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The Private Thoughts of the Warrior Princess

by Nitefal


Greetings ! Welcome to my little piece of fantasy. I am no writer, but merely a fan of the show "Xena:Warrior Princess" who had a little too much time on his hands between the first and second season's episodes. I originally issued this fan fiction in six parts over a period of two weeks. When I first penned what is now Chapter 1 below, I really hadn't intended going any further with the idea; however, at the urging of a few readers I started putting out additional, subsequent parts. I tell you this as a way of explanation for the seeming lack of continuity between Chapters 1 through 3. Chapters 3 through 6 mesh a little better, but I still am relying on the reader's knowledge of certain first season "Xena:Warrior Princess" episodes ( e.g. "Warrior....Princess", "Altared States", "The Greater Good", & "Callisto" ) in order to fill in some gaps. I apologize for this, but like I said, I am really not a good storyteller. I hope, despite these shortcomings, that you still enjoy the tale.

Chapter 1 - " Strained Relationship "

It was that time of day just before dawn. The denizens of the night were returning to their lairs, while the flora and fauna of the light were just beginning to stir. It was perhaps the most tranquil part of the day in this violent land, and it was a special time for the Warrior Princess. For during this brief period she could forget about the battles that she must frequently fight during the day, and the demons that she too often must cope with at night. Funny. She often wondered which was worse - the difficult life she now chose to lead, or her past life which she can never forget.

Pulling aside her blanket, she sat up from her makeshift bed on the ground and surveyed the campsite. The last few glowing embers of the campfire were dying out, starved for fuel. The fine wisp of smoke performed a lazy spiraling dance up to the heavens. To her right she could just make out the prone figure of Gabrielle, the slight sound of snoring coming from her sleeping frame.

Xena smiled. The two adventurers had come a long way since that first night together in the outskirts of Amphipolis. Xena was sure that the young farmgirl would soon tire of their rough, hazardous life on the road and return to her village. But to her surprise ( and chagrin ) Gabrielle had stuck it out. Apparently, the word 'quit' was not in the bard's vocabulary. Xena respected that, but it still seemed a chore traveling with her new companion in those early days. Her incessant talking and lack of practical experience seemed like a large pothole in Xena's road toward redemption back then. But that has all changed now. The dependent girl has quickly grown into a self-sufficient woman. That which could not break her had made her strong. She has become a great bard, a competent warrior, a good traveling companion, and.....more. Xena had tried to explain to her just how much 'more', but she is not certain that Gabrielle fully understood. Xena mused, " Perhaps I should try again. I should just tell her how much I ....." , just then she heard a cock crow in the distance. " Time is short ", she thought, " I best begin now. "

The Warrior Princess sat up straight, legs crossed, arms relaxed with her elbows resting on her knees. In her right hand she held a round metallic object. Tilting her head back slightly, she closed her eyes and tried to clear her mind. But the image of Gabrielle suddenly popped into her thoughts again....." You are beautiful ", she was saying. Xena shook her head. With her steely will she purged everything from her mind, save the 'one'.

XENA : " Alright. I know you are there. Speak to me. "

" Harrumph - And why would you care to hear what ' I ' have to offer ", a thought suddenly shot back.

XENA : " Do not start with me. Our time is short this morning. "

RETURNING THOUGHT (RT) : " Indeed ! And whose fault is that might I ask ? "

XENA : " Please....let's not get into this again. I share what time I can with you. You know that. "

RT : " And not nearly enough time it is...... " When once, we were as one. "

XENA : " We still share those times. We still become as one. "

RT : " Yes. But too few times....too little time. Our bond grows weaker with each passing day. "

XENA : " Times change. Humans change. "

RT : " And you forget the special pact that our Benefactor bestowed upon us ! "

XENA : " No. I do not forget. It's just that.... "

RT : " It would seem otherwise ! Even now your thoughts are tainted with the image of the talkative one. You should never have allowed her to join us. The four-legged beast was bad enough. "

XENA : " So, you are jealous. "

RT : " Not jealous. Practical. We need only each other ...... ...... Very well, the horse has its uses. But the little one is worse than useless. She is a detriment to us. "

XENA : " No. You are mistaken. She gives me strength, just as you give me power. "

RT : " You can't be serious ! What possible value could she be to us ? She is weak. She is a distraction. She can be of no good to us. "

XENA : " You are wrong. She has become strong. It is her goodness that gives me strength. Gives US strength. "

RT : " Bah ! She confuses you. She jumbles your thoughts. Give me the times before. Your thoughts were pure and simple then. In those days, we were without equal. We had control. We had respect. We had power. "

XENA : " No. Those days are gone. And WE were not the ones in control. We invoked not respect from others, but fear. And we had no real power, only delusions of grandeur. I walk a different path now. WE walk a different path now. "

RT : " Still, I know that a part of you misses those days. Do not deny it. The terror we instilled in the hearts of our enemies, the armies we crushed, the taste of blood ! "

XENA : " I will not listen to this. I deny that part of myself. It is finished ! "

RT : " How long has it been since you let me taste human blood ? Can you even remember ? "

XENA : " It is not neces....."

RT : " It was in Troy ! And how long have you kept me from slaying a foe ? I can barely recall....."

XENA : " I do not wish to discuss this further ! "

RT : " Ah yes. I remember now. It was that snake Mezentius from Trachus. Oh, the horrific fear I sensed in him as I slit his throat. Your thoughts were simple and clear then - anger, revenge. Like before. "

XENA : " Enough !!. You.....we, have had enough victims. More than I can count ! More than I can bear ! "

RT : " Oh, I can tell you exactly how many we sent to the other side. At last count it was four hundred, seventy- ..."

XENA : " STOP !!!!!! "

Gabrielle wakes up from her slumber with a start, grabbing her staff. GABRIELLE : " Xena ! What is it ? What's happening ?!? "

Gabrielle's voice pulls Xena's focus back to the campsite in a flash. She notices that she is now standing and is covered in sweat. XENA : " Nothing. It is nothing Gabrielle. "

Seeing that her friend wasn't buying it, she adds - XENA : " I just had a....a bad dream, is all. "

GABRIELLE : " Xena, you know you really shouldn't torture yourself so. What's past is past. You're a different person now. You've got to .... "

XENA : " Yes Gabrielle. I know that you're right. "

Gabrielle has learned when to drop this particular subject. She stretches her arms above her head while looking around the campsite. GABRIELLE : " Oh well. It's time to get up now anyway. Boy, am I hungry. " Then turning back to Xena, " Say, what are you doing with your chakram ? "

XENA : " What ? Oh,...uhm...just thinking Gabrielle. I was just thinking ", she said as she flipped ' the round killing thing ' over and over in her hands.

Chapter 2 - " Accusation and Denial "

Join with me my friends as we fly in the moonlit sky, soaring safely above the dark, dreary forest below. Revel in the exhilaration of the wind caressing our bodies as we sail up among the stars. Oh, look below ! See that light in the distance on the ground below ? Let us take a closer look. Ah, we can see it now. It is a campfire giving warmth and protection to two sleeping travelers. We may draw closer, but be careful, as the creatures of this land are a violent breed.

The first being we encounter is sleeping like a stone. See how the campfire's glow reflects off of her golden hair. Such peace and serenity. But trust me - you would not want to be near her during the day ! The second figure appears to be restless. Notice how she is tossing to and fro, unintelligible mumbling passing from her lips. What !? You want to investigate ? I would not advise it ! I recognize this one. She is one of the most deadly creatures in this evil land. Very well, if you insist. Follow me closely and take care, for her reach is long and her vengeance is great !

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Xena is running hard across a field, her light armor barely slowing her down. The pounding of her heart fills her ears, as she takes in large gulps of air. The urgency of the situation has heightened all of her senses. With eagle eyes she sites her quarry. " The old fool doesn't know that he's being tricked ", she thought. " Must get to him before he does the unthinkable. " Closing the distance, she can see her quest more clearly now. Though she is already straining, she picks up the pace. Her long strong legs quaffing up large chunks of real estate with each desperate stride. She can see the figure of a man standing over a, an altar. There is something lying on the altar. " Ichas ! ", she thought. The man is raising his arm. Something in his hand reflects the light. " By the Dead Snakes Blood ! " , she curses, " He is actually going to do it ! " Without breaking stride, her hand reaches for the shiny object on her hip. Undoing the binding, she raises the weapon up to shoulder height. " No choice ", she says to herself. Slowing up and twisting her torso she shouts one final crystal-clear thought into her mind , " Take his arm ! " , then she sends the disk on its flight.

Slowing to a trot she watches what now unfolds as though it were in slow motion. Regret is already filling her heart, as she follows the flight of the whirling dervish as it screamed towards its intended target. Just then she heard a loud rumbling sound, barely audible over the noise of her beating heart. " Gabrielle " , she thought, " You are too late. "

The old man looked up, then dropped the knife. The ' ring of death ' whipped past him and Ichas so fast that neither even seemed to notice its presence. " What ? " , thought Xena, confused. The chakram completed its 80 yard round trip and was plucked from the air by the Warrior Princess. Looking down at it in her hand she thought, " Why ? ". Then looking up again she saw Anteus and Ichas hugging one another in a loving embrace. A smile came to her face. She rushed to meet them, to tell them of the treacherous other son. In her relief, she forgot all else.

Back at the campsite, Xena suddenly awoke and sat up. Her finely honed warrior sense detecting a presence. Her eyes, adjusting to the light of the campfire, surveyed her surroundings. She took in every sight, sound and smell - but nothing. " I guess I'm getting jumpy ", she thought. " Still, this is as good a time as any to settle this matter. " Taking the chakram from beneath the rolled-up blanket which was her pillow, she sat up straight, tilted back her head and closed her eyes.

XENA : " Come to me. We have something to discuss. "

Nothing. It was getting harder all of the time to communicate this way. Not like in the heat of battle when emotions and senses are at their peak - it was much simpler then. She then reminisced back to when she first laid eyes on the beautiful silver and gold 'gift.' " Take this ", the Benefactor had said, " and with it you will....."

RETURNING THOUGHT (RT) : " Ah! So you still remember the first time ! I am surprised. You have become so distant of late, and spend all of your time with the garrulous one. "

XENA : " I still remember ' The Pact '. Better than you it would seem. "

RT : " And what do you mean by that ? "

XENA : " For your part, you were to obey my commands. "

RT : " As I HAVE done these many years. "

XENA : " Until last week ! "

RT : " What are you saying? "

XENA : " You spared the old man's arm after I told you to take it. Not that I am complaining, but it is quite unlike you to pass up an opportunity to taste blood. Did you do it to spite me ? "

RT : " You are delirious. The bard has bewildered you again. You do not know what you are saying. "

XENA : " I commanded you to take his arm, did I not ? "

RT : " Yes. And then you told me to spare it, just as I was prepared to strike. I was so close to him that I could smell his fear. But it was a fear unlike I've sensed before. "

XENA : " What ? I said no such th..... "

RT : " You have resorted to teasing me now. You send me on my task and then when I'm about to strike, you call me off. You dislike me because I remind you of the glorious past which you have lost. You have your storyteller now, so you don't need me. Release me from ' The Pact ' and perhaps then I may find a more ' worthy ' mistress. Or if you prefer, bury me again. I would prefer that to your insults. "

XENA : " Ha ! It is YOU who vexes me ! Enlighten me - how was I able to tell you to spare the arm when 40 yards of air separated our touch ? Well ? "

RT : " I.....don't know. I ...."

XENA : (Stupid hunk of metal)

RT : " I overheard that remark ! And it WAS your thought that I heard. Though you have kept your distance of late, I could never forget the ' voice ' of she who I am in pact with. "

Xena released the chakram and thought to herself, " Hmmm..... This ONE god must be more powerful than I had imagined. I do not want to complicate matters by bringing another deity into it. Best to change the subject. " Grabbing the weapon once more.....

XENA : " And what of last month in Treus ? Gabrielle told me of how Princess Diana struck the tree using you. Surely she does not possess the skill to perform that feat. You obviously did her bidding, despite our pact. "

RT : " I remember the pact - I am only to do the bidding of she who I am ' bonded ' with. "

XENA : " Explain yourself then. "

RT : " I merely.... I mistook her for you. "

XENA : " Don't give me that. You've just got done explaining to me that you could not mistake my ' voice '. "

RT: " I....I.....You confuse me ! "

XENA : " Gabrielle also mentioned that you nearly decapitated her and the others, including Argo. You were after their blood, weren't you ? "

RT : " You should have seen the expression on King Lias face when I sliced his crown in two. "

XENA : " I do NOT think that is funny ! Nor do I think that our Benefactor would find it amusing. "

RT : " I would not have harmed any of them seriously.....except perhaps the horse. She doesn't like me. It is all your fault anyway. You starve me. You weaken me. Our bond is dissolving because I grow frail from lack of nourishment. I say again - transfer the bond to another, or bury me. "

XENA : " So, you are a Maenad now, who dines on the flesh of the living. If it is blood you want, then take mine. "

Xena tightens her grip on the chakram until the blade cuts through her skin. Blood begins to drip on the ground.

RT : " Stop this foolishness. You know that I am not permitted to harm she who commands me. Besides, it is not blood which satiates me but rather the raw emotions of those that I strike. Their surprise, their fear, their hurt and their anger as I slice through them. It is THAT which nourishes me and gives my ' voice ' strength. You would have remembered that if you were serious about ' The Pact ' . In the past I was so strong, our thoughts were as equals. But now you keep me weakened, barely sentient. "

XENA : " And why would I purposely do such a thing ? What advantage would I gain ? "

RT : " I do not know. I know only that I need flesh and blood, but you give me metal and stone. "

Suddenly the short hairs on the back of Xena's neck stand on end. She senses a presence again. Still holding the disk, she opens her eyes and re-scrutinizes the campsite. It is nearly dawn now. She just ' knows ' someone is there, but she sees nothing.

RT : " So, you sense them as well. "

XENA : " Yes. But I see nothing. "

RT : " That is because they are in your head. "

XENA : " What !?! "

Oops ! Fellow travelers, it would appear that we have overstayed our welcome. I believe it would be wise for us to leave at this time. We take to flight as the sun shows its face on the horizon. This Warrior Princess is an interesting entity. Perhaps we should visit her again at some future time. What do you think ?

Chapter 3 - " The Beginning of the End ? "

Xena struggled to take off the remainder of her clothing. Gabrielle, who had started the process by removing the breastplate, was now herself disrobing. Xena fumbled with her garments as if she were a small child once again. Her palms were sweaty and her lower extremities were tingling. " We are doing the right thing ", she reassured herself as she glanced over at the bard a few yards away. " She is young ", Xena mused, " But I know that she is ready for this. " Xena finally removed all of the light armor and was now struggling with the leather outfit which was clinging to her torso. She trembled with the effort. " After all ", she thought, " Gabrielle has wanted to do this for ages. She should be up to the task. She is no longer the naive girl from Poteidaia. She is a mature woman now. " Pulling off the last of the leather top with effort, she noted a twinge in her right shoulder. Pain. She hadn't told her partner of the possible pain that would come. She didn't want to worry her further.

Leaning back against a support, she sighed with relief as Gabrielle came over to her and picked-up her discarded clothing. Looking once more at her scantily-clad friend she thought, " Yes indeed, she has grown." She noted the muscle tone of the bard's legs and her strong upper body. " She even moves like a warrior now.....sometimes. " Her brow furrowed as she began doubting her decision. " You can do this Gabrielle ", she had said. But she knew it would be different this time. Not like before, when they were more or less in control of the situation. " Is she truly ready ? Does she really want to do this ? ", Xena agonized with herself. But then steeling herself she thought, " No turning back now. Our time is short. And Salmoneus will be back shortly. " She laughed to herself. She thought for sure that she would have to shoo the lovable letch out of the room, but to her surprise he discretely left on his own. " We have all changed so much this last year - not the least of all myself. I would never have guessed that I'd be asking Gabrielle to do this for me - for us. "

Her eyes continued to follow the bard as she donned Xena's warrior clothing. Xena tried to get up to assist her, but the tolmec poison had just about made her legs useless. She had expected the tingling sensation, but not the occasional pain. However, she had dealt with physical pain many times before in her violent life. Relatively speaking, her present discomfort was nothing. She could hide it from her friend and the others easily. She continued to watch as Gabrielle fumbled with the armored breastplate. Regret was beginning to fill her heart once again. Her friend was so brave, but yet, so inexperienced at warfare. And she doesn't know yet that she must also ride Argo. That will unsettle her more. She needs an edge against Talmadeus and his army. " An ' edge ' ", she repeated to herself. Glancing to her left, she spied her chakram lying on the ground. Leaning over she picked it up, tilted her head back, and closed her eyes. She tried to clear her mind of the worry and the pain.

XENA : " We must speak. Come to me. "

Nothing. It had become difficult enough these last few months to communicate. But the tolmec in her bloodstream was muddling her senses, making it harder still.

XENA : " Come to me now. It is urgent. I need you. "

RETURNING THOUGHT (RT) : " Oh, you need me. And for what ? To slice through more fire arrows and swords ? I have told you what I ' need ' - flesh and blood. But you continue to deny me. Yet, I am to fulfill your every whim. "

XENA : " I have heard all of this before. We have no time for it now. "

RT : " Yes you ' hear ' me, but you do not listen to me. Still, today during the battle, for a brief moment, I thought you were going to give me blood. I sensed, however temporary, your thoughts of pure anger and revenge. But you obviously just continue to tease me...... in addition to starving me. "

XENA : " I was not teasing you. Had I spotted the worm who shot me with the dart today, I would have gladly let you take his arm. "

RT : " So you say. "
RT : " What is wrong with you? True, your ' voice ' has gotten more difficult for me to hear of late, but this is different. Your whole body is in distress. What is happening ? "

XENA : " There is no time to explain now. Listen - I need you to do something. Something very important. "

RT : " No ! Explain this feeling of ill that I share with you. are dying !"

XENA : " I am not going to die, but I need your cooperation NOW. I need you to obey the commands of another for a short time. "

RT : " What ? Impossible ! I only obey she who I am ' bonded ' with. "

XENA : " Really ? And what of Princess Diana ? "

RT : " We have been through that. It was a mistake which I will not repeat. I remain true to ' The Pact '. "

XENA : " I am your mistress. I can command you to serve another. "

RT : " No you may not. Ask our Benefactor if you like. ' The Pact ' is ' The Pact '. But you know that. What is wrong with you ? "

XENA : " Very well then. You have asked me in recent days to either bury you or to permanently transfer our ' bond ' to another. Well, you now leave me no choice. I have decided on the transfer. "

RT : " You can't be serious ! Who do you seek to make the transfer to ? "

XENA : " To Gabrielle. "

RT : " Never !! It was she who poisoned your mind and ruined our union. I will never agree to this ! "

XENA : " I am the mistress. I will make the transfer. I command it ! "

RT : " Not so fast ! You may agree to the transfer, but I must agree to respect the commands of the new mistress. And I will never follow the bard. Do you hear ? Never ! "

Xena's body sagged, her head leaning back against the barrel of seltzer water behind her. She was getting weaker. The poison was reducing the great fighting machine, which was her body, to a useless hulk. This arguing was not helping her condition.

RT : " You ARE dying ! Otherwise you would never agree to the transfer. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. To think that at one time we had nearly completed the ' great task ' which our Benefactor had laid before us. If it had not been for those meddling centaurs at Corinth, we would have united this land. Now......we have failed all. "

XENA : " You are mistaken. Had we won at Corinth, we were still years from completing the ' task '. More importantly, we would not have ' united ' the land but rather ' conquered ' it ."

RT : " Conquered, united, what is the difference ? "

XENA : " The difference is that the Benefactor seeks peace and civilization in this land. It is not to be a warlord's stronghold governed by fear. My vision was tainted then, but I see clearly now. Only through the goodwill of the inhabitants will this land be at peace. Our mission therefore is to purge the malcontents and the disrupters who threaten the greater good. "

RT : " Will you listen to yourself ? These are not the words of the Warrior Princess. They are the words of the interfering bard. First her poisonous words took your mind. Now another poison takes your life. This is all so pathetic ! Where once we ruled, we now wither away in a dank warehouse. "

XENA : " There is still hope. Gabrielle's heart is good and her courage is great. She can change this land with both her words and her strength, if you aid her. We can still fulfill the Benefactor's request. I beg you to make the transfer. "

RT : " The mighty Warrior Princess has now resorted to begging ? When once you commanded me and all others that you came in contact with ? Enough ! I no longer know you, and I will not agree to the transfer. "

XENA : " Very well then ! But so long as I live, you WILL obey my commands ! "

RT : " I will long as you live. "

Xena throws the chakram to the ground with disgust. She knows in her heart that she is right, but this is not helping Gabrielle. She will have to wield a fake chakram in carrying out the impersonation.

Gabrielle was putting the finishing touches on the warrior outfit. Salmoneus is re-entering the room. This has to work....... .

Chapter 4 - " Betrayal "

Xena could not sleep. Whenever she would close her eyes and try to doze off, she would see the flames, smell the acrid smoke.....hear the screams. Sitting up from her makeshift bed she looked around the campsite. Gabrielle laid to her right. She could hear the bard's snores - " Good, she finally got to sleep ", Xena thought. On the other side of the campsite sat Melas. Viewing his hunched-over form through the campfire's flames, she could not tell whether he was sleeping or not. She guessed not. She knew what was going on in his heart. This was very familiar territory for her. As she continued to watch him, her eyes suddenly re-focused on the flames. Tears began flowing again. " How could things have gone so wrong so quickly ? ", she thought. " Just when I seemed to be able to clearly see the path and know the way, my past comes back again like a fog, distorting my view.....getting me lost. " Before today's events, she had believed that she was once again on the right road to her redemption. Her friend and ' guidepost ', Gabrielle, had renewed Xena's faith and resolve with her display of grit and determination against Talmadeus and his army. The bard's devotion to her, to risk all to return her to her brother's gravesite, led Xena to believe that Gabrielle finally DID understand the special bond that they shared with one another. " Strange ", she mused, " One bond strengthens while the other disintegrates. "

The Warrior Princess felt a tear leave her cheek and strike her chest. " This won't do ", she thought as she wiped the remaining tears from her face. " I am a warrior and I have a strong foe to face tomorrow in Delphi. I must come up with a strategy. " But then she realized that there was no strategy to be devised. The madwoman will strike when and where she pleases. Callisto is calling the shots here. Xena could only react. It was difficult enough to gauge her opponents prowess, let alone try to figure out what's going on in her head. This was new territory for Xena. In the past, she was always good at ' reading ' people, especially her foes in combat. It gave her an edge against them, the ability to anticipate their next move. But how could she ' read ' this demented warrior ? Xena knew exactly what was in Callisto heart, but not what was on her mind. " Yes, Callisto will set the stage. I will just have to act my part to the best of my ability. She fought well when we first met, but I'm certain that my advantage of size and experience can overcome her strengths of purpose and bloodlust. " But then a bad feeling covered her like a wet blanket - " She now possesses the ' gift '. If it were to obey her commands, it would tip the balance strongly in her favor. "

Xena began pondering whether or not her stolen weapon could be used against her in the upcoming fight. On the one hand, ' The Pact ' forbids the chakram from harming its mistress, and of course it is ' supposed ' to only obey Xena's commands. But on the other hand, her relationship with the 'gift ' has been strained of late....perhaps to the breaking point. In addition, the ' round killing thing ' would welcome the simple emotions of anger and revenge which it will likely find in Callisto's heart. And she must remember that even if the chakram remains true to ' The Pact ', and does not obey the impostor's orders, it is still a lethal weapon in its own right if tossed by someone skilled in its use. And Callisto WAS able to pluck it from the air without losing any fingers. Xena concluded, " No, the chakram would not risk the wrath of the Benefactor by harming me. But.....what about the Oracle ? "

( fade to black )


Xena had no trouble ' borrowing ' a priestess' robe and entering the Temple. True, she still stuck out like a sore thumb with her sword hilt protruding from the scabbard on her back. But oddly enough no one thought ( or had the gall ) to challenge her. She could not be concerned with her appearance now though, for the Oracle had just entered the room. She was being carried in her seat to the altar. Once there, she would place herself in a trance and begin to answer the questions from seekers of the Truth. Xena reasoned that Callisto would have to make her strike before then. For once in her trance, the Oracle might discover the madwoman's intentions and shout a warning. " One thing ", Xena thought, " the room is densely crowded with worshipers. It will not be easy to accurately throw the chakram in this mass of people, whether a skilled hurler or not. "

The Oracle's entourage was now passing by. Xena's eyes were feverishly scanning the crowd around her. She was expecting a knife attack. Just then, her warrior-attuned hearing detected the unmistakable sound of a weapon being drawn from somewhere behind her. Turning around, she just caught sight of the disk being launched into the air. But as she had hoped, the crowded room resulted in an inaccurate throw. The chakram was headed for the far wall to the right of the Oracle. Sparks flew as metal touched the stone wall ...... but, the weapon did not stop. It was now careening towards the opposite wall on the left. " No" , Xena thought, fearing the worse. The disk met that structure with similar results, and was now headed towards the rear wall while the stupefied audience looked on. " Don't do it ! ", Xena shouted in her mind. But she knew that the ' gift ' could not hear her ' voice ' without her touch. The ' round killing thing ' rebounded off of the back wall and was now headed directly for the stunned Oracle. Without thinking, Xena drew her knife and flung it towards the whirling ring of death. By the good grace of the gods, the knife intercepted the chakram and deflected it into her waiting hand. " Traitor !!! ", she screamed in her mind. But there was no time for acrimony now. Her evil quarry was escaping.

Chapter 5 - " Going, Going, ..... "

It was dusk. Xena, now alone, had just made camp and was stoking the campfire. There were tears in her eyes as she recalled the incredible events of the past day. The failed assassination attempt on the Oracle in the morning. Her chase and capture of the assailant, Callisto. Her captive's taunts and subsequent escape. And the kidnapping of Gabrielle.

Xena had picked-up her adversary's trail by heading out in the same direction that Callisto had fled earlier in the day. She eventually tracked her down to her stronghold, but by then it was getting dark. She had decided to wait until morning to make her attack. She did not think that the crazed woman would harm Gabrielle, just yet. True, she had said that she would kill everything that Xena loved, given the opportunity. But she could have murdered the bard in Delphi, if that was her intention. She obviously meant to use Gabrielle as bait for some sort of trap.

Xena wiped a teardrop from her cheek. " Some warrior I am ", she thought. " I hadn't cried since I was a child. Even when I lost Lyceus and Marcus I shed no tears. But these last two days.... . For once in my life I do not know what to do. How can I fight Callisto ? I am the one who ' made ' her. It was my fault. I have no right to judge her. Gabrielle had said that her heart has been eaten away by hatred, and that she could not change. I didn't want to believe that, but it may be true. I have learned to trust Gabrielle's judgment in matters of the heart. "

She thought of her friend and how the bard had tried to comfort her the night before. " There's only one way to end this cycle of hatred ", Gabrielle had said, " and that is through love and forgiveness. " Xena wished that she could have her friend's counsel right now. " If the madwoman would not forgive and forget ", Xena thought, " then in order to save Gabrielle, I will most likely have no choice but to kill Callisto.....if I can. "

Capturing a teardrop from under her eye with a finger, she held it in front of her, staring at it. " Look at me ! I'm falling apart. Not good when I am about to fight one of the most important battles of my life." Reflecting further, " I even shed tears in front of Gabrielle last night. I should never have done that. I am the strong one, the leader. Gabrielle will think that I am weakening and she will lose confidence in me." Shaking her head with a grunt - " Enough of this ! The way that I am acting, I will lose the battle before it is even fought. I must clear my mind of these emotions. I need a distraction. "

Getting up, she walked over to Argo's saddle lying on the ground and fetched the chakram. Returning to the fire she sat down, tilted back her head, and closed her eyes.

XENA : " Come to me you traitorous dog ! "

RETURNING THOUGHT (RT) : " There is no need to shout. I can hear your ' voice ' clearly now. Your thoughts are pure and unambiguous once again. But you should not direct your thoughts of venom at me, but rather at your enemies."

XENA : " I AM addressing an enemy. "

RT : " I have done you no harm. "

XENA : " No ? You have broken ' The Pact ' once again by serving another without my consent. And you went after the head of the Oracle. "

RT : " You do not know that. "

XENA : " Don't give me that ! I was there in the Temple, remember ? I saw it all. Why did you do it ? Why did you forsake me for one as evil as Callisto ? "

RT : " Evil ? She is driven, like you once were. Her emotions are pure and simple. Her thoughts, easy to read. She has a vision and the drive to obtain a goal. Things which you seem to be lacking of late. And she would have provided well for me. "

XENA : " You mean provided you with blood. Did it not matter to you that her ' goal ' was to destroy me ? "

RT : " I myself would never have harmed you. And if you have become so weak that you could not take such a young one by sword, then that is your fate. "

XENA : " So, did you communicate with her ? Do you know her plans ? "

RT : " No. I attempted to make contact, but I could not get past her rage. She lacked the discipline to speak her ' voice ' to me. She was unaware that I was sentient. Eventually though, we WOULD have ' bonded '. You know, she even kissed me. When was the last time YOU showed me any affection ? You reserve that for your new ' friend ' , the bard. Me, you treat with disdain, as if I were just another hunk of lifeless metal in your armory. "

XENA : " You once said that I disliked you because you reminded me of my past. You were partially correct. You are still addicted to the ' bloodlust ' of those days. The anger, the revenge. Everything that I am trying to forget...."

RT : " Everything that made you great. Callisto has those qualities. "

XENA : " You sicken me. So, you admire her vengeance do you ? Did you know that your ' would-be ' mistress has slaughtered women and children just to get ' revenge ' on me ? Murdered the innocent simply to further taint my image ? "

RT : " No. "

XENA : " Would you have obeyed her command to kill a helpless child ? "

RT : " No. The Benefactor would not approve."

XENA : " Yet you wished to make ' The Pact ' with just this sort of person. I am surprised that the Benefactor has not already ended your existence. "

RT : " What do you mean ? "

XENA : " You broke our ' bond ', you followed a murderer, and you nearly killed the Oracle ! "

RT : " No, you have it wrong ! You are to blame as well. You broke our pact by starving me. You had already attempted to transfer our ' bond ' to another. Callisto had the skill to pluck me from the air, so I began to follow her. Only ' began ' . I harmed no one."

XENA : " Who are you to say what harm has been done. Gabrielle sits in Callisto's camp tonight with a knife at her throat - if she is not already dead. "

RT : " The bard again ! You would be better off without her !"

XENA : " Perhaps the Benefactor would spare you, but mark my words - If any harm should befall Gabrielle, I will destroy you ! "

RT : " No ! You would not feed me. It was self-preservation that caused me to violate the ' bond '. You would bury me for that ? "

XENA : " I did not say that I would bury you. I said that I would DESTROY you. "

RT : " can not. I was forged by the hands of Hephaest.... "

XENA : " I know WHO forged you, and WHERE. I will return you to Vulcan Mountain and I will throw you back into the fire that spawned you. "

RT : " No you won't. You would not dare violate a ' gift ' from the gods. "

XENA : " No ? You forget, I am not that impressed with the gods. I have decided that it would be too dangerous to simply bury you, where you might be found one day by another Callisto or Toxeus or Talmadeus. No, I would prefer to end your existence and suffer the wrath of the gods rather than allow you to be used to beset mankind. "

RT : " No....please ! You can not do this to me. I am ' bonded ' to you. I will obey all of your commands. I will never seek to transfer the ' bond ' again. Spare me ! "

XENA : " So, it is YOU that is fearful now. You finally begin to understand what our victims have felt over these many years. I have had to live with this knowledge for over two years now, while you continued to revel in the bloodlust of the past. It is too bad that your realization has come too late. "

RT : " It is not too late ! I understand now. I felt those emotions..... I consumed them. But I never stopped to consider the affect on the people that I struck. But, how can I change ? I was created to feed on emotions. I am what I am. Please have mercy on me ! "

XENA : " Mercy ? And why should I grant to you that which you would have me deny to others ? "

RT : " I am what I am ."

XENA : " I know that I am partly to blame for this. In those early years I myself was full of anger, revenge and bloodlust. I nursed you on those emotions. They became your standard fare. There are other emotions that you could have consumed. And death should not have become so familiar to you."

RT : " Then you will spare me ? "

XENA : " No ! I had changed, but you refused to do so. You have attempted to ' bond ' with my enemy and I can no longer trust you. If Gabrielle dies.......then you die ! "

With that, she threw the chakram into the trunk of a nearby tree. She took a deep breath, then let it out slowly. She felt in control again. Gone were the misgivings and self-doubt that plagued her earlier in the evening. The argument had been draining, but it was just the elixir she needed. She would sleep well tonight for the first time in a long while. Tomorrow she must fight a difficult battle. But that is nothing new - for after all, she is the Warrior Princess.

Chapter 6 - " Gone ? "

" Ugh ! " , Xena groaned to herself as she slid along the horizontal ladder, head first. The sound of ' clickity-click, clickity-clack, clickity-click ' resounded throughout the arena as the Warrior Princess' armor struck each unforgiving rung of the ladder, during her Callisto-propelled journey. The ' arena ' was Callisto's doing as well, a walled enclosure with a dozen ladders here and there which led up to scaffolding on the top of the two main walls. Only a madwoman could have conceived of such a structure. Xena was in some pain, but she would never acknowledge that fact in front of her foe. She wouldn't want to give her any satisfaction, or edge.

The day had started out well enough. Xena road into the enemy encampment as if she owned the place. Not a hint of fear or concern on her face, despite the seemingly overwhelming odds that she faced. She was sure that her bravado gave pause to many of Callisto's warriors. That, and her reputation almost always had that effect on lesser warriors. It made them a bit more timid, cautious, reluctant to do battle. But she knew that their obsessed leader would not be affected by this show of strength. She genuinely respected Callisto as an opponent. She was skilled, driven and had no regard for her own safety. And, she once controlled the ' gift '. Xena couldn't afford to let the crazy woman get her hands on the chakram again. She was unsure as to whether or not the ring would obey the demented warrior's commands, but she could not risk the chance. So she decided that the ' round killing thing ', one of her most potent weapons, would remain on her hip during the upcoming fight. Xena had stared up at Callisto on her perch on the scaffolding. Her foe then made the challenge which Xena had anticipated - a fight to the death. What the Warrior Princess couldn't have known though, was that her best friend's life would be hanging in the balance - literally.

Back on the horizontal ladder, the prone Xena mused, " This is not going well. This woman is countering every move I make to rescue Gabrielle. I have to get her off my back for a few moments. " With that, Xena got back upright on the ladder and launched another attack at the madwoman. Callisto once again was replying to her attack in kind, when suddenly Xena saw an opening. Using the weight of her body and the strength of her right leg, the Warrior Princess smashed the ladder they were standing on in two by stomping on a weak point that she had noticed. Both combatants fell to the ground, but Xena having the advantage of initiating the descent, was prepared. She landed feet first and quickly scurried up another ladder to the scaffolding above, taking out one of Callisto's soldiers along the way. Incredibly however, her foe had already recovered from the fall and was half way up another ladder which paralleled Xena's.

" She is a demon ", Xena thought, " She overcomes my every attack. She is ' reading ' me well, and our skills balance each other out. " Then, an idea struck the Warrior Princess like a thunderbolt - " Balance ! That's it. " She quickly made inventory of the remaining upright ladders. Callisto was almost on top of her. " Must draw her to the other side first ", she thought. Twisting her body on the ladder she was mounted on, she managed to rotate it on its legs, essentially causing it to ' walk ' for her to the scaffolding on the opposite wall. Not to be outdone, the crazy woman followed Xena's lead, spinning her own ladder with a wild scream towards the same wall. Xena arrived first, and after dispatching two more of Callisto's ineffective soldiers, mounted a new ladder and propelled herself back over to the original wall. Checking on Gabrielle's situation, Xena could see that the rope which was supporting her friend high in the air was already burnt about halfway through by the torch. She was running out of time.

Xena kicked one unused ladder out towards the center of the arena, and then pushed out a second. Her timing and accuracy were perfect as the two ladders met at the midpoint of the arena, forming a kind of fulcrum. She now shoved the ladder she was standing on out on top of the fulcrum, as she leaped back onto the scaffolding. The third ladder formed a sort of lever arm on top of the fulcrum, and it was teetering. Before it could fall to the ground however, Xena leapt on to it, and steadied it. Callisto just watched all of this with fascination. Using her body on one end of the balanced ladder like a weight on a scale, Xena began raising the other end up towards the suspended bard. Callisto, finally realizing the Warrior Princess' plan, leaped from her perch on the far wall, landing on the end of the balanced ladder which was reaching for Gabrielle. She had countered Xena's efforts once more. As the two combatants stood on the swaying ladder staring at one another, it was as if Xena's YIN and Callisto's YANG were in perfect balance, canceling each other out.

Xena's heart sank. She had been within a few feet of saving Gabrielle, but now the rope supporting her friend was almost burned through, and her adversary stood in her way, preventing the rescue.

CALLISTO : " In a way, I'm disappointed Xena. There was a pa...."

But Xena began to hear another voice, besides that of Callisto's. It was faint, in the background, like a whisper. Concentrating hard, she could just make out the words, "... the rope. " " What ?! ", Xena thought. Then she suddenly realized where the distant yet familiar ' voice ' was coming from. Her right arm was against her side, barely touching the chakram. Keeping her eyes on Callisto, who was rambling on about the rage in her heart, Xena discretely grabbed the disk and thought...

XENA : " What are you saying ? "

RETURNING THOUGHT (RT) : " Use me to cut the ! "

XENA : " You would have me kill my friend even though your fates are tied together ? Do you hate her that much ? "

RT : " No, we can save her. Cut the rope ! "

Bewildered, Xena's attention was once more drawn back to the deranged woman...

CALLISTO : "......heart. Sometimes, it even scares me. But then I g...."

RT : " Look at the bard's position. Cut the rope. Trust me ! "

XENA : " Trust you ?! "

Xena looked from Callisto, up to Gabrielle, then back down to Callisto. And then .... she understood. Her foe was now coming towards her with sword drawn. Xena drew the ' round killing thing ' like a gunfighter making a fast draw, and sent the disk on its mission. XENA : " Cut the rope ! "

The chakram obeyed her command and returned to its mistress' hand. Almost simultaneously Xena performed a backflip on her side of the balanced ladder, sending the charging Callisto to the sky as the bard fell into the madwoman's place on the other end of the ladder. Now, Xena was in perfect balance with Gabrielle, while Callisto was left hanging. In a short time, best friend would be safely on the ground and the ' Xena Impostor ' would end up in chains along with her henchmen .

( fade to black )


They had just finished eating and were getting ready to turn in for the night. After Callisto and her troops were taken into custody, Xena and Gabrielle had returned to the site of their previous camp just outside of Delphi. Gabrielle had wanted to spend the night in the town, but Xena wished to get as far away from Callisto as possible tonight. Their journey here, the setting up of the camp and their meal was full of talk, talk, talk. Actually, Gabrielle did 90% of the talking, as usual. Xena would offer an occasional " Uh-huh ", or " Yes Gabrielle ", or more often then not, just a nod. She listened to the bard's tale of how she was captured and threatened by the madwoman, and about the antics of Joxer, who had eventually redeemed himself in Gabrielle's eyes.

Gabrielle threw the blankets, which would be her bed, on the ground. She had apparently talked herself to exhaustion. Plus, she had had a ' busy ' day. Xena watched her with some concern. The bard had told most of her tale with her characteristic enthusiasm ; however, Xena could also detect an occasional tinge of fright in her voice. The confrontation with Callisto had obviously unnerved her as much as it had Xena. Her friend had to endure nearly a full day with Callisto's knife at her throat, knowing that her life could be taken at any moment at the whim of the crazy woman. The bard had tried to hide the affect that this had had on her, but Xena was too good at reading people. To see her best friend hurting so, broke Xena's heart. She blamed herself, again, for taking Gabrielle into these dangerous situations. She wanted very much to comfort her friend, to go to her side and embrace her, to lay her head on her shoulder, to caress her hair. To reassure her that everything would be all right. To tell her that she, Xena, would always be there for her. Yes....Xena ' wanted ' to tell her all these things, but she would not.... or could not. She wasn't sure why ? Perhaps it was all of those years as a fierce warrior, when she dared not let herself feel. Perhaps it was the fear that Gabrielle would lose confidence in her, seeing her so emotional. Or maybe, Xena herself was afraid of the emotions that she held for her friend, and where they might lead. For whatever the reason, the bard now laid in her makeshift bed alone, to face in her sleep whatever demons the experience with Callisto had planted in her mind.

Xena sat beside the campfire immobile. She had her own demons to deal with. Should she have saved Callisto today ? " I'm glad you saved Callisto ", Gabrielle had said. " It was the right thing to do ", Xena had replied. But in truth, she had her doubts. " The right thing to do, the right thing to do " , she repeated to herself. Then she thought, " And speaking of doing the right thing at the right time. " - she unbound the chakram from her hip and held it in her right hand. She tilted her head back, closed her eyes, and opened her mind.

XENA : " I would speak with you. "

Silence. She continued to call for about a quarter hour, with negative results. She was about to give up when she finally heard a feeble, simple reply......

RT : " Here."

XENA : " Your wits saved Gabrielle this day. I thank you. Did you do it to save your own metallic hide ? "

RT : " As you say."

XENA : " You initiated contact with me today. I had not called you. I did not know that you had that capability. Explain this to me. Explain as well, how you knew what had to be done. "

No reply. Xena knew that the chakram could see what was in her mind once she made contact with it. It made picking out the disk's target and what force she wanted it to use, all that much easier. Over the years, she learned to simply visualize what she wanted it to do beforehand, then send it on its mission. But in the past, she always had to concentrate on these images in order for the disk to ' see ' what was in her mind. Today, however, the ' gift ' apparently could see what Xena saw, with no effort on her part. She could not recall this happening before.

XENA : " Answer me. I am not angry with you for withholding this capability from me. I merely wish to understand. "

RT : " It no longer matters. Nothing matters. "

XENA : " What ? Tell me what I wish to know. "

RT : " By ' The Pact ', your ' voice ' is to initiate contact. times of peril, when I ....see danger in your mind......I've found that.....I can reach you....when we touch. "

XENA : " But I do not remember you ever doing this before. During all those years, in all that danger. Explain. "

Nothing. Xena grabbed the ' round killing thing ' with both hands now. She held it tightly, as if she could increase the volume by squeezing its smooth metal surface.

RT : " ...did before. But.... it was like..a whisper in...your..ear, a.....warning in your...head. You...never guessed. "

XENA : " I never knew. All of these years, and I never knew. Why didn't you tell me ? "

RT : " B' comes with a ....price. ....was fearful to....use it...too often. "

XENA : " Price ? It comes at what price ? "


XENA : " Answer me ! "

RT : " My .... life's....force. "

XENA : " You are.... dying then ? "

RT : " No ...matter now...Y'...were right It is best...this way. longer You've become your throws. have......your friend. "

XENA : " That is not true. The Benefactor's task is a difficult one. I could use your aid. "

No response.

XENA : " Do you hear me ? I need you too ! "

Sounds - like muffled laughter.....or perhaps crying.

RT : " One.....more....thi........

Xena, her two hands on the bottom of the chakram, raised it up to her face. She lay the top of the disk on her forehead.

XENA : " Yes ? "

RT : "

XENA : " You are....? "

RT : " Ssss......sorry....... "

Then nothing. Try as she might, Xena could no longer detect the ' voice '. Her eyes became moist, but she did not cry. She lowered the chakram from her forehead to eye level. She opened her eyes and stared at it - once again marveling at the beautiful gold and silver patterns on its surface. Smiling, she slowly lowered it to her lips and kissed it....with emotion.

XENA : " Perhaps it is not too late for you my old ' friend ' . "

She gently laid the chakram beside her rolled-up pillow. She had made a decision. It is never easy for her to express her emotions, her love. But tonight she will sleep with the disk in her hand, and she will try to share with it those feelings of love, comfort and strength which she could not give to Gabrielle earlier this evening. Then tomorrow, we shall see.

Getting up to her feet, Xena walked to the edge of their campsite, to escape the campfire's glare. Looking up to the starry heavens above, she said aloud: " I will not fail you . "

Then, turning back towards the campsite, she stared at her friends resting on the ground and said with conviction: " And I will not fail us ! "

The End


The mysterious chakram has intrigued me, as I suspect it has many of the fans. Some Xenites feel that it is just a hunk of metal which Xena has learned to throw with unbelievable ' skill '. Others, seeing some of the improbable things that she can make the disk do ( e.g. saw tree limbs, hover like a UFO, unerringly hit targets, and always return to her ), have surmised that the disk may be ' thought ' controlled. Still others believe that the disk itself may be ' sentient '. The above story takes the ' sentient ' theory and attempts to resolve it with what we saw in some of the first season's episodes. In order to do this it was necessary for me to repeat some scenes that were written by truly gifted writers of the series ( i.e. Chris Manheim, Steven Sears, & R.J. Stewart ). I thank them, not only for the inspiration that they unknowingly gave me, but also for the pure joy of seeing their works of art.

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