The Mysterious Furies of the God in a Tent

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But it was too late. He was dead and Apollo kneeling beside him wept for him, dying so young, so beautiful. There is a story, too, that Zephyr, the West Wind, not Apollo, was the direct cause of the death, that he also loved this fairest of youths and in his jealous anger at seeing the god preferred to him he blew upon the discus and made it strike Hyacinth.

Every year the Greek girls mourned for Adonis and every year they rejoiced when his flower, the bloodred anemone, the windflower, was seen blooming again. Aphrodite loved him; the Goddess of Love, who pierces with her shafts the hearts of gods and men alike, was fated herself to suffer that same piercing pain.

She saw him when he was born and even then loved him and decided he should be hers. She carried him to Persephone to take charge of him for her, but Persephone loved him too and would not give him back to Aphrodite, not even when the goddess went down to the underworld to get him. Neither goddess would yield, and finally Zeus himself had to judge between them. He decided that Adonis should spend half the year with each, the autumn and winter with the Queen of the Dead; the spring and summer with the Goddess of Love and Beauty.

All the time he was with Aphrodite she sought only to please him. But one sad day she happened not to be with him and he tracked down a mighty boar. With his hunting dogs he brought the beast to bay. He hurled his spear at it, but he only wounded it, and before he could spring away, the boar mad with pain rushed at him and gored him with its great tusks. The fame of her surpassing beauty spread over the earth, and everywhere men journeyed to gaze upon her with wonder and adoration and to do her homage as though she were in truth one of the immortals.

They would even say that Venus herself could not equal this mortal. As they thronged in ever-growing numbers to worship her loveliness no one any more gave a thought to Venus herself. Her temples were neglected; her altars foul with cold ashes; her favorite towns deserted and falling in ruins. All the honors once hers were now given to a mere girl destined some day to die.

It may well be believed that the goddess would not put up with this treatment. As always when she was in trouble she turned for help to her son, that beautiful winged youth whom some call Cupid and others Love, against whose arrows there is no defense, neither in heaven nor on the earth. She told him her wrongs and as always he was ready to do her bidding. As he looked upon her it was as if he had shot one of his arrows into his own heart. What happened, however, was not what she had counted on. Psyche did not fall in love with a horrible wretch, she did not fall in love at all.

Still more strange, no one fell in love with her. Men were content to look and wonder and worship—and then pass on to marry someone else. Both her sisters, inexpressibly inferior to her, were splendidly married, each to a king. Psyche, the all-beautiful, sat sad and solitary, only admired, never loved. It seemed that no man wanted her. This was, of course, most disturbing to her parents. Her father finally traveled to an oracle of Apollo to ask his advice on how to get her a good husband.

The god answered him, but his words were terrible. Cupid had told him the whole story and had begged for his help. Accordingly Apollo said that Psyche, dressed in deepest mourning, must be set on the summit of a rocky hill and left alone, and that there her destined husband, a fearful winged serpent, stronger than the gods themselves, would come to her and make her his wife. They dressed the maiden as though for her death and carried her to the hill with greater sorrowing than if it had been to her tomb. But Psyche herself kept her courage.

Now go, knowing that I am glad the end has come. On the high hilltop in the darkness Psyche sat, waiting for she knew not what terror. There, as she wept and trembled, a soft breath of air came through the stillness to her, the gentle breathing of Zephyr, sweetest and mildest of winds. She felt it lift her up. She was floating away from the rocky hill and down until she lay upon a grassy meadow soft as a bed and fragrant with flowers. It was so peaceful there, all her trouble left her and she slept.

She woke beside a bright river; and on its bank was a mansion stately and beautiful as though built for a god, with pillars of gold and walls of silver and floors inlaid with precious stones. No sound was to be heard; the place seemed deserted and Psyche drew near, awestruck at the sight of such splendor. As she hesitated on the threshold, voices sounded in her ear.

She could see no one, but the words they spoke came clearly to her. The house was for her, they told her. She must enter without fear and bathe and refresh herself. Then a banquet table would be spread for her. While she dined, sweet music breathed around her: a great choir seemed to sing to a harp, but she could only hear, not see, them. Throughout he day, except for the strange companionship of the voices, she was alone, but in some inexplicable way she felt sure that with the coming of the night her husband would be with her. And so it happened. When she felt him beside her and heard his voice softly murmuring in her ear, all her fears left her.

She knew without seeing him that here was no monster or shape of terror, but the lover and husband she had longed and waited for. This half-and-half companionship could not fully content her; still she was happy and the time passed swiftly. One night, however, her dear though unseen husband spoke gravely to her and warned her that danger in the shape of her two sisters was approaching. She was still in tears when her husband came and even his caresses could not check them. At last he yielded sorrowfully to her great desire. Psyche cried out that she would never do so. She would die a hundred times over rather than live without him.

The next morning the two came, brought down from the mountain by Zephyr. Happy and excited, Psyche was waiting for them. It was long before the three could speak to each other; their joy was too great to be expressed except by tears and embraces. But Psyche kept faith; she told them only that he was a young man, away now on a hunting expedition. Then filling their hands with gold and jewels, she had Zephyr bear them back to the hill.

They went willingly enough, but their hearts were on fire with jealousy. She would not listen when he begged her not to let them come again. She never could see him, she reminded him. Was she also to be forbidden to see all others, even her sisters so dear to her? He yielded as before, and very soon the two wicked women arrived, with their plot carefully worked out. They did not tell her this, but they reproached her for hiding her terrible state from them, her own sisters.

He was kind now, no doubt, but he would certainly turn upon her some night and devour her. Psyche, aghast, felt terror flooding her heart instead of love. She had wondered so often why he would never let her see him. There must be some dreadful reason. What did she really know about him? If he was not horrible to look at, then he was cruel to forbid her ever to behold him.

In extreme misery, faltering and stammering, she gave her sisters to understand that she could not deny what they said, because she had been with him only in the dark. They had their advice all prepared beforehand. That night she must hide a sharp knife and a lamp near her bed. When her husband was fast asleep she must leave the bed, light the lamp, and get the knife. She must steel herself to plunge it swiftly into the body of the frightful being the light would certainly show her. She loved him; he was her dear husband. No; he was a horrible serpent and she loathed him. She would kill him—She would not.

She must have certainty—She did not want certainty. So all day long her thoughts fought with each other. When evening came, however, she had given the struggle up. One thing she was determined to do: she would see him. When at last he lay sleeping quietly, she summoned all her courage and lit the lamp. She tiptoed to the bed and holding the light high above her she gazed at what lay there.

Oh, the relief and the rapture that filled her heart. No monster was revealed, but the sweetest and fairest of all creatures, at whose sight the very lamp seemed to shine brighter. In her first shame at her folly and lack of faith, Psyche fell on her knees and would have plunged the knife into her own breast if it had not fallen from her trembling hands.

But those same unsteady hands that saved her betrayed her, too, for as she hung over him, ravished at the sight of him and unable to deny herself the bliss of filling her eyes with his beauty, some hot oil fell from the lamp upon his shoulder. He started awake: he saw the light and knew her faithlessness, and without a word he fled from her. She rushed out after him into the night. She could not see him, but she heard his voice speaking to her.

He told her who he was, and sadly bade her farewell. Is he gone from me forever? If he has no more love left for me, at least I can show him how much I love him. She had no idea where to go; she knew only that she would never give up looking for him. Venus was determined to show Psyche what it meant to draw down the displeasure of a goddess. Poor Psyche in her despairing wanderings was trying to win the gods over to her side. She offered ardent prayers to them perpetually, but not one of them would do anything to make Venus their enemy. At last she perceived that there was no hope for her, either in heaven or on earth, and she took a desperate resolve.

She would go straight to Venus; she would offer herself humbly to her as her servant, and try to soften her anger. I will therefore show my good will to you by training you in such ways. Psyche, left alone, sat still and stared at the heap. Her mind was all in a maze because of the cruelty of the command; and, indeed, it was of no use to start a task so manifestly impossible.

But at this direful moment she who had awakened no compassion in mortals or immortals was pitied by the tiniest creatures of the field, the little ants, the swift-runners. This was what Venus found when she came back, and very angry she was to see it. Then she gave Psyche a crust of bread and bade her sleep on the ground while she herself went off to her soft, fragrant couch. Surely if she could keep the girl at hard labor and half starve her, too, that hateful beauty of hers would soon be lost.

Until then she must see that her son was securely guarded in his chamber where he was still suffering from his wound. Venus was pleased at the way matters were shaping. The next morning she devised another task for Psyche, this time a dangerous one. Go fetch me some of their shining wool. But as she was bending over the water she heard a little voice from near her feet, and looking down saw that it came from a green reed. She must not drown herself, it said. Things were not as had as that. The sheep were indeed very fierce, but if Psyche would wait until they came out of the bushes toward evening to rest beside the river, she could go into the thicket and find plenty of the golden wool hanging on the sharp briars.

So spoke the kind and gentle reed, and Psyche, following the directions, was able to carry back to her cruel mistress a quantity of the shining fleece. Venus received it with an evil smile. However, I will give you an opportunity to prove that you really have the stout heart and the singular prudence you make such a show of.

Do you see that black water which falls from the hill yonder? It is the source of the terrible river which is called hateful, the river Styx. You are to fill this flask from it. Only a winged creature could reach it, so steep and slimy were the rocks on all sides, and so fearful the onrush of the descending waters. But by this time it must be evident to all the readers of this story as, perhaps, deep in her heart it had become evident to Psyche herself that although each of her trials seemed impossibly hard, an excellent way out would always be provided for her. This time her savior was an eagle, who poised on his great wings beside her, seized the flask from her with his beak and brought it back to her full of the black water.

But Venus kept on. One cannot but accuse her of some stupidity. The only effect of all that had happened was to make her try again. She gave Psyche a box which she was to carry to the underworld and ask Proserpine to fill with some of her beauty. She was to tell her that Venus really needed it, she was so worn-out from nursing her sick son. Obediently as always Psyche went forth to look for the road to Hades. She found her guide in a tower she passed. From there the road led straight to the palace.

Cerberus, the three-headed dog, guarded the doors, but if she gave him a cake he would be friendly and let her pass. All happened, of course, as the tower had foretold. Proserpine was willing to do Venus a service, and Psyche, greatly encouraged, bore back the box, returning far more quickly than she had gone down.

Her next trial she brought upon herself through her curiosity and, still more, her vanity. She felt that she must see what that beauty-charm in the box was; and, perhaps, use a little of it herself. She knew quite as well as Venus did that her looks were not improved by what she had gone through, and always in her mind was the thought that she might suddenly meet Cupid. If only she could make herself more lovely for him! She was unable to resist the temptation; she opened the box. To her sharp disappointment she saw nothing there; it seemed empty.

Immediately, however, a deadly languor took possession of her and she fell into a heavy sleep. At this juncture the God of Love himself stepped forward. Cupid was healed of his wound by now and longing for Psyche. It is a difficult matter to keep Love imprisoned. Venus had locked the door, but there were the windows. All Cupid had to do was to fly out and start looking for his wife. She was lying almost beside the palace, and he found her at once. In a moment he had wiped the sleep from her eyes and put it back into the box. While the joyful Psyche hastened on her errand, the god flew up to Olympus.

He wanted to make certain that Venus would give them no more trouble, so he went straight to Jupiter himself. However, I cannot refuse you. Mercury brought Psyche into the palace of the gods, and Jupiter himself gave her the ambrosia to taste which made her immortal. This, of course, completely changed the situation. Venus could not object to a goddess for her daughter-in-law; the alliance had become eminently suitable. So all came to a most happy end. Love and the Soul for that is what Psyche means had sought and, after sore trials, found each other; and that union could never be broken.

Pyramus and Thisbe, he the most beautiful youth and she the loveliest maiden of all the East, lived in Babylon, the city of Queen Semiramis, in houses so close together that one wall was common to both. Growing up thus side by side they learned to love each other. They longed to marry, but their parents forbade.

Love, however, cannot be forbidden. The more that flame is covered up, the hotter it burns. In the wall both houses shared there was a little chink. No one before had noticed it, but there is nothing a lover does not notice. Our two young people discovered it and through it they were able to whisper sweetly back and forth. Finally a day came when they could endure no longer. They decided that that very night they would try to slip away and steal out through the city into the open country where at last they could be together in freedom.

They agreed to meet at a well-known place, the Tomb of Ninus, under a tree there, a tall mulberry full of snow-white berries, near which a cool spring bubbled up. The plan pleased them and it seemed to them the day would never end. In the darkness Thisbe crept out and made her way in all secrecy to the tomb. Pyramus had not come; still she waited for him, her love making her bold. But of a sudden she saw by the light of the moon a lioness.

The fierce beast had made a kill; her jaws were bloody and she was coming to slake her thirst in the spring. She was still far away for Thisbe to escape, but as she fled she dropped her cloak. The lioness came upon it on her way back to her lair and she mouthed it and tore it before disappearing into the woods. That is what Pyramus saw when he appeared a few minutes later. Before him lay the bloodstained shreds of the cloak and clear in the dust were the tracks of the lioness. The conclusion was inevitable. He never doubted that he knew all.

Thisbe was dead. He had let his love, a tender maiden, come alone to a place full of danger, and not been there first to protect her. He lifted up from the trampled dust what was left of the cloak and kissing it again and again carried it to the mulberry tree. The blood spurted up over the berries and dyed them a dark red. Thisbe, although terrified of the lioness, was still more afraid to fail her lover. She ventured to go back to the tree of the tryst, the mulberry with the shining white fruit. She could not find it.

A tree was there, but not one gleam of white was on the branches. As she stared at it, something moved on the ground beneath. She started back shuddering. But in a moment, peering through the shadows, she saw what was there. It was Pyramus, bathed in blood and dying. She flew to him and threw her arms around him. She kissed his cold lips and begged him to look at her, to speak to her. At the sound of her name he opened his heavy eyes for one look. Then death closed them. She saw his sword fallen from his hand and beside it her cloak stained and torn.

She understood all. I too can be brave. I too can love. Only death would have had the power to separate us. It shall not have that power now. Orpheus and Eurydice's Pina Bausch. The very earliest musicians were the gods. Athena was not distinguished in that line, but she invented the flute although she never played upon it. Hermes made the lyre and gave it to Apollo who drew from it sounds so melodious that when he played in Olympus the gods forgot all else.

Hermes also made the shepherd-pipe for himself and drew enchanting music from it. Pan made the pipe of reeds which can sing as sweetly as the nightingale in spring. The Muses had no instrument peculiar to them, but their voices were lovely beyond compare. Next in order came a few mortals so excellent in their art that they almost equaled the divine performers.

Orpheus was the son of one of the Muses and a Thracian prince. His mother gave him the gift of music and Thrace where he grew up fostered it. The Thracians were the most musical of the peoples of Greece. But Orpheus had no rival there or anywhere except the gods alone. There was no limit to his power when he played and sang. No one and nothing could resist him. Everything animate and inanimate followed him.

He moved the rocks on the hillside and turned the course of the rivers. Little is told about his life before his ill-fated marriage, for which he is even better known than for his music. Where he first met and how he wooed the maiden he loved, Eurydice, we are not told, but it is clear that no maiden he wanted could have resisted the power of his song. They were married, but their joy was brief. Directly after the wedding, as the bride walked in a meadow with her bridesmaids, a viper stung her and she died.

He could not endure it. He determined to go down to the world of death and try to bring Eurydice back. He dared more than any other man ever dared for his love. He took the fearsome journey to the underworld. There he struck his lyre, and at the sound all that vast multitude were charmed to stillness. The dog Cerberus relaxed his guard; the wheel of Ixion stood motionless; Sisiphus sat at rest upon his stone; Tantalus forgot his thirst; for the first time the faces of the dread goddesses, the Furies, were wet with tears.

The ruler of Hades drew near to listen with his queen. No one under the spell of his voice could refuse him anything. They summoned Eurydice and gave her to him, but upon one condition: that he would not look back at her as she followed him, until they had reached the upper world.

He knew that she must be just behind him, but he longed unutterably to give one glance to make sure. But now they were almost there, the blackness was turning gray; now he had stepped out joyfully into the daylight. Then he turned to her. It was too soon; she was still in the cavern. He saw her in the dim light, and he held out his arms to clasp her; but on the instant she was gone.

She had slipped back into the darkness. Desperately he tried to rush after her and follow her down, but he was not allowed. The gods would not consent to his entering the world of the dead a second time, while he was still alive. He was forced to return to the earth alone, in utter desolation. Then he forsook the company of men. He wandered through the wild solitudes of Thrace, comfortless except for his lyre, playing, always playing, and the rocks and the rivers and the trees heard him gladly, his only companions.

His wife Alcyone was also of high descent; she was the daughter of Aeolus, King of the Winds. The two loved each other devotedly and were never willingly apart. Nevertheless, a time came when he decided he must leave her and make a long journey across the sea. Oh, do not go. But if I cannot persuade you, at least take me with you. I can endure whatever comes to us together. Ceyx was deeply moved, for she loved him no better than he loved her, but his purpose held fast.

He felt that he must get counsel from the oracle and he would not hear of her sharing the perils of the voyage. She had to yield and let him go alone. She waited on the shore watching the ship until it sailed out of sight. That very night a fierce storm broke over the sea. The winds all met in a mad hurricane, and the waves rose up mountain-high. Rain fell in such sheets that the whole heaven seemed falling into the sea and the sea seemed leaping up into the sky. The men on the quivering, battered boat were mad with terror, all except one who thought only of Alcyone and rejoiced that she was in safety.

Her name was on his lips when the ship sank and the waters closed over him. Alcyone was counting off the days. She kept herself busy, weaving a robe for him against his return and another for herself to be lovely in when he first saw her. And many times each day she prayed to the gods for him, to Juno most of all. The goddess was touched by those prayers for one who had long been dead. She summoned her messenger Iris and ordered her to go to the house of Somnus, God of Sleep, and bid him send a dream to Alcyone to tell her the truth about Ceyx.

The abode of Sleep is near the black country of the Cimmerians, in a deep valley where the sun never shines and dusky twilight wraps all things in shadows. No cock crows there; no watchdog breaks the silence; no branches rustle in the breeze; no clamor of tongues disturbs the peace. There came Iris in her cloak of many colors, trailing across the sky in a rainbow curve, and the dark house was lit up with the shining of her garments.

Even so, it was hard for her to make the god open his heavy eyes and understand what he was required to do. As soon as she was sure he was really awake and her errand done, Iris sped away, fearful that she too might sink forever into slumber.

Book: Woken Furies

He had taken on the face and form of Ceyx drowned. Naked and dripping wet he bent over her couch. Do you know me or is my face changed in death? I am dead, Alcyone. Your name was on my lips when the waters overwhelmed me. There is no hope for me any more. But give me your tears. Let me not go down to the shadowy land unwept. She woke to the conviction that her husband was dead, that what she had seen was no dream, but himself.

He is dead and soon I shall die. Could I stay here when his dear body is tossed about in the waves? I will not leave you waves? I will not leave you, my husband; I will not try to live. With the first daylight she went to the shore, to the headland where she had stood to watch him sail away. As she gazed seaward, far off on the water she saw something floating.

The tide was setting in and the thing came nearer and nearer until she knew it was a dead body. She watched it with pity and horror in her heart as it drifted slowly toward her. And now it was close to the headland, almost beside her. It was he, Ceyx, her husband. She had wings; her body was covered with feathers. She had been changed into a bird. The gods were kind. They did the same to Ceyx. As she flew to the body it was gone, and he, changed into a bird like herself, joined her. But their love was unchanged. They are always seen together, flying or riding the waves.

Every year there are seven days on end when the sea lies still and calm; no breath of wind stirs the waters. These are the days when Alcyone broods over her nest floating on the sea. After the young birds are hatched the charm is broken; but each winter these days of perfect peace come, and they are called after her, Alcyone, or, more commonly, Halcyon days. A gifted young sculptor of Cyprus, named Pygmalion, was a woman-hater. His art, he told himself, was enough for him. Nevertheless, the statue he made and devoted all his genius to was that of a woman. No woman ever born, no statue ever made, could approach it.

When nothing could be added to its perfections, a strange fate had befallen its creator: he had fallen in love, deeply, passionately in love, with the thing he had made. No hopeless lover of a living maiden was ever so desperately unhappy as Pygmalion. He kissed those enticing lips—they could not kiss him back; he caressed her hands, her face—they were unresponsive; he took her in his arms—she remained a cold and passive form. He loved a lifeless thing and he was utterly and hopelessly wretched.

This singular passion did not long remain concealed from the Goddess of Passionate Love. The feast day of Venus was, of course, especially honored in Cyprus, the island which first received the goddess after she rose from the foam. Snow-white heifers whose horns had been gilded were offered in numbers to her; the heavenly odor of incense was spread through the island from her many altars; crowds thronged her temples; not an unhappy lover but was there with his gift, praying that his love might turn kind.

There too, of course, was Pygmalion. He dared to ask the goddess only that he might find a maiden like his statue, but Venus knew what he really wanted and as a sign that she favored his prayer the flame on the altar he stood before leaped up three times, blazing into the air. Very thoughtful at this good omen Pygmalion sought his house and his love, the thing he had created and given his heart to.

He kissed her lips, a long lingering kiss, and felt them grow soft beneath his. He touched her arms, her shoulders; their hardness vanished. It was like watching wax soften in the sun. He clasped her wrist; blood was pulsing there. Venus, he thought. And with unutterable gratitude and joy he put his arms around his love and saw her smile into his eyes and blush. In the Phrygian hill-country there were once two trees which all the peasants near and far pointed out as a great marvel, and no wonder, for one was an oak and the other a linden, yet they grew from a single trunk.

His favorite companion on these tours was Mercury, the most entertaining of all the gods, the shrewdest and the most resourceful. On this particular trip Jupiter had determined to find out how hospitable the people of Phrygia were. The two gods, accordingly, took on the appearance of poor wayfarers and wandered through the land, knocking at each lowly hut or great house they came to and asking for food and a place to rest in. Not one would admit them; every time they were dismissed insolently and the door barred against them.

At last they came upon a little hovel of the humblest sort, poorer than any they had yet found, with a roof made only of reeds. But here, when they knocked, the door was opened wide and a cheerful voice bade them enter. They had to stoop to pass through the low entrance, but once inside they found themselves in a snug and very clean room, where a kindly-faced old man and woman welcomed them in the friendliest fashion and bustled about to make them comfortable.

But when both Philemon and Baucis had had to give up the chase panting and exhausted, the gods felt that the time had come for them to take action. They were really very kind. This wicked country which despises the poor stranger will be bitterly punished, but not you. Reprinted in with the help of original edition published long back []. As these are old books, we processed each page manually and make them readable but in some cases some pages which are blur or missing or black spots.

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Still, BPC talks her into teaching her some moves, by promising to only use them for defense. Hands up anyone who believes her. I didn't think so. They're practicing with those little sticks again. Using them like a cross between a sword and a staff. I suppose that traditional amazon armament could've changed in the last twenty-five years, what with the shortage of wood, but I think it's more likely go to do with a prop department that didn't want to make real staves. BPC wants to learn one more move, Eve's best, so she shows her a neat little flip which will put your opponent directly behind you.

BPC has seen this particular bit of idiocy only once before, and identifies Eve as Livia. Being behind her, of course it's pretty easy to get the drop on her, and she's an amazon prisoner before she can say "Doh". More commercials. Xena and Gab get back to the amazon camp, and find the 'zons all worked up over something they can't see.

Of course, it's Eve, with a big wooden spiked collar on, and being held by a bunch of ropes. Does anyone know what those spikes are meant to accomplish? They're pointing out, at the captors, not the captive, so they're not very effective as a means of torment. She tries scaring them with the huge army marching on them, but they're a little more interested in the nastiness Livia perpetrated on them.

Yup, another bigger word than I need, maybe Missy is rubbing off on me. She killed a bunch of them, enslaved a bunch more, and generally messed things up for them. Amazon law says she must die. Last time someone they cared about was condemned under amazon law, it was a big issue for Xena and Gab, they even had to stage a big WWF tribute to get around it. And all Joxer did was peek at bathing beauties, surely not as bad as all the killing, enslaving, looting, etc that Livia did This time, they pretty much ignore it.

Gabby threatens to challenge HQ, but they don't actually carry that through either. They just lock Eve up 'till after the battle. Actually she said "after this is resolved", maybe Missy has been spending too much time in corporate meetings. In the hut, BPC is just about to dispense some guardhouse justice, when Xena comes in. She storms out, and we get a quick round of forgiveness tag. Eve couldn't bear to tell them about the last time she was here because, "She knows how much the amazons mean to them" We're not talking about family pets here!

Then Xena starts to apologize for nearly killing Gab again. Can you say pattern of violent behavior kiddies? The little exchange between Xena and Gab is supposed to make up for the chakram incident in Motherhood, but it's a bit of a patch job. Better than nothing. They resolve to 'take out' the furies. I don't think they mean down to the pub for a few pints. Back at the rockslide, Ares is yelling at his men to work faster. Lucky all those rocks are about the same, man portable, size. The head or maybe lap Fury shows up, and transforms into Xena again.

She rips into Ares, pushing all his buttons, working him up. Remember that line about him barely being a match for her when he was a god, I'll be mentioning it again. Ares' troops are treated to the sight of their mighty god flailing his sword wildly at thin air. He then starts yelling at them not to look at him. Kevin must have loved doing this episode. The real Xena runs up, past a bunch of troops who don't seem much concerned about the famous Warrior Princess in their midst.

She tries to tell Ares about the Furies, but he's pretty much snapped. I loved his "You don't bring me flowers anymore. But why would you sacrifice flowers to the god of war? He's in full rant, and doing a lovely job of it. He even gets a nice bit of insight into Xena's character, "You want the power, but you're just too much of a coward to admit it. Eventually, he swings at her, she jumps over it, and lands on top of the cliff. She runs off while he yells threats after her.

Last set of commercials, and the amazons are getting ready for battle, handing out swords, don't they usually carry those with them? Xena comes running up, and tries to explain the tactical facts of life to the 'zons. Unfortunately, amazon pride outweighs amazon intelligence by a fair bit. Nope, I don't know anyone like that, do you? So off they go to battle. Why on earth the command "Amazons, let's fight" was chosen, I don't know. Perhaps it's an awkward translation from the original amazon tongue. The actress did the best she could with it, but Ares' army is advancing, not doing quite as good a job of keeping in step as last time we saw them, but still pretty good.

Out of the woods, come the amazons. The army stops, and prepares for battle, still with good discipline. The amazons really look like a rag-tag bunch in comparison. HQ gives a defiant speech about how they "won't take another backward step". Do I even need to comment on that one? She tells Ares that he'll have to kill every last one of them. Ares lives for openings like that. He dismounts, and gives HQ his ultimatum, but Xena shows up to interrupt.

She says it's between him and her. I'm not sure where she gets that, he wants the amazon's ambrosia, they don't want her help, she's actually pretty out of this, but what the hey. She kicks his sword out of his hand, and they start a good old fashioned fist fight, well, not really much of a fight, she hits him, he hits the ground. Xena's trying to embarrass Ares in front of his men, and the Furies are still goading him. While he's punching empty air to shut up the voices in his head, she mentions that he's bleeding. Not a very godly activity. When he looks back to see if they've noticed, they have , she jumps on her horsie and gallops away.

Not Argo jr. This leaves his troops suddenly with the knowledge that god is no longer on their side. All they've got is highly disciplined well trained heavy infantry backed up with cavalry with an overwhelming numerical advantage against a bunch of lightly armed, un armored, forest skirmishers who for unknown reasons have decided to try an open battle. Since they are not only well disciplined but incredibly stupid, they break and run. Down the trail, Xena is galloping along, hotly pursued by Ares, who doesn't seem to be much of a rider.

Again, I'm not sure if it was deliberate, or if Kevin just doesn't do much riding. They ride and ride and ride. In the amazon camp, Eve thinks BPC has come to kill her, but it's Gabrielle, who cuts her loose and tells her to gather up blankets and follow her. Now I'm sure I smell a Xena plan. Xena and Ares have ridden a really, really long way, there's snow sprayed on the ground all around them, and a little pond with a sheet of plexiglass floating in it. It's supposed to be ice Xena dismounts, and runs down to the pond. Ares is right behind her.

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Would this be the climactic showdown? Ares asks Xena if she's ready to die, she says "Been there, done that". Xena throws her chakram, narrowly missing Ares, and it bounces a few times before spinning away. Naturally, experienced Xenites know that Xena never does anything accidentally with her chakram, and are waiting for it to return. Ares and Xena start punching each other, mixed in with some really fun dialogue.

Not only does it sound Springeresque, but I thought I detected a nod to the final episode of Survivor. Remember Susan's little rant? Listen to Ares closely. I'm not sure of the timing, I could be imagining it, but if so, it's a wicked little bit of satire. Kevin is obviously having the time of his life here, and Xena gets to lay a few on him for all the abused women who might hear echos of their own relationship in this.

Frankly, when Ares says that she's making it way too easy for him, I had to agree, thinking back to that line about him barely being a match when he was a god. I told you I'd be back to that. When she tries harder, it's a thing of beauty. We know on one level that she's setting him up, but on another we're hoping we're right. I also loved this line: "You might be mortal Ares, but you will never be a man. Xena is goading Ares, so it's an insult. They're also making all kinds of parallels to abusive relationships, so it works there.

Most abusers may be male, but none of them are men. I've gotta give that one honors for top line in the ep. Finally, Ares knocks Xena into the 'icy' pond. He's still yelling at her, and steps into the pond to find her.

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She floats up under the plexi in the center of the pond. Note for those living in southern climes, ice generally forms around the edges of a body of water first, and ice that clear is generally thin enough to break very easily. Ares is really crackers now, watching Xena drown under the ice while talking about how beautiful she is, and what she gets for trying to fool the god of war.

It's really a nice scene. Now, I'm not sure, but the 'snow' on top of the 'ice' that Xena was trapped under looked a lot to me like road salt. That would imply that the water was to one degree or another salty, it's hard to spread salt like that precisely, some of it almost certainly spilled so there's very good odds that Lucy was keeping her beautiful blue eyes open in salt water for that scene. Thank you Lucy. Anyway, Xena drowns, and the Furies leave Ares' skull. The speaking one taunts Ares in a strong kiwi accent, then gloats about ruling the world, but just as they begin that irritating laugh of theirs, the chakram comes along and kills all three of them.

I know that Xena has a lot of control over that thing, but how she could know not only exactly when the Furies would come out, but exactly where they would be standing, all in a convenient line Ares looks all anguished, wouldn't it be nice if insanity worked that way in the real world? Just went away all of a sudden? He manages to find open water pretty easily, despite her problems. But that was a set-up wasn't it? Never mind He carries her to shore, looking very reminiscent of the time he put her in the ice cave, and screams his anguish to the sky.

He tells her he loves her again, he's starting to say that more often than Gabby. Just when all seems lost, Gabrielle and Eve come running around the corner with blankets. Gabby very briefly explains that because she drowned in cold water, she's still alive, they just need to warm her up. There is medical support for that, but it usually takes an IC ward to bring the victims back, and brain damage occurs more often than not. They wrap blankets around the fallen warrior, and Gabby starts CPR.

How much do you want to bet Missy had a much more interesting way of restoring Xena's body temperature in her first draft? Apparently Eve doesn't have her St. John's certification, because Gabby's doing this on her own. Eventually, Xena starts to come around, and reaches up to catch her chakram. Gotta be somewhere, maybe in the bracer. We crossfade into the next scene. Ares is silhouetted on a ridge, looking sad and tragic. Yeah, so it's redundant, he looks really sad Xena walks up, and he starts griping about this mortality gig.

They chat for a bit, and he comes on to her, again. She kisses him, which I'm sure upset a lot of people, but trust me on this, there is no cause for concern. That was a goodbye kiss, a 'I like you but only as a friend' kiss, a 'you're a really nice guy, so I'll take pity on you' kiss. I've had enough of those that I can spot 'em a mile away.

Don't worry, she's still with the bard. The one in a billion line was cute, not great, and kinda predictable, but cute. Ares closing line about rupturing something if he kept teleporting was about at the same level. So, in the end, it wasn't as good as I'd hoped, but much better than I'd feared. Missy seems to drop the occasional klunker when she's not paying attention to her dialogue, but she's not really used to writing for television, and she had lots of good lines to make up for it.

Ares has been Joxerfied, which I'm not thrilled about, but I'm sure Kevin will do a good job as comedy relief, and that he'll have a ball. This ep won't save the show all on it's own, but it's a good start. It's certainly better than most of season five. I've gotta go now, I think there's an angry mob at the door. OK, first things first: only five-sixths of the way through the series according to the latest scuttlebutt , we actually have a new opening credits montage! Shots seem to mostly be from the original montage, or fourth, fifth, and this season.

There's a half-dozen or so we haven't seen yet. Oo, the suspense! Other tidbits that must be covered with a season premiere: Gab's hair is getting longer The costumes seem unchanged so far. Both our gals are looking hale and hearty and ready to sit down to an eight-course acting banquet. Eve looked so different I almost thought it was a different actress when I first laid eyes on her. I'm not sure what it is - maybe she just got a chance to get cleaned up between seasons - but she really threw me at first.

As for the episode Not GREAT, either, and nothing to blow our socks off to start the season off with a bang, but there wasn't anything that I hated, either. Others have already asked the question I must ask: Why was this called "Coming Home? When they only mentioned in two sentences that she has any relationship with them at all? She shoots one of those old "She's so cute I could just scream" looks at Gab's back.

I've missed those looks. Good to see it again. Speaking of that plan Xena was going to spy out Ares, Gabrielle was going to talk to Marga. Gabrielle talked to Marga as expected; what was Xena doing? This episode would have really been helped out if they had established that Ares was going crazy BEFORE babbling about ambrosia and believing Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve were all his lovekittens. I spent ten minutes being honked off that Ares would be that stupid.

Once I understood he had a little Furies-whammy on him, I was OK with it, but it didn't give me back those ten minutes. The Furies' idea of justice and retribution keeps getting stranger and stranger. In the first episode we saw them, they tortured Xena for not instinctively knowing that ma killed pa. Weird, but it fits in a Greek tragedy kind of way. Next time, Ares sic'ed them on Gabrielle to kill off Eve, in retribution for? I can't even guess. And this time, they tortured Ares as vengeance for the death of the Gods. And as opposed to the resolution in the first episode, when madness is permanent, here they just wanted Xena to be killed off.

Eve needs a better step program; she protests fighting in between battles and bone-headed exhibitions that turn her into a plot device. Did she really believe that bloody-thirsty Varia was going to use killer fighting moves for defense only? Neither of them seemed to believe it at the time. And by the way, won't those amazons be looking for Eve at the end of this episode? Gabrielle made a big deal last season out of making Eve into an Amazon and her heir Gabrielle pulls out the queen card in a big way with the threat of challenging Marga. It gets her and Xena what they want without a fight; not bad!

On the one hand, I'm very glad that the show has addressed that little "oops-upside-your-head" chakram incident. But on the other, their conversation about it was out of nowhere, five sentences long, and included no explanation, just instant acceptance. It was magician resolution, which leaves me feeling only imperfectly mollified about the chak-otomy. The amazons were facing an army in their territory who greatly outnumbered them Have they never heard of guerilla warfare? Sneak attacks? Instead of giving away dance moves, maybe Eve should have been teaching these girls some tactics.

Xena responds to Ares' "Are you ready to die, Xena? By my count, this is the sixth time Xena has died. I wonder which afterlife she visited this time? Ares' love for Xena gets full legitimacy at last. His insanity is mostly focused on her - even though that's always been the case. He's always flirted with the crossroads between obsession, possession, and love when it comes to Xena. But his despair when he thinks he's killed her is raw in its reality, and Xena gives him the ultimate acknowledgment that there's always something between them with their first genuine kiss But I must also add this Ares' line about how there might still be a chance for them would have been sweeter if I hadn't seen a claymation chicken use the same line in Chicken Run this summer.

Now I'm cursed with seeing Ares with the head of Babs the chicken. Help me! From what I can figure, that chakram throw goes down as the all-time most prescient moment in the universe. Xena must be Nostradamus in disguise. At first, I thought Xena had thrown the chakram to Eve, who then threw it at the Furies But by the end of the scene, I think the idea was supposed to be that the chakram had been flying for that whole five minutes, and that bothered me MORE.

Sure, Xena's a master planner and can throw that chakram to beat the band, but when did she pick up a time machine in her travels? I had problems buying the insanity at first, but in the end, when his insanity is in full grip and then his grief is in full rage, he really nails it. What a great showcase for Ares. Lucy and Renee get to stretch their hammy, eeeeevil-acting muscles a bit.

Gabrielle and Eve do a lot of that head-jerking kind of motion the Furies are famous for I gotta admit, I like the Furies and their unabashed over-acting. Xena does a great fly-snag.


Watch FuryGab as they pass the honor guard - she snaps the guards a crazed salute, and FuryEve does a little bounce to follow suit until they get distracted by the armorer. Made me laugh out loud. Right off the bat, I have a confession to make. I missed the opening teaser and the first act of this episode, so I don't have a complete picture of what was going on. However, I didn't find it too difficult to fill in the missing pieces of this episode, so I feel justified in making some comments about it.

I also neglected to tape the episode, so I couldn't go back and see what transpired. It's been a rough month, okay? All in all, I don't think this episode was too bad. I also don't think it was anything particularly special, either. It was certainly reminiscent of earlier seasons - which isn't too surprising when you consider that fanfic scribe Missy Good penned this particular story.

Still, it had a decidedly "been there, done that" kind of feel to it and I'm not referring to the classic second season episode. Not only that, but there were several Xenaverse cliches that made me sigh with barely restrained frustration. I'll get to the more offensive of those in just a minute. The past couple of premieres have set the bar for season openers fairly high.

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Both "Adventures in the Sin Trade" and "Fallen Angel" are richly woven episodes where the emotional stakes are high. This episode, on the other hand, didn't feel particularly tense at all. It felt more like a midseason anchor. I didn't find the emotional stakes particularly high, despite the generally solid construction of the story. I'm not sure whether this is a result of Missy Good's writing, or the fact that last season's closer, "Motherhood", didn't leave us precariously balanced on the edge of our seats. From what I've heard of Missy's fanfiction, it is probably a combination of the two.

I think everybody involved turned in solid performances, especially Kevin Smith. The former God of War had a hard enough time dealing with becoming mortal, he sure as heck didn't need the Furies bouncing around his cranium. He played the role very well, and didn't stray into the realm of over-the-top scene chewing too much. Xena returned to familiar territory. The old school focus was back in full view, with only a little bit of residual guilt floating around.

Gabrielle remained true to the character changes that developed during season five. I was pleased to see this, as I was afraid a fan writer might try to force her back into an earlier costume so to speak. Both Lucy and Renee seemed very comfortable in their roles, and neither actress "phoned in" their performance at least, as far as I could tell. Even after five full seasons, they are giving their all. Eve seemed to have emerged from the shell of self-pity and doubt that she had wrapped around herself in "Motherhood".

It seemed that she was starting to find a balance between her past and her present, and actually was starting to enjoy life again. I hope that more stories this season focus on this struggle, because it makes for an interesting contrast with Xena's early quest for redemption.

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Then there are the Amazons, a perennial fan favorite. Presented to us in this episode was a whole tribe of new characters with no solid connection to the Amazons from the past that I was able to discern. This caused some problems for me, because I had a hard time caring what happened to them. In fact, the notion that the Amazons are a dying nation seems a trifle hackneyed at this point - the producers have been playing that card since the first season.

I can only be kept hanging for so long before I want a resolution to a storyline. Either have the Amazons die off, or have them experience a new beginning. Leaving them in a perpetual state of decline is just getting old. While the plot is fairly solid, with no chariot-sized holes, it felt recycled. The worst example of this was the "elaborate plan" where Xena fakes her own death.

It wasn't that the execution of this plan stretched credulity at least, not any more than this show usually does , it was simply that the elements of the plot had all been done fairly recently. These are only a couple examples of recycled plot elements. Closer examination would certainly reveal more.

Perhaps the grognards are right, and there isn't really any new territory to explore in this series. I didn't agree with them last season, and I don't really agree with them now. I can't find any major technical fault with this story; it simply lacks the spark of life that has made so many other episodes memorable.

Is it a sign that the series has run longer than it should have? I don't think so, but perhaps the miles are starting to show a bit more clearly. In final analysis, this episode feels more like an interlude between the seasons five and six. I think I can see where The Powers That Be were going with this one, but I didn't feel especially compelled to go along for the ride.

It wasn't a bad episode - indeed, it would have made a pretty good mid-season anchor. As a season premiere, though, it falls short of the high standards set by previous years. On my own wildly subjective scale, I rate it a C-plus. After last year's season opener, which was also just great, I could not wait to see this one.

If it had taken any longer to air, I think I would have gone mad. The second thing I have to face up to is the fact that I think I'm one of the few people in the Xenaverse who had not read any of Ms. Good's Fan Fiction stories. So, in a way, this put me at an advantage over many because I felt I would be a bit more impartial than the rest.

For openers and with no pun intended, there is the new opening of the show. I personally think it was about time. I was getting very tired of seeing Gabrielle in her peasant girl outfit and still being reflected as dependent on Xena. I like the takes used for the new presentation. They reflect a new change in the show. I think something was probably well received by all: the fact that ROC has been promoted from being in a co-starring role to being in a starring role. So, guess what, I'm taking the short cut and going for what I liked. It went back to basics; the trust and relationship between Gabrielle and Xena was there.

There was something for everyone, from some really good fight scenes to some "touchy feely" moments between Gabrielle and Xena, and even Xena and Ares. This was well taken considering some of the complex plots of previous years. The opening scene set the mood for what was to come and I liked that. Xena and Gabrielle must have had some time to get to know and try to understand Eve.

However, I think Gabrielle is still not too taken by Eve. Gabrielle still refers to Eve, as "Your Daughter" even though it seems Xena has tried to create an atmosphere in which Gabrielle can feel like Eve's mother also. But when Eve asks if that is Amazon land, Gabrielle's tone of voice changes and her answer to Eve feels short and curt.

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  • It was the sight of the Amazon forest, the destruction and the loneliness it represented. My heart went out to those Amazons that were losing everything, just as it did for the people in those devastated areas of Florida. At the sound of battle, they rush to see what is happening and see how they can get involved. Here is where we hit our first battle scene and it is a good one too. Not too long but not too short either. It had the right timing and the right emotions to it, like all the other fight scenes in this show, especially the fistfight between Xena and Ares. That was a marvelous scene and Kevin Smith flat out stole it.

    I found it to be a bit bold of Xena, but I guess at this point in time Xena can definitely be as bold as Xena wants. It was as if Xena was saying, "Yo guys, I'm here, want a piece of me? I don't like this attitude in Eve. Yes, Eve, you have done some really nasty things, so you are going to have to pay for them.

    So move on and get over it. It was good to see her get into the fight. The idea of the Furies driving Ares crazy and representing themselves as Xena, Gabrielle and Eve was a wonderful idea. How else could you get Ares to go after Xena and get rid of her. Brilliant move by the Furies. The only thing that nixed their plan was Xena. She smelled a rat and it had the Furies' name written all over it.

    It showed that he was truly enjoying himself. I wonder how much those stories have been exaggerated over the few months that Xena and Gabrielle have been free from their icy tomb. I also wonder what other stories have been told of the adventures of Xena and Gabrielle. There was a tone of respect and amazement in the voice of the Queen of the Amazons when Xena introduced herself and her companions.

    This is not the naive little girl of years past from "Hooves and Harlots". This was a true Queen and she showed she is someone to contend with.

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    Wasn't Xena the one who destroyed a whole Amazon Nation just to please Alti and, by doing so, condemn them to live in the land of the dead for eternity. I, for one, did not have a problem with either. First, the apology scene was true to form. How many of us know a person who has a problem saying they are sorry. They will do whatever it takes to make the other person feel good, but they have major trouble saying, "I'm sorry I hurt you. I'm sorry for I believe this is the case with Xena and Gabrielle. I have no doubt whatsoever that these two characters love each other.

    It is true that in the last few years they have gone through some really rough times, but the fact that they have stayed together is a sign of their dedication to each other and their love for each other. Wasn't Gabrielle the one who lied to Xena in "Gabrielle's Hope", when Gabrielle told Xena that she Gabrielle had killed Hope when, in reality, she had put her in a basket and sent her down river to save her life. Or wasn't it Gabrielle who sent Hope to Solan's tent so she could save her and this was when Hope killed Solan in "Maternal Instincts".

    A person who has experienced those kinds of feelings can really understand where Xena was coming from. On the other hand, I really believe there is a long road ahead before Gabrielle can truly say she has forgiven Eve for all the evil Eve has done. This time she dies at the hand of Ares.

    By this time, I have lost count of how many times Xena has died during the run of this show. But what made this death scene a refreshing one was the fact that it was Gabrielle who came to the rescue. She was the one who gave Xena mouth to mouth. She was the one in control. It was great to see. It was obvious that the years with Xena have not been wasted when it comes to lifesaving techniques.

    At this time in the game, the scoreboard is clean. Xena owes Ares nothing; Ares owes Xena nothing. He will love Xena forever, just like Joxer loved Gabrielle, but he is aware that there will never be anything between he and Xena. There was no sexual attraction or tension there.

    The Mysterious Furies of the God in a Tent The Mysterious Furies of the God in a Tent
    The Mysterious Furies of the God in a Tent The Mysterious Furies of the God in a Tent
    The Mysterious Furies of the God in a Tent The Mysterious Furies of the God in a Tent
    The Mysterious Furies of the God in a Tent The Mysterious Furies of the God in a Tent
    The Mysterious Furies of the God in a Tent The Mysterious Furies of the God in a Tent

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