This story was first told live in The Bards' Village chat room on New Year's day. I'd like to thank Sue Rice for typing it up as I wrote and sending it to me allowing me to concentrate on the weaving of the tale. I'd also like to thank everyone in the chat room that night for being such a great audience and friends.
Copyright © January 1, 2001 Ambyrhawke Shadowsinger
All Rights Reserved
It was evening time in the forest glade; the time when the sun has fully set and night creatures begin to stir. Under a blanket of stars, the only mortal light for leagues was that of a single campfire. Among the sounds of crickets a woman's voice rose and fell like the music of a brook. With voice and tale, she captured the full attention of her friend.
"...But she didn't want the attentions of the lusty, drunken god, so she called out to Artemis to save her. Artemis heard the maiden and was determined to help. She turned the woman into a tall, shining pillar of the clearest crystal ever seen."
"When the god caught up to the maiden, he wrapped his arms about the stone and fell asleep. Awakening from his drunken stupor, he looked up at the pillar. His heart cried out in remorse for what his lust had done to the woman. To him, her beauty had been beyond compare.
"Gazing at the crystal, Dionysus decided it was far too pale to do justice to the womans rosy cheeks and dark red lips. Taking his goblet of wine, the god poured it over Amethyst. The crystal became stained with the blood of the vine. And to this day, all amethysts are purple in remembrance of her." Gabrielle held her breath for a moment before relaxing.
Xena finally remembered to breathe as the tale released her from its grip. Her lips stretched into a beautiful smile as she congratulated her friend. "Gabrielle, that was a wonderful tale. You've never told me that one before."
The bard grinned and blushed slightly as she said, "Yes, I finally put that one into my own words."
Xena picked up her sword and sharpening stone to begin her nightly chore. "Well, you should put more of those old tales to your own words. They're much better when you tell them." She secretly watched for Gabrielle's reaction.
Blushing furiously, the bard ducked her head, embarrassed yet pleased beyond measure at the praise. The warrior hid the smile that came to her at the mixed reaction complimenting her friend never failed to produce. The two sat in silence for a while; only the scraping of stone on sword and the popping of the fire calling out against the night creatures. After a few moments, Gabrielle spoke up, "You know, it seems kind of sad that's the only thing we know about Amethyst."
Xena glanced at the bard, never pausing in her work, "What do you mean?"
"Well, what was she really like? Think about it. I'm sure she's not too happy that her only legacy, her only fame is that a drunken god tried to rape her. Or that the goddess she called to for aid turned her into a rock. How many other people are there who are only remembered for one blaze of glory or one stupid mistake?"
Xena smiled crookedly, "Well we don't get to choose our legacies, Gabrielle."
Gabrielle's brow crinkled in thought. She turned to the warrior, "What if we did? Xena, if you could choose the one thing you would be remembered for, what would it be?"
The scraping of the stone slowed to silence as Xena stared deeply into the flames of the campfire. She thought hard then shook herself out of her musings. She answered quietly, "I'd rather I wasn't remembered at all, Gabrielle." Clenching her jaw, the warrior returned to the sharpening of her sword.
The young woman studied her friend's profile, "Why wouldn't you want to be remembered?"
Xena let out a heavy sigh, "Gabrielle...I was a warlord. I lead armies and sent countless people to their deaths. I destroyed nations and villages." She bowed her head slightly, looking at the ground, "Somebody like that is best forgotten."
Gabrielle pushed a stray lock of red gold hair behind her ear, as she turned fully to her friend. She kept her voice gentle, yet firm with conviction as she reasoned with the warrior, "But Xena, that's not all you are anymore. The world doesn't have to remember you like that. Yes, you were all those things, but you've changed. That right there is something grand. What if. What if, thousands of years from now, people knew what you were and how you've changed? Think of it...they would hear your story and realize that they don't have to be trapped by what they are today. They would know if they didn't like who they were, or if they were in a place they didn't want to be, then they had the power to change...to become the person they knew, deep inside, they should be. You would be an inspiration to them. That, to me Xena, is better than any story of a perfect hero, like Perseus defeating the Kraken."
Xena looked into Gabrielle's eyes, her skepticism warring with the bard's unwavering conviction. She smiled ever so slightly, "Well, I don't feel inspiring but maybe you're right." Then she tested the sharpness of her blade.
Gabrielle's smile beamed at having won the small concession. She paused before pressing on, "So, what would it be?"
"Huh?" Xena cocked her head in askance.
"What's the one thing you'd want to be remembered for?"
The warrior chewed on her lip, giving the question all due consideration. Suddenly a soft, warm smile made her face glow in pleasure. Her voice purred wistfully, "I would want to be remembered as the luckiest person in the world."
Gabrielle's face took on a completely baffled expression. "Okayyy...why would you be the luckiest person in the world?"
Xena put away her blade and turned to the bard, taking her hands gently. "Because out of all of the people living on this earth...the greatest of heroes, influential philosophers, even all the ordinary villagers...out of them all, I am the friend of Gabrielle, Bard of Potadaeia, Queen of the Amazons. I am the one with whom she travels. She calls me her closest friend, her support, her family. That's why I'm the luckiest person in the world." Xena's eyes twinkled with joy.
Gabrielle's face broke into a big smile. At the same time, it flushed red and tears sprang to her eyes. She wrapped her arms around Xena giving her a long, tight hug. The bard's voice was choked with emotion, "That's sooo...thank you, Xena."
Xena hugged her back, and wiped the tears from her friend's cheeks. "You're welcome...but do me a favor?"
Gabrielle looked up into the blue gaze, "You name it."
Xena looked down and touched her finger to the tip of the bard's nose, "Start putting your name in those scrolls. I don't want to be remembered as the friend of Medusa, the snake-haired Gorgon monster."
They both laughed and hugged once again.
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