Our story opens with the heading, 'One year later'.

Eric the Viking is traveling through the bog to get to Gabrielle. Beo tells him only her soulmate can pass. Beo shows his hand which is crispy. Eric says he's gonna go anyway but Grendle shows up and starts beating his men to a pulp. He refuses to call a retreat and he dives into the flames only to be brunt. Beo calls a retreat and promises Gabby he'll be back. They then travel to Denmark to seek the help of King Rothgar.

When Beo and his little new sidekick, the dude who played young Iolaus, shows up they see a marriage ceremony happening between the King and the future queen Wethia. The brides name is either Celtic or a warrior princess he says upon seeing her. Beo wants to stop the union but sidekick tells him now is not the time.

As King Rothgar and she exchange rings Xena has a flashback to the ring that changed her but she doesn't make the connection. She doesn't look to keen on marrying this dude at all. Instead of kissing him like he expects(VBG) she 'sidesteps' him and gives him a hug instead (LOL).

The Vals are at the fire talking. They can't understand why so many men would lay down their life for a simple mortal like Gabrielle. Don't they know? Gabby is the best. I love Gabby. Have I mentioned that?

Back at the wedding feast Rothgar's sister shows up and says she would have made a better queen than Xena…I mean….Wethia…(Incest is best some say (VBG) Those crazy, cooky Vikings. Anyway…) Rothgar says get over it - Wethia is his wife. And if she don't like it he'll give her the boot and kick her out of the kingdom. He's not a nice guy folks. He goes to find his bride after the argument and finds her looking kind of morose (LOL). He asks what's wrong and she says she felt something at the ceremony and he says he did too - hubbahubba - and takes Xena back into a corner. She's not real receptive to his advances but he says he's waited long enough to have her. He doesn't get to first base though. Beo shows up around the corner and Roth and Beo 'catch up' - seems they are old friends. Beo says that perhaps he and Wethia met before but Wethia doesn't think so and walks away. Beo KNOWS it's Xena. Now all he has to do is get her alone.

After the King and Queen leave, the coniving 'sister-in-law' shows up and she and Beo plot getting Xena out of the picture. There is a knock at the door and Xena says, "Come in my lord." King Rothgar comes in wearing the mask from the ceremony but once it's off we see it's Beo. He tells her that Odin will kill her if he learns she's alive and Gabrielle will never be saved. He reaches for her but Xena throws him on the bed. At that moment sis in law and Roth come in, 'catching' Xena and Beo 'together'. The guards arrive and he orders their deaths.

As the guards take Xena and Beo away - Beo knocks them out telling Xena that he needs her to save Gabrielle. Xena reacts when she sees one guard go to strike Beo and she takes the guard down. She begins to realize perhaps there are things about her Beo knows. Durning the battle she falls to the ground and Beo reaches for her and tells her "Told you I needed you." But instead of seeing Beo Xena looks up to see Gabby reaching for her saying, "I'm lost without you Xena". Xena pauses a moment but then she sees it's Beo and he helps her up.

They are on a boat and Beo says he learned that Rothgar saved her from the water and gave her a new name and essential conned her into being his wife. Xena says she could have helped the Viking people by being their queen. Beo tells her that her heart lies with 'the most trusted friend the world had known' Gabrielle.

In Valhalla, the Valkyrie are practicing and Odin says he knows Xena is alive. He gives them orders to go to her. The sailors are now on beach fighting over whose going to offer Xena water (LOL) - suddenly everyone loves Xena. One week it's Gabby , next week it's Xena. One week it's Gabby, next week it's Xena. ~Sigh~ It's such a hard life to be a sex object. Anyway Xena says violence is not the answer and to knock it off. The Valkyrie show up and decide to take Xena on. Peace nik Xena however will not fight them - of course she does avoid new head honcho's swings. Odin arrives and tells them to stop. He walks up and 'tests' Xena out. She really is braindead (LOL). He orders his Vals home and they ride off. He figures he'll let Xena be so she can kill the fire and he in turn can then get the ring. Head Val, what's her name, doesn't like that idea. She's gonna kill Xena anyway if she gets the chance.

Xena is looking at her wedding ring and drops it on the ground. Gabby appears to her and tries to stroke her face. "I'm the truth of who you are. Our souls are united." Xena leaps up and away from her, thinking she might be a demon or the fact she's going mad. But Gabby is gone and Beo walks in. Xena says that this Gabrielle person must truly love her. Beo says that yes - Gabby saved her from the evil person she once was.

The band of merry men and one warrior princess go to the marsh. She sees the ring and that the woman inside the flame is the one that's been appearing to her. She's not sure if she's the one. But Beo says the flame - Brimhilda - will recognize her as Gabby's soulmate and she'll not be harmed. Gabby calls to her although she's still asleep. Brim tells her "The love in her heart burns stronger than any flame." Xena sticks her hand in but doesn't get burnt. Before she can pass though the Vals show up and battle the men. Head honco taunts that Xena 'sounds like one of those love sick boys that have burnt themselves to a crisp.' But Xena doesn't take that. She kicks her into the flame and she lights up. Beo comes to Xena and tells her to go now or the trip is for nothing. But Grendle shows up and shs-ka-bobs Beo through the shoulder. Xena looking a bit freaked by the monster but Beo keeps telling her to go.

Xena takes the leap through the fire - when she does you can see different shots of Gab and Xena together in the flames (pretty cool). Xena takes her Chakram and cuts away the vines that have grown around Gabby. She leans down and plants a very platonic kiss on Gab's lips. The clips they show as Xena 'regains her memory' are pretty sweet I'll admit (VBG) Gabby wakes up. "I dreamed you'd come back to me" she told her warrior. Xena confesses that even though she forgot she could still hear Gabby calling to her. Gabby's hair is long!!! Of course her bangs are still short(LOL) but we'll just ignore that. Maybe Brim kept them clipped for her (VBG). Their clothes are back to normal too and Xena takes the ring. She acts like she might put it on but Gabby grabs her hands and says 'Oh no not again.'

As the flames die down and get sucked into the ring, Grendle approaches. Xena's got a plan and leads the monster toward a cave.

She lets Grendle capture her. Xena keeps telling her to open her heart and forgive her. Finally Grendle let's go of her hatred and a big explosion happens.

Gabby is with Beo and they duck for cover until they see Xena walking out of the cave with Grendle behind her. Xena thanks Beo for all his help. He tells her she's the greatest warrior he's ever known. Xena says she has to take Grim back home. Gabby hugs Beo goodbye as Xena and Grim mount up on horses. She thanks him for saving her but he says we know that eventually Xena would have found her and released her from the flame. He kisses her hand and Gabby leaves, thanking Brimhilda too. Brim's voice calls out, "God's speed Gabrielle" and disappears. Soon she's mounting up with Xena. She holds on tight and soon they are off flying through the sky. Gabby is holding on tight and Xena asks if she's alright. Ahhhhhhhhhhh...isn't that sweet (LOL) Gabby says yeah but she's not too keen on flying.

Once at Valhalla Xena tells Odin to put Grim here in charge of the Vals. He says he'll think of it. Xena says he better make up his mind soon. In seconds he welcomes back Grim and they embrace. Xena tells Gabby she's got another stop to make. She returns to the rheinmaidens and gives them the gold. They ask, "What magic has made Xena into such a nobel creature?" Xena smiles and looks to Gabby who's on the shore. "It wasn't magic." Gabby smiles at her warrior and we fade to black. Yep folks, these gals are a couple. I don't think we'll see anymore redshirts in Xena history (VBG). Goddess Bless Aphrodite (VBG).

Disclaimer: Any similarities between our story and classic children fairy tales is purely coincidental.

(Now that's funny - VBG)

CN Winters