...there is evidence for the ancient Greek use of marijuana in literary texts, but it was only in Israel that physical evidence was discovered dating to 1600BC, for use in childbirth. Herodotus wrote this about the Sythians use of pot: "On a framework of tree sticks, meeting at the top, they stretch pieces of woolen cloth. Inside this tent they put a dish with hot stones on it. Then they take some hemp seed, creep into the tent, and throw the seed on the hot stones. At once it begins to smoke, giving off a vapour unsurpassed by any vapour bath one could find in Greece. The Scythians enjoy it so much they howl with pleasure." Also, the Greeks used a term cannabeizein, which referred to the smoking of cannabis, usually inhaled as an incense and mixed with other resins...
Though they might not wish to be associated with this piece, my thanks to Ice, LD, and to my tireless researcher, Archaeobard
Disclaimer: The characters of Xena, Gabrielle, et al.are the property of Renaissance Pictures and I should be heartily ashamed at how I treated them. But it was too much fun.
Warning: The following story contains references to recreational drug use, alcohol abuse and obscene language. Oh, and lets not forget about two women in love. Something to offend everybody. If the possibility that persons in history might have used drugs and or alcohol in a recreational manner disturbs you, then please read another story. Having just written about the slaughter of a family from the perspective of the killer/father, I might ask why this might be offensive. My own experience of drug use is that it is incompatible with being a single parent. But if you need someone to attack, Id wonder why my researcher is tireless...
The Warrior paced about the hallway. She examined her troops individually. "Okay, this is how were going to do this. Everythings set up in there?
Autolycus nodded. The thief tried to maintain a business-like bearing.
"Okay, Im going in. As soon as I finish, Gabrielle? You follow. Auto, you have the watch." Xena opened the door cautiously, before turning to her partner for one last assurance. "Gabrielle, are you sure the Amazons are all in place?"
Gabrielle gave her a frustrated look. "YES! Everybody is in position. Anyone so much as approaches Amphipolis from any direction, well know four candlemarks before they get here. Thats if theyre allowed to get through. Which they WONT be."
"There are guards posted in and outside the tavern. Okay? Now GO!"
Taking a deep breath, Xena firmed her shoulders, and stepped into the room.
Auto and Gabrielle shook their heads and stared at each other.
Autolycus finally broke the silence. "And you have to go through this everytime she wants to get drunk?"
Gabrielle sighed. "It isnt something she does any more. At least, not after what happened the last time..."
Autolycus shuddered. "The last time...?"
"Lets just leave it that shes a mean drunk."
"This is opposed to the milk-toast that she is regularly?"
"Gee, Gabrielle. I cant help seeing her waking up with a hangover and rating it on how many dead bodies there were."
"Well, thats why we had you get the...stuff." Gabrielle checked to make sure no one could overhear.
"You mean, the seeds...?"
"SHHHHH!" Gabrielle nearly grabbed him to shut him up. She whispered "If Cyrene knew, shed get really upset. But we thought that it might help Xenas...mood, so that she can enjoy a drink without the, ah,...side effects.
"Side effects. Nice choice of words." the thief approved.
"Yeah, well, she also needs to get the burden of protecting everybody and herself off of her shoulders, so..."
"So the answer to How many Amazons does it take to get a Warrior Princess drunk, is...?"
They were interrupted by the door opening.
Autolycus evaluated the warrior as she emerged. Other than a heavy smell of burnt leaves clinging to her there was no outward sign of intoxication. She stared him down, and pointed to the door. "Gabrielle. Youre next. Im going down, you two follow separately. NO slip ups." She headed to the stairway before turning to the thief. "Autolycus?" He found himself standing straighter. She held his eye for a moment before saying, "Good stuff." He gave her a mock bow and she continued down the stairs. She got as far as the landing where the tavern was spread out in front of her, when a creaking board seemed to bring her to a halt. Auto watched in astonishment as a goofy smile spread across her features, and what could only be described as a giggle erupted. Quickly dropping her mask back in place, she continued on down. The door opened and Gabrielle came out, coughing. She covered her mouth with her hand, and rasped. "I dont feel anything..."
He smiled and said, "The good seeds can take a while to affect you. I think they got to Xena though."
Gabrielles expression became concerned. "Why? How was she?"
"Nothing major, but she started to...giggle..."
"Giggle?" Gabrielle gave an unconscious illustration.
"Yeah , she got halfway down the stairs and she cracked up."
"Well, all the more reason for us to maintain control, right?" She saluted him, and indicated the door. "See you down there."
She had reached the same step as Xena, when her stoic expression crumbled, and she was staring at something the thief couldnt see. But as she tried to hold back her laughter, tears began to form at her eyes. Auto shook his head in disgust. Some people shouldnt do seeds, he thought.
The King of Thieves entered the room. There was a oiled woolen tarp hung over the fire place and he lifted the tarp and closed the fireplace flume. Taking a generous handful of the seeds he tossed them onto the coals, and then began to inhale the smoke.
Moments later, he was brushing his hair after splashing his face with fresh water and completing his toilet. He stared at the slightly reddened eyes. "You handsome devil" he told his reflection. "This is going to be a night to remember. Certain females are fortunate to have your assistance and experience." Satisfied with the world and his place in it, he made his way downstairs. He had just gotten to that certain step, when he discovered what had set the two women ahead of him off.
As the step creaked, every face in the tavern turned to stare up at him. This wasnt all though. As the peoples faces swiveled in a nearly synchronized motion, they were accompanied by the three dogs, two cats and the sheep grazing outside the window. And what was worse, they all seemed to have the same expression.
Using his years of experience, Autolycus managed to control his features. So it was with a certain air of superiority that he strolled confidently to the rear table. Certainly, there was still an amount of attention being paid to him, but he took that to be a compliment to his striking dark looks. He smugly stood in front of his companions and inquired "So, how are you ladies doing?"
Gabrielle smirked, and responded, "better all the time, Auts."
Xena ran her palms down the planes of her face, joined them and ended with her nose resting on the tips. She spoke through them. "Auto..."
"Yes, Xena," The thief swaggered slightly.
"Auto, your pants are open and your dick is hanging out."
* * *
"Now what." The table had been stocked with mugs filled with Xenas favorite port, but Xena was getting restless.
Gabrielle looked at all of the liquor in front of her. "How about some of your old drinking games."
Xena chuckled. "I dont think youd like those, Gabrielle. How about we just toss dinars?"
Slightly insulted, the bard knocked one of the mugs towards the warrior. "Oh right, like Im going to take you on in a game requiring coordination."
Xena knocked the mug back, "How about Truth or Dare? Oh, thats right, youre not very good at it."
Gabrielle growled. Autolycus jumped in. "Instead of spending the entire evening going I dunno, what do you want to do, Marcus? How about every time anyone turns down a suggestion on what we should do this evening, they have to drink up?"
* * * *
Autolycus was eyeing his sixth mug of port. He was thinking I should have known they would be so...inventive. He looked at his smiling and sloshed companions, and said: "Okay. Lets go with the pig snatching."
Xena shook her head. "Youre serious?"
Autolycus thought twice, and belched "Yup. As long as we all make another visit to the room upstairs first."
They looked to their commander.
Gabrielle added. "Were going to need to bring some refreshment with us, so you should talk to your mom."
The Lion of Amphipolis looked askance. "YOU talk to my Mom."
Gabrielle tried her most convincing tone. "Look Xena, we need to get something portable if were going to recreate your childhood, here. Kidnapping the pig alone is going to take at least a wineskin apiece. Now, theres a whole wine cellar just a few steps away...."
They looked up to see Cyrene with crossed arms staring angrily down at them. They all tried to look as sober as possible.
With no success. "Youre both seeded, arent you?" she accused.
They looked at each other in bewilderment.
"Did you think I could raise three children and run a tavern without recognizing THAT smell? Xena!" she repeated. "Look at you two!" ignoring Autolycus who waved and said "Hey!"
"Shut up Auto," said all three women.
The thief checked his trousers, before objecting again. "Hey!"
Cyrene ignored him. "And if you think that Im going to let you wander through my winecellar, you have another think coming. If youre determined to drink, you can do it right here, where I can see you."
Gabrielle got up and took Cyrenes hand in hers. "Cyrene, we knew that you wouldnt approve. Thats why we tried to hide it from you. But even Amazon Queens and Warrior Princesses, "at the loud cough, she added, "and Kings of Thieves, need a break sometime." She gave her Mother in Law a hug, and moved back to her seat. "I think, well just finish this up, and then maybe a sobering stroll might be best. Right Xe?"
Xena, straight faced, nodded contritely.
Mollified, Cyrene, stared at each of them before saying, "Well, I should hope so." and than she left.
Xena waited a few heartbeats before asking Gabrielle. "Did you get the key from her?"
Autolycus was outraged. "Wheres the fun in having the key?"
Xena gave him a comforting pat. "Dont worry. You get to put it back. Wait till Gabrielle tells you where it was."
The thief blanched. "Oy. Then I definitely recommend a visit upstairs."
The Destroyer of Nations rubbed her hands together. "Fine. Gabrielle goes first. Autolycus, you take the stairs, and keep watch till shes finished. Ill cover the stairs while youre up there. Gabrielle, when you get back, cover for us by telling some stories. Then Ill go and hit the winecellar on the way back. Right?"
"Which stories?" Gabrielle slurred.
Xena didnt seem to notice. "You decide.".
"How about the poignant tale of how two mismatched women found true friendship."
"I guess. If you think that anyone will believe it."
Autolycus watched with concern as Gabrielle sauntered off. "Do you think that maybe shes had about enough?"
Xena stared appreciatively as the rear of her partner swayed away from her. "You could ask her, but Id do it from a distance. And make sure shes not armed."
Gabrielle stopped to lean on a table on her way to the stairs. Xena was able to hear her over the crowd babble "...yousee that woman sitting there? Shes the most dangerous woman in the world. And she lets ME see her naked." The tables occupants shot Xena a exceptional look, and the warrior covered her eyes with her hand.
"Maybe we could try to cut her off after this."
* * * *
So it was once again smelling of burnt spices that Xena entered the wine cellar as stealthily as she had ever broken into any enemy headquarters. She did an assessment of her mental state and decided out loud, "Im FINE." She carefully closed the door and began feeling about in the darkness for the flint that she knew was left for lighting the wall torch. She had managed to not knock over two wine racks when the door opened and Autolycus came in with a lit torch. She sighed with relief, and took the torch out of his hand. "Thisll help," she informed him and continued to search for the flint.
Then something occurred to her. "Why are you here? Youre supposed to be looking after Gabrielle, and keeping an eye out for my Mother." She found the flint and then looked at the torch in her hand. She put the flint back down. "Im FINE," she said to Autolycus.
The thief nodded. "Well, Gabrielles really fine too. I can even see why you dont like to be there when she tells those stories. The question is, why does anyone else have to be?"
Xena stopped moving the ale keg. "Shes supposed to be distracting everyone by describing the poignant tale of how two mismatched woman found friendship. Right?"
Autolycus thought for a moment. "Well, when I left, she was describing how you guys shave your armpits together..."
She threw the keg at him, knocking him against the wall. "Catch."
Autolycus pulled himself out from under the ale, and stared at the heavy container. Then looked up at the window casement high above him. Its alcohol. he thought. I CAN lift it...
Xena burst into the tavern, and skidded to a stop. Several eyes turned to her, but even more were glued to the bard on stage. Gabrielle, had her eyes blissfully closed, and her tongue caressed her lips ever so sensuously. She tasted the word carefully. "Nippppple."
Xena had once made an identical leap to push Gabrielle out of the way of a runaway chariot, with much the same motives.
* * * *
Xena was still fuming as they hauled a bleary-eyed Autolycus through the wine cellar window "I cant believe you did that. What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking about the word..."
They laid the exhausted thief on the ground and he clutched his precious ale keg to his chest until Xena hauled it away from him, and with the skill of a true drinker and tavern owners daughter, tapped it. Gabrielle brought out the mugs shed secreted. The Thief looked about blinking. The abrupt change from the darkness of the cellar into the brilliant moonlight had blinded him.
"Cant you do something about that, Gabrielle?" He covered his eyes with one hand, and pointed with exasperation to the skies.
"What, me?" the bard held out her glass. With misgivings, it was filled.
"Youre the Chosen one. Give The Huntress a yell, tell her to cool it with the big light."
"Ah, I dont think it works that way..." She took a long haul on the bitter ale.
"Hey!" Gabrielle stamped her foot.
Putting down her mug, she suggested "Why dont you have Xena call Ares? Maybe he could blow it up for you. Anyways, Artemis doesnt just appear if I say.."
Gabrielle staggered back as the Patron appeared directly in front of her. The Goddess turned to angrily address Xena. "Shes drunk AND seeded! This is how you look after my Chosen?"
Only slightly embarrassed, Xena replied with some belligerence, "She wanted a Girls Night Out."
Artemis turned to Autolycus who was waving his hands in front of him. "Then what is he doing here?"
The thief called to Xena, "Is she really here? What does she look like? I hear shes hot..."
"Ah," said the Goddess nodding understandingly. "Entertainment..."
The Bard still moving backwards, stumbled, and tripped over a log. She lay there, too embarrassed to move, legs in the air, while her Patron and Xena stared down at her.
"Shes a very special woman, Xena. I trusted you to look after her." With this admonition, she vanished. Xena waved a hand in dismissal. "Like Ive never seen HER drunk." and went over to help Gabrielle up.
"When?" said the special woman when she was righted.
"When did you see Her drunk?"
"Oh, some party Ares took me to...."
"You went to a party? On Mount Olympus? With Ares as ...your Date?"
Xena looked down and away.
The Bard surveyed her partner critically. "You did it, didnt you?"
Avoiding her eyes, Xena answered "What?"
The bard blew away her tousled hair from her eyes. "You." Pause. "Are a Father Fucker."
Gabrielle staggered forward to press her index finger against her warriors chest plate. "You heard me."
"That was a ploy to confuse the Furies. You KNOW that..." Xena told her sternly.
"Father Fucker..." the Bard repeated just as sternly.
Autolycus was in shock, unsure whether to try a futile attempt at holding Xena back, or just running for the hills..
"Listen, you...." Xena brought out her own finger.
"Yeah...?"Gabrielle began to giggle.
"I wouldnt talk. At least we have a clue about my parentage."
"Oh? Where is this going?"
Xena pointed at her. "YOU! Your father believes that doorways are a the height of modern invention, and your mother thinks that a clean house is an artform. Where in Tartarus did YOU come from...?"
Gabrielle answered coyly. "I came down from Olympus just to be with you."
Autolycus shook his head and grabbed his own mug. "Excuse me, guys? Dont we have a pig to snatch?"
* * * *
Autolycus faced the women. "Now, let me see if Ive got this straight, if you can ignore the expression. You and your little brother, once tried to kidnap a pig, and plant him in the Reeves room with the Reeves chain of office on him. But it screwed up, and you didnt pull it off. So you," pointing to Gabrielle, "thought that this would be the perfect activity for tonight?"
Gabrielle tried to focus on Autos face. "They never got the pig through the door. This has been a continuing regret throughout all of Xenas life. Now the same arsehole... is Reeve again. We, here tonight, are going to finally resolve this deficiency."
Auto pondered for a moment, before turning to the warrior. "This is your great regret? This will bring you closure for YOUR life? Planting a pig in some guys room?"
Xena moved towards him belligerently. "Yeah? You got any problems with that?"
Auto backed away. "Im just filing this away, for the next time anyone suggests anything to me when Im not sober."
A visit to a pen, and much later, they stood over the unconscious body of an overgrown porker. Gabrielle began unpacking her quills.
"Nice punch Xe" The bard complimented.
The warrior caressed her fist with pride. "Thank you."
Gabrielle turned to a disgusted looking Autolycus. "Im sorry, Auto. You shouldnt have been holding the pig back there. I didnt know they voided their bladders when they were knocked out."
Xena grinned maliciously. "I did."
The thief glared at her, but the warrior seemed unconcerned. Gabrielle took another swig of her ale and examined the rear of the pig. "So. What do we want to say?"
Xena looked at the bard. "This isnt supposed to be a letter to the council, Gabrielle. We just want to put the Reeves name on it, so theyll get the point."
"In case his chain of office isnt enough of a clue?" she asked.
"With this council, a brick to the head would be a hint."
Gabrielle resumed examining the pigs hind quarters. "But theres all this extra space..."
Xena closed her eyes. "All right. Fine. What would you like to say?"
Autolycus spoke up. "Yeah, Gabrielle. Considering the...ah... material, just write what would be appropriate... whatever comes to mind..."The thief couldnt control his chuckling. "Im really interested in seeing what you decide..." Xena looked at the intense concentration that her partner was giving the pigs rear, and began to join Autolycus in giggling.
Gabrielle looked at the two of them, slightly insulted. "Hey, you guys want to do this?"
Xena managed to bring herself under control. "No, no. We all have our assignments."
Autolycus concurred while wiping tears from his eyes. "Yeah, Xenas the muscle; she punches the pig. Im the thief; I steal the pig. Youre the Bard; you write on the pig." This set him off again.
Gabrielle stood and held out her pen threateningly. "Which PIG?"
* * * *
The pig having been scribed, chained and placed, the three conspirators were slipping out of the Reeves office with a sense of accomplishment, when a grumbling noise rent the air.
Autolycus froze. "What in Tartarus was that?" he whispered. "The pig?"
"Almost." grinned Xena, speaking in a low threatening tone. "Its Gabrielles stomach. Bwahahahaha..."
The bard ignored the commentary and concentrated on what was important. "Food." She muttered gutturally. "Eat. Now. Must. QUICKLY!"
Autolycus was slightly taken aback. "If we dont, does this evening end with villagers pursuing her with torches?"
"NOW!" The Bard of many words emphasized.
* * * *
Back at the inn, Xena approached her mother with caution. "Aah, Mom?"
"Yes?" Cyrene stood unsmilingly, surrounded by food scents that were beginning to persuade the warrior that Gabrielle had the right idea..
"Ah, Mom. you know what one of the side effects of Seeds is?"
"Acting like a complete fool?" Cyrene answered sweetly.
"Well, yes, but aside from that. You see, theres this hunger..." Xena had been on sieges where her stomach had been less demanding.
"Well Gabrielles out there gnawing on her sais..."
"Gabrielle? With the MUNCHIES? Oh Gods! That poor girl! I hope youre satisfied with what youve done..."
The rest was lost as a large golden goose was revealed inside the oven. Xena lept forward and carefully tossing the huge bird back and forth to avoid burning her fingers, carried it out of the kitchen. "This is a start..." She called behind her.
Both Gabrielle and Autolycus eyes lit up with demon-like joy to see the bird flying towards them. As it landed on the table, both Gabrielle and the thief grabbed at the same wing. But Auto backed off quickly when Gabrielle growled deep in her throat and her lips pulled back to reveal her teeth in a snarl.
For the next while all three were lost in a haze of gorging themselves, the only sounds being various grunts and slurping noises.
When they finally came to themselves, sucking desperately on the remains of the bones, they were aware that the inn had become somewhat emptier. Those that remained were attentively focused on their table. Cyrene stood implacably to the side.
"Uhh, Where did everyone go?" Gabrielle finally asked.
Cyrene waited for a moment, before answering. "Well, first, all the people with small animals left immediately. Then everybody with young children. I only got those tables to stay by telling them that you were a group of traveling players doing a exhibition of primitive man."
Any thoughts that this was a rare example of Cyrenes humour were dispelled when applause broke out. Blushing, the three acknowledged their spectators.
* * * *
Near morning, Cyrene came to look over the epilogue. Gabrielle was smiling, asleep in Xenas lap. Autolycus was snoring loudly, curled up on the bench. Her daughter gave a loud belch and a wave.
"So did you have fun?" the innkeeper asked sarcastically.
Xena thought, and smiled. "Sorry, but...Yup. Please, Mom, its not like its illegal, and you do run a tavern."
Cyrene cocked her head and examined her daughter. "Im going to forget about this night. Only because I know that you are two very strong willed women, and that you wont make a habit of this. And....because I believe I heard a pig grunting outside tonight, and Im hoping hes now in the Reeves office."
Xena looked to her mother in surprise. "You remembered about..."
Cyrene looked down lovingly at the small woman in her daughters lap. "She is a lot like Lyceas in some ways, isnt she?"
The daughter looked to her mother. "More than anything, I wish...for all that we were complete fools tonight, I wish he could have been there."
"I know. Me too. Maybe he was." She wiped her eyes and straightened up. "So you better get her to bed, and Ill deal with this one."
Xena recognized that glint in the eyes, having seen it in the mirror more than once. She stood up carrying the bard in her arms. "Ah, Mom? He is a friend..."
Cyrene smiled. "Yes, and he got just a little too friendly trying to put the key to the winecellar back. And he IS the one who got the seeds for you, isnt he?"
"Mom. I have to put Gabrielle to bed, but I dont want to leave Autolycus undefended..."
At this point Gabrielle opened her eyes and murmured. "Beds a great idea, but Im not asleep."
Xena looked desperately to her mother, still staring evilly down on Autolycus.
Gabrielle continued. "In fact. I feel so alive, like every pore on my body wants a huge stretch..."
Changing her priorities rapidly, Xena began to carry the Bard up the stairs two at a time. She spared one last look at her mother, who was lifting the thiefs arm, and dropping it to measure his complete relaxation. She was about to speak when Gabrielle muttered "Niipppllle..."
With a shrug, Xena said, "Sorry Auto..." and the two disappeared inside the room.