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Chapters 1 to 6
by: Dawn L. N. Dutra
"Mother, I promised to meet Xena in two days. If I'm going to make it, I have to leave tomorrow." Gabrielle was trying to convince her mother that it was really time for her to get back to her travels with Xena.
"I don't know why you insist on traveling with that woman, she can't be teaching you anything good. You should be here and married, not following Xena around like a puppy. And why didn't she come with you, does she think she is too good for some lowly farmers?"
"No, I told her it would be better if she didn't come with me to visit, considering how father despises her. I didn't want any trouble on my visit home, so Xena went to spend some time with her family in Amphipolis. We agreed to meet back at the crossroads in two weeks. Mom, I really have to be going, I don't want to be late. Xena worries if I'm not on time."
"Your not going anywhere to meet that murdering bitch!" Gabrielle's father had just walked in and heard the last part of the conversation.
"Father, please!" Gabrielle says, rising to her feet.
"You will not leave this house again. You are still my daughter and you will listen to me." he yells.
Gabrielle comes to stand in front of her father, "I am not a little girl anymore and I will do as I want! You can't make me stay and do as you wish anymore. I am going to go meet Xena and there is nothing more to discuss about this!" she turns around and starts to walk away from him.
Gabrielle's father grabs her by the arms and pulls her towards him. "You will listen to me." He slaps her across the face, "Or by the Gods, I will lock you up until you come to your senses."
"ENOUGH!! Let her go husband, I will not let you strike out at her again." She is standing up now, trying to get between Gabrielle and her father.
"I am her father and she will listen to me, or I will beat her until she does listen." He raises his fist again to strike Gabrielle.
"You are NOT her father. Now let her go." Gabrielle's mother is now standing behind Gabrielle and pulling Gabrielle towards her. Gabrielle stands in shocked silence. Her father is standing there with a complete look of shock on his face. "I AM NOT HER FATHER??"
"No, you are not. Just look at her and then look at Lila. They look nothing alike. She doesn't even look like you. I am sorry, but it is the truth." Gabrielle's mother puts her hand on his arm, but he pulls away and leaves the house.
During this whole conversation, Gabrielle has stood in silent surprise. She goes to sit down and looks up at her mother. "Why? Why, haven't you ever told me. If he isn't my father, than who is?"
"Come, sit down, and I will try to explain everything to you. I didn't want you to find out this way, but what has happened, has happened." she pulls a chair over to the table. Gabrielle also pulls a chair over to the table and looks at this woman who she thought she knew so well.
"When I was your age I was as beautiful as you. I could have any man that I wanted, but I decided to marry the man my father chose for me. It was not a marriage of love, it was a marriage of convenience. Anyway, one day, the geese got loose from their pen and ran into the forest. I ran to catch them and in the process, ran into a dark man with the most compelling eyes I had ever seen. We sat and talked for hours and he seemed to really enjoy talking to me. Well, one thing led to another and we made love. Afterwards, he laughed at me and said that he had just sown the seed to my family's destruction. I didn't know what he meant by that, so I just went home and tried to be the best wife I could be. Soon, I found out I was pregnant. I wasn't sure if it was the dark stranger's or your father's child, until after you were born. Late one night, the man appeared beside your crib and left a box. He said that only his daughter could open the box. All others who tried would die. I hid the box and later took it to your uncle's house. I'm sorry, Gabrielle, I don't even know the name of your real father." She said, sitting there crying into her hands. Gabrielle during this whole time, just sat there, too confused and shocked to say much. She gets up and goes over to her mother. "Mother, I forgive you. It does explain alot though. I never felt that close to him, and it does explain the difference between me and Lila. I really think he knew somehow, that is why he always treated me different than Lila. I am going to uncle's house and look at the box. I'll be back soon. I love you." She kisses her mother and hugs her, then leaves.
"Gabrielle, its good of you to come visit. It's been so long." Gabrielle's uncle says. "Come in and sit down. So, what do I owe this pleasant visit to?"
"I came to get the box Mother gave you years ago." Gabrielle tells her uncle, while taking a seat. Her uncle looks down at his hands and then back at Gabrielle. "So, she finally told you? Does he know yet?"
"Yes, mother told him the same time she told me. You always knew?"
"Yes, she needed someone to confide in and I am her brother. She was really upset about the whole thing. I told her never to tell him. Only bad could come out of it." he says, looking extremely worried.
"Uncle, where is the box? I want to see it, maybe it will give me a clue as to who my real father is."
"Gabrielle, please, just let it go. I have this feeling that only bad can come from this. "
"Please, I have to know. Where is the box?"
"Wait here, I'll go get it, just promise me to think long and hard about this before you open the box." he says, leaving the room. He comes back in a few minutes later with the box. It is covered with a cloth. He hands it to Gabrielle and then sits down. Gabrielle takes the cloth off the box and the box is covered with strange symbols and decorations. She can not make out any writing or familiar details.
"Thank you. I am going to go for a walk. If Mother asks, I will be on the hill. I'll be back soon." She walks over and hugs and kisses her uncle.
" Please be careful, Gabrielle."
Gabrielle walks to her hill. She sits down on a log and puts the box down between her feet. She just looks at it. "What are you?" she whispers to the box. She thinks back of the man she has always called father. She remembers some good times when he was good to her. But the memories she remembers most is of a father that would get mad and upset at her for the littlest mistakes. Granted, he never really hit her that much, but he also wasn't a very loving father. She has no idea how long she had been sitting there, when Lila comes running up the hill, screaming her name. "GABRIELLE, GABRIELLE, come quick. He's going to kill her!" Lila stops in front of Gabrielle and leans over, trying to catch her breath.
"What are you talking about? Whose going to kill who?" Gabrielle shouts, while grabbing Lila by the arms and pulling her up.
"Father. He came home from the tavern drunk. He started yelling at mother and calling her horrible names. Then he grabbed her and started slapping her. Please, come quick, I'm afraid he is going to really hurt her." Lila was almost in tears and shaking. She is pulling Gabrielle by the arm to get her to hurry up.
"Okay, lets go, but let me handle it." Gabrielle says. She picks up the box and starts running after Lila. They run into the village and there is a crowd standing around outside their house. "This isn't a good sign." Gabrielle thinks to herself. "Just stay calm, talking is your best asset. Just talk to him and calm him down and everything will work out for the best."
Lila has already made it through the crowd, but Gabrielle is not that far behind her. She breaks through the crowd to see her mother on the ground, bleeding badly and seemingly unconscious. Lila has gone over to their mother and is kneeling beside her, crying. She looks up and sees her father. She stands up and runs towards him. Just as she nears him, he swings. The blow sends Lila into the side of the house. Lila crumbles to the ground, her neck at an impossible angle.
"LILA, NO!!" Gabrielle screams as she runs to her sister's body. "NO, please, this isn't real." She kneels beside Lila and checks to see if she is breathing. "Please, breath Lila, don't leave me." But its to no avail. Lila is dead. During this time, her father has gone into the house and has come back out with the fire poker.
"This is all your fault!" he screams at Gabrielle. He is standing there, with the poker in his hand.
Gabrielle slowly stands and turns to face the man she has always called father. She steps to move closer to him and trips over the box. It has broken open and inside lay the most beautiful sword she has ever seen. She bends over and picks up the sword. As her hand closes around the hilt of the sword she feels a warmth come over her. With the warmth is strength and rage. But she is not scared, she welcomes it. It feels so good. Like an old friend returning after a long absence. In that moment, she also has the answer to her question of who her real father is.
"Ares! Ares is my father." she states while standing there with his gift in her hand. She looks over and sees her mother. Her uncle is cradling her in his arms and crying. She knows without asking that her mother is dead. The rage burns. She looks back at her dear little sister also dead. The rage burns hotter. She slowly turns and sees the man who has killed the two most dear people in her life. The rage boils. She advances towards him. "This is my fault?" she says quietly. "No, this is your doing. And now, little man, you will pay for this crime." She says with a smile on her face.
"Please, I don't know what happened. I am so sorry." he pleads, while dropping the poker and backing away from this girl who was his oldest daughter, until today. He does not recognize her. Her eyes are not the blue-green they usually are. They are dark, almost black. She is smiling at him and it sends chills down his back. "Please, I am not armed. I will give up and stand trial for these crimes. Please, just don't hurt me." he pleads and drops to his knees in front of her.
"Your not armed? Was mother armed? Was Lila armed? NO!! And you still killed them." she says calmly as she raises the sword above her head with two hands. "You have stood trial and I find you GUILTY!" she yells as the swords plunges down, into the chest of the man she called father.
Gabrielle looks at her sword sticking out of his chest. She feels no guilt. In fact she feels great! What a power rush! To have control over another person's life like that. It feels so good. She slowly pulls the sword out of his chest and wipes the blood off on his shirt.
She turns around and starts walking. She doesn't know where she is walking, she just wants to get away from here. She has no idea how long she has walked when all of a sudden she realizes she is not alone. She brings her sword up as she turns to see who is following her.
"Ares. What do you want?" She says while still holding her sword in front of her body.
"I came to help you."
"I think you have done quite enough. Just leave me alone." Gabrielle yelled at Ares.
"I am your father, Gabrielle. You can't deny that. Right now you are confused. You have many new feelings coursing through you and I can help you understand them. Please, I want to help you. You are my daughter." Ares says with a concerned, loving look on his face. "Come with me and I will help you through this terrible time in your life. Just take my hand." He says, holding out his hand towards Gabrielle. Gabrielle just stands there looking at him. She slowly brings the sword down until it is at her side. She does not know why, but she really believes what Ares is telling her. "He is my father", she thinks to herself. She slowly raises her hand and grasps his hand. As she does, Ares smiles down at her and they disappear.
"Where is she? She knows we were supposed to meet here today. I really hate when she is late!", Xena is pacing back and forth and ranting. She stops in front of Argo and looks at her, "Why can't she ever be on time?" Argo just snorts back at Xena. "Your a lot of help." Xena says to Argo, as she starts her pacing again. "Okay, I'll give her another hour and then I'm going to go get her."
An hour later, after much more pacing and ranting, Xena vaults into Argo's saddle and heads towards Poteidaia. She is beyond being mad. Now she is starting to worry. "Something must have come up. Maybe someone is sick, maybe she started off late. I'll probably meet her on the path", Xena thinks to herself as she and Argo gallop towards Gabrielle's hometown. Xena arrives in Poteidaia late in the afternoon. As she rides in, people are refusing to make eye contact with her. "Warm welcome as always", she says to herself. But she is getting an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. She rides up to Gabrielle's parents house and dismounts. She goes up to the door and knocks. There is no answer. She turns around to ask anyone if they know where Gabrielle is, but there is no one on the streets. Xena is really starting to get a sick feeling about this. She decides to go to Gabrielle's father's store. On the way there, Gabrielle's uncle comes out of his house and approaches Xena cautiously.
"Xena?", he says, stopping in front of the warrior princess.
"Yes, I'm Xena. Who are you?" Xena answers.
"I am Gabrielle's uncle."
"Great, where is Gabrielle. We were supposed to meet today and she didn't show up, so I came here to find her."
"Please, come into my house. I need to talk to you", he says, turning towards his house. He holds the door open for Xena. Xena stands there for a moment. She really is not liking this. Something is definitely wrong. She moves towards the house and goes inside. Gabrielle's uncle follows her in.
"Please, sit down. May I get you something to drink?", he says, while moving into the house.
"No, but I want to know what is going on and I want to know now.", Xena says, tired of the games.
"I don't know how to tell you this. So, I'm just going to tell you. Gabrielle is not here. Two days ago, her father got extremely mad and killed her mother and Lila. Gabrielle saw this, and in turn, Gabrielle killed her father." he blurts out. Xena has turned white and sits down on a chair. She can not believe what his man has just told her. Gabrielle, killing her father? Her father, killing her mother and Lila? "Why? Why was her father so mad?" Xena whispers.
"He had just found out that Gabrielle was not really his daughter. He went to the tavern and returned to confront Gabrielle's mother. He was in a rage and just struck out. Lila, poor Lila, ran up to him and he knocked her into the side of the house. Her neck was broken." he explains to Xena.
"Gabrielle killed him?" Xena says quietly, looking at him for explanation.
"Yes, she was in shock that he was not her father too. I guess seeing her mother dying and her little sister killed, she just lost it."
"How? How did she kill him?" Xena asks.
Gabrielle's uncle starts to shift his feet. He does not want to tell her this part, but if he doesn't, someone will. "She used a sword.", he says quietly.
"A SWORD!!!" Xena is now standing up and looking at him like he is out of his mind. "Gabrielle killed her father with a sword? Where did she get this sword? What aren't you telling me?", she starts to advance towards him, eyes flashing with barely controlled rage.
"Yes, there is more to this, but I think it is Gabrielle's story to tell," he tries to convince Xena.
"Alright. I will left you off from telling me the whole story. One last question though. How was Gabrielle when she left here and in what direction did she go?
"She was okay physically. But mentally, she was not well. She took a step closer to the dark side of herself when she killed her father. Please be careful. She is not the innocent Gabrielle you left 2 weeks ago. When Gabrielle left here, she went west."
"Thank you for your help," Xena turns to leave.
"Wait," Gabrielle's uncle steps in front of Xena and looks at her. "When you find her, please tell her that she has a home here with me, if she wants it. I do not hold her responsible for what happened here."
"I will, thank you again," Xena leaves. Once outside, Xena walks back to Argo and just leans against Argo for a minute. "Gabrielle is in trouble. We have to get her out of it," she whispers to Argo. Argo, sensing her owner's distress turns her head and nuzzles Xena's neck. "Lets go."
Xena has been riding for several days. "There is no way she could have walked this far. Where is she? It's like she just disappeared." she mumbles to herself, bring Argo to a stop. She jumps off and looks at the ground. "No footprints. Where is she?" Panic is starting to surface in Xena and she really does not like that feeling. "Okay, think Xena, think. If I was Gabrielle, where would I go? Back to the Amazons? To Athens? Where?" Xena sits down on a fallen tree and puts her head in her hands.
"Xena. I know where Gabrielle is," comes a whispery voice.
Xena jumps up and pulls her sword. She can not believe someone has just walked up to her and she did not hear or sense them.
"Whose there? Show yourself. NOW!" Xena hears a noise behind her and turns to see a woman in a Amazon battle dress standing there. She is taller than Xena and has blond hair.
"Artemis. What do you want? You know I don't like dealing with Gods," Xena says, sheathing her sword.
"I came to help you. I know where Gabrielle is." Artemis walks over to Xena and then sits down on the tree.
"Where? Where is she?"
"She is with Ares on Mount Olympus."
"ARES!! I should have known he was up to something. He kidnapped Gabrielle! He has gone too far this time," Xena ranted.
"No Xena, he did not kidnap Gabrielle. She went with him willingly."
"Because Gabrielle is confused right now and he offered her something that she could not turn down."
"And what is that?" Xena is standing in front of Artemis now, her hands flexing open and closed.
"Xena, sit down and calm down. You need to keep a clear head right now. Gabrielle needs you to be calm and collected, not acting like a raving warlord." Artemis scolds.
Xena sits down and takes several deep, cleansing breaths. She finally opens her eyes and looks at Artemis expectantly. "What did Ares offer Gabrielle?"
"He offered Gabrielle a chance to get to know her real father." she states quietly.
"He knows who her real father is? But then why is she with Ares?" Xena looks at Artemis confused.
Artemis looks back at Xena, "Because Ares is Gabrielle's real father."
Xena sits there is stunned silence for several moments, trying to comprehend what Artemis has just said. Finally, she looks up. "How can I see her?"
To Be Continued...