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Celebrations of Life

by Becky Lutzke (deanlu)
Aug.12, 1996

As we begin, Xena and Gabrielle are standing at the edge of a river watching a ferryman pull his raft across the rapids.

Gabrielle looks nervous. "We're going to find another place to cross, Right?"

Xena: Gabrielle, you know this is the only place to cross in miles. Besides we promised Ephiny we'd be there for the Celebration of Phantius's Life.

Gabrielle: Yeah, I know, but...


Gabrielle: Nothing

The ferryman arrives. "That will be three dinars."

Gabrielle: 3 dinars, I thought it was 1 dinar per person.

Ferryman: It is, but there is the horse too.

Xena: That's fine, pay the man Gabrielle.

Gabrielle: Are you sure we can't go around?!

Xena: Gabrielle!

Gabrielle: OK, ok!

Xena and Argo board. Gabrielle nervously gets on. As the ferryman starts out, Gabrielle closes her eye's and say's "Sarina".

Xena: What did you say?

Gabrielle: huh,...nothing.

As the ferryman continues across the river, Gabrielle's agitation continues to increase. Xena, figuring it is the rapids moves to stand by Gabrielle to ease her fears. Gabrielle's eyes are closed and Xena hears her say, "It was all my fault Sarina. Please don't leave . Don't die!" Xena with a shocked expression looks at Gabrielle.

Fade Out

Fade In

Our heroes have made it across to the other side and Gabrielle is considerably calmer now. Ready to move on. Xena, however, is concerned for her friend.

Xena: Gabrielle?

Gabrielle: huh?

Xena: Who is Sarina?

Gab stops in mid-stride and turns to her friend defensively: WHY?

Xena: I heard you mention her while on the ferry. Who is she?

Gabrielle: I don't know what your talking about!

Xena: Gabrielle if there is something......

Gabrielle:(angry now) Listen, that's an off limits subject, Ok!

Xena, not used to Gabrielle being so defensive says, "All right." But she is clearly not convinced it's all right.

They arrive in the Centaur village by mid-day. Ephiny is talking to Tyldus, when the two come walking in.

Ephiny: Gabrielle! Xena! I didn't think you'd make it in time. I heard you were taking care of a cyclops problem.

Gabrielle (her joyful mood returned) : Are you kidding, miss a celebration! Anyway, Xena can take care of one small cyclops.

Ephiny(smiling): I see she's still annoying.

Xena smiles!

Gabrielle: Hey!

Tyldus: Xena, Good to see you again.

Xena and Tyldus shake hands.

Gabrielle: So where's my nephew and when does the celebration start?

Tyldus: Tomorrow evening and Phantus is down by the river with his friends and Arvid.

A shadow passes across Gabrielle's face. And she gets really quiet. Ephiny notices, as does Xena.

Tyldus: You must be hungry after your travel here. Come, join us for a meal!

Gabrielle, her face returning to normal. "Did someone mention food?!"

Gab and Tyldus wander off, while Ephiny and Xena talk.

Ephiny: What's wrong with Gabrielle?

Xena: I'm not sure, it started when we had to cross the river at the ferry.

Ephiny: I didn't know she was afraid of water!?

Xena: She's not, thats what made it strange and the fact that she mentioned someone named Sarina.

Ephiny: Well, whatever it is, it's definitely got her spooked.

Xena in deep thought accompanies Ephiny to where they will be staying. A groom takes Argo.

Later that night as everyone sleeps, Gabrielle dreams......

She's 15 years old again. Pernicus, Sarina(her best friend) and Gabrielle are playing near the river. They've been warned to stay away from this section of the river, because of the dangerous rapids. But, it's such a beautiful day. Gabrielle has dared Pernicus and Sarina to join her. Pernicus gladly follows, his love ever showing. Sarina though does not want to go.

Gabrielle: Come on Sarina. Nothings going to happen.

Sarina: But you know we are not to got there.

Gabrielle: Where's your sense of adventure. Pernicus is coming!

Sarina: Pernicus would follow you off a cliff. Remember the whipping he took from old man Silas for you.

Gabrielle did remember! "Come on, it will make a great story and I'll even include you in it."

Sarina looks unconvinced, but gives in rather than argue with Gab. "All right."

The dream shifts and the next scene we see is Gabrielle yelling. "NO! Nooooo! Sarina! Pernicus she's not breathing. Sarina DON'T LEAVE. DON'T DIE! NOOO!"

Gabrielle wakes. She's sweating, shakey and breathing fast. For a moment she is unaware of her surroundings. But then ever so slowly reality creeps back in and she calms. Xena is laying in the bed watching Gabrielle quietly. Gabrielle gets up and slips out into the cool night air. Gabrielle sits in the chair outside the house. The moonlight bathes her brow, but gives no comfort. She tries to shake off the last images of the dream. But she knows it's no good.

Xena steps out and moves into the chair across from Gabrielle. Gabrielle what's wrong?

Gabrielle: Really it's nothing.

Xena: It's not nothing. Ever since the ferry you've been nervous and afraid. What's wrong?

Gabrielle looks at Xena, gauging how much she should say. "Did you have a best friend growing up?"

Xena: No, I had friends, but not a best friend. Not til I met you.

Gabrielle sighs, she is tired emotionally from the dream. "I had one, Sarina. We did everything together. Including picking on Pernicus.(Gab laughs at the memory)" Gabrielle looks at Xena. "You know, I would never do anything to endanger you!" Gab says this with such feeling that it startles Xena.

Xena: Why does this best friend cause you such pain?

Gabrielle closes her eyes and leans back in the chair. When I was 15, Sarina, Pernicus and I disobeyed our parents warnings and went to have fun near the river. (She whispers) An Adventure. Sarina was skipping rocks, following me, when she slipped and fell into the river. She was swept down the river and by the time we got to her, It was too late. (Tears are streaming down Gab's face)

Xena feels for her friend, but is amazed that Gabrielle has never talked about it before now. Xena senses that Gabrielle is holding something back. "What else?"

Gab: Isn't that enough!

Xena: You're holding back something.

Gab: Leave it Xena. I C-can't ....

Xena: No! Until you face this you will never be free. What else?

Gab: (ANGRY NOW) I said that's it! Gab runs off into the night. Trying desperately to flee from the shadow of Sarina, the questions of Xena and her guilt. But there will be no solace tonight.

Xena watches her friend run off and shakes her head. Starting to see a picture, but still missing pieces!!

Ephiny, awakened by Gab and Xena's argument, is now sitting and talking with Xena.

Ephiny: What could she possibly be not telling you!

Xena: I don't know, but she feels it was her fault.

Ephiny: I can't see that from Gabrielle!

Xena: I don't know what to say anymore. She won't talk.

Epniny: Be patient, if there's one thing Gab knows, it's how to talk. Just be there for her when she does.

Gabrielle returns shortly before the sun rise. She drops into bed exhausted. She's awakened a little before the mid-day by a young Phatus calling her name.

Aunt Gabrielle! Wake up! Come on!! I want you to come on a picnic with me to the meadow. Come on Aunt Gabby!!! PLEEAASSEE!!

Gabrielle: All right, just give me a minute!

By the time Gabrielle comes down, Ephiny has packed there lunch for them. Ephiny looks at Xena, who decides to go along. The meadow is large, with wild flowers growing everywhere. The river runs along side and there is a warm breeze blowing. Phantus and Gabrielle play for a time, while Xena watches. Gabrielle is happy, but Xena can see the shadow just hidden behind her eyes.Gab and Phantus rejoin Xena. They have lunch and Phantus falls asleep next to Gabrielle. She watches him sleep for a while aware that Xena is watching. Gab gets up and wanders down by the river. As if called from the Past. She sits on a rock, staring at nothing but a past she can't change. Xena sits down across from her.

Gabrielle begins to speak. "You were right, there's more."

Xena: Gabrielle, I will alway be your friend, no matter what!

Gabrielle focuses on Xena. "The day we went to the river, it was my fault. I dared Sarina and Pernicus, telling them it would be an Adventure and it would make a great story. Gabrielle looks away, tears coming to her eyes. But when we got to the river, I dared Sarina and Pernicus to come rock jumping. I knew it was dangerous, but I never thought...... .....Sarina wasn't going to do it. So I started teasing her and picking on her. Then I said, Only a true friend would trust and follow. Oh by the Gods, I wish she hadn't followed!! Gabrielle is crying harder and Xena wants to reach out to her, but is afraid she will stop. "She came running on the rocks...and I gave her a playful push...she slipped..hit her head..and fell into the river. Pernicus and I tried to grab her, but...(Xena reaches out now and holds Gabrielle).Oh God, why did I do that!!(Gabrielle is crying hard)

After a while Gabrielle calms and looks at Xena. I killed her, just as if I struck her down with a sword. Pernicus said it was an accident, but I knew better. Afterwards I was numb, Pernicus made up a story about us having fun and being an accident. Everyone believed it....I couldn't even tell my sister, Lilla. Only Pernicus and I knew the truth.

Xena: It was an accident. You have got to let go of this.


Gab realizes she has hurt her best friend, but doesn't know how to take it back.

Phantus intrudes: Aunt Gabrielle?! We need to get back for the celebration.

The moment is gone. And Gabrielle gets up and walks off. Xena is stunned. She would never have guessed that Gabrielle could carry something like this around all this time. Not sweet Gabrielle. Xena accompanies Phantus back to the village for the celebration. Not quite knowing what to do, but knowing she won't let Gab destroy herself over this. She has to help her.

The center of the village is alive with music and dance. Food is laid out on the tables to the side. Gabrielle is listening to the music. Xena is speaking to Ephiny. Xena whispers something to Ephiny, who nods and walks over to Gabrielle.

Ephiny begins talking to Gabrielle, slowly: "Tyldus told me about this celebration after Phantus and I returned from Thessily. It seemed only right to remember the good times and celebrate Phantius. I didn't think I could ever forgive myself for not being able to help him....But I did, slowly...over time. And I found he hadn't truly left me. Parts of him are here. In Tyldus, Phantus and me.

Gabrielle looks at Ephiny, then to Xena.

Tyldus steps forward and motions for silence. "Tonight we celebrate the life of Phantius. Let it be known that he courageously gave his life out of love, to keep his family safe. There is no greater love than to sacrifice one's life so that others may live. So tonight we sing, dance, and celebrate PHANTIUS!

Everyone: HURRAH!!

The music begins again. Gabrielle wanders away from Ephiny. Tyldus's words still ringing in her mind. The kids have run off now playing and Gab decides to follow. Xena's talking to Ephiny about Gabrielle, when Phantus comes running in.

MOTHER! MARIA has fallen into the river. Xena, Ephiny and the others rush to the river. On arriving at the river, they see Gabrielle in the middle of the river. She is clinging to a rock with the child. The current is strong and both are in peril.

Xena: Gabrielle HOLD ON!

Tyldus:Get some rope, the currents too swift to wade out.

The rope is brought. Gabrielle is struggling to hold on to the rock and the girl.


The first throw is too short, Xena pulls in the rope and calms herself. The next throw is right on.



Gabrielle loops the rope around the young girl.

Gabrielle: XENA PULL HER IN!

The villagers begin pulling on the rope. Gabrielle was right,the current is strong and swift. It takes time to get the girl to shore. But they get her there, where she is wrapped in a blanket and hurried back to the village.


But before the rope can be thrown again to Gabrielle, She loses her grip!!

Gabrielle: XENA!!


Xena takes off running down the edge of the river with the rope in hand. If she can just get ahead of Gabrielle, maybe she can save her friend. Just down the river a ways is a point that juts out further into the river. But right after is a drop from a waterfall. Xena knows this is her only hope and runs like the wind. Tyldus is following behind. Xena reaches the point ahead of Gabrielle. She ties the rope around the rock for an anchor and the other end around her. She see's Gabrielle coming. Then with all the strength she can muster she runs and jumps to reach Gabrielle. Xena grabs Gabrielle at the last possible moment and they both go over the falls.

Tyldus arrives and grabs the rope and begins pulling. The others arrive and soon Xena and Gabrielle emerge from the Whitewater. Exhausted, Gabrielle looks gratefully at Xena, too tired to speak. But then what needs to be said.

As the scene opens we see Xena and Gabrielle saying their Goodbyes.

Tyldus: Next year we will celebrate you Gabrielle. We owe you everything.

Gabrielle smiles, but for once says absolutely nothing.

Ephiny: Be safe. Take care of her Xena and don't let her annoy you too much!(But the look Ephiny gives Gab is one of love for a sister.)

Gabrielle: Take care. Phantus, keep Maria away from the river.

Phantus: I don't think she'll go near it again! Phantus hugs Gabrielle and Xena.

The two walk on down the road.

Xena: So you've made peace with Sarina?!

Gabrielle: Yes. And I've chosen to remember the good times. You know, I believe our friendship was a gift from her. I had sworn never to have a best friend again.

Gabrielle stops Xena and lays a hand on Xena's shoulder. "Thank you for saving my life again!"

Xena: What are friends for!!

They walk off and the picture fades.


Thank you to all the TXM and TVChat members! Arguments are great for story writing. See I told you Gab could have a Secret!!! Special Thanks to Renee O Conner for bringing Gabrielle to life and for making one Gab fan very Happy! You're the greatest Renee!!!

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