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Re: THE ZENA SCROLLS: CHAPTER III



---------------------------------------------

BhenRudha

(5/5/03 4:49 am)

If Not Gold, Then Black

((Author's Note: This post gets kind of dark and suggestive near the bottom. It is not R rated stuff by any stretch of the imagination, I just wanted to give a heads up for those who are sensitive to such things. BR))

She was still losing blood, and a chill filled her bones. Stabbing Evergreen's sword into the ground, the priestess threw Phalon's robe around her shoulders in an attempt to find some warmth. Tucking the garment tight around her, she left the sword and continued to limp as best she might.

As Bhen Rudha neared the clearing, she paused, unsure if the others would care whether she lived or not. Oh, Phalon had visited her out in the forest, that was true, but did the mystic mourn her passing? Had anyone else gone to see the fallen?

For a moment she thought to simply spy on the group from the trees, but quickly discarded the idea. As she drew closer she could feel the powers, borrowed and inherent, within the group, and figured that one of them would sense her.

So she gathered her courage and stepped to the tree line. What she saw stopped her breath. Zena, hale and whole, the center of nearly everyone's attention. She did not know how it was possible, or that she had even been responsible for the Amazon's recovery, but she sent a prayer of thanks to the Lady in any case.

Just as the priestess thought that perhaps she could escape back into the forest unnoticed, she felt Blackwolf sense her presence. Bhen Rudha watched the warrior turn to Phalon then back in confusion as she stepped from the trees and into the last light of the day.

She tried to walk with strength and pride, to enter the clearing as a priestess. But her body was still broken, the evidence of this a widening stain on her tunic. As the sun set, so did the last of her strength, and she was forced to stop before her leg buckled beneath her.

Bhen Rudha watched as Blackwolf quickly crossed the distance, the warrior intent upon helping. She held up a hand, saying, "Nae. Dinnae be touchin' me." Things had changed, and she knew that Phalon was no longer the only one with the kenning sense.

"But you need my help. I can give you some of my strength. It's one of my gifts. Look, you can barely stand on your own," Blackwolf answered, reaching again.

The priestess shook her head. "It be ta painful fer ye," she said, trying to step back.

Confidence in her expression, the warrior pressed the point, saying, "I think I can handle it." A long silence passed between the two and finally Blackwolf looked Bhen Rudha in the eye and whispered, "Please. Let me do this."

There was debt between them, and it ran both ways, the priestess recognized. Her conscience demanded she accept the offer, even had she been strong enough to refuse. As it was, her broken leg decided it had had enough, and she slowly sank to the grass, followed by the warrior.

She watched Blackwolf close her eyes and followed suit. After a moment, the priestess felt a warm hand rest gently upon her head, and another gather up one of her own. The link was forged quickly, and with the first trickle of energy came visions of Blackwolf's past. Her own memories rose in response, and she could not have fought it had she wanted to. Instead, she sighed and let them come.

* * *


"Father, when can I go on the hunt" I've practiced every day with my spear and pony and I know I can keep up!" the five year old girl, Fechine ni Islene, said, leaping into the large man's lap.

"Ah, my little fiach, you know I would take you, but the other men would not stand for being shown up by such a fierce warrior as yourself," Aed mac Ardal said, wrapping his thick arms around his daughter. "But if you are good, and mind your mother, then maybe we will go out riding, just the two of us. How does that sound?"

The prospect of having time with her beloved father to herself eclipsed the disappointment she felt at having to stay home again during the stag hunt. Squirming till she was tucked up securely, she beamed up at him. "I will be very good then!" she exclaimed.

He kissed the top of her head, so red like his own. He then glanced up to see his wife, Islene ni Luiseach walk into the common room, a smile hiding within her bright green-gold eyes. "But you have to promise not to brag about it to your sister, else your pony will not want to carry you," she said.

"I promise Mama," Fechine said, as her eyes, more gold than green, started drooping in the warmth of the hearth-fire.

She fell asleep to them chuckling softly, and wondered what was so funny.

* * *


Her fingers moved automatically to braid her long auburn hair, weaving a ribbon through the wavy thickness. She wanted to look her very best tonight when her mother took her to the family well for the first time for the Full Moon.

"Fechine, are you not ready yet?" Islene asked as she walked into the girl's bedroom. A fond smile curved her lips as she watched the careful way her daughter tied up her hair. She almost hated to undo such a good job, but crossed the room and swiftly began pulling out the ribbons and plaits that the had been finished only a moment ago. When the ten year old girl wanted to protest she said, "You are going to meet the Lady tonight, not some young man at a fire dance."

Confusion lit the girl's expression, "But Mama, you said I had to clean myself up."

Chuckling softly, Islene kissed the top of her daughter's head and smoothed her hands through the waist length unbound hair. "The Goddess wants to see you as you are, unfettered by ribbons or pretty tunics."

Still confused, but willing to trust her mother, Fechine shrugged and said, "Well . . . you are a priestess, so you would know, huh?"

"Aye, I would know," Islene said, a serene sort of radiance lighting her face. The girl watched the change come over her mother and knew in that instant that she wanted to look that way someday. She vowed to herself to pay attention and learn everything she could.

"Come on then, my little fiach, let us go before your sister returns."

"All right, Mama."

* * *


"It is not fair!" cried Sile ni Islene, watching her younger sister receive a hand axe for her fourteenth birthday. "How come you get one of those and I don't?!"

"Because all you'll do is cut your nose off with it," Fechine said, a wicked grin on her lips.

While her older sister spluttered with rage, she hefted her new axe. The weight of it felt good, natural in her hand. With a weapon like this she was certain to make her sacrifice to the Goddess tonight. It was all she wanted, to make an offering and be accepted by the Lady, to train as a priestess, just like her mother.

Sile continued to whine, and she quickly grew tired of it. With a flick of the wrist, the axe flipped across the room to *thunk* into the log wall near her sister's head. A shriek split the air, and Sile dashed from the room, wailing that she had been attacked.

Fechine laughed and retrieved the axe. When she turned, she saw her father in the doorway, a stern look in his bright blue eyes. Trying not to look guilty she said, "Sile saw a mouse."

Stroking his beard that was barely touched by silver, Aed commented, "I did not know that mice could fly, nor make so much noise when they struck the wall."

"Well . . . everyone knows that mice are stupid."

Trying not to laugh, her father swept her up in a hug, "That they are, Fiach, that they are."

When Fechine returned the next morning, triumphant, Sile was gone. She was too flushed with her own success to worry much about it, or wonder why her parents seemed more sad than angry with her sister.

* * *


Tonight marked the fourth year since she had left home to train as a full priestess. She stood within the sacred ring, opposite three others, all of them armed with swords. Trying to keep fear at bay, she sought the calm center of her soul, just as she had been taught. Finally lifting her own blade in salute, Fechine launched herself forward.

The older priestess fought with beauty and grace, slipping into madness quickly. She watched their faces transform as the Lady touched them, and wanted to know what they felt. Fighting with all the skill she possessed, Fechine was still outmatched and was forced steadily backwards. Knowing that if she stepped out of the ring the test would be over, she lifted her voice in a battle hymn and offered all her love and service up to the Morrigu.

For a breathless moment, she thought she would be ignored, but then the thunder came. She screamed with the ecstasy of it, her soul aflame with Goddess light. Fire seared her back, a combination of pain and rapture coursing through her as the image of the triple ravens burned through her white tunic. It made her heart beat fiercely and poured strength into her arms. Crimson washed her vision, and the fight that had once been hopeless became a dance of equals.

She had been accepted, she was a Bandroi an Cogadh now.


Edited by: BhenRudha at: 5/23/03 1:37:36 am



---

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



---------------------------------------------

BhenRudha
(5/5/03 4:49 am)

If Not Gold, Then Black (continued)

((Author's Note: This post gets kind of dark and suggestive near the bottom. It is not R rated stuff by any stretch of the imagination, I just wanted to give a heads up for those who are sensitive to such things. BR))


* * *


Gagged and bound in a fetal position, Fechine could only roll her eyes to glare up at her sister. Sile, smirked, smoothing the beautiful Roman gown she wore. "Now who has cut off her own nose, sister?" she said, her expression turning into a sneer.

"I knew I could use your pride against you. It was not hard . . . you were so predicable," Sila continued, walking around her captive. "Killing Mother and Father was regrettable, perhaps, but in the end, worth it."

Grief clutched her heart, and the priestess tried to call the vilest of curses down upon the head of her kinslaying sister. She was kicked for her trouble.

"Your new owner will be here any moment, and I will not have you sleeping when he arrives."

When she saw him for the first time, pasty and obese, she gave herself over to despair. It would be four long, torturous years before she found the courage to escape.


* * *


Her palm ached as she clutched the mirror shard tightly, waiting for him to arrive. The key in the lock sounded overloud and her breath caught in her throat. His bulk was backlit by the torches in the hallway when the door opened. He crossed the room, shedding clothes as he went. The smell of sour wine filled her nose while his weight slid over the silk sheets to cover her completely. She struggled to remain plyable while his large hands molded her body to his desired shape. The sooner he started, the sooner she could strike. Numbed by repetition she hardly felt his movements. She waited till his breathing quickened, it thankfully did not take too long this time. Soon he lifted his face to the ceiling groaning his pleasure. It was then she sliced the mirror shard across his throat. The glass was sharp, and a tide of blood rushed out to stain her. He rolled off, trying to bellow for his guards, and gurgled instead. She watched him die. Her fingers slipped several times on the keys as she tried to open the lock that kept her chained to the wall. Eventually she was able to leave the room, uncaring that she was clothed only in blood and her collar. She had strength enough in her arms to strangle the single guard she met with her chain. After dropping him to the floor, she began picking doors at random, uncaring of the servants that saw her, till she found one that lead to the cool night air. Finally free . . . she ran.


* * *


Energy flowed into Bhen Rudha like a river, strong and fast. She felt the parade of memories move through her, and knew that they were coming to the last fight. Something told her she did not want Blackwolf to know what had transpired in the forest after she had been struck by lightening. Gathering the sensation to her, she sent a jolt of her own down her arm, forcefully pushing the warrior away before her flight was revealed. Purple light flashed and when she opened her eyes, the priestess saw Blackwolf laying sprawled on her back.

Bhen Rudha felt swollen with power, her body rushing to finish the job of healing and she rose easily to her feet. A jagged bolt shaped scar met her fingers as she tested the place where Evergreen's sword had been sheathed. It was fitting that she was marked where the piece of Kedos she held was contained.

Her own lips curved in a grin as Blackwolf pushed herself up on her elbows and said, "Whoa . . . what a rush."


Edited by: BhenRudha at: 5/23/03 1:37:36 am



Last edited by Joxcenia, 10/31/2011, 10:54 pm


---

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



---------------------------------------------

shamrock xwp
(5/6/03 1:09 pm)

Dashing along at breakneck speed gets tiring . . .

The big black horse was starting to slow down. The messenger pulled him to a stop, and they dismounted.
"Let's walk him a while. It'll be a good break for your butt."

"My butts broken all right," growled the slavegirl. The messenger snickered. "You wouldn't think it was so funny, if it was your butt. Bring your butt over here and let me kick it 30 times and see how funny that feels."

"I don't think so. Although once you pay off your 5 dinars purchase price, you'll be free to do as you please. And if kicking my butt pleases you. You'll be more than welcome to try. Hahahahahahaha! " The messenger punctuated her comments with mirthful laughter.

On and on they walked returning breast for tat and sparing verbally. Eventually, the slavegirl began to tell stories and recite poetry. It went like this:

Edited by: shamrock xwp at: 5/6/03 3:17:13 pm

---------------------------------------------

lilpunkin
(5/6/03 3:33 pm)

Walking along the trail...

"The stars about the lovely moon," The slavegirl began quietly to herself... "Fade back and vanish very soon..."

The messenger looked over at her from the other side of the horse. "Huh?"

"Nothing." The girl replied quickly.

"No, you said something."

"It was a poem... by Sappho..."

"Care to share?" She prodded.

The young girl continued to recite the poem carefully, just as she remembered it:

"The stars about the lovely moon
Fade back and vanish very soon
When, round and full, her silver face
Swims into sight, and lights all space."

"Where'd you learn that?" the messenger stopped, and looked curiously at the girl.

"In -- In the tavern... People come from far and wide... they all have a story to tell, some better than others. I listen.. I learn."

The slave then saw the messenger pondering something for a long second. Feeling awkward, she took the horse's reigns herself and started walking again.. A second passed before the messenger started to follow and regained her position at the horse's head.

Edited by: lilpunkin at: 5/7/03 6:20:10 am

---------------------------------------------

shamrock xwp
(5/6/03 3:44 pm)

Re: Walking along the trail...

Being game for something to break up the monotony, the messenger decided to press her luck, "You know, I'd much rather listen to poetry or stories than fight all day with you. Not that I don't enjoy tossing a good zinger at you now n then. HeHe. It is good to listen. You learn a lot that way. Do another . . . Do another . . . "

Just then the messenger fell flat on her face. "WHUMP!" The messenger cursed, "D#$% root!"

The slave girl howled with laughter and finally crumpled into a giggling heap on the trail . . .

---------------------------------------------

shamrock xwp
(5/6/03 4:49 pm)

We find Zena at last . . .

. . . some time later . . .

There once was a warlord named Gaius,

He was mean and even betrayed us,

He got hit in the leg,
and now wears a peg,

and goes by the name Mini-leg-us.

"Geeze, I wonder when we are going to find this Zena person, my message is for. "

Sometime later after asking countless people for directions, our dead(on their feet)ly duo actually find the elusive Zena!

The messenger nudges the slavegirl, "Here you take her the message."

"Me?? Me?? Why should I take her the message? You're the messenger," the slavegirl zinged back.

"Perhaps so, but you are the slave of a messenger. Now take the scroll and give it to her."

"No. She looks mean."

"Mean?? Naw, well may be a little. If you don't look at the warrior outfit and the weapons and that fine fit muscular body, why she could be anyone's mother! Here take the scroll."

"NO!"

Zena notices the pair and saunters up, smiling an amused smile. "You two seem to have some argument going about me. What's up?"

"Ahem, I have a message for you from, Arthur of England . . .,"

Zena opens the scroll and reads it. She can't contain her laughter and holds her sides as she laughs and gasps for air.

It says:

Xena, The messenger who brought you this scroll is Boudicca (pronounced BOO-DEE-KA) of the Iceni of the East Anglia. I'm busy leading the Celts in rebellion against Roman invaders. They are destroying cities of Colchester, St. Albans and may capture London.

She's a real PITA and some of the Celts want to make her Chieftess. Please send her to the Amazons where she can be with her own kind and stay out of my way.

Also we could really use some reinforcements before the Romans bring in their reinforcements. If you know anyone looking for a war send them north we've got plenty.

Arthur

Zena regained her composure and handed the scroll to the messenger to read. Saying, "Boudicca, you've got the wrong Xena, but you're in luck because I'm an Amazon." Zena laughed some more. "This Arthur fellow doesn't think very highly of you."

Boudicca was more angry than she had ever been in her life and it showed. Zena laughed even harder. Boudicca went into the woods and could be heard taking out her rage on the local vegetation . . .


Edited by: shamrock xwp at: 5/6/03 4:52:41 pm



---

Whoosh-ChelSierra-Muse - Twi-Saga
10/31/2011, 10:57 pm Link to this post Send Email to Joxcenia   Send PM to Joxcenia Blog
 
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Re: THE ZENA SCROLLS: CHAPTER III



---------------------------------------------

Zena 1
(5/6/03 7:37 pm)

Travellers, Large and Small

“What do you mean we’re lost?” Puella pulled her horse up beside Phalon who was looking over the map again, as she had every hour since they left the battlefield.
“’Tis the home of ya own maither and ya lost it?” Red chuckled behind them.
“Hey Phalon.” Now it was Blackwolf on the opposite side.
“WHAT??!!” Phalon was a slight bit irritated and she tightened her grip on the map crunching the aged parchment into crumbs at the corner.
Blackwolf grinned. “It’s upside down.”
“Who’s upside down?”
“Not who, what. The map. You’ve got it upside down.”
Phalon examined the map and swore quietly to herself. “What in the name of. . “
“Angyboody wam a miffday mull?” Zena arrived with saddlebags and mouth full of food. They all turned and said in unison, “What?”
She had been gone for an hour on the mission of scouting a clear Roman-free path.
Zena swallowed. “I said, anybody want a midday meal?” As she slid to the ground both saddlebags came with her, filled with bread, cheese and olives. She had even managed to procure some grapes and apples.
“Might as well stop,” Phalon grumbled. “I haven’t a clue where we are.”
“Good thing we aren’t in a hurry to get anywhere.” Blackwolf grabbed a bunch of sweet grapes, the aroma rising temptingly from her hands. “Where did you get all of this? Steal it?”
“Of course not! I traded for it.” Zena gave Blackwolf a playful shove. The bread and cheese were disappearing quickly.
“Traded?” Xendra asked. “What have you got to trade?”
“Scoops. I’ve been carving scoops all morning. We’ve been going so slowly that I would have had enough time to carve a statue of Artemis with one hand.”
“Now Zena, I TOLD you I’m not good with directions,” Phalon held out the map but no one reached for it.
“’Tis the home of ya own maither and ya lost it,” Red shook her head in disbelief.
“WILL you stop saying that?? ??!!” Phalon dropped the map into the center of the circle.
“Nae be angry wi’ me. I nae lost ya maither’s house.”
Between bites of bread Zena asked,”Evergreen back yet?”
Phalon shook her head, “Not yet.”
Xendra was still interested in the idea of bartering Amazon crafts. “So who traded with you?”
“A farmer. He liked the scoop idea. Said something about using it to eat or discipline his children. I didn’t quite get that.”
Everyone sat quietly for a moment and thought about the switches cut from trees that were employed on the disobedient children they had known, themselves included.
“Could work,” Xendra said at last. They all nodded and Gabby reached for another olive wincing at the thought of scoop applied to her posterior by Zena.
Around the bend in the road two travellers appeared just then, leading a large black horse. They were arguing and the taller of the two seemed to be in charge of the dirty and ragged smaller girl. Between them they were shoving a scroll back and forth and pointing at Zena.
“I’ll take care of it,” Zena jumped up brushing the crumbs from her leathers. She walked the few yards down to them in a deceptively relaxed manner. They watched as Zena read the scroll and found it’s contents to be quite amusing. She said something to the taller one who stormed off into the woods and made a great deal of noise kicking at a tree. The smaller girl returned with Zena who offered her food and then stood back to watch as the girl stuffed her cheeks with as much as would fit.
“Mom?” Gabby pulled at her mother’s sleeve. “Make her wash in that stream we passed. I think she’s got fleas, and she stinks.”

---------------------------------------------

EvergreenLM
(5/6/03 10:55 pm)

Whistle Down the Wind

Evergreen whistled as she rode through the forest, pushing low hanging branches aside, ducking here, ducking there, and often getting a sharp pine needle smack in the face when distracted. The sun was high in the sky and shadows played on the forest floor.

She smiled remembering how the incessant whistling irritated Zena.

“You whistle as you sharpen your sword, you whistle when you’re fishing, you whistle when you bathe, and even whistle when you…well…when you visit the bushes. Did not our mother always say that ‘a whistling girl and a crowing hen always come to some bad end?’ Didn’t she now…say that…or were you too busy whistling to hear her!?”

“I’m hungry.” Evergreen said out loud to no one but the companion beneath her and the birds that screeched as they flew across the noon day sky. “I’m not that bad! It's just my stomach growling!"

Anything to take my mind off food... the whistling ceased as the song began... “ carry me home to the place of light, save me Athena for again tomorrow I’ll fight…sword in hand, courage in heart…take me home to my love never again to part…”

The village appeared over the next rise. And a welcome sight it was to the already weary traveler. People moved in and out of the huts going about daily life of those who have but one home, one hearth. Smoke curled up from the low thatched roofs taking flight into the cerulean sky.

Evergreen heard children’s laughter and watched as two young boys parried with wooden swords as one fell taking a strike to the heart and giving a grand performance of a noble death.

My clothes are but rags…can’t be riding into Mother Rome looking like a beggar. Maybe I will stop…find a market. How I will pay without Zena to bargain is but a challenge I will have to meet and defeat.

Evergreen gave a kick to Whisperer who sauntered sideways down the embankment to the edge of the road leading into the village.

The children stopped their play, an old woman ceased tilling the soil and dropping seeds into the black earth, and a chicken was granted a few additional moments of life before its head met a blade and rolled off a wooden block, as they all turned to stare at the woman riding in on a painted pony.

Never had they seen before an Amazon warrior. Evergreen appeared all the more ominous, displaying a fresh cut above one swollen eyelid acquired from battling a lowly tree branch. Where was the fun in that?

Her dark hair was matted with the silver streaks spiking in their own chosen direction. Her clothing was torn, stained with blood that shimmered with golden sparkles in the sunlight.

Truly the gods had sent her thought the elder as he ran from a tavern door to meet the ragged rider in the middle of the road.

The tall gaunt man was not about to move. Evergreen contemplated riding right over the frail old man, but aching hunger, and the need for fresh clothes and a bath, convinced her to rein Whisperer to a halt. The horse bobbed its head and danced sideways.

“We knew you would come…to help us…to save us from the HLAK.”

“HLAK?…what in Hades is a HLAK?”

“Old man, if my helping you comes with the barter of a bath, new clothing, a hot meal, fodder for my horse, and a sharp sword of my choosing, then the gods have indeed answered your offerings.”

Evergreen smiled, stepped down from her horse handing the man the reins, and began whistling as she walked towards the Inn.

-----
"Xena is the Hero we hope is inside us"-LL

Edited by: EvergreenLM at: 5/6/03 11:42:50 pm

---------------------------------------------

lilpunkin
(5/7/03 6:28 am)

Re: Travellers, Large and Small

As the messenger left, huffing and puffing, the slavegirl stared at the spot where the angry Boudicca had pushed her way through the trees.

Before she knew what to do, the young girl felt the warrior -- Zena's strong grip on her arm as she was led back to the where several others were eating and watching. She let out a timid smile and a nod of her head at the group in greeting.

Zena offered her something to eat, and, as if on cue, the slavegirl's stomach growled. She hadn't realized how hungry she was until she saw food... Without any manners at all, as she had never been taught, she began to greedily stuff into her mouth what food was given to her, until she was interrupted by Zena's daughter's complaint.

The girl looked up and noticed the odd looks on each person's face. Her own face turned a light color of pink, and she stopped her gluttonous gorging. She quickly wiped her face off with the back of her hand.

Fleas? she thought. I dont have -- Suddenly her shoulder itched... She reached to scratch it, and as she did, the girl saw that her arm was blotched with mud and grass stains. And she'd bet the whole five dinars she'd cost that her hair and face -- not even including the bruise -- were in no better shape.

Looking back at the assortment of warriors, the young girl tried to regain her composure. "Uhhh... That stream was... which way?"



---

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



---------------------------------------------

BhenRudha
(5/7/03 5:51 pm)

Life Continues...

“Indeed, it be a grand thin’,” Bhen Rudha said, holding out her hand. The warrior’s grin widened and she accepted the hand, pulling herself to her feet.

Wiping dirt from her leathers, Blackwolf motioned towards the campfire where some sort of food was being prepared. “Come on. I’m starving, how ‘bout you?”

Wondering what her welcome would be once the euphoria wore off, the priestess smiled anyway and said, “Aye, I’m after eatin’ a fair bit meself.” She let Blackwolf lead her to the others, conscious of the ragged state her clothes were in and the bundled robe she held once again over her arm.

Finding a place out of the way, a bit from the circle, the priestess watched the others. How easily they moved together, like friends . . . like family. What had once been betrayal and heartache was once again love and a strong sense of unity. She wondered at a magic that could heal souls as well as bodies. For she believed that is what had happened. The glittering gold that still clung to them all confirmed it.

Part of her wished she had been present to receive full benefit of the blessing. Then she could have been new, washed clean like the others. But the Goddess wanted you for a purpose, another part of her said. The Lady groomed you to be here, now, as you are . . . would you deny that?

Weariness that had nothing to do with the body crept over her. In that moment she wanted to say yes, I would deny the Goddess and Her plans. Tears gathered unseen in her eyes, she was not as empty as she had earlier thought. She wanted to slip out into the forest and weep, and was stopped by a smiling Puella who handed her a bowl of stew.

“Go raibh maith, agat,” Bhen Rudha whispered, curling her hands around the warmth of the bowl.

“Uh . . . you’re welcome?” Puella said, her easy smile reflecting honestly in her eyes.

The good will was infectious, and the priestess found herself grinning back, despite the wetness that remained in her eyes. “Indeed, be tha words o’ gratitude.”

“Then of course you’re welcome! There’s more if you want . . . just be sure to get to it before Zena does!” A chuckle followed Puella as she went back to the feast and fire.

Surprised at how quickly humor had returned, the priestess sat stunned for a moment, before she dipped her fingers into the stew to eat. The food was warm and flavorful, quickly filling the cold void in her stomach, and helped to lighten her mood.

The events of the past . . . was it only a day? . . . caught up with the group, and soon there were few murmured conversations as the company settled itself down to sleep. She lay herself straight on the ground, looking up at the stars, the evening was cool, not unlike her homeland, and she was comfortable enough. Though quiet, she remained awake as other conversations dropped off into the even breathing of slumber.

Soon, only the voices of Phalon and Blackwolf could be heard over the cackle of the camp fire. Then came the happy jingle of bells and bangles. The priestess closed her eyes, to imagine the figure so brightly clothed . . . reminding her of the tinkers that traveled the island mending pots and horseshoes, breaking hearts and nicking the odd bit of coin. In the darkness, Bhen Rudha’s smile was bitter-sweet.

She was just drifting off when she heard Phalon speak of ground ivy and its many properties. Not the herbalist that either the mystic or the warrior was, she knew enough to suddenly be afraid. A hand came up to touch the jagged scar that marked her claim on Kedos, and she hoped that the small magic would not mistake her power over the entity for corruption.

Sweat marked her brow as she listened to the slosh of liquid, then breathed a silent sigh of relief as Phalon said that all was clear. No longer able to sleep, the priestess silently rolled over and slipped into the forest. She needed to think.



---

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



---------------------------------------------

BhenRudha
(5/7/03 11:03 pm)

...And So Shall I

Once her eyes had adjusted to the moon silvered darkness within the forest, her steps moved unerringly to the sword that had been loaned to her by Evergreen. It remained where she had placed it, upright in the forest loam, shimmering with what seemed its own light. A long time passed where she simply stared at it, remembering what had brought the blade to her hand.

Eventually, Bhen Rudha curled her fingers about the handle and tugged gently, setting the sword free. She could feel the spirit of the blade eager to be reunited with its mistress, and thought on the best way to achieve that. Perhaps she should just place it with her supplies, or a ceremony of sorts?

With a sigh, she thrust the sword back through her belt and began her way around the clearing to where the horses were settled. She saw them to be fine steeds all, well kept and obviously well loved. Ghosting among the animals, she placed a soft hand upon a neck here, a shoulder there, getting an idea of which horse belonged to which rider. Such sensitivity came from the Goddess, and even in her doubt she was able to use it.

Evergreen’s horse snorted at her before her hand came to rest upon the soft nose. Stepping away, the priestess bowed slightly, “I did not mean to intrude, I beg your pardon,” she whispered. The horse had laid his ears back, and brought them forward to listen to the soft Gaeilge words.

“I have something that belongs to your mistress, and would place it where she can find it. If I may?” as the priestess continued to talk, she held out a hand, letting the horse take her full scent from it.

The horse snorted again, taking a step back. Inwardly Bhen Rudha sighed, it seemed that Evergreen’s mount, like her sword, like everyone around her, was over protective. As she was contemplating how she might convince the horse that she meant no harm, the priestess heard footsteps in the grass. Not wanting to be accused of tampering with the tack, she fell back into deeper shadow, to see who it might be.

Evergreen came into view, turned to look back over the sleeping, then went about the task of saddling her horse. Her motions were deft and secure, as if she had done this more times than can be counted. Watching, Bhen Rudha knew what the Amazon meant to do. Her gaze flicked to the obscured campfire, where she knew Zena was sleeping, and wondered how Evergreen could leave, with her friend so newly awakened.

After all they had been though, she could just vanish, in the dark, with no one the wiser? The thought did not sit right with the priestess. So when Evergreen moved to mount her horse, she curled her fingers around the Amazon’s calf . . . tightly.

Registering the Amazon’s wince of pain, she asked in a smooth voice, “An’ jest where dae ye thin’ ta be goin’ in tha dark?”

“Let go of my leg and I will tell you . . . right after I finish knocking you to the ground!” Evergreen answered with her usual capriciousness. Not liking the answer, Bhen Rudha strengthened her grip on the Amazon’s calf and gave it a twist.

“Ahh! Okay . . . okay . . . let go . . . I’ll tell ya . . . I promise . . . just let go will ya?” At the sound of Evergreen’s cries, her horse once again laid his ears back and snorted a warning. For the steed, if not his mistress, Bhen Rudha let go.

“Ah . . . ah . . . ah . . . ” was all Evergreen was able to articulate for a long minute while she hopped around rubbing her calf. Finally she was able to ask, “What ya go and do that for? I thought you would be glad to see me go.”

How was it that she could lose patience so quickly with this Amazon? All she had done was ask a question, was it too much to expect an answer? “Ye dinnae answer me question, small warrior. Di’ ye be wantin’ more pain then?” she asked, reaching for the leg again.

“No . . . nooo. No . . . pain is not good.” Evergreen answered watching the priestess straighten. She finally took a breath and said, “Did ya ever have unfinished business? Something left undone . . . something that needs redirection . . . a debt so to speak?” When Bhen Rudha remained motionless she continued, “I do, Red. And only I can set it right.

“I have a sister. Her name is Leara and she is out there,” Evergreen made a sweeping motion towards the forest, “and I have to find her . . . I just do. Can you understand that? Can you?”

Oh, she understood about sisters, but probably not in the way Evergreen meant. But she also knew about debts, and so without a word, she knelt and cupped her hands. Looking up at the Amazon, she asked, “How abou’ a leg up then, warrior?”

Evergreen smiled and dark eye met amber-green in a long, wordless exchange. “Thank you,” was all she finally said before stepping into Bhen Rudha’s hands and vaulting into the saddle. The Amazon gathered up the reins, pulled to the right as she kicked her horse to leave. But before the pair had gone more than a step, the reins were pulled back and Evergreen looked over her shoulder. “Red . . . tell Zena . . . I . . . never mind . . . just tell them . . . tell them all . . . I’ll be back.” And with those words, Evergreen kicked her horse again and disappeared into what was left of the night.

The priestess stood for a long moment, contemplating the sword that was still nestled against her. She had intended to give it back. Why had she hesitated? Perhaps she was just meant to be caretaker for a while. It was no matter.

Hearing a couple people stirring around the campfire, she did not turn around when she felt eyes upon her, nor when she heard Zena’s footsteps in the grass. Instead she folded her arms and said simply, “She be nae here.”

“Where has she gone?” Zena asked, and the priestess could hear a hint of hurt in the words.

Unwilling to appear to take a side, she simply shrugged and answered, “She hae gone ta be findin’ tha sister. Be findin’ ye again, dinnae worra.” Having finished her message, she glanced at Zena and Puella, who had joined them. It appeared that Zena was already thinking about what to do next and so she only shrugged again once the Amazon finished explaining things to Puella.

There was not much left of the night, so the others were called to wake and strike camp. Moving quickly, Bhen Rudha moved to where she had lain earlier in the night, hoping to find Phalon’s robe, still crumpled in the grass. While Zena was calling out orders, she took Evergreen’s sword and wrapped it in the colorful material, tying the sleeves together tightly. Satisfied that the blade would not fall out of its bindings, the priestess went to find Blackwolf.

The warrior was stowing her own gear, checking over her tack and trying to blink the sleep out of her eyes. A smile lit the bright yellow gaze, “Good morning, Red.”

“Maidin maith ta ye as well, Duibhfaolchú. I be after borrowin’ a bit o’ leather. Dae ye be ha’en’ any ta spare?” She held the bundled sword cradled in one arm, motioning with the other, “I be wantin’ ta be strappin’ this on me back, aye?”

Bhen Rudha watched the calculation flash through Blackwolf’s eyes as she took in the size and shape of the object that the priestess held. After a moment’s hesitation, the other woman nodded, saying, “I have some straps I keep for repairs, they should work I think.” The warrior dug into a saddle bag and produced the promised leather. “If you need anything else, just ask,” she said with a smile.

“Go raibh maith, agat,” the priestess said, already sorting out what pieces would be useful.

Memory flickered and Blackwolf answered, “Tá fáilte romhat.” The Gaeilge bought Bhen Rudha’s head up in surprise. The warrior shrugged a little and tapped the side of her head, “It’s not everything, just phrases and such. But I think it came with your memories.”

Grinning, the priestess nodded, saying, “Mayhap. Be tha’ it be helpin’ me with me an Ghréigis ta.” The pair shared a chuckle and then returned to getting ready to move out.

Working as quickly as she could, Bhen Rudha knotted a pair of straps to the bundled sword, tied one to the back of her belt, and pulled the other over her shoulder to tie to the front of her belt. Jumping about to test balance and stability, it took only a couple adjustment before she was satisfied. As ready as she could be then, she went to see what communal chores she could do, taking a bit of breakfast before helping douse the fire and stow what gear remained.

As the party mounted up, she caught curious glances in her direction and managed a reassuring smile. She would walk, she could keep up.



---

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



---------------------------------------------

Zena 1
(5/9/03 7:49 pm)

Washday

“Mom?” Gabby pulled at her mother’s sleeve. “Make her wash in that stream we passed. I think she’s got fleas, and she stinks.” Zena stood with one hand on her hip and took in the total picture of the slave girl. Her hair was tangled and contained bits of straw. The grimy garment she wore was patched and too rough for her tender skin and her feet were bare. An odor wafted up from her; sweat, dirt and old wine.
A flea hopped from the girl onto Zena’s arm where it was quickly dispatched to the insect Elisian Fields. A tinge of pink colored the girl’s cheeks and warmed the warrior’s heart. “This is not one who desires to be dirty or dressed as she is,” she thought. The girl spoke,"Uhhh... That stream was... which way?" Zena gestured to Gabby to follow her a few steps to the horses where she dug around in her saddlebag, finally producing a fine cake of Roman hard soap. It was the kind that Roman women use to scent and color their hair and with it Zena had saved a comb and some silver hair ornaments from her brief reign as goddess of the sea.
“Here Gabs, take her back to the stream. I think you have an extra shirt and pants, those rags are not even fit to burn! If your clothes are too big, we’ll just roll them up and tie them off with this rope.” Gabby nodded a little reluctantly. “Oh and Gabby,” Zena added, “be sure to take your staff. She’ll need a guard. Whistle like Evergreen taught you if you need us.” Gabby stood a little straighter and squared her shoulders. “Ok Mom, I’ll see what I can find out about her while I’m at it. Hey Phalon! Can I have one of your really big scarves for a towel?”
The two girls trudged back up the road and disappeared into the undergrowth. Zena grinned and motioned to Blackwolf. “How about we have a little fun with the bigger one?” “Right behind you Zena!” Blackwolf was ready for a diversion. They followed the sound of a tree being abused and some shouted curses and stopped a few yards away.
“Oh, Boudicca? That’s your name right? Where are you??,” Zena called into the wood. Silence.
“You might as well come out. The woods can be a dangerous place.” Silence.
“Why I hear that there are some wolves about this area. There’s a story going around I heard from my friend Aesop about a boy who was recently attacked here.” Silence.
Blackwolf took her cue and circling around behind Boudicca gave a long low howl.
Zena clapped a hand tightly over her own mouth so that her laughter was silent.

-----
Zena
"Agere Sequitur Esse"

Edited by: Zena 1 at: 5/10/03 7:57:19 am

---------------------------------------------

EvergreenLM
(5/9/03 10:26 pm)

Water, Potatoes, Scoops and Tridents

Evergreen smiled, stepped down from her horse handing the man the reins, and began whistling as she walked towards the Inn. Moving through the open doorway, she paused giving her eyes time to adjust to from the bright sun to the dimmer interior of a large open room.

As her boots met the rough stone floor, Evergreen scanned the area and quickly decided on a table by the hearth and a window. Never know when I might have to make a hasty exit.

As she walked towards the chosen table, she noted a parchment posted on a thick cedar beam offering a reward to anyone who had information about a slave girl taken from the proprietor of a neighboring village tavern.

The poorly drawn female displayed caused Evergreen to shudder. What did that one do that the bounty is so [sign in to see URL] the owner’s wife…or worse, his horse…

“Have you seen the little harlot? A large repugnant man stood towering over Evergreen. Nodding at the posting, he continued. “I could not help to notice that you were looking at it a long while.”

Smelling the scent of a carcass lying in the noonday sun, Evergreen stepped back feeling as though she would retch.

“No…no, I don’t know that one. Why do you ask? What has she done?”

As the man spoke again, Evergreen noted that his mouth was a black hole where teeth should have been.

“She ran away…with another woman…left... just up and left... without a word.” The man clenched his fist and released it, clenched and released.

“And why is this any of your concern [sign in to see URL] daughter?”

Evergreen took another step in retreat thinking if the latter was true she would have run far and fast as soon as she parted her mother's womb.

Reaching the table next to the hearth, Evergreen turned a chair around straddling it while motioning for the barmaid to bring a cup of hopefully cool water from the pitcher just set down on the long wooden trestle table displaying the food and drinks.

“No, not my daughter…my property she be…bought and paid for… to use… like a tool.”

Evergreen accepted the drink, and took her fill without stopping. Pounding the drained cup upon the table, she looked at the man for a moment without speaking.

“Sir…who owns the water I just drank…who owns the air that we now share…who owns the sunlight outside that door?” Evergreen pointed towards the entrance.

The man stood contemplating what game this woman in man’s clothing played. A fool he was not…[sign in to see URL] made a fool would he be…not by any man and certainly not by a woman.

“No one owns those things…what foolish questions you ask.” The black hole grinned.

“Then, sir, kindly tell, if those things have no owner, then why should that woman be of less value in your esteem of things and be a commodity to be purchased?”

Evergreen glanced over her shoulder towards the open window. Up over the table…one leap from the bench…

To her astonishment, the man turned and left roughly pushing chairs, and those that sat upon them, out of his way as he departed.

“Hmmmp…well if the rest of this business goes that well, HLAK should be of no worry.”

Walking over to the spread of food, Evergreen nodded at the barmaid, picked up a knife and stabbed a large roasted potato. Slicing the thick outer skin poking chunks of the tuber into her mouth,the cautious Amazon took care not to cut her lips. As she did so, thoughts of Zena, the practicality of scoops, and perhaps small wooden tridents to pierce her food, came to mind.

[sign in to see URL] is [sign in to see URL] good..."

As she pivoted returning to her table, she never saw the man enter the tavern with a raised timber in hand…

-----
"Xena Is the Hero We Hope Is Inside Us"-LL

Edited by: EvergreenLM at: 5/9/03 10:38:47 pm



---

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



---------------------------------------------

1 Xwpfan
(5/11/03 10:01 pm)

All roads lead to Rome?!

Xendra stood there happily smiling at the newly revived Zena, not really knowing what to do or say next so she just stood there amazed and delighted in her amazing good fortune.

After awhile Xendra sensed the two friends may want some quiet time to talk so she began to quietly slip away but as Xendra started to back away she thought she heard the familar neigh of her horse Solaria…Xendra shook her head , no it couldn’t be.

Xendra shook off the thought, after all to have Zena be alive and to be welcomed back filled Xendra's heart with more joy and happiness than Xendra could have ever wished or hoped for.

Even the thought of having her horse Solaria back was almost be more joy than she could stand.

Sensing xendra’s unease Solaria came up behind Xendra and playfully nuzzled her. Xendra laughed out loud as she turned her head, and her head came in direct contact with Solaria’s nose with a solid thud.

Xendra was quick to console her horse and put her hand out and then softly caressed Solaria's neck.

Xendra smiled to her herself, unlike her owner, Solaria had not changed. Solaria was as strong and majestic as ever.
Xendra hummed happily as she removed the saddle bags and began to brush Solaria.

Solaria stood there regally accepting Xendra's attention,. Xendra revelled in that fact that once again she had something of use and value to do.

Ocacassionally, as Xendra tended to Solaria she looked over at her friends and sisters. Xendra watched their actions and understood that they were scrounging about to find something edible to make for dinner.

Xendra stopped brushing Solaria and turned her attention to her own saddlebags. Xendra searched for provisions,all she found of use were a few medicinal herbs and a few scraps of dried meat bits.

Xendra reached in further into the bags in hopes that something had escaped her scrutiny. Instead of findng food, she found the carefully wrapped feathered mask that she had so lovingly and painstakingly made for Puella many moons ago..

With a heavy and regretful sigh Xendra carefully returned the mask back to it's place and brought her food offerings for the soup that was brewing.

After Xendra added her contribution the cooking pot started bubbling and rose nearly to the rim .Somehow with everyones efforts and offerings a stew of vegetables and tiny bits of meat had beeen formed..
Phalon, added a few spices to the growing mixture, smiled wistfully as the stew took form and substance.

Xendra laughed to herself as she heard Zena query to to Phalon in hushed tones
“Who cooked?”

Phalon was about to answer Zena, when Evergreen came up behind them and tapped Zena squarely on the shoulder .Zena turned and Evergreen grinned as she said said, “It wasn’t me.”
“Oh. I didn’t mean. . .”
“Yeah, you did. But it’s ok. Sit down.”

One by one the group all sat down around the fire for the evening meal. Xendra found herself exceedingly grateful not just for the warmth but for the human companionship again.

As they ate, there was little thought of talk or in depth conversations, food was the priority of the moment.

As the evening meal wound down and everyone was feeling full and content, the atmosphere changed and a playful conversation on how best to eat stew ensued.

It seemed almost everyone’s eyes were on Zena as she drank the juices from her bowl and picked up the remaining root vegetables with her fingers.

Zena realizing she had everyone's full attention motioned towards her bowl of stew as she said “You know, I think we should eat it with something.”

Evergreen looked at Zena quizzically and asked what everyone else was probably thinking “You mean like, eat it with bread? Or wine?”

Zena shook her head. “No. I mean like the way you eat cheese with a knife.”

Evergreen looked down at her knife and then back to Zena and said “By the gods Zena, what ARE you talking about. You can’t eat broth with a knife. You’d starve before you got enough. Especially YOU.”

Zena laughed at the mental image in her head and then tried to explain “Not a knife. Another thing. Like a little bowl with maybe a handle to hang on to. Then you could scoop up the liquid. It could be called [sign in to see URL].”

“Too much trouble,” Evergreen grunted. “Who wants two bowls?” Some of the others nodded in agreement.

Zena was not to be persuaded, she answered “I would. I’m going to try it."

Xendra thought to herself, "I believe you will try it." and then chuckled at the idea of a scoop to eat with.

Xendra watched quietly as each began to drift away from the fire in search of their beloved horse and much needed bedrolls .

Xendra excused herself to no one in particular and walked over to Solaria and unpacked her bedroll.

Xendra looked over the camp, Zena and Evergreen were safely camped together beneath the stars with Lil Gabby just a stone's throw away.

Black Wolf and Phalon were engaged in conversation by the fire with Red recoupping not far from them.

Xendra after much searching found a dry, even spot on which to [sign in to see URL] felt grateful to be able curl up, having a full stomach, to be in such good company and to be able to truly rest for the first time in what seemed ages.

Xendra stretched out and gazed at the stars but after awhile she turned on to her side and looked where Puella once would have been , instead Puella was warming herself by the fire. Xendra sighed with the knowledge that many moons ago they would have been inseparable on a happy night like this.

Now, despite the healing, their remained an emotional chasm between them. Xendra wondered in heart what if anything, to say to Puella but found any choice of words severely lacking.

Hoping that maybe in the morning's light, she would find the proper words, Xendra allowed herself to surrender to the world of sleep and dreams.

Xendra was visited many times that night in her dream state.
Xendra may have been able to remember her messages had she not been awakened ot the news of Evergreen's departure.

Instead, Xendra rose from her bedroll and joined the group encircled around Zena in time for her to hear Zena sigh. “ Leara.”

Evergreen it seemed had taken off in search of her sister Leara. Xendra upon hearing the news sent up a silent prayer to the Gods for Leara's and Evergreens safe return.

The thought of Leara brought much sadness and remorse to Xendra's heart and soul. How much hurt had Xendra thrown Leara’s way in the past? Xendra shuddered as she remembered how ruthlessly she had killed Leara's wolf Theos.

Xendra refocused as she watched Zena run her thumb over a ring on her hand and peered off to the distance. After a lengthy silence Zena found the way to make her voice sound strong and sure as she said “She’ll find us, I trust her homing instinct. I have something to do too, but I’m not certain exactly what. I have to keep a promise I made and I need to be somewhere south of Rome.”

South of Rome ?! Xendra’s head filled with images of past conflicts with the Romans. Xendra shook her head at the news, once again they would come in contact with Roman soldiers, and on on Roman soil - Xendra shivered at the thought and her stomach gurgled and tied itself into knots...

-----
..there is only one success... to be able to spend your life your own way.

Edited by: 1 Xwpfan at: 5/18/03 9:21:01 am



---

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



---------------------------------------------

1 Xwpfan
(5/12/03 10:28:43 am)

All roads lead to Rome.. continued

Due to Xendra’s gurgling stomach Xendra found she had no real appetite. Xendra quickly saddled Solaria and secured her repacked saddlebags, while the others hurriedly scarfed down their breakfasts.

After a very hurried breakfast, camp wasquickly and methodically broken down. They were careful to leave little signs of the stay, their trails were covered over and the embers dosed with water and extinguished by mounds of dirt.

Once mounted and assembled the group quickly fell in behind Phalon and Zena . Phalon being anxious to get the adventure underway took matters into her own hands and took charge of the map...

Zena after a short while, decided to scout ahead and road up ahead looking for any signs of Roman troops, so that left the group riding under Phalon ‘s leadership.

After awhile her abilties as guide came in question as she started occassionally stopping to stare at the map and then would just continue onward.

As the days’ sun began to approach mid day Puella decided to find out what kind of progress they were making and pulled her horse up beside Phalon.

After a few moments, Puella shreiked " What do you mean we’re lost?”

Red chuckled and taunted playfully “’Tis the home of ya own maither and ya lost it?”

Phalon was growing a bit irritated. Red's words only made it worse. With every taunting word Phalon increased the death grip she held on the map ,crunching the aged parchment into threads at the corner.

Blackwolf rode up beside Phalon on the opposite side, looked at the map and said
“Hey Phalon.”

Phalon snapped “WHAT??!!”

Blackwolf grinned. “It’s upside down.”

Phalon looked at her “Who’s upside down?”

Black Wolf laughed as she said “Not who, what. The map. You’ve got it upside down.”

Phalon examined the map and swore quietly to herself. “What in the name of..."

A few moments later up rode Zena with a something in her mouth “Angyboody wam a miffday mull?” the group all turned and said in unison, “What?”

Zena swallowed. “I said, anybody want a midday meal?”

Feeeling utterly disgusted and frustrated Phalon brought her horse to a full stop. After Phalon dismounted, Phalon grumbled "Well, we might as well stop I haven’t a clue where we are.”

Zena also dismounted,and to the group's great surprise both Zena's saddlebags were filled with bread, cheese and olives. Somehow, Zena had even managed to get some grapes and apples

Black wolf grabbed a bunch of sweet grapes and tried to make light of the situation by saying “Good thing we aren’t in a hurry to get anywhere!”

As Black wolf munched happily on the grapes she playfully quieried “Where did you get all of this? Steal it?”

Zena gave Blackwolf a playful shove. “Of course not! I traded for it.”

Xendra perked up “Traded?” Xendra asked. “What have you got to trade?”

“Scoops. I’ve been carving scoops all morning. We’ve been going so slowly that I would have had enough time to carve a statue of Artemis with one hand.”

Phalon feeling the need to defend herself said “Now Zena, I TOLD you I’m not good with directions,”
Phalon held out the map but no one reached for it.

Red shook her head in disbelief and again taunted Phalon
“’Tis the home of ya own maither and ya lost it,”

“WILL you stop saying that????!!” Phalon dropped the map into the middle of the group.

Red grinned and said “Nae be angry wi’ me. I nae lost ya maither’s house.”

Between bites of bread Zena asked,”Evergreen back yet?”

Phalon shook her head, “Not yet.”

Still interested in the idea of bartering Amazon crafts. Xendra asked “So who traded with you?”

“A farmer. He liked the scoop idea. Said something about using it to eat or discipline his children. I didn’t quite get that.”

Everyone sat quietly for a moment and thought about the switches cut from trees that were employed on the disobedient children they had known, themselves included.

Xendra thought” Romans seemed to like anything Greek or from other cultures other than there own. Perhaps there was a dinar or two to be made off these filthy Romans".

Although Xendra was daydreaming about the trading of Amazon crafts not so much punishing a child with a scoop Xendra absent mindedly said aloud “It Could work."

The group rode on not really knowing whether they were pointed in the right direction or not, but somewhere amongst many detours and bends they came across two weary travellers walking along , leading a solitatary black horse.

The two strangers appeared to be in a hot debate, perhaps arguing .Of the two, the taller of them seemed to be in command over the dirty and ragged smaller girl, yet the smaller one seemed to hold her ground- even at a distance one could see she had great fire and determination.

The group watched with great amusment as the two continously shoved scroll back and forth amongst each other and kept pointing at Zena.

“I’ll take care of it,” Zena brushing the crumbs from her leathers first, Zena jumped up. She walked the few yards down to them in a seemingly relaxed manner.

The duo carefully watched Zena as she read the scroll and and seemed quite befuddled by Zena’s laughing at the contents of the letter. How could it’s contents be amusing?

After Zena explained the letter’s content to the taller one, the taller one stormed off into the woods and proceeded to let out many unladylike expletives and made a great commotion kicking at a poor defenseless tree.

The smaller girl shook her head and decided to return with Zena , namely because Zena had offered her food .
Obviously starving the group watched in amazement as the girl gulped down her drink and stuffed her cheeks with as much as would fit.

As she ate little black dots would hop on and off her ,the women looked at each other but none wanted to say anything to offend either of the strangers .

Lil Gabby fan had no such compulsion, perhaps feeling slighted for having her staff lesson shortened and perhaps feeling a bit threatened at the addition of another young woman loudly said to her mother,” Mom!”Make her wash in that stream we passed. I think she’s got fleas, and she stinks.”

Xendra laughed at Lil Gabby’s forthright ways and joking added, “Hey you may wanna check her for head lice too!"

Lil Gabby looked at her mom to see if Xendra had been kidding or not. Zena gave Lil Gabbyfan a reassuring look and they were then on their way to the stream.

Soon after their departure there was a wolf like howl that resonated throughout the wooded forest,the sound must of unnerved the messenger a bit as a scream of surprise and fright also filled the woods.

Xendra chuckled knowingly and then thought she should check to make sure the stranger was ok.

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..there is only one success... to be able to spend your life your own way.

Edited by: 1 Xwpfan at: 5/12/03 10:31:20



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



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gabbyfan4ever
(5/11/03 10:15 pm)

Easily traveling

As the group of women traveled at an easy pace towards Phalon's home, Gabby thought about how Evergreen had left them for a while again. Gabby always missed Evergreen when she was gone, along with the conversations and training she got from the woman she thought of most like an aunt.

Gabby was disturbed from her thoughts by Phalon's frustrated mumblings directed towards the map. A smile spread across Gabby's face as she remembered how frustrated her best friend from the village used to get at her lack of directional sense. Gabby had always managed to get lost even if she was only going from her home to the village market. The smile faded slowly as the nostalgic sense of loss caught up to her wistful remembrances like they always did eventually. She didn’t get lost so easily anymore. Her life could depend on knowing her surroundings, and using them to her advantage.

The young warrior soon got antsy in the saddle, and told her mother she wanted to walk for a while. Gabby didn’t have a horse of her own, and never had. The only horse her family had was for working, and her father said he didn’t need the extra strain when Gabby could walk just as well as ride. Now she walked alongside the group for the most part, and rode behind Zena when she got tired.

Spotting Blackwolf walking beside her horse to give it a rest, Gabby jogged to catch up to the woman. “Hey Blackwolf!” Gabby yelled as she ran up. “.... So, you can talk to the wolf in your head?” Blackwolf chuckled at the question. “ Yeah I sure can, kid.” “Wow! That’s great! I wish I could.” Gabby’s mindset didn’t stay on one track for very long, and a minute later she asked if Blackwolf could teach her a move with her sword. “Well, how about I teach you something with your staff instead.” Before she could get through with the sentence Gabby was off and running towards Zena’s horse to get her staff. She never passed up a lesson to fine-tune her fighting skills. “Guess what Mom! Blackwolf is gonna teach me some moves for my staff!” Gabby reached up and gave her mother a hug that almost pulled her out of the saddle before she was off and running again. As she ran breathlessly back up to Blackwolf for her lesson, she flashed a smile that filled her whole face. Blackwolf chuckled again.

After a while they stopped for a midday meal at Zena's suggestion. Gabby laughed at the light hearted talk of her mothers scoop invention, and cringed slighty at the thought of it used for punishment. She had never gotten in trouble often, but as all kids, there were times. One instance that stuck out in her mind was when she tried to take her father's cart of a test drive. Just then Gabby was thankfully distracted from her thoughts of the punishment that had ensued, by the arrival of two strangers. They apparantly had a message for Zena. One of them looked slightly less than well groomed. Gabby mentioned this to her mother in an attempt at discreetness, but wasn’t very successful. Before she knew it Zena was pulling her aside telling her to take the girl to the stream nearby. Before Gabby had a chance to complain Zena added that she should take her staff for protection. At this thought of responsibility Gabby visibly brightened, as Zena knew she would. As she was walking the girl to the stream she made sure to reassure her that she had everything under control, and was an expert with her staff. “Hey if ya’ll stick around long enough, I might even teach you something.” Gabby added with a smile. She thought they might be good friends.

Edited by: gabbyfan4ever at: 5/11/03 10:27:31 pm

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phalon1
(5/11/03 10:56 pm)

Time for Directions and Smelling Flowers

“Damn map”, Phalon muttered as she sat down with her back against a tree, apple in one hand, and aged map in the other. She spread the map out in front of her and examined it while she ate the fruit, muttering continuously between bites. “What good is this old thing?” she said to no one in particular. “Landmarks? Landmarks change. Temples crumble and are swallowed up by the earth, flora covering any remaining traces. Forests are cleared for villages. Streams and rivers run dry. How in Hades’ name do they expect me to navigate using this old thing?” “Sheesh”, she said, slapping the map with the back of her hand. “Head east after passing through the pine strand.” Louder, “Well, news for you Ladies. The pines are long gone, probably cut down to make scoops or some much thing.” The others stopped and stared at her for a moment before continuing on what they were doing. Finishing the last bite of apple, she crumpled the map and tossed it and the apple core over her shoulder. “Useless. Completely useless.”

She drew her knees in towards her body and rested her elbows on them, propping her chin in her hands. “And I’m oh-so-glad you find this so amusing”, she said noticing Blackwolf nearby, leaning against a tree in a relaxed, confident manner, arms crossed in front of her, and snickering under her breath.

“You know, don’t you”, Phalon asked, eyes narrowed.

“Who? Me?” Blackwolf mouthed, pointing her finger towards herself, an exaggerated surprised look on her face. “What is it that I’m suppose to know, Phalon?”

“The way. Where we are and where we are headed. You know and you’re having way too much fun watching me stumble through this.”

“And why do you think that?”

“Ah…those wolf instincts of yours. You were there….or Montara was. He led me to the seaport, remember? Have him take me home, Blackwolf. Just for a day.” She fingered the bangles around her wrist. “Oh, to see my mother again!” Phalon breathed in deeply through her nose and continued, “She always smells of flowers, you know? Oh, how I’d like to spend a day with her, let her know how much she means to me, how much she’s taught me, how much she makes me laugh. Tell her again that I love her. Maybe even cook dinner for her.” She laughed at this last thought, “Ok, so maybe that’s not the best idea, but she’d take over in the kitchen anyway. She always does.”

Phalon got a faraway wistful look in her eye, and Blackwolf left her to her memories, finding new amusement with Zena in terrorizing the newcomer. She’d think about what Phalon asked. Possibly Montara did know.

Moments later, the forest echoed with new sounds. If one listened closely, intermingled with the howls from a wolf and the shrieks of a surprised messenger, was the laughter of a seeress, seeing things from another place and a time long ago in her past, her face bright with a smile.


Edited by: phalon1 at: 5/11/03 11:01:08 pm



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Whoosh-ChelSierra-Muse - Twi-Saga
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