The Xena Scrolls
By: Gabrielle Bard of Potedia
Scroll#18: Warrior, Princess
April, 48 B.C.
In the kingdom near Liberia there once lived a young princess who looked very much like a warrior. Though her manners were that of royalty. King Lius was her father and he had sent for the warrior princess after hearing of their resemblance from his cousin King Sisyphus. When the warrior princess arrived at the castle gates she found herself stunned at her reception for the guards bowed down to her. She had not expected royal treatment. Then she entered into the halls of the kingdom where she met with more guards. They too bowed down to her as if nervous of her presence. It was unlike her usual experience of having to fight her way through men. Her entrance into the castle was so easy that she was told to go right into the bedchambers of the king to visit.
The warrior princess did not agree that a visit to the king’s bedroom would be appropriate, but soon she found the king. He arrived to meet her in the halls as she found herself unwelcome by a strange intruder. The intruder came up behind her though the warrior princess had known he was there. She quickly spun around to do battle sending a flames through the air. The assassin was soon defeated for the torch was more than he could bear. He ran from the castle guard who were in pursuit of their latest intruder. Then the king suddenly smiled welcoming the warrior princess. He was impressed not by her combat skills, but by her piercing blue eyes and dark hair. Xena was the exact image of his daughter the princess Diana. The king was pleased by this for it meant that he had finally found the warrior who could do battle with his daughter’s attackers.
When Xena inquired of why she was attacked the king reported that his daughter was to wed into the kingdom of Liberia at the end of two days. He had been looking for someone who could pose as his daughter and protect her through until she wed. Xena was very uninterested in taking this job for she only worked for those who were less fortunate than the royals. In fact she was insulted that this king thought that he could bribe her with his royal riches. As the warrior princess had decided that she would not trade for the princess king Lius was filled with disappointment. He tried desperately to find a way to convince Xena that this job was for more than just a royal princess. King Lius argued that if she did not live to marry Prince Minious of Liberia then many slaves would not be freed for Liberian law forbade it. But if Liberia were to marry into his kingdom then the laws would be void for in his kingdom slavery was not allowed.
Xena contemplated this for a moment and then decided that she could take the job. The warrior princess could bring freedom and new life to so many by switching places with the princess. And so King Lius decided to take the warrior princess to her test. He wanted to see if she could pass as Diana amongst his castle subjects. And so the first test was with the lovely Tynia who was Diana’s caregiver. Tynia was responsible for entertaining the princess and befriending her. King Lius was certain that if Xena could fool Tynia then his plan to protect Diana would succeed. When the two met for the first time Tynia asked if the princess was ready for dinner for they were having a few of her favorite delicacies. Xena played the part well and very convincingly as she agreed that she was indeed feeling hunger. Then Xena made her first mistake, but covered for it well. She had stated that she would love to fill her stomach with many bites of Kishka. Kishka of course was princess Diana’s black terrier not suitable for dinner. Tynia was confused for just a moment, but then Xena declared that she had only been joking. Just as she had joked with Tynia when she had inquired of her costume. Xena said that her costume was for a ball that would be taking place just after the wedding. Tynia agreed that the warrior costume was suitable for the beautiful princess.
King Lius was pleased to know that Xena would pass as Diana despite her rough warrior manners. Yet Xena warned that in order for his plan to work he must send Diana outside the castle walls where the assassins would not be looking for her. The king was completely against for he had not allowed his daughter outside the castle since her mother’s death when she was a child. Then the Xena convinced him that she would be safe in hiding alongside her friend Gabrielle for no one would even recognize her on the outside. And so the next part of the plan was put into motion as Xena met with Diana again who had been intrigued by how much Xena looked like her. She too had noticed the rough manners of the warrior princess as did her father before. Diana and Xena switched costumes as they spoke of Diana’s wedding day to come. Xena asked if she loved Minius, but Diana had never even met him. The only thing she knew of Minius was of his brother Philemon. Philemon had been the one who had been courting Diana for his brother, but by the way that Diana had described Philemon to her Xena realized that she had fallen in love. Arranged marriages were seemingly wrong, but they were the way of the royals. Xena felt pity for the lovely Diana knowing that the fawn haired sky blue-eyed Philemon had a heart already waiting for him.
When Diana emerged from her changing Xena immediately noticed the red bows that she had incorporated into the leather straps. Xena quickly removed them to Diana’s dislike, but Xena reminded her that she had to look dark if she wanted to truly mirror the warrior princess. Diana was expressing her excitement of getting venture outside the castle walls for the first time in years. She yearned to know more about the little people who were her subjects in the kingdom. Xena could see that Diana was right for the young princess had much to learn of those who resided within her kingdom. She had been sheltered from the harsh realities that existed within her life without ever knowing about them. And as she prepared to leave she helped the warrior princess into her costume making sure that she looked as well-mannered as a warrior princess could manage.
Not long after Diana left the castle walls upon Argo Xena found herself confronted by yet another intruder. He entered into Diana’s bedchambers with a bouquet of red roses. Xena beat him into unconsciousness ripping the roses apart looking for danger. Yet there was not danger just a symbol of love. The roses had been the kind gesture of a young man matching Diana’s description of the courageous, and brave Philemon. Xena awoke him from his slumber with a glass of water. Philemon rose from the floor still feeling that there was danger lurking. He had come to take the princess on her daily walk into the courtyard, but suggested that they not go since there had been another recent attempt on her life. But the warrior princess did not fear danger. She had come to seek it out. Xena also regretfully thanked the handsome Philemon for his lovely gesture of roses. Then she asked him if he could take her on a tour of the entire castle. Philemon was delighted and was certain that he could protect the safety of the beautiful princess.
The tour of the castle was lovely for Philemon filled it with his admiration of the princess, but as they walked the princess seemed more interested in knowing more of his brother Minius. And so Philemon answered her questions about Minious. He told her that Minious was a good man, but that he was a scholar while Philemon was only a diplomat. Philemon seemed disappointed that he could not impress the princess not knowing he who he was trying to impress. Then he continued to answer the princess’s questions about the Liberian slave laws and about the slave traders who were against the union of their kingdoms. She expressed her fears that there were people within Liberia who were against freedom for slaves and that was who was trying to take her life. But Philemon assured her that the kingdom of Liberia wanted freedom for its slaves indefinitely despite its archaic laws.
Suddenly, seven masked assassins arrived into the courtyard interrupting their castle walk. They were sent to kill Diana, but Philemon stood bravely by her. He drew his sword and like a gentleman instructed the princess to move away to safety. Xena could see that he was brave, but knew that he could not take on seven men alone. She prepared to do battle though Philemon would not know of her involvement. He charged forward to ward off the killers. Philemon handled the first three valiantly and with impressive skill, but as the fourth and fifth man charged for him he became overwhelmed. That was when the warrior princess stepped cautiously into the battle. From behind the brave Philemon she sent the killers into pain they would never forget. She fought without her weapons and her power was too much for the enemy. Her kicks were like the thrust of an assasin’s knife as her punches sent them into the fountain.
Soon the battle had ended as the cowardly assassins retreated realizing that they could get close enough to the warrior princess to take her life. Philemon rose from defeat with a bloody nose, but certain that he had successfully protected the lovely princess. Yet the warrior princess was not finished for there was so much she needed to know as she chased the retreating assassins. Philemon stopped her reminding her that a princess does not fight. Xena then noticed his injury and tended to the bloody nose. Philemon found himself shocked at the princess’s reaction to his blood for she usually fainted at the sight of one drop.
While the warrior princess battle the evils that lurked within the castle the bard worked on her scrolls. Yet her writings were coming with some difficulty. The bard found herself interrupted by an old man who planned to kidnap her for a profit. Gabrielle did not fear him for she had just caught sight of Xena’s arrival. She warned the man of his impending defeat for he would not enjoy the wrath of the warrior princess. The old man laughed at the bard’s threat certain that she was bluffing. Yet the bard was certain of Xena’s fury for she had seen it many times before. Suddenly the man grabbed the bard as he tried to choke her. Gabrielle called out desperately to Xena who seemingly did not want to get involved. After many moments of desperate struggle Xena the princess ran into battle. She delivered a weak punch that couldn’t possibly scare a child. The old man turned away from his victim to see what the disturbance was only to find a princess playing the part of a powerful warrior. She did not look powerful in her stance as if uncertain of what to do next. Trying to look as mean as possible the princess failed to look larger than her foe. Suddenly she turned away in fear as she ran down the path toward Argo. Gabrielle then realized that she could handle this one man on her own. The bard picked up her staff from the ground and delivered the enemy to the ground. She took his feet with one move and then cracked him twice with the staff.
That was all it took to defeat him. He was a simple inexperienced foe who prayed only on the weak unaware of the power of the battling bard. Gabrielle was pleased of her defeat and realized that the warrior princess had been testing her. When she finally caught up to the princess she found herself curious of the details at the castle. Then the princess took a note from her breastplate and handed it to the bard. Gabrielle was curious about the castle, but more curious about Xena’s strange behavior. After reading the note she began to laugh for she thought that this was just another test of her warrior skills. But the princess insisted that she indeed was princess Diana. Gabrielle could not believe it and she continued to argue with the princess about being tested, but then the princess fell apart. She became hysterical showing her fears. The princess described a day of getting lost at least three times, and of missing her father after being away from him for only hours.
It was the fear and hysteria that alerted the bard to the true identity of the one who stood before her. Yet it was amazing for Diana had the same piercing blue eyes and long dark locks of the warrior princess. Finding herself in awe Gabrielle bowed down to the princess expressing her excitement in meeting the princess. Then Diana warned Gabrielle of her own behavior for no one was to know Diana’s true identity. The princess was correct and Gabrielle realized that she had her work cut out for her. Not only did she have to look after the princess, but she had to teach her the life of the warrior princess so that she could behave more like a warrior. And it wasn’t an easy task. As the day wore on Gabrielle realized just how little Diana knew about the world outside the castle walls. She was more nieve than the bard as she expressed her continuing excitement in meeting the ordinary people of her kingdom. Diana told of all of the wonderful things that she would do once she was Queen of the land. Gabrielle did admire her for her desire to relate with her people, but it would be many years before the young princess would truly understand what relating to them meant.
Back at the castle the warrior princess was learning about life as a royal princess receiving all of the treatment and the pampering. It was more than she could take as Tynia brushed her hair for one thousand long strokes. Tynia was preparing the princess for her first meeting with Minious at a special banquet held for the two engaged. The warrior princess only made it to about eight hundred or so strokes before she could take no more. She stopped the brushing session immediately for she was more than ready to attend the banquet. King Lius arrived to escort her to dinner concerned that she would not be able to fool those who had known Diana since childhood. But Xena was certain that she would be able to convince them. She was also certain that she should attend so that she could find out who was working against Lius and his daughter.
As the beautiful princess was escorted to the dinner she walked alongside King Lius and Philemon. Philemon spoke with excitement for he could no wait to hear the princess play her enthralling melodies upon the harp. While the many royal guests gathered for this most special occasion the warrior princess asked the king to inform her on some of those who were in attendance. One man she caught sight of across the room had been talking to Minius the one who was to wed her. He had a look she knew all too well and so she asked of his business with Liberia and Minius. Xena was told by the king that he was Romeous. A simple and loyal business man who was quite prominent and well-liked. Lius did not expect that Romeous would be involved with such a dastardly plot against his daughter.
Finally all sat down to dinner and went on with the first toast of the evening. The princess was given the honor by her father and she used this opportunity to inspect the reaction of the guests. First she toasted to her husband to be and their marriage to be. Then she stood again and toasted to the end of slavery. Most about the table had agreed with great excitement that slavery would soon be a thing of the past in Liberia. As the princess sat down she rose once more and declared death to the traitors of the land. She was firm and over dramatic as she delivered her last toast. Her words rose some eye brows and great suspicion from those in attendance. Yet the words themselves did not encourage those against her to strike her down. Instead the King apologized for the words that his lovely Diana had been coached by her father to say. When Diana seeked her approval from him to cover from her drama of the latter he took light of the matter and brought laughter to all who dined.
As dinner came to a close Philemon suggested that she play them a tune for he was not certain that this was his Diana. There was something clearly different about her attitude and her personality of which he could not understand. Many of the other guests agreed that she should indeed play for them. Including the good man Romeous who seemed irritated at this charade. When King Lius tried to cover up Xena’s diguise he suggested that his daughter had been tired. He even went as far as to say that she could not play that way. But instead Xena chose to meet the challenge and rose from the table to play the harp. Of course her manners had demonstrated that there was something not quite right with the usually lovely princess. Yet Xena sat down upon the chair to prepare a tune for all. Placing her fingers softly upon the strings she closed her eyes. Then she felt the music which lie within her mind. The tune she played was of destruction for every last string had been broken. It was clear to all who were against her that she knew who they were. There was no more hiding behind false images, yet it would take more to convince Lius of that. Smiling quaintly the princess apologized as if confused by the broken strings, but King Lius suggested that just maybe they had been strung a bit tightly.
While Xena the warrior princess dined with royals princess Diana dined with the bard. Gabrielle prepared for nightfall placing bed rolls upon the ground. It was the life of the warrior princess, yet Diana did not understand. She could not believe that anyone in her kingdom ever slept upon the ground. And then Gabrielle decided that maybe a bit of bread and cheese would ease her displacement. But when the princess tried it she most certainly did not like it. The princess spate the stale bread upon the ground trying not to allow the bard to catch sight of it. Then the princess suggested that they go down to the local tavern. She had riches to spend and plenty of money. Diana was certain they could feast and dine well. Gabrielle refused the idea for she realized that there was a lesson for the princess to learn. If she was going to get to know the lives of those ordinary people she so admired then she was going to have to learn how they lived.
As the two sat down to bed near a temple to Aphrodite Gabrielle and Diana were becoming comfortable with their unlikely situation. Until an old beggar approached and stood over the princess startling her with freight. She jumped up and hid behind the bard as if expecting Gabrielle to protect her. It was strange for the bard to find herself standing in front of a warrior princess rather than behind. The old beggar was not a threat. He had only come to ask for a spare crumb. Diana seemed offended when his actions implied starvation. She was certain that no man, woman, or child was starving within her kingdom. Suddenly the princess caught herself and became the warrior princess once again. Though Diana did not believe the truth Gabrielle had known it well. She reached for their last lump of cheese and graciously gave it to the man.
His eyes glowed with appreciation for the compassion of the giving bard and then he called out to his family beyond the brush. A wife and three young children came from hiding to rejoice and give thanks. The sight of a little blue-eyed innocent girl brought sorrow to the heart of the princess. She realized now what she had never known. That there was indeed corruption still existing within her castle walls. But after this humbling experience she had decided that she would change things for the better of all. Her first good tiding for the poor was to offer a feast to this family. She dashed off to the local tavern and brought back more food than these poor could ever have imagined. It satisfied her heart to know that she could offer them comfort and all sat down together and enjoyed a banquet of their own.
Late into the night a gruesome discovery was made back at the castle. Romeous reported to Philemon that a high-ranking general within the castle had hanged himself to avoid the shame of his betrayal. Once Lius and Xena were told Lius was certain that the danger was over. He instructed that the princess be brought back home to be wed upon the next day. With satisfaction and relief King Lius slept well for the first time in weeks. Yet Xena was not convinced that the general had been the real traitor. Her suspicions were confirmed later that night after Philemon had spoken with Minious about his feelings toward Diana. As Philemon left his brother disappointed to find his lack of interest in his wife to be he ran across the castle guard carrying a chair to cut down the hanged. When Philemon realized that there had been no chair in the room where the hanged had been found he was certain of what Xena had already suspected.
Unfortunately Lius’s guard had already gone to bring back the princess before the news had reached him. He found Diana with her people telling the story of how she had killed Cyclops instead of Centaurs with her round killing weapon. The little girl was memorized by the beautiful princess with piercing blue eyes and then asked her to demonstrate the mighty power of her shiny round weapon. Without a thought Diana released its wrath though Gabrielle tried desperately to stop her. The bard had seen the power of the chackram and had known that only one woman could tame its wildness. It flew about out of control narrowly missing the bard and those near her. The chackram had bounced off a keg of water and then finally come to rest after robbing the king of his crown into a nearby tree.
Diana was pleased to see that her father had returned for her and prepared to return to the castle for her wedding.
Early on the morning of the wedding Gabrielle arrived at the castle with Diana, Lius, and their guard. Upon entering through the gates into the courtyard there stood the once leather clad warrior princess. She was sporting more of a fluttering pink gown which was very out of her style. It was obvious that she had tired of the charade despite all of the wonderful experiences that it offered. Gabrielle was delighted to be reunited with her friend. Diana appeared just as satisfied that the danger was seemingly over. Then Xena declared that she was quite tired of being a princess and could not wait to restore her dark beauty. Gabrielle waited as Xena and Diana disappeared to switch roles into their proper place. And then Xena returned ready to ride out into danger again unlike her counter part Diana had been. Gabrielle then left with Xena and argue traveling on down the road seemingly finished with a job well performed.
Yet this tale is not over for there were more surprises in store. As Diana prepared to dress into her wedding gown Philemon found himself charging into her bed chambers to warn her of the danger that still existed with in the castle walls. He told Diana what he had discovered about the truth of the general’s suicide. For it had not been a suicide at all. When Diana heard the news she instructed Philemon to go out and get Xena to come back so that she could stand in at the wedding. Philemon dashed off quickly in hopes that he could reach Xena in time. Fortunately he had caught up to Xena and Gabrielle entering into a nearby village. Philemon summoned Xena making her aware of the danger that still lurked. Xena quickly reacted charging upon Argo on down the road leaving Gabrielle behind.
Soon Xena arrived at the castle just in time for the wedding. But what she witnessed was so intense that no one ever suspected. As Diana walked down the aisle preparing to wed Minius. He stood waiting for her below a danger that awaited. Just before Diana reached the altar in her beautiful white dress she suddenly turned violent breaking into a warrior spirit. For it was not Diana at all. It had been Xena. Xena had fooled everyone knowing that the real traitor was still about. She let out a valiant battle cry as she ran up the wall flipping into action. Xena kicked and punched like thunder crashing down every enemy about her. Then she did something even more strange. She reached for five loose arrows upon the ground. Then she smiled with a crazy grin and dashed up to where the harp stood. Xena was creative as she found the harp to be more useful as a weapon rather than an instrument. She took the five arrows and shot them across the banquet hall toward the truest criminal of all.
The arrows flew flawlessly toward their target. They were certain to hit their mark. As they had come to rest. There plastered to the wall was the loyal businessman Romeous for Xena had known his kind all the while. She had known it was him on their first meeting in the banquet hall the night before at dinner. He had acted in the manner that all criminals do for he had been too confident in his success. Of course Minious had not yet realized that it was the warrior princess whom he had almost wed. And he declared with great disgust that he would not marry such a mannerless woman. Yet Xena had known what she was doing for she had planned it all along. She saved a life and freedom, but she had also saved true love. For on their way back to the castle a leather clad Diana had stopped the path. She had pretended to be Xena only to discover the true feelings of her betrothed. Philemon declared without awareness of how much he loved Diana, but he had been afraid to tell. He had been afraid that Diana loved only Minious. Then Diana revealed herself.
It had been Philemon who had shared with Xena his knowledge of her charade. He had told her he had known she wasn’t Diana before the second switch was made. For Diana did not catch and she did not like blood. So Xena did all of the work for she caught true love bringing it together, and prevented blood by storming the castle wedding. As Xena and Gabrielle finally found themselves leaving the castle Gabrielle asked her what it had been like. Gabrielle wanted to know if Xena had truly enjoyed being a princess or if it was just an overrated job. Xena had said she would never want to be a princess who ruled within the castle walls. It was too much work and not enough fun for a warrior princess to stand. For a royal princess was not allowed to play with a sword and a warrior princess lived by one. Then a servant walked by and she took two ouerderves. Handing one to Gabrielle Xena consumed the other declaring despite it all there had been perks. And so all ended in triumph. Social injustice would one day end and love would be how it began.