Reflections by Argo
When the little mare was born, it had no idea when it grew older a Warrior such as Xena would look and want. The Warrior woman, took the horse into her life and Argo became her pride and joy. The Palomino would carry her, save her, and follow her anywhere.
I didn't know much, coming into this world. But I do remember how I arrived. My name is Argo, it may sound like a funny name, many thought so at first....
It was a dark, stormy night. The Gods must have been angry, because they were sending down bolts of fire from the sky. And there was loud noises, like great rumbling. It was like someone was very mad. My mom was fearful, and she would run backwards and forth. She would cry, and she would cry, and no one seemed to come and help. The storm just got worse. I really didn't want to come out yet. I felt nice and warm and safe. I really don't know what happened, because all of a sudden my mom fell down. And gee, I started moving. I tried as hard as I could, to stay in my safe place. The harder I tried the farther out I was going. All of a sudden, I wasn't in my warm place anymore. I was all wet, and I was laying on some stuff that was poking me. I later found out it was called, straw. Then I raised my head up.
Well after she thought I was clean enough, she kept trying to get me to get up. I wasn't to sure about that, but after several nudges I did try. I just kept falling down.
I couldn't understand what these things I had under me were. They were these very long thin things, that my mom seemed to be walking on, but I couldn't stand up on.
We kept trying and eventually I did make it up on all fours. A little wobbly but mom stayed right by me rooting me on. As many times as I would fall, I would get back up. Then all of a sudden, I tried to walk, and I did. When I realized I could walk, I decided to try to run. Now my mom, laughed at me, she thought I looked pretty funny. But I thought I was doing pretty good even though I kept falling. It was then, I heard a lot of laughter. I turned to see some other fellas that looked just like me. Only they were a little bit bigger, and they seemed to be laughing at me? I walked over to them and said, "Hey what are you laughing at?"
"You, you are so clumsy."
"Well, well I haven't had much practice yet." At this time my mom called, "Argo, come on Argo, come over here. Get something to eat."
The others laughed and said, "Oh yes, we must have a moma's girl. Come on Argo come on over here Argo. It's time to eat. Argo what a stupid name. "
And I just kinda laid my ears back, turned and walked over where my mom was standing. I didn't care whether they laughed or not. That was a really good dinner, and I was really hungry, because I had an awful scary trip out. Well that's how I came into this world. I know I will never forget it.
My life after that was pretty much usual, Mom was always there, we would go out and walk in the meadows together. My legs, were getting stronger. And I could run and play, it was so much fun. I was always exploring. I even liked to chase Butterflies. I thought it was really neat.
The others still laughed at me. I finally said to my mom, "Mom do you think I could have a name like Spartagus?"
Mom asked, "Why?"
"Because they laugh and make fun of me mom. They think Argo is a funny name."
Mom looked at me, as she batted her big brown eyes," Argo, one day people will not laugh at you, one day people will admire you. The name Argo will be a name you will be proud of."
A shrill whistle, brought her out of her thoughts. Argo's ears perked and she began galloping in the direction of the signal. She knew that when ever Xena needed her she would whistle.
As Argo came out of a thicket of trees, she could see Xena standing, beckoning her. The mighty Palominos legs slid to a stop, as Xena Somersaulted into the saddle, reining the horse toward the village which was looming in the distance. "Go, Argo go!" The mighty warrior yelled. Entering the village Argo could see that it was being over run by an army of men, no doubt probably led by some Warlord. She knew, it wouldn't take long, for Xena to put an end to their pillaging.
Life, hadn't always been like this, but since Argo met Xena, she never had a dull moment.
Argo really enjoyed playing the dare game, especially with Xena's old nemesis, Callisto. Callisto loved to charge her horse straight for Xena. And Xena would always take the bait, and turn Argo in her direction. The two horses seeming to collide. Argo had spoke with Callisto's horse Blade, and found that the thing they both hated, was the loud clanging noise. the weapons made as they fought. It wasn't anything like chasing a Butterfly.
One of the men had jumped on a horse turning it from the village. And Xena urged Argo after him. 'Yeah,' Argo thought, 'I really love this run thing. It's great to see if you are the faster.'
Argo had already won the reputation of being the fastest steed in Amphibilois and Troy so she relished every opportunity to make her mark. It didn't take her long to catch up with the horse. And as she pulled along side, Xena jumped on to it, pulling the man off.
Argo turned the other horse back and headed toward Xena, who was standing, holding the man's bound hands by a leather tie. "Good Girl. What would I ever do with out you." Argo thought, Seems like I've heard her say the same thing to Gabrielle. As they entered the village the people were yelling, "Xena, Xena!" This time Argo thought, No one yells Argo, Argo after all she couldn't have done it with out my help.
After Xena handed the man over to the Village Elder, she walked Argo over to the corral. Loosening the bridle she said, "Now, you can get a well deserved drink. And I will pay a few extra Dinars so you will have the best of feed." Xena began to rub behind Argo's ears as she leaned over and whispered, "Argo, you are the best!"
Argo always loved it when Xena would rub behind her ears, it tickled and at the same time made her sleepy. She whinnied, turning her head she gave Xena a kiss. Xena laughed as she said, "You know that your nose always tickles my face when you do that." The horse seemed to smile.
Argo had made friends with The Grey, a handsome horse from Troy. She was enjoying their time together, when Xena walked into the stable, carrying some bedding. She walked over by the stall and laid it down. Xena said, "Sure, Argo I leave you for a few minutes and you find someone new," she laughed. Argo whinnied as she trotted over to her.
"Well I spent the evening polishing up my sword and listening to the tales of a village woman. She was good but couldn't hold a flame to Gabrielle's stories. Better get some rest girl, we have a ways to go tomorrow. We are meeting Gabrielle at the lake." Argo watched her drop off to sleep, then she reached down with her teeth, and pulled the blanket up over Xena, turned and trotted back to the waiting horse.
The Grey said, "Xenas' your master?" Argo nodded. He continued, "Everyone knows who she is. Most fear her and those that don't are fools. I heard, she had a beautiful horse named Argo. I just never thought it was you. My friend told me that you have helped her through many battles. Even the little ones speak of Argo and Xena."
Argo's face began to flush as she said, "Please, Grey, your embarrassing me. I do what I can to help her and she does the same for me."
He said, "I would love to hear an adventure."
Argo said, "Well all right, I can't sleep anyway. You probably know the story of how Xena became the valiant fighter for all that need her. He nodded. "Well, I'll wager you don't know about Gabrielle." The Grey snorted and said, "Oh you mean the Amazon Princess, the one that follows you two? I don't know much about her."
Argo said, "Its quite a story. As you may know, Xena and I are inseparable. I mean she will have her little flings shall we say, but I'm always the one she relies on and trusts. That is until Gabrielle....
When this young woman from the village of Potadeia decided to follow Xena, it was actually a good thing at the time. Because she is the one who kept Xena's home villagers, from stoning her to death."
Grey looked questionly.
And Argo continued, "That's another story. Gabrielle was just there and she began to follow Xena. And not many followed her, because at this time she did not have one of the best personalities. She was withdrawn, moody and would just as soon take a person's head off for looking at her the wrong way."
"At first, Gabrielle kept her distance. But soon wandered into our camp, looking for heat. I guess they never taught the women in Potadeia, how to make a fire. Well Xena let her stay, but told her she had to go home the next day." "When Gabrielle told her she wouldn't, and if she took her home, she would leave again, and follow her. I thought, how could this young, naive girl, go against Xena. I knew her time wasn't long for this world. But I was wrong, because Xena allowed her to stay."
The Grey said, "We have all heard of her fierce battle with Draco at Amphibolis. Was Gabrielle there?"
"Yes, and she stepped in so to speak and helped Xena again. After they left Amphibolis, and both were walking with me, Xena had asked Gabrielle why she wanted to go with her, because where she was going it would be dangerous. Gabrielle had replied, 'That's what friends do, help one another.' I was surprised when Xena answered, "Well all right, 'friend.' " I couldn't believe my ears and at the same time I had the thought of, oh no, she will ruin everything.
Grey asked, "Did she?"
"Well she seemed to always get in the way. It didn't take long, for Xena's enemies, to realize that she had a companion. They were always grabbing Gabrielle. And Xena was constantly going to save her. (she rolled her eyes.) Xena got her out of so many scrapes."
Grey asked, "Couldn't she protect herself?"
"She wanted too, she hadn't any training. And each time she would ask Xena to teach her, Xena would tell her no. It was when she and Xena wanted safe passage across Amazon territory, that she met Terreis, the Queens sister. Ephiny another Amazon thought they should see the Queen and let her decide.
It was during their travel to the village that they were attacked. And Terreis was hit with an arrow. Gabrielle fell over her body, trying to protect her, though it was to late. Before Terreis died, she asked Gabrielle to accept her right of Cast.
And they made Gabrielle an Amazon Princess.
Ephiny had been instructed to teach Gabrielle to defend herself with a weapon.
When Xena found out what Gabrielle had done, she just gave her that look. That only Xena can give.
Grey said, "I have heard about the Amazons and Queen Melosa. It's good Gabrielle learned how to fight. Was Xena happy about this?"
"It's hard to say sometimes, but I think she was upset that Gabrielle had gotten herself into the situation. Even though she was learning to use the Staff.
"What happened next?"
"I wan't privilaged to be there, but this is what happened. I listened to them talk about it. Xena and Ephiny had gone to the spot where Terreis was killed. And upon close inspection, they discovered it wasn't a Centaur that had been there. The two, then decided to check out the warlord, Krykus. His camp wasn't far. The Amazons had captured a centaur named, Phantes who said he was innocent. It was at this time, that Gabrielle learned, that with the title she had just received, she was to execute the person responsible for the death of Terreis, or face death herself. "
"Gabrielle was holding the sword to Phante's chest, when Xena and Ephiny arrived to stop the execution. She fought Queen Melosa, for the right to save the life of Phantes and Gabrielle. It was a violent battle, but the Queen was no match for Xena, and soon succumbed. Tyldus, the leader of the Centaurs appeared, and they freed his son Phantes. Then the Amazons and the Centaurs together, attacked Krykus and his men. I would have loved to have taken part in that one."
"When they left the Amazon village, Gabrielle could now fend off an opponent. But as Xena has said many times, her best defense is her mouth. She could talk even a giant out of his supper, and Gabrielle was the supper."
"Did you start to accept her?"
Argo shook her head, "No, I still considered her a pest. But I did have to accept the fact, that she was traveling with us. She walked mostly while Xena rode. Gabrielle did not like horses, and of course, this did not make me like her any better. She was always practicing with that stick. And it seemed like I was always the one she would practice her moves on. It gave me great satisfaction, to be able to kick that stick out of her hand. Of course Xena caught it. Gabrielle said, she had to practice on someone. I was proud of Xena, because she told her, 'Not on my horse.' Then she whispered in my ear and told me, 'to be nice.' "
I could see she, was growing fonder of Gabrielle each day. Actually one good thing to come out of this friendship, she was not so moody anymore. And Gabrielle seemed to bring out the light side of Xena. It was the first time, I had ever heard her laugh. So even though I wasn't liking it, I was happy that Xena was in a better mood.
The Grey asked, "When did you change your mind about her? Or did you?" Argo glanced over to Xena who was sleeping soundly and said, "It was the Lord Seltzer thing."
Grey said, "Lord Seltzer, I never heard of him."
Argo said, "Bet you've heard of Salmoneous."
The horse said, "Sure everyone has heard of him. He is a smart dealer. Not many get the best of him."
Argo said, "That is precisely what started this. His dealings. He had organized some villagers to bottle their fizzy water. And was going to make a fortune selling it. It was then, that the Warlord Talmadeus' men were raiding the village."
"One of the villagers, had found Xena drinking water at a well. She had left me behind with Gabrielle. I think, she thought the more we were around one another, the more we would get along. By then the two of us had formed a sort of alliance, for Xena. "
"It was that day, Gabrielle picked to surprise Xena. And ride me to where she was. I stood patiently, waiting for her to get her foot in the stirrup. It was as she started to get up, that I heard Xena's whistle. I knew she needed me, so I took off. This sent Gabrielle reeling backwards. And she fell hard, on the ground. I don't think this endeared me to her."
"As we ran into the village the thought went through my head, another village, another warlord, one day they will learn. Xena struck with Godly force. Sending them flying in all directions.
It was when she was running across the square, that I saw the thing flying toward her. I didn't know what it was, but it struck her neck. And Xena stopped, as she pulled it out. Looking around, to see if she might see where it had come from. No one knew at that time, but she had been poisoned by a dart. And would become very ill."
"We were all shocked too find out that Lord Seltzer was Salmoneus. And that Talmadeus was after him because of a deal he had made with the warlord. He sold him supplies that melted when they got wet, and Talmadeus was out for his blood."
"Xena had been following Talmadeus' men. And she had taken many of them out, before faceing Talmadeus. The two of them fought mightily, but Talmadeus was no match for Xena's sword. Until she began to feel the effects of the poisoned dart. She became dizzy, and Talmadeus took advantage of this, knocking the sword from Xena's hand, he started a final thrust to kill her."
"Gabrielle had been watching from behind the bushes. And she threw her staff at Talmadeus, knocking him down. She ran to help Xena up. Xena whistled for me, and I came running to the rescue, again. The whistle was weak, and so was Xena when I saw her. She and Gabrielle held on to the saddle horn, as I carried them from the area. Talmadeus's men starting to regroup. "
"I had never seen Xena like she became, she was weak, and she couldn't walk. It was because she was sick, but none of realized just how sick. Xena and Salmoneous decided to have Gabrielle pose as her, wearing her clothes. And appearing just long enough to make Talmadeus believe Xena, was fine." This was all well, until Gabrielle realized, that she had to ride me to perform the stunt. I was willing. Gabrielle seemed to be apprehensive, as she put her foot in the stirrup. I believe she mistook my movement, and sound, as something else. When actually I was surprised to see her dressed up as Xena. Quite a sight."
She was so funny, when she tried to give the whistle, that would send me galloping. Because it was the wrong pitch, I laid down. As Salmoneous pondered the whistle, a feathered friend whistled, and I got to my feet, charging off.
Grey said, "Probably did not make her to happy with you."
"I don't know, but we did find Talmadeus' men. And Gabrielle gave them a warning. Of course, when she whistled to go again, it was the wrong pitch, and I kneeled. As the men charged her, I got to my feet. And we turned and headed back to he village."
He said, "Sure you weren't being just a little ornery?"
Argo said, "Possibly, I didn't want this girl to think that Xena's clothes were so easily filled." She did a good job, and I was happy to come running into the village again. This time Talmadeus' men were right behind us. Xena saved the day with her Chakrum, and the villagers attacked, using their Seltzer bottles and corks."
"The men retreated. And Xena, Gabrielle and Salmoneous talked strategy. Xena felt that they had them on the run, and she asked Gabrielle to pose one more time as her, and attack them, catching them off guard. Gabrielle wasn't wanting to, but for Xena she would. All the time, I could see she was worrying about Xena's health, which was rapidly failing."
"Gabrielle and I reached Talmadeus' camp. And she began to throw flame bombs into their tents. The men ran in all directions fearing Xena's attack. Gabrielle believed that if she ran through the village giving Xena's battle cry, it would be the final clincher. She did not count on Talmadeus, who had taken a staff and confronted us. I leaped over his swing and Gabrielle fell off, into a drinking trough. When she came up, she had lost her wig. And she definitely did not resemble Xena."
"Talmadeus was an evil man. And I could see he was going to kill Gabrielle. It was then I realized just how much she cared for Xena, and how much Xena cared for her. It would kill Xena if anything happened to Gabrielle, and so I had to save her. I saw my opportunity, and went running into the camp. My attack sending soldiers running. Talmadeus was also surprised, and he lost his guard, which gave Gabrielle time to attack. In minutes, I was sliding to a stop, where she was standing. She climbed into the saddle, as we galloped out of the camp."
"When we arrived back at the village, we were both met with the death of Xena. Gabrielle took it so hard, she tried to beat up a defenseless tree. I wouldn't believe it, not Xena. She wouldn't go away, and not say good by to me. So I decided to believe she was just sleeping. Well Salmoneus went to Talmadelus and made a deal with him. He told the man he could take him, and he would tell him where Xena was, if he let the villagers go. Talmadeus had told him he would." Never make a deal with a warlord, worst thing you can do."
"Tamadeus and his men captured the villagers, along with Salmoneus, and he ordered the body of Xena to be tied to Xena's horse and to his.
Well this was a shock to me, there wasn't any way I was going to tear up Xena, and I told his horse if he valued his life, he wouldn't do it either."
"They whipped us but we stood steadfast. Then Talmadeus told the man, That's Xena's horse, kill it. I gulped, Who me? It was then, that Xena's hand raised up, catching the man's wrist saying, Don't you ever touch my horse again. I would have yelled Yahoo, if horses could talk. But Gabrielle and Salmoneus did it for me, they were so happy to see her. Of course no happier than me. Well as you might imagine, Xena fought Talmadeus, and with the help of Gabrielle they defeated him. I would say that this was when I began to admire that little blond."
The Grey yawned and said, "Good story Argo. You lead an exciting life."
Argo said, "Yes, I do, and I have two very exciting people leading it with me. Well I have to get some sleep. Xena and I are off to the Lake to meet Gabrielle tomorrow. And yes, I am looking forward to seeing her again. She grows on you."
Argo stood, busily chewing on the ripe green grass. She was always happy for this time of year.
Because there was so much to eat. She could take her time enjoying the meal. They were now at the Lake.
Gabrielle had prepared camp, so when she and Xena arrived, it was out to pasture for her. This meant that they would be staying for awhile. Which was fine with Argo. She needed a break and knew that Xena and Gabrielle deserved one also. It seemed they had been constantly on the move, going from one fracas to another. She really hated to leave The Grey, but he said he had to travel on with his master in the next day or so.
They had been at the meadows which hedged the Lake for several days now, and it didn't look like Xena was in a big hurry to leave.
Argo could hear the sound of talking, she looked up to see Xena and Gabrielle standing near the inlet. Xena had shed her warrior outfit and boots. And was standing in her shift.
While Gabrielle had shed her boots, she still wore all her clothes.
Argo wondered what those two were up to. She watched as Xena picked up a staff and threw it towards Gabrielle saying, "Catch, it's time for a little practice." Gabrielle caught the staff as she replied, "Xena don't you think that we get enough of that out there?" "Never get enough, Gabrielle, there's always room for improvement. Have to stay on your toes." Gabrielle looked down at her feet and said, "Well said, I am staying on my toes." Xena picked up a staff and said, "Prepare yourself, lets do it."
Gabrielle looked like her mind wasn't in it, but she did attempt to ward off Xena's blows. Xena called, "Good, keep it up." Gabrielle blocked Xena each time she would come at her. And finally Xena threw her staff to the ground and said, "I give up, Gabrielle, you're too good." She reached out with her left hand and said, "Here give me the staff." Gabrielle handed the staff to her. And within seconds, Xena had reached out, catching Gabrielle off guard, throwing her to the ground. Gabrielle sit dazed looking up at the woman and said, "That wasn't fair, Xena. You said you gave up." Xena reached down to lend her a hand, pulling her back to her feet as she replied, "Never trust anyone, Gabrielle. That is an important lesson to learn."
Gabrielle rubbed her back side as she said, "Yeah, and so is the bruise." Gabrielle started walking toward the fallen staff, as she wavered. Xena called out, "Are you all right?" Gabrielle didn't answer as she took another step and fell. She lay on the ground, very still, and Argo looked intently, worried about her as was Xena, who had rushed over to where she lay on her back. Xena knelt over reaching out to Gabrielle, "Gabrielle, are you all right?"
Within seconds, Gabrielle's right foot came up catching Xena in the stomach. As her hand reached out grabbing the woman's outstretched one. Argo looked on in amazement, as Xena went flying over the top of Gabrielle, landing with a thud. Gabrielle jumped to her feet, as Xena shook her head and said, " Why did you do that?"
Gabrielle said, "I learn from the best, and you said not to trust anyone." Xena stood up and said, "Well I owe you one." Gabrielle saw the sparks fly from Xenas blue eyes, as she began to back up, "Now, now Xena, it was just in fun." The woman ran for her, and Gabrielle side stepped. "Xena, this is silly. Truce." Xena, gave Gabrielle that sideway grin and said, "I'm going to get you. You can run, but you can't hide."
Argo, watched the two of them running after one another, each dodging the other easily, and she snickered. It was great fun watching those two frolic. As Gabrielle dodged Xena once more, she turned and ran toward the water. Standing on a rock she dove in.
Xena yelling, "A little water isn't going to stop me, you're in for it now." Xena dove in after her. Gabrielle swam a little way out, then she began to tred water. Staying in one spot, as she watched Xena fast approaching.
Gabrielle brought her hands down on the water, hard, sending it splashing onto Xena's face. Xena sent a wave of water back to her. As the woman went under the water.
Xena was smiling waiting for her to re surface. But her smile turned to alarm when she didn't.
Xena called, "Gabrielle, Gabrielle, this is not funny. Gabrielle surfaced behind Xena. Reaching up grabbing the woman's head, she pushed her down, sending her under the water.
Argo watched the two of them for a while. And then became bored, when they decided to just swim and lay back in the water. She thought, Never a dull moment with you two. Isn't life wonderful.
Pictures from Xena Warrior Princess: "Sins Of The Past," "Greater Good," "Altared States," "Reflections by Argo", is a copyrighted story by Anita Louise. Use of this story without authors permission is prohibited.