At the end of Full Circle, David's teacher, Professor Arlan McGhee unearths a scroll, specifically meant for him, written by David after years with his beloved Gabrielle. As with some writers I have been privileged to meet, one thing that I do, is research (to a small degree) and creation of side works that augment the story line and keep things flowing. Each of these stories has a soundtrack, compiled from my collection of music, and I do own various objects that I have referred to in these stories, or have had made them. I like to have something physical from each of my characters, to remind me of those characters and keep me in the correct frame of mind when writing.
For example: Rosie and Gabby, the Honda Shadow and Honda Valkyrie owned by David Forester in this series are the two motorcycles that I currently own. The Cutlass, Panama, driven in the car chase from Full Circle was the car I owned back when I was in college (though not as built up as I made it in the story).
The sword and bowie knife David uses are hanging on my wall along with 'artifacts' from other stories I have written over the years.
This piece was initially intended to serve as the foundation for a 'flashback' story I had a mind to write, between Restitution and Awakenings, however the plot line never really developed the way that I wanted. Instead, I post it here now, for those who were curious about what David had to say to his old mentor. Enjoy!
Dear Professor McGhee,
I believe I have set a new record for procrastination, since I haven't started writing this until some time around 100 A.D., I think.
If you are reading this, then my theory was correct. I want you to know that I apologize for roughing up your security boys. It was, unfortunately necessary, as was the installation of the security gate, to ensure that I wouldn't be disturbed when I executed my plan.
Know that the Chronos Stone was in this tomb, up until the other night. That was how I got to where I am now. And where I am? What wonders have I seen? They are too numerous and too amazing to list in one message. Besides, my wife, Gabrielle, was kind enough to record most of our life together in the series of other scrolls you'll find next to my sarcophagus, so I won't bother to reiterate them here.
I doubt very much that these writings will be widely accepted in academia. Not surprising, since the first batch wasn't either. Oh well, such is life?
I flew to Greece with you, originally to say my final farewell to Gabrielle, in that tomb. That was my sole purpose at the time, but then something amazing happened! I found her wedding ring in that sarcophagus! It's the ring that I enclosed in the other letter to you. If you haven't found it, it's in the right side saddle bag on Rosie. It came from a small jewelry shop, twenty miles North of the site. Please tell the fine lady there that she did say yes, and that I have since had the most wonderful life any man can ever hope for.
As the job of the archeologist is to piece together the facts of the past, including the people and culture, allow me to make your job easier with regards to the remains you will find here.
Poditea as a whole, is a farming community. The people are friendly and the land is relatively peaceful, with the occasional band of thieves that try and set up shop along some of the nearby roads. We have a small, but highly effective local militia that usually takes care of those problems. The average resident here is about five and a half feet tall, making me somewhat unique among the locals, since I stand over six feet. Along with the farmers, who make up the majority of the population, we also have several other tradesmen in the village. There is a wind driven mill, if you can believe it, that is located on the north east corner of the village, about two hundred yards beyond the perimeter of the outer wall. We also have a single blacksmith in the center of town along the western wall. And then there's myself and one other, a young man named Timitus, who act as the local carpenters. My experience in woodworking has come in very handy while I've been here, and the results were quite lucrative.
We had a third partner, Timitus's younger brother, Salius, but he left our little business about ten years ago after his father and stepmother, also the sister to Gabrielle, passed away. He now runs the local inn.
Now, the real reason I am writing this to you. To help you understand why I abandoned my life in the modern world and came back here. As sappy as this might sound, I did it for love. My life, though well appointed in the future, was empty until Gabrielle wound up there with me for that short period of time. When she was gone, the emptiness returned, only this time I felt it more deeply because I recognized it for what it was.
When the opportunity presented itself for me to reclaim what I had lost, I didn't think twice about it. I could find love at the cost of my fortune. Which is more important in the grand scheme of things? Yes I gave up millions in assets and money, but I gained something far more valuable and long lasting.
Since you already know me, there's little point in expounding on that subject, so I won't bother you with my usual lack of humility.
Now, my wife, Gabrielle, on the other hand? In one word: Passionate!
I know that standard procedure is to scan the skull and reconstruct the physical countenance of the person, which you have already done. But your computers could never recreate that light that is within her, which for you is unfortunate, for she is beautiful to me in so many ways, other than just physically. Her true beauty radiates from within, and that has only served to augment the beauty that you might see without.
When you first meet her, she has a light about her that will brighten a dark room. At least that was how I perceived it the first time I saw her. There is strength within her that she naturally radiates to everyone around her. She is the gentle breeze after the rain. The comforting voice that pulls you from the depths of despair, or the lightning strike during the fiercest thunderstorm.
Some women are beautiful when they weep, or smile, or frown, but Gabrielle is beautiful in every way. Her beauty augments her ferocity in battle, or makes her seductions irresistible.
I have never in my life met a person so unselfish. She is giving and compassionate, with a healers touch and a gentle voice. Her laughter is musical and often, infectious. Needless to say, I have spent many years, now, with a smile on my face.
Her eyes are the softest green, and if you look in them, you can easily be lost. Just don't look in them when she's pissed, then it's like being lost on the artic pole. Unfortunately, due to my various personality quirks, I've seen that a few times as well. (Those were the few bad days in my life.)
When she moves, whether dancing or fighting (we've done our share of both), she has this fluid, almost feline grace to her movements. Even now, in our latter years, she still possesses it. It's almost hypnotic when you watch it. In spite of the numerous artifacts you might uncover in this place, I'm sorry to say that you're about two thousand years to late to see the real treasure here.
As for my children, we were blessed with two; Our son, Alexander, and our daughter, Xena.
Alexander is his mother's son. That much was clear from the moment he began to crawl. He grew into a strong young man, with his father's face, build and eyes, and his mother's hair and temperament. Well, at least I contributed something to the mix? He's a little taller than his mother, just under six feet in height, and solidly put together. Alex is the thinker, the one who looks at the entire situation before making a decision. He has Gabrielle's patience and understanding. At the same time, he inherited my philosophical look at life. I can't count how many times we have stayed up through the night discussing and debating endless subjects, like theology, history, or philosophy. Still, if it comes to a fight, he's more than capable. He has his mother's speed and grace, as well as skill, along with an almost childlike curiosity about everything, (more of his mother, I suspect).
While the two of us are as close as any father and son could be, the simple fact is that Gabrielle was always Alexander's favorite. If there was ever a mama's boy in this village, Alexander was definitely it. Whenever I would see him, coming back from his travels, it was always his mother that received the first embrace, or that first kiss. I would constantly be reminded of the old Bill Cosby monologue about the father teaching the son the fine art of football, watching him grow up, go to college, play in the big game, score that touchdown. Then he would look straight into the camera and shout "Hi mom!"
Well, that's Alexander.
Where Alexander is the thinker of the two, our oldest, Xena is the one who will act. She is definitely mine, that much is certain.
Xena got my height and, I think, my temperament – a little on the short side.
The first thing about our daughter that you'd notice, if you met her, is her eyes. She has these pale blue eyes that are clear as the summer sky, when she's in a good mood, or cold as ice when she isn't. There are few people that can hold her gaze when she looks at them. She has a natural intensity, like a hunting cat, always on the prowl.
While she is our daughter, Xena's life had an unexpected twist that Gabrielle and I have, at times, been hard pressed to keep up with. Xena is actually the reincarnated soul of my wife's late best friend, a fact that was driven home, with little room for speculation, around her fifteenth birthday.
She has her namesakes same black hair and blue eyes. Same build, tall and strong, (though I will always maintain that she inherited her height from me), and without doubt, the same skill that Gabrielle described to me in the past. Weapons came easily for her, since she had her innate knowledge from her previous life to draw on, and her personality is her own, infused here and there with a bit of ours. She has a soft, calming voice when she wishes, or a harsh cry that can be heard over the sounds of battle.
A statuesque and beautiful young woman, I spent the latter years of her adolescence in mild fear that I would end up having to fight off potential suitors. That was until she saved my life! Any young woman that can fight off a pack of wolves at age fifteen doesn't need a crotchety old geezer like me screening her potential boyfriends. In retrospect, I don't think she had many boyfriends in any case. As of now, her travels with Alex have kept the potential suitors at bay as well. She seems driven to help others in a way that's more internally motivated, unlike Alex, who just rationalizes it as "the right thing to do."
We've told her, time and again, that a new life is a clean slate. She has nothing to atone for this time around. Still, the memories of her previous life, before she met Gabrielle, still haunt her in some way that I'll never be able to truly understand.
She has a strength and intelligence, with an even measure of charisma, that make her a natural leader. I have never seen Xena set a goal and fail to achieve it. She has the instincts of her former life, along with the martial skills, and these make her a formidable woman in her own right. Add to that, the skills I've passed on to her, and I don't think there is a warrior in the world that can match her. I may be biased in this view – fatherly pride and all - but if there's someone out there who can prove me wrong, they have yet to show up.
That's not to say that she doesn't have a softer side. There are times where she spends hours, or days in quiet contemplation. She has an introspective side that I think only her brother truly knows about. When that happens is when you really see how beautiful she is, and why I've been as nervous as I have about suitors. At those times, she is radiant.
She possesses a rapier wit, that, if you aren't careful, she'll nail you with at any given moment. Again, as my wife likes to say, a combination of the old friend and me, (god help us).
No grandchildren yet, though I expect if there are any in the near future, they'll be from Alexander's side. Xena doesn't seem too interested in settling down. Whenever I joke with her about the prospect of it, she gets annoyed with me. I think there's a part of her that fears having a family of her own, though I don't understand where the anxiety comes from?
Gabrielle has explained the losses Xena endured in her previous life, and in those facts I can understand it to a point. But this is a new life for her. That means new possibilities.