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Violence/ Warning Disclaimer: This story depicts some scenes of violence and/ or their aftermath. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this kind of material may wish to read something other than this story.

General Copyright/ Disclaimer: Gabrielle, Hope, Dahak, and all the other names, places, history backgrounds, etc., are property of MCA Universial and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fanfic story. All other characters, the story idea, and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must also include all disclaimers and copyright notices.

Out of the Fire

by Jessica Caldwell

Chapter 1

Fire. There was fire all around Hope. She twisted and turned in the air, screaming and flailing her arms as she went. She could not stop herself. She felt like she could never land. She reached out to the wall around her, trying to reach them. If she could just stretch a little more, she could. She knew she could.

But alas, her trying was useless. Hope turned to look at her other side, and saw a blur of her mother ,falling beside her. For a moment, there was a small bit of comfort. Not that her mother was there with her, but because she knew that her mother was going to die with her.

Hope screamed again as the flames reached up for her, trying to grab her and burn her body to ashes, and then drop them into the bubbling lava under her. She screamed over and over, her throat hurting, and she could feel the heat coming closer and closer to her. In the mist of all of this, she heard a thud, like something hitting rock, hard. She looked up, and she saw her mother lying on the rock that had been nearest to her, looking down at her as she continued to fall. Hope screamed up at her, “Why Mother?! Why!” But her mother just kept looking down at her, and then she rolled back over and Hope did not see her again. It was not fair. Her mother, the do- gooder, was going to get to live. And after all she had done; all she had lived through, her only reward was death.

She turned over, and now could see the hot raging flames, just waiting to hurt her, eat her alive. She thought she could start to feel her skin on her arms melt. But then, the flames reached up to her, and engulfed her body. She screamed one last time, and the last thing she remembered was feeling the warm air of the hot flames of fire, carrying her away from the lava pit....

Chapter 2

When Hope awoke again, she was lying on the hard, cold floor of her father’s temple. She was not wearing the shining satin robe that she had been a while ago, but instead, she was wearing a tan skirt that was a little short, a tank top that was also a little short, and her boots. Her hair was still there, but it was braided at the sides. She had been spared. Her life had been saved. Dahak had not so soon forgot about his daughter.

She felt her stomach, and was more than pleased to find that her unborn child had not been harmed in the fall. Hope stood and went to the enterance, not willing to wait at the temple. She was slightly afraid that the warrior demon would come after her again.

Before she turned and left, she looked at the pit, and said in a low voice, “Bye bye Mommy.” Then she walked out of the temple. She found that she was hungry, and she had no idea which way to go, there being four roads that branched out from the temple. She chose the middle right road, and headed away.

Chapter 3

Hope had now been on the road for five days, and she had managed to keep warm and fed without any trouble. Her baby was growing well inside of her, and at quite a fast rate. He was due to come only three days later. Hope began looking for somewhere to stay; somewhere that she would fit in, and probably be noticed as her mortal mother Gabrielle. She also needed to have her child soon, for she could not go into any village while she was still pregnat. The baby that she was to bear would be like no other ever known to mankind.

Her baby was to be the first of what Dahak called the Six Destroyers. This babe would be the first Destroyer; the Destroyer of the good and the righteous. He would be the one to kill everyone and anything that was good or holy.

Hope sat down on the side of the road on a large boulder, the burden of the child becoming too great. She stroked her stomach and whispered soothing words to her baby. She remembered that her mother had once done that to her too. Oh, Mother, Hope thought. They could have been a great team, she supposed. They could have been One and Gabrielle could have helped Hope, and maybe shown her the love that she was always talking about. But she chose to sacrifice her life for me and Xena, she thought bitterly. She hated her mother for that. She was too good, too pure. After a while, after she had rested and eaten, Hope continued on her way.

She began to look for a sacrifice, a villager of pure heart or such to give to her father. She had failed him by not sacrificing the first group, and she knew that he probably would not bring her back from the dead if she failed him again. She soon saw a traveling merchant, on his way to the next town. He would do, she decided.

“Hello there,” she called to him. He looked up, and when he saw her, he stopped and brought his cart up to her. “Hello miss. Would thou like to by a painting or a tapistery?” he asked. She shook her head. “I want something else that you have.” She raised her eyebrows up and down, a sign that she was flirting with him. “I’ll give it to you for free,” he said, going to her. “Very well then.” She leaned over, as to kiss him, and he said, “Now what is it that you want?” Hope pulled the dagger of the blood out and struck him in the heart. He grabbed the knife and screamed, trying to pull it out. “You’re life,” Hope said coldly.

She built a small altar and put his bleeding body onto it. She then set it on fire, without any trouble. The man was still alive as she burned him. Reaching into the fire, she did not get burned at all. She stuck him with the knife again, and caught the crimson blood that poured out. She threw the blood upon the ground and said her prayer to her father. Then she continued on her way.

Chapter 4

After the sacrifice had been made, Hope put her knife back in her skirts and continued on. Soon she came to a fork in the road. There was a sign with both Greek and Roman writing. The left said Athens, the right said Potidea. “Potidea,” Hope said. That was her mother’s home village. That was where she would go.

They had no idea that their sweet daughter had had an evil twin daughter. They would never know.

She made a quick makeshift house over in the woods, well away from the roads. That night, she gave birth to her first child, the Destoryer. “Hello precious,” she said to her new child. She kept the baby with her for three more days. After those days, she took him out to the back of the vast woods.

“Now, listen to Mother,” Hope said to her child. “Listen. I want you to go out and find your food for yourself now. Go and kill and feast upon anything that is meat. Do not bother Mother’s home though, understand?” she said. The child growled happily at her. She hugged her baby, careful not to get too close to it’s arms, which had short, bone- like spines. “Now go and feast. Mother will come and see you,” she said. Hope waited until her Destroyer was out of sight, and then she called upon Dahak’s power. He gave her the clothing of her mortal mother Gabrielle, and told her after a while of thinking which house had Gabrielle’s family. He told her that he was counting on her, and that she had better not fail him again.

Hope walked out and to the village. It took her a day and a half to get to the house. Not once did she see her baby. When she reached the village, she stopped in front of the house that Dahak had described.

There were chickens and children running all over the place. It was a nice place. Too nice.

When she got there, a woman with brown hair ran out to her and caught her up in her arms. “She’s home!” she screamed into the doorway of the house. Hope guessed that this was the mother. The father and sister came out to greet her too. A nice family, she thought. Too happy though. She turned to the mother and put an arm around her waist, hugging her. “Hello Mother.”


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