Story # 4 by The Members of Argo's Stable


STORY-TAG
Each person takes turns writing a part to the story then passes
it on to someone else. These stories are not edited. They appear
exactly as they were sent to the list.


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Disclaimer: The characters of Xena & Gabrielle and others from Xena: Warrior Princess don't belong to us. We're just borrowing them.

Started on 10/31/01

Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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Part 1 by Taiko

Gabrielle sat by the fire with a new scroll on her lap, listening to the warrior sharpening her sword. Her thoughts were filled with stories, half completed, in her mind. It felt good to be writing again. She hadn't done enough of it this past year.

In the distance a twig snapped.

The bard's eyes never left her scroll. "Xena?" She whispered.

"I heard," the warrior whispered back. "There's two of them." Xena never stopped sharpening her blade.

Gabrielle casually placed one hand on the ground beside her, next to her sias. Her ears listening to everything, just as Xena had taught her.

Footsteps moved closer to the clearing... inch by inch... step by step...

The sound of stone scraping metal stopped as Xena prepared for anything.

The moment the two figures stepped into the clearing, Xena knew she should have remained dead.

"Why me?" Xena asked as the bard sighed.

******************

Part 2 by T.F.

The sounds came closer and closer,Gabby put down
her scrolls and grabbed her sais

then,with a crashing sound,Joxer trips on the ground
falling,he grabs Xena's---

Autolycus roles his eyes

******************

Part 3 by Karella

Joxer stared at his right hand, which was grasping Xena's left
breast. 
"You're a heartbeat away from losing that hand." Xena said through
clenched teeth.  Joxer quickly pulled his hand away, and placed it
behind his back. 
"Sorry, Xena….uh….I.." 
"As clumsy with your words as you are with your feet, eh,
Jockstrap?"  Autolycus stepped forward.  "Xena,… Gabrielle,… lovely
as always." He bowed slightly. 
Xena looked at Gabrielle, then rolled her eyes.  Just when they
thought they might have a few days to themselves.
"What do you want?" Xena asked with one eyebrow raised.  Gabrielle
laid down her sais with a sigh and returned to her scrolls. 
"Ignore them, Xena, maybe they'll go away."
"Such bad manners,.. and from you Gabrielle!  I always thought you
had a soft spot for me."  Autolycus attempted to sound wounded. 
"The soft spot is in your head, Autolycus"  Xena said as she returned
to sharpening her sword.  The fire crackled and hissed.  Gabrielle
tried to pick up her train of thought and continued writing **Love is
the one great gift from the gods.  If we have it, then we are truly
blessed.**  She glanced up at Xena and smiled. 
Autolycus sat down by the fire.  "There, see.  Isn't this nice and
cozy?"
"Xena…" Joxer began "Autolycus….and me…we have an idea, a
mission…and well, we need your help."
"A scheme, you mean" said Gabrielle.
"Scheme?  Me?  No, really,…. Xena, I know you don't think very highly
of me, but this time, I'm trying to be a good guy."  Autolycus smiled
fetchingly.  Xena wasn't fetched.  He went on, "There's a village
near here, and they're having trouble with …" Autolycus paused.
"What?" Xena hissed.
"Their children are disappearing"
Gabrielle looked up, "Disappearing? How can that be?"
"They think someone, or something, is stealing them.  I figured if we
put our heads together….we could solve the problem, return the
kiddies….."
"And cash in on a reward." Xena finished, shooting Autolycus a
withering look.
**********

Part 4 by xenacat2001

"Well....I suppose we can check it out in the morning.  We'll leave at dawn
.
just make sure you wake up on time." Xena said to Autolycus.
            **********
The morning dawned bright and clear.  "Joxer. JOXER....Wake UP!" Called
Gabrielle.

"Huh? Five more minutes Mom..." Said Joxer....NOT wanting to wake up.

<I'll get him up> Thought Xena....as she poured water on his head.

Joxer was defiantly up now!

"Xena!  I just fetched that water! And you've poured it all on Joxer!"
Gabrielle shouted.

" Oh...that's OK Gabrielle...Joxer can just get us more...seeing as he IS
awake now" Xena said, smiling.
********************
Later that morning, after a meager breakfast.....they set off for the
village. Xena was sure she could find out what was happening to the
children...as long as she asked the right questions.

Riding Argo into the small village...Xena approached the tavern...knowing
all the good information could be found there. Gabrielle, Joxer and
Autolycus followed her in.

"All right now, I want some information. Who can tell me about what's been
happening to the children?" Gabrielle said, looking around the room.

The Bar Keeper looked down at the small woman standing in front of him.  "
And why is it you want to know?" He asked...not to nicely.

"If you want my help finding your little ones...You'll give her all the
information you have " Said Xena with a snarl.

"Well...In that case....I'll tell you." He said apologetically.   "Hower over
there,"he said pointing, "Hower swears he saw Aphrodite pop in and take off
with 4 of our little girls.....and then he says he saw Ares take off with 3
of the boys..."

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Part 5 by EJK 

"Oh yes", Xena groaned inwardly.   "The only Olympian
siblings yet alive.  Now what could it mean...? she
thought. 

  All the while, Joxer had been pinching his lower
lip.  He seemed to be deciding what to do, as if he
had taken on the gods themselves quite often.
Finally, he noticed eveyone staring his way, and he
realized he had started a bloody mess of his lip.
"Oops!", he muttered with his usual annoying laugh.
But then he realized everyone had forgotten him.
"Well don't worry about me...I'll be o...k...," his
voice trailing off at the look Xena was giving him.

  "Hey, guys.  I know Aphrodite", Gabrielle was
quickly on the defensive for her friend.  "What would
she ever do with a child?  Remember the disaster she
created in trying to get a little princess to 'love'
her, rather than a stepmother?", she gave a weak
chuckle.

"Let's just hope there isn't anything more to this
then that," replied Xena, not finding any humor in the
situation.

"You have anything in mind", inquired Autolycus?
"You've got that 'I think I know' look.  Spit it out.
Not litslly, of course.  That would be quite
un-warrior-like of you."

"I wonder..."'muttered Xena to herself.  And then in a
loud, commanding voice, she called, "Ares!  Show
yourself.  No use hiding from this.  Join him,
Aphrodite."

Then with a lightning fizzle, the small group and
villagers saw the two residents of Olympia some to
being before their eyes.

"I will never understand how you DO that Xena", an
exasperated Ares said, arms crossed on his chest.

"I told you she'd find out", whispered a nervous
Aphrodite behind him.

"Oh cool it sis", "what she doesn't know won't hurt
anyone", replied Ares.

"The village is complaining about you two kidnapping
their children.  Where are they"? growled Xena
nastily, drawing her sword. 

"We just needed a little entertainment up on our
hill'<  said Ares lazily.  "Gods get bored too,
y'know".

*******************

Part 6 by Gabby Kat

The Warrior Princess lunged forward and pressed the tip of her sword against the war god's nether region.

"I'm in no mood for games Ares, but if you insist ... how's about a little round of pin-the-sword-on-the-jack-ass?" Xena hissed through clenched teeth, but the tiny spark fear that glinted in the immortal's eyes brought a quirk to her brow.

"Tsk, tsk.  No need to be violent Xena." Ares pinched the top edge of Xena's blade and pushed it gingerly aside.  He strode with forced nonchalance to stand just behind his goddess sister.  "The children from the village are perfectly safe where they are.  I mean, who better to take care of a bunch of kids than the God of War and the Goddess of Love, right sis?"

Ares elbowed Aphrodite in the arm, nearly knocking her off balance.  The beautiful goddess, clad in her barely-there pink chiffon nighty, cast her sibling the meanest glare she could manage then turned her attention to Xena.  "Xena, you know I would never do anything to hurt a child--"

"Aphrodite, you would never do anything to intentionally hurt a child, but remember what happened with that little girl?  Your heart was in the right place but..." Gabrielle's voice trailed off when she saw the brief, but mournful look on the Goddess' face.

Aphrodite took a deep breath and held the bard's concerned gaze.  "Gabrielle, you have my word that I will do everything in my power to protect those children and return them safely to their families.  They're safe, I promise you--"

Aphrodite's heartfelt words were cut short as Ares tugged on his sister's elbow.   "Ahem ... time for us to go sis, it's almost time."

"Ares..." Xena ushered the name as a warning for she knew what was about to happen.  Aphrodite waved her hand briefly before her face and the two Olympians disappeared in a misting of glittered sparkles.

"Xena?" The bard was at the ready, next to the warrior.  "This doesn't make any sense.  Aphrodite looked ... sad."

"Yeah, and Ares looked scared."

"Pshh... Xena.  Ares is the God of War, whaddya mean he looked scared?" Joxer's voice pierced the still air and was followed by a 'kathud' when Autolocus smacked him on the back of the head.

The Warrior Princess spun around and pressed her sword to Autolocus, on precisely the same body part that she'd poked the God of War.  All he could do was gulp down his fear, which he tried to cover up with smarmy charm.  "Yup, that's the look.  Ares was scared."  She glanced at the bard.  "Now why would the God of War be scared of my sword, stand BEHIND his sister ... she's the one that made them disappear, too.  He's too fond of his own theatrics to let anyone do it for him."

"Xena, do you mean--"

"Ares somehow lost his immortality, and the children are the key.  Come on, we need to get to the bottom of this, and I think I know exactly where the 'bottom' is."

****************

Part 7 by Jamie

  For sure xena knew were she had to go.she had to go stright down to
Hell,but the question was how she was going to get there.gab had a idea,since
they were real good friends with the amazon tribe,and since kalabrax had a
lot of power,they would ask her to send them down there.so xena,gab and
twiddle dink joxer began there journey to the amazon jungle.when the sun
started to set the decided to set up camp.xena told gab to go gather some
fire wood,while joxer and i guard the camp.when gab went off to find wood,she
tripped over a tree root and fell stright to the ground.she twisted  her
ankle badly,even though she was in so much pain , she uttered the words[XENA
HELP ME!!!!!!!!]xena heared her and grabbed her sword and ran for her.when
xena did find her,she took her back to camp.her ankle was very swollen.while
xena was guarding camp ,and all the pain gab was going through , she went to
sleep peacefully.that moring xena had to put gab on her hourse because her
ankle was still hurting her.finally they reached the amazon tribe ,xena
convinced kalabrax to help them.so kalabrx used her power to make a cut in
the earths crust,then she said,jump in and have a safe journey!xena push
twiddle dink in the crack because it was to scared to go in, then xena picked
up gab and jumped in carrying her. when they landed they encountered a large
dragon. xena noticed that there was large spikes on the ceiling, so she
waited until the dragon was hovering over her, and took her charkram and
threw it up to the ceiling and the huge spike fell on the dragon and the
dragon fell to the ground dead, with xena muttering the bigger they are the
harder they fall.

TO BE CONTINUED...
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Taiko's Scrolls of the Xenaverse   Argo's Stable