Ares buries Xena and Gabrielle outside of Xena's home village. The temple that once stood for him here, where Ares tricked the man who would've been Xena's father, is nothing more than an outline of stone in the dirt. The buildings and fields that once sheltered his daughter are little more than skeletons, the village abandoned after the gateway to all the Hells of this world was ripped open under it.
Ares has no idea why it wasn't abandoned earlier. Mortals are strange.
He's mortal now, too. His godhood still lurks in the back of his mind, in the weave of reality, but the world has changed. No more room for the gods or heroes of old. Just mortal bodies and minds and fates, and he doesn't really know what will become of him and his siblings anymore. Xena will be reborn someday, he knows - time has tangled and looped back in on itself enough to confirm that -
But it won't be his Xena. No one will, but...
Especially not some girl born to peace.
He can't stand this 'fixed' world.
But outside of this world - it's still true, fundamentally, that Ares is a god, and he is not bound here.
He steps out of reality and turns his gaze further afield, to worlds that still have room for war. To see if there's another Xena ready for war, perhaps without a him looking over her.
...Or one with a him who needs a slap upside the head still.
He casts his gaze far afield, to strange worlds. Many of them have no room for gods, either, though the ones with reflections of his Xena do more frequently. He sees many shadows of those reflections, some more warped than others, and narrows his search to just those reflections that resemble Xena most strongly.
Not many of them have an Ares at all. Fewer need him.
His gaze draws to one world, to the shadow of a girl that resonates with similaritues to his daughter. Nearly the same mold. The world different, the logistics of the wars grander and more complicated, but -
Still the same. Still warlords. Still the great and the small, a land without enough heroes. A young reflection of Xena, not yet a warlord, certainly not yet the hero she ultimately grew into and died as. Already swept up in war and the futile effort to preserve her homeland, though, a home that will ultimately have no place for what the effort of defending it will shape the girl into.
A strange birth, questionable parentage, but - no Ares involved. He squints at this Xena's father. Specifics of a world are hard to get without immersing himself in it - and therefore removing this distant view - but there's something to the patterns...
Rage floods through Ares, an old, familiar friend, long since thought killed by exhaustion.
He was a terrible father for Xena. But he wasn't as bad as the shadow lurking over this war.
Ares steps into the world, searching out the local reflection of his daughter.