Destinies to Fulfill
Disclaimer: Xena: Warrior Princess and all of its characters mentioned in this story e.g Xena, Hercules, Gabrielle, Iolaus, Argo and about a hundred others that I couldn't be bothered to type in at the moment the sole property of Universal Studios, Flat Earth Productions, Renaissance Pictures and anyone else who owns it that I cant think of at the moment. I hope my story doesn't break any copyright laws, it is merely the work of someone who has been inspired by Lucy Lawless' portrayal of Xena Warrior Princess.
Summary: Xena receives a letter from Hercules that will change the destinies of mortals and gods alike. BE PREPARED and expect the unexpected because ANYTHING could happen in this tale!!
Rating: PG - 15. There is a fair bit of Violence - no more than a Xena episode, I mean let's face it, Xena's no house wife (!) - A HUGE WAR, and a couple of people die. I also threw in a bit of romance between Xena and Hercules to try and cater to everybody.
This is my first tale and probably my last (ITS SOOOOOOOOOO LONG!!!). I hope that one day I will finish it. Hope you enjoy it!
Xena steeled herself and let the emotionless wall drop around her, showing observers no hint of warmth, compassion or in this case, dread. As she had, so many times before, found comfort in this state Dead . . . . How could they be dead? Xena how could . . . . . . . .Why? This cant be happening.
Gabrielle, I know your Upset . . . Xena began
But the mighty Warrior Princess is not!!!! I cant believe you Xena, two of our closest friends are DEAD and still you dont show any emotion!!! Are you so cold that . .
The two friends faced each other and Gabrielle immediately regretted her harsh words. Look, I was out of line . . . . . please forgive me . . . . . . . I just, I cant believe it.
I know, its hard and its O.K., but before we do anything we better meet Hercules.
And where exactly are you supposed to meet him, huh ? He didnt say anything about a meeting place in the message.
Yes he did. Xena said with a small smile that Gabrielle just barely caught.
Wha . . What do you mean ? Gabrielle stammered, she was utterly confused and as usual, Xenas lack of an explanation was driving her insane. Xena sensed Gabrielles confusion, smirked and continued on her way, leading Argo. She didnt bother to explain how she new where to go to her companion, for she new she would be asked soon enough. Well are you going to tell me or not ?
Maybe was the Warrior Princesss reply.
Gabrielle stopped in the middle of the road and put her hands on her hips. Seeing Gabrielle stop out of the corner of her eye, Xena walked over to the bard. Better to get her off my back she reasoned, besides she wasnt in the mood for one of Gabrielles do anything to get Xena to spill the info games'. Gabrielle was pleased with herself for winning this battle and prompted the warrior.
Xena unrolled the parchment and quoted. My Princess, ride quickly because I fear for us The reason he didnt tell me directly where to find him, she began Is because he knows you cant trust anyone. BUT he uses the terms, My princess and us. Oh boy this is where it gets hard . . . . . . Xena sighed but continued. He uses those terms to indicate a certain place where Hercules and I camped for a while. This place has a special meaning to us and is important to our pasts, ESPECIALLY mine.
Whats so special about this place? Gabrielle asked.
I knew she was going to ask that, Once a bard, ALWAYS a bard, Xena thought wiry. Just after Hercules freed me from my dark life, we traveled together for a while. In that time we became very close. Anyway, one night I had a particularly bad nightmare. Hercules woke me and comforted me, wiped away my tears and held me until I recovered. We started talking about everything and nothing and I dont know, one thing sort of lead to another . . .. . .. . .. Dimly Xena wondered if she had to spell it out for her.
Oh, I get it, wow, I guess that was a special time for you huh ?
Xena suddenly embarrassed by her sudden show of emotion could only manage a weak smile before she started walking again.
A GOD!!!! you and a GOD!!! what was it like ?
What was what like ? Xena answered impatiently
You know, was he gentle, aggressive ?
Xena rolled her eyes, SHE DID NOT WANT TO BO TALKING ABOUT THIS !!!. Not now, not ever.
Oh come on, youve got to tell me sooner or later !
No I dont
Well you dont of course, If you want me to tell how the Mighty Warrior Princess and Hercules, son of Zeus shared a little roll in the hay, so to speak, in one of my stories ? It will be the greatest love story ever told !
The camp fire blazed as the two greatest warriors in all of history . . . Gabrielle began her tale.
ENOUGH ! Xena shouted It was nice. Gabrielle just raised an eyebrow. He was gentle and loving the first time and got more aggressive each time after that.
By the gods Xena, how many times did you . . . ... . .
It doesn't matter! Xena said sharply, cutting her off and then continuing And if you EVER repeat any part of what I just told you to ANYONE, living or dead, I will personally cut your tongue out and throw it into the fire, then Ill collect the ashes and feed them to Argo. Is that understood ? Gabrielle gulped, there was no hint of humor in Xenas eyes and she noticed that they had become hard and icy,
Uh huh, I promise. Not a single word to anyone!
Apparently satisfied, Xena mounted her horse and urged it toward a narrow path just visible between clumps of dense foliage. The track looked like it hadnt been used for years and Gabrielle said as much to Xena.
Thats because it hasnt, Xena explained The track is avoided by most of the locals but it should save us about two days travel and I want to meet Hercules as soon as possible.
Why do they avoid it? Gabrielle asked.
The ground is loose and is a hazard for horses, and believe me you dont want to be stuck on it if your horse breaks its leg or something. Here climb up.
Xena instructed as she help her hand out to Gabrielle and helped her onto the horse. Once safely seated behind Xena the bard spoke as they began a steady pace, down the track. Arent you worried about Argo?
Not really, Argos got a good eye, we shouldnt have any trouble and besides she managed it last time, didnt cha girl ? Argo neighed her agreement.
So I take it that youve traveled on this path before ?
Want to tell me about it?
Its a long story.
Well Im not going anywhere!
Xena sighed but started the story to please the little bard. It was about 5 summers ago. I had been wounded In battle and was captured by a warlord named Amonites. I had a head injury my sword arm was broken so I was unable to put up much of a fight. I realized I had to make my move quickly or Id be dead. The fool fell for me and one night he had the guards take me to his tent. Amonites told the guards to untie my hands and then he ordered them to leave. He went on to tell me how beautiful I was and all that. I played along but as soon as he got near enough I put my neck pinch on him and I said to him that he should have killed me when he had the chance and he replied No man could ever kill you. and then he died.
Xena paused for a second before continuing. Argo was In one of Amonites stables, but I didnt have the strength to fight off half the army to free her so I escaped unnoticed, swearing that when I was well enough I would go back for her. That night I wandered blindly through the forest, just concentrating on getting as far away from Amonites camp as possible. I figured that I could hide for long enough to recover and then I would go back and kill his army. Anyway I stumbled onto this path and I traveled along it for about two days without stopping for food or rest. Finally my body couldnt take it anymore and I collapsed and fell unconscious. The next thing I remember was waking in the middle of the path with Argo standing above me. I manage to climb onto her and she carried me to the next village. I have no idea how she escaped.
What happened to Amonites army? Gabrielle asked.
Xena looked over her shoulder. As soon as I recovered I went back and killed every last one of them. Gabrielle wished she hadnt asked. The rest of the journey that day went without conversation.
The Trail to the Past
The path was narrow and treacherous but the sure-footed war horse made light work of the difficult terrain. By noon the parry stopped by a small creek to rest before continuing on their way.
After Gabrielle climbed off the horse she waited for the wave of nausea to pass. She sunk into the most green grass and breathed a sigh of relief. She watched Xena dismount and lead Argo to a patch of nice, succulent grass to graze on before unpacking their possessions. Xena looked anxious and she hadn't said more than three words to Gabrielle since she awoke this morning. Gabrielle decided to break the silence. How long to we get to this place of yours, Xena?
If we keep up this speed, about three days travel altogether."
"How long until we get out of this forest?"
"What do you mean?"
"We ride on for about a day until we come to the foot of a mountain, but don't worry, once you get half way up the mountain everything changes. Why do you ask?"
"Oh, I just hate the humidity in here, its uncomfortable, that's all."
Xena just laughed and said "You hungry or do I have to ask ?"
"Very funny and yes I'm starving !"
" Good, Ill go down stream and catch some fish. Get a fire going."
"O.k, have fun"
Gabrielle bent down to retrieve the flint out of one of their pouches and when she looked up again, Xena had disappeared. I wonder how in Hades she does that Gabrielle thought.
Without much effort, Xena had found a good place to fish.It was close enough to their camp to hear Gabrielle scream and the creek had opened into a large pool of crystal clear water with a slight current running through it. The perfect place for salmon. Xena removed her weapons and laid them on the bank, then removed her armor and stripped her leathers off.
The water was refreshingly cool on her bare skin and was a pleasant contrast to the sticky air of the forest. The pool was alive with fish and soon she had caught three good size fish.
Xena selfishly realized that she was enjoying the water so much that she thought she would go for a swim and after all, she thought with a wicked smile playing on her lips, it wouldn't kill Gabrielle to go hungry for awhile.
Gabrielle had had the fire going for more than an hour and was wondering where Xena was until suddenly it hit her. "OH YOUR GOOD XENA!!! Your having a nice refreshing, COOL swim, while I'm slaving over a HOT FIRE!!!!"
While Xena was getting changed she heard Gabrielle's voice. She quickly adorned her outfit and ran back to their camp, fish in tow. When she arrived she saw Gabrielle standing facing with her back towards here, hands on her hips and positively seething.
"Gabrielle are you O.k ?" the warrior Princess asked.
"Where in Hades have you been ?" was her reply. Gabrielle noticed Xena's wet hair and grew even more angry.
" I'm sorry Gabrielle, there were hardly any fish but I found some good ones - here." Xena explained as she presented Gabrielle with the fish that she had caught (without trouble) earlier.
Gabrielle's eyes lit up when she saw the fish "Look!" she exclaimed "SALMON!!! yum, and here I was thinking you went off swimming, I'm sorry."
"Your welcome." Xena said with a small smile.
The great mountain loomed above the two companions. One was strong and powerful with the aura of a god and the beauty of Aphrodite herself. The other had a smaller stature and carried a wooden staff. As they made their way up the mountain, the climate became cooler and Gabrielle noticed with delight the new plants and animals that inhabited the mountain.
"Wow Xena, Look at that!" Gabrielle exclaimed with the delight of a small child exploring the world for the first time. Xena looked to where Gabrielle was pointing to and saw what Gabrielle had taken so much interest in. A long stalk rose from out of a large mass of long, thin, finger - shaped leaves. At the end of the stalk was a flower bud that was twice as big as Gabrielle's head. Laughing Xena drew her sword and cut the stalk and its flower off and handed it to Gabrielle.
"This is called a Bulbass plant."
"Is it used for anything?"
"Yes as a matter of fact, hand it over for a second."
Once Xena had acquired the plant, she sat down and held the plant between her knees so that the stalk end was facing towards her. She then took out one of her many boot knives and cut a two foot length of the stalk. She slit the cut piece vertically an then peeled the outer layers of the stalk from both pieces. Once finished she handed one of the pieces to Gabrielle.
"Try it." Xena instructed.
Gabrielle looked at fleshy plant in her hands and said uncertainly "Only if you eat yours first."
Without hesitating Xena took a bit out of her piece, chewed for awhile and then swallowed. "See, Its not poisonous, go ahead."
Gabrielle raised the piece of stalk to her mouth and took a bite. To her surprise it was actually nice.
"Mmmm . . It's as sweet as sugar!"
Xena grinned slyly. All of a sudden Gabrielle's mouth felt like it was on fire. She spat out the chunk she had been chewing and screamed for water. Xena handed a water skin to her. Gabrielle snatched the skin from Xena's hands and downed its hole contents. Xena couldn't contain herself and doubled over laughing.
"Oh, that was funny." Gabrielle seethed.
"I thought so." Xena said before seeing the expression on her companions face and started laughing again, "You should have seen your face!!! It was priceless!!"
" Glad you enjoyed it." was Gabrielle's stoic reply as she wiped the water from her mouth with her arm.
The mountain top was occupied by many rare and magnificent animals, from the smallest mammal living in the nooks and crannies of old trees that had fallen down years before the Warrior Princess existed, to the many beautiful birds that were painted with every color of the rainbow.. The climate had become cooler and the ground was moist and fresh. The air was sharp and clean and breathed life into the weary travelers.
By mid-afternoon the Warrior and the bard had come across a rushing river. A wooden bridge lay across the river, providing a safe way to cross the churning water.
" Xena, I thought you said that no-one lived up here."
" That's right."
" Well how did the bridge get here then ? "
" We built it. "
" Who, You and Hercules ? "
" Yes "
" How long were you here?"
"A while, you coming ?"
Xena and Argo were already half-way across the bridge and Gabrielle wondered just how close they once were.
" Xena, how much longer?" Gabrielle whined for the hundredth time.
" Not long."
Gabrielle groaned. She couldn't feel her feet anymore, her legs ached to Hades and back and she hurt in places she didn't even knew she had. Suddenly Xena stopped and Gabrielle ran into the back of her.
" Sorry." Gabrielle mumbled and sank into the moist leaf - litter that covered the earth. Xena for her part, was standing perfectly still with her eyes closed, a small smile lighting her beautiful face. Gabrielle, annoyed with Xena's apparent contentment stood and walked over to face Xena.
"What in Hades are you smiling about? We have been walking forever, I'm hungry, tired and need a bath." To this Xena opened her eyes but the smile still remained. "You haven't heard a word I've said have you?"
"Gabrielle, wait here." Was Xena's only response before she ran of into the scrub.
Gabrielle sat down once again and yelled every blasphemous word she could think of into the forest.
After a short run, Xena came to a grass clearing. She gazed around the area and smiled when she saw a medium sized house made of wooden planks with a smoking chimney on its slate roof. Situated a short distance from the house was a barn and stable. Out side the stable was a stack of fresh hay and next to it a large vegetable garden full of corn, wheat, barley and many types of fruit and vegetables. Making her way into the house, Xena let the flood of memories wash over her.
- Sitting by the fire eating breakfast, laughter, strong and comforting arms encircling her waist making her feel like she was home, the smell of freshly cooked bread of a morning, the feeling of being wanted, having someone to make her forget - but she didn't forget, she couldn't and that's why she left - or that's what she told herself.
She felt him first. His presence overwhelmed all of her senses. She closed her eyes and drank in the many sensations as his arms encircled her waste like they did so many years before. She felt him smell her hair before resting his chin on the top of her head.
" You've been busy." She said referring to the vegetable garden.
Hercules turned Xena to face him " You came ."
Xena smiled " I would give my soul to Ares for you."
Their kiss was one of love long denied, slow yet passionate. After a long moment they broke and fell into each others arms, holding each other, never wanting to let go. Eventually they pulled apart and as Hercules looked deep into Xena's eyes he noticed that they were brimming with tears, the result of which made them shine the bluest of blue and Hercules doubted that she had ever seemed more beautiful.
" I missed you. " Xena whispered.
Hercules placed a finger on her lips to silence her. " We have time for this later, where's Gabrielle ?"
" I left her just inside the edge of the forest . . . . I thought it best that we could . . ."
Hercules lifted Xena's face so that her eyes could meet his. " So we could do this . . " He pressed his lips into hers . . ." Privately ?"
Xena smiled and said with amusement "Uh huh." before spinning around and walking into an adjoining room. The room was fairly large and luxurious. In it lay a king sized bed covered with sheets of dark blue silk, a small wooden table, a small fireplace and a dressing table. At the foot of a bed laid a large bronze chest. Xena knelt in front of it and traced the detailed designs engraved on the chest with a finger. Hercules had followed her into the bedroom and watched from the doorway as she opened that chest. Inside was Xena's old armor, three magnificent swords, an assortment of many different knives, a pair of boots, a selection of linen shifts and a silk robe that was colored like the sea on a beautiful sunny day. Apparently satisfied with what she had found, Xena pulled out two of the swords, a rather long, silver dagger and her old armor. She then proceeded to remove her sword from her back and placed it into the chest before removing her armor until she was clothed in just her leathers. Turning to Hercules who was watching intently she said. " Would you mind fetching Gabrielle for me? "
"Of course." Hercules replied. He turned to exit the room before stopping and turning back to face Xena. "Xena ?" He questioned.
" Yes ?" Xena responded.
" I missed you too."
Xena smiled "Later."
To this Hercules smiled back and left to fetch Gabrielle.
Once alone, Xena picked up her old armor and examined the intricate pattern made of bronze and gold. It was much more detailed than the armor she wore now and was much more valuable. After she had started her life again she had felt it necessary that she change her uniform partly to distance herself from her warlord days and try to help try and create a new image for the Warrior Princess. She had even swapped the two magnificent swords that she kept on each of her sides with a large broad sword that was difficult to handle and heavy.
Removing the rest of her clothing she placed her leathers and armor into the chest and closed it. Xena then dressed herself in her old black leathers, and to her surprise after all this time, they still felt like a second skin. Next she put on her boots and fixed her armor to her leathers. Once satisfied that everything was in order she attached a sword, complete with their leather scabbards to each of her sides, placed a boot knife in each boot and slid her breast dagger into its usual spot. The long silver dagger found itself tucked under Xena's belt while the ever - reliable chakran was hooked to her side.
Xena walked over toward the dressing table and looked at herself in the large mirror that was situated on top of it. What she saw in the mirror startled her, she had not visibly aged at all - in fact she look exactly like she had five years ago -almost. Looking more closely, Xena realized that there was indeed something about her that was different. Her eyes, somehow they didn't look as evil as they once did, yes they were still cold but not merciless, and for the first time Xena reassessed that the good deeds she had performed were changing her attitude to herself. She understood that it would be a long journey yet, but perhaps there was hope for complete redemption and maybe one day she would be able to forgive herself.
Hercules wandered through the thick vegetation, often having to brush aside a tree branch. After five years, Xena still amazed him and stirred up almost every emotion he had ever felt. Attraction of course, she was breathtakingly beautiful. Anger that she left him and he didn't know why, and fear that she would leave him again. Excitement, curiosity, desire, passion, love. Yes, he couldn't deny it, he did love her and thats what made it hurt even more. A sound broke him out of his reverie. As he listened more carefully he realized that it was a voice, clearly female, it was Gabrielle. As Hercules walk towards the direction that Gabrielles voice was coming from he and could begin to make out words.
" Warrior Princess my butt ! Wait till I get a hold of her ! then we'll see whose left behind in the cold with no food and just a horse for company . . . . . . . . no offense Argo ."
Gabrielle was seated on a large rock picking out thorns from her boots. After three failed attempts to find Xena she had managed to get lost, step into a thorn bush, chased by a wild deer and she had almost fallen of a cliff. Fortunately Argo had come and found her, much to Gabrielle's despair. Saved by a horse . . . . . how . . . . . .humiliating.....
Without warning a deep voice boomed from behind her " I don't think Xena would appreciate you comparing her appearance to your behind."
Gabrielle almost fell of the rock. Hercules emerged from behind a tree.
" Hercules !" Gabrielle exclaimed with relief " How are you ? What happened ? Why did you send for us ?"
" Stop !" Hercules raised his hands as if to warn the barrage of questions back "One at a time"
"Oops . . sorry, Its a habit you know." Gabrielle smiled " Xena's looking for you. "
" She found me."
Gabrielle looked around them, " Where is she ? If she's gone off on some mission without me I'll . . . .. . "
" Relax, She hasn't gone anywhere, she's waiting for you at the house."
" What house ? She didn't mention any house."
Hercules walked to Argo and grabbed the reins " I'll show you, follow me. "
Apparently she wasn't going to get anymore answer from the Demi - god so she fell in behind the Hercules who was leading Argo, hoping to the gods that this house thing was near-by
A short while after she had finished getting changed she had set of after Hercules, thinking that it wasn't fair that he bare the venom of Gabrielle's tongue. She knew that she had upset the little bard when she had left her behind but it was something she had to do. She hoped that Gabrielle would understand. She certainly wouldn't expect to see Xena in her old armor. Gabrielle had never seen her old armor and part of her wondered why she felt it necessary to change at all. She supposed it had something to do with her life when she lived here. It was sort of like filling a role. When she lived here she wore this armor, well actually most of the time she wore linen shifts, when she left she changed her armor, but now that she was back she felt more comfortable wearing the armor of her days here.
Xena's sharp senses felt Hercules and Gabrielle about three hundred meters ahead of her and she decided to surprise them. Well Gabrielle at least, she hoped that with a display, the armor would seem even more impressive. Xena jumped eight feet into the air and grabbed an over head branch. Once she had a secure hold of the branch she swung herself, gaining more and more height with each swing until she was able to stand on the branch. By this time Gabrielle and Hercules were in sight. Like a Jaguar, she sprawled her lean body down the length of the branch and waited. Any second now . . . . . . . . . .
By now Hercules was seriously considering cutting out Gabrielles tongue. He didn't know how Xena put up with her and he had far more patience than the Warrior Princess. Doesn't she ever shut up ? He wondered. Actually that was unfair, she normally wasn't this bad, in fact he liked the little bard.
Three . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Two .. . . . . . . . . . . . . One!!!
Xena flung herself out of the tree, flipped in mid air and sounded her famous warcry. " AYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYI!!!!"
She landed ten feet in front of the startled party and drew her left sword. She positioned her feet and held the blade in front of her in an offensive position, subsequently blocking off their path.
Gabrielle stood there, mouth agape, and it was Hercules who made the first move. He took a step forward and said in his most threatening voice " If you've got something to say me, say it and then get out of my way !"
" As a matter of fact, I do. " was the Warrior Princess' cold reply before she too took a step forward until they were no more than a meter apart. Both looked determined and threatening and what came next shocked Gabrielle. A small smile crept across Xena's face as she said " It feels great to be home !" and with that she threw herself into Hercules' open arms and was engulfed in a huge bear hug.
BY the time Gabrielle had recovered from the initial shock of Xena hurtling through the sky at her, in unrecognizable armor, it was almost dusk and the sky was painted in deep reds and oranges. Before Gabrielle could start asking questions about Xena's new outfit, Xena had promised to explain everything as soon as they got indoors. When Gabrielle questioned why it was so important to get indoors before dark, Hercules explained that the sooner they got indoors the sooner they could answer all of Gabrielle's questions. This seemed to satisfy Gabrielle for the moment but both Xena and Hercules knew that they were in for it when they reached home.
It was night before the hero's reached the house and unfortunately for Gabrielle, it was too dark for her to explore the exterior of the house, but at least she could look around the inside.
First they went into the stable so that Xena could tend to Argo. While she fed and groomed the golden mare, Hercules showed the enthusiastic bard around.
The stable was large enough for two fully grown horses and it smelled of fresh hay and leather. Off to one side was a small mill for grinding wheat and barley and next to it was a ladder. Hercules instructed Gabrielle to climb the ladder and he followed close behind carrying a torch. What Gabrielle saw amazed her, it was a small room with wooden floor boards. A bed lay against the far wall, while a desk stood against the adjacent wall. Gabrielle walked over toward the desk to get a closer look. On top of the desk lay to brand new quills and a pile of parchments.
"What's all this for?" Gabrielle inquired.
"Its your room." Hercules answered.
"My room........just how long are we saying ?"
"I don't know...hopefully for a while."
"Ok....out with it, I want to know what the hell is going on.....you want Xena to help you do what? Defeat Ares or maybe go up against Zeus ....."
"No, nothing like that I need her to save someone's life."
"His." Came Xena's reply from behind them both. "He needs me to save his soul."
Continue to Chapter 2
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