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To Trap A God.
"Xena, I still don't understand why we have to get there so quickly."
Xena led Argo along, not pausing to answer Gabrielle. The evening was
quickly approaching, and she wanted to squeeze as many miles from the
dimming light as possible.
"Gabrielle, just keep up, please." Gabrielle quickened her step, then
grabbed Xena's arm and forcibly turned her.
"Tell me what's so important."
Xena took a deep breath, then turned, facing the road ahead.
"I just have to get there Gabrielle." Xena responded.
"I don't understand." replied Gabrielle. Xena was being very mysterious
and the bard didn't understand why. "Where are we going anyway, Xena?
You still haven't told me. You know, it might be nice, if, once in a
while, you told me where we were headed."
Without responding, Xena turned and looked at her friend with a smirk.
She turned to Argo and made a noise to coax her on.
"Come on girl."
Xena and Gabrielle kept walking without a word for what seemed like an
eternity. Xena stopped dead in her tracks. Gabrielle, knowing that Xena
sensed something was amiss, remained silent. This was not particularly
an easy task for such an outspoken woman. Xena gave Gabrielle a look
that said, "Get your staff ready". It was a look that she had become
very familiar with.
"Stay focussed." Gabrielle kept saying to herself.
Xena drew her sword from its sheath and stood ready. She released Argo's
reins and instructed the horse to remain where she was. Argo obeyed.
"What's that funny smell, Xena?"
"By the Gods, it's too late!" yelled the warrior, horrified."We have
arrived too late."She drooped her head and clinched her fists.
By now they could see the edge of town. There was smoke rising from every
building. The town was ablaze. Xena whistled for Argo. As the horse
rushed past her she grabbed the saddle horn and mounted the horse with
the skill of an acrobat. It was one of Xena's many skills. Gabrielle was
still amazed every time she saw her execute the manoeuvre.
Riding into the town, Xena realized that all the homes and barns were on
fire with the exception of one. She rushed up to the untouched barn and
began to yell." Why? Why have you done this? " Xena was yelling
hysterically. Tears flowed from her eyes. She dismounted Argo and
started pounding the door of the barn. "Open this door you coward! Open
Gabrielle arrived in the town and looked around at all the burning homes. She
made an observation that there did not seem to be any life in this
village. It was a total mystery to her. She realized that these buildings
were on fire and no one was there to put out the flames. There were no
people, alive or dead. She heard the cries of the warrior.
Xena sat on the ground outside the door of the building. Gabrielle had
not seen Xena this helpless since having to revive her with ambrosia,
food of the gods. As usual, Xena had placed her life in harm's way for
the life of another. That was one time Xena lost the battle and her life. It had
been up to Autolycus and Gabrielle to retrieve the ambrosia to regain Xena's life.
They had succeeded.
Gabrielle approached her friend with caution. Gabrielle knew that by
Xena's reaction, caution was definitely called for. She placed her hand
on her friends shoulder.
"Come on Xena. There is nothing we can do here."
Gabrielle's voice was soothing to Xena's tortured mind, but it did not
change the fact that this village had burned to the ground. Xena blamed
herself for this tragedy. If she had left Gabrielle with the Amazons after
vanquishing Valance and Callisto, things might have been different. She
stood with tears in her eyes. Slowly she turned and looked at the young
Amazon Queen. It suddenly became clear what she must do. She would have
to insist that Gabrielle return to the Amazons. She would have to ride
alone once again. This was a thought that Xena had pushed from her mind
for so long. Her love for Gabrielle had become too overpowering for her
to contain. She did not want to see Gabrielle hurt anymore than she had
"Gabrielle," Xena said softly. "You must return to the Amazon village"
"What? No way, Xena. My place is here with you." replied Gabrielle
"You must, it means the difference between your life and death."
"Huh? I don't get it Xena."
"Just Go! Go to the Amazons. You'll be safe there. I have to deal with
this ALONE." Xena was adamant. "You can't be with me!"
Tears began to well up in Gabrielle's eyes. She realized that Xena was
serious about this. There was no changing her mind. She had fought so
hard to get Xena back and now she was losing her. Angrily Xena pushed
her friend to the ground. "I don't want you around me. OK?" she yelled,
"Not right now, it could be dangerous for you."
Stunned, Gabrielle pulled herself to her feet. "Fine then, I'll go."
She turned and started to walk away from Xena. She felt hurt. She hoped
that Xena knew what she was doing.
"Wait." Xena said softly.
Gabrielle stopped and turned to face Xena, hoping that Xena had changed
"Travel safe. Take Argo, please," she requested.
"What? Why? I don't get it Xena. Why do you want me to take Argo?"
"Just do it!" Xena commanded. With that she turned and ran full force
toward the barn. Gabrielle stood and watched in amazement as she saw her
friend disappear into the doors. They had not opened, they had just
swallowed Xena up. She ran over to the barn and pounded on the doors.
They were solid.
"Go to the Amazons, Gabrielle, be safe. Please!" echoed Xena's voice.
Heeding Xena's request, Gabrielle turned and took the reins of Argo's
bridle and started to walk out of the town. She turned to look at the
village. It was gone. The burning houses, the barn, everything. It was
as if the village had never existed. Gabrielle began to cry. It was
almost more than she could bear. She had lost Xena to death and now she
had just come to the realization that she may be losing her once again
to this mysterious force.
Xena's eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness. She looked around the cave
that she now found herself in.
"You can't save her by sending her away Xena." the voice from the shadows
continued. "She has lost her blood innocence, thanks to you. Now she can
"Ares!" Xena replied. "Never! She did not kill Valasca. Valasca did not
die in the hall of ambrosia."
"I know that Xena, but the intent was genuine."
"No! It was me, I cut the rope, not Gabrielle."
"Well, technicalities Xena. It was her hand, not yours, that cut that
"You lied to me about this village, Ares, why?" Xena asked.
"I had to get you and the little one here." He continued. "She will make
the choice to join me, Xena." he announced.
"She's not here, Ares. I sent her away."
"Did you think she would actually go to the Amazons, Xena? She is still
"No, she can't be. Leave her alone Ares, don't you ever give up?"
Xena walked over to the shadow from where the voice of Ares was
"She has lost her blood innocence Xena. Now that she has, I can take her,
and she will be mine Xena, unlike you. Why must you always fight your
destiny. You live for the battle Xena. You relish it. You enjoy it. It
keeps you alive!"
Xena turned her face away from Ares who was now in close proximity to
"Leave her alone Ares, please." Xena's tone had changed from defiance
"No, Xena, I don't think I will. She will be mine alright. Willingly too."
Before Xena could respond she found herself lying on the ground just
outside where the village had been. It was no longer there. Slowly she
rose to her feet. She heard a familiar voice.
"No! No! No, Gabrielle. Oh, by the Gods you should not have come back
"What made you think for one minute that I was just gonna leave you
here to deal with Ares yourself?"
Xena looked at Gabrielle with a stunned expression on her face.
"How did you know it was Ares?"
Ares had visited Gabrielle in her dreams the night prior to them
arriving at this village. She had decided to keep this information
from Xena. This was not her usual practice, but knowing Xena's history
with Ares she felt it best not to mention it.
"He is part of my destiny too Xena, as he is part of yours."
Gabrielle placed her hand on Xena's shoulder to comfort her friend.
"We will fight this together Xena."
"You don't know what Ares is like, Gabrielle. He is a very persuasive
"I know that Xena. You fell for him once, but he can be beaten. I think
I know how."
"What, you? You know how to beat Ares? Xena was surprised at Gabrielle's
"Yes, I heard it in a story once."
"A Story!" Xena was annoyed now.
"Yes a story, one passed on from many generations of my family."
"OK, I'll bite. Continue." Xena said sarcastically.
"Hey, no need to be sarcastic, Xena. You want to hear about this or not?"
"Yes, sorry, continue."
"Well, it is said that only one thing can hold Ares captive."
"Yeah, what's that?"
"The eye of Hephaestos. Ares has to be tricked into going to the
catacombs where the eye is located."
"We need to get Ares to the catacombs. If we can do that, he will be out
of both our lives forever."
"According to the story, if a God is tricked into entering the catacombs,
they will be trapped there for all eternity. Or until that person or
a descendant of the person who was responsible for his capture, releases
them. When the eye is struck by a mortal it closes, trapping the God or
"Uh huh, and how do you propose we trick Ares into the catacombs,
assuming we can even find them."
"He wants me, Xena."Gabrielle's voice cracked.
"How did you know that, Gabrielle?"
" He came to me in a dream last night Xena. He wants me because I killed
"No, you didn't Gabrielle. She did not die in the hall of Ambrosia."
"There is no way she could have survived that fall Xena. She must have
nibbled on a piece of Ambrosia before she arrived in Amazionia. I cut
the rope that made here fall onto the spikes. She paused, tears welling
up in her eyes. "I killed her, Xena."
"Let's get this straight here and now, Gabrielle, you did not kill
Valasca. I was in control of your body. If she died it was my will that
was the cause, not yours. She could not have been dead, if she was how
could she have "nibbled" on the Ambrosia. She would not have been able
to place it in her mouth."
"One of her followers might have fed it to her, Xena."
"I am not going to get through to you on this am I?"
"No, Xena you're not. I would like nothing more than to believe that I
was not the cause of Valasca's death. It was my hand that cut the
rope not yours."
"Can we drop this for now Gabrielle. Look out!!!"
Xena withdrew her sword from its sheath and intercepted a blow headed
for Gabrielle's back. Five men had converged upon the two women. Xena
had been watching them as they were talking. She stood ready to do
battle and protect her friend at all costs. Gabrielle was momentarily
stunned but recovered quickly. Her staff ever at the ready came down
hard on the man Xena had intercepted. He hit the ground with a thud.
He vanished. Gabrielle looked at the ground where the man had been.
"Xena!" She called out.
Xena's swift sword plunged into the chest of one of the other fighters.
He vanished off the tip of her sword. Gabrielle swept the feet out from
under one of the remaining three and he vanished as well. In one fluid
motion, Xena took out the other two men who then vanished as well.
"What the.... where did they go...." Gabrielle was at a loss for words.
"Ares!!!" Xena yelled.
An echoing laugh could be heard as Gabrielle and Xena composed
"I will have her, Xena." announced Ares. "She will be mine."
"Go to Hade, Ares."
Gabrielle had heard the announcement made about her. She had learned by
now that the Gods acted in mysterious ways.
"Lets find those catacombs." Xena announced to Gabrielle.
"How can we be sure that Ares won't know our intent Xena?"
There was a glaring light in the road ahead of them. It was very bright.
Both Gabrielle and Xena were blinded by it. A voice came from within the
"Don't worry little one. I will make sure Ares is unaware of your
movements and your thoughts."
Gabrielle and Xena turned towards the voice."Who are you?" yelled Xena.
"I am Hephaestos" he answered
"Why are you helping us?" Inquired Xena
"Ares has caused mortals enough pain and suffering. The Gods can not do
anything against him. We need a mortal to eliminate him for all eternity.
He cannot be killed but as you know he can be trapped for all time. Go
Gabrielle and Xena watched as the light decapitated and the generous God
had disappeared completely. They exchanged no words between them.
The pair had travelled without saying a word to one another for quite
some time before Gabrielle broke the silence. Gabrielle was very happy
they had the opportunity to stop in her home town. They had retrieved
the tablet with a map of the catacombs. It was a family heirloom of
which Gabrielle had seen very few times. It was made of solid marble
and was quite heavy, for its size. It was about the size of a large
loaf of bread. It was rectangle in shape. The detail of the writing was
She had always been told that it was part of her families destiny that
someone in her family would one day be part of saving the world from a
very a petty God. Never in her wildest dreams had she figured she was
the one spoken about in this prophecy. She had the chance to spend time
with her sister and talk about Xena and her adventures. Lisle had wished
that she would remain home for a while and allow Xena to deal with Ares.
She knew her headstrong sister would never settle for village life when
there was an adventure to be had.
"I think its this way Xena" she pointed in the direction of a patch of
trees. "I am glad my Father still had this tablet."
"Hmmm, what...oh, yeah" mumbled Xena. "I wish you had stayed in Potadeia
like I wanted you to Gabrielle."
"You're not gonna get rid of me Xena, so stop trying. Ok?"
"You don't make this any easier Gabrielle. I don't want you to get
involved with Ares."
"What the...what's this Xena?" Gabrielle bent down and picked up a small
piece stone she had tripped over. "Look at this, Xena."
"Shhhh, Gabrielle. Be quiet. I hear...."
Xena quickly moved towards the bushes just in front of them. Quickly,
she grabbed at something hidden within the bush. Pulling the offending
object to within her vision she realized what she had a hold of.
"Autolycus!" She exclaimed. "What are you doing?"
"Ummm, Owwww, You can let go now Xena, Geeze. He answered. "Hey that's
mine!" He pointed to the piece of stone that was now in Gabrielle's hand.
"Where did you get this?" Xena grabbed the piece from Gabrielle's hand.
"Hey, I found that. It's mine. It just dropped out of my pack." He
grabbed the piece from Xena's hand.
"Wait Just one minute here!" Gabrielle announced as she grabbed the piece
back out of Autolycus' hand. This is on the map. Look Xena." Gabrielle
turned to Autolycus and asked"Where did you find this?"
Gabrielle placed the tablet on a flat rock to get a better look at the
map and the rock. On the map was a picture of a circular rock with a
the imprint of a hand in the centre of it.
"Look, see here?" Gabrielle was pointing to a part on the tablet that
showed an entry way. It had the shape of a sun with the shape of the
hand in the centre of it. There were two darker spots on the tablet
indicating that one was a ruby and one was an emerald. On it, it said
"Turn to the ruby then the emerald."
"What's this." Autolycus said Grabbing the tablet for a closer look.
"It's none of your concern." Xena said angrily. She yanked the tablet out
of his hand and handed it back to Gabrielle.
"Oh, but it is, Xena. You remember that favour you promised me? Well if
there is treasure involved here, I am calling in my favour. Besides,
I can show you where I found this."
"We are not going for treasure Autolycus. We have to lure Ares to the
catacombs." Replied Xena.
"Yes, Ares. He is after Gabrielle. I need to stop him." remarked Xena.
"No. We need to stop him." interjected Gabrielle.
Xena looked at Gabrielle with a concerned look on her face. Gabrielle
was annoyed at the fact that Xena was bent on taking Ares on herself.
Gabrielle knew that she was involved, like it or not. She had killed
Valasca in her mind and there was no changing her thoughts on the matter.
Ares would use this to his advantage.
"Wait a minute Xena, if he is after Gabrielle, why doesn't he just
take her?" inquired Autolycus. "What the Hades does he want with
"She has to consent to joining him first." answered Xena.
"He wants me because I have lost my blood innocence. I have killed and
now I am vulnerable to his charms." She paused. "I think we should camp
here. I'll get some firewood." She had been unable to continue the
conversation and had decided to make a graceful exit under the pretence
of looking for firewood. She turned and walked away from Xena and
"Wait Gabrielle." called Autolycus.
Gabrielle ignored his plea and continued on her quest to find some
"Forget it Autolycus, she won't listen. I have tried."
Gabrielle had returned to the camp with a large plie of wood. Enough to
keep the fire burning all night long. They had eaten dinner and were all
very tired. Gabrielle was lying on her bedroll trying to fall asleep.
Autolycus and Xena were sitting across the campfire talking to one
another. Sleep had finally come to Gabrielle. It was a restless sleep.
Xena and Autoclycus sat across the camp from where Gabrielle was sleeping.
"She seems tormented Xena." announced Autolycus.
"She is, she still believes she killed Valasca"
"She didn't though."
"You try telling her that. The thing is, Ares is using her guilt to get
"You want me to talk to her?"
"Not yet Autolycus, I know what I have to do." answered Xena.
"I have to convince her she DID kill Valasca. Its the only way." Tears
began to form in the warriors eyes. "She has to be convinced of her
guilt or Ares will see through our trap. Hephaestos has aided us in that
Ares does not know our plans for him. Once we are in the catacombs we
must lure him there. Gabrielle is the only one that can do that."
Autolycus stared at Xena. He was speechless."How could she ever do such
a thing to her best friend" he thought. He contemplated her decision
for a moment and came to the realization that she was right.
"That must have been very hard for you to decide Xena."
Xena was lost in thought as she stared at her sleeping friend. "I hope
she will forgive me" she thought.
"Xena?" he repeated.
"Umm. What? Oh yeah."
She put on her best cold front. She noticed that Gabrielle was tossing
and turning. She rose and went over to where the bard was sleeping.
"Hello Gabrielle." Announced a familiar voice. "Did you think you could
hide from me. I will get you Gabrielle. Ares will avenge me."
"Valasca!" yelled Gabrielle.
Gabrielle was startled as Xena placed her hand on Gabrielle's shoulder.
"Gabrielle, come on, your having a bad dream. Wake up now."
Gabrielle threw her arms around Xena's neck as if she might save her
from these continuing nightmares. Her eyes were streaming with tears.
She was trembling all over.
"Come on, settle down, it was a bad dream."
"Oh, Xena." Gabrielle managed to sputter out. "It was awful"
"We heard you calling out in your sleep."
"It was Valasca."
"We heard you call her name." She gently lowered Gabrielle back down
onto her bedroll and began to stand up. Gabrielle pulled her back down
so that she was now sitting beside her. Gabrielle had noticed the tears
in Xena's eyes but had decided not to mention it. Xena tried to comfort
her friend but knew what she must do in order to succeed against Ares.
"Valasca came to me in my dream Xena. She said that I could not run away
from my guilt."
"You can't Gabrielle." She answered as she cringed inside at her own
Xenias answer shocked Gabrielle. It was not the response she had
expected from the warrior.
"Huh?" Gasped Gabrielle.
Xena stood and walked over to the other side of the camp. "Try to get
back to sleep." she said "We have a long journey ahead tomorrow."
Autolycus looked at Xena with a new found compassion for her. He knew
that what she had just said to Gabrielle was not much but it spoke
volumes to Gabrielle.
Xena Gabrielle and Autolycus heard the cries of someone in trouble.
The voice sounded vaguely familiar. They ran towards the sound of the
cries. They came to a clearing and saw that one man was engaged in a
fierce fight with five men. He was trying to get away when he was hit
from behind and fell to the ground. One of the man was standing over
him about to pierce his chest with as word. The man on the ground put
his hands over his eyes believing that this action might change his
ultimate fate at the hands of this warrior.
He heard a familiar sound as the man standing over him had been struck
by Xena's chakram. He fell to the ground and vanished.
"Oh, by the gods not again." cried Gabrielle as she rushed into the
fight. Xena and Autolycus had already joined the fallen warrior on the
"Come on Joxer." Xena held her hand out for Joxer to assist him.
He grabbed her hand and rose to his feet. "What... where'd he go?"
The other four phantom warriors were dispatched quickly.
"Hi Joxer. You Ok?" asked Gabrielle
"Ummm. Oh yeah. I had them right where I wanted them."he replied.
"Yeah right." replied Gabrielle. "Right about to kill you." She rolled
her eyes and walked away from him.
"What are you doing here?" asked Xena "I thought you were in Thrace."
"Nope I heard someone was in need of a fierce warrior and decided to
lend them my many talents."
"Un huh." replied Xena.
"Xena look!" Gabrielle had sat down on a nearby log and had taken the
tablet out to see where they were. Xena walked over and sat beside
Gabrielle on the log. She was pointing to an area on the map. The map
showed an glen and just above it were some mountains.
"Look here. Doesn't that look like this place?" she remarked "I think we
are close. I think we go that way." she pointed in the direction of
"You're right." Xena replied. "Lets go."
"You see Xena there were people in need of a fierce warrior. I'll come
along and protect you." announced Joxer in his usual delusional state.
"Yeah." Was all Xena could muster without breaking into fits of laughter.
The four had travelled up the side of the mountain for quite some time.
"Hey this looks familiar now." announced Autolycus. "We are here."
"What? Here? Where's here?" questioned Joxer.
"Look Xena. That's where I found the stone."
"You mean stole the stone." remarked Gabrielle
"No really, it was on the ground right there."
He showed them the imprint that had remained after he dug the piece out.
Gabrielle took out the tablet again. There was an area on it that showed
where they where. On the map was a doorway made of stone. The stone
which Autolycus was now holding in his had was part of a larger stone
on the map.
"Look around, we have to find this doorway." Xena instructed.
The four looked around the area for hours. There was no stone that
resembled the doorway on the map. Since the light was beginning to dim
they decided it was time to call it a night, make camp, have something
to eat and try again in the morning.
Xena was the first one to waken just as dawn began to break. She noticed
a rock shape that they had not seen the night before. Perhaps it was
due to the lack of light, but now it was quite visible.
"Wake up everyone, I found the something."
The others woke and went over to where Xena was standing.
"Look Gabrielle." she pointed to a rock that had two jewels on it.
"Wow! Those are worth a fortune." remarked Autolycus.
"Forget it Autolycus." Xena warned.
"You know exactly "what" Autolycus. Just forget these jewels." Xena
grabbed him by the throat, as a warning then released him.
"Alright! Alright, I wasn't going to touch them." He was lying and Xena
knew it. But he would leave these stones alone. He wouldn't cross Xena.
Having Xena's spirit in his body had made him quite aware that when Xena
said something she really meant it.
There was a shape carved into the stone. It was a sunburst with two
jewels on it. There was a ruby to the right and an emerald to the left
of the top of the sunburst. There was an indentation in the stone that
matched the stone that Autolycus had found.
"Give me the stone Autolycus."
Autolycus reached into his bag and pulled it out. He handed it to Xena,
honouring her request.
She took the stone and placed it with the fingers down. It would
not fit into the indentation. Gabrielle took the stone from Xena's hands.
This annoyed Xena. Gabrielle flipped the stone so that the fingers of
the hand imprint were facing the sky. It slipped into the indentation
Xena looked at Gabrielle with amazement. A doorway appeared.
"Well I'll be." gasped Autolycus.
Gabrielle began to read the instructions:
"First turn to the ruby to the right then turn back to the emerald."
"Turn what?" asked Joxer
Xena placed her hand on the palm print. She was surprised that it fit
her imprint exactly. She turned the stone so that the finger tips were
pointing to the ruby, then she turned it back so they were facing the
emerald. The stone doorway began to move. It opened slowly revealing a
staircase just inside the door. They all walked inside. Xena leading the
way. She was cautious. She had the feeling that this place could hold
traps of all sorts.
"Look out, don't anyone step on the stairs." Xena cautioned.
Autolycus took out his small grappling hook and threw it at the beam
above them. It wrapped around the beam. He held tightly to the rope
and swung down to the floor below. He tossed the rope back for the
others to follow. Joxer was the next to take the rope. He swung down to
the floor below landing on his rear end.
"Ouch!" He cried.
Xena and Gabrielle looked at one another and giggled at Joxer's folly.
Xena took the rope and handed it to Gabrielle. She took it and was soon
on the floor with the other two. As she landed the rope unhooked from
the beam and it fell at her feet.
"Great!" remarked Joxer.
Xena took out her whip and unfurled it. She caught the same beam with it
and swung down to the floor. It was very dark in the catacombs. The only
light provided by the open door at the top of the stairs. The light
began to fade as they noticed the door closing. Xena found a torch
and managed to get it lit before the door closed completely.
"That's our way out. We're stuck here forever. We're gonna die in here.
I gotta get out. I can't take closed in places." ranted Joxer.
Gabrielle struck Joxer across the face effectively bringing him out of
his ranting fit.
"Oh, thanks I needed that." He remarked "But how are we gonna get out
"I am sure there is another way out Joxer. There always is in tombs
like this." explained Xena.
"Tombs?" queried Joxer.
"Yes It will become a tomb if we have our way." answered Xena.
The four had travelled throughout the catacombs for what seemed like
hours. By the markings on the map they were to find a room that had
the Eye of Hephaestos in it.
"It might be better if we split up." Xena announced "You and Joxer go
that way Autolycus and Gabrielle and I will go this way. If you find
the room call out. We will do the same."
"Alright Xena. Good luck." Autolycus knew that Xena would most likely
take this opportunity to put her plan into effect. She would convince
Gabrielle she killed Valasca. A thought that had Autolycus very
Xena and Gabrielle wondered the catacombs without saying a word to one
another. Gabrielle had not really spoken to Xena since the night of her
nightmare. Both were beginning to tire and decided it was time for a
short break. Gabrielle found a place to sit down for a moment. Behind
her was a circular stone with the same design that was shown on the
entry way door. She heard a scraping noise. The stone behind her was
turning. When it stopped she noticed that there was a rock with many
holes in it. The holes were empty.
"Xena walked over to where the rock was. What's this?"
"I don't know. There is a nothing here. Its empty. There are all kinds
of hole here. I wonder if these holes ever held something."
"They are intended for your scrolls Gabrielle." A voice in the darkness
"Huh, what?" Gabrielle was stunned.
"Place your scrolls of yours and Xena's adventures in the holes
provided Gabrielle." Instructed Hephaestos.
"Do it Gabrielle. Your scrolls will be safe for all eternity." Xena
coaxed. Gabrielle took the many scrolls out of her pack she had been
carrying and placed each one in an empty spot. She noticed there were
many unfilled holes.
"This is part of you destiny Gabrielle. Your stories will live on for
centuries to come. Many years from now your scrolls will be found by one
of your descendants. Xena's goodness and struggle against evil will
inspire many in the future. Her stories will be told again one day.
This I promise you. Follow the hall to the right. You will find the Eye."
He faded away after revealing these facts to Xena and Gabrielle.
"My scrolls will be read centuries from now? I am honoured Hephaestus."
"Come on Gabrielle lets go." Gabrielle took one last look at her scrolls
as the stone turned and closed.
Xena whistled a few times to let Autolycus and Joxer know where they
were. They had not been too far away and were by Xena and Gabrielle's
side in no time.
"We know the right direction now, lets go." Xena announced.
They all made there way into a larger room. It was dark. Xena touched
the end of her torch to a torch on the wall. Many torches lit themselves
one by one. The room was huge. In the centre was a sarcophagus. Above
it was a large eye. It was made of gold. Autolycus was in awe of the
gold in the room. It took all his self control not to want to loot this
room. He thought better of it.
"Now what?" questioned Joxer.
"We wait." answered Xena. "Lets try and get some rest we can't do
anything right now."
They had been travelling in the catacombs all day long and were all
very tired. They all found a comfortable spot to sit. Autolycus naturally
sat as close to the golden eye as possible. If he could not have it
there was no reason why he could not admire it. Joxer found a place to
himself. Xena and Gabrielle sat beside each other. They both leaned
against the sarcophagus.
"How are we going to get Ares here Xena?"
"Don't worry he'll show up."
Gabrielle had not realized how tired she had become. She slowly drifted
off to sleep, using Xena shoulder as a pillow. Xena stayed awake ever
ready for trouble. It was not long before Gabrielle was screaming in her
sleep once again. Autolycus and Joxer jumped to their feet. Xena shook
"Gabrielle wake up."
"It was Valasca again Xena, she invades my dreams. All I see when I
close my eyes is her angry face telling me I killed her."
Tears had begun to flow from Gabrielle's eyes once again.
"Only you know what's in your heart Gabrielle. You believe you killed
her. There is nothing I can do to change that for you. Your Guilt must
be real then." These words cut at Xena's heart as she said them.
"What are you saying Xena?" Gabrielle pushed away from Xena a rose to
"She is saying You ARE guilty of killing Valasca! Thanks you for the
help Xena. Now she's mine! Come join with me little one. You too Xena
it will be glorious."
"Ares!" Gabrielle screamed. She turned with a jolt to see Ares standing
directly behind her.
He took her in his arms and whispered in her ear. "You can have it all
Gabrielle. Everything I offer and more. Xena knows you killed Valasca.
She's just been trying to protect you from this realization."
"No!" cried Xena "You will not have her, Ares."
"I beg to differ Xena she IS mine now."
Xena ran at Ares and hit him from behind. He fell to the ground
loosing his grip on Gabrielle. She also fell to the ground.
"Take the top off of the sarcophagus." Xena instructed Joxer and
They moved towards the sarcophagus and did as she had instructed.
Gabrielle still lay on the ground. She was not injured but was stunned
by the sudden jolt that had forced her to the ground. Xena took her
sword from its shieth and stood ready to engage Ares in battle.
Ares rose to his feet. he took his sword from its housing on his belt.
He too stood ready for battle.
"You have angered the wrong God this time Xena. I will have her,
like it or not."
"Not!" remarked Xena.
Autolycus and Joxer had managed to slide the top of the sarcophagus
half way off.
Xena stuck out at Ares with her sword. He countered every blow. She
countering his as well. He had forced Xena into a corner of the tomb
and was about to plunge his sword into her breast when he felt a
whack against his back. Gabrielle had recovered and had hit him hard
across the back with her staff. This gave Xena the moment she need to
get away. She turned towards the wall and in one motion run up it and
flipped in the air and landed behind Ares. Ares was in between them.
Gabrielle on the left and Xena on the right. Gabrielle fought him with
a new found courage. It was as if Xena was back in her body and
was helping her fight Ares. She knew this to not be true because Xena
was standing right there fighting him with her. They had pushed him
closer and closer to the sarcophagus. Gabrielle was hit by the angry
hand of Ares. She once again found herself on the floor. Xena continued
to fight Ares. She noticed that Gabrielle had been hit and was on the
ground behind Ares. Right behind her was the open sarcophagus. Gabrielle
was beginning to get back to her feet.
"Stay down Gabrielle."
Before Gabrielle could rise to her feet Xena had hit Ares directly in
the centre of his chest with a mighty flying kick. It hit Ares with
such force that he was swept off his feet. He fell over backwards
tripping over Gabrielle. He landed in the sarcophagus. Chains began to
wrap around him.
"NO!!!" yelled Ares "Hephaestos! These are your chains!"
Hephaestos appeared in the tomb. Ares struggled in vain against the
chains that held him. They were chains forged by Hephaestos. Very much
like the chains that had held Prometheus.
"You have tormented humankind long enough Ares. It is time for you to
be stopped." He turned to Xena "Strike the eye with your chakram Xena."
Xena took careful aim and threw he chakram in the direction of the eye.
It hit its mark with the accuracy that Xena is known for. The eye began
to close. The sarcophagus also began to close. Ares could be heard
screaming as it did so."No Xena! What have you done to me?"
Xena expected the chakram to return to her as it always had. After
hitting the eye it had snapped in two and fell to the ground. Hephaestos
picked up the broken piece. "Sorry about this Xena I must keep this."
Xena and Gabrielle watched and listened to Ares screams until the
sarcophagus was completely closed. He could not be heard any longer.
"Good job Gabrielle." Xena patted Gabrielle on the back but Gabrielle
pulled away from her and walked over to Autolycus and Joxer. "You two ok?"
Xena was well aware of the reason for this cold shoulder. She had all
but come right out and said that Gabrielle had indeed killed Valasca.
It was going to take some fast talking to close this rift between them
Hephaestos was back in the hall where the scrolls had been left. He was
opening the scroll chamber. He had the piece of the broken chakram in
his had. There was a burst of fire as he welded it into the rock. As he
did this he chanted "With this chakram I seal your fate Ares. By mortal
hand you are trapped. It is by this mortal or her descendants that
you may be freed. When the two halves of the chakram become one you will
be freed from your slumber. When the eye is struck by the chakram once
again you will be released. Sleep well, Ares, for I hope that will be
for all eternity."
At the same moment back in the tomb the sarcophagus began to glow. When
it stopped the likeness of Ares had been engraved into the surface of
the rock. Hephaestos returned to the tomb. I am sorry about your chakram
"That's alright, if it means the world is free of Ares I don't mind
giving it up." She had the other half of the chakram in her hand.
"I am afraid you will have to leave that here too, Xena."
Xena walked over to Hephaestos and gave him the remaining half of the
chakram. She placed it in his hand.
"Hold out you hands Xena."
Xena did as he instructed. Her hands began to glow.
"A gift Xena. My thanks for your help."
A chakram appeared in her hands. It was exactly like her own. There was
one difference. This one had be forged by Hephaestos himself. It was a
gift she would use in her fight against evil.
"Your scrolls are safe here Gabrielle. Don't stop telling of Xena's and
your adventures. To ensure all of your stories will be safe for all
eternity, I give you this gift Gabrielle." He placed a scroll in her
hands. She opened it only to find it was blanc.
"There is nothing on this scroll."
"There will be when you write of your next adventure. Or this adventure
Gabrielle. Then when you have finished it, it will become part of the
scrolls hidden in here. You will be given a new scroll each time a
story is completed."
"Thank you Hephaestos."
"You are welcome, Gabrielle, Keep telling the stories. As for you two."
He walked over to where Autolycus and Joxer were sitting. He put his
hand out to Autolycus and placed the largest emerald in his hand he
had ever seen.
"Wow, thanks." he was dumbfounded.
He turned to Joxer. "You have a brave heart Joxer. But you lack the
confidence to truly be a warrior. I give you this insight into yourself
Joxer. In time you will be able to see that you are as brave a warrior
With all his gift bestowed, Hephaestos began to fade.
"Hey wait a minute. How do we get out of here? Asked Joxer
A door began to open. It was a heavy stone door that scrapped as it
opened. The four walked through it and it closed behind them.
"Goodbye Ares." remarked Gabrielle.
Xena and Gabrielle made camp at the base of the mountain. Autolycus
and Joxer had gone their separate ways, leaving Gabrielle and Xena
alone. Gabrielle was finishing up the scroll that Hephaestos had given
her. As she placed the last word on it, it vanished from her hands and
Gabrielle had not really spoken to Xena about what had happened in the
catacombs. She had been hurt to realize without question she was the
killer of Valasca. It bothered her deeply. Now, Xena too was convinced
of this as well. This too bothered her. She sat staring off into space.
Xena walked over to her and sat down next to her.
"Gabrielle, we need to talk." Her voice was gentle and non judgemental
"When I was in Autolycus' body and I told you to close your eyes and
think of me, who did you see?"
"Right." Xena continued. "And who did you speak to at that moment?"
"No, it was you."
"You are certain of that?"
"So who was it that said "I will always be here." ?"
"It was you." answered Gabrielle.
'So if that was me, why is it that you continue to believe that it was
you that killed Velasca?"
"It was my hand that cut the rope."
"And my will that cut it."
"I could have stopped you Xena."
"No more than Autolycus could have stopped me from getting him to steal
the Dagger of Hellios. No more than he could have stopped me from making
him steal my body from the fire. When I was in his body, he did as I
wanted. Everything I wanted. Understand? When I was in your body it
was the same. I cut the rope Gabrielle. If I had known it would have
caused you this much pain I would not have done it."
"But then Velasca would have most likely killed me and you along with
"Right Gabrielle, you see now. You were not the cause of Valasca's
"Yes." Tears began to flow from her eyes. Tears of relief.
This story is © 1997 by Karen Jonnies
All Rights Reserved
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