Olympus Has Fallen
Livia walked away from the city that had been her home for as long as she could remember. Her anger was high at the way Ares left when he heard Xena's description. What was going on between her lover and her enemy? She was determined to find out and kill the woman who stood in the way of what she wanted - Ares.
Xena and Gabrielle followed behind her for the rest of the day. When dusk came, they decided that it was time to confront Eve with the truth. The young woman was exhausted and finally stopped to make a fire and camp down for the night. They stepped up to the small crackling fire.
Eve jumped to her feet with her sword drawn. She didn't say a word just threw herself at Xena. Gabrielle tried to stop her but was shoved aside. Xena's blade was there to meet her daughter's blow. They couldn't seem to get the upper hand on each other. Gabrielle watched in wonder; it was as if Xena fought herself and maybe she did. Finally, Xena disarmed Eve. She held her sword to her daughter's heart.
"What are you waiting for? Do it already, then you will have Ares for yourself," Eve shouted at her mother.
"I'm your mother Eve, please; you have to listen to me. I am not involved with Ares. Gabrielle and I are lovers and have been for over twenty years. I don't know what he told you but I don't want Ares and haven't for a very long time."
"You're lying my name is Livia. Why should I believe you? Why would he leave me the second I described you to him?"
She shoved the sword away from her and dove for her own. Xena threw the chakram at her but Eve caught it easily. All three women were surprised, but it didn't take Eve long to throw it back at her enemy. Xena saw all the hate in her daughter's eyes and knew she couldn't allow her to continue on her journey of destruction. Gabrielle had to destroy her own daughter and Xena feared she was now faced with the same situation. Her heart broke when she stepped forward knowing she might have to end Eve's life.
A light shown down on Eve, and Xena stopped to watch. Gabrielle immediately understood what was happening. It was Callisto, her spirit stood before Eve. She touched Eve's temple, showing her everything Xena went through to keep her safe. The light faded as quickly as it appeared. Eve fell to her knees while sobs racked her body.
"Why would you still care after everything I've done? You should have killed me, the world would be better off."
Xena kneeled down to gather her child to her breast.
"I loved you from the first instant that I knew about you. I fought and killed gods to keep you safe and would do it again. You're the most important thing in my life, and I would die for you if it meant you would suffer even one minute less."
Gabrielle walked away to give the newly rejoined mother and daughter a chance to re-bond. She didn't understand why her own heart felt so heavy. She should feel happy to have Eve back, and that they had helped banish Livia from her life, but she only felt despair.Why couldn't I save Hope? Why did I have to lose my beautiful baby girl?
A shadowy memory played across her mind then it was gone.
Elissa made her way back toward the encampment, somehow knowing Xena and Gabrielle went after Livia. No matter what Athena told her about Livia's real name being Eve and that she was Xena's daughter. To her she would always be Livia, the bitch from Rome. The woman who led troops into small villages to rape, pillage and burn whatever they found. Elissa remembered the bodies nailed to crosses that marked the way to the final battle. It was as if Livia was daring anyone to defy her and Rome. Elissa would more than defy her, she would make her beg and plead for her life before she killed her.
Her thoughts turned to Gabrielle and her heart hardened even more. The woman who greeted her mother in friendship was the one responsible for her death. How could an Amazon, even one who no longer followed the path, commit such a crime?
The large black horse plodded on, while its mistress was lost in thought. Two days later, Elissa was back to the place where her former life died along with her mother and sister Amazons. She proudly allowed her tears to stream down her face in honor of their deaths and lives.
Athena was screaming at Ares for not telling her that Xena's daughter was still alive.
"Are you that besotted with the girl? Or, is it her mother you are still panting after? She doesn't want you, brother. She has her own lover in the bard and sees no need for anything you have to offer. Too bad they will all be dead soon."
Artemis and Ares looked on in shock but it was Aphrodite that spoke first.
"What does Gabrielle have to do with this? She isn't a threat to us. Can't we leave the little bard alone?"
"Why would you care one way or another? Do you have feelings for this human?"
Aphrodite shrugged a smooth shoulder. "What can I say, we are friends."
"Well, her fate isn't in my hands but another's. Someone who won't falter from the path, but will see the end of all three."
"What have you done, Athena? You know you can't interfere in the tapestry the Fates have woven for us. What did you do to Elissa? You know she is one of my followers. You had no right to talk to her."
Artemis was furious with her calculating sister. Her sister's accusations had Athena reaching her boiling point.
The halls of Olympus shook with her anger.
"I found a way that does not interfere with the Fates and our own laws. How dare any of you question me? I am the ruler here, and I will not be treated in this manner."
"Be careful sister, or you may find yourself missing a throne."
Artemis was not frightened of Athena and had enough power to wrest the throne from her if necessary. She would do what needed doing to keep Elissa safe, and on the path to her true destiny. She exchanged looks with her younger sister, the Goddess of Love, understanding passed between them. Aphrodite disappeared in a shimmer of red, pink and gold sparkles.
Athena didn't even notice while she continued to storm and shout at her brother. Ares' patience snapped and he too disappeared. The angry goddess looked around the room and found herself alone except for Artemis.
"What is wrong sister? Aren't you going to leave rather than hear the truth?"
"It isn't I who refuses to see the truth, sister but you. You may have caused our end to come even sooner than was foretold. If you would have left Elissa alone, we would have survived a little longer but that will not be true now. I thought you were the Goddess of Wisdom, but all I see is the Goddess of War and Hate. We are nothing without our followers, yet you would kill those that still follow us in your never-ending need to stop what is inevitable. I will leave you to your glory as the Ruler of the Gods; enjoy it while it lasts, sister."
Artemis left with the shimmering silver light of a moonlight night.
"We will not fade. I felt the girl's anger and rage and she will use it against my enemies and save us all."
Xena took her broken child to the seacoast, where she settled her little family. She thought of Eli's words about the way of love and turned to Gabrielle.
"Do you think that you can make her see what Eli taught you? Would you help to cleanse away her past so that we can help her?"
Gabrielle looked at Xena in equal parts pride and shock.
"Are you sure, Xena? I thought you didn't believe in Eli. I'll try if you think she's ready to hear it. But, Xena, it has to be her decision and Eve has to believe with all her heart, or it will do her more harm than good."
"I know but if anyone can get through to her you can. Look at everything you did for me, Gabrielle. I don't know what I would do without you, and never want to find out. When you died, I didn't think I could go on. Everything that we have been through good or bad, I wouldn't trade a single minute that you have been in my life."
Xena leaned over to gently kiss her soul mate.
"I know, and I feel the same way. You fill my heart and you always will."
Gabrielle stood up and went over to where Eve sat on the sand staring out at the rolling surf.
"Eve, I would like to help you if you'll let me. Xena and I know what you're feeling, and no matter what you think now, you can change your life. Everyone does things they would like to take back, but we can't. All we can do is ask for forgiveness from others and forgive ourselves. Then we take each day at a time and try to be a better person than we were the day before."
"How can I ever feel clean again? There is so much blood on my hands and it will never wash away. No one would forgive me, and I can never forgive myself."
Tears she shouldn't be able to weep continued in a steady stream down her face. It was as if Eve planned to replenish the ocean with the water from her body.
"When I was in India, I met a very special man who taught me about the Way. It's a life based in love and forgiveness. He performed a ceremony that I would like to do for you, if you're willing to try."
Gabrielle stared deeply into Eve's eyes.
"Eve, you have to want this with all your heart or nothing will change. Your despair will continue to grow. If you're ready to try to make up for your past then it will fill you with hope."
"I can see why my mother loves you so much. If you will show me, I would like to learn more about this path."
Gabrielle talked to Eve for several hours. She told her about her own life - before and after Xena. She talked about their adventures and the people they helped along the way. When she finished telling Eve everything, she looked over her shoulder and nodded.
Xena walked over to stand in front of the two people that meant the world to her. She put her hand out to her daughter and helped her to her feet. "Eve, are you willing to let Gabrielle perform the ceremony? We will help you to start a new life."
Eve squeezed Xena's hand then pulled her mother into a hug. Surprise showed on the Warrior Princess' face but quickly replaced it with the soft look of a mother's love. Eve moved out of Xena's arms and looked at Gabrielle with pure trust in her large sky blue eyes. She slipped her hand into the smaller woman's. Xena stepped up to take off their weapons and outer garments. She stepped back and watched them walk into the water hand in hand.
Aphrodite appeared beside Xena without her usually glimmering lights and soft tinkling of bells. "Gabrielle is a very special person, Xena. If anyone can help your daughter change it will be her."
"Why are you here? I won't allow you to kill my child. I just got her back and no one is going to take her from me."
The beautiful blonde goddess gave a tinkling laugh. "I'm not in the same situation as the rest of the gods, Xena. The world cannot continue without love, which goes hand and hand with everything that Ares represents. We are not part of the Twilight, but our roles will change. Our temples will fall into ruin and the world will stop worshipping us but we will always play a part in this world. No, I am here to take you to Olympus so that you and your daughter can do what must happen. I hope that Gabby won't take too long. I'm not sure how much time we have before she gets here."
"You aren't making any sense, before who gets here?" Her eyes didn't leave the two bodies in the water.
Xena watched Gabrielle talk to Eve, and she nodded before her lover gently laid her daughter in the water until it covered her completely. A few seconds later Eve's head broke back through the gentle waves and a light shone down on her then split to hit Xena as well.
Xena fell to her knees and spoke to Calisto, but no one else could hear her words. She understood what needed to be done and was prepared to do it. She wished she could leave Eve some place safe. It simply wasn't meant to be.
Elissa arrived on the shore in time to see Aphrodite appear, and light split between her two enemies. She waited until Gabrielle and Eve were once more at Xena's side then kicked her horse into a full out run. With a war cry that would scare the dead, Elissa swooped down on them. They disappeared the instant she reached. Her horse reared up at her angry hands on its reins.
Aphrodite appeared in the halls of Mt. Olympus. "Follow me and I will take you to where the others are waiting, although they don't know it yet, they soon will."
She walked in front of them with soft graceful steps.
Xena and Gabrielle looked at each other then followed the Goddess of Love's footsteps. Eve was no more than a step behind them. None of them looked anywhere but in front of them, the lavish halls had no affect on them. Xena and Gabrielle had dealt with enough gods over the years that they were unimpressed and Eve was still too numb from her ordeal.
Meanwhile, Elissa cursed them and shook her fist at the sky. Why would Athena send her after people another goddess was obviously protecting? Elissa slid off her horse and sat down on the sand to figure out her next step. Poseidon decided that if Aphrodite could interfere then so could he.
A huge wave started to grow, until it formed the shape of a man with a trident in his hand.
"You need my help little Amazon? I will send you where your enemies have gone."
Elissa stood up and bowed her head to the God of the Oceans. He picked her up with a large hand made of water. She felt herself being lifted higher and higher until they broke through the clouds. Poseidon sat her down gently on the front steps of Mt. Olympus.
"Take care little Amazon, may you succeed in your quest."
"Thank you for your help. I will do what is needed, and avenge my mother."
Athena stood when Aphrodite led Xena, Gabrielle and Eve into the great hall.
"What have you done sister? You have brought the very ones who will cause our deaths."
Her hand shot out and fire blasted from her fingertips. Aphrodite merely disappeared before the flames could reach her. Xena and Eve stepped together to protect Gabrielle. When the flames reached them, they bounced off but instead of hitting Athena, they ricocheted and hit Artemis.
Artemis screamed when the flames hit her and in the same instant Elissa stepped into the hall. She watched in horror while the goddess of the Amazon's burned to ash.
"NO!" The scream that came from her throat caused the halls to shake.
Everyone turned to see the owner of the scream, Gabrielle paled when she saw Elissa standing there. She stepped forward, but stopped when she saw beautiful green eyes change from shock to pure blazing hate.
"You, you're part of this. My mother and my people's murders weren't enough for you. Now, you kill our protector. You were never an Amazon and it sickens me to remember how my mother spoke of you with such respect. Once I kill your lover and the she-bitch of Rome, I will have vengeance for my mother and sisters."
"Do what you need to Elissa, or what I told you will come to pass. They will not stop at only killing us, who do you think they will go after next if not our followers. The Amazon's will be at the top of their list."
"That's a lie. We were sent here to put an end to the way of the gods not wage war with their followers."
Xena stepped forward, ignoring Elissa behind her, which was a big mistake. Elissa bent her knees and pushed off the marble floors with all her strength. She flew over the top of them to land between Xena and Athena.
"You'll have to kill me this time. Or do I need to worry about your she-bitch stabbing me in the back, again?"
"How are you still alive? I saw you fall."
Xena looked at the small blonde trying to grasp the fact that she stood in front of her.
"Did you bother to make sure that I was dead before you left to follow your cub? Did your lover offer my mother a comforting embrace before she gutted her? I have to applaud your performances before my mother and sisters; she thought that you were an ally." She pointed at Gabrielle. "A sister Amazon in need. And that you." She pointed her sword at Xena. "That the great Warrior Princess had changed her ways and fought on the side of the people. Did you laugh at her innocence of what you really were? The fact that none of us saw you leading us into battle to be slaughtered by your cub? You must have been frantic when I saw how to win the day. Little did I know it would cost me my mother and the lives of all those that followed me."
"Elissa, we didn't know that Livia was Eve. We fought to stop Rome from destroying our lands. Please, you don't understand what is happening here. Put away your sword and let them do what has to be."
"Don't speak my name; you do not have the right. All I see before me are traitors to my people, their own ways of life and our gods."
Aphrodite appeared beside Elissa and moved to touch her.
"Do not touch me, I saw you bring them here. You may be a goddess but not mine. Do you know they killed your sister? Artemis is dead because of you."
The Goddess of Love felt a deep sadness in her heart. Of all her brothers and sisters, she was closest to the Goddess of the Hunt. She closed her eyes to pay respect to her sister's passing then opened them again to look at the young woman before her. Aphrodite's eyes passed from her to her friend then back again. She wondered if the girl knew her true mother stood mere feet from her.
Aphrodite knew she had to allow Xena and Eve to do what they were sent to do. Ares appeared beside her and took the situation in at once. The brother and sister knew their time of glory was over but that they would continue on in a limited capacity. It was better than the alternative and they couldn't blame Athena for fighting the inevitable. Sadly, it all had to end here and now. Ares tried to grab Elissa around the waist but found himself on the wrong end of a sword.
"Big bad boys shouldn't pick on people who are smaller than them. Get away from me or we will see if they are the only ones able to kill gods." Elissa's voice could have frozen each of them in place. Eve knew it was up to her to get the Amazon's attention while Xena took out the others. She let out a war cry worthy of her mother and launched herself at Elissa. Xena's heart was in her throat. Would Eve be able to control herself so soon or would Elissa kill her daughter when she just got her back?
Xena moved forward, her chakram ready in her hand. She would have to trust in her daughter and that Gabrielle would protect their backs. Ares and Aphrodite stepped between her and the two young women who were now slashing at each other at a fast and furious pace. Gabrielle looked on helplessly, not sure why she felt her heart pulled in two opposing directions. She couldn't take her eyes off the small blonde that moved around Eve taunting her with everything she had done as Livia.
Elissa moved in to give Eve a nice slice on her arm. Eve felt the same fear she had felt on the battlefield when the young Amazon princess bested her. She knew her mother's life depended on her keeping Elissa busy while Xena did away with the other gods. Eve glanced over at Xena to see that only Athena remained while Hades, Hephaestus and the other major gods lay dead at her feet.
Her loss of attention gave Elissa the opening she needed. Elissa's sword moved with the swiftness of a biting cobra. Ares saw what was happening and could only push the sword off its path. Eve looked down to see that the sword piercing her side would have gone straight through her heart. As much as it hurt, she couldn't scream or she would distract Xena from the battle with the last remaining Olympian god that would cause the end of the rest.
Gabrielle ran forward to stop Elissa from killing Eve. She wasn't sure why she felt so frozen before but she had to stop her. Gabrielle had her Sais in both hands and went to keep Eve from any further harm. She moved between the two young women and felt the strangest sense of deja vu when she looked into bright green eyes.
"Elissa, you have to stop this. I'm sorry about Lysippe; it was an accident. Please, Eve isn't responsible for what she became. We tried to save her from this but it wasn't meant to be."
Gabrielle defended herself for a few minutes but soon found herself on the floor with a blade at her throat.
In the exact moment Elissa would have avenged her mother's death, her memories returned. She was once again in the glade but this time she saw the face of her birth mother. Her vision showed Gabrielle raising her head to look at her, her eyes glowing with love and pride. Elissa stumbled back her sword went slack in her hand and fell to her side.
"NO! It can't be. You are not her. I had a mother, I don't need you, and I don't want you." Elissa turned to run from the halls of Olympus. Artemis' words came back to her and understanding hit her full force. She saw her fate, her destiny laid out before her. Gabrielle was her mother and she couldn't kill her. It was the most heinous of crimes according to Amazon law. She couldn't break it. It would betray everything her mother had taught her.
Gabrielle looked at Elissa in confusion then looked back to see Xena kill Athena.
Mt. Olympus shook as if it raged against the loss of its residents. Aphrodite and Ares grabbed the women and disappeared from their former home. They appeared back on shore as Gabrielle struggled in Ares arms.
"Elissa, what about Elissa. She was still there somewhere, she ran away. You have to go back and get her. Please, Ares, she won't survive."
Elissa had called to Poseidon to take her away and the God of the Oceans granted this last feat before the seas were his lost to him. He reached up and gently returned to the small warrior to the beach. She respectfully bowed to him. He nodded in gratitude as he melted away into the water, never to be seen again. Elissa ran to her horse and mounted up. She took off at a run when she saw the others appear once more.
They heard a horse whinny and looked up. There on her large black horse was Elissa, riding as if the Furies chased her.
"We have to help her. She's confused and frightened. What happened up there? I don't understand."
Xena put arm around Gabrielle while her other remained on her daughter's waist.
Aphrodite took the small bard into her arms. "Little one, there is something you need to know about the little Amazon Queen. Please, Gabrielle, I'm sorry but there is no easy way to prepare you for this."
The Goddess of Love touched Gabrielle's temple and showed her what Elissa had learned. Gabrielle fell to her knees, wracking sobs shook her shoulders.
"No, it can't be. Hope is dead. Please, Dite, explain to me what's happening."
"Hope sent your daughter's soul to the Amazon land of the dead. She was caught there with the Amazons who couldn't pass over into Eternity. You were there with your daughter because you refused to go into Eternity if she couldn't go with you. Elissa's spirit couldn't pass because she was destined to come back. She is the only hope for the Amazons to survive. She will become their greatest Queen, Gabrielle."
"I have to go after her. How could I not know about my own child?"
Gabrielle rushed over to where her own horse was tied. Xena followed her lover. She placed calming hands on Gabrielle's trembling shoulders.
"Gabrielle, slow down. She'll need time to come to terms with what she learned. Give her some space, we'll follow her, and when the time is right we will help her understand everything."
Eve walked up and looked at Gabrielle with understanding and sorrow.
"She won't accept you if I'm with you. I need to stay here to try to make up for my past. Ares said he would take me to Eli. I need to learn more about his teachings, and hope he will help me the way that he helped you. Go after your daughter, Gabrielle. When you find her, please tell her I'm sorry…for everything."
Xena hugged her daughter proud of the changes that she had already made in her life. She knew Eve had a long way to go but was confident she was on the right road.
Elissa rode for two days and nights, until she reached the harbor. She was on the next boat to North Africa to free her enslaved sisters from Gurkhan. She was happy to see the shore grow further and further away and with it her 'mother'. How could that excuse for an Amazon Queen be her mother? It couldn't be true. Although, Elissa knew in her heart it was. This was what Artemis tried to tell her would determine her life-path. Strange as it sounded, she was glad she hadn't killed Gabrielle. It would have ended her right to lead and force her tribe to sentence her to death.
She knew she wouldn't die no matter what they did to her. Still Elissa couldn't imagine living beyond the horrible sentence that separated her from her people.
Elissa knew that she needed council. She found a clear place on the deck, folded her body and started to breath deeply. Her pulse and heartbeat slowed as she fell into a deep trance. Elissa called to her mother's in Eternity.
"What pains your heart so daughter?" Lysippe appeared to Elissa in shining golden armor, which made her rich red hair burnish brighter.
"Mother, how could she be my birth mother? How do I forsake my promise to seek vengeance for your death? Will I never be allowed to return to our tribe and lead them, the way you've trained me all these years?"
A soft wind blew Elissa's hair while in her trance her mother brushed it away from her face. "You do not have to worry about avenging my death. Retrieve your sisters then return to our tribe, I have taken care of all else. I promise you it will be alright."
Understanding grew in Elissa's mind when she replayed her mother's last moments on Earth. She thought her mother's curse was aimed at Xena but now realized it would keep Gabrielle away from her. A deep sigh expelled from deep within her and she felt weight lifting from her shoulders. Elissa stood in one smooth movement and walked to edge of the boat.
"I thank you Poseidon for your help and promise I will always honor your world."
Cool water gently sprayed her face; Elissa looked down to see a school of dolphins playing in the ship's wake. She smiled and settled back to watch them play. ________________________________________
Gabrielle and Xena tried to follow Elissa but weren't having any luck. It was as if she disappeared off the face of the Earth. Gabrielle was growing more frantic with each day that passed. She couldn't forgive herself for not knowing about her child's soul that she left behind with Cyane and her tribe.
She never talked about that time or the other death that still haunted her at the strangest of times. Only now, she knew why she could never put Hope's death to rest even after all these years. Her baby girl, the goodness that she always saw deep in her daughter's eyes was alive. While Gabrielle followed after Xena and helped to protect Eve then rested frozen for over twenty years, her daughter was reborn as an Amazon. Not any Amazon but taken in by the queen of her tribe and adopted according to their rites. It was strange how Elissa's life mirrored so much of Gabrielle's early years.
"We will find her trail, Gabrielle. When we least expect it something will turn up, it always does."
Xena took her lover's hand in hers. She wished that she could help her friend the way that she always did her.
"I know, Xena. I just can't help but feel I should have known she was still alive. What kind of a mother does that make me?"
"You're a good mother, Gabrielle. When we find Elissa, you'll get the chance to make her see you love her and always have, even though you didn't know about her till now. You felt her deep in your heart and she'll give you a chance just like Eve did for me."
Xena wished she could do more than be supportive. They were helpless until they found the young Amazon Queen.
They rode for two more days only stopping to rest at night. Gabrielle had horrible nightmares of when Hope was alive, and that Elissa was crying for her in the land of the dead. She woke up each night in a cold sweat. Xena held her until the sun rose and they would once again set off for news of Elissa.
Finally, four days later they found someone who knew something about the missing girl. They were at the harbor town of Tenice.
"I saw her sure, who wouldn't remember a woman that looked like that." A young shopkeeper smiled at the two beautiful women.
"Where did she go? When was this, how long ago?" Gabrielle all but jumped on the young man.
Xena smiled at the shopkeeper. "Forgive my friend but this is very important to her. The girl is her sister and they had an argument. You understand how it is with sisters. They argue then immediately want to make up."
"Sure. I have a younger brother. We argue all the time but deep down we love each other. She was here two days ago and got on a ship headed for Africa, some place called Mogador. I've heard tales of it. Some war chief called Gurkhan rules there; he's supposedly worse than the Romans. Captain Enos took her once he saw her gold. He's a good man but a miser at heart and will take anyone wherever they want to go, for the right amount of gold. I hope you catch up with your sister before she reaches Gurkhan, miss. Good Luck."
Gabrielle gave Xena a bright smile then the worry leaked back into her eyes.
"She has two days on us, Xena. Do you think we can catch her?"
"We will find her now we know where she's headed. I promise nothing will happen before you get your chance to talk to her."
They walked off arm in arm to find a ship's captain that would take them to Mogador as fast as possible.