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Time and Again
OK, DISCLAIMERS: The characters of Xena, Gabrielle, Mel, Janice, Argo, Autolycus, Draco and Salmoneus are copyright MCA/Universal. No copyright infringement is intended. This story is not for profit, just for fun.
Fight Warning: This story does contain scenes of violence, although nothing explicit, nothing gross, it's still violence. It also contains a Xenite view of Drugs and their dangers. There are some slightly rude words but no swearing or lewd comments. If you are strongly opposed to any of this don't read on, there's always something good on the Disney channel.
Please send all your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear them, but please, make your bad comments constructive! Thank you.
"Three Weeks?!! "Joseph asked with disappointment. "You need three weeks to electrocute a rock"?
"I told you, it isn't a rock, it's a very important artifact". Richard Giger had tried to explain his work to his son Joey at least 3 times.
"Besides, you'll love Greece, it's hot and there's plenty of local beaches."
Joey had found out two days ago that he would be accompanying his father to Greece because of some scientific project he was working on. This was right at the beginning of the summer holidays, Joey was 19; he had a hard time settling into his new university and was looking forward to spending some time with his friends.
"Dad", Joey inquired, "why are you and I the only ones going on this little expedition"?
His father answered him half-heartedly whilst packing clothes into a trunk, "because your mother has to spend SOME time each year with her parents and your brother is going with her".
Joe's younger brother, Timmy, was an annoying little sod at times but Joey didn't like the idea of being away from him for three weeks... not to mention his mother. He had always preferred spending time with his mother as opposed to his father. He thought his dad was such an egghead, always writing some science paper or studying charts, his mother was more....normal.
"Look Joey", his father began, "I'm sorry your not happy about this but you have to come with me. Now we are leaving bright and early tomorrow so go upstairs and pack your luggage. " Joe turned to leave, "and Joe" his Father added, " I promise it won't all be research, we'll do some fun stuff as well, ok?" Joe flashed a brief smile and dashed upstairs.
It wouldn't be so bad he surmised, after all it's nice and hot and there would probably be plenty of babes in Greece. After packing his 'essentials' he phoned his meager group of friends and told them of his little trip. They all mostly told him to relax and enjoy it. His best friend Darryl attempted to cheer him up by talking about how cool Greece was and then ending the conversation with "get yourself some Greek pussy buddy". And so Joey ended this long night by changing for bed and collapsing onto the ruffled sheets, exhausted.
Joey raced towards gate 12 at the famous Heathrow airport. They just stepped on to the 9am flight to Greece, with five minutes to spare. The morning had all gone so fast, he stumbled out of bed and not even an hour later was bidding farewell to his mother and Timmy. It was a nice farewell, he was hugging his brother ( an extremely rare occurrence) and his mother was all weepy eyed. He sure would miss his Mother.
The in-flight movie was "Titanic" with that floppy-haired Leo De Caprio, so there was little else for him to do but listen to his fathers excited description of this latest project.
Richard Giger, for the last 11 years, been totally dedicated to exploring the phenomenon of 'Timeslips', instances where people momentarily seem to 'slip' back in time, sometimes fifty or sixty years. . . sometimes two hundred. About six years previous he discovered along with his egg-head science team that the objects that trigger such slips give off extremely high 'resonance waves', electromagnetic vibrations that are occasionally strong enough to alter the electromagnetic frequency of a human body, therefore placing that person in a moment of history. Giger's theory was that every object on earth has an electromagnetic frequency and this changes occurred over hundreds of years, but certain points in time are recorded by particularly strong objects, just like natural VCR's. So he was hoping to trigger the effect in this boulder in Greece which has been discovered to have very strong 'resonance waves'.
This is dead fascinating to eggheads but to Joey, it was school all over again.
After arriving at Athens airport in Greece, then driving in a small truck for god knows how long, they arrived at the test site, just outside a small town called Keranom. It was a small group of tents surrounding an old crumbling mass of pillars with a large boulder in the middle. After meeting his dad's 'colleagues', they settled down to a meager stew dinner.
Joey then spent a good half hour examining the decaying site, one thing he did notice was a reasonably intact slab with a placard that read "This placard is a dedication to Melinda Pappas and Janice Covington who, on August 3rd 1943, made a great contribution to Greek archeology with their discovery at this site, of a 5th 'Xena scroll'. All five scrolls now reside in the Athens Museum of ancient History." Now there was only one question on Joey's mind, what the hell was a 'Xena'.?
Several hours later, all the equipment was set up and there were numerous technicians running around chattering intellectual techno-babble.
Eventually everyone was standing around 'the rock', which was now covered in wires and surrounded by machinery that looked like it belonged on Star Trek. Silently a small chimp was brought outside and placed in front of the rock, held there by a leash and a stake in the ground.
This was it, they were going to increase the amount of energy to the waves and were hoping to actually witness the dematerialization of the chimp.
Slowly the surrounding air became humid and blue light crept over the rock, then just as quickly as the light had encompassed the rock, it leapt upon the monkey and then just faded. When the night was dark again the chimp was gone! immediately the whole team of scientists cheered and roared. The experiment was apparently a success. Everyone sat where they were and waited. An hour passed. Two hours. The chimp was expected to re-appear like all reported cases. Shortly after the second hour a storm arose and everyone had to retreat to their tents. Ignoring the howling storm outside Richard Giger excitedly chatted away to his son Joey. And Joey found he felt closer to his father than he had in years. The peace did not last long however, going out to investigate a lot of commotion outside Richard Giger discovered that the main power generator had somehow remained active and was drawing electrical activity towards the base like a big magnet. Joey watched in horror as, in the middle of everyone, including his father, scrambling to disconnect the generator, a bolt of lightening exploded into the middle of the sight. His father flew into the air and landed with a thump. Joey raced out to help his injured father when he noticed a glow lighting up the surrounding area, he glanced toward the rock and saw that the same blue light had crept over it.
He dragged his father to his feet and pushed him towards their tent but before he could run everything flashed brightly and the last thing he remembered was the onset of a splitting headache.
About two thousand years previous:
"It's true I tell ya! this little furry creature, a monkey from the gods! appeared right out of thin air it did! over at Aphrodite's temple!" Gabrielle was listening to the man at the bar intently. Turning to Xena she asked "What do you make of that?" "of what?" the warrior replied.
"Of that story about the monkey appearing from a burst of light" the bard explained. " it doesn't sound like Aphrodite's sense of humor". "the drunken ramblings of an old farmer" Xena explained simply. "I think it might be worth taking a look" Gabrielle offered eagerly.
Xena didn't agree, "you've gotta be kidding, he's just avoiding the real issue, look at him, he's probably married, what do you think he was doing at Aphrodite's temple in the first place?". "Hmm, I guess you're right." Recently Gabrielle had been looking everywhere for a new story she could add to her scrolls, sensing her disappointment Xena promised "we'll take a quick look as we're leaving town."
Meanwhile several miles away at the temple of Hera:
"I swear my queen, there were no gods present, not even Aphrodite. The animal appeared in a flash of light and scurried off."
"Good. You will go back to town and tell everyone there that you were mistaken, you were drunk at the time." The voice of Hera boomed from all four corners of the Temple. "Of course, my queen" the old man replied and ran quickly out of the temple.
Gabrielle finished her 'window shopping' and went to meet Xena in the center of town.
"you get your sharpening stone?" she asked. "Yep" was the swift reply. Xena mounted the horse and with Gabrielle on the back rode slowly out of town. "Gabrielle," Xena began " I thought I'd better warn you, I saw the old man in the bar again before we left, he said he was totally wrong before and that he was drunk as a skunk at Aphrodite's temple. So just ...don't expect much." Gabrielle of course was not put down at all. "don't worry Xena," she assured her friend "there has to be something to write about there, after all this is Aphrodite's temple."
Little did our heroes know that Hera had sensed the powerful disturbance at Aphrodite's love temple and had already sent a group of her personal troops to learn the secret of that power for herself.
Upon arriving at the temple Xena and Gabrielle dismounted Argo and were walking towards the temple as a bright flash exploded from the elegant monument followed by a loud thunderclap. The pair ran inside, ready for action. "er...hello, everything ok in here?" Gabrielle inquired. A group of scantily dressed men and women turned around and glared at them, and at their feet, an oddly dressed, and soaking wet young boy.
As he opened his eyes an explosion of blurry light hit him. His whole body felt weak and his head felt like it was on spin-dry. Slowly everything came into focus and he found he was staring up at a semi-naked man who seemed to be covered in oil. "whoa, if this is a dream then I have bigger problems than I thought." Joey said out loud. His surroundings quickly sunk in and he immediately felt tense. "ok big guy" he said to the oily pec machine " what happened and where the hells my dad?" Before the muscle-master could answer a blonde girl came into view " 'Zeena' he's awake" she beckoned. So far this whole thing was getting weirder by the second but the addition of a beautiful woman clad in battle armor and leather pushed things right over the edge.
Xena on the other hand wasn't willing to waste any time questioning this strange boy, who was soaking wet yet it hadn't rained for days and wearing clothing the likes of which she had never seen.
Xena: Can you talk?
Xena: good, Can you tell us how you got here?
Joey: Well, duh, British airways
Joey noticed this comment had everyone looking at him like he was speaking Martian.
Xena: ok, let's cut to the chase, why are you drenched and what do you know about these flashes of light?
Joey: well I....Wait a minute! I get it! this is a trick, my dad set you up to this right? trying get me to pay interest in history or something right? Well you can tell him to give it up because I ain't biting.
Before Xena could answer this four large men burst into the room wearing the tell-tale red battle armor of Hera's followers. One of them stepped forward "that Boy!" he bellowed "he must be the source of it, WE demand you turn him over to us in the name of the almighty queen Hera!".
Xena drew her sword, "maybe the kid wants to stay here",
"Irrelevant!" was the troopers reply "Take him!" and with that the soldiers plowed forward. Xena leapt into the air and kicking with both legs took down the front two troops. As Xena began a sword fight with the third the fourth made a dash for Joey, just before he reached him however, Gabrielle stepped in and delivered a swift blow to the groin of the trooper with her staff. Joey remembered thinking what an elaborate prank this was for his father to play on him when he witnessed the leather clad Xena-woman run her sword though the last guardsman. The blade was a bright red and Joey wanted to puke, he never saw anyone die before.
That was when he realized that something was very wrong, that this was nothing to do with his father. Joey suddenly felt very alone.
The troop who received the world-shattering blow to the groin was gabbed by Xena as he tried to flee, she tore off his helmet and seemed to slap his neck, her hands moved so fast he could barely make out the movements.
"I've just cut off the flow of blood to your brain, which means you've got about twenty-seconds to live unless you tell me exactly what Hera wants with the kid". The burly guard struggled to speak and finally spluttered " All I know is it has something to do with time, some immense power."
"Chronos?" Xena asked, "No" the guard replied, " this is beyond even him". Xena pressed her fingers into the man's neck with a sickening crack and he fell to the floor.
Through all this commotion the realization of what had happened dawned on Joey. This was a timeslip, he must be experiencing a timeslip! The reality of this turned his stomach but he steadied himself with the knowledge that it would probably only last another few minutes.
Xena approached the boy lying on the silky mattress. "ok" she said, " what's going on here, who are you and what do you know about this time thing?" "ok" Joey replied, "I'll tell you, but you have to forget rational and trust me".
Xena: forget Rational? No problem, we do it every day.
Joey: ok, this is the result of a big experiment gone wrong.
Gabrielle: An experiment? Whose? Aries I'll bet.
Joey: who? No,...I come from the future, although I don't know how far.
What time is this, I mean, what year?
Xena: (looking amused) last time I checked my calendar it was 1325.
Joey: 1325!! BC? it must be BC! This place doesn't look very industrial.
Joey struggled with everything he had to remember his brief mythology classes in College.
"Has that err, war happened yet, y'know, with the ...... err, giant horse."? "you mean the war between the Trojans and the Greek army?" Xena inquired "of course it has, the whole of Greece knows that." Ok so Joey knew he was in Greece and that it was BC , and then, it dawned on him, the birth of Christ! he had arrived before the crucifixion and all that other religious stuff he was supposed to believe in.
By now he should have returned to the present as far as he understood, his queasiness was turning slowly toward blind panic. Just then, the blonde girl in the green vest stepped forward and said to 'Xena' "Maybe we should get him out of here, if Hera's after him then we shouldn't waste any time."
"You're right" the warrior replied " I'm Xena, this is Gabrielle" the blonde smiled, " we can discuss how you got here later, c'mon." just as he got up to follow them, he noticed that sparkling pink dust was falling in one corner of the room and then in a burst of pink light another blond appeared, even more beautiful than Gabrielle. "all right," the blonde started, "what's going on here, and why are there thugs on my floor".
All the semi-naked men and woman, who hadn't said a word since he got here were now milling around, moving off to different sections of the temple. The gorgeous blonde glanced at Xena, "hey Xena, didn't think you were into this type of action" Xena stepped forward,
"I'm not here for passion Aphrodite" Xena retorted, "I just saved your temple from Hera's goons". The blonde beauty looked momentarily surprised, Aphrodite! he knew that name, she was the Greek goddess of sex or love or something. She was certainly dressed the part, she wore a skimpy pink lace with a flowing vale that left little to the imagination, despite himself, Joey found himself crossing his legs. Aphrodite finally broke the silence,
"Horse face Hera?, she wouldn't dare." Aphrodite then spotted Joey and started towards him, " and what's he doing here? this place has an age requirement y'know, Tamius I left you in charge" in response to this a half naked man approached, "I'm sorry, Aphrodite, it's a long story" the guy said " would you like me to sooth you?" to this Aphrodite flashed a grin and replied "later". "Enough"! Xena said with great impatience, "Gabrielle fill Aphrodite in whilst I get Argo". Gabrielle approached Aphrodite and began a series of quick whisperings. Two blondes, both scantily dressed, most of Joey's friends would be ecstatic by now.
Once the whispering was finished Aphrodite approached him, "he's kinda cute I suppose" she observed "and check out these clothes!" Joey looked down at himself but could find nothing wrong with his Calvin Klein T-shirt and stonewash jeans. Aphrodite fingered his T-shirt "look, they write weird stuff on their clothes. cool". Joey was going to ask why she was using words like 'cool', since that was a word way into the future, but he had the feeling she wouldn't know.
Aphrodite spent the next ten minutes or so examining him like a new toy and then Joe left with Xena and Gabrielle. Once they had set up camp he explained what had happened to him step by step. Any rational person would have had a hard time believing Joe's story, but then not many people had seen the sort of things Xena and Gabrielle had seen. Of course they were surprised to hear that the gods did not exist in his time and were mere myth.
Gabrielle had a particularly hard time with this since she was in the business of knowing all about the gods. Joey also had a hard time knowing that they DID exist. He'd always held a belief in god, deep down, but the Catholic god and his son, Jesus. Was that all wrong, was Zeus mans true creator? These questions plagued him until he fell asleep.
Joe awoke suddenly, he raced out to switch on his lamp that was always beside his bed, he felt shrub. Then he remembered, Xena, ancient Greece, the experiment. It all rushed back so quickly and he burst into tears. Suddenly all the confusion, the fear, and the knowledge that he may never see his father again came out in heavy breathless sobs. Pictures of his dad and his mom, and him and his brother Timmy in the park raced through his mind and the tears flew freely, he felt utterly alone.
Gabrielle was taking 'the watch', Xena had insisted that one of them remain awake to watch over Joe in case Hera tried once again to seize him. She was staring into the blazing fire, trying to imagine Greece two thousand years in the future, when she heard a soft coughing sound. She peered behind her at Joe, and saw he was sitting up sobbing.
Immediately she ran to him. "hey, it's ok" she said " did you have a bad dream?",
"No" he replied " I just .... I miss my family, and I know I'll never see them again". With that he began the sobbing again. Gabrielle told him how she left her family behind when she left Potedeia to follow Xena, "you have to make new family" she told him. Then she held him in her arms and rocked him slowly to sleep.
Xena estimated it would take them exactly five days to reach the nearest 'supply town' ", a town with decent stores in which they could purchase goods. The town was called Libidos and the goods they needed were for Joey. Gabrielle and Xena both decided that Joey was never going to blend in unless he got rid of his weird clothing and got himself some clothing that was more common. He would also need some kind of a weapon for his own protection.
Over the five days Xena observed that Joey was still feeling very alone and afraid, but was also harboring deep resentment towards his father, since it was his father that unintentionally caused his slip through time. Xena decided the best way to release this resentment would be to teach Joey some basic self defense. This would also serve the useful purpose of protecting him. So over the five days travel she taught him where to punch and kick a man to disable him slightly, or more devastatingly, and slowly she saw him begin to take his anger out on trees. This led after the second days travel to him feeling less hostility toward his father. Xena had Gabrielle teach him in the use of her staff since she decided this would be the best weapon for him to use as it was light and easy to master.
Xena took it upon herself to teach Joey how to hunt for food in the woods when he hadn't the Dinars to buy any. At first he wasn't partial to killing and gutting rabbits and foxes but when she refused to give him any food unless he helped kill and prepare it he soon caught on. He was a fast learner, that was good Xena remarked, it would help him adapt to his new life in Greece quickly. Gabrielle found in him an audience to which she could practice her stories and share her scrolls with and an endless fountain of compliments about how beautiful she was and how great her laugh was, Oh to be young and have a crush!. Xena had found in Joey a refreshing companion. In fact she hadn't been so pleased to be travelling with someone since she first found Gabrielle, Joey was fast becoming a part of their family, this was a great pleasure to Gabrielle, but a concern for Xena, since she knew how dangerous it was to have Hera on one's back and she knew how vulnerable Gabrielle was emotionally.
During the five days travel the aching pain that Joey felt at the loss of his life and family began to dull. He learned excellent techniques from Xena on self-defense and hunting. He was even beginning to get the hang of using Gabrielle's staff.
"Wake up, sleepy head" Xena urged her two friends. "In a minute mum," was the reply she got from Joey. He wondered, what time do Warrior Princess's get up? each day she had been awake hours before Gabrielle and himself.
This was it, it was the morning of the fifth day! Joey couldn't wait to see a real town of ancient Greece. As they walked along they discussed how to blend Joey in, so as to hide him in case Hera was still on the hunt.
"Well," Gabrielle began, "Joey is a lovely name but it's not very Greek is it? Maybe we should try and change it slightly, make it sound more common". Xena nodded her agreement "good idea, any suggestions?".
Joey perked up, " how about Jozicles"?
"Jozicles?" Xena and Gabrielle sounded in unison. "No, too complicated".
"Jozanicles?" Gabrielle suggested, "no" Xena replied " let's drop the 'cles', look for a different ending." "I've got it!" Gabrielle exclaimed.
"Jozantius! It's perfect, it sounds normal and it's attractive."
"Jozantius" Joey repeated as if trying it on "yeah, I could get used to that." Xena looked down at the two from atop Argo, "Well, if you like it."
An hour or so later Gabrielle, Xena and 'Jozantius' arrived at gates of Libidos. Xena dismounted from Argo and pounded on the wooden gate.
"Have you come from Kariba with the Medicine?" a voice boomed.
"No" Xena replied "we're just here to buy some supplies." The big wooden gates slowly opened up. The three of them entered followed by Argo.
Jozantius looked around fascinated. Ok, it wasn't as great as he had imagined, it was just a rural peasant town, but it looked so ....ancient! Xena on the other hand immediately observed that there were little or no peasant houses. Every building served a purpose, either as an inn or a clothes shop, weapons shop, hardware, and stationary. There was barely five or so structures that were just ordinary houses. It looked as if the entire town was collectively geared towards making Dinars.
For an enclosed town, it was noticeably large. Apart from the shops and stores there were several stalls setup selling fruit, cloth and jewelry.
As Xena started talking to a man who appeared to be the mayor or whatever the hell the Greeks called it, Gabrielle took Argo to the stables and Jozantius began wandering the stalls interested in what the ancient Greeks might sell.
Suddenly one of the stall owners called to him "hey kid, over here". It was a short plump man with frizzy white hair and slightly high-pitched voice. Jozantius walked over to him and he began fingering his leather jacket.
"What is this? leather?" Jozantius told him it was and he seemed like he suddenly lost interest. "well, it's kinda weird, too heavy for a shirt, but I suppose I could take it off your hands for....say.....six Dinars?". Ahhh, Jozantius realized what was going on, his clothes were of obvious value and this peddler was tying to buy it for a cheap price. Jozantius decided to play salesman. " I don't know" he said "this was a gift from..." he tried to remember someone important from his mythology studies " King Odysseus" he splattered out "Odysseus?" the man sounded surprised. Then Jozantius realized his mistake "err...
before he disappeared" Jozantius added. This seemed to spark the man's interest again.
Salesman: Ok, I'll give you ten Dinars.
With that Jozantius took off his leather jacket. He had no need for it here, and he certainly could use some money. Suddenly Xena was behind him.
"Salmoneus" she said "conning my friend out of his clothing?"
"Xena" the salesman replied " I don't con, Honest Salmoneus, that's me. I paid a fair price." So Xena knew this salesman. "This is Salmoneus" Gabrielle explained "he'll con you out of your underwear, but he has a good heart".
Xena examined Salmoneus' stall, "So, what brings you to Libidos Salmoneus?" The stocky man peered about him with a grin "what brings me anywhere? Dinars!". "Haven't you heard the latest on this place?" he asked the warrior princess " every citizen has a shop or some business, they're earning a carriage load of Dinars and yet the town hasn't improved or changed, no one knows where the Dinars are going!. So I'm here to solve the mystery and maybe...gain a few Dinars."
The mention of the mystery seemed to pique Xena's interest. "Sounds interesting. What else you heard?" Salmoneus scratched his head "not a lot, but someone passed through here about two days ago, came from Keranom, said there was some kind of disturbance at Aphrodite's temple and that he picked up this little monkey there". Jozantius immediately recognized that this must have been the monkey that was sent back before him. "Do you know where this man went?" Jozantius asked excitedly. "No" Salmoneus replied to his dismay "He was heading north so I'd say he's maybe heading to back towards Thrace. I was gonna buy the monkey off of him but he wanted twenty Dinars for it!". Then Salmoneus caught on, "Wait a minute, Why would you be interested....unless...you must have something to do with this disturbance right?" Jozantius looked to Gabrielle, then Xena, both gave looks that said 'you're on your own kid'. "You could say that" he replied.
Gabrielle filled Salmoneus in on Jozantius' past whilst Xena and Jozantius looked around.
"So what's so special about this monkey?" Gabrielle asked Jozantius. "This is the one I told you about" he told her " the monkey we sent back before me" he explained again,
"Wow" Gabrielle gasped "so you're both from the future". They entered the clothing shop and Jozantius was fitted with hefty leather trousers and a gray shirt. Sleeveless with big shoulder pads.
This was strange enough, but Xena and Gabrielle insisted that he also wear 'cuffs', leather bracelets that covered the wrist. He bought one for each arm. Exiting the shop, he felt like a clown, but he had to admit, he was starting to look like all the other young men in town.
Fitting in, in ancient Greece, boy if only his dad could see him now he thought. He still felt a pang of pain at the thought of his dad.
As they exited the shop, Jozantius noticed a slight disturbance in the Town Square. There was a young girl, a babe actually, and she was screaming something at the 'town leader'.
Looking behind him he observed that Xena and Gabrielle had also noticed it. As he walked towards the small crowd he heard the girl demanding "Well when are they going to get here daddy?", she was obviously the leaders daughter. When she came into view he noticed she was very beautiful, but also quite pale, and she was holding herself and shivering slightly, though Jozantius thought it was stiflingly hot. The town's leader was trying to quiet her and kept saying "Not much longer now, we all feel the same". Then before the young girl could say anymore, she was taken away by a few of the townsmen. The leader walked quickly towards a hut, followed by Xena.
Despite himself, Jozantius was becoming increasingly nervous by this incident. It was like the whole town was hiding something.
Jozantius turned toward Gabrielle. "What d'ya think that was all about"?
Gab: I don't know, but did you see that girl, she looked real sick. Wait! When we first came here, the doormen asked if we were from Kariba...with the medicine!
Jozantius: Where's Kariba?
Gab: It's a town just south of here. But Medicine! Maybe this town has some kind of plague.
Jozantius: Oh that's just swell, the first town I manage to visit of Ancient Greece, and it's got a plague, just my luck.
Gab: Oh don't worry, that isn't your luck, you'll find travelling with Xena means you're regularly staring death in the eye.
Gabrielle said with a smirk.
Just as this was said Gabrielle noticed something behind Jozantius and called out
"Salmoneus, where ya going?". Jozantius turned to see the salesman, Salmoneus, was heading towards the main gate, his entire stall amazingly compressed into a neat sack.
"What are you kidding?" Salmoneus replied "did you see that girl, she looked a little too close to Hades for me". Gabrielle seemed disappointed that he was leaving. "What about the mysterious flow of Dinars"? she urged. "Not much good to me if I'm in the Elysian fields." Salmoneus snapped back. Gabrielle stepped towards him and gave him a hug. "Ok" she said, "You take care now". He turned towards her once more "Gabrielle, don't stay here, take Xena and get outta here, just in case. You remember how it was when Xena was hit by that dart". A look of recognition passed over both their faces and Gabrielle nodded.
"Bye" she said, and Salmoneus turned to leave.
However, before Salmoneus managed to reach the main gate it was already opening and two men were riding a carriage into the town with a group of barrels on the back.
Immediately this generated a reaction from all the bystanders, everyone seemed to be put at ease at the arrival of this carriage. Immediately Xena and the 'leader' exited his shack.
The leader began berating the rider of the carriage for the late delivery whilst Xena walked towards them. "We can't stay here any longer" she stated.
Gabrielle: What did he say?
Xena: This town is suffering from some kind of plague and Kariba is the only town that has this ...medicine called 'Felterium'.
Gabrielle: Felterium? I've never heard of it.
Xena: Neither have I.
Jozantius: Whoa, hold the phone, maybe you do things differently in this time, and maybe this sounds crazy, but why don't the people of Kariba just show the townspeople here how to make this 'Felterium' so they can treat themselves?
Xena: Because that way they'd lose out on the profit they make from the sale of it.
Gabrielle: They CHARGE for it?
Jozantius: They put profit before helping these people.
Xena: Yes. Some people just don't care. Xena said this with a sour expression on her face as if she'd just sucked a lemon.
Jozantius: So this 'Felterium' isn't a cure?
Xena: No, it only gives a brief period of relief from the pain.
Gabrielle: So these people know there's a plague here and they still let us come in?
Xena: Yep. The leader told me that most people who come in here don't contract anything, and the town needs the money. All the same I think we should get out of here. I'm just going to get a sharpening stone from the general store, Gabrielle get Argo and be ready to leave.
And with that Xena walked toward a small shack that Jozantius presumed was the 'general store'. As Gabrielle went to get Argo from the stables Jozantius noticed that Salmoneus hadn't left after all but was instead examining the 'medicine' from Kariba, which Jozantius was surprised to lean was not actually a liquid at all, the barrels were filled with a fine white powder that was prepared by adding it to water and mixing.
Jozantius watched as the leader guzzled his dosage and seemed to experience a moment of euphoria before taking up another glass and taking it back to the shack that the sick girl departed to. Curious to see more, he followed him. The man entered the shack and Jozantius peeped in a window at the side. The leader said to the girl "see, didn't I tell you it would get here"? The girl was giddy with excitement and couldn't wait to get a hold of the glass. "Now, now," the leader said firmly "sip, don't guzzle" despite his plea the girl drank quickly then fell back on her bed, appearing suddenly weak. "by the gods, that feels good" she murmured, "Oh Great Zeus". Suddenly the realization hit Jozantius hard, this was no medicine, he had seen this before, mostly on TV back home, but he knew what it was, these people were drug addicts!.
Jozantius raced away from the shack before the leader could exit. He was the one with the most control, although he was still a little giddy. The leader approached the two men from Kariba as they were loading two big sacks onto their carriage. Salmoneus ran up to him, "Look at that that's it!" he said excitedly "those two bags are filled with Dinars" he said.
Jozantius: Are you sure?
Salmoneus: Yeah, I saw them myself.
As Jozantius got closer he could hear the telltale clinking of coins coming from the bags.
The leader approached the two men as they loaded the sacks onto their carriage. "May the gods bless you. Thank-you for ending our suffering, Thank-you." This guy was thanking those Scumbags! Jozantius couldn't believe it!. Just then Jozantius saw Xena exit the store and Gabrielle coming up behind her with Argo. Salmoneus ran up to Xena excitedly "Xena I found out where all the cash is going, they're using it to pay for the medicine" he said to her.
Xena: Old news Salmoneus, I already found that out from the leader......but....what do you mean all of it?
Salmoneus: I mean everything, two large sacks of Dinars, must be the collective money of the whole town, I mean there must have been, four maybe five hundred Dinars.
Xena: Those cold bastards are sucking them dry.
Gabrielle arrived with Argo "Hey Salmoneus, thought you were leaving",
"Can't keep a good salesman down" Salmoneus replied.
Jozantius finally shook off the horror of what was going on and ran up to the trio.
Jozantius: Xena, you're not gonna believe this, but that stuff isn't medicine, it's a narcotic.
Salmoneus: A nar-what-ic?
Jozantius: It's an addictive substance, these people aren't sick, their bodies are just becoming dependent on this drug!
Xena: Are you sure about this?
Jozantius: Xena, I come from way in the future, where drugs are much more advanced, trust me, I've seen this before, these people are addicts.
Gabrielle: But they're all so pale and thin.
Jozantius: That's because they've driven everything they've got into making Dinars and they pay most of it to Kariba. From the rest they have to buy supplies for their shops and food. They're starving themselves.
Xena: Well, if you're right, then I don't think these people are aware of it, that leader was genuinely upset about this 'plague'.
Gabrielle: So what do we do now?
Xena: Ok....first.......ok, I need to get a look at Kariba, last time I saw it was about four years ago whilst they were supplying me and my army with food when we..... Xena's voice trailed off...well, Gabrielle, you and Salmoneus see if you can get rid of the rest of those barrels of.....'medicine', me and Jozantius will go to Kariba and see if we can find exactly who's behind this.
Gabrielle: But Xena..
Xena: Gabrielle, I need you here, Jozantius knows more about this, and besides, I can't leave him alone just yet.
Salmoneus: Stay...here....if these people are addicted.......I don't think they'll appreciate us taking their nice barrels away.
Xena gave him a seductive grin, "But just imagine how grateful they'll be to the man who cured their 'plague'.
Salmoneus: This could have its upside.
Xena grinned brightly and leapt up on Argo.
Gabrielle told Jozantius to be careful and gave him a hug, which really helped the gnawing fear he felt in the pit of his stomach. Clumsily, he pulled himself up onto Argo with Xena's help. "I think I should warn you, I've never ridden a horse before" he told her when he was sitting comfortably behind her "they don't have horses in the future"? she asked "well yeah" he said "but....it's a long story" Jozantius ended, not wanting to explain the finer points of automobiles to the warrior. Xena told Gabrielle to be careful and said they should be back early tomorrow "here" she said giving her a small pouch "if we aren't back by tonight get yourselves a couple of rooms at the inn." And with that Xena said goodbye and sent Argo thundering out through the towns gates, whizzing past the carriage from Kariba.
"They'll probably arrive at Kariba sometime tomorrow morning, but we'll get there tonight" Xena told him as Argo raced along the narrow road. Riding along on Argo, sitting behind a leather-clad warrior, Jozantius started to feel much better about his predicament.
So he had been hurtled thousands of years before his own birth and maybe he would never see his family again, which was a devastating thought, but this is what dreams are made of.
This is what adventure is all about Jozantius thought to himself. Back home people would pay money just to watch some actor ride off into the sunset on a TV screen, or read such things in a book. And here he was, riding a Real horse, with a Real Warrior, trying to save an entire town from destruction. Suddenly life in Ancient Greece didn't seem so bleak.
Salmoneus watched Xena and Jozantius ride off and then turned to Gabrielle, "so, any idea how we get rid of this stuff?". Gabrielle frowned "I'm thinking", she replied. There must be someway to get the carriage out of the town square and dump that Felterium. Suddenly Salmoneus disturbed her train of thought "what d'ya think of him then?" he asked her,
Gabrielle: He's ok, he learns quickly, I think he'll make be useful to me and Xena in the future.
Salmoneus: Well, how do you know he's gonna stay with you two?
Gabrielle: Y'think he might want to leave? Well, he can't handle himself yet, and he'd be lonely.
Salmoneus: maybe you're right.
A smile slowly crept over Salmoneus' face as an obvious money making scheme came into focus.
Salmoneus: That's it!
Salmoneus: That's how he could be useful. Just think of it, he has knowledge of the future, he knows what sells, new idea's, campaigns, he knows what's gonna be successful! Or maybe.....a mystic, if people knew he was from the future....they'd pay a bundle just to hear his stories!
Gabrielle: He can't, Hera wants him, remember? He needs to blend in, disappear.
Salmoneus: Oh, right. I don't get it, why doesn't Hera just come down and take him?
Gabrielle: Oh come on Salmoneus, that's like saying 'Why doesn't she just kill Hercules', She's reckless, but not stupid. She can't do whatever she wants. Zeus must be aware of Jozantius' arrival, he's unique, important, Hera knows Zeus won't just let her take him just like that, she can't be that direct. The best she can hope for is having her followers get him, she's always a little more discreet. Now enough of this, I'm starving, let's get something to eat, we'll think more clearly. And with that they both walked to the inn.
"You ok back there"? Xena asked. "Yeah, I'm fine" Jozantius assured her.
Jozantius: I guess I dozed off for a while.
They had been riding considerably slower for the past hour, it was quite soothing.
Xena: Well, I hate to interrupt, but we're here.
This news woke Jozantius fully. The sky was dark now, and they had been riding for what seemed like hours. Slowly Argo trotted into the town of Kariba, which, unlike Libidos, didn't have a gate.
Xena helped Jozantius dismount Argo and then she tied Argo up along with a few other horses outside a small building with a sign hanging from the roof which said simply, 'Dark noon Inn'. Xena turned to him and said "I'm going to ask around in here, now remember, walk confidently and try not to look at anyone directly".
Together they entered. There were only a few drunken men scattered around the place.
Jozantius noticed that the place had a strong smell, which he couldn't identify. As he approached the bar behind Xena the barmen glanced at her but instead went to immediately serve him, Jozantius reasoned it must be the attitude that males were superior to females in this time.
Barman: What can I get ya?
Jozantius: (eyeing the different bottles of liquid behind the bar) er....Ice water?
The barman gave a hideous laugh, like a witch's hackle.
Barman: Water? You want water you'd better go stick your head in the horse trough, In here, we serve Ale.
Jozantius: Errr...ok...ok.....then an Ale please.
Xena tossed four Dinars onto the bar, "Make that two" she said.
The barman got them their drinks and Jozantius took a sip, he wasn't a big drinker, but even he could tell that the Ale was watered down.
Xena took a large gulp of her ale and then slammed the mug down on the table. "I'm looking for some information" she stated "who's in charge around here?" The barmen leaned closer "Well I might tell you that" he said quietly "But it depends. You in a good mood"? The man was obviously fishing for more money. At this, Xena smirked. Then reached back and unsheathed her sword, she laid it on the bar.
Xena: I'm in the mood to kill a Barman or find the leader of this town, Either one's fine with me, what one I manage to do depends on you".
At this the barman grew increasingly nervous.
Barman: Ok, ok, the leader of this town was a man named Kaman but he wasn't a very good one, couldn't handle our finances very well, things like that. So, a man calling himself Jake came into town. He killed Kaman, said Kaman took advantage of us, said he'd make us a great town. He even created a Symbol for us, he weaved it onto a piece of material. He's been promising to build up an army, expand our town. He's err, he's the one who created the Felterium to fight the Libidos plague. That's how we get most of our money.
Xena: you say this man calls himself 'Jake', what kind of a name is that?
Jozantius: It's very common in my time.
The barman looked confused.
Xena: What about this army, has he recruited one yet?
Barman: He's got some men, they all stay in the castle with him, just outside town.
Xena: Thanks a bunch, We appreciate the help. C'mon Jozantius.
With that Xena walked out of the Inn, Jozantius right behind her.
Xena Untied Argo and they rode a little way out of the town, it only took five minutes to find the castle. "This must be it" Xena said. Then Xena pointed to the top of the castle, "look" she said "that must be the Symbol the barman mentioned". Jozantius looked up and as he spotted the Symbol he fought to suppress a shudder. Xena noticed his reaction and put her hand on his shoulder. "What is it?" she asked, Jozantius gritted his teeth, "it's that symbol" he explained "it's from my time....well, roughly, about fifty or so years before my time, but it's called......the Swastika!".
Xena looked up at the symbol of the crooked cross, laminated with a red border, something about it was making her new friend very uncomfortable, and she didn't want to know why.
"Ow," Salmoneus yelped, as they fumbled their way out of the stables. "I hit my head, can't see a thing in this fog".
Gabrielle: Quit complaining, at least we can get rid of that Felterium.
Salmoneus: I must say that was a stroke of genius, waiting till night so everyone would be in bed.
"Thank-you" said Gabrielle smugly
Salmoneus: Yeah, but how exactly are you going to get rid of it?
Gabrielle: I'm gonna burn it
Salmoneus: Burn it?
Gabrielle: Yeah, it'll be pretty hard to mix it with water once it in the fire.
So they slowly crept towards the towns center, toward the barrels which were being kept outside the Inn. Each of them carrying two handfuls of straw. "Ok" Gabrielle said as she approached the barrels "this is it". They put all their straw together on the floor a few feet away from the Inn and Gabrielle knelt down with a few twigs she had picked up and began rubbing them together. Several minutes later they had a fire going, so, one by one, they took the top off each barrel and emptied the white powder into the fire. Gabrielle noticed that as the powder entered the fire, the flames would roar and turn a light blue, it had a beautiful effect in the night.
Salmoneus: Ok, so now we run right.
Gabrielle: No, now we collect some herbs from the forest outside so we can make a sedative.
Salmoneus: A Sedative?
Gabrielle: Yeah, if these people really are dependent on this stuff then their gonna be in pretty bad shape tomorrow without it, it would be better for them if we could send them to sleep until they get over it.
Salmoneus: We could always sell it to them
Gabrielle simply gave Salmoneus a stern look.
Salmoneus: I was just kidding!
Gabrielle couldn't help but smirk, "Come on" she said to him "help me open the gate."
"A Swasti........what?" Xena asked confused. Jozantius turned to her, he had a certain look in his eye, Xena had seen that look before, mostly by peasants. Many would have that look as she led her army into their town. It wasn't so much the look of fear, more the look of despair. Of coming up against an enemy you couldn't negotiate with.
"Swastika" Jozantius corrected her. It was used by......I guess you'd call him a Warlord.
Hitler was his name. His army took over a lot of land. The main thing was that his rule was based on evil. His armies nearly slaughtered an entire race of people." Xena looked at him in horror "and that was his call sign?" She asked. Jozantius nodded.
Xena: You don't think this Hitler guy travelled back in time too?
Jozantius lost his breath at the very thought of it.
Jozantius: If he did, then we're all in a lot of trouble.
Xena: Then there's no time to waste.
Xena took a rope out of one of the bags Argo was carrying and took a running jump at the castle. To the amazement of Jozantius she managed to reach the top of the high wall. After pulling herself up, she dropped one end of the rope and pulled him up. They were on a balcony and there was a guard sleeping a few feet away. Xena quietly unsheathed her sword and hit the guard in the back of the head with the butt of the handle. With a soft thud, the guard slumped over. Jozantius followed Xena down a twisting flight of Iron stairs at the end of which they entered a banquet hall.
Immediately three guards rushed at them. Jozantius' mind felt as though it were racing and he struggled to remember what Xena had taught him about self defense but as the soldier came towards him it all flowed naturally. He picked up a silver try off the long banquet table and managed to block every blow of the man's sword with a loud clang. Suddenly the man slipped behind him and was about to jump him "Got ya!" he roared as he pinned Jozantius in a choke hold, his confidence however, was short lived, as Jozantius managed to elbow the guard solidly in the ribs, momentarily stealing his breath and forcing him to release his grip. Taking advantage of his opponent's momentary distress, Jozantius spun around and knocked him out with a swift uppercut to the jaw. Unable to believe how well he had done against a man twice his size, Jozantius turned to see if Xena had saw his skill.
One man was flying through the air and landed on the banquet table with a load crash. The other leapt toward Xena, sword drawn, but she spun, avoiding his attack and kicked him squarely in the back and sending him flying into the wall and landing in a heap on the floor.
Xena looked towards him with concern and then saw he had dealt with his opponent. "Not bad" she congratulated.
Jozantius moved to walk towards her and was prevented by a hairy arm grabbing him from behind. "One more move and he's dead" boomed the voice. Jozantius was about to repeat his 'elbow to the ribs' move but he noticed there was a considerably sharp dagger pressed against his throat, and he thought better of it. Xena put her sword on the floor as another man entered the room and began lighting the numerous candles surrounding the banquet hall. Then a man in a lavish robe came into view.
"Bravo" he said smugly "I'm ...Lord Jake".
Gabrielle was tired and cold but had finally gathered the herbs she needed to make the sedative. Her sister had always wanted her to be a healer, said she had a good head for ingredients, but being a bard always seemed so much more interesting. No doubt Xena and Jozantius were having a great time now, probably beating up some smug scum and having a thrilling time. Sometimes Gabrielle thought Xena asked her to stay out of the hard stuff just to annoy her. But then she couldn't complain, recently Xena had been involving her in the dangerous stuff more and more. Gabrielle chose to take this as a sign of Xena's faith in her improving fighting skills.
"Ok Salmoneus" she said "that's it, let's go". Salmoneus came out of a clump of bushes sucking his thumb. "What's wrong"? Gabrielle asked. Salmoneus replied "I ficked a Finging Fettle"
"Take your thumb out of your mouth" she demanded. Salmoneus did so then repeated "I picked a stinging nettle". Gabrielle giggled and moved back towards the gate. One could always be guaranteed an amusing time with Salmoneus thought Gabrielle.
They got back into the town and closed the gate. "Ok" started Gabrielle
"Salmoneus, go to the general store and get the biggest pot that's there".
Salmoneus: But it's closed!
Gabrielle: That doesn't matter, these little towns never lock their stores.
Salmoneus: Ok, I'll be as quick as I can.
Salmoneus dashed off in the direction of the general store. The fire was still burning strong, so Gabrielle sat down by it and put the bag of herbs beside her. She tried to imagine how Jozantius must feel. She imagined being taken away from Xena and dumped long ago, before man existed, back when the Titans ruled the earth. It was a scary thought, and one that increased her sympathy for the lonely Jozantius.
Within a few moments Salmoneus had returned, dragging a large pot behind him. Carefully Gabrielle placed it over the fire and began inserting the herbs as required. Her mother had taught her how to make a sedative when she was much younger. Her sister Lilla, had caught a fever and her mother had made the sedative for her. Gabrielle had watched, fascinated as her mother put in just the right amount of each herb and stirring slowly.
"This'll need to simmer for a few hours" she said, "it should be ready by morning." They both settled down by the fire and relaxed. "I don't know if I can sleep" Salmoneus complained. Gabrielle sat up "I'll tell you a story" she said. Salmoneus closed his eyes, some people found Gabrielle's constant chatter annoying, but Salmoneus thought she had a way of telling stories that made them so vivid. "This is about the first time I met Xena" Gabrielle began "Draco's men had come into our village and taken all the girls. They took us out into the woods and were seconds from stripping us when Xena came from behind them..................."
"Lord Jake"? Jozantius asked mockingly "You can't be serious".
Jake: I don't know who you are boy, but you're Xena aren't you?
Xena: Have we met?
Jake: Not in person, but I've heard a lot about you. I......arrived....in Greece at the height of your reign.
Xena's expression changed slightly, as if remembering something painful.
A crowd of guards surrounded Xena and one took her sword.
Jake: Let him go.
The hairy arm released it's grip. Jozantius spun around to face 'Lord Jake'.
The Man was clean shaved, and wore a lavish robe with Bright yellow patterns on it.
Jozantius: Ok, let's cut to the chase, where did you find this...'Felterium' and why do you have the Swastika flying from the castle.
Jake: The Swastika, you....you know what it is?
Jozantius: Oh yeah, you bet I do.
Jake nodded to his guards and the majority of them left, only seven or eight remained, surrounding Xena.
Jake: Could it be? Are you....from the future?
Jozantius: how the hell do you know about that?
Jake: It is a miracle! I am also from the future. 1999.
Jozantius: I'm from 1998. And ......yet.....you arrived here before me.
Jake: Funny how time works isn't it? So how did you arrive here?
Suddenly everything left Jozantius, he forgot about Libidos, about Gabrielle, about Xena, he only knew that this man was in the same situation as him. He somehow felt closer to him for that.
Jozantius: My name is.....was.....Joey, Joey Giger, My...Father.....Richard Giger......he was conducting experiments into time slips here in Greece, I accompanied him. There was a storm, and .....and....before I knew it....I was here. It took all his control for Jozantius to stop his voice from cracking.
Jake: I remember that! Yes, it was in the papers. Your father pleaded with the the governments of every country to send their best experts on time to Greece. Many helped.
He tried for a full year to re-create the accident. He was still trying when I disappeared.
Jozantius couldn't help it now, the tears started to roll down his cheeks. There was a dull ache in his throat. "How....did you ?" was all he managed to get out.
Jake: I was training, here, in Greece. I used to be a long distance runner. I remember running a full two miles from my hotel. All of a sudden, I tripped, and before I hit the ground, here I was. There was a flash of light and I landed in a grassy field, here, in this time.
Xena watched all this with fascination, then she snapped out of it. "Jozantius" she said
"don't listen to this. He's manipulating you".
Xena's voice helped him to exert some control. "Why are you using the Swastika?" Jozantius asked. "You know what the Nazi's were, what they did."
Jake: I simply picked it as an attractive symbol for my army. I am not an evil man Joey, I am simply not a fool. I know a good opportunity when I see one. I mean, think about it Joey....
Jozantius: Jozantius, my new name is Jozantius.
Jake: Very well, Think about it Jozantius, we have a far superior education to these people, we've been brought up more intelligent. What we learnt in high school far outweighs anything these 'Greeks' of today can comprehend. Do you think I'm going to use this knowledge to simply sell Felterium? No! that's just to raise the Dinars for men and weapons, once I have built my army I can rule all of Greece. Take the Felterium for instance, It didn't even exist! I invented it, back in the future I was a chemical analyst, I just took some addictive substances, lined the food going into Libidos with it, and then convinced the fools that their own withdrawal symptoms was a plague and that my Felterium was a cure! It's so simple, Jozantius. The universe has screwed us! You and I.
I think we deserve some compensation for the destruction of both our lives.
Jozantius remained silent for a long time, Xena looked to him, waited for him to tell this scum to go to Hades, but he didn't. Xena started to think that he was actually considering joining this 'Warlord'.
Xena: Jozantius, this is wrong, what he's suggesting is slavery.
Suddenly, Lord Jake began laughing, it was an unpleasant sound and it was obvious he was trying to make his laugh sound deeper and more booming than normal.
Jake: Oh, dear. You must excuse me, but if there's one thing I do find funny it's Hypocrites!
Jozantius: What are you talking about?
Jake: Oh that's right Xena, your new friend doesn't know does he?
You see, Jozantius, Xena hasn't always been the little superhero she is today, oh no, she had an army, and killed many innocent people. Now what did you do it for Xena....oh that's right....for FUN! Am I right?
She had this ambition...to rule Greece with an Iron fist and anyone who stood in her way...well...they ended up LYING in her way.
Jozantius felt betrayed, was their anyone in Greece who wasn't greedy or malicious?
Jozantius: Xena, is this true.
Xena couldn't lie to her newfound friend, neither could she deny her past.
Xena: Yes, it is. But it was long ago, and I will spend the rest of my life paying for it.
Jozantius, it's not a pretty life, you end up not caring for anything or anyone, you become....a monster.
Jozantius could only see images of Xena killing innocent peasants, his head was spinning and he felt like puking.
Jake: Guards, take her away......that is of course....only if Jozantius here agrees. Jozantius?
Jozantius was silent for a long moment then he made his decision.
Jozantius: Yes......take her away.
'Lord Jake' was beaming proudly. "Good decision son" he said. "Shall we"?.
Jozantius sat with Lord Jake and ate a large banquet of food, meats, delicious cheeses, soft,sweet, breads. They discussed their future in Greece and Jake said he thought they should split everything fifty fifty. He told Jozantius of how cruel the common Warlords like Draco were and how he would be a benign ruler of Greece, treat the peasants well etc.
"So" Jozantius began "Are you the only one who knows how to make this....Felterium?" Jake guzzled down some more wine and wiped his mouth "that's right. I make a new batch every three days, takes hours to make four barrels of it though".
The next few hours were spent talking about military tactics, such as trenches and other things they could take from the future and use here. By the end of the lengthy conversation they were both quite exhausted.
Lord Jake was very generous in bestowing so much confidence in Jozantius, sure Jozantius knew things about the future, had a good education, but surely he wasn't capable of leading an army?
Jake told him that they would begin recruiting on a larger scale tomorrow morning and then sent Jozantius with a guard to show him his room for the night.
Xena was in a dark dungeon, her arms tied above her head. She couldn't believe Jozantius had gone against her like that, sided with that son of a bitch. Whilst she was mentally kicking herself for putting her trust in that little future weasel, she thought of Gabrielle and Salmoneus. She wondered if they had destroyed the Felterium in Libidos. Poor Gabrielle, Sometime tomorrow afternoon Libidos will be attacked by the army of Jozantius and 'Lord Jake'. She had taught Jozantius some special fighting skills as well as how to hunt, believing she was creating a new hero. All she had done was create another greedy Warlord.
Despite herself her head drooped down and she slowly drifted off to sleep.
It had been a couple of hours since the castle fell silent and Jake had gone to bed. Jozantius crept outside into the hallway and silently closed his door behind him. He decided if he was going to join this Jake that he would have to have a look around, see exactly what he was up to here. He tiptoed down the hallway and climbed down the concrete steps until he reached the banquet hall. From there he went over behind the table to the door that was hidden behind all the chairs. It was very stiff, but with much effort it opened. Jozantius crept down the wooden steps until he came to a small room with shelf after shelf of herbs and liquids. There were six barrels in the room. Jozantius managed to get one open and peered inside. A-ha! A fine white powder, the Felterium! So he did have some prepared!! After examining the Felterium further he replaced the lid and silently returned to his room.
He had a lot to think about.
The townspeople all started pouring out of their houses out once. Gabrielle and Salmoneus was standing ready. Gabrielle had gotten a large number of cups from the inn. "Ok Salmoneus" She said "go to work". As the peasants started going towards the Felterium barrels she said "Salmoneus and I have taken the liberty of preparing your medicine for you". Then Salmoneus stepped into the crowd and urged them forward.
"That's right folks" he said "in a warm liquid, which tastes delicious and it will keep you warm and relaxed for hours! What's more, it's totally free of charge!" I never thought I'd hear myself say that he mumbled to himself.
The peasants, eager to guzzle their medicine and experience the accompanying euphoria rushed forward eagerly taking the cups Gabrielle was handing out. Little did they know that she had destroyed the Felterium and that this was a strong sedative. One after the other they guzzled their drinks, minutes later they were all confused as to why they weren't feeling wonderful. It didn't make much difference, minutes later all were spread out on the floor completely unconcious. The town leader was the last to go. He had worked out somthing was wrong and started complaining to Gabrielle in a slurred manner "What have you done?" he struggled to ask before he collapsed in a heap.
Salmoneus: So, how long will they be out?
Gabrielle: Well, most of the day if we're lucky. Not much else to do now but wait until Xena returns with Jozantius.
Lord Jake came down the stone steps and was surprised to find Jozantius sitting in the Banquet hall eating a small meal. "Hey there" Jozantius said "I had your cook whip us up a meal, It's not exactly a McDonalds deluxe but it's filling". Jake was pleasantly surprised how well Jozantius was fitting into his plans. With the both of them together, there was no way they could lose. "That was most thoughtful of you Joey, thank you". "The names Jozantius" Joey corrected him.
Jake: Ahh yes, Jozantius, that's right. Why do you insist on using that name. We aren't Greek, we don't have to conform to their standards.
Jozantius: Quite true, but it'll probably make them feel better if their rulers have typical Greek names.
With that Jake let the argument rest and sat down. "Can I get you some wine" Jozantius asked. Jake began chewing on some cold meat and replied "Yes, that would be great".
Jozantius took Jake's cup and took it over to the wine jug, he soon returned with a cup full of deep, red wine.
As Jake guzzled his wine thirstily Jozantius took the moment to ask him some questions.
Jozantius: Jake, since we have enough Dinars now to build our army, we don't have to keep Libidos on the Felterium, do we?
Jake: Well, no, I suppose not. Don't worry, it won't be hard to quit. They have only been using it for a few weeks, one day without it should bring them out of withdrawal.
Jozantius: So how long would it take to make more Felterium.?
Jake: Well, gathering the supplies is extremely difficult, it took me these past two years just to gather the ingredients. Why are you so interested?
Jozantius: I was just err.....thinking how intelligent you must be to have created it ...and everything.
This compliment quickly dissipated any suspicions Jake had about Jozantius' questions.
Jake was just about to bite into some freshly baked bread when a dizzy feeling came over him. He all of a sudden felt happy, a silly kind of happy, like being drunk. He started giggling and then turned to Jozantius.
Jake: What is it? What did you do?.....you naughty boy.
Jake then began another fit of giggling.
Jozantius: Oh, nothing much. I just stole some of your Felterium late last night and this morning i just...slipped it into your wine.
Upon hearing this Jake got very angry "you little shit" he screamed and lunged for Jozantius, however, he soon discovered that he couldn't walk and fell to the ground.
Jozantius: What's wrong? I'm just giving you a taste of your own Medicine! I'll see ya around, My Lord! And with that Jozantius trotted out of the Banquet hall and closed the door behind him.
Luckily Jake had annonced him as a general to the army last night so the soldiers had to do as he requested. "You" he said to the guard outside the door "take me to the prisoner, Xena".
The guard led Jozantius down the hall and then down a flight of stairs to the main dungeons. Xena was in a cell with her arms tied above her head.
"Give me your sword" he said to the guard "and leave us".
The guard handed Jozantius the keys and his sword and left the room. Jozantius opened the cell and stepped inside. Xena opened her eyes and snapped to attention. Xena: Come to gloat?
Jozantius: Not really, sleep well?
Xena: Like a log.
Jozantius: I did a lot of thinking last night Xena, I thought about how many peasants you've killed, how many innocents. I thought about why you did it......and why you've changed. And I made my decision. Jozantius lifted his sword high above his head and brought it down on the ropes binding Xena's hands. Xena rubbed her wrist and looked at him in surprise.
"We all make mistakes" he said with a grin. Xena smiled back.
Xena: So that whole time.... Jozantius: Just gaining his trust, fooled ya huh?
Xena: Not for a minute. Did you find out how he's making the Felterium?
Jozantius: Yeah, Argo's outside in the main stables, you go get him ready, I'll deal with the Felterium.
Xena realized he was sending her away from the action, now she knew how Gabrielle felt all those times. However she nodded and followed him outside the door. Jozantius stepped outside and smashed the guard on the back of the head, rendering him unconscious. Then he moved to the far wall on which Xena's sword and round killing Frisbee was sitting. "Here's your sword...and err..." "Chakram" she corrected him "yeah" he said "that too".
Jozantius Grabbed a torch off the wall and headed to the banquet hall whilst Xena dashed down to the main doors. Jake was no longer lying on the floor in a heap, in fact he was nowhere to be seen, he must have had some kind of counter -agent for the Felterium.
Jozantius opened the door at the back and fell down the steps. He immediately began smashing everything on the shelves and kicking the barrels over. He then lowered the torch to the colorful mess on the floor and the whole thing went up in flames. He dashed back up to the banquet hall and set light to the curtains and table. Before he left he thought he'd check on Xena's progress outside, he ran to the large window on the other side of the room and peered out. Jake was outside! on a horse! and his troops were attacking Xena, who was actually holding them off quite well, but how long could she keep it up?
The fire in the room was spreading fast, Jozantius didn't have a lot of time. Time for some of that 'Future knowledge" he thought. He quickly ran upstairs to the bedrooms and entered Jake's room. He grabbed two of his shirts and brought them back down to the banquet hall. He then used all his strength to tear them to shreds. This was gonna be cool he thought to himself. He ran to the cabinet where Jake kept his liquor. Picking the strongest, smelliest stuff he could find, he took about six bottles and placed a rag of shirt in each. By now the room was filling with smoke and Jozantius was choking. He ran to the window and swallowed big gulps of air, then watched Xena struggling with the troops below he called out "Xena! Get out of the way!". Xena looked up, and then performed a backflip, which moved her out of the vicinity of the troops. Jozantius grabbed his torch and lit the rag on his first bottle. "Bombs awaaaay" he screamed and threw the bottle down amongst the troops, it exploded in a ball of fire upon impact with the ground. A few soldiers caught fire and began rolling around on the ground in an attempt to extinguish the flames. Jozantius lit and threw each of the 'bombs' in succession until the guards finally retreated.
Jozantius half ran, half fell down the steps and out the main door of the castle. He collapsed outside breathing large gulps of fresh air. Jozantius looked up and saw Jake riding away from him.
"It didn't have to be like this Joey, it could have been glorious. I'll see you again my boy, I'll see you again". And with that Lord Jake followed what remained of his troops to the hills.
Jozantius felt strong arms lifting him up, he turned and looked into Xena's face. "That was very brave" she said "and foolish".
They spent about an hour at the local Inn, the townspeople were very grateful to Jozantius and Xena for releasing them from Jake's rule. After an ale, and an hour's relaxation, Jozantius was feeling his normal self again. He and Xena said goodbye to the townsfolk and left.
"I'm gonna let you ride Argo back to Libidos" Xena warned him.
"But I...I can't ride!" Jozantius protested.
"Yes you can" Xena said, "besides I'll be sitting right behind you, I'll show you how". Xena approached Argo and stroked his nose lovingly. "Now Argo, this is my friend, and I don't want you to give him a hard time" she said to the horse "he needs an easy ride ok? good boy".
So Jozantius climbed atop Argo along with Xena. "Ok, good" Xena said "now just gently tap your heel against his stomach", Jozantius did so and Argo moved forward. Xena told him that if he wanted to go faster he should tap his heel harder. Then he had to learn how to steer with the reins. It wasn't easy but he was learning fast.
Gabrielle took a step back. It was getting dark and one by one the sedated villagers were waking up. Gabrielle: Now hold on, it was....for your own good.
Villager: Our own good!? You destroyed our medicine! Gabrielle: Ok, that's true, but ......well......your illness! you're not feeling ill now right?
The villagers looked at each other and began whispering. Suddenly the towns leader approached her, "you're right, but. this story about addictive drugs is so....so...."
"True?" A voice said from behind Gabrielle. Gabrielle and Salmoneus both span around at once "Xena!" they both said in unison. Xena: It's all true. You never had a plague, 'Lord Jake' was simply giving you a dangerous drug. You wanna hurt someone? you want to attack unarmed people? You don't feel sick anymore and if you wait a few days you'll see that what I'm saying is true.
Jozantius dismounted Argo "that's right" he said "you won't have to worry about Lord Jake anymore, he is long gone and so's his Felterium." The town leader looked stunned, he looked around him, and had to admit, no one was ill, even his daughter was looking well. He then looked to Xena Gabrielle, Salmoneus and Jozantius. "Well" he said, "I guess I owe you an apology and you have......our gratitude"
Leader: If there's anything you want from us it's yours.
Salmoneus: Well, actually...
Jozantius: There's something I could really use, if you can spare it.
Jozantius: I really need a horse.
Leader: It's yours, go to the stables and pick yourself one.
Jozantius: Thank-you so much, I really appreciate this.
And so Jozantius ran off to the stables.
"Oh great, he gets to keep something but I don't?" Salmoneus asked.
Xena answered his question with "What do you need a horse for Salmoneus?" "Are you kidding?" he replied "horses sell for ten Dinars in Lacridus"! Xena and Gabrielle both grinned at this, glad in the fact that something's never change.
It wasn't long before Jozantius returned with his horse, a beautiful black steed, with a white patch on the bridge of its nose.
The foursome left Libidos, the town's gates closing behind them.
"So, what did I miss in Kariba?" Gabrielle asked inquisitively. "Oh, nothing much" Xena replied "we just took down an evil warlord called Jake and Jozantius made weapons out of wine bottles". Xena said this with a smirk, she delighted in Gabrielle's frustration on missing out on a possible story for her scrolls. "Oh I see" said Gabrielle "the usual huh?".
Jozantius: Why the interest Gabrielle?
Gabrielle: Oh it's for my Scrolls.
Gabrielle: Yeah, I write all of the stuff me and Xena go through down on these scrolls, I send some to the Academy of performing Bards at Athens.
"Oh right" Jozantius said. Then it clicked! The Plaque! The plaque he saw at the ruins in the future honoring two Archeologists who discovered the scrolls! Melinda Pappas and Janice Covington. If only Gabrielle knew her scrolls were going to be famous in the future, she'd be so happy.
Jozantius thought about telling her, but then let it go, it would probably screw up the timeline in some way.
Salmoneus ended the silence with "Well, I'm heading to Lacridus, what about you guys?".
This question was answered immediately by Gabrielle, "Actually Salmoneus, we're going that way as well, Xena has a friend in Lacridus that she wants to visit". Jozantius then walked ahead of Gabrielle and Xena and stopped.
Jozantius: Actually, I've been meaning to talk to you about that. I err...I can't go with you.
Gabrielle: What? Why?
Xena: Gabrielle, let him speak.
Jozantius: I have to be honest with myself, I may never find a way home, and that means I may have to stay in Greece, in this timeline, for the rest of my life. I don't want you to think I'm not grateful, but I've got a lot to think about, I've lost all my friends, my family, and that's going to take a long time to forget. Besides, I need to learn how to fend for myself here.
Gabrielle: Are you sure you're ready?
Jozantius: Yes, yes I think so. You and Xena have taught me well. I know now that others have slipped back here from the future, so maybe I'll run into one of them. Besides, Greece is a small place, we'll be running into each other all the time. Jozantius and Gabrielle were both obviously upset by the parting, but even Xena couldn't completely hide her sadness.
Jozantius: You guys are my new family now, I'm grateful for that.
Xena: Jozantius, before you go, I just want you to know that I'm not like Jake made out, that was long ago and....
Jozantius: Xena, you don't have to explain anything to me, the past is the past, I'm looking to the future.
Xena: Well then, Gabrielle are you going to give our friend his present?
Gabrielle: Oh! yes right, Of course.
Gabrielle moved to the other side of Argo and untied...a Staff! "here" Gabrielle said as she handed it to him "we bought it in the weapons shop, I think you're good enough now" she said with a grin. "Thank-you both so much" he replied. Gabrielle gave him a big hug. Then Xena dismounted Argo and did likewise. Then Salmoneus approached him. "Well" the stocky salesman said "We didn't have a chance to get to know each other, but if you ever need a friend..." and then he took a folded piece of paper out of his travelling case, "here" he said "it's a map of most of Greece, you might need it". Jozantius grinned and shook the Salmoneus's hand.
Xena put her hand on his shoulder just then. "Now remember what I told you about looking for a camp site" she said "and remember......enemies have a nasty way of turning up when you least expect it, Hera may still send her goons searching for you, or that guy Jake my try something, just.......be prepared and never be embarrassed to come find us, ask us for help, ok?" Jozantius felt so good about himself, so loved he almost cried, but he held it back. "Ok" he said.
Gabrielle: So, where you heading?
Jozantius: Errr....towards....Thrace. Yeah, mainland Greece. I was thinking of looking up Hercules, y'know meet the legend.
Gabrielle: You'll like him, he's a real nice guy, and Iolaus too. Jozantius: Iolaus? Gabrielle: Yeah, he's Hercules best friend.
Jozantius: Oh right.
Xena: If you see the big guy, tell him I said hi.
Jozantius: I will.
"Ok then" Jozantius said "guess that's it". "Guess so" Gabrielle replied, she gave him one more hug and then Xena mounted Argo. Jozantius mounted His horse, "By the way, what's the horse's name?" Gabrielle called out "I thought I'd name him after something I'd really miss from the future" Jozantius explained "So I'm calling him Pepsi". This received blank looks from the trio. "See-ya" Jozantius said and the three of them said "Bye" simultaneously. Jozantius looked at the signpost on the road that had several weird names on it, but one arrow pointing straight ahead said simply 'Thrace', so he started off down the road on 'Pepsi'.
After a few minutes he looked back and he saw Salmoneus, Gabrielle and Xena climbing a grassy hill. They all waved and he waved back. Soon after they disappeared over the hill and he was alone.
It was already dark so he decided to pick a spot to set up camp. He followed the guidelines Xena had given him and found a nice grassy spot, near a cold stream. After starting a fire he washed his face in the stream and cleaned his teeth. Then he unpacked his blankets from the bags on Pepsi and settled down for the night.
He had only been laying about thirty minutes, he was still trying to get used to sleeping on the ground. He was just dozing off when he heard rustling in the bushes. Before he could get up a man leapt out.
"Err, hi" the man said "I'm sorry to interrupt, but I'm having a spot of trouble and I err...well..." Jozantius looked about the man and observed "you have no blankets......or fire?" The man looked embarrassed "yeah, that's right."
"Settle down" Jozantius said "I have some extra blankets".
"Oh boy, thanks a lot, I really mean it". The man said. He was wearing a green silky garment with matching trousers. He had a strange moustache and a small tinge of hair on his chin. "So" Jozantius said as he got two blankets out of Pepsi's satchel for the man
"what's your name?".
"Autolycus" the man replied. "My names Autolycus, what about you?"
"Jozantius" Jozantius replied. "so what's this err....spot of bother you're in"?
Autolycus: Oh right, well it's a long story, suffice to say because of my own selfishness an innocent girl is in trouble. It's a long story.
Jozantius: Sounds like you need Xena.
Autolycus: Xena? You know her?
Jozantius: Well, yeah, do you?
Autolycus: Oh yeah, I didn't realize you were a friend of Xena's. I err...I know Hercules as well y'know.
Jozantius: Really? Think you could introduce me?
Autolycus: Sure, just wish he was here now, I could use him.
Jozantius: Tell you what, you promise to intoduce me to Hercules and I'll go into town with you tomorrow and help you.
Autolycus: Oh, no, I couldn't ask you to do that.
Jozantius: It's no sweat, we don't need Hercules. Whoever has this girl, we can outsmart them, just takes some cunning that's all. Besides, I'm looking for adventure. And we have an advantage.
Autolycus: Oh yeah, what's that?
Jozantius: (with a grin) I have future knowledge.
Jozantius: I'll explain in the morning, do we have a deal?
Autolycus: Well.....yeah, ok. I'll give it a shot.
Jozantius: Great! see ya in the morning.
Jozantius gave Autolycus the blankets and they both settled by the fire. Within minutes Autolycus was snoring. But Jozantius stayed awake for a while, dreaming of tomorrow, what challenges he and Autolycus would face, what the future held. Jozantius stared up at the stars. "Goodnight Xena, goodnight Gabrielle" he whispered.
"Wherever you are". And with that thought, he fell asleep.
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