All of the usual disclaimers apply. Birdie, and Zephyr are my characters, and the others are borrowed from you know where.
Subtext: Maintext… we’ve talked about this, gang.
Violence: yes. Some have been worried that Birdie became a little dark this time. I am not one to run from darkness, or sadness or turmoil. Without them there would be no light, or joy or love. Or much to write about for that matter.
THE RIFT and the Finale were (as they were for many) extremely hard times for me. I didn’t want Birdie to be without knowledge of Xena’s and Gabrielle’s other children. This was a way for Birdie to learn about them and also to bring a tiny bit of peace to the subject, I hope.
I am Robin
Of the Warrior
And the Bard.
We walked into a blood red mist, with no awareness of our location or our enemy. Drawing the Baby Tide, I placed my hand on Zephyr’s head. She had assumed her god fox form; her fur was twice as thick; she stood taller, and her eyes glowed with flaming amber.
“Thank you, Zephyr.” I whispered. Her time as the deity fox was brief, and she only assumed it to protect me; her lives as a god fox might be numbered, but she gave them to me when I needed her.
Sounds of snapping snarling and meat ripping drifted to my ears. The silhouette--tall with the curved horns was a gray outline. Dahok was feeding on the hind, and looked up at me with gore around his mouth. The momentary disgust I felt sapped the strength from my first assault, and he slammed me to the ground with a casual back stroke from his horny clawed fist.
He tossed his head in a guttural laugh spewing bloody meat from his mouth. That arrogance gave Zephyr the opportunity to charge from his left; she got a good snap at his arm, was gone before he could react, and she took a chunk. This enraged him and as he roared, head to the sky, one of his horns was sliced from his head by a bright sword with the shape of a bolt of lightning.
“Birdie, it’s all I am allowed!”
I sought the voice and found it in the blond boy trotting away from our battle returning to the Elysian Fields.
“Tell my mother hello and ask her to talk to me more; I can hear her.”
The face with eyes like mine flashed a smile like Baba Xe’s and waved.
“I will Solon, and thank you!!”
I returned the wave as the figure disappeared in the mist. My brother.
I flattened myself to the ground as Dahok’s sword came within a breath of my head. It took him a moment to remove it from the earth; I could gather myself to fly; and so I did, from the slamming of the hilts of our swords, I made the leap over Dahok’s head, high as Baba Xe’s little warrior and landed perfectly, standing behind him and plunged my sword directly into his back, not once but twice.
He howled with a sound that the deepest demons must have heard, and it chilled me. Zephyr was back then, and she made the opportunity to dodge in quickly for a slash to his hairy leg. This brought forth another roar, and then he was upon me; I didn’t know that he could move without my seeing his motion.
Once again my mighty Baby Tide kept his sword from my face, his demonic countenance, and the stench of all he consumed on his breath. My arms trembled; it was not a good time to feel weak at my gut. I closed my eyes to gather courage, and then re- opened them.
A low hum, reached my ears, and then a small sword sliced through the beast’s remaining horn as if it were parchment. Dahak screamed as if mortally wounded, and fell away from me slashing backwards at whatever had attacked him.
It was Hope. Her eyes found me with a sea green cast- exactly the color of our mother’s eyes.
“Thank you little sister!”
I rolled to my feet and charged Dahak. Zephyr appeared, took his throat in her fangs, and bit down as I slashed his head from his body with one great blow of the Baby Tide. I grabbed it by the stump of the horn and held it high.
“Hear me well,” my voice remained soft and steady as I gazed into the face of my parents’ great enemy,
“I am Robin of the Warrior and the Bard, and I command thee now to be gone.”
A thousand shrieking voices flew howling from within the body and head. They surrounded us in a screaming maelstrom echoing in a deafening chorus for three revolutions and then returned to the body and fell silent, leaving us standing on a pile of blowing ashes. All was still. Quiet.
Hope approached me. Her eyes were reverting rushing like a withdrawing wave to black.
“Robin, you must now kill me.”
Her voice was dropping in timbre to the otherworld sound.
“I cannot,” my voice was weak even as I knew the price of victory.
“ You MUST,” the green in her eyes was fading fast,
“Hear me, you MUST, Birdie. I cannot remain this way; if you hesitate longer it will be too late, my father will return through me, and we will be loose again.”
“Hope….. my little sister…”
“Promise me one thing, Birdie.” She struggled to maintain a human voice.
“I promise,” I said, raising my sword.
“Tell our mother, “
The eyes shone green one last time, and I sought courage and coldness within myself to do what had to be done.
“to talk to me; I can hear her.”
The emerald was fading faster now. She lunged quickly and stabbed blade sharp finger nails into the sides of both of my legs; they sliced in like knives, and blood began to run. The pain fortified me, but not enough.
“Do it quickly, Fool!” she snarled, eyes rolling back in her head.
Her eyes were black, the voice was morphing into many voices, she flicked her claw forward, and grabbed Zephyr’s front paw, snapping her leg like a twig.
“DO IT!” her voice changed—the demon was reclaiming her.
Zephyr cried out; something she never did, and that was enough.
I lunged forward driving the sword into my sister’s breast as deeply as I could. A sob choked me as a roar emerged from the creaking maw of the underworld was opened wide behind her. I saw the scarlet eyes of countless demons waiting for her to rejoin them.
Hope locked her eyes with mine one last time as she faded to dust, and blew away in the wind, forcing me to feel every heartbeat of her sacrifice.
I knelt beside, Zephyr who was whimpering softly.
“I am sorry, girl,” my tears fell in her dark coat.
She licked my face tenderly, as my patient Zephyr always did, and she waited quietly until I could collect myself. Then I stood, gathered her into my arms and began limping toward a place in the mist where there appeared to be a bit of light; a place which my heart was telling me was the way out.
Every step was painful and caused blood to run down my legs, and jarred Zephyr so that she whimpered with her broken paw. But there had to be a way to walk out this time; we had fought too hard. Dahak was dead, and my spirit felt very near to it, so my brave boots carried me toward the source of what called to my heart.
And at last there were shapes, I feared they might be tricks of the eyes, but thankfully the shapes took form, substance, and were recognizable in the mist. My heart was true, one shape tall and dark, and one shape small and light. Sleep transcended to waking, and we journeyed out of the nightmare into the arms of the real waiting world.
Mama immediately took Zephyr from me, receiving a gentle lick on the face from the shaky animal.
“She’s hurt, her paw; we must help her,” were the words I managed, before my legs gave out and Baba Xe swept me up in her arms.
I allowed my head to fall tiredly on her shoulder with a grateful sigh.
“Baba, we got him.”
“Shhh, Little Warrior sleep now.” Were the soft words spoken into my damp hair.
And so the Warrior and the Bard carried us home.
“I know what is eating away at her,” the Bard said softly, while brushing her hair. “And it’s far more than the infections in her legs. She behaves as if nothing is wrong, practices her light sword drills, writes in her journals and worries about Zephyr, but she is not ok, Xena. Something has ripped her to shreds inside.”
“Well, it was a bloody journey we took all those years ago my love, but yours was the bloodier,” the warrior was taking off her armor, “and while one would not classify this as a ‘sensitive chat’, I cannot help but feel that Birdie is wandered into your space now.”
“Yes, space I know all too well,” whispered her soul mate. “I must make her talk about it a little. It will haunt her forever, but she must speak of it once and realize that the Fates are not fair, and she is forgiven. Then she can begin to live with herself and heal.”
“You know the territory Gabrielle, though I am not proud that you know it better than I,” the Conqueror came to wrap her strong arms around her lover.
The Bard looked up and smiled.
“Xena, you taught her what she had to do to physically defeat Dahak. But something else has happened too; something hard, that she isn’t talking about. You trained her; you gave her the strength and mental toughness to fight part of the battle. Now I will teach her to work with it, write about it, and weave it into the tapestry that is her life. Time has taught me wisdom, love, forgiveness ; these things keep us moving along in the river of life. We do our best and we love each other, and that is all we can do. Those are my lessons for Birdie now.”
She sighed. “But I have to unlock those little warrior barriers and find my child first.”
The Warrior turned Gabrielle around to lock her fingers behind the blond hair and look deeply into her soul mate, her LIFE mate’s eyes.
“How am I so fortunate to walk life’s path with you?” she said softly, “I love you Gabrielle, go to Birdie--find the poet. I will come by and by.”
“I will watch for you Xena,” the woman with bright hair returned, “It shouldn’t take too long; I know the way into Birdie.”
She turned to go and looked back.
“Xena, I Love you; I am the lucky one. I would have never survived all of those years ago without YOU.”
The Conqueror’s smile shone like a sunbeam breaking through a thunderstorm -all for that simple sentence.
Zephyr limped over with me to answer the door when we heard the light knock.
Ah, my mother.
I smiled at my fox,” The day of reckoning, Zephyr.”
She said nothing but entered, took my hand, and closed the door. I had been expecting this visit and actually felt somewhat relieved that she was here. She led me to the love seat-our place.
Mama sat quietly and looked at me for a long time, but I couldn’t meet her eyes; didn’t trust myself.
Finally, “How are your legs, Birdie?”
“Much better, Mama G, the infections are almost well.”
“Are you being vigilant with the cleaning? Puncture wounds are the very dickens.”
“Part of the ‘hero package’, Mama?”
The eyes darkened.
“That isn’t sarcasm, is it, Birdie?”
Lose the attitude, Bird.
“No, M’am. I am careful with the cleaning.”
“And how is Zephyr?”
She received a soft head in her lap for an answer.
“Zephyr has better than average recuperative powers, Mama.”
”I should have guessed.” A little roll of the eyes.
I smiled at the floor.
“And how is your heart, Birdie?”
“Not quite so good, Mama.”
“Why is that, Birdie girl?”
The touch of two gentle fingers to my forehead.
“Mama, I’ve done so many terrible things; can’t even remember which were in this world, and which were in the spirit world. I don’t even know to whom or where to go to ask forgiveness.” The words came from a tightly clenched place.
“Birdie, you are already forgiven.”
I laughed bitterly.
“Mama that just isn’t possible. You don’t even know everything that I’ve done.”
“Birdie, I don’t know how to illustrate for you the fact that there are very rough places, even EVIL times in this life, which we pass through, and though they are horrible, we DO pass through them and go on. The trick is the moving on, Little Bird.”
I sat stony still, unrelenting in my self flagellation.
“Yes, Mama G.”
“Do you remember when you were very young, we took a few days’ camping trip in the canoe? We were hiking in the woods and came across the fresh carcass of a fawn. You were very upset by it and wanted to give the fawn a proper funeral pyre and, Baba wouldn’t allow it?”
I looked at her with recollection,” Yes, I remember that. Baba said only, ‘mountain lion,’ picked me up, and we double timed it back to the canoe, cast off and continued down the river. I kicked and cried the entire return hike over the ‘fawnie’. But she kept me pinned to her side like a sack of potatoes and continued walking, no matter how much I carried on.”
My parent smiled, “Yes, when you finally cried yourself to sleep in the canoe later, I mentioned that perhaps she could have tried to explain her actions to you a little better, but she didn’t see it that way. To your Baba Xe, the lion’s fresh kill was the only explanation, and her first priority was to get us to safety, back into the river, no matter what kind of problems we gave her. You were too young to understand then, but do you understand now?”
“Yes, I do understand much better.”
“That is how it is with life Birdie, very dangerous times and threats to our lives occur and all we can do is what we MUST, grab the hands of our loved ones, and run back to the river. There simply isn’t time to explain, or to make everyone understand or agree. There is only time to act, and we sort it out later.”
I was listening to her.
“You just need to sort this out now; you need to talk to me, my Little Bird. I know what you need.” she said very gently, “She rose and held out her hand.
“Stand up, Birdie.” I did so knowing what she was going to do, and I followed the protocol, but entered a soft protest,
“Mama, am I not too big or too old for this now?”
The voice was soft not angry, but insistent as my mother had always been; her hand remained extended and I grasped it, allowing her to tug me to my feet. I met her eyes and as always, saw love in them, and so gave her my trust to help me.
As always, she turned me sideways to her and pushed me over slightly. Then she administered a swift swat to my backside.
“That is only to begin.”
I wondered where it would end, though it didn’t hurt; Mama very rarely gave me these gentle smackings to cause me pain. She was trying to break down the barriers which held in the grief and guilt I was carrying inside, daggers clawing my guts raw; hammers in my head.
“Yes, Mama, “response was part of the ritual; the tears were already forming; she was wise—my little mother.
Then, she caught me off guard, by taking a firm grip and landing three stinging whacks. When she reached for my head and raised my chin, my tears were barely contained, and so were hers, but her voice was steady, and she held up a finger.
“You lied to me, kiddo. Not maliciously, you were frightened and confused, but you did misrepresent the truth about the blood.”
Well, for that offense, she was letting me off easy.
“I know, Mama; I’m really sorry, Mama.”
Tremendous contrition— I hung my head a good bit more like a nine winters’ old kid than thirteen. But it was good to clean my soul of it, and she put her hand to my cheek telling me the issue was at rest.
The next easy strike of her palm freed blinking streams of tears down my cheeks, and her touch comforted me traveling up through the back of my hair. The walls were crumbling; she could see that.
“That is for thinking any of this was your fault when you were demon possessed. It couldn’t be further from your fault. Birdie, Honey, remember I have experience; I know this.”
“Yes, M’am,” my voice choked.
The next swat was even more light- handed.
“This only because you need it; let it go, come back to the river.”
She ran her other arm across my shaking shoulders in an embrace pulling me close to her.
The tears flooded my cheeks now.
“Mama.”…. Let it out…
“What is it Little Bird? Tell me.”
I heard my voice stammer the words.
“Mama, I had to kill Hope.”
“I know Birdie.”
I looked at her.
My mother has such beautiful eyes; they are even more beautiful when they glisten with tears.
“Because there is no other end for her, Birdie; I know that too. She is like the mountain lion.”
“But Mama, there was some good in Hope. She helped me before Dahak took her back. She wanted me to tell you…”,
“Tell me what, Birdie? What message could Hope send to me?”
She had a slightly puzzled look on her face.
I was shaking and unable to speak well.
“To ask you to please talk to her; she can hear you.”
Gabrielle the Bard closed her eyes smiling a little, and she took a deep breath that seemed to reach to the bottom of her soul.
I continued bravely.
“You didn’t name her badly, Mama; she hears you still; we never totally lose Hope.”
She gathered me into her arms completely then, raised her palm slightly, and allowed the final swat to feather across my backside, as only my gentle mother could, and it brought me totally into her loving authority.
“And that one is because I love you, Birdie.. I- do- love- you…”
Trembling, rigid with remorse, I choked hoarsely,
“Always,” the whispered answer.
And from an abyss of agony, an anguished sob erupted,
Keep talking. Say it.
“I didn’t want to kill her, Mama.”
“Of course you didn’t want to kill her; you had no choice.”
She swallowed hard, a memory of her own, but the strength of her arms encircling my body never wavered.
Sounds traveled up from deep inside me –those of a wounded animal; guilt held my soul in a wretched illness.
“Will I ever be the same again, Mama?”
Would there always be specters watching me now?
“No honey, you won’t ever be the same again. Even in the spiritual realm, killing changes everything.”
My weary head went home to her shoulder then, where rivers of tears could safely fall; her small strong arms held me, guided me, and like a paper fan we folded softly to the floor. She kept moving a soothing stroke through my hair as she leaned back against the red loveseat where we worked out so much of my life; she held me closely, calming me, soothing me, whispering,
”But you will be better Birdie; you will be stronger, sadder, and wiser inside; you will have grown, but you will never be too old or too big for me. You are my own Birdie and I am so proud of you. We have a little way to go yet, but now we’ve begun Birdie, now you can begin to heal..”
The Conqueror entered and spent a soft moment gazing at the scene by the love seat. The bard was dozing with her head propped back against the cushions; Birdie was curled almost fetal like in her arms, head in her lap, sleeping very peacefully, with dried tracks of tears evident on her face. Zephyr watched over both ears flicking. Xena gave her a pat.
Gabrielle opened an eye to smile at her soul mate.
“Looks as if you performed some Mama G magic,” remarked the Warrior.
“Cracked open and cried out.” The bard yawned and stretched a little.
Xena knelt and scooped her daughter into her arms easily.
“Go on and get ready for bed Gab, I’ll put Birdie in her nightclothes and bring her in with us tonight.”
“Not too big, huh?”
“Good,” The bard ran a tender hand through her daughter’s dark hair. “This is likely the best sleep she has had in a fortnight.”
“Go,” ordered the Conqueror, “We’ll be right there.”
Zephyr kept a watchful eye as Xena laid the girl carefully on her bed. She unbuckled the boots and placed them under the frame, then undid the top button on the dark trousers and slid them off easily.
“Dahak takes his toll on your appetite, doesn’t he, kiddo?” she said to the sleeping child. She unlaced the tunic and pushed the arms through the sleeves. She sat quietly studying the dark skin and just the beginning of budding breasts.
“Not going to be a little girl forever are you Birdie?” she asked softly, “But thank all the gods no cycles yet or Dahak might have done worse to you.”
Xena shook out the nightshirt she had retrieved from a drawer under the bed, and leaned the child against her own body while she worked the shirt over the shaggy head and the small muscular arms into the striped sleeves, smoothing it over her back.
“You sure are out cold, kiddo,” she chuckled to herself. Then impulsively she wrapped her arms around the girl protectively and buried her face in the dark hair in a most un- Conqueror-ish gesture.
“Stay my little girl a little while longer, Bird.”
She looked at Zephyr, “You neither saw nor heard that.”
Zephyr merely blinked.
The Bard’s breathing was even and quiet when the warrior laid Birdie gently within her arms. Gabrielle turned on her side and snuggled the girl closely to her. Xena eased in the bed and spooned herself around the Bard allowing her long arm to float across both her soul mate and her child protectively, and the tips of her fingers just grazed the black fur of Zephyr.
The moon smiled a celestial blessing on the family of four this night, and there was peace.
I awakened with no fear, no blood, and no monsters. Peace. It was dark, but the moon was shining in on us. My mother’s arm pressed near to me, and my Baba Xe’s lay across both of us and even one long fingertip reached Zephyr who was curled to me like she always did. The peacefulness and quiet felt strange after what we had been through.
I meditated a moment on the profound power of love. I had come close to believing that nothing could defeat Dahak nor could anything make me feel remotely whole or clean again. But Dahak had been defeated once more, by the only force that could defeat evil. Love.
We were ordinary people practicing extraordinary love. I had been able to join with my brother and sister of the past to destroy a terrible evil, because of our tremendous love for our parents, and their love for us. Love was our safe passage through the maelstrom. Even the daughter of a demon carried a little flickering flame of love, and she helped me, because we shared the same loving mother. And however dark the world may appear, the offspring of love is--no matter how faint-- Hope.
“Birdie, Birdie!! G’day, M’Lady Queen.”
The skinny but growing taller by the candle mark, tow-headed best friend of Birdie stood on the steps of the fortress.
“Hello Talus; seems like forever since we’ve seen you around,” Gabrielle ruffled the messy hair which in color was so like her own.
“My family was in Athens a seven day, M’Lady Queen, “he said politely, “my mother has a sister there.”
“What did you think of the big city, Talus?”
“Not too much really, M’Lady,” the boy wrinkled his nose. “No space there for a fox or hawk or any animals, just people shouting and fighting and carryin’ on. I was glad to come back home.”
“What are you two off and about today?” the Conqueror’s deep voice joined the conversation.
“We are just going riding in the countryside and enjoy the weather and space I think. Birdie is taking her scrolls and drawings. I am taking some carvings; whaddaya think?” He pulled out a wooden pig and a ram to show.
“Whoa, Talus, do you have any blanks in there?” The heads of Amphipolis said nearly in unison.
“Why certainly, your graces, why?”
“I heard Birdie say just the other day, that she would like a carving of Hades.”
“Really? My Lady Queen?”
“Yes, Talus, I think she would like that.”
“ That’s splendid to know. I will begin today then. I am always owing her a carving; she helps me with my schoolwork all the time you know. Thanks yer majesties.”
“Hi Talus, “I came downstairs, pack on my back, and Zephyr by my side. “ Sorry to keep you; We were just changing Zephyr’s dressing on her paw. It’s almost healed. Are you ready to go?”
“Ready as Romulus, Birdie.” He grinned at me. “Didja miss me, Birdie? Bet it’s been awful quiet without old Talus about eh?”
I laughed and slapped at his head, “Deadly quiet, Talus. Nobody to go trouble hunting with; I am glad that you are back!”
I turned to my parents to receive any final instructions or the usual warnings. Both sides of my head were kissed at the same time, and I held to both my parents’ waists a little longer than usual.
Mama G put her hand in my hair and looked into my eyes, “Home before dark, Little Bird.”
“Right she is, Birdie.” Chimed the Conqueror.
“I will be, My Ladies.” I smiled at both of them, “I love you.”
My feet bounced down the stairs, my sword swinging gently on my back.
“Birdie, “my mother called.
I turned back immediately, “Yes, Mama G?”
The emerald eyes flickered at me; she shook her head.
“Have a great time.”
“Ok, C’mon Talus, Zephyr!”
We leaped aboard Hades and rode into the day’s adventure; Zephyr was running almost as well as usual in her travel bandage. She had remarkable recuperative powers.
“What was that?” the Conqueror asked her soul mate as they watched their daughter ride into the cool midmorning sun.
“Oh,” smiled the Bard, slipping an arm around the powerful body, “I was going to admonish her to NOT ‘spy on the DOZ’, or to NOT go ‘skinny dipping’, or ‘ to NOT shoot the tail feathers off the older Amazons when they weren’t looking.”
She chuckled. “But then I thought, after all she’s been through, Birdie deserves a day of good old adolescent devilment, doesn’t she?”
Xena grinned and growled, “But if she’s reported, especially by the Amazons, we’ll have to discipline her.”
“I am already prepared, “answered her devilish partner, “Let’s ‘ground’ her out at the beautiful swimming hole where the waterfall is, and hit her with some really good food.”
“We could spend the night, if we really want to teach her a lesson, “the Conqueror’s eyes were sparkling like the Aegean Sea.
“Well, I will begin work on the menu for the punishment, “said the Bard with a cheerfully raised eyebrow. “Then, when Birdie comes home this evening, all we need to do is make her confess.”
“But what if she doesn’t do any of those things, Gabrielle?”
“Xena.” A roll of eyes, “This is Birdie.”
Well for some reason, I was grounded that night, and it was a very strange punishment. But we had a great camping trip, Marcus had worked wonders with the new star formations, and Baba and Mama Xe weren’t mad at me at all. I figured they hadn’t heard about the tadpoles in the public baths yet, and perhaps with a little luck, they wouldn’t.
Anyway it was good to be gone a night, because it gave Grandba and Uncle Toris a chance to have something done in the rose garden that I had asked them to do as a special favor.
“And why are we doing this?” Toris complained a little, but not too much, because he actually enjoyed spending a little more quiet time with his mother. He lifted the horizontal seat to the pedestals of the marble bench and secured them.
“Because Birdie asked,” was the answer. The older woman finished tamping down the earth around the second of the young oak trees they had planted at the end of the walkway in her rose garden.
“There. That will be very nice, don’t you think? As the trees grow older they will provide a bit of shade if one wants to sit a moment in transition from the practice fields to the fortress.”
“Simply because Birdie asked?”
Toris wasn’t letting this go. He had never received things as a youth, for the solitary reason of asking.
“Birdie never asks for much of anything without a good reason, Toris,” his mother gave him her version of the LOOK.
“For an only child, she is remarkably unspoiled. She wanted this to be a surprise for Gabrielle and Xena, and she will share with me her reason by and by. Now a final touch.”
Cyrene removed a small stone birdbath from its wrappings, toddled it over, placed it between the trees.
“Did Birdie request that as well?” her uncle questioned.
“No,” smiled her grandmother. “I thought it would look nice here, and I was right.”
They walked a little way from their handiwork and up the stone path a bit to look back. It was indeed a beautiful little place of sanctuary.
“Thank you son,” Cyrene looked adoringly into the man’s handsome face as she took his arm.
“You are most welcome, My Lady Mother,” the white teeth flashed the sky blue eyes sparkled as they strolled slowly up the winding stone walkway.
When we returned to Amphipolis Fortress the next afternoon and had cleaned and stored away all of our gear, I asked Mama G and Baba X if they would go for a walk with me in Grandba’s rose garden. At the very end of the garden, Grandba and Uncle Toris had planted two very young oak trees side by side, but with plenty of grow room between them. There was brand new marble bench placed facing the trees.
“This is lovely, Birdie, but what is the occasion?” Mama G, sat on the bench and closed her eyes allowing the breeze to pass through her hair. Baba X sat down by her and ran her arm across the back of the bench to tug on Mama’s bright shaggy locks.
“I agree, Birdie, but what do you have in mind with this, kiddo?” she asked.
Big brave breath.
“This is the place for you to come and talk to Hope and Solon.”
Was my little speech, “Both of them requested that you talk to them more; they can hear you, and they want to hear you.. So I thought of this, and Grandba and Uncle Toris planted it for you while we were gone.”
For a long moment they said nothing, and I feared it was the wrong thing to do.
I went to them and knelt between them in front of the bench, “I am sorry Baba, Mama, if you don’t like it. I wanted you to like it.”
Mama pulled my head to her in both hands and kissed it.
“Birdie, honey. We LOVE it. It was a beautiful and unselfish idea. Thank you. Was the birdbath your idea as well?”
“No, actually, Mama. That must have been Grandba; but it’s nice, isn’t it?”
There were two young bluebirds bathing as we spoke.
“We are proud of you, kiddo. And we love you.”
Baba rarely said the ‘proud’ word. It made my heart beat faster.
“Well I will leave you with it, and go back to change Zephyr’s bandage.
She took my head in her hands again looking it over.
“After you finish with Zephyr, go and fetch all of the paraphernalia we need to cut your hair.”
“Baba Xe…..?” She looked to the Warrior.
The Warrior gave me an appraising look.
“Birdie, little warriors might ride Shetland ponies, but they mustn’t resemble Shetland ponies.”
“C’mere Birdie,” my mother had my head again. Carefully she smoothed the hair back from my eyes and then pushed it around my ears, studying it carefully on both sides.
“Look Xena, she has streaks of white- in the front, and over her ears. Souvenir of Dahak, I am afraid.”
“Or you may be like your great grandba, Birdie, and have white hair very young.”
“If someone doesn’t cut it all off first.”
My retort which brought me a smile and little swat.
“See you at the fortress, Little Bird.”
“Yes My Ladies—C’mon Zephyr.”
I turned back briefly, “I love you.”
Those words couldn’t be said often enough lately.
“I can’t believe that she thought of this little spot for us,” Gabrielle was wiping away tears. “She can be very considerate and sensitive at times.”
“Well, this whole nightmare business was a character builder; it would have been so for anyone.”
The Conqueror stretched her long legs out from the bench.
“But this is a very nice idea. A little more meditation wouldn’t hurt any of us. The birdbath is my mother’s way of placing Birdie here too.”
“Well, now that I know that Hope can hear me, perhaps I will talk to her some,” mused the Bard. “It’s an interesting thought. I will have to mull that around a bit. But I know one thing for certain.”
“What do you know, my love?”
“I am one lucky bard. In addition to having the greatest WARRIOR ‘in all the lands we can see’ in my life, I also have the greatest KID ‘in all the lands we can see’ in my life.”
“What if I were to tell you that I have it on very good authority that the ‘greatest kid in all of the lands we can see’, was SEEN putting tadpoles in the Amphipolis Public Baths yesterday?”
The verdigris eyes looked heavenward.
“And that many of said tadpoles became frogs today?”
Xena tugged the blond hair and smiled.
“She did.” Gabrielle blew a raspberry.
The azure eyes sparkled.
“She most certainly did.”
“Well I would have to think that it must be the WARRIOR in her.”
“It’s quite a STRATEGIC act.”
“Ha!! I would tend to think that it’s the quality of the BARD in her.”
“Because it’s so very CREATIVE.”
The warrior and the bard looked at each other and what began as a low chuckle, built into good rolling belly laughter. They tumbled from the bench together into the soft grass and began the first of many happy times under the peaceful watch of the two young oaks.
If danger enters,
Should there be death,
When I’m too weary,
My Baba’s Tide
Will turn the sea.
My Mama’s staff
Will guard her back,
And hope’s regained.
If demons enter,
Should nightmares come,
My sword is small,
My fox is frightened.
When all seems lost,
The Warrior’s courage,
The Poet’s heart,
Protect with love.
I lay me down
In gentle arms
They take me home.
There is rough water
But I’ll be strong.
My heart is brave,
My soul is safe.
The path is long,
And life is hard.
But I will sing,
Along the river,
That I travel
With the warrior
And the bard.
All my gratitude to those who read and write. You’ve made my world a happier place. I am going to try to slow Birdie down until summer when I have more time, but I hope that she won’t leave me. ‘Til then take care, battle on, and thanks again.
firstname.lastname@example.org ps; vx, you are the best.
Return to the Academy