3,000 Years Ago

Chapter 12

Xena sold armor and swords that she borrowed from those dead men sent after Autolycus and bought three places on the ship for herself, Gina and the thief. She wanted to give back Autolycus the money he spent on her and Gina but the man refused. He told the princess warrior that she had already done a lot for him. She helped him to deliver the scroll to the customer and saved Autolycus life twice while giving him the antidote and killing those assassins. They were fair and square.

Gina felt herself quite good on the ship. She didn’t have sea-sickness but was extremely shy. The girl was always very suspicious about strangers and as she didn’t know anybody except Xena and Autolycus on the ship, she tried not to be on the deck without them. Another thing that she wasn’t accustomed to was the lack of books or anything to read or at least to do here. That’s why Gina tried to remember all the training she went through while being a Muay Thai fighter and then an MMA fighter. Xena didn’t hinder Gina’s strife for fight but she didn’t encourage the girl either. It seemed as Autolycus was more concerned about girl’s strange occupation when the warrior princess.

“Did you teach her all of these techniques?” The man asked worriedly watching Gina’s workout.

“No, I didn’t. She has an interesting style. Some of these catches and blows I know but others I have never seen in my life,” Xena explained also watching the girl.

“How can a small child know all of this?” Autolycus couldn’t imagine himself studying professional fighting in childhood. Yes, he had clashes with local boys in his neighborhood but they were fighting by hitting and kicking opponents at random. The girl knew precisely were to hit.

“She keeps telling she was a gladiator. I doubt that. Her style resembles very much the amazon’s style of fighting. They teach defense from the cradle. It’s my only guess,” Xena confessed.

“Are you still sure it’s a good idea to give her to your mother?” asked the man doubting that Cyrene could do it.

“Why?” The woman didn’t understand what he was getting at.

“She raised you. I don’t have anything against you, but not long ago you caused a lot of misery to the people.” He told her sincerely.

His words wounded her heart, though, he was right. Thousands of people died from her sword. Hundred thousands died for her or because of her.

“My mother doesn’t have to be responsible for what I’ve done. She is a great and respected woman,” the woman said firmly.

“Nobody says anything bad about your mother. Are you sure that she can control Gina? Look at her.”

The girl was hitting the side of the ship as if it was the worst enemy.

“I can’t take care of her either. It is not the best thing for a kid to travel with me.”

“You’ll make a big mistake if you leave her, believe me,” with these words Autolycus went to talk to sailors and listen to their stories.

They shook hands with Autolycus in the port, then Xena together with Gina went to Amphipolis. It took them six more days to get there. The warrior princess was glad to see native places. Each small spot brought back memories. There she used to play with her brother Lyceus. There they used to go fishing. In that shop they bought food. She was absent for how many years ten, fifteen. She didn’t remember. Still the woman was worried. How her mother would treat her after all of these years and after all she had done. How she would face Lyceus’ wife and his son. He should be a teenager by now. His father would have been proud of the boy if he had been alive. She was also anxious about Draco the warlord heading here for provision. She already defended one village invaded by Draco’s men. Gina was even gloomier. The girl knew that in Amphipolis they have to depart. She got used to Xena and to become accustomed to anybody else wasn’t the best thing she wanted to do.

Xena found her mother as usual in a tavern she was running for years to afford living of her three children and herself.

“Mother?” Xena wanted to greet and hug the woman but instead she stopped and hid Gina behind her because the older woman took away her sword.

“Weapons are not welcome here, neither are you or your filthy child,” said the woman casting Gina a glance and taking away the sword.

Gina kept silent. It wasn’t the first time people thought she was Xena’s child.

“That’s bad because I wanted to talk to you. Gina, wait for me here.” She told the girl and followed her mother in the kitchen.

When Xena left, a boy about thirteen came to Gina.

“Is that Xena, the warrior princess?” He asked Gina.

“Yes, that’s her, why?” mumbled the girl in a shock.

“Nothing, you, come with me!” The boy told angrily and stepped forward.

Gina knew him from the series but she couldn’t remember his name. People in the tavern didn’t pay much attention to that little incident.

“Move!” the boy came closer but the girl didn’t stir a finger to do as he said.

“Are you deaf? Move outside of my grandma’s tavern!” He insisted and pushed Gina.

Gina didn’t understand why she was so angry. Maybe she was disappointed that Xena wanted to get rid of her or maybe because the boy pushed her, nevertheless, she did what she did. The girl turned around and elbowed the insolent guy directly in the solar plexus, then, she kicked him down to the ground, took his arm in a submission grip and pressed his chest to the ground by her knee. The boy also wasn’t a coward one. He hit her hard in the chest with his free arm and pushed the girl away. He swiftly got up to his feet and stood in the defensive position ready to attack. Gina was furious. She attacked him again. The boy blocked all her blows and kicks, finally, he hit her hard in the left elbow and tried to hold her in a grip but she freed herself. The customers of the tavern started hooting when suddenly Xena appeared out of nowhere and took them both by the collars.

“That’s enough!” the woman yelled at the two. “Can I leave you for a minute for you not to get into trouble?” She hissed at the girl furiously.

“He started fighting first!” Gina made excuses.

“I don’t give a damn who was the first! What’s your problem with her?” She referred to the boy.

“You and your child are not welcome here, Xena! You killed my father! I’ll kill you too!” The boy roared angrily.

“Solan, is that you?” Xena eased her grip on both children.

“Xena, why did you come back? Leave my son alone!” shouted a blond woman with a baby in her arms.

“I’m glad to meet you again, Gabrielle. I see you didn’t waste your time.” The warrior princess wanted to get a dig at her brother’s wife.

“I’ve mourned the loss of Lyceus for ten years. I think that’s enough for me and for Solan. We have to live further. Why did you come back, murderer?” Gabrielle also wanted to wound the dark haired woman as deep as possible. They both loved Lyceus, Xena as a devoted sister, Gabrielle as a bellowed wife.

“I came here to warn you that warlord Draco is marching here with his army to take the town. I can help to organize a defense,” she said firmly.

“There won’t be any bloodshed in our town! No more, Xena. We all remember what happened the last time you led the defense. We’ll solve the problem our way. Go away, nobody here needs help from a cold-hearted murderer.” Gabrielle looked sternly at Xena as if she wanted to kill her with this stare full of hate.

“Come on, Gina. We’re leaving!” The warrior princess barked at the girl. She had even to take the girl by the hand and pull her towards the door because Gina was standing still at one place mesmerized by all the characters before her eyes.

Solan, Gabrielle and Cyrene were true living human beings but everything was upside down in this universe. Gina remembered the series quite well. How could Gabrielle be Lyceus wife if she always was Xena’s side-kick, and Solan. Something was pretty wrong here. Now the girl started to doubt even the reality she was at the moment.

“Come on, Gin, what’s wrong with you?” The woman was definitely pissed off. She knew the reunion with the family would be tough but she didn’t expect such a reception, especially, for a child.

“In the name of Ares, Xena, can you, please, stop for a second? Slow down, take a deep breath!” Gina begged trying to escape from Xena’s strong grip. The woman held girl’s hand so firmly that Gina’s fingers started to ache.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be angry with you, little one.” Xena stopped dragging the girl along the street to the stables.

“May I ask you a question?”

“Shoot!” said the woman impatiently.

“Aren’t you Solan’s mother?” Gina needed to know for sure.

Xena laughed at the child.

“Do I look like a fair-haired lady? Solan is my nephew, my brother’s son. Unfortunately, Lyceus died. Solan was only a baby those days.”

“That can’t be true.” The girl muttered to herself. “It is impossible.” She couldn’t ask another question because Xena has already disappeared in the stables.

The woman reappeared on the back of the horse. She helped the girl to climb up and they rode up the hill.

“Where are we going?” Gina asked too surprised by everything that has happened to sit still on the mare.

“To my brother,” was the short response.

“I thought he died.” The child spoke.

“Yes, he did.”

When they arrived to the tomb Xena asked the girl to wait for her outside.

“Hello, brother. I see your wife is doing well and your son is a young brave lad by now. I wish you were with them. Since you’ve been gone I kind of lost my way. I did a lot of mistakes in my life and couldn’t even have imagined to be blessed by a miracle. You would be laughing but I found her. Now I’m sure and I’m not gonna leave her again. That I can promise. Thank you for opening my eyes.” She kissed the stone of sarcophagus and left the tomb.

Gina was sitting on a big rock deep in thought. The girl tried to digest the events unrolling before her as canvas. Should she ask Xena about it or should she not? Was it because of her the whole story was misinterpreted?

“Let’s go, dreamer. First, you’re fighting then you’re thinking. When will it be vice-versa?” Xena playfully mocked.

“Where are we going now?” The child climbed down from the rock.

“I don’t know, traveling.”

“Would you leave your town to Draco?” Gina couldn’t believe in Xena’s absent-mindedness.

“I offered my help, they refused it. It’s up to them now.”

“So, you’re going to let Draco sell your family in slavery only because they didn’t receive you as you want them to? You’re a coward not a warrior princess!” Gina was surprised to utter such a tirade but it worked.

“Fine, let’s see, what I can do.”

That day Gina stood next to Salon admiring Xena fighting Draco on the scaffold. The warlord was defeated and all people celebrated the victory. Xena and Gina were sitting in Gabrielle’s house sharing the table with Perdicus, Solan, Cyrene and of course Gabrielle and her little baby Eve.

“It will be my pleasure to take care of her,” said Gabrielle to Xena when all children went to bed and both women were standing outside in the porch looking at the stars above.

“Thank you, Gabrielle, but I don’t want to be away from her anymore. I’ve already lost ten years in vain.”

“I see. Do you remember how we played together under that tree?” Gabrielle pointed at the tree standing alone down in the valley.

“Yeah, how could I forget! The first to climb the tree is the winner!” The woman cried and both darted off to the tree.

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