The way to Olympus is treacherous for mortals. The gods, of course, have no fear of the steep and treacherous climb. Xena was debating whether or not she and Livia should turn the horses loose and continue on foot when she caught sight of a familar figure waiting by the trail.
"Iolaus!" she exclaimed as the hunter gave her a cheerful wave.
"Glad to see you made it, Xena." He added under his breath, "It is the right you, right?"
Xena gave a quick, barely imperceptible nod. "Do you know if it's much further?"
Iolaus shook his head and pointed. A little way off the trail was a level area surrounded by tottery columns. In the middle was an altar.
"If your scroll is right, that's the spot. And if the chills on my spine are anything to go by, it's the right spot."
Xena handed Iolaus a bundle and the party warily picked it's way through the toppled columns. Daylight was waning and the new moon would rise in just a few hours.
"We'll need a fire soon," said Xena.
Livia nodded and went to gather wood. Iolaus pulled out the scroll and consulted it--not that he really needed to, but he wanted to make sure he knew just what he needed to do. He had already secreted certain items so as to be readily accessible when they were needed. Xena was examining her surroundings and appeared to making calculations in her head.
Livia brought an armload of wood and dropped it near the altar. A cold wind suddenly blew past her. Xena and Iolaus appeared to be unaffected. She nervously felt for her dagger--
"Xena!" she exclaimed suddenly. "My chakram. It's gone!"
Cupid beat a hasty retreat through the palace of Olympus. Psyche! How could he have forgotten Psyche? He felt shame when he thought of how hurt she must be by his new found love. He sighed when he realized he was going to spend the next century on the couch.
He'd have to deal with her later. He had a certain warrior princess to visit.
He ran past Zeus and Hera. "Grandpa? Can't you--" he left his plea unfinished as he dove out of a window and away from the realm of the gods.
Psyche came in hot pursuit and tried to push past Hera.
"Wait a moment, my dear," said the goddess. "I know where he's going."
A fire burned brightly upon the altar. The new moon was rising. It was a waiting game now.
"Xena," Alti's gravelly voice sounded from just outside the altar circle. She stepped into the circle and held up the third chakram.
"Alti," said Xena. "I've been waiting for you."
The two women regarded each other for a long moment.
"So," Alti finally said. "Are you going to give me that chakram or am I going to have to make you?"
Xena held up the chakram.
"I'm kind of hoping I have to make you." Alti grinned.
Her grin faded as Xena hurled the chakram away from her. It hit one column and then another before heading straight toward Alti. The shamaness caught it in her hand and looked at it in surprise.
"Better hurry, Alti," said Xena. "It's time."
Alti smirked and tossed Xena's chakram into the air above the altar. As it fell toward the fire she quickly threw the third chakram.
The third chakram intersected the double chakram and the new object hung suspended above the fire. It began to glow and a light began to spread out.
"It's show time," said Xena.
Alti had done what she was needed for, and he had no use for her anymore.
Zeus morphs into a red headed girl, and shimmers himself to the fireplace where the plan is nearing completion.
Bored now. And zaps the old hag to oblivion with a HUGE rod of lightening.
************************************************************************This message has been edited. Last edited by: Amethyst,
|Chief Chesty Forlock|
The glow from the combined chakrams grew brighter and turned from an intense silver to a firey copper. As it changed it began to give off an incredible heat, which forced back all those around it.
Livia fell to the ground and crawled from the blaze. Xena and Hercules shielded their eyes and slowly backed away. Iolaus summersaulted to a safe distance.
The suspended object began to spin, sending out sparks in all directions. Faster and faster. Hotter and hotter. Finally, just when it seemed the heat would be too intense for even a Demigod to withstand, it started to slow. Little by little it stopped radiating heat, as it gradually sank towards the altar.
A sound like roaring wind raged through the site, extinguishing the fire. The object fell with a clang on top of the altar.
Livia picked herself up and raced forward. She grabbed the item from the altar and held it aloft for all to see.
Iolaus gasped. 'A new chakram.' He looked at Xena. 'It looks like your armour.'
'Doesn't look like it would do much damage, though.' Livia frowned.
A peal of laughter rang out and Cupid appeared next to Livia. He snatched the chakram and hovered above the heads of the assembled party.
'Oh you have no idea about the damage this chakram can do, little girl. This chakram is the key to your Mother's soul.'
'What are you talking about?' Hercules looked sternly in Cupid's direction. He didn't like the turn that events had taken.
'Very simple, Uncle. Watch.' Cupid deftly split the new chakram into four equal parts. 'Thought the yin yan chakram was impressive? Any one who holds one of these four parts can control Xena. Time for a demonstration.' He threw a piece of the new chakram at Iolaus. It whirled around the head of the warrior, and back to Cupid's hand.
Suddenly, Xena had unsheathed her sword and was heading in the direction of the blonde sidekick.
'Xena, what are you doing?' Iolaus drew his own blade.
'I'm going to kill you,' Xena hissed.
'I'd run if I were you, little buddy. I'll hold her off.' Hercules grabbed Xena from behind and pinned her arms.
'Think you could kill my lover and get away with it, Xena? Think again. When you've finished killing all those YOU love, you will do the bidding of whoever I give these pieces of chakram to. I think the first piece should go to the Sovereign. Your misery has only just begun.' In a cloud of pixie dust, the god was gone.
Cupid stood in front of the Sovereign in his hottub, where he and Hope lounged indolently. Apparently when the Sovereign had escaped, he took Hope with him.
Hope looked rather done in. Well, thought Cupid, after losing her father like that, I can well imagine she wouldn't be up to much. Pity the Sovereign got her...then again, she's rather beyond hope...no pun intended.
"Glad to see the love poo exists with you, Sovereign," Cupid snarled. "Just for that...I have a couple presents for you both!"
He tossed a couple pieces of the Chakram in their direction. Hope caught one--and her whole body just seemed to shimmer with new, well, hope.
The Sovereign caught the other one.
"Wow," he said as he shimmered with awesome power. "What a rush!"
"Now you two will listen to me and listen good," snarled Cupid. "Especially you, Hope! I am going to leave you here now until Xena does what she is meant to do. When she's finished, you will know. I will come for you."
"WHAT is this all about?" Hope demanded, furious. "I mean, the gods kill my father...and now you're giving me part of this...chakram."
"For MY purposes only," said Cupid fiercely. "This is vengeance, Hope. For my lover. Who Xena...killed." He broke off, tears rolling down his face, and turned away. Hope and the Sovereign looked at each other, and exchanged a rather knowing look. Cupid composed himself as best he could and turned back to face them.
"Here is the dealio," he smiled grimly. "You two are going to come when it's time...and do one thing and ONE thing only."
"What's that?" chuckled the Sovereign, amused by this strange winged god.
"You are going to get Xena to do exactly what YOU want her to do. You too, Hope," Cupid smiled. "And don't worry. I have one of these little gifts for your sister too."
"Perfect," purred Hope. "It won't be long now. Soon, my brother will come into power."
"Your brother," Cupid said casually. "Tell me about him." He'd been expecting this, counting on it actually.
Hope was bound to Cupid now. He would not let her harm any innocents...just Xena. And anyone Xena was close to. Well...except Uncle Herc and his mother. Those two of course would be spared.
Cupid sighed. He was really going to catch it for this. But he owed Jeremaiah after all.
"My brother is biding his time," Hope said, spilling out her secrets to Cupid. The Sovereign actually tried to shush her, as she’d shared with him that he would benefit from this--but he too was under the spell of the chakram, and Cupid's power. "He waits in the temple of Zeus, his tomb. He waits. And when it's time...he will rise. He will succeed where my father failed."
"Will he now," Cupid ignored the pounding in his heart, which was somewhere in the vicinity of his throat.
"My father always knew he'd succeed," Hope said. "He fooled everyone. His last lover...totally ate up his innocence. All along he's been scrambling his brain, and now he has gone...quite mad. He let himself be killed, or rather look like it—for the purpose of getting into Zeus’s temple."
"Really," Cupid smiled weakly. "Go on."
"No," the Sovereign said fiercely. "You've said enough." He grabbed Hope by the hair. "THere will be no more talk of how he fooled Cupid into getting him into Olympus...so he could again scramble with the gods' brains. Oh, they thought they were nipping it in the bud by whooshing Bella out of there so that no more spawns of Dahok would ever get into Olympus...but---"
"Yes," Hope cried in ecstasy. "Cara failed, but Jeremaiah won't. And Zeus? Will never know a thing." She smiled at Cupid. "Will he?"
Cupid smiled at her, a slow evil smile. Then--without a word--WHOOSH! Hope stumbled as the power rushed through her head and left her stupefied a moment. The Sovereign put a hand on her shoulder to balance her, but he caught some of the energy too. He too stumbled. Then, both righting themselves, they stared blankly at Cupid.
"I will hurt Xena and no one else," Hope said in a clear voice. "No more talk of taking over the world. I have no interest in that. As for my brother, Cupid...do what you want with him."
She meant every word she said. For the Sovereign's part, he just nodded.
"Yeah, what she said," he said.
"Believe me, I intend to," Cupid snarled. "I hope you both know that this was all part of my plan. No one need die...unless Xena kills them. She's good at killing after all." He curled his lip.
"Your, uh, wish is our command," the Sovereign said. He obviously hated saying that to Cupid.
Cupid laughed uproarously.
"I've only just begun!" he shouted. "You have your orders. Wait. I will call you when it's time."
With that said, he whooshed away.
He would take the third piece of chakram to Bella. He had something special in mind for the fourth one...that would just eat Xena alive!
But first things first.
Cupid whooshed into Zeus’s temple. Zeus and Hera were amusing themselves, oblivious to him—for now. went into the tomb where Jeremaiah's body lay. Jeremaiah sat up, and rubbed his eyes. With a bit of magic, he repaired his wound. Then, slowly, he smiled.
"So," Cupid said casually, keeping his emotions in check. "Had a bit of fun...at my expense, did you honey?"
"Cupid," Jeremaiah said calmly, in that so seductive voice that had always gotten to the winged god, "It wasn't what you thought it was."
"Oh DON'T give me that rubbish!" snapped Cupid. "You were Eli's friend. You wanted more from him. I even believed those tears. Very convincing."
"I was Eli's friend," Jeremaiah said, hurt. "He DID have an impact on me."
"Spare me," Cupid sighed. "And you're mortal."
"Well no, that part is a lie," Jeremaiah's cobalt blue eyes filled with tears. "Cupid, I'm really sorry I lied to you. But...I do really love you. Always will."
"Don't, Jeremaiah," Cupid said darkly, fighting back his own tears. "Don't."
"I had to get into Zeus's temple," Jeremaiah said desperately. "I knew that if I could get Xena and Livia to run me through, that would happen. You were never particularly close with Zeus and Hera but when you want a favor from them..."
"SHUT UP, Jeremaiah!" shouted Cupid. Then with a mighty lightning bolt, he struck.
Jeremaiah however was gone. He had disappeared before the lightning bolt could hit him.
No, thought Cupid. He is not going to get away with this.
"Tsk tsk, Cupid," said a familiar female voice. "Going all soft on Dahok spawns now? Made you forget your wife pretty damn quick, did he, that Jeremaiah? Good work, I might add."
Cupid whirled around. The bane of his mother's existance lounged against the wall of the tomb, wearing an expression of pure triumph.
"Discord," Cupid said darkly. "I might have known you had something to do with this."
"It wasn't ALL Dahok of course!" winked Discord. "I knew that if I could get that guy to go for you, your poor mumsy would wring her hands for all eternity." She chuckled. "Gotta love me!" she snarled at the quote, and spit in the tomb.
"How did you do it?" Cupid demanded. "HOW?"
"He wanted someone to fark with in the Olympian world. I think he had his eye on me, actually. I would have been glad to...he's cute...but no, I saw the greater good." She assumed an expression of mock solemnity. "Then Xena hit you with one of your own arrows." She tittered in laughter. "How convenient that he was headed for EXACTLY that spot at JUST the right time!"
Dite's Afro stood there, furious as hellspawn.
"You SERIOUSLY need a boob job, girl," she snarled, facing Discord. "Not to mention a few choice body parts REMOVED for messing with my son like that!"
"I just love it when you get serious," Discord said in mock adoration. "It's so--so--sexy!"
"AAHHH!" Dite's Afro zapped her. Within moments the two of them were having a nice little zapping contest. Cupid took that opportunity to get the fark right out of there. He had to complete his task before he got his wings clipped.
He changed his mind about going to Bella first. He had to get this one out of the way first. The opportunity was too good to pass up.
Uncle Herc had calmed Xena down somewhat. With Iolaus gone and out of the way, she wasn't in a battle-crazed rage about killing him. He was trying to talk to her, make some sense of what happened with her. Xena was not a happy camper. She was going to "Get that Cupid and see to it personally that all his arrows are broken in front of me."
Not a chance, baby. Cupid grinned. Now….for the moment he’d been waiting for! He rubbed his hands in glee. Herc and Xena didn’t know he was there. They were otherwise occupied. .
Livia had gone off to do some fishing. She sat on a rock by the stream, thinking abuot all that had transpired. Alti was dead...well she'd always been rather annoying. At least there was one person not trying to plan Livia's life.
"One is replaced by another," said a voice behind her.
"What..." Livia whirled around. "HEY!" Something came flying at her. Without thinking, she caught it before it could make an impact and do her harm.
Cupid grinned mischievously. "Happy Birthday, Livia."
"It's not my birthday--what is this?" Livia looked at the object in her hand.
Hmmmm, she thought. Of all the--
"I don't trust you," she told Cupid. "Why are you giving me this? This piece of the chakram?"
Cupid only laughed uproarously. "Ain't Karma a bitch?" He walked up to her, put a hand on her shoulder. She recoiled at his touch but looked unflinchingly into his eyes.
“This is a very special piece of the Chakram,” he said to her. “You will have control over Xena—but more to the point—those who have the other pieces of this Chakram—have to do YOUR bidding.”
“You’re putting me on,” she snarled. “Don’t fool with me, Cupid. Nobody fools with me, you know.”
“Nope. It’s all real, Livia,” Cupid said. “You get to control Xena, AND the three others. Do whatever you like with them.”
Livia laughed uproariously. Cupid remained serious.
“You helped make it possible for the gods to get their brain scrambled,” he told her. “Got your revenge on the gods….and you dind’t even know there was a time we all wanted you DEAD.”
“You’re psychotic,” Livia snarled. “Be off with you. I don’t want this—“ she thrust the chakram piece back at him. But it stuck to her hand. “Huh? TAKE THIS BACK!”
“Sorry, babe,” Cupid giggled. “The spell is set in motion. And—you know what THAT means, don’t you?”
He winked, slowly. Livia understood, feeling his control over her.
“No,” she snarled. “I will not go along with this, I WON’T!”
“No choice, babes,” Cupid said. “I told you, Livia—Karma is a bitch. You may not have actually KILLED Jeremaiah but you helped unleash an evil on Olympus…and as a result—well—this is not the same Cupid.” He chortled maniacly, his eyes big and wide and rather unstable. Livia actually took a step back from him. Crazy psychotic mortals were one thing. But psychotic gods…this was going to be a problem.
“You will wait until the appropriate time—and I will come to you,” Cupid said darkly. “When Xena has killed all she loves…that will be the sign. The four of you will do your work on her.” He grinned. “Have fun sugar!”
Before Livia could say anything more—Cupid whooshed away.
He had made his decision. Bella would have nothing to do with this. Cupid had other uses for her. However….
Tara walked out of the Earth temple he’d put her in, her hair all white, looking rather confused and disshevelled.
“Tara,” he said to her. “how are you feeling?”
“I don’t know—I mean—where’s the music?” she began to move, rather clumsily at that. She had once been a fabulous dancer…but her affiliation with Dahok, and his death, had taken away her coordination.
“Never mind. I have a better task for you than dancing,” Cupid said, taking her by the hand. He placed the piece of the chakram in her hand. Tara gasped as the power entered her…and she was bound to Cupid.
She looked up into his face, her mind fully restored.
“I get to tell Xena what to do, huh?” she smiled. “Not too shabby.”
“And you will do whatever Livia says as well,” Cupid said.
“Ohhhhh! Not the bitch of Rome!” Tara whined.
“Yes,” Cupid said firmly. “Sorry, Tara. This is how it must be. Your son is loose on the world. I don’t mind telling you—he will be dealt with. By ME.”
Tara looked at him, fear on her face.
“No,” she said softly. “Not Jeremaiah—please.”
“Remember his name now, do you?” Cupid grinned. “Good on you.”
“Look, I was never a goody twoshoes all right?” Tara snapped. “I tried to turn it around, and it just didn’t work for me all right? Can’t help it!”
“No, but it’s going to work for you now!” Cupid snarled. “Now. Get back in there. I’ll be back for you—when it’s time.”
Tara started to resist, but the power was too strong. She sighed—and turned and walked back into the temple.
Cupid smiled to himself. The task was completed. It wouldn’t be long now.
Apollo stood, his face contorted in fury. All around him, there were gods. Zeus and Hera. Dite’s Afro, crying. Discord, looking disgruntled but somehow satisfied. Psyche, looking sad, and very hurt. This broke Cupid’s heart. He went to her to take her in his arms, but Apollo put out his hand to stop him. Cupid froze in place.
“I wanted your wings clipped and your arrows broken and your power removed,” Apollo snarled. “But your mother here was upset…so we came up with a compromise.”
“Oh, Cupid, why can’t you behave?” Dite’s Afro wailed. “If you had only LISTENED to me—this wouldn’t be happening to you!”
“I don’t understand, what is happening to me?” Cupid demanded.
Apollo turned to Zeus, a smug look on his face. Zeus cleared his throat and glared at Cupid.
“As of this moment, your marriage to Psyche is null and void,” he said darkly.
“You can’t do that!” Cupid shouted as Psyche began to cry.
“Either that or lose your power. Take your pick,” Zeus smiled.
Cupid sighed. He would miss Psyche, but perhaps they could still get together for some rendevous—they dind’t have to be married to do that, did they?
“All right,” he relented.
“And,” Zeus said, “you will be married again. And don’t even THINK about having any extra liaisons, Cupid. You will live a monogamous life.”
“Monogomous?” Cupid stared at him. “Grandad with all due respect—I can’t believe someone like you would—“
“It’s NOT my idea you idiot,” Zeus snapped. “It’s Hera’s.”
“Figures,” Cupid said ruefully as Hera looked him up and down. “All right then. I’ll get Bella to be my wife. And—“
“Did we say you have a choice?” Hera said coolly. At that point Dite’s Afro burst into fresh sobs.
Cupid’s blood ran cold. Discord started to laugh. Psyche suddenly turned to her—and set of a couple of good zaps—which Discord deflected. The zaps hit Psyche—and knocked her down. She lay completely still.
“Oops,” Discord said giggling. “Umm, didn’t you say you took away her immortality as well?” she asked Zeus.
“No,” Cupid said, feeling himself go weak at the knees. “No. Psyche—“ he went to her and knelt by her side. She couldn’t be dead. Could she?
“Cupid,” Apollo said smugly, as Dite’s Afro, unable to bear it anymore, ran out of the room, “Meet your new wife.”
Discord knelt down beside him, grinning broadly.
“I believe someone once said this to you,” she said, “But ain’t love a BITCH?”
Several boxes of chocolate later, Dite’s Afro felt somewhat normal. She was disappointed in Cupid but she would get over that. He certainly had a good enough punishment. Although if it were her, she would have opted for him losing his powers.
Discord, his wife? As if, she wanted to say, but couldn’t. It had been decreed. There was nothing else she could do for him.
She went to his temple. He had all but desecrated the tomb with fire and lightning bolts. Zeus had been highly annoyed, but managed to fix it in no time at all.
Cupid sat on his favorite armchair, guzzling rum and weeping up a storm. His eyes were rather buggy. He was not at all well.
Discord sat watching him, enjoying his turmoil. She’d have her wicked way with him later, but for now….it was fun to watch him in…discord.
Angrily, Dite’s Afro sent a charm over to her. Suddenly without knowing what hit her, Discord began to sing.
“Sunshine on my shoulders looks so lovely….” She broke off, glaring at Dite’s Afro. She had a lovely voice so it wasn’t unpleasant to listen to. When she finished the song, however, she stormed over to Dite’s Afro.
“What was that all about?”
“Oh a little unremovable lurve charmy warmy—just because—I can,” Dite’s Afro grinned. “You have to be married to Cupid, but you also have to treat him well. I may not be very proud of him right now, but it’s bad enough he has to look at your ugly face every morning…AND refrain from those he likes. Sooooooo…” she grinned.
“I will not be a good wife,” snarled Discord.
“Oh, yes you will,” smiled Dite’s Afro. “You will NOT nag him, you will not be difficult…and you will help him with whatever he wants to do.”
“Yeeees,” Dite’s Afro said, mocking her anger. “Did you really think you could pull your little tricks on me and get away with it? AS IF!” she chortled…and whooshed away, leaving Discord with her mouth hanging open.
"Stop breaking my urns awready!" dite's afro shouted at Livia. It was a small outdoor, patio-like temple of dite. "Whaddaya want with me, toots?"
"The only thing I hate worse than getting the attention of a god is being told what to do by one", Livia replied, showing dite the palm that contained the chakram piece. "What can release this from me?"
dite sighed, "Your death. The death of Cupid or Cupie changing his mind about this spell. No, if he lost his powers or his immortality, it would still remain on you. I can't get the thingie off with any powers I have."
"But you have powers that could lead to a situation that could make your son change his mind, correct?"
"Yeah but he's so obssessed with revenge. What can change his wittle mind?"
Grinning, Livia looked at dite and then at the road that lead to Xena. "You leave that up to me."
dite wasn't too fond of the plan. Putting the spell around Livia that kept her unseen to both Xena and Cupid was easy enough, as was rounding up as many of Cupid's arrows that she count find. After her son's antics had forced Alti to fall in love with her, dite had "accidentally" broke many of them. She had also kept a handful under lock and key. These arrows she brought with her to her next visit with Livia, along with the surprise Livia had asked for.
dite wanted nothing to do with the chakram- assembled or in four parts. Wouldn't it all be for the best if the weapon that controlled Xena ended up with Livia? They were on the same said now, weren't they?
"Very good. You brought the arrows and- it. Now, you know the rest of my plan. Be off!"
dite wrinkled her nose in disgust. "Don't order me around you mortal hussy! I dunno if I can go through with this plan, it just reeks of seriousness."
Livia paced a half circle around dite, much the same way she would do to Roman soliders who didn't meet up to her expectations. Only here, running dite through with her sword would do no good. "Think of your old dead friend Gabrielle. Isn't this plan for the 'greater good'? Aren't the alternatives worse for your dear son?"
The goddess' reply was a whoosh which took her to the camp of the Soverign and Hope.
"Any bright ideas...yet?" Hope inquired of the Soverign. "Nope, I am still thinking and if you would be so kind as shut up and keep your trap shut then maybe I can come up with something," came the reply to Hope.
The two were uneasy allies and now were more bound to stick togather thanks to that brat Cupid. They each sat on a log opposite one another with a campfire between them. "If only my father were alive. Maybe we could find Bella and persuade her to help us. If she could remove the chakram pieces, we'd have half of it rejoined. Think of wha- of what-what is that?"
Hope pointed to a shiney gold object wedged in-between some rocks at the edge of their camp. The Soverign stood and approached it, as did Hope. He was obviously fascinated, "I don't recall it being here before." Then to Hope- "A golden apple!" And Hope to him- "Let me see! I want it. It's beautiful."
dite watched from near-by as the two fawned over her legendary golden apple, also known as "the apple of discordance". The two villians pawed at the apple, never letting it out of their sight. Trying civilly at first to decide who would get to hold it and for how long. Then arguing about ownership. The Soverign decreed, "I found the camp. I am the leader here. Therefore it is mine." To which Hope snarled, "Bullshoot! I saw it first. It is obviously a gift to the legacy of Dahok and I am his rightful hei-" Oh that was met with, "Arrogant bitch! It's a present intended for the Soverign who will use it to return to his thron-". This was cut down with a shout of, "Loser jerk! What would you do with this majestic golden treasure? See how it matches my beauty. It had to have been created for me."
While the golden apple enamored the twosome with each passing second, dite whoosed to the scene some choice weapons. As the bickering turned to pushing and shoving, and then to fighting, neither Hope nor the Soverign questioned how the weapons had appeared on the scene. They were each intent on killing the other. The knives and swords had been forged by Hephaistos and "borrowed" from his inventory. Hope somersauted behind the Soverign and thrust a sword through his back. In his last dying moments, the Soverign turned to Hope, looked at the blade protuding from his chest and the glare of smary superiority on her face. The high volume of his scream surprised Hope but what shocked her more was when he fell against her, the sword entering her stomach as he grabbed the sword handle on his back and pushed it further into Hope.
dite covered her eyes as she neared the dead duo and swiped the bloody chakram pieces that had fallen to the ground. She picked up the golden apple, wiping the blood off on some leaves. "Mortal cooties, so sick"
"Excellent. Three of the four pieces are mine. The Soverign and Hope can no longer pose a threat." Looking at a depressed dite, she added, "Nor can they harm any innocent people. Now for Cupid."
dite whined, "This part of the plan can backfire and harm- kill- innocent people."
"Look. I agreed that we would not kill Tara. I know you would not allow that. Why, I don't know, as she's no innocent. Not a murdereress like Hope but not one of those peace and love types that you protect." Livia saw the look of agreement on dite's face. Damn, now I can read these idiot gods just like mother. "Besides, you said it yourself. Cupid needs to be taught a lesson. 'He won't let harm come to those he loves', your own words.."
"Yada yada yada, thanks for quoting me back to myself to make me hurt even more."
dite whooshed to Cupid's pad. The boy was seated in his favorite love-chair, staring at Discord who sat asleep in the opposite seat. He had one hand over his mouth, head rocking back and forth, dite knew this was his means of thinking how to get in or out of trouble.
"Cupie, come here." Mom was serious, Cupie immediately noticed. Not good. At all. For me.
Cupid opened his mouth to speak and dite quickly covered it with her hand. "No. You listen without interrupting me. Livia has three of the four chakram pieces as Hope and the Sovie are dead." Cupid's eyes went ablaze. "Now, Livia won't kill Tara. She promised me that much. But you know those friends of yours you've hung with since childhood who frequent the Olympian Tavern with you twice a week? And those babes you're very found of down at Athena's gym? Well, it so happens that they were all summoned to meet at a spot close to where Xena is camped. Cupie, Livia has a lot of your arrows. She plans to bring Xena to the where your friends are, and repeatedly shot her with your arrows. You know what that means? She'll KILL THEM ALL!" Cupid was fighting to speak against dite's hand. "No, you listen to me you spoiled brat. The only way Livia will end her plan is if you remove the final chakram piece from Tara and give it to her. You can either save your pals or be responsible for their deaths. It's your decision."
With a mighty migraine of seriousness pounding through her afro, dite whooshed away.
Sorry for being a party pooper.. *S*
The chakram pieces were created equal, if you want more power, you possess more pieces.
Sorry to be a stick in the mud, but it was the whole point of it breaking it 4. If one person has power, it wouldn't have broken at all..
Oh, Crap, thought Cupid as his mother whooshed away. Now what?
He sighed. I can't let them die, he thought. Not with my arrows. And NOT by Xena.
He looked over at Discord and wrinkled his nose in disgust. She'd found a way to break the "unremovable" love charm--typical. She'd been a right pain in the ass all day.
To Hades with it, thought Cupid. I need to think of a better solution....
"Umm--Grandad," Cupid said, surprised.
"Cupid, I just thought you'd like to know--I think you made a little snafu with Livia back there," Zeus said darkly. "Gave her false hope, you did."
"What?" Cupid frowned.
"Not to put too fine a point on it, but all those chakram pieces are created equal," Zeus said. "You can't give one person more power than the others, it doesn't work that way."
"Oh," Zeus said mockingly, mimicking his grandson's cluelessness. "Cupid, I really don't care what you do with the Chakram pieces at this point, but giving Livia those false ideas...she actually believes if she gets all the chakram pieces, somehow she will have more power!" He walked up to Cupid and glared at him. "We can't HAVE that now, can we?"
"No. We can't," Cupid said sheepishly.
"Well. You better fix it then," Zeus said fiercely. "By the way, I'm taking these bottles of rum with me. We need them for our hottub party." He caught Cupid's crestfallen glance and said impatiently, "I'm leaving you one, don't worry. But Cupid...whatever you do with the Chakram, you MUST take care of Jeremaiah. I can't have him mucking up Olympus again. That's your job. In a way--you owe us that." He snarled.
"Uhhh--right," Cupid said, thinking fondly of what it would be like to stick that chakram in Jeremaiah's head. Quickly that thought was replaced--by grief and the need to hold Jeremaiah close, and forgive him.
Zeus curled his lip, having read Cupid's mind. "THat's just the problem," he said. "That will obviously be a challenge for you--but tough, you'll have to sort it yourself. AS for Discord here--" he chuckled in amusement, and looked over at her, sleeping indolently in her chair. "I hear she tossed off the love spell."
"Grandad," Cupid said plaintively, "I know I fouled up, and I'm sorry. But--if I take out Jeremaiah--do you think--"
"Cupid," Zeus said darkly, lifting his hand which shimmered as lightning went around it, "don't push it."
Cupid swallowed, but was silent, as Zeus whooshed away.
Livia turned as Dite's Afro whooshed back to her.
"Well?" she demanded.
"All right, I told him," Dite's Afro grumbled. "But I don't know if--"
"That was quick," Livia said, snarling. "Have you got it?"
"Yes, yes," Cupid sighed.
"Good. Hand it over then."
Cupid smiled and handed over the chakram piece he'd taken back from Tara, who'd protested greatly until Cupid put a charm on her that sent her to sleep. As Livia took it, her whole body began to shimmer. Then, suddenly, all the pieces of the Chakram came back together. Livia held it and stared at it a moment. THen she turned slowly to Cupid, and glared.
"Yeeeees," Cupid drawled, amused by the incredulous look on her face. "The power is gone, Livia. The deal is off. You're free." Dite's Afro's jaw dropped as she watched her son. She had no idea what he was up to. In a word, she was clueless.
"I'll take that," Cupid grinned, reaching for the chakram.
"Ah--no you won't."
Someone reached their hand around Cupid's neck. Before anyone could say anything, Cupid suddenly felt all the breath knocked out of his body. He choked, put his hand to his throat, and felt himself whirled around by Xena's powerful grip. Cupid fell to the ground, still clutching his throat, choking uncontrollably. Xena stood over him, snarling.
"I've just cut off the flow of blood to your brain," Xena said. "You have thirty seconds to live. And don't even think about it!" she snarled at Dite's Afro. "This blondie OWES me."
"No argument from me," Dite's Afro said, feigning indifference as Cupid stared at her incredulously.
Well it serves you right, she said telepathically, although deep down she hoped that Cupid wouldn't be stupid, he would do whatever Xena wanted.
"Now. Take the spell off of me," Xena snarled. "TAKE IT OFF!"
Cupid glared at her, although it was getting harder and harder to breathe.
"Well?" Xena knelt down and put her face right up to him. "The seconds are ticking away."
Cupid put his hand on Xena's shoulder. There was a shimmer...and the spell was gone.
With the last of his strength, Cupid whooshed Iolaus from wherever he was hiding into where they all stood. Xena stood up...and looked at him.
"Uhhh, XENA?" Dite's Afro cried, stamping her foot, frantically jerking her head toward the dying Cupid.
"Oh. Right," Xena, bored, bent over and undid the pinch from Cupid.
He stood up, coughing, and rubbed his neck. Xena chuckled a little at the stupid expression on his face.
"I'm a god," Cupid shouted. "You can't put the pinch on a god--can you?"
"Apparently," Xena shrugged. "I put the pinch on an archangel once. Why not a warped god who's losing his powers?"
"I am not losing my powers," Cupid growled.
"Oh?" Xena snatched the chakram from Livia and walked up to Cupid. As she did this, Livia turned and walked away, hearing some commotion in the trees.
"Let me give you an idea," she said. "All those funky things you've been doing lately. Putting power over people. What do you think, those are YOUR powers?"
"Last I checked," Cupid snarled.
"Oh. Well you'd like to THINK so. But they're not," Xena grinned. "You're being controlled, Cupid. Aren't you?"
Cupid thought a moment, frowning. Dite's Afro twirled her afro. THis was entirely too serious for her. She really wanted to give Cupid a good old fashioned spanking. Maybe later.
"Jeremaiah," Cupid said softly. "Maybe--"
"He's stealing your powers. Happens when you sleep with a Dahok spawn," Xena said, shrugging. "Don't you HATE when that happens?"
"I KNEW it," Dite's Afro snapped. "I TOLD you it was Jeremaiah, Cupid! I didn't have a good feeling about him right from the start you know--"
"Ah, but you still let him sleep with him didn't you," Xena sneered in her direction. "See--these Dahok seeds--they seem to always get the better of everyone. Gods of Olympus, even Alti."
"Well, it doesn't matter," Cupid cried, drawing himself up. "Because--I'm going to kill him." He gasped as he said that. "No," he said quickly. "I"m going to cure him. Wait! I--"
Cupid looked down at the arrow protruding from his chest--his own arrow. Looking up, he saw that Livia was smiling in the same way she'd smiled when she'd killed Jeremaiah. His bow was in her hands. SHe'd shot him with one of his own arrows.
"Oops," she said, then jerked her head behind her.
Hercules stormed over to them, with Jeremaiah struggling in his grip.
"Unhand me, you mortal!" Jeremaiah squealed.
"I'm a demigod, that's MR. Mortal to you," Hercules snarled. "Here, Cupid, here's your lover boy. Found him wandering around the forest. Guess he missed you."
Cupid and Jeremaiah's eyes met. Jeremaiah looked at the arrow protruding from Cupid's chest--and his face lost all color in the moonlight.
"It can't be," he said, sagging in disappointment.
Hatred, incredible hatred surged through Cupid's soul. He would have known this double-crossing Dahok spawn the moment he'd laid eyes on him. If he weren't blinded by--
"Love," he snarled. "Livia's right. It is a bitch."
Before anyone could move, Cupid snatched the chakram out of Xena's hand, still keeping his eye on Jeremaiah.
"This," he said, advancing toward Dahok's son, "is going to be better than ANY foreplay--"
"Oops," Jeremaiah giggled. With a flick of his hand, both he and Cupid disappeared.
Xena stared at the empty air, then sighed in exasperation.
"I really need a vacation," she growled.
"Same here," Hercules snarled. "NOW what? Dite? DITE?"
Dite's Afro was also gone.
"Great. THey're BOTH captured?" Hercules sighed. "He loses the plot and now we gotta rescue his sorry butt again."
"Not me," Xena snarled. "Let him die for all I care. ALL I want is the chakram."
"And all I want is my sister safe," Hercules said. "I wouldn't wish a son like Cupid on anybody. Well--who's with me?"
Zeus whooshed over to them.
"Leave it," he said darkly to Hercules. "Let Cupid sort his own mess out this time."
"This is the test," Zeus said. "If Cupid proves worthy, he is restored to freedom from Discord. If not--he must lose his immortality and be cast amongst the beggers."
"What about Dite's Afro?" demanded Hercules.
"Jeremaiah is using her as bait," Zeus said. "It's up to Cupid to rescue her." He sighed, and glared at Livia. "Why'd you use the love/hate arrow?"
"What's it to you?" Livia demanded.
"Never mind, on your head be it," sighed Zeus. "But Hercules, you are not to interfere. Its' up to Cupid now. I'm out of here, I have a hottub party to host."
He whooshed away.
"What the HELL was that all about?" spat Xena. "What about my Chakram?"
Hercules turned to her, solemnly.
"I think I know what's going on."
Jeremaiah smiled as he led Cupid into the special chamber he'd planned for him all along.
"You see--it is just as I promised you," he said. "All along, just as we've planned."
Cupid was struck by the beauty of the chamber. The most incredible furniture he'd ever seen--a loveseat, a couch, a fireplace...two windowseats...and a hottub at the end of the room.
"Oh," he said softly, "it's beautiful."
Numbly, he remembered the agreement he'd made. Which he'd been made to forget so long ago, it seemed. Jeremaiah had shared with him what he was, and invited Cupid to come in with him and be a part of Dahok's plan for him. Cupid, overwhelmed by love, had agreed. Then, Jeremaiah had modified his memory.
"I knew you'd enjoy it," JEremaiah said--and ran his hand down Cupid's back.
Cupid recoiled at his touch and whirled around to face him. "Don't you touch me," he snarled.
"Ooo," Jeremaiah said, grinning. "That love/hate arrow is a trip, eh? Made you hate me, just like you said a second arrow would. But Cupid--I'm not stupid, I just pretended to be."
He exerted his power over Cupid. Cupid clung to the Chakram for strength. Slowly they battled it out with wills, each glaring at each other as they did so.
"I agreed to the plan when I loved you," Cupid snarled. "I don't love you anymore--so guess what?" He raised the Chakram. "Time to die, babes."
"No problem," Jeremaiah shrugged, still grinning. He flicked his wrist, and the armchair behind Cupid twirled around. Cupid turned--to see Dite's Afro, chained to the chair, looking extremely annoyed.
"Mom!" Cupid cried. He turned to Jeremaiah, who wore a look of utter hatred on his face.
"I owe her, you see," he snarled. "She killed my sister. That was not very nice."
Dite's Afro screamed incoherent words through the gag that bound her mouth, struggling against the chains with all her might--but the chains had power on them that she could not fight.
"So cute," JEremaiah said. "To see a goddess, looking so--helpless."
Cupid grabbed Jeremaiah and flung him up against a wall. Jeremaiah laughed hysterically.
"LET HER GO!" Cupid roared in his face.
"Sorry babes," Jeremaiah flicked his wrist again--and--
Cupid looked desperately at his mother. She looked into his eyes. Under Jeremaiah's spell, she held her son's gaze, with all her might.
"No," Cupid panicked. "No, Mom. Please..."
Dite's Afro's eyes held pure agony as she worked her spell on Cupid. He felt the energy flow through him...and slowly...
He turned to Jeremaiah. Love, more powerful than he had ever felt, rushed through him. He took Jeremaiah's face in his hands...and planted the most passionate kiss he had ever given him. He let Jeremaiah go...and savored the beauty that was him. Behind him, Dite's Afro sighed. This was not good.
"Now," Jeremaiah smiled, "Where were we?"
"Right here," Cupid said--and lifting the chakram high in the air, he brought it down with a single swoop--and buried it in Jeremaiah's head.
A cry of anguish filled the temple--it was Cupid's. Jeremaiah also screamed his agony, but the power of the chakram burned through him. It consumed him...and finally he sank into a pool of blood and died.
"NOOOOO!" Cupid fell to his knees. "No! Jeremaiah, no!" He cradled his head in his arms, sobbing uncontrollably. His sobs radiated around the temple.
"What have I done? What have I done to you?"
"Ohhhh," whined a voice behind him.
Cupid looked up. Dite's Afro had shaken off the chains, free of Jeremaiah's spell now that he was dead.
"It was the love/hate arrow, Cupie," she said sadly. "It made you hate him--as well as love him."
"No," Cupid turned away, tears falling on Jeremaiah's body. "No."
"Haven't I warned you about getting carried away with those stupid arrows?" Dite's Afro said, exasperated. "You muck about with Xena, get yourself thwacked, fall in love with--THAT thing, ewwwww!" She recoiled, seeing Jeremaiah's corpse in Cupid's arms. "Then, because you're so blinded by love, you agree to this ICKY poo plan of his--" She sighed. Cupid looked so miserable. WHat was she going to do with him? She was furious at him, and yet--
"I've had enough of this seriousness for one lifetime," she snapped. With a flick of her wrist, she took away the spell of the arrow.
Cupid dropped the body of Jeremaiah, recoiled, and got to his feet. He put his hands up to his face, brought them away with tears on them, and cried out in disgust.
"Well it serves you right!" Dite's Afro snapped. "You insolent little brat! You never listen to me! And now--"
"I know, I know," Cupid shook off the last of his tears. "Look. There's something else I have to do. Can we talk about this later?"
"No, we'll talk about this RIGHT NOW! You insolent brat, meddling around and then you're going to plan our demise with THAT THING?"
"Not the gods' demise," Cupid said. "The Earth."
"Oh, what. That THING was gonna take over for Zeus? I don't think so. See, Cupie stoopsy, your problem is--well DUH! You're a bigger airhead than me sometimes! Like when you fell in love with Psyche and got jealous and turned into a green-eyed monster! I TRIED to warn you about that but nooooo! Then Hercules stuck up for you so I went soft--as usual--well no more!" She walked up to him and glared at him.
"Before you do anything, hear me out," Cupid said, not trusting the fed-up look in her eyes. "Please."
Dite's Afro sighed. "All right, what is it?"
"Jeremaiah wanted me to help him become a god," Cupid said, his memory fully restored. "He wanted to be the new God of War. And he wanted me to sweet-talk you into going along with it. Once you had agreed, well, you could use your--daughterly charm--to get Grandad to make it happen."
"AS IF!" DIte's Afro screamed, incredulous. "That thing wanted to take over all of Olympus! Did you REALLY believe that's all he wanted?"
"Well I KNOW that NOW!" Cupid snapped. "I DID not know it then! I thought all he wanted...."
"CUUUUUPID, you are so STOOOOPID!" Dite's Afro shook him in exasperation with her power. He struggled, but she continued to shake him.
"I SHOULD HAVE LET THEM REMOVE YOUR POWERS!" she shouted. "IF I HAD KNOWN YOU COULD BE SO BLINDED BY YOUR OWN LOVE POWERS..."
"All right! All right I'm sorry!" Cupid wailed. Finally, over her fury and miffed at herself that she was provoked as such, Dite's Afro let him go.
"Ohhh, I hate getting angry," She whined. "Your father used to get angry like that."
"I know," Cupid said. "But he actually used to cause me pain when he shook me. You don't, you just rattle me around a little."
"Ohhh," Dite's Afro walked up to him and put her arms around him. "Cupid, WHAT am I going to do wtih you? I can't keep getting you out of scrapes! I mean, this is icky, I even broke a nail when that putrid one chained me up!"
She was crying now. Cupid hated seeing her cry. He patted her shoulder, full of remorse for all the heartache he'd caused her.
"I'm sorry," he said softly. "I know I've been a disappointment to you. And I have the nerve to complain about Bliss!" He sighed. He hadn't seen his son since Discord had come to live with them. WHat was he up to now, he wondered?
"Speaking of Bliss," Dite's Afro said, pulling away and wiping her eyes with the back of her hand, "you need to watch him. He's not happy about the whole--you know what situation."
"Cupid, don't you cry now, you'll make me start again. I HATE being serious!" she whined. "Anyway, the good news is, now that you got rid of that thing, you can have your freedom back. I'll even personally remove Discord as your wife!"
Cupid stared at her. "Are you serious?"
"Well, it took some doing," said Dite's Afro, "but I managed to talk Zeus and Hera around, as well as Apollo."
"YES!" Cupid threw his arms around her. "FREEDOM! At LAST!"
"I think not."
They both turned around.
Bella walked toward Cupid. He looked at her, questioningly, but she continued to walk toward him. Then, without a word, she looked down at Jeremaiah's body.
"Exactly what I wanted," she said, looking up and smiling at Cupid. "My father thought he could shove me aside for him. Well--I outsmarted him. I have Minya's blood as well, you know."
She smiled. "I make my own decisions," she continued. "All along--i always have. I'm my own person. I'm NOT anyone else's pawn!"
As she continued to smile, both Cupid and Dite's Afro felt intense power flow over them. Suddenly, they wanted more than anything else...to serve Bella, and what she wanted.
"There," she said. "That is MUCH better. Now," she smiled, "Hand it over."
Numbly, Cupid gave her the chakram.
"Good," Bella said. "All will be in place now. Here!" She separated the chakram, and gave a piece first to Cupid, then to Dite's Afro.
"As soon as Xena kills everyone she loves," Bella smiled, "she will do whateeeeever you two want of her. And me of course. And Tara."
Tara stepped out of the shadows. Bella tossed her the remaining piece of the Chakram...and Tara caught it, smiling.
"Wait a moment--Xena loves ME!" Dite's Afro cried indignantly. "I think...." she twirled her hair, confused and feeling a bit insecure.
"Not as much as she loves Hercules," giggled Bella. "Believe me, Cupid. I've wanted this ever since I was born. Now that we're all together...WE will control Xena's soul."
"Bella," Cupid cried, "Why are you doing this? What has Xena done to you?"
"Planned my demise from the moment she learned who I was," Bella snarled. "She wasn't very nice to my mother either. She's unstable. She will get in the way of my plans for the world. Can't have that."
"What are your plans for the world?" demanded Cupid.
"Rule, of course," Bella shrugged. "My father couldn't crack it. Didn't have the stomach I guess. Well--takes certain BLOOD to do that, doesn't it?" SHe chuckled, looking over at Dite's Afro. THe Goddess of Love sighed inwardly. SHe looked so much like Mins--but all this icky evil! It was too much. SHe wished she had some chocolate.
"She paid me a visit just now. Xena that is," Bella went on. "She couldn't meddle with Jeremaiah but she could take care of ONE Dahok spawn." SHe grinned. Only THIS Dahok spawn learned from CUPID."
Cupid hung his head, wishing he could sink into the floor.
"I cast the same spell upon her you did--but I didn't need the chakram, my powers are my own," Bella grinned. "She's now planning the demise of everyone she loves...ending with her little babe, who she plans to crucify...and break her legs!" Bella laughed maniacly. Cupid recoiled, wondering how in Hades he was going to get out of this.
"OH! By the way," Bella grinned, "No one will punish you for your mistake with me, Cupid. Even after my death...." She flicked her wrist. Power covered Cupid and went inside of him.
"There. You're immune. Not even the Gods can remove your powers or do anything to your immortality--or anything else about you."
"Thanks," Cupid said, grimacing, "I THINK."
"You were an excellent lover, Cupid," Bella said, winking at him. "Taught me many skills. I will always be grateful to you. But now..." She smiled, stretched, and walked around the temple, "it's time to put this plan into action. After all," she grinned and turned to them, "Minya would have wanted SOME part of her to be remembered...for glory! And speaking of," she giggled, "I have a special present for Zeus when this is all over." She giggled maniacly again...and without a word, whooshed them back to Cupid's temple.
"What th--" Dite's Afro shook herself off. "Huh? WHat just happened? One minute we were having a serious weepy blah moment, then--"
"I thought you whooshed us home!" Cupid said incredulously.
"I thought YOU did!" Dite's Afro stared at him.
"Well, SOMEONE did," Cupid said, storming into his temple. Discord was nowhere to be seen, but Bliss stood there, grinning.
"Bliss," Cupid growled, "What are you up to? Did YOU whoosh us back?"
His son chuckled. "Of course, Dad! Just having fun."
"Damn you, Bliss, you're too old for a spanking but ONE of these days...." Cupid sighed. "Never mind. Mom--I could use a drink. Could you?"
"Turn down rum after that? As IF," Dite's Afro sighed. "Cupes, you got any chocolate?"
"But of course!" Cupid flicked his wrist, and a box of Aphrodite chocolates appeared in his hands.
"You! You whooshed that from my supply, you brat!" Dite's Afro snapped.
Cupid chuckled, and ran into the kitchen, waving the box of chocolates as he did. Dite's Afro ran after him, threatening to box his ears. Mischievous brat!
The pieces of the chakram were now on pendants around both their necks. Bella had fashioned pendants, and placed them around their necks, inside their clothes. They did not even feel them...but they would when they went to bed. But they would have no idea what it was until Bella was ready for them again.
The gods had no idea of what had happened with Bella. Such was Bella's power and plan. All they knew was that Cupid had taken down Jeremaiah. THey thought it was all over. Blithely, Zeus and Hera frolicked in the hot tup, sure that Cupid would do the right thing...and return the chakram to them when he was ready. After all...they deserved it, not Xena. It was far too powerful for the likes of a mere mortal.
Only one was aware of what Bella had done.
A very angry, and confused warrior princess.
The problem was convincing everyone she loved...even as she planned for their slow painful deaths.
Xena snarled up at the sky. "Dahok," she said, "you may be dead, but you did one thing right. Finally pick the right mother for your spawn. Someone independent, but capable of fooling people. Into thinking she was STUPID!"
She screamed a battle cry, and threw her dagger at a tree. It imbedded there.
"Ignorance is bliss," Bliss grinned, watching as Livia, headed for the place where Cupid's friends waited, stumbled on a stone he put there.
She didn't fall, but she loosened her hold on the arrows she held.
"What th--" Furious, she turned around. If that was Cupid...
Bliss grinned at her. "Thanks," he said, waving the arrows he'd whooshed from her, winking. "Gotta fly!"
"You come back here, you--" Livia rushed him but he whooshed away. "Damn gods," Livia snarled. "To hell with it, I still have my own plan. At least I'm free of that stupid chakram piece!" She looked over at those poor vexed souls.
"I wasn't going to kill them anyway," she thought. "but these arrows hold more power than just making people fall in love if you use them right!"
Meanwhile, lurking in the shadows, Bliss watched her, as someone walked toward her. It was none other than Iolaus, wondering what she was up to.
Rubbing his hands in glee, Bliss hocked one of the arrows into the bow.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Cupid,
|Chief Chesty Forlock|
Hera looked down upon the earth, wondering what those mortals were up to now. Usually they bored her, but the new chakram was proving an interesting diversion.
Zeus entered the room, and sat by her. 'What are they up to now?' he asked.
'They seem confused. For some reason the fools are convinced that Xena will kill everyone she loves if four people hold pieces of the chakram. They haven't figured out that Xena only went after Iolaus because Cupid through a piece of the new chakram around his head.'
'That would mean that they didn't realise he was going to the same to all of Xena's friends and family.' Zeus rolled his eyes. 'These mortals take everything literally.'
'It is funny, though. Now they've made the chakram into necklaces. I wonder how heavy that would be? Do you think a piece would make a fetching ring for me?' Hera stretched out her hand, which Zeus took and kissed.
'You are the soul of wit, my dear. However, I think a Black Opal would be more fitting for your divine fingers, don't you?'
'As usual, you know exactly the right thing to say.'
Two things happened to dite's afro that morning that she had never expierenced before. The first was the long deep gash on the side of her right leg. The weird dreams & unexplained migranes she had been having lately were one thing, scars were another. It should have been impossible but the bloody wound was as obvious as the afro on her head. "OOOoh I'm an ICKenstein monster OOOoh!" But how did the cut get there? she pondered as she did her best to treat it and cover it.
The second strange thing that occured was when dite whooshed over to Demeter's place for something to keep the wound from getting infected. Demeter kept such medical aids for visiting mortals. Was dite turning mortal? "Gag me with a mortal spoon I'd sooner die...which I just may..duh!". It was during the whoosh that something bright caught dite's eye and threw her off balance. What could be stuck between the whoosh and the whooshed place? All dite knew was that it threw her whoosh balance off and she fell Hard. Sprained her bloody leg. dite screamed, "AAAaaaahhhhh sheeeeeeEEEEEEttT!"
She thought "Oh what's happening to me?" and worried that perhaps Dahokian Cara had put a spell on her before dying or that she'd unknowingly caught some disease from something grimey in Hephaistos' metal shop. But first she must fix whatever was wrong with her whoosh. A whoosh gone awry could be a dangerous thing. Aether, god of light, was also the supervisor of the Whoosh Department (WD). The WD was only a street over from where dite lived, normally she'd walk the short distance but the sprained leg made that out of the question. What would the neighbors say if they say her limping about? dite figured it'd be okay to do a short, safe whoosh to the WD.
It was the last time she would ever whoosh away from her home.
Somewhere in mid-whoosh to see Aether, dite came to an abrupt halt, which only intensified the pain of her now swollen leg. She was not somewhere in Olympus between her home and where Aether worked. No, her physical form was stuck inside the whoosh itself- in a whooshland-limbo. It was still there after she repeatedly tried to zap herself out of the mid-whoosh, which made her whine for help. The light she had seen earlier in another whoosh was now in view and very close. Maybe the light has something to do with Aether, dite considered, and off she wobbled in it's direction.
The next thing she knew, dite was lying across a thick warm blanket atop a plush golden rug. As she began to pull herself up to sit, the pain of her aching leg still burning within her, she was greeted by the face of a woman who she thought might have come from the land of Chin.
"Good. You're awake. We will talk and I will attend to your wounds," the lovely woman spoke. "My name is Lao Ma."
"W-why did you bring me here? You best let me go soon. I-I have friends who are expecting me, if I'm not back soon they'll come here looking for me, and you'll be sorry!" squeaked out a frightened, lying dite. Plus she was certain that the woman who faced her was already long dead.
Lao Ma smiled, laughed at this. "You called for help not long ago. I heard and brought you here." As she applied pressure points to dite's sprained leg, she continued, "No one knows you're here, dite's afro. More than likely, when they do look for you, they will believe that you are working on one of your other projects. What is it- music in Africa, fireflies somewhere else? You are known for disappearing for days at a time. Sorry, I didn't mean that pressure point to cause you pain. No dite, you aren't going anywhere for a few days. If I'm correct, you can't even do your-what is it you've named it- your whooshing ability?"
dite pushed herself away from Lao Ma and tried to whoosh but couldn't. She tried and tried but she remained flat on her rear. There were no golden floaty thingies flowing from her fingers to put a spell on her host. Her powers were either gone or non-existant in this odd world. Her face was now in the whine mode.
Lao Ma had taken the pain from her sprained limb though she hadn't healed it completely. The gash still remained. She stood with her back to the deity. "No point whining. I will not harm you. The only weapon I possess is compassion. Compassion is the best defense and helps you establish harmony, something you're sorely lacking, dite, harmony."
"Wha? Moi? I gotta lotta harmony. Gotta love a good beat and melody!"
"You lack inner calm, dite, and you don't believe in yourself or what you do. That is why you, an immortal, have these scars and why your mind and heart is afflicted with migranes and dreams that tear at reality. This is a manifestation of you punishing you. You are willing yourself physical and emotional pain. Unless you change, unless you learn to stop willing, stop desiring and start to transcend the limitations you have set upon yourself, then you will die, dite."
An hour or so passed. They were drinking tea in a brightly colored room adjacent to the one in which dite had first awoke. dite did not trust this woman of Chin yet. But she was stuck there for the time being. The woman did listen intently to everything she had to say, which was a strange sensation for the goddess who was used to people laughing and smirking at most everything she told them. Now that someone was paying attention, dite was rambling. And rambling.
"...yeah I thought I'd try being evil or naughty, that didn't work out cause..." then "...I hated being used as a warrior goddess super hero thingie. I don't understand mortal motivation when it's not for love or something non-meanie..." which begat "...silly stupid mortals cutting each others head off or trying to control somebody's soul pppffft!..." this turned into "...me who started the love & peace brigade cause stupid Xena is off on a scavenger hunt or somethin'..." led to this "..I danced with Livia who blah blah blah then I gathered these weapons blah blah blah killed Soverign and Hope yeah they're bad but still no dancing feel guilty blah blah blah stupid son Cupid needs his powers removed blah blah blah"- well, how nice of Lao Ma to remain collect and interested through it all.
"About this chain with a chakram piece on it over your neck." she inquired of dite, who had felt the piece in her sleep and quickly forgot about it. "I believe it must have been Bella who placed it on you. Well, it certainly isn't welcome here." And the pendant suddenly vanished.
"But that thingie has powers of some kind. Affects Xena somehow. I dunno how, it's hard metal of some kind, seems it morphs into something different every five minutes i dun know and i dun care there's no instructions on it and nobody explains these things to me in simple plain talk, sorry i'm ramblin'. Where did you send it to? Don't you care if it gets in the wrong hands?"
Her hostess shrugged, "The gentlest thing in the world overcomes the hardest thing in the world. Xena has the means to overcome anything that seeks to control her. She has to focus and will it to happen. Let the pendant fall into the hands of her foe. It will only increase her means to contain it for her own. To reduce someone's force, first increase it." Noticing that dite was lost back after the word 'gentlest', she turned her head slightly, peering far away, "The chain with the chakram piece now hangs on a branch near Xena's campsite. The sun is reflecting brightly off the chain. Someone will find it. Now, let us have our lunch outside."
After lunch, dite fet better. Staring now and then at Lao Ma. "I heard about you through my friend Gabrielle. She told me about you & Xena & Borias & your son, Ming Tien. Don't mean to be mean but how do you expect me to do what you want when your own son ended up killing you?"
"First, just because we give birth to them doesn't mean we own them. You should know that. Your own son Cupid has put your life in danger. Do you love him any less? No, nor did I with mine. Nor did it mean that I didn't realize that one day, perhaps, my son might have to pay a debt for what he would do. I accept that and it made me whole, even in death.. Ming tried to change his world according to his desire. That is not the way of the world and he could never succeed.
Second of all, dite, it's not about what you think I expect of you. You have been thrown from your path, your way. This is why you hurt and called for help You wouldn't be here otherwise. It's up to you to stop what is killing you."
dite had approximately six thousand questions for the woman she now considered less menacing when she was sure she heard voices somewhere close-by.
Her new friend stood and smiled, "I see you've heard the children. Let's pay them a visit."
dite & Lao Ma stood upon a lush green hill overlooking a very wide, also very green meadow on the edge of a deep forest. dite turned to the lady from Chin. "I meant to ask, how did you get here and where is here?"
"I have sponsors. Those who wish to be anyonomous about their giving and the size of their heart. As for this place," she looked about, surveying the beauty of the land, "It's home."
As the two walked down the hill, the children came into view. Laughing and playing games. They didn't appear to be held here against their will, dite noticed. "Where'd they come from? They dead, too?"
Lao Ma smiled and replied, "They're quite alive. These children- and some of them are young adults- are here for the same reason you are, dite. They were unhappy, confused, seeking an answer and headed on a path of self-destruction. They weren't in danger or in harm's way. Like yourself, I don't interfere as reformed Xena would."
Then she added, "Once these youngsters have healed and found their path, they are returned to earth. Always there are more arriving." Noticing dite's glee in watching the young ones play, she thought, 'one more child arrived today as well.'
Lao Ma & dite spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening talking to the children in the meadow. dite was so absorbed in this that she hadn't noticed that her leg had healed and no sign that the scar had ever been there.
However, that night, as she tossed and turned in her sleep, the gash on her leg returned and she felt more pain throughout her body than she had in her entire lifetime. Yet for all the hurt and suffering, she was glad she there in Lao Ma's world. Not a bit worried that she couldn't whoosh away or that her powers seemed to have temporarily abandonded her. It was this feeling of acceptance of the situation that helped her make it through the night.
...This message has been edited. Last edited by: xenacrazed,
"What do you want?" asked Livia.
"You know," said Iolaus conversationally as he stood near the empress. "Xena had this really nifty trick she used to do. She used to catch arrows in mid-flight before they reached their target."
He heard two zings and saw a flash of movement from Livia.
"Like that?" she smirked and snapped two arrows between her fingers.
Iolaus grinned, "yeah, now if you'll let me give you a hand..."
He grabbed Livia's hand and the two spun. Iolaus acted as an anchor and Livia spun into the air landing on right on top of a voyeur in the bush. Livia punched the winged boy on the side of the head and was pleased with the way his eyes rolled in his head. Iolaus came over and picked up the bow and arrows that had been knocked away.
"Oh why don't the gods practice a reliable form of birth control?" Livia asked the world at large.
"Hell if I know," came a familar voice and Xena appeared from behind a tree. "Perhaps it's time to sterilize 'em."
She glanced briefly at Bliss then at Livia. "Nice work, kid."
"Should we destroy his arrows?" asked Iolaus.
"No," answered Xena. "We're going to use them to put this little monster out of commission for a century or two."
Grabbing the arrows from Iolaus she bent down and grabbed Bliss with one hand, picking up and slamming his body against a tree. Grabbing an arrow she thrust it through one shoulder deep into the tree. She repeated the process with the other shoulder and then used the remaining arrows to securely pin the annoying prat driving five more arrows through his torso.
Iolaus shuffled his feet uncomfortably, "Uh...don't you think you're being a bit harsh?"
"He's immortal. It won't kill him--hell, it doesn't even really hurt him-- much, but it may teach him the consequences of interfering overmuch with the lives of mortals."
Xena grabbed Bliss' chin and gazed unwaveringly into his eyes. "Listen closely, I represent all mortals. We are tired of you and your kind playing games with us. Each arrow that is stuck in you will stay in you forever. Until the sun burns out or I get it in my head to just kill you and be done with it. You may break off the shaft, but they are always inside you.
"The first arrow is Love. You love me. The second arrow is Hate. You hate me. The third arrow is Pain. You shall now know what it is to suffer as mortals do. The fourth arrow Empathy. You can now try to understand me and you can never forget that I have a reason to do what I've done."
"What's the fifth arrow?" Iolaus was feeling a horrified fascination.
"The fifth arrow is Rage. The sixth is Forgiveness," continued Xena. Her eyes never wavered as they held Bliss's.
"What's the last arrow?" the young god rasped.
Xena allowed a ghost of a smile to flit across her face. "That's the one arrow that requires the most time and it's the arrow that will keep you pinned to that tree until you are truly ready to be free and become a god that is actually of use to the world. Wisdom."
Xena dropped his chin and turned on her heel. She gestured to Iolaus and Livia to join her and began to walk away. Before the trio disappeared from sight, Xena turned and said one last thing.
"Welcome to my world, Bliss. I love and I hate. I feel rage and yet I forgive. I feel pain, but I have empathy for others--even for you. Now it's time to find out if you've got what it takes to be as much as we are."
Bliss stared silently at the spot where the trio disappeared for a long time. He remained that way for some number of years until a random wayfarer stumbled into his grove and asked if he knew what the whip-or-will was saying. But that's another tale...
"Okay, you guys with me so far?"
Iolaus looked bemused and Livia shook her head slowly.
"And just how," she asked darkly, "Did you get this information?"
"Hell, if I know," snarled Xena. "Bella has a bad habit of projecting. She thinks she's clever, but she's just not very thorough. Looks like she inherited Minya's propensity to run at the mouth."
"Well, that's not unbelievable," admitted Livia.
"So, off we go to the four corners of the chakram," said Iolaus.
"Yippee," said Livia unenthusiastically. "I hope you know that once this over, you are not invited over for the Saturnalia."
The trio dispersed and each headed off to her or his target. Iolaus went in search of Cupid, while Livia went in search of Bella and Tara.
Xena watched them depart then looked down at the scrap of parchment in her hand.
"The golden goose has your egg."
*******This message has been edited. Last edited by: Xena,
During the night, dite dreamt she was being chased by four flying pieces of Xena's chakram. Each piece had two full rows of sharp fangs which tried to take a hunk out of dite's neck or face. Sometimes there were faces behind those fangs- the faces of Xena, Livia, Cupid and herself. Other times there were two faces per chakram piece, the faces of Zeus & Hera, giggling wildly as they tried to snap off a dite body part. Near the end of the dream, the four pieces had come togather as one and was all aglow. Dite thought this meant the chakram would allow Xena to have possession over her own soul if she waved and then held the glowing chakram over her head. As she struggled to tell Xena this, her mouth went numb and she couldn't speak. The she noticed Xena did have the chakram and had somehow mastered it in a way much different from what dite had thought. 'I'm just dumb dite as usual' she told herself in the dream as it ended.
When she woke the next morning, the gash on her leg remained, now accompanied by other bruises and cuts on her limbs and face. "Now Miss Icky not Miss Olympus...not even runner-up ooooohhh! Must get rid of these groady scars. They just ruin my beauty." she whined. To which Lao Ma, now entering dite's sleep chamber commented, "Under the heavens all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness. Those scars are maps to your soul, dite. Follow where they go and accept them, allow them to make you whole. Only then will you not see them as scars but as beauty." Noticing how many more bruises, cuts and scars the deity had on this second day, her hostess added, "You've definately reached a crossroads on your path, dite.Those who have come to an impasse should examine their original intentions. Let your heart be at peace, my friend, and embrace harmony."
"Realize the source of serenity for your way. This will lead you back to your path giving you the ability to perceive the world as it really exists, understand your limitations and see life's path with clarity and simplic-."
"Yeah, BUT can you explain this stuffage in words outta the dite dictionary? There's blonde hair under this afro!"
The lady from Chin considered this request. 'Talk in dite-speak?' She raised an eyebrow, swept her eyes over dite's delicate look of so very lost, and sighed to herself. 'I suppose I must. As much as I dislike to dummy down.' She brought the goddess out on the patio where they ate breakfast. Then Lao Ma resumed the conversation in dite-speak.
"Sugar, why are you so jealous over Xena-poo? Now now don't shake that afro at me, babe. Ya'll know what I'm talkin' bout. You messed with her through that enchanted scroll thingie, 'member? That was cuz some kids were spreadin stoopid graffiti on your temple walls that Xena was the bestest. You wanted that diamond diddly-oo & had them smelly barbarians steal it. Ya thought it'd be great having somethin so gnarly that even Xena didn't have. You envied the Warrior Princess babe's friendship with Gabrielle. Honey cuz you ain't got no close friends like her in Olympyland, do ya? Not even Demeter was as fun as Gabby." Lao Ma placed her hands on her hips, pointing a finger at dite. "Yousa jealous of all that Xena does and not only does- and here's the kicker *snorts*- but does without getting all the praise and gifts that you desire for you very own. Even when you tries to help Xena, what does she do- she shows how she can do better without you. That must hurtsy! Bwess you poor wittle heart, it just tears you apart."
Dite understood this completely. Lao Ma wouldn't let the deity get a word in. "Now let me ask ya this, toots. Why do you need all them templey places anyhoo? Why all the desire for all those gifts & praising & material stuffage? You call that love & peace brigade your own and ya make sures people get the 411 that it was your idea. Dite darling, ya gotta let go of that desire thingie. Just whooshie that cute ego elsewheresville, dudette. When there's zip desire to snuggle with, honey, you are at peace." Lao Ma finished by squishing her nose so cute like and wondered, 'Is speaking like dite the reason I'm craving chocolate?'
Dite was now sitting on the patio floor, hugging her knees in her typical 'I'm hurt' fashion. "Yeah, okaysie, I am jealous of Xena. She didn't deserve such a good friend like Gabby, and I do blame Xena for being off who knows where while Gabby was killed or poisoned or whatever. It does farkin tick me off that Xena weena doesn't ask for praise or gifts, let alone accept them. Yeah, miss high & mighty warrior piss-antess does get under my afro grrrrrrrr!" After catching her breath, "But hey, me not getting praise and offerings- as if! Ok, maybe I don't need the stuff but ya know what they say- 'Mortals, can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.' Heck, we gods wouldn't exist if they didn't serve us and want us around. Xena de prima madonna can exist without all that stuffage but not us."
"What makes you believe your existance is linked to mortals' faith in the gods? It was Chaos the Titan who came from the void and created Gaea, the Earth, according to your beliefs. The Olympians overthrew these elder gods and banished the majority to Tartarus. Now you appear convinced that mortal disbelief in the gods will overthrow the Olympians."
"Well, duh! The Twilight of the Gods thingie has been drilled into our wittle heads for ages. Though yeah, there's a lot of different ideas about what the Twilight really is about. Many of the gods do believe we'll die off once mortals start worshipping a one god or possessions in the future or whatever."
Lao Ma stood, watching as the children started to head down to their playing field. "I don't believe the Twilight of the Gods myth. Not the way your family does, at least." Then changing her tone somewhat sharper, "dite, just what is it that you do as a goddess? Are you nothing more than an advice giver on matters of the heart and the bed? You don't seem foolish enough to create love between two people when one of them only desires the other for sexual means. You are not happy in your work. You demean mortals as being stupid, unthoughtful and a waste of time all the while believing you need their faith to remain alive. You clearly love the children and seek to help them but that is not within the duties of your particular Divinity. Your jealousy of Xena demonstrates not only that you are aware of your self-destuctive state but that you are either too lazy or not brave enough to alter your path. Why, one might offer your godhood to any of the children here and the result could very well be a more useful goddess of love and beauty though without the desire characteristic. Desire. How do you stop destroying yourself if what you are defined by is killing you?" She then left dite alone, not seeing that the deity was blowing raspberries at her behind her back as she walked away.
Dite didn't like this analysis of her lifey poo. Laoy was right, she didn't like being goddess of love. She would have prefered goddess of compatibilty.Helping people remain compatible. Anyone can do the advice bit and other parlor tricks that she did. Even "auntie" Callisto could be a halfway-decent goddess of love. When she was a goddess of happiness for a day recently, that really sparked a goal for that onetime would-be occupation- compatibility. But Apollo had laughed and nixed that suggestion many many moons ago. Afterwards, dite had began to lose interest in the love biz, slowly but surely.
For whatever reason, dite started thinking about some of the many mortals who'd passed her way in her very long life. Most gods didn't get as close to mortals as she did. This made losing them all the much harder, especially as she stayed young and gorgeous and they grew wrinkley and passed on. Some good friends never even made it that far- Gabby, Mins, Joxer. etc so many etc's. Her time of dying was steadily approaching, right?
Dite found Laoy with the children and joined in the fun, quietly, still sore at Lao Ma for the lecture she'd recieved. Dite couldn't stay that way for too long though. Dite asked the Asian beauty where she thought she should begin on getting back to her way or the path she was made for, if those were the right words to phrase the question. "In your situation, I'd suggest beginning at the what's percieved as the end of the path."
Before dite could ask, "Huh", her new pal shocked her by whooshing them both away. So Lao Ma has my powers, she pouted.
"I take it you know where we are? dite, I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings earlier. I wanted to sum up my opinion of your situation. You came to terms with that quite well and it has lead us here. No need to worry, I've used your power to make us invisible to all eyes and other senses. Are you alright?"
The deity shook off her friend's hand from her shoulder and cried as she bolted up the palace stairs. They were in Olympus. The time was the far off future (perhaps early 21st century?). Dite saw vines, moss and ivy, and lots of yucky dust covering everything- the grounds, the buildings, the furniture inside, skeletal remains. Skeletal remains- EEEEEEEEEE! In all her travels to the future, to a future beyond 400 years from her own era, neither dite nor any god allowed to time travel had ever ventured to Olympus. It was off limits to future time travelling Olympians. The story goes that one god- a Titan to be precise- had time travelled to an Olympus (perhaps early 20th century?) and discovered the very empty world of the Greek gods that dite now found herself weeping in. The Titan returned to tell his story and died soon afterwards. Died of what, no one knows. Nor does anyone know if the Titan's death was related to his time travelling journey. But that didn't stop the legends that built around his tale. Now dite was seeing the Titan's terribly true tale for herself. "EEEEEEEE!" about summed it all up.
Lao Ma followed the upset one into the palace, finding her sitting on the floor, sucking on her thumb. "Tell me what you saw outside, dite, and what you see in here." Dite mumbled out about the moss and the remains, yet what Lao Ma was seeing all around her, "I see nothing to be hysterical over. Very nice architecture in your city. Clean, almost spotless. I see and hear your citizens on their daily routines. Can you not smell bread baking down the corridor? Look. There are Zeus and Hera having sport with a pup they have named Heidi. There is no destruction or gloom here. Still there is desire- better managed than yours- yet survival nonetheless."
dite mouthed a "Wha?" but saw nothing of what Laoy had described. "Meanie liar!" she spat at the lady from Chin.
Lao Ma reached her hand down and pulled the goddess up towards her. "This is important. There is life here. You have willed death and nothingness. The Titan who first came here must have desired the same. The Olympians have underestimated the power of their own minds. It is not the mortals lack of belief or faith in the gods that begets a "twilight of the gods", it's the god's own lack of belief and faith in themselves that allows it to occur. Gods too need harmony and a way. Use your mind to get beyond the impasse of the story of the Titan."
Dite wanted to see pop, Hera and Heidi so badly that pushed herself into doing that just. What a brain strain that took! So it was true what Laoy said- Olympus had survived. The twosome remained unseen for the remainder of their visit. As they were exiting the palace, ready to whoosh away on the street below, dite did a quick look-see at her home. Was there a future version of her, hereabouts? Ah well, Lao Ma had whooshed them back to her place and time before dite could find that out.
On her second night in Laoy's home, dite slept very soundly. All scars and bruises faded away, at least on the outside. She dreamt of Xena, Livia, Cupid, Zeus and Hera again but this time she watched them play and fuss as she had the children of Lao Ma-land. She was quite happy to know them and not a bit jealous of anyone. Though she was craving chocolate (it helped her think).
Lao Ma was washing some really long, really colorful ribbons just off the patio when she noticed a long slim shadow. "I see you've finally joined me, di- Oh!" dite was standing behind her, grinning. dite's afro's afro was gone, replaced by the blonde hair long ago encased beneath it. Her hair wasn't curly as it had once been many many years ago. Now it was long and straight, though with a few waves here and there. "So it begins. A very nice beginning, dite."
"Thank you! And since there's no more afro, I guess I'll be known as, uh, um, well, I do like the 'afro' part. Afrodite. Hmmm. A.Dite. No, Aphrodite. Ok, that's the ticket."
Dite told Lao Ma her plans once she was back on earth and Olympus. So, it was time to go. They both knew they'd probably never see one another again...but who knows. Lao Ma wasn't at all curious about whether she was still alive um dead er lively dead in the 21st century of 'modern' man. "I have already lived well and enough. To know you have enough is to be rich. This knowledge leads to the source. Each separate being in the universe returns to the common source.Returning to the source is seren-"
"YADA YADA YADA! I wanna get back..like um...today or this eon, really!"
They hugged. Dite got powers back. Waved bye-bye to Laoy. Whooshed to earth. Quickest thing that happened in three days.
On earth, Aphrodite did a quick whoosh to all her temples. She was shutting them down as temples to her and donating them as community centers, homeless shelters, safe places for abused kids, homes for abandoned pets- all that good stuff. Her followers assumed she'd has a nervous/mental breakdown. Her priests were told to either be custodians of the new centers or find work elsewhere. "Are all the gods doing this? Do we still serve them?" some people asked her. "That's up to them and that's up to you." was all she told them.
To Vercinix, Mendala, Darnelle & Glaphyra of the love & peace brigade, she insisted no more mentioning her name when doing love and peace tasks. Don't accept money or other gifts from those they save anymore. Just be sure those they've helped are okay, and move on.
Next, she whooshed to the palace in Olympus.
Aphrodite could hear them arguing as she neared the royal chamber room. But it didn't deter her at all.
Apollo was raving about how "dite will turn all mortals against us". Kratos was maintaining that "time travel is involved in this scandal, I'll bet you anything." Athena put in her two dinars, "Let's take away her powers. I have an archeress who would make a fine goddess of love."
Hera was listening to all this as Zeus noticed his afro-less daughter enter the chamber, smiling, saying, "Hiddy all." She was also dressed in a new outfit- something called " a t-shirt and blue jeans". The accusations flew at dite like a chakram gone beserk. She smiled and said nothing, winking at pop and Hera, who shook their heads in unison.
"Are you insane- or just insaner?" raged Apollo. "Why in Hades would you close your temples and turn them over to the locals? This will cause a chain reaction and all of us gods will no longer be worshipped, ergo be believed in, ergo we won't exist anymore, ergo we'll all be dead! Care to explain yourself?"
"Did you say 'ergo' or 'Argo'? Such a nice horsey that Argo." dite had to see Apollo get red under his ultra-white collar. "None of you will cease to exist, unless you're murdered by one of our own kind or somethin'. Your followers will keep followin' ya long as you want them to. Least until someone or something new pops up. But Olympus will survive." She preceded to tell her story of the last 3 days.
Then dite told them all her plan to move to earth. To live among mortals, to not use her powers unless necessary and to be more of a deity of compatibility and compassion than of love and beauty. She did not seek worshippers or offerings from mortals. Knowing she may have helped others was good enough reward.
Afterwards, Kratos was even more angry. "You violated the rule of visiting here in the future." Then pointing a finger at Zeus, "I warned you this would happen if you didn't keep her on a leash. Her mind was poisoned by this Allow Muh person. Never trust a citizen of Chin, I always say."
Zeus shuffled about in his seat as Hera kept a watchful eye on everyone. Other gods and goddesses were arriving, the rumor spreading like wildfire that dite was about to get fried. Dite wished that big bro Ares was still alive to beat some butt in her defense, if he would have been on her side. Apollo was recommending a fast tribunal and swift justice to the blasphemy dite had spouted concerning the minds of gods and harmony and other Chin nonsense.
"Let her be!. She's telling us we have a future." Demeter! Followed by mama Dione (one of the few remaining Titans) and Mavican, who was in Olympus on the way to Asgard to take over the godship of Freyia. Thankfully Mavy was on her side and her form distracted a few of the gods opposed to dite. Demeter continued: "We have to change to survive and changing old beliefs and using our minds instead of flashy effects will save us."
Still they argued, still the belief in the Twilight and an old Titan tale was strong. Then Zeus stood up from his throne. Everyone was quiet- they'd better be!- as he spoke.
"Everyone go home. Don't be so stuck in your ways. No one will overthrow us unless we let them or we do it to ourselves. Now, go. GO! Hey, I mean it." Then- "Not so fast, dite's af- um, Aphrodite."
Dite waved Demeter on to go, to collect her essentials at her home, ex-home, as she'd be sleeping on earth tonight- with pop's okay, of course. When it was just dite, Zeus, & Hera in the throne room, Zeus told Aphrodite, "I expect weekly reports on how an unworshipped deity is doing. Plus I'm going to keep more than just the normal watch on you. Changing your hair, name and your outfiit won't keep you unrecognized for long. Trying not to use your powers? Hmm? I hope you weren't bewitched by Alti in this as a trap. No, I suppose not."
dite said her good-nights and left the throne room. A few steps later, a voice asked her, "So. Is Lao Ma's tea still really good?" It was Hera. Was Hera one of Lao Ma's sponsors? Hmmm...
...This message has been edited. Last edited by: xenacrazed,
Cupid stumbled out into the temple to grant an audience to Iolaus. The little hunter looked at him in concern.
"No offense, Cupid, but you look like Tartarus. This is really starting to get to you, isn't it?"
Cupid gave a hollow laugh. "You mean my lover being killed by a horrible conspiracy between two psychotic bitches? Or do you mean the fact that he was not actually dead, but was so evil that he cast an insidious spell that clouded my mind and made me go psychotic myself?"
"Oh poor baby," Xena's voice cut through the temple. It dripped with affected sincerity. "I feel as though my problems mean nothing now that I know you were operating under a misapprehension."
"I haven't forgotten what you did, you monster!" snarled Cupid. "The fact remains, you'd destroy that which is dear to me!"
"Yes...and just watch me destroy three more things dear to you." Xena turned to Iolaus, "You don't want to see this. No man should."
Iolaus started to protest, but thought better of it and beat a hasty retreat out of the temple.
Cupid glared at the warrior princess. "You want to bring it?" He made a move to zap her, but nothing happened.
Xena grabbed an urn and threw it at Cupid's head. The winged god fell back and uttered a cry of pain. Before he knew it, Xena had taken ceremonial cords and bound his arms to the altar. She pulled out her dagger.
"Uh...Xena," said Cupid weakly wondering why he couldn't move. How had this mere mortal overpowered him?
The knife hovered over Cupid's most vulnerable spot.
"What did you mean by 'three more things dear to me?'"
Xena grinned slyly then made a clicking sound with tongue. A goat came in bleating. "Two of 'em, I'm going to feed that billy goat."
Cupid's eyes grew wide with fear. She was going to---no, she couldn't---not even the Destroyer of Nations would---oh, Hades! She was!
Cupid screamed in agony. The billy goat bleated and to Cupid it seemed to be saying "bbbb-end over!"
Livia sat in the rafters of the tavern and looked down at Tara. The keeper of the chakram fragment was knocking back a few beers and giving a rather pathetic come-hither glance a large rural fellow. From the odor that wafted up to the rafters, Livia gathered he was a pig farmer.
The pig farmer declined the invitation and walked away. Livia decided that there wasn't much point in hanging out any longer and dropped down from the rafters and landed in the chair across the table from Tara. She snapped her fingers and the tavernkeeper rushed over to hand her a cup.
"You're not my type," muttered Tara unconvincingly.
"I could have you do anything I wanted within five minutes," said Livia flatly.
Tara made a half-hearted smirk and said, "Well, you are welcome to try."
"Unfortunately, I don't want to waste five minutes on you."
Livia suddenly stood up leaned over the table and plunged her hand down the front of Tara's dress. The pig farmer began to look at the table's occupants with renewed interest. The renewed interest lasted five seconds. Livia had retrieved a piece of chakram.
She sauntered out of the tavern and went in search of her next objective.
Iolaus heard Cupid's screams of terror and sprinted into the temple. He found the winged god laying on a bench. He was asleep and apparently in the throes of a nightmare.
"Cupid! Wake up!" Iolaus cautiously approached Cupid and shook him gently.
"No! Not the billy goat!" Cupid was suddenly awake. He stared stupidly at Iolaus for a second, then dropped his gaze down.
"Everything okay?" asked Iolaus.
Cupid drew a shaky breath. "Nightmares. Oh gods...I thought she'd really done it. That Xena is so vindictive!"
"Well, you shoot a woman with arrows to make her life miserable, take her chakram and try to make her kill her friends she gets a little testy," said Iolaus.
Cupid glared sulkily at Iolaus. "Who's side are you on?"
"Nobody's in particular--although I really don't appreciate you siccing a woman with lethal combat skills on me."
The winged god had the grace to look a little sheepish. "Sorry about that. Really. I think the guilt's getting to me."
"You mean the nightmares?"
Cupid reeled off a list of symptoms and Iolaus nodded sympathetically. The chakram piece was as obvious as could be, but incredibly, the god didn't seem to realize it was hanging around his neck.
"You know, Cupid, I think I can do something to help you."
"Close your eyes." Iolaus put his hands on the back of Cupid's neck.
The god cocked open one eye suspiciously, "Look, as delectable as you are, I'm really NOT in the mood--"
"Hush, I'm not going there!" Iolaus quickly pulled the chakram fragment over Cupid's head and secreted it away.
"Okay, open your eyes.'
Cupid cocked open one eye, then the other.
"That's it?" he asked doubtfully.
"Yep." Iolaus patted him on the shoulder.
"Hey! The heaviness is gone! Awesome!"
Cupid wooshed away relieved of his unknown burden.
"My my, how the mighty have fallen," Livia smirked.
The daughter of the now defunct Dahok miserably raised her head and sent the young woman a half hearted glare. "Go away bitch."
The Empress of Rome merely grinned. "Now you see, I'd be more than happy to do just that, but unfortunately, you have something I want. So until I get it, I'm afraid you and I have business to attend to."
Livia critically surveyed her surroundings. It hadn't been too difficult to track Bella down. She'd logically started scouting any temple that was rumored to belong to Dahok and lo and behold, had found the girl in one of them.
It was a miserable sight, the girl was unkempt and dirty, with a listless look in her eyes. Quickly, Livia summed up the situation and how to remedy it.
The Champion of Rome curled her lip in disgust. "Pathetic. I thought you knew better Bella, than to only have one plan to fall back on. Dahok's gone and here you are, looking like that ragamuffin mother of yours."
Bella raised her head and drew her lips back in a snarl. "Shut up."
Livia waved her hand, carelessly. "I mean, really. Daughter of a supreme evil, brought down low only because dear ol' Daddy isn't here to back you up? It's disgraceful. You're no better than the temple trash that birthed you."
The girl gritted her teeth and clenched her fists. "Shut. Up." Her breath came faster as rage flowed in her veins, white and hot. How dare this presumptous bitch speak to her about her origins. After all, Livia was the bastard child of a well known murderer. How dare she!
"I wouldn't be so quick to throw slurs around Eve, at least I knew both my parents."
A muscle ticked in Livia's jaw, at the mention of her given name, otherwise she kept her face impassive. She needed to goad the girl just a bit more.
"At least my mother's reputation is well earned. No one ever accused her of being a pretender and a wanna be. Poor Bella," Livia tsked and let condescending pity seep into her tone, "never had a chance. Sired by the lamest evil ever and birthed by the world's biggest blowhard. It's a gods damned Greek tragedy."
A blood curdling scream was heard as Bella launched herself at Livia. The daughter of Xena had been counting on this reaction and swiftly caught Bella by the arms, deftly flipping them both over, with Livia landing in the dominant position.
Bella began to struggle and kick. She squirmed to break free of the hold, but Livia held fast. "Now Bella, be a good girl. Just lie back and enjoy it, it'll be over soon." The Champion of Rome chose her words intentionally, to raise the girl's ire even more. The whole key to this was Bella's anger and rage.
Another hoarse scream of rage rang from Bella's lips as she heaved mightily and managed to dislodge Livia from her current position atop her. Both women scrambled to their feet and paused a moment to regain their bearings and breath.
Livia grinned wickedly. If there was one thing she loved, it was combat. It really got her blood pumping and her juices flowing. She could've just slain Bella where she sat, miserable and apathetic, but where was the fun in that? Roman that she was, she did believe in fair play. It'd been relatively easy to irk the girl into violence. Now that they were both good and worked up, it was time to get what she came for.
"Come on little girl, let's dance," Livia smirked and pulled her sword from it's scabbard. She twirled it a few times in her hand and waited.
She didn't have to wait long as Bella roared and launched herself toward the young woman. "Bitch! I'm going to rip your heart out!"
Livia laughed and prepared herself for the oncoming blow. "Bring it on."
Outside the gloomy and crumbling temple, a scream and cruel laughter could be heard.
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Bella lunged and at the last possible second drew her fist back and solidly connected with Livia's jaw. The Champion of Rome was unprepared for the blow and stumbled back, dropping her sword, with a strangled cry. Bella stumbled and fell on the ground, and hastily struggled to her feet. She let out a cruel laugh. "Not so high and mighty now, are we bitch?"
Livia regained her equilibrium and spat some blood onto the ground, grinning. "Well, it seems as if Bella isn't quite so helpless after all. You must've gotten that right hook from your whore of a mother. Let's see what else you've got."
The girl howled in rage and flung herself, yet again at Livia's body. This time however, Livia was ready and caught the fist that came flying at her face. It seemed as if time were frozen as Bella gaped in astonishment at the fact that Livia had not only blocked her blow but was now twisting her arm backwards, causing the girl to bend awkwardly to alleviate the excruciating pain that was now flowing through her limb.
"Fool me once Bella," Livia tsked as she cruelly jerked the girl's arm back even further. A yelp of pain was her reward and Bella sunk to her feet, trying desperately to lessen the pain. "You're pathetic. Here you are, wasting away in self pity cause Daddy's up and left you." The Empress of Rome quickly jerked the arm back all the way and heard the satisfying crack of bones breaking.
A painful scream echoed throughout the temple. Bella cradled her now useless arm against her body and sent Livia a look of pure, unadulterated hatred. It only served to bring a grin of joy to the daughter of Xena's face.
"You think that's bad? It's only just begun, you little brat. I owe you some pain Bella."
The pain addled girl raised her head and confusion crossed her features. "But...why? I've done nothing to you."
Here, Livia yanked the girl by her broken limb to bring her face closer and let a menacing snarl curl her lip. "You've inconvenienced me, tried to recruit me for your moronic mission, and made the worst nuisance of yourself possible. And to top it all off, you were going to hurt my mother."
Bella's face became even further mired in confusion. "But...you don't even like your mother."
Livia drew back her free hand and promptly back handed the girl. "That's beside the point. If anyone's going to kill her, it's going to be me. As her kid, I alone have that right. And I'm not going to let some delusional little slut like you get away with attempting to take her soul and end her life. Now get up."
The Champion of Rome tossed the girl onto the ground and watched as she struggled to rise. When Bella had painfully risen to her feet, Livia picked up her sword and twirled it again. "We're going to play a game Bella. It's called "Slice and Dice, one of my favorites. You survive round 1, I might leave you a working limb. You survive round 2, I might let you keep your eyes. You survive round 3, I just might let you live. Ready?"
Bella's eyes widened in terror as the Champion of Rome strode towards her with a blood thirsty grin on her face and a sharp pointed sword in her hand.
Again, the air was pierced with screams of agony and delighted laughter.
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Aphrodite felt warm and fuzzy and content. Well, almost content. There was something nagging at her still. Xena's soul was still in danger. While she was no longer sure how she felt about Xena, she did know that her position against the control of a mortal's soul--especially one such as Xena was her idea of a Bad Thing.
So when the warrior strolled up to her that afternoon, she was not quite sure what to expect. Xena seemed relatively calm, however. If she wanted something, she was prepared to ask first.
"Xena, babe!" greeted the former goddess of Love.
"New look?" asked Xena as she gave an appraising glance.
"New look, new outlook. Totally new gig!" Aphrodite asked with only a slight note of apprehension, "Is there something I can do for you?"
"You have something I need."
"I don't really have anything anymore. All the temples and all the tribute---"
Xena smiled. A genuine smile.
"Not that. Just that lovely pendant you have around your neck. It doesn't really go with the new outfit anyway."
Aphrodite glanced down in confusion. Now that Xena mentioned it that necklace was rather fugly. "It's yours!"
Aphrodite fumbled with the chain, but couldn't get it over her head. Xena moved behind her and pulled the chain over her head.
"Thanks." Xena added, "It's kind of nice to just get something without a fight every now and then."
Aphrodite felt as though a great burden had been lifted. She cried out in a mixture of joy and horror as the realization of what she'd been carrying around her neck hit her.
"That's part of the chakram! Xena, Bella forced me to take it and---"
"It's okay, I know all about it. Bella can only cloud so many minds at a time. And when she does she tends to totally clarify somebody else's. Especially if she'd gloat to that person if she could."
"Ah, power limitation is a bitch," said Aphrodite. "She's too young to have come to terms with that."
Xena grinned, "Well, if my little Evie has anything to say about it, she'll never get old enough to figure it out."
"Livia. My name is Livia. L-I-V-I---oh what's the point?"
Livia was dragging a litter with several bundles in it behind her. Her once white cloak was completely stained dark reddish brown. A slight bruise was visible on her left cheek and there were scratch marks visible on her arms. The triumphant gleam in her eye announced her victory.
"What's all that behind you?" Xena asked.
Livia had thought about burning them, but it ocurred to her that burning Dahok spawn might not be such a good idea. She had considered and rejected several ideas about how to dispose of Bella's remains and had finally decided that it would require consultation with a priest.
"Nice work," said Xena. "But I don't know what to do with the bits either."
"We could fertilize my garden with them," suggested Aphrodite. "Hey! It's Curly!"
Iolaus ran over to the trio of lovely ladies.
"Cupid's got some issues," remarked Iolaus as he handed over the final chakram piece. "And I didn't even tell him what you did to Bliss."
"What about Bliss?" asked Aprhodite.
"Uh..never mind. He's not permanently harmed."
"Not permanently wha--?"
"Just let it go," said Iolaus.
Aphrodite gave the trio of mortals a look that said she was not quite satisfied, but she said nothing further. What was it Lao Ma had said about letting your kids pay for the harm they had done? Did that go for grandkids too? Livia had spoken again and Aphrodite was jarred out of her thoughts in time to hear Xena's answer.
"I don't know that we have to go back to the altar."
"No! No altar needed," chimed in Aphrodite.
The trio of mortals stared at her.
"I may not have understood why at the time, but I've had a vision," Aphrodite said.
"Thanks gods for that," said Livia and she handed over her two pieces of the chakram to Xena.
"Have at it, don't delay another second," said Iolaus as he surrendered his portion.
Xena took the chakram bits and laid them down on a large stone. She fumbled a bit as she tried to see how the pieces fit, but then pulled it together.
The ground began to shake and the chakram rose into the air glowing. It rose high above Xena's head.
"Grab it, Xena!" cried Aphrodite as the quaking grew more violent.
Xena leapt into the air and grabbed hold of the chakram.
"And--?" prompted Aphrodite.
Xena looked a bit sheepish, "Uh...yeah."
The warrior held the chakram above her head and waved it three times. Then she held it high aloft.
"Aphrodite, do I really have to sing?"
"Yes," said Aphrodite firmly.
"Somehow I don't think 'I'm a Little Wine Flask' has anything to do with this."
Aphrodite laughed. "Okay, babe, no...just sing whatever moves you."
Xena's mind went blank. What would move her? What should she sing? Nothing had moved her to anything but anger and violence for so long she could not get in touch with anything else.
Aphrodite's form suddenly shifted and suddenly Lyceus stood there looking at her.
Something, something was stirring in the soul she was trying so desparately hard to save.
Lyceus' form shifted and Gabrielle stood there. She smiled encouragingly. Gabrielle's form shifted to another and suddenly Solan stood there...the form shifted again and again. All faces that Xena had known and loved. And lost.
She knew what to sing now. She opened her mouth and a funeral dirge poured out. The song her heart had sang the day Lyceus died. She sang again for Lyceus, Marcus, and Solan. She finally sang for Joxer, Minya, Amarice and Gabrielle.
The light from the chakram grew so intense that Iolaus and Livia had to look away. Aphrodite's divine eyes lost Xena.
The loud explosion came as a complete surprise.
|Chief Chesty Forlock|
After a nice long sleep, Cupid awoke we a thumper of a headache.
'Dude, gods should not have to put up with pain, I'm gunna go see Granny about some abrosia to make me all perky again.'
He whooshes up to the top of Olympus to see his grandparents checking the weapons store.
'Cupey DARLING' swoons Hera, giggling. Obviously the gods had decided they enjoyed the effects of hard liquor and were slowly becoming alcoholics. 'We found another lovey dovey bow and arrow set for you, we thought just in case you were idiotic enough to lose your stuff yet again, we have found a back up set for you to take home.'
'Thanks Gran' as he takes it from her, checks them out, and leans them next to Zeus's throne. Then a black shimmer started coming into the room. 'Ah crap, it's Hephestus. I took some of his chains without asking for a little.. umm bondage..., I best be going' as he turns to leave, he trips over his own arrows, and the whole lot stick into his stomach. Over burdened with the emotion of love, Cupid squeals like a pig, and is dusted.
'I always knew he was stupid, but now we know just how stupid he really is....was' Zeus says sarcastically, as he takes another swig of rum. 'Bags not telling Dite' he says with a giggle as Hera and Zeus shimmer away, before Dite turns up after feeling the death of her son.
Aphrodite was returning home from the funeral of her son, Cupid. Livia and Iolaus watched as she approached.
"Dite," began Iolaus as he put a hand on the shoulder of the goddess. "About Cupid-"
She turned and meet his glance, "He's at peace. No longer struggling with the whatever was troubling him." She said this so quickly, as if it was a mantra she was memorizing. Peering over at Livia, remembering what it was the death of her son had taken her away from, "What happened to Xena?"
Iolaus nodded in the direction of Livia, who held a chakram in her hand. "After the explosion and the smoke cleared, the glowing chakram dropped to the ground. The third chakram was being absorbed by the split one. Livia's had it with her since it cooled off. We believe the explosion neutralized all powers of the third chakram."
Dite tugged on her t-shirt, wanting to appear glad for them. "Good. So Xena has control of her own soul. Where is she?"
Iolaus shrugged, Livia kicked at the ground, then answered with, "She disappeared at the time of the explosion."
"Been here before," Xena considered as she glanced around. She stood and shook the soot of the explosion off her.
She glanced around quickly to see if the chakram was here too. Her eyes darted to a shadowy corner where she knew the figure was watching her.
"You can come out now." she taunted. "Come on."
She knew this one. Had seen his face in marble during her adventures in Rome. He deliberately took his time moving towards her. Wanting her to think she was still alive only because he willed it.
Xena relaxed, looking bored. "Mars. Not so pretty in person."
"Neither was Kel and you had no problem killing him. Did you really think you could get away with murdering him?"
"I was doing a nice job of it until your ugly puss showed up." She offered a quick smile.
Mars ran his hand along the altar that once held the chakram of light. "I want the chakram back, Xena. That's all, You'll be free to go once I have it again." Then looking again at the Warrior Princess. "Oh, did I mention that I'll lure your daughter and her friends here and kill them if you don't give me what I want? It's true, you know."
Zeus watched the scene between Xena & Mars from the brunch room. "Hera dear, how do you think Livia will behave when she learns a Roman god could be the destruction of her and her mother?"
"I want to see for myself how she will behave, dear Zeus." Hera pushed an ambrosia wafer towards her husband.
Devouring the wafer, Zeus commented, "Never liked Mars. Always with the Greek jokes. I won't stand in Livia's way of killing the god of another pantheon. Provided the opportunity arises."
As they discussed the tactics Xena and Livia might use in a confrontation with Mars, both Zeus and Hera forgot to consider the role of dite in this contest. They were so used to her not getting involved in the plights of mortals. Having just lost her own child, wouldn't this new Aphrodite do more to insure another mother and child weren't seperated by death?
...This message has been edited. Last edited by: xenacrazed,
"So..." Iolaus hedged and cast a wary glance at Xena's daughter.
Crickets chirped as dusk began to settle on the horizon. Livia kicked her toe in the dirt again and clenched the now dormant third chakram in her hand. What did it all mean? Where had Xena gone?
"For that matter, why do I care?" The Champion of Rome said out loud. Indeed, there was no love lost between them, mostly thanks to efforts made by Livia, herself. She had wanted nothing to do with Xena since she'd found out that the legendary warrior was her mother.
The young woman allowed herself a small smile as she remembered that day. Octavian had calmly explained to her the reason he was raising her and what a wonderful person her mother was and what she stood for and didn't little Eve want to be just like her?
The little girl of 8 had promptly stamped her foot and screamed to the high heavens that she did not want to be like her mother. She wanted to be strong and grown up and when she was, she'd never throw her daughter away, NEVER! Livia remembered the sniffling, scared little girl who had ran to the nearest temple and hidden in an alcove, weeping alligator tears because her Mommy had given her up to save her.
Livia's smile slowly faded as she remembered the aching in that lonely little girl's heart for the mother she'd never known, only to find that her mother was indeed alive, after many years of believing she was all alone in the world. The ache had turned to anger and hatred and everything had spiralled downwards from there.
Iolaus watched as a change rolled over Xena's daughter. It was frightening in it's absoluteness. He'd watched Livia's face soften with a crooked little smile and slowly harden into a frown, as if remembering old hurts, and finally settle into a flat, emotionless mask.
"Hey, where are you going?" He asked, as she suddenly swept past him and Aphrodite, who'd been standing there, observing the entire time.
Livia stopped but didn't turn to face the thief. "I'm going home. I have an empire to run." She squared her shoulders and resumed her determined gait.
The blonde haired man was speechless for a moment and then called after her, "Wait, what about Xena? She's off gods knows where. Don't you even care?"
This time, Livia did not cease her steps. "No, I don't. It's about time Xena knew what it felt like to be thrown away."
And with that, she disappeared into the forest, intent on making her way back to Rome.
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Livia was making her way through the forest, intent on finding the nearest village. From there, she'd get a horse and ride for Rome. It was a good plan and it might've worked too, if not for the meddling of one well-meaning goddess of love.
"Whoa babe, where do you think you're going?" Aphrodite materialized in front of the young woman.
The Champion of Rome stopped short, caught off guard by the sudden appearance of the goddess. She hadn't even been able to feel her like she normally could. There was always a tingle at the base of her spine when a divine presence was around. She couldn't think on it though, she had places to be. "Move out of my way," she growled, and stepped to the side, intent on bypassing the stunning blonde bombshell.
Aphrodite merely stepped with her and held up her hands. "Nuh-uh, no can do kid. You gotta come with me and save your Mom."
Livia's lip curled in a sneer. "Says who? What's she ever done for me?"
The goddess of love rolled her eyes. "Like hello, she gave birth to you, hunted down my family to keep you safe, let's you make a complete doofus of yourself pretending to be all grown up and the ruler of Rome. Duh!"
The young woman rolled her eyes as well and snorted. "And that means what? That I should just forget all about her abandoning me and then suddenly barging back into my life years later? Hmph, nothing doing. Why do you care anyways? She killed your son, I killed his lover." Suspicion began to creep over Livia's features. Was this a trick? Something to get her guard down?
The number of times Aphrodite had ever been serious could be counted on one beautifully manicured hand. She didn't do serious, she did happy and perky and mushy. But this was one of those times. She let her usual carefree grin leave her face and a look of absolute seriousness replace it.
"Now you listen to me, Miss Too Big for My Roman Britches! I just lost my kid to this whole wacky scene and while I have to deal with that loss, you still have your mom around. She loves you very much and the way things went down was not how things were planned. You were supposed to be raised with big bad warrior babe and good ol' Gabs and be the poster child for all them lovely Amazon couples."
Aphrodite took a breath and continued, "So just get over yourself. So life hasn't turned out the way you wanted, big herculean deal. Lotsa people don't get what they want, but they make the best of it. You went and started killing things left and right. Not exactly dealing with your problems babe. Your mom may be one tough chick but I know for a godly fact that if you were in trouble, she'd come running."
Livia's mouth had slowly fallen open as the impassioned goddess continued her tirade. Love was never this serious...or bossy.
"And another thing, drop the attitude toots. Like, for real, being grumpy every now and then is fine, even yours truly does it, but all the time, you're just a downer. Let it go Liv, let it go. Fact is that you're all alone now, but you don't have to be. Your Mom is out there somewhere, facing us knows what all alone. But she doesn't have to be, and neither do you."
The blonde took yet another breath and continued. "Argh, I swear, all you warrior babes are the same. You and Xena are so related. Stubborn as a donkey. Well guess what, this time I'm not just standing idly by and watching another family get torn apart. You're coming with me sweet cheeks, whether you like it or not."
And with that, Aphrodite grabbed the still gaping Livia's arm and whoosed them to parts unknown.
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"You've never had an original thought to save your life, have you?" asked Xena casually.
Mars bared his teeth in an attempt at a smile. "Well, you can't go wrong with the classics. I want something, I want you to get it, I give you incentive."
"Well you may or may not have noticed, but I haven't got the chakram."
Mars gave up his smile attempt and reverted to his usual petulant scowl. He had assumed the chakram would accompany Xena and was a bit put out that it had not done so. His plan for dominance among gods of war depended upon the chakram.
"Well, then, we'll just have to go find it, won't we?"
"Go for it, I'm done," said Xena flatly. "It was a good weapon and it served me well, but I think I've repaid it and it's time to move on. And if you try to harm Livia, you'll lose out of your best champion ever--not to mention you won't get out of that confrontation unscathed.
A grin flitted across her face. She thought she'd rather like to see Mars try it.
"Very pretty speech," Mars sneered. "I don't believe it for a minute. That chakram made you powerful when you stole it. Without it, what are you? Lost, without your way, adrift."
Xena lifted an eyebrow. It was an interesting proposition. Had the chakram given her the power? Or had she been able to use the chakram because she already had power? Mars certainly believed that he would be able to harness the chakram's power to his own ends.
"Let's test your idea, Mars," said Xena. "I don't think I need the chakram. You think I have to have it."
Mars rolled his eyes and made a half-hearted attempt to stifle a giggle.
"Take your best shot!"
Xena smiled at him and made what appeared to be just the slightest motion. The world went somewhat awry and the next thing Mars knew, he was pulling his head out of a hole it had made in the cave wall, when the warrior's punch had sent him flying across the cavern.
Xena was casually examining her nails apparently paying him no mind. The enraged Mars made a flying tackle only to find himself bouncing off the altar. He felt a tap on his shoulder and whirled his head to see Xena's fist coming at him.
"Hey, maybe you do need a chakram." Xena grinned as she dodged a flailing arm.
Mars kicked at and managed to knock the warrior down. He dove for her, but she rolled and he found himself with a mouthful of dirt. Both combatants leapt to their feet and Mars drew his arm back in preparation to landing a punch on Xena's jaw. Instead of blocking the coming blow, Xena instead leaned forward and attacked Mars' shoulder joint with her fingers. The Roman god of War actually laughed.
"Stupid mortal. Those tricks don't work on me---OW!"
"Stupid god, ichor isn't blood, but it circulates pretty much the same," retorted Xena.
Mars shook off the shooting pain in his shoulder just in time for Xena to land a solid kick on his jaw.
"You know," Xena said conversationally as she and Mars danced around each other and traded blows. "Ares was much" (She quickly ducked) "better at this."
Mars bellowed in rage and neglected to block Xena's roundhouse kick. Yet again, he flew across the cave and was headed head first into the wall.
"Ah Tartarus" he muttered as he crawled out of the new hole his body had created. Mars glared at Xena.
"This isn't over!"
The outline of his body began to shimmer and before Xena could follow up, Mars had whooshed away.
"Gee, maybe he does need the chakram," said Xena to herself.
Iolaus flipped the small medallion up and down. He had found it near the stone where Xena had reassembled the chakram pieces. It hadn't been there before when he combed the area in search of clues of where Xena might have disappeared. After Aphrodite had whooshed away in the hope of bring Livia back to search for Livia's mother, the notion that he should ride back to the site and look again for something pawed at the hero's mind. What he found was this-
A piece of metal adorned with the likeness of the Roman god of war, Mars. Deciphering the rest was easy- Kel had been a Roman minor god of war before guess-who had killed him. Kel was very knowledgable in the matter of chakrams.
Before he could even turn to his horse to ride back to the river camp where- hopefully- dite would be waiting with Livia, he was blocked by the figure of the Roman god. "Going somewhere? Yes, with me." Mars answered his own question.
"Where are you, Curly?" asked the deity.
"Are you positive this is the place you left him?" inquired Livia.
"Most def sure. I recognize that rock with the moss shaped like a lyre on it." Aphrodite followed Livia who had stopped to observe the ground.
"He rode west. Back in the direction of the camp where we last saw Xena."
The tracks were still fresh. So they waited.
The guard shook his head. With an elbow, he nudged his buddy. "Why fifty of us here? Guarding this stupid cave?"
"Shut the hell up. You want him to hear you?" his friend motioned towards the darkened skies. "Besides, it's the prisoner in the cave who's important to him."
The first guard now whispered, "But she's kinda old, isn't she? What's he want her for? Mars can have 'em much younger and hotter."
"I don't know and I don't ask. Old or young, she's his. Now keep watch, quietly."
From the damp cave she heard most of this conversation. "I'm not so old," said Cyrene proudly.
|Chief Chesty Forlock|
'I've brought you some company.' Mars shoved Iolaus roughly into the cave with Cyrene. 'Don't get too comfortable, I like my bait to squirm.'
'You seriously need to learn some better taunts.' Iolaus rolled his eyes and turned from the cave entrance. 'Who's there?'
'Iolaus!' Cyrene stretched out her arms to him. 'I've never actually met you but Xena's told me all about you. Any friend of my daughter's is a friend of mine.'
Iolaus grinned. 'Xena never told me her mother was such a hottie!' He gave her a peck on the cheek.
'Oh you! Your reputation as a ladies man is well-deserved.' Cyrene blushed.
'What are you doing here?'
'Mars is using me as some kind of leverage over Xena, from what I've heard the guards say. Apparently she beat the stuffing out of him the last time they met, so he can't best her without something to help him.'
Iolaus frowned. 'That doesn't explain why I'm needed, though.' He looked around the cave. 'Anyway, I'll see if I can get us out of here. No point in just standing around waiting for Mars to make a move.'
'No need to bother, Curly, we've come to rescue you!' Aphrodite whooshed into view, accompanied by Livia.
'Come on let's get out of here.' Livia made her way to the front of the cave, split chakram at the ready. 'Hey, ugly!' She called out to one of the guards and he quickly turned. 'Have some of this.' The chakram left her hand, severed the guard's neck, and returned smoothly.
'I've only ever seen one other person do that,' Cyrene said softly.
'Like, duh, that's your grand daughter. I totally thought you knew!' Aphrodite put her hands on her hips in astonishment.
'Grand daughter?' Cyrene stepped towards Livia.
'Grandmother?' Livia stepped back. 'Xena is enough to deal with, I don't need any more family baggage.' She didn't notice Mars creeping up behind her.
'What's this?' Mars grabbed the chakram from Livia's grasp. 'Exactly what I was looking for. Now defeating Xena will be a piece of cake. Like this.' Mars drew the sharp edge of the chakram across Livia's throat.
'Nooooo!' Cyrene rushed forward, but it was too late. Livia crumpled into a heap on the ground.
'Rome. I. Need. To. Get. To. Rome.' Livia muttered feebly. Cyrene knelt down and cradled Livia in her arms.
'I don't want to lose you. Hang on.' Cyrene wailed, but it was no use.
The Champion of Rome lay dead.
|Chief Chesty Forlock|
Slight change of plans, please check out the FINAL LAP thread.
They buried Livia on a nearby hill, overlooking Rome. Cyrene clutched her grand-daughter's folded red cape to her chest, deciding to take it back to Amphipolis with her.
Xena's two blonde friends had fussed over her but Cyrene would have none of that. Instead, she fixed Iolaus a hearty meal from what she food she found after the guards had fleed. She calmed Aphrodite, who had blamed herself for bringing Livia to the camp in the first place. "That evil god, he would have killed her, somewhere, for that chakram. You gave me a few precious moments with my grand-daughter again."
Now, standing on the hill as dawn approached, she noticed the handsome fighter lost in thought one minute, then nod to himself. 'He's decided where he's going to next. I've seen that look on Xena many times. This is my cue'.
The mother of Xena then announced, "I need to go home. I have a tavern to run." Upon hearing this, Iolaus and dite shared a sad smile, having heard Livia say something similiar only a day ago. Cyrene continued, facing them: "I hope someday soon you two will visit me. Bring my daughter with you. She needs to be home for awhile."
They promised they'd try. Then dite approached Cyrene, and quickly whisked her back home.
"dite, why do you think Mars needs the chakram?"
They were back at the camp where the guards had held Cyrene. "I dunno. It sure isn't a weapon he's known for using."
"Mars told us, 'Now defeating Xena will be a piece of cake.' I take that to mean Xena must have defeated him when he took her away in that explosion. Mars is supposed to be a very powerful god. Yet Xena beat him in a fight."
The deity chuckled, remembering, "Mars was always paranoid, thinking some other gods were out to get him. You couldn't say hi to him without him acting as if you a had secret motive for being nice to him. Kel was one of his only few friends. Though Kel was usually off on some mission for Mars. No, Curly, I dun know what missions. Hey, you got a plan, don't ya?" She smiled as he grinned and waved her to him.
The two priests of Mars were packing in a hurry. Having witnessed the slaying of Livia by their master, they knew it was time to find another vocation far, far away. As they entered the road with a pack slung over their shoulders, they saw golden whooshes directly in front of them.
"Hi sweeties! Leaving so soon? Now that I'm here, let's party!" One priest froze as the other began to run from the goddess. Dite surpirsed this fleeing man by doing back-flips and screaming 'Yi! Yi! Yi! Yi! Yi! Yi!' until she landed directing in front and upon him. She opened her palm and blew a green powder on his face.
"I've just cut off the flow of love & happiness to your life. Soon you will be so depressed that you'll have a major nervous breakdown and never recover. That is, unless you tell me what I wanna know. 'k?" Dite was enjoying this, but the priest was already sobbing.
The remaining priest turned to run and was meet by the fist of Hercules' best friend. "Me, I'll cut off the flow of life to your life. Unless you tell me what I want to know." This priest proved to be cooperative when the Greek hero asked him about the motives of Mars. Later, dite whooshed the ex-priests to a quiet Egyptian river town where they became fishermen and never spoke of the gods again.
By the time she returned to Curly, he had a priest's robe tucked away in a bag. "Just in case I need it for undercover work." he told the curious goddess.
Zeus & Hera had watched and heard all these developements. Interested the most when the follower of Mars had revealed that Mars had been losing his powers slowly over the last decade, that he had learned from Kel's notes how to split the chakram and perform a ceremony that would make him the most powerful god, and that most priests of Mars thought him insane, probably from the gradual loss of powers. Hera considered, "Ares once mentioned that Mars believed in the Twilight of the Gods legend and that Livia was the one who would bring it about. 'Obssessed with the belief' is how Ares worded it. Mars' insanity is no doubt based on his lack of belief in himself to survive a 'Twilight'. This must be what has depleted his powers."
This comment brought a laugh from her companion. "Then what Lao Ma told dite was correct about the Twilight myth. But that doesn't explain how the chakram could have that much power. Granted, it can boost the strength of a warrioress such as Xena, but how can it save a weakening god?"
Hera stood near her husband, who still watched as the small man rode off for the Temple of the Chakram, leaving dite behind. " The mortal hero believes Xena will be incensed enough by the death of her daughter to get the chakram from Mars and defeat him. What his own plan for going there is, it's his secret."
"Don't change the subject, my husband, you know what I believe," Hera patted his shoulders. "The chakram was invented by Dyé:s Pté:r. He and Westya built the chakram temple, the oldest remaining shrine on earth. What plans they had for it remai-"
"Rubbish!" he fumed. "I do not believe in Dyé:s Pté:r and that Indo-European pantheon myth. The Olympians and the Roman deities are not parallel pantheons and Dyé:s did not create the universes and the Titans. We are nothing like Jupiter and his bunch." Zeus rarely interrupted his wife in conversation. Pre-Titan belief was a sore spot with him.
It delighted Hera to see him still passionate about any theory that mortals debated in earnest. Still, she decided not to tell him it was an idea gaining more acceptance among certain historical groups on earth. "My dear, let's repair to our hot tub. You can tell me your ideas on the history of the chakram temple. I will let you know how I feel about an insane god possessing too much power. Then I will show you- well, you must wait for that."
The sleepy palace pup, Heidi, watched as the two figures headed for a refreshing change of scenery.
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