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* * *
Meditation - the stillness of the mind - breathing in slow rhythmic intervals. Gabrielle was one with nature. A soft breeze ruffled a few strands of her hair. She noticed, but did not react. Her mind followed the breeze across the land of the Indus. She felt herself move through a tunnel and she reached for it in anticipation.
Freedom at last.
She looked around the landscape. Trees and bushes in the distance. A water well nearby. A girl sitting in a trance on a carpet. She hovered for a closer look and recognized herself.
Gabrielle was free from her pain.
She felt at peace at last.
She can be with Xena.
Xena - her twin-soul.
A silver cord was tugging at her. Gabrielle was losing her concentration. Breath.
Her body inhaled through the nose and exhaled through slightly parted lips. Breath.
The silver cord slackened as she found new energy for her search.
She travelled over the land, flying so fast everything became a blur. She stopped as soon as she started.
'Gabrielle.' A voiceless wind whispered.
'I am here Xena.' Whispered Gabrielle.
She looked around the new unfamiliar area. Transparent buildings lined perpendicular city streets. To her right she was near a cliff edge. Argo was waiting patiently.
Gabrielle approached the faithful battle-mare. Argo nuzzled her nose affectionately in Gabrielle's palm as she stroked the mane of Xena's horse.
In her peripheral vision she noticed a figure standing nearby.
Gabrielle turned in anticipation and faced her twin-soul once more.
'Xena.' Tears streamed down of sadness and joy.
Gabrielle approached her spectral friend even as her silver cord tugged at her.
'Xena, come with me.'
'Soon, my Gabrielle. Soon.'
Gabrielle's silver cord was pulling her back. 'I love you Xena.'
'I love you Gabrielle.' The spectral vision disappeared over the horizon.
'We will never be apart.' Whispered a voiceless wind.
Gabrielle woke from her trance. Only a moment ago she was in a different plane of existence. For only a moment she was free.
For only a moment she was with her twin-soul.
Gabrielle was filled with renewed strength and hope.
Her vision was clearer as she observed the landscape of the Indus.
This would be her new home - forever. Until she would reunite with her twin-soul - forever.
Another good day for travelling and she gathered her things together to continue her journey, holding the memory of Xena close to her heart.
* * *
Gabrielle continued on her journey through India without Xena's spectral frame for company or guidance. In a small city she noticed a group of people forming a large semicircle around one man. The dark-skinned Indian seemed to be in mortal danger as two thugs were clearly beating him up. Her eyes locked with the poor man, bloodied and bruised. She instantly recognised his soul: Perdicus. Her first true love reincarnated.
She wondered how Xena knew and she was filled with renewed hope. 'Thank you, Xena.' She thought aloud.
Yodeling the famous Xena battlecry, Gabrielle flew in-between the man and his assailants. 'Out of my way, woman. You are interfering with justice.'
Gabrielle stood her ground. 'What has this man done to you to be punished so?'
'He preaches peace and harmony for all. He wants to stop wars through love.' He spat.
'I followed the path of peace once,' she confided. 'But sometimes you have to clobber thick skulls like yours to get the picture.'
Gabrielle's sais appeared magically in both her palms but left Xena's sword in the sheath, not wanting to harm anyone, to the astonishment of the onlookers and bullies. She parried and kicked whilst defending herself and the victim of the assault. Some of the onlookers saw her Dragon tattoo glow with a life of its on as she continued with renewed determination.
Archers let loose a folly of arrows, but Gabrielle threw her chakram with precise determination, destroying not only the arrows, but also the bows they were shot from. She caught the chakram as deftly as Xena did, so many years ago. Xena's lessons stayed true for her defense as she surprised her assailants time and again. Always listening and sidestepping fatal thrusts.
If two couldn't conquer her lithe body, a dozen soldiers came into the fight. This time the orders were to capture Gabrielle dead or alive including the poor fellow she was defending. Undeterred she went into a fighting frenzy - one against an army - and winning each challenge like a Gladiator in an arena. Never tiring, knowing how to breath, drawing strength from each thrust and parry. No blood was drawn from either side - but the soldiers could not subdue her. Gabrielle was a human of superhuman strength in the heat of battle. The soldiers paused to regroup and Gabrielle proclaimed,
'I advocate peace and will defend myself to the utmost of my abilities if you continue to attack me.'
The commander listened at last and ceasing the hostilities he asked, 'Who are you that you would defend yourself with such contempt to my law and order?'
'My name is Gabrielle, the Battling Bard of Portedeia, defender of the innocent…' she paused, then continued, 'in short, your worst nightmare.' She smiled her most captivating smile, sheathed her sais in her boots and unsheathed Xena's long-sword, swinging it in eighths, the final swing balancing it high at temple height - battle ready and glad for the small break.
The crowd knew of the legendary Gabrielle as did the Indian commando and asked the commander to cease hostilities. The commander was in a bind. His decision must be the correct one, else there would be needless loss of life should this continue. He was not ignorant and knew of the reputation of Gabrielle - a feisty battle commander in many legendary wars of the past and if the legends were true then surrendering now would be the only option.
His final decision was the right thing to do as he knelt down before Gabrielle, 'Forgive me, my sword is yours. Ask anything of me.' To the astonishment of the crowd, the army did the same. Gabrielle calmed down instantly and ordered: 'Protect this man with your life.' She turned around and her eyes were full of compassion and love for this man of peace, her Perdicus encased in a handsome Indian body.
'Gab…Gabrielle.' He whispered hoarsely. 'Thank you.' And he brought up his hand, carressing her cheek gently. Gabrielle accepted the gesture and closed her eyes momentarily, overwhelmed with her reunion of her first love decades after he first got murdered by their foe Callisto.
'My name is Sharad.' He whispered. 'I know our life together was short in my former incarnation. Fate has given us a chance to start again. Will you stay with me for a while?' He asked sincerely.
She knew he was a master of the spirit, similar to Eli and he could sense her sorrow that only he could help repair. Gabrielle saved this man's life now, because she failed to do so in the past of his former life. In return he gave her back her humanity, a family and undying love.
* * *
Xena travelled with the wind over the land of the Indus. Her twin-soul travelled this route before. Everyday she was coming closer.
A longing tugging at her that she missed for too long.
She wanted to be with her warrior bard. To be by her side once again. To be one with her twin-soul.
'Where are you, my Gabrielle.' She called out over a voiceless wind.
Her warrior way was at an end, she was now the purity of soul. Only one emotion, one longing kept her on earth.
A promise made while alive.
A promise she must keep - for she had pledged it for eternity.
Xena's karma was complete. But Gabrielle's karma was not yet fulfilled.
She couldn't sleep. Gabrielle longed for her friend's touch, her smell, her love. She could not let go. She would not let go. She wished Xena was here. She missed Xena so.
'I am here, Gabrielle.' Whispered a voiceless wind.
Gabrielle felt a tear roll down her cheek. The wind wiped her tear away.
'I am here for you now.' Whispered Xena, holding her close in a dream.
'Xena, I miss you.' She cried.
'Sssssh. Its okay,' consoled Xena's spectral frame, kissing her lightly on her brow. 'I'm here now - forever. I'll never leave you again.'
Xena saw the man sleeping next to Gabrielle, recognizing a familiar soul.
'You've found Perdicus,' she smiled happily for her friend. 'And you're pregnant.'
Gabrielle nodded. 'Will you reincarnate in my baby?'
'No, my love. Your baby will father the Mother of Peace.'
Gabrielle smiled, 'It will be a proud day for mankind to see you reborn as my grand-daughter.'
'And remember, you will be born as a prince.' Reminded Xena.
'We shall guide each other forever.' Gabrielle held tight to the spectral frame. 'I am very happy.'
'So am I,' said Xena. 'so am I.'
Perdicus snored peacefully. Unaware of Xena's presence and what that would mean for the future.
* * *
Gabrielle is an old woman when her eldest son tells her that she is a grandmother. She holds the tiny infant in her aged hands, cooing at the little babe, smiling at the frailness and the shock of black hair on her little head. The baby opens her eyes and recognition is instantaneous as piercing baby blue eyes connect with her long-lost soulmate. To her son and many onlookers she held the baby up high for all to see. 'Behold, my people.' Drawing rapt attention to her devoted followers of many decades. 'Behold the Mother of Peace.'
Gabrielle cradled her granddaughter's little body close to her. She made eye contact and whispered 'Welcome home Xena.' and kissed the newborn on her brow as a blessing, as well as overwhelming joy.