3,000 Years Ago

Chapter 13

It has been the sixth day since Xena and Gina came to Amphipolis. Xena was helping people from the town. She worked in a forge making different kitchen knives and beautiful hunting daggers. She helped local shepherds to gather their herds and bring them back to the town. Sometimes the warrior princess together with Perdicus and children went fishing in the nearest lake.

Gina also tried to help. She was interested in how people lived at that time. So, she helped Cyrene in the tavern, sometimes took care of Gabrielle’s baby, watched how Xena worked in the forge and fished in the lake. Together with Solan the girl gathered cherries and baked delicious cakes with her grandmother or auntie.

“Xena, can we talk?” Cyrene asked her daughter.

“Sure, mom. If it’s again about our departure, I’m sorry but we’re definitely leaving in a day,” Xena answered firmly.

“I understand. She’s your daughter. Gina is a very kind and caring girl but I’m concerned about her. She always eager to help, that’s a wonderful trait of character, though, she’s a child and I don’t see her communicating with other children. Do you think it is healthy?” The older woman looked worriedly at Xena.

“Mother, I also try to understand why she is doing this or that. Still she is now at the age when a child doesn’t know either to continue behaving as a child or to become more responsible. Besides, I don’t know what happened to her during these years. I wish I would but I don’t. When I met her the first time, she was beaten black and blue and until now I don’t know the truth because she’s telling me fairy tales maybe to protect me from reality. She is, what she is. I hope when time comes, Gina tells me everything.” Xena’s words sounded as if she was hurt deep inside that her own daughter didn’t trust her.

That very moment Gina was training outside with Solan. Her cousin respected her. She was skillful in battle but he also admitted that being a boy he had to protect her. These six days they spent together. Solan presented Gina to all his friends and, of course, as a true gentleman he protected the girl from everything even if in the evening Xena taught them both some self-defense technique he tried not to hit his cousin hard. When both children were too tired to fight each other, Solan proposed Gina to quit for today. They went to the well to drink some fresh water.

“How is it to be Xena’s daughter?” asked the boy when they approached the well.

“Risky, I think.” Actually, Gina was already tired of the lie she had to support every day. First, when Xena told her to pretend being her child to avoid unnecessary rumors she agreed but now when each person started to ask her questions about Xena, the girl felt uncomfortable.

“Risky? It’s amazing, you travel a lot. You can see other lands, speak to other people, become a hero! Isn’t it exciting?! I wish my mother let me go with you!” Solan was really exaggerating.

“Yeah, now think how many people would like to kill me just to revenge their relatives murdered by Xena. There is nothing romantic in being her child. It is a curse. It is better to be a peasant’s daughter when an heir of the princess warrior,” Gina spilled the remaining water in her mug on the ground and went back to the house.

In a day Gina and Xena were ready to continue their journey to the obscurity. Yesterday they both received a lot of presents from common people and of course from the relatives. Cyrene made Gina a beautiful dress. Xena said that they are going on a journey but not to a ball but her mother didn’t listen. She wanted to see her little granddaughter in something romantic and smart not in boy’s clothes the girl was wearing when she first came into the town. Gabrielle gave her very useful boots. They were made of a very good thin and soft leather and the girl was really thankful for the gift. Perdicus made Gina a backpack with a lot of pockets and even Solan gave her a blue fillet for hair. Gina didn’t even count how many other small gifts people gave her during this time.

Xena got an under gown from her mother, a pretty hairpin from Gabrielle and a leather bag from Perdicus. She also received a pair of skillfully done daggers from the blacksmith, a rod from a fisherman and other things like fabric in different colors or lots of pies and pastry from grateful town people. Both the mother and the daughter kissed everybody goodbye and left the place.

“Finally,” said Gina when the town disappeared from the horizon.

“What?” Xena didn’t understand girl’s relief.

“Finally, I don’t have to lie anymore.”

“About what?”

“About being your daughter.”

Gina simple confession wounded the woman deep inside.

“What is so bad about that?” she asked nonchalantly.

“At least I don’t have to pretend and you too. Isn’t it great?” asked the girl as if doubting the reason of Xena’s previous question for a moment.

The princess warrior was silent which alerted Gina.

“Why didn’t you tell Solan the truth?” she cautiously asked the woman.

“What truth?”

“That you are his true mother, of course.” Gina couldn’t understand Xena’s indecision.

“Gina, Solan is Gabrielle’s son. How many times should I repeat this to you?” The princess warrior said irritated.

“Hold on. So, if this is true… Do you have a child?” Now the girl was even more confused. First time, she thought Xena was joking. Now she didn’t know what to think.

“Yes, I do.”

“Is he living with centaurs?” She put cautiously another question.

“Why do you think it is he and what in the name of Zeus she has to do with centaurs?”

“I don’t know, maybe live?” Gina pronounced unsure but it struck her, “Did you say she?”

“Yes, I had a girl,” Xena murmured.

“Why ‘had’? Did she die?”

“No, she’s very lively.” The woman said definitely sure about her daughter’s wellbeing.

“Where did you leave her?”

“Last time when she only appeared on earth I gave her to the amazon tribe in the north. I was at war with centaurs at that time. So, I knew that with them she would be safer than with me.” She explained to the child.

“Oh, I see. What is her name?” This world became more and more strange and Gina even closed her eyes and cross fingers on both hands to hear the opposite answer to that she already knew she would hear.

“Her name’s Gina.” She said.

“Just like me,” the girl commented already pretty sure who the warrior princess was talking about.

“It’s you, silly.” Xena hugged the girl lightly as they were still riding the mare and kissed her in the cheek.

The girl started to wipe away the kiss as if her cheek was burning.

“Hey, what’s that for? I’m not you daughter! Judge for yourself, according to you the girl is in the north. I don’t know where Amphipolis is but I’m certain it’s not in the north. How did I end up in Rome if I’m you daughter?” She tried to sound reasonable.

“I don’t know. I have to find it out. That’s why we’re going north to the amazons.”

“Phew, wonderful! It will be my pleasure to greet Xena junior,” mumbled the girl but Xena clearly heard her words.

“Why don’t you want to be my child?” The princess warrior gave way to her emotions.

“Because it’s ridiculous for a daughter of a merchant to be the child of a warrior princess, don’t you think?”

“Gina, people see the resemblance. When they look at you they see my features. I also see them.” The woman tried to be convincing.

“So, what? A lot of people in the world look alike. Somewhere we all have our double. Besides, your eyes are blue and mine are brown.” Gina emphasized the difference.

“Yes, you have your father’s eyes. What’s so unusual in it?”

“Who is my father?” the girl sounded stubborn. She knew that one and the only father at least of Xena's child in series was Borias, though, in the series they made Solan fair-haired even when both his parents were dark haired. Gina had to think about genetic problem in this foolish universe.

“He was a brave warrior. His name was Borias,” Xena uttered.

Gina exhaled because she held her breathe with anticipation to hear who could that be if everything else in this reality wasn’t the same anymore.

“What was the color of his eyes?” asked the girl suspiciously.

“Blue like mine.”

“You told me that I have my father’s eyes! I have brown eyes. Don’t you get it? I’m not your daughter or Borias or whoever slept with you,” said the girl feeling herself even better because at least she shouldn’t name this warrior woman her mother. It would be a betrayal of her own one and the girl loved her real parents now even more than ever before.

“Hey, kiddo! Don’t you ever speak to me like this! Did you understand?” Xena pressed a painful spot on Gina’s body and the girl yelped with pain.

“This only shows that I’m not your daughter. When we arrive to those amazons you’ll see it. Let me down! I want to walk for a while!” She snapped at the woman trying to jump down from the mare’s back.

The woman didn’t prevent her from dropping to the ground. Gina was so angry that she nearly lost her balance while getting down from the mare. Xena went at a jog-trot to leave the girl far behind. Still she kept an eye on the child not to get separated with her again.

The princess warrior was as angry with the girl as Gina was with her. None the less, one thought haunted her. She reminded the appearance of her brothers. All of them had dark hair as she did and blue eyes just like her mother. Solan has fair hair like Gabrielle and his eyes are blue like his father’s or Gabrialle’s, who knows. Her granddad also had blue eyes and dark hair as she remembered. Could it be possible that the girl wasn’t her daughter? Maybe she has been longing for so long to see her child that she started making things up? Why then the heart told her that Gina is her little girl one and only. Xena turned her head back to see the child. The girl was stubbornly going along the road kicking tiny stalks of grass on the way.

They didn’t talk much for the whole day. In the evening Xena told the girl to bring water from the nearby spring while she was drawing four quails which they caught one hour ago. The princess warrior was alarmed when the child didn’t reappear in several minutes. She called for her but silence was the only answer. Quickly, Xena took her sword and chakram forgetting to wipe hands still in birds’ blood and went in the forest to rescue Gina.

She saw the girl standing as a statue five steps away from the spring. Gina was standing as if bewitched in front of a rattlesnake which was definitely eager to bite the girl because its tail was shaking in a battle dance. The girl was standing still only the heart was drumming inside her small chest. She was scared to breathe.

Xena threw the chakram. It sliced the snake into six pieces because it was lying in a zigzag ready to attack. When Gina saw that there was no more threat, she unclasped her fists and two skins full with water fell on the ground. The princess warrior was already beside the girl examining if Gina was fine.

“You didn’t tell me about snakes in the forest,” whispered the deathly pale child.

“Little one, did it bite you?” asked the woman more worried when the child.

“No, why didn’t you tell me about snakes?” She started to shake uncontrollably.

“I’m sorry, darling. I’m so sorry.” Xena hugged the girl trying to calm her.

“I don’t want to stop here. Can we camp somewhere else?” Gina asked in a hoarse voice.

“Sure, little one, wherever you want.”

Xena picked up the skins from the ground, took them in one hand and Gina’s hand into the other and they went from the scary place.

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