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It was almost dusk as Xena and Gabrielle came upon the battlefield. The devastation was unbelievable. Xena's senses were suddenly even more alert than usual, knowing that there was a good chance she and Gabrielle were in a lot of danger. Whoever had attacked these lands had been  bent on destruction- complete destruction. Every living thing, human or animal, had been slaughtered. Houses had been torched, as had all of the crops. It took a lot to shock the stoic and battle weary warrior princess, but this  sight did just that. Gabrielle just stared at the bodies, tears welling up in her eyes.

"By the Gods, Xena, who..."

Xena interrupted the bard mid sentence, putting her hand to her lip. There was sound coming from behind a nearby tree.

"Who's there- come out if you want to live!" Xena shouted.

From behind the tree, an obviously injured man appeared.

"Please, don't hurt me." The man pleaded

Xena relaxed a bit. This man certainly didn't seem to be much of a threat. She looked at the gash across his chest.

"That is a bad wound, but not fatal. come here, let me dress
that for you." Xena said kindly.

When she finished, she smiled at him and said simply, and with a smile,
"Well, you're going to live. Be careful not to strain yourself too much- you don't want those stitches coming out."

Her mood changed perceptibly as she asked him directly "Now, tell me what happened and who did this?"

a.  Tell the injured man's story

b. Switch to Ares

c. Start a new scene

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 24 July 1998