The trial was over. They had pardoned me. Part of me was relieved, but the other part was disappointed. I can never undo my past, erase the pain I've caused countless people. Sometimes I feel that the only way people will ever be at peace about what I did would be for me to die. But then I think about it. Avenging someone's loss never brings the person you love back to you. You are still are left with that empty feeling inside of your heart. But no matter how many good things I do, it will never be enough to balance out of overthrow the horror I've inflicted upon others. I guess I really am my mothers daughter, I know she walks around with the guilt of a thousands sins resting on her soul, knowing that no matter what she does she can never change the past.
I walked out of the meeting hut in silence, my mother and Gabrielle behind me. I stopped, and looked around me. Hundreds of Amazons, forging, cooking, training... all working together. Finally the Amazon Nation was strong, like it was meant to be. If it was like this years ago, my army would have never been able to take slaves, let alone survive. They have come a long way, but pain brings people together more than anything.
My crimes have been excused, but the weight of my soul is still heavy with guilt. I know what I have to do. I felt a hand on my shoulder, my mothers. I turned my head and looked up at her.
"I know that look," she said simply.
I turned my head back and looked at the tribe. I didn't answer. The wind whipped through my hair and I sighed. Sometimes I wonder why Eli chose a murderer as his messenger. But I was chosen before I was born, I made my own path in life, and I chose the wrong one. And now I must make amends.
"We'll stay here with you for a while," my mother said.
I turned and faced her and Gabrielle. "How did you know I wanted to stay?"
Gabrielle smiled softly and Mother answered, "Because I know you want to make things right."
I turned and looked at the meeting hut as I heard people leave it. I saw Varia come out. She stood there, her eyes meeting mine. I felt something flutter in my stomach. Guilt, no doubt. I murdered her younger sister. I flashed back to the moment, her sister, who must've been barely twelve, standing over Varia's fear stricken form, determination in her eyes to sacrifice herself for her sister's life. I drew my sword and swung, decapitating the poor child. I looked down from Varia's gaze, I have no right to look at her like I am her equal.
Varia walked over to us, my gaze was firmly attached to the ground. "Where are you headed?" She asked Mother and Gabrielle.
"We've actually decided to stick around for a little while," Gabrielle answered her.
"All of you?" Varia asked, looking at me. I couldn't see her do it, but I could feel her.
"All of us," Mother answered.
I looked up in time to see Varia nod, "We're honored to have you as our guests, I will have someone prepare your huts." She motioned her hand towards one of her sisters, and the woman turned to do as her Queen ordered. "You may stay as long as you wish." She put her fist to her chest, and Gabrielle did the same. Then Varia turned and left.
Mother turned to look at me, "You're staying for her, aren't you?"
"For all of them," I answered. I didn't know why, but I didn't want them knowing it really is specifically for Varia. The guilt of the pain I put her through, has haunted me more than any other crime I've committed, though much were far worse. I don't know why, but no matter the reason I feel I have to make it right... somehow.
"But mostly for Varia," Gabrielle said, looking at me with that look that she gets, like she knows something that even I don't.
You know, sometimes the whole your parents know everything thing, gets a little frustrating. Gabrielle's not technically my parent, but she still feels like one to me.
I relented, "Fine, yes, mostly for her."
Mother put her arm around me and we started walking towards the huts, "I know how hard it is to try to make amends with someone you've hurt, Eve. She may have pardoned your crimes, but it'll take time before she truly forgives you for what you've done."
I nod as I walk with her in stride, Gabrielle at my other side, "I know."
"The human heart is forgiving, and love is the most powerful weapon you have on your side. Don't forget that," Gabrielle said to me.
I nod again as we reached our huts. Xena looked at the two guest huts and nodded towards the one on the right, "Me and Gabrielle will share one, you take the other one. I think you need some time alone."
I smiled, grateful, and gave my mother a hug. "Thank you. For everything."
Mother smiled back and hugged me tighter, "No problem, kiddo. Now get some rest, you'll need it before you talk to Varia."
I released my mother and gave a smile to Gabrielle before retreating in my hut, and lying on my bed.
I awoke by a knock on my door. I yawned and stretched as I sat up, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. I tied my long brown hair back in a knot and stood up, crossing from my bed to the door. I opened it, and was surprised to find Varia standing on the other side of it. I didn't speak, I didn't know what to say.
"Can I come in?" She asked. I nodded and stood back from the door so she could enter. Once she was inside, I closed the door behind her. I still didn't speak, I was waiting for what she had to say.
She looked at me for a moment before speaking. "Why are you here?" It wasn't an attack, more of a general curiosity.
I licked my lips nervously, "My crimes against the Amazon Nation may have been pardoned, but I don't feel right leaving without making things right."
"That's not necessary, you are pardoned either way."
"I know, but in your heart Varia, do you feel like it's behind us?" I looked her in the eyes, her brown meeting my blue.
She took a moment before answering, "I feel it's behind the Amazons, but not behind you and me." The truth both of us knew, and I knew now why Mother and Gabrielle knew I was staying for her. The Nation as a whole forgave me, but this was no longer about the Romans and the Amazons, this was about me and Varia, as people.
"And that's why I'm still here."
Varia looked at me, like she was trying to figure me out. "Why is it so important to you to make amends with me? You are no longer on death row, there's no gain in it."
I smiled a little, "Not all gains are physical, Varia."
"And not all battles are won," she countered.
"But if its never fought, then the outcome would never be known," I finished. We looked at each other for a long time.
"Don't expect much," she finally said.
"Being sure of something is one's ultimate downfall."
She nodded shortly, "Dinner is being served, please relay that to Queen Gabrielle and Xena." And with that, she left. I took a breath and it felt like my first one in ages. That wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. She seems willing to let me try, though doubtful that forgiveness will be earned. I don't blame her, in fact I mostly agree with her. But if I never try, then I never know what could have happened.
I left the hut and went over to Mother and Gabrielle's. I knocked on the door and waited until Gabrielle opened the door. "Varia told me to tell you dinner is being served, "I said.
Mother walked over to the door, "You talked to Varia already?"
"Not much," I answered.
"But a little?" Gabrielle asked.
"Yeah, she knows why I've really here."
"And?" Mother asked, looking over protective. She knows Varia's temper, and I'm betting she thinks she blew up at me. Which, to be honest, I'm surprised she didn't.
"And she's willing to let me try, though doubtful there will ever be some sort of peace between the two of us."
Gabrielle smiled, and she had that look again. Gods, I hate that look. Sometimes I wish she'd just tell me what was going on, what she knows that I don't, but I know she does Mother the same way. She likes us to figure stuff out on our own.
"Well it's a start then, right?" Gabrielle said.
"Yeah," I say and look across the way to the dining hut, watching Varia walk into it. "It's a start."