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Journey of Friends
by Scott Carpenter
©Copyright Scott Carpenter December 28, 1996
Journey of Friends is a sequel to my story, Twisted
Sithus leaned on his staff and surveyed the
countryside, fourteen days and still no sign of his quarry, tracks
yes but no visible sign of them. Even the one day of no rest did not
put him any closer.
Sithus continued down the hill following the tracks. "At least those
are still visible". He had not wanted to take Lika due to the terrain
he knew he would have to face, horses don't climb mountains
As it neared dark he approached a small town, large enough to have an
inn he hoped. Entering the town he spied the local tavern, it had an
upper floor that looked like boarding rooms. Entering he received
only a few casual glances. He stepped to the bar and got a drink and
found a table. As he seated himself he heard people talking in a room
to the back of the tavern. Catching only bits he gleaned they were
talking about what he was searching for. He sipped at his drink and
waited for those in the back room to come out, he hoped one of them
would give him answers.
The two men parted the cloth that blocked the door and moved to a
table, they were not who he was looking for, only locals. Sithus
finished his drink and went to the bar, " Do you have
The bartender nodded, "Two dinars a night." Sithus fished out two
coins from his pouch and placed them on the bar, the bar tender
passed him a key.
As he went up the stairs he saw two men enter the tavern, they were
not the ones he was looking for but they were not locals either.
Sithus continued up the stairs and down the hall to the room, he
unlocked the door and bolted it behind him, he then placed a small
piece of metal from his bag into the lock to prevent it from being
opened from the outside. Sithus stood his staff near the door and
removed his sword from his side and took the heavy pack from his
shoulder. He laid the sword on the small bed and opened his pack. As
he removed various things he stopped when he got to the wrapped
object, he sat on the bed and removed the cloth.
Removing the last of the wrappings he hefted the metal ring in his
hand, he wished she could see this one. Sithus rewrapped it with the
cloth and set it down beside him, he found the needle he needed to
fix the hole in his boot and started on the repairs. After the hole
in his boot was fixed he checked the rest of his things for anything
that may need repair, finding none he removed the blade from it's
scabbard and laid it on the floor next to the bed and laid down
himself. He thought for a moment of her face, time had not changed
her at all.
Early the next morning he awoke with a start, someone down stairs was
shouting, next he heard the breaking of a table, as if a body had
been dropped on it. Sithus grabbed his blade and moved to the window,
below were eight horses all bearing the same emblem. Not exactly who
he was looking for but they would do. Sithus gathered his things and
removed the metal from the door and opened it, he moved to the top of
the stairs and listened to the voices below. Who ever hit the
bartender had hit him too hard, he was out cold and they were trying
to wake him. Sithus moved back to the room and slipped out the
window. Below there was one man watching the horses, Sithus nudged
the man with his staff, as he looked up the Sithus jabbed him in the
chin spinning him to the ground. Sithus dropped his pack down and
jumped from the ledge.
Sithus looked to the door of the tavern and saw no one, Sithus found
a horse to his liking and then he quickly went to the other horses
and cut the saddle strap. He hung his pack on the back of the horse
he had chosen and slowly made his way down the road. On the outskirts
of town Sithus looked back and could just make out the tavern, no one
had exited yet, he kicked the horse into a gallop.
This horse was not Lika but it was in good health, he kept up the
pace for a while and then brought it down to a walk, he was making
some headway now. Sithus knew she would not go through the mountains,
he had in hopes of making up time, even without a horse it should
have given him two days and yet she was still way ahead.
Sithus stopped near a stream and let the horse drink, he removed the
crest from the saddle and tossed it aside, no sense in causing
trouble. He checked the shoes on each hoove, fresh. Sithus let the
horse walk as he checked the road, now and then he spotted what he
was looking for.
Sithus climbed into the saddle and continued down the road, he was
making up time now. The entire day he could only think of her face,
the slight smile she had given him that day, that mocking smirk. As
it neared dark Sithus made his way off the road into the woods, he
found a suitable spot for camp and tied up horse. He made a fire and
removed the saddle from his newly acquired mount, he spread the
saddle blanket over the horse, tonight it would be cold.
Sithus awoke to a cold morning, he gathered his things and placed the
blanket and saddle on the horse and gave the horse an apple. Once
things were in there place Sithus climbed up and headed for the road.
If only she knew, she would have waited. Or would she have? Sithus
approached a small village and saw smoke, too much smoke. He spurred
the horse forward into the village. A cart of hay burned at the edge
of town, a small building was a smoldering ruin. Sithus slowed down
and surveyed the damage, several bodies were in the street. He heard
weeping and cries, no one he could help here, he rode on.
Sithus was angry with himself, he should have gone with her. After a
long ride Sithus stopped at the edge of a field to stretch and let
the horse eat, he ate as well. Sithus shifted the pack on the saddle
and secured it better, he headed down the road in the direction of
his quarry. As Sithus road along he noticed the change in the
countryside, less hilly and flatter, he knew he was close. Up the
road he saw a cart surrounded by four men, the carts occupants were
shaking their heads and pointing farther up the road, the men moved
from the cart and into the woods, moments later they exited with
horses and continued on ahead of Sithus, he knew these were some of
the men he was looking for.
As it grew dark Sithus knew there was no hope of finding a town so he
moved off the road once again and made camp, he checked the horse,
removed the saddle and blanket as before and fed him. Sithus slowly
ate and wondered what she was doing now, probably the same only not
Early the next morning Sithus awoke to the shouts of men, he quickly
rose and readied the horse. He moved to the road and saw what had
awoken him, ahead lay a cart with two men sifting through the
contents, he road ahead. As he approached, Sithus saw one shift his
hand to his back, Sithus shifted his hand to the staff at his side."
The two looked at each other, "yes, we put a wineskin in here
"Well I hope you find it, good day." Sithus road ahead, the two men
continued their search of the cart. Sithus turned as he heard a
shout, one of the men held a wine skin over his head and the other
grabbed it from him and took a drink.
Hours later Sithus reached a town, he stopped in front of a shop and
tied up the horse. Going inside he saw what he was looking for
immediately. He paid for the leather straps and moved to the market,
there he purchased food for himself and for the horse. Near the end
of town he saw the tavern, there he should be able to get the
information he needed.
As he stepped inside most of the conversation stopped or fell to a
whisper, as he moved to he bar it started again but at a lesser
"What can I get you, ale?" the bartender asked.
"Nothing, I only have a question, did twenty or so men come through
here in the past couple of days?" the bartender looked around
nervously, as he saw no one was looking he shook his head yes. Sithus
could see he was nervous, "Did they have a cart or wagon with them?"
he again shook his head yes. "How many days?"
"Two" Sithus fished some dinars out and slid them across the bar and
headed for the door, as he left he saw two injured men, one had his
head bandaged and the other had his arm in a sling. He smiled as he
exited the bar, leave her alone for a day and things go to
Sithus knew that he could catch them now, it was only a matter of
time. As he left town he noticed two men from the tavern had followed
him and were readying horses, they would follow him and wait for him
to make camp, last mistake they would make.
As it grew near dark Sithus moved off the road, he knew the two men
following would do the same and try to catch him sleeping. Sithus
made camp but he did not remove the saddle from the horse, he did
hobble the horse just in case they tried to spook it, Lika he would
trust not to run far but this horse could go anywhere if spooked and
he needed it.
He heard one of the men snap a twig in the distance, he made no move
to let them think he heard, he went about laying out his bedroll and
laid down. They waited for about an hour, the fire began to die down
and he should be asleep. They moved with caution as to not make a
sound towards the sleeping form, they did not know who he was, only
that he was to be killed.
As the men moved closer they did not suspect that Sithus was awake.
As the one man neared, dagger drawn, Sithus flung the blanket off of
himself and onto his attacker. The other seeing this charged with
sword in hand, he received a handful of ash to the face, he howled in
Sithus took his sword and used the pommel to bring the struggling man
under the blanket down, he did the same to the man trying to clear
wood ash from his eyes. As he searched the two unconscious men he
found the map, it showed the route to be taken,"Fools" he thought to
As the two awoke they saw Sithus sitting across from them, holding
his sword. "You two made the classic mistake, you should have come
from different directions." Sithus stood and moved closer. "What is
Draco's plan? You tell me and you will live, don't and you
The two looked at each other and then at Sithus. "We won't tell you a
thing." Sithus looked at the man who spoke and jabbed a finger to his
neck, his head rolled back and he looked to his friend to be quite
He looked at Sithus and then at his compatriot, eye's open and rolled
back into his head. "I'll tell you" he stammered "Just don't kill
me." Sithus had picked the stronger of the two as his target, he knew
the other one would talk.
"So what is Draco's plan?" Sithus pushed the other mans body over
The man looked at his unconscious friend "He is going on to just
outside Thrace, he plans on selling it there." Sithus thought for a
moment, Draco was not thinking clearly.
Sithus looked at the whimpering man, "Your friend was a fool not to
talk." Sithus drew his dagger and cut the ropes binding him." Get out
of here, if I see you again you will end up like your pal here." The
man leaped up and ran blindly into the woods. Sithus laughed to
himself as he cut the others ropes, he would wake in a few hours with
a painful headache but he would be alive. Sithus packed his things
and unhobbled the horse and made for the road.
As he rode along he wondered to himself if she even knew that Draco
was in the area, there were no signs of her presence at the burning
village so he assumed she was ahead of him. She did not know what had
happened, if she did she would have said something to him, he was
sure of it.
As Sithus approached the outskirts of Thrace he checked the map from
the two men, he was at the turn to where Draco was encamped. He would
not go there yet. Sithus rode on to Thrace, he would find her and get
her to help recover it. He knew she would.
As Sithus entered town he thought about where the first place to look
might be. Looking around the first tavern he did not see anyone
injured laying outside so he moved on to the next. As he approached
the second he saw a familiar horse outside, a small black horse. He
tied up his mount next to it and patted it on the head, "Good girl
Thesis" He noticed a man holding his head as was about to enter "Must
have made a mistake."
As he entered he saw her standing next to the bar, he approached her
and grabbed her around the waist "How about a kiss deary" Xena spun
her elbow around at what she thought was the mans head but her
efforts did not result in the usual impact, instead she felt herself
being spun around.
She looked at who had just avoided her attack, expecting to see a
strange face she was surprised to see his face. "Sithus!" She kissed
him. "What are you doing here? Checking up on me?"
Sithus let go of her. "Where is Gabrielle?" Xena nodded toward the
door, Sithus turned to see Gabrielle just entering.
"She took Argo to the stable to get him some new shoes." Gabrielle
saw a man talking to Xena and wondered if this one would end up in
the street as well, she was stunned when he turned and she saw it was
Sithus. Gabrielle walked to him and hugged him,
" Hello Sithus, what are you doing here?"
" Oh I just traveled all this way to check up on you two."
Xena laughed "Yea right. So why are you really here?"
Sithus looked at her for a moment "Xena, Draco is making trouble
again, he has been up to no good. Remember that chest you and
Autolycus recovered for your friends, well Draco has it."
Xena nearly crushed her mug when she heard Dracos name, she had not
heard or seen of Draco in such a long time. "Draco will pay with his
life." She slammed the mug down and headed for the door.
Sithus did not try to stop her. Sithus looked to Gabrielle "Gabrielle
how long will it be until Argo's shoes are done?"
Gabrielle watched as Xena left and then back to Sithus. "Not for a
few hours, Why?"
Sithus headed for the door with Gabrielle in tow. "She won't go
without Argo and I know where Draco is."
Xena stood outside the tavern and looked around as a flood of rage
swept through her. Draco had not gotten on her bad side since his
attack on Gabrielle's village, now he had again and this time she
would not let him get away with a simple knock on the chin. She
turned as Sithus and Gabrielle exited the tavern. "Do you know where
he is Sithus?"
Sithus knew that look. "Yes I do, they are camped a few miles from
here off the main road."
She turned back to look out into the street. "When Argo is ready we
Sithus knew enough not to argue with her. "Fine, but lets not go in
She looked at him "I am never unprepared Sithus."
Sithus laughed and moved to an unfamiliar horse. "I never said you
were unprepared." He removed a wrapped object from a pack and walked
back to her and placed it in her hand. "I made another a while back
and hoped to give it to you on a special occasion. I guess this is as
good time as any."
Xena looked at him and then at what was in her hand and began
unwrapping the cloth that covered it. Gabrielle looked over her
shoulder. "This is like getting gifts at Soltice, even if it's not
your gift being unwrapped."
Xena removed the last layer and saw a familiar shape, a new chakram.
"You made another? I though you said it was not possible."
Sithus took it from her. "I didn't say it was easy. This one I made
after you left, I wanted to replace the one I given you." He placed
it back into her hands. "May it protect you always my
Xena looked at the new chakram and then to her friend and then to
Gabrielle, a tear forming in the corner of her eye. " Sithus you are
a dear friend, thank you." She hugged him.
Gabrielle took the chakram and looked it over, inscribed around the
edge was an inscription. "Evil will never prevail"
Sithus held out his hands and Gabrielle placed the chakram in it. "If
you don't mind Xena I will carry it when me go after
Xena looked at him and the chakram as she wiped a tear from the
corner of her eye. "Certainly Sithus." Gabrielle was amazed that Xena
was showing so much emotion, she had heard about what had gone one
when she had nearly died and had seen it when her son had been taken
but never like this.
Sithus, Xena and Gabrielle walked down the road outside of Thrace.
"We will make camp not far from here and wait."
Xena nodded to Sithus "Do you think we should go in at nightfall or
Gabrielle was stunned by her friend, she was asking Sithus about when
to attack instead of telling him. "I think first light would be best,
there is more of a chance that a few will be too drunk to
"Sounds good Sithus, now who is going the cooking?"
Sithus laughed, "I know you don't cook Xena and you don't like my
cooking so I guess that leaves it up to you Gabrielle."
Gabrielle looked at the two of them. "Why is it me who gets to do all
Sithus and Xena looked at each other and then at her, in unison they
After camp was set up Sithus moved into a stand of dead trees with
staff and blade in hand, Xena watched him. "Gabrielle want to see
something amazing? Go watch Sithus practice. I saw him do this before
and it was incredible." Gabrielle stood up and followed Sithus, Xena
called after her. "Wait, I will go with you."
The two of them went to where Sithus was, he was moving amongst
several dead trees with his staff and carefully touching each one
with the end of his staff. Xena whispered to Gabrielle "Now when he
puts on the blindfold watch him."
Gabrielle wondered out loud "Blindfold?"
Xena shushed her. "Just watch."
Sithus had pulled a long black cloth from his belt and placed it
around his head so that it covered his eyes. He began to attack the
trees as if they were attackers, he rolled and attacked, leaped one
way and delivered a blow, moving from one tree to the next with out
hesitation. Gabrielle watched in amazement at the fluid motion of his
attacks, her mouth dropped open as she watched him tumble through the
trees with staff in hand and then flip into the air.
Sithus landed his staff atop the ends of two broken trees and spun
around on his now horizontal staff and then off again onto the ground
below, he rolled to one side and dropped his staff and picked up his
sword from the ground.
Sithus began making his attacks again but now with his sword, again
delivering blows with precision. Xena moved from where she was
standing with Gabrielle. "Wait here." Xena drew her sword and moved
toward Sithus. Gabrielle knew she was not going to kill him but
wondered what she had in mind. As Sithus made an attack he sensed her
presence, he rolled again and came up with his sword and swung.
Gabrielle watched as the sword stopped within inches of Xena's
Sithus withdrew the blade and moved to a defensive posture, Xena
circled him. Gabrielle watched in utter amazement as Xena attacked
and Sithus blocked blow after blow, her attacks were met by counter
attacks. Even blindfolded he still met each and every attack and
returned them as well. Sithus backed off Xena and smiled. "Trying to
get the best of me?"
Xena laughed. "I haven't yet Sithus." Xena's smile left her face as
that slight sound entered her ear, she turned and caught the arrow
intended for her back. Sithus heard the arrow and something else as
well, he snatched the chakram from Xena's belt and threw
Gabrielle was to stunned to move as the chakram flew within inches of
her head. She turned and saw a man fall to the ground with the
chakram lodged in his chest. "Gabrielle come here!" Sithus ripped the
blindfold from his head. Gabrielle ran to the two of them as several
men closed around them.
Draco's men did not know who it was they had just attacked. They were
out scouting and had thought the three would be a bit of fun,
especially the two women. What they did not expect was for the
response they got from the two they had seen fighting. As the men
moved around them they readied for the attack. Sithus and Xena blades
in hand and Gabrielle with her staff.
As the first of the men moved in Xena snatched the blade from the
small of Gabrielle's back and threw it into the chest of one of them,
she then turned her attention to the others. Gabrielle dropped her
first opponent with a vicious blow to his legs and then to his back,
she spun her back to the next attacker and dropped low and tripped
him, swinging overhead she knocked him out.
Sithus waited as three men attacked from his front, left and right.
As the they neared Sithus ducked one attack and sliced ones leg wide
open and then carried the swing to the next man cutting his arm. The
third man's swing missed and hit one of his own, Sithus tripped him
and struck him in the head with the pommel of his sword.
Xena circled with her opponent and dodged his first attack, she
laughed and spun her blade in her hand. He attacked again and she
parried the blade away and cut him down as another ran her way, he
was met by a sword cut to his midsection. Gabrielle blocked two sword
blows and rammed her staff behind her into the face of the man behind
her and then spun the blade from the others hand and sent him
sprawling to the ground with a blow to the side.
The last attacker had made a bad move, he was now surrounded by the
three. He tossed his sword aside. "Please don't kill me." He went
down to his knees and doubled over, pulling a small blade from it's
hiding place he snapped up and threw it towards Gabrielle.
Xena and Sithus saw this but could do nothing. Gabrielle watched the
blade fly towards her as if it was barely moving, her mind made the
staff shift in front of the blade as it impacted her fighting staff.
Gabrielle looked at the blade and then the man "Ha, you will have to
do better than that." The man groaned and lay on the ground waiting
for the inevitable death he expected.
Sithus picked the man up by his arms as Xena stood in front of him.
Two quick jabs and the man felt strange. "In case you are wondering,
my beautiful friend here has just blocked the flow of blood to your
brain and unless she releases it you will die, so I suggest you
answer our questions."
The man struggled no more. "Does Draco know we are here?"
The man looked at Xena. "Who are you?"
"My name is Xena."
The man had heard the name. "I have heard you mentioned before but
Sithus looked at Xena. "He doesn't know either of us are here." Xena
nodded and jabbed the man once more. He slumped to the ground. "We
have the advantage Xena. He doesn't know you are here and he has
never met the likes of me."
Xena laughed. "He will regret it when he does I am sure."
Xena removed the knife from the dead mans body and cleaned it well
before giving it back to Gabrielle. Sithus did the same to Xena's
Sithus looked at the bodies "Hopefully Draco will think this bunch
went into town instead of being killed."
Xena looked at him and then the bodies. "How many men does he have
"Well he had twenty, now he has ten. Makes thing easier."
Gabrielle looked at the blade still stuck in her staff and at the man
laying on the ground who had attacked her, she wondered if all of her
training by Xena and by Sithus had begun to pay off.
Sithus moved to Gabrielle and pulled the blade from her staff. "Did
you teach her that Xena?"
Xena looked to her friend and then to Sithus. "I told her she needed
to see it with her whole body, she did it once before."
Sithus turned and threw the blade into the trunk of a tree. "Nice
balance, I think I'll keep it." Sithus retrieved the blade and found
the hidden sheath on the unconscious man. "You did well Gabrielle,
the Amazons would be proud of you. We should go see them."
Gabrielle looked at Sithus and then to Xena. "Did we have any other
Xena thought for a second. "No, not really. I suppose the Queen
should see her subjects once in a while." Xena and Gabrielle
Sithus was puzzled. "Who is the Queen?" Gabrielle looked to Sithus
and saw his confusion. "I didn't want to kill a Centaur so I
challenged Queen Melosa to royal challenge and chose Xena as my
champion. She won and became Queen."
Sithus rose an eyebrow and then bowed to Xena. "My humble apologies
Xena tapped him on the head with her sword. "Get up or I will really
hit you." Sithus rose with a smile.
As the three set around the fire they spoke of various adventures
from the years past. Xena spoke of Prometheus and meeting Death
herself. Sithus only of his various travels to places far away.
Gabrielle marveled at his knowledge of these places and remembered as
much as she could. Stories of things she had never seen or heard of
make a Bards job interesting. They all slept soundly without a worry,
Gabrielle especially not fearing a thing due to her present
Sithus awoke almost the same time as Xena did, she looked at him and
then to Gabrielle. They both nudged her "Wake up Gabrielle."
Gabrielle awoke with a start and sat up.
Rubbing her eyes she looked at the two of them. "Did you both have to
do that? I can't get a decent nights sleep around you two."
Xena laughed. "That never stopped you before. Come on it's time to
Gabrielle looked at her "Time to punch faces."
Sithus smiled. "Punch faces, I like it."
As the three rode nearer to Draco's camp Sithus gave Gabrielle a
warning. "Stay away from Draco Gabrielle. Xena or I will take care of
Xena shot Sithus a look. "He's mine Sithus. I should have done this
before and I didn't." Xena looked away and thought of what she had
done to Callisto and herself by not saving her. Even if Callisto had
continued on her path Xena would not have the extra guilt she had now
but she would not let that happen with Draco, if was going to die it
would be in a far fight.
Sithus saw the serious look in Xena's eyes. "Hey if you want him you
got him, but don't worry about your back. Gabrielle and I will have
it covered." Xena did not look at him, she knew to trust him and
Gabrielle with her life. She looked at Gabrielle and smiled, the
little girl she once knew was now a capable women who could take care
of herself. She hoped she never lost her as a friend.
They tied their horses up a fair distance from the camp and moved
towards it. As they approached they spotted several sentries who were
sleeping at their posts. Xena thought to when she was in her dark
days and the punishment they would have received for falling asleep
while on watch. Draco must be slipping for not keeping his men on
The three of them moved to a nearby spot. "Sithus you take those two
and I'll take the other two."
Sithus nodded to Xena. "That leaves only six men and Draco in the
rest of the camp."
Gabrielle watched as the two moved away, she watched the main camp
for any signs of movement. Xena crept up to the first of the guards.
She grabbed him by the face and slammed his head into the tree he was
leaning against. Grabbing ahold of his clothing she lowered the body
to the ground to avoid making noise and moved to the next sleeping
Sithus moved to his quarry and faced him, the man awoke and Sithus's
hands shot forward delivering a quick strike that knocked him cold.
He let the body slump down as he moved to the next one.
Xena saw the next man stir a bit, she looked back at Gabrielle and
motioned her to move to her right. Gabrielle saw Xena motion and she
did without hesitation.
The guard saw the girl walking toward her and smiled. An interesting
thing to see in the woods, he did not challenge her. As Gabrielle
approached the guard she smiled. "Good morning." The guard smiled
back. "Good morning. Can I do anything for you?"
"Yes you can." The guard spun to face the voice behind him and saw a
fist rushing up to meet his face.
Gabrielle dropped her staff and caught the falling man as best she
could. The man fell on top of her and knocked her to the ground.
Rolling the body off of the top of her she stood and grabbed her
staff. "Don't do that Xena."
She smiled. "Sorry."
Sithus approached the next guard from behind and made his attack, a
quick jab with his fingers and the man slumped to the ground. Sithus
moved to Xena and Gabrielle.
As they approached the camp Xena grabbed Sithus by the arm. "Shall we
Sithus thought for a moment. "You mean walk into the middle of his
camp and ask him to surrender?"
Xena smiled. "Exactly."
Sithus smiled back. "Sure, why not." They walked ahead.
Once in the middle of camp Xena spoke in a loud voice. "Draco! Draco
wake up." Draco awoke with a start, someone calling his voice and it
was not one of his men. He arose and grabbed his sword.
As Draco pushed the flap of his tent aside he saw her. What did she
want. "Xena, what can I do for you."
Xena looked at him with an icy stare. "You can surrender and return
that which does not belong to you."
Draco looked at her and the other two as the remainder of his men
exited the tents. He remembered the other women from before but the
man standing there he had never seen. "What are you talking about
Xena moved a bit closer as Draco's men surrounded them. "You took a
chest from some friend of mine, I want it."
Draco laughed. "I am going to sell what ever it is worth and you will
die trying to get it." Draco raised his sword. "Kill them, kill them
Draco was amused that Xena would try to come into his camp with only
herself and the other two, Xena herself was a formidable opponent but
the others were no match for her men. He attacked as did the
Xena moved to face Draco as the others closed on Gabrielle and
Xena laughed at Draco. "You should have surrendered Draco, you and
your men would have lived longer."
Draco laughed back. "You are the only formidable opponent here Xena.
Those two are no match for my men." Xena smiled. "That man you see,
he was my teacher. He also has been working with Gabrielle, you are
in for more than you expected."
The smile left Draco's face when he heard her speak. If that man
taught Xena and Gabrielle than he was in for a decent fight,
something he had not had in a long time.
A man rushed at Gabrielle with sword in hand, Gabrielle dropped low
and extended her staff out in front of her and tripped him. As he hit
the ground she kicked him in the face. She turned her attention to
the next man who was carrying a staff. The man spun his staff as
Gabrielle waited for him to make the first move. He attacked her with
a vengeance, trying to make it a quick defeat so he could move on to
another yet she met each of his attacks with ease. He grew frustrated
at his lack of progress and made a crucial mistake, he got
As he rushed her again Gabrielle dodged the attempt and struck him in
the back as he passed. As he turned to face her again he did not see
her. Gabrielle tapped him on the shoulder from behind. "I'm behind
you." He turned and was stuck in the face by her staff. He collapsed
in a heap.
Sithus threw the new chakram into the chest of an oncoming opponent
and then drew the dagger from Draco's man and threw that as well.
With the one dead and the other with a dagger in his leg that left
only two men and Draco to face, the odds were improving.
As one man went to Draco the other approached Sithus. He made no
fancy moves, he only held his blade and waited. Sithus could tell the
man either had some skill or was completely afraid. The two of them
circled, neither one making a move.
Sithus surmised he had skill and was waiting for him to move so he
did. As Sithus charged the man moved, swing his blade as Sithus
passed he smiled as he felt he blade impact, he turned to face what
he assumed to be a body and was stunned to see Sithus standing there
holding a bloody sword. The color ran from his face as he felt the
pain in his midsection, he looked down to see is tunic stained a
bright crimson and collapsed in a heap.
As Xena moved with Draco the last man drew a dagger and threw it as
Xena engaged Draco. Without time to react Xena waited for the impact
but it never came. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a hand reach
out and snatch the blade from the air, Gabrielle's hand.
Gabrielle looked at the blade and tossed it away. "That is no way to
fight, come over here and I will show you."
She motioned the man forward while leaning on her staff. The man
looked at her and drew his sword. As he approached she spoke. "You
are not holding your sword right." He looked down and then up and
received a blow to his nose from her staff. "I'm sorry, did I do
that?" He charged and she spun out of his way. He turned to face her
again, she was still standing there leaning on her staff. He charged
again with his sword held over his head. Gabrielle jabbed her staff
up and out and knocked the blade from his hands and then brought the
other end up quickly between the mans legs. He slumped to the ground
in a great deal of pain.
Xena fought with Draco as if she was facing Ares himself, dodging
blows and delivering them. She felt his urge to kill her. They locked
blades and stood face to face. "It will be a shame to kill you Xena,
I always liked you so much."
She smiled at him. "Don't get your hopes up."
As the two separated Sithus and Gabrielle moved to give them space.
Draco kicked and sent Xena's blade from her hand, Gabrielle stuck her
staff under a nearby sword and flipped it into the air. Xena caught
the blade as Draco attacked. Using her chakram and the sword she
trapped Draco's blade and kicked him in the side once, twice, three
times until he fell in a heap. Xena stepped on his hand until he
released the sword from his grasp.
Draco looked up as the three of them stood over him. "So go ahead
Xena, Take your revenge."
Xena only looked at him. "I have no intention of killing you Draco,
not this time. I want you to try and start anew, turn your life into
Draco looked at her and the others. "I can't do that Xena. I told you
before that I tried."
Xena smiled. "You better try harder this time or the next time we
meet you probably will end up dead."
Xena removed her foot from his hand and headed for Draco's tent.
Inside sitting on a rug was a large chest. Xena looked at the words
inscribed on the top, the same as before.
Sithus and Gabrielle moved inside as well. "So shall we load this up?
We have a long journey back."
Xena looked over her shoulder at him. "Yes we do. First we need to
get this back and then to go see the Amazons."
Sithus went outside and looked around, he turned and went back into
the tent. "Draco is gone."
Xena smiled. "Well I hope he changes. I don't want to have to kill
him." Sithus nodded and helped Xena carry the chest
As they made there way down the road with the chest in the wagon
Sithus looked to Xena. "Remember that fellow you and Gabrielle spoke
Xena's eyes rolled. "You mean Joxer!"
Sithus nodded. "That's the one. He showed up the day you left from
Gabrielle looked at Sithus. "I told you he was a clown didn't
Sithus laughed. "He was a bit funny but not anymore. Do you know who
his family is? He comes from a long line of warlords you know. Only
problem is that he does not have a black heart.
Xena thought of Joker's many attempts at helping her and Gabrielle
and his attempt at protecting Argo when he thought she was Callisto.
"He means well but he can't fight."
"Well he couldn't fight before but he can now."
Gabrielle looked puzzled. "What do you mean Sithus?" Sithus smiled.
"Well lets just say that the next time you see him you won't hear him
coming. He has a new attitude and less armor."
Xena looked at him in amazement. "No more helmet?"
Sithus shook his head. "No more helmet and much less armor to get in
Xena laughed. " You did it didn't you."
Sithus nodded. "I did."
Gabrielle was confused. "Did what?"
Xena put her hand on her dear friend shoulder. "Sithus trained
Gabrielle's eyes light up. "You trained him? Like you did with me?"
Sithus nodded. "I did, was not as easy as your training, had to start
from the beginning but he is much better now then he ever was before.
If you ever need a dagger thrown have him do it, he has a knack for
it. He is very good at throwing blades." Xena smiled and shook her
head. She no longer worried about her safety or Gabrielle's when
Joxer attempted to help.
As they headed for Amphipolis Sithus turned to Gabrielle. "So Bard
tell us a story."
Xena looked at her. "Yes Bard tell us one of your stories."
Gabrielle thought for a moment. "There once was a man with many
skills and a beautiful women who wished to learn..."
Sithus looked at the two of them. "I like it already."
Xena looked at Sithus. "As do I."
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