Sirwin
Sirwin

The Xena Scrolls: Scroll#121: The Abyss

By Brandy Seymour | Xena Scrolls | 2 Jul 2021


The Xena Scrolls

By Gabrielle: Bard of Podedia

Scroll #121:  The Abyss

September, 17 BC

 

     There comes a time in a warrior’s life when she must realize the mistakes of the path which she has chosen and lay them to rest for the soul purpose of survival.  A true warrior must learn to forgive herself, and most of all she must learn to love herself again so that she may continue on the path to becoming the great warrior whose purpose is to sacrifice herself for the good of others.

     I had been running for a long time from the guilt which had gradually consumed me for the mistakes I had made along the way in following the path of a warrior princess.  I had sacrificed myself and the lives of others dear to me, and I had killed an innocent protecting the life of my best friend.  Yet the regret I held inside of me for this was so great that depression had made its way into my heart, body, and soul.

     This day began with my dearest friends Xena, Virgil, and some young aquaintances.  Xena and I had decided to leave camp to hunt for some venison.  It would be a nice prize for dinner and there was something within that felt I had to prove that I could do something right though I had committed so many wrongs.

     Hours went by as Xena and I traveled the quiet woods through the morning dew in search of the ultimate prize which was really piece of mind.  And then it happened.  Across the open brush I spotted the young fawn having her own meal, but she was eating the brush.  I raised my weapon the bow and the arrow concentrating on my target.  Yet as I immersed myself into the hunt I began to realize the kill and how little it was truly worth.  I was about to take the breath out of another peaceful energy.  The life of this fawn was nothing more than a decent meal for me, but I could feel that her life was actually much more than a simple meal.  It was the beauty of life itself.  As I pulled back the arrow preparing for release the guilt of taking another vibrant beautiful soul rose within me.  Then suddenly I felt my fingers releasing the arrow instinctively.  It traveled with great skill and grace, but then it came to a halt when it sunk into the bark of a nearby tree.  The peaceful meal of the young fawn had been broken by her brush with death as she suddenly leaped over the stream disappearing into the woods.

     Naturally Xena found it amusing for I had messed something up yet again, but I was not amused.  She commented about my failure jokingly saying she didn’t know which kind of wine went with bark, and I resolved our issue of dinner by suggesting that we should just go catch ourselves some fish.  Xena chuckled yet again at my disappointment reminding me that I was actually the one who had decided that venison was on the menu for the evening.  My ego was crushed and it only added to the depression lurking within.  I stated that this day was indeed just another bad day for me, but Xena tried to play the optimist reminding me that it depended on how one looked at it.  For me the day was bad, but for the fawn the day had been a good day for she still lived and breathed another night.  I brushed off Xena’s optimism explaining that I would go ahead and get the boat ready so we could rejoin Virgil and Hosep who were both awaiting for our return with breakfast.

     After capturing dinner in the stream Xena and I returned to the canoe along the river and proceeded to return to camp with our latest fortune.  As we traveled along the river I noticed how calm the waters were and it made me wish that I could feel that calmness inside of myself once again.  It had been a long time since I had felt that kind of silent peace within and I had almost forgotten what it felt like at all.  This wonderous place that Xena had brought me to seemed almost the cure for my ill mind and spirit.  Xena was hoping that this little break from warrior life and the fight for the greater good would cheer me up.  But it wasn’t helping for I could not let go of the impeding guilt that I felt within.  I had not been properly punished for my deed to Kara for Xena had saved me from my certain execution.

     A part of me was still wondering whether or not that Xena’s choosing to save me had been the best choice.  I realized that I now had the reflexes and the skill of a warrior like Xena, but my confidence in being able to trust my warrior instincts was not present.  I was beginning to feel that maybe I was a danger and not an asset to the world.  Xena was becoming frustrated with my state of mind and with the fact that I was unwilling to leave my guilt behind.  She scolded me for continuing to condemn myself for Kara’s fate.  I snapped back reminding her that I was condemning myself for the sake of Kara’s father who had suffered a loss unbearable.  I understood his pain for I too had lost my child only I had lost her to the will of evil for she had been born into the world and died because of my following Xena.  Though I did not regret my choice to be with Xena and to protect my friend my spirit was still heavy inside.  Xena continued to fight me contesting that a true warrior knows that these things sometimes happen and there is nothing that we can do to prevent them.  I wouldn’t allow her to finish it for to me it was an excuse for me.  I didn’t deserve the luxury of excusing my actions to Kara.

     Soon the argument was over and Xena knew that this depression was very serious.  Up ahead we spotted the camp where we were to rejoin Virgil and his friends.  It had seemed like we had traveled for an eternity to finally reach the camp, but as we docked our canoe we noticed that there was no one present.  It wasn’t what we had expected to find upon our return and Xena took note that it had been at least four hours since the camp had been occupied.  There was definitely something wrong as we sifted through the rubble.  At first I thought that it may have been thieves for I had found traces of blood all over the camp.  There was blood seemingly everywhere.  Xena then picked up among all of the swords one which had been left with a fresh scalped skull upon it.  This was definitely more serious than a simple robbery for if it had been a simple robbery the sword given to Virgil by his father Joxer would have been taken.  The sword still rested upon the oak logs by the smoking coals of the dead fire.  My inquiry and thought that it could have been thieves was downplayed by the warrior princess.  Xena picked up another sword which held a bloody skull through it.  She then stated seriously that their canoe was gone and that they were most likely running for their lives. 

     It wasn’t long before Xena and I returned to our canoe upon the river searching for Virgil and the others.  We knew that at least one of them had been killed while Virgil and Hosep must have escaped by their canoe as they had run for their lives to escape the wrath of whatever it was that had killed the third young man.  The sun was beginning to set in the late afternoon hour and the crisp winter air was beginning to bite the skin.  I called out frantically in a desperate hope that Virgil’s voice would respond, but all that I heard was the echo of my own empty voice.  Xena stated they would have most likely kept along the river if they had been successful at their escape.  I wasn’t so optimistic about their survival.  What we had seen back at the camp was a nasty bloody mess.  Xena could sense my inner panic rising.  I was frustrated with the situation.  She attempted to calm me. 

     I tried to brush off my visible frustration by stating I didn’t know what was bothering me.  Xena knew I was lying.  She called me out immediately by stating she knew I was beating myself up about killing the boy in the dessert.  I tried to defend my thoughts by stating I felt these feelings for the sake of the boy’s father.  Xena brushed off my excuse and she reminded me that he had forgiven me.  She reminded me that he had enough warrior wisdom to understand that accidents happen, but before she could finish her thought I interrupted her in a burst of anger.  To me that was an excuse for my actions and not a reprieve from them.  It was not a reason to forgive myself.  Xena continued her thought stating that the reality in a warrior’s life is that indeed unavoidable accidents do happen.  At this moment I decided to explain to her my concerns about myself stating my reflexes are that of a warrior, but my judgements were not.  I told her that it was a bad combination.  In my mind I knew how dangerous I had become.  In that moment I desperately again cried out Virgil’s name through the vast wilderness along the river.  Then Xena asked for my silence once again for she had sensed that we were being watched.  She was right for I too felt the piercing eyes of an enemy unknown.  We pulled up to a pile of wood floating in the middle of the river.  It was the remains of Virgil’s canoe.  The concern in Xena’s voice was evident.  Xena broke off a piece of the destroyed canoe and stated it had only broken up a few hours before.  She looked out over the water and through the vastness of the thick forest.  The sounds of dogs barking, and wolves howling were eerie as they echoed through our silence.  Xena was now certain we were being watched although she had tried to keep her cool this entire time for my sake.  She insisted that we continue on down stream in a hurry for she knew that we would soon become victims ourselves.  As we hurried down the waterway Xena spoke of an approaching waterfall up ahead.  We would most certainly have to take our chances traveling by land.

      And then my thoughts went back to Kara.  I asked Xena if she thought that listening to my heart may have changed the outcome of Kara’s existence.  Xena responded quickly to that inquiry reminding me that my heart had indeed spoken and that I had definitely heard it for my heart had told me to protect my best friend.  Then Xena went on in an attempt to reassure me of this fact by telling me that a trained warrior would never have approached from behind her knowing it would be perceived as an attack.  Kara had not been a trained warrior yet.  I inquired if Xena were implying that Kara’s father had sent a boy to do a man’s job when deciding to allow his son to deliver that important diplomatic message.  Xena brushed off my sarcastic response and stated it made her feel much better to know that she had a friend like me who would be there to protect her when she needed me most. 

     Suddenly Xena made me aware of the presence which she had been paying attention to for some time.  She must have known that the enemy was approaching us for they attacked us from underneath the canoe.  Sharp blades cut through the bottom of the wood nearly missing us.  We beat the enemy back down into the water with our paddles so that we could make our way to land and fight our battle there.  As soon as we reached the land it appeared clear of any attackers, but just moments into the woods the enemy revealed itself for the attack.  For a moment Xena seemed angry at me for ignoring the present moment by continuing to live in past moments.  There was not much time to discuss her dismay further. 

    Xena quickly drew her sword and I moved to her side to ready myself for a battle.  There were several men surrounding both Xena and I who looked a lot like the hoard yet they were not hoard at all.  They were savage beasts dressed in human remains, and wild boar skins.  Some of them wore the head of the wild boar as a headdress of some sort.  These enemies were quite powerful and dark in their energy.  There were at least ten attackers coming at us from all sides.  This now was my moment of truth.  I had to become a warrior once more to protect myself and my friend from whatever fate awaited us.  It was obvious to me that we could defeat our enemy for we had fought against much worse odds than this, but there was one thing that I did not expect.  It was an element of surprise for no enemy was like this enemy.

     As Xena and I fought them skillfully they moved in close.  There was little distance between me and my attackers.  I felt a presence from behind and then teeth sinking into the back of my neck.  It was a very unsettling feeling.  To offset my surprise attacker I flipped kicking the enemy in front of me and then throwing down the beast which had tried to bite me.  It was a sharp feeling and the violation was nothing like I had experienced before.  These beasts seemed to know no codes of battle.  They just attacked with one thing in mind.  They wanted blood.  It was blood lust, but not like I had ever experienced before.  These beasts did not want to kill for the sake of power, fear, or belief.  They wanted to kill for something else of which I could not understand.

     Xena took on six of the beasts killing them as if she herself was a wild beast.  It was amazing the way the warrior princess could adjust to the feel of a situation.  She was a natural at the understanding of the battles which she encountered.  The battle between the darks and the lights in the dessert was not like this.  For Xena that had been a playful sport.  The battles against Caesar had been battles of emotional value and causes.  This battle I sensed was for pure survival only.

     I pulled my sais from my boots and held them up to defend.  I gave my next attacker two kicks to the chest to move him off.  I heard Xena struggling with at least five attackers from behind.  She screamed in pain for a moment as I thrust forward at my own attacker violently.  I refused to go offensively against him although I could have.  I didn’t want to kill someone right now even if it was a cannibal man.  I moved high up against his advances and he grabbed my right arm.  A second attacker came at my left and grabbed my left arm.  I used this move to flip backward kicking my first attacker away from us.  I was able to free my arm through the flip and throw the second attacker to the ground.  A third attacker came at me.  He was weaker and I easily jabbed him to the ground with my right elbow.  Another came at me and I went high opening myself up low still in defensive movement.  I made several upper jabs at his boar mask attempting to get underneath it and dodged back away from his slow moving advance.  He came down on me with his massive arms, but I turned a defensive block above into a spin off offensive position into which I could easily strike him down and kill him with my advantage over him.  I readied for the kill as I towered over him now on his knees upon the ground. 

     I thought I was in control and I felt the ebb and flow of that warrior balance as I had in the dessert, but then suddenly as I overpowered my enemy to the ground I raised my weapons for the kill only to be hit in the pit of my stomach with another bout of guilt.  I saw the utter fear within the eyes of my enemy.  He scooted backward upon his back as if readying himself for the death blow he was about to receive.  He didn’t really want to die.  Then I wondered for a moment if he too was just another of the misunderstood fighting for his own causes and beliefs like Cirvik the father of Vanessa, and the leader of the Pomira.  In that moment of truth his face seemed surprised.  He took a deep breath in fear through his painted black face.  Suddenly my mind jumped out of the current moment into the moment I saw Kara’s face with surprise the moment after I had thrust my sais into him.  My eyes blinked as if I had been transported to another place in time for a split second.  Then I blinked again and saw the cannibal taking advantage of my lapse in judgement as he scampered to his feet.   

        And then I saw the face of Kara the young innocent boy who didn’t deserve to die at my hand.  I wondered for that moment if there was more to this beast than I could possibly know.  I wondered of what universal force of goodness he might carry within him.  As I paused in this moment of battle with my balance severed by guilt and questions I felt the pain enter into my stomach.  The beast whom I was contemplating to spare took advantage of my instability of mind and thrust his small sharp knife into my side.  He dug deeper, and deeper into my body.  As I struggled to stagger away and regain the advantage I heard Xena’s voice cry out my name across the battlefield.  I smacked back a second attacker with my left sais as I tried to pull away from the cannibal man on my right.  The pain was sharp and quick as I felt it paralyze my senses.  Then I did the only thing I could do.  I thrust my own weapon across the blade releasing the enemy’s hold over my body.  I then tried to regain my strength to continue on, but the pain was too great.  My legs collapsed beneath me as I tried to fight, but was knocked down easily.  The one whom I had tried to spare tried to bite my leg while I lied on the ground attempting to kick him away.  It was as if he wanted to eat me.

     He sunk his teeth into my left thigh muscle and then it cramped as I knocked him in the head with my right sais and then kicked him off.  I tried to rise upon my feet and fight again, but as I rose another beast snatched me up and carried me to the river.  I called out for Xena for I had no more strength within me to keep fighting.  My pain was too great and then the beast threw me into the cold icy river.  I was in so much pain I could not swim or keep my head above the water as my nerves were in shock of the great pain in my side and the cold water on my skin.  Xena dove into the river after me shouting my name trying desperately to catch up before the waterfall swallowed me into its pit.  I shouted back out toward Xena behind me.  I knew the waterfall she mentioned was up ahead and I was rushing toward it quickly with the current.  Just before my plunge I was grabbed from beneath by something underwater.  It pulled me under violently and I could not release myself from its grasp.  Water began to fill my lungs quickly for I could not take a breath full of air.  Panic rose within, but the pain was so great that I gave up knowing that my struggle could finally come to an end.

     But it didn’t end there.  It had only been the beginning for Xena had found me retrieving me yet again from my deserved punishment.  I had been out for several moments and it wasn’t until I felt the warmth of my friend’s arms wrapped around me that I knew that I had not crossed to the other side.  I was spitting up water and coughing as I struggled for a breath of air to push itself into my lungs.  The pain was barely talking to me for the icy waters had numbed my senses.  There was a dullness inside my stomach as Xena called my name and I coughed to free my lungs of the chill which held my breath hostage.  I tried to communicate to Xena that my stomach had sustained the injury and she immediately pulled me out of the water onto the floor of the hidden cave.  I struggled to climb onto the ledge as Xena took a look at my wound.  She noticed that there was still part of the blade from the knife which had pierced me stuck within.  When I told her that one of my attackers had tried to bite me as if he were a hungry animal.  Xena informed me that what we had just encountered were a people known as cannibals.  This knowledge was not comforting. 

     Despite my pain my thoughts turned to Virgil, but Xena stated that Virgil was not the first thing on her mind in the immediate moment.  Then she scolded me telling me that she would not allow me to get myself killed because of my guilt.  As I thought of that Xena grabbed her own knife to release the blade from its resting place.  I snapped back at her about lecturing me about my thoughts and feelings.  It wasn’t fair.  She raised her voice like a mother’s voice and stated that I could not continue seeing Kara’s face every time I raised my weapon.  She braced me for the pain and then her blade sunk into the pit of my stomach.  The bronze slid out, but it was a rough feeling.  This injury had been much more serious than any I had ever sustained before.  The nails through my hands upon Caesar’s crosses did not compare to this.  I realized that if I had not hesitated that I would not have sustained this injury slowing us down from any hopes or chances of saving Virgil’s life now.  Xena brushed it off in the next moment and instructed that I not think about that any longer.

      

     The warrior princess was already onto the next moment.  She stated that I would need to conserve my energy.  Then Xena helped me to the back of the dark cave as she prepared to leave me alone to scout our situation outside the cave.  She instructed me to try and keep warm though there was no wood to make fire for it was raining hard outside.  There were no warm blankets to cover up with.  I curled up tightly trying to warm myself up again, but even the cold was better than the sharp wound in my side.  I don’t know how long it was before Xena returned to me, but when she did return I could feel her despair and that was when I knew our situation was grim.  She picked me off of the cold rocky cave floor and layed my head into her lap.  She mentioned that my wound was looking worse than when she had left.  And though my negative attitude continued Xena continued to stay positive for my sake.  She knew that hope must prevail over the despair I was feeling inside.  She said we had been in worse scrapes and she intended to get us out of that lonely dark and cold cave.  I was very weak and Xena placed my head upon her warm legs trying to keep me warm.

     Hours went by, but the cold did not go away.  I was freezing to death and I knew it.  There was nothing that Xena could do to save me for the enemy was waiting for us to emerge.  I closed my eyes hoping that death would take me away and then I had a dream.  I dreamed of the past.  I saw my daughter Hope when she was first born.  It was after I had escaped from Xena at the castle.  I told my daughter that I loved her very much and that I would never hurt her.  Hope spoke to me telling me that she knew that what I had said was true.  And then as I held her in my arms I looked down into the valley and saw Xena coming for her.  I promised Hope that I would never let Xena hurt her.  I told her that we had to go so that she could live.  But Hope spoke to me and said that we didn’t have to go anywhere.  I argued with her because she didn’t understand why I had to put her into the basket.  She told me that she would always be here with me and that she understood why I had to do the things that I did.  

     When I woke from this dream I heard Xena crying telling me that she understood, but when she saw that I had awakened she held me tighter as the tears fell from her eyes onto my face.  I didn’t understand, but then I realized that Xena had known what I had dreamed.  I realized that she felt guilt too.  I didn’t want her to feel guilty for my choices.  She didn’t choose to take me with her.  I had chosen to be with her.  And then she prepared to take me out of this place of despair.  She vowed to take me to someplace dry and warm.  I told her that I had a last wish for death was upon me.  I could no longer feel myself breathing because of the bitter cold in my body.  Xena refused to allow me to talk this way.  She told me that she could hear about my request 50 years from now when we were old, but I wasn’t going to be there with her. 

     I told Xena that I wanted to be buried with her in Amphipolis.  Xena asked me why I wanted that for she didn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to be buried with my own family.  I pleaded with her explaining that she was my family and that I wanted it to be like that forever.  My heart desired to be with Xena even in death.  It did not want to ever be separated for this was the path I had chosen.  Xena scolded herself regretting that she had ever allowed me to join her on a path that wasn’t my true self.  But I told her any path was a path for me as long as it included my being with Xena.  And then I tried to comfort her knowing her guilt for all that I had been through with her.  I told Xena that I loved her dearly and with all of my heart.  I wanted her to know how much love was within me for her before I was to leave her.  My body was shivering violently as I spoke the words.  I realized we were both in this terrible situation because of me and I told Xena, but she refused to accept that I should be blamed for our present moment.  Xena instead took the blame stating that the fault was hers for allow herself to set me onto a path I was never meant to walk.  I expressed that no matter the path I walked it should always be Xena’s path.  In my heart it had always been that way.  My mind was in and out of moments from the past and the present as Xena spoke to me. 

     The warrior princess was defiant of my determination to reach my death.  Xena stated I would now be on a path to someplace warm and dry.  She then used her whip and strapped me upon her back removing me from the dark dank cave and then scaled the cliffs along the river to get to land.  When we got up there I had no idea what she was going to do or how she was going to fight the enemy with a dying friend.  Upon reaching the top the determination of the warrior princess was powerful.  It was her strength for Xena had never ever given up on anything or anyone that she believed in.  The rain was pouring down hard as I lied there barely able to move.  My body was convulsing with pain and chills and I was scared for I was beginning to feel very disoriented.  I could see death now and it was lonely for this time I would die without Xena.  When we had died at the hands of Caesar I was not afraid for Xena was going with me.  My heart was saddened and then suddenly I heard her battle cry.  I couldn’t see her within the darkness.  Deliriously I called out for her as I was surrounded by the beasts with their fiery torches.  They picked me up and carried me off into the night through the woods as I called for Xena until I had no more strength left to shout.

     They had taken me to their camp and thrown me into their prison.  Though I knew that they were going to have me for dinner eventually it was nice to feel the warmth of the fire and of a familiar face.  It was Virgil.  He picked me up off of the floor and covered me with a warm blanket.  Virgil asked me where Xena was and I answered to him that I did not know what had happened to her.  Then another very thin man emerged from the light.  He was very morbid for he assured Virgil that I was sure to be taken before him.  I wasn’t in the company of Virgil for very long.  Just as I was beginning to feel my body tingling again the beasts emerged taking me to their table.  I didn’t know what they were going to do and I could barely see what was going on for I was so delirious with fever.  I tried to struggle out of fear, but their strength was too much for me to fight.  They slammed me down upon their table and restrained me.  I desperately attempted with the little strength I had to reach down by my boots for my sais, but the cannibals were too strong for me.

     I was still struggling as a medicine man came in and examined my wound.  Then he rose his hands and took a human skull holding it over my face.  He then poured the blood from it onto my lips forcing it into my mouth.  It was numbing and it calmed me so that the medicine man could continue his work.  I was like a pig on a farm being subdued just before going to the village butcher.  My wound was being dressed and my flesh was being saved.  These beasts wanted to be sure to get all they could from my body.  I realized that I was the prize to them just as the fawn had been my prize.  Then I understood them though I did not want to play the part of their next meal.  When they left Virgil came to my side picking me up off of the table.  He was angry about what they had done to me, but he knew he was powerless against them.  The thin man was not so compassionate for he explained things very bluntly so that Virgil could understand the way of the cannibal.  Just before I fell out of consciousness I told Virgil to be ready when Xena came.  He assured me that he would be and that he would be certain that the cannibals would not lay another hand on me.  He was determined to save me the way he had failed to save his friends.

     Early the next morning I was surprised to find myself awakening to life once more.  I awoke feeling much stronger than I had the night before.  Whatever it was that the cannibals had given me it had restored my strength quickly, but I wasn’t completely healed.  My fever was gone as I opened my eyes to see Virgil once more.  It was comforting to be with him, but then I felt responsible knowing that because I had lost my nerve in battle Virgil’s friend had to die such a terrible death.  Virgil did not accept the blame that I accepted for myself.  He assured me that there was nothing wrong with my compassionate heart.  Virgil confessed to me that it was one of the most beautiful parts of who I am and who I always would be.  I could feel the love of his father through him and then I knew what Joxer had loved about me.  He had shared that part of me with Virgil and now Virgil wanted to protect it.

     Suddenly the cannibals came back into the prison.  They immediately went for me.  They swiped me from Virgil’s loving arms and once again he was powerless.  I heard him demand my safety, but they did not understand.  They did not speak our language and they did not live by the same customs.  I was afraid to die now.  For weeks I had wanted to die, but now I realized why I must fight to stay alive for Virgil had revealed to me and reflected my spirit back into my heart.  It was my compassion which made me a great warrior, and though I was a great warrior it was my compassion for Xena that lead me to kill Kara.  I could no longer blame myself for that. 

     As the cannibals dragged me from their prison through their camp my heart pounded with fear and uncertainty.  I knew Xena was coming, but I didn’t know when she would arrive or if it would be too late for me.  I made eye contact with the cannibal leader and he smiled through his dark face paint knowing that soon I would be his next meal.  This was disgusting and I could not grapple with his satisfaction.  Yet I was powerless to do anything about.  I was still too weak to take on the cannibal village alone.  The situation felt hopeless and it was not an empowering feeling as I gazed about the village and I saw where they were leading me.  It was a human spit above a fire and the remains of Virgil’s friend were still dripping from the edges of the spit.  The sight was enough to make one’s stomach turn.

     The cannibals tied me to their stake and prepared me for cooking.  They rubbed creams, oils, and juices all over my body.  The experience was degrading and unbearable, but it was the perfect punishment for one who had murdered in cold blood.  Part of me accepted this, but another part of me rose up and gathered my inner strength once again.  I called out for Xena as Virgil’s heart bled for me.  His voice echoed through the woods with great panic as he was calling back my own name.  The enemy stuffed my desperate call for Xena as they were about to place me upon the rack above the cooking fire, but the familiar sound of the smooth chakram prevailed.  It bounced off of a pot hanging from a nearby tree and then sliced through the ropes which bound me to my fate.

     It was a good day for me for I had escaped the hand of death to live another day and breathe another night.  I jumped up off of the meat cart and took the cooking stake using it as a staff.  Struggling with the weight of the stake I battled through the nearby cannibals.  Xena flipped into action.  Her battle cry echoed through the cannibal village as she landed upon her feet recapturing the chakram.  Xena battle through the cannibal camp slashing through them as she made her way toward me.  By the time she approached me she was already holding a burning torch in her hand.  Xena quickly instructed me to get Virgil and round up the horses for escape.  It was obvious that she had already come up with a plan to defeat 100 cannibals.  Her battle with the tribe was intense, but she had planned it out very well.  She moved across their camp with grace, confidence, and certainty of her actions.  Her sword slashed through the enemies as if they were nothing more than nasty little rodents.  She used her famous fire on a torch move that sent terror deep into the ranks of the cannibal camp.  Beasts ran through the village into the woods burning to death suffering the same fates that they had given to those who had come before us. 

     As I ran across the village back toward the prison to free Virgil and the strange little man Rubio Xena ripped her chakram into action once more.  It served as the perfect cover to allow me to free Virgil as I arrived at the prison door.  Virgil himself had been ready for this moment of escape.  He was ready for battle as I had told him to be the night before.  There was no key to open the door so I kicked it open by force and instructed Virgil and Rubio to run.  Virgil burst out of the prison immediately as he engaged in the battle courageously with little thought of his actions.  Virgil was determined to get me and the skinny man to safety as he picked up any tool he could find to battle through the cannibal forces.  As Virgil was clearing a path for myself and Rubio toward the horses I kept an eye on Xena across the battlefield.  She was holding her own as Virgil charged forward toward the horses.  We moved quickly to the horses and as soon as we reached our escape Virgil leaped upon a horse.  I called out to Xena across the battlefield as her chakram returned to her grasp.  She had bought us enough time to make a good run of it. 

    Xena wasted no time sheathing her sword and dashing forth toward the nearest horse she could find as the four of us tore out of the cannibal village.  As we rode through the woods Xena quickly informed me of the next part of her plan.  She led our horses to the edge of the cliffs and stopped there.  Rubio was nervous and did not know why Xena had chosen to stop running.  Xena stated that she would be going back for the cannibals.  She was going to sacrifice herself as bait to lead the cannibal village toward a trap that she had built over night using large boulders and trees which she had cut down and fashioned into a dam to hold up the waterfall along the river.  I was impressed by her quick plan of action, but not at all surprised.  This was after all the famous warrior princess who never gave up no matter how dire the circumstances.  I grinned as I overlooked the cliffs down below at her masterpiece.  We had once defeated any army together.  She made this look easy.

    Xena then looked to me and to Virgil and stated that myself and Virgil would stay along the cliffs and wait for Xena to get into position with the unsuspecting cannibals.  She stated that once she had led them to her position underneath the dammed up waterfall she needed Virgil and I to cut the vines and release the waterfall down upon the enemy.  Rubio was still nervous despite the odds truly being in Xena’s favor though it did not appear that way on the surface.  Xena simply stated that he should take the horses and leave.  Rubio was satisfied and relieved with this answer.  Rubio quickly followed Xena’s cryptically serious command as Virgil and I jumped down from our horses to get into positions hiding amongst the trees waiting for the moment of truth.  Suddenly Xena dashed off into the woods alone back toward the cannibal forces.

     For a few moments the woods were eerily quiet yet one could hear the sounds of the approaching cannibals.  Virgil and I listened as Xena made contact and their sounds echoed through the woods down into the valley where Xena was leading them.  Yet despite the seemingly quiet moment a few cannibal voices could be heard nearby.  Not all of them had been led astray.  Some of them had stayed behind to scout the cliffs where Virgil and I were waiting.  There were at least two, maybe three of them.  Virgil and I took positions ready for anything.  Suddenly one could hear Xena’s battle cries echoing from down below while Virgil and I waited behind the logs to protect the prize.  We both stayed very quiet.  There was no telling how long it would take for Xena to get the rest of the cannibals down under the waterfall.  I realized in that moment that I was going to have to fight to save Xena’s plan. 

     The stray cannibals were too near.  I reached slowly down toward my boots for my sais and took a deep breath.  In my mind I replayed the image of the young boy Kara once more.  Those moments leading to his death were frozen in my mind.  The way I reached down toward my boots suddenly to grab my weapons.  My heart had been pounding in the same way it was pounding now.  There was little time to think then.  My arms thrust forward toward what I thought was Xena’s attacker.  It was a quick swift motion with little thought.  It was more of a sudden action.  And that was how this had to be.  No thinking just action and not reacting.  Reacting was certain death in a warrior’s life.  This was one of Xena’s very first lessons to me.  She said “act don’t react.”  As boy Kara’s last moments played in my mind I could feel myself thrusting my weapon into his solid chest, struggling with his body and throwing it onto the dessert sand.  I saw the wind blow his face covering off of his face and his panicked last moments in his eyes surprised at his cruel sudden death.  I watched in my mind as his scroll declaring the good new of a new alliance rolling out upon the sand.  My heart sank again, but then I snapped myself out of it for that would be the last time I would ever allow myself to think of that moment in time.

     I took a deep breath and then looked up toward the moment I was within now.  There was a real enemy approaching and I could see his face beneath the black paint.  This enemy wanted to kill me and Virgil.  He would most certainly kill Xena if I did not act without hesitation.  I waited until the very last moment that I possibly could, but the stray cannibals were approaching the lifeline Xena had build for us and there was no more time to wait.  I slowly moved into a new position to gain the advantage on the cannibals approaching.  My boots moved slowly and stealthfully taking up position behind the closest tree to the cannibal invaders.  I watched one of them approach and move his hand across the vine that held Xena’ s life in its threads.  He was about to use his axe to cut the vine before Xena had reached the target spot with the rest of the cannibal village.  Quickly acting I grabbed his clothing from behind and slammed him in the face with one of my sais.  He was taken by surprise not expecting anyone to come out from behind the tree.  My next move was without a thought.  It was a survival instinct.  My second sais came thrusting down upon him into his collar bone directly through his chest.  It was the move that evened the odds. 

      Suddenly Virgil took the moment to charge one of the other cannibals.  I had instantly killed one, but there was that third one that needed to be dealt with.  I jumped from the ground where I had thrown down the first enemy and jumped into action against the next challenger.  He was so close that I had to jump onto his back in an attempt to gain the advantage for he was much larger than I in stature.  His heavy fur skin clothing gave him additional weight as he thrashed about attempting to throw me off of his back.  Down below as Virgil and I struggled above one could hear Xena shouting out to me to cut the ropes, but I was stuck on the back of this massive beast.  She kept calling my name out, but both Virgil and I were busy with our respective enemies.  Virgil was trying to fight his attacker off with a wide tree branch he had picked up off of the forest floor.  One of the two of us was going to have to defeat our enemy and quickly if we were going to save Xena and the entire plan.  I had known she could hold her own for a while, but not forever.  It was clear that Virgil was not going to over take his rival.  I decided to jump off of my enemy and spin around to face him head on.  I smacked him across the face with my sais knocking him back.  Virgil was attempting to plow through is enemy with the large log.  I kicked my enemy in the knees to try to open him up for another thrust.  His head almost knocked me down as I ducked to miss it as he was thrown back by my kick.  I threw one of my sais over to Virgil hoping to allow him an advantage.  He used it to thrust it into his attacker throwing him violently into the ground.  That move cost me and gave my enemy an opportunity to kick me to the ground.  As I feel to the ground I watched Virgil acting without guilt.  He did what had to be done as he repeatedly stabbed his enemy with my sais.  Quickly I scrambled back to my feet.  My enemy was now going for the vine and I could not allow him to destroy the trap.  I suddenly turned and jumped upon the log to stab him in the back throwing him off into the ravine.  Then in the next moment I used my weapon to cut the vine as Xena had been waiting for me to do for what seemed like an eternity. 

     The sounds of logs rocking and of boulders dropping began to come over the valley like an avalanche.  It was loud and the echoes stretched out for a marathon.  I only hoped that Xena could jump out of the way in time.  As I watched the water down below thrust down onto the cannibal villagers I saw Xena flip out of the valley onto the side of the cliffs to safety.  The cannibals had no time to think or to react.  They were seemingly unable to process what was happening to them as the waterfall drenched them into a wave of panicked screams and then downstream into nothingness.  If they were lucky they would have been killed instantly by many of the boulders and logs falling down upon them.  Only a few hands still reached for the surface of the water as they floated away.  I watched Xena carefully holding onto the side of the cliff.  Virgil suddenly burst over to me with excitement for the amazing triumph he had just been a part of and witnessed.  He was concerned for my well being and gently touched my shoulder for assurance.  I was fine and a huge wave of relief had just washed over me.  It was as if I was somehow now free of my inner demons for they had washed away with the cannibals.  Virgil and I quicky rushed toward Xena because she now needed the vine to help her climb out of the madness.

     When she arrived to the top of the cliff she was unphased.  Her first order of business was to find the nearest comfortable log and to sharpen her sword although she insisted it had become worse for the wear and tear.  For the warrior princess there was nothing abnormal about what had just happened.  It was all in a day’s work.  The strange little man Rubio had also returned with the horses as we all four sat and commiserated about what we had all been a part of.  Rubio was most excited about the opportunity to eat again for he hadn’t eaten in over a year.  It was how he had survived becoming dinner for the cannibals.  He snacked on the many fruits he and Virgil had retrieved and come back with from the cannibals’ burned out village.  Everyone seemed to be in high spirits, but despite this I was still quiet and keeping to myself.  So much had come and gone through my mind and heart in the past few days that it was as if I had personally experienced a waterfall of uncontrolled emotions that I had never dealt with in all my time with the warrior princess.

      Xena saw this and asked me how I was feeling.  I did feel better physically and I attempted to put on a strong face for the warrior princess.  She knew that I was trying to hide my true thoughts and she pointed out she was not asking about my physical nature, but of the nature of my mind.  She was serious as she looked right through my eyes.  Xena knew me very well.  I took a deep breath and explained to her that I had done what I had to do when it came to the death of Kara and all of it.  I assured her that I would learn to live with my mistakes despite how terrible my mistakes might be.  For me it was now the way of things because I was now becoming more and more the warrior than I had ever been before.  Rubio then interrupted our private moment and asked what way in which we were speaking of.  Xena became slightly annoyed by the interruption of this serious conversation and asked him who he was.  He took this as his shining moment to be recognized and so he proudly stood up and introduced himself as Rubio.  Banana in hand he began to create a new triumphant name for himself, but instead Virgil put his hand on Rubio’s shoulder and sat him down.  It was in that moment Xena, Virgil, and I knew whose personality Rubio reminded us of.  He reminded us of the tender hearted Joxer the Mighty whom still lived in all of our hearts.  With that the warrior princess let out a little giggle as we looked to each other in remembrance of our beloved friend Joxer.

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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.” https://brandyseymour.wordpress.com/

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