The Xena Scrolls: Scroll #37: Here She Comes...Miss Amphipolis

By Brandy Seymour | Xena Scrolls | 29 Jun 2020

The Xena Scrolls

By:  Gabrielle Bard of Potedia

Scroll#37:  Here She Comes..Miss Amphipolis

March, 47 B.C. 

Scroll# 37 Here She Comes Miss Amphipolis

    Peace in life was seemingly very difficult to find in these days alongside the warrior princess.  Yet Gabrielle had hope that there would come a day that their travels together would lead them to a place beyond the violence.   The bard was begining to long for an adventure of the early days with Xena which was full of excitement and of love.  There was hope when she and Xena had recently received a message from Salmoneous one of their dearest friends.  It had been nearly six months since they had last seen him.  All that Gabrielle could remember was his ficticious name Lord Seltzer and his infamous seltzer water.  Though that adventure had been the place that first allowed Callisto to enter into their lives it had ended with a celebration of life.  It was a difficult time, but a fond memory despite Gabrielle almost having lost Xena to a poison dart.

      Salmoneous’s latest message calling for Xena’s help had led them to a beautiful place along the coast of the Agean.  Upon their arrival the weather couldn’t have been more perfect, and the ocean more peaceful.  As Gabrielle took a deep breath of fresh air and thought she realized that this would be the day that she could put the entire saga of the blonde nemisis behind and start fresh and new again.  It was an oppritunity for Gabrielle to renew her passion for ending the cycle of violence.  As she thought of all of this and expressed her enthusiasm Xena agreed that it truely was a nice place to be yet she reminded Gabrielle that even this nice place had suffered in war just a year before. 

      The warrior princess pointed out the evidence left behind of an old ship wreck upon the rocks of the shore.  The bard noted that it looked like an old warship.  Xena confirmed that indeed it had once been the vessel that had carried violence to these shores.  She began to detail how the war had once brought blood which had stained the beaches and the sea itself.  Gabrielle had hoped to let go of the ideas and thoughts of bloodlust, but as always the warrior princess had to be the one to remind her of their reality in the world.  It almost ruined the tranquility that Gabrielle had been feeling during the walk along the beach.  Yet the bard found it within herself to reach out to find the positive of this thought.  She expressed to the warrior princess that a year was most certainly long enough for life to recover and return to normal again. 

      Suddenly Gabrielle’s feet were pulled down into the sand as she tripped and fell upon the beach unexpectedly.  When she investigated the obstruction Xena suggested that from the looks of it there below them was a pair of wagon tracks.  Gabrielle noted that the tracks were deeper than normal wagon tracks which led Xena to her own grim conclusion which she had certainly chosen not to share with the bard.  While Xena thought yet again of violence and war Gabrielle noticed that within the tracks were lots of shells from the tide and several fresh clams.  It was the clams that grabbed the bard’s attention and excited her for she could not wait to begin preparing them for lunch.  Clams were not something that the friends had the luxury of eating everyday for they had spent most of their travels away from the coasts inland.

     Then Gabrielle’s mind again turned back to the deep tracks wondering what kind of thing could make ruts as deep as those that she had tripped upon.  Xena was forced to answer truthfully as she explained that only a war wagon could have made those deep tracks.  Gabrielle looked to the warrior princess with a bit of confusion.  They had just finished talking about the ending of a war over a year before.  The bard couldn’t understand why a war wagon would still be in the area if there was peace present.  Just as Xena was about to try to answer her friend they heard the sounds of several young women screaming  from behind them across the beach.  As Gabrielle observed the situation she couldn’t help, but notice that there were about twenty young women dressed in barely anything.  It was a very unusual sight.  The girls were running through the water being chased by two ugly looking oagars.  Actually they were two men waiving swords around more to harrass and scare the young women.  Gabrielle looked to the warrior princess who grabbed a handful of clams and began to hurl them across the beach down upon the enemy.

      Gabrielle decided to jump into the action as she tossed more weapons up to the warrior princess who fired upon the men with a barrage of clams knocking them across their foreheads.  Every shot seemed to hit its mark perfectly as the girls all ran into the sea to get away.  Many of them fell into the tide getting wet and looking quite exhausted.  The twenty beauty queens quickly became muddy and dirty.  Gabrielle thought about the absurdity of the situation and found a bit of peace in knowing that this tiny show of violence was nothing in comparison to what she had witnessed recently.  It was comforting to know that behind all of this chasing was Salmoneous who came charging down the beach shouting at the men who had terrorized the women.  He was a bit late for Xena had already scared the men away with her excellant skills with clam shells.  As the battle drew to a close the women were rescuing themselves from the devastation as Salmoneous approached them with the concern of a mother hen. 

      Of course the response he received was less than appreciative.  All of the women appeared to be disgusted at the very least with his lack of bravery.  He then revealed that what he had truely been conercerned about was how well those skimpy white costumes would hold up through that kind of wear and tear.  The women left him behind as they walked back up the beach to return to wherever it was they had mysteriously appeared from.  Salmoneous soon caught sight of the warrior princess and gleefully welcomed her arrival.  He was excited that Xena had responded to his urgent message and there was only one thing left to do.  When Xena asked Salmoneous what had been so urgent he explained the entire scenario.  There was just one small problem.  It was all about a beauty contest.  

      The warrior princess was clearly irritated that his life and death message had been about nothing more than scantilly clad women dressed in barely nothing for the praises of a panal of unintelligent male judges.  It was nothing more than a beauty contest.  Salmoneous was quick to defend and flower it with a name like pageant.  Gabrielle found herself feeling just as displeased as the warrior princess to find out that Salmoneous was involved in such a scandalous activity.  In knowing Salmoneous to be a desaparte salesman Gabrielle had never imagined that he would degrate women in such a way as to exploit them for his own personal gain.  The worst part of it all was that the he had called upon the help of women for what he called a form of competative combat.  Salmoneous was working his magic with words as always and he ignored Gabrielle’s statements as if were one of his abused contestants.  The bard did not like the vibe she was feeling from him.

      Salmoneous continued to explain his situation and plans for the future of this once peaceful place.  He strongly felt that such competitive combats involving beautiful women were just what was needed in the area to drive an economic boom.  Yet the only real boom was about Salmoneous’s pockets and how he could quickly line them with an array of dinars.  Just when Salmoneous had lost Xena’s attention he revived it with a little bit of history.  He brought up the treaty that had been signed by the warlords who had fought in the battle from the year before.  Xena’s knowledge was tested for a moment as she recreated history outloud.  She gave the names of the Dosia of Mesinni, Regid of Skiros, Botine of Parnasis without hesitation and suddenly her interest was peaked.  This was something she had not expected from Salmoneous.  As usual he complemented the warrior princess profusely now that he had grasped her attention.  He went onto explain that it was all very relevant to his pageant.

       In fact, Salmoneous stated that all had been going well until those three warlords had decided to enter their girlfriends in the pageant.  Lord Claron as he so eloquently put it had even tried to cancel the pageant to avoid conflict, but the warlords would not allow it.  Since then there had been little peace within the comeptition and scenes like the one just witnessed on the beach were becoming quite common.  Xena quickly stated that those three warlords had entered their girlfriends into the pageant in order to destroy their treaty by proxy so that they could re enter themselves into a war.  There was no money in peace accept for in Salmoneous’s derranged plan.  Yet even Salmoneous could make money in a new war selling the headstones he feared might be handed out instead of prizes to the girls.  Salmoneous was smarter than Gabrielle had previously thought.  He was smart enough to figure out that the death and destruction of his pageant would mean war.  Yet the bard was still not convinced it was urgent enough to warrent services from Xena and the battling bard.  There was little danger of war unless someone were actually killed.  Then Salmoneous explained that the stakes were indeed as high as mortal death for none of the three warlords wanted to be the first to defy the rules of the competition.  Each was so competitve with the other that they were certain that their girl would be the winner.  It was an issue of male pride for them.  Yet it all seemed so unimportant when it was the women and not the men dressing up and performing tricks for the masses.

     However, Salmoneous had the ultimate solution.  He approached Gabrielle as if to size her up for something as he began to explain how she could help him with his pageant.  Salmoneous made the assumption that Gabrielle would be more than willing to jump into the pageant and become the insider with all of the tips on the danger within the pageant.  Instead the bard was highly irritated and very unwilling to be flaunted like some kind of an object.  She flatly refused this mission.  Then Xena suddenly stopped and turned to Salmoneous.   Gabrielle had spoken of the women of the pageant being vicitms of Greek society yet Xena took that idea further.  The warrior princess said that an impending war made every person a victim.  Her eyes were lighting up as the warrior wheels turned within her mind.  Suddenly she prounced herself to be the newest contestant of Salmoneous’s pageant.  She would be known from now on as the lovely Miss Amphipolis.

     Gabrielle found herself shocked as did Salmoneous, but he couldn’t resist the idea for Xena had the looks of a winning contestant.  She obviously didn’t have the manners or the training, but Gabrielle was up for the challenge.  Salmoneous then reminded everyone that time was short.  This was the day of the pageant and it was already just a few hours before the first event was to begin. Salmoneous had already made preparations for the arrival of his friends for he had already picked outfits yet because he had not expected the change in strategy he wasn’t completely prepared.  Quickly he rounded up a few things to cover for the bard for she would now play the part of the sponsor the Marquessa; however, finding an outfit for the rather tall dark and beautiful warrior princess wasn’t as easy.  Salmoneous quickly threw on some torn rags to cover Xena’s trademark leather and golden breast plate. 

      The kingdom of Claron was spectacular with its beautiful mountains and valleys surrounding the coastal cliffs.  It was green everywhere and burried within all of nature’s beauty was the golden city of Claron.  Gabrielle could not believe how much things had recovered since their war had ended.  All of the beauty surrounding the bard motivated her even more.  As the three entered inside the courtyard where the pagent contestants were practicing for their events the bard observed the beautiful young women in their bustling excitement.  Maybe the idea of a pageant was not as horrid as she had viewed it.  There was a bit of excitement as Salmoneous explained that Xena would not be able to miss any of the events.  She would now be known as Miss Amphipolis and if anyone’s identity was compromised it would be all over and war would be certain.  Salmoneous was seemingly over dramatizing the situation, but this passing thought did not last long for the bard.

      Salmoneous quickly returned to the courtyard where Miss Amphipolis awaited with her sponsor the Marquessa for a room and some privacy.  Miss Amphipolis took note of the strange characters that appeared within the courtyard.  She was certain that at least one of them was not a true contestant, but further investigation of this hypothesis was needed.  Salmoneous returned shortly after having registered Miss Amphipolis and her sponsor the Marquessa.  He took them to the room of one of his top contestants to introduce everyone.  Salmoneous was certain that Miss Messini was in danger for she was a competative contender in the trials. 

      During the introduction Marquessa found herself investigating the other side of the story wondering if maybe this contestant was in on the war plan.  While she examined she began to speak, but before she could get out her thought Miss Amphipolis drew her weapon from beneath her concealed rags and haulted the cross-bow which sent its arrow hurling toward Miss Messini.  The agile chackram split death’s wrath in two as it had been attatched to Miss Messini’s beautiful harp as she was about to play.  The moment happened in the blink of an eye as Salmoneous took credit unexpectingly for saving Miss Messini’s life.  He fumbled with the weapon trying desparately to grab control of it.  Miss Messini was ever so greatful for his actions as she embraced him with relief and a kiss on the cheek.  Yet fear still lingered from the heart stopping experience.  As Miss Messini exited her quarters to find her sponsor the Dosia to speak of the news it was suddenly clear to both Miss Amphipolis and her sponsor that things were on the verge of disaster.

     The first event was creeping closer as Salmoneous quickly escorted Miss Amphipolis and her sponsor to their quarters to prepare for the pageant.  As they entered all stopped to express their mounting frustrations.  Salmoneous began to express his relief for how close he had come to losing all of his invested interests in the pageant.  Miss Amphipolis was not amused or pleased at his lack of interest in the well-being of his contestants.  She ripped the chackram from his grasp as she passed as the Marquessa expressed her disgust with Salmoneous outloud in the closed quarters.  The Marquessa continued with a solid plan for how to deal with the volitile situation.  She felt that if the contest could be kept completely fair everyone would be safe and the mystery could be solved without a messy fight.  There was a certain excitement ignited now that the stakes of the competition had been raised dramatically.  Miss Amphipolis began to order everyone into action as she asked Salmoneous to return to searching for her new disguise as Miss Amphipolis while the Marquessa was to find, meet, and get to know the other sponsors.  Miss Amphipolis would try getting the inside track with the contestants and all of this had to be done within the hour before the first event.  Everyone was to meet back just before the event was to begin. 

     Although things appeared serious Gabrielle’s fire and excitment were fueled by the idea of a competition.  It seemed that all of this was more about egos and nothing else.  The best part for the bard was playing the role of the powerhouse sponsor which she took extremely seriously.   After walking through the golden courtyard and exploring the palace she found a secret hallway underneath the kingdom of Claron where she heard the sounds of men’s voices echoing in the corrider.  Folllowing those led her to a secret meeting place for sponsors only.  She listened behind the curtains to the door for a few moments as the men argued with on another about how each of their contestants had been threatened.  Yet it was as if the threats were directly to the male sponsors.  They all took it personal as if they had been the ones about to lose their lives.  It was at this point that the Marquessa realized it was more about the money they would lose and their pride. 

     She decided to enter into the room and put on her show.  If egos were going to fly the Marquessa had an ego larger than the Agean.  One by one she insulted each of the other sponsors for their lack of concern for their femal contestants.  The Marquessa ended her grand speech to them by proclaiming that her contestant would be the winner of the madness.  It was now very personal for the Marquessa to be certain that Miss Amphipolis took the crown if for no other reason than to batter these giant male egos.

      While the Marquessa drilled the sponsors Miss Amphipolis was finding some adventures of her own.  Just before she left for the baths she was intruded upon by the matron of the pageant who seemed less than thrilled to see Miss Amphipolis’s entrance into the pageant.  In fact, she joked with sarcasm that if she had the looks of Miss Amphipolis she would be ruling the world.  She was unaware of just how true that statement could be.  Miss Amphipolis was discombobulated for she had put on her robe backwards, but it was all a part of her show to conceal her true identity from everyone.  When Miss Amphipolis arrived at the baths the she listened as the other girls spoke of their reasons for entering the pageant.  Most of them appeared not so thrilled and some even forced to participate.  It seemed that every girl had her hardships to face and each was counting on victory in the pageant to save her from doom. 

      Miss Amphipolis again spotted her suspicious rival who appeared to be posing as a pageant contestant in disguise.  It seemed that every moment became even more tense than the one before as the tall, blond, rather manly looking woman watched Miss Amphipolis’s every move.  Miss Amphipolis also ran into Miss Skiros again whom she had briefly met in the courtyard earlier.  Miss Skiros seemed very threatened by Miss Amphipolis, but not for blood and war.  It seemed she felt threatened in another way as she exited the baths in anger upon Miss Amphipolis’s arrival.  All of the other girls appeared disturbed by this brief tiff between the two contestants and one by one each found her excuse to leave the baths not wanting to offend either girl.    

     Finally it seemed that Miss Amphipolis found herself alone.  There was something unsettling about this for her.  Realizing that the first event was drawing near Miss Amphipolis decided that she had to return to her quarters.  As she tried to exit she pulled the doors only to find them locked.  She found herself trapped in the baths alone.  Miss Amphipolis scouted the room with her eyes looking about for a threat, but also a way out.  Soon she realized that she was clearly safe and soon after she discovered a door which led to a water shoot large enough for her escape.  With great skill she ripped her towel from her body and used it as a whip in order to free herself from imprisonment.  The shoot was just above the door and to the left.  After opening the door Miss Amphipolis then climbed out in the nude with nothing more than her towel for protection against evil and the elements.

     There was only one problem for Miss Amphipolis left to solve.  She still needed an outfit for the first event for Salmoneous had not returned to her quarters with one.  At the end of the shoot she found herself inside the quarters of Miss Artifice.  Before entering the room she waited for Miss Artifice to exit for the first event.  Miss Amphipolis would be late, but she was not worried for she was not one of the first contestants on the list.  As soon as Miss Artifice exited Miss Amphipolis climbed out of the shoot down into the quarters where she searched for an outfit.  Miss Amphipolis was certain that she would be able to find what she needed since Miss Artifice appeared to be as tall as Miss Amphipolis herself if not taller. 

      Back in Miss Amphipolis’s room the Marquessa had returned waiting for either the return of Miss Amphipolis herself or any word from Salmoneous on her whereabouts.  Time was running short and the frustration was begining to build for missing the first event would sink the operation entirely.  Salmoneous soon entered looking for Miss Amphipolis himself as he was making his rounds to gather all of the women for the first event.  He appeared frustrated and upset reminding the Marquessa of the tradegy she already knew.  They clashed in a minor arguement for each was worried about Miss Amphipolis, but for different reasons.  When Salmoneous asked the Marquessa if she had a beat on which sponsor was the culprit she could only explain that she did not know and that it seemed the only thing that was clear was that each man had an ego that could bust open at any moment.  Salmoneous appeared irritated that the mystery had not yet been solved.  He exited the quarters reminding the Marquessa that it was now her responsibility to make certain that Miss Amphipolis made it to the stage on time for presentation.  Then he left to begin the show.

     Soon after he had left Miss Amphipolis arrived back in her quarters.  The Marquessa drilled her for information and scolded her for being so late.  As soon as Miss Amphipolis explained to her sponsor her story of the baths the Marquessa was forgiving, but time was running out for the first event had already begun.  The Marquessa rushed Miss Amphipolis off to the contestant staging area as Salmoneous announced the last contestant Miss Artifice.  Quickly the Marquessa made an appearance on the floor with the rest of the sponsors giving the signal to Salmoneous that he could introduce Miss Amphipolis.  The applause from the crowd had calmed down to a dull roar until Miss Amphipolis entered.  Suddenly all stood and cheered for her beauty could be matched by no other contestant in the pool.  Certainly every contestant was beautiful, but none had the charm and the charisma of Miss Amphipolis.  She pranced, danced, and smiled as she showed off her priceless beauty.  The Marquessa cheered her contestant on with great excitment for she was certain that her contestant could not be beaten. 

     As the introductions came to a close the audience dispearsed for an intermission as the Marquessa met with Miss Amphipolis and Salmoneous backstage to discuss the situation.  Salmoneous was still irritated that Miss Amphipolis arrived late, but she was defended by the Marquessa who explained the seriousness of the situation in the baths.  Salmoneous wanted to know if that experience had given Miss Amphipolis any leads and her answer was cryptic.  She was certain that she knew who had trapped her in the baths, but she did not know why.  Miss Amphipolis did not believe that her this rival was behind the war cries.  She only had two solid leads.  One of them was Miss Skiros, and the other was Miss Artifice. 

      Upon returning to her quarters with the Marquessa they discovered that the door had been unlocked while they were gone.  Miss Amphipolis was also missing her leather and breast plate from the beautiful purple chest which had housed it earlier.  There was something suspcious going on.  It appeared that at least one person knew Miss Amphipolis’s true identity and that person wanted to expose her.  The pressures were building and the tensions were rising.  Miss Amphipolis decided to go back down to the baths to see if maybe the enemy had left anything behind.  Soon after Miss Amphipolis had left for the baths the pageant matron entered to inform the Marquessa of another sponsor meeting taking place.  The Marquessa rushed off only this time she had been invited.  She felt that she was moving up in the world of pageantry.  This time there was a special dinner prepared for the sponsors which was quite elegant and much better than eating clams.  Only hours before it seemed that clams would be the best meal for days. 

      As the dinner wore on the other sponsors continued to complain and moan about the prospect of war.  Everyone was seemingly on edge even more than during the previous meeting.  Each man was ready to draw his weapon at the slightest hint of a fight or a battle.  Yet it seemed that even if there were no more incidents a loss to the ego would send all of the edge.  The count of Parnasis explained this very well stating that his contestant had better not lose.  As tempers flared the Marquessa played it cool when asked what she did to motivate her contestant.  Her response was candid yet more true than anyone could have known.  She stated simply that nothing was necessary to motivate her contestant when they worked together as a team.  There was a certain pride to that.  This only appeared to irritate the other sponsors all of whom decided to leave except for Miss Messinni’s sponsor.  Of any one in the group the Marquessa could feel that he was the most sensative and understanding to his contestant.  He was genuiunely concerned in making her happy and when he asked the Marquessa her advice she explained that all he needed to do was to listen to her.  She was confident that this would be the secret to strengthening their bond.  Miss Messini’s sponsor appeared delighted with the Marquessa’s advice as dinner finally had ended after several hours.

     By the time the Marquessa had arrived back in the quarters Miss Amphipolis had already returned to tell her the story of her discovery.  Miss Amphipolis had returned to the baths where she found an earring on the floor.  She was certain that the earring had belonged to either Miss Skiros, or Miss Artifice so she had waited for one of them to return to look for it.  Indeed her plan worked for just an hour later Miss Artifice returned to the baths scouring the floor for her missing earring.  That was when Miss Amphipolis came out of hiding to confront her enemy.  The enemy seemed taken off guard unexpecting of Miss Amphipolis’s presence.  Miss Amphipolis quickly reached for Miss Artifice’s hair to reveal her true identity.  Miss Artifice was not a woman.  She was a man.  He would have fit the description of a true enemy if only he had not explained the unexpected.  Miss Artifice began by apologizing for locking Miss Amphipolis in the bath.  When Miss Amphipolis asked why he had done it he explained that it was because he was certain that Miss Amphipolis had known his secret.  He was extremely sensative and emotional about it all.  Miss Artifice continued by explaining that the pageant was his only refuge for being the woman he truely was inside.  There was no other place like it on earth where he could be a woman and be appreciated for it.  Miss Amphipolis began to understand yet found herself confused that a man could be such a beautiful woman inside.  He seemed nervous that she did not understand him, but it did not matter.  Miss Artifice was now clear as a suspect in the bigger picture.  Miss Amphipolis returned Miss Artifice’s earring and declared that the best person should win the pageant for she would not turn Miss Artifice in for being different. 

     Early the next morning the Marquessa had to prepare Miss Amphipolis for the rehersal of the dance competition.  She found herself completely elated to be confident with their team attitude.  The Marquessa was certain that it would be this team attitude that would bring them the crown of Miss Known World.  However, it seemed that Miss Amphipolis was less enthused.  When the Marquessa tried to give her contestant a pep talk about attitude and about wanting the crown Miss Amphipolis appeared distracted.  She even concluded that it wasn’t about winning the crown, but about finding the warlords that lurked within.  The Marquessa had not completely lost her focas on the mission at hand, but did not see why winning the crown wouldn’t be a bonus.  Yet for Miss Amphipolis it winning the crown would be a distraction for herself. 

      Quickly the Marquessa sent Miss Amphipolis on her way.  It seemed that none of the girls on the stage had much talent in dance.  They all kept bumping into one another, tearing each other’s costumes unable to get the moves.  By take five one could see the hopeless frustration on Salmoneous’s face as his girls tried once more to get his coreography down.  It was a seemingly impossible task, but all had to be ready before late afteroon arrived for the second event would be taking place.  The Marquessa was confident that Miss Amphipolis could steel the win in this event as well with her powerful personality. 

     By the time the event started the dance went off with success.  There were only a few minor collisions, but nothing serious.  Salmoneous announced each contestants name again as each girl presented herself in costume and he described her talents, hobbies, and skills.  Everything appeared to be quiet and well with the pageant with the exception of one concern.  Earlier during the rehersals Miss Amphipolis was confronted by the Palentine of Parnasis.  He touched her hands and kissed them throwing Miss Amphipolis into an firery rage which she could barely contain.  She gave him a quiet warning and demanded that he apologize to Miss Parnasis for his treatment and unnecessary beatings of her.  She had seen the marks on her back in the baths.  The Palentine of Parnasis did apologize, but he threatened Miss Amphipolis.  Miss Amphipolis was certain that she had blown her cover with him, but that hunch was still not confirmed.  It had been hours that had passed without incident since.  The Marquessa hoped that maybe he had not caught on to Miss Amphipolis’s disguise.

     As the pageant continued on all appeared to be wonderful and soon Miss Amphipolis herself was introduced.  Before Salmoneous could complete her list of hobbies the Palentine of Parnasis rose from the audience in a fury.  He demanded the arrest of the contestant Miss Amphipolis for he declared that she was not a true contestant.  The Palentine quickly revealed to all that it was Xena the Warrior Princess who stood before him.  A hush fell over the crowd until other sponsors stood before the crowd declaring her to be a mercenary as they drew their swords declaring war.  Just when it seemed that the entire operation had been compromised the truth came out.  There upon the stage approaching to the front from behind Miss Amphipolis was Miss Artifice dressed in the costume of Xena Warrior Princess.  She was tickled to receive all of the sudden attention declaring that she was not a princess at all, but a queen.  With grace Salmoneous chimed in not missing a beat as if the disruption in the audience had never occurred or was just a part of the show.  He then introduced Miss Artifice and spoke of her talents which included, archery, horse breeding, and knowing the complete score to every musical ever written.  It was amazing the way that Miss Artifice fit right into the team.  She was willing to help out a girl who could keep secrets.  That was all that needed to be said. 

       The moment that everyone had been waiting for had finally come as the five contestants who would be finalists were narrowed down.  Miss Messinni, Miss Skiros, Parnasis, Miss Artifice, and Miss Amphipolis.  The Marquessa was delighted that not only had they averted war, but they had made it to the semi-finals.  This was cause for a celebration.  Yet there was a slight problem with this as was revealed by Salmoneous as the Marquessa ran to the stage to congratulate her contestant.  The third and final event was a talent competition.  It was clear to the Marquessa that Miss Amphipolis was highly talented, but not in the traditional sense.  If her true talents were revealed it might tip off the other sponsors into an all out war.  That had to be avoided at all costs.  It appeared that both Miss Amphipolis and the Marquessa had gotten into the Miss Known World competition a bit in over their heads.

      Upon returning to the quarters of Miss Amphipolis the Marquess began to feel a great deal of stress.  Her passions went from winning the contest to protecting the well-being of her contestant.  The Marquessa paced about the room as Miss Amphipolis lounged about filing her rough nails with a boot knife.  She was much too warrior like to stay dressed in proper costume.  To the Marquessa it seemed as if Miss Amphipolis was taking a more hands off approach to the situation.  The issue of talent was just as important as solving the mystery itself.  As the two discussed possible talents the Marquessa was convinced that singing was their best shot at winning both the contest and the trust of the warlords.  Yet Miss Amphipolis was completely against this idea.  It seemed the more the Marquessa lobbied for singing as the talent of choice the less interested in the conversation Miss Amphipolis became.  The Marquessa could not understand why Miss Amphipolis kept rejecting the idea of singing.  She had seen Miss Amphipolis sing at funeral fires before and her heart poured out with songs richer than the sirens.  There was always so much passion in Miss Amphipolis’s voice whenever she had released the emotions from within her heart like the time she had sung for her beloved Marcus. 

     Miss Amphipolis finally chimed in with a valid explanation that the Marquessa could relate to.  She explained that she could only sing like that when she was moved and at this particular moment she did not feel moved by anything.  It was obvious to the Marquessa for the boredome was written all over her contestant’s face.  Yet she could not argue this point for she herself was an artist and could understand that true art had to be moved with a passion from within.  Without the passion there would be no magic.  Which led to the begining of the problem.  The Marquessa’s frustrations could not be eased for if Miss Amphipolis could not sing what could she do. 

     Miss Amphipolis was as dry with ideas as the Marquessa yet seemed unaffected by the pressure.  It was as if she basked in it some how.  Her next comment was seemingly more pressing to her.  She was extremely preoccupied with who was behind all of the sabbotoge, but had no answers when the Marquessa inquired.  The suspension of not knowing who wanted to kill all of the warlord beauties was almost unbearable for the Marquessa for all she could think of was how easy it would be for them to knock off Miss Amphipolis.  As the Marquessa gestrued dramatically hoping to drive her concern home to Miss Amphipolis the beauty’s eyes lit up with the golden answer.  She spoke with a bit more enthusiasm now exciting the Marquessa who thought that maybe she had somehow helped to solve the mystery of who was behind the sabbotoge.  Yet that was not what Miss Amphipolis was talking about.  Instead she had an idea for her talent.  This was not what the Marquessa had expected, but it was good that she had been able to help solve one of their problems. 

     Suddenly the door to Miss Amphipolis’s quarters swung open with the pageant matron entering interrupting the discussion.  She appeared just as surprised and shocked as did the Marquessa and her contestant.  The martron suddenly asked Miss Amphipolis what she was doing inside her room.  It was an odd question since this was Miss Amphipolis’s assigned quarters.  The matron recovered well knowing how odd her question was as she rephrased it slightly.  She wanted to know why Miss Amphipolis wasn’t out practicing her talent as were the other contestants.  To the Marquessa this was obvious, but then the matron looked suspiciously to the Marquessa asking her why she wasn’t at the sponsor meeting.  The Marquessa thought of this for a moment and then realized that the sun was directly over the ocean now.  It was early evening and indeed there was a sponsor meeting to take place for every day now they had met at this time.  There was a bit of embarressment for her blunder, but who could remember to go to meetings when their friends were clearly in danger.  The Marquessa played off the question as if she had been unaware of such a meeting hoping to cover her obvious mistake.

     Quickly the Marquessa found herself rushing off to the meeting.  If nothing else this was yet another chance to put some clues together.  As always the Marquessa approached just outside the meeting and eavesdropped a few moments before entering hoping to hear something valueable.  Yet there was nothing, but the same arguing, accusation, and bickering that had been occurring on the previous nights.  The Marquessa decided to enter dramatically once more.  If nothing else she could try to settle the tensions between the troops so that war could be averted for a third day.  She entered as Lord Claron was trying to gather control.  It seemed to the Marquessa that Lord Claron had been the most passive of all of the sponsors.  He was trying to downplay the joke that had been played on everyone by Miss Artifice.  It was truely unexpected.  He tried to tell the other sponsors that it was nothing to go to war over.  The Marquessa chimed in reminding everyone of their unneccessary paranoia.  Jokes were nothing to go to war over.

     The Palentine of Parnasis stepped up agreeing unwillingly that both Lord Claron and the Marquessa were right.  Yet he was still not convinced that calling the troops was a bad idea for all of the girls had been suffering with fear and anxiety over the possibility that they may lose their lives.  Then he looked to Miss Skiros’s sponsor for she was the only one of the five semi-finalists who had not been affected by the circus of events and of danger.  Miss Parnasis had suffered an attack on the beach, Miss Masini in her quarters, and both Miss Amphipolis and Miss Artifice had been embarressed by the joke of earlier although it had not begun as a joke.  Suddenly Miss Skiros was now at the center of arguement for her sponsor appeared to be the culprit to start a war.  It seemed to the Marquessa that of anyone the Palentine of Parnasis was the most likley of anyone to be prepared to go to war.  Miss Skiros’s sponsor stood his ground with the Palentine expressing the threat that if his contestant were to experience any harm that he would be the first to sound the trumpets of war.  That led Lord Claron to decide that he needed to lobby for tighter security.  Abruptly he left the meeting with unexplained urgency as the rest of the clan of warlords stormed off in anger on the brink of war.  Only Miss Massini’s sponsor was left behind with the Marquessa.  The Marquessa decided the end the tension with more dramatic tension blaming him for threatening Miss Skiros.  Though he was clearly not involved in any of the blood lust the Marquessa wanted to convince him to help her lobby for peace for she suddenly realized that she could no longer keep back the troops alone.

     When the Marquessa was finally able to return to Miss Amphipolis the horror of what she saw was more than she could take.  There standing before the ovular golden mirror was her contestant in a chartruesse colored dress, with large pink chaffon flowers pertruding from her veluptious breasts.  It was the most ugly dress she had ever seen and it was not all that flattering despite Miss Amphipolis’s natural beauty.  Miss Amphipolis was still calm despite all of the tensions being felt through every contestant’s room.  War was looming more now than ever before and as the Marquessa was unable to contain her frustrations Miss Amphipolis came to the rescue.  Suddenly she grabbed her boot knife and began to remove pieces of her dress.  She cut off all three pink chaffon flowers, she cut off her long ugly sleeves, and made a nice accented layer around the front to enhance her look. 

      It was shocking, surprising, and the Marquessa was impressed, but again the matron had barged in on them in the middle of an important moment.  The matron commented on how good Miss Amphipolis was with a knife.  Miss Amphipolis down played her actions explaining that she had many skills as she picked under her finger nails with the tip of her knife.  It was not a lady like moment, but at this point there was little to hide.  The only hope was that by morning Miss Amphipolis would be able to come up with some answers over a good night’s rest.

      Early the next morning Miss Amphipolis had gone down to the beaches to practice her talent.  She had decided that sword twirling would be impressive enough and more suitable for her personality.  The Marquessa watched from the windows of their room still basking in the relaxation of being holed up in their marvelous room.  Miss Amphipolis was very professional as she practiced and there was definately a passion within her moves.  As the Marquessa watched over her friend she could feel the passion of her art and decided that singing would have bombed horribly.  Yet there was also another contestant on the beach.  It was Miss Messini who played her harp alone.  Miss Messinni thought she was alone as she began to cry.  Her tears were of sadness.  Miss Amphipolis heard the pain of Miss Messini’s heart and decided to go down the beach to investigate.  When she approached Miss Messini she thought that maybe it was fear that had caused the tears, or even nerves.  Miss Amphipolis opened the conversation hoping to relate to Miss Messini’s stress, but it had nothing to do with the pageant.  In fact, Miss Messini was only participating in the pageant because her sponsor had asked her to.  She thought that it seemed very important to him so she became a contestant despite her own reservations about such an event. 

       It seemed to Miss Amphipolis that she had finally broken through the silence of the contestants.  They had all seemingly kept to themselves up to this point.  Miss Messinni explained sadly that every contestant seemed to despise the competition except for Miss Amphipolis.  The girls had all felt the entire pageant was a farce.  Miss Amphipolis urged Miss Messini to go on wondering why the girls participated if they all felt this way.  Miss Messinni explained that Miss Parnasis had made a deal with the Palentine her sponsor that if she participated and won that he would make sure that her village received enough food for the winter.  Miss Skiros had been so scarred by the many wars which had plagued the area during her life that she just wanted to use the prize to get away from it all.  Her memories were too painful to stay.  Miss Messini continued on explaining that she herself could have rejected the idea, but she was so concerned about her boyfriend’s feelings that she could not reject his wishes for her. 

     Miss Amphipolis chimed in with deep concern for Miss Messinni asking the contestant why her own feelings didn’t matter enough to say no.  Miss Messini didn’t have an answer for that question.  All that she really knew was that she deeply loved her boyfriend and that she was tired of being treated like an object.  This pageant was the pinacle of that terrible feeling for Miss Messini.  Yet Miss Amphipolis urged Miss Messini to go to her sponsor and to express her true feelings.  Miss Amphipolis felt that if their love was true that he would back down and understand Miss Messini’s heart and her feelings. He would begin to realize the beautiful woman that Miss Messini was on the inside. 

     When Miss Amphipolis had returned to the Marquessa with this story the Marquessa was touched by her friend’s sensative loving heart.  Not many had known that side of Miss Amphipolis until now.  This was why Miss Amphipolis was going to win.  She was going to solve the mystery of the warlords and she was going to be the first Miss Known World winner.  Winning would mean that they would return again next year to this beautiful place of peace.  It would stay peaceful, but first everyone had to get through the next day and a half without a scratch or a drop of blood.  That was easier said than done.  Miss Amphipolis felt that if anything was going to happen it would not be on the off day it would occur at the talent event itself.

      After a day of peace and relative quiet the true test would finally come.  All of the other events had been taking place in the late afternoon, but on this day someone had decided to move up the talent event to the late morning which seemed unusual.  Miss Amphipolis had gone out and about looking for answers while the Marquessa stayed behind in the room again.  The matron came by during the mid moring to announce that all the sponsors were to round up their contestants for the final event.  Soon the Marquessa was rushing about the courtyards and every corner of the beautiful complex, but she was unable to find her contestant.  When she finally returned to the room there she found Miss Amphipolis just outside with Miss Skiros who was trying to get a glimpse of her competition in secret only to be embarressed by the sneaky Miss Amphipolis.  Miss Skiros was not happy to be caught spying on her competition, but Miss Amphipolis was not at all concerned.  Quickly the Marquessa grabbed her contesant and rushed her down to the competition.

     Once backstage they found that they had made it just in time to hear the final notes of the first contestant Miss Messini and her harp.  Salmoneous then urged applause from the audience who congratulated the first contestant.  Then it was Miss Artifice who had a rather interesting performance.  She danced with her long flowing colorful ribbons, but was unable to show much grace for by the end of her performance she had found herself tangled yet still smiling brightly.  Salmoneous joined the Marquessa and her contestant back stage.  When asked if there had been any danger yet he reported that things had gone smoothly up to this point.  The Marquessa was hopeful that they had finally convinced the warlords to ease their tensions; however, Miss Amphipolis felt that it could only mean the situation was more volitile.  She was now afraid that who ever was trying to sabbatoge the pageant would switch to targeting warlords.  Salmoneous quickly rushed back out to encourage support for Miss Artifice’s performance and to introduce the next contestant Miss Skiros.

      Miss Skiros’s act was daring and dangerous.  She brought out a large basket with a horn and began her charming song.  Emerging from the basket was a large black cobra.  Salmoneous returned back stage as the Marquessa could sense Miss Amphipolis’s new concern.  She asked Salmoneous why there was such a rush to finish the event.  Salmoneous explained that he had been ordered to by Lord Claron to whom he pointed in the audience.  Miss Amphipolis scanned the situation with her eyes fixed on Lord Claron who appeared to know something that no one else did.  His eyes darted above the stage and then back down to the contestant below.  Suddenly Miss Amphipolis leaped into action flipping onto the stage.  She was face to face with the evil cobra until she flipped backwards face to face with Miss Skiros.  Quickly Miss Amphipolis pushed Miss Skiros off toward back stage and then kicked the snake out of the basket into the air.  Then Miss Amphipolis flipped again as a small portion of the ceiling above her collapsed onto the floor leaving nothing, but a thick cloud of dust.  All was silent in the audience for a moment until the confusion cleared and there standing before them upon the broken beam was Miss Amphipolis smiling enthusiastically holding the snake delicately around her neck like an ornament.  There was a roar of cheers and applause that engulfed the entire room.  Even Lord Claron seemed impressed, but it was clear to Miss Amphipolis who she was after.  She just had to prove it.   It was clear to the Marquessa that Miss Amphipolis would most likley win the pageant for her passionate performance in saving the stunned yet thankful Miss Skiros.

     Soon after the event ended Miss Amphipolis was on the war path searching the complex for Lord Claron.  Yet it was obvious to the Marquessa that the place to find all of the warlords and sponsors would be at the nightly meeting.  Salmoneous followed the Marquessa concerned that Miss Amphipolis was running around alone in the dangerous political climate, but the Marquessa was certain that there was little to be concerned about for no one knew Miss Amphipolis’s true identity. 

     One by one Miss Amphipolis waited for the warlords to arrive at the meeting.  As each man entered the meeting room she immobilized him and tied him up leaving him underneath the banquet table.  Once everyone had entered she waited for Lord Claron.  She knew that he was prepared to entice the others into a war with the latest threat of death on Miss Skiros.  When the Lord finally arrived he was just as confident of success as ever.  It seemed the perfect situation.  He was alone in a room with Miss Amphipolis.  There would be no witnesses to a murder that would inevitibely start his war.  All that needed to happen now was for Miss Amphipolis to prove that he was the one who would kill her.  She played along realizing that Lord Claron was still unaware of her true identity.  It was her advantage.  She asked him his motives and he explained them to her gleefully unaware of who he was dealing with.

     He stated that when wars raged throughout the country side economic times were good.  Since peace had reigned everyone had seemingly lost in his view.  He felt the only way to restore the good times was to restart the wars and that was why he had commissioned the pageant.  Lord Claron was certain that there would be no better way of starting a war without detection than the illusion of a beauty pageant.  He was not so complementary of his warlord counter parts of whose presence was soon revealed to Lord Claron.  Now that he was revealed there was no turning back.  Lord Claron was surprised at the intelligence of a beauty contestant.  When he asked Miss Amphipolis how she knew about his plans she explained his obvious actions.  His lack of security despite his promises, and his actions during the talent event when he looked to the danger which lurked above Miss Skiros. 

     Lord Claron would not give into Miss Amphipolis.  Although he had been compeletely exposed he was prepared to kill her for there was nothing left to lose.  With all of his competitors helplessly bound and gagged beneath the banquet table he could kill them all starting an even larger war than he could have imagined.  He threatened the lovely Miss Amphipolis with his weapon, but she would not allow it.  She fought him off without a single drop of blood or a weapon to defend.  Miss Amphipolis used hand to hand combat to defeat the infamous Lord Claron and she did it in a dress.  As the quick decisive battle of sexes ended Lord Claron found that even his sword was no match for the strength and skill of Miss Amphipolis.  Soon the Marquessa entered looking for Xena only to realize that the warlords now knew Miss Amphipolis’s true identity.  They were shocked to realize that they had been unable to notice Miss Amphipolis’s true identity until now.  Gabrielle tried to cover her mistake, but it was all over now.  Miss Amphipolis was now Xena again with only one thing left to finish.  Gabrielle explained that the winner was about to be crowned.  Sadly Xena had decided that Miss Amphipolis would be dropping out of the race.

      No sooner were the words spoken was Xena back in her leather, and golden breast plate.  No more was the blond flowing locks from her head.  And as for the chartruese with chaffon well it had to go as well.  Gabrielle understood although it would have been nice to win she understood that even Xena could not play the painful charade any longer.  As the two friends stood backstage to catch the final act Salmoneous was given the scroll which held the name of the winner and the runner up.  He was seemingly distraught for the winner was not present on the stage.  Yet he suddenly caught sight of Xena the Warrior Princess watching from the sidelines as he desparately wanted to know what had happened to the beautifully charming Miss Amphipolis.  Xena’s response was that Miss Amphipolis would be dropping out despite it having now been announced by the normally persuasive Salmoneous that she had been the winner.  She also explained that Miss Amphipolis was happy to have known each and every one of the beautiful contestants on stage for she had learned a lot from them.

     Despite Salmoneous’s desparate persuasions he had to move on from Miss Amphipolis.  The next on the list was Miss Skiros who also stepped forward to say that she did not need the crown for she would be able to find a new life without it.  As for Miss Messini she had indeed spoken to her sponsor about her true feelings for when her name was called she stepped forward to reject the crown.  Salmoneous was obviously frustruated by now for his worry about war sabbotoging his investments in the pageant had ended, but it seemed a warrior princess would succeed in proving that such events were unfair to women.  Miss Messini’s sponsor was firm alongside the decision of his lovely girl friend and he would not stand for Salmoneous’s pressures.  Just before Salmoneous could name Miss Parnasis she too stepped forward to reject the prize and the crown.  The Palentine of Parnasis threatened her openly, but she stood firm and strong determined to help her village grow food without his promise of a winter’s worth. 

     There was only one finalist left standing on the stage.  It was the beautiful and lovely Miss Artifice.  She happily accepted the crown of Miss Known World although it was a surprise to all that a man would have become the winner of a beauty contest.  Miss Artifice accepted graciously as she held her bouquet of flowers and wore her golden crown.  She was crying with happiness as tears rushed down her manly face.  Salmoneous sarunaded the Miss Known World Song with relief that his pageant did not go completely bust.  There was applause from every man and every woman who attended as guests.  Miss Known World basked in her glory sharing it with those who had helped make it possible for her to realize her dream.  Miss Artifice grabbed the warrior princess and gave her a great big hug and kiss.  Then he grabbed her hand and raised his arm alongside hers bowing delightfully for the crowd.  He felt that everyone was a winner, and Miss Artifice wanted to share this special moment in his life with the Warrior Princess whom had made it possible.  Gabrielle found herself just as shocked as the warrior princess at this open display of sudden affection, but who cared as long as the best woman wore the crown.  For beauty was beauty, but peace would always be peace.

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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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