Part two will start shortly after these messages!
Part two will start shortly after these messages!
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franticly through the halls of Olympus, Zeus yells up at Pegasus, flying
overhead, *You do understand I will have to fix the mess you made cocky beast.
Now you’ve got Hercules wondering what I’m up to. You didn’t remember to
think at all, did you, Pegasus. The order of the Great Cosmic Puzzle has
demanded a Big Gathering, just after Helious gets off work. Imagine that... Me,
Zeus, ruler of Olympus, summoned by the Highest Boss-Lady to explain just what I
thought I was doing to the uh, uh.... Quantus, no, Quantum Continuum? I’d
better start reading up. ARTEMIS, APHRODITIE, GET UP HERE, RIGHT NOW.*
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in the universe. * Ohmmm. Hey
Buddha dude, how’s it hanging bro. Noticed the huge Quantum interruption
coming this way yet? Western woman is going to sleep soon. *
Brahma, peace…. while it still lasts for human folk. Here, have a spliff dude.
Just coz they’ve got the millennium lasting war itch doesn’t mean we gotta
loose coolness, so chill.*
* Yaah man, coolness rules. We’ll send em a bunch of wise old souls to help them wake up when Aquarius cruises the night sky again. Old Goddess woman just be slumberin’. She be ‘round keepin’ an eye close man, just wait and see. Iaweh dude and Allah brother promise to send a son or prophet down soon, that’ll delude them for a while, no sweat man. Listen to ya ‘mama of Dao’. Go with the flow.. Keep them grubby little hands off ya sister ‘s toys, Yang. Kids? <sigh> Someone mention a spliff? *
Within the realm of Flying
itself alone, all else is transitory)
By Bronwyn of Llewelynn
take the damp and dust of winter out of the huts and communal buildings, all
Amazons gathered to help each other out. Rugs flew round the dusty square and
brooms seemed to have been bereft of their private, secluded lives. At least for
a day or two.
sun shone down on scantily clad, dirt and slick, stained limbs. Arms and legs
abdomens and backs flashed when rays of light danced over clean patches of skin.
All Amazons were hard at it, working up a mean sweat cleaning and rearranging
their huts. The village center resembled a dust storm.
sat on the edge of her spacious but cluttered porch, one arm leaning on a
broomstick and sighed. All those beautiful
women right here in front of me. All this time, right here. And I have to go
fall for a... stranger? The Regent closed her eyes for a while. When images
of the Celt appeared in her mind, she opened her eyes fast, sighed again and
stood up. “Now the insides of this stuffy pit. It looks like a mad woman lives
here.” She stated to herself loud and nodded. But
not her room... it still smells like her. Gods how long will I have to wait? Her
brain added and heart involuntarily registered a deep sense of loss she could
Regent entered her quarters and was caught off guard by a pair of hands covering
her eyes. Ephiny’s heart skipped a beat. She made a spin to find out who it
was and instinctively reached for her dagger. “Oh Gabrielle.” Be still my heart. “For a moment there I th--”
Eph, It’s only me.” Gabrielle lowered her small hand over that of the Regent
and pulled it away from the knife, a little worried about the wide-eyed
expression on her friend’s face. “They
can’t be back that soon.” The Bard wrapped her arms around her friend's
shoulders and pulled the visibly disappointed and embarrassed Regent in for a
hug. “I miss them too,” she murmured into curly hair. “I haven’t been
apart from Xe, since we… well, you know.” A crimson blush washed over the
Bard’s face. “Rhiannon was starting to grow on me as well.”
felt tears burning at the back of her forest brown eyes and let her Queen go
abruptly. “I need to keep busy. Will you help me clean up? I don’t want to
be alone right now.” The woman took a deep cleansing breath, gave the Bard a
brave smile and walked into her sleeping chamber. How
am I going to explain what I don’t understand? Be patient with me, my Queen.
of course. I hate not being useful. My hut is being cleaned for me and I’m not
allowed to help says Solari.” A playful pout appeared as Gabrielle offered her
assistance. “I thought you’d never get round to cleaning out this dump, my
dear, distracted Regent.” The Bard followed her friend into one of the royal
big huts. She almost tripped over one of the many stacks of scrolls, lying in
and around the door opening of the usually neat study. “It looks like you are
using the entire Amazon archive as upholstery. There’s a parchment causeway
running all the way through the main rooms up to the back door.” A chuckle
wove its way through Gabrielle’s teasing observation. So
you don’t want to be alone? I’m confused.
Queen and Regent got stuck into making the living room smell and look fresh. By
the time they were finished, young hibiscus scented the hut with the promise of
summer and Ephiny had told the Bard about her confusing, adventurous dreams. She
left out the intimate parts though.
curly blond Amazon was having a hard time keeping her mind at bay, while
explaining her problems to Gabrielle and throwing around documents.
do you think about this, Gabrielle? Ephiny held up a role of parchment that
could easily be mistaken for old cheesecloth. “Keep or chuck out? I wish I could just disappear right now. I know my Queen and she’s not
going to leave me to my thoughts for long. I shouldn’t have asked her for
help, but Gods what a mess.
say toss.” The Bard replied and giggled softly. “So you and Rhiannon appear
in your dreams as some kind of morphing beings, covered in what… paint?”
and we seem to have known each other forever.” Another stack of documents flew
out the window, right behind the roll of parchment. “It’s as if I’m
dreaming our history in some other dimension or something like that, complete
with the sounds, smells and feelings. I can’t place much of it besides that
the other being is Rhiannon.” I think,
bard just listened and helped Ephiny sort out the mosaic of parchments,
scattered over the table. But what do you
do in those dreams Eph? Gabrielle stuck a fingernail between her teeth and
started chewing. Patience bard. “Can
I do anything to help you figure out what your dreams might mean?”
Came the Regent’s short reply. You’re
not liking this, I know but please leave it for now Gab. Please.
know you can tell me anything, when you are ready my friend. Your well being is
important to me, you know that by now don’t you Eph.” Gabrielle reminded her
friend with a gentle smile.
you. “Of course I know that.” Ephiny returned the smile and sighed.
the central living area and study room were cleared out and cleaned, they split
up and finished doing the smaller quarters.
I take these sheets to the wash house? You won’t be needing them, no?
Gabrielle asked her friend, popping her head round the door of the almost empty
spare room. Only to notice that the Regent’s thoughts were miles away again,
like so many times already the past days.
You are hurting my Regent and I intend to find out what is really going on in
your head before the day is over.
which house?” Sitting on the bed where Rhiannon had slept, only the Regent
‘s lips moved and automatically replied. Her mind was clearly focussed on that
other dimension and here eyes were almost one with the piece of parchment
resting in her lap.
smiled at her friend and left for the water springs while thinking to herself. Don’t
worry Eph, Xena promised to bring her back safe... she ‘d better... or I’ll
give old Britannia a piece of my Amazon mind, and army if needed. No, Xena will
come threw for us, she always has. But you need to tell me more about this
connection you feel with the Celt soon, my Regent.
mural on the wall
Tallie, mom needs you. She’s up to the hard part and Rhi is doing an ‘emo’
flip. She’s really going through hell in there.” Vivian came skipping
towards two figures standing near Eilan’s old hut and pointed towards her own
new dwellings with a bored face. Why does
this place get so desolate whenever Gwydion brings guests? Small town
virgins…Avalon is getting as boring as the little monk’s village on Inis
Withrin. The girlies won’t know what’s hit them when I take over the show.
“Yes my child. Is it that time already?” Two wrinkly hands
pushed back the brown hood of his robe and he smiled knowingly at Vivian.
“Boadecia is working harder than I figured she had the courage to do.” The
old druid said to no one in particular with a smirk on his mousy face.
me Xena, I must tend to the matter.” The Taliesin stated formally, lifted his
robe off the ground and worked himself out of site with frantic, little paces,
now and then leaning on his crooked staff.
there Warrior Princess, need some help drilling priestesses for information?”
The new High Priestess-to-be asked with a seductive smile as soon as the druid
was out of sight. With swaying hips she walked towards the Warrior, one sensual
step at a time.
looked at the young woman closing in on her through her eyelashes and chuckled.
“No, stay right there, Vivian. Here we
go. If I remember correctly,
you are going to be the leader of these women soon.”
And you better be nicer to these
ladies than you were to me. The raven-haired woman locked eyes with the
spitting image of Rhiannon, threw a dry grin at her and added. “Let me come to
please do.” The redhead batted her eyelids and held out a hand for Xena to
easy to come to anyone’s attention
of the physical sort. To come for the
soul of the one you love is an entirely different matter.” The Warrior voiced
in a serious tone, reacting to the decadent, self-absorbed gesture of the young
woman. A tone she knew would bore Vivian instantly and she walked over to her.
“What do you want, Vivian?”
pooh, you are no fun. What happened to the Warrior woman that liked to play
rough and tumble? I bet she’s still in there. She
was worth the effort.” The priestess moaned, licked her top lip and slid her
arms around Xena’s waist. “Drill me, I’m game. I will tell you everything
you want, and more.”
looks like Rhi, sounds like Rhi, but oh brother she certainly is not Rhiannon. “I
only do Greek royalty these days, sorry kid.” Xena took a step backward to
break the embrace, gave the young woman a wink and walked away from her. With
long strides the Warrior’s legs took her to the building where she left
Rhiannon before following the Taliesin. All the round thatched buildings of the
Avalon village looked the same, beside from the slight variation is size and the
variety of the carvings on the doors. Xena focused on the faint arguing voices,
coming from the West Side of the desolate square, to find her way back to
a small pond and some alter stones, half way between the village square and
Eilan’s hut, Xena saw Vivian following her from the redhead’s reflection in
the water. She sensed her behind her for some time but waited until Vivian
risked getting closer. One, two, three,
The Warrior reached behind herself with one arm while slowing her
pace. She grabbed the unsuspecting priestess by her night blue robe and flung
the woman in front of her.
take a long, hard look at yourself, future High Priestess of Avalon.” Xena
hissed and forced the woman to face her own reflection in the pond.
struggled in the Warrior’s hold for a few moments, but gave up when she saw
Xena’s expression grow cold. Why in the
Morrigan’s name did you have to show up Warrior Princes? Oh shit, I know that
relaxed her grip on Vivian when she saw the young woman’s eyes fade behind
thick tears and her shoulders started to jerk.
felt the ground fall from under her and eventually realized that Xena had picked
her up and was walking towards her hut. With a heaving chest she surrendered to
the fear she felt growing, ever since the Taliesin summoned her to the Orkneys
and relaxed in the familiar hold of the Warrior. If
only you knew the half of it, Xena.
kicked the door to the High Priestess’ quarters open with a soft nudge of her
boot. From a back room she heard muffled voices and gently sat the crying Vivian
down on a bench in the hall.
young woman collapsed on the seat and covered her face with both hands. “Leave
me alone.” Her voice broke from angst. Go
back to poor little Rhi. You always liked her better.
beat yourself up about it. You are human before being the priestess of any god.
Remember that and stay true to your heart.” Xena gave the
over-dramatically-crying redhead a warm smile and added. “I learned that from
a wise soul.” She then carefully made her way towards the back room where the
arguing was taking place.
her sort walk through the hall, the Warrior’s eyes fell upon the long murals
on either side of the walls.
goes any decent chance I had left of- of-” Rhiannon dropped her head to avoid
looking at herself in Vivian’s dress mirror. Tears soaked her face and her
hands clenched to fists. Trying to focus on getting information from her mother
was a challenge, as usual.
chance of what, Rhi?” Xena entered the exuberantly lit room, dodging huge,
copper candleholders on her way over to the young Celt and looked admiringly at
what she saw. A young woman of almost six-foot dressed in green leathers, with
thick red wavy hair, braided like the murals on the skirts of the hut walls,
threaded with silver beads. She owned two bright green eyes with rings around
the pupils that sparkled a delicate oker in the candlelight. Her eyes looked
burdened with self-doubt and fear. Her face seemed hard and worn, almost older
than her age. She was armed to the teeth but still carried the charm of youthful
innocence around her. A green light seemed to radiate from her body. Her
nervously clenching and unclenching hands suggested she was loosing al grip on
her world. Twitching jaw muscles gave away the anger rising.
I’ve almost gone black.” Rhiannon yelled and pointed a shaky finger at
herself in the mirror. Gods, do I have to
spell it out to you Warrior?
that. Interesting. I just see Rhiannon and you are beautiful.” The Warrior
gave her reflecting partner a lopsided smile and traced the back of her hand
along the frustrated Elfling’s cheek. She leaned into the Celt and whispered
so her mother would not hear. “Eph won’t care what you look like. Don’t
what I said.” Boadecia walked over to the gazing women and entered the
reflected picture. “My beautiful girl. You get that from you father.” The
older Celt chuckled with a slight bitter edge to it and walked back to her seat
at the rough, oak table. “Would you like some mead, Xena? It takes the chill
off the bones.” Or aren’t you cold
after snuggling with my lass?
sounds good. The Warrior walked towards the offered seat and drink. “You too
Rhi. Come over here.” Xena stepped back to the Celt and dragged her along to
the table. “You are just as bad as your sister.”
what’s that leach gone and done now?” Rhiannon’s face screwed up as she
slammed a fist down on her thigh. I’m
going to get you Viv.
went looking for trouble and found out she was it.” The Warrior told her
friend with a low timbre and one eyebrow raised. Xena got comfortable and sipped
mead from the drinking horn offered to her by Boadecia. Her eyes wandered around
the spacey room to cover that she was actually keeping an eye on all company
present. Including the Taliesin huddled into a corner of the room, not saying or
doing anything at the moment. When did you
like our Viv.” The Leader of Celts said and lifted her hands up to the
heavens. But what did you do to entice
such behavior, Xena?
think she just woke up to herself.” Xena replied and caught Rhiannon change a
shade of green in the corner of her eye. Ephiny
is certainly not going to be spooked by this. It’s the other Amazons I’m
worried about. I hope Rhi hurries up and settles for one color.
is not stealing my show again,
mother. You were about to end my agony.
do it.” Rhiannon reclaimed the older Celts attention when she took hold of her
sword, while still sheathed and threw her mother a dirty look. Her skin shaded
to a deep, dark green once again.
were getting prepared for the up and coming celebrations of Persephone’s
release from Hades realm. Lighter clothing and moods filled the village
atmosphere. Little witnesses of spring disclosed their beauty all around the
countryside to announce the goddess' promise to bring new life.
Regent had spent the entire day taking care of the offerings for tomorrow
evening’s ritual, running around the village like a woman possessed. The
offerings of herbs and last season’s best oil were in place. The guards
practiced their special drills until Lizzeah almost ordered the Regent to give
it a rest. Two candle marks before the full moon reached its zenith, Ephiny
excused herself to rest and eat.
of Rhiannon and places that seemed familiar in a vague kind of way controlled
her nights and disrupted her daily focus now.
took one look at the lump of soft goat’s cheese, green olives and bread,
stacked on a plate and shoved it off the living room table with her arm. “I
can’t even eat this.” She got up and slantered over to her sleeping quarters
and prayed she would fall asleep that night. Laying herself down on her bed, she
pulled the parchment she found when cleaning the room Rhiannon slept in. She
recognized the Celt’s hand and scribbly attempts at writing Greek Ephiny
decided to change the bed sheets after all, not needing the excess torture.
There it was, under Rhiannon’s pillow. The love sick and frustrated Regent
went over the words she needed to hear, again and again.
in the darkest night
will come, as the spirit flies
we weave a spell, by another name
falls with the late summer rain
I will come to you my love
the passing of the days
I will set you free each time
heart is bound in chains
and wiser men
somehow be the same
and I will take our place in time
find a way to fly
beyond the crystal sea
can hear your whispered dreams
the endless signs of the ones who love
seem present, like the stars above
I will come to you my love
the passing of the days
will set you free each time
heart is bound in chains
and wiser men
just one and the same
and I will take our place in time
find a way to fly
turned the piece of parchment but could not read on with blurred vision.
felt tears fall from her chin onto her hands and closed her eyes. “What am I
still doing here? Why am I not following her?” The words came flowing from her
lips as she exhaled a deep, raged breath.
other thoughts the Regent might have had were blown away when a new wave of
images crashed through her mind. Two bodies entwined-- arms and a leg covered
with delicate purple and crimson tattoo’s of serpents and snakes- moving to
the oldest rhythm of life. The gender and sort of the two beings changed every
few heartbeats, which made it hard for Ephiny to actually see who they were.
Somehow she just knew they were images of Rhiannon and herself. She definitely
heard the Celt’s powerful alto voice singing to her in her native tongue, as
if Rhiannon were standing next to her bed.
the dark wood fell before me
all the paths were overgrown
the priests of pride say there is no other way
tilled the sorrows of stone
did not believe because I could not see
you came to me in the night
the dawn seemed forever lost
showed me your love in the light of the stars
your eyes on the ocean
you soul to the sea
the dark nights seem endless
the mountain rose before me
the deep well of desire
the fountain of forgiveness
the ice and the fire
you eyes on the ocean
your soul to the sea
the dark nights seem endless
we share this humble path, alone
fragile is the heart
give these clay feet wings to fly
touch the face of the stars
life into this feeble heart
this mortal veil of fear
these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
rise above these earthly cares
the lonely nights seem endless
the bottom of the page there was one line Ephiny answered every time she read
you are doesn’t matter to me, my love. Just come back home.” The Regent laid
herself back on the bed face down and cried out, her words muffled by a pillow.
“Artemis please, why does this creature affect me right down to the soul. Why
do I feel so alone?” She curled up into a ball and hugged the parchment tight,
close to her heart. After waiting for her breath to become calm and her muscles
relax, she hummed herself to sleep with the tune she remembered all too well.
Her Elfling’s words echoing soothingly through her mind.
that want to be
*Silence* A loud voice bellowed, coming from no where and every
where, at the same time.
what do you think you are doing here? I do not remember requesting your
presence* The hollow voice continued.
looked at Zeus, dressed in a long, pristine white; gold trimmed robe for the
occasion and sulked. *We never get informed on anything fun. How come glamour
guy gets all the attention?* The Viking god scoped the hall, made an angry face
at Ares and some of the other gods present. He then blasted from sight, hitting
his colleague, god of war with a lightning bolt.
patted at some flames emerging from the groin of his black leather pants and
howled. *Is that the best you can do, farm boy?* He laughed, throwing his head
*Finished? * The voice asked in a flat tone and sighed. He continued when all was silent again. *Listen closely, She will only say this once.*
gentle, patient female voice took over. To the gathered gods, the voice seemed
to originate from their own minds and they looked at each other like lost
dear Artemis and Ceridwen.* The caramel coated voice started. *You two seem to
understand what needs to be done. I trust you will set matters right in Avalon
and Amazonia. Take down the mortals that do not respect the Powers that Be a peg
or two. They need a lesson in humility and compassion. Aphrodite, bless you
child, the two women are all yours after that, although I don’t sense they
need much help in your department. The Celt’s resistance will break
eventually. The rest of you please let this come to pass without interfering.
May this universal event be treated with respect by all of you. Blessed be my
white marble hall became silent.
leaned over to Zeus and mumbled in his father’s ear. *Don’t know about you
but that bitch pisses me off. But uh, I’ll let the girlies have their fun and
games. I was planning to have some fun with the Persians anyhow. I hate what the
pesky lot is trying to do with my army. I’ll see this out for a while. It just
might be a laugh.* The god of war growled, flashed his teeth at Ceridwen and
vanished leaving behind the space that he had occupied crackling.
stood still for a moment with his eyes closed and sighed, dropping his shoulders
scraped a hoof over the marble floor to attract the old god’s attention and
let Zeus know her mind in a statement of fact kind of way. *We will be calling
in a favor at a later time, colleague. I will see you later, Olympus man.* The
goddess of horses galloped from the hall with a clapping echo rumbling into the
I realize that. If need be, you know how to find me.* Zeus replied in a serious
tone, not interested if the horsewoman had heard him and then directed his
attention to the female deities to his right. *Ladies, my children. Make sure
this is over as soon as possible. I have never known the High Powers to give in
to a mortal’s affairs like this before. Oblige the Ancient Mother or be damned
hey? She must realize sooner or later that her influence in the cosmic realm is
at it’s best in demise. Helping her does not mean ways will become as they
once were over here before the Titans, children.* Zeus shook a finger at his
offspring and frowned. Just imagine what
would happen if women were in charge again. By Cronous, chaos would sweep the
known world and leave me… nowhere. *Remember that.* As the ruler of
Olympus disappeared his last words echoed through the hall. *And remember that
you and yours are guests here, Ceridwen.*
*I guess that’s a wrap babes.* Aphrodite concluded and smiled at the remaining goddesses. I’m outa here. The Atlantis twist is way cool, moon sisters. Even Dad is like, so clueless on that part.* Mischievous laughter filled the hall. * He’s the guest if there are any. Toedels.* The barely clothed, bombshell blond giggled, wriggled her fingers while waving at the two remaining deities and left.
straight in front of Boadecia, restraining herself from attacking the older
woman with all her might, Rhiannon yelled, “So that’s it?” Rhiannon turned
around and resumed pacing in front of the mirror, glancing at her reflection now
and then. “That’s all you can tell me.
I’m Eanfled’s and Viv is Prasutagus' child... conceived when you got
lost on the Dream Stone, with da—” Metal rang against the soft limestone
wall as the red head struck it with her sword. “ Step dad. My father is an
elf. You had it on with an elf? No wonder Vivian got all the
attention. The mean bastard always spoke of elves with such venom in his voice.
He hated me and I’m not his child.
You must know more about Eanfled or at least about El-” The redhead froze as
she saw her skin turn bright emerald and the rage of questions that had
overloaded her mind dissolved.
to the Taliesin, who had been sitting at the table in the left corner of the
room in silence for a long time now she panted, “Help me druid. What’s
happening to me? Mother is clearly not in a hurry to tell me the truth.” The
desperate Celt collapsed to her knees before she reached her alchemist mentor.
bony druid took to his feet slowly. He seemed to glide across the room towards
Rhiannon. Not a candle flickered when he passed. Without taking his eyes of the
Elfling he stated. “Boadecia, Xena, I need some time alone with Rhiannon.”
His eyes shifted to the women he addressed via the mirror. “Rest assure, her
skin changes shade, parallel to her emotional state. She’s all right, my
Queen. I will teach her all she needs to know… soon.” The Taliesin slid his
hand around the young woman’s upper arm, pulled her to her feet and led her
towards the door.
sheathed her blade and glanced over her shoulder at Xena with little trace of
relief on her face before she left the room, but could not bring herself to look
at her mother.
jaw muscles were doing overtime as she watched her friend leave with the druid. So
you want her alone? Well, can’t be done old man. But you don’t have to know
that yet. The Warrior thought to herself and planned her next move.
Taliesin patted Vivian’s head gently as they passed her sleeping form in the
cold bare hall. “Yes child, rest now.” He whispered. “The ceremony is only
tree days away.”
looked down at her sister, feeling both contempt and pity. What’s
your role in all this besides becoming the new leader, sis? The thought of
her twin in charge of the countries spiritual matters gave her heartburn. Whose
pawn have you become, now Daddy’s pride and joy is unprotected?
and Elfling set off across the Avalon settlement. As they passed the square and
made a turn to the East Side of the island, Rhiannon sensed that her mentor
wanted to walk along The Lake and wondered how long he would remain quiet. Oh great. Another one who can block the mind.
they cleared the last cottages of the village, the Taliesin had silenced his
former student several times.
the Lake banks, the red head sank down on the damp grass and refused to move.
“I can’t stand this anymore. Out with it.” Rhiannon said to the old man
with demanding tone.
druid stood still and remained standing; rising over his prodigal made him feel
more in control. He smiled down on the Elfling and asked. “Do you wish to know
everything my child?”
more questions old man... answers. You give me answers before I go insane.”
The Celt ordered and placed a hand over her sword.
can tell you who you are, but I have a better offer.” The druid turned his
back to the anxious woman and continued. “I can lead you to Eanfled and he
will show you.”
jumped up, grabbed the Taliesin by his bony frame and shook franticly, as if the
information she needed would fall out of his body by doing so.
me to him, please Taliesin, please. She pleaded.
“On one condition, young Elfling.” The old man said in a serious tone and straitened his robe before he continued. “We go now. Boadecia and Xena would only stop you.
am willing to help you though.” He held his hands up, palms opened to the
heavens and asked. “Do you trust me, Elfling?”
“Do I have a choice?” Rhiannon ran her hands through her hair and asked. “Why would mother stop me?”
she isn’t an elf and doesn’t understand what you are becoming. She is afraid
of you.” The Taliesin placed an arm around Rhiannon’s shoulders and spoke
softly. “Why do you think she never spoke of your ancient heritage before and
even now denies knowing what an elf or elfling can be like? Keeping silent,
about which your father is now, would be like trying to hide her tattoos. She is
truly afraid you will want revenge or leave her for good.”
red head shook the arm of her mother’s confidant off her shoulders and walked
a few paces away from him.
a slightly raised voice the Taliesin continued. “ She knows elves all right.
Boadecia is an Ancient One herself. Just a human one that chose to stray but
educated by Fawns and High Elves, none the less. Hence the wings on her face.”
The druid giggled under his breath and stared at the young woman, rapidly
showing obvious elf like qualities during her impatient pacing.
covered her face with both hands and let her head fall back as the Taliesin’s
words fell into place. Her mother’s reluctance to answer her questions over
the years. Why she never did anything about Prasutagus’ violent tempers
repeatedly directed on her ears and face, once she was old enough to hit back.
Why she had to become High Priestess of Avalon instead of Vivian, who actually
wanted to be called. The dreams of elves and other beings and the tattoos she
woke up with, long ago. With a gasp she looked at the druid, walked over to him
and lowered her hands into his. “Take me to Eanfled.” Her voice was dark and
broken from anger.
Taliesin closed his hands around those of the trembling Celt for a moment and
watched the Elfling’s skin grow as dark as the night. That’s
a good girl. Let the rage grow. Yes
that’s right, now I have you. The druid smiled, sprinkled some violet dust
over his pupil and disappeared from the Lake bank. Rhiannon was left lying there
as the mist from the Lake gradually closed in on her.
here... old man?” A creature that
would normally have integrated from sight in his lush forest environment, had it
not been his intention to be noticed, spoke.
pending twilight gave the elf a dusty, mystic appearance. Age-old fauna around
him seemed to dance in circles, holding branches, swaying on the warm breeze.
as always.” The Taliesin spun round on the spot and tried to focus on the dark
elf that hovered and closed in on him in a spiraling motion.
just better equipped for amazing stunts.” The five feet of sinewy elf grinned
and then gave a demonstration of loops and twirls in the air above the druid.
His silvery wings caught the last rays of sun as he decorated the sky. His high,
boyish voice rang through the air. “State your request Taliesin. Find out if
the Gate Keeper will grant you a favor and bless you with the wisdom of the
and so on. Can we get to the point and will you keep still for even a blink?”
The old man interrupted; impatiently shook a fist at the air borne ancient and
bellowed in frustration. “You are making me dizzy, arrogant son of a Troll.”
elf abruptly dropped height, arms folded across his dusky green chest. Dark
emerald eyes locked mockingly with the watery gray ones of the druid. “Zero
points for politeness. Sticks and stones, old man.” He told the alchemist off
with a serious tone and continued. “You’ve come to tell me… that Rhiannon
and her jummy warrior friend are on their way to the Dream Stone.” Eanfled
rubbed his chin, flung back a few strands of his long, jet-black hair and took a
deep breath. Taking his time, the elf also readjusted the leather arrow case,
hanging from his belt; retied his boot laces and arm braces. “You want the
Elfling to learn and the Warrior lost... Hmm?” The elf guessed, grinned and
waited for the Taliesin to react.
Warrior? That paranoid woman followed me, didn’t she Eanfled.” The druid
hissed through his teeth as his eyes narrowed. “Not a bad development, well
assuming she would want to know about and ruin everything.” He closed his
eyes to enjoy this unexpected addition to his up coming victory. “I know
Boadecia will eventually break when Xena backs her into a corner. She’ll even
beg for help, if I’m right.”
Powers that be, grant thee, with the force of Three.” Eanfled stated in a
formal tone and raised his arms gracefully. “But are you awake to see?” The
elf gently pushed off the ground and floated over the Taliesin. “Now leave and
let me work, old man.” He then let himself become cloaked from sight by the
majestic trees of his domain, like a watercolor fading in the rain.
a deal, overgrown fly.” The druid mumbled as he watched the creature
disappear, oblivious to Eanfled’s final words. So blinded he was, by a
momentary lapse of interest in anything beyond his all-consuming lust for power.
please, please, pretty please.* Cupid begged his mother on all fours.
I come? I wanna help do the Gabster. She’s like a real cutie pie.* The
muscular god pouted his lips and a slight frown accented his kicked puppy dog
eyes. Can’t she get some nice, thick rugs in her temples or something? My
knees are killing me.
heard that. Sorry kiddo, this is all Magick jive. Can’t let you screw up an
anti-spell now, can we. Tooddels pretty. * The goddess of love replied, shimmied
her shoulders and blew her clueless son a kiss. She left the winged bundle of
brawn with an array of sparkles flying in front of him
goddess reappeared by Ephiny’s bed. The Amazon lay restless, trapped in the
eye of a nightmare. The deity watched the Amazon for a while, sighing with the
pity she felt. *You have been like so totally too deprived of love, Amazon.*
Aphrodite could not resist and bent down to caress the Regent gently on the
cheek. In anticipation if what she was about to see, the deity
closed her eyes.
of Ephiny with a stranger, from a strange land appeared in between scenes of
Amazons battling with each other over the throne.
little surprised, but not shocked, Aphrodite broke the connection and took a few
steps back. *Remember whom you love. Why is so not the point, babe. Your little
green honey will be back, I promise.* The deity blew softly and caused the air
in front of her to ripple towards the sleeping woman.
airhead. She said you could do your thing after... remember. * Artemis appeared
in front of her spouse, just in time to stop Aphrodite’s premature meddling.
yourself, bush brat. Look at her. This is breaking my precious heart, even
though she’s usually your problem
child.* The love goddess giggled
and winked at the frowning archer. *By the by... why in Dad’s name did you
ever let this beauty’s blood boil for that, iiieuwh, Centaur?* Aphrodite
shuddered the revolting thought from her mind and unscrewed her face.
eye, ‘Ditie. Dad’s orders. Now, you want to get on his wrong side or are you going
to let me get on with things?* Artemis asked her half sister in a stern voice.
*And leave my Chosen one alone too. She’s doing fine with Xena.* She added in
an agitated tone and waved a hand to communicate the blond goddesses’ cue to
turned to the sleeping Regent and sighed. *She’s right you know. You could do
with warm soul next to you by now. *
crossed another threshold that day. Doing so left me feeling... empty. Not the
nothing there kind of emptiness, more like oblivion saturating my mind with
total awareness of that ‘nothing’. My
skin turned a pale white, ears had gone to normal and my back ached as if I‘d
been hanging from a tree by the shoulder blades for a moon.
Taliesin drugged me and led me to the Dream Stone, which floated somewhere in
The Lake since the beginnings of time. I once heard a tale of this place. Humans
that got lost were usually never seen again. The few that did come back were
changed forever. The total reverse of Faerie, the other natural wall around
Avalon, hidden deep within the marsh bogs.
spending gods know how long in this dream realm-- surviving on a warrior’s
instincts that were the only thing left, familiar to me- the thick Dream Stone
forest finally came to life.
Torn and twisted
Gate Keeper of the Dream Stone. Please, where are you?” Rhiannon whispered to
herself. “Why won’t you help me, find me at least? It’s me, Rhiannon.”
The Celt added with a whimper and balled up underneath a huge willow tree, close
to a small, muddy stream.
hungry and sore all over. That is how she felt after roaming the vast forest, in
search of her father. Green hills and endless meandering streams were all she
found. “I can’t believe the Taliesin left me here at the mercy of and elf.
Even if he’s my father.” And how long
have I been talking to myself for now? Two days… a moon?
sense of time was lost to Rhiannon. Even by using the Sight, she could not trace
the presence of a living soul. The energy feedback of the trees, animals and
what ever was out there was very loud, but the Elfling failed to see anything
besides the trees. The never ending, dancing trees. Everything seemed to move.
Nothing was in the same place by the new sunrise.
why do you forsake me Ceridwen? Surely you are the creator of this realm.”
Celt cried for the Goddess into her dirt smudged arms, not improving the mud
mask around her hollow, red eyes.
do you think Ceridwen would even know you, human?” A familiar yet bitter voice
replied from somewhere amongst the foliage. “Yes you have the Sight and are an
initiate of the Mysteries, but more humans have leaned those tricks.”
startled, scrambled to her feet and searched the greens around her for proof of
life. She rested her trembling hand on the pommel of her sword and cocked her
head to the left.
yourself.” The Celt forced her voice to sound calm. She circled on the spot
once, straining her eyes to pick up any kind of movement and listened for
from somewhere in the sky, a boyish voice spoke to her. “Granted is your wish,
by the power of three. Sweet girl, open your heart and truly see.”
twirling on the spot, head raised to face the heavens, Rhiannon saw what
reminded her of a rainbow fade in between the arched branches of the willow
tree, against a clear blue sky.
she dropped her head and let the sword go. “So he’s not going to make it
easy for me. This far, elves are proving to be a pain in the neck, but much
lower. Maybe that wasn’t even him?” With a deep breath the Celt dropped to
her knees and closed her eyes to think.
why should he be fun, human?”
that the voice belonged to an elf, standing one arm length away in front of her,
Rhiannon opened her eyes wider with a shock and froze.
her stood a tall, almost muscular, dark elf, peering at her with bright green
eyes through wild, red curls. Her exuberantly, silver braced arms were folded
across her chest and she only just touched the ground. She wore a short skirt
and top of the most delicate fabric the Celt had ever seen. Her clothing and
skin color were identical. Two majestic, silvery, see-through wings rose above
her proud shoulders. The rays of sunlight that filtered through the greens
bounced off them like fireflies.
are tuff enough on yourself. Eanfled’s
job is a breeze, lassie. I’m here to do his dirty work.” The elf snarled at
her and took a step closer to the still kneeling, baffled woman.
cat got your tongue?” The elf spat and slapped her in the face.
head snapped to one side as the elf’s hand forcefully chafed it with a crimson
blush. She rolled over on her side, flowing with the motion already caused by
the blow. Taking her sword from its scabbard, she got up fast and gave the
female elf the once over. Oh great,
she’s violent. Like I need this?
if I have to tell you anything.” Rhiannon grinned at the elf, planted her
sword beside her and mirrored the elf’s stance. “How productive. And I was
told elves were smart, as well as sadistic.” A low growl escaped the red
head’s mouth as she took in the female elf before her. Green.
Wings. Reddish hair and a very dark skin. My height. Darker skin tone than I
have seen in my dreams as a kid. Would she be a da- no a dark elf would have
killed me instantly, I think? Why is she here instead of Eanfled? Figure out the
clue, Rhi. This must be a test or something.
what? You tell me, elf.” Rhiannon’s face had gone pale again and she
swallowed hard. “You make it quite clear, I’m the insignificant human.” She
want me to grovel or what?
two stood in a dead lock, staring each other in the eyes. Faces a hand length
apart. The air between them vibrating. The trees forever dancing around them.
now you won’t dare recognize me?” The elf broke the silence, keeping her
voice low, attempting to hide anger. “Even now I am standing here, in front of
you. You won’t recognize me?” She yelled and slammed a knee into
Rhiannon’s abdomen, while pulling the Celt’s head over her shoulder.
red head collapsed onto the ground and grabbed her stomach, coughing and
don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want to get you into trouble all the time
but you leave me no choice, human. You have become just like those who hate
them… us.” A light gush of wind
blew across Rhiannon’s face as the elf elevated and hovered over her, while
recollected her warrior edge, lunged at the elf, before she flew out of reach
and pulled her back down to ground level. The startled and angry elf tried to
fight the Celt off, without success. The grounded elf was helpless.
winged creature ended up under the Celt. She gave up the struggle and started to
laugh when she saw the human was fighting back tears as well as her frustration
and desire to lash out.
well. A sensitive Celt. And you
always claim to be a warrior?” The elf sneered at Rhiannon. “Don’t let
step Dad see those big clumsy tears, girl. He’ll knock you around, won’t
he.” She demonstrated what she meant by slapping at Rhiannon’s ears. “Oh,
don’t cry now lass. Mommy can’t hear you and she won’t come to help you
last remarks of the elf made the red head snap and see red. She smashed a fist
into the elf’s face, rolled off the now limp figure towards her sword and got
to her feet.
quickly ran back, placed her feet on the wings of the elf at the height of her
waste, where they got thicker and pressed the tip of her sword on the
creatures’ neck. “You sadistic piece of work.” She screamed at the elf.
“Who are you?”
down now, Warrior Princes.” Boadecia told the pacing woman and pointed at a
bench, near the window.
I’d rather not, if you don’t mind. Where do you think the old man is taking
her?” Xena turned to face the Leader of Celts with a stoic expression.
Xena. The Taliesin is on her side. Gwydion knows more about elves than any
mortal should. I trust him like family.”
She sat herself down and took another mouth full of mead, avoiding the
Warrior’s penetrating stare.
you don’t trust me enough to believe me when I say the man is up to something
nasty?” The raven-haired woman asked, while she walked over to Boadecia with
an eyebrow raised.
know nothing about my people and come to mention trust; No, I don’t.
I remind you of most of our former encounters?” The Queen of Celts rose from
her seat and looked Xena in the eyes with a frown. “I have already thanked you
for your help, defeating Caesar. That is all I have to offer.”
why the cozy scene on The Lake shore when we arrived?” The Warrior hissed,
returning the look, closing in on the older woman some more and holding her
hands up in question.
do not need to complicate my daughter’s life even more, by acting on any miss
feelings I might have towards you. Not even while you may well be the reason she
leaves Britannia for good.” Boadecia took a deep breath, got closer to the
Warrior and relaxed her face into a small grin. I
know my Rhi. She’s into warrior women real bad and would follow a specimen
like you blindly. But you Xena, what’s in all this for you? Wasn’t Vivian
enough of a kick?
Xena breathed through closed teeth, examining the older woman’s grinning yet
pensive expression. Oh boy.
I’m still outraged by your breech of loyalty in Gaul, not to mention your
affair with Vivian, but can’t stop feeling thankful once again for your help
bringing Rhiannon home to me. Be wise Xena. The family can take care of Rhiannon
from here. Show me you have changed and do as I ask.” The frown was on the
Celt’s face again as she waited for Xena to react.
raven-haired woman broke her stare and paced in front of Boadecia for a while,
her mind almost in chaos. Every fiber of her body “screamed danger”, but for
who? Her self, Rhiannon, both, man kind? Her emotions were telling her to let
the Elfling’s destiny take it’s coarse and go home to her love, sweet
Gabrielle. Gods, I wish my thoughts were as logic as the paintings on these walls.
Everything connects; all lines come together and form a pattern, hmm.
Talk to me.” The Celt blocked the Warrior mid pace and held on to an elbow.
am I here?” Xena asked herself out loud, looking past rather than at the older
woman, studying the knots and circular patterns of the mural by the window.
don’t understand?” Boadecia let go of the Warrior and looked surprised.
not seeing the bigger picture yet.” Xena mumbled, with a thumb stuck between
her lips, no longer taking note of present company. She resumed her pacing,
glancing at one segment of the mural each time she passed it. Three horses
running after one and other, mains and tails entwined. By
the power of three. That’s what Rhi kept talking about. What am I missing
but I do see your bigger picture, warrior woman. You are thinking with a lower
part of your anatomy. Had enough of the young Bard already? The
Celt shook her head and continued thinking but this time out loud. “The bigger
picture is for Rhiannon to find out. Let her be, please.” The now worried Celt
voiced seriously and blocked her guest’s path with her body again.
snapped out of her vacant stare and took a step back, hands on hips.
you listen to me woman. To show you I have changed by betraying the promise I
made to your daughter would not be my first choice. So far this whole situation
has reeked of spells and interfering gods. That old druid is close to the source
of it all, I can feel my skin crawl when he’s around.” Xena almost shivered
at the thought of the Taliesin and continued.
don’t see a worried mother and brave warrior acting on her love for her
daughter and there for protecting her the best she can. Are you afraid of her
because she almost challenged you into a fight or are you torn by a deeper
guilt?” Ending in a hoarse whisper. Blue eyes wandered over the red head’s
features. Hades, how do I get through to
do not know what you are talking about, woman,” the Celt flung at Xena angrily
and turned away to pour herself another drink. Don’t
you dare go there.
is it that you can’t say that and look me in the eyes, at the same time?”
the Celt’s ridged body language, Xena knew she was onto something and pursued,
reminding herself to take it easy on the widow in pain. Who was she to judge? Focus warrior, focus. “Guess what that amounts to, from my side
you really presume I wish to guess at what goes on in your mind, at a time such
as this?” Doing her best to keep the growing concern out of her voice the Celt
spoke slowly and over articulated every word.
it your way.” Xena said with a shrug of her shoulders and walked towards the
Warrior halted and did exactly that. She waited where she stood, within reach of
the door timing her next move with her back to the Celt.
think you mean to help but-”
dragged out, alto “Yes?” from the Warrior coaxed the Celt to continue.
you’ll risk your own life, if you interfere now.” Shaking hands ran through
braided, red hair as the Celt warned the Warrior.
what’s new?” With a tug the
door was open and Xena was outside, pressed against a wall just to the side of
strode after the Warrior yelling at the top of her voice, not caring if she
alarmed any of the other priestesses in the small Avalon village.
can’t do this Xena. You can not get off the Dream Stone. No mortal can.
is destined to serve the greater good. Nothing you, nor I would want to do, can
change that.” Pale, teary eyes
searched around to find the Warrior Princess.
tell me how you got off this Dream Stone.” The Warriors teeth flashed when she
grimaced. “Your story is getting
more inconsistent by the word.”
the Celt turned and felt the urge to start hacking into the younger woman that
was invading her most secret thoughts and influencing her child, with a
think you are as unhappy about the old bat taking Rhiannon away to that place,
as I am, but try to keep your focus on why I am here.” The Warrior’s legs
started pacing of their own accord. “You know what else I think. You hurt for
choosing Prasutagus over your daughter and not telling her about who she is, to
his twisted delight. Now she has reclaimed her will from under a thick layer of
denial and Avalon ways, she scares the Tartarus out of you.”
right. You know more than I thought”. Boadecia’s face went pale as the shell
of a goose egg. She waited for Xena to face her again and stop moving. “I can
never return to the Dream Stone and yes, I have always known what Rhiannon is. I
just don’t know exactly what she will become.”
Warrior turned her head and said as respectfully as possible. “Everybody makes
choices in life they regret. That is between you and Rhiannon. Do you want me to
help your daughter, or not?”
the Celt could have grown any whiter, she would have. “You can’t, Xena. You
can’t change her destiny. Don’t you think I would be trying to get her off
that damned rock, if there was a way? There isn’t.”
stared at the normally so in control Queen of Celts that was holding on to her
sanity as hard as she could by selectively denying certain facts and implored.
“Come on Boadecia, impossible situations never stopped me before. Please tell
me how to get to the Dream Stone.” The Warrior ‘s voice grew gentle and a
slight smile graced her face. “You wouldn’t want to hurt her even more by
making me break my promise to help her now would you? Try to remember,
the priestess can fight.” The elf snickered. “What are you going to do? Kill
are you, damned it?” Rhiannon screamed.
a clue. I am half and waiting to become whole.” Another evil laugh echoed
under the ark of willow branches.
inhaled deeply and felt her impatient anger grow.
at me human. And I mean really take a good look.” The elf advised and wormed
her hand between neck and blade, gently pushing the Celt’s sword away.
felt all torn up as to weather she would stick to talking or not. So far she says she doesn’t want to hurt me all the time or get me
into trouble. What’s she doing now then? Being a gracious hostess.
till now, Rhiannon had not killed a living soul. Yes, she had fought in combat
but managed to wound, rather than kill. A trait her stepfather loathed and her
mother held sacred.
why start here. She’s an elf, a dark elf, seeing my luck is going completely
soar. She would have killed me all ready, if that were her plan. Who in
Ceridwen’s name is she? I can’t get into her mind.
“By what name are you known, elf?” The Celt decided to keep the conversation
have no name. I have as of yet, no home.” A soft, sad reply came from
trembling green lips.
you have anything to tell me about my father Eanfled, the Gate Keeper?”
second question came to the confused Celt.
she were going to kill, it would have happened already. She really doesn’t
know who I am. I can’t get into her mind? Okay human, we talk, but I don’t
know if you want to hear what I have to say, so to speak. “Yes,
long silence fell and both Rhiannon and the elf took the time to actually look
at each other, recognizing how vulnerable they both were in this strange,
secluded place and time.
up.” Pale and green arms entwined as the Celt helped the elf back to her feet,
not letting go of the creature for dear life.
stay here, talk to me elf. Plea-”
elf held both of Rhiannon’s hands in one of hers. The other found it’s way
to the Celt’s lips and stopped the flood of questions from coming.
no talking just yet. You will come to know all in good time. Look at me real
close, Rhiannon.” The elf’s face had a softer expression now and she spoke
with a low, sleepy voice.
familiar manner of speaking reminded Rhiannon of her mother’s voice. Of when
Boadecia would come to check if her daughter was asleep when she was little
girl. The red head shivered when the elf spoke her name for the first time.
Slowly, she took hold of both sinewy green hands and stepped back for a better
view. Eyes traveled up the elf’s arms and rested on the left one. A small
scar-- just above the crease where arm goes over into the shoulder- was a
slightly darker tone than the rest of her complexion. Instinctively the Celt let
one hand go and brought it up to her own left arm.
it’s right there too. I don’t understand... and another one. I got that dent
in my chin from catching the broken mug Vivian threw at me ages ago. How? Gods,
I bet the elf can hear my thoughts. It’s been so long since I thought of the
stories about the elves and ancient creatures. I can’t even remember much of
the family visits to Erie. Who are you? Rhiannon
shook her head and looked down at her feet. Completely puzzled by what she was
seeing and remembering. Not at all sure of what it should mean.
elf didn’t let the Celt’s hand go and waited with great patience for the
human to let the details sink in. You are
getting very close, human. Let me in, that’s it, remember.
red head took another step backwards and swallowed hard. Her breath went ragged
and shallow. Beads of sweat broke out on her forehead and back. The trees around
her swayed and circled in on them.
has told me nothing and everything. The scars... the same height and build.
voice, it’s like... mother’s. No mine... and she has no name. An elf without
a name does not exist. She’s homeless. Her eyes are... my eyes.
a little help from a Celt
wait”. Boadecia called out to the dark Warrior that was disappearing from
sight fast and in the wrong direction.
out of breath, the Leader of Celts caught up with Xena and stood in front of
her, hands resting on the Warriors shoulders.
stopped walking, turned to Boadecia, eyed the older woman’s hands on her and
take you to the Dream Stone. After that, you are on your own. I can not return
to the place. Eanfled would not let me go a second time.” Pausing for a moment
Boadecia stepped back and turned away from the Warrior. She ran her hands
through her hair. Gods, I wish she would
keep that bored but in control look off her face.
Queen continued offering information with shaky hands and a lump in her throat.
“He will put you through one of his mind games, before you have any chance of
getting to Rhiannon. Indulge him Xena, what ever happens. He is a dark elf,
which means he has a mean streak. He won’t hurt you physically, because he
can’t... not that type of species you see. Oh, and time... forget trying to
keep track of time. It does not exist in that wretched place.”
mind game thing. Can’t be as bad as
Ares, can he? What is he... into?” Xena asked, sounding as calm as she
could. The feeling of danger was still getting stronger, even without the added
obstacles ahead; this elf would entertain himself with at her expense.
depends on what’s on your mind, when you get there.” The grass under
Boadecia’s feet was undergoing a transformation from all the shuffling and
kicking, while she informed Xena of what she was up for. “He can read humans
minds and has the ability to tap into your memories. Not at all a comforting
idea, I know.”
take it he flies too.” The raven-haired woman remembered the little she knew
about elves. Rhiannon had told her that in Celtic history stories, dark elves
more or less spend their energy on playing emotional games with who ever caught
their attention and showing off how good they are at flying. She
also believed they killed humans for fun. I
hope you are right Bo.
the Celt started off towards The Lake and motioned Xena to follow her, heading
east. The Warrior was not satisfied with the little information Boadicea had let
loose and kept firing away questions.
hold does this Eanfled still have on you, that you can’t help your own
child?” The Warrior asked, being careful with every chosen word.
plays a small part. He seduced my husband and I. The rest you can figure out
yourself.” Once again the Queen of Celts turned her face away from Xena. “He
is also the only one who can help my little girl understand herself. Rhiannon
has a destiny that is interwoven with many other Ancient peoples and the future
of Britannia, among other things. If I interfere, it will lead to her death, and
mine. The Taliesin, Arch-Druid and Vivian and Rhiannon, High Priestesses of the
Goddess are mortal representatives of the Initiator behind all gods and
goddesses. They are helping the Lady to bring forth a new era of kings and
queens. Britannia will finally be united, as the prophecy tells us.”
the Celts answer to a goddess, act on her commands brought to you by devious
middle men and women, freely interpreting prophecies?” Xena asked, not liking
what she was hearing.
faced the Warrior again and replied. “For centuries the Goddess was worshipped
all over the known world Xena. She is loosing ground to the growing ego and fear
of man. New religions from the east are taking over the minds of humans, without
leaving room for the heart and intuition. Dogma’s, or rather the clergymen
that enforce them are enslaving people’s freedom to choose and think for
themselves. The Goddess is that
freedom, Xena. Don’t you know that we mortals create our own gods? Personal
experience with them is a reflection of what you collectively expected of a god
at some point and tolerated as the truth.
started walking and placed a hand on the Warrior’s arm. “This is not some
concept that helps externalize our responsibilities to hold all life sacred.
Unfortunately, most people do not resist the new ways because these
religions are being introduced very slowly and with subtle differences. Hunger
and perpetual invasions don’t help moral either. The Goddess knows her demise
is inevitable and part of the pattern of life. She will play a smaller part in
the future. Right now she is securing the future of her closest children and her
essence.” Boadicea noticed that the Warrior had growled at a few of her
beliefs but she continued bravely.
would have to tell you the entire history of Avalon, all the way back to
Atlantis to help you understand everything and then you might not comprehend it
all. I know I don’t. Even the Amazons are remnants of the Goddess’ Ancients.
Ares and Artemis were created much later in linear time. We are all children of
The Dana or call Her what you like, one way or an other.” The Celt swallowed
I am trying to say is... You are part of the bigger picture too, Warrior
just can’t tell you exactly how, because I don’t know. This is all I can
offer.” Tears were fighting to be set free, behind the eyes of a scared
mother. “It will be dark soon. We’d better keep moving.” She pointed
towards the misty banks of The Lake.
two women were busy with their own thoughts while they walked to the East Side
of the island. Twilight was closing in. So was the mist. Soft green hills turned
a shade of gray and The Lake reflected them as silvery domes, floating on clouds
against a dark blue sky.
hairs on the back of Xena’s neck rose as they neared the edge of the water.
stood still by a neat pile of smooth, round rocks and started to explain what to
here until the mist closes you in completely.
If by then you still want to continue, place one hand on top of this pile
of rocks and say out loud, Gate Keeper find me, by the power of three. The Dream
Stone will find you and you will know when you are on it, Xena. Trust me, you
will know. After that it all goes beyond my ability to explain.”
looked from the pile of too perfectly eroded rocks to Boadecia.
unfastened her Chakram, kissed it and held it out in front of the older woman.
If I- ” The Warrior did not want to think or speak of defeat right now and
knew Boadecia understood what she was implying. “Please send this to
Gabrielle, the Greek Amazon Queen, with my love. I expect to come back together
with Rhiannon and get it back though, so for the time being keep it safe. Oh,
one more thing. Elves, how many kinds are there?”
Celt sighed. “We don’t have any more time for a thorough lesson on elves.
You have all the information on Eanfled that you will need. He’s a dark elf,
which makes Rhiannon half-dark elf. You never know how an elfling will turn out.
Elfling is another word used for a half elf.” A deep giggle escaped the
Celt’s mouth. “You must have noticed us Brittans are rather fond of naming
everything twice, three times or more. It’s driving the Romans to drink.”
what do I do now?” A broad smile made the Warrior’s face light up for a
moment as she pictured some frustrated and drunk Roman soldiers.
for the mist to enclose you and say the words while you touch the stones.”
Boadecia squeezed the longer woman’s shoulder and said her good-bye's. She
started to walk away but halted abruptly. “I all most forgot. Rhiannon has the
Sight. She’ll find out you are on the Stone if she still has use of it there.
Rhi hasn’t told you about that, judging by your expression.”
know what the Sight is.” Xena reacted. “You don’t need to be a priestess
to figure that out. As you said, the Goddess has a wide range.” Her eyes
traveled upward as did the corners of her mouth in a smirk. Can’t
believe I just said that.
watched Boadecia disappear in the mist after she took the Chakram for safe
keeping with a some what confused grin and wished the Warrior good luck.
do you want me to put all these flowers for now, Eph?” Gabrielle entered the
conference hall, pushing the door open with her behind. Her arms were filled
with freshly gathered blooms.
was right behind her with the rest of the decorations.
them across the tables, my Queen.” The Regent stopped what she was doing and
inhaled the sweet scent of hibiscus, lavender and bay leaf that wafted her way.
“Better still, use them as you see fit. This is after all, your first spring
celebration. I presume Persephone trusts you to make the place look the part.”
A wide smile accompanied her words but to the Bard, her eyes seemed over
shadowed with loneliness.
about hanging some bunches from the support beams?” Solari suggested, pointing
upward and trying to hold on to her cargo at the same time.
Amazon woman did not succeed in doing the latter and fragile petals cascaded to
the floor, before the whole load of flowers ended on top of them.
at the same time, Eponin came clambering into the hall and bumped Solari over
onto the multi colored bed.
crashed on top of the now cursing Amazon and yelped when a sharp little twig
poked her in the thigh.
broke out into a laughing fit and dumped the remainder of the flowers she was
holding over Eponin and Solari.
guess we aren’t all together in the most festive of moods just yet, judging by
the lack of creativity and concentration today.” The Regent remarked, having a
hard time trying to laugh.
giggling Bard helped her guards to their feet. “Okay people. Let’s leave
this for now. I need to talk to Ephiny about some details of the ritual
anyway.” Placing her arms around the women’s waists, she walked them to the
door and asked the slightly embarrassed Amazons to get plenty of Port out of the
over her shoulder quickly, Solari made sure that her Queen stepped out side with
them for a moment and asked. “My Queen, Gabrielle. May I speak to you about a
rather urgent matter, when you have time?” She let go of the blonde woman and
waited for a reply, throwing her head to the side, hoping Eponin would catch her
drift and give them some privacy.
noticing Solari’s gesture, Gabrielle took her by the arm and started walking
towards the food hut. Eponin left the two women to their own devices, reminding
herself out loud to ease up on the Port during the celebrational feast and dance
this time round.
course. Come to the library, two candle marks past the noon. I will have
time for you then.” The Queen plucked some lavender out of the guard’s hair
and smiled her million-dinar smile. “New love on the horizon?”
wish.” The dark haired Amazon shook her head. “I’d rather tell you
what’s on my mind this afternoon, if that’s all right.” She sighed and ran
after Eponin, leaving a puzzled Queen behind.
her chin, Gabrielle reentered the conference hall in time to help Ephiny down
from the halfway support beam she was hanging from. The Bard saw tears in her
friend’s eyes and held on to the woman.
curly haired Amazon did not resist the soothing arms of the Bard and completed
the transaction by embracing her.
it out Ephiny.” Gabrielle whispered against the trembling woman’s ear.
“Let it out, what ever way it comes.”
Ephiny could do was cry. Her legs gave way to the waves of emotion that crashed
upon her heart and dragged the Queen down with her.
let it all happen and cradled the shaking Regent until the tears had given
witness to the women’s pain. When Ephiny’s body stopped trembling and her
breath appeared calmer, the Bard placed a finger under a wet chin and lifted the
Amazon’s face to hers.
that feel better?” The blonde asked her friend softly, gently brushing the
back of her hand over Ephiny’s cheek.
the Regent could do was sniff and nod.
you want to talk about it?” The Bards arms tightened around the Amazon’s
body instinctively. To let her go now would give her time to push what ever was
hurting back down, out of reach.
let me in. You don’t have to do this alone, you know that don’t you.”
soft, almost child like voice asked tenderly.
Came a hoarse reply.
it the elf jokes, the dreams of Rhiannon and remembering how you had to struggle
for your right to love Phantes and Xenon?” A warm, shaking hand reached up to
Gabrielle’s shoulder as she spoke to her friend.
Another raspy, angrier answer came from the curly blonde.
there anything I can do to make things easier for you around here, my friend?”
Green eyes searched hazy brown ones.
sat up and took a deep breath.
would like to be relieved of my duties as Regent until Rhiannon comes back.”
Was all the woman said before she looked away from her Queen and cried once
locked the Regent into her arms again and couldn’t help letting go of her own
tears. She also missed the Elfling and was feeling out of sink, the love of her
life being gone so long. Almost two moons had past and not a word or sign of
her. Did they make it across land to a seaport by now?
Don’t think that way bard, of course they’ve made it.
she made a mistake of not going with her Warrior? Before Xena left, they almost
argued about who was going and who was staying. Finally Gabrielle gave into her
fears and confessed to her love, that setting foot on Britannia's soil for a
second time terrified her. Risking the slim chance of facing Velasca as a god
made her stomach turn. There was no way Xena would let the Bard beat herself up
by coming with her. No matter how high the stakes. Then they argued about Xena
going or not. Gabrielle managed to persuade the Warrior to go by commanding her
to go for the safety of the Amazons. Serving the greater good always got to
Xena. The adrenaline produced by the decision got put to good use afterwards.
Making up was Gabrielle’s favorite part of arguing.
her mind off her lover’s absents with everyday village events and the coming
part of spring celebration was getting harder each day. Somehow it all seemed so
trivial. Four different rituals and feasts spread out over four moons. It
wasn’t a fun time for her friend either and that upset the blonde even more.
Something different was happening in the world and was having its effect.
Gabrielle and Ephiny could feel it but didn’t know what it meant, both were
afraid to say it.
Leap of blind faith
tits, it’s freezing out here. Xena tried to scope her surrounding but was
obstructed by the growing mist. To kill time and keep her mind off the cold, she
thought about anything that came to mind. What warm-blooded creature would come all the way out here to live?
Rain, mist, cold, more mist. I must be missing something. A damp black boot
kicked aimlessly at the pile of stones. Okay,
elf, find me already. Come on... chicken. To think I could be lying in my cozy,
warm bedroll, next to Gabrielle right now, instead of getting a runaway out of
trouble. Oh well, what’s done is done. I promised.
Warrior decided to repeat the request to be found but hesitated when she heard
shuffling, coming from in front of her.
way warrior woman.” A whisper came from somewhere in the fog.
tried to make sense of the direction that was called ‘this way’ and noticed
that straight in front of her a tiny purple light shone.
it, follow the light.” The voice was a little stronger this time and Xena
followed the dot of light deeper into the mist.
far I can’t see a bloody thing except for that light thingie... now it’s
Show yourself. You have somebody I’m looking for.” The Warrior yelled into
the mist while stumbling over a rock.
is no good. I have nothing to go on besides Boadecia’s story of goddesses and
a load of mumbo jumbo. Oh, not to forget this mist, rusting up my armor. Just
great. Yep, having fun already. I can’t wait to find out what comes next. A
red light perhaps? Flying sheep, ha. I’m
going to... trip over an elfling...
yeah, that’s it. I’m gonna be eaten alive by a gang of those dark elves. No,
Xena: Warrior Princes gets lost in a veil of mist... fuck, I am
is remembering, all over again
the depths of the delta region of her consciousness, Rhiannon could barely
register a soft, warm sensation on her cheeks. Her eyes refused to cooperate and
she slipped away again.
father, please help me.” A small voice cried out to the trees of the Dream
Stone. She stroked the human’s face and felt her heart pound a painful
ever-slowing beat. “I can’t wake her. I can’t do this alone. I’m growing
weaker very fast... please.”
Gate Keeper decided to intervene when he heard his child call in desperation.
elegance and supple ease he descended from the grand old willow where he perched
himself for a good view. Eanfled flew over his guests and landed close to the
females. Arms folded over his chest, the dark elf studied the appearance of the
rather similar creatures up close. “I could have guessed this would happen.”
you also thought she’d be less stubborn when I told you otherwise.” A snappy
elf threw back at the Gate Keeper. What’s going on inside this human? I
can’t find out from here, can I.”
You loose points for being obvious dear.” Eanfled took flight again and
swirled closely around the females beneath him. “Leave her to sleep for now.
Rhiannon is entering the chronicles of her ancestral history. Don’t worry.
She’s a tuff lass, as you know so well.”
elf looked up at her father with contempt. “And what if she doesn’t let me
back in? Father... I’m scared.”
will. Believe me my heart, she will.” Twitching lids covered the almost black
irises of Eanfled’s eyes. “I have a warrior to entertain now.” The dark
elf was gone from sight after looping across the small clearing under the green
canopy of drooping branches.
face became flushed like she had a fever and the elf decided it was time to
wakeup the human, despite Eanfled’s instructions. In a short time the elf had
learned that the Gate Keeper spoke in demands and was less than kindly tempered
if they were not met to his satisfaction. The elf was used to being on the
receiving end of tantrums and anger. Risking his rage was not her biggest worry.
The rest of what he had said on the other hand, she could knowingly neglect.
“You don’t have to tell me about those damned chronicles, dad.” Her voice
didn’t travel far, drained of it’s power.
I feel the need to enter this part of the story in a more personal way. I, Rhiannon forced myself to learn the hard way. I learned to deny whom I was for so long. I forgot how to listen to my real inner voice. Eilan and mother’s voice had taken its place. Now was the time to put those voices to the test of further necessity. Eanfled knew this, for he also had the gift of the Sight. He helped me face myself the only way he knew how.
beings; the aristocratic and elegant fawns, the various elf tribes, the
traitorous banshees, fairies and other species of Britannia all had some form of
access to these gifts or powers of the Goddess. By this and under the divine
moon, they were united. The Gate Keeper was compelled to grant my deepest wish.
Eanfled was a dark elf, son of a high placed clan. When the elf showed his love
to a human, the clan expelled him.
The Taliesin made good use of his sad, wandering soul and lured Eanfled to the Dream Stone. There he could be with any human he could lure and serve as the Gate Keeper, far from his judgmental family. Eanfled was bound to help me find out who I really am. The fact that he was my father motivated him to interpret the Taliesin’s request creatively. Breaking through the barrier of my self- denial proved to be a challenge he hadn’t for seen though. The Warrior on the other hand, was like river clay in his hands…eventually.
Jury and the Gate Keeper
Hades in Tartarus, how long is this going to take. Find me elf, find me now.”
stopped wandering aimlessly through the mist and realized that the strong sense
of fear had subsided. She tried to focus. Okay,
so the danger was not connected to the Dream Stone? Focus now woman. What ever
it was, will have to wait till I get back. Stop willing, stop hating, stop
desiring wasn’t it. While I’m at it, stop shaking, stop being bored stop
getting paranoid, stop being… stop.
stretching her senses as far as they would go for, the gods knew how long, the
Warrior grew restless and tired. The absolute silence was deafening. What am I going to do? If this is the elf’s way to torture me I’m
truly disappointed. Boredom is all he’ll get out of me. I stopped going nuts
about and in the dark way back. If he’s looking for guilty feelings, ha,
plenty there. He won’t be the first to toy with my past. Okay Bo. I’m
playing along here, like a good little warrior. Where is Eanfled?
all that internal self-mutilation, Warrior. It does not become you at all.”
Xena unsheathed her sword. The voice came from within her head so there was no
telling where the elf might be. A grin full of teeth flashed and the
raven-haired Warrior circled on the spot. “Show yourself, Gate Keeper.” She
hissed between her teeth.
heard two stones being struck against each other. The damp cloak gobbled the
echo up immediately but slightly to her left, a tiny green light appeared. It
hovered closer and in a reflex, the Warrior pointed her blade towards the
green ball made a faint movement to the right. Xena followed it with her eyes
and sword but ended up looking into space with the glowing ball wavering above
her left shoulder.
it down, Hero.”
green, glowing ball gently landed on one of the brass curls of Xena’s left
shoulder plate. Again the sound of rocks slamming penetrated the air and the
glow died down to an even smaller ball, held by a tiny winged being.
we talking or what?” The Warrior relaxed slightly and took in the odd little
creature from the corner of her eye. He measured up to be as big as her thumb.
Hero. Now be a good warrior and put away your toy and tell me what it is you
think you want?” The little green man waved a hand nonchalantly and took a
seat in between the brass curls, juggling two firestones. His minute wings
folded back to resting position and he smiled at his comfortably chosen seat.
are you?” The tiny creature caught his little rocks just in time to fly up
front of the Warrior’s face when Xena sheathed her sword and teasingly nicked
her shoulder plate to startle the elf.
was totally unnecessary. I was quite comfortable there, Hero.” Eanfled
readjusted his leather leggings and arrow case.
name’s Xena. I didn’t quite catch yours though.” Arms folded and an
eyebrow went missing behind silky black bangs.
Gate Keeper. Enchanted to meet you, I’m sure.” The elf made a few loops and
axle’s in front of his guest and ended the show with a bow and the suggestion
of kissing Xena’s hand.
over yet? Where’s Rhiannon?” Xena started with the most pressing matter on
her mind; finding the young Celt and getting off the Dream Stone.
First you amuse me, then I will…” A huge sigh escaped the tiny creature’s
mouth. “I will show you what you think you are looking for.”
watched Eanfled flutter around her head for a moment and chuckled. “Strange. A
creature that has the power to fly, among other skills, needs to be amused?”
is a wide concept lassie. A lot like your ego.” Eanfled stretched his arms out
as wide as possible and floated past Xena’s nose to illustrate.
that why you had to show up as a fly? Yours can’t fit in the same space as
mine huh?” Warrior and elf laughed in unison.
Hero. You measure up to be an intelligent and skilled creature so here’s the
catch. I want you to forgive yourself.” Eanfled flew back a little to get a
better look at the woman’s expression and juggled his firestones some more.
stood nailed to the spot, staring into misty oblivion. She knew exactly where
the Gate Keeper wanted her and didn’t like it.
very simple, Warrior. Forgive yourself for not being a perfect human and you
will find Rhiannon. No sooner.” Two stones cracked together, causing a tiny
spark and a ball of green light surrounded Eanfled. “This will get you
started, Hero. There can be no light, without the dark, yet neither exist at
all. By the Power of Three, open your eyes and see.”
wasted on the fire inside
don’t go away on some retreat, Ephiny. I am in no way fit to run this village
like a Queen yet and you know it.” Gabrielle stopped to catch her breath. A
slight panic hit her when the Regent expressed her wish for the second time.
“You leaving would prove my point. My authority is growing but is not strong
enough to stop even you. I can see it in your eyes.”
a moment ago you understood why I need to leave for a while. I will still be on
Amazon land. Why not now?” Ephiny held her breath, realizing how out of
character she was acting since Rhiannon left that even she would be confused,
standing in her Queen’s shoe’s.
still do understand. Its just- The Bard couldn’t finish speaking her mind
because her emotions clouded everything.
Gods, life would be so much simpler if the Celt had never found the Amazons.
Velasca, you have much to answer for. Once again the Amazons are being divided
by fear of the unknown. Only they see it as losing identity.
pertinent knock on the conference hall door startled both women.
Gabrielle replied in an annoyed tone.
gently opened the door and stuck her nose around the corner cautiously.
it that late already.” The Bard paced, rubbed her forehead and rested a hand
in her hip. “You wanted to see me about something urgent. I remember.”
means I will excuse you two. Talk to you later, sisters.” Ephiny made her way
out the door past Eponin and ran straight into Solari and Lizzeah.
so fast girlfriend.” Lizzeah grabbed hold of the Regent playfully and pushed
her back inside. Puffy eyes on my Regent?
looked back at her oldest friend in the world with a confused face and almost
yelled. “I thought this was Eponin’s private chat with Gabrielle. I can walk
on my own just fine Lizz. What is going on?”
the troops were all back in the hall, Eponin asked for their attention by
scraping her sword over the floor boards first and then throwing it at a pillar,
when the women didn’t seem in a rush to be quiet. Gabrielle was arguing with
Solari and Lizzeah was ducking swats from Ephiny, while yelling at Solari. The
blade just missed their heads and buried its point deep into the pillar closest
to them. The hall became silent at once.
you Amazons. That’s better.” Eponin took a seat and sugested the others do
the same by pointing at the surrounding benches. “I call the Council of Five
on an urgent matter. With all due respect my Queen and Regent, while you two are
wrapped up in personal feelings, the Amazon Nation is stirred once again by
divided loyalty. It is of course every Amazon’s duty to report this kind of
communal restlessness. The resurfacing of Velasca has reopened old wounds on
some and made others over cautious in the dealings with non-Amazons.
right there, Amazon.” Ephiny stood up and knocked her chair over in her haste
to interrupt. “Before this council discusses anything, I would like to know
how you all stand on the matter, personally. You are also my best friends” Gods, I just want to disappear. The Regent covered her eyes with her
palms for a moment, took a deep breath and continued. “Yes, Rhiannon and I
are, how shall I put it, involved. Just exactly how is not clear to either of
us. What the future beholds is even to me, a mystery, sisters. Keep that in
mind. Stick to the facts as I give them to you, not the rumors.”
think it’s all developing a bit beyond you and the Celt by now.” Solari
broke her pensive stare and spoke her mind. “Whom you chose as a lover is no
concern of anybody, as long as it does not hurt the Nation. So far the trouble
has to do with the old followers of Velasca. They used the gossip on your uh,
taste in lovers as a smoke screen to hide their making plans to unsettle the
got up and wandered over to the still standing Regent and put an arm around her.
“She’s right, Eph. Don’t take Velasca’s part on your shoulders as well.
We need to deal with this before it gets out of control” Gods this is all we need.
don’t know what to do and I can’t help it. Only few Amazons dare speak of
what other less candid Amazon’s are thinking. Even you sisters already speak
of Rhiannon and I as lovers before, before- Ephiny could not finish her words
when a big lump formed in her throat and constricted her breathing. After
regaining some control over her emotions she wiped across her eyes with the back
of a hand and looked straight at Solari. “I am the Regent, for Artemis’
sake. If I were considering taking a consort, the council is the first to know.
I’m not a total wreck.”
stood up and paced the length of the hall and back before she halted in front of
her Regent. “I’m sorry Eph. I wasn’t thinking. I shouldn’t have presumed
alright, Sis. I know how it must have looked when I offered her my spare
patted her sister on the shoulder and smiled through teary eyes. “Can’t say
I would mind if we were lovers though. Does that really surprise you?”
relaxed and smiled back at Ephiny. “After Phantes? Are you kidding?”
Now remember; first ask before you conclude, next time. What about you Lizz?”
The Regent turned to face her pale looking and much too quiet a friend. You do not like this one bit do you? Here we go again. The same thing
every time I get close to somebody different.
Celt, is she coming back with Xena?” Came a forced, stoic question from
Lizzeah. The Amazon avoided eye contact with the Regent.
If you think I’m letting her have you, think again Eph.
think so. That is what she wants, but who knows what she’ll find in Avalon.
that will effect her life and choices, only Rhiannon knows.” Ephiny sat down
next to her friend, leaned her chin in her palm and an elbow on the table with a
thump. She looked at Lizzeah with warm, knowing eyes. “So what gives,
trust you Eph, believe me. It’s the Celt I’m not sure about. That’s
all.” With one swipe of her hand, Lizzeah knocked the arm from under her
friend’s head and tried to make a run for the far end of the hall when
Gabrielle grabbed hold of her arm. The two women crashed into each other as the
dark haired chief of drills flung backwards.
here you. This is no time for fun and games.” Gabrielle panted and helped the
Amazon up and Ephiny lent her a hand. “Now will everybody sit down and get
women resettled at the bottom end of the conference hall. Eponin posted an extra
guard at the door and lit a few candles.
Bard started the council meeting by answering Ephiny’s initial question first.
“I’m okay with Ephiny’s freedom of choice on personal matters, like whom
she loves. Heck, I made sure you ladies took that up as a law in your archives
during my first visit after becoming Queen. I also trust Rhiannon.” Her voice
grew softer and trembled a little. “What concerns me is that Velasca seems to
have power beyond her temporal graves and some of my Amazons believe it, hook,
line and sinker.”
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Part three, In light of what has gone before