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Yo Brian! How's the "Y" ep coming along? i'm anxiously awaiting the 7th season finale (cliffhanger perhaps, hmmm?).
 
Posts: 10448 | Location: State of Insanity | Registered: 11 May 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My quill has fallen and it can't get up!!!

Seriously... I have had some sort of writer's block... got stuck and have had trouble getting going.

My Y episode should be along soon. I didn't mean to make a cliffhanger out of it.
 
Posts: 207 | Location: Tennessee, USA | Registered: 23 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Warrior...Princess...YKnots

A Valentine's Day Love Episode

Directed by Aphrodite, Goddess of Love
Starring Xena and Gabrielle
And Introducing the YKnots


"And Love Makes The Difference"

Gabrielle twirls a sling around her head once and then whips it forward, the rock streaks through the air and plunks against a big oak.
"Three to three, so far I'm keeping up with the Warrior Princess. In practice I've made twelve in a row. Afraid you'll be bested by a short blonde girl?" Gabrielle teases.
"Scared to death. Maybe I should just concede and save myself the shame," Xena replies, then effortlessy slings a projectile of her own and thuds it against the tree. "Loser does laundry."
"Wait, that wasn't part of the deal when we started!" Gabrielle protests.

Suddenly there's a cloud of sparkles circling the duo, and just as quickly the sparkles recede and we see Gabrielle and Xena dressed in short skirted white togas, leafy tiaras in their hair and small bows in their hands. They are in Aphrodite's temple, and the Goddess is on a chaise being tended to by a bevy of half naked muscular men. A quartet of men with lyres pluck a harmony of romantic music.
"Hi Sweets!! Great to see you again, and you look ever so cuddly in your new outfits!" the Goddess exclaims.
"What's going on, Aphrodite?" Xena asks, trying to adjust her toga so it at least fully covers her butt cheeks.
"Have we forgotten so soon? A favor is owed to me, and I'm calling it in. I'm sending you on a mission for me and I expect nothing short of rousing success," the Queen of Love says.
Gabrielle is tugging up the shoulder strap to raise the bustline to a public decency level. "We can't fight in these outfits, Aprhodite."
"Now who said anything about fighting? Your working for the Love Connection now. There's some seriously unfinished business in the Realm Of Romance. A situation that should have been rectified long, long ago. You'll be aiding a bachelorette snag her dreamlove. It's critical you discover the true nature of the mission, or your debt will not be absolved. So the Cupid togs are necessary. Hmmmm, now that I think of it though, perhaps I could send you undercover."
Aphrodite waves her hand and X & G are suddenly images of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy, big red braids, freckles, and short pants. She frowns, waves her hand again, they change into male versions of themselves, with beards and hairy chests. She wrinkles her nose at that and waves one more time, changing them into pixie fairies, white tights and white tutus and large white ephemeral wings. Aphrodite studies the pair for a moment than wiggles a finger and changes them back to the normal Xena and Gabrielle. "To Tartarus with the undercover, just go and help the struggling lovers. Don't fail me. And take the YKnots, my lyre quartet, with you. After all, it's a musical episode."

Everything swirls and swims around and then curls backward and Xena, Gabrielle and the lyre quartet are standing in the town square of Poteidaia.
"Xena, we have to see Lila." Gabrielle tugs Xena along. "If anyone knows the goings on in Poteidaia it's Lila. She'll be able to give us all the details of the local romances."
They go to the old farm and Lila is thunderstruck to see them. She is inside with a few friends, and she makes introductions all around. Callana, Hesperia and Daphne greet the warriors with a respectful curiousity.
Callana comments, "Just yesterday Lila said she wasn't inviting you to the wedding! I'm happy she changed her mind. It's amazing you got here so quickly."
"What wedding? Who's getting married?" asks Gabrielle.
The group eyes each other, suddenly realizing the sisters have something to discuss. Callana speaks up. "I think I'll fetch water from the well. Who wants to help?"
"I do," reply all the others, even Xena, and they quickly exit the room. They end up in front of the farmhouse, Xena has a hold of Callana and says, "Spill it."
"Ask him," Callana says and points to an approaching rider. She runs off with the others and Xena watches a vaguely familiar form approach on a horse, then is startled when he pulls up and dismounts, giving her a face to face look.
"Perdicrap!!" Xena exclaims.
"Perdicus," he corrects her. "Hello Xena. You look surprised to see me. Is Gabrielle here? or did you manage to kill her too, the way you got me slaughtered?"
"Gabrielle's inside with Lila. And Callisto did the slaughtering, not me, remember?" Xena feels a bit sheepish about the remark, and continues, "Er, sorry about the slaughtering thing just the same. I did feel bad for you. Did it hurt a lot?"
"Only for the few minutes it took me to die," he replies. "After that it was all Elysian Fields. Great place, I wasn't too sold on coming back, but Lila has changed my mind about that."
Xena asks, "So how did you get to come back? Why aren't you still in the Elysian Fields?"
"Some weird karmic balance thing about Callisto and the people she killed. She was redeemed, so we were too. It's some complicated scenario, I never quite understood it myself. Who can make sense of these Olympians and their silly logic. Anyway, I'm back in Poteidaia."
Gabrielle and Lila exit the house, Lila runs into Perdicus' arms, and Gabrielle tells Xena. "She's marrying Perdicus."
"Great. Congratulations. My best to you both." Xena can see no one is comfortable at all. She grabs Gabrielle and tells the other pair, "We'll be back soon, we have business."
She half drags Gabrielle up the road a short distance, then veers off into the woods and they both sit on a fallen log. Gabrielle looks shocked and distraught and confused all at the same time. The YKnots began strumming a dramatic phrase.
"Beat it," commands the tall dark one to the musicians, and then to Gabrielle, "Talk!"
"Lila's getting married to Perdicus," Gabrielle says.
"I get that. So why does everyone look like someone just died?" Xena asks.
"She's afraid. She wants to marry him badly but now she's horrified that I have found out, and terrified I'm here."
"Why? Does she think you'd want him back again?"
"Not exactly. See, if he's alive again, and I'm here, that means we're still married. Perdicus and I are husband and wife. What will the town think of her if she marries him, when he and I are lawfully wedded. He has all the rights and permissions of a husband. By legal right he could force me to go home with him and... submit." Gabrielle bites her lip with worry. "This is an old fashioned town, Xena, very traditional and following the social norms is not just important, it's essential. If Lila and I don't handle this carefully, Lila and Perdicus could fall into major disrepute with the townsfolk. Their lives and livelihoods here could be ruined."
"So what? Tell them to come with us to the Rock Star Army. Forget these simple minded idiots," Xena fumes. "And just let one of these backwater jerks get it into their heads that you have to 'submit' to anyone and the fists are gonna fly."
Gabrielle suddenly is struck by a thought.
"This is our mission. That's why Aphrodite sent us. She said 'critical to understand the true nature of the mission.' She knows only I can extricate Lila from this mess. We have to arrange a happy wedding, not just for them, but one that makes the whole town content. That's the critical part, to allow them to live happily, not just get married. Somehow I have to sort this out so their love can be accepted by the town." She looks to the Warrior Princess. "We're going to be wedding planners. Any ideas?"
Xena rolls her eyes and offers sarcastically, "Kill 'em all and let Hades sort out the mess?"
"Xena! Get your Cupid gear on! We're going to make a 'Happily Ever After'. C'mon!" Gabrielle heads back to the farm.
Back at the house Gabrielle has taken charge. She turns to Lila. "It's up to you and I to make the town ok with things, so we've got our work cut out for us. What still needs to be done about your wedding ceremony?"
"Nothing. I mean, we weren't doing anything other than seeing the judge. We thought low key would be best."
"Not any more. Not for my sister. Xena, you and Perdicus have to arrange a decent ceremony. Not a princess affair, but at least something worthy of my family. Traditional ceremonies are big in Poteidaia, so a wedding will be a key act of acceptance for them. Callana and the other ladies will assist you with arrangements. Lila, come with me, we're going to come up with a plan." Gabrielle heads to the other room. Lila follows, and so do the YKnots.
"Gabrielle! You just put a man and a warrior in charge of my wedding! There's going to be nothing but strippers and beer and athletic contests! What were you thinking?" Lila scolds.
"Xena has many skills. Don't underestimate her," Gabrielle reassures her.

Later that afternoon Xena returns to the farm.
"The ceremony will be ready, Callana and the others are gathering the last of the essentials. Perdicrap had to see someone in town about business."
"Perdicus," Lila and Gabrielle say together.
"Right. Sorry. Perdicus. Anyway, I have one more task to do for the ceremony so I'll be back later. How's your end of the plan shaping up?" Xena asks.
"We're stuck," Gabrielle laments. "Everything we've come up with so far is lame, too involved, or downright impossible. How do you change generations of tradition in the minds of simple farmers in half a day?"
"Keep trying. I'll be back soon. You all, come with me and let them work." Xena runs off, taking the YKnot strummers with her.

Early evening arrives and Xena is back.
"What's the plan? Everything else is ready," says the Princess.
Gabrielle and Lila stare glumly at the table.
"Well?" asks Xena again.
"I've failed, Xena. I don't even have the start of a plan. This problem has me stumped. I've let my sister down, and you too. Our debt to Aphrodite is no closer to being satisfied," Gabrielle says. Her crestfallen expression, coupled with the heartbreak on Lila's face, softens the Warrior's heart and she says gently, "Gabrielle, Lila, we'll get it done. Sometimes answers come from unlikely places." Xena puts an arm around each of the sisters. "We'll find a solution."
The Yknots play a plaintive, sad tune that fills the room. Xena rolls her eyes at them.

Just then Perdicus rides up and enters the farmhouse. "Everything's set for tomorrow. It's all ok. The town has blessed our marriage."
"What? How did you do that?" Lila says with excitement.
"Simple. After getting the ceremony ready, I went to town and spoke with some of the elders. I told them I had sent for you Gabrielle, to tell you I didn't want to be married to you anymore. You talk too much, you spend all your time dressed butch and running around with a Warrior freak, and your mind wobbles about your path in life every few months. I told them I'm sick of it and didn't want you anymore. I wanted your sister who behaves properly. Who could be a quiet, acceptable wife."
The women stare dumbfounded. Finally Gabrielle stammers out, "And they said that was ok? You could just chuck me aside and divorce me?"
"Well I also pointed out you'd gained a few pounds since we got married. They said, by all means, throw her out and take the skinny sister. They said I'm the man, I should just do what I want," Perdicus says.
Once again, the women stare dumbfounded. After a moment, Xena turns her head and spits into the fireplace.
"Looks like Perdicrap solved the problem," Xena says.
"Perdicus," they all correct her.
Xena spits one more time, and says darkly, "Right. Perdicus. The man. The man has solved the problem. Us silly women were worried over nothing. Let's have a wedding."
"Wait! Xena! That's the plan? I'm a woman so I just get thrown aside? Perdicus! Did you really say those things? Did they really say, 'you're the man, do whatever you want'?" Gabrielle asks.
"Gabrielle, I didn't invent these times and this society, I just live in them. And I want to live with Lila. I love her, and I am doing what needs to be done for us to be together. So yes, I said those things and they said ok to marry Lila. That's good enough for me," says Perdicus. "Is it good enough for you, Lila? So we can be married?"
Lila nods, tears in her eyes. "I want to be married, Perdicus. I want to live with you." She turns to Gabrielle, some anger in her voice. "What do you care? You don't even live here anymore. You do what you want and go wherever you want with Xena. You left here a long time ago and have never regretted it. Why do you fuss over something that means nothing to you anyway? It's our chance to be happy. Doesn't that matter to you?"
Gabrielle says, "Of course, Lila. I'm just not sure doing the wrong thing for a right reason is the answer. There must- "
Xena stops Gabrielle with a finger over her lips. She says to Perdicus and Lila, "Give us a moment."

Xena takes Gabrielle aside and murmurs quietly, "Aphrodite said the true nature of the mission. Love takes a lot of forms Gabrielle. Maybe we're supposed to give a little here. For their love. For our love for Lila. Give in a bit, so our love for them will help their love for each other. Look... love doesn't solve everything, you know. You love your family but you left. I love my mother but I left. We love the Amazons but we don't live there. There can be disappointment in love, but in the long run the pain doesn't outweigh the blessing. We've pained people who love us with our choices, maybe we have to feel some pain here. As a way to give back some of that love. I say give them their chance. Let's help Lila and Perdicrap find their joy, as we've found ours."
Gabrielle just sits and fumes.
"If you want to fight this, I'm your partner, I'll stand with you and fight it. I'm just advising you, as your best friend, think about what their love means to them. What Lila's happiness is worth to you. Lila's got a point. We don't live here. Maybe it's not our battle, not our time to fight it. Maybe fighting for the right thing will cost them their chance to be married and live here. And so what if this town thinks you're an unworthy wife for a farmer? You're worthy to me. I hope that means a lot to you."
Gabrielle looks up at her Princess. "It's not right. I hate this."
"I know." Xena puts her hand on Gabrielle's shoulder.
"Men suck," says Gabrielle.
"I know," Xena answers.
"The world really sucks sometimes," says Gabrielle.
"I know," Xena answers. "And sometimes only love makes it bearable."
A silence hangs between them for a minute, and then Gabrielle says, "Let's have a wedding."

"The best of blessings to you both." Gabrielle hugs her sister. She hugs Perdicus. "May the gods smile upon you."
"Wow." Perdicus looks at the sisters. "Divorced in the morning, married in the afternoon. That's quite a day. But in the meantime... one more night of wedded bliss, eh Gabrielle? Woman... get in that kitchen and make me a sandwich." He slaps Gabrielle on the rump. "And be quick about it. Then we'll head off to bed."
Dead silence fills the room.
"Gabrielle, he's kidding," says Lila. "It's just a joke."
"Boy, you should have seen the expression on your face, Gabrielle. It was priceless." Perdicus roars with amusement. He turns laughing to Xena. "Did you see the look on her?"
Xena has a menacing, violent scowl on her face, her bright blue eyes flashing a dark murderous intent.
Perdicus swallows dryly and turns to Gabrielle. "Your expression was hilarious. Hers, I hope I never see again."

The next afternoon has come to an end. A happy wedding, supported by gleeful townfolk has bonded two souls into matrimony. Ribbons, streamers, pennants, the Yknots as buskers, flowers and a small tent for an altar provided a glorious atmosphere.
"Thanks for your hard work, Xena. I wasn't sure what to expect from a warrior, but it was a beautiful setting. Thank you." Lila gives Xena a heartfelt hug.
"I told you, she has many skills," says Gabrielle with pride for her partner.
"It was easy. I just kept thinking, 'What would Gabrielle want?' She guided me through it even though she wasn't here," Xena replies.
"That's why you two belong together," says Perdicus.

Gabrielle leads Xena away from the others.
"Have I really gained weight since I married Perdicus?" she asks, glancing backward, trying to see her own butt. "I don't feel different. Stronger maybe, more compact, not really heavier."
Xena smiles at her friend. "Well, lets see."
She spins Gabrielle around and cups the Bard's butt cheeks with both hands. "Seems the same to me."
Xena runs her hands up Gabrielle's torso, copping a few good feels along the way. She whispers into the blond's ear, "No difference there. I think you're still one smokin' hot woman."
"And what about my outfits? You're six feet tall, wear black leather, armor, carry a sword, and kick everyone's ass yet I'm always called the 'butch' one. Is it the short hair?"
Xena explains, "There's a fine line between Warrior and butch for women. You said it... six feet tall, armor, sword, ass kicker... no one calls me names because they know I'll whack them silly. Next time someone refers to you in a less than flattering manner, kick them in the groin."
The two share a soft laugh. Gabrielle says, "There's a lesson for a Valentine's Day Love episode. 'Kick them in the groin!' "

The farming community has said their farewells and offered blessings to the newlyweds, and have headed out for the early evening chores. The setting sun gives a rhododendron glow to the empty tables, a warm Attican breeze unfurls the pennants and gives a gentle sway to the wedding tent. Lila and Perdicus are about to make their exit to a honeymoon hut, saying their thanks to Callana and the others. The Yknots serenade softly, and Gabrielle is trying to remove a brightly colored pennant from a tall pole as a souvenir of her sister's wedding. Xena calls the lingering few together by the tent.
Gabrielle, struggling with getting the pennant untied, calls out, "I could use a tall warrior over here."
"Leave it for now, Gabrielle. Come here please. I need a short bard over here," Xena answers.
Gabrielle looks towards the tent, sees the young ladies on one side, the newly married couple on the other, and Xena standing right in the middle. They are all looking at Gabrielle, a solemn, purposeful silence among them. She walks toward them, and the Yknots start playing a lilting march. Every eye is upon her, watching her approach Xena, who's standing tall with a warm, glowing look on her face. The Bard walks to her Princess. Xena clasps one of her hands with one of hers, reaches into her bodice and removes a small scroll, which she passes to Gabrielle.

Her earnest gaze needs no words. Gabrielle unreels the scroll and reads along as Xena recites:
"When I ponder my reflection,
I no longer view myself
I see me, but you
I see one, but two
My soul has become entwined
And has found its true direction.

When I wonder of my future life
I can't ponder of myself
There is me, and you
Love bidden, and true
Fate and its contemplation
Is meaningless without my wife.

Somehow I knew you before birth
And I'll know you after death
Our lives one, and shared
Our souls two, but paired
Our destinies merged but apart
Existing in Heaven and on earth."

Xena drops to one knee and presses Gabrielle's hand to her cheek.
"I vow myself to thee, and only thee
My life, my wealth, my name, my soul
Are all thine for eternity.
My joy, my health, my strength, my sword
At your side 'til death comes for me."

A tear rolls down the Warrior's cheek as she rises. Gabrielle, eyes brimming over with wetness, her hand gripping Xena's, kneels and repeats, her voice cracking with emotion:
"I vow myself to thee, and only thee.
My life, my wealth, my name, my soul
Are all thine for eternity
My joy, my health, my strength, my sword
At your side until death comes for me."

She rises. Xena is handed a bracelet by Perdicus. The metal ringlet has a large X followed by a chakram, followed by an X and another chakram until the eternal circle closes. The bracelet looks like this: XoXoXoXo. Xena circles Gabrielle's wrist with it and clasps it together. Lila steps up and hands a bracelet to Gabrielle. It has a G followed by a quill and another G and another quill until the circle closes. It looks like this: G ! G ! G ! G !. Gabrielle wraps the strong wrist offered to her. As she closes it together, a tear falls and lands on the clasp.
The two embrace, standing together for a full minute. Xena whispers, "I love thee."
Gabrielle whispers back, "Always."
The pair turn towards the others and are greeted by smiles and cheers and clapping. Xena, arm around the Bard, says, "I guess it's time we got a real song into this episode."
"Now's the time," Gabrielle answers. She calls to the YKnots. "Strike it up guys."

The strumming starts the tune of "I'm Yours', which sounds like this, and our duo duets:

Well you done wed me and you bet I felt it
I tried to be tough but you're so hot that I melted
I fell in love with you
Now I'm going to keep you
Before the ep done run out
I'll be giving it the testest
Nothing's going to stop me but divine intervention
I reckon its again my turn to love some and learn some

I don't wanna wait no more no more
It is our fate, I'm yours


Xena sings:
Let's open up our hearts and we will see
Open up our plans and we'll roam free
Look into our hearts and we'll find love love lovey love
Listen to the rhythm of the moment we can dance and sing, we're just our own family
It's the chance for us now to be loved love loved love love

So I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait I'm sure
There's no need to complicate
Our time is now
This is our fate, I'm yours

Do you want to, come on, scootch on over closer dear
And I will always be near


(the pair do a short waltz-like dance break, ending with Xena bending Gabrielle backward in her arms)
Gabrielle spins out of her arms and sings:

I've been spending way too long finding my path for the future
And bending over backwards just to try to see it clearer
But my brain fogged up the path
And so I walk a new pace and I laugh

I guess what I'll be saying is that I came to common senses
And got myself some sanity and just got with my Princess
It's what I'm meant to do
Your name is my virtue
Let's not hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait I'm sure!


Together they sing:

We opened up our minds and bent our knee
Opened up our plans and damn we're free
Look into our hearts and we'll find that the time is now
so please don't, please don't, please don't.
There's no need for us to wait
'cause the time is now
This oh this oh this is our fate
I'm yours!


As the pair fall into a giggling embrace, everythings swirls and changes color and swirls again and they find themselves back in Aphrodite's temple.
"The loving couple has returned. And what did we learn about the true nature of this mission?" she asks.
Xena and Gabrielle look knowingly at each other, and Xena says, "Something that has been left undone for years, something we all knew should have happened, has been corrected at last."
Aphrodite wrinkles her nose at this and says, "That was the result. What was the lesson?"
"Love endures. Love exists, regardless of the circumstances around it." The Bard looks at her partner. "Devotion, by definition, is perseverance. As an Olympian, you're immortal Aphrodite. But the Gift Of Love you've bestowed on mankind gives us an immortality of our own."
The Goddess smiles. "That's close enough. I'm very happy for you two. I've watched your struggles and triumphs over the years and was tempted to steer you along, but I had faith you'd find it by yourselves."
"Find what, Aphrodite?" Xena asks.
"That happy ending you both wanted. The happy ending you both deserved. Congratulations, my leather-clad lovelies." She hugs Xena, turns then and hugs Gabrielle. Aphrodite's hand slips down to the Bard's bottom as she murmurs in Gabrielle's ear, "Holler for me if you get bored with her."
Gabrielle yanks Aphrodite's hand off her butt. "It's not the end, Aphrodite. We still have a Zeta episode to go," she points out.
"And you shall have it, my sweets, as a married couple," Aphrodite explains. "What could be happier than that for you?"

The YKnots strike up a happy melody, and hum a sweet harmony to it.
"Aphrodite, who are these guys? I've never heard of the YKnots," Xena asks.
"I made them up. This is my first time directing an episode, so I created a band just for me," she replies. "You know, there's a tradition of making up bands... The Monkees, The Partridge Family, The Archies, those silly shows about amateurs becoming Idols and Making A Band. I don't care for any of the Y rock stars, so I made up my own. What do you think?"
"Not exactly Rock Stars, are they? But they serve a purpose I guess," Xena answers. "So, our Mighty Aphrodite and Director, how do you plan to conclude this episode?"
"With another song, what else?" Aphrodite cues the YKnots. They begin strumming the tune "You And I" which sounds very much like this.

Aphrodite steps forward and sings to the Warrior Duo:
Don't you worry there my honeys
This ep's not so very funny
But it had your love to give us thrills
And now the end is warm and sunny
Maybe you wanna do, what bunnies do, you two, if you know what I mean


Gabrielle takes over and sings:
Oh we got hitched and made our hearts our home as we took a stance
We got hitched and gave each other nice bracelets and showed them how we dance
We got hitched and built a dream big as mountains giving Xena/Gabrielle the chance
We're a pair, you and I, you and I


Xena sings:
Our love was always misconstrued
The straights might get their het-teros bruised
But baby how we spoon like no one else
So I will help you write your scroll
As we assume our married role
And we will put the subtext on the shelf


The two sing together:
Oh we got hitched and made our hearts our home as we took a stance
We got hitched and gave each other nice bracelets and showed them how we dance
We got hitched and built a dream big as mountains giving Xena/Gabrielle the chance
We're a pair, you and I, you and I


Aphrodite and the YKnots join in:
Oh we got hitched and made our fate our own as we took a stance
We got hitched and gave each other nice bracelets and showed them how we dance
We got hitched and built a dream big as mountains giving Xena/Gabrielle the chance
We're a pair, you and I, you and I


The credits roll.

Disclaimer: No one was hurt in this episode, because there were no fists, kicks or swords.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Brian,
 
Posts: 207 | Location: Tennessee, USA | Registered: 23 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Bravo, Brian!

Great triumph over the writer's block...with a vengeance. i was worried the thread was gonna die off without a season ending.

i'll probably have a Z ep next weekend. Hopefully i won't be shovelin snow again...
 
Posts: 10448 | Location: State of Insanity | Registered: 11 May 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Warrior...Princess...ZZ Top

Dawn has broken and Xena awakes to a brightening sky and morning birds singing loudly. The fire has died out and a damp chill hangs in the air. She rolls on her side and looks at her sleeping partner. Gabrielle is laying on her back, head turned slightly in Xena's direction. Xena scooches closer and props herself on an elbow, regarding closely the beloved face beside her. She lightly caresses her cheek and brow, and brushes the hair on her forehead into place. A memory comes to Xena of the first time she saw Gabrielle, standing up to a crew of raiders about to abduct the women of Poteidaia for the slave trade. Her courage was unmistakable. Xena knew her efforts to engage the raiders in some sort of negotiation was futile. She was so obviously frightened, but there was no denying the earnestness of her plea, the determination to do something rather than just be victimized. She was using the best weapon she had, her ability to talk and draw focus to her words. Xena had admired the heart of this young girl, who had probably never seen any of the world except Poteidaia, suddenly thrown into a situation that called for perspective into types of people she had never encountered. Gabrielle. Innocent, inexperienced, and so very, very young. Xena compared that face to the one lying next to her now, one that has seen Life and suffered and fought so many versions of evil. The changes in her manner, her expression to the world, are unmistakable, yet the fresh beauty possessed of a shining heart still pours out of her countenance. Xena lightly brushes her lips against her cheek.

Gabrielle's eyes flutter open and look at the dark haired Princess beside her. "Good morning, Partner. How is Mrs. Gabrielle today?"
"Very content, Partner. How is Mrs. Xena?" Xena asks. She rolls onto Gabrielle, her weight settling against the smaller woman, their faces close.
"Hmmm, you feel nice. Except..." murmurs Gabrielle.
"Except what, babe?" Xena asks while placing a wet kiss on her neck.
"You're on my bladder and making it so I really need to pee," Gabrielle says.
"Such a sweet talker," Xena laughs.

*********

The pair travel all day and stop at a hamlet with a crowded inn made lively by an intense rock band. ZZ Top is pounding out "Gimme All Your Lovin'," and then follow up with "La Grange." Gabrielle and Xena know they have to stick around and recruit them for the Rock Star Army. When the ZZ trio began playing "Tush," unfortunately some of the other travelers are too inspired and too drunk, and they mistake our female duo for a pair of harlots, available for the taking. After being grabbed on the butt Xena turns and begins a series of kicks sending her gropers into unconsciousness. Their buddies jump in and Gabrielle, always having Xena's back, joins the feetfest and within a minute six baddies are knocked cold by well placed kicks. The band, impressed by the prowess of the leather lovelies, break into a tribute song, "Legs." Singing "They got Legs, and they sure know how to use them" the band praises the quick dispatch of the troublemakers. During a break between sets Xena and Gabrielle convince them to travel to Guitaropoly with them and join the Rock Star Army. The trio, excited about their prospects, head back onstage and sing about becoming a "Sharp Dressed Man" and acquiring some "Cheap Sunglasses."

*********

X & G and ZZ Top had been traveling through the afternoon and early evening and are looking for a place to camp for the night when they come across a small group of villagers staying in a pasture. They are on their way to a religious festival, and have received permission from the farmer to spend the night in his field. This group of families invites Xena and her party to camp with them. Needing a meal and some extra provisions Gabrielle trades a large knife with leather scabbard they had taken from a thug. They eat heartily with their new companions. As Pleiades and Orion blaze the night sky the families ask Gabrielle to share stories of Xena's battles. Orestes, one of the elder villagers speaks up.
"We've all heard tales of battle. Perhaps there is a story of your travels together that is not written in Scroll, and not shared in songs. Gabrielle, is there an aspect of your life with Xena that you've never really shared?" he asks. "What has been one of your great struggles that hasn't been told?"
All eyes turn toward her, and she says, "Actually, one of the greatest struggles we have faced at times is food. Often we can stay in towns, inns, or a kind farmer's barn. We can buy or barter for meals, except we don't always have money. Sometimes we've been in the countryside for days and weeks. We trap or hunt game, but we'll have no bread, cheese, or wine. Too many times we've eaten rabbit and water for breakfast, lunch and dinner several days in a row. Often we follow the rivers or streams to stay near fresh water, but many don't have fish worth catching. We scrounge a few mushrooms, berries, or wild greens, but never enough. Xena and I have eaten plenty of scrawny birds for supper, or just gone hungry. Campfires aren't conducive to bread baking, so carrying grain or mill flour is impractical. There's not as much wild game around as people think. It's hard to survive off the countryside. We've made do, but the menu has been bleak or monotonous often enough. And there were times it was very bad."
Xena chimes in, "She means the nights I do the cooking. Those were the worst of times."
The new friends are amused at Xena's self-effacing humor.
"Not one of your many skills, Xena?" ask Orestes.
"I can't claim that one," Xena replies. "As Gabrielle says, there were times it was very bad."
"Xena's kidding, she's not that bad of a cook. And those weren't the worst times, by any means."
Gabrielle pauses, then looks toward the faces around her.
"I know you all remember the second year of the drought. No one had enough food. If extended family or old friends needed help, it was difficult. Not because you didn't want to, but just because there was so little to share. Bad crops, livestock wasting to skeletons, chickens not laying, what was there to eat? let alone share? "
The expressions around the campfire have grown darkly somber, every person recalling what a difficult two years it was, the second year especially pushing families to the breaking point. Eating the seed of next year's crop, slaughtering breeding stock because they were wasting to nothing and dying anyway, trading treasured long-held family heirlooms for small sacks of flour. Sickness taking greater toll because all were so weak, and there was so little to stave off disease once it had taken hold.
"Tonight you were all so kind and welcoming, pleased to have fellow travelers share a fireside and offer a few stories. But if we had come upon you that second drought year, we would not have been welcome. Everyone knew strangers and travelers would be seeking food, through means fair or foul, but with so little, strangers were threatening. Even when we had money, and villagers knew we meant no harm, they did not want us to stay. We realized their reasons for fear, but some days we were starving too. Even some towns we had done good service for had no welcome for us. Not out of meanness, I know, but self preservation. Understanding their plight didn't make us any less hungry though. "
"I am ashamed to say you speak truthfully. Our village had nothing to share, " Orestes says. "We would not have been glad to see you then. And dinars meant little to us. There was nothing to buy anyway, and you can't eat coins. Selling our food for dinars or gold only meant more suffering for our children."
"Thankfully the times were easier when Xena was pregnant, and she ate better but I remember riding all day, hearing her stomach grumble non stop, on top of her snoring in the saddle."
Xena chimes in, "At least it helped with the morning sickness. A lot less to throw up each day."
The guffaws in the crowd are interrupted by a woman asking, "You were pregnant? You have children?"
Xena stares into the fire, and answers evenly, hiding all emotion.
"My first died as a young boy. I was separated from my daughter for twenty five years and then we reunited for a brief time. She lives in the East, teaching the ways of Eli."
This is news to many of the villagers, and some are stunned, some are stirred to more questions, but Gabrielle artfully steers the conversation away.
"People speak of our adventures, and our brushes with death, and never do they imagine us starving. It was not something I ever imagined either, really." Gabrielle looks at Xena, who's back to quietly polishing her armor. "Often Xena would give me a portion of food to eat, telling me she'd eaten her half already. I knew she was lying, she was giving up her share altogether so there would be more for me. I would argue about it but no one wins battles with a Warrior Princess."
"She exaggerates," responds Xena. "And what she never knew was at night when she was sleeping I would dip into the saddlebags and eat all the food. Once she believed she lost half a dozen scrolls but really I ate them."
Everyone laughs at Xena's joke, and the affection between them is apparent to everyone. Obviously they suffered together, and looked out for one another.
"I'm going to rub down Argo. Don't believe everything she tells you. Storytelling is her art, not her science." The campfire crowd enjoys her jibe, and Xena wanders away, leaving Gabrielle with the rapt audience.
A teenage boy, Ponus, asks shyly about Xena, "Her beauty is amazing. I thought the tales were probably exaggerations, but she's flawless, a living perfection. Do men fall in love with her everywhere you go?"
Gabrielle smiles and nods. "Men and women. Everywhere we go."
"Is there... something about her beauty that is not so obvious? a beauty only you've seen?" Ponus is blushing, and stammering his words a bit. "Perhaps a beauty not always spoken of?"
Argus, Ponus' little brother, pipes up. "He wants to know what she looks like naked."
Ponus turns bright red and punches his brother on the arm. The gathered assembly laughs at the two young boys.
Gabrielle eyes the crowd and with a seductive manner, whispers, "Well... maybe since she's not here, and maybe just this once... and if you promise not to tell her we spoke of it. Let me tell you one thing about Xena I notice every time she's naked. "
All hush, even the elders curious to what is coming. Gabrielle slowly scans each face in the crowd, building the suspense and finally she speaks.
"Xena... no armor, no leather, no bodice...long, dark hair flowing...muscles toned, her skin bronze and glorious... tall, broad shouldered, stark naked..."
Everyone is holding their breath, captivated, watching, anticipating.
"The first thing I notice... , " Gabrielle gives a look of sweet reverie.
The silence lingers, the stillness complete among the listeners. Her voice reduces to a sultry whisper.
"I notice every time... scars."
Her audience stares. Gabrielle scans the faces, and brings home the point.
"Xena's been a warrior most of her life. There's not a limb that hasn't been broken, slashed and dislocated at least once. I brush her hair and see bald spots in her scalp where swords and clubs have broken the skin and the hair no longer grows. There are knots in her shin bones from being broken, one side of her rib cage has big lumps from being shattered by a swinging tree trunk. When she wakes up in the morning and gets up off the ground joints pop and creak and snap. She chews on one side of her mouth because the good chewing teeth on the other side got knocked out. I've pulled two of them myself. Her lower back has a jagged scar from being hit by her own chakram. These are only part of her story."
The villagers set silent, taking it all in.
"Xena truly is an amazing beauty, and always has been. Her title of Princess is appropriate for her looks, but don't ever think she's had a pampered Princess-in-a-castle-lifestyle. We always think of our heroes as strong, healthy, invincible conquerors. But heroic work hurts. Pain has been her partner longer than I have. The heroic fight may last a few moments, but the wounds linger much longer than the glory," Gabrielle says. "She's felt more pain than comfort during her life. And when I see those scars of serving the Greater Good, it makes me love her even more. I know the sacrifice she's made."
The villagers consider her words, and consider the toll that's been taken.
"When I met Xena all those years ago, she had a horse, a couple of weapons and a small bit of armor. Today, that's still all she has. I know there are sorry-assed tales of Xena taking tribute for deeds, of helping herself to the loot gathered by warlords, of building a treasury she's hidden away. Trust me. I speak truthfully to you now. Her only reward for defending the Greater Good has been the scars of which I speak. And more scars of which I won't speak. Those scars are the only legacy she's amassed."
"You are too modest, Gabrielle, you didn't list her greatest treasure. She's had you, she still does, and always will. We don't overlook your part in this. You have been at her side most of her years. We know you have suffered too," Orestes says. "Even in dim firelight I see marks of war on you. And I'm sure there are plenty more I cannot see. You sing Xena's praise, and worthy it is, but we know you have paid a heavy price as well."
Gabrielle nods, and keeps her silence, knowing there is no way to describe the deepest pains of her life. The loss of children, of family, of the truest of friends. Heroes lost in combat, innocents killed in savagery, young lives extinguished. A tear almost wells up in her eye, but she refuses to let it appear in front of the others.
A few embers in the fire fall and a log shifts slightly, everyone in a thoughtful silence. Until tonight the villagers imagined they had lived totally different lives from the battling heroes. Now they'd gained a sense of the daily pain, sacrifice, and hard living Xena and Gabrielle have endured. Much more like their own hard scrabble lives than what they dreamt a Warrior's existence would be. Xena returns, and immediately recognizes the quiet mood. Without speaking, she stirs the fire a bit, then sits next to Gabrielle. Her hand finds Gabrielle's and gives it a firm squeeze.
"Well, Gabrielle," Xena says. "Seems like you've put them to sleep with your tales."
Everyone chuckles, and Xena's confident ease seems to infect the gathering. The silence lingers, but it's far less somber.
"Thank you for your service, Xena," Orestes says. "We love our history of Gods and Titans, of half immortals such as Hercules, and of course Alexander, blessed and guided by Pericles. A Titan, a God, a King, they are all imbued with special circumstances that aid their quests and struggles. Yet it is your life, your story that means so much to us. A mortal, a commoner, a woman challenging gods, giants, monsters and Fates themselves, daring to create a destiny of her own. Of showing us it is possible. And using nothing but her own mortal life, skills, and courage. You taught us that Courage is not a characteristic imbued in a select few by the Gods. Your Courage has changed us, and your Courage has changed our world. Thank you for revealing our own Courage to us. May you always be blessed for that."
Xena lifts her face to those around her, and in a quiet tone responds, "I didn't give you anything you didn't already have. But if Gabrielle and I have helped you, I'm glad for that."
The fire once again tumbles and pops, and a few step up to gather it into a glowing mass of embers. The wood has transcended into a focal point of warmth and light. Giving up its essence of strength, presence and living energy into a source of steady comfort and vision; transforming into a life-enabling energy touching all around it.
Ponus speaks up. "Xena... what are you thinking about now? About your life, your plans?"
"I'm very grateful to be alive. After dying so many times, I'm very happy just to sit here and enjoy living. Where I go and what I do means less than it used to. Staying alive with my partner is my main plan right now." Her grip punctuates the sentiment with a slow, steady squeeze of the Bard's hand. "Jai guru deva, eh Gabrielle?"
Ponus asks, "What's 'jai guru deva?' "
Gabrielle tells briefly of when in India they won their battle against Alti and her evil.
"The crowd was chanting "jai guru deva" after Alti's vanquishing," The Bard explains. "The language is Sanskrit. It can have a variety of meanings, but loosely translated it means 'Victory to the Divine.' I think Xena's saying it's good not to have one of us be dead at the end of a season."
"Much more than good, Gabrielle," Xena responds. "Divine is an apt description for how this feels. Hallelujah for living. Hallelujah for love. Hallelujah for family. Nothing beats a happy ending."
"Will you sing a song for us, before we go off to bed?" Argus requests.
Xena asks ZZ Top to get the acoustic guitars. Xena and Gabrielle whisper together for a moment.

A tune is strummed, it sounds like this

ZZ Top begins to sing:

Now we've come to our final chords
The season played, and it pleased the board
But fans don't really watch for music, do you?
You watch for love
The fights, the fists
The minor spats, the major rift
The battlin' pair exclaiming Hallelujah

Xena and Gabrielle join in:

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Gabrielle sings:

My faith was strong, but she needed proof
I saw her battling for the truth
Her courage in a tough fight sent chills through you
She thrilled me with a blue-eyed stare
She dragged me once
and she cut my hair,
But from my lips she drew the Hallelujah

Together:
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Halleluuuu jah

Xena sings:

Poison darts and Furies fits
And once she leapt into the pit
And once we died when Romans crucified us
We're not dead from a bloody fight
We're not cold bodies in mountain ice
We're a-live and it's a joyous hallelujah !

Together:
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Halleluuu-

ZZTop:

Hallelujah

Gabrielle:
Hallelujah

Xena:
Hallelujah

All of them:
Halleluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu -uuu - jah

All of them, the families, and Xenites all over the world:
Halleluuuu- uuuuu - jah !

****

Morning has gone, the goodbyes heartfelt and well wishing sincere. The road has been pleasant and sunny, and our party has reunited with the Rock Star Army. Per the new formed tradition, the newcomers demonstrate their talent to the amassed musicians, putting on their best show. The sun pours down, the grog pours heavily, the Army is having a real rock-n-roll party. Xena and Gabrielle take it all in.

"This has been quite the season for us. Our Army is complete, filled from Alpha to Zeta. Have you had fun, Xena?" the Bard asks.
"I have." Xena replies. "How about you? Does the Rock Star life suit you? With a storybook ending to boot?"
"I think it does. Great adventures, music, spirits, a talented coterie of artists, my partner... what more could a farm girl from Poteidaia ever hope for? " Gabrielle entwines Xena's arm in her own. "I like not being dead, or devastated, or frozen. And I like being married. We were so close before, so much a part of one another, I didn't think being married could add much to it. Somehow it has. I enjoy calling you Mrs. Gabrielle. Can you be content like this, Xena?"
"Of course." Xena eyes the spectacle before them. "It's over though. You know that, right? End of season."
"I know. "
"Back to the Xenaverse for us. Living in the hearts of Xenites around the world, kept alive by their dreams and wishes. And their boards, their fiction, their videos and conventions." Xena smiles.
Gabrielle comments, "There will be a movie one day. Perhaps it's years away, but nowadays they make a movie about every little thing in the world. Sooner or later they'll make ours. Lawless and O'Connor will probably be too old to play us again, they'll get a couple of newcomers."
"I'm so used to Lucy and Renee being us, it's hard to imagine anyone else, but you're right, they'll just get others. Who do you want to play you?"
"I don't care. I'm like you. It's hard to imagine anyone but Renee. They'll probably get some stick skinny wench."
"Geez, Gabrielle. You've been sensitive about your weight this season. What's up with that? You need to remember Lao Ma's lesson."
"What's that, Xena?"
"To conquer others is to know power. To conquer yourself is to know the Weight."
"By the gods, Xena, your jokes are pathetic." Gabrielle can't help laughing at the lame efforts of her soulmate. "You make me smile though, no doubt about that."
"Hey, words are your thing. I'm the woman of action. So how about we close this thread?"
"Let's do it."

The entire Rock Star Army gathers. There are no long goodbyes or tearful partings, everyone knows the time has arrived. The Army assembles itself into a choir, the strumming starts. Music begins, playing the chords of Across the Universe by John Lennon, and they sing a choral anthem for Xena and Gabrielle which goes like this:

Fans are viewing eps like
endless rain into a paper cup
They wander while we watch
They make their way across the Xenaverse
Eps of sorrow Eps of joy
are playing through our DVDs
We're staying and replaying them

Jai guru Xena om
Xena's gonna change my world
Xena's gone and changed our world
Xena truly changed our world
Courage really changed the world

Episodes in lasered light which
play before us like a million eyes
That call us on and on across the Xenaverse
Thoughts meander like a
endless wind inside the Xena boards
they tumble blindly as
they make their way across the Xenaverse

Jai guru Xena om
Xena's gonna change my world
Xena's gone and changed our world
Xena truly changed our world
Courage really changed the world


Sounds of laughter shades of life
are playing through the seasons six
exciting and inviting us
Limitless undying love which
shines between them like a million suns
It calls us on and on across the Xenaverse

Jai guru Xena om
Xena's gonna change my world
Xena's gone and changed our world
Xena truly changed our world
Courage really changed the world
Jai guru Xena
Jai guru Xena
Jai guru Xena !
Jai guru Xena !

Gabrielle giggles and waves once more, as the choir continues:

Jai guru Xena !

The male Rock Stars:
OMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmm!!

Xena and Gabrielle:
OM !!!

The female Rock Stars:
OMMmmmmmmmm!

The male Rock Stars:
OMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmm!!


Our heroes kiss then give a gentle wave goodbye. The scene fades and the credits roll.

Disclaimer: No one was hurt during this season. Once again the Xenaverse has pulled us on and on through entertainment, joy and inspiration. Blessed be our X & G.
 
Posts: 207 | Location: Tennessee, USA | Registered: 23 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Great ending to the musical season, Brian! i still hope to get a Z entry in sometime.
 
Posts: 10448 | Location: State of Insanity | Registered: 11 May 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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