Crawling in my skin
These words they will not heal
Fear is how I fall
Confusing what is real
MOTHER OF PEACE- Season 6 Episode 24
by Richard Kloosterboer
The sequel to Conflict of Interest - The arc ends here!
DISCLAIMER: Ares, Xena and Gabrielle belong to Renaissance Pictures and Universal Studios.
All other characters are mine and so is this story.
Any references to FIN or other episodes is purely coincidental.
Lyrics from Linkin Park [no permission]
WARNING: This is a tragedy - however there is an unusually happy ending
VIOLENCE:Extreme - not for squeamish Gabrielle fans - fairly graphic
PGR [without page 12]
'You are an impossible child.' Raged Ares.
'Takes one to know one.' Stung T'Keya, Xena and Ares' godly child, hotly back.
'No don't throw that.'
'Do you have any idea how many people died to get you that that GRRR!' Ares tensed up.
'I want my mother, NOW!'
'You can't have your mother - she is reincarnated. She is mortal again.' Ares explained as best he could.
Behaving like a spoiled little brat the godly child threw another temper tantrum. 'I'm gonna get that horrible little bard.' She promised resolutely.
T'Keya was Xena's gift to Ares, a love-child born of Xena's Karmic spirit and Ares, God of War.
Soon after her birth, the one thing Ares always wanted got spoiled badly by the overly happy father.
Xena's spirit got neglected and forgotten and soon Xena longed to be with her soul-mate Gabrielle.
Aphrodite noticed the rift growing between Ares, T'Keya and Xena. Taking her friend aside she advised her to find Gabrielle and be with her.
T'Keya was at first platonic. Apathy she had inherited from her father. It took a little time, but eventually she too wanted to seek out Gabrielle. Not for a reunion - but for revenge.
Ares tried to convince his daughter to think long and hard about this.
'Let nature run its course.' He advised.
T'Keya's features looked so much like her mother's. But the dark eyes showed his own inheritance in her as well. The young female God could not be swayed from her path. All Ares ever wanted was a child of his own. But this child was a nightmare for him. Too much like him - with the subtleties of the Warrior Princess.
No one had any influence on the young god's mind. Soon she would leave Mount Olympus and seek out Gabrielle.
Gabrielle, who stole her mother Xena away from her.
Revenge will be sweet.
* * *
To Gabrielle's delight little Lilly was always near her grandmother's side. The bond she had with the little girl was eternal. Their soul's were as one - although they could never be lovers in this lifetime Gabrielle knew that one day they would reincarnate at the same time and seek each other out. Nearing the end of her life-span, she stayed close to little Lilly. Xena reincarnated anew. The little girl showed similar characteristics. Standing tall and proud. Defending the weak against bullies. Always wanting peace.
Little Lilly cuddled close to her Nana. Gabrielle envisioned the past when she herself snuggled close to Xena. How she misses those good times they had together - the battles they fought together - side by side. The last battle where she lost Xena. Tears rolled down her wrinkled face. Lilly noticed her Nana's sadness and reached up gently wiping away the tears.
'Don't cry, Nana. I love you.' Little Lilly comforted.
Gabrielle smiled a little, and gave her granddaughter a cuddle. 'I love you Xena.' She whispered.
Gabrielle was resting, dozing off a little. Lilly wanted to explore a bit more. She liked Nana's weapons. Xena's long-sword hung proudly and sheathed on the wall. Gabrielle's sais were still sheathed in her boots as a momento from a time long forgotten. The one weapon that always attracted Lilly was Nana's chakram. Little Lilly wanted to touch it, she admired it, but was also afraid of its magical powers.
For the past few weeks it had whispered to her. Secret whispers. Dangerous whispers. Warning whispers. Little Lilly was attracted to Nana's weapons, because they were Xena's weapons. Weapons used in a violent past - a past hidden in Lilly's soul consciousness. She only wanted peace. Peace like her father. Peace like her father's father. Peace like her Nana now has.
A peace that Gabrielle had worked hard to attain. And now she was nearing the end of her long life, her task as a bard with family and happiness fulfilled.
Little Lilly looked at her reflection in the beautiful chakram. She traced the edge with her fingers. It sings to her.
Little Lilly closed her eyes and a vision engulfs her entire being. Visions of violence and bloodshed. Darkness flowed into violent battles.
Screaming. Agonizing screaming of death and destruction.
Fire. Burning corpses everywhere. The smell of death overwhelmed her nostrils. Mutilated bodies surround her peripheral vision.
And she heard more screaming.
Someone jostled her. Lilly struggled against the iron grip. She wanted to run. Run as fast and as hard as she can away from this dreadful place.
Someone spun her around and she looked into a face she should know well.
Lilly looked into Xena's deep blue eyes.
'You should not be here!' Xena warned.
Lilly nodded mutely.
'This a dark place. A dark past that must be forgotten.' Xena looked pleadingly at her new incarnation. 'Leave this dark place and don't come back.'
A maniacal laugh echoed around the dark secret place within Lilly's old soul.
'There you are, mother.' Xena's likeness approached her on magical wings.
'Oh no,' Xena looked at Lilly. 'Run Lilly, NOW!'
'Stay Lilly,' said the sweet voice of T'Keya. 'Stay and watch me crush your soul.'
Lilly couldn't help it any longer. She screamed long and hard.
The vision abruptly ended and she saw the sweet face of her Nana. Elated she hugged her tight and then the hairs in the nape of her neck stood on end. She opened her eyes and they widened with sheer horror. Gabrielle felt her granddaughters heart beat faster and heard her whimpering with fear.
Lilly saw T'Keya smiling lustily at her grandmother's back licking her lips in anticipation.
* * *
Gabrielle's dragon tattoo tingled with certain determination. Letting go of Lilly very calmly she slipped her sais out of her boots and she stood up slowly, then turned around to look at a familiar face without fear.
The dark eyes of T'Keya bored deep into Gabrielle's soul who in turn took an immediate defensive stance. Lilly clutched at her Grandmother's short skirt, not wanting to let go, but she must give her soul-mate room to maneuver.
'T'Keya.' Gabrielle acknowledged icily. Knowing the name of Xena's godly daughter.
'Hello Gabrielle,' T'Keya said sweetly. 'Ooh, this must be Lilly. Look how much she's grown.'
'Leave my granddaughter out of this.' Gabrielle defended.
'Your granddaughter, 'she laughed, 'is the reason why I'm here,' she towered menacingly over the old woman, giving Gabrielle a mocking gaze, 'after I get rid of you!'
With inhuman agility old Gabrielle brought forth a hidden strength as she parried and counter-moved every strike T'Keya forced on her. Gabrielle somersaulted, then trampled against her opponent forcing her back against a wall.
T'Keya was ecstatic with battle-lust and forced a more precise attack on Gabrielle. Stalking her prey T'Keya produced a series of lunges. Gabrielle easily side-stepped these, dancing around the god's inexperience of one-to-one sparring.
'Tell me something, T'Keya. Why did you come here?'
'You took away my mother.'
'Ha! I knew your mother long before you were a figment of her imagination.'
Enraged the godly girl attacked with renewed frenzy. Gabrielle knew that this particular god was seriously deranged. How she wished that Ares would come to take away his sick little daughter.
No chance in hell that he would come. Gabrielle also knew that asking the God of War for help is a sign of weakness.
The former field commander was not to be toiled with so easily and slammed both her sais into the chest of her opponent. Surprising the young god by this tactic Gabrielle flipped easily over the female god's shoulders. Then she reached over and grabbed the handles of her sais before T'Keya could counter. And Gabrielle flipped her opponent with such force through the bedroom wall, the wall crumbled. Slipping of her impalement T'Keya fought to regain her foothold quickly before her next assault.
Gabrielle jumped through the break in the wall as agile as a teenager considering her age. The hunter and the prey stalked each other outside Gabrielle's home. A couple of Gabrielle's honor guard came to the rescue, but they were no match for the immortal God who laughed with an inhuman glee. All too soon the pair of guards lay wounded and dying beside her. There are just some things you can't teach a man.
'That was too easy.' T'Keya smirked. 'But you, Gabrielle, will make a fine warrior princess.'
It was Gabrielle's turn to smile. 'Why should I limit myself to being a mere princess. I am an Amazon Queen.'
Surprisingly fast T'Keya lunged at Gabrielle and grabbed her throat. 'Yes, a dead Queen.' Holding her close, she said, 'how about a goodbye kiss, aunt Gabrielle?' and T'Keya forcefully pressed her lips onto Gabrielle's. Gabrielle slashed at the inhuman strength of the godly creature to no avail.
'Leave her alone!' Screamed a tiny voice.
Lilly rushed out holding the chakram in her hand. She swung it bravely against T'Keya's thigh. Letting go of the death-grip on Gabrielle, T'Keya picked up the little girl instead, 'What do we have here? Little girls shouldn't play with sharp things. You might hurt yourself.' T'Keya tossed little Lilly hard against the door frame of Gabrielle's house. A sickening snap was audible as the poor girl's hip broke painfully. Still clutching the chakram Lilly fell inside Gabrielle's house. Unable to move for the moment.
* * *
'Noooo!' Gabrielle screamed through a bruised throat and lunged on her nemesis. The dragon on her back pulsating and sapping the strength of her opponent - giving Gabrielle renewed energy with every thrust. Knowing how to breathe, an experienced warrior beating an inexperienced god.
'I'm growing tired of this,' confided T'Keya.
'Well why don't you leave. You've done enough senseless damage as it is.'
T'Keya grabbed Gabrielle by the throat again, 'Didn't my mother ever tell you? You talk too much.' She threw the bard hard against the wall. Gabrielle heard some bones snap. To counter the pain and some internal bleeding she used the pinch on herself. Then stood up as quick as her old bones allowed.
Maneuvering swiftly around the god, Gabrielle tried to lure the evil creature away from her granddaughter.
'You are too old and weak for this game of cat and mouse.' T'Keya taunted.
'My-oh-my,' Gabrielle laughed. 'the mouse can speak.'
'You are going to die.' T'Keya shrieked.
'Over my dead body.' Chuckled Gabrielle.
Gabrielle yodeled and surprised the godly child with Samurai swiftness. Jabbing her sais deep within the young god's immortal body. Twisting the sais as its attack struck home. T'Keya felt no pain, only annoyance as the little woman beat her again and again. She was swiftly learning though, but was surprised that her stamina was suffering.
Lilly watched in slow motion as the unequal battle focused on a moment that will scar Lilly the rest of her life.
One thrust too many, thought Gabrielle and its all over.
The evil godly daughter T'Keya ruthlessly caught one of Gabrielle's arms. Holding on Gabrielle's wrist tightly a smile crept along that oh-so familiar likeness of Xena. The dark eyes betrayed of the other's inheritance as she was taking full advantage of her parentage.
Gabrielle could not be held on to like that for too long. Why the gods used the same physiology as humans soon proved useful in this battle of wits and stamina. Her wrist still trapped Gabrielle did not retreat or struggle. In fact she broke free by suddenly moving forward and twisting her own arm against the thumb of her opponent. Suddenly free Gabrielle did a running leap somersault and whilst the god slammed on her back, she landed squarely on her chest.
Jumping off, Gabrielle put her own knee on the god's chest to stop her from getting up.
'Why don't you just yield. I'm far more experienced than you.' Gabrielle pleaded with T'Keya.
Struggling against the weight on her chest, T'Keya screamed and tried to slash her talons at Gabrielle. Gabrielle winced as her thigh received four slices made by godly fingernails. Quick as she can, she produced her sash and tightened a noose around the top of her leg to stem the blood flow of the deep wound. It also meant that Gabrielle lost her advantage over the young god who stood up licking her fingers clean of human blood. Sickened by the sight Gabrielle turned away in disgust. That was the moment T'Keya was waiting for as she slammed Gabrielle in a nearby wall. Another audible snap and Gabrielle saw a bone protrude through the skin of her arm.
Her opponent quickly jumped out of the way before Gabrielle's counter move and smirked evilly when she realized that Gabrielle was in obvious pain and panic.
Gabrielle was fighting tears as she realized that T'Keya was going to win this battle. If only her son would come home soon. She looked at little Lilly lying inside helpless and broken. She must protect Lilly - she must.
With her broken arm dangling uselessly beside her, Gabrielle brought forth her last bit of strength. Impressive as she was, Gabrielle was no match for the young God in her weakened battle-broken state. The god grabbed the dangling broken arm of Gabrielle, which still held one of her sais.
Twisting Gabrielle's arm unnaturally, Gabrielle gasps in sudden surprise as she felt her own signature weapon piercing painfully through her own skin. T'Keya howled in satisfaction as she maliciously thrust the sais deeply into Gabrielle's chest piercing her heart.
As Gabrielle lay bleeding to death from her mortal wounds, T'Keya chuckled, 'Now you know what that feels like.'
With her dying breath Gabrielle stuttered, 'You are sick! Go to hell!' Her eyes stared blankly into a familiar face and the soulless dark eyes of T'Keya.
'Bye Gabrielle.' She laughed triumphantly over the dead body of the Warrior Bard.
Lilly lay inside Gabrielle's home in a state shock. Tears cascading down her tender face.
'Gabrielle.' She choked as she realized her beloved grandmother and soul mate lay dead. A battle to the death with a god, an unfair advantage.
Xena's spirit was proud of her Warrior Bard. The old soul knew of the odds, but she was proud her lessons stayed true until the end. Her Warrior Bard's memory will not be forgotten. The Akashic records will remember her bravery for standing up of what she believed in.
T'Keya will be forgotten - Xena will do anything to get rid of this abomination of hers. Lilly needed the soul of the Warrior Princess to accomplish this task - Lilly needed to concentrate - Xena felt renewed energy crawling up through her body. The pain in her broken hip being focused on the new energy. In her hands the chakram hummed and vibrated with some unknown intensity of its own. With difficulty she managed to block T'Keya's view of this magical moment. The chakram split and became the Chakram of Darkness and the Chakram of Light. Realizing that the ancient weapon represented both Xena and her twin-soul whilst alive, she accepted that with hers and Gabrielle's death, the Chakram no longer needed to be the way it was. A new master would be found - but for the moment, Xena's soul recognized the weapon laying in front of her. With a vengeful look in the little girls face she quickly hid the Chakram of Light beneath the folds of her clothes and waited for T'Keya to come.
* * *
Gabrielle lay discarded like a rag-doll. The old warrior bard's badly bruised and broken body still clutched one of the sais in her dead hand. The other sais was driven deep under her ribcage through her heart. Surprise was embedded on her ancient face of witnessing her soul-mate's likeness kill her so brutally.
It was such a senseless killing.
It was sheer murder.
T'Keya triumphed over her mad jealousy. She had killed the hated Warrior Bard. The bard who stole her mother away. She laughed another maniacal laugh and then sought out the little girl.
All she still needed to do was free her mother's soul by killing little Lilly.
Then they could leave this godforsaken place together arm-in-arm.
A terrified Lilly lay still in the far corner of Gabrielle's home. The pain in her broken hip made her senses numb. She kept her secret weapon hidden from Ares' evil daughter.
'There you are, my precious.' T'Keya cooed at Lilly.
Reaching out at the little girl she intoned, 'I'm not going to hurt you much.'
Finding some unknown courage Lilly accused. 'You killed my Nana. You killed Gabrielle.' Then cried, 'Why?'
T'Keya paused and replied. 'I only did it for you - mother. She took you away from me.'
'You had no right,' her little face was stinging with tears. Anger and fear combined on the young girl's face - already maturing quickly as Xena took over Lilly's consciousness. 'I will hate you forever for this, T'Keya.'
'Hate - love, what's the difference? At least you'll have some feelings for me.' She then picked up Lilly's small frame by the throat and squeezed.
'Time to come home, mother.' She said menacingly.
Too late T'Keya saw a circular light appear beyond the folds of Lilly's dress.
Caught by surprise the last thing T'Keya saw before oblivion was the Chakram of Light slicing through her head. The godly child died instantly and was reduced to ashes. The arm holding the little girl up so high in a choke-hold suddenly dropped poor Lilly painfully before the arm disintegrated before her very eyes. The Chakram of Light was still pulsating in T'Keya's very human looking skull, charred a sickened sooty pallor. A cleave precise and clean. A trophy for a mighty warrior.
'For you, my Gabrielle - my love - my soul.' Whispered Lilly with Xena's words.
'I'm sorry, my daughter.' continued Lilly as Xena. 'You killed my soul-mate. Now you will never hurt anybody again.'
After pinching several nerves in her back, rib area and thigh - Xena as little Lilly dragged herself to the lifeless body of her twin-soul Gabrielle. She closed her beloved grandmother's eyes, kissing her lightly on her lips. 'Rest Gabrielle - you have been avenged. I will never pick up a weapon again as long as I live.
'I swear this on your name.'
Lilly started wailing, mourning the death of Gabrielle, Warrior Bard of Potedeia.
* * *
Lilly's parents worriedly stayed vigil at their daughter's bedside. She had a deep fever that did not want to break. They knew of their young daughter's anguish - and the broken hip. They too grieved for the loss of Gabrielle.
Her son had cremated her as was tradition. His daughter Lilly had told them that Ares' daughter had come and killed Nana. However Lilly did not tell them that Xena took over her own body and killed her own godly daughter T'Keya with the Chakram of Light. It was enough of a shock to know that the ancient bard was murdered by T'Keya who in turn was mysteriously killed by an unknown benefactor.
Lilly fought for her will to live, but was losing the battle. Her grief was too deep, too personal.
She visualized a tunnel in her mind and reached eagerly for it.
Freedom at last.
She looked around the room in awe. Her parents were by her bedside. A girl suffering on the bed in obvious pain, her hip area badly swollen. She hovered for a closer look and recognized herself.
Lilly was free from her pain.
No, not Lilly! Lilly was lying on the bed. She remembers now. She was Xena.
She felt elated and free.
She can be with Gabrielle.
Gabrielle - her twin-soul.
A silver cord was tugging at her. Xena struggled to stay concentrated. Breathe.
Lilly's body inhaled through the nose and exhaled shuddering through slightly parted lips. Breathe.
The silver cord slackened as she found new energy for her search.
She traveled over the land of the Indus, flying so fast everything became a blur. She stopped as soon as she started.
'Xena.' A voiceless wind whispered.
'I am here Gabrielle.' Whispered Xena.
Xena looked around a familiar area. Transparent buildings lined perpendicular city streets. She remembered being here before looking for Gabrielle a little while ago. To her right she was near a cliff edge. Argo was waiting patiently. Argo, her faithful battle-mare.
'How long has it been, girl?' she asked her horse rhetorically.
Argo nuzzled her nose affectionately in Xena's palm as she stroked the mane of her horse.
In her peripheral vision she noticed a figure standing nearby.
Xena turned in anticipation and faced her twin-soul once more.
'Gabrielle.' Tears streamed down of sadness and joy.
Xena approached her spectral friend even as her silver cord tugged at her to come home.
'Gabrielle, stay with me.' Xena pleaded like a lost little girl.
'Soon, my Little Lilly. Soon.'
Xena knew then that Gabrielle saw her only as Lilly. 'Oh Gabrielle,' she cried. 'Can't you see me anymore?'
Gabrielle saw the pain she was causing her soul-mate. She reached out and held her. 'Xena, you are Lilly now. I will always love you no matter who you are.' Gabrielle comforted.
Xena's silver cord was pulling her back. 'I love you Gabrielle.'
Gabrielle gave Xena a radiant smile. 'I will always love you Xena.'
The spectral vision disappeared over the horizon.
'We will never be apart.' Whispered a voiceless wind.
Meditation - the stillness of the mind - breathing in slow rhythmic intervals. Lilly was one with nature. Her seven chakras were aligned at last. A soft breeze ruffled a few strands of her hair. She noticed, but did not react. Her mind followed the breeze across the land of the Indus. She saw the room with the girl on the bed. The girl looked so peaceful - so content. The silver cord tugged at her and she melded with her body - at last it was healing.
Lilly woke from her trance. Only a moment ago she was in a different plane of existence. For only a moment she was free.
For only a moment she was with her twin-soul.
Lilly was filled with renewed strength and hope.
Her vision was clearer as she sought out her quest.
She would go home to Greece. Bring her Grandmother's ashes and the remains of Xena's godly daughter with her to Greece. She would bring Xena's and Gabrielle's weapons and scrolls to the secret place. She would do this as soon as she could walk.
Soon the Xena scrolls will be hidden from mankind and the adventures of Xena and Gabrielle will stay preserved until a time comes that the world will once again hear of the tales of the Warrior Princess and her Warrior Bard.
* * *
Mount Olympus was shaking on its foundations. Inhuman screams echoed down the mountain side. No war in comparison could rock the house of the ancient Greek Gods, unless someone inside was hurt really badly.
It was Ares.
Ares felt a pain sear through his heart. A pain so intense that no human would survive the wracking. Losing Xena was a tip in the bucket compared with this particular pain.
This pain was too close and very, very personal.
He knew that the impossible had happened.
Fear stayed on the edge of his pain.
His daughter was dead.
T'Keya. His love-child.
Xena's godly child.
Why? He thought in sobs of anguish.
How? He thought in fear.
These questions tore at his mind.
He needed answers.
He would seek those answers even if it killed him.
Sarcasm at a time of mourning - his only daughter was slain - and must be avenged.
They will suffer in damnation forever - he swore on Zeus' name.
* * *
Gabrielle's son reluctantly agreed to his daughter's quest. In fact Sharad Jr. will escort Lilly to Greece himself to lay his mother Gabrielle's ashes to rest in Potedeia.
Lilly hobbled painfully and slowly outside. Near her Grandmother's place of death a tree was growing fast. Her blood still marred the place of where she was brutally murdered by T'Keya.
A shrine of new life was a good sign. Nature had been kind.
The gods had not. How she hated the gods.
Soon Lilly's quest would begin.
Leaning heavily onto Gabrielle's Amazon staff, she painfully moved the few metres toward the cart that was waiting for her.
Servants wanted to help her. She scowled at them. This was her struggle, her legacy. No one will be there for her for what she must do.
Gabrielle was always by her side. Watching over her. Protecting her.
How Lilly longed to be Xena again in the past.
Right the wrong decisions.
Not to have gone to Japan. So many years ago. So much time wasted.
The pain she caused Gabrielle when she fought her final battle to the death. It was Akeme's fault. She knew that now for sure. Should have sailed away from Japan. Should have stayed with Gabrielle.
Their lives would have been so much happier. Xena should have made Gabrielle happy.
A tear escaped as the memory eluded her from a past life.
She was nearly there. Nearly at the cart.
She faltered for a moment, yet did not fall. She scowled again - annoyed at the servant who caught her. But it was not the servant supporting her. A familiar lovely face with eyes full of compassion and love greeted her awful twist of fate.
Gabrielle was always there - yet they could never be together in life. At least not in this lifetime. In this incarnation. Who knows what the future will bring.
Holding onto the staff she struggled onto the seat. Muscles stiff from rare usage or damaged beyond repair.
Her seven chakras were aligned. Her body was crooked. Her spirit was strong. Her body was weak.
This was going to be a long painful trip. She put her hand in her sash, feeling for the urn that contained Gabrielle's ashes. Comforted by their closeness.
The cart moved and the sudden jolt shot a searing pain through her young body. Her young face contorted in pain, but she refused to scream. Soon her pain will go numb and she can drift away to the safe place in her mind.
The place her meditations take her.
To be embraced and comforted by Gabrielle.
Lilly longed for that place now.
She started to breathe.
The cart moved and shuddered.
A steady rhythm. Soothing her mind. Embracing her physical pain.
Lilly became one with Xena's mind.
Lilly fell asleep - in deep meditation.
Xena was with Gabrielle again.
Together - forever. Breathe.
Inhale through the nose - after a moment - exhale through slightly parted lips. Breathe.
Lilly drifted off, deeper and deeper.
* * *
After months of traveling our Indian family arrive at a port in Greece. The trip overseas was uneventful and even soothing. It was as if the gods themselves protected the task at hand. Lilly's walk had improved a little. She found with walking more some muscles would grow strong enough to hold her up where other muscles failed.
Lilly's father found it prudent to stay a couple of days at a tavern, rather then continue on their journey. It would still be several days yet before they would reach Potedeia.
Rest would not come easily tonight for any of them. Lilly felt it first. The hairs in the nape of her neck stood on end. She kept very still when a brooding God appeared among them out of thin air.
'Gabrielle protect me.' Thought the young girl to herself. Her heart skipped a beat - she found him absolutely gorgeous. Her face remained absolute. She did not react to his presence and remained dead calm. Her old soul savored the view studying every sinew flexing in the God's body. His leather-clad armor remained as stylish as ever. His hair was long and silky and Lilly's old soul fantasized desperately to get close enough to touch him in that favorite place of his. To hear his moans once more. The Xena soul wanted Ares really bad - and she really wanted to do some naughty things to him right now.
Lilly stayed impassive and did not react as old Ares wafted past. Ares completely ignored her anyway. He looked sad. Lilly guessed that he must know that his daughter is dead. Lilly stayed calm. 'Gabrielle protect me.' She whispered softly.
Ares felt a presence he knew well. A presence that would remain known to him forever in his heart. Xena was here. Xena was close. Where are you hiding my love, he thought. He noticed the lame girl looking strangely at him. He knew that look well. Lust. Well, he always had that effect on women anyway. But there was something naggingly familiar about the girl.
He noted that she was trying very hard to ignore him - this he found intriguing. For now, he would be content to find out more about this girl, the hard way. The round-a-bout way, instead of asking directly. There was something he dismissed the idea. Chuckling he disappeared into another dimension.
'Thank you, Gabrielle.'
'For what, my dear.'
'For protecting me against Ares.'
'Sorry, didn't do anything. I think he saw how you looked at him.'
'I knew it. You still have strong feelings for him, don't you Xena?' Gabrielle teased.
Lilly couldn't hide these puberty feelings. 'He's so gorgeous.' She sighed.
'And deadly. I see that even incarnating in a new body doesn't stop you from falling for the same God.' Gabrielle snickered.
'But I don't love him like I love you.' Said Lilly confused.
'Problem still remains. He's a god. I'm a ghost.'
'You'd better get some sleep - its still a long way to Potedeia. Its a long way to go.'
* * *
Xena remembers the dream - Lilly was fantasizing. This was the life and loves of her former incarnation - Lilly knows the strong love held by Xena of Ares and of Gabrielle. Lilly could feel each physical touch. And although this never happened in Lilly's life, it did happen quite often in Xena's.
Lilly dreamed the memories of love and lust of Xena's life as if it were her own. It did not matter to Lilly if it was Ares - The God of War or Gabrielle - the Warrior Bard.
Each love was equally as strong.
Each physical attraction had a bond with both - both felt really good and comfortable, because Xena loved them both.
Lilly was just there for the ride - this fantasy she would savor - the fantasy of Xena's sexual memories. Xena's memory of being close to Gabrielle came to the surface once more and she exhalted in the memory of passion she harbored for the bard.
Xena's soul forced the dream mix of memory with fantasy of her past erotic lifestyle onto her new incarnation with undiluted determination.
* * *
Lilly woke up - sweating, relieved it was a vivid dream. Her love for her grandmother Gabrielle obviously went much deeper than anticipated. The Xena soul within her had strong memories of her past incarnation. She knew of the world of the senses that she was now a part of. For love to be complete in this world sex played its role to the fullest, bringing forth a trust that could multiply each emotion ten-fold.
Lilly knew that Xena still had strong feelings for the God of War, as she also knew that Xena had equally strong feelings for her twin-soul Gabrielle.
Maybe if she prayed to Narayana for guidance - she may yet find out what Ares is up to.
Other strong memories of Ares came up and Lilly knew it was a forewarning she must heed. T'Keya was a chip of the old block and Ares would stop at nothing to have his form of justice presented on whoever crossed his path.
Lilly remembers the passion brought forth through Xena's memory - that making love to Ares triggered a deeper emotion of making love to Gabrielle.
She sees Gabrielle at the foot of her bed, dutifully looking after her. Lilly sees her grandmother differently now - as Xena remembers her close relationship with Gabrielle. She smiles a loving smile at Gabrielle and Gabrielle in turn returns her smile.
Tonight Lilly will sleep more fitfully - knowing the truth - as she wished to reunite with her twin-soul.
* * *
Somehow Ares knew that the lame girl was Xena. The thought kept nagging him - he knew the girl recognized him. She was here in Greece, which made him think of something important.
Where was Gabrielle?
So, to sum up his thoughts at the moment. His daughter T'Keya leaves Mount Olympus a few years ago to look for Gabrielle - most probably to kill her. She probably succeeded - but he knew that his daughter was dead as well.
The lame girl was Xena re-incarnated and she knows it, too.
Gabrielle is dead.
T'Keya is dead.
Xena is alive.
Who is the only person capable to kill a god? Xena!
But wait a minute - Xena lost the power to kill gods when she tried to kill the Archangel Michael.
There was something missing.
An ancient piece of the puzzle.
No, that was fused and made useless, unless
Author's Sarcasm: It is amazing, don't you think? To see the Al Bundy style of thinking at work.
I do believe he's figured it out. Aphrodite is right - Ares is not very bright.
Ares had a sudden insight - Xena killed her own daughter T'Keya. The realization brought fury and his selfish sadness to tantamount proportions.
His revenge will be satisfied and he flashed out of existence to find the bearer of Xena's soul: Lilly.
* * *
After several days of traveling our Indian family reach the village of Potedeia. Their arrival was honored by the villagers as everyone knew of their the legendary Warrior Bard that was born here almost a four score ago. Sharad Junior was pleased to meet his cousins and shared a wealth of storytelling which ran in the family. The Greeks were grieved at the knowledge that their beloved Gabrielle died at the hands of a deranged god. They tried to understand how a daughter of a peaceful village could die with warrior honor.
Lilly explained to her father that these peace loving villagers never accepted Xena - the friend of Gabrielle. In fact, they still blamed Xena for taking and changing Gabrielle forever. Sharad understood and omitted any reference to the Warrior Princess.
After a good nights rest at the old farmstead owned by the cousins. Sharad and Lilly went to look for the secret cave. Sharad was amazed at how well Lilly knew the place. He knew that his mother Gabrielle was guiding his daughter.
They found the lock, fiddled with the mechanism and unlocked the vault door. Lilly wanted to go in alone and told her father not to worry - everything would be fine. One final check to make sure she had everything and she disappeared inside the cave following the flame of an oil-lamp she carried with her.
Narayana would protect her - Gabrielle would watch over her. As Ares stayed lurking in the shadows watching his prey come nearer and nearer.
Revenge will be sweet.
Lilly sensed it - very nearby - just enough not to ignore. A slight vibration in the air - enough to let hairs in the nape of her neck stand on end.
'All right Ares, I know you're here.' Lilly said.
'You are the second woman in this short period of time that always can sense me. How do you do it?'
Ares asked as he appeared out of thin air.
'You might want to take a bath more often.' Joked Lilly.
This surprised Ares. Most people showed more than a little respect for his being - either fear or awe. Only one or two other people in this time period chose the path of an old friend of the family.
Lilly was not afraid of Ares - because she was Xena reincarnated - she knew him intimately. And so, apparently, did Ares.
'Its been a long time Xena.'
'Haven't you heard? Xena is dead. I'm Lilly.'
'Nice to see you still have sense of humour.' Ares towered close to Lilly.
Suddenly Lilly grabbed up past the back of Ares' neck and brought his face close her own. Surprised by the sudden move, Lilly kissed him with a passion of a thousand lifetimes. Then just as abruptly she let him go and hastily retreated as fast as her crooked body could carry her.
'Wow!' Ares was impressed - but the kiss reminded him of Xena. 'What just happened?'
'I'd love to kiss and tell, but I've got to run. I'm already behind schedule.' Explained Lilly with a big grin - savoring the taste of god's lingering kiss.
'Unfortunately I cannot let you leave.' He said menacingly.
'Oh? But you are mistaken, my love. I can do what I please.' Lilly said tauntingly.
'My daughter is dead - and you know how. I don't care why.'
'That was always your problem, Ares.' Lilly said. 'You always ignored the bigger picture for your own benefit.'
'She was so young and beautiful.' He started.
'She was young and stupid.' Lilly came closer to Ares. 'It was her stupidity that killed her.' Then continued angrily. 'T'Keya killed my grandmother Gabrielle.'
'She did what?'
'Why do you look so surprised - your daughter was a God after all.' Lilly told the perplexed god.
Lilly brought forth a little bundle from her knapsack. She unwrapped it and the God of War recognised the skull of his daughter - pastel colored grey and a deep gash across the upper jaw, nose and eye socket. He knew of only one weapon that could do that. The Chakram of Light.
Ares was speechless as he took his daughter's skull.
'Who killed her?' he asked whispering.
'I did.' Lilly confessed.
Ares' fury lashed out hard with such anger that the girl flew back against the cavern wall knocking her unconscious.
Lilly disappeared in oblivion as Xena drifted beyond time and space to another dimension.
* * *
>The force is strong in this one<
Drifting in a sea of consciousness. Flying over interstellar waves. Myriad's of stars in a cloudless sky. These are the things little Lilly sees when she drifts away from the pain of reality. A lonely journey through the Universe. Hers is not the question why. Hers is the experience of why not. Her previous incarnation came full circle. Her karma was complete. She did not need to return to the world of senses. Xena had an obligation to return to earth. Xena had made a promise. Xena was keeping that promise - keeping the promise alive through the boundaries of time and space. She began anew. A very new karmic cycle. Lilly was a psychic prodigy - a channeler for cosmic souls - an avatar for the divine one called Nara. Lilly only wanted peace in a violent world.
But the world of senses played a dirty trick on the Xena entity. She was given a choice and in that choice she was given a gift. She gave that gift to a Greek God. Therefore starting a series of events that have tainted her second karmic cycle.
Lilly was weeping. She lost the one thing that was supposed to be so beautiful in the world of senses.
She drifts between the consciousness. Lilly was the new karmic cycle - Xena was the last karmic cycle. She would never be Xena again. Xena is part of Lilly's soul memory.
There is another.
Gabrielle, her twin-soul.
It is rare event in the cosmos to find your other twin in the same realm. Although soul-families are drifting in and out of the world of senses all the time.
Lilly is keeping company with another entity. Yana will accompany Lilly for a little while. Gabrielle drifts with Xena. Xena and Gabrielle - together forever.
Narayana gives her blessing.
'Xena, where are we?' asked Gabrielle.
'A holy place.' Replied Xena.
'That's a first for you. I thought you were beyond religion.' Chuckled Gabrielle.
'Actually, I am above religion.' Said Xena mysteriously.
Gabrielle touched Xena's face with her palm, her skin was smooth and soft, so real. Yet the place they shared shimmered like the stars. Not quite there - almost there.
'Where are we really, Xena?'
Xena looked at her friend - so young and beautiful. She longed to hold her tight. Hold her close, just like in the world of senses. She wanted to hold the moment. She took Gabrielle's hand and kissed her palm. Gabrielle smiled. It felt so real. It felt so divine. She didn't want to tell her where they were.
Gabrielle walked to a window and looked through. She saw a few strange dimensions outside. Even their current dimension was fazing with something not quite there. A few colored light spectrals drifted by and entertwined rapidly before shooting off in different directions. Gabrielle laughed at the comical sight. How she loved her laugh, thought Xena. Xena stood beside her friend and put her arm around her waist. They continued to look at the light show. Still Xena did not reveal where they were. Gabrielle had her wisdom and Xena had hers.
'Where are we really, Xena?'
Xena didn't want to look down at her friend. Xena looked sad and a tear escaped. She didn't want to tell her friend. She couldn't tell her friend. It wouldn't be right.
Xena looked at Gabrielle, saw the compassion in her eyes - so understanding - so curious.
'Do you remember Lilly?' Xena asked.
Gabrielle nodded. Lilly was her granddaughter - she was Xena reincarnated.
'Lilly is chosen for a special task set by Yana - creator of all things.'
Xena choked up. She fought to be strong, Be the tough warrior.
'Lilly has to kill the God of War.'
Gabrielle let go from Xena in a sudden fit of disgust. Xena was afraid of that - this was going to be difficult to explain.
'She can't Xena - she mustn't. Lilly will be breaking her oath.' Gabrielle said hotly 'Let someone else do it.'
'There is no one else. Only I can get close enough.'
'Are you just as deranged as T'Keya?' Gabrielle walked right up to Xena. For all her height her green eyes looked menacingly at the blue eyes of the Warrior Princess.'
'I killed T'Keya with the Chakram of Light. Lilly was just my vessel, my avatar.' Confessed Xena.
'And it was justifiable. T'Keya killed me.' Gabrielle paced furiously around in circles. 'But why kill Ares?'
'Don't you see?' Xena pleaded. 'Me and Ares made a child. I leave to find you and T'Keya comes years later to get me back.' Tears were building up, 'She kills you, wants to kill Lilly, but ' Xena smiled with certain bloodlust, 'I killed the little bastard with my chakram.'
Xena looked around in despair. 'I killed my own daughter and couldn't save my friend.'
'And now Ares has vowed to find whoever is responsible to damn them for eternity.'
'All right then, bring him here. We'll show him.'
Xena looked at her friend. Saw the Warrior Bard determination that she loved seeing just before going into battle.
'No, Gabrielle. I do not want to taint your karmic cycle any further.' Said Xena.
'We live together - we die together. We'll share damnation together.' She cocked her head to Xena with a cheeky smile, 'So, what's the plan?'
* * *
Narayana - the Seven-Headed Serpent - the Symbol of the Creator and Creation watched closely over Lilly. She was at her most vulnerable - forced into unconsciousness by a misguided god.
Nara the Divine One would come forth to protect its avatar. The Mother of Peace was Nara's vessel, but its plan of creation is not always clear. All that Nara knows was that their Olympian foe Ares - God of War, stood in the way of peace and must, in some small way be eliminated from the equation.
Yana - the creator of all things, will help Xena and Gabrielle accomplish a difficult task. Lilly must not harm the God of War or her Karmic cycle will be tainted - this must not happen.
The alternative was imprisoning Ares.
Lilly would wake up soon - Xena and Gabrielle got ready for the battle of all battles.
* * *
Lilly was not too comfortable in Ares' domain when she woke up. She found it an unusual coincidence that Ares' hiding-hole was so close to Nana's secret place. The place where the Xena scrolls were hidden. But then, Ares was thousands of years old and he was a god after all. Gorgeous to look at - a rebel without a cause - definitely a very bad god. Lilly had no idea what Xena ever saw in him.
But Lilly was not quite the same as Xena. And yet at times she was. A sixth sense that warned her of imminent danger. Because she was cripple - other senses were enhanced. Her sight - she saw everything in the tiniest details. Her hearing - she could hear and feel where there was a secret hiding place - possibly an escape route. She stood comfortable and concentrated on a single object. The object moved up by a few millimeters. That took no effort and it would give old Ares a bit of a surprise.
Yana was powerful indeed. All she had to do was wait. The god was coming back.. Courage Lilly.
Ares looked somber. He made up his mind. To ease her suffering the girl must die immediately.
'Lilly,' he started. 'Do you know the penalty for killing a god?'
Lilly shook her head in the negative.
Ares continued. 'It is damnation eternal. But in your case, I'll make an exception.'
'How magnanimous of you, oh mighty Ares.' She said sarcastically without a trace of fear. 'May I remind the God of War that it was his daughter T'Keya who killed my grandmother.'
Then continued, 'and how can a mere mortal child like me kill a god?'
Ares flared hotly, 'Enough babbling. Goodbye Lilly.' He let forth a fireball that could consume a man in a flash-fire instantly. The instant cremation wouldn't leave an ash intact. He closed his hand, satisfied with his grueling execution.
'That's not nice.' A taunting voice, a little pitch enough to send a chill of recognition through his godly bones.
Ares witnessed the girl standing where she was before - totally unharmed. The smirk on the face was enough of a tell-tale sign that Xena was there. 'Sorry Ares, not my fight this time.'
'Hey Ares!' He turned around and Gabrielle whacked him. She knocked him off balance for a moment.
'Aaw, no fair, that's cheating.' Gabrielle then side-kicked him in the guts that send him flying.
'Well Ares,' Gabrielle lifted the god up by his throat. 'If you had taught your daughter the meaning of life you wouldn't be in this mess now.'
'You can't kill me.' He choked.
'Oh, I'm not here to kill you.' Gabrielle teased. 'Whatever gave you that idea?'
She threw him hard against a cavern wall. Picked him up by his hair holding his face close to hers she said. 'I fought against your daughter T'Keya. She came there to kill me and eventually succeeded. You could've stopped her.'
She dropped him and stalked off seething.
'You could've asked for my help.' Ares tried.
'Doh!' Gabrielle slapped her forehead. 'Why didn't I think of that? What kind of fool do you take me for?' Magically two sais appeared, long and sharp and with a force of a kiloton train she nailed Ares to the cavern wall. She left him hanging there in discomfort. She laughed a maniacal laugh and walked towards her granddaughter Lilly and hugged her closely, 'Are you all right?'
Lilly nodded and said mysteriously. 'Yana wants you to join with Xena.'
'Okay,' Gabrielle smiled in ecstasy. 'I am ready.' Said Gabrielle bravely.
Ares couldn't believe what he saw. Two amazing spectral shimmering flames - one blue - one green. Intertwined together as a swirling mass and turning into a beautiful bipedal figure. A woman of such grace, such divine beauty. The jet-black hair was equally divided in blond strands. He saw a bit of Xena and a bit of Gabrielle. A perfect symmetry. He didn't realize how much trouble he was in until the creature picked him off the wall like a fly.
One wave of the hand and a coffin appeared. He saw his likeness on the coffin. Fear engulfed him. He struggled to get free to no avail. Xena-Gabrielle placed him in the coffin and sealed it despite Ares' screaming. No words were spoken as the spectral entity produced the Chakram of light from beneath the folds of Lilly's dress. In one swift move the chakram was lodged into the coffin lid. Another scream from within. Ares would not escape this tomb so easily. If he touched the chakram he would die instantly. The Xena-Gabrielle entity simply broke it in half and placed the broken half in the eye of Osiris.
Coaxing Lilly to the exit the double entity took the Chakram of Darkness from Lilly. As the girl stepped outside as if in a trance, Xena-Gabrielle threw the Chakram with enough force to make it cascade around the cavern for hours. The chamber closed and the screaming became a muffled memory.
Outside in the forest near Potedeia something magical had happened. Two souls had united. Both were one. Both worked together to trap an evil god. Xena and Gabrielle were together at last and the feeling of love for each other was beyond human imagination. Their souls were combined as one for a common goal. Yana the creator of all things had made them into a beautiful entity.
The temporary unison was the soul purpose of things to come. For humans to evolve above materialism and create something cosmic.
Now they were separated again - their task accomplished. Both would long to be together again someday.
Lilly's soul of Xena needed to continue with her life. Gabrielle would stay with her until she herself would re-incarnate in a new body. The spectral being stayed close to her twin-soul. She would guide her as long as she as able. Gabrielle knew that Xena would do the same for her.
Xena and Gabrielle would be together for eternity - their souls are immortal - they are more than the earthly gods - they are beyond the divine - they have been together as souls of the future and will be together again somewhere along the cosmic line.
Sometime - somewhere two souls will meet.
They knew each other in life.
They knew each other in death
They had seen their soul evolution change into something beautiful.
And they longed to become that entity again.
One day - in the distant future
The End [?]
MOTHER OF PEACE - sequel to Conflict of Interest - The arc ends here!
by Richard Kloosterboer
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