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Xena Landarian

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Deep in the grassland of <insert location>, Flakkara, a nomad tribe, made their home.  A matriarchal society, Goliaths made up most of the population with a handful of Half-Orcs and Dwarves scattered in, and one small Hill-Giant.  When the leaves turned color and the weather got cold, Flakkara moved their tents and gathered up their meager livestock up to the mountains, into the caves where it was more secure from the hungry animals and protected them from the frigid winter.  When the air turned warm, Flakkara returned to the grasslands and made their home near a large lake where the water and game was plentiful.  

Xena was the only child of Agatha, the Tribal Chief.  Agatha was a seasoned warrior, over six feet tall, long blond hair, rippling muscles, a growl that could freeze the blood of her enemies and youngsters alike.  She was a firm but fair leader.  She carried a battle ax that was handed down from her grandmother who was the Chief before her.  

Xena’s grandmother Pariva was the Shaman and one of the elders of the tribe.  Eyes full of mirth and compassion, she was a favorite among the children.  A gifted storyteller, her campfires at night were seldom empty. She told epic sagas of the warriors from the past, of wise chiefs who led the tribe through disasters, of elders who negotiated successful treaties.  Of course the tales of the warriors and hunters were the children’s favorite.  

Flakkara revered their ancestors. They believed that the warriors of the past lingered in this world as mighty spirits, who guided and protected the living. Those who drew on their ancestral guardians could better fight to protect the tribe. The warriors who followed this path covered themselves in elaborate tattoos to honor their ancestors. These tattoos told sagas of victories against terrible monsters and other fearsome rivals.

Flakkara was a small tribe with about fifty members, and ten of them under the age of twelve.  They consisted of gatherers, hunters, fishermen, crafters, and protectors. Each of her aunts and uncles led the group.  Each morning Reifnir, youngest child of Pariva, led the gatherers and went into the wilds to collect fruits, vegetables, and herbs.  Birsa, second child of Pariva, led the hunters into the forest to hunt deer, rabbits and other animals for meat and skin.  Halibera, Birsa’s wife, led the folks into the lakes to gather fish and freshwater plants.  Her grandmother Pariva and Yorick, Reifnir’s partner, looked after the animals and the children. The elderly, the disabled, and the artisans worked on crafting different wares for daily use and for trading.  They used the bones, feathers and other items that were harvested from animals to create knives, tools, and adornments.  Among them Godrik the Hill-Giant was considered the best as he had the talent and the imagination to create the most elaborate and beautiful pieces.  His work was considered a work of art and was in great demand.  This gentle giant always had a smile while he worked and loved spending time with the children.  

Agatha and her group of warriors patrolled the area to ensure their safety.  Their sister tribes respected each other’s boundaries but others did not.  And occasionally an animal or a creature would wander too close to the encampment, looking for an easy meal.  

Their homes consisted of yurt tents that were made from logs, ropes and animal skins.  Their clothing was primarily made from the wool that was gathered from their sheep.  The leathers, furs, and hides had many uses as they were used to make tools as well as outerwear.  Any leftovers were traded with other tribes during the fall solstice festival.  The chickens provided eggs and the goats the milk.  Weapons and other metal tools were bought from the traders who set up a large camp each summer near the main road.  

Once a year, three nomad tribes of the <insert land> gathered together to celebrate the fall solstice, and to give thanks to the ancestors.  It was a week-long event where they traded their wares, shared stories, and held the Tournament of the Giants.  Each warrior/athlete competed in different events to test their strength, agility and skills to see who was the best of the best.  The winner held the boasting rights and was regarded with respect.  Only the female tribe members were allowed to compete in this event. This festival also provided them with the opportunity to find their mates.  

Xena learned at a young age how to survive in the wilds.  From her grandmother and her uncles, she was taught how to build a sturdy shelter, how to identify and gather edible fruits and plants, how to cook, how to prepare herbs to heal wounds and sickness.  From her aunts she learned how to track and hunt. From her mother she learned how to wield an ax, how to fight, defend, and kill.  

Xena was sixteen years old when she and her cousins Ylfa and Einar went on a hunting trip.  It took three days to track down the large boar and kill it.  They were tired yet proud as they returned home with their trophy.  As they crested over the hill, they saw the devastation.  They could see their camp was destroyed, thin lines of smoke still emitting from a couple of tents that were burnt.  They saw the ground littered with broken equipment, and most heartbreaking of all, bodies.  They dropped their prize and moved stealthily down into the embankment.  They quietly entered the camp with their weapons drawn.  Mutilated bodies of their families and friends were everywhere.  The elderly and children were not spared.  They met up at the meeting tent, the largest tent of the village where the elders got together to talk, and saw that it was burned down to the cinders.  And there they saw charred bones.  They fell to their knees and wailed as some of the bones were of children.  So many bones in one place. They knew, in their hearts, that they were burned alive.  Xena screamed into the air as anguish filled her heart.  After a long moment, they continued their search.  When Xena came across the bodies of her mother and grandmother, she collapsed to the ground and sobbed, holding their bodies in her arms.    

They spent the next two days performing the funeral rites, preparing and burning the dead bodies.  Miraculously Xena found her mother’s ax under a fallen tent.  It must have been thrown there and got buried when the burning tent fell.  It was her mother’s prized possession and she was glad that her mother’s killers didn’t take it.  
Afterwards, they gathered their meager supplies, and went hunting.  Tracking the signs left behind by the marauders.  But it had been several days since the attack happened and soon the tracks turned cold. 

After a few weeks, they had to admit defeat.  They spoke to the elders of the sister tribes but none knew who could have done this.  They were worried and took extra precautions.  They invited them to stay and to join their tribe.  Knowing that they wouldn’t survive alone, Einar and Ylfa decided to stay.  She was asked to join them but she couldn’t settle down while her family’s killers were out there.  Alone, she joined a traveling merchant as a guard and traversed the land for a year.  Always keeping an ear open, hoping to find a clue to get her revenge

She arrived at Wintervaeld looking for work, joined the Mortal Guardians to do a couple of odd jobs before moving on.  But the fates set a different path for her.  


Tribe: Flakkara (Wanderers)

*Grandmother/Elder of the Tribe:  Pariva (ToD 55yo)

*Mother, Matriarch/Leader, Eldest Daughter of Pariva:  Agatha (ToD 40yo)

*Aunts:  Birsa (ToD 38yo) and her wife Halibera (ToD 36yo)
*Uncle:  Reifnir (ToD 34yo, youngest child) and his partner Yorick (ToD 30yo)

*Cousin Ylfa, daughter of Birsa, One of the three survivors of the massacre, joined a sister tribe.  20yo.

*Cousin Einar, oldest son of Reifnir. One of the three survivors of the massacre.  Joined a sister tribe.  19yo.


Edited by FallenAngelRidian
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Xena walked into the dark room, wet from the rain.  She had been spending time at the training yard, trying to focus her anger.  To fight with more precision than wildly swinging the battleax.  She took it off of her back, unstrapped her gauntlets and put them on the table.  She walked over to the basin and splashed water on her face.  She stared at herself in the mirror and grimaced at the fact she looked older, a nasty effect of a curse.  Her face resembled her mother's.  She tried to push back the memories of the last time she saw her and the rest of the tribe.  Seeing the burnt tents from the distance, finding the mutilated bodies of her loved ones, crying as she prepared them, and the scent of burning flesh as the funeral pyres burned.  Anger and sadness threatened to overwhelm her again.  

She walked over to the window and stared out into the gray sky and the pouring rain.  The sound of the rain calmed her.  She wondered if she’s doing the right thing.  Staying here, continuing to work for the Mortal Guardians. She came here looking for work.  It was supposed to be a simple job or two.  Now she’s involved in plots that she didn’t understand, experiencing culture that she didn’t even know existed.  For her, it’s always been the tribe. There was a clear order to things.  Respect the elders, protect the tribe, and honor the dead.  

Xena couldn’t understand why these people acted the way they did. In the past few months, she had to do things that were against her nature.  When she questioned it, she was met with impatience, sharp retorts and was made to feel like she was a fool.  She thought about leaving.  But there was Kaizen, her best friend.  Kaizen was the only reason she stayed.  She made Xena feel safe which was very rare.  She didn’t belittle her, bully her or laugh at her in a mean way.  She was patient and answered questions with simple words that Xena could understand.  She tried to help Xena navigate this world of nobility, high societal rules, and the confusing maze filled with betrayal and deception.  One wall in her room was filled with badly drawn sketches, misspelled names and organizations, lines and arrows to help connect the dots.  Xena tried to learn as best as she could but she could never remember the names right.  

Kaizen also dragged her to the Botanical Gardens, trying to convince Xena that the plants and trees from this world were not her enemy.  She liked hearing Kaizen explain about different flowers and how some of them were beneficial.  It reminded her of her grandmother, who was the Shaman of her tribe.  She had taught Xena how to identify different herbs and plants to make medicine.  

A thunder crack in the distance brought her back from the memories.  She breathed in the cool air, took off her armor, and headed off to rest.  


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During one of their missions, Cameron noticed that Xena had aged.  After asking her about it, Cameron casted the Greater Restoration spell and restored Xena back to her original age.  


Ancestral Guardian:  Some barbarians hail from cultures that revere their ancestors. These tribes teach that the warriors of the past linger in the world as mighty spirits, who can guide and protect the living. When a barbarian who follows this path rages, the barbarian contacts the spirit world and calls on these guardian spirits for aid.

Barbarians who draw on their ancestral guardians can better fight to protect their tribes and their allies. In order to cement ties to their ancestral guardians, barbarians who follow this path cover themselves in elaborate tattoos that celebrate their ancestors’ deeds. These tattoos tell sagas of victories against terrible monsters and other fearsome rivals.


Rune Knights enhance their martial prowess using the supernatural power of runes, an ancient practice that originated with giants. Rune cutters can be found among any family of giants, and you likely learned your methods first or second hand from such a mystical artisan. Whether you found the giant's work carved into a hill or cave, learned of the runes from a sage, or met the giant in person, you studied the giant's craft and learned how to apply magic runes to empower your equipment.


On the eve of Xena's 18th birthday, she had a dream.  She found herself back with Flakkara, sitting at her grandmother Pariva's campfire.  It was just the two of them.  The firelight danced on grandmother's face as she retold the story of Xena's favorite hero.  Xennia, in the old tongue, was a great Chief and a warrior that she was named after.  Pariva sang of Xennia's deeds, how she grew up with the Giants and learned of their ways, learned of their runes and the ways of the Rune Knight.  Pariva drew two runes in the air with her fingers.  A trail of light followed her fingertips and lit up the runes in the air.  Xena memorized them as Pariva told her their meaning and use.  

Next morning, inspired by the dream, she went to the Guild's Smiths and learned how to use their tools.  It took many hours of training and practice, but she was able to duplicate the runes satisfactorily.  She carved the Cloud rune on her shield and the Fire rune on the shaft of her battleax.  She thanked her grandmother as she gazed upon them.  Hoping to do Xennia proud.  


Edited by FallenAngelRidian
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  • 2 weeks later...

Called to Cindervaeld with Sindri, Nalga'tura, and Valora , to work with the House Aegerius under their Guild Master Steffanrich who doesn't think much of the House Aurreval.  Acting on the information gained in the raid on the coven’s sanctum outside Cindervaeld, the MG launch an assault on a safe house within the city.  On the way to the safe house, they meet Vex from the Plane of Shadow.  With his aid, the party infiltrates the safe house where a mage calls forth two portals before running away.  Two void aberrations emerge and the party fight them and the cultists.  During the fight Valore is killed.  Devasted by this loss, Xena is disillusioned by her failure to keep her friends alive.  Plagued by the survivor's guilt, she felt that it was her duty to take and keep the attention of the enemies where her friends deal damage from a distance.  She uses her ancestral guardian to keep her friends safe in the battle but this time, she failed.  

After the battle, Valora is brought back but Xena cannot overcome her guilt and is torn whether or not to leave the Mortal Guardians as she cannot bear to lose her friends because of her inaction.  When she returns to the guild hall, she seeks out her best friend Kaizen and breaks down.  

That night as she sleeps, there is a glow emanating from a talisman on Xena.  It was her grandmother's.  Xena took it from her dead body and has kept it with her all the time.  From her grief and guilt, the Talisman of the Ancestral Guardian activates.  Granting her 3d6 damage negation from her Spirit Shield.  

Next few days, Xena spends most of her days at the training yard, trying to deal with her overwhelming emotions and trying to improve her skills at defense.  



Edited by FallenAngelRidian
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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

<< Zoé The Goat >>

It was drizzling when Xena stepped outside for her early morning run. It didn’t concern her much. She started towards the trade district, running past stores that haven’t opened yet. Some merchants were bringing in the goods they’d need for the day, setting up displays and preparing and creating their inventory. Some even waved at her as they’ve gotten used to this tall woman running by every morning. She learned to wave back.

Her mind was busy as she was going over her previous day’s lessons. Trying to quiet her insecurities and take in what her friends have told her. 

She was running through the dock ward within the hour. It was already very busy with the merchant sailors unloading and loading. The vendors and runners lined up to pickup their goods or to browse through the inventory. The loud noises didn’t bother her as she’s learned to push them to the back of her mind. 

The rain started to pick up a bit as she ran pass the last dock. A mid-sized ship, old yet sturdy, was in the middle of unloading its goods. There were many crates and barrels, as well as cages of various sizes. Just another merchant ship she thought as she wove through the piles of goods to return home. 

That’s when she saw it. In a small cage, not enough room for the animal to stand up in, she saw a tiny goat, or what she thought was a goat. She could see the ribs poking out, skin and fur in horrible condition, it was so weak that it couldn’t even lift its head. She would have ran right by it except it opened its eyes. The deep amber eyes that stared at her reminded her of Elle’s. 

Xena stopped at looked at this pitiful animal. She put a finger in between the bars and the animal didn’t even react. It closed its eyes, waiting to die. Xena didn’t know why she did it. It was a pure instinct. She grabbed the flimsy wire that was used as a lock and ripped it off. She carefully removed the animal from its cage and ran away with it. 

She held it gently as possible, trying to keep the cold rain off of it, failing to keep it warm. The animal was too weak to shiver. Each breath it took an effort. Xena’s heart broke at this small animal’s struggle and her determination grew. She picked up the pace an ran straight for the Guild Hall. 

< part 1 >

Edited by FallenAngelRidian
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<< Zoé The Goat >>

Once Xena reached the guild hall, she ran straight for the infirmary, hoping the healers had some tricks up their sleeves. She found Nal’gatura, the half-orc healer working on a concoction. She sat the animal down on a small table and asked for help. 

Nal’gatura looked over the poor animal that was barely breathing. She spoke softly and stroked it as she examined it. She looked over to Xena and smiled sadly, asked if she should end the animal’s life, save it from further suffering. Xena shook her head and asked Nal’gatura to do whatever she could to save it. 

Nal’gatura explained that it may be impossible, that the animal was very sick. Xena would need to constantly watch it and take care of it. The next two days were critical. Xena agreed and watched as Nal’gatura created the medicine in a liquid form as well as incense, and administered aid. She went over what Xena needed to do.  

First thing needed was to clean and warm up the animal so they could see what they were dealing with. Nal’gatura prepared the warm water as Xena held the fragile animal over the sink. They slowly poured the water over the it and washed away weeks of filth. The sink was soon filled with black water. There were patches of missing fur, lesions all over the skin, hooves were horribly over grown and cracked, eyes, nose and ears were encrusted, and fleas were eating it alive. It was a female and looked to be a goat but it was too soon to tell. 

They gently patted her dry and wrapped her in some clean towels. They lit the incense and brought it close so the animal could breathe it in. They needed to ease her breathing. Then Nal’gatura used a dropper to administer some water and the liquid medicine. It was painstakingly slow but for the first time in Xena’s life, she didn’t mind. She was purely concentrated on the task at hand. 

Nal’gatura set up a small area for Xena to stay and take care of the animal. Xena barely breathed when she fed the animal so she wouldn’t jostle the delicate animal. Nal’gatura suggested Xena to talk to it gently, to encourage the animal to get better. 

Xena didn’t know why it mattered. Why this helpless animal tugged at her heart. But she couldn’t let her go. She stayed by her side for the entire first two days, watching over it, caring for it, talking to it. 

First few hours were harrowing. But the animal kept the medicine down and her temperature slowly rose. The incense seemed to ease her breathing as well. She opened her eyes few times and looked at Xena with warm amber eyes and Xena felt her eyes tear up. 
Second day was touch and go but with Nal’gatura’s help the animal made it through. 

Once Nal’gatura felt the worse was over, they fed her warm milk, and looked to treat her skin. They both had experiences dealing with livestock. They were able to treat the lesions, trimmed the hooves and applied salve on them, and were able to treat the eye, nose and ear infections. 

Under Artem’s glare, they moved the set up to Xena’s room. It was a full week before Zoé (newly named) was able to lift her head without trouble. Another week for her to stand up. Her appetite grew and she started to grow. 

Xena refused to get a kennel, saying it reminded her of the cage she found Zoé in. Instead, she made a warm bed at the foot of her own. But Zoé always jumped up on Xena’s, insisted in curling into her and sleeping under the covers. Xena let her do it the first few times because she didn’t want Zoé to feel scared. Soon it became pretty clear that Zoé set a claim to Xena’s bed and to Xena’s heart. 

< part 2 >

Edited by FallenAngelRidian
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<< The day in the Life of Zoé The Goat >>

Zoé isn’t a normal goat. She is a fey creature although no one could say exactly what she is. Being an extremely intelligent creature she learns very quickly and can follow directions, that is if she wants to. 

She learned early on what’s edible and what’s acceptable to eat. But that doesn’t mean she sticks to what’s allowed. She and the gardener developed an understanding early on. The gardener feeds her delicious apples and carrots and Zoé doesn’t eat his prized shrubs and flowers. She does enjoy the grass and the weeds which the gardener seems to like. 

Most of the Mortal Guardians have grown to accept and even love Zoé. Some just tolerate her which is fine. But then there Is Nahara. Her arch-nemesis. So what Zoé accidentally ate one of her spellbook pages. She should have taken better care of it. And she overreacted. But it was fun watching her freak out. Since then, Naraha and Zoé have this routine they seem go through every time they see each other. 

Zoé prances in, already knowing that Nahara is sitting in the common area. As soon as Nahara sees her, her eyes narrow as she gathers up all her books and papers. Then she takes out her wand and aims at Zoé. Zoé immediately runs around the common room causing a ruckus, throwing books and papers everywhere, heaving drinks in the air, creating a mess.  Once she feels like she has done enough, she prances out the door, satisfied. 

Zoé’s best friend of course is Xena. She saved her life. It was miserable being on that ship, trapped in a tiny cage. She felt her life slowly draining away. When she saw Xena the first time, she didn’t think much of it. But when Xena broke her out of her cage and helped her heal, Zoé imprinted on her. Xena sat by her side when she was barely alive, she talked to her, encouraged her to get better. Zoé’s favorite space is by Xena’s side. Whether that’s sitting on her lap, lying next to her on the bed, or walking next to her in the guild hall. 

Zoé may not be able to understand what her friend says when she talks to her, but she can understand her moods. When she’s happy, sad, angry and when she’s hurting. She tries to comfort her much as she can. She nuzzles her, rubs her head on Xena’s head, and mehs to tell her she’s not alone. 

It’s a comfortable life and she likes it. For now. She knows that there is someone out there looking for her. The one who had her trapped and brought her to this realm. Someday they may meet. Until then, she’s going to enjoy her treats, companionship and fun coming up with ways to annoy Nahara. And that’s good enough, for now.


< part 3 >


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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Following characters do not exists in the official Mortal Guardian world. This is for Xena’s Role Playing stories. 

Gardener: Ben, an older Half-Orc, has been looking after the grounds of the guild hall for over two decades. Have seen adventurers come and go. A man of few words. Likes plants and trees more than people. Married to Mary. Befriended Zoé to convince her not to eat his prized flowering plants and bushes. Made a small playground for her.

Cook:  Mary, an older Half-Orc, matronly type. Been married to Ben for over thirty years. In charge of the kitchen and the mess hall. Likes to chat and gossip. Great cook, likes to teach.

Handyman: Will, son of Ben and Mary. In his mid twenties. Loves to tinker. Looks after minor repairs - i.e. training equipments, furniture, etc. Married to Anne. 

Housekeeper: Anne, a young Half-Elf in her early twenties. Cleans all the common areas, offices, & meeting rooms. Has individual contracts with the Mortal Guardians to clean their rooms for those who request it. 

Kennel Keeper: David, younger brother to Will. Quiet, shy. Looks after the kennel and the four large mastiffs. Looks after Mortal Guardian’s animal companions when they’re out on assignments. Zoé adores David and the mastiffs. Usually sleeps with them in their kennel when Xena is away. 

Washerwoman: Beth, Takes care of doing the laundry - clothes, linens, and tapestries. Each Mortal Guardians pay per load. Also does tailoring, and minor leather armor repairs. 

Blacksmith: Henry, a burly Dwarf, handles minor repairs on tools, weapons and armor. 

Errand Boy and Girl: Maya and Jack, siblings in their late teens, Human, run minor errands for the staff. 

All staff reports to Jericho. 


Edited by FallenAngelRidian
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Posted (edited)

< Learning to Cook >

Xena learned how to cook in campfire pits. Spices were hard to come by. Most foods were flavored with wild herbs, fruits, honey and other things that were gathered in the grasslands. 

After tasting foods from different cities where spices and other special methods were used to enhance the flavors, she wanted to learn how to cook using more sophisticated methods. 

She approached Mary one day and asked if she could take lessons from her.  Eyeing her suspiciously, Mary asked her why. After being satisfied with Xena’s answer, she agreed to teach Xena if she promised to pay attention and not to break things. 

First few weeks were challenging for both of them. Xena was used to using knives for killing animals/fish, and skinning/butchering them. Fine chopping and dicing did not come easily to her. After many cuts on her fingers, she did manage to learn how to chop things in even sizes. 

Mary started with the very basics. She took Xena to the market and showed her how to pick the perfect fruits and vegetables, and what cuts of meat were good for what type of dish. She took her to the spice merchant, and even taught her what type of cookware were available, and their purpose. 

Mary had Xena experiment with different spices, mild ones at first. She taught her how not to overcook which made the food taste like cardboard, not to burn things which wasted food, and definitely not to spill any which the mastiffs loved. Simple recipes soon turned into more challenging recipes and Xena absolutely loved it. Turns out when she enjoyed an activity, time flew by, and things were easier to understand. Or perhaps it just seemed that way. 

Xena helped out during either the breakfast or the dinner prep when she could. Once she felt more confident, she went out to the Trade District and watch the street vendors cook. She picked up a lot of hints. After providing few coins, the vendors didn’t mind her presence as long as they weren’t busy. Even gave her few tips. 

Cooking became a hobby. Just like knitting. 

Edited by FallenAngelRidian
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Posted (edited)

< Away from home > 

It’s been weeks since Xena left Wintervaeld. Her home for the past few years, her friends, and Elle. When Khadlarra asked for a private meeting ten weeks ago, she wasn’t expecting to be sent on an away mission. Khadlarra chose six people from various guild houses and sent them to a land that was unknown to most of them. Rom was put in charge as he was familiar with the area they were being sent. And he was experienced soldier and a leader. 

Deep in the desert land, they traveled for weeks on foot as teleportation didn’t work here. None of the people on this mission were magic users. Something in this land nullified magic. Here they were on their own. No way to contact others, or send for help. 

Mission was top secret. Only Rom and his second Toga knew of the actual objective. Rest of them were to follow their orders. Xena trusted Rom. She had spent months training with him when she was assigned to Aryamza. He was a gruff, tough ex-soldier with little patience for nonsense. And he was a great trainer. He was able to teach her tactics, strategies in battle, how to be aware of her surroundings while fighting. 

The trek was tough. The heat during the day made it incredibly difficult. The sun cracked their skin and lips. Most days the wind whipped the sand into their faces making it hard to see and breathe. 
Water was scarce. Rom and Toga knew of ways to find water, from roots of cacti, small spring that were hidden in oasis. Trickles were small and it took a long time to fill their water skins, but it was essential.

The nights in the desert were freezing. Numerous animals and insects, as well as scorpions and snakes came out. Many of them poisonous. Having watches were crucial. 

It took nearly two weeks to get to their destination. When they did, Xena couldn’t believe her eyes. Out of nowhere a huge mountain appeared. The day before, she couldn’t see anything besides the sand dunes and the haze created by the heat waves. The following day at sunrise, a mountain appeared. Both Rom and Toga seemed to expect it. 

it took another three days to get to the base of the mountain. Xena asked if it had a name. Rom said if it did he didn’t know it. They found the cave that was supposed to lead them inside the mountain. It was well hidden. If it wasn’t for Rom and Toga leading them, they wouldn’t have found it. 

Once inside, it felt like they were in a different world. The air felt cooler, fresher. There was a pleasant scent in the air. Bit floral and damp earth. After nearly three weeks of desert travel, it was very welcome. 

It took two days traveling through the caves to get to the center. it turned out to be a crater of a dormant volcano. They were no longer in the desert environment. Luscious jungle welcomed them. They could hear the loud waterfall, feel the plants under their feet. That evening, they came upon a small pond. The water was crystal clear, and not too deep. It didn’t take long before they were naked and were swimming in it. The cool water felt great on her skin. They frolicked for an hour, enjoying themselves for the first time in a long while. Even Rom seemed to enjoy himself. 

That night there was laughter around the campfire. They were in a great mood. The group had introduced themselves on the ship crossing the sea. Xena had worked with couple of them previously although she didn’t know them too well. The travel across the desert was brutal. People’s mood wasn’t pleasant. Most suffered silently. It felt great to be laughing with each other.

At the beginning Xena wasn’t so silent. But soon she learned to shut up. The group didn’t put up with her whining. They were all older than her. More experienced. She wondered why she was chosen. But she was grateful for the experience. 

Things were tense back home. Her friends were angry at her, fed up with her behavior. Her lack of sensitivity, unwillingness to take responsibility, and acting like a child. Yes she grew up in different culture. But she’s been living there for two years and should have picked up on social queues by now. 

Xena didn’t understand. She looked up to her friends and she thought following them was the right thing to do. She thought she was showing respect by letting them make the decisions. Telling her what to do. She hadn’t realized that this was annoying to her friends. The fact that she was following her impulses rather than thinking before speaking had gotten her into many trouble. Having Neri, Rian and Cheer be upset with her made her realize she needed to change. 

She’s thought hard about her choices and actions. Her new companions didn’t put up with her shit. She got into shape pretty quickly. Rom and Toga challenged her to think for herself. To analyze the situation and figure out what the smart course of action was. Yes, follow orders. But share her thoughts and opinions when it was asked of her. Learn, not just watch. 

The days that followed were filled with nightmares, brutal fights, and deaths. Only Rom and Xena made it out alive. Neither spoke about what happened there. What the mission was. How their companions died. 

Rom and Xena didn’t talk much to each other on their way back. Both understood the need for silence. Xena thought about a lot of things. Her relationships with her friends, her role in the Mortal Guardians, and her relationship with Elle. 

Xena was changed when she returned. Quieter, more solemn. She didn’t complain, she did as she was asked. But she didn’t follow orders blindly anymore. She was more aware of her surroundings, her audience, and things she said. 

She wasn’t perfect. She still made mistakes. But she seemed older. And she didn’t shirk her responsibilities anymore. She took responsibility for her actions instead of making excuses. Yes she doubted herself still. But that was a part of growing up. 


Edited by FallenAngelRidian
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