Chronicle 6

Against A War God

"War," spoke the dark man. He stood in front of his throne with his arms stretched into the air.

"It is the most powerful force there is. It has the power to create, to destroy. There is no force in the universe like it. Nothing is more powerful. Nothing is more deadly. I am the wielder of this devastating power. I am its master. One day this world shall be ruled by war. One day it shall be ruled by me.

"And I can see that day coming very, very soon."

Ares felt great power surging through him as he lowered his arms. He smiled at Stryfe.

"I'm telling you, Stryfe, things have not been looking well for the God of War since that Golden Hind debacle, but it's all starting to change."

Stryfe grinned. "What have you got up your sleeve now, you sly devil you?"

"I keep getting bent out of shape over Xena, but I've got so many followers, so many worshippers. I really don't need her."

Ares walked over to a table with a map on it, just one of the many items that adorned his luxurious temple.

"Take this one kingdom, Wardonia. The name says it all. The ruler, the army, even the people worship me. Very rare to have all three. This Wardonia has potential. With me at their side, they're going to be quite a force to be reckoned with."

"This Wardonia," Stryfe said. "Are they going to start a war?"

"Soon," Ares smiled. "Very soon."

"But, Unc," Stryfe began, "is there any chance that someone might try to stop them? Like... let's say..."

"Xena? Hercules?" Ares answered. "No, they're both preoccupied at the moment. They can't interfere. And let's face it. Without them around, who would be idiot enough to stand in my way?"

-

Joxer walked down the trodden path. He took in the warm sun and smiled.

"It sure feels good to be a hero. I wonder who else might be in need of my assistance."

He saw a sign up ahead. "Wardonia," he said. "Sounds like a friendly place. I think I'll check it out." Then he noticed a man coming the opposite direction. "Hello, sir. My name is Joxer. The Mighty."

"Hi, my name is Granden." Then he suddenly froze. "J-Joxer. You? You're Joxer? The one who slayed the fire-breathing dragon of Kolon? Who destroyed the massive moving fortress of the Taurians? Who defeated the all-powerful Slavers of Menga?"

"Yes," Joxer answered. "My reputation precedes me. I'm on my way to Wardonia and-"

"You're going to Wardonia?" Granden answered. "Oh, my god!" He turned around and started running back in the opposite direction.

"Wait!" Joxer shouted. But it was too late. "Oh, well. I'll catch up with him later." And so Joxer began walking towards the city.

Granden, running at full pace, eventually reached the city of Wardonia. He shouted as he ran down the streets.

"I bring grave news! Joxer the Mighty is coming! Joxer the Mighty is coming! He'll be here shortly!"

People started running into the streets in panic.

"Joxer the Mighty?" a bakery owner asked. "He slayed the fire-breathing dragon of Kolon..."

"...destroyed the massive moving fortress of the Taurians..."

"...defeated the all-powerful Slavers of Menga..."

"...he can defeat entire armies..."

"...destroy entire cities..."

"The mighty warrior must have heard about our plans to conquer Greece!"

"He's coming to destroy us!"

"We're doomed!"

Predicting much damage and destruction, all the storeowners in Wardonia immediately put up new price signs on their windows. Bread went up from 1 dinar to 4 dinars. Corn went up from 3 dinars to 7 dinars. Liquor went up from 2 dinars a drink to 6 dinars a drink. Prices were going up everywhere.

"I can't believe it," one citizen gasped. "The mere mention of Mighty Joxer's name sends our prices sky high. Who knows what ingenious scheme he's developing at this very moment to annihilate us?"

Joxer gazed at the sky. "Yes, my plan is brilliant... foolproof. If I eat dinner now before entering Wardonia, I won't have to pay a city tax on the meal... and I won't be hungry later on!" He smiled to himself. "Joxer, you are a genius." And then he walked on.

The town council of Wardonia held a meeting at the city square. A large number of people were there.

"Bloody Joxer is coming!"

"He'll slaughter us like dogs!"

"Even if he doesn't, there will be so much damage and destruction that our taxes will be raised."

Someone, hearing this, ran out to the street.

"Our taxes are going to be raised!"

"Wardonia's going to be too expensive to live in!"

"I'm out of this town!"

Several stores started to close. The wheat shop, the blacksmith shop, the tailor shop, and others were permanently shut down. The ruler of Wardonia, King Troyus, was pulling his hair out at the news. He stood up from his throne.

"I can't believe this!" King Troyus shouted in despair before his aides. "Prices are going up, stores are shutting down, people are leaving the city..."

"...and Joxer the Mighty is coming!" said one of the aides.

"...he slayed the fire-breathing dragon of Kolon..."

"...destroyed the massive moving fortress of the Taurians..."

"...defeated the all-powerful Slavers of Menga..."

"Send the army out into the city," ordered the king. "They should be able to keep the peace. I just hope they're able to make a stand when the deadliest, most skilled warrior in all of Greece gets here!"

Joxer fell on his face.

"Oof!" He slowly got to his feet. "Gosh, I hate tripping. That ground sure packs a wallop. Well, might as well head on towards Wardonia. Who knows what mighty benefits they might reap from my mere presence?"

Rioting and looting had broken out in the streets. Several buildings were aflame. Everywhere in Wardonia, people were in a major state of panic. The army entered the fray. The general shouted, "Stop the rioting! Quickly!" The soldiers did not look very confident.

"The city's going up in flames."

"Our kingdom is collapsing."

"And worst of all, Joxer the Mighty is coming!"

"...he slayed the fire-breathing dragon of Kolon..."

"...destroyed the massive moving fortress of the Taurians..."

"...defeated the all-powerful Slavers of Menga..."

"...he can defeat entire armies..."

"...destroy entire cities..."

"We're doomed!"

A good portion of the soldiers began to desert while the rest found themselves under attack from the people. A huge battle began. The fires, with no one to fight them, spread from building to building. The fighting lasted through the night until the next morning.

Joxer awoke with a start. "Uuuuhhhhh," he moaned. He slowly, groggily, got to his feet. "I never did get as far as Wardonia. I think I'll go there now for some breakfast."

A few miles later, he approached the city. Joxer couldn't believe his eyes. A fire had razed the entire city. Smoke was billowing from everywhere. Joxer entered the desolated city. There were a few people standing among the ruins.

"Look, it's Joxer the Mighty!" someone pointed out.

"What happened?" Joxer asked.

"You did!"

"Huh?" was Joxer's reply.

"He destroyed our city!"

"Crushed our army!"

"Against him, we didn't have a chance!"

"Now we'll never conquer Greece!"

Joxer looked around, bewildered. "What did I do?"

Suddenly, a man in a black outfit materialized in front of him. Joxer gulped, instantly recognizing him. It was the God of War.

"Ares..."

"I'll tell you what you did," Ares began. "You managed to single-handedly destroy my greatest city!" Lighting struck in the distance. The God of War was boiling red.

Joxer began to shudder. "I-I did?"

"Well, it wasn't actually you. It was actually the rumor of your coming to this town that did it." Ares let out a small laugh. "To think that a complete imbecile like you could somehow manage to build up a grand enough reputation to cause an entire city to destroy itself. Xena never could do that. Hercules could never do that. But, somehow... you did."

"W-well," Joxer answered, "You should realize... y-you are talking about J-Joxer the M-Mighty."

"Joxer... the Mighty," Ares echoed. "Well, I've got news for ya. The legend of Joxer the Mighty is about to come to an abrupt and swift end... NOW!"

Ares walked forward. Joxer drew his sword. The war god stopped in front of him and smiled. Joxer plunged his sword into Ares' chest.

"You really are an idiot," Ares said. "I'm a god." He pulled the sword out of his chest and a punch sent Joxer flying several yards backwards.

"Oooof!" Joxer let out as he landed on his back. I think I'm in trouble, he thought to himself. Where are my sidekicks when I need them?

"You actually think you're a warrior?" Ares let out another small laugh. "By rights you should have been wormfood ages ago. But I can remedy that." He gave Joxer a swift kick.

"Aaugh!"

"What Xena sees in you I'll never understand. But let's face it, Joxer. Without the warrior princess around to save your skin, you're less than nothing." Ares gave Joxer a punch that again sent him flying back several yards.

"Uuuuhhh...."

The God of War drew his sword. "Now this... This is the fun part." He walked over to Joxer and dragged him to his feet. Ares grabbed Joxer by the throat and lifted him into the air.

"Good-bye, Joxer... the Mighty."

A certain thought kept rebounding inside Joxer's head. This medallion shall protect you...

Joxer, with what little strength he had remaining, reached up and pulled out the gold medallion attached to the necklace that he had been given by the African tribe. It began to glow. Ares suddenly went flying backwards a hundred yards, dropping Joxer to the ground.

"Aaaaaaarrrrgh!" he yelled as he landed amongst the rubble of the town. A moment later, he slowly struggled to his feet. "That medallion... It has power. This isn't over, Joxer." And then the God of War vanished. Joxer lay on the ground, still in pain. He looked at the medallion carefully, realizing that its power had just saved his life.

Then he slowly got to his feet. "I did it," he said to himself. Picking up his sword, he raised it into the air. "Joxer the Mighty has defeated the God of War! I am invincible now!"

Joxer sheathed his sword and headed for the road. He was alive, and he was happy about that. But Ares' words kept coming back to him.

You actually think you're a warrior? By rights you should have been wormfood ages ago...

Without the warrior princess around to save your skin, you're less than nothing...

Joxer shrugged it off. Perhaps it was time to find Xena and Gabrielle again. They both knew just how mighty a warrior he truly was.

And with that, Joxer headed off on another legendary journey. Not much later, Joxer did find Gabrielle. Aphrodite put a spell on him involving the ringing of a bell, and he and the bard had a grand adventure together. It was during this adventure that Joxer discovered what being a true hero was all about.

But that is a story for another time.


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