Things Have Changed
It had been a day since the funeral fires. Marga had already been sent home with her own horse. Xena and Gabrielle had remained behind. The Romans who had been killed earlier had been tossed in the pit. Xena nailed a sign that Gabrielle wrote on.
It read, "Here lays Brutus and his men, Rapists and Murderers. They don't deserve your sympathy." The pit would remain uncovered.
After they were done with all that Xena went to talk with Gabrielle who was sitting by herself on the wagon that had been used to transport the bodies. She was very still and was staring at her hands.
Xena eased herself behind the still emotional bard. Xena said quietly, "You wanna talk about it?"
Gabrielle shook her head no. Xena then said, "My first kill was a rather strange one. I was defending my village. I was attacked by a man while I was running to help Lyceus. I got the advantage and then I killed him. For a few seconds I was filled with guilt for that.
But then I saw Lyceus lying on the ground bleeding. Putting that aside I went to him to see if he was alright. He looked into my eyes and then he died. I was so consumed with the grief from the death of Lyceus that I never let myself feel that first kill.
But I felt it still. Because I didn't face it awake, I faced it asleep. I dreamt about him often, and others that I killed. At one point almost every night. But I couldn't face it, didn't want to. Until one day my army wanted to murder a baby. Then I saw it, clear as day, what I had done, and what I had become. What I'm saying is you should face it Gabrielle, deal with it. I know you killed while you were controlled by Chaos in that other world, but this is different, this time it was you, not a force. You need to face it, it's the only way to heal."
Gabrielle sat there near motionless. Then she said something quietly. Xena didn't hear what it was. Then Gabrielle said it again, "I'm glad he is dead, he needed killing. He was a bastard. I've learnt something in all this."
Xena looked at Gabrielle in wonder asking, "What is it?"
Gabrielle replied stoically, "Stopping the cycle of hate and violence is impossible. Sure you can keep yourself from going that route. Sure you can save a few lives and sure you might even turn another away from their evil. But there is always someone. Some bastard out there that will take what he wants and when he wants and fuck all the innocents.
There is no live and let live with these people. You can't. When it comes down to it, you will either have to kill them or they will kill you. Tell me Xena. Do you think the world would be a better place if I had not killed Brutus?"
Xena thought about it for a moment, "No. But that doesn't mean we can just go kill every bad man we see. That's a whole lot of blood that will mess with your head. Don't you feel anything about this?"
Gabrielle turned her head to face Xena, staring deep into those blue eyes, "Yes I do. Isn't that the pathetic part? He allowed the murder and rape of thirty women and little girls and I'm the one who feels guilty. He should have been the one who felt guilty. I remember what he called them, 'Terrible little deeds.' as if it was curfew violation. Those lives meant nothing to him. Never did he once consider or care that they had lives, love, families, hopes, dreams, or anything.
To him they were meat, meat that they couldn't sell. So he gave them to his soldiers. I can't imagine what that was like, I don't want to. The little girl that Marga called Varia, She was probably raped a dozen times, as were many of those women. What kind of people do this? Certainly not anyone who needs to remain alive."
Xena put her arm around Gabrielle as she said, "There are people like that in the world and there always will be. The best thing we can do is stop as many as we can. That's it."
Gabrielle shook her head as a tear rolled off of her chin. She then said, "I wish you had killed me in the land of Chaos. Seeing those bodies, crawling through those bodies, I'll never be able to get over that. I've changed Xena, I can feel it. I just don't feel the same as I used to. Maybe in time I will, I don't know. But those bodies," she paused a second to regain her composure, "I'd of rather died than see that again."
Xena kissed the side of Gabrielle's head as she held her close, "Gabrielle. I love you, and I'm going to be there for you. I'm sorry about everything I said. If I had of known, I might not have brought you here to see this." Gabrielle said nothing as the two stared at the ashes that lined along the ground.
The sun's light made contact with another sign that read, "Here were the bodies of my sister amazons. Though you were taken from us by evil men, you will not forgotten. To a strong Amazon Nation."
Aphrodite stood on a hill overlooking Corinth as a being appeared beside her. Aphrodite said proudly, "The damage has been done. Gabrielle's soul is no longer pure. Soon I plan to convince her to join me as my champion."
Chaos spoke, "Ah, that needs to wait. Hercules will soon march. The battle of the ancient world is about to begin, and while Xena is busy trying to stop it, I will regain my power and Chaos will reign again."
Chaos smiled as the doors to the castle opened. The first training session of the army Hercules in preparation of the upcoming war had begun. What a war it would be.
AN: This story continues in Dual Nature 2: War of the Ancient Worlds, thank you all for your support and readership, you all were great.