By Jade Marmalade
I am a nameless wanderer. Often times, I am also bodiless. But occasionally, I take on a solid form. I greatly enjoyed being a lynx, once upon a time. Being a fish isn't too bad either, as long as you remember to look out for bigger fish. And being a bird, any kind of bird, is pure ecstasy. But the one form I return to the most often is Man. That most sublime and terrible creation of this universe.
Only once before now have I revealed myself to a mortal human. Some of the other nameless ones have so revealed themselves and been called various things. Gods, demons, fairies, angels. We have been called everything. But in truth, we are nothing. We have no names. But there was someone once; a mortal who, for the briefest of instants, saw what I truly was and knew my name. I wish he had told me.
Anyway, I'll tell you the story of that mortal. By how you reckon time, it was long, long ago. It was the Golden Age of Greece, when the gods still held sway and heroes still walked the land. His name was Joxer . . .
"I need a horse," Joxer mumbled under his breath as he walked through the town. "A good horse. One who will come when I whistle, like Argo does for Xena. Where to find a-?"
The bumbling warrior turned to see who was calling him. Iolaus, hunter and friend of Hercules was jogging through the crowded marketplace toward him.
"Heya, Joxer! Are Xena and Gabrielle in town? I really need to ask them about-"
"I don't know where they are," Joxer said abruptly, rather put out that the other warrior wasn't looking for him. He was also a bit tiffed over the fact that Xena and Gabby had managed to lose him a week ago.
"Oh, well. I kinda needed there help for something, but it doesn't matter. I'll just have to deal with it myself . . ."
"Is there any way I can help out?" Joxer asked eagerly. 'This may be my chance to prove myself,' he thought.
The hunter laughed. "That's okay, Joxer. I'll handle it."
"But I thought you wanted help . . ." Joxer trailed off. Iolaus was already gone. Probably off to save some poor innocents from a marauding army or a horrible monster. Off to be a hero without Joxer.
Joxer sighed and leaned against one of the seller's booths. It was the story of his life. All he'd ever wanted to do was be a hero. He had gone against family tradition and had suffered years of ridicule to become one. He knew people thought that he was slightly dense and silly trying to be a great warrior, but it was all a mask. Joxer heard the snickers and derisive comments that were directed at him. He just didn't let on that he did. Joxer was determined - and no ammount of pain or humiliation would stop him from following his dreams.
Joxer straightened his back and started off to find the tzambazis. He was going to get a horse and he was going to be a hero. That was all there was to it.
Joxer was perhaps the strongest mortal I have ever encountered in my endless wanderings. Not in physical strength. Many others were stronger than Joxer. No, he was the strongest spirited person I have ever met. His strength of will was unsurpassed. He strode out into the world and grabbed life with both hands. Joxer was one of those rare humans who followed their dreams whole-heartedly and without fear. He was unappreciated and ridiculed, but to me, he represents the best that humanity has to offer.
"Stupid horse," Joxer mumbled under his breath. He had finally found the animal trader and used the last of his money to buy a horse. Who had promptly run off.
Now, Joxer had to spend the night in the barn with an empty stomach. He sighed and tried to rearrange the straw into a more comfortable bed. He had decided that, come morning, he would follow Iolaus to where he had gone and offer his services as a fighter again.
The barn door suddenly blew open, and a figure darted inside. At first, Joxer couldn't tell if it were a man or a woman, since the person was cloaked, but as they came closer, he made out the features of a young man.
"In the same boat as me, huh?" Joxer asked.
"Wha-? Yeah, I guess I am. The human form can be so tiresome some times."
'Human form?' Joxer thought. The stranger stumbled and Joxer thought, 'Ah! He must be a klutz like me!'
"I know what ya mean, buddy! My name Joxer the Mighty. I'm a warrior," he said, offering the man a hand.
"Katsivelos," the other man said, "Pleased to meet you. I'm a - a kalathoplektis in this life. Would you like to see some of my wares?"
'In this life? Hmm, he must be a follower of that Way thingy that Gabby was going on about before,' Joxer thought.
"Ah, no thank you," he said. "I don't really need a basket right now. Plus, I'm broke."
"Of course," Katsivelos said.
They stared at each other for a moment before Joxer came forward to touch Katsivelos' face. Their eyes met and Joxer felt as if he could drown in the other man's ethereal beauty.
"You're lovely," Joxer stated.
"I-I don't know," Katsivelos stammered. "You-I, no one has ever . . ."
"Then we'll have to fix that," said Joxer as he drew Katsivelos' mouth to his.
Katsivelos. That was what I called myself in that form, at that time. It seemed appropriate. It means wanderer, but it is derived from the Latin cativello, meaning captive. I was both. Katsivelos came very close to describing me. I just wish that I knew my real name. That Joxer had told me, and made me real - before he died.
The next morning, Joxer set off toward adventure with his new friend. He was very excited. The villagers had told of a great battle raging to the north that involved Hercules, Iolaus, Xena, Gabrielle and a contingent of the Spartan army agains a legion of Romans. He just knew that this was the perfect chance to prove himself.
Katsivelos had said he was going north, so Joxer had volunteered to protect him.
"-so then, Ares throws this big lightning bolt and . . ." Joxer trailed off. 'Is that bush moving?' he wondered.
Out of the bush jumped three bandits who were obviously out for blood.
"Get behind me!" Joxer yelled to Katsivelos and drew his sword.
He died saving my life. Saving me, who could not die. Joxer didn't even know me. I held him as he bled to death. He looked up at me and saw, truly SAW, who and what I was. And he smiled as he died. Joxer didn't want to die. He was the most life-loving man I ever knew. He smiled because, in the end, he died as a hero.
I kissed him as Hades came to claim his soul. Someday, I shall go to the Elysium Fields to be with him again. Someday, Joxer will tell me my name.
But not just yet. Love has made me more human. And being more human has allowed me to feel pain.