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Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. 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 include all disclaimers and copyright notices.
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The Silent Hero
I pick up this quill. It feels foreign to my rough, calloused hand. This parchment is vast and empty, but there is a story I must tell and I have not much time to tell it. I know that I should invoke my muse, but she is with me always, lending her unconditional love unto my every endeavor: her very being is my life’s inspiration.
A beautifully golden bard once told me that in the beginning of time all people had four legs, two heads, and one soul. For some obscure reason, the gods became jealous. They threw thunderbolts from the heavens splitting everyone into two halves. From then on, each person had two legs, one head, and one-half of a soul that eternally longed to be reunited with the other half. This very same bard also captivated audiences with the adventures of a tall, raven-haired warrior hero who would roam the countryside fighting for justice with her storytelling sidekick.
Her romanticized version of our story is truly beautiful but very little like the reality of our life. Of course, telling of the day-to-day life with a former bloodthirsty warlord prone to bouts of depression and violence probably would not have been appropriate subject matter for the average audience eager to be entertained with tales of epic adventure and exotic lands with heroes championing the causes of the common people. So, she wrote and told stories of a woman I wish that I could be, a woman that I aspired to be. What did she call it . . . poetic license? I find it odd that anyone could ever think of me as a hero for I am most certainly not. She, the little bard, is the hero of my story, of my life. Now I must tell my own story.
I remember the first time I came upon her visage, so very long ago now, but that moment is emblazoned upon my memory until the end of time. She was so young, little more than a girl. I can bring forth images of her round, soft face, not yet hardened or weathered. I recall the strength of her stance, the pride in her bearing as she bravely offered her body, her soul to slave traders in exchange for the freedom of her family and neighbors. “Take me . . .let the others go,” she had said. Had it not been for the determined set of her jaw and the green flare of her eyes, I would have left that pathetic village to clutches of slavery.
Even before I knew her name, I knew that something truly special and courageous inhabited the boundaries of her narrow frame. There was a connection between the two of us that was incomprehensible to me at the time. I knew then that I could not bring such a young woman into a life such as mine. I left her in that little town feeling the instant regret from denying myself friendship. She was determined however. I remember the first time she saved my life: placing her fragile body between a murderous warlord and the angry mob who would have stoned me to death.
As I think back upon the seasons of our life, I can recall a number of her acts of bravery. I recollect the fear that clutched my heart as she used her body to shield an Amazon princess from a deadly rain of arrows. My weakened heart became even more so as I saw her don the armor of a warrior in order to protect a village from a warlord. My brain raged with fear and remorse as she demanded justice for the slain body of her childhood friend, the man who became her husband. My brave bard easily took upon herself the grace and ingenuity of an Amazon queen. My soul died the day that she took my place in the fiery abyss to spare my life. I admire the way in which she fought to preserve the goodness that she knew to be in my soul when I found myself to be the demon of hell.
She could always see past the differences in people. I remember how she risked my murderous temper in order to bring water to the dying warriors of the Horde. In this simple action, she not only brought some relief to the dying, but also peace among the two warring factions. That day, she saved hundreds of lives and one soul. She has faced death, real and threatened, a thousand times. She has no immortal blood but will boldly offer herself up for justice. She will go to any extent for that which she loves. And she loves me.
I have taken note of the manner in which she will stand up to anyone, myself included, and the tragic consequences and ridicule that such bravery has held for her. She has lost everything--her daughter, her husband, many dreams, her innocence, her ideals, her faith. Only I remain, but she has always told me that I am enough for her. I doubt this although she shows me in every way, with every glance that she would never lie to me.
Once, a girl such as herself would have been my fatal victim. In fact, she almost became a member of that long list. However, through the sheer force of her personality, she would not be my victim or anyone else’s despite whatever violence was inflicted upon her body or soul. She has seen me at my worst, which is admittedly enough to turn away even the most holy of saints. She has been subjected to violence, death, rape, betrayal, hatred, and humiliation. Throughout it all, she has always been my redeeming angel, although I have not always recognized the fact.
In the afterglow of our lives, she has become my teacher where once I believed myself to be her mentor. No matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you in some way. The greater the intensity of the friendship, the greater the hurt. You must forgive them for that or the consequences are horrendous. I've learned that it isn't always enough to be forgive by others, sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself. She taught me that.
I've learned that it takes years to build up trust and only seconds to destroy it. I've learned that it's not what happens to people, it's what they do about it. I've learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences. I've learned that true friendship continues to grow even over the longest distance same goes for true love. I've learned that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different. I've learned that your life can be changed in a matter of hours. I’ve learned that when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.
I now know that love is the binding force of the universe . . . not just any type of love; true, unwavering, selfless love. A fair-haired Amazon queen taught me that through example. From her I have also learned that the people you care most about in life are taken from you too soon. I've learned to love and be loved. She was right: once, I was willing to give all that she had given me in order to repay a debt to a woman that occupied a mere moment of my eternal soul. My bard would have the bulk of it, and I owed her so much that the good of a thousand lifetimes could probably not repay the debt I owe her from this life. I have seen Paradise: now as then, it means nothing to me without her.
She now lies on our bed, still and dead. I can feel the rhythm of my own heart beginning to cease. Our life pulses always did march to the same cadence. Only a few hours have passed but she still holds some warmth. I know she waits for me just on the other side. We know that we will see each other again in Elysia where we will be told what our futures hold. The gods have told us that we have a timeless love that should and will be resurrected in every generation. Thus we are destined to meet in life after life carrying the gift of everlasting and ever-changing karma. This is nothing I have not always been aware of.
The end of my life is drawing near. I have much more to tell but I cannot go on. I need to be near her earthly body as my soul disappears to rejoin hers. I wish to enfold her in my arms and the feel of her body to be my last sensation of this life. They will find us entwined so tightly that our bodies cannot be separated any more than our souls can. Farewell then, reader, I depart from this life to follow in the steps of my love, my hero, my soul, my Gabrielle.