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“Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards”  Episode 13/113


Man1:  “Wait!  Wait!  Just hold it there a minute!”

G:  “Y-- You know, it’s not polite to interrupt a bard when she’s
relating a heroic tale.”

Man1:  “But you said-- it was day!”

G:  “Excuse me?”

Man1:  “It was morning-- when this-- Xena lady got loose.  So it
was day-- not night.”

G:  “Right.”

Man2:  “That’s right.”

G:  “Very well.  Day.  And out of nowhere, Xena came upon a
_fierce_-hooded warrior, who had just laid waste to a group of
villagers.  She fought _valiantly_ until he vanished.  She tended
the wounds of a fallen man.  She did everything she could to
help-- but--”

[X:  “Press down on this as hard as you can.  We’ve got to stop
the bleeding.”

Teresia:  “No!  Stay away from him.  Haven’t you got enough blood
on your hands--?”]

G:  “The villagers believed that _she_ had killed their friends.  

[G:  “Nobody here cares that she didn’t kill anyone.  Nobody
cares that she was only trying to help.  Nobody believes that she
_fought_ the real murderer.  All you care about is executing

G:  “But they refused to listen.”

[Man:  “You’ll get what you deserve.”

Palinios:  “Everybody!  Hear me, my friends.”]

G:  “Until-- ”

[Palinios:  “This brave and noble woman-- she was the last thing
I saw-- battling a cowardly hooded man who attacked us.  She
fought him for our lives, though we were total strangers.  Truly,
I say she is the very soul of goodness.  And we thank her, with
all our hearts.”]

G:  “And with that, they knew the real Xena.”

Man:  “Great story; nice job.”

G:  “Thank you.”

O:  “That was really good.”

G:  “Thanks.”

Old man:  “That was beautiful.”

Orion [O]:  “Who trained you?”

G:  “Trained me?  Oh-- no one-- mmm-- not in the classical sense.
I just-- I like stories.”

O:  “And you’re going to the competition?”

G:  “What competition?”

O:  “The bard competition-- for the Athens City Academy of the
Performing Bards.  Only the top four contestants will get an
invitation.  I’m-- I’m hoping I’ll be one of them.”

G:  “You tell stories, too?”

O’s Father:  “Yes, he does.  But he doesn’t have time to tell
them now.”

O:  “Dad, she’s great.  I was just telling her she should sign

O’s Father:  “It’s not nice to give someone false hopes, son.
I’m sure your story was cute.”

G:  “Cute?”

O’s Father:  “But the Academy only takes talented individuals.
The roster is already full.  And besides, being a bard is not for
young ladies.  Stories of housework are just not popular.  Come

G:  “Stories about housework-- cute.”

X:  “I just talked to this guy from Keremus.  There’s a Cyclops
there stealing cattle from the local farmers.  We can be there by
tomorrow morning.  I guess I don’t have to ask you if you’re

G:  “How far is it to Athens?”



G:  “I have always wanted to study at the Academy.  And I might
finally have my chance.”

X:  “Are you sure it’s not just to show up this guy’s father?”

G:  “Well-- OK-- so he irks me a bit.  But-- this is the Academy.
Am I supposed to pass up my shot at a dream come true?”

X:  “Nope-- no one should pass up their dreams.  How long would
you be gone?”

G:  “Oh-- maybe four or five years, or-- maybe a little less, if
I-- if I study real hard.  You’d hardly notice I was missing.”

X:  “Even if I had an army around me, I’d still notice you were
missing.  You want some company?  At least as far as Athens.”

G:  “Well-- you’ve got that Cyclops problem in Keremus to take
care of.  And-- in case I don’t get in--”

X:  “Oh, you’ll get in, Gabrielle.  You’re a good storyteller.  I
only remember one story told me when I was young.  It was about
two orphans who decided to search the world for their families.
And it’s all about their adventures and how they kept searching.
But the part I remember most is the end.”

X and G:  “And when the first man-- ” 

G:  “-- reached the end of his journey, he found himself--”

X and G:  “-- at the beginning.”

G:  “The family he had sought had travelled the world with him.
The only family he had ever known-- ever needed-- was standing
right beside him.  I know the story.”

X:  “Thanks for being my family.  You’re like a sister to me.
Now, go get your dream.”


Twickenham [Tw]:  “He-- draws his s-s-sword.  He d-d-draws--  he
d-d-draws his s-s-sword.  I hope I d-d-don’t do this when I g-get
up to talk.”

O:  “Hey, just calm down.  If it bothers other people, let it be
their problem.  Storytelling isn’t diction; it’s the story.  Hey,
hi, you made it.  That’s great.”

Stallonus [St]:  “-- huge-- ”

G:  “Well-- I just thought I’d give it a look.”

Euripides [E]:  “Her vision fell upon the countenance of a
horrific specimen.”

G:  “A lot of people here.”

O:  “Yeah-- some of the competition is really good.  That guy
over there-- that’s Euripides.  He tells a story-- ”

E:  “He gazed gallantly at-- ”

O:  “-- if you can stay awake long enough.  And uh-- Stallonus--
there’s no way to fall asleep with his stories.”

Stallonus [St]:  “-- but he missed!  And he stabs him!-- ”

G:  “Huh.  You know, we never got to proper introductions.  I’m

O:  “Gabrielle-- I like the sound of it.  I-- I hate like my
name.  I’m gonna change it to something dramatic, something
heroic.  How about, um, Draco?”

G:  “Draco.”

O:  “Yeah.”

G:  “No, no, no-- not Draco.  He’s a villain.  You see, I’ve met
Draco.  Draco-- he was about to slaughter a village when Xena
stepped in.”

[Draco:  “We could be great together.  You must know, by now, you
can never escape your past.  Xena-- celebrate your dark side,
don’t run away from it.  Ride with me.”

X:  “You said one way or the other.  It’s the other.”]

G:  “Xena met his challenge-- a fight-- to the death.  Whoever
touched the ground first would lose.  And then, he departed--
never to stain the grounds of the village-- with his presence

O:  “OK-- so, um-- Draco’s out.  I have to come up with

G:  “How about-- Orion?  There’s a heroic name.”

O:  “Orion-- I like it.”


Woman:  “Your name?”

E:  “An appellation does not illuminate the foreboding mysteries
of one’s etheral essence.”

Woman:  “Was your name in there someplace?”

E:  “Euripides.”

Woman:  “Ah-- yeah-- Euripides.  You’re lodging in the hall of
Zeus-- room twelve.”

E:  “Twelve-- the blessing of the Zodiac.  It bodes well.”

Woman:  “Next.”

G:  “Gabrielle.”

Woman:  “No.”

G:  “Oh, it’s got to be there.”

Woman:  “Mm-mm.  Mm-mm.”

G:  “Are you sure?”

Woman:  “Mm-hmm.”

G:  “Well, did you look?  What about under here?  No, no!  Oh!
Oh!  I’m sorry !  I’m sorry!  Sorry.  Oh-oh-- oh, no-- here-- let
me look.  Yep-- clean this up.  Sorry.  What about-- this one?”

Woman:  “Ah-- ah, yes-- here it is-- Gabrielle.  Oh-- this is
very strange.  They forgot to list your lodging.”

G:  “They did?  I specifically asked for the double-bed with the

Woman:  “For the time being, you’ll be staying in the servants’
quarters-- in the hall of Zeus.”

G:  “All artists suffer for their art.”

Woman:  “Next.”


Teacher:  “Take your seats, please-- so we can begin.”

G:  “Hey!”

Teacher:  “For the next few days, your lives will be given over
to the Muse.  At the end of that time, four will be chosen from
this group to continue on.  Great storytelling-- it comes from
our observation of life.  How does one relate the mysteries-- ”

O:  “What’s the matter?”

G:  “Nothing-- I, I’m just thinking like a friend of mine.  I
mean, what could happen here?”

Teacher:  [Clears throat]  “As-- I was saying-- how do we
translate an event into a rivoting, engaging story?  That is the
goal of the bard!”

Assassin:  [Screams]

Female Voice:  “He’s getting away!”



G:  “Are you all right?”

Teacher:  “That’s enough!  Calm down!  Everyone, settle down!
What you saw, just now, was an event!  Now, how do you make it
into a story?”

G:  “That was a cheat.”

Teacher:  “Excuse me, young lady?”

G:  “That wasn’t an event.  That was a manipulation.  You see,
the real story would be now-- if you were really dead.  Because--
most people think of death as the end-- when, in fact, death can
be the beginning-- of a wonderful tale.  It all started in a
king’s castle.”

[Celesta:  “All right, Sisyphus-- but this doesn’t change things.
As soon as we’re finished, we will go.”

Sisyphus:  “Splendid-- after all, a visit from you happens only
once in a lifetime.”]

G:  “Death-- mighty as she was-- was captured by Sisyphus.”

[Celesta:  “Do you realize what this means?”

Sisyphus:  “Of course.”]

G:  “Xena and I had to battle Toxeus and his army of undead
warriorsto free her-- and return her to her eternal flame.  And
as Death was freed, so died the evil that was Toxeus.”

[Celesta:  “Someone else needs me.”]

G:  “Then came the hardest part.  I had to say goodbye to someone
I cared for.”

[G:  “Wait.  Wait.  There’s been some kind of mistake.”

Talus:  “No, Gabrielle, it’s no mistake.”

G:  “This can’t be happening.”

Talus:  “We’ll meet each other again some day-- on the other

G:  “You won’t forget me.”

Talus:  “How could I?”]

G:  “And-- we learn, not to fear death-- but to accept it-- as a
part of life.  You see?  There was-- there was no moral to your
faking your death.”

Male Voice:  “Yeah.”


O:  “You were great.  Hey-- Gabrielle, can we, um-- talk later
about storytelling?”

G:  “Yeah, I’d like that.”

O’s Father:  “Son!  Come here!  She’s the competition.  Now,
remember what I told you-- keep to yourself.  When we get in-- ”


St:  “And he ripped his chains from the wall!  And then he-- and
then he-- like, he ran through and knocked over a door!  And,
like-- out there, there was all these guys fighting!  And then,
and then, and then, come around!-- and-- ”

G:  “Hey!  OK!  OK!  OK!  OK!  But, what’s the moral?”

St:  “Well-- the moral is-- actually, it’s kills all the bad
guys.  Why-- that’s not enough?”

G:  “It’s a little-- empty.  Um, not-- not that it wasn’t
exciting.  I mean-- oh-- you really had me going when he tore the
chains from the wall.”

St:  “Yeah.”

G:  “It’s-- just-- well, when I tell a story, I like it to have a
nice ending.  You know?  Sap up the wrap-up-- ”

E:  “-- ven if you twist the Muses’ melodious song of truth into
a deceptive Sirens’ call.”

G:  “Do you always talk like that?”

Tw:  “I told him you knew X-Xena, but he d-doesn’t believe me.”

E:  “There are stories of the Warrior Princess-- that are so
cold-- as to chill the heart.  I relate such a tale as told to me
by a witness to the woe and suffering.  She was merciless-- using
her feminine wiles in her acts of unscrupulous treachery.”

[Iolaus:  “Do you do this for all your warriors?”

X:  “Only special ones.”

Iolaus:  “Oh-- I hope there aren’t too many of those.”

X:  “Right now, there’s just you.  Come back later!”

Sold:  “But Hercules is here!”

Iolaus:  “Hercules?”

X:  “He must’ve followed us.”

Iolaus:  “Why would he do that?”

X:  “Perhaps he doesn’t trust me with you.”

Iolaus:  “He shouldn’t.”

X:  “Or maybe he doesn’t think you’re man enough to help me.”

Iolaus:  “Get out of here!”

Hercules:  “You haven’t answered my question.”]

E:  “And Xena succeeded in her dastardly scheme to turn the two
comrades against each other.  That is the story of the killer
known as Xena.”

St:  “Know what I heard about her?  She would take out her swords
and-- and-- slash!  And-- and again! And she’d block! And again!
And then-- aww!  Right in the gut!  Well?”

G:  “OK.  I can’t argue with that.  But it’s only half the story.
You see-- inside all of us-- there’s a yearning to do good-- to
be good.  And it’s the same with the Warrior Princess.”

[Sold:  “I thought I’d killed them both.”

Darphus:  “Kill it!”

X:  “Stop!  You kill this baby-- you die next.  Contrary to what
some might think-- I still lead this army.”]

G:  “The child should have meant nothing.  But it was the
beginning for Xena.”

[Sold:  “That’s it!”]  

G:  “But the past is a harsh and unwilling mistress to change.
Her own men put her through a gauntlet of death.”

[Darphus:  “Well done.”

Soldiers:  “So much for the mighty Warrior Princess.”  “Well

G:  “But now that good has taken root, the will to survive was
too great.  Her destiny now was to fight for the innocent.   And
that is what she’s done.  And with that, Xena became good.”

O:  “Tell us another.”

G:  “That’s enough talk about my best friend.  I’d like to get
some sleep-- please.”

E:  “I wanted to-- uh.”

G:  “Euripides-- good night.”

E:  “Good night.”

Tw:  “Good night.”

G:  “Good night, Twickenham.”

Tw:  “Good s-s-story-- huh?”

G:  “I wonder what adventures Xena’s into now.”


O:  “And the mightiest sword could not cleave the medal of
righteousness.  And so he went on to find love and passion, with
the wife he knew so well, and yet knew not.  How was that?”

G:  “I couldn’t see it.  I’m sorry.  I couldn’t see anything.”

O:  “It used to be so easy.  Why can’t I do it anymore?  I mean--
I’ve been telling stories since I was five.”

G:  “Why do you stare at me when you tell the story?”

O:  “So I can judge your reaction.  See-- my dad wants me to be
able to adjust my story if I see the slightest hint of boredom or
distraction.  When I was little, I didn’t look at anybody.  I
just used to-- close my eyes, and try to see the story take
place.  I didn’t care whether the audience liked it-- only
whether I did.”

G:  “If you don’t like it, nobody else will.”

O:  “I guess.  My dad says I can like it, after I’m in the
Academy-- first things first.  He’s right-- of course.”

G:  “Even if his son has to be miserable to get there?”

Woman:  “Gabrielle, we need to speak with you.”


Teacher:  “I’m afraid it has come to our attention that you are
not supposed to be here.”

G:  “But,  I-- I have a room.”

Teacher:  “I didn’t say you weren’t clever.  Polonius?”

O’s Father:  “My son and I ran into this young lady in a tavern.
She didn’t know about the Academy until my son told her.”

Woman:  “You couldn’t have been registered at that time.  And my
records don’t show a Gabrielle anywhere.”

Teacher:  “Pack your things and leave.  This meeting is closed.”



G:  “Hey, what’s with the long faces?  It’s not the end of the
world.  I’ve got a place to go.”

E:  “Oh, bravery comes forth from your valiant heart like-- sap
from a wounded oak.”

G:  “Thanks, Euripides.  It’s sweet-- I think.”

O:  “I can’t believe my father did this.  I’m so sorry.”

G:  “Oh, Orion, it’s not your fault.”

Tw:  “G-g-good-byes are--”

E:  “What Twickenham is trying to say, is that separation tears
the heart’s core-- like the fearsome blade of Ajax toward the
ligaments of--”

Tw:  “No!  I’m saying g-good-byes are hard!”

G:  “You’re right.  They are hard-- and just when we were getting
to know each other, huh?  It seems like that happens a lot to

St:  “What do you mean?”

G:  “Well-- like when I met Hercules’ best friend-- Iolaus.”

[Iolaus:  “Hello.”

Falafel:  “Hello.  You’re the one interested in the Aphrodite
shell, right?  Better snap it up quick, before he gets it-- five

Iolaus:  “I’m afraid you have me confused with someone else.”]

G:  “I liked him right away.  I didn’t know if I’d ever see him
again.  But then-- he showed up at _just_ the right time.  It
turns out we had a lot in common.  When he was hurt, we really
opened up to each other.

[G:  “Let me tell you another story.”

Iolaus:  “Yeah.”

G:  “Once, a long, long time ago, all people had four legs and
two heads.  And then the gods threw down thunderbolts, and split
everyone into two.  Each half then had two legs and one head.
But the separation left both sides with a desperate yearning to
be reunited-- because they each shared the same soul.  And ever
since then, all people spend their lives searching-- for the
other half of their soul.  It was nice getting to know you.

Iolaus:  “It was more than nice.”

G:  “Hmm.”]

G:  “And then we had to say goodbye.  It looks like I’ll be
saying it again.”

Tw:  “Wait!  I’ve got an idea.”

G:  “What?”

E:  “Your farewell is not reciprocated.  The morning dew must not
touch the curvature of your fleeing souls.  Our reverie has
brought us--”

St:  “Stay through tomorrow’s competition.”

O:  “Please.”


Teacher:  “For today’s round of competition, we’re honored to
have-- acting as senior judge-- the great bard, Gastacius.
Twickenham, the stage, please.  Twickenham, is there a problem?”

Tw:  “N-n-n-n-n-no!  No, I’m not gonna do it.  None of us will be
performing unless Gabrielle is allowed to compete.”

Teacher:  “Gabrielle cheated her way into the competition.  She’s
been disqualified.  You do know you could be disqualified for
this, too?”

E:  “Then we shall all join the army of the dispossessed.  The
Muses call shall not play lord over my soul’s higher self.”

G:  “What are you doing?”

O:  “None of us will compete unless Gabrielle is reinstated.”

G:  “Don’t do this-- please, not for me.  They didn’t mean it.
I’ll talk to them.”

Teacher:  “Gastacius says he’d like to see the girl perform--
when you’re ready.”

G:  “I’m kind of on-the-spot here.  I wasn’t expecting to do
this.  Then again-- I wasn’t expecting to find a baby in a
stream-- but there it was.  And then we had to find a home for
this innocent child.  But returning the baby to its home wasn’t
going to be that easy.  The child was quite courageous in the
face of danger.”

[X:  “Gabrielle!  The baby!”

G:  “Oh, no!  Oh.”]

G:  “In the end, goodness won out-- and the child landed in safe

Gastacius:  “What you have done here is madness.  It’s _madness_
that this young woman was left out of this competition.  he
_must_ be allowed in.  Art will never take second place to rules
and regulations.”

Male Voice:  “Here, here.  Well said.”


O:  “And so Atlas holds, on his mighty shoulders, the Earth for
all eternity.”

G:  “That was great.”

E:  “Your performance was bold.”

O’s Father:  “No, it was terrible!  Come here!  Start at the
beginning, right now.”

O:  “I sing of Atlas, greatest of Titans.”

O’s Father:  “What’d I tell you?!  Keep your eyes on me!  Start

O:  “I sing of Atlas, the greatest Titan.”

O’s Father:  “Greatest of Titans!  Come on!  Focus, focus!  Read
your audience!  Get the words right!”

G:  “He’d do better if you’d let him be himself!”

O’s Father:  “Don’t listen to her. She wants you to lose!  Do it

O:  “I sing of Atlas, the greatest _of_ Titans.”

O’s Father:  “This is not a game!  Come on!  Give me a

O:  “Stop it!”

G:  “Orion!”


St:  “It was night.  A creature came into the camp-- and had a
horn.  And, and-- they fought-- They fought with everything they
had!  And, his horn on his nose!  And, they’re bracing and
fighting!  And, there’s this smoke coming out of his nose!  Oh.”

G:  “Oh-- I-- I think if you had a little more character stuff
and a little less action, you might live through the

O’s Father:  “You win.”

G:  “What are you talking about?”

O’s Father:  “Orion quit the competition and left for home.  I
hope you’re happy with yourself.”



G:  “Orion!”

O:  “Leave me alone.”

G:  “Uh!  Orion!  You can’t give up.”

O:  “Didn’t you tell me, ‘If it’s not fun, don’t do it.’?  Well,
it’s not fun for me anymore.”

G:  “Then make it fun again.”

O:  “Yeah, that’s easy for you to say.  It’s been so long since
I’ve told a story my way, I don’t know if I can, or if my father
will let me.”

G:  “Your father loves you.  You said it yourself.  He only wants
the best for you.  He-- he’s just a little confused on how to do
it.  I’ll bet your father misses the good stories you used to
tell as much as you do.”

O:  “OK.  How?”

G:  “Stop focusing on the destination.  It’s the journey that’s
the fun part.”

O:  “What do you mean?”

G:  “Well, it-- it’s what I’ve learned from travelling with Xena.
Every day is a new adventure, a new challenge.  You have to look
forward to that.  Your father has you thinking only of winning.
But you’re never going to get there unless you enjoy the process.
Do you understand?”


O:  “I’m gonna compete in the finals.”

Father:  “Son, listen!”

O:  “I’m gonna do it my way, Father-- and that is final.”


G:  “This is the story of two friends.  They met each other in
the hardest of times.  They learned how to care for each other.”

[X:  “It’s hard to be alone.”

G:  “You’re not alone.”]

G:  “They became a great team.  They had adventures.”

[G:  “Xena!  I’m gonna fall!  Hurry!”

X:  “Hold on!  I’m coming!  Jump!”

G:  “Are you crazy?!”

X:  “Jump!”

G:  “If I die, I’ll never talk to you again!”

X:  “Jump, Gabrielle-- come on!  Jump!  You call that a jump?!”

G:  “No, it was a frantic leap!  Best I could do!”

X:  “Hold the reins.”]

G:  “Some adventure ended better than others.  And together, they
learned life’s mysteries.”

[X:  “See how calm the surface of the water is.  That was me
once.  And then-- the water ripples and churns; that’s what I

G:  “But if we sit here long enough it will go back to being
still again.  It will go back to being calm.”

X:  “But the stone’s still under there.  It’s now part of the
lake.  It might look as it did before, but it’s forever

[Audience Cheers]

G:  “Thank you.”

Tw:  “G-g-good job.”

St:  “That was fantastic.”

E:  “The cadence of your words played havoc with the fallen
visage of my yearning spirit.”

G:  “Huh?”

E:  “I liked it a lot.”

G:  “Thanks.”

O:  “You did great.”

G:  “Hey, you will too.  Remember what you told me.  You used
to-- close your eyes and-- see the story come to life.  See it
again, Orion.”

O:  “I intend to.”

E:  “Has he shielded his orbs?”

G:  “Oh, yes.”

O:  “I sing of Spartacus, rebel gladiator.  He fell in love,
while fighting for freedom.”

[Spartacus:  “I imagine-- a god for slaves, and-- I pray-- ”

Woman:  “What do you pray for?”

Spartacus:  “I pray for a son who’ll be born free.”

Man:  “The terrible penalty of crucifixion has been set aside--
on the single condition that you identify the body or the living
person of the slave called Spartacus.”

Men:  “I’m Spartacus.  I’m Spartacus.  I’m Spartacus.  I’m
Spartacus.  I’m Spartacus.  I’m Spartacus.  I’m Spartacus.  I’m
Spartacus.  I’m Spartacus.  I’m Spartacus.  I’m Spartacus.  I’m

O:  “In spite of his great suffering, his dreams were realized.”

[Woman:  “This is your son.  He is free, Spartacus-- free.  He’s
free.  He’s free.  He’ll remember you, Spartacus-- because I’ll
tell him.  I’ll tell him who his father was and what he dreamed


O:  “I wish you were gonna stay.”

G:  “It wasn’t meant to be.  Congratulations.  See if you can get
Euripides to relax a little.”

O:  “I’ll see what I can do.  Hey, Stallonus doesn’t seem too

G:  “Oh-- he’s better suited for the Olympics.  But Twickenham--
I was so glad to see him get in.”

O:  “Gabrielle-- thanks.  You taught me how to be myself.  I’ll
never forget it.”

G:  “Goodbye.  What is your real name, in case-- you get famous,
or something?”

O:  “Homer.  But, um-- Gastacius wants to call me the blind
bard-- because I close my eyes.”

G:  “Homer-- I like it.  Goodbye.”

O:  “Goodbye, Gabrielle.”

O’s Father:  “I’m proud of you, son.  Are you happy?”

O:  “Yes, Dad.  Thanks for asking.  Thanks for caring.”


G:  “Hi.”

X:  “So who won?”

G:  “I did.”

X:  “Then what are you doing here?”

G:  “Well, I know this is gonna sound stupid-- but I realized
that while they’re telling adventures, you and I can be living

X:  “Well, it’s good to have you back.”

G:  “This is gonna make a great story.”

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