By Joseph Anderson

Xena and Gabrielle belong to Renaissance Pictures and King Features. No copyright infringement is intended. This cannot be sold and copies must contain all notice of copright.

I'm pretending the episodes about Ulysses and Helen of Troy never happened for the purpose of this poem. This refers to events in The Iliad and other stories about the Trojan War. I hated what they did on the show.

They wanted me there,
Had the gall to summon me.
And when I refused,
Agamemnon raged.
Lord of Men, High King of Mycenae,
I laughed as he fumed.
With war to wage there was no time for me.

Ajax the Greater and Ajax the Lesser,
Old Nestor with his constant droning
How better men were in the days of his youth.
Death on wheels, that old charioteer.
Ruthless Diomedes and crafty Odysseus.
You don't need me. Too many cooks.
They weren't laughing.

Like Lyceus and me. I see that now.
What would I do?
In those days, I mean.
If Lyceus had lived, my dear sweet brother,
And been dishonored like Menelaus?

He should have seen it coming, of course.
Helen was...how do I put it...good looking.
Really, REALLY, REALLY good looking.
And even more charming than she was good looking.
And even wittier than she was charming.
How could he not have seen it coming?
How could he let her meet Alexandros?

Menelaus of Sparta, husband of Helen,
Mortal daughter of amorous Zeus,
Offspring of Leda and the Swan.
What'd he expect? A mousy wife?
But she played her part till she saw Alexandros,
Also called Paris, Prince of Troy.

Two brothers united, Mycenae and Sparta,
Two great brutal kings in a brutal land,
The younger dishonored.
What would I do
If I was High King?
Probably what Agamemnon did.

But I still refused. It wasn't my brother.
They have allies and look at those walls!
Have you boys seen the Scaean Gate?
The plunder sounds good but I don't like to share.
Bring back your wife without me, Menelaus.

They sent Odysseus that crafty man,
Who nearly charmed me to that cauldron of death,
With his nimble tongue and nimble fingers,
And brave strong hands and ruthless heart.
But still I would not join the fleet
Sailing to sack high walled Ilium.

Yes, I knew him.
No, never. I'm alive.
That's how you know I never fought him.
No, I'm not joking.
There was nothing funny about Achilles.

He tried to stay away as well.
His goddess mother warned him he'd die.
He wanted to live, raise a family,
Live obscurely an unknown king,
Playing love songs on his lyre
And hunting with his friend Patroclus.
But Odysseus went to him after me
And....well that was that.

When he withdrew from the fight to sulk in his tent
Because of Agamemnon's arrogant greed,
The fleet was nearly burned and lost,
Achaean blood reddened the soil,
As Achilles wanted, to show them his worth.

Then good Patroclus entered the fight,
In Achilles armor, leading his men.
Brave Patroclus saved the ships
A hero till he met man-killing Hector.
Achilles had warned him not to fight Hector.

Do I miss him? Achilles?
Yes and no.

Picture Herakles crossed with Callisto.
Love songs or not,
It's a better world without godlike Achilles.
Ask the twelve Trojan youths
On Patroclus's pyre,
Pitifully begging for their lives.
Ask Andromache as her husband's corpse,
Hector of the shining helmet,
Dragged behind Achilles' chariot
Around and around the walls of Ilium,
Dark hair trailing in the dust.

Paris of all people killed him!
That pampered playboy, Alexandros!
Shows what a well-shot arrow can do,
With Apollo beside you.
Those are just stories, Gabrielle.
Achilles could die like any man.

Do I regret it?
Staying behind, playing it smart,
Looking out for number one?

A grinding siege,
Mud, blood and death,
Far from home for ten long years.
Who would want that?
But look at what I did instead.

Raping Chin with my lover Borias,
Killing Amazons that tried to befriend me,
Selling slaves and selling protection.
Protection from what? I'd lop off a head.
Taking what little a small village had,
Places like Cirra...too many to name.

I know I've changed. Thank you, Gabrielle.
But that doesn't alter what I did.

Would I go now if I had the chance?
Yes, Gabrielle, but not with the fleet.
I wouldn't go to help Menelaus,
Or line my purse, which they all really wanted.

Shining Hector, whose shimmering helm
Always frightened his sweet little boy.
King Priam with his scores of sons
Cut down like grain on the plain of Scamander,
As Hecuba wept.
Troilus and Cressida. Heroic Aeneas.
Alexandros the handsome and beautiful Helen.

I'd ride out from the Scaean Gate
To fight my friends who'd call me traitor.
Godlike Achilles would probably kill me.
But bards would remember a different Xena!
A Xena who fought for love and honor
Fighting beside Paris and Hector
And ready to die for windy Troy.