Disclaimer: Xena and Gabrielle are the property of yadda yadda MCA/Universal/Renaissance and this piece of whatever you want to call it is purely for entertainment purposes only and not for profit.
A Feathered Tale by Silk
A quiet, moonlit night finds our traveling duo resting and staring into the sky, each quietly contemplating whatever comes to mind, until Gabrielle speaks, her clear voice breaking the silence.
"Hmmm? What is it, Gabrielle?" Xena replied, looking over at her lover.
"I think I've finally got that story down now, if you'd like to hear it," Gabrielle asked hopefully. She knew what the answer would be, of course. Xena always let her try out new storied on her.
The warrior cocked her head to the side and contemplated the bard. After a moment she simply nodded, giving her assent.
"There once was a great warrior whose prowess and goodness echoed across the land. It happened one day that this warrior went hunting in the deep forest, leaving her companion at their campsite as was her usual habit. Wielding bow and arrow she silently crept through the wood, looking for the evening's dinner for her and her lover.
A slight sound up in the trees caught her attention and without blinking she reacted, drawing the arrow back and letting it fly, only to gasp in surprise as the arrow hit not a pheasant as she had thought, but an owl, the very symbol of Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom.
The Great Owl fell to the earth at the warrior's feet dead, the arrow piercing its heart. A howl of rage startled her as the woods echoed with a goddess' scream. A bright flash of light and Athena stood before her, glaring down at the warrior and the dead owl.
'For this evil you have done, I curse you to take this creature's place. To no longer walk the land, but fly over it,' Athena pronounced and stretched out her glowing hand and touched the warrior's brow.
Before she could even apologize or try to escape Athena's judgement, the warrior's limbs stiffened and she cried out in pain. A heartbeat later and the pain was gone, leaving her standing alone on the forest floor, Athena and the corpse of the owl gone as if they had never been.
Thinking all was well and that perhaps she'd been under the sun's rays too much that day, she began to walk back to the camp. It was with shock that she saw her feet were no longer long and slim, but gone, replaced by claws and sharp, wicked talons. Lifting a limb, she gasped in horror as she saw a long feathered wing and not the bronzed skin of her arm.
She was truly an owl, changed by the goddess. The warrior was not pleased and cursed loudly and at great length, happy at least that she had retained the gift of human speech.
With determination and time, the warrior learned how to fly, although not well, and made her way back to the campsite with the only casualties being her dignity and a few broken branches.
Landing beside her surprised companion as she was tending the fire, she spoke quickly, explaining her dilemma. Her companion had been startled and shocked to hear her lover's voice coming from the sharp beak of a Great Owl, but she knew she had to be strong and she quickly assessed the situation.
A desperate idea came to her. Packing quickly, she left their campsite, followed closely by the feathery warrior. Several days of constant travel found them both haggard, road and wing sore at the temple of Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt.
Far too tired and worried for her friend to think clearly, the warrior's companion stormed into the temple and marched up to the altar. Long and loudly did her tirade fall upon the ears of the goddess, denouncing Athena and the gods in general for interfering with the lives of mortals. Finally she cried out, 'Help us! Bring us together again!'
The plea was heard and Artemis reached out her hand from Mt. Olympus and the two were reunited into each other's embrace."
Gabrielle's voice trailed off and she took a deep breath. After a moment of silence, she peeked over at Xena. "Well? What do you think?" she asked, not able to stand the suspense a moment longer.
"I think I need my tail feathers scratched and I can't reach them, blast it!" Xena scooted closer along the branch towards Gabrielle. "Would you...I mean you're much better at this preening thing than I am. Pleasssseee."
This little story was inspired by a fellow forum member who started a contest. I posted my ending for it there, then late last night got inspired to do this little 'thing'. Don't ask. Inspiration is an odd err...bird at best, even if the story is nothing but a blatant attempt to scare you all away with my humor. ;} This is drivil. I'll be the first to admit it.*L*
Warlord in Training
"Bard? Where? I think I just proved my point."
Have Katiepult. Will pillage a nest of your choosing for a quick preen.
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