Faith just sighed as she placed the scroll she had been working on the ground.
stared intensily at Xena and Gabrielle as she raised her hand away from them. Slowly she
opened her hand with her palm facing towards the sky. As Faith's hand opened a ball of fire
emerged. Quickly Faith closed her hand and the fire was extinquished. "Just a hunch."
Faith answered simply with a shrug of her shoulders. "I remember when I was young I would
have to hide things like that."
Xena's heart sank at the realization that this woman was in fact the child of Dahak.
"What else can you do?" Xena asked fearfully.
"Just a few shall we say party tricks and the way my eyes change color." Faith explained with
ease. "I doubt that if my Father was just a plain old farmer I would be able to start a camp
fire in the middle of a rain storm. Unless there is something about you Mom that I am unware
of." Faith was teasing. Xena was shocked at her calmness. But then she had to remind herself
that Faith had been living with this her entire life.
How distant she must have felt from other children. Hiding who she was without the
benafit of knowing why. "It must have been hard on you growing up?" Xena said absently.
"At times." Faith responded with the same calmness. "I had to hide things. I was an orphan
and the visits from Artemis. Queen Chilapa kept me in line though never allowing me to give into the
anger when I was teased about not having parents or my eyes. But most of the time I was just
like any other kid. I played with my friends, scraped my knees, broke curfew the usual stuff."
"What did I do?" Gabrielle sobbed. "If only . . ."
"Don't." Faith's voice was firm and yet comforting. "You had no choice. You did what you had
to do. Never blame yourself. Dahak did this not you. I am proud to be your child."
"Then why not allow me to lift my orders?" Gabrielle pleaded once again.
"Because someday they may have to be carried out." Faith explained simply. "And it gives a
sense of reassurance to some of my amazons sisters. We need to get moving."
For now the conversation was over the group traveled quickly to amazon territory. Both
Gabrielle and Faith remained unusually quiet. As the sun peaked high above them the group of
weary travelers stopped to rest themselves and their horses. Xena cast a tender gaze towards
Gabrielle. "Xena?" Gabrielle spoke softly. "I don't know what to say to her. For every
question she answers, I am only led to more questions."
"Just talk to her Gabrielle." Xena encouraged. "It may take time. But give her a chance. I
know that must sound strange coming from me . . . especially after how I reacted to Hope. But
with Hope I could sense it even before she was born."
"Evil." Gabrielle said bitterly. "And with Faith?"
"She has your light Gabrielle." Xena answered tenderly.
They looked into each others eyes tenderly. It was the look that they only shared with
the other. The warm spark that spoke volumes without having to use words. Gabrielle gently
caressed Xena's arm as she whispered, "Thank you.".
Faith coughed alerting the two women that she was approaching. She blushed slightly
from disturbing their tender moment. "We should be arriving by night fall." Faith explained.
"Possibly sooner if we start out now."
"Faith wait." Gabrielle said firmly. "I need to talk to you."
Xena began to step away as Gabrielle reached for her. The Bard's eyes imploring her
to stay. "Faith did you really choose to let my orders stand or was it part of your judgement?"
"Judgement?" Xena asked in confusion.
"It was my choice." Faith said firmly. "How did you know?"
"Faith I was the Queen of two amazon tribes." Gabrielle's voice was gentle. "To turn your back
on the amazon nation is consider an act of treason. I know that there no way that you simply
walked back into the village and resumed your life."
"Okay. We will talk." Faith sighed. "Kendra, Califia scout ahead we will catch up." The
amazons departed quickly. Faith stood quiet for a moment. "Here goes. It was a short trial.
I plead guilty to my crimes."
"Crimes?" Gabrielle asked in a strained voice. "As in more than one?"
"Yeah." Faith conceded. "I was hoping to get to all of this later. In returning to my sisters
my goal was not to return home. I also had to let the nation know of Artemis' deciet. She not
only allowed the murders of two amazon princess' one of which was her chosen but she lied to us.
I knew that many would not believe me. After all I am the spawn of Dahak."
Xena could feel the fear trembling through Gabrielle's body. "I told them everything."
Faith continued. "I took no action in avenging the murders of my family. I took no revenge for
the murder of Princess Eve. I took no revenge for the murder of an amazon Queen. I plead guilty
to all four of my crimes and told the council that I would accept whatever punishment the amazon
"All of those crimes are acts of treason." Gabrielle choked out. "There is only one punishment
allowed by amazon law."
"Death." Faith replied calmly. "I also requested that I be judged under my true name. That
convinced almost everyone tha I was telling the truth. Why would anyone come and confess to not
one but four acts of treason, knowing that if I was to be believed I would be executed. I was
either insane (which is entirely possible) or I was telling the truth."
"They believed you." Gabrielle smiled.
"Most everyone." Faith returned with a smile. "Queen Chilapa had been all set to pardon me
from the start. She did raise me after all. But my confession had made it impossible. Out of
nowhere everyone was looking for somekind of loop hole."
"Four acts of treason the only way to spare someone's life is a unamious decision from the
queen's council." Gabrielle sighed. "Or if Artemis herself speaks on your behalf."
"Yeah and since I had just sold Artemis down the river my only chance seem to lay with the
Queen's council." Faith chuckled.
"Queen's council?" Xena asked.
"It is very rare." Gabrielle explained. "The excused must sit in judgement before a panel of
ten tribal Queens. So they spared you."
"No." Faith laughed. "Even though Queen Chilapa and Queen Cyane argued that not only was a
born amazon royalty but I had been raised by a Queen Chilapa. Only half of the council was
willing to pardon me. Some felt that it would be much safer if the child of Dahak was elimated
now to save time later. Others felt I betrayed the nation by speaking badly of Artemis. Well
that did it. Artemis appeared she said that I had spoken the truth and I was her chosen.
So punish me if they must but not with my life."
"No wonder the amazon's are torn apart." Xena added reflectively.
"Their patron goddess admits to betraying them and I commit treason and walk away." Faith added.
"What was your punishment?" Xena asked.
"Let's just say when the expression hard labor means hard labor." Faith smiled.
"Didn't you say that Artemis tried to kill you?" Gabrielle asked.
"That was later." Faith responded. "I was on patrol one night when Artemis and Athena appeared
before me. Imagine my surprise when Athena explained that she wanted me back. You were alive
and she wanted me to fight by her side. Put an arrow in the young bard's heart Ilainus. She
was amazed that I remembered her words. Is it that Gabrielle was an amazon queen that bothers
you she asked me. No I answered truthfully it is that the bard was my Mother. Athena was more
than a little surprised. I drew my sword . . . her sword knowning that this time I must protect
my family. Athena explained that she understood why I would not join her. But that I could not
be foolish enough to think that I could stop her, I was after all a mere mortal. No I am not I
answered her. So with your own sword I should be able to stop you. Artemis was going crazy.
The last thing she wanted was for the other Olympians to know about me. Lilith Athena called to
me . . . but the bard is mortal? And my father is Dahak I answered. Athena just kept going on
calling me Lilith saying it could not be true. I stood there and boldly announced, MY NAME IS
FAITH. I saw something in her eyes I had never seen in her before . . . fear. I raised the
sword to strike and Artemis' arrow pierce my shoulder. Everything is a little hazy. They were
fighting about some prophecy daughter of darkness protected with her Mother's light by a gift
from a god. It didn't make any sense it still doesn't. The only things I remember clearly was
that Athena healed me telling me that I would sleep until she awoke me with her kiss or her heart
stopped beating either way we would not meet in battle. She also promised that she would keep
my secret from the others. There was something else about the furies using my sister against
my Mother. When I awoke it was over I knew Athena was dead and the twilight had began. That
The three women stood there in silence. Xena stared in amazment at this young woman
who had risked everything. Gabrielle wiped a tear from her cheek. Faith reached out and took
her Mother into her arms. A life time of doubts and regrets washed away in that moment.
Gabrielle pulled slowly away from her daughter.
"Now we really need to get moving." Faith explained. "Because we have a bigger
"What's that?" Xena asked fearfully.
"How do you kill Dahak?" Faith questioned.
Upon arriving at the amazon village Faith's question was still ringing through Xena's
mind. "How do you kill Dahak?" None of them had a clue. All Xena knew was this time the
bastard was going to die. Chilapa greeted them. "Eve is safe." They were the first words
out of her mouth. "She was with a group of Eli's followers. She is with your son."
"Good that will save us time." Faith relaxed slightly. "I will tend to the horses and join
you later." Xena caught a glance from Kendra and several other young amazon women as she walked
away. She certainly has her Mother's charm.
"Chilapa." Gabrielle hugged the dignified woman who stood before her. "Last time I saw you . ..
you were just a girl. Thank you for my daughter. You raised her well."
"I wanted to tell you." Chilapa began to explain. "But I did not know about Lilith's identity
until after I became Queen. Then we thought you had died. I would have told you Gabrielle."
"You did a wonderful job." Gabrielle smiled. "You should be proud of her. When this is over I
do want to hear everything about her."
"I promise." Chilapa agreed. "I want you to know I couldn't loved her anymore if she had been
my own daughter. Even though she is to blame for all of this grey hair."
They made their way to the Queen's hut and tried to formulate a plan. No one was getting
anywhere when Faith arrived. "Any luck?" Faith asked hopefully.
"No." Gabrielle sighed in defeat. "All we know is that the rumors are that Hope has returned
and a group of followers of gathered at Atemis' temple not far from here. We don't even know
what Dahak looks like."
"Faith?" Xena asked hopefully.
"I never saw him." Faith responded. "I have only heard his voice. You never saw him Mother?"
"No." Gabrielle answered casting her eyes away from her daughter. "Only the fire."
"That is the only thing I can recall as well." Xena said bitterly. "When Hercules fought him
he said that he inhabited Iolaus' body. Faith you spent time on Mount Olympus what did the Gods
have to say about him?"
"They feared him." Faith answered. "But none of them had even seen him. Not even Ares. The
only thing he saw when he made his pact with him was the fire." Faith's grew quiet as her eyes
changed to a brillant green. She was lost in thought. "This does tell us one thing . . . that
he is a coward. He has gone to a great deal of trouble to hide himself."
"So what is he afraid of?" Gabrielle asked lost in her own thoughts.
"Probably everything." Xena jumped in. Her mind was spinning the plan was begining to take
shape. "Dahak is probably no more powerful than any other God. But by showing himself as a
blazing inferno he is giving the impression that he is all powerful. But in reality
he is nothing but smoke and mirrors."
"So how do we put out the fire?" Gabrielle asked.
"Water." Xena answered simply.
"Who could stop a raging flood." Faith said with a smile.
Xena smiled back at her as she echoed Lao Ma's words. "Once we extinquish the fire
we face him like any other opponent." Xena answered.
"That is when the armies move in." Chilapa cut in. "With the amazon forces we have amassed and
King Gabriel's army."
"No." Faith cut her off. "It is far too dangerous and unneeded. Hope's followers are
misguided if I remember Mother's scrolls once we take out Hope her control over them will be
released. First we get rid of Hope she is the only one standing between us and him. If we go
storming in with an army innocent people will get hurt. My Father wants me to join him. If I
go in then I have a shot at Hope."
"You are not going alone." Gabrielle said forcefully.
Faith began to speak but was cut off by a wave of Xena's hand. "No." Xena commanded.
"Listen to your Mother. We are going with you."
"No arguments." Gabrielle added. "Now once Hope is out of the way how are we going to kill
Dahak? Do either of you have a ragging flood handy?" She looked from Xena to Faith. "I didn't
think so. But if water is the key . . ."
"What is it Gabrielle?" Xena was intrigued.
"Not a flood but . . ." Gabrielle began to think. "Well I was just thinking of when we were in
"Holy water." Xena said with a smile. "I don't know if we are right about this but it is worth
"Holy water?" Faith asked.
"When Xena and I went to India I was possessed by a demon." Gabrielle explained. "Eli
cast the demon out with sacred water of the Ganges."
"You two certainly don't lead a dull life." Faith chuckled. "Okay it makes sense but where do
we get our hands on the sacred water of the Ganges? And will that kill Dahak?" She stopped
speaking lost in thought for a moment. "Holy water. . . of course." Faith whispered. A smile
gently emerged. "Water from the heavens."
"Water from the heavens?" Xena asked in confusion. "You mean rain water?"
"Not exactly." Faith was still smiling. "But with some divine intervention. Excuse me." Faith
dashed out of the hut.
Xena and Gabrielle were stunned by Faith's sudden departure. They turned to Chilapa
who just shrugged her shoulders. "She will be back." Chilapa explained. "She claims to have
a spirit guide. Ever since she was a child she spoke of an Amazon warrior who visit her when
she needed her. Between Dahak and Artemis she was pulled in several directions. She claims
that her guide was a calming influence that taught her to trust what was in heart."
They sat in silence for a moment. Until Chilapa began to speak. "She was a wonderful
child Gabrielle." Chilapa began to recall several tales of Faith's childhood. All the
stories were that of a normal little girl. No one could have suspected the fate that was
awaiting this remarkable young woman. Gabrielle laughed and cried upon hearing how her child
went from being an awakward child not very skilled with weapons to a skilled warrior. Xena
smiled as she found herself thinking once again about how Faith was very much like her Mother.
There was something else Xena picked up on.
"Chilapa?" Xena began with a smile. "Faith seems somewhat how shall I put it . . . popular."
"You could say that." Chilapa responded with a roll of her eyes. "Mostly youthful flirtations.
She has toned it down but she still can be . . ."
"A heartbreaker." Xena finished her statement.
"What?" Gabrielle gasped.
"Gabrielle." Xena smiled. "The girl was Athena's Champion and couldn't remain loyal."
"Perhaps you could talk some sense into her." Chilapa added. "I know I have tried to convince
her to find a bond mate."
"Perhaps she just hasn't found her soulmate . . ." Gabrielle's voice trailed off as her face
grew dim. "Excuse me." Gabrielle said sadly as she stood and exited the hut.
Xena followed her in confusion. It did not take the warrior long to find her Bard a
short distance away standing under a tree crying softly. Xena approached her quietly. Gabrielle
looked up at the warrior sensing her presence. Xena gently brushed the tears from Gabrielle's
cheek. "Gabrielle what is it?" Xena asked as she began to caress the Bard's face.
The tears stopped as Gabrielle gazed into Xena's eyes. "Xena do you remember that story
I told you about searching for the other half of your soul?"
"How could I ever forget it?" Xena said softly looking into the eyes of her soulmate. "A long
time ago people had four legs and four arms and two heads."
"You remember." Gabrielle said with a sad smile. "Then the Gods threw down thunder bolts
dividing mortals into two halves. And they were forced to spend their lives searching for the
other half of their souls."
"I know when I found mine." Xena whispered softly.
"As did I." Gabrielle whispered back to her warrior as she gently caressed the hand on her face.
"And someday Faith will find hers." Xena asserted.
"No." Gabrielle spoke with a quiet defiance. "The Gods separated mortals Xena." Xena stood
there quietly as her face dropped finally understanding what had upset Gabrielle. "She has no
soulmate and she knows it." Gabrielle finished.
"Maybe it isn't true?" Xena found herself grasping for an answer.
"Xena it is." Gabrielle sighed. "How could she try to claim another's heart when she knows that
out there someone else is waiting for them?"
They stood in silence knowing that Gabrielle was speaking the truth. Xena could not
believe the unfairness. To her it appeared that Faith had recieved all of the burdens of
immortality and none of the rewards. She would spend her life which could last for eternity
alone as she watched her friends and her child leave this world without her. That no matter
how deeply she loved another she would never have what Xena the former destroyer of nations
held at this moment. It also explained a little of Ares obession to her. No matter how much
he loved Xena she would never be his.
Gabrielle wrapped her arms around her warrior and held her tightly. Xena clung to her
realizing not for the first time how precious the fair haired bard was to her.
"She has been gone for a long time." Gabrielle said softly.
"Let's go find her." Xena agreed as she released her hold on Gabrielle.
They walked around the village without any success. Finally the pair made their way
into the forest. They found Faith in a deep conversation with a familar figure.
"So it can be done?" Faith questioned.
"Yes." The Amazon was glimmering before her answered. "The angels will weep. Collect the water
you will not need much. Be sure to christen Athena's sword with it. The water from the heavens
will purify it. If you pierce Dahak's heart you will destroy him."
"If I can find his heart." Faith added grimly.
"Once he is gone you will no longer need me." The Amazon added. "It will finally be my time to
"I will miss you." Faith said softly. "But I understand."
"Unfortunately lose is a part of your life Faith." The Amazon comforted her. "We have company."
Xena and Gabrielle approached carefully stunned by the vision before them. "Hello my
friends." The Amazon called out to them.
"They can see you?" Faith asked in astonishment. "But no one other than myself has ever seen
"They are why I am here." The Amazon smiled. "I promised your Mother that I would look after
"Ephany?" Gabrielle stuttered.
"So that is who you are." Faith smiled.
"Remember. . ." Ephany began.
"Trust my heart." Faith stated with confidence. "For my heart was born from my Mother's heart
and that is my gift. I will not fail."
"I must go." Ephany said with regret.
"Good bye." Faith spoke with saddness. "Thank you."
"Gabrielle I kept my promise to you." Ephany explained. "But now it is time for me to cross
"Thank you." Gabrielle sobbed.
"Until we meet again my friends." Ephany smiled warmly at Xena and Gabrielle and quickly
Xena and Gabrielle stood there with their mouths hanging open. It was all too much for
them. "It will start to rain soon." Faith stated matter of factly. "We need to hurry."
"Things like this do they happen often?" Gabrielle asked trying to grasp the situation.
"Now and then." Faith explained with impatience. "My Daddy is Dahak. These things happen.
Now let's focus on the matter at hand. Which is the big mean bad guy who wants to conquer the
world. He wants to kill Eve. My job is to stop him. I am her guardian for the rest of her
life. Now snap out of it we have a mission to complete."
Faith turned and walked away. Xena just raised one eyebrow in defiance. "You know
she gets that pushy side from you." Xena stated dryly.
"Excuse me." Gabrielle snapped back as they trailed after Faith.
"Okay." Xena began once they caught up with Faith. "I think we heard enough to figure out what
is going on. The angels cry and cast their tears down in the form of rain. The waters from
heaven. Which can be used to kill Dahak if we pierce him in the heart."
"That is the plan." Faith agreed. "I assume based on what I read in the scrolls that I can kill
Hope with the Hinds blood dagger."
"Based on her last reaction to it I would say that you are correct." Gabrielle added.
"What does she look like so I know who to aim at?" Faith questioned her Mother.
After a slight hesitation Xena answered. "Like Gabrielle." She watched as Faith's
features darkened. Knowing that it could not be easy for the girl to hear, she decided to change
the subject. "The only problem is how do we get Dahak to reveal himself?" Xena asked.
"Not a clue." Faith responded with reluctance.
As they entered the Amazon village the rain began to fall. Quickly the trio began to
collect the rain water in buckets. Just as suddenly as it had began the rain stopped. Faith
bathed her sword in the water not missing a spot on the blade or hilt. They then poured the
water into skins and decided to wait until dawn to confront Dahak.
The three women sat in the Queen's hut each unable to sleep. Each lost in their on
thoughts. "I was just wondering something?" Faith spoke suddenly breaking the silence. "If
Hope looks like Mother than . . . who do I look like?"
"Well, you do look a little like your Aunt Lila." Gabrielle said.
"Lila?" Xena snorted.
"Oh no you don't." Gabrielle warned. "You are not starting that again."
"Gabrielle look at her the dark hair but with your high lights." Xena explained. "Her height
falling exactly between yours and mine. . ."
"What are you saying?" Faith chuckled. "It is a nice sentiment Xena but unless you can start
a camp fire in the rain . . ."
"I can." Xena interjected.
"The way I do?" Faith teased. "If I remember my studies correctly that is just not possible."
"This from the woman we found in the woods having a chat with Ephiny who has been dead for
twenty five years." Xena protested. "What about Eve? Her father is . . ."
"Callisto." Faith interupted. "Who was an angel at the time."
"What Athena?" Xena continued.
"What about her?" Faith asked slyly.
"She popped out of her father's head and fully dressed in armor." Xena pointed out.
"Athena could do a great many things." Faith responded with a knowing smirk. "And her father
was Zesus." Faith laughed slightly. "Xena I am flattered and I truely do not want to get into
a discussion of what you did with my Mother to lead you to this conclusion, but you have a karmic
soul. You both do and it is forever intwined. My Father would not be blessed with this."
"How do you this?" Gabrielle questioned.
"Because I can see it." Faith answered.
"You can see our karmic lines?" Gabrielle was amazed.
"Yes." Faith answered calmly. "Not the future but who you were and that you are connected. I
can do that with some people. Usually people I am close to. It is a comfort to know that
years from now I will be able to find with my friends and family. It is what convinced me to
become a Mother. Knowing that someday I would find my child again unless he too was immortal."
"Is he?" Gabrielle asked fearfully.
"No." Faith asserted. "It seems his Father's blood won out. Solan waited to be reborn. To be
reunited with his family."
Xena's eyes widen as a lump caught in her throat. "I named him for who he was." Faith
explained. "Now that doesn't mean he is the same person. But another life time ago he was your
Solan and now he has returned to his family."
A silence descended upon the room. Until once again Faith broke the silence. "I wasn't
going to tell you. It can be unnerving to hear about such things. But if I don't . . ." Faith
stopped and collected her thoughts. ". . .if something goes wrong. . . Solan is with Eve. King
Gabriel has them protected at his castle. His parents were King Gregor and Queen Pandora. I
assume you know where the castle is. I want you to take my son and Eve and get them to safety.
Promise me that you will do this."
"We know where the castle is." Gabrielle reassured her. "And I promise you that the three of
us will be traveling there together just as soon as this is over."
"I hope that you are right." Faith whispered.
Nothing more was said that evening. Dawn reared it's ugly head far too quickly. The
trio gathered the water skins and their weapons and walked out of the village alone. The
Amazons wished them well after they refused to take any with them. They made their way carefully
to the temple of the fallen goddess Artemis. No one spoke a word though out the journey. What
could anyone say. The stakes were too high the penantly for failure too dear.
They approached the temple cautiously. Faith led the way up the staircase. Her path
was block immediatly to two armed guards.
"What is your business?" One of them demanded.
"I am Faith." She responded without flinching.
"Third one today." The other guard sneered.
"Fine." Faith sighed. She turned and descended the staircase.
Xena and Gabrielle just stared at her. "Ladies could you just step out of the way for
a moment." Faith instructed them with a wave of her hands.
They stepped away from the guards and watched her carefully. Faith began to shake her
hand as if she was preparing to roll a set of dice. "I really do hate being flashy." Faith
muttered as her hand sprung open. A surge of light lept from her fingers striking each of the
guards who collapsed immediatly.
"They will be all right." Faith assured her parents as she joined them. "But I bet you believe
me now don't you boys." One of the guards just groaned in response.
"That must come in handy." Xena commented expressed by Faith's quick action.
"Smoke and mirrors, Xena." Faith shrugged. "Speaking of which shall we?"
Faith led the way into the temple. Inside was an eerily familar scene. Worshipers
were gathered everywhere. Innocents were kneeling awaiting sacrifice. Awaiting on the alter
surrounded by smoke and fire emerging from a pit was a hauntingly familar figure clad in a green
top and brown skirt with her back to the three women.
She turned to them with an icy glare. "Hello Mother." She growled.
Faith's face dropped as she looked from her sister to her mother. "Holy Mother of Zesus." She
gasped. "Xena when you said she looked like my mother you forget to mention that she looks
exactly like my mother." Faith was visably shaken. "It is incredible. The same." She
muttered. "Well except for the long hair and that ugly green top."
"Hey." Gabrielle snapped. "Why does everyone pick on that. It was one of my favorites."
"Face it Gabrielle it was never a good look for you." Xena quipped. "Besides with your new
look our ratings have gone through the roof, not to mention that you ended up on the cover of tv
"What?" Faith asked.
"Nothing." Xena and Gabrielle answered in unison.
"Sister." Hope called out. "I see you have recieved my messages."
A sneer crossed Faith's face as she stepped towards Hope. "I have." Faith responded
"And are you ready to join me at Father's side?" Hope asked with a throatly growl.
"Of course." Faith answered with a smile. "I know that you also wanted a certain trophy."
Faith cooed. "There she is the Warrior Princess." Faith cast a menacing glance towards Xena.
"I don't like where this going." Xena snarled.
Faith managed to make her way to the alter. "When do I meet Father?" Faith asked with
"Soon." Hope replied. "Very soon."
"Now." Faith commanded. "I brought you the warrior now I am ready to take my place in my
Father's kingdom. Kill Xena and bring him to me."
"When I say." Hope snarled.
"No!" Faith shouted. "I have waited long enough!"
"She's baiting her." Xena whispered.
"You will do as I say." Hope commanded as she clenched her fist and released a ball of fire in
Faith caught it easily and returned it quickly striking Hope in the chest. Hope crashed
to the ground. "Who do you think you dealing with?" Faith snarled. "Those two?" She snapped
waving at Gabrielle and Xena. "Ares?" Faith continued as Hope stood.
Hope glared at her sister as her followers seemed to become disoriented. "I am in
charge here not you sister!" Hope was growled her control wavering.
"I don't think so." Faith laughed. "How many times were defeated by these mere mortals? I was
left alone to raised by Amazons." Faith spit the words out. "While you always had Father."
"I was dead." Hope snapped.
"Always an excuse." Faith taunted her. "And now when we are about to bring Father into the
world you waste your time trying to get revenge on Xena."
"She killed my child." Hope snarled her control slipping even more.
"You killed hers." Faith pushed. "Is it because Mother always liked her best?"
"Apparently better than you." Hope laughed evilly.
"Whatever." Faith answered uncaringly. "Time is wasting. Kill Xena so we can get on with the
"Gladly." Hope growled as she turned towards Xena who was reaching for her chakram. "You should
enjoy this Mother."
Xena watched carefully waiting for her moment to strike. Faith reached into her boot and
retrieved the Hinds blood dagger. "Hope." Faith called out. "I just want you to know that from
what I have seen your an even bigger bitch than everyone said you were."
Hope snapped back towards Faith as Xena released her chakram. Xena missed her marked
wounding Hope in the arm. Faith released the dagger. The followers became confused and began
to scatter. Their movements halted as Hope caught the dagger.
"No!" Gabrielle screamed. She grabbed the waterskin on her side and sliced it open with her
sais. She rushed forward before Xena could stop her and doused Hope with the water.
Hope's skin began to burn. Quickly Xena pulled Gabrielle to safety as Faith wrestled
the dagger from Hope. With a swift motion she drove it into her sister's heart. Hope howled
in pain as she collapsed into a burning heap.
The alter erupted as Hope's body burned into ashes. The followers and chosen sacrifices
quickly ran from the temple. Nothing was left of Hope even the dagger melted away with her.
The walls began to tremble as fire sprung from the alter knocking Gabrielle, Xena and Faith
across the room.
"Well that was fun." Faith shouted over the explosions.
"Fun?" Xena shouted in return. "That was dangerous."
The three scrambled to their feet as a ball of fire emerged from the alter it formed a
funnel accending to the ceiling of the temple. "I see I have your attention, Father." Faith
taunted as she drew her sword. Xena followed suit as the two began to approach the alter.
"Wait!" Gabrielle called out as she ran towards them. "We need to draw him out."
"But how?" Xena questioned.
"He is a coward remember."Gabrielle spoke with venom. "We make him run." She held up another
waterskin. "The water. You saw what it did to Hope."
Faith and Xena resheathed their swords. The three gathered the remaining waterskins and
began to approach the alter slowly. A sudden rush of steam blew the three back. "I always knew
you were full of hot air Dahak." Gabrielle cursed.
The three women approached quickly this time and surrounded the funnel of fire. They
sprayed the water everywhere. Howls of pain emerged from the fire. A burst of flames erupted
and reached for Gabrielle. "Not this time!" She vowed as she emptied the waterskin on the now
retreating arm of fire. Another explosion erupted propelling the women across the room once
The fire vanished as billowing clouds of smoke consumed the alter. The three women were
visably shaken as they stood. Looking at each other in dismay. "It worked." Gabrielle
"It is not over." Faith replied sadly.