By: Hamutal




Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Argo, Solan and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.


NOTE: All works remain the © copyright of the original author. These may not be republished without the author's consent.


I’ll be happy to hear your input at:


I’d like to particularly thank Inna and Kim for helping me with some decision making while writing this.




"You wanna talk about it?" Gabrielle’s voice asked softly behind Xena’s back.


Xena kept walking, Argo’s reins in her hand, pretending not to hear her friend. Gabrielle refused to give up.


"Xena, come on," she pleaded. Xena turned around sharply.


"What?" she said agitatedly, as if she didn’t know what Gabrielle was talking about, but both knew she did.


"I know it’s today. I count the days, you know. I can’t forget it either," Gabrielle said and Xena’s heart ached even more. "It’s been exactly two years today. All this time I have waited. I wanted to give you time. But it doesn’t look like you’re ever going to open up. And I’m worried about you, Xena. You have to let it out. Please talk to me." Gabrielle emphasized her last plea with the placing of her hand on Xena’s arm, but Xena pulled her arm away as if she was burnt by Gabrielle’s touch and doing so she hastened her step.


"I know you miss him," Gabrielle called after her. "And I know you feel guilty, but if anybody should feel guilty it’s me."


Xena turned sharply, hurried back to Gabrielle and grabbed her face with her two hands, looking straight into her eyes.


"Oh, no. Don’t. I should have known better. I should have protected him. He was my son."


Her son. She didn’t see herself as a mother. Not even years after he was born. She didn’t feel soft enough, nurturing enough. Yes, she did love him in her way, unplanned as he was, and she never forgot him, not even for a day, or the trusting look on his tiny serene face when she handed him over to Kaleipus. Nine years later she was walking the same path. So much had changed in between. So much had changed in her. When she laid eyes on him, her breath was taken away. She knew she would have recognized him even if he wasn’t standing by Kaleipus. The wheat-colored hair, the tenacious expression. He reminded her so much of Lyceus. Watching him standing there she couldn’t remember any of the reasons that made her give him up in the first place — not even one.


Nothing prepared her for the feeling she had when he announced that he wanted to kill her. The hate in that young, innocent face. Hate for her. Years of brazening herself against everything, any feeling, simply faded away, disappeared as if they had never existed, and more than anything she wanted to touch his beautiful face, but she knew she couldn’t and not since Lyceus’s death did she hurt like that.


But she succeeded in making him love her, trust her again, just like when he was a baby, only so she could fail him again, one last time. She shook her head and looked away.


Gabrielle would have given anything to know what was going on in Xena’s head. She knew she couldn’t change the past, but her mother taught her that speaking about things could take the edge away, at least a little. She taught her how comforting sharing could be. More than anything in the world, Gabrielle wanted to teach it to Xena, but she knew Xena was not going to let her.


Didn’t even have the decency to tell him I was his mother, Xena bitterly thought to herself. She wanted to. She was going to. But she kept delaying it. She, who never shied away from a battle, who never feared a confrontation with the meanest, most dangerous warlords, was afraid of facing a little boy’s eyes, asking mutely how could she have left him. And how could she, really? Was it really in his best interest? She was beginning to question it, recalling the grievous look on his face when he talked about not ever meeting his mother, or the tears in his eyes when he asked her why everybody he ever loved had died. And she let him die believing that his mother was indeed dead. If only she could turn back time.


ׂHow much back?" asked a figure in a hooded cloak.


Suddenly it was night, with no stars and hardly any moon, and both Gabrielle and Argo had disappeared.


"Who are you?" Xena asked, her sword already in hand.


"You can ease your mind," said the stranger calmly. "I’m here to help."


"How could you possibly help?" Xena shouted in agony. "I failed my son. I let him die."


"You did your best," said the voice softly, suddenly sounding so familiar. "You did what you could under the circumstances."


Xena shook her head wildly, like an injured animal.


"I should have never let him go in the first place," she hardly extracted the words from her mouth. Her heart felt so heavy.


"Is that how you really feel?" asked the hooded figure.


"Yes, that’s how I really feel," Xena answered, enraged.


"As you wish," the figure said, and Xena suddenly found herself all by herself, again in a different setting, one which somehow looked familiar.


Part 1


At the sound of somebody approaching from behind the bushes, Xena drew her sword and waited alertly. To her great surprise she shortly faced a woman, looking exactly like herself only younger, carrying a bundle in her arms.


"What…? Who…?" Xena mumbled.


"She can’t hear you," said the voice of the cloaked figure from behind her.


Xena turned to look at the figure, then at her double and then she realized.


"She is me," she uttered, enlightened. The young woman unraveled the content of her bundle. It was a baby.


ׂSolan," Xena’s voice cracked. She reached her hand to touch the precious little face, but her hand went right through.


"You’re only a spectator," the figure said. "You can’t intervene."


Xena turned to the figure.


"But how…? What…?" she began to ask.


"Just watch," the voice ordered, and Xena fixed her eyes on the young woman and her baby.


Now she identified the place. It was right outside the village of the centaurs. Her young self was going to meet Kaleipus. And indeed, soon enough she heard an approaching gallop and Kaleipus appeared.


The young woman looked at the child in her arms and quickly concealed him.


"You got my message" the young Xena noted dryly. "I just wanna talk to you," she added, looking at Kaleipus’s sword.


"As you did before when you tried to kill me?" Kaleipus started saying, and Xena suddenly remembered how exactly at that point she had suddenly felt the baby’s little heart beating in sync with her own. She watched the young woman’s face as she opened her mouth and was about to say the words Xena remembered all too well when suddenly the young woman closed her mouth and turned to Kaleipus with a whole different look in her eyes. Kaleipus caught that look and quickly pointed the sword at her.


"You are right," she finally said in a hoarse, unnatural voice. "I didn’t come here to talk. But it doesn’t matter now anyway. You’re doomed." And before Kalipus had a chance to respond, she quickly disappeared from his eye, clutching the bundle in her arms as close to her chest as she could.


Xena looked around and searched for the cloaked figure, but it was gone. She ran after her younger self, trying to understand what was going on. In her heart she already knew the answer. She saw her younger self, finally sitting in a forest’s clearing, looking at her baby’s face.


"I couldn’t do it," the young woman mumbled to herself. "Why couldn’t I do it?"


She appeared angry with herself. Xena knew why. She was so determined to do it, so careful to make sure nothing interfered with her plans, not even, or maybe particularly not, her feelings. So that version of herself subdued to those feelings. Xena remembered them very well. She and that woman stood before the same choice, only that other Xena chose differently. She chose right.


ׂWhat will I do with you?" the young Xena said to the baby, looking suddenly so helpless.


"Love him, and cherish him, before you wake up one day and realize it’s too late," Xena said, but her young self couldn’t hear her. She was sitting still, her eyes starting at an invisible spot in space, trying her hardest to think, to find a way out.


She knew she had to bring the baby to safety, but first thing first. There were other urgent matters that had to be taken care of. She came back to camp, constantly making sure she wasn’t followed and entered her tent. She made sure the baby was sleeping, then carefully placed him in a large fruit basket which she padded with some cloths and carefully hid it behind a curtain. Only then she called Dagnin into her tent. The interaction between them was short. She whispered something in his ear. He nodded, saluted and went out of the tent.


Xena shuddered. Although what she was now witnessing had never occurred in her own past, it was still her in that scene, the same woman she used to be, with the same tendencies and methods. She didn’t have to hear what her young self whispered in Dagnin’s ear to know what would follow.


It didn’t take long before her hunch was confirmed. The sound of battle cries, of arrows shot into the dense night air. The cries of the wounded. Fast, crazy gallops. The thumping of falling bodies. And in the midst of it all her young self stood up, and listened carefully. Then, using the commotion of war as a veil, she snatched the basket from behind the curtain, mounted her horse and rode in the opposite direction. When she felt she was far enough from the battlefield, she stopped for reorganizing. She picked the baby up, took the cloth that was wrapped around him and used it to tie him to her back, as she had seen many women do in the far away lands where she and Borias had once roamed. Then she began galloping as fast as she could.


Xena was curious to see the next moves of her young self. It was her, but she had to be somewhat different, because that woman did not give away her baby. She continued following her young self, riding on a phantom horse that suddenly appeared out of nothing, while the young woman rode crazily, almost as fast as the wind.


The young woman was frightened, more frightened than she had ever been before. She had no idea what to do with the baby. She kept doubting her choice every moment. Still, there she was, the baby tied to her back. The only thing she was absolutely sure of was that she had to get as far away as possible. She was so focused on getting away that she didn’t even notice that the baby was beginning to cry. She halted immediately, almost causing herself and the baby to fall down from the horse. She jumped off, feeling heavier and weaker than she ever did, and untied the cloth from around the baby. His crying got louder. He was all red. By now she was very scared.


Xena watched her young self and smiled sadly. So many mixed emotions came to life inside of her. She felt sorry for that young woman whom she knew so well. She knew she was facing the biggest challenge of her life. She knew she was more scared than she had ever been in her very young life. By now taking lives had become so easy, but giving life, and nurturing it, that was a whole different matter. Being responsible for that young life was the hardest thing of all. She was also proud of the other Xena for not choosing to walk away from that responsibility, for not giving in to the fear. And lastly, she was also jealous of that woman, who would spend precious moments with the son that she had lost.


ׂWhat?" the young woman said to the crying baby. "What? What is it? What do you want? How do I know?"


She began crying. It was such a long, tiring, nerve wrecking day and she couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. She always had to act so strong. Only in her own company, and most of the time not even then, did she let herself act a little more naturally.


The baby was still crying. She was afraid even to hold him. She was so used to using forceful and sharp movements she was afraid her over-aggressiveness would hurt the fragile little creature.


"Are you hungry?" she finally came up with an idea.


She put the baby down and tried to get out of her cloths. She was still so unsure of herself. How would she know what to do? How much to feed him? How to hold him so he wouldn’t choke?


When she was a girl she never spent much time thinking of babies or motherhood. She used to hear the girls in the village talk, but she never took part in their conversations. In the very few times the idea had crossed her mind, she always assumed that her mother would be there to guide her, like her mother before her and like all the other mothers in the village. For a moment she thought about turning to Amphipolis. Her mother was very clear the last time they had met, saying she did not wish to see her again, but maybe if she came with a baby, her grandson… She shook her head. No. She would just have to manage without her. Still, the thought of her mother kept haunting her. Then she remembered. She could see in her mind’s eye Cyrene picking up baby Lyceus from his crib and nursing him. She could see the exact way she held him. Although she was very little back then, she had always been very perceptive and was blessed with an impeccable and a very visual memory.


Slowly she picked the baby up. Her hands were a bit shaky. She held him close to her bare chest, careful to support his tiny head. The little mouth searched for a while and then began sucking. A very strange feeling came over the young woman, a feeling of warmth she had never encountered before. She watched fascinated as her son kept feeding and closing her eyes she began to sing. Immediately she could feel the child responding to her singing. He was beginning to suck faster. She smiled, for the first time in a very long time. She felt easier and more relaxed than she had ever felt.


From a distance Xena stood, fighting back the tears in her eyes. Sensing a new presence she quickly turned back, ready to defend the mother and child. She relaxed when she realized it was the cloaked figure again.


"You see?" she told it. "I was right. She did make the right choice, the one I should have made."


The cloaked figure shook its head.


"Are you certain?" it asked, and Xena again felt that the voice sounded very familiar, and yet she still couldn’t place it.


"Look for yourself," she said, pointing at her young self singing to the sleepy baby.


ׂThings aren’t always what they appear to be at first," the voice said and a dark fear started nesting within Xena’s heart. "Let us go forward a little so you could see for yourself."


Xena looked around her again and found herself in a whole different environment, one she had never seen before.


"I don’t know this place," she said, surprised.


"There’s no reason why you should. You have never been here," the figure answered.


"What is this place? How is it called?" Xena asked.


The cloaked figure told her. Xena thought for a moment and then she remembered.


"Yes. I’ve heard of this place. It’s in the outskirts of Greece. I conquered the area, but this village was such a small and insignificant one that I decided not to waste time on it. So is this where I ended up living?" Xena asked hesitantly.


The hooded figure did not answer. Instead it pointed in the direction of a big well, where Xena spotted her young self drawing water, with a child of about two at her side.


Xena’s eyes widened. Through the years she had often thought about her son, tried to figure out how old he must be, imagine how he must look like, what he was doing, but nothing compared to seeing the little boy with her own eyes. Without thinking she ran to him and tried to touch him only to be painfully reminded of her status as an observer. She slowly strode back to the cloaked figure.


"So, how did I get here? What have I done all these years?" she asked.


"Well, it wasn’t easy, but you… she knew that she had to make a fresh start for her and her son," the figure started. "She came to this place, where nobody knew her and never told them her real name."


Xena nodded. That was what she would have done.


"How did she get by?" she asked curiously.


"There are always things to do, and you were always a quick learner," the figure said. "The people of this village accepted her as one of their own and helped her with the boy."


Xena looked again in the direction of the well. Her young self was gone, but the boy was still standing there, his face turned in her direction.


"He looks well," she said dryly, trying to conceal the variety of conflicting feelings that arose in her.


"So what’s your point?" she finally said what was on her mind.


"You will soon see," the figure answered and then disappeared.


Xena didn’t have to wait long before she heard the sound of about two dozen horses approaching the village. Then immediately a shower of burning arrows began falling on the rooftops. People started running at every direction, stumbling on their way, screaming, crying, trying to snatch their children from the eye of the storm. Xena’s warrior instinct took over. She immediately turned and pulled her sword out of its sheath. Then she reluctantly put it back in and remained watching as her young self stormed out of one of the cabins, holding two big spears in her hands. The spears flew and hit their targets. Two soldiers fell from their horses. The young Xena quickly mounted one of the horses, snatching a sword from a dead soldier on her way. Xena looked at her young self with amazement. She had never had the chance to watch herself in action before, and the experience was overwhelming. She worriedly followed as a familiar fire was sneaking into the young woman’s eyes. Xena recognized that fire. She knew that once it was set off, nothing was safe. All else was forgotten. She watched amazed as her young self charged inside the circle of bewildered soldiers and slaughtered them one by one. The villagers themselves, from the safety of the few houses that remained intact, also watched the young woman, completely confused. For the past couple of years she had lived among them and they had thought they knew her well. Now they saw a whole different side of that woman.


Xena was still watching her young self fighting ferociously when she spotted from the corner of her eye the young boy, standing at the door of one of the cabins, his eyes opened wide, closely following his mother’s actions. She wanted to make him go inside, to look away, but she couldn’t and so he kept gazing at the action, looking utterly fascinated.


"Xena…" one of the soldiers managed to say just before the young warrior plunged the sword into his chest.


A murmur passed throughout the village. They had heard many horrible stories about the ruthless warlord. Could she and the woman they knew as Lyceia be one and the same?


Finally the few remaining soldiers rode off. The young Xena chased them for a short while but there was no use and so she turned around and came back to the village. She knew what had to follow. The village was a small one, only about a dozen families inhabited it. It was not a rich village. Its residents hardly grew enough grain for their own keeping. It wasn’t strategically placed either. There was only one reason for the soldiers to attack the village — her. When she got back, the village’s eldest already waited for her, the boy in her arms. She was the first one to welcome her and her son when they came to the village more than two years before so it was only appropriate that she would be the one to send them off.


The young Xena took the boy from the old woman’s arms with a nod. She placed him carefully on the saddle, in front of her, and rode off as quickly as she could.


They rode for days. It was winter, and a hard winter too. Many rain and lightening storms awaited them in the way. In that stormy weather it was hard to find a dry place to hide. Once in a while the young woman came across a cave, but as soon as she thought that she heard the sounds of hoofs in the horizon she packed her things, took her son and rode away.


It had already been a few weeks since she left the village. The young woman was hungry and weak and the boy had been very ill for the past few days. She had a horrible feeling that he was not going to make it. She sat in a dark and damp cave, the little boy, all wrapped in blankets, lying beside her, and listened as he was straining his little lungs, grasping for every breath. Suddenly she felt the presence of a familiar being. She didn’t even have to see him.


"Ares," she said.


"That’s me," the familiar voice answered as the god appeared in front of her eyes.


"What do you want?" she immediately asked.


"Always so suspicious," he said with a crooked smile. "That’s what makes you such a good warrior."


The young Xena turned her glance away from him.


"I’m not a warrior anymore," she announced with a stern voice.


Ares laughed.


"It is not something you can ever cease to be. You may not practice the warrior ways, but in your heart you will always be one."


The young woman did not argue. Her experience in the village a few weeks back had proven to her that what he had just said was true.


"I watched you at the village," Ares said, reading her thoughts. "Quite impressive for a woman who hadn’t held a sword for… how long?"


The woman looked at the sleeping boy.


"Just a little over two years," she replied.


Ares looked at the boy as well.


"He is very sick, you know," he noted dryly.


"I know that," the young woman whispered angrily.


"He’s not going to make it — not this way, in the cold, with no medicine," Ares continued.


"What’s your point?" the woman rose to her feet, agitated.


"Relax, I’m here to help," answered Ares and the young Xena threw a look of sheer contempt in his direction.


"I’ll be an old senile crone before I ever believe in your good intentions," she spouted.


Ares laughed.


"Now what are you really here for?" the young woman inquired.


"I’m here to make you a proposition," Ares answered with a serious expression on his face.


"What kind of a proposition?" the young woman’s voice was a little shaky.


Ares turned away from her and began speaking with a pensive tone.


"I had big plans for you, Xena," he said, "and you were filling your part just perfectly. You were going to be the destroyer of nations. You were going to lead my army to victory, and conquer the world. We were going to rule it together. But then he came," Ares pointed at the boy who began coughing, "and you became all mushy and soft and decided you didn’t want to be a warrior anymore."


Ares stopped and gazed at the boy intensively. The young woman hurried and snatched the boy, holding him protectively, close to her heart.


"Leave him out of it" she demanded.


Ares laughed.


"Oh, but that would miss the point, wouldn’t it?" he said, looking straight into her eyes.


She shivered.


"Don’t get me wrong," he immediately added. "I sort of admire the strange loyalty you have for the little guy."


"It’s called love," the young woman said passionately. "I don’t suppose you know what that is."


Ares laughed again.


"Loyalty, love, whatever. He is something you want and I can understand that, so I have a proposition for you. You come back and work for me, live up to my dreams and plans for you, and I’ll make sure the little guy lives."


The young woman was overwhelmed. Her older counterpart watched her from the stark darkness of the cave, wondering what she would have done in her place. The boy wheezed and coughed. His little face was burning up with fever. Xena had seen sick children before. There was no way the boy was going to make it, not without a miracle. As she watched her younger self, who although being younger than her was much more experienced than her in the field of motherhood, she knew what the woman’s only choice could be.


The young Xena nodded quietly.


Ares smiled victoriously.


"I’ll do whatever you want," the young woman uttered slowly, "but you have to promise me one more thing," she added and Ares, who was about to vanish turned around and faced her again.


"What?" Ares asked surprised.


"Not just now, but always, you have to promise me you’ll keep him safe. Through all the battles, and in peace, you do whatever it takes. If something ever happens to him, be it a measly hair falling from his head, the deal is off."


The young Xena spoke with fire and conviction that Ares seemed to like.


"No problem. Consider it done. Just make sure you fill your end of the bargain and you have nothing to worry about."


Xena was watching with wonder as the boy’s face lost its redness and the wheezing stopped, all at once. The younger woman slowly caressed the boy’s hair while warm tears fell from her eyes on his now healthy pinkish face. Xena wanted to comfort her younger self, but she knew she couldn’t be heard. She turned around, and the cloaked figure was already waiting for her, signaling with his hand for her to approach him.


"Now what?" Xena said. "I’ve seen enough. She’s a good mother. The good mother I could have been if I had only given motherhood a chance. What more do you want me to see?"


The figure did not respond, but soon Xena found herself in a whole new setting, one she had known before.

It didn’t take Xena much time to recognize the place. She remembered all her battles very well, as if they were scorched into her mind, never to be erased. Did her younger self fight the same battles? Did she follow the same course that she had seemed to have cut off when she decided to keep her son?


The answer soon presented itself in front of her. Her younger self, on a beautiful dark brown horse, dressed and shielded as the warrior she once was, stormed forward and attacked the small village that was placed at the foot of the mountain from where she and her army had just come from. The villagers were already prepared for their arrival, but there was no hope for them. They were but a few, inexperienced and untrained at combating. The battle was won before it even started. Xena remembered realizing it back when she conquered it. It didn’t prevent her then from destroying the village altogether. She waited anxiously to see how her counterpart would deal with that same situation.


The young Xena turned her horse and faced her men.


"You know the routine," she said coldly. "Nothing gets out of here alive."


Nothing? Xena turned and searched for the hooded figure, but it was not there. She watched in horror as her counterpart’s soldiers killed everything in sight — men, women, children, babies, even animals. There was blood everywhere. And the screaming made Xena shiver all over. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She couldn’t believe that the woman who gave that monstrous command was the same woman she had seen crying over her child’s healing body not so long before. The young woman was a softer, more human person than she herself was at that age. What had changed her into a bigger monster than she herself had ever been?


A strange feeling crept upon her. She looked and saw what she expected to see. It was Ares, lurking from behind the trees, looking pleased at his creation. Now it had all made perfect and dreadful sense to her. She remembered facing him time and again, him telling her that she was soft, that she could never be a real conqueror if she allowed herself to feel sorry for women and children, her answering that she was going to have it her way or no way. But her counterpart had no choice. Ares owned her now. She had to do all he said. She had to or her son would die.


She fixed her eyes again on her younger self who was now riding away from the village. She looked more closely and realized what it was that she spotted earlier. On the horse, sitting behind his mother, was the little boy, now about four years old. He was looking straight in her direction, as if he could see her. Xena tried to assess the expression on the little face. The boy seemed joyous. He laughed and shook his head. Then he turned his eyes away from her and back to the road. Xena couldn’t help wondering about all the sights those eyes had seen.


She followed her younger self’s army to camp. The young woman jumped down from her horse and then reached for the boy and took him down to the ground. The boy tried to say something, but the woman cut him off abruptly.


"Not now. I have work to do. Go play outside," she said, and Xena remembered the way she used to feel as a little girl upon hearing those words.


If the boy was disappointed, he sure didn’t show it. Xena guessed that he was pretty much used to it by now. She tried to imagine the kind of life that the boy must live, roaming around the country, with no stability in his life, no other children to play with, no other women but his mother, surrounded by smoke, blood and death. But at least he was alive, she reminded herself, and that was the most important thing.


She kept following the boy as he went outside and started playing. He was galloping around the yard, and Xena couldn’t help thinking how cute he looked. Then he suddenly bumped into one of the soldiers. The soldier groaned and cursed.


"You little…" he started saying, while advancing towards the boy.


Another soldier quickly rushed and stopped him.


"Are you crazy? Don’t you remember what happened to Antheon?" he said.


"He did it on purpose, the little bastard," the first soldier exclaimed.


"It doesn’t matter," the second soldier whispered in response. "You know how she gets when it comes to the little brat."


The boy turned up his gaze and smiled.


"I’m gonna tell my mom on you," he said with an insolent tone.


"There’s no need for that," the second soldier knelt down and looked at the boy. "We apologize. We are very sorry."


The boy looked straight into the soldier’s eyes and then kicked him hard in the knee. The soldier fell down to the ground, closely clutching his knee. The boy ran off, without even looking back.


"You see?" said the first soldier. "It’s just not worth it, I’m telling you. This broad, she can keep her son and all the suckers that are willing to work like this. But me, the first offer I get, I’m out of here."


The second soldier did not speak, but softly moaned in agreement.

Xena continued to follow the boy. He now went out of the camp and into the woods. She remembered how her mother never let her go by herself to the woods, even when she was much older than that boy. How could her other self let her son wander off alone at such a young age, unattended? Then she remembered. She had no reason to worry about him. She knew nothing could ever happen to him. It was part of the deal. Xena was beginning to wonder if the boy realized it too. Did he know that nothing could happen to him, that he was guarded? Did it change the way he behaved? And if he didn’t know, did he feel that his mother didn’t care for him? Xena remembered how although she was always angry at her mother for not letting her do what she wanted, she also felt safe and protected. Did that little boy ever feel that way?


The boy wandered between the trees, humming to himself, sometimes releasing unintelligible cries. Then he started galloping again. Then he called some more. It didn’t take long for Xena to understand what was the game he was playing, what was the only game he could ever be playing. He was playing war. That was the only reality he knew.


She moved closer, until the boy was almost in a hand’s reach. Then suddenly the boy bent down and looked closely. Xena tried to see what he was looking at. It was a long, pointy branch. Xena looked back at the child. His eyes lit up. He picked up the branch and held it over his head. A scary glitter suddenly appeared in his eye. He galloped forward, holding the large branch quite firmly in his right hand.


"Kill ‘em all!" Xena heard the tender voice scream. "Kill ‘em all!"


"Nooooo!" Xena shouted, but the boy could not hear her.


She turned around quickly and saw the cloaked figure who was suddenly standing behind her again.


"I’ve seen enough," she could hardly find the strength to say. "I’ve seen enough. Take me away from here."


"Are you sure?" the figure asked. "Don’t you want to know what’s become of him?"


Xena’s body shivered, but the figure hastened to answer, before she even had the time to respond.


"He joined his mother’s army and killed thirty people in his very first battle - before he even turned fifteen," the figure informed her in a dry tone.

Xena put her hands over her face and shook her head. Then she collected herself and rose to her feet.


"I see your point," she said sternly. "I was young. I didn’t know better. I was too easily drawn back to my old ways. I was blind to any other options. But I’ve matured since then, and by the time I came to the centaurs again I was different. I had changed. I should have taken Solan then."


"As you wish," the figure said and Xena found herself outside the village of the centaurs once again.

part 2

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