Mini Tales of Xena and Gabrielle
A few years ago, Wishes (Judith K. Parker) read The World's Shortest Stories, edited by Steve Moss (Running Press, Philadelphia, 1998), and challenged fans to write 55-word Xena: Warrior Princess fiction (hosted by The Royal Academy of Bards at academyofbards.org), which inspired the following. -- IQ
The land cries out for a hero. Strong, brave. A woman! Dark, acrobatic. Deadly. In her element with turmoil, warlords, gods, and …. A cherubic peasant girl? Maybe a break from the power, passion and danger of changing the world. A touch of relief – fresh face – for a warrior forged in the heat of battle.
How? When? Where? Why? Asked with such trust, such optimism, starting with the subject clouding every day I strap on my sword, each night of a good deed. Me. Might’ve ended there too – at "who" I’d been.
What about today? Tomorrow? Could a better answer lie in the innocent rain of Gabrielle’s questions?
"Solan, Callisto, the Horde. ‘Dying’ to relive Caesar’s betrayal. Pfft. Reunions. Welcome to the ‘real’ me."
"I wanted Callisto dead. Is that the ‘real’ me?"
"You restored me. Matured into an Amazon Queen. Whoever you are, I’m still here."
"I’m with you there." Gabrielle grinned. "Introductions by ‘tough love,’ huh?"
"And still gettin’ acquainted. Peachy."
Secrets. Faith vs. doubt. Evil spawned from innocence and rage. Betrayal. Forgiveness. Was Xena worth it? Gabrielle plunged with Hope into Dahok’s inferno. "Yes."
Xena stared into the abyss. Gabrielle revered life, yet sacrificed herself in the warrior’s place. They’d survived their differences for this? Saving the world? Her? Was losing Gabrielle worth that? "Nooo!"
"Almost too easy finding answers."
"Sure – massages, garlands, powder puffs. I got sucker punched and my arms chopped off."
"Problem with roses is missing the thorns. Battling darkness, you – ."
"Stumble along, crashing into hard truth?" Xena growled. "Like Alti’s vision of us crucified?"
"Showed us together, right?"
"See? Better your way, thorns and all."
"Motherhood becomes you."
"Aged me 25 years."
"You ensured something good of yourself lives on. Eve’s kinda like your new chakram."
"Except Callisto’s the light part."
"Because of yours. Full circle."
Xena watched Eve frolic in the lake, reminded of so many other innocents lost, missed, saved. Appreciating now the redemption possible in a child.
"You – a Valkyrie. So much I still don’t know."
"Usually catches up to us."
"Will you ever find peace?"
"Dying won’t minimize the weight of my past. Life has meaning now, shouldering others’ burdens. With you."
"I’ll love you no matter what."
"Peace enough. And my love?"
"Ditto." Gabrielle nodded. "That pretty much answers everything."
"Wanna die today? Focus. On the bad guys."
"Then stop distracting me."
"I’m old, not feeble. My sword’s still keepin’ us alive."
"So’s my staff. My quill even longer. But if these’re our last 30 seconds – ."
"Yeah …. Love. After all these years, may get us killed yet."
"Or win another moment worth eternity?"
Return to Iseqween's Fiction
Return to The Bard's Corner
Return to AUSXIP