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I can hear the roar of the crowd, but it's nothing compared to the roar of my own blood in my ears. Everything is tinged in red and all I can see is the tip of my blade striking unerringly into the torso of my opponent.

Fool, he knew better than to challenge me. I am the Champion of Rome. There are none better, there never will be. The haze fades enough that I can see him on his knees, begging Augustus for mercy. I smirk. There will be no mercy for you, coward. Livia is not merciful, nor is she kind.

The crowd is now clamoring for his blood. Peasants. Give them a bloodbath and they adore you. Lose a match, and they want your innards displayed at the front gate.

I briefly glance up to see Augustus with his thumb down, the signal for death. Excellent. My blade has not tasted fresh blood in a few days. I execute a quick flip and on the turn in mid-air, I swing down my sword, cleanly severing his head from his body.

Damn, I had forgotten how blood sprayed in an outward arc when the wind was in the east. I suppose I'll just get a new cloak then. Something in red. Yes, that will do nicely. I nail the landing and hold my sword above my head.

The masses go wild, screaming and chanting my name. "Livia, Livia, Livia!" That's right, rabble. I am the Bitch of Rome, best none of you pathetic sheep forget that. With a final flourish of my sword and a loud victory cry, I sheathe my sword and stroll towards the gate.

Another victory for Livia, for me. Tomorrow I begin a new campaign. When will the soon to be conquered learn that it never pays to resist Rome. And I am Rome. Soon, all will know the depth of my power, especially Augustus.

With the roar of the crowd still ringing in my ears, I exit and make my way towards my private chamber in the Coliseum. Another day, another death. All in a day's work when you're the Champion of Rome.


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Deep thoughts are for scholars. Those who can, conquer, those who can't, read and write scrolls and ponder on weaknesses such as feelings. I have no use for those who cannot further my own interests.

And I don't want much, just Rome. I want power. They are the only things that matter. Not love, not gold, not notoriety though those things are useful. Soon enough, Augustus will outlive his usefulness and he'll have to disappear. Then it will be time to unveil my plan to smite every insolent bastard who's ever crossed my path.

It's been several days with my regiment and I on the move. Augustus thinks we're simply putting down some uprising. Little does he know that in reality, we're marching on what's left of the rag tag Amazons. They have some information I need. What better way to do some recon and also wipe out some nuisances.

I heard through my grapevine of spies that Xena is on the move. Interesting. The matter bears more planning but for now, I've got a village and a tribe to decimate. Once I finish with these rejects, I'll move on to the last remaining band of Centaurs. They too have some information I need.

So much carnage to inflict, so little time.


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Gods I love my work. Although dispatching that Amazon was far too easy. Still, it was amusing watching her pain and anguish and to see her willingly hand over herself and her son to ensure the lives of a few paltry Amazons.

Everyone wants a piece of the Champion of Rome. They're more than welcome to try. I don't believe in ghosts, I don't believe in alliances, I only believe in myself and the power I can achieve. Caesar is stupider than I thought if he believes I trust him. Although I'm not sure that's possible, because I always thought he was pretty low on the intelligence stick.

No matter, those fools can believe what they like. No one knows the true intentions behind the slash of my blade. But they will...soon enough. There's a part of me that's eager to deal with the repercussions of killing that Amazon. It stirs my blood to think of just who might be coming to "avenge" her death.

Enough talk. It's time to march on Giddeup and acquire a prime piece of horse flesh. Have I mentioned I love my job? Because I do.


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I do so love the smell of pain and despair in the morning. Finding the centaur was far too easy with my newfound knowledge. Predictably, the village put up a laughable mockery of a defense.

I grin as I remember just how quickly it took my regiment to slice through their weakened front line and find the creature known as Xenan. It only took a rudimentary threatening to his wife and children to get him to surrender. Tsk, almost too easy, just like his mother.

Speaking of. It's time to let the prisoner know just where he stands and just how that came to be. This is going to be so much fun. I make my way down to the garrison where he's being held. I thought it only fitting to place him in a cell near the stables. Let it not be said Livia doesn't think of others.

I can feel the thrill of those who have conquered crawl up my spine. This has always been my favorite part. Although usually I don't take prisoners, they're such high maintenance. This case is special though. After all, I did make a bargain.

The centaur is already trying to snap his chains. "Now, now. It's not polite to leave before you thank your hostess for your accommodations." I had to contain my glee at his angry scowl. Oh believe me, it's only going to get worse Xenan. Much worse.

"Let it not be said that the Champion of Rome is rude. I am Liv-"

"I know who you are, bitch," he snarled. "What do you want?"

I allowed a grin to cross my face. "Well, a man who gets right down to it. I do appreciate directness. As for what I want? What do we all want in life? A house, a loving family, marital bliss?" I curl my lip in disgust. "Please. Those dreams are for the weak. I desire Rome and you're going to help me get it."

He rattled his chains. "Never," and he spit at my feet.

I quickly shelved my rage at his impudence and look disinterested at my boots. "I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the idea. After all, you do want your wife and children to live to see the dawn, don't you?"

I saw his color pale and knew I had him. Inwardly, I rolled my eyes. Pathetic. If you have nothing to love, then nothing can be stolen and used against you. One of my first rules of life.

"But for now, I simply want you to listen Xenan. Let me tell you a story. You like stories, don't you? I have a perfectly wonderful one to tell you." Time for some pain.

"Your mother, do you remember her?" I waited for him to answer but the wretch only tightened his jaw in defiance. No matter, that twitch was answer enough.

"I met her just the other day," I waved my hand in dismissal at his incredulous look. "Oh I know, she's supposed to be food for the maggots by now, but indeed, I did see her. While I was attacking the Amazon village."

His color turned even paler. I grinned. "Completely unprepared. It was a sight, women and children running around in panic, a state of frenzy and fright. Until your mother magically appeared from nowhere and dared to speak to me."

I let a little irritation seep into my tone. "That arrogant Amazon. Thinking she could persuade me to hold off my attack simply because I too, am an Amazon." I struggled not to laugh at his look of incredulity. "Believe me, I was as surprised as you are, but apparently my mother's bitch passed her right of caste on to me."

I strolled around the holding cell, just out of his reach. Taunting is so much fun. I could tell he was struggling to put the pieces together. Timing was everything in this game I played.

"When she saw it wasn't working, she tried to barter with me. And you know, she made me an offer I couldn't refuse." The smirk couldn't be stopped. It was on my lips before I knew it. "She offered me herself...and you."

"You lie!" He struggled mightily against the chains.

I waited for his temper tantrum to pass, using the tip of my dagger to pick my fingernails. "Mmm. Seeing as how it was you I was searching for anyway, I decided to take her up on her offer. In return, I vowed not to kill another Amazon as long as I lived and not to kill you."

I stepped closer, dangerously close to the boundary where the chains stretched. Time for the kill. "And do you know exactly what your mother agreed to in return for this?"

I lowered my voice to a whisper. "She became my slave, in body, mind, and soul. Everything she was, I made her forsake. Her honor, her integrity, all of it. All for you. She swore to obey my every command, so her precious little boy and sisters would be spared."

He shook his head, disbelieving. "If that's true, where is she? Show her to me."

I stepped back. No sense in taking chances. Grief does strange things to people, after all. "She can't come to the cell right now. You see," I paused and waited, just for the hell of it, "She's indisposed at the moment. Remember she swore to obey my every command? Well, I just so happened to command her to die."

A cruel grin crossed my face. "Such an honorable woman, she did just that. Stuck herself on the end of this blade." I held up the same dagger I had plunged into her chest only a few days ago. I let the exultation I had felt creep into my voice. "It was magnificent Xenan. Watching the tip slowly penetrate into her skin, the blood dribbling out and down my blade, down her body."

I sighed in contentment. "And the look in her eyes. Her despair, her misery, her anger, her fear, her pain." I couldn't contain the little shudder that ran through me. "It was one of the most marvelous kills I've ever had, and believe me when I say I've had a few."

"Your mother sacrificed everything only to receive nothing in the end. What a waste." I laughed and watched as his face crumpled in grief and then tightened in rage.

Again he pulled and tried to break the chains that bound him. I shook my head. "You're not going to break free. Those chains were made especially for you. And now Xenan, let's make it absolutely clear just where you stand."

I spoke in a hard, flat tone. "You are my slave. I own you. You will do as I command or I will slaughter your family in front of you. Your village is gone, only your family remains and I will have them slain in a heartbeat if you disobey me."

It's a beautiful sight watching someone's despair and helplessness. "It's very simple. Follow my orders and everyone you love will be safe. Disobey and they all die. And before you get any bright ideas, believe me when I say that there is no escape. If you attempt it, my men will cut you down and then kill your whore and your brats."

I casually flipped the blade in the air and caught it by the tip. "I think I'll leave you with the images of your mother dying at my hands and that of what could happen to your family if you don't play by the rules. I wonder, is it possible to crucify a centaur? Hmm, we may have to just see about that." With a hearty laugh, I walked out of the garrison and away from his howls of rage and despair.

"Ad maiorem Livia gloriam," I whispered to the night as I made my way back to my room. Now, on to bigger and better things.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Sara,


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ROCK!





 
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scissors.


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Don't worry, my sweet....we'll play again.

Now learn from your true soulmate. *g*





 
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Timing is everything. So's having a better sword and better reinforcements. It also helps not having a conscience.

I've noticed in the past few days that tossing this disc is easy. Almost natural. The shadow said it was my mother's. My lip curls in a sneer. I want nothing of hers, I conquer and rule on my own merits.

The centaur has proven stubborn but his breaking point is fast approaching. I can feel it. I have a sixth sense about these things. I cannot say just how gratifying and ironic it was to slice at him with his own namesake's weapon. Too delightful.

I made sure to bleed him just shy of the mortal wound line. You'd be surprised what you're able to live through.

I can see Ares's head in the distance. I thought it fitting. He always said the weak fall first. He also said to keep your head in battle. Looks like he couldn't even follow his own rules. So I decided to keep it for him, call it a last tribute to a fallen patron.

This new benefactor makes my hackles rise. Mysterious and menacing. There is no real trust between us. We're simply mutually benefitting from each other.

I take a deep breath of dusty Roman air. Preparations have already begun to mobilize my unit. Soon enough, Xena will come face to face with her worst nightmare. I plan to make it a family reunion to end all reunions.

My word as the Champion of Rome.


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It sparkles and speaks. Hush, hush, they'll hear us. It talks to me. The voices follow. I can't skip. I wish for wings. Where's Mavis?

"Mavis? Mavis? Wheeeere are yoouuuuu?" I can sing. Listen! Listen to the breathing. It's dark and they're mean and say bad things to me.

Owie, my arm. Hurts. Help? I can see stars in the sunshine. You're a lying little whore, I can see it in your head.

I have a pretty braid. Thick dark hair from a god man's head. Wrapped in a soft, sweet bow from a horsie's chest. I like sharp things that cut me and make me bleed.

Where's Mavis? "MAVIS!!" Sometimes the yelling makes the walls sad. Watch me turn tricks of cartwheels. I can, I can, Livia is a good girl.

I...need to be somewhere. Important. Every good boy does fine until you cut off his head. Hehe, that makes me laugh.

I have to find the song that has the directions to the place I need to wash. The bees, they come down. I heard that yesterday from the lady who always wins when we play fun games! She twirled in the sunlight and made the man turn shiny and shimmery red. Pretty.

That's it, someone's taken Mavis. I must find her. She has my dollie and does unspeakable evil things to it. Mavis hurts people. We're bestest good friends.

I...have something important to do. It tickles my head, at the back and if it doesn't stop I'm going to use the sharp round thingy to MAKE it stop.

Everyone wants the shiny thing within me, but they can't have it. It's mine! Mine, mine, MINE.

Hush little baby don't say a word
mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird
If that mockingbird won't sing
We'll use your knife and make a pretty ring


Songs, songs, in my head. I...have somewhere to be. Yes, my regiment. We all fall down, like toy soldiers. I like to play.

We go to the market, to buy us some cheese. And to give the sharp round thingy to...someone. Dark. Tall. Mean. I know! I know! Mommy!

Mommy hates. I hate. All her fault. If her and the sparrows would just STOP talking and listen to me. The lady with the rocks in her throat tells me where to go.

Yes, the lady with the rocks in her throat. I...have to be there cause I'm the surprise. I like surprises. That's it, Mavis can find her own way home. Cause I don't need her, I don't need anyone. The sparkles and I will just have our tea party alone, thank you very much.

But first, I should see the toy soldiers. We have a party to go to, and I've nothing to wear but the pretty sparkles on my neck and the shimmers on my arm and the shiny thingy in my hand.

They can't start without us. I won't let them. We'll go and make everything shimmer with the pretty red that flows like water. And when we're done, I can rest and be a good girl. Cause I am. The pretty lady who always wins said I was.

Hush, hush, they'll hear us. It speaks to me. I have to go, songs to sing and shimmers to find. If anyone tries to take my shiny thingy before I get there, I'm going to let them, like I was going to let the unicorn. Hehe.


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Ants. They crawl. One, two, three, four. Like toy soldiers. Like bad people who dream and whisper dirty things. Dirty.

Mavis has left. Everyone leaves. I hate leaving. I hate the squirrels that chatter in my ear. Breaking my concentration. I like the chilly, chilly, chilly sound.

The bees, in my head. Hurting the squirrels. We're moving. Horses, my horsie is tied up. He bleeds and shimmers for me. So pretty. When Mavis and I come back, we'll see how far the shimmers can splatter.

Hehe, Mavis. Silly Mavis. "Maaaaavis!" My voice is funny. I like being Livia. She's a good girl.

We're on a trip to see the lady with the rocks in her throat. The road is yellow and spins on it's side. Toy soldiers don't need to stop. In a line, one, two, three, four.

Surprise, surprise everyone! Wait til Livia comes, with shimmers in her hair and sparkles around her throat and something inside that buzzes and whispers.

It's full of light, it won't stop screaming. It's not mine, but I'll keep it. I'm the only one who can.

Dream where I can't wake up. I can see, Livia sees, the squirrels and the pretty lady sees. I want to wake up. Bad dreams. Mommy! Save me from the bad dreams. I killed her. Bad Livie, bad Evie, bad Livie.

Too many people dancing beside me. Ow, the strings pinch and hurt as they pull me to the dance. Like...like a...puppet. Yes! Dance wooden girl. Swing and dance.

I like to dance. I have a sharp round thingy. It's a present. Everyone will get to feel how sharp it is. Promise. Livie keeps her promises.

She's a good girl. Time to rest. Shhh bees. Shh squirrels. Shhh ants. In a line, one, two, three, four. When the bough breaks, they'll hurt me with it. Swing your wooden stick short lady!

Livia isn't scared. Except of spiders. Shhh, don't tell anyone. They crawl on me, ow, can't get them off. Ow, it hurts. Ow. Get off me. Oh, oh. There's the shimmery red again, on my other arm.

The spiders bring the shimmer. The round sharp shiny thingy brings the shimmer. Livie brings the shimmer. I like it, pretty and thick and it spreads everywhere. When I get big, I'm going to make it shimmer everywhere.

Cause I'm a good girl who's going to be a surprise. Toy soldiers and Livia, marching alone. One, two, three, four.


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They took it. Screams, blood. Good girl, good girl, Livia is a good girl.

La la, can't hear you squirrels and bees and ants. The shimmers, everywhere. All over me.

She came, she came for us, she came for it. Hate her, hate her, HATE HER!! Stole the round shiny.

Tricked me with her lies. Dirty lying killer. Hate the killer. Took my shiny. HATE HER.

Can't stop moving, back and forth and back and forth. Why's it gone? It all goes. The toy soldiers, all gone.

My toys! She broke my toys. HATE HER. They all fell down, in ashes with roses and splatters everywhere.

Distracted me, LIED TO ME. Told me I was a good girl, told me good girls give back things that belong to others. Told me she loved me. Mommy doesn't lie.

Lies, lies. She lies. Lied to me. I'm a good girl. I found it! It was mine. My shiny. Give it back. HATE HER.

She stole everything. Took Mavis. Oh yes, I know she did. Knows Mavis has the plans to our factors in the building. The sparrows all in a line, one, two, three, four.

Mommy and her sparrows, always chattering, like the squirrels. I killed the squirrels. I'm going to paint the ground with the shimmers from the sparrows.

Belongs to me! Lied to me! HATE YOU. Left me here, everyone leaves. Hate the leaving.

She said the short lady with the stick was in trouble. There's no short lady here. Come back here! You can't leave in the middle of a tea party!

Rude. And she says Livia is a bad girl for having things that aren't hers? LIAR! She lies. Spews from her mouth and her head and infects the flowers.

Hush hush, they'll hear us. It whispers now, whispers of shimmers and sparkles. In my head, the bees are quiet. HATE HER.

Livia is a good girl. And good girls get their toys back from people who steal them. Find her, find the dirty liar, find the killer, find the...the...BITCH.

Oh no, Livia was bad. Bad, said bad things. Bad things. Shhh, shhh, my little darling. I have to find the shiny, it makes me good.

It's a plan Mavis. We find the shiny, find the liar, kill the sparrows and take our shiny back to the horsie at home. Then we'll make the floor shimmer with the pretty red.

Let's go! No time to waste. Stealing my shiny. I'll show them they can't steal my song and my puddles. HATE YOU. Coming, liar mommy. Coming for you and my shiny.


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Hera rises to her feet and applauds.

'Oh Furies, you have done magnificent work with this one. I am so very pleased! Madness is such an entertaining thing to witness. Particularly when it results in such delightful pain for all concerned.'


~~~~~~~~~~

 
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Almost there. Mavis finds the way. Knew we'd find the song in time. The flowers were most helpful.

No more teacher gods, no more books
I'll carve my horsie with shiny sharp hooks


I love that story. Sing it again Mavis. The sparkle's stopped whispering. It makes me lonely.

Mavis doesn't talk much, she's shy that way. Soon, soon, Livia comes soon.

We'll get the shiny back, kill the dirty liar mommy and her sparrows and then I'll use the shiny to silence the bees and the naughty squirrels.

Too much talking. Hush, hush, they'll hear us. We have to be quiet Mavis, we wouldn't want to ruin the surprise.

Won't the sparrows be surprised when Livia shows them how pretty it is to shimmer everywhere! And I will, every single one will see just how much they can shimmer.

We'll leave mommy for last, she's not good enough to shimmer. Dirty liars never are. We'll show her what it means to be a good girl. Cause no one's better than me and Mavis. Right Mavis?

Mavis? She's always leaving! I hate Mavis, if she doesn't stop petting the monkeys, I'm going to make her shimmer.

Soon, soon, it's coming soon. Can't wait to show everyone what they're made of, from the inside out. Pretty, pretty shimmers. And all for Livia, cause she's a good girl.


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Ew, dirty things in the mouth. Livia doesn't like wrinkly snakes. They smell and spit. Cut them off! Livia is a good girl!

Wrinkly man wants Livia to be bad, to do dirty things. I won't! The squirrels and I discussed it, and we'd rather choke on the cheese fences than be bad.

Bad people, hurting me. They hurt the good girl. Why? Make the factors and the trees cry. Why do they hurt Livia? She's a good girl.

Voices, whispers. Hush hush, they'll hear us. The sparkle speaks to me again. Missed you sparkle. Lonely here with the bees and the dirty liars and the sparrows. And Mavis.

Stupid pretend man who cries, he hurts Livia. Won't let her make the shimmers cover the room. Well...the short lady does dirty things with the liar mommy. She's NOT a good girl. Maybe the stupid pretend man was right not to let Livia make the room shimmer. And he did give Livia a new shiny. Not as good as the tea pots but it will do.

It's the pretty lady who wins when we play fun games! She looks angry. Not Livia, Livia is good. See? She can dance and balance the flowers on her head up in the sky. Look! Another unicorn. Mavis! Mavis, it's back. You catch it from behind.

Ready Mavis? GO! Owie, owie, it hurts. Stupid unicorn horn. I'm going to make you shimmer when I get my shiny back. No wait, you're a bad uni, no shimmer for you. Ha, you like that? Too bad the flies said only good boys and girls can shimmer. So there!

Dizzy. Livia spins and spins. Flashes and light and whispers. The pretty lady takes us. Can't she hear the wagons? The stupid pretend man cries again. Livia doesn't cry, EVER. Livia is a good girl.

Home. We're home Mavis! Back to the horsie, I've missed you so shimmery horsie. Such a good boy. No one shimmers like my horsie.

Mavis? It's time for a tea party, you bring the squirrels and I'll invite the dollies. Wait...Mavis, who's that? Another dirty lying sparrow?

The shiny Mavis, I need the shiny, she's come to take it. they all take from me, HATE THEM. I'll make them shimmer for stealing. Dirty sparrows! Filthy mice!

Oh, she knows I'm a good girl. Livia is, she really is. Quickly Mavis, a jar for the weepy warrior lady juggler. She can't see the shimmers dressed like this. The horsie will die of shame. We can't have that.

So pretty. Shimmers everywhere. The horsie is perfect. The weepy juggler sees. She can tell, I just know it Mavis. I wonder...can we let her shimmer too?

Hush hush, they'll hear us. She lies! She tries to steal my shimmery horsie. Filthy mice! I'll kill you sparrow. Slit your red breast in a cage, make heaven rage. I will. You lied to me! Lied to Livia. Why? Liars!

...Trade? She...she doesn't steal from Livia, Mavis. Are you sure we can't make her shimmer? She's already started without me, on her face. So pretty. Can I touch? Please? No?

We'll give her the horsie for a new shiny. Two shinies must be better than one. We'll cover the land with shimmers much faster this way!

Softly, flower garden. See? She is good. Livia likes the weepy warrior juggler lady. It shines, so pretty. Mavis, we have to try this out! Maybe on some toy soldiers.

My sparkle? Noo, no, no. Livia good girl. Don't take the whispers. Hush hush. Can't go, find the squirrels. Kill the sparrows. Liar mommy, liar juggler, liars, liars, liars.

Mavis, she let it stay. So we'll let her and the horsie go. Break out the juices and the bread, we're going to dance! We'll try our new shiny on the toy soldiers and then...then we'll go play.

We'll teach those dirty liar sparrows they can't steal from me. Not now, not ever. They can't take two shinies. I'm coming, Livia comes and the shimmers follow.


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The sparrows lie. It's easy to lie when you're the loudest ugliest sparrow, isn't it? Just wait til the factors come, then you'll have something to write to the sea about.

Going to show you all. Livia IS a good girl. Not going to let any of the dirty liars or the noisy sparrows or the chattery squirrels take from me anymore. Show you. KILL YOU ALL.

Tired, Mavis. So tired. Almost time for the bees to sleep. I can't, the squirrels won't let me. They keep screaming, while the sparkle whispers. Hush hush, they'll hear us.

The filthy mice think they know. Wait til I teach them what it means to really shimmer, Mavis. I'm going to teach you first though.

Let's sing! And then we'll let the flowers dance for us. Yes, that sounds nice. I...want my horsie. He was so pretty. Why did I trade Mavis?

Wonder if the new shiny works? It glints in the sunshine, it...whispers too. Just like the sparkle. It wants something, something shimmery. And not just anyone's shimmer, someone who isn't a dirty liar whore. We have to find them Mavis. The new shiny said so. It reminds me of the lady with rocks in her throat.

A song? Of course! We can't let the stars eat without a song. I've got one, I've got one!

Hush hush, they'll hear us. Oh, the sparkle said to be quiet Mavis. Sorry sparkle, Livia's good. Good girl.

Good girls get to shimmer. The sparkle lets me take the pretend shiny and cover myself in shimmers. So pretty. Good girl Livia.

C'mon Mavis, we have to head the other way. It's time to find the stupid pretend man who cries like a reindeer. He has something Livia wants.

Soon, soon. Shimmers for all the liar sparrows soon. And then everyone will see just what a good girl Livia is. Promise.


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I must be dreaming. There's warmth and peace and quiet and stillness. But my dreams have never been this good before. They're always restless and filled with blood and screams.

Maybe that's why I don't sleep much.

Or maybe I'm dead. Hm, maybe not. I have a feeling that when I die, I won't be going to a place filled with flowers and hugs.

At least the voices have stopped. I don't want to think about that now. I need to wake up.

"Wake up Livia. Wake up."

I...can't. So tired.

Rest just a little while longer. Yes...rest.


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There are two things I realize immediately. The first being that gods be damned, I hurt all over and the second is that I must be two inches away from the sun as it's incredibly hot in here.

I don't know how long I've been asleep but I do know that I'm getting up and getting out of here as soon as possible.

Let's do a limbs check, shall we? Toes...I can move them. Legs seem to be working alright. Torso seems fine too. Arms are functional enough. Oh gods, my head. OW! Damnit, that hurts!

Oh, that's right. I was driven mad by the Furies apparently. And somewhere in my deranged mind, thought I could get the voices to stop by splitting my head open. Wonderful Livia, best idea you've had yet.

I can feel cuts and scrapes all over me. It seems as though they're healing. So long as I live, I don't think I'll ever forget what that experience was like. Needless to say it's left a definite impression on me.

That's it, I'm getting up and out of here, wounds or not. There's somewhere I need to be. Gods damnit all. Maybe getting up wasn't such a grand idea, but I can't wait around any longer. Who knows how long I've been here already.

Every step sends a stab of pain through my body. I can't stop though, I have to get back to my city. It needs me.

I'm almost down the stairs when I meet the innkeeper. He starts to protest my leaving but a glare from me shuts him up.

"The woman who brought me here, where is she?"

He stutters something about the north and the Amazon land of the dead. Fine by me, I don't care where Xena goes, so long as she stays away from me.

Her coming at the very end is too little, too late. I don't need a mother, I am Rome. Rome needs no mother. I'm going back to my city and getting things back in order.

I actually buy a horse from that yokel, rather than just taking one. Maybe a few changes are in order in how I do things. Maybe not. For now, the only thing I know is I must get back to Rome. That's the only thing that matters anymore.


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I once learned a very important lessson. That you never reveal just how much you know. That way people believe one thing and are none the wiser.

It's always better to be underestimated and now my goals are finally coming within reach. Caesar's truly more of a fool than I realized if he thinks his plans will succeed. Rome belongs to no one but me.

Death doesn't frighten me. I do not fear the poison I've ingested in my system. I am Livia, Champion of Rome and I have survived countless assassination attempts. I know poison when I taste it. I also know one vital detail Caesar does not.

Madness doesn't frighten me anymore either. I fear nothing and no one.

I grow weary of people trying to use me for their own selfish advances. From now on, I will be no one's pawn. It's time to show the world just what I'm about. And when it's all over, nothing and no one shall stand in my way, only I will remain. My word as Champion of Rome.


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All too easy. And now, it begins. If that bumbling fool and his pregnant lover don't mess things up. I had planned on a low body count but if it's not to be, then it's not to be. I will no longer allow anyone to stand in my way to restoring Rome to it's greatness.

The real game begins.

Here kitty, kitty, kitty...


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I'm surrounded by idiots. At first I always wondered if I might be but now it's certain.

Rome is surrounded by idiots. Caesar should know better. Imperials of Rome have for many years, taken measures to build up resistance to many poisons.

To think that I would be lax in that arena truly is stupid of him. Madness or no, there are certain routines that are ingrained in me.

Everything has spiraled out of control. I don't like disorder and chaos in my city.

Seeing Xena was unexpected as well. I should have known that blowhard would screw up the simplest plan. Even though she was expected and I actually counted on her come to that fool's rescue, she STILL managed to muck it up.

Like I said, surrounded by idiots. I had contemplated venturing down another path, a new path. It seems that all people are interested in is seeing Livia shed blood.

Who am I to deny the people what they want? I'll show them blood the likes of which has never been seen.

But first, there's a little something I need to do. Something involving a meddlesome defunct pathetic emperor and an Amazon.

Maybe when I get Rome all straightened out, I should instill a specific breeding program. That way the idiots won't breed and I won't be subjected to their spawn. Hm, the idea has merit.


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The time for talk is over. I will not be a pawn in anyone's game anymore.

I have no use for anyone who cannot further my power base. I will not be cajoled or guilted from my path.

I know who I am and where I belong. I am Livia, I am Rome, I am free and now, I'm going to finish something that I started a long time ago.


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Whoever said imitation was the sincerest form of flattery needs to die, and slowly.

I've finally managed to get that brat to stop calling me "Auntie". I am not her aunt, I'm not her anything. I've definitely got to look into instituting that breeding program just as soon as possible.

I've also managed to get her to change her name to something else. It is Roman custom, that once you ascend to power, you take another name. The name she chose was too close to mine and if there's one thing Livia does not need, it's would be coat tail riders.

This child has once again renewed the decision to never have children. Gods above, she chatters like nothing else. Much like her original namesake, I'm told.

I know this brat is hiding something, but it matters not. She's almost finished the task I've given her.

Rome has really whetted her multiple appetites. My city has been laid at her disposal and she is fully taking advantage of that opportunity.

I had toyed with the idea of travelling to Greece to crash a warrior's tourney but have since changed my mind.

I don't need to prove myself anymore. I just need for two more crucial pieces to fall into place and I will never need to prove myself ever again.

I must find the girl, we've business to attend to. If I can manage to pull her away from that group orgy she's currently entangled in.

*Sigh* Life is wasted on the young. "Come Bella, we've things to do." I know the sound of my voice will disengage her from her activities.

Her face pouts and then contorts in pleasure. "But...But Livia...oooh! Just...a few more, gods yes...minutes!"

I let the coldness seep into my tone. "Now."

I hear a strangled curse as the girl disentangles herself. Good, she needs to learn discipline.

"We've things to attend to. You can finish your play later. Go clean up, I expect you in the main chamber in half a candlemark."

The girl nodded and scurried off. So much to do, so little time.

Time. Hmm, now there's an interesting thought.


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You know, it figures. Leave it to the gods be damned, well...gods to come poking their noses everywhere!

Keh, just as well, I always knew I had a superb voice. I AM the Champion of Rome, of course I would have a great singing voice.

And now my deepest, darkest secret has been revealed. Well, if people value their heads, they'll forget that day ever happened. I know I'm desperately trying to put it out of my mind.

Still...

I look around to see that no one's near by. That air headed pink monstrosity may have found out about that song, but I still have one more I hold even closer to my heart. Maybe a few bars won't hurt...

I feel pretty
Oh so pretty
I feel pretty and witty and gay
And I pity, any girl who isn't me today...


GAH! I've got to get out of here. I can't stay in Rome, when the effects are still wearing off. But where to go? Hmm. I've got it! I've got to hurry, grab a bag, pack a horse and I'm off.


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Have I mentioned I'm surrounded by idiots? Because I am. I just KNOW the gods are conspiring against me.

First the damn horse, now the damn kid, then the damn shamaness. If I have to save her miserable hide one more time, I'm stabbing her in the eye with her own finger.

That vision, it keeps me up at night. It looked so real. It felt real. It was disgusting and terrifying and I never want that to be my reality. Ever. It was a betrayal of everything I am, everything I stand for and hold dear.

Even if that hag is lying to me, if that vision is a fabrication, I don't want to take that chance. Hmm, Xena was in the vision.

I wonder if taking her out of the equation would just further cement it never coming true. I'll have to ponder this. I may have to pay her a visit sooner than anticipated.


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There comes a time in a great leader's life when they have to put things aside in order to obtain a specific common goal.

Simply put, I need Xena to not lose her soul. Her future directly affects mine. How I wish it weren't so, I want nothing to do with her, but I simply can't stand idly by and let the gods and everyone else vie over it.

It's too important to just sit back and see who is still standing at the end. That's why I'm willing to put things aside, at least for now, in order to ensure that Xena's soul stays where it belongs. Firmly ensconced in her body.


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