by Vickey Brickle-Macky 11/10/2000
This is a multi time line story which came to me
after hearing rumors of Ares being sealed in his tomb
to fit in with the Xena scrolls and Deja Vu stories
lines. Since only a direct descendant of Xena can
release him from his tomb--what if there is bloodline
from Livia/Eve that no one knows exists? What if these
bloodlines meet in the future with one being allied
with Ares and the one against him? This contains both
fifth and sixth season story lines from Livia,
Eve, Motherhood, Coming Home, Where´s Gurkhan?
Some violence, strong language, maybe sex as this is a work in process that is writing itself. Most of my writing is adult level real life, so assume that this will be so too. This starts out with Eve and Virgil, but it will eventually have Ares, Xena and other characters. Standard disclaimers apply as this is for my sanity and strictly for fun with no profit off of it except for other Xena fans to enjoy.
"Gods, it´ll be good to get back to civilization and off this ship. What are you going to do once we get docked Eve?" Virgil asked his traveling companion as they watched the ship get guided into a landing spot on the busy, bustling dock that was crowded with people and all matter of things being loading and unloaded from the docked ships.
The young dark haired woman pushed back her unruly wind whipped hair and looked thoughtful as she leaned on the rail looking over the crowded harbor and docks of Rome. "I don´t know. I really didn´t have any real plans after I make sure all the girls are taken care of and sent on the way to their homes. Eventually I´m supposed to meet up with Xena and Gabrielle in Athens, but until then I thought I just kind of wander around and get my head together?" she said leaving the rest up in the air.
"You could come back with me to my home and wait," Virgil offered reluctant to let her go off on her own. Xena and Gabrielle had both entrusted her safekeeping to him while they had business to attend to elsewhere. He looked down at Eve hesitant to press for more, she was still skitzy and made a habit of keeping to herself while she tried to rebuild her shattered personality and life from when she had been Livia. Though the long trip back, with just the two of them to see to getting the young woman from Gurkhan´s harem settled, had given him time to begin to know the young woman who was just a few years older than himself.
She looked at him hesitantly with her sky blue eyes so like her mother´s, and shook her head. "I really don´t think that´ll be too good of an idea. Your mother will definitely not want to see me for a number of reasons incuding killing your father. Though for the like of me I can´t see how you have forgiven me for that or even want to hang around me," She said seriously, regarding him curiously, wondering how he could even stand to be near her after what she had done. The memory of killing Joxer in cold blood was still vivid always in her mind as well as all the other countless and needless deaths and destruction she had caused to the world at large on her blood stained hands.
"I just have. You´re not Livia any more, and I can see it, and feel it. But you are still going to have to contend with people who don´t know, or can´t understand what has happened to you. Since you´re not fighting anymore you still need protection," he reminded her.
I know. I don´t have my mother to back me up,
and she put you in charge of me like I´m some
sort of helpless child. Me, who was leading armies
across the known world, conqueroring cities, and an
expert in every known craft of warfare now can´t
pick up a weapon or defend herself. What a cosmic
joke," she laughed bitterly, her mouth working
into a grimace at the thought of how helpless and
in her own mind useless she had become. She didn't
like herself as either Livia or Eve as they were very
much now opposite sides of her with no middle ground
in between as of yet.
Virgil shrugged his shoulders, and leaned his tall, muscular frame against the rail next to her taking her complaints in stride. "Eventually you will find your balance, Eve. You´ll find out what it is you´re supposed to be and do. Until then you just have to survive. I was going suggest after we get our companions taken care of we go try to find an inn and get some food," Virgil suggested hopefully, wanting some real food that wasn´t seafood or fish, and a bed that was a real bed on solid ground that didn´t rock and roll with every wave, or fling him to floor suddenly from a sound sleep.
Eve brightened with the idea of real food and a comfortable bed. Though she still have grave misgiving about coming here to Rome. She hadn´t wanted to, but to get the remaining girls to their homes it was the most logical port for them to go to make the travel connections they needed. "That sounds good. Any real food sounds wonderful. Are the girls all packed and ready?" she asked turning back to the docks and watching the activity below her, reminded of similar dockings in the past when she had returned from some campaign, or mission for her adopted father Augustus Caesar.
Virgil looked behind him to see the ten women who were all that were left from Gurkhan´s harem standing mid deck with all their meager belongings. Xena and Gabrielle had taken enough gold and jewels from his palace to ensure that each of the women would have more than enough money to finance their trips home to their families or do whatever they wanted when they returned to civilization. He was going to miss a few of the ladies that he gotten to know on the trip, but he had wisely chosen not to get involved with any of them as he knew like his father, Joxer, his path lay with the fortunes of Xena, Gabrielle and Eve. They were family to him now as they had been to his father.
He had had some hopes of him, and Gabrielle, but Xena had squished that firmly as had Gabrielle feeling very strange to be with the son of the man who had loved her always. As she had told him it was just too weird with her one on hand being twenty five years older than him, yet almost the same age. So he had began to turn his attentions to Eve. It wasn´t anything romantic, just wanting to know, and understand her. Not that she was much of a talker, especially about what she was feeling. But he had at least gotten her to talk about herself, and how she had grown up, and from him she learned what Joxer had told his family, and him about Xena and Gabrielle and about her as a baby. From him she learned how loved she had been by all including Joxer and how the war with gods had begun and why as well as Hercules´ part in her birth.
Eve told him that Augustus then Octavus had brought her home, and formally adopted her as his heir never explaining to anyone who she was, or where she came from. Since he was the emperor no one dared questioned him, or challenge him, and so she was accepted as his child and heir since he had no children of his own. As far as she known she was Roman by birth. She was well educated by tutors on all subjects, and when she started having an aptitude for weapons and warfare, her father had encouraged it and had her trained by the best weapon´s masters, and fighters he could find. When she was just sixteen she had first met Ares when she had gone to one of his temples in Cornith to ask for help with being a better fighter after some of the men she fought with had put her down as being too soft hearted, and not tough enough to be a real fighter. From that first meeting with the God of War her life had changed completely turning her into the Livia he had first met, the Bitch of Rome, supreme commander of all Augustus´ armies, and on her way to become the Empress until Xena had come back from the dead and revealed to Livia what her true identity and purpose in life was. Then as now had been a mixed blessing knowing who she really was but as of yet she still didn´t know with the certainty she had always had what her true purpose in life was. Now the future was completely unknown and it scared her.
"They look like they are all ready to go," he told her bringing her thoughts back to the present and the tasks they had to do once they were docked. "How does it feel being back here as Eve? Are you going to be okay?" he asked still concerned about how she was adjusting to this new life of hers.
"Strange, very strange. I used to be so happy to get back, and look forward to a triumphant procession back to the palace to see Father´ and give him my report, and bounty from my conquests. People would line the streets cheering me, throwing me flowers, shouting my name, and how proud they were of me for bringing yet another glorious victory to Rome. Today I feel like I´m slinking back into Rome with my tail between my legs. Now I´m nobody, except maybe Xena´s daughter. There will be no processions, no victory marches, and hopefully no one will know I exist," she said with bitterness, and a flash of anger for what she had given up, but then it was quickly replaced with sadness. "And that, Virgil, is the way it must be," she added looking at him, her eyes hard, and her mouth determinedly set, "has to be and even Augustus must not know I am here."
"Are you sure? You could stop by the palace and let him know what has happened." Virgil questioned knowing that she was giving up much in fact all of her life and wealth to walk the path that Xena had shown her.
"He knows. Xena wrote him, and informed him of all that happened, and that Livia no longer exists and his empire´ is safe now from any claims by me," she laughed a bit hollowly.
"He was your father though for all these years, surely you must care about him?" Virgil asked gently wanting to comfort her, but knowing she would not appreciate or misinterpret his gesture.
"I do, but it will just be too painful to see him now. I feel like I let him, and the Empire down by becoming whatever it is I am now. Just look at me, I´m a joke. Dressed like some beggar or religious wanderer, I´d never even get near the gates. The guards would laugh in my face and I end up being thrown to the lions for daring to claim I was Livia. Maybe someday I can face him again, but not now. Let´s just drop the subject, okay?" She requested, and he did knowing it would not do to press her on this.
She lifted her tattered, dirty woven shawl, and put it over her wild hair to shield her identity in case she might be recognized as she had been in numerous places already on this trip. Yes, new clothing was a definite must when they got landed, she thought to herself as she looked down at the rags she was wearing. She was at least beginning to take an interest again in how she looked which she hadn´t since her conversion and the war with the gods. Her depression and shock over the rapid events in her life hadn´t made her care about much of anything. But she had to change that if she was ever going to find a balance within herself.
They felt the ship bump and slid into their docking bay and watched as the sailors quickly tied the ship up and set the ship´s ramp into place so they could disembark. "Okay, ladies let´s go. We need to go find you your traveling arrangements to get you all back to your homes," Virgil told the women as he and Eve joined the group.
"Thank you Eve, Virgil, for all of this. And thank your mother too when you see her, Eve. I can´t wait to get back to Soma to see my family," one of the women said.
"I will, Mayla," Eve said with a reassuring smile and clasp of the woman´s shoulder to move her forward. "Let´s get going," she said cutting off any more the woman might have said as she hustled the group down the plank and on to the dock. "Stay together." She reminded them as they pushed their way through the crowds as she played shepherdess to her flock.
They were almost at the dockmaster´s office when Eve noticed a slave auction going on by one of the ships. Slave auctions were a common occurrence at the docks with some ship master´s not wanting to take the time to go through a formal auction with one of the auction houses and having to split the profits. What caught Eve´s attention was the name of the region these particular slaves were from. The sign announced that these prize specimens were newly captured by one of her ex-generals. It was a small town in the southern region of Gaul that she had visited when she was sixteen, going on seventeen, the place where she had given birth to her son, and left him in the keeping of her maid who had married one of the locals.
"Virgil!" she yelled over the noise of the crowd around her. "Virgil!"
He stopped and looked back at her. "What?" he asked, not understanding why they had stopped, but he soon saw what she was looking at. He walked back to her as she started worriedly scanning the faces of the captives hoping that the face she sought was not there. Unfortunately it was. Her son was among the slaves for sale. She hadn´t seen him since his birth, but there were no mistaking his features and bearing. They were too much like his father´s. She had to get him some way, and she was not her mother who could just bust in and take him. They would have to buy him.
"How much money do we have left?" she asked desperately, sparing a brief glance at him as she tried to keep an eye on the auction and saw that it was going rather quickly and that soon he would be up for sale.
"About 200,000 denars more or less. Why?" he asked trying to figure out why she was in such a panic. The group of women were also confused too and nervous about the proximity to the slaver ship. They were hoping that their benefactors were not going to turn around and sell them at the last minute.
Eve moved forward pushing her way forcibly through the crowd that had gathered, not caring who was in her way. There were many angry grumbles and shouts but she ignored them. She had to get to the slave master now! Virgil followed closely behind apologizing as he could for her and trying avoid any fights. Eve stopped close to the makeship stage and pointed frantically to the children about to go on stage. "See that boy about ten years old, the one with the dark curly hair standing by the older gray haired woman with the blue cloak?" she asked and he nodded, still not understanding what the problem was. "We have to get him, get him free," she said her voice rising in fear and panic as she looked for the auction owner over the heads of the crowd and started moving in purposely in his direction.
"Why?" Virgil asked doubly confused now as to why she had to get the child. He didn´t see anything remarkable about the boy. Except that his coloring was slightly different than the other children in the group and he had a presence of sorts that the others didn´t havemaybe minor nobility, Virgil thought.
Eve turned acting and now looking like a wild woman both angry and extremely fearful as her desperation to stop the auction grew with each passing minute that they could not get through the tightly packed crowd in her way. Finally she had to tell him, "because he´s my son!"
Virgil wheeled back shocked. "Your son? You have a child? One that old?" he sputtered as he took a better look at the tall, dark haired boy who looked older than his years and who also promised to be massively built when he was full grown.
"Yes," Eve spat. "What you think I was some kind of virginget real! Yes, I have had lovers, but I never made that mistake again after I had him. I got pregnant when I was sixteen. The father never knew and I thought I had my son safe and cared for," she explained as they pushed through the last of the crowd and came up to the auction master.
Steeling herself, Eve uncovered her head and brought herself up so that she was once again the Roman noble she had been raised as "You the owner of these slaves?" she asked the overdressed, over jeweled fat man dressed in gaudy colored silks who looked to be in charge.
"Yes, can I help you?" he replied hautly, looking Eve over with distaste for her simple clothes and traveling companions.
"These slaves, they are from Beutta village, am I correct?" she asked, wanting verification as she looked over the Roman legionnaires and guards around them.
"Yes. How did you know that?" the man replied surprised as that had not been mentioned in his spiel to the crowd.
"I served there years ago."
"You, a woman? What as camp follower?" he laughed in her face getting the men around him to laugh as well. Eve frowned furious at his lack of respect. Her rage and desperation boiled up, and she saw red. Without another thought she reached out, and picked the man up by his throat lifting him off the ground by several inches.
"NO! You fat bastard as the supreme commander of Augustus Caesar´s army. I am Livia, the Bitch of Rome, his daughter!And I want two of the slaves you have up there on the block! The older woman with the blue cloak, and the young boy with her. And I want them now!" she yelled in his face in imperial command tones pinning the squirming man with one of her looks of pure rage.
The man had gone deadly pale at the mention of her name, and then looking at her he did recognize finally her, and began shaking in fear for his life. The guards and soldiers who started to rush to the man´s aid also stopped and stared recognizing her as well despite the odd clothes and her companions. There were frightened murmurs throughout the entire crowd now as she was recognized. The auction itself grounded to a halt as the turbaned Arabic looking auctioneer on stage was both afraid and unsure whether to continue or not.
"Do it! Do it Now! Get her the slaves!" The red faced man managed to croak out and wildly gesture to his people. They ran to do his bidding taking the boy and his foster mother from the others and bringing them to her as fast as they could.
When the boy and his foster mother were brought before Eve, who was letting the man down to gasp for air, the older woman´s eyes´ widened in recognition at Eve realizing who she was and now she was scared. "Ohh, my lady, it´s you," the woman called Dana said.
"Yes, Dana, it´s me. I see I have arrived at an opportune time. Are you all right?," she asked gently to the gray haired woman dressed in nice clothing and simple jewelry as befitting her Gaulish noble station.. "And your son is he well?" Eve inquired looking at her son also dressed as a noble who was regarding her with crystal blue eyes that had no clue who she was
"Yes lady, Areon and I have been treated fairly as we were under Commander Claudius´ care. He made sure we were well treated. Unfortunately, he met with a mishap once we arrived otherwise we would not have been up for sale. The Commander was bring us to your father," Dana explained, looking sideways at the auction master.
"I see," Eve said looking back at the auction master who was now cowering back away from her. Then Eve recognized Claudius´ second in command who was standing and glaring at her with hate filled eyes. It was an older Roman legionnaire in a worn Centurion´s uniform who had served with her on her first command. "Septo, it´s been a long time," Eve told him in rather cold greeting as she had had him disciplined and set to Britain because he kept pursuing her and refused her orders.
"Your highness," he acknowledged. "I am somewhat shocked to see you. Rumor had it you gave up your throne, and that you were dead, killed in a battle with the Greek Gods. There was something about your being Xena of Amphipolis´ daughter, and that she had returned from the deadyet again. Caesar could never do a job right," he snidely said to her with the barest amount of respect in his equally cold tones to her.
Eve drew herself up fully projecting confidence and an air of menace that she did not really feel but had to have to deal with this lowlife solder. "As you can see I am quite alive. And you should know by now not to listen to rumors where I am concerned. Did not, I ,and my father, leave standing orders that their village was never to be bothered?"
"Yes, but the new supreme commander rescinded those orders. The new Commander ordered these two to be brought to Rome and to his villa in Titus. Claudius was put in charge, and was bringing them to your father instead for some reason. I stopped him. Since I owed Maribus, here, a favor, and need money to pay off my debts I decided to sell then instead and retire," the older man said bluntly.
Eve just looked at him disgustedly, and spat at him just barely missing his sandled feet "The years have not improved your character, Septo. I am taking the woman and the child. They are free citizens, not slavesis that understood?" she said, looking at her former commander, and the slave master who nodded, still shaking from his close call, and he hurriedly made out papers saying so for the two former slaves and handed them over to Eve with trembling hands. She nodded her thanks with scouring looks to the entire group of men, stuck the papers in her belt pouch, then she quickly ushered Dana and her son away from them before they could question her authority any further.
Virgil and the woman hung back following them until he was sure they were out of sight of the slave master and his crew. When he thought the coast was clear he came up to Eve who was beginning to feel the after effects of her encounter with the slavers and her former excommander. "Eve, wait up," he called and she turned, looking around worriedly.
"Virgil, don´t call me that! I´m Livia. Wait until it´s safe. We´re being followed," she warned him knowing that Septo would be certain to send someone to find out what she was up to and where she was going to.
"Ohh," he said looking around to catch any sight of a tail and understanding that she had to play this out until they could give anyone following them the slip, and get to safety. "We´ll talk later," he said indicating Dana and the boy. "Let´s get the girls settled," he told her pointing to the ship master´s office.
"Yeah, less people to worry about," she agreed and they went to office taking Dana and the boy with them.
Within ten minutes they had gotten the women straightened out and safe passages negotiated to their homes. After many tearful good byes, Virgil, Eve, Dana, and the boy left the offices, and headed for the market to get clothes and supplies.
The young boy, Areon, had been very quiet, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of Rome as well as the trying to understand who the strange woman, and tall man were who had gotten them back from the slavers. He had gotten frightened when he had heard her call herself Livia. He knew that name, everyone did in Gaul. It was a name to be feared, and from what he had seen happen to the slave master, and how everyone else had backed away from her in fear, and respect made him know that she was the woman of legend who had rescued him and his mother for some unknown purpose.
Strangely though, his mother was not afraid of the woman warrior, and the warrior treated his mother with respect, and a gentle kindness. It was clear they knew one another very well, but he had never seen the woman before. After the other women left to go to their homes all that was left was the man named Virgil who seemed to be friend to the woman, and very protective towards her which seemed odd considering the display she had put on. She looked more than capable of taking care of herself. Now watching her she seemed different, less sure of herself, almost helpless, fearful. Something strange was going on and she was unnerving him with the looks she kept giving him. Areon wasn´t sure why she was so interested him or why the man was too. But it was clear that she wanted him for something.
Eve and Virgil brought clothes for all of them, both fine clothing and traveling clothes. Passing a weapons dealer Virgil finally convinced Eve to arm herself. She didn´t want to, but they had a fevered whispered argument, and at the end she nodded reluctant agreement. She did want to be a warrior again but circumstances were demanding that she be one, especially now that she had Dana and her son to protect as well. Not arming herself would be the height of stupidity. Looking over the finely wrought weapons in the shop she picked out a serviceable fighting sword, several small daggers, a whip, and lastly a Chakhum. She also got herself a black, boiled leather fighting outfit with inset blackened metal panels on her chest and shoulders. She also picked up knee high matching boots, and a heavy dark cloak. After they had made all their necessary purchases they sought out an inn that Eve knew where the owner could be bribed to keep quiet about them being there. They got one large room upstairs with several beds to share as Eve and Virgil were not taking any chances with both their safety and with Dana´s and Areon´s.
Their dinner in the tavern area of the inn went awkwardly at first. Areon was too shy to do much talking to either Virgil or Eve. As he had heard of her and was still afraid of the fierce warrior, though looking at her now she didn´t seem that fierce, more sad than anything else. Eve had to explain that she had been changed through Eli´s teachings, and was trying to do good instead of evil like she had. She was no longer Livia, but Eve, but until they got out of Rome it would be best if people still thought of her as Livia. The boy did light up when Xena and Gabrielle´s names were mentioned in conversation as he had heard of them even in the Gaulish outlands. He was very surprised to find that Xena was Eve´s real mother, and that they were still alive as what he had heard as well as everyone else was that they had been killed by the gods many years ago. That´s when Virgil told the boy the story of Eve´s birth, and how Xena, Gabrielle, and even his father, Joxer, had fought the Olympian Gods to protect her because of an ancient prophecy about her birth being the beginning of the Twilight of the Gods. He told him how Hercules had had to kill his father Zeus to protect Xena and Eve when she was born. Then he told them about the warrior´s last stand where Xena had faked their death´s by drinking a potion with Death´s tears in it to trick the gods into believing they were dead. How Octavus, now Augustus, had been given Eve for safe keeping, and ended up raising her as his own. He told the boy how Xena and Gabrielle had been taken to a high mountain and put in ice caskets by Ares the God of War, who was in love with Xena, thinking they were dead, and instead they had slept for twenty-five years to find they were still the same as they had been, but everything had changed and Eve was now grown up.
He also told them how Xena and Gabrielle had found Joxer, and also himself, and enlisted their aid in trying to find Eve which they did. Octavus had raised her as a warrior and she was called Livia and didn´t want to believe she was Xena´s daughter. Virgil did leave out that Livia had killed Joxer, but did say that in the temple of Eli that she saw something that convinced her that Xena was telling the truth after Xena prayed to Eli for a miracle. From that point on she began changing. But Ares had told the other gods that Xena was back and that Eve was still alive and they were furious and came after them again to destroy her. Somehow through Eve, Xena was given the power to kill gods. She didn´t want to do that, but she did kill some of the gods that tried to kill her daughter, and Gabrielle, and the battles were fierce. During one battle Eve and Gabrielle got fatally injured and were going to die. Xena then got Aphrodite to take them to Olympus to make a deal with Athena to leave them alone, but Athena wouldn´t go for it. Instead she battled Xena because she had lost her ability to kill gods because of Eve dying. It was only because Ares healed Gabrielle, and Eve that Xena was able to fight back, and kill Athena. Because he had healed them without Athena´s permission, Ares lost his immortality, and is now just a plain mortal. Though he has been trying to regain his immortality, and got into a battle with Xena where she almost died because the Furies were driving him insane so they could rule Olympus instead of the Olympians. They lost. Now Ares wandering around some where by himself still mortal. He also told the boy that later on they were all going to meet up with Xena and Gabrielle in Greece which made Areon very excited, and couldn´t figure out why Eve had kicked him under the table after he said that and looked very angry with him.
The young boy and his foster mother were fascinated as were some of the people in the tavern that had been overhearing Virgil´s tales of Xena. He hadn´t noticed he had quite an audience until he stopped talking and looked around at all the people hanging on every word. He looked around nervously as did Eve.
"Don´t mind us," some older man said in the crowd. "We love hearing a good tale, especially about Xena. I had heard she had somehow risen from the dead again and was back and now you say you´ve seen her and traveled with her?" he asked awestruck.
"Yeph, my father was Joxer. He´s dead now. But Xena and Gabrielle came looking for him to find Xena´s daughter who was a baby twenty-five years ago. She had hoped that Joxer had her but someone else did. And we went looking for her and eventually found her," he said carefully.
"Wow, Xena has a grown daughter and she don´t look much older than her kidthat must be really strange," the old guy said.
"It is, but they are getting used to it." Virgil said with a grin looking back at Eve who frowned at him.
"Is Xena and her friend here in Rome?" the old guy asked hopefully.
"No, they are off somewhere in the desert last I heard, but I´m supposed to meet up with them later," Virgil answered and felt Eve kick him again hard in the leg for saying too much. "Ouch!" he told her, and saw her glance worriedly around. Luckily the crowd was dispersing, but still she felt like they had drawn too much attention to themselves, and she didn´t know whether anyone had heard the earlier part of the conversation and was connecting her as both Livia, and as Xena´s rediscovered daughter.
"Hey son, with your gift of words you ought to think about writing down all these tales so people will remember what really happened and forget. You spin a pretty good yarn, you do. Thanks for the stories," the old man said and bowed polity and made his way back to his own table.
Virgil turned back to his group, and saw Eve getting more and more agitated and worried, plus Areon was getting sleepy and leaning heavily against Dana. He looked over to Areon, and ruffled his curly black locks as he told the boy, "I guess you got you´re bedtime story, now we need to put you to bed." Virgil grinned at him and the boy shyly smiled back as he rubbed his sleepy eyes. Virgil got up, and easily lifted the boy into his arms, and carried him upstairs with Dana and Eve following close behind. Eve and Dana were both grateful for his help with the boy as he went to bed without any protest and was soon fast asleep.
Continued in Part 2
Complaints, Comments, Requests, Etc, write Vickey Brickle-Macky