"…And even though it was a great tragedy that Petracles died at the hands of the assassin Thersides, at least Xena now knew that in his heart, Petracles was a good man."
Gabrielle looked up from the parchment resting on her lap. Across the campfire Xena was, as usual, honing the edge of her sword.
Then carefully dipping the tip of her quill into the ink, she wrote one last sentence. "And that evening, as we settled down for the night, I couldn't help but wonder what adventures awaited us the next day, or the day after that."
After blowing on the ink to make sure it had dried, Gabrielle carefully rolled the parchment up with two others, then tied them with leather string.
Xena looked up. "And I suppose you've finished another story? Which 'great adventure' is that one?"
"It's the one about the Sumerian Treasure, the Ambrosia . . . and Petracles."
"It's been over a year since that happened. How can you remember everything that happened?"
"Because I have a bard's memory. I may not remember all the details, but the basic facts are locked securely up here." And she tapped her head just above her temple.
Xena put her sword away, placed another log on the fire, then laid down on her blanket, settling in for the night. Seeing this, Gabrielle carefully put the scroll in a leather pouch with several others and laid down on her blanket.
But neither was in any hurry to go to sleep. This was the time of day they talked of things other than warlords, or the day's battles. They often reminisced and shared their more pleasant memories. Or, in the case of Gabrielle, sometimes speculated on things to come, often becoming philosophical.
"So just how many of those scrolls do you have now?"
"I just finished the ninth one."
"What made you decide to write about Petracles?"
"I really hadn't planned to, but the way my mind works, it just came around to that particular adventure."
When Xena didn't respond, Gabrielle continued.
"This morning when I woke up I was wondering about my scrolls, you know, what will eventually happen to them? Will they be lost after I've died? Or somehow will they be preserved, and found, and read sometime in the future? And that got me to thinking about immortality. Not me so much, but my words; our adventures -- chronicles, if you want to call them that. And that brought me to Ambrosia, and then everything about the events leading up to how we found it. And since Petracles was such a big part of that, I decided the story needed to be told."
"Hmm," Xena murmured, as if she was dozing off, but Gabrielle knew better. Xena almost never fell asleep before she did.
After a short silence, Gabrielle asked, "Xena, do you ever think about Petracles?"
"Sometimes. And sometimes I think about Marcus. And I even think about Darius, and his children. So what about you? Do you ever think about Perdicus?"
"Of course I do. We grew up together. We were married."
Gabrielle sighed. "But now, I'm not so sure if I really loved him, but he's still in my heart."
There was more silence as they both were letting the chirps of the crickets lull them to sleep.
Then Gabrielle became more fully awake.
"Xena, what about my scrolls? What IS going to happen to them when I die?"
"Most likely you'll pass them on to your children, who will pass them on to your grandchildren, and so on and on."
"But what if I never get married and never have children?"
"Then we'll find a nice, dry, secure cave somewhere and hide them."
"I wonder what someone in the future would think of them? Would they think they're actual accounts of the things we've been through? Or just stories made up just for someone's amusement?"
"I suppose that would depend on how much you have embellished the facts, you know, how outrageous they sound."
"Well, after all, they ARE stories, but they're still based on actual events. I don't think I've added anything that wasn't really true. Maybe an exaggeration or two, here and there."
"I guess we'll never know."
"But wouldn't it be wonderful if there was some way we could?"
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