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by Scott Carpenter
©Copyright Scott Carpenter December 13, 1996
Sithus was long into his day with the
instruction of young Malus. "When your attack follows though you need
to be ready with the other end of the staff," Sithus demonstrated an
attack with his staff on a target. "When you attack be ready to use
the other end immediately, you can block a blade with one end and
deliver a blow with the other."
Malus watched intently. From afar Gabrielle watched as well. This man
is the best she had seen use a staff outside of the Amazons. "Maybe
there is a story to be told here." She said to herself, then headed
for the road to Amphipolis.
Sithus finished his instruction with the boy with a bit of advice.
"You keep practicing Malus and you will get the hang of
Malus hefted the wooden staff in his hand as he left. "I will sir.
See you next week. "
Sithus grumbled to himself. "If that boy calls me sir again....." As
Sithus set aside his staff he looked up to see a young women walking
up the road alone. "Odd" he thought.
As Gabrielle approached Sithus he greeted her. "Hello, where are you
headed young lady?"
Gabrielle eyed the man she watched from afar and believed his
intentions to be good. "To Amphipolis."
Sithus now knew that she was not from the area. "There has been
trouble in this area; raiders are all over this part of the country.
May I be allowed to escort you to town?"
Gabrielle was intrigued by his offer. "I'm sure I will be
As they were speaking four of Artinas's men watched with a gleam in
their eyes. "Only one man and a girl." one mutter's, "Should be easy
pickings." They sprang from the woods and attacked.
As the men broke from the trees Sithus saw them and reached for his
staff. "Those are the raiders I was talking about; sure you want to
Gabrielle looked at the four men running their way. "Hmm, no, not
really" Gabrielle readies her staff.
Sithus was intrigued. The girl carries an Amazon fighting staff but
does not look like an Amazon and is willing to fight. He pondered to
himself. His staff was readied as well. "They usually are not very
good. But be careful."
Gabrielle watched the four approach. "Right."
The first of the men reached Sithus and was met by a wicked blow to
the leg. As he fell, other blow struck him in the side, he rolled
away in pain. The first to Gabrielle slowed his approach and smiled.
"We don't have to fight deary, you can come quietly."
Gabrielle was not impressed. "I go where I want when I
The smile left the thugs face. "Fine, have it your way" He attacked.
Gabrielle deflected his blade to the side and hit him in the side.
The thug winced in pain. "That will cost you little girl" He swung
again only to be met by another blow to his head. This sent him to
the ground where he was hit yet again.
Sithus was circling with his next opponent, this one a bit better
with a blade than the other. "Just give us what we want and we will
let you live."
Sithus could only laugh at the fool. "Our lives are not at stake
here, yours are." The man attacked and Sithus dodged the attack. "You
will have to do better then that." The man turned in rage and
attacked again. "Angry attacks get you killed." Sithus dodged this
attack as well and delivered a blow to the mans midsection, as he
passed another was delivered to his back sending him sprawling on the
ground. Sithus turned to see Gabrielle engaged with the last of the
Gabrielle has gotten the better of the four to deal with. She fought
with all her knowledge but this one was good. He knocked her staff
from her hands and smiled. "You won't be killed. But after I take you
to our camp you will wish I had killed you."
As the thug approached her he felt a tap on his shoulder. "Excuse me
is this yours?"
The man turned and his face was met by the end of Sithus's staff.
Blood poured from his nose as he limped off with his
Sithus was impressed by Gabrielle's efforts. "Well that was an
interesting way to start the evening now wasn't it?"
Gabrielle picked her staff from the ground and looked at the man
before her. "Yes it was, I have had some evenings like
Sithus recognized the markings on Gabrielle's staff. "So how is it
you carry an Amazon fighting staff yet you look nothing like an
Amazon and have hardly the training an Amazon should have?"
Gabrielle was caught off guard by his words. "Well this is a long
story, have you got some time?"
"Oh yes lots of time I am intrigued." Gabrielle told of traveling
through the Amazon hunting grounds and trying to save the Amazon who
gave her the right of cast. She told of how she and her friend
stopped a war between the Amazons and the Centaurs. "Very interesting
story, you should be a Bard."
Gabrielle could tell he liked the tale. "Telling stories is a hobby
of mine, by the way my name is Gabrielle."
Sithus shook her hand and felt a confident yet gentle grip. "Nice to
meet you Gabrielle, my name is Sithus. It is a bit late to go into
town, would you like to spend the night? I have a spare room you may
Gabrielle thought for a moment, she could usually get a pretty good
feel for people and he seemed friendly enough. "Well I am supposed to
meet my friend in Amphipolis in a couple of days so I suppose I
Sithus headed for the house. "Good, lets eat shall we? A good battle
makes me hungry."
As Sithus sat food on a table he remembered what Gabrielle had said
before. "So your meeting someone in Amphipolis in two
Gabrielle had been looking at the various swords and pieces of armor
hanging on the walls of the house. "Yes we are going to see her
family. She has not been back for a while."
Sithus thought of his family. "It's good to see family now and then.
Now I have a question for you. Would you like some instruction in the
use of your staff?"
Gabrielle gave Sithus an odd look. "I think I do pretty well with my
Sithus liked her confident attitude towards her skill. "Oh you do
quite well with your staff, but you need to work on your technique.
You did not get much in the way of training from the Amazons did
Gabrielle remembered her brief training as she inspected a sword over
the mantle of the fireplace. "No, not much. Most of what I have
learned has been on the job training."
Sithus motioned Gabrielle to the table as he placed two bowls of stew
the table. "Well if you would like I will give you some training in
the use of your staff while you wait for your friend. If we do not
see her in two days we can go into town and see if she is
Gabrielle stirred the hot bowl before her and pondered the
possibilities set before her. To learn new things and maybe surprise
Xena. "That sounds fine to me."
As Sithus sat down to eat with her he was reminded of someone from
long ago. "Good, first thing in the morning we will get
At sunrise Sithus was up and feeding the animals. He made a light
meal for himself and Gabrielle and went to wake her. As he pushed the
cloth from the door he saw she was still asleep. "This girl likes to
sleep in. Gabrielle wake up. It is time to practice."
Gabrielle rolled over without opening her eyes. "I'm coming Xena,
just give me a minute."
Sithus recoiled from the name, he moved from the bed and exited the
room. "Xena is coming here? I'll be ready for her."
After a few minutes Gabrielle stumbled out of the room and sat down
with a big yawn. "Sorry I slept late, it's a bad habit of
Sithus moved to the corner of the room and picked a staff from three
standing there. "That's all right, we have the whole day ahead of us.
Now eat something and we can get started."
They both entered the practice area with staffs in hand. Sithus
considered his options in training. "OK you seem to know that a staff
has two ends, that boy Malus only seems to be able to use one end of
his staff but he is learning. Have you practiced kata
Gabrielle twisted her head and gave him an odd look. "Kata? What is
Sithus had found the key he was looking for. "Kata is simply
practicing moves, here I'll demonstrate." Sithus went through a
variety of maneuvers, seemingly blocking strikes and delivering them.
"That is Kata, it is not a set of moves in any sense, it is simply a
Gabrielle recognized this as something she had done in the past. "Yes
I have done that." Gabrielle backed from Sithus and made a series of
Her prowess with a staff was impressive. "Good, very good. We will go
to the next step then. Attack me!"
Gabrielle nearly dropped her staff at his words. "What?"
Sithus took up a defensive posture. "I said attack me, you attack me
and I will defend myself."
Gabrielle did not move from were she stood. "I usually don't attack
anyone, they usually attack me."
Sithus lowered his staff. "Oh! OK" Sithus brought his staff around
and Gabrielle blocked the blow, he delivered another with the same
result. Sithus did not want to kill this girl with quite a bit of
talent so he took it to her lightly.
Gabrielle knew he is not going all out so she blocked a blow and hit
Sithus in the leg. "I thought you were going to teach me and not toy
Sithus could hear the anger in her voice and see the frustration in
her eyes. "Sorry, I didn't want to go all out on you the first time
out but if you like I will." Sithus began to whirl his staff and then
attacked. His attacks were quick, quicker than Gabrielle at times,
she was knocked from her feet. Sithus helped her up. "You are good,
you do not need much in the way of training, only a bit of polishing
Gabrielle began to brush the dirt from her clothes. "So where do I
Sithus walked in front of her. "Well for one thing you need to use
your height as a weapon, you can get low and deliver blows to your
opponents legs like this." Sithus rolled to her side and swung his
staff, he contacted the back of her legs but did not follow
Sithus moved to her side. "Men have a higher center of gravity than
women, that you can use to your advantage as well." Gabrielle watched
as he showed her an attack for using against men and then one for
women. "OK, I can do that, but what else?" Sithus set his staff
aside. "How good are you with a sword?"
Gabrielle set her staff aside and a serious look washed over her face
at his words. "I have never used a sword, I was told when you pick up
a sword you become a target."
Sithus smiled slightly. "That is true, but you do not need to use a
sword only know how one is used. Once you learn how to use one you
can better understand how to defend against one."
Sithus went into the house and returned with two blades, one is a
narrow curved blade and the other narrower still and much shorter.
"You will use this blade, I know it is not much to look at but looks
can be deceiving. This blade's advantages are its size and weight,
being shorter and lighter gives it the advantage of speed. Very
important when your life is on the line."
Gabrielle took the blade and hefted it, "Nothing like Xena's sword"
she thought to herself. "Okay, teach me."
Sithus began instructing her in parrying with the blade. "Keep eye
contact, that's how you learn to pick up their next move"
Gabrielle wondered a bit. "Xena said that to me when I wanted to use
a blade against Callisto"
Sithus and Gabrielle spent the rest of the day with swords,
practicing attacks and defense. They worked on tumbling maneuvers as
well, rolling out of the way of blows and attacks. Gabrielle was good
At the end of the day they were both tired but have gained some
valuable experience from each other. Sithus gathered his staff and
swords up. "Tomorrow we will work on you defending against the sword
Gabrielle, you should be able to use what I taught you."
Gabrielle massaged her wrists. "Will we be going into town tomorrow
As he walked to the house Sithus stopped as if he has heard something
and then turned to her. "Yes we will leave at noon."
Early the next morning Sithus was up and going through his usual
routine of cleaning the barn and feeding his horses. He checked the
perimeter of his house and found boot tracks that were not there the
day before, "Raiders" he thought, "They will be dealt with soon." He
went inside and found Gabrielle awake. "Well this is a pleasant
surprise compared to yesterday."
Gabrielle was rubbing her arms. "Well I am a bit sore from yesterday
and I decided it was to hard to sleep in." Sithus reached for a
bundle of cloth from a shelf. Unrolling long strips he began to wrap
Gabrielle's wrists. "As long as you got some sleep you will be
Gabrielle felt the tension disappear in her wrist as he wrapped them.
"Oh I slept all right."
Sithus finished one wrist and started on the other." Good, now lets
eat and get to our practice shall we."
Sithus and Gabrielle ate and readied themselves for practice,
Gabrielle warmed up with her staff while Sithus did the same with his
Gabrielle watched him for a while. "He is as good as Xena with a
blade if not better. I wonder if they have ever met?"
Sithus stood before her with blade in hand. "Okay, are you
Gabrielle set her feet apart and readied herself for his attacks.
"Ready as I'll ever be."
Sithus approached Gabrielle with careful steps and begins to circle
her. "Remember keep your opponent in front of you and keep eye
contact." Sithus attacked with several blows, Gabrielle blocked the
blows and delivered attacks of her own. "Good, good, keep your feet
moving." Sithus attacked again and again, never with the same move.
Gabrielle moved and blocked blow after blow and delivered attacks of
her own. She knew some of her attacks would have connect if Sithus
had not been so good.
Xena was riding down the road to Amphipolis, she heard sounds of
combat ahead as she neared the bend. She made Argo pick up the pace a
bit. As she rounded the bend she saw Gabrielle fighting with a man
near a house, she knew that house "Is he still here" she muttered?"
She kicked Argo into a gallop "Hyaa"
As Xena and Argo come barreling down the road Xena let out her battle
cry. "YIYIYIYIYIYIYIYI" Both Sithus and Gabrielle turned as Xena
leapt from Argo and flipped into the air from the saddle. She landed
between Gabrielle and Sithus.
Xena smiled at Gabrielle's attacker. "I'll take care of this one
Gabrielle, get back."
Gabrielle tried to get between them. "But Xena he's...."
Xena pushed her back. "He's dead is what he is."
Sithus looked at the women warrior in leather before him. "Your
Xena smiled a wicked smile as she spun her sword in hand. "Yes, I'm
Sithus spun his sword as well. "Well this should be interesting
Sithus attacked and Xena blocked the blow; their swords could be
heard connecting for miles. Neither one had the upper hand; Xena
flipped over Sithus and he rolled to one side. Then Xena kicked at
Sithus and he sidestepped and swung at Xena, she leapt and avoided
the blow. Xena backed off her opponent and grabbed her
Gabrielle could move as Xena lifted the deadly ring from her belt
"Xena no!" Xena threw the chakram to her left, it bounced from a tree
to another tree to a wall. As it did, Sithus attacked again and spun
Xena's sword from her hand. As the chakram neared his head he turned
and caught it.
He quickly turned to Xena and held it to her throat. "Go ahead, do
it." Gabrielle looked on, frightened at the sight of the chakram at
Xena's throat. "Okay, I will." Sithus kissed Xena and then hugged
her, lifting her off her feet. "Xena it has been too long."
Xena smiled. "Sithus you have not changed a bit, you still get the
best of me."
Gabrielle was stunned at what she has just witnessed. "You two know
Xena set her hand on Gabrielle's shoulder. "Oh we go way back. Sithus
was the one who taught me to use a sword."
Gabrielle was shocked by the revelation. "He taught you!!
Xena took her chakram from Sithus. "When Cortes attacked Amphipolis I
wanted to defend the village but I had no skill in the use of a
sword. Sithus volunteered to teach me and the rest is
Sithus looked Xena over. "It seems I taught you too good it seems.
After Cortes was routed and I went to Athens for studies you went a
bit too far with your endeavors."
Xena looked away. "I did get out of hand didn't I?"
Sithus turned her head back to face him. "Yes you did, when I heard
you tried to kill Hercules I knew you had gone too far. I was on my
way to get you when I heard that you had changed for the
Xena was shocked by the words. "Get me?"
Sithus locked his eyes on hers. "Yes, and it was not easy making the
decision to kill one of your best friends, that is never easy. I'm
glad you found your way to the side of good Xena."
Xena contemplated what she had just heard, Sithus a dear friend had
planned to kill her if she had not stopped her rampage. "I guess I
stopped in time then. Would you really have tried to kill
Sithus shook his head. "Yes, Xena, I would have, one way or another I
Xena whistled for Argo. "So what have you been teaching my young
Sithus watched as Argo returns to Xena's side. "Oh a little staff
work and a little sword work, something you didn't do."
Rage filled Xena's face when she heard him say sword work. Her head
snapped to look at him. "I don't want her using a sword
Sithus could see the rage. "That wasn't my decision Xena and she is
good enough with her staff anyway. I have only taught her how to
defend against the sword by teaching her how one is used.
Xena's hand tightened on the sword still in her hand. "Why have you
taught her the sword Sithus? I never wanted her to learn to use a
Sithus had only seen this rage in her face a few times in the past.
"It was her decision Xena, or is she your slave?"
His words struck home but still there is rage. "No she is not my
slave, but why the sword?"
Sithus now knew she cared for Gabrielle a great deal. "It is her life
to live Xena. If you are not going to control it, than let
Xena let the tight grip on her sword slacken and placed it back in
the sheath. "I will let her control her life Sithus but she carries
Gabrielle had been watching this frightening exchange between the two
of them and was glad to see it was now over. She realized now what
had been bothering her. The things that Sithus had said were
familiar. He had taught them to Xena.
The angry exchange now over, Sithus and Xena walked towards the barn
with Argo. "By the way, I see you got the hang of the chakram
Xena looked at the chakram on her belt and then to her friend from
long ago. "Yes, it has saved me a few times."
Sithus smiled as he opens the barn door. "I told you it would. Now
lets go inside and catch up on things. I heard Toris is in town and
its a good thing with the raiders around."
Xena stopped removing Argo's saddle. "Raiders, where?" Sithus saw the
concern on her face. "Here and around Amphipolis. Why." As Gabrielle
walked up to the two of them Xena began to tighten the saddle again.
"Come on Gabrielle we are going."
Sithus put his hand on hers. "Xena wait, it will be dark before you
get half way. Let's wait till morning."
Gabrielle could see she was upset. "Xena, lets wait. Besides this is
a great story; another person out of your past."
Xena looked at her friend and at Sithus. Even after all these years
he still was in good shape and as handsome as ever. "Fine, first
thing in the morning."
Sithus helped her again to unhook the saddle from Argo. "Good, good.
Now when I heard you were back attacking villages a few months back I
couldn't believe it. Then I hear it was some impostor. I was getting
ready to go after you again and then I find out that you were still
good. It got a bit chaotic for a while."
Xena pulled the saddle from Argo's back and set it aside and removed
her bridle. "Yes it did."
As Sithus walked to the house Xena stopped Gabrielle and waited for
Sithus to go inside. She faced Gabrielle. "Why have you gone against
me and learned to use a sword!"
Xena's words hit Gabrielle hard, as if she had betrayed her. "Why can
I not learn to use a sword Xena? Sithus only taught me how to use one
so that I understand what I am up against when fighting a person
armed with a sword."
Gabrielle's reasoning did not convince Xena. "Well we shall see."
Xena walked to where Sithus had set the swords down and brought them
to Gabrielle. "Choose!"
Gabrielle did not understand at first and then knew what she was
doing. Gabrielle took the blade she had used in training.
Xena drew her blade as she stood before Gabrielle. "So you are a
sword fighter now? Defend yourself Bard!" Xena swung at Gabrielle who
simply ducked the attack. Xena swung again at Gabrielle and the swing
Sithus went to the window at the sound of steel meeting steel. He
knew what Xena was doing and would not interfere.
Each attack by Xena was progressively more intense than the next.
Gabrielle began to take the fight to Xena with moves of her own. As
the two friends lock blades Xena made a move to disarm Gabrielle, but
before she could Gabrielle slipped a foot behind Xena's leg and
tripped her to the ground. As she fell to the ground her sword was
dislodged from her hand, Gabrielle brought her blade to Xena's
throat. "How am I doing so far."
Sithus moved from the window when he saw Gabrielle use the last move
he taught her.
Xena looked at the blade pressed to her neck by her friend and then
to Gabrielle. "Well I guess he taught you well enough." Gabrielle
removed the blade and extended her hand.
As she helped Xena to her feet Sithus called them in to the house
eat. Walking toward the house Xena placed her hand on Gabrielle's
head. "You will have to show me that move sometime."
As the two walked into the house Sithus looked to Xena. "So what's
this I hear about you being this Callisto?" Xena looks at him. "It's
a long story."
Sithus smiled. "I have time for an old friend."
Inside Xena walked around looking at things, she saw things she
remembered and things she did not. She lifted a sword from above the
mantle, a wave of memories flooded over her. She remembered things
from long ago, like they were yesterday..........
"Okay Xena. A sword is your friend and your enemy. Unless you respect
it's power you will never master it. And once you use it and kill
someone you will be changed forever. Do you still want to
Xena looked at her new friend. "Yes Sithus. We can't just let Cortes
take what he wants without doing something."
Sithus pointed to a bench near the house." All right, pick a blade
from those over there. Get one that feels right."
Xena rummaged through a pile of swords hefting and swinging each one.
Near the bottom of the pile she found a blade that had the right
balance for her. "This one will do."
Sithus stood confidently before her. "Okay. Now first thing is to
watch your opponents eyes, that's how you anticipate their next move
and keep moving."
Sithus saw her standing in front of the fireplace as if in a daze.
The thoughts cleared from her head as he spoke. "What? Oh sorry I was
Sithus looked at the blade in her hand "After you left I hung your
practice blade there to remind me of you. I was carrying it when I
left to find you, I thought maybe I could convince you that what you
were doing was wrong and that blade might help remind you of your
Xena looked him in the eye and then hung the sword back up. She
turned to him. "It might have. After I saved that baby and Darfus
sent me through the Gauntlet I was still hoping to go on. I tried to
kill Hercules again you know."
He walked to her. "Yes he told me about that. And he told me how you
had changed after that as well."
She remembered her dark past and her journey out of the dark. "I have
a lot of things to make up for."
Sithus took her hand in his. "You are and you will. Now lets eat and
get some sleep, tomorrow we have work to do."
The next morning Sithus was up earlier than normal. He went to the
barn and feed the horses, he brushed the small black horse he has
been training and gave her a pat on the head, all of his work would
hopefully payoff today.
Xena arose from her bedroll at the sound of the barn door being
opened and looked around, she turned to look as Gabrielle turned over
on the bed, the girl she once knew is now a women. "Gabrielle get
Gabrielle opened her eyes and they are met by a ray of sunlight. "Is
it morning already? I was having this wonderful dream. Want to hear
Xena began to roll up the blankets." Maybe later, we have work to
Gabrielle sat upright. "Right, work."
The two walked out of the room and found food setting out but Sithus
was nowhere to be seen. Xena looked out the window and saw him by the
barn, he had saddled Argo and two other horses. He must have intend
for Gabrielle to ride with them. "So how are your horse riding skills
coming along Gabrielle?"
Gabrielle took a piece of bread from a bowl and looked at her. "You
know Argo has a thing against me."
Xena walked to the door. "I'm not talking about Argo, I think Sithus
has saddled a horse for you.
Gabrielle moved to the window and looked out, she saw Sithus with two
other horses, a large black horse and a smaller black horse. She
headed for the door as well.
"I see Argo likes you, she won't let just anyone saddle
Sithus patted Argo on the back. "Really? We got along pretty well I
thought. Besides I think she likes Thesis. Gabrielle this is Thesis,
Thesis this is Gabrielle, you do everything she tells you
Thesis shook her head up and down and walked over to Gabrielle and
nosed her. Gabrielle looked at the beautiful horse before her. "Hello
Thesis." Thesis shook her head again.
"I have been training her for a year, she is a good girl and obeys
well. We have a long ride ahead of us and riding double did not seem
like a good idea."
Xena turned for the house. "Well lets get ready and go
Sithus went inside and removed a blanket from a chest near the
window. He than took a long box from inside. Xena watched as he
opened it and removed a sword inside of a scabbard, he drew the blade
and checked the edge. Xena remembered that blade from years ago, when
they fought Cortis. She remembered the story Sithus told of traveling
to the East and acquiring that blade along with other
Sithus attached the scabbard to a back harness and picked up his
staff, as he headed for the door he stopped and walked back to the
chest. He removed one more thing and then headed outside.
Gabrielle was standing next to Thesis petting her. "Gabrielle I have
something for you." Gabrielle looked at the cloth in his hand.
Sithus unwrapped a knife in a leather sheath. He drew the blade and
Gabrielle saw a knife with a blade about six inches long with a
slight upward curve. "You never know when you may need a good blade."
He stepped behind her and affixed it in the middle of her back
horizontally, tucked into her clothes. "OK reach back there and see
if you can reach it."
Gabrielle reached behind her and felt the handle, she could not quite
get a hold of it. Sithus adjusted the blade to a different spot. She
reached again and drew the blade. "With a bit of practice you will
get the hang of it." Gabrielle put the blade back in its
Xena had finished armoring up. "Are we all ready?"
Sithus adjusted the sword on his back. "I'm ready.
Gabrielle tied her staff to the saddle. "Ready." Xena wheeled Argo
around. "Lets go then."
The three of them head down the road towards Amphipolis at a walking
pace, they would be in town by noon. They talked very little, saying
only a few things about the past. Xena remembered taking this same
trip years ago with Sithus, she remembers the night she spent with
him thinking it might be her last.
As they approached Amphipolis they heard sounds of battle ahead, they
need no prodding to get their horses into a gallop. As they got
closer to town they could see fighting going on all over
Xena saw a familiar figure in the thick of the fighting, Toris her
older brother. She charged ahead.
Sithus saw Toris as well, he wondered what kind of reception he would
get from him.
Xena rode through a few fights, she halted Argo and flipped from the
saddle "YIYIYIYIYI" She landed next to Toris and thumped a raider on
the head with the pommel of her sword.
"Fine time for you to show up little sister. "
Xena kicked the body from in front of her. "You know I don't like
missing a good fight Toris. I brought some help with me."
Toris looked up to see Sithus on a large black war-horse, he leapt
from the saddle onto a pile of raiders who are pummeling a villager.
He also saw Gabrielle climbing off a smaller horse. He watched her
send the horse away at the edge of the fighting. "You brought her
along! And what's Sithus doing here? "
Xena punched a raider in the face. "Not now Toris we are in the
middle of a fight." Xena headed for the nearest attacker, her blade
sent him to the ground in a heap, the memories of years past sent her
into a frenzy.
Sithus extractedhimself from the pile of raiders and hit a few with
his staff. As he looked up he saw Toris and nodded, Toris returned
the nod and took on another opponent. Sithus turned his attention to
a raider as well, two blows with the staff and he was out of the way,
he wheeled and struck another in the back.
Gabrielle got off Thesis and told her to follow Argo who was now
moving from harms way, Thesis followed Argo out of town. A raider saw
Gabrielle and charged at her, at the last second she ducked his blade
and tripped him. He sprawled head first into a wall and knocking
himself out. Gabrielle moved farther into town.
Sithus had dropped his staff and gone to his sword, he was a blur of
motion, cutting and slashing his way through opponents. Gabrielle
turned from helping a girl and spotted Xena and Sithus in the midst
of the fighting, raiders fell one by one under their blades. She was
glad they were on her side.
Toris backhanded a raider and looked around, Xena and Sithus had
finished off the last the other raiders. They all looked for
Gabrielle has just dispatched a raider and had an odd feeling. She
ducked and heard a sword whoosh over her head. Spinning her staff
behind her she felt it connect. She turned and saw a large man
looming over her. She realized that this must be the warlord in
Artinas laughed, his raiders had been beaten by Xena and two others
of obvious skill but at least he would get one last kill in before he
This little girl has given him a headache and she would pay. "You
will pay for that little girl." He lifted his sword above his
Xena reached for her Chakram, Sithus stopped her hand. "What are you
Sithus watched as Gabrielle moved. "You forget, I trained
Gabrielle ducked below the swing of Artinas's sword and punched her
staff forward into his gut, she rolled to his side and swept his legs
from under him. She stood before him and held him down with her
staff. "Who's laughing now." Artinas looked up at the girl standing
over him and groaned.
As the raiders were tied up Toris approached Sithus. "I thought I
would never get this chance Sithus." He swung his sword and drove the
point into the ground in front of Sithus and then extended his
Sithus took it. "Still leading with your left foot Toris."
Toris smiled. "You don't miss much do you."
Sithus shook his head as he pulled the sword from the ground and
handed it to Toris. "No I don't Toris. Your little sister did pretty
well don't you think?"
Toris took the sword. "Not bad."
Xena glared at the two of them, the two favorite men in her life
making jokes. She prodded Sithus in the back. "Sithus you still swing
a mean sword, even at your age."
Sithus turned and glared at her. "My age! I'm as old as you are.
Toris is the old man here."
Toris poked Sithus in the shoulder with his finger "Hey!"
Xena whistled for Argo, she trotted back into town with Thesis in
Gabrielle walked up to Sithus and kissed him on the cheek. "I wanted
to thank you for teaching me and for letting me ride Thesis.
Sithus brushed a lock of hair from her eyes. "You are quite welcome
Gabrielle, let me ask Thesis some thing."
Sithus walked to Thesis and said something to her, Thesis shook her
head. "Thesis says she wouldn't mind letting you ride her for quite
some time, that is if you will let her take you where you want to
Gabrielle's eyes lit up at his words "Your giving her to
Sithus held out the reins. "Yes, that is if you want her?"
Gabrielle looked at Xena for answers.
Xena could only shake her head. "Don't look at me it's your
Gabrielle looked at Thesis and then to Sithus. "Yes I will take
Sithus placed the reins in her hands. "Good, that will make her
Sithus walked to Xena. "I don't suppose you are sticking around are
Xena looked at him and then at Gabrielle who was petting Thesis. "We
were only coming to visit for a day and then we were heading onto
Sithus looked as Gabrielle stroked the head of Thesis. "It figures,
you drop back into my life and then you are gone again. You come back
again so we can catch up on old times."
Sithus extended his hand. Xena reached for it and pulled him to her,
her face inches from his. "You owe me a rematch." Xena kissed him and
then hugged him.
"You will get your rematch Xena."
As Xena and Gabrielle headed out of town one way Sithus headed the
other, He stopped and watched them go. Xena turned in her saddle and
saw him, she lifted her hand as he did the same. Friends paths
intertwining in so many ways.
Sithus was cleaning his sword and heard a clanking squeaking sound
coming up the road. He lifted his head to see a young man in a odd
assortment of armor, he hailed Sithus.
"Hi, hey is this the way to Amphipolis? I'm looking for
Sithus set his sword aside. "She was there but she has left. Who are
Joxer placed his hands on his hip and looked Sithus in the eye. "I am
Joxer the Magnificent."
Sithus smiled as he heard the name that Gabrielle and Xena had
mentioned. "Oh I've heard of you."
Joxer was startled by this but regained his composure. "You have? Of
course you have."
Sithus picked his blade from the bench and slid it back into the
sheath. "Yes Gabrielle told me a very interesting story."
Joxer twisted his face. "Gabrielle! That irritating little
Sithus laughed at the reference to a very capable women. "That
irritating little blond makes a Hydra look like a puppy now. She says
you could use some instruction in fighting Joxer."
Sithus put his hand on Joker's shoulder and lead him to the practice
area. "Now first thing we need to do is get rid of some of this armor
and that helmet has got to go. So how good are you with a
Joxer beamed. "I'm a master with a sword."
Sithus could tell he was full of confidence among other things. "Well
if you are not now you will be in a few months."
Joxer was not hurt in this story but he did lose his
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