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THE ZENA SCROLLS: CHAPTER I



THE ZENA SCROLLS: CHAPTER I

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THE ZENA SCROLLS

zena - 10:43pm Apr 23, 2002 ET
"Agere Sequitur Esse"

<Unrolls scroll>

The sun was just rising over Cyrene's roof when Zena slipped out of the big wooden door to the Inn. The grass still held the promise of a cool dewy day and only the rooster in the yard was awake. Her horse has already been saddled and she slung her bag with the provisions over the saddle horn. "Those dried lima beans will give me several dinners" she thought as she left Amphipolis by the northern road.

The monthly Amazon Pig Roast at Cyrene's was always a welcome break from the hardships of the road and a chance to catch up on all the news. The party had gone on into the pre dawn hours with everyone singing and dancing on the tables. Three barrels of meade were dry and the pig was just a memory. Next month she would suggest that chicken might be on the menu - less greasy.

As she mulled over these thoughts Zena became aware that someone was riding hard behind her and would soon be at her side. She reached for her sword as Evergreen pulled her horse up just behind her.

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EvergreenLM - 01:52am Apr 25, 2002 ET (#1 of 330)

Evergreen Unrolls the Scroll Passed On

Evergreen was thankful that Zena recognized her when she did. After the late night gathering, senses are dull, and with the morning light, the realization comes that life must go on and challenges of the day await. Evergreen's painted pony trots along side Zena who continues to hum a restful tune from the night before. As the dawn begins its ascent, Evergreen greets Zena. "Good morning. May I ride with you for awhile?", Evergreen says with a smile and a nod of her head. Zena notes that Evergreen's dark chestnut hair is filling with silver,but knows the heart of her friend is forever green and does not change when the the winter wind has turned all else to brown. The morning air is cool and filled with the scent of villagers beginning their breakfast fires. The woods once more become alive with the noise of the life contained in its sheltering harbor. Zena and Evergreen ride side by side speaking of the enjoyment of the gathering of Xena's clan at Cyrene's. As the horses fall into their steady cadence with leather saddles creaking and riders rocking side to side, another figure appears on the horizon. From seemingly out of the breaking sun itself, a rider is bounding down the hill, waving arms, and sword flashing. Evergreen says to Zena, "Something is up, that looks like Lucystar, what could THIS be about?"

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Lucystar1 - 03:32am Apr 26, 2002 ET (#2 & 3 of 330)

AS THE SCROLL UNROLLS

As the sun rises to welcome the new day, it's rays catch the cream-colored mare with black mane and tail and her dark-haired rider. The mare cocks an ear back listening to the mutterings of her rider. "THAT is the LAST time I escort a bunch of hungover Amazons home. They're great fun a parties, especially after a few ales, but damn, they can get moody when it wears off." Lucystar shakes head swearing that that is the last time Evergreen volunteers her as an "escort service", chuckling, "that kind anyway." She did have to admit the pig roast was her idea and what's a party without the Amazons, AND they all did have a great time, but gods what a headache. Lucystar looks up realizing she's almost home and thanks the gods her mare knows the way.

She's suddenly aware of a melody that has been weaving it's way through her brain for most of the way home and starts singing to herself. "Sisters are doin' for themselves. Standing on their own two feet. Ringing on their own bells."Lucystar slaps her forehead to stop the music as she remember the previous night's events. How many times DID they sing that song? Enough that the Amazons declared it their Nation's anthem. "I can't believe Saxy got us all in the hot tub for a special 'performance'. I thought the sides where going to split out. Cyrene would have my hide over that one." Closing her eyes as the song starts in her head again, she remembers the hot tub scene and cringes. "By the gods, I wish I were home in bed dreaming [sign in to see URL] mind." she sighs.

Without warning her mare jerks her head up. "Easy girl, what is it?" Now Lucystar is aware of what interrupted her daydreaming. She hears the pounding hoofbeats of a horse bearing down on her from behind. Unsheathing her sword, she spins the mare around, ready for battle, only to find herself starring at a man in tattered clothes riding out of control right at her. Using herself as a barricade she calls out "Whoa. Easy there. SLOW DOWN!" Then grabs the horse's reins as it skids to a stop beside her. The man, out of breath and shaking, tries to tell her something. "Hey, take it easy. Here, have a drink of water." As he does, she eyes him, but he doesn't look familiar. "Now, take a breath and tell me what's got you riding like Hades is on your tail." As he hands back the empty waterskin, he take a deep breath. "I'm looking for Xena. We need her help. Where is she?" Each statement his eyes get bigger and his voice louder. "Calm down!" Lucystar holds her head praying the ache will go away. "Xena and Gabrielle left several days ago to attend the Annual Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards Reunion. Gabby is being honored for her..." She stops as the man starts shaking and shouting at her. "Our caravan was attacked by a bunch of bandits! They got all our merchandise, including a wagon of weapons, GET IT! They'll be heading this way next." Startled, Lucystar gathers her wits as an image enters her mind. "OK, how far away are they? How much time do we have?" The man relaxes a little thinking maybe there's hope yet. "At least a half day's ride back but they will probably camp for a while, at least. We had several kegs of ale in the caravan and they were drinking up. That's how I got away.

Remembering the lessons Xena taught her, Lucystar turns her attentions back to the merchant. "You ride back and keep an eye on the bandits. Stay out of sight, gather as much information as you can, and by the gods, DON'T get caught." As the man agrees to do his part, Lucystar looks toward home. "I'm going to go get some friends of mine and we'll come back and stop these thugs. We may not have Xena's 'many skills', but together we can be a force not to be reckoned with." They both turn away to begin their tasks. As Lucystar urges the mare into a gallop she offers up a small prayer. "Please let Zena and Evergreen still be at the Inn. I'll need their help. Theirs and Saxy's." The image of a very drunk Saxy chasing the barmaid around the bar pops into her head. Despite the impending danger, Lucystar can't stop the grin spreading across her face and laughs out loud "Knowing Saxy, she's probably still passed out in bed."

As horse and rider top the rise, she sees the Inn and recognizes the two riders just starting to head out. Waving her sword as she rides down to them, she calls "Zena. Evergreen. Wait there, I need your help!" As she approaches them she askes "Where's Saxy? Still in bed?" They both nod as Lucystar jumps off her horse and runs up the steps into the Inn. At the bottom of the stairs leading up to the sleeping rooms, she yells up. "Saxy. Wake Up! Get your butt out of bed and get down here! We've got TROUBLE!" Lucystar turns to see Zena and Evergreen come in the door as Saxy stumbles down the stairs, rubbing sleep from her eyes. "What's all the racket? Gods, Lucystar, can't a body get some sleep around here?" Lucystar gives her the evil eye and begins to tell about her encounter with the merchant on the road. Finishing Lucystar, Zena and Evergreen all turn and look at Saxy. They know she is the better warrior. They all studied with Xena, but Saxy was a natural. By the expression emerging on Saxy's face, it dawns on her why they're looking at her like that. Then Lucystar, doing her best Gabrielle impression complete with waggling eyebrows says "So Saxy... What's the Plan?"




Last edited by Joxcenia, 10/27/2011, 2:29 pm


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Re: THE ZENA SCROLLS: CHAPTER I


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saxgoddess25 - 07:39am Apr 26, 2002 ET (#4 & 5 of 330)

And now to our reporter in the [sign in to see URL]!

The first rays of dawn sunlight were streaming through the room's small window when Saxy awoke with a start. That old falling dream again. Rolling onto her back, she peered up at the ceiling through bleary eyes, thanking the Gods one more time that she didn't get hangovers. Saddly, she remembered everything that happened the night [sign in to see URL] that she was especially proud of half the stuff she'd done. Oh, come on, you know it was pretty damn funny. Especially that bit with the hot tub. And the food fight was brilliant. The work of a prankster is never done. A smile touched her lips as her companion stirred and draped an arm across her chest. Saxy pulled the furs up more snugly around them and began to drift back off to sleep, wrapped in a fuzzy haze of contentment.

She would have sworn it had only been a few seconds when she heard a voice bellow up the stairs. Instantly awake, her hand reached out automatically for the hilt of her sword, lying on the floor. She sprung out of bed and rushed for the door, realizing at the last moment that she was stark naked. While the Celts might prefer to fight in only a torc and a pair of sandals, Saxy was a bit more pragmatic than that. Pausing a moment to pull on a pair of breeches and tunic, then stamping into her soft doeskin boots, she stumbled her way out of the room and down the stairs. "Can't these bloody morning people let a girl sleep for once?" she growled to herself about halfway down. Recognizing the source of all the yelling as Lucystar, Saxy rubbed her eyes and peered at her newly appointed second and favourite hostess. "What's all the racket? Gods, Lucystar, can't a body get some sleep around here?"

Saxy listened while Lucystar told her of the merchant on the road and his plight with the bandits. Her eyes narrowed at the mention of the cartload of weapons. Lost in thought, she suddenly realized that the other three were staring at her. Oh Hades. They expect me to come up with a plan, this early in the morning. Grrr. Think brain, think. Lucystar confirmed her own thoughts with a lecherous wiggle of her eyebrows. "So Saxy... What's the Plan?"

"How long did you say we had again?"

"Maybe a day, or a little more. Depending on how long those kegs of ale last."

"Great. Enough time for me to change. Zena and Evergreen, let Cyrene and the town elders know what's up and tell them to prepare for those bandits to come through [sign in to see URL] in case. Lucystar, you get some more of the girls that stayed here last night to come with us. I'm sure you know exactly who to drag along." The three women nodded and moved off to their respective tasks. Saxy turned and remounted the stairs only to pull up short. "[sign in to see URL] you mind having someone saddle my horse?" she called across the common room.

"No problem Boss!" was the reply. With a grunt Saxy climbed up to her room. Once there, she retrieved her armour from the chair beside the bed and slipped it quickly on. She took a moment to run a comb through her mass of coppery brown hair, fastening it back with a thong so that it was out of her eyes. Finally she settled her breast dagger in place with a small grin as an image of Lucystar oogling it popped into her head. Fastening her quiver opposite her sword, she picked up her hunter's bow. Back downstairs and out the front door, she halted. A large group of warriors and townfolk who had been aprised of the situation stood awaiting her. Everyone looked at Saxy as she stopped on the porch, one hand on the pommel of her longsword. "Everyone knows what their job is?" The query was met by nods all around. "Good. You warriors, come with me. The rest of you, be ready in case we fail." Her tone made it clear that she didn't expect that to happen.

Moving briskly to her black mare, she vaulted into the saddle. The horse frisked a few steps before Saxy's gentle hand on her neck quieted her. "Shhhh, easy A'Mira," she cooed to the animal. Once everyone was astride their mounts, she gave the signal to move out. To one side of the assembled group of warriors she spotted a familiar face. It was Donna, one of the Amazons' best scouts. Some women spoke of her as THE Donna. Saxy reined in next to her with a nod. "Well Donna, what do you think?"

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OXYDonna - 11:01am Apr 26, 2002 ET (#6 of 330)

Community Producer, Oxygen Chat

"Saxy, with this much Amazon power we'll have no problem taking these bandits down."

I sat proudly in the saddle thinking how amazing these women are. The power and passion was a force no evil could ever defeat. But still I felt a bit of nervous excitement at the thought of an impending clash. There's something to be said for starting your day off kicking butt.

As we began our ride, I could feel the after affects of a night spent with good friends and stout mead. I'd had far too much fun - that was for sure. My head throbbed and my eyes felt out of focus, but there was also the pleasant sensation of a stomach sore from too much laughter. There's much to be said for a night spent actually feeling *alive* and content with who you are and who you surround yourself with.

As we neared the fork in the road we were met by a strange silence. Our horses stopped dead in their tracks and I knew it was time for the scout in me to take over. I gave Saxy the signal to wait as I ventured forth solo to investigate. My trusty steed, Sir Lard Butt (LB for short) gracefully maneuvered the path covered with small branches. This was obviously a trap. The signs were clear and I knew we had found the right path.

I looked over my shoulder and waved a quick signal to our fearless leader to let her know we were on the right path and that silence was essential if we were to make this a suprise attack. I gave a look above to see if there were vines or other methods for dropping down on enemies. Wait! Something moved up there! That's no bird or creature of the forest. It's a ... did Cyane see it too?

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HOSTOXYCyane - 03:27pm Apr 26, 2002 ET (#7 of 330)
Treat everyone the same, till you find out they're an idiot!!~~LL

...Did Cyane see it too?

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HOSTOXYCyane - 03:42pm Apr 26, 2002 ET (#8 of 330)
Treat everyone the same, till you find out they're an idiot!!~~LL

...Did Cyane see it too?

Riding in the back of the pack, as she always does, Cyane kept a close eye on her comrades ahead. She also kept one ear perked for trouble from behind. Nothing was left to chance, when the Amazon's were on the case. As the leader of the pack, Saxy slowed. Cyane saw The Donna venture forth to use those keen senses of hers.(The rest of the Amazon nation was in awe of her sense for danger, hence her name.) As Cyane watched, Donna stopped up short and stared intently into the trees. Just then, something caught Cyane's eye. High in the tree, just to the [sign in to see URL]! The Donna quickly swung around in her saddle and shot Cyane a glance. Yes, they HAD both seen it. It was not imagination on either part. What was that? From her vantage point, Cyane could only see vague movement. Someone would have to go check it out. With a nod to Donna, Cyane slipped silently, and hopefully, unnoticed from her saddle. Tossing the reins to the nearest Amazon, with a slight smirk on her face and a mischevious twinkle in her hazel eyes, she adjusted the scabbard and sword on her back. Cyane crept quietly into the forrest. Keeping one eye on her friends and the other ahead in the forrest, she leapt into the nearest Mandrake tree. Creeping forward towards the last place she saw the movement, Cyane saw a hooded figure, crouched one a branch, 3 trees over. Cyane gave one last glance into the forrest and jumped. Coming down on the branch behind the mystery person, she grabbed the hooded figure and spun them around. Cyane was suddenly fact to face [sign in to see URL] LURKER SUE!



Last edited by Joxcenia, 10/27/2011, 2:29 pm


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Re: THE ZENA SCROLLS: CHAPTER I



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OXYSue - 05:12pm Apr 26, 2002 ET (#9 of 330)

Senior Community Producer - [sign in to see URL]

:::::: LURK :::::::

Please... I mean you no harm. I'm just a poor lost soul desperately lurking in the woods for signs to my way home. I became separated from my fellow villagers when I walked off the path in search of food. When I returned they had all mysteriously vanished.

I have been hiding in these trees since then, fearing for my life yet too afraid to venture out in fear I may succomb to the same power that caused my village to vanish.

Please do not harm me, I pray for you to help me find my way safely back to the village of Cyranese.

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EvergreenLM - 07:20pm Apr 26, 2002 ET (#10 of 330)
"To Conquer Others is to Know [sign in to see URL] Conquer Yourself is to Know the Way"

SAFELY BACK

Evergreen,although longing for a good fight, hears Sue's plea and weighs out the greater good, the right thing to do, and trots her horse, Whisperer, along side the Mandrake tree. Evergreen leans down from the saddle and offers Sue an arm up and a ride back to her village. Cyranese was a fair distance from where they now stood,and Evergreen new that an element of risk presented itself in riding back without the benefit of protection from her kindred warriors. Evergreen took compassion on Sue and knew that all did not posses the heart of a warrior. It was the gentle souls of the world that balanced the evil and gives the warriors the courage to fight another day. Xena had taught them well, and all that follows her knows the one true path.

Evergreen moves Whisperer along side the others. "I have decided to take Sue back and try to find her family. You all are needed here and I will go this one alone. I will return to you and join in the fight." Saxy looks at Evergreen thinking "THAT one eats lima beans. What kind of warrior does that!" LucyStar reminds Saxy that wisdom sometimes out fights a 100 swords while pointing out the many battle scars Evergreen carries. "Saxy, I WILL fight by your side and it will take us all to win". "Goodbye Zena, Donna, see you when I see you". With a quick turn and a "Yah!", Evergreen gallops off with Sue clinging behind.

Just as Evergreen clears the valley, Evergreen feels a tap on the shoulder. EG tries to ignore it as as she wishes to soon return to the impending battle. Again a tap,but this time much more insistent. "Evergreen!" "What DO you want?", Evergreen says with gentle annoyance. "Whoa, Whisperer". Sue leans in close and quietly says,"Someone is following us. I have seen them skirting the woods for the last few miles". EG helps Sue down, dismounts, and draws her sword bejeweled with emeralds shaped as lima beans. The silver flashes in the sunlight and as Evergreen turns, she hears a "SWOOSH!". An arrow finds its mark and Evergreen drops to her knees. " Sue, take my horse, go, ride away as fast as you can!" Sue, not looking back,hits the saddle, and with a kick, is gone. Slumping to the ground, Evergreen looks up. And as she begins to loose consciousness, a familiar voice is heard calling her name. As Evergreen drifts into darkess,a figure appears,and with bloodied hand raised, she softly cries,"Xena?". The hand drops,and Evergreen hears no more...

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saxgoddess25 - 08:45pm Apr 26, 2002 ET (#11 of 330)
I have the soul of a bard and the heart of a warrior. My vengeance is swift and complete.

Saxy watched Evergreen and Sue ride off into the forest. Hmmm. Putting words into my head again are we? Well. Who likes lima beans anyway? Her eyes were full of mischief for a moment before the seriousness of the matter returned. "Godspeed my friend. May you return to us swiftly and safely."

Stretching her long arms over her head and twisting to work the kinks out of her back, she considered the situation. One less warrior in the band. A few hours from Amphipolis and many more to ride. She sighed.

"Well, let's not sit around here then. Let's ride." Motioning her scout back into the lead, Saxy urged her mount forward again. She couldn't help the feeling of foreboding that swept over her as they moved out.

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xwpfan - 08:58pm Apr 26, 2002 ET (#12 of 330)

Friend or Foe

Having never ridden with this group of Amazons I was unsure of my role as we tracked the trail of Evergreen and Oxysue in the woods. I was taken a back when the news of the attack reached us. We were quickly being thrust into battle without even a word.

As we found Evergreen's unconscious body I stood there frozen, lost in my own selfish thoughts" This could of been me !What they think of me if I fail in battle?" Fortunately, my train of thought was quickly broken. With the snap of a twig the unmistakable sound of swords simultaneously being unsheathed filled the forest. There standing before Cyane and the Donna was the mysterious woman OxySue! Bombarded with questions and threatened with a dozen or more swords pointed at her expressionless face.

As she regaled the group with her story of the attack, I looked around trying to read the expressions on the faces of the other Amazons. As I carefully studied each face. I could see many sets of narrowing eyes and scornful faces. I interpeted their telltale signs of disbelief as a desire to take her prisoner and interrogate her.

However, there were a handful of eyes that had softened and even grown a little moist during her tale of the attack and of Evergreen's heroic act. I figured they would want to feed her and release her. Something about this lost soul OxySue spoke to me... and caused me to take leave of my common senses and Amazon protocol .

Without saying a word or seeking permission I simply pointed to my necklace and then looked at OxySue essentially asking OxySue join the group. Suddenly all eyes were staring at me, I had overstepped my role in the [sign in to see URL] looked searchingly over at Saxy for now she had the fates of both OxySue and mine in her [sign in to see URL] leader and Queen the decision was now hers as to what to do with OxySue and me...



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Re: THE ZENA SCROLLS: CHAPTER I


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saxgoddess25 - 09:53pm Apr 26, 2002 ET (#13 of 330)
I have the soul of a bard and the heart of a warrior. My vengeance is swift and complete.

Saxy was riding at the front of the group, a short while after the encounter with the mysterious woman in the trees, when Donna came riding like a madwoman out of the forest. Having ranged ahead to scout, she'd come upon Sue alone, riding Evergreen's horse. After hearing the woman's frantic story, Donna had sent Sue back to do what she could for Evergreen with a warning to stay out of sight until she knew it was safe. Then Donna came back for the rest of the band.

Now as they rode out of the valley, they saw a form lying still on the dry grass. Jumping off A'mira before she'd even stopped, Saxy rushed to the fallen warrior's side. Evergreen was still breathing, this was good, but the breaths were shallow and slow. Suddenly behind her, she heard swords being drawn. Hand on the hilt of her own sword, she spun around to see Sue emerge from some covering shelter, leading Evergreen's mount.

Saxy listened impassively to the story and watched the expressions from her sister warriors. Then she saw one, she seemed to remember from a mead induced haze as Xwpfan, motion to her necklace and share a look with Sue. Both women turned to Saxy. The leader liked to think she was a fair woman, and there was nothing to prove that this mysterious Sue had turned on Evergreen. Bandits were known to frequent the [sign in to see URL] could have been bandits. Even so, Saxy still couldn't figgure out why her comrade had been attacked or by whom. She looked back at the prone woman. There were more pressing matters at hand.

Nodding her assent to Sue she offered the group's protection. Shooting Xwpfan a look that said "We will speak of this later," Saxy drew Lucystar aside. "We need to bandage her wounds and make sure she's okay. After that, we'll see. Do you think we can spare someone to take her back to Cyrene's?"

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EvergreenLM - 11:13pm Apr 26, 2002 ET (#14 of 330)
"To Conquer Others is to Know [sign in to see URL] Conquer Yourself is to Know the Way"

Kindred

"When every debt is marked and [sign in to see URL] every road has had its stay, Just reach out your hand and call my [sign in to see URL] I will be bringing you home at last to stay..." (from CD Josh Groban)

I am walking on a beach with waves crashing to the shore. The sky is so blue and [sign in to see URL] swoop and dance with the sea. In the distance,atop the dunes, stand two figures. One tall and dark and the other tan,muscular, with hair the color of wheat under the summer sun.

I have no sword,no armor,and I look for my devoted horse, Whisperer. I am wrapped in soft burgandy. The sand feels warm to my shoeless feet. I am at peace. I am drawn to the two figures in the distance, and feel as if I can just reach them I will be home at last. The tall dark woman raises her hand with palm facing me. She, without uttering a word, is telling me to stop. The blonde one steps down from the dunes,gently touches my shoulder and whispers, "Listen".

I close my eyes and hear the familiar voices of beloved friends. The two figures fade and I am longing to go with them,but my heart tells me my scroll will go on. As I try to open my eyes,I am engulfed with pain. I feel the cool earth, and as I struggle to return to my life, I sense someone one kneeling nearby. I also sense there is another, a danger to us all,but I cannot speak. I wonder, where is my friend Zena? She will know,she will know.

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Lucystar1 - 03:02am Apr 27, 2002 ET (#15 of 330)
CAN WE SPARE A WARRIOR?

Watching EG's face, I see it go very pale, then there seems to be a small smile on her lips. Is she seeing a family member or friend who has gone on before her? I continue to watch for signs, then I notice a faint blush color her face. She is returning to us and I thank the gods. It wasn't her time yet.

Just then Saxy draws me away from the group and asks if I think we can spare a warrior to take EG and Sue back to Cyrene's. I am suddenly struck with the realization that Saxy, Queen of the Amazons, is asking for my opinion. I am truly shocked by this honor. I am not an Amazon, though I have been friends with Saxy and the other members of her clan for years, and the significance of this is not something I take lightly. "Lucystar, did you hear me? What do you think?" Clearing my thoughts, I look at her "Sorry, [sign in to see URL] think that we can spare one warrior and it should be xwpfan. She believes that this person, Sue, can be trusted." As Saxy considers my words, I glance around at the other Amazons half expecting to see hostile looks because their Queen was asking my opinion. But instead, I only see friendly eyes smiling at me, waiting to hear what I have to say. Turning back to Saxy I see just a hint of a grin as she says "I think you're right, Lucystar. Xwpfan would be the best warrior to serve as escort for EG and Sue back to Cyrene's." I smile back at her, but a worried look crosses my face. "Saxy, how are we going to battle these thugs, now that we will be minus two of our warriors? We're small in number as it is." "Lucystar, are you forgetting who taught us ALL our battle skills and strategies. Remember Xena's lessons on how to win a battle even when you're outnumbered? We had the best teacher in the known world and we will win!"

The Amazons prepare a litter to carry our beloved warrior Evergreen back to the Inn where the healer can tend her wound. As they gently lift her and place her on the litter, I lean over and whisper "Heal quickly friend, we need you fighting by our side again." As an afterthought, "Besides, you're the only one who'll eat all those damn lima beans Cyrene has stocked up." As xwpfan and Sue start out with their precious cargo, I could have sworn I saw a mischievous grin touch the corners of EG's lips.

I turn to Saxy and grin "Say, don't we have a battle to win?"

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zena - 09:55pm Apr 27, 2002 ET (#16 of 330)
"Agere Sequitur Esse"

Scouting Ahead.....

After Evergreen had ridden off with the Lurker Sue, Zena went on ahead to scout the bandit camp. The trail was rocky and seemed to lead straight up to wall that was as solid as any castle keep. Over the wall the smoke of cooking fires drifted slowly to the blue sky. She knew that it was time for quiet. Tying her horse Ergo to a tree in a nearby glen she continued alone to climb the hillside. "If I can just get a look at them and get an idea of how many there are I know Queen Saxy will have a plan", she thought. Suddenly the breeze brought a small sound likje a whisper. She listened intently as Xena had taught her, trying to determine the direction and source of the sound. Such a little sound, like a human voice but so faded, and familiar. The sound evaporated and she continued the climb again, pulling herself up to a ledge where she suddenly realized that she could see not only the enemy camp but the plain below. And there, near the glen where she had left Ergo were her Amazon sisters, but their numbers were diminished. Why wasn't her friend Evergreen back yet? She always stood beside Zena in a fight and kept her from rash decisions. And where was Xwpfan? Her skills are just emerging but she is always good to have with the band in battle. "ZENA", the voice was suddenly behind her. She turned too quickly to look for Evergreen and lost her footing tumbling down the wrong side of the hill toward the bandits. "By the gods, this is gonna make a heck of a scroll!", was Zena's last thought as she hurtled downward. On the plain below Lucystar looked up just in time to see Zena disappear head first into the camp of the ruffians!



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Re: THE ZENA SCROLLS: CHAPTER I



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saxgoddess25 - 05:52am Apr 28, 2002 ET (#17 of 330)
I have the soul of a bard and the heart of a warrior. My vengeance is swift and complete.

It was an uneventful ride for the group after Xwpfan departed with Sue and Evergreen. They made good time through the forest. For most of that time Saxy rode in silence, going over plans for the battle to come. Zena had gone off to scout the bandits themselves and Donna still ranged ahead of the group a ways and reported periodically.

Saxy reached up and pushed some stray hairs out of her eyes, a habit that she never managed to lose, even when she had tied it back. Starting to feel a bit hungry, she reached into the pouch at her belt and drew out a strip of dried meat. She was about to take a bite when her eyes narrowed. She peered at the jerky quizzically, then plucked off a stray lima bean. She was about to toss it aside when Evergreen's visage passed through her mind. With a small shrug Saxy popped the bean into her mouth. Yuk. I still don't like these things. Taking a swig from the waterskin at her waist (which didn't actually contain water, but rather was filled with the inn's finest mead) she proceeded to munch on her trail ration. She idly listened to the quiet conversations around her, but didn't really hear what the women were saying.

They were passing through a glen when she spotted Zena's horse. Saxy held up a hand to slow their progress and halt the discussion. If Zena's horse was here, the bandits couldn't be too far away. Silently they rode forward. Saxy's grey eyes scanned the land around them, finally spotting the warrior high up on the ledge in front of them. She saw Zena spin around, as if someone were behind her. Saxy gasped in horror as the amazon fell arse over tea-kettle down the wrong side of the embankment. Oh Gods! What has she gotten herself into now?!

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gabbyfan4ever - 05:02pm Apr 28, 2002 ET (#18 of 330)

The young warrior, little Gabbyfan, walked alone down the winding dirt path. She was looking for someone, anyone who could help her. Her village was completely destroyed by a group of bandits. She, the only survivor, was saved by luck. Gabbyfan was practicing with her staff in the nearby woods when the raid happened. Still in shock, and not yet letting her grief come through, Gabbyfan wanted to stop the bandits from hurting anyone else. But she knew she couldn't do it alone. She was young, and though trained by the great battling-bard Gabrielle herself, could not hope to stop the marauders alone.

She was heading for the only place she knew, besides home, Cyrene's tavern. She often stopped by there to see friends on her way between the Academy and home. Suddenly she saw a warrior on horseback coming down the road. But were they friend or foe? Gabbyfan quickly went into the woods on either side of the road. Peering out into the dirt path, she saw it was an Amazon, a friend. However, seeing the warrior was trying to be silent, Gabbyfan stayed in the woods, so as not to alert any enemies. Using all her warrior skills, Gabbyfan, followed the Amazon, who was now on foot. However, she could hear another noise, barely perceptible. Keeping her ear on both the mysterious noise, and the Amazon, she saw the women stop, and look over an embankment. All was quiet, until the unknown noise startled the Amazon and sent her falling over the embankment.

(continued on next post)

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gabbyfan4ever - 05:08pm Apr 28, 2002 ET (#19 of 233)

Cont.

Gabbyfan carefully peered over the embankment to see the condition of the warrior. She gasped as she saw the group of bandits that had destroyed her village, surround the fallen Amazon. Looking farther she could see a plain where a whole group of Amazons were gathered.

Gabbyfan knew she would have to go tell them the fate of their fallen comrade, and about the mysterious noise that had caused the "accident". But would they accept her, knowing she wasnt' an Amazon? As she neared the group of warriors, a million thoughts ran through young Gabbyfan's mind. If these women accepted her, they were the only family she had now. Upon entering the gathering of Amazons, she looked up to see the face of her friends from the tavern. After telling her tale, and the tale of their fellow Amazon, she waited for their judgement upon her.

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Lucystar1 - 06:55pm Apr 28, 2002 ET (#20 of 330)

MORE TROUBLE

As Saxy signals them all to stop and be quiet, Lucystar begins scanning the area for Zena. Under her breath she mutters "OK, Ergo's here, now where is that crazy Amazon. She can get into more throuble than Gabrielle and we know how trouble finds her." Saxy is also searching for signs of Zena and almost on cue, both she and Lucystar look up and see Zena spin around and, arms waving, tumble backwards and is lost from sight. "oh, gods". Lucystar and Saxy turn to each other and at the same time "Trouble has found Zena, AGAIN". Despite the seriousness of it, they both can't help the grins sneaking up. "Let me guess, Zena saw the bandits. Zena saw us. Zena saw something else. Trouble found Zena." Saxy just shakes her head "That about sums it up in a lima bean."

Just then a figure appears running towards us. "Hey, isn't that little Gabbyfan. What's she doing here? When I talked to her at the Inn the other night, she was heading home for a break from the Academy." Saxy's not smiling. "Looks like something is VERY wrong here. C'mon." The warriors dismount and move up to meet little Gabbyfan. She stops, a little apprehensive at first, but squares her shoulders and then blurts out her story. Bandits, village destroyed, family gone, only one left, then deep breath "And I heard a noise and Zena did too and then I saw Zena go over the edge and she's right in the middle of the bandits." breath "THEY GOT HER!"

Little Gabbyfan bursts into tears. Lucystar takes her into her arms. (She maybe a tough warrior on the outside, but a big mushball inside.) As Little Gabbyfan sobs on her shoulder "It's OK, we're here, you're safe now." In between sobs, Lucystar and Saxy hear her wail "My family's gone, I've got nobody now." Lucystar looks up at Saxy, knowing she's really just a mushball too and getting a knowing nod of her head "Little one, you have a family right here. You're part of our family now." Looking up at me she signs "But I'm not an Amazon like you." "Hey, I'm not an Amazon, but Saxy and her clan have accepted me and treat me like a sister Amazon. Because I live at the Inn with Cyrene, I'm not part of the village life, but I'm still feel and act as part of the clan." I look at Saxy with a grateful smile. Then Saxy steps in "Little Gabbyfan, Lucy's right. You don't have to be born an Amazon to BE an Amazon. But I think my sisters will agree with me that you have shown the skills and bravery to be a member of our clan." An idea pops into Lucystar's head. Hoping the Amazon Council and Saxy agree "I'll bet that with Queen Saxy's help, she can get the Council to agree to adopt you. Then you would be a true Amazon." Saxy raises an eyebrow, then with a twinkle in hers eyes and a smile on her face she states "I think I can persuade the Council that a new sister is in order." Little Gabbyfan, who apparently had been holding her breath through this last exchange suddenly grabs Lucystar in a bear hug and then turns and grabs Saxy in a similiar one. Of course, Saxy trying to uphold her tough image sternly says "Of course, Little Gabbyfan, you'll have to learn the appropriate way to address your Queen." Little Gabbyfan steps back and gasps, then peeks up at Saxy and is met by a brillant smile that spreads from ear to ear.

Now that Little Gabbyfan's situation has been settled, it's time to figure out how to get Zena away from the bandits and put a stop to them at the same time. Without any of us getting killed in the process.



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Re: THE ZENA SCROLLS: CHAPTER I



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zena - 08:09pm Apr 28, 2002 ET (#21 of 330)
"Agere Sequitur Esse"

Dirt, Sweat and Tear

Zena lay face down in the middle of the bandit's compound. "Dirt," she thought, "is in my nose and my mouth. It's crunchy in my teeth. I hate dirt! Maybe I'm dead. The Elysian Fields aren't supposed to be dirty, and you don't hurt there. What if I'm in Taurtarus??" A large boot gave Zena a kick in the side. "Nope", she thought, "I'm not dead!" She looked up quickly and grabbed the boot yanking her opponant off his feet while reaching back to an empty scabbard. Taking the opportunity, 5 of the bandits moved in to attack her and in the battle that followed at least 2 of them sustained severe injuries from well placed kicks. Finally outnumbered Zena was tied and shoved into a cage made of logs and rope. "Sit there Amazon, until we decide what you are worth to us", the one who seemed to be leader said as he peered in at her. Zena remained silent and so he wandered away finally to one of the cooking fires. "At least", she thought, "I can get a good look at their numbers from here." As she took note of everything around her, her thoughts returned again and again to Evergreen. Something had to be wrong with her friend. Night closed in and the full moon rose over the wall. As she dozed she dreamed that she saw a beach: Evergreen and two familiar figures were there, but who was that third shadowy person? Zena jerked awake before she had the answer but her eyes focused on something reflecting the firelight. A standard with the letters "S P Q R" ...[sign in to see URL] as bandits!!! Why? How could she get a message to her sisters in the valley below? Had they seen her take the tumble? And what of the village just up the road where Little Gabbyfan was headed on her way back from the Academy? "This is beginning to be serious", she mused and sniffed back one tear.

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girlpower - 08:49pm Apr 28, 2002 ET (#22 of 330)
Courage is not the absence of fear... but the strength to conquer it.

Who was that on the cliffside?

Someone sat behind a boulder along the steep side of the cliff, girlpower watched as a lone Amazon appeared. I thought, this is my chance to prove myself to Rome. The captain will know now that I am more then a mere slave. I can be useful. If I can only find a way to capture this Amazon. Just then I lost my footing, ever so slightly, but it was enough to make a noise. I'm doomed, there is no way an Amazon wouldn't have heard my misstep. Just then I noticed a figure in the woods. Maybe I am in luck, after all if I noticed, then the Amazon certainly will. As if I planned it, the Amazon turned to see what moved in the distance. Just the distraction I need. Girlpower threw a stone under the foot of the Amazon causing her to fall down the cliff. Now all I have to do is get to her before the idiot soldiers do. Before I could move, a young lass appeared out of the woods. Sitting still, I watched as she grew upset then ran away from the cliffside. Meanwhile, those ignorant soldiers down below have stolen my prize. We will see about that.

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EvergreenLM - 10:19pm Apr 28, 2002 ET (#23 of 330)
"To Conquer Others is to Know [sign in to see URL] Conquer Yourself is to Know the Way"

Back At The Ranch

{Morning light is streaming through an open window. Curtains are gently blowing. Evergreen lies on a duck down mattress atop a large bed made of rough hewn timbers. She is covered with a brightly colored blanket. A soft tapping on the door} "Are you awake dear?". Evergreen struggles to focus. Cyrene stands by the bed. Evergreen attempts to stretch,but is stopped short by a jabbing pain in her right shoulder. The haze finally is gone and Evergreen becomes sharply aware that she is not only missing her clothes,but the ride into the valley with the others. "Cyrene, who brought me here? More importantly, WHO took off my clothes and where are they now? If it was Saxy's bar maid, why I yay, otta.." Cyrene stepped aside saying it was she who helped EG into the long white gown and put the soothing polstice on the wound.

EG now fully remembered the events that lead to the arrow colliding with her shoulder. "Is Sue alright, did she get away?" Cyrene tells EG that the others had her brought back to the tavern knowing she would be well cared for, "After all I AM Xena's mother".

Evergreen searched the room for her clothes. {Inaudible muttering} "I have got to get out of here.

Evergreen, in deep thought, turns to the gentle woman by the bed. "Cyrene, do you believe that others can come to you as you begin to pass to the other side? Can others you love send you back? I thought I [sign in to see URL] mind." Evergreen reflects in silence on the loving touch to the shoulder,the deep whisper to listen, "And, Zena! Something has happened to Zena". Evergreen bolts upright ripping off the gown. Cyrene protest. "No, you can't...", but Evergreen is already pulling on the doe skin pants and fringed jacket. "Please Cyrene, where are my boots?" Cyrene reluctantly hands EG the boots. As EG pulls them on she sees blood on the silver conchos and remembers all too well that the Fates almost called her name. "Cyrene, where did they go? Tell me, which direction?" Cyrene points to the north. She embraces EG saying, " I have heard from some visitors downstairs that there are Romans marching towards the cliffs. I think that is where the others have gone". EG looks fondly at Cyrene and is grateful to have her as a good friend. As Evergreen bounds down the stairs, Cyrene calls out," I knew you would go. I had Casilus saddle Whisperer for you. May the gods protect you!" Evergreen whistles and Whisperer's ears perk to the sound. With a gentle stroke to her ever faithful companion, Evergreen steps to the saddle. "Let's go, boy- YAH!, YAH!" And Evergreen gallops to the north.



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Re: THE ZENA SCROLLS: CHAPTER I


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xwpfan - 01:18am Apr 29, 2002 ET (#24 of 330)

The ride back to Cyrene's had been uneventful and for that I was grateful. So much had happened in such a short time.

We gingerly dragged Evergreen on the liter behind [sign in to see URL] seemed like it tokk an eternity to get to Cyrene's Inn.

My heart skipped a beat as I saw the outline of the inn in the [sign in to see URL] knew if we could get Evergreen to Cyrene while she was still alive ...she would be ok.

Cyrene came rushing out to greet us. Her joy was short lived as she caught sight of Evergreen lying on the liter-somewhere between life and death. Cyrene yelled "Bring her inside Quickly and Be Careful"!!Get me some Blankets and hot water!!

As we carried Evergreen's body over the threshold she softly began to [sign in to see URL] first it was almost [sign in to see URL] as we laid her in the duck down mattress it sounded as if she was speaking to the Warrior Princess. Cryene's eyes filled with tears as she heard Evergreen cry out to Xena.

As Cyrene regained her composure she ushered Sue and I out of the room saying that she would take care of her that she had to clean the wounds and bandage [sign in to see URL] then ordered Sue and I to eat and to get some rest. Begrudgingly, we left Evergreen and went to get a bite to eat. As I plooped into the chair, after ordering my cider I realized for the first time how hungry,thirsty and tired I really was.I felt I had aged 10 years in a day.

I looked at Sue and not having the energy to question her in any way I said I wish there was more that we could do for her, butI guess Evergreen is now in the hands of the Fates. Sue nodded and said"just like I was today, I don't know why you took my word but thank you for believing me.

I was about to say you're welcome or something as equally profound when a young boy no older than 6 came running into the in claiming that he and his friends saw Romans. How could this be we had had no word of Roman [sign in to see URL] bandits and thieves.I grabbed the young boy by the shoulder and spun him towards me as I bombarded him with questions: How many are there? Which way are they headed? What is their uniform??

The Young boy struggled to answer as he was gasping after every other [sign in to see URL] ..don't ..[sign in to see URL]'[sign in to see URL] ..I do [sign in to see URL] direction they're heading .. towards.. their ..[sign in to see URL] ..your [sign in to see URL]'t have uniforms ..they look like.. poor people.

Simultaneously, Sue and I reached for our [sign in to see URL] knew we had to warn they [sign in to see URL] told Lurker Sue to get the horses and that I would tell Cyrene.

Cyrene knew something wrong when she saw me in the doorway of Evergreen's room, she said Whatever it is Go! I'll take Care of Evergreen- you go help protect your friends.

Despite the mounting urgency I took a moment and knelt beside Evergreen's bed and I whispred in her ear By the god's we will get whoever did this to you!!

As we mounted our horses Cyrene called out " my daughter Xena would be so proud of all of you!!" Please Be Careful!

Cyrene's words just made us want to ride all the [sign in to see URL] raced through the darkness in hopes that we we would get there in time to warn the [sign in to see URL] just had to get there in time...

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saxgoddess25 - 03:06am Apr 29, 2002 ET (#25 of 330)
I have the soul of a bard and the heart of a warrior. My vengeance is swift and complete.

There wasn't time to dally. Saxy ordered the amazons to spread out and set up a defensive position. Sharing a look with Lucystar that met total agreement the two set off toward the wall, picking their way carefully among the rocks. Saxy opted to keep her sword sheathed but felt naked without a weapon in hand. She drew one of the knives that she kept secreted around her person and flipped it from hand to hand.

She scanned the area continually, listening for the strange sound that had startled Zena enough to make her forget all of her training. With Lucystar to guard her back and with the amazons below, she didn't worry about dangers coming from behind. As they neared the summit they dropped to a crouch, moving forward cautiously. Peering over the edge of the wall, they saw the bandits encamped below.

25 campfires, and how many men at each one? Four? Or is it five? I think it's four. Gods I wish I could see from here. At the least that was one hundred men. How was her small band of Amazons going to take 100 men? Off to one side, Saxy's eye caught something strange. It was Zena, trapped in a crude cage of poles and hemp. She leaned closer to Lucystar and whispered in her ear, "We have to get her out of there."

Lucystar nodded. Saxy thought she had a plan. It had been done before, but it had worked time and again. If the sentries could be overcome, a lone warrior could sneak into the camp and free their captive comrade. She could over come the guards, of that she was certain, but with her long limbs and build, stealth was the concern. There are times when a smaller stature is a distinct bonus, and I know someone who would be perfect for this job.

With a signal to her companion to come along, Saxy slipped back down the embankment to join the waiting band.

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zena - 08:51am Apr 29, 2002 ET (#26 of 330)
"Agere Sequitur Esse"

Lethal Weapon I

Zena slid down the wall of the cage until she could reach her boot. She always kept a small dagger there just for times like this. A soldier passed by and she pretended to be asleep, freezing in position until he moved away. Slowly she inched the blade into a cutting position and began to work at the ropes that held her wrists. "By Ares, I'm going to carry a bigger dagger even if I have to wear taller boots", she muttered to herself. She was almost free when in the moonlight she thought she saw two heads peeking over the high wall around the encampment. "Well, it's about time!", she breathed. "If they can see the legion down here they know they have to have a good battle plan."

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Lucystar1 - 11:31pm Apr 29, 2002 ET (#27 of 330)

NEW PLAN NEEDED

As Saxy and Lucystar silently head back down the embankment to rejoin the other warriors, they both are running possible rescue plans through their minds. When they reach the bottom Lucy turns to Saxy and stops her. "We sure got our hands full this time. I'm figuring about 100 roman soldiers. I thought I saw Zena moving around in that cage, so I'm guessing she's not hurt too bad." Mostly her pride for getting herself in trouble, again. Saxy voices my thought "No, just her pride, I bet." "Saxy, don't you think we should get a plan mapped out before we join the others? When we tell them what we've seen, I don't want them to get spooked." "As a matter of fact, a plan has come to mind." Saxy says knowingly. "We've used it before and it's always worked. But it's going to involve more than just you and me, and the timing has to be perfect." Lucystar looks at her friend then nodding "I think I know which 'plan' you're talking about. Knocking a few roman guards' heads together and a little, little being the operative word here, little Amazon speed and finesse." Saxy smiles at Lucystar, glad she caught on so fast. "That's the plan. Now, let's go fill the others in and pick our third cohort for this mission."

They resume their trek back to the others to let them know the situation they face with the romans and the plan to rescue Zena.



---

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Re: THE ZENA SCROLLS: CHAPTER I



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Joxcenia - 11:34pm Apr 29, 2002 ET (#28 of 330)
I Came... I Saw... I Went Home! lol

    They say that the night has a thousand eyes, and apparently the woods contains many a hidden soul, because no sooner had Saxy thought of the perfect mini-Amazon to sneak into the enemy camp to uncage the captured Zena, than Joxcenia came galloping out of the forest, heading straight for the small -but furious- group.

    Just a split second behind Joxcenia were xwpfan & Lurker Sue. Joxcenia had seen them race out of town and had caught up to them to see what had them so up in arms.

    "Romans!" Joxcenia had growled. "By the gods, you'd think they'd be tired of being sent home with their tails between their legs!"

    As the three women warriors joined the group, Saxy pulled Joxcenia aside and filled her in on the plan.

    "Wait for my signal," Saxy called after Joxcenia as she rushed off to get into position.

    Joxcenia worked her way over to the bushes at the dark end of the encampment, hoping that the mud covering her face & body would keep the flickering fireside shadows from exposing her presence. She watched the sentries, waiting for the others to pick them off one by one and set themselves in their places. When this was completed Saxy would give out an Amazon call: Get in, release Zena, and get out without getting caught!

    Joxcenia struck a relaxing yoga pose and breathed slowly and softly in... and then slowly and softly out... She focused on the sentries, and then on the cage that held Zena. Back and forth... back and forth... memorizing the route that Saxy had mapped out... Playing it over and over as she listened for the call

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girlpower - 02:07am Apr 30, 2002 ET (#29 of 330)
Courage is not the absence of fear... but the strength to conquer it.

Girlpower sat tucked under the flap of a nearby tent, as she watched the Amazons forge a plan. She knew that if she was to get the captive out of the cage, and convince the Amazons she was not the enemy, she had the chance to capture the entire tribe. What glory that would bring. I must act this out just so, or I would never be trusted enough to even get close to the tribe, let alone set up a trap. Quietly I make my way to a campfire with a plate of food. I chose a younger soldier to approach and got his attention. "Pardon me sir, am I permitted to feed the prisoner?" Not wanting to show his inexperience in tactics dealing with prisoners and seeing no threat in me, he allowed me near the cage. I knelt down towards the still bound Amazon offering a plate of food. She grunted at me in disgust. I paid no attention and whispered, "there is a rescue party on it's way. If I help you escape will you promise to take me with you? I can't live like this much longer!"

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saxgoddess25 - 03:33am Apr 30, 2002 ET (#30 of 330)
I have the soul of a bard and the heart of a warrior. My vengeance is swift and complete.

Saxy and Lucystar made quick work of the sentries and took their places, slipping on the mens' tunics and helmets. Gods these things stink. The things I have to do for my sisters. The disguise would fool the other soldiers as long as nobody got too close. She prayed that they'd be out of there before anyone decided to check up on the guards.

She was about ready to give the signal to Joxcenia when she spotted a woman moving away from one of the fires and toward Zena's cage. "Oh Hades, what now?" she whispered to Lucystar.

"I don't know but time's wasting here."

Saxy rolled her eyes. "Tell me about it. Why do the fates always throw the unexpected at me?" Sitting back on her heels she peered into the gloom. She looked over to where Joxcenia was hiding, aware of the other woman's gaze, even if she couldn't see her. Giving a shrug, Saxy settled back to wait and prayed that Artemis was with them.

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girlpower - 04:36am Apr 30, 2002 ET (#31 of 330)
Courage is not the absence of fear... but the strength to conquer it.

Girlpower waited for the Amazon prisoner's answer. She nodded her head just so, and GP took out a dagger from under her skirt and began to pick the lock of the cage. The Amazon then continued to free herself from her binds within. They watched the soldiers at the nearest campfire, making sure that they were completely under the firelight's spell. GP swung open the door ever so quiet, the two crept out of the camp. Once out of earshot the Amazon spoke,"I must get to my tribe, I saw two of them near the sentry, no doubt to rescue me." I whispered, "if they are true Amazon warriors, they will have seen your escape and adapted." With that the two made their way towards the cliff.

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zena - 09:07am Apr 30, 2002 ET (#32 of 330)
"Agere Sequitur Esse"

When Fates Collide

Zena had just broken through the ropes at her wrist when she saw a figure moving toward her in the shadowy circle beyond the campfire. The girl offered a plate of food through the bars but Zena grunted in disgust at her and turned away. "Why isn't anything ever simple, I'm nearly out and this Roman slave comes to slow down my escape."

The ragged figure leaned closer and spoke, "There is a rescue party on it's way. If I help you escape will you promise to take me with you? I can't live like this much longer!" Zena's heart softened a bit when the young woman spoke. She herself had spent some time in slavery until her sisters had won her back. But slaves are loyal while in captivity for fear of the beatings and punishments masters could offer. "Well", she thought, " I know I have many skills and I'm more than a match for this Girl if she tries to betray me. I may save the tribe some time and a few lives if if I go now before they come for me." Zena had no idea that the other Amazons were only a heartbeat away. She nodded her agreement to the slave and quickly slit the ropes at her ankles. The Girl opened the cage and they slipped into the shadows at the rim of the tent area. As they ran for the cliffs Zena asked the slave what she was called. "Puella Virium", she answered. "It translates into your tongue as Girl of strength or Girlpower." Zena's eyes narrowed. "So you are Roman?" "No, no! I am from Gaul, I was renamed by my masters." Without realizing it, Zena had trapped Girlpower in the first of many lies to follow.

Zena kept the information in the back of her mind. Although she was known for rushing into difficult situations, and sometimes having to pay the price for it, she knew her fellow Amazons respected her for loyalty, skill in battle and ability to gather information. She prided herself that not one sister had ever been lost through her propensity to attract trouble.

And so together, Zena and the slave began to climb the wall unaware that below a new plan was taking shape.



---

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Re: THE ZENA SCROLLS: CHAPTER I



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EvergreenLM - 08:20pm Apr 30, 2002 ET (#33 of 330)

Traveling

Evergreen continued to push north. The morning had been uneventful and Evergreen was allowed the pleasure of seeing the land in which she rode. As she and Whisperer left the forest they began their ascent to the top of a rocky gorge. The gorge was pocked with tree with large trunks and bushy tops interspersed with tall, straight, burnt trunks that gave credence to the stories she had heard as a child of the land once being covered with a canopy of green. The elder, Matukituki, in the Wonki tribe that raised Evergreen, spoke of the land as the "a long white cloud". Matu spoke of the earth being pushed up by the gods giving rise to the great mountains and raining cobble stones on the valley below. To the southwest great mountains of sand rose and lead down to the sea. White flowers dotted the valley and the Tui bird nested in the grass.

Evening was nearing and the great orange light was descending in the west. Evergreen knew that Whisperer had a champion's heart and would carry his human until he dropped. Although she longed to find the others, she knew she must stop and give her friend rest. "Okay, boy",patting Whisperer, Evergreen steps down and takes her sleeping roll from the back of the saddle. Cyrene had thoughtfully place a sack of dried fruits for a sparse meal that it would be. Evergreen pulled off Whisperer's saddle and blanket,rubbed him with a course cloth, and set him free to graze on the sparse vegetation. Evergreen knelt by the stream with water the color of the blue in an old friend's eyes. She drank the cool water. Her shoulder ached and the rest of her body was ready for sleep. Night had almost fallen.

As she laid down on the cool grass to look up at the evening star, Evergreen hears a whimper. She turns and sees a small dog crawling towards her with ears back in submission. The creature looked starved. Evergreen remembers the jerky Cyrene gave her begging her to eat it to restore her strength. Evergreen goes to her leather pouch, takes out what little there was saying, "Come here, I won't hurt you". The little dog was quite comical with tall pointed ears, a long body with just a stub where there should have been a tail. The dog's legs were so close to the ground they looked mismatched to the rest of the body. It's color was reddish blonde and its head bore a stripe of white like the winter snow as was its chest. It's eyes were sharp and knowing. It continued its cautious crawl until it snatched the meat and ran to the shelter of a rocky overhang. Evergreen wished that it would stay,but knew of such hurts that made trust so hard to share even small things.

Evergreen stretched out and gazed at the night sky now filled with stars, or maybe they were the lights of souls of all those that were loved by others and now gone.

As Evergreen drifted off into sleep, the sky became filled with lights of glorious colors. Colors she had seen in the sky following a great storm. The sounds of the night sang a lullaby. From out of sight, the small dog crept to Evergreen's side, laid its fox like head on her wounded shoulder, and as Evergreen prayed for her friends, the two slept.

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girlpower - 12:33am May 1, 2002 ET (#34 of 330)
Courage is not the absence of fear... but the strength to conquer it.

meanwhile back at the cliffs

Girlpower thought to herself as she followed the Amazon, she helped free, up the cliffside. This lass is smart, I must be more careful what I say from now on. Though it is true that she was named by her Roman master, it seemed to spark an interest in the Amazon. I don't need any suspicion cast upon me. It will be a difficult enough task, just getting close enough to the tribe, to discover their weakness. All I can think about is bringing the glory back to my Roman family's name. After all, they are the only family I can remember.

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Lucystar1 - 02:37am May 1, 2002 ET (#35 of 233)

The Unknown Rescuer

Lucystar and Saxy watch as Zena and her unknown rescuer sneak out of the camp and start scaling up the embankment. After being sure they are safely on theor way Saxy gives the retreat call to Joxcenia. "OK, Saxy, now what?" Lucy whispers. "First, let's drag these guards back out of sight and tie and gag them. I don't want them coming to and alerting the others." "Yeah, at least on one will stumble over them in the dark" Lucystar chuckles to herself.

Having completed their task, they turn and head back toward their camp. Quietly to Saxy, "Was it just me or didn't Zena's rescuer look like a Roman slave." Saxy, agreeing "That's what I thought, but is this a slave we can trust? Something just doesn't feel right." Shaking her head, Lucy concurs "That's my feelings exactly. Why would a slave, and a Roman slave, want to risk their life trying to save an Amazon captive."

Lucystar and Saxy head back to camp with more questions that need to be answered and a new plan to make.

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saxgoddess25 - 09:37pm May 1, 2002 ET (#36 of 330)
I have the soul of a bard and the heart of a warrior. My vengeance is swift and complete.

By the time Saxy and Lucystar made it back to the amazon camp, Zena and the Roman slave were standing in the midst of the group of women, telling their story.

Saxy walked up to Zena and gripped her forearm in a warrior's greeting. "It's good to have you back Zena," Saxy said lightly so that her following words would not sting, "next time try not to take on a century of Romans by yourself eh? There are plenty to go around."

Zena looked slightly embarassed and Saxy offered her a quirky grin. Schooling her features back to a distant wariness the Queen turned to the slave. "I thank you for assisting my sister in her escape. I am Saxgoddess."

"Puella Virium," was the reply.

"Puella Virium," Saxy repeated. "Perhaps you can tell us a little more about those Romans below. But first I need to discuss something with Lucystar."

Saxy drug Lucystar off a little way from the rest of the group, aware the whole time of the slave's eyes on her back. "That woman gives me the creeps."

"I know," Lucystar replied. "There's something very wrong here."

Saxy inclined her head in agreement. "Exactly. I want you and Joxcenia to keep a very close eye on her. If she so much as looks at anyone the wrong way, kill her. Now, here is what I have planned. Discuss this with noone unless I give you leave to do so."

A cool breeze was blowing as they made their way back to the group. Saxy looked into the face of each warrior in turn. She saw mixed emotions there from fear to barely contained excitement. Drawing a breath of the cool night air she allowed herself a slight smile. Inwardly she laughed.

"Since we're all here now, it's time to make sure the Romans have a very unsound sleep."

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EvergreenLM - 09:50pm May 1, 2002 ET (#37 of 330)
"To Conquer Others is to Know [sign in to see URL] Conquer Yourself is to Know the Way"

Moving On

Evergreen woke with the sunrise. The little dog was sitting quite so still,but as she began to focus,it pounced upon her face. For a moment she thought the dog had just been a dream,but there he was. Evergreen stood and worked the kinks out of her back. There would be no breakfast for her,but a few strips of dried beef remained at the bottom of her leather pouch. " Nope, not THAT hungry. Here you go dog, its all yours".

With the bedroll tied securely up, and after attending to nature's call, Evergreen whistles for Whisperer. He is quick to respond and eager to move on. Evergreen saddles him, steps up, and with a kick,begins the rest of the journey to find her friends. But only a few feet from the encampment, Whisperer stops. EG kicks,but he will not move. He turns his head to look backwards. EG shifts her weight in the saddle to see what is so important. There, patiently sitting beside the stream, is the little dog.

"So THAT'S the way it is. I take him or you don't take me. Fine, just fine. Come here dog. With those short legs of yours I will never catch up with the others." EG leans far down from the saddle and scoops up their new traveling companion. "What next,lovesick barmaids? By the gods I wish our Queen would find a new diversion".

Leaning back in the saddle,holding tight to the little dog, EG relies on Whisperer's sure footing to get them back down to the other side of the valley. She contemplated riding the backbone of the mountain,but she could easily be spotted. EG decided to follow the valley river to the cliffs. Hopefully, she will find the others or at least a scout.

As she enters a gulley, a flash is seen from the same ridge that she left only moments ago. Evergreen clears the opposite bank and hides in the shelter of nearby trees. The dog's ears become alert,Whisperer pounds the ground. Evergreen soon sees what they already know. "Romans!,Legions of Romans!" There is no mistaking the silver shields flashing in the morning sun. "It will be a slaughter if they get to the others before I can warn them. But how will I ever know where they are?"



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Whoosh-ChelSierra-Muse - Twi-Saga
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Re: THE ZENA SCROLLS: CHAPTER I



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Joxcenia - 10:21pm May 1, 2002 ET (#38 of 330)
I Came... I Saw... I Went Home! lol

All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Go.... Grrrrrrr.....

Joxcenia watched as Saxy and Lucystar took out the sentries and quickly replaced them. Lucystar appeared to be holding her breath from time to time. She must be doing Yoga breathing as well, Joxcenia thought to herself just as a female slave walked up to a young soldier with a plate of food. The slavegirl motioned toward the cage where Zena was being kept.

Oh No! Joxcenia groaned slowly. If the slavegirl went over to the cage now, she'd be sure to see that Zena had her wrists already half unbound and notify the soldiers. She looked to Saxy and Lucystar to see their reaction to this, and almost snickered despite herself, for Joxcenia was sure she could see smoke coming from their ears.

There was nothing to do but wait... wait and hope that Zena saw her coming and kept her wrists hidden... wait as the moisture slowly evaporated from the mud... wait as with each ticking second tingles and twitches raced across her ever tightening skin... <br>
After what seemed like an eternity, Joxcenia saw the slavegirl pick the lock and release Zena from her cage. She shot Saxy and Lucystar another look, wondering if the hairs on the nape of their necks were bristling as well. Just as the two women disappeared into the darkness a short distance from Joxcenia, she heard Saxy's retreat call.

Joxcenia slowly worked her way to a creek about a half mile from where the Amazons were gathered. No way was she going to let this mud dry on her skin until she became a semi-giant, cracked, gingerbread-like, mini-Amazon. And in no way was she going to accept this new slave into the fold... if for nothing else other than the fact that she had gotten all muddied over for no good reason!

"Oh! ^*(#)&^$#$!" Joxcenia mumbled under her breath as she waded into the ice-cold water of the tranquil creek.

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zena - 11:04pm May 1, 2002 ET (#39 of 330)
"Agere Sequitur Esse"

Out and About

With each step of the climb up the wall, Zena was painfully aware that the scabbard slapping against her back was empty. When she had tumbled over the wall, her sword had come out and fallen out of her reach. A weapon is a personal object to it's owner, especially one trained by Xena and Gabrielle; and this weapon had been a gift as well. The sword had been a solstice present from Evergreen the year that Zena had given her the leather coat (like Gabrielle's) she had wanted so much. Evergreen had taken one of her own lima bean shaped emeralds from her sword and had it embedded in the pommel as a token of friendship. Zena had loved it from the first moment she swung it through the air, and now it was gone. Gone like the one she had owned before it. "By the entire Pantheon I will have it back if I have to fight every Roman in all the territories", she hissed under her breath. Puella Virium climbing beside her glanced at her and then quickly averted her eyes.

As they vaulted over the top and half slid down the other side, Zena grabbed Puella Virium by the arm. "This is where we part. I owe you a blood debt for saving me but I cannot take you into our camp. My Queen will have scouts posted and they will not let you pass if you follow me. Take the road going south, to Amphipolis. There is a kind woman there who owns a tavern and she will help you." Before the woman could protest Zena was on a run to where she had left Ergo.

But the slave was determined not to be left behind and by the time Zena was facing Queen Saxy, the sentries had brought in Puella Virium. The Queen made her plan with Lucystar and returned to the group. "Here me Oh Queen", Zena's voice was firm, "send me in first to deal with the Roman dogs. They have one of my possesions and I must have it before they can harm it or defile it by using it."

Beside her the slave had assumed a posture of supplication, touching her head to the ground. "This woman is really getting underfoot", Zena thought as she looked up to see a strange expression on the faces of Saxy, Lucystar and Joxcenia.

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girlpower - 03:55am May 2, 2002 ET (#40 of 330)
Courage is not the absence of [sign in to see URL] the strength to conquer it.

You can't send me away!

Puella Virium or Girlpower stared at the Amazon as she took off towards her horse. This is not exceptable, I have to get inside or the escape will have been in vain. I'll just have to follow her. I know I will be caught by the scouts, but i can use that to my advantage, if they don't kill me. when they see me become completely submissive to their fellow Amazon, my life may be spared. I didn't get very far when I was captured. Thank the gods they didn't kill me on sight. Now I have a chance. As three warriors watched I bowed to the Amazon's feet. She became embarrassed for me and spoke. "Get up, no woman should grovel", as she pulled me to my feet. I kept my eyes lowered as she continued to speak, "Why did you follow, I told you to go south." Girlpower looked up, head still bowed and spoke in a whisper, " I can't take the chance that Romans will find me. Do you know what they do to escapees? If you kill me at least I wouldn't suffer. Besides, I may be of some use to you. I know the soldier's camp inside and out, plus I can hunt, cook, ride and heal. Please don't send me away again!" With that said I glanced at the three warriors nearby. One seemed to be regal, she must be the queen. One didn't wear the banner of the Amazon, but was powerful in her own right. The third was almost childlike in stature, and the attitude that showed on her face. Always has something to prove. She will be hard to get to know, but I have a talent for reading people and using their weakness to my advantage. Her's was clearly pride. As I continued my thoughts the Amazon touched my arm, as I looked up towards her I could see the look of aggrivation and pity in her eyes. "I am Zena. This is our Queen Saxgoddess." I immediately bowed back to the ground, without lifting my head, I said " My fate is in your hands."

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saxgoddess25 - 05:37am May 2, 2002 ET (#41 of 330)
I have the soul of a bard and the heart of a warrior. My vengeance is swift and complete.

Saxy has a plan...

Saxy stared coolly down at the woman groveling in the dirt. Exchanging a sidelong glance with her second she cleared her throat, "Stand up woman. There are no slaves among the Amazons and you may be useful to us. Joxcenia!"

The smaller Amazon bowed before Saxy. "My Queen?"

"I give this woman into your care. I think you know what that means. Any questions?"

"None, my Queen." Saxy saw the look that flashed through Joxcenia's eyes. Heh, I almost pity that slave girl, the queen said to herself. That was a prime example of cruel and unusual punishment.

"Now, we are going to make the rest of the night very unpleasant for those soldiers." Saxy remembered Zena's plea for a chance to get her sword back. By the Gods, she knew about losing weapons that were treasured gifts. Unconsciously, her hand tracked to the hilt of her breast dagger as she spoke again. "Zena, I give you my leave to retrieve your sword if you can while your sisters create a diversion. As for the [sign in to see URL]'ve got jobs for each of you so listen up."



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Whoosh-ChelSierra-Muse - Twi-Saga
10/23/2011, 6:03 pm Link to this post Send Email to Joxcenia   Send PM to Joxcenia Blog
 
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