle just the way Xena would. Gabrielle surrendered immediately for her only weapon against the wrath of this handsome warlord was her arm load of sticks for the fire. When Petracles had inquired of her intentions for seeking him out she only said that she had brought some fire wood. Petracles seemed confused for the fire was back at the camp and not deep within the forest. Gabrielle was nervous for an answer and realized how funny she looked. She looked quite guilty of a crush. Petracles seemed flattered yet he still warned her of his ways.
Gabrielle put down her sticks and then asked him more about his relationship with Xena. He told her that the two had been very young when they had married. And that they had married for the wrong reasons. In the early days both had been driven by a passion for greed not realizing that loving things would not fill their hearts. Gabrielle had not completely believed Petracles when he had said that he had talked Xena into marrying him until he again stated that he had tried to talk Xena into being his wife. Gabrielle was certain that Xena had not accepted, but Petracles said that she had. He said that when he had finally won over the heart of the warrior princess that he had decided that he no longer wanted it. Gabrielle was disappointed for the first time after meeting Petracles for she could not imagine what it must have been like for Xena to be rejected by one she loved. The bard knew how much Xena’s heart could give and understood why Xena was so protective of it now. Then Petracles continued the story stating that despite winning Xena’s heart for the riches that she had obtained he still felt empty inside. He felt empty because he had thrown away the real riches. The riches of the loving heart that the warrior princess possessed.
Petracles finished his story as Gabrielle’s thoughts spoke themselves aloud. She was unaware that Petracles’s charm was working its way into her own heart. Petracles then complemented her on her insight and intelligence. It was then that the bards lips met those of the warlord Petracles. The passion was immense and the fire burned intense. Suddenly the bard realized that she had fallen for the one she had been warned against. Gabrielle could not betray her friend’s trust in that way. She could not allow her passions to get the best of her. Gabrielle suddenly found herself running from the danger that lurked within.
Upon arriving back into came she quickly sat down by the fire. She tried desperately to hide what had transpired only moments before. The bard was certain that the warrior princess would be disappointed and disappointment was something Gabrielle could not bear to face. Yet just as Xena was about to inquire of the bard’s strange behavior Petracles returned to camp and quietly settled down the sticks left behind. The bard realized that she could not hide her feelings from the warrior princess and Xena left Gabrielle only with her thoughts and with echoing words of the warrior princess.
Just before awakening Xena found herself challenging Petracles. She threatened him much the same way that she had threatened the assassin. Xena warned Petracles that she had seen what had been going on between he and Gabrielle. The warrior princess wanted to make certain that Gabrielle’s heart would not be stolen and abused in the way that he had abused and stolen her own heart. Xena threatened to take his life with her famous pinch, but then Petracles asked of her what had become of her wedding bracelet. She spoke with disgust at his question replying that she had thrown it away like worthless garbage. Petracles seemed angry and almost hurt that the warrior princess thought so little of their past together. He then replied that though Xena had thrown his heart away he had sold her heart to another profiting from an arms dealer.
The lovers quarrel had awakened camp. Soon all had packed up and prepared for the final leg of the journey. The four had to reach the temple of Demeter where they would find the jewel of the goddess. Xena’s plan was simple. She and Petracles would prepare to throw the spears while Thersites would go with Gabrielle to enter into the temple and retrieve the jewel. Gabrielle was excited that she would be performing an important task within this mission. Yet Petracles seemed displeased with Xena’s choice in leaving Gabrielle to work so closely with the assassin.
Once everyone had arrived at their positions Gabrielle and Thersites disguised themselves as worshipers to the goddess Demeter. Gabrielle spoke of how they had traveled a great distance to come to Demeter’s temple. The head priest was uncertain of these strange visitors. He did not trust that they were true to Demeter. Gabrielle spoke of the land of Nonamia from which they had come. She said that it was there that the sister temple of Demeter stood. When the priest could not recall the location of the land of Nonamia Gabrielle insisted that it was across many large oceans. Then she pulled out the last hope of passage into the temple. It was the Sumerian dinar that paid their way into the temple of Demeter. After bribing the priest the two were allowed to worship. Privately they knelt before the statue of Demeter and chanted awaiting the impending spear attack.
Thersides was impatient as always and threatened to start a murdering fest if the two warriors did not attack soon. Gabrielle desperately tried to hold off his bloody desires knowing that those desires might jeopardize the mission. Then she saw just the thing that would occupy his impatience. Gabrielle caught sight of Demeter’s jewel on top of her crown. Though the statue of Demeter was made of nothing more than cheap materials from the common farm her crown held the red ruby. Gabrielle pointed out her discovery to Thersites who then rose from his knelt spot before Demeter and climbed upon the table. The table held many white candles, luscious fruits, and many other offerings. He then reached up for the red stone and suddenly lost his balance. The assassin fell clumsily to the floor as the altar of Demeter collapsed robbing her of her head.
The two warriors then began their attack upon the temple of Demeter thrusting spears toward the guards. Yet Thersites’s blunder had revealed the two distant travelers as the blasphemous intruders that they were. The head priest entered into the destroyed temple hall and held Gabrielle and Thersites for their crimes against Demeter. At the point of spears they were told that soon their limbs and eyes would be torn from their bodies without mercy. This fate seemed harsh, but as their sentence was delivered Xena and Petracles stormed the mini temple and rescued their comrades from punishment. Quickly the four dashed out of the temple with Demeter’s jewel and their lives as they ran forward toward the foot of Mount Pulus. It was there that they would find the Sumerian treasures, but the danger was just beginning for Mount Pulus was an active volcano ready to spew fury at any moment. The rumbling giant spoke loudly to the four approaching travelers reminding them of her fury.
By nightfall they had reached the location of the treasure as revealed by the map. Xena’s clue was now full filled, and so was one of Thersites clues, but there were still two yet to reveal. Thersites still held one of them and Petracles the other. Xena demanded that the two men share their clues with the other, but neither wanted to reveal his secrets. Thersites had intended to kill everyone after receiving the final clue, but Petracles knew that he could not allow that by revealing his clue first. Then Xena again asked Thersites to reveal his clue knowing that Petracles was right in being cautious of Thersites certain actions. Finally Thersites gave up knowing that Xena was not going to ask for Petracles clue until his had been surrendered. And so the first clue was the teacher’s student. It did not make sense for the hunters of treasure stood before three large icons. None of these stone icons represented an institution of learning. And then Xena asked the second clue knowing that if Thersites had not yet figured out his own clue that both clues held one answer.
Petracles then revealed his clue. Is not incorrect were the only words that had been upon his parchment. And so Xena and Gabrielle began to think of the riddle of this double negative. Gabrielle soon figured out that the first clue was pupil and then Xena knew that the answer to the riddle was the right pupil. Yet there were three stone icon faces that all had right pupils. It would take more to know which pupil was correct. Xena then spoke of the final clue. It was her clue. Neither east nor west so the answer to the question was the middle icon. The right pupil of the middle icon was where the red ruby was to be placed. Xena then took the ruby from her keeping and placed it into the right pupil of the center icon. Nothing happened and Thersites’s impatience lead him to complain again. Gabrielle was finding herself very weary of the antics of the assassin. But then Xena revealed that they must wait another night for the sun to rise again. For it was the sun rays that were the final key to revealing the true entrance to the lost treasure of the Sumerians.
After a long night of waiting the four awoke to the rising sun filled with excitement for the riches they would find. As the sun rose over the distant mountains and shun over them. A single ray of light bled across to the right pupil of the center icon where the ruby awaited. The ray of light then reflected from the ruby over a blocked passageway of rock. It left a single dot of light above and nothing more was revealed. Again Thersites whined and complained for the treasure seemed nothing more than a rock. But Xena insisted that there was more beyond the rock once it was removed. And so the four treasure seekers then removed the large boulders despite the lax efforts of the lazy assassin. Xena and Gabrielle then entered into the cave while the warlord and the assassin argued as to who would lead the other. Neither trusted the other for the clues had all been revealed.
Once inside there was nothing, but darkness. Again Thersites was full of disappointment and complaint, but Gabrielle thought that there might be something missing. Maybe there was just one more clue that had yet be to revealed. Thersites argued with the bard just as irritated with her as she had become with him. As he continued to complain the bard began to charge for him once again with the same passionate anger she had felt two days before upon the bridge. Just as she began to attack him with her rage the volcano shook violently. All were knocked to the ground by the force as dirt and rock fell all around them. And then a golden door was revealed. The four hunters quickly ran to investigate as they opened it. On the other side there was not a treasure, but more questions. It was certain that riches would be found if one was patient unlike the assassin and the warlord.
Xena instructed everyone not to touch anything. She then saw Petracles about to pull the ring upon another stone icon across the room. He had not heard her command as she repeated only half of her statement. His misinterpretation of her command turned to disaster as he pulled the ring and the floor beneath disappeared into darkness. The four treasure seekers found themselves thrust down into the darkness below unaware of what they would find. Then Gabrielle grabbed two stones from the ground rubbing them together to light a torch. After two attempts she was finally able to reveal to all who had seeked the greatest treasure ever known to the world. The lost treasure of the Sumerians had indeed been found. And it was just as it had been described by all bards. It had been more treasure than could have ever been imagined.
There were golden coins stacked higher than the tallest temple in Athens. These piles of riches were mountainous. Gold, coins, jewels, and more surrounded the four treasures seekers. The treasure seemed endless and the task of finding one key seemed nearly impossible. As Petracles and Thersites began to collect their riches Xena and Gabrielle began to search for the titan’s key. It was difficult not to become distracted by the riches, but after many moments of searching Thersites found himself stopping to read an inscription upon a large golden key. All inscriptions upon the treasures had been written in Sumerian which was Thersites’s homeland. He was a Sumerian and as he read aloud the inscription he revealed the titan’s key. Gabrielle heard the words from his lips and quickly ran to steal away the key from the assassin. She grabbed the key from around his neck as he suddenly realized the power that he held.
Suddenly the room went dark again as Thersites smothered the torch. He then took the bard and disappeared. He was on his way to becoming a god for he had heard of what the titan’s key could give mortals. Thersites had heard the legends of ambrosia and how it could turn any mortal to consumed it into a god. This power was worth more to an assassin than any treasure as he took Gabrielle down the path toward the hall of ambrosia. Gabrielle was certain that death was upon her as he held her arm tightly and threatened her with his dagger. He held it close to her neck as he laughed all the way down the path. Thersites was drunk with power as he thought of all of the things he would do as a god. Gabrielle tried desperately to talk her way out of this situation hoping that the assassin would release her within his euphoric state of mind.
She pleaded with him promising him her riches from the treasure to build his first temple. Thersites laughed knowing that he could just take her life and her riches. He did not need the bard to build his temple when he could build it himself. And then she asked him what he might do once he received his god-hood trying to keep him in good humor. She suggested that maybe he should be the first god to accomplish peace for all of the world. The bard even suggested that he feed the poor with his newfound riches and power. Yet the assassin laughed hysterically for that was not what he had planned for the world. His power would be more destructive than that of the god of war Ares.
As Thersites and Gabrielle were on their way to the hall of ambrosia Xena and Petracles found themselves within another argument. Petracles now realized what Xena’s true intentions for seeking the treasure had been. She had come to destroy the ambrosia, and Petracles found himself disappointed that Xena had not trusted him with that information. Xena reminded him that she knew him well and that she had trusted that he would have wanted the ambrosia for himself. Petracles scoffed at the idea proclaiming that he had never wanted to become a god. Xena did not believe him as he continued on by expressing his concern for Gabrielle’s safety. She did not believe that he truly cared for Gabrielle the way that she did. Xena did not trust in the bond that her friend had made with Petracles.
Soon Xena revealed that the quickest way to the hall of ambrosia was through the back door. Petracles asked why they didn’t just use the back door instead of trying to find the key to the front door. Xena explained that through the back door they would be led into the hall of silence. The hall of silence was a death trap for any who made noise while traveling through it. As Petrecles and Xena traveled cautiously through the hall of silence they found the remains of many who had made the journey before them. All had failed in their attempt to gain access to the food for the gods. That was why the Sumerian treasure had stayed lost for so long. The men who had come to seek it seeked the titan’s key. The treasure was so immense that finding the key was nearly impossible. Unfortunately the fates had the last laugh for it was the assassin who now held the power and the life of the bard.
Despite being careful and cautious Petracles stumbled over one of the dead. His warrior boots crushed the skull of a victim causing havoc to rise within the silence. Xena and Petracles then ran for their lives narrowly escaping to the other side of the silence. They were the first known mortals to survive the wrath of silence. Upon their arrival through the doors to the hall of ambrosia they found Thersites. He stood before the steaming alter containing the ambrosia. It was pink and like a jellyfish. It boiled beneath the heat of the active volcano. Thersites was drunk with power as he held Gabrielle at the point of death.
He then barked out a command and threatened to take another life if Xena and Petracles did not move away from the ambrosia. The assassin had figured out Xena’s intentions as well. He could not allow the warrior princess to destroy his power. The warrior princess and Petracles then slowly moved away. One east the other west of the ambrosia. They crept slowly around the altar and then before the assassin. Both knew that Thersites was going to kill Gabrielle despite their move. He was a murdering assassin with no conscience. The life of the bard was just another number. This murder would be worth more than any other he had ever committed. Then Xena asked Petracles who he was really with. She needed to know if he was going to help to save her friend or go against them.
Petracles then revealed that he too wanted to become a god. He began to move toward Thersites, but just as he approached the warlord switched sides. Petracles grabbed the assassin so that Xena could free the bard. Thersites quickly thrust his dagger into the brave warlord as Xena took Gabrielle into safety. After the first thrust of the dagger came a second which paralyzed the warlord from action. Petracles fell to the ground suffering great pain and agony. Blood spilled from his body as Gabrielle ran to his side hoping to save him from death. The assassin then went after the warrior princess as they battled with swords. Xena’s clashes overpowered Thersites as he tried desperately to escape from her through a deadened door.
He then came out of his corner and prepared to kill the warrior princess. The assassin drew a second sword and fought two swords to one. Xena found herself dodging his calls for her death jumping upon the altar and then flipping back across her enemy. She gave out her battle cry as she blocked his advances, but he soon took her feet and she fell upon the altar. The assassin then went in for the kill wedging the head of the warrior princess between his two blades. Their struggle was powerful for their passions were clashing. The passion of the greedy assassin to the passion of a friend’s love for another. Just when Thersites was certain to bring death upon the warrior princess she reached for his wrist activating the gadget that had taken the life of the angry white-haired traveler. The dagger went into his chest knocking him to the ground instantly.
Ironically the assassin’s own weapon had been his demise and as he lied on the ground about to greet his death Xena ran to the aid of Petracles. He was still clinging to life though Gabrielle knew that his injury was too great. Petracles’s heart bled, but it bled of love for the warrior princess. He had always regretted what he had done to Xena’s heart before. Petracles wanted the warrior princess to know that he really did love her and that she had meant more than their riches ever did. His love had been worth even more than the lost Sumerian treasure as he reached into his chest pulling out a small leather pouch. He struggled to give it to the warrior princess as he took his final breath and perished.
Xena and Gabrielle both felt sadness for their loss. Petracles had been a good man and a good friend. And when Xena opened the small leather pouch she found within it the symbol of their love. It was the wedding bracelet she had given him. He had not sold it to an arms dealer as he had stated before. Petracles had held onto the bracelet hoping to one day reconcile with the woman he lost. Then the warrior princess sadly spoke to him regretting that she had not trusted him. And so Gabrielle and Xena then went to the great lava pit formed by the eruption of Mount Pulus where Xena destroyed the ambrosia. She said that it could never completely be destroyed only returned to the gods who would know where to place it. And so the two friends learned about the lesson of trust. They learned that to trust and to believe in someone is worth more than any virtue and any treasure within the world could ever be.