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Teresa M Shafer - For books that kindle thought and ignite the imagination!
Unexpected Rewards
As they had predicted when Xena and Gabrielle finally fell asleep their souls drifted away from their grandchildren. They saw the women, Margo and Cara asleep in each other’s arms and wished them farewell.  Soon they were drifting far above the red planet. Before long the planet was beyond sight and they were rising into the mountainous spears that were so familiar to them. They landed on a tall spear and waited for the inevitable escort of Angels that would take them to the place where they would sleep. This was the fourth time that they remembered this place and this path. The first time they had marveled, now they simply waited.  “You look good, as usual.” Xena said in way of light conversation. “Thanks, so do you.” Gabrielle responded in kind. “I wish that we had made time to say goodbye to the Amazons, especially to Aella and Ephiny.” She contemplated Gabrielle’s golden hair. “That would have been nice.” She leaned over and kissed Xena. “I’m sorry I was such an emotional mess this time around.”
“You had some valid issues that you needed to get out.” She caressed Gabrielle’s cheek. “You know what’s amazing to me is that one decision affected so much and it followed me all this way into the future. I am sorry you know.” 
“Oh I know Xena. Just sometimes things build up and then they just eat away at you and become bigger than they should be. It’s done now and we can move forward.” Gabrielle pecked her on the lips again. 
Suddenly they were in the center of a magnificent light. “And none too soon either.” Xena said as she helped Gabrielle to her feet to await the Angels that had come for them.
The Angels were happy to see them. They were always happy but this time was almost like the first time. The Angels laughed and giggled while they carried the pair far into the reaches beyond the mountain spires. They passed through a cloud bank and when they emerged on the other side they found themselves overlooking a beautiful land that reminded them of home.
Both Xena and Gabrielle exclaimed in delight. The Angels began to descend. They were deposited on a roadway just in front of a low stick fence. Beyond that fence was a small yard with chickens, geese and ducks roaming freely on the grass and amongst the flowerbeds. Beyond the lawn was a two story farmhouse built with its back on a small hill. They could hear on the other side of the trees in the side yard there were goats and pigs and probably a barn by the smell of it.
Beyond and below the house was a vast meadow bordered on all sides by forest. In the meadow were cattle and horses. They could see a wide stream running through the forest far across the meadow. In short it was beautiful.
“Xena where are we?” Gabrielle asked.
“I don’t know but we could find out.” Xena opened the small gate in front of her and stepped through. Together they walked wearily up onto the front porch and knocked on the front door.
No-one answered. But Gabrielle noticed a sign next to the door. It was in Greek. It read: “This is the home of Xena and Gabrielle, Welcome” She stopped cold and tugged on Xena’s arm. After a moment of complaint Xena looked at the sign.
“What does it mean?” Gabrielle asked.
“It means Gabrielle that this is your home.” The familiar voice had come from behind them. “But you’re only here for a visit.”
Xena and Gabrielle had both spun around at the first sound. Ephiny giggled at their antics and was joined in the giggle by Aella.
“Ephiny, Aella… what are you doing here… what are we doing here?” Gabrielle was in shock. This was not how it had happened before.
“Yah what gives?” Xena was less eloquent not that Gabrielle was at her best either.
“Well I’m here because I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye.” Aella said sadly.
“And I’m here to explain what is happening… and to say farewell.” Ephiny told them. “So you first I guess Aella.”
“Yes, well I am saying goodbye to you both. I would love to stay with you forever but I can’t. I will see you again however. That has been promised. I’m moving on to the new resting place that we have been given by the One God. He has accepted us as who we are and some of us will be reborn while others will wait for… other things. You made that possible for a lot of us. I was undecided when you came to Mars. But now that I have seen how the tribe has grown and flourished and how it will continue… I no longer feel the need to stay with them. You gave me the chance to actually speak to them and to help them to become more. Now I am content to move on and rejoin my own soul mate in the hereafter. Thank you both.” She held her mother Gabrielle in her arms and whispered her love in her mother’s ear. Then she took Xena in her arms and repeated the process. They returned the love to her heartily. She let go of them and slowly dissipated.
Tears were rolling down the cheeks of both Xena and Gabrielle.
“Just so you know Aella was not the only Amazon to decide after recent events to move on and accept the offer made by the God of Eli. Cyane and her leaders were among those who chose to move on and Varia was another. In fact only a few Amazons chose to stay with the tribe… they are yet undecided. So, many found peace, thanks to you. You allowed them to help and that made all the difference to them. Many had felt that they had died leaving their sisters vulnerable and unprotected. Others simply wanted to help their sisters one last time while others like Varia wanted to do something that would make a difference to make up for the time that she let you down. Now they all rest in peace with the One God.”
Gabrielle was smiling and nodding her head in happiness for her sisters. Xena was not fully convinced but if it made Gabrielle happy she wasn’t going to bitch.
“The house is yours. But as I said you are only here for a visit. Xena’s prayer has been answered.” Ephiny began.
“Wait… woe… hold the horses! Xena prayed… to a God?” Gabrielle was flabbergasted. “When did this happen?”
“No I did not!” Xena said loudly. Ephiny crossed her arms across her chest. “Someone did it for me.” She finished weakly.
“You asked her to pray for you. She did and for your trust in His ability and desire to answer He has granted your request.” Ephiny said matter of factly.
“You asked Margo to pray for you, didn’t you?” Gabrielle was not accusing or being bratty. She was so pleased that she wanted to shout it to the stars.
“I asked her if she would put in a good word and make a request of her God… yes.” She was still defensive but at least she wasn’t denying it.
“So what exactly did you ask for?”
“I think I asked for two or three days alone with you and nothing else to do. I just wanted to spend some time with you… in our own bodies and no other responsibilities. I thought maybe we could talk and do some other things and maybe relax a bit.” Xena couldn’t have been more honest.
Gabrielle turned her attention to Ephiny without commenting to Xena. “So how long did He grant?”
Ephiny smiled. “Three days, you have three full days in this place to do whatever pleases you.”
“Thank you Ephiny!” Gabrielle beamed.
“Don’t thank me, thank Him.”
“Oh I do, I do… thank you, thank you, thank you!” She said with her eyes squeezed shut and her hands together as she had seen in Cara’s mind as this God’s preferred position of prayer and supplication.
When she opened her eyes she saw Xena looking at her in wonder. She just shook her head and smiled at the Warrior Princess.
“Ephiny are you moving on as well?” Xena asked the Amazon Queen.
“No I have other tasks that I must see too. The house and your three days await you.” She extended her hand to invite them to enter. They did not hesitate. “I will see you again my friends. When your three days are done you will be returned to your sleep to await Alti.”
They both nodded and walked backup to the door. “So Gabrielle what’s the name of this God in case I actually do want to talk to Him?”
“Cara said that He has many names but most call Him Jehovah”
“Isn’t that a Hebrew name? How can we as Greeks be favored by a Hebrew God?” She opened the door and waved Gabrielle inside.
“I told you that He adopted us as His children, remember?” She stepped through the portal.
“Huh, I guess you did.” She put afoot through the open door. “Hey you wanna go fishing?”  
Just before the door closed Ephiny heard Gabrielle’s exasperated but longsuffering response. “Oh Xena…” Her present job completed Ephiny disappeared and left the soul mates to enjoy their three day reward.