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The characters, names and storylines which have appeared in the syndicated television show
Xena: Warrior Princess are copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters in this story and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story can not be used or sold for profit in any way. This story has been written solely for the reading enjoyment of Xena: Warrior Princess fans of the Internet.
This story takes place near the third season Xena: Warrior Princess episode "Forget Me Not"
|"Dreams of Fire and Ice"|
The cold, dry air of the unwelcoming cavern seemed to draw her into its depths further. It was like a great, slothful beast that encouraged her to visit for just a short while, though she sensed they both knew the stay would be more permanent. She continued forward anyway, mindless of the cold snow that passed over her sandals. There was the slightest pain in her toes as she continued forward, a clear suggestion of frostbite, but despite the discomfort she knew she would have to see this journey to its end.
Around the next corner, Hope could see a great cavern. She rested briefly, just standing there for a few moments watching her breath pass before her in the frigid air. Her hand reached out to the uneven walls of the passageway and seemed to press through the ice sheet nearby. This place had not seen the warmth of a person's touch or campfire in ages.
As she stepped into the cavern, Hope could see row after row of stalagtites and stalagmites. They were an impressive view of nature that could become deceptively dangerous. Rows of white ice could quickly become like a hundred daggers should some unseen force cause them to fall. She ignored the possible threat and walked forward to what appeared to be a small lake of water.
A light mist floated over the water. It added an inviting quality to the cavern. Hope imagined the water must be slightly warmer than the ice around her for it to be that way. The snow beneath her sandals gave way with a soft sound as she walked closer to the water. She knelt down and ran her hand through the warm lake and smiled. There was some good to all this afterall.
A small drink of the warm water was all that she desired. She brought the water in her hand up to her mouth. As soon as Hope took the water into her mouth, she realized there was something strange about it. Her body felt much warmer than it should. Curiously, she reached out with both hands and brought another handful of water up to her lips. The cavern was beginning to feel warmer.
A faint dripping sound caused her to look to the side. The ice on the cavern wall where she had placed her hand seemed smooth and wet. It was as though the ice had suddenly decided to melt slowly. Hope thought about that for a few seconds and turned her attention back to the water. There was a slight change to the small lake that she couldn't immediately understand. With amazement she realized that the lake now appeared smooth around its edges.
Hope placed her fingers on the edge of the lake and found that the ice there was not cold. It was smooth and warm to the touch. Her eyes traveled around the edge of the lake and she quickly noticed that the lake was shaped in a perfect circle. The ice around its edges was of a different color, a faded metallic gray. It was as though a great bowl or container had been sunk deep into the earth ages ago before the ice claimed this secluded cavern as its own.
Soft footsteps could be heard in the distance, pressing into the snow lightly. Hope looked up and saw her own reflection walking up to the water's edge. Long blonde hair and a gentle, troubled expression on the young woman's face. The woman was dressed in a simple white gown. The other woman approached the lake from the opposite side and looked quietly around the cavern, not seeming to notice her as she remained by the water's edge.
A man appeared next to the woman. He was dressed in dark black and brown leather. The other woman looked to the man and both of them spoke. Hope couldn't hear what they were saying to one another but the conversation ended the the man pointing to the water. The other woman looked to the water and back to him before reluctantly stepping forward. The woman then began to slowly walk into the lake further as the man watched.
She looked from the woman in the lake and then to the man. To her surprise, the man was looking directly at her. He had the appearance of darkness to him, an appearance she knew well. He was leading the other woman into the waters purposely. As she continued to look at him, his smile changed to mild laughter. His laughter grew in volume until its echoes seemed to surround her.
The ground shook slightly and Hope looked to her sides. Small pieces of ice were falling to the ground near her. She glanced up and could see a vibration in the ice. One of the great daggers of ice broke off with a snap and fell to the ground not far from her with a loud crash. More sounds of ice breaking from the top of the cavern could be heard. The ground shook each time one of the giant sheets of ice struck.
Hope quickly looked back to the man to find him laughing even harder. She glanced over to the other woman, now waist deep in the lake. The woman appeared to be enjoying the warmth of the lake. And then her mood changed. The woman spun around in the water and desperately tried to return to the land. The woman let out a scream that was louder than the laughter.
Her scream caused the ice above them all to break apart. Sheets of ice and sharp ice formations were beginning to fall down all around them. Hope could hear several of the large pieces of ice strike the water near her. Some water sprayed across her shoulder as one fell just to her side. She looked to her shoulder and was surprised to see that she also wore a white gown.
The man's hand reached out to her and pulled her up to her feet. It was the same man that had been on the other side of the lake moments before. He had a cold expression on his face that she had not seen from him before. "You're not supposed to be here." He whispered. "Not yet anyway. Not till the last trial." With that said, he pushed Hope into the water.
The water was no longer warm as she had remembered it. Hope swept her arms back and forth trying to keep her head up. The freezing waters were numbing her senses. The man just off shore looked over to the other woman briefly. She had reached the land and was sitting, shaking from the cold wet feeling of the cavern.
The man looked back to Hope and frowned. "If she sees you now, it'll interfere with my plans." He looked up to the top of the cavern and yelled out. Hope looked up and saw a sharp edged piece of ice break from the cavern roof. It fell directly toward her, just seconds from striking her and sending her under the waters.
Hope blinked and sat up quickly, unintentionally throwing a quill and a scroll to the floor. She looked around in a daze expecting to be struck by a piece of ice for just a second before the confusion of sleep disappeared. She was not in any danger. The only sound which could be heard was that of the wind passing through the leaves just outside her temple bedroom window. The occasional sounds of a few birds and other animals could be heard as well, but that was all.
She sighed slightly. It had only been a bad dream. It had been a very realistic dream though. She recognized the man and the woman now that her thoughts were clear. The woman had been her mother. The man had been Ares. Hope had no idea why they were all in an ice cave. She closed her eyes briefly and opened them again. Dreams were like that she supposed.
The scroll and quill resting on the floor were intended for a temple priest. He was to be given authority over the gold taken from followers. She had been working very hard the past few weeks attending to her father's intentions. The gold that was to be taken came from a village nearby that Hope had experimented with. She smiled slightly at the pace in which her powers were increasing.
Some time after the failed dealings with Callisto in ridding the world of Hercules, Hope began to realize that her powers were becoming more focused. It had been a comforting development that lessened her dark mood of failure. She had allowed Callisto to continue on with her daily affairs without further contact. She had been much more interested in the time with exploring these new powers.
After a few weeks, when her body had grown to its current adult size, she realized that she had the power to control the minds of others. Just one or two at first, for simple duties and for brief times. The power had continue to build however. Soon she was able to keep five or six people busy with temple duties for most of the day. She then directed them toward more aggressive activities.
Hope knew that her father's new order would require armies. She had directed some of her more expendable followers into combat with a village not far from the temple. Their swords had struck out at the peaceful farmers like seasoned veterans of battles. A small amount of dark encouragement from her was all that had been needed. The farmers had left their small village that day without taking any of their possessions. It was ironic that they had run from people who were no better in combat than themselves had it not been for Hope's control.
She became more relaxed at the thought of the farmers running for their lives. Hope took her pillow and placed it back toward the front of the bed. She rested once more on the bed and brought the single cover up and over her shoulders. Hope closed her eyes and tried to return to sleep. Dark images of fire entered her mind. Thoughts of exploding volcanoes and flowing lava comforted her. She always liked the dreams of lava pits for some reason. She drew the blanket up closer to her face and drifted back to sleep.
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