Subtext: Subtext? Are you kidding me? The relationship between Xena and Gabrielle as I portray it is, indeed, quite romantic in nature, spiritually and physically, as is the relationship between Janice and Mel. You just don't get to see much of the physical part. Especially not in this story, because it just plain wouldn't fit. But if the concept of two women in love offends you, you're perfectly free not to read this. Know that I feel sorry for you, though.
Author's Notes: This short piece is the end result of trying to work on "Deciphering the Rift" while thinking about the episode "The Ides of March" in exhaustive depth, and all the while having Celtic lore on the brain. You see what happens when you think too much? For all intents and purposes, this is how I envision what should happen following "The Ides of March." The thought of Xena and Gabrielle being brought back to life immediately following the events of that episode doesn't sit too well with me, so this is written from my idea of the timeline as it continues from that point.
July 22, 1951
Columbia, South Carolina
Got a new bit of translating for you to do. It isn't much but Mel and I are hoping that it'll give us something to work with. Yeah, we're still trying to solve the mystery of how our family lines can possibly exist if, according to the last set of Scrolls we finished working on, Xena and Gabrielle were executed by the Romans. You think that maybe we're missing some scrolls that go into the middle of the story somehow? It doesn't seem likely to me.
Anyway. Here's the bit of parchment we need you to work on. Had a hell of a time tracking it down, but everything about the site where we found it falls into the right place. Hopefully it might help shed some light on the situation, somewhere down the road.
Hope you're doing all right for yourself over there, kid. Make sure you stay out of trouble. Take care of yourself. Mel says hi, and hopes everything is going well for you. And hell, from time to time we actually miss you, kid. Next time you come home for a visit, drop by and see us.
Hope to hear from you soon.
August 2, 1951
I can see that it's not damn likely that you'll ever stop calling me "kid," no matter how old I get. And never mind that the last time I saw you was almost five years ago! I can also see that Mel was right: the work on those Xena Scrolls of yours never seems to end. How many years has it been now? Eleven? Not counting all the time your father spent searching for them? The story really is timeless then, I guess.
But, on to the parchment . . . When you said "bit" you certainly weren't kidding! This piece of parchment contains about two paragraphs' worth of writing. And very interesting writing it is. You did good work finding this, and it seems to corroborate the Xena "Roman" Scroll that you mentioned. But here's the interesting thing: I think it may explain you and that Southerner you call a partner anyway.
I'm enjoying myself here in England; it's exhilarating to be able to finally immerse myself in the land of the Celtic culture I've studied for so long. I can never thank you and Mel enough for what you did to get me this opportunity. Oxford is a great place, but I miss Boston . . . I miss home. I think I'll be going Stateside for Christmas, and you can bet I'll drop in to see you both.
Enclosed with this letter, you'll find the parchment, as well as the translation that I did. Remember that this is still dubious evidence at best; I'll have to do more research into the authenticity of the fragment, and I'll let you know what I find out as soon as possible.
Give my regards to Mel, and let her know that I miss both of you, and our crazy escapades. I look forward to seeing you and her in a few months.
Oh, and Covington . . . behave yourself. From what I hear, you're as crazy as ever. Though I'm sure Mel will keep you in line. I certainly hope she does.
- K. Velasquez
"Among my people, they sing songs that foretell the coming of a great warrior king who will unite all of Prydein under a single glorious banner. He will drive the darkness of war and strife from the land, and oversee the rise of a kingdom that shines with summer's golden purity, a realm full of peace and prosperity such as this world has never known. But the darkness will return, and put an end to his reign, and war and strife will tear the land once more. Many will forget his existence, but those who remember have hope, for though dead, or disappeared from this worlds-realm, the king will return in the time of Prydein's greatest need; once more will he defeat the darkness, as was ever his destiny.
"Small is my land, and far from here. But I have seen that Greece, too, shall have need of a savior like this king of ours. And I tell you that once already have her footsteps graced this soil, and once already has she fought on your behalf-indeed, her name is known to you. She sleeps now, but will awaken again, when he who brings strife to this land wreaks havoc of the most deadly kind, when he whom only she can defeat becomes a threat once more. And with her will return her true soulmate, she who truly understands love in its many forms. For together they are the greatest force for good that this worlds-realm will see, and they are united in a bond that transcends time, life, and death-a bond that can never be broken. When the need so warrants it, then they will be roused from their long slumber. So take heart, people of Greece, and endure the meantime with the hope that this knowledge brings: the warrior and bard shall return to you one day."
- the Rhyfelwr Emrys fragment
attributed to Rhonwyn y Cymodwr of Caer Dyvi
August 27, 1951
Columbia, South Carolina
Damn right I'm never going to stop calling you that. You'll always be a kid to me.
The Fragment looks interesting, but that ancestor of yours sure was wordy. There's just one thing I'm wondering about: is the king Rhonwyn mentioned really King Arthur?
Oh, and one other thing. What the hell does "Rhyfelwr Emrys" mean, anyway? You always did have a bad habit of not translating certain phrases.
How's the research on the Fragment's authenticity coming along? Mel says that she's glad you're doing well, and she's looking forward to seeing you this Christmas. And I guess I am too.
September 3, 1951
Mel and Janice,
Good news. I've been able to ascertain the authenticity of the Rhyfelwr Emrys Fragment after all. The syntax and linguistic structure of the writing checks out as being concurrent with Rhonwyn's timeframe. And the handwriting style matches up to that on all the other documents attributed to her as well, so I think we've got a pretty definite piece of evidence here.
"Emrys" is the epithet "Ambrose," which is more or less "Immortal." Yeah, I know that doesn't seem quite right, but that's what it's called. I guess whoever wrote this down decided it sounded better than "bythol" or "tragwydd," which mean "eternal" and would have made slightly more sense. I can see their point, in that case.
And yes, the king she mentioned was in fact the legendary Arthur. I've been thinking about the Xena "Blue" Scroll, and everything it mentioned about reincarnation and their past and future lives. And everything about reincarnation and coming back to life gets a little complicated, between the Blue Scroll and this Fragment and all, but hey . . . remember back when we were working on the Rift Scrolls, and we read that little bit that Gabrielle wrote about Xena pulling a sword out of that stone in Britannia? The one that was awaiting the arrival of the king who alone would be able to pull it out?
The Fragment has lots of parallels with Arthurian legend. Chew on that one for a while, and maybe we'll figure out where all this fits together. I'll see you at Christmas.
- K. Velasquez