The Xena Scrolls
By: Gabrielle Bard of Potedia
Scroll#41: For Him the Bell Tolls
April, 47 B.C.
As my nightmares cease to end Xena has left me yet again. She has gone off on a mission to see our friend King Lius without me. When Xena left me behind she had said that it was only a ceremony, but that it was important that she attend. At the time I didn’t really see the point of leaving me behind unless there was some sort of danger affoot. Xena always leaves me behind when there is danger to be reckoned with. Her excuse to me was that it would take too long to get to Liberia if Argo had to ride hard with both of us. She said that it would take her at least three days to ride with Argo alone. All I can think is that maybe she is still angry at me for selling her whip to Minya. Or maybe it was when I hit her in the face with my staff that has led her to leave me on my own. She left without me earlier this morning. I thought that maybe I could at least be of some help if there was some danger. I even suggested to the warrior princess that I would just follow behind and meet up with her when I got there alone. My suspsicion is that King Lius has called upon Xena for security of some sort. Although I pleaded with Xena to ask for my help in this matter she declined. She was even a bit patronizing about it. She told me to relax and take a few days to rest. I can’t think of any reason why I would need to rest. I’m perfectly fine. So that brings me to my next challenge. I have to prove to Xena that I’m worthy. I have to prove to her that I can take care of missions without her help. She doesn’t think that I’m capable of independence. Xena can not fathom the idea that I could be self reliant.
Unfortunately for me not long after Xena had left I walked up the path to hear the sounds of a battle. Yet it wasn’t the typical battle. I decided to step off of the path and to scout from the brush to see who it was that was battling up the path. As the sounds came closer it seemed as if it were really only one man swinging his sword wildly. Maybe it was a warlord gone insane. I wasn’t really certain until I heard his familiar voice. Danger was not affoot. Instead it was entertaining to watch a wanna bee warrior defeat his non-existant enemies. He sheathed his sword once again as he came closer down the path. Then he paused and started his drama from the begining. Unsheathing his sword now he poised himself for attack. He shouted to his enemy Megalopolis that he would be the next victim on his list of defeated. In fact, he even went as far as to threaten to feed his victim to the fish. It was almost more than I could bare to keep quiet. My stomach was bursting with laughter ready to come apart at the seams. Yet I stayed calm and poised in my place in the brush beyond. My unsuspecting victim would most certainly defeat himself momentarily with idoicy.
His next moves were wild and uncontrolled as he perried with his phantom enemy and then suddenly went into the most horrid interpretation of Xena’s signature battle cry that I could have imagined. I knew that I wasn’t so great at it, but as Joxer flew through the air attempting to emulate Xena’s famous flip he fell flat on his face as I sprang up from the brush to attack. Yet I never had my chance to take him down unexpectedly for he had done that on his own. He landed face first right next to my boots. That was when I rested my staff gently on the ground beside his head and greeted him with a sarcastic glow. If Xena thought that I was shameful to hang around with she would never believe it if I told her what I had just witnessed with Joxer the Magnificient or whatever he called himself these days. He really wasn’t all that magnificient or mighty.
Naturally he was surprised to see me. So surprised and even embarressed that he tried to play off his blunderous mistake. He moved his ear to the ground as if listening for something. As I watched his warrior skill he assured me that he was listening to make sure that he had not been followed by giants. What he didn’t realize was that we were no where near where the giants lived. Then he fumbled nervously to rise to his feet trying desparately to appear confident and in control. He obviously wasn’t. He then assured me as he shealthed his wide blade that no giants had followed. All was safe and calm in the land of Joxer. What a relief it was to know that I had run into the dumbest warrior that had ever lived. He was hopeless.
His next move appeared confused as he looked about. Then he asked me the one question I dreaded most. He wanted to know where Xena was. Unfortuneatly I had to admit that she didn’t need her sidekick. She was perfectly capable of being a hero without me. Within that moment Joxer’s face lit up like lightening. It was as if he was having the revelation of his life. He then spoke his thoughts outloud gleefully reminding me that I was a sidekick without a hero, but continued onto remind me of how he was dellusional in thinking that he was a hero who needed a sidekick. Of course I could take no more of his insanity. I challenged him asking him what he was a hero of. He seemed irritated that I would even question his prowess. Joxer insisted that he was a well-known hero and even went as far as to call himself Joxer the Mighty. That was what I had thought he would do, but I wasn’t expecting what came next. It was a dreadful theme song to promote himself as if he were Hercules or someone like that. I didn’t appreciate it as he began to sing it to me passionately in his deep goofy voice. I had to stop him before I hurled on the side of the path. It was more than I could handle. Danger was definately affoot now. I was not going to find myself stuck with this man for the next several days. If this was a vacation from my nightmares it sure didn’t appear that way. Xena would have to pay for this when she came back. A week of traveling with Joxer the Mighty would drive me insane.
I began to walk up the path attempting to ignore him, but he would not be ignored. He was determined to convince me of his heroic talents. All I could think of was how much shame he brought to the world of the heros for he knew very little about what made a hero. I expressed my thoughts outloud knowing that Joxer would never understand any of it, but I didn’t care. I was just trying to figure out how I could get myself out of this situation. Joxer wanted to prove that he could be just as worthy a hero as Xena. He then asked me what Xena would do in the current situation. I was a bit confused by his question until I realized that I now held a golden oppritunity in my hand. He had just given me my way out of this entire scenario. It was so easy for the man was so eager to please and to prove his worth that he walked right into my trap. I suggested to him in a serious tone that he guard the rear for that is what Xena would most certainly do. We had to be sure that the enemy was not going to approach us from behind. Joxer seemed pleased and excited about this for he was certain that he could guard the rear. I even told him that he had to go way back because that was what Xena would do. So Joxer the Mighty went running down the path with his sword ready for battle. He wanted so desparately to be something that he could never be. Yet that was alright with me. I could once again enjoy some solace and time alone.
Life was good for the moment for I had decided that I should just take Xena’s advice and try to relax. With Joxer out of the way I had decided that I should count my blessings from the gods and enjoy the tranquil walk in the sun. How bad could a vacation be when there was the warm sun to enjoy and the sounds of love in the air as spring was just about to turn to summer. What I didn’t realize was how true love would be for the next couple of days. I didn’t realize that I would be meeting the goddess of love herself. It was only a matter of love.
My tranquil walk did not last long for soon I ran into some trouble up the road in a small village. I heard the screams of young women as I watched them scramble about for their lives. They were being attacked and kidknapped by a small band of renegade soldiers. This was the moment of truth for me. It was the oppritunity I had been waiting for. I was determined to defeat the enemy without the assistance of the warrior princess. Though I felt courageous my confidence was not solid yet now there was little time to question that. I had to jump into battle alone and so I made my choice. Quickly I ran into the chaos about the small village. From behind one of the men whom had found himself a captive I charged in. With full force I swung my staff nailing him from behind. My confidence was building as he fell to the ground releasing his victim from harm. Then I went for my second enemy with a swift move across his face with a one handed staff move. I had never tried it before, but it worked. Suddenly I felt a force charging in from behind as I spun around to take him down with a jab underneath the chin.
There was a fourth man whom had jumped into the fight, but he was strong. He grabbed hold of my staff attempting to rob me of my weapon. I struggled desparately to get control, but after serveral moments I was overpowered by his force as he kicked me to the ground and threw down my staff. Suddenly I was defeated and uncertain of what to do next. My confidence had been shattered, but just when things seemed grim something amazing happened. Flipping into battle was the cheerful voice of Joxer the Mighty. He seemed extremely athletic and graceful as he entered into the battle. A large gleeful smile spread across his face from ear to ear as all of the women in the village were seemingly swooned by his presence. Even I felt the energy and the love eminating from this sexy warrior. It was Joxer, but then Joxer ripped off his ugly breast plate along with the rest of his mismatched armor revealing his sexy style. He looked almost like a handsome prince with his brown hair slicked back almost perfecty in place. Suddenly he adjusted the cuffs on his sleeves and then gracefully drew his sword to fight against the enemy that had taken me down.
It was time to rise to the occasion for I could not bring myself to allow Joxer the Mighty to be the hero. Yet as I rose to my feet Joxer had already defeated the enemy with just three perrying moves and a kick. He now had control of my staff and was using it against the enemy. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was like having a silly dream. For a moment I thought that maybe it was a dream that I had just drifted off into mistakenly. Unfortunately it wasn’t as Joxer continued to battle on. He suddenly looked to me and threw my weapon back to me. It was a perfect throw and it was solid. Normally Joxer was weak, but he seemed so manly. The impossible was happening as he continued confidiently and valliantly. He finished off his second attacker by doing some fancy acrobatic move that I hadn’t thought possible. The enemy was at the mercy of this joker pummeling him in the face while the superhero’s ankles had him in a head lock.
Joxer then flipped backwards sending the enemy over his head rolling violently down the hill. He continued to show off his grace as he threw his sword down into the ground and fought his next attacker in hand to hand combat. I didn’t think Joxer could throw a punch straight, but somehow he was landing each jab perfectly. As the last man went down the girls began to scream while Joxer continued to woo them with his tricks. In fact, he finished off his side show by proclaiming to the ladies that his sword was there to pleasure them. With that he threw his sword up into the air spinning above his head. Then he managed to capture it perfectly into his scabbord without even breaking a sweat. This was all too much for the women who witnessed his prowess. They suddenly came rushing over to him swooning over the idiot. I was begining to feel that I was the only one who knew the truth. Yet it didn’t matter because the girls were saved as it was so eliquently put.
Suddenly I was feeling quite jealous for Joxer had stolen my chance to prove to Xena that I could be a hero. It was time that I made things absolutely clear to him before he was to get any other ideas. As I approached the crowd of women surrounding him I was pushed aside. It was as if no one had even noticed that I had been involved in the battle. There was quite a bit of pandamonioum surrounding him as he glowed within all of the female fans he had just aquired. There was more lust than love within all of this and something was definately abnormal. Joxer then proclaimed that he had come to deliver a gift to the one they called princess Illiandra. This naturally upset all of the other women who had surrounded him as the princess stepped forward with enthusiasm. She was definately under his spell. I felt a little sorry for her as she approached him. He then produced a trinket which was a golden bell. It was held by a pink ribbon which was to be given to the princess. As Joxer proceeded to put the trinket onto the princess she seemingly could not wait for she insisted that he hurry. Joxer sang praises to her of her beauty and began using strange yet smooth metaphores to enhance her beauty for all to notice. There was definately some kind of love in the air, but I couldn’t really figure it out. None of this made sense.
What happened next was even more strange for when Joxer leaned in to touch lips with the princess he missed cracking heads instead. Now that move was more like the Joxer I knew. At this point the pandemoneom had finally died down so I decided that this was my chance to interject a question. I began by complementing Joxer on his performance, but I was wondering more about his sudden sexy side that had sprung out of nowhere. Joxer looked to me and appeared just as confused as I had been feeling. He seemed oblivious and unaware of what had just happened. Princess Illiandra was still swooned by his presence and begged that he again repeat the elequent poetry that he had just spouted off. He looked to her and then looked to me confused. It was as if he were asking me to repeat his poetic words so that he could impress the princess again. I did not feel sorry for the guy at all. In fact, I felt like laughing at him because it was just so funny to me. Shrugging my shoulders was the only answer I could come up with for the guy. Suddenly he just walked away back toward the trees in confusion. It was as if he were trying to retrace his steps or even figure out how he had arrived within the current moment.
As I watched him walk away Illiandra interrupted my thoughts assuring me that she was happy that the two of us had arrived in time to save her and her enterrage. I was flattered yet strangely fascinated by Joxer’s issues. Maybe there was another side to the idiot that I had not considered. Illiandra then intoduced herself and said that she was from Mylon. Though I was more intrested in Joxer I tried to focas on Illiandra. Politely I introduced myself to her and then asked her where she had been going. With excitement she expressed that she was headed for Pylos to marry her betrothed Prince Sarpedon. This led me to a strange thought that didn’t make sense. Joxer was mysteriously courting a Princess who was about to wed her betrothed yet Illiandra seemed to be lusting after the idiot. Both appeared unsuspecting of their lust for one another. Illiandra continued to speak about how impractical it was to just run off and elope. She continued on about how unexpectedly dangerous it was outside the safety of the castle walls back in Mylon. Yet I was really not that interested in her plight. It was familiar to me from my experiences with Princess Diana. I tried desparately to focas on Illiandra, but Joxer just kept bumping his head and knocked his blade on the side of a tree that he had been standing next to. Even Illiandra seemed a bit intrigued by the idiot in his clumbsiness. Out of frustration we watched Joxer kick the tree only to injure himself.
Illiandra began to wonder if this was the same sexy warrior that had flipped into rescue her. Indeed it was Joxer the one whom had somehow managed to save her. I wasn’t sure where he had suddenly found his warrior way, but for a short moment in time he was a real hero. Now it seemed that he could barely remember who he was. Suddenly he found himself deciding to rejoin the world as he sheathed his sword, rubbing his head, and stumbling back into a conversation with Princess Illiandra and myself. Joxer then tried desparately to reconstruct his heroic act stating that there had been at least twenty men involved. There had only been four. He looked to me, but I could not reassure him of that being the truth. He then reached for straws hoping that it had been more than twenty. I couldn’t confirm that one either. Joxer tried desparately to recover his story as he spoke of the non-existant cross bows that had been involved. Only swords and a few fists had been the weapons that Illiandra had seen. Then Joxer just decided to forget about the details of the battle and continue on with his poetry. He tried desparately to recreate the moment of bliss between he and Illiandra, but this time it didn’t come off quite as beautiful. Joxer confidently put his arm around Illiandra and began walking with her. The next thing he told her was that her skin was like cream when it curtled. No woman could possibly take that as a complement. Even Medusa would have to walk away from an idiot like that. Yet I was still intrigued because it seemed to be a serious problem that Joxer was experiencing. An entire drama within his life had been wiped away from his memory. The only thing that was left was his idiocy.
I decided that the only thing left to do was to investigate. Joxer and I would escort Illiandra to her destination and then we would be on our way. As we walked I found it pleasant to speak with the princess for she was very gentle and kind hearted. The only problem was that she had trouble remembering Joxer’s name. It seemed strange, but as I listened her talk about her betrothed with such love and conviction I had decided that the Joxer moment had been some kind of fluke. Sadly for Joxer it was castastrophic for he had been given the chance to swoon one of the most beautiful women in the world, but botched it up in the end. I had to feel sorry for him and when we finally met up with Prince Sarpadon my heart reached out to Joxer within his disappointment.
Joxer was desparate to know what Sarpadon had that he did not. It was obvious to me that Sarpadon was handsom, sexy, extremely attractive, with muscles and he had Illiandra. Joxer’s bubble had been burst at that point, but who could blame Illiandra for she was indeed meant to be with Sarpadon as the two shared in a passionate kiss together. When their long kiss finally ceased Illiandra introduced Joxer and I to her love although to Joxer’s dismay she had forgotten his name for the tenth time. Then both Illiandra and Sarpadon valliantly thanked us for our trouble and sent us on our way. As the two of them walked away happily with their entrerrage I expressed to Joxer how wonderful it was that we had helped them to have a happy ending. Joxer didn’t seem to be as delighted about the ending as I was. It was at that point I decided that my mission for the next few days while Xena was away would be to repair Joxer’s dismay.
As we walked down the path together I began the story from the begining when I had first run into him. I wasn’t sure how far back he had lost his memory. I went through every detail with him and when I reached the part about the battle that was where he seemed to be extremely lost. He couldn’t remember a single detail about it until the part where Illiandra had first asked him to repeat the statement about her beautiful creamlike skin. Joxer couldn’t believe that he had fought all four of the rouge warriors alone and was still standing in the end. It was as if he had not believed a single word I had said. As the two of us tried to figure out what went wrong I suggested to him it may have been because he had hit his head that he did not remember the details, but instead he had an explanation all his own. He suggested that he had been within what he called a warrior haze. It was an interesting thought. I felt sorry for the guy, but he was begining to push my patience with that lame idea. Joxer continued explaining what his warrior haze must have felt like as he spoke of the blood pumping, heart pounding, and muscles flexing. He was so excited about it that I decided to let it go. Whatever made him feel better would complete this mission a lot sooner which meant I could get away from him. I patted him on the back and agreed with him to stroke his ego a little bit and reiterated that now everything was happy again. Princess Illiandra and Prince Sarpadon were safe and to be happily married all because of this so called warrior haze.
As I thought of all of this I suddenly found myself alone again, but unexpectedly. Joxer was walking alongside me in one moment and in the next he had vanished. I found myself worried about him and was desparate to find him. I tracked his moves down the path which led back to a place near where we had left the Prince and Princess together. When I walked through the trees I took a glimpse to notice that there they all were. The Prince, the Princess, their enterrage, a priest, and Joxer. I was relieved to see that Joxer was safe and with the two lovers, but I had not expected that from him. The only conclusion I could come to was that he had decided to share in their happiness since it had been his warrior haze which had brought them back together. Just as I was approching to ask him what he was doing I found myself interrupting a marriage proposal. It was all so peaceful and romantic as Sarpadon proclaimed his love for Illiandra. I was feeling all warm inside until she proclaimed her love for Joxer who quickly stepped between them and swept her into the most passionate kiss imaginable. Sarpadon looked to me broken hearted and with confusion within his eyes. I didn’t quite understand it myself. Joxer was seemingly going back into that mysterious warrior haze as he continued to kiss Illiandra.
Sarpadon interrupted with anger and hurt demanding from Illiandra an explanation for her behavior. Joxer answered for the princess to Sarpadon with arrogance as he drew his weapon for a fight. Sarpadon found himself challenged by Joxer the Mighty. He was driven to respond by drawing his weapon. Two handsome and sexy men fighting for the affections of one beautiful princess. The passions of a battle for love were dangerous and things were spiraling out of control. Joxer may have been able to defeat the four rogue warriors, but I wasn’t so certain that he could match the skill of Prince Sarpadon. I stepped between the two with their passions flying demanding that Joxer wise up and lay down his weapon. He was behaving wreckless and stupid. I didn’t like this side of him. Yet Joxer just brushed me aside proclaiming that he was destined to fight for the affections of Princess Illiandra. Then Joxer invited passion and love to enter into battle as Sarpadon charged his enemy. Sarpadon’s attack was gracefully deflected by a block and then spin by Joxer who could have easily taken the life of the helpless Prince. Instead he threatened the Prince knocking the broad side of his sword upon the back of Sarpadon. Then Joxer laughed and taunted the prince. It was unfair. Sarpadon vowed angerily to Joxer that he would never allow him to take Illiandra away. Joxer just smirked at the passions of the prince as Sarpadon went on a full attack smacking swords violently with Joxer who was effortlessly deflecting every move that Sarpadon tried against his enemy.
Tempers were flaring as Sarpadon was about to take the advantage. Joxer paused and interrupted seemingly impressed by Sarpadon’s passion for Illiandra. Yet he declared that Sarpadon was without the warrior skill needed to win this passionate battle for love. Joxer then powered through Sarpadon’s momentum pushing him back down the hill toward the lake below the trees. Sarpadon desparately tried to spin around to confuse his attacker, but was instead taken off guard by a retaliation. Joxer’s sword was to his throat before Sarpadon could even blink or think to take a breath. The Prince was cunning in battle for he then looked to Illiandra expressing no fear and reached for the bell which hung from her neck. It was the mysterious bell that had been given to her by Joxer earlier in the day. Which brought me to my own inquiry. I was curious to know where this bell came from. Yet there was little time to think of this for Joxer’s answer was confident as he downplayed the significance of the gift. Joxer stated that it was merely a trinket that could never be worthy the beauty of Illiandra. Illiandra was wooed once more by the sexy Joxer the Mighty. Her reaction sent Sarpadon into the final and painful last passionate advance upon Joxer as he snapped the bell from Illiandra’s neck throwing it in the face of the enemy. As the bell flew through the air it rang and fell directly into the hands of Joxer the idiot.
Suddenly Joxer shouted out in fear calling out to me for answers. He was back to his state of confusion and loss of memory. It was not the ideal time for his warrior haze to suddenly dissipate, but it did. Sarpadon took the advantage preparing to finish off the defenseless Joxer who cowered away from the fight confused. He demanded to know what the problem was, but Sarpadon did not buy the trick. Instead he shunned Joxer for interfering with the love of his life. The Prince was offended by Joxer’s tricks, but I knew that this was no trick. Joxer was sick, but I didn’t know how or why. Sarpadon continued by reminding Joxer of the gift of love that had stolen the affections of Illiandra. Joxer was terrified and desparate as he threw the bell back to the prince. It rang again as it flew through the air and so again the warrior haze began. Joxer again stood upright ready to do battle as before. He taunted the prince again disrespecting the love that belonged to Sarpadon. The attack was fierce which came down upon Sarpadon. Joxer moved swiftly perrying forward and finally disarming the prince. Now with two swords in hand it seemed that Sarpadon’s life was about to end. Yet instead Joxer the Mighty took mercy upon Sarpadon calling him a valliant warrior. He then handed Sarpadon his weapon holding the blade to his own chest. Sarpadon took his weapon back by the handle as he was instructed to go home for the battle was now won. Illiandra now belonged to Joxer leaving Sarpadon’s heart in ruin. And so Sarpadon gently returned the bell to the hands of Illiandra shealthing his weapon in defeat as he left Illiandra with a bleeding heart.
I thought that the worst was over, but I was wrong. In the next moment Joxer and Illiandra were lusting all over each other. It was sickening in many ways, but mostly to my heart. Because of Joxer’s illness true love was being torn apart. I could not bare to see true love taken before it could start. So my new mission was to be in making sure that Illiandra and Sarpadon were reunited for they were the true lovers and Joxer was delusional with illness yet it did not explain Illiandra’s sudden lust for him. When I promised Illiandra that I would take her back to Sarpadon her true love she only proclaimed that she was already with the one she loved. I was begining to realize just how difficult this was going to be as I tried to get between the two lusting to be. Joxer then pushed me away attempting to convince me that I should not interfere with the powerful muscles of the heart. The day was becoming a nightmare as Illiandra begged Joxer to become one with her. He was very willing to give Illiandra anything including things that he shouldn’t have. The moment of truth for me was in hearing myself being referred as Joxer’s sidekick. That I could not let happen. Joxer was the one who needed my help and not the other way around.
As evening fell into the night we found ourselves camping out in a nearby cave. It was difficult to cook dinner and keep two walking hormones separate. I tried distracting them with stories of who they were as opposed to who they thought they were. Especially Joxer for I desparately tried to remind Illiandra of the idiot that she had met in the morning. Joxer leaned in as I was cutting the potatoes to explain that he knew nothing of this idiot Joxer. He only knew of himself and his love for Illiandra. Illiandra was just as hopeless for it seemed that Joxer the Mighty was more sexy by the moment. I tried to talk myself through what was causing the problem with Illiandra and as I thought it through there was only one idea that came to mind. Maybe it all had something to do with the necklace that Joxer had given to Illiandra for everytime it rang Joxer became strange. He was either strangely sexy or strangely stupid.
My frustrations were rising as I went across the cave to retrieve my water bottle. I was hoping that maybe a drink would cool everyone’s passions down. Turning my back on them for just one moment lead to passions beyond control. Frustration turned to anger for this situation was absolutely insane. I tried desparately to cool them off with torrents of water, but instead it seemingly made them more lustful. Somehow Joxer the Mighty was turning into Joxer the Sexy. It was madness and disgusting. This night would last forever, but then it finally dawned on me.
The only way to keep Joxer from thinking of Illiandra was to appeal to his ego. There was only one solution that I could come up with. I asked him to teach me his little song. I knew that it would work because Illiandra would be able to enjoy hearing about how wonderful her new lover was in the form of a song. It was also certain that Joxer wouldn’t be able to control his urge to stroke is own ego. Ego was a powerful thing and it was the only weapon I had against the heart muscle that I was fighting against. When I tried my weapon it did not fail me as Joxer began to sing. Unforunately in his warrior haze his voice was super sexy, but it soothed the lustful beast that had taken Illiandra. We spent all night singing together. Everyone sang until they dropped. In the early hours of the morning both of them were finally sleeping peacefully and lust free. As for me I was exhausted and a bit dillusional. I found myself still singing the silly song as the sun rose over the horizen.
Joxer the Mighty
Roams through the countryside
He never needs a place to hide
With Gabby as his sidekick
Fighting with her little stick
Righting wrongs and singing songs
Being mighty all day long
He’s Joxer, Joxer the Mighty…
Joxer the Mighty
He’s very tidy
Everyone admires him
He’s so handsome its a sin
When things get grim
He’ll take it on the chin
If you’re in jeapordy
Caused by the enemy
Don’t call the calvary
There’s a better remedy
Although he doesn’t work for free
He’s every man’s trustee
He’s every woman’s fantasy
Plus he’s good company
Lookout, golly gee
He’s Joxer, Joxer the Mighty,
Joxer, Joxer the Mighty.
I was begining to feel safe as I was letting my guard down. The last coals of the campfire were burning out by now. Just as I was about to close my eyes and drift into wonderful sleep I heard the sounds of a small army coming from deep in the valley outside the cave. Suddenly I popped out of the trance as I awakened Joxer the Mighty. I grabbed his shoulder as I stood up to study the scene just outside. Illiandra was awakened by the commotion as I viewed the field. My warrior instincts were kicking in for a small army could be a serious thing. Illiandra spoke up with some intelligence suggesting that it was probably King Linias father of Sarpadon. This made sense because it appeared as if they were looking for someone. There was only one person that could have brought a small army upon himself and that was Joxer the Mighty.
Joxer popped up from his slumber and prepared himself for the unthinkable. One man against an army alone he did not stand a chance. He was a super warrior, but even Xena would never fight alone with these kind of odds. Joxer was still brave in his love for the princess assuring her that she did not have to be afraid. Yet Illiandra’s fear was the least of our problems within the moment. It was time to choose and the solution was obvious to me. We had to escape from the wrath of Linias’s army. There had to be another way out of the cave. As I grabbed my staff from its resting place against the wall Joxer argued with my decision. He had already decided that running was not an option. This was a wreckless idea for I knew what he would say next. Joxer the Mighty was prepared to fight and to die for no real reason. Maybe it was warrior pride or male ego. It could have been both, but neither made standing and fighting a wise decision and I firmly expressed my opinion to Joxer. Yet he seemingly did not hear a word I said. It did not matter to him. He said death would not stand between he and Illiandra. Joxer proclaimed that nothing could allow their love to die. His words were lovely and sweet, but they were not well thought out. Illiandra was entranced again. All reason had flown out of the cave the way it had come in.
Joxer left the cave in his warrior haze as I warned Illiandra that his fate may not be so nice. Illiandra was lost within the whirrl wind of it all, but not enough to be blind to what Joxer was about to get himself into. Illiandra and I dashed out of the cave hoping to catch Joxer before his tragic mistake. We watched him as we approached as he walked galliantly down the hill toward the army massed against him. I saw the king as he instructed his men to wait before they were to attack. He was obviously afraid of Joxer. One could only imagine the tales told by Illiandra’s enterrage and Prince Sarpadon himself. Joxer then paused standing tall before the army. He then proclaimed fearlessly that the fates of those who chose to fight would be at the point of his sword. Joxer the Mighty had just opened the battle as King Linias was to give the order for an attack upon a lone warrior.
As Illiandra and I approached the hopeless warrior her bell began to toll. Just as I had suspected I saw an instant change within Joxer’s eyes. He was becoming the idiot again, but this time was not the time. I pleaded with him to stop the madness if it was possible for him to control it at all. Then I watched him as he fainted out of shock and fear. He dropped to the ground like a falling tree. Nothing could have been worse for me. All I could do was try to protect him and prevent King Linias and his army from bringing harm to my helpless friend. As the small army approached they surrounded us. I pulled up into a defensive position standing over Joxer’s limp body hoping to block and attackers. King Linais did not give the order to strike, but instead proclaimed that we be arrested and then executed for threatening the peace. Our fate would be execution for our crimes against the two kingdoms that would have united as a result of union between Sarpadon and Illiandra. Now the future of the two kingdoms was uncertain as was the fate of myself alongside Joxer the not so Mighty.
Illiandra pleaded for our lives proclaiming that we were her friends, but Linais of Amphous would not have mercy. He accused Illiandra of being a harlot and warned her that another outburst could lead to her own execution. Yet I knew that she would be safe as long as Sarpadon’s love was strong. Joxer and I would be helpless and left to fend for ourselves. There had to be a way to fix this. If only I had some time to think. There would soon be plenty of it for we were locked up awaiting our formal sentencing by Linias’s court. They had decided that Joxer was too dangerous to be allowed to roam freely within our quarters so they chained him to a post. I was actually relieved hoping that it would keep the sexy warrior from getting us into any more trouble.
As I paced back and forth I was in deep thought. There was a piece missing within this rather complex puzzle of irrational events. At one point I found myself listening to the conversation between King Linais and Princess Illiandra as they rode by our quarters through the sqare. Linais was obviously angry by Illiandra’s choice to deface his son’s love. Illiandra was desparate to explain, but didn’t quite know how. She had never meant to cause Sarpadon emotional anguish or embarressment, but somehow she had gotten caught up into Joxer. It seemed to me that their union had been an important event between the two kingdoms and now everything was in ruin. Emotions were running high, but it wasn’t clear to me of who would want to sabatoge these two kingdoms. Of course Joxer found this to be a blissful experience for Illiandra had chosen him over Sarpadon. He was elated unlike the day before when he was let down by the fickle tastes of a beautiful woman. Joxer was dillusional as I tried to explain to him that Illiandra had not picked him, but the other Joxer.
By this point I was becoming extremely frustrated realizing that even if I was unable to solve our problem I had to get us out of danger long enough to find Xena. Unforunately I had to admit even to myself that I had not been able to handle even a mission as simple as love without Xena. Being a sidekick was going to have to be enough for me. I would have to accept it and after all of this I was begining to long for the lighter load of being a sidekick. There was a lot of tension and anger boiling with in me over Joxer’s emotional decisions over the past couple of days. He began to go off into his warrior haze theory again admiring himself for what he had accomplished while in that state of mind. I was at the end of my rope at this point and had to stop trying to break through the walls of our quarters. It was becoming a race against time. I couldn’t give up. There had to be someone behind all of this that I could go to and plead with. Joxer was convinced that he could put himself into his warrior haze, but he couldn’t and I knew it. I approached him and punched him in the stomach because that was the last thing I needed. Then I went onto explain to him that he was under a spell of some sort. It had everything to do with that bell or any bell ringing. This led me to ask him if he could remember where he had gotten it.
Joxer tried to retrace his steps of the previous day. Most of it was lost to him due to his haze, but he began to remember some things. He began by waking up, and then having breakfast. Joxer continued by meeting up with me, guarding my rear, he met Aphrodite,and continued on about eating a pommogram. Suddenly there was a possible answer. I asked him to repeat the part about meeting Aphrodite. Joxer seemed enthralled with the goddess stating that she was nice to look at among other things. This made sense to me. I had heard of men being swooned by the goddess of love just has many women have been swooned by the god of war. Aphrodite had a reason to break up the two kingdoms, but I didn’t know what it was at this point. All that mattered was that I now had someone to go to and ask for help other than Xena. I had to get the rest of the pieces to the puzzle.
Now that I had a motivation escaping from our wooden prison was a lot easier. I had found a wooden spoon earlier which I used to pry loose the boards which held together the walls. As I was working Joxer was certain that in my escape I would find him a bell to ring so that he could escape and become his alter ego. That was not going to happen. It was the reason that we were even in this mess. I could take no more sudden changes in mood from him. As I successfully pried open the side wall I kicked through the boards. Joxer insisted that I was just jealous of his heroic accomplishments and he was right. In the begining I was, but now it was about proving a point. I was a sidekick, but he wasn’t even blessed with enough talent to find his way out of a barrel of meat. Jumping out into freedom I shouted out to him promising him that a little faith could go a long way for him. I was just finding my faith in myself again. My determination to find Aphrodite was as fierce as the passions of Sarpadon for Illiandra. As I ran back into the woods all I could hear was the voice of Joxer singing his mighty song as it echoed into the distance. That was certain to get him executed sooner.
It wasn’t difficult to find one of Aphrodite’s temples. She had at least a half dozen of them along the river on both sides. The kingdom of Amphous on one side and the kingdom of Myon on the other led me to my next conclusion. It seemed that Aphrodite had so many temples here that they had become a burden to the people of both kingdoms. The best part was that because of love’s power some of the temples would have been replaced with a union of the two kingdoms. This was why Aphrodite didn’t want Prince Sarpadon and Princess Illiandra to marry. If they did then two of her temples would have to be destroyed in order to build the bridge that would unite the kingdoms. It seemed selfish that the goddess of love would shun the love of others for her own pleasures. Yet I decided that I would give her a chance. Maybe I would be able to convince her it was wrong to break apart two people who were in love.
As I approached one of the temples on the Amphous side it was immense. The steps were of gold and the doors stood taller than even the giants. Pushing the doors open all seemed quiet and calm. There were many gifts and offerings within Aphrodite’s temple which made it beautiful and inviting. I could feel the power of love coursing through my soul as I called for the goddess of love hoping that she would appear. There were candles burning, and offerings lying around everywhere. I decided to leave by weapon against the door feeling that any sign of aggression might ruin my chances of seeing her. Mezmorized by the beauty and the art of love I accidentally backed into a half marble column which held a large greek vase. The vase was saved by the presence of the goddess Aphrodite who was seemingly annoyed at my clumsy move.
I was startled by her reaction, but then astonished by her beauty. It seemed as if she had just appeared from within the fresh flowers which surrounded everything. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her radience. She wore a pink flowing gown and her hair was seemingly made of golden silk. It was naturally waivy and perfect in every way. Her eyes were green like emeralds sparkling with positive energy. Joxer had been right. She was truely a sight to look at. It was almost like being with one’s mother only a bit more egotistical and selfish than a mother might be. I followed her across the temple as she searched her archieves for my identity. She caught my aura swiftly recognizing that I was a friend of Joxer’s. Aphrodite referred to Joxer as her boy which I found to be exciting. Had I known that Joxer had close ties with the goddess of love I might have had more respect for him. This was my chance to win her over. I told her that Joxer was the reason I was here. My hope was that she would see how damaging her spell was to him and to many others.
I was especially concerned for Princess Illiandra and Prince Sarpadon. There could be no reason to break apart their love for each other. Yet Aphrodite seemed disinterested in love which surprised me. She picked up a golden brush and referred me to cupid who suddenly appeared before me. He was beautiful and tall with stiff white wings. They were radiant and they appeared soft to the touch. Cupid seemed annoyed that his mother was so wreckless in her selfish desires. She seemingly didn’t have time for love anymore as she vanished off to the ocean. Apparently she was going to enjoy the surf and her indulging lusts. I decided that cupid was my only chance. He listened to my pleas for help with sadness explaining that his mother’s mind was already made up. She had won the battle over love using lust as her greatest weapon. All of these lives were being ruined so that she could hold onto two more temples. Suddenly I realized that ego would be the weapon I could use against her. If she would not take off the spell then I would bring the destruction to her. As long as cupid could restore the love between Princess Illiandra and Prince Sarpadon I told him that I would take care of the rest.
Time was running out as I dashed back to the square. I only hoped that I would have enough time to track down a bell. Yet it seemed that when I finally reached the square I was too late for Joxer’s head was already on the chopping block as the executioner was about to fill his duty. King Linais was already shouting the command of death to the burly looking executioner who held a long massive ax over his head. There was little time to think, but Joxer bought me some time as he made his last proclaimation to the crowd. He proclaimed himself unable to understand what he was giving his one and only life for. Whatever it was he was afraid and feeling cowardly. His heart was still pure thought there was not one ounce of bravery left in him. Suddenly I had an idea. I grabbed the largest stone from the ground beneath my feet as I searched the square for a bell. There were three of them with a slight wind from behind. I thought that I would go for the closest one as I took aim my hopes were shattered as two men placed a large piece of cargo between me and Joxer’s savior.
Though it was the closest bell there were still two others. I went for the second closest bell only to be cut off by the head of an innocent child whom had been brought to witness the execution of another innocent. The third bell was quite a distance and I was not certain that I could make the throw. I decided to wish for luck with the fates as I spit on my hands and rubbed the rock for their blessing. Then I threw my arm back into position as I plunged the rock with everything I had into the side of the building above. The rock bounced off of its roof and ricketed up to the bell tower above, but it missed the target miserably. Yet the force of the rock bounced from the tower down upon the helmets of one of the royal guards sending him back a few steps. It then continued on its path as if it were Xena’s chackram rounding the corner to its last mark bouncing off of a copper post finally hitting the second bell. The sound of a bell tolling could not have been more beautiful as it echoed through the square and within my ears.
As the executioner’s ax came down upon the helpless idiot he sprang into Joxer the Mighty lifting his head from the block replacing it with the ropes binding his hands. The executioner hit his mark perfectly slicing the ropes and returning freedom to the heroic warrior. Suddenly he was back as he went onto antagonize the defeated executioner and the men who surrounded the block. Joxer lept upon the block breaking the executioner’s ax turning it into a broad staff. He laughed gleefully as he flipped down into the square to take on Linais’s guard. The crowd who had come to watch his demise was suddenly in awe especially the women, but no woman more than Princess Illiandra. It was the price that had to be paid to save the life of the bumbling idiot turned super sexy war hero. As Joxer approached the Princess and her enterrage he swiftly took a handkerchief from the breast of another fan and sniffed it passionately. He then proclaimd that the woman’s scent would be his inspiration to continue into the battle as she could barely contain her own desires for the handsome warrior.
As Joxer fought two of Linias’s men in the middle of the square another one came to take revenge upon the Princess for her lusts for Joxer. I stepped in to protect her for no one could know the truth of her lust came from the goddess Aphrodite. After knocking him to the ground with my staff Prince Sarpadon proclaimed that he had forgiven the Princess for her blind lust. Although he did not understand it his love was strong enough to overcome it as Illiandra pushed Sarpadon aside to watch the ensuing battle of Joxer the Mighty. Joxer continued to fight with the broken ax which had now been reduced to only a handstaff as he flipped over the backs of men and beat others senseless with his weapon. As I watched him fight I began to realize that although he wasn’t normally this graceful he fought the same without grace. Joxer laughed within one moment, proud in the next, and then bravehearted to finish the job. He paused for a moment with his comedy as he grabbed a ladle full of water in the middle of his wrath which distracted the enemy for a moment. Suddenly another attacked Joxer as he drank only to be defeated by Joxer’s ridiculous weapon. Joxer fought him one handed while still drinking with the other. It was truely amazing and in the next moment he found himself defeating not one man with a sword, but four. As he gracefully disarmed them he threw their weapons into the air replacing his own with on of their swords. Joxer seemed delighted with himself.
While Joxer was having the time of his life Sarpadon was again feeling broken hearted as Linias approached watching Illiandra’s lusts grow for the sexy warrior. Linias seemed more angry than Sarpadon who appeared only confused and defeated by all of this. He did not have the desire to see his love punished, but Linias wanted someone to pay the price and so the King lept in to do battle with Joxer as he pulled his weapon for the challenge. Joxer found himself impressed and driven by adrenaline for he was about to fight the man known as the greatest swordsman in the kingdom. This was truely an honor to one who had been recently known as the greatest warrior in the kingdom. And so the two would do battle to prove which man deserved the honor of being the best. Linais was powerful as he perried into attack the one who had disrupted the peace between two kingdoms. The king was fierce and seemingly unstoppable as he pushed Joxer back quickly gaining ground. Joxer appeared nervous as he swallowed hard, but only for a few moments. The warrior then paused with a strong block complementing the king for his skill. Howerver, Joxer then revealed the greatest secret of all. He quickly threw his sword from his left hand to his right proclaiming that he had not been fighting with his best hand.
Suddenly the tides were turning as Joxer became the overpowering swordsman to King Linias who had obviously never been beaten by anyone. This was shocking to the king and his loyal guards jumped into the fight to assist their king in battle. Joxer was seemingly not phased by this as he flipped away from the king to defend his rear from the new players. Now it was three men against one and I was growing weary of Aphrodite’s wrath for at this rate it would never end. Joxer looked to me with glee as I demanded that he take the fight to the temple. Suddenly I found myself engulfed within the passionate fires that were Joxer the Mighty as he swept me off of my feet and planted a large kiss onto my lips. It was bliss like no other as the waves of passion rose uncontrollably within. Then Joxer spoke within his sexy entrancing voice proclaiming that he would do as I wished and then he lept back into the fight toward the temple. For a moment I was still engulfed within the lust and the pounding heart muscle until I came back to reality and wiped the essence from my lips. There was something icky about having been paralized by the lust that was Joxer, but the moment had passed and I was back on the war path.
Suddenly I heard the screams of the goddes herself as she demanded that the fighting stop. She was obviously upset that there was a battle within one of her beautiful temples. Only destruction could follow and that was what I had hoped for. As I entered into the temple. Joxer was standing upon the golden table which was placed in front of a golden statue of the goddess. There were many beautiful trinkets and flowers that were being destroyed by the clashing of the swords of men. Though Aphrodite had picked a great weapon in the power of lust I had out witted her with the power of the male ego. No man could resist proving who was the bigger man. No spell of Aphrodite could defeat the power of a man’s ego. I entered into the temple and demanded that Aphrodite stop it herself by removing the spell from Joxer. Of course within all of her frustrations she could not admit defeat to the girl she had called innocent just an hour earlier.
So the battle continued as Joxer was having so much fun mastering the fight against Linais and his best swordsman. He was becoming so comfortable that he decided to toy with them as he laughed, lept, and bounded about the temple. Joxer then approached the large bell at the center of Aphrodite’s temple climbing the stairs slowly backward as he watched his rear with two men on his tail. His sword drawn Joxer was ready. I knew this could last, but only as long as Linais and his men could outlast Joxer if it was even possible. All Aphrodite could do was watch in horror as Joxer threw one of Linias’s swordsman down into the bell pit and then threw Linias into her favorite vase from Thrace. As it crashed to the ground I tried desparately to convince Aphrodite that she had lost, but her response was a grumble of frustration instead. She would not give in. The goddess of love was more stubborn than I had thought.
As Joxer continued to battle the second of Linias’s swordsman Linias rose from the bell and his other swordsman recovered. Yet the next vase found its doom as Joxer threw another man into it. Again Aphrodite was crushed as I tried again to convince her to take off the spell. I tried aruging that love was soft and kind rather than violent and cruel. It was obvious to me that Aprhodite knew a lot about alter egos. That was how she had pulled off her spell on Joxer. Aphrodite suddenly turned to me determined to convince me that I knew nothing of her or of love. She was confident that her power over me was endless. I argued that I knew that love was not war. War was destructive just like what Joxer and Linias were doing to Aphrodite’s lovely temple. This was the sore spot for the goddess. She responded hoping to win my smypathy for her as she gave her reason for holding the spell on Joxer. In that moment I realized that all the goddess of love was really about was material love and lust.
I promised her that I would be taking Joxer on a tour of all of her temples if that was the only way to win this war of love and lust. Aphrodite didn’t appear to feel threatened as I held my staff as a symbol of determination. Yet the sound of another vase crashing to the ground appeared more powerful than words or spells could ever be.
Suddenly Joxer decided to be funny again. He jumped up and grabbed onto the rope of the large bell behind him and began swinging and shouting with joy. The bell tolled once as Joxer began to scream in terror coming back toward us confused as ever. Twice the bell tolled as Joxer shouted with joy and glee once more. This truely was the most clever joke I had ever seen him play. It was genious only I don’t think he was ever aware of it within either of his egos. With each toll of the bell Joxer’s ego bounced from one side to the other and with each toll a vase was shattered into ruin. It seemed that Linais and his swordsman found the joke to be a little confusing. No one could control the wrath of Joxer. Finally Aphrodite found herself feeling sorry for the idiot. Not even the goddess of love could watch this bell toll forever. She then proclaimed Joxer the be the idiot that he was and then with an effortless waive of the hand Joxer the Mighty was no more. Linias’s sword then cut the rope leaving Joxer the idiot confused and unable to realize the danger falling toward him. Yet even in the heat of battle Joxer the idiot had reflexes. Suddenly the idiot screamed violently and then rolled out of harm’s way reacting to the danger of the large bell about to crush him. It landed upon the floor with a thud tolling the defeat of Aphrodite and the triumph of true love. With that the exhausted warrior fainted as his head hit the ground with a thud.
The rest of the week without Xena was quite dull and uneventful with the exception of the newly wedded Prince Sarpadon and his new Princess Illiandra. They seemed happy and content together. I was honored to have been able to play a part in the restoration of their love and peace with the kingdoms of Amphous and Mylon. As Joxer and I prepared to leave the kingdom after the beautiful ceremony the prince and princess came to thank me once again. Prince Sarpadon proclaimed me to be a hero. Although I was pleasantly flatter I didn’t need that title anymore. I wasn’t a hero at all only a sidekick trying to achieve excellance in her field. My real strength was in philosophy as I reminded both of them that love was about trust and giving rather than anger and jealousy. Then the moment was interrupted by the sounds of someone blowing his nose. It was Joxer who seemed confused about how he had aquired a silky blue handkerchief. The owner of the piece was not thrilled about it having been used by Joxer, but that was the least of his problems. Prince Sarpadon and Princess Illiandra bid me farewell and swifty exited back into their court as Joxer and I began to travel down the road. He asked me if they were afraid of him. I tried to build his confidence agreeing that they were, but even Joxer knew the truth of it all. He had finally realized that he was not a hero. His disappointment was powerful and full of saddness. Joxer was so depressed that he even proclaimed that I was the hero. This was serious as I tried to help him feel better about himself, but he could not listen. All Joxer could feel was what he had been seeking his entire life. It had all been a lie in his heart. He had been telling it to himself. But he was wrong. He was all of those things in his heart. Joxer was brave, courageous, sexy, and all of the things his alter ego was. At least that was what Xena had convinced him of later when we finally met up with her again. It didn’t really matter. Joxer was a true friend. He was loyal and sometimes brave, but never really sexy.