General News

Xena dies a martyr

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Jun 29, 2001 | 1:49pm EDT

In tribute to Xena, we offer her battle cry: Ai-yi-yi-yi-yi!

Xena, in true, glorious, warrior fashion perished June 23 battling the mighty forces of evil.

This might not be the ultimate end for Xena, as she's defeated death no less than four times before. Most notably, Xena was once crucified by the Romans, sent to Hell, but was returned to the living through the healing force of love. This time, unfortunately, her demise does seem more permanent, as her body was riddled with arrows and Xena was beheaded in a selfless act of martyrdom.

Xena led a full life. She was at the siege of Troy, helped Moses find his tablets of stone, aided David in slaying Goliath, became intimate with Julius Caesar, and even runs into the Knights of the Round Table. Xena also was widely traveled for a woman who only had access to ships and horses, as Xena even managed to visit India, China and, fatally, Japan.

Xena was raised as the daughter of Cyrene and Atrius. A native of Amphipolis, a fairly large village in Thrace, Xena had a typically boisterous relationship with her brothers and worked with her mother in the family tavern.

Xena believed that her father, Atrius, abandoned the family when Xena was young, but later learned that Cyrene killed him to prevent him from murdering Xena. Evidence Xena later uncovers suggests that Ares, the God of War, may be her true father.

Xena's first true love was Petracles. They were soon betrothed, but Petracles left her to take up the life of a warlord. Bitterness toward men and distaste for close relationships was all that was left for Xena, abandoned for a second time by the man in her life.

This second abandonment by an important man in her life left Xena with a certain bitterness toward men, and a distaste for close relationships in general, something that would only change once Xena met her true soul mate, Gabrielle.

Young Xena's life changed when the warlord Cortese attacked Amphipolis. Since no one else would stand up to the raiders, Xena and her younger brother Lyceus gathered an army. They defeated the raiders, but Lyceus and many of the villagers were killed in the process. Xena was blamed for their deaths and was ostracized.

Xena found solace in the strength that war gave her, and soon gave in completely to her dark side, fighting solely for bloodlust and the love of power.

In her ensuing battles, from Chin to Britannia, she encountered two people who would profoundly influence her life, M'Lila and Lao Ma. These two powerful women offered Xena skills to aid her in battle against her enemies and, ultimately more importantly, the power to control her own dark side. Unfortunately, Xena chose not to heed the subtler aspects of her mentors' teachings-until much later.

Xena then made her way to Central Asia, where she joined forces with the Russian warrior Borias, and they quickly became mates. Borias' death made her realize she'd become what she loathed, and having just given birth to a son she chose the Centaurs to raise her child. Xena didn't set eyes on Solan for almost a decade, nor does Solan know that his mother is Xena, even now.

Though the spark of goodness remained in her, it took the help of Hercules soon after, who had become her friend, for Xena to finally understand what her acts had done to others and to herself. Armed with that knowledge Xena became determined to redeem herself through noble acts. Since then, she relied a great deal on her best friend and companion, Gabrielle--not to mention Argo, her faithful horse--as she endeavored to restore her soul by dedicating herself to fighting for the Greater Good.

The struggle did not go easily, for many of the gods and many of the mortals refused to recognize the changes she made in her life.

Xena also faced many obstacles on her path to redemption: she died four times previously and was inadvertently put on ice for 25 years. The last event prevented her from raising her daughter, Eve, and indirectly brought about the Twilight of the Greek Gods.

At times, certain individuals even tempted her to return to her old ways. Luckily, with the help of Gabrielle (and the memories of M'Lila and Lao Ma), she managed to avoid that fate.

Other adventures on her self-motivated path to improvement led Xena to meet Ulysses, inspire the Hippocratic oath, join Beowulf, defeat Caligula in a chariot race and expose Cleopatra's murders--Brutus and Marc Antony. Xena also revisited her past as a Valkyrie.

Recently, Xena and Gabrielle had endured a terrible rift in their relationship. But the two managed to survive the lies and the betrayal, emerging with a bond even stronger than before. Xena and Gabrielle shared a love that few have ever experienced.

Gabrielle, who has chosen to hold a private ceremony, survives Xena.

A statement from Xena's family sums up her life perfectly: "The Warrior Princess [led] a grim life laced with fear and hatred and goodness and hope. A lesser woman may not have survived the plights that have befallen this village girl from Thrace. Only Xena had the strength of will and heart to escape the dark path that was leading her straight to Tartarus."

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