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Disclaimers Xena Warrior Princess and all Characters of the Xenaverse are the property of Ren Pic and Universal. My deepest gratitude goes to them for the loan of these folks and I returned them none the worse for wear. Thanks for the Fertile fields.
BY APRIL MCKAIG
TEN YEARS LATER- OUR TIME.
Dawn broke over the Faire grounds. The sun quickly burned away the shroud of mist that hung over the fields. Activity began shortly thereafter. The New Greece Renaissance Faire had come into existence six years earlier, the dream of Aven Gabriel and Melanie Prince. With hard work and dedication it had quickly become one of the most popular and successful Faires on the West Coast.
The women were equal partners and believed in a hands on attitude in running the Faire. They had a few trusted employees that could step in when needed but they were greedy about sharing the duties they loved so much.
The owners insisted on realism for the Faire. The workers assumed they had spent a lot of time researching Ancient History. Only the two of them knew about the two weeks they had spent traveling in Ancient Greece almost ten years earlier. It had been a true learning experience and because of their need for authenticity it had made the Faire even more popular on the circuit.
Tents and campers dotted the landscape several hundred yards from the Faire grounds. The temporary homes of the workers. Two large tents were set away from the others. Outside the farthest, two children played and a solitary figure watched over them.
The children, little girls, were about seven years old and looked very much like their mothers. Brianne was the tallest, most outgoing. She was lean, with flowing black hair and piercing blue eyes. She had her mothers fiery personality and despite typical childrens arguments, was fiercely protective of her companion. Renee, the other child was shorter and smaller but just as robust as her friend. Her blond hair shone in the early morning light and her grey green eyes twinkled with health and mischief.
Bleary eyed, Melanie emerged from her tent the ever present cup of coffee in her hand. Normally she was an early riser. However Ram had stopped by the night before and it had been a late night. They had tried again at a relationship but neither was ready to settle down. They continued as an on again off again couple. The result of one such foray was their daughter Brianne. They stayed close for her sake, though it wasnt a conventional relationship, Brianne never wanted for attention from either parent. Ram was a wonderful father and now their bond was even deeper.
Quietly, Melanie watched Aven as she watched the children. Her face was calm and looked very childlike as she observed them play. The young woman had endured so much, even after Hawks. Luckily she had no memory of the temple after Hawks initially attacked her. The only thing she remembered was waking up cradled in Melanies arms afterward. Physically, she had fully recovered. Mentally she occasionally had lapses of memory loss and when particularly stressed lapsed into spells of catatonia. These spells only lasted a few minutes and were rare, but it was a scar that Hawks had left on her that even the Icon couldnt repair.
About the time that Melanie and Ram had gotten together again, Aven had met someone. Reluctant and untrusting, she had been in no hurry to get into another relationship. But Peter had been a patient and gentle soul. He had attended the Faire regularly and was a proficient archer. He had taken an interest in Aven instantly and sensing her hesitation had sought out help from others. Melanie was extemely protective of her friend but she had sensed Peters good heart and agreed to help him get acquainted with Aven. They had suddenly been paired up in competitions and he had been invited to dinner at Melanies on many occasions. Despite Avens complaints of Melanie fostering the relationship, she had begun to fall for the handsome young teacher. No one was more thrilled than Melanie when Aven accepted his marriage proposal.
Both women found out they were pregnant within a month of one another and eight months later, delivered their daughters within hours of one another. They both had men they loved and children and life seemed idyllic.
The happiness was shattered four months after the girls birth. Peter, Avens beloved husband had been caught in a gang cross fire outside of his school and had been killed. Aven handled it better than expected, focusing all her attention on Renee and Brianne. Melanie, as always was nearby if needed.
Shaking off the sad memories, Melanie realized the girls had stopped playing and were huddling around Aven, who was spinning one of her tales.
Easing quietly behind them, Melanie was in time to catch the very end of the story. "...and evil was defeated. The two warriors were wounded but still alive, ready to take on the next evil force that reared its ugly head."
Brianne moved closer to Aven pointing to the scar on her chest. "Thats the place?"
"Yes." Aven smiled, "Thats where your mother saved my life. She was very brave that day."
Brianne sat back proudly, "Cool!"
Aven couldnt contain the laughter at hearing the familiar expression coming from the smaller version.
"Girls?" Melanie interrupted, "Get cleaned up for breakfast."
"Just one more story, Aunt Mel. Please?" Renee begged with her best cant resist me smile.
Melanie almost caved but stood up straight, "Move it girls."
Sulking for the adults benefit, both girls obeyed and vanished into the tent. A few seconds later a soft giggling emerged from the tent.
"Morning." Aven greeted.
"Morning." Melanie answered taking a seat beside her. Offering her coffee cup, Aven accepted, took a quick drink and handed it back.
"Late night?" Aven smiled.
Melanie dropped her shoulders. "Yeah. I really did mean to come and get the girls but-- well you know."
Aven snickered, "I heard."
The blush on Melanies cheeks brightened, "Sorry. Did we keep you awake?"
Aven shook her head, "No."
"Did the girls behave?"
Melanie noticed the reflective posture Aven had assumed and recognized it, "You had a dream, didnt you?"
Avens smiled broadened, "Yes. I saw the second generation."
"Cool." Melanie grinned and leaned back in her chair.
The sound of the childrens laughter flowed out of the tent, causing a sense of melancholy to settle over Melanie. Sensing the change, Aven turned in her chair and watched Melanie for a minute.
"I worry, Aven." Melanie began, "About Brianne and Renee. The two of them going through something like we did. I know about our destiny and all that but theyre our kids. I dont like to think of them facing something like Hawks. Does it bother you?"
Aven considered the question for several minutes before answering. "I wonder if our mothers thought and felt the same way." Aven began, and met Melanies eyes, "I know that I will do everything in my power to ensure that she is a good person. That shes prepared for anything that may come up. When shes old enough I will tell her the family history and our part in it, just as you will tell Brianne. We will both do all we can. Its not the best or easiest answer but its all Ive got. Im certain theyll be fine for two simple reasons."
Melanie leaned forward, anxious to hear the rest of Avens thoughts, "Which are?"
"They have one another and they will have faith."
Melanie took Avens hand and lightly squeezed it. "Yeah. Just like us and those before us."
"Yep." Aven returned the squeeze, "Thats the best legacy we can give them."
"Mommm?" A childs voice called, "Were starving."
"The little warriors call." Melanie sighed and stood up. Aven arose and together they went to care for the next generation.