Heroine - Part 2 of 5
CN Winters and Amy
Xena Fanfiction, Xena fanfic, Xena fan fiction, Xena and
Gabrielle fanfiction, Xena fiction
No, this isn't about
someone overcoming a drug habit. <G> Although I wish I
could say Xena and Gabby are ours, they are not. They belong
to MCA/Universal last we heard. This story however is ours and
ours alone. There's a lot of violence but not too graphic. Alt
sex, you bet! If you are too young, read no further. If you
live some place where this may not be kosher, read no further.
However, if you are open-minded, old enough and live in a
progressive neighborhood . . .enjoy! Nothing poetic is ourís,
belongs to unknown author.
Note: Thanks to
Kamouraskan, Jlynn, Mary and the Bardic Circle for the beta.
creates a conqueror world where Gabrielle is the ruthless
dictator, Najara is her consort and Ephiny as her second in
command. It's up to Xena to find a way to break the spell and
get her Gabby 'home'.
Email the author's at
CNWinters71@yahoo.com or MurphyCG881@aol.com
Heroine - Part 2 of 5
The sun shone
bright in the arena - blindingly bright, in fact. It was
difficult to watch match after match, waiting my turn.
Callisto was the second to the last to compete today and like
myself, she watched each match go by, occasionally looking my
way. I didnít see her staring directly at me, but I could
feel her eyes upon me, examining me.
My eyes never
rested. All afternoon I watched competitor after competitor
fall. When I wasnít watching the matches, waiting for my
place in line, my eyes weighed heavy on the Conqueror at her
throne. Ephiny sat to her right, Najara to her left. It was as
if, even in this life, Gabrielle could still sense me.
Whenever I looked
at my bard, only a few seconds would pass before she would
lock eyes with me. At one point I licked my lips in
remembrance of our kiss and I watched a slight blush come over
Gabrielle - her eyes quickly darting from mine. I noticed the
reaction, but I wasnít the only one. So did Najara. I knew
she could see me smiling at her wife, but I didnít care. The
fact I didnít let her steely gaze make me flinch even once
seemed to send her into a quiet rage. From across the
courtyard, I could see how red the fair skinned womanís face
I watched as Najara
tapped Gabrielleís arm and then pointed at me. Gabrielle
shrugged her shoulders. The discussion that transpired became
heated and I watched as Gabrielle threw her hands up in the
air as Najara stomped away behind the royal curtains. Ephiny
then leaned over and whispered something after Najaraís
departure that earned her a smile and a nod. They looked so
much like the pair I remembered from my world - conspiring
sisters who could gossip and giggle into the early morning
around an Amazon campfire.
But I realized
these were not the same women and somehow, some way I had to
unweave the tapestry that the war god had created. The more I
thought, the more I realized the opposite of war was love. And
if Ares could create this world then perhaps . . .
usiní your noggin."
The voice startled
me at first and I turned to face Aphrodite.
"You can fix
this?" I asked her.
"Love can fix
this," she answered. "Everything here is Aresí
illusion. When I went to look for sweet pea and came up empty
I knew Ares must have been up to something."
"And he just
volunteered this information to you?" I asked
Dite giggled. "But I threatened to put a spell on every
animal over three feet tall that would make them Ďlove him
deeplyí if you catch my drift. He was much more forthcoming
at that point."
"You can be
wicked." I grinned conspiratorially.
hurts," she replied with a mischievous crinkle of her
I had to chuckle.
My faith in the gods was minimal at best, but I had to admit -
when it came to Aphrodite, she was different. Self-centered
and totally absorbed most of the time, certainly. But she
adored my bard almost as much as I did. She went against all
of Olympus to see that Gabrielle was safe when they came down
to strike out against my family. She begged for Gabrielleís
well-being as the rest of them plotted. Yes, Aphrodite was
different. And although I would never admit it openly to her,
I felt forever indebted to her. One of which I didnít mind
"So how do I
get Ďsweet peaí as you call her, back to our world?"
Dite answered giving a solid nod. "Youíve won her lust
- big time." She smirked. "But love... love isnít
going to be easy and thatís what it will take to see that
this world dissolves and everything goes back to Ďnormalí...
But consider this Xena - in this world youíd never have to
want for anything. The world would be yours as well. No one
knows of the Ďdreaded Warrior Princessí in this
Perhaps it would be
perfect, but I knew that nothing is ever quite as it seems.
true," she agreed, reading my thoughts again.
screams at night. Sheís tortured by her past - my past.
Granted, itís made her stronger that I ever imagined, but
itís also left her haunted... Sheís not your Ďsweet
peaí in this life."
Dite gave a firm
nod. "Point taken," she replied. "So for you
the cons outweigh the pros, huh?"
replied. "She doesnít deserve my life. And itís fine
to say that no one knows the Warrior Princess here. But itís
not necessarily true because I still do. I have my demons. I
know what Iím capable of doing - even if no one else does in
this world. Itís not worth the trade off, Aphrodite."
"Then win her
heart," the goddess told me confidently. "Win her
over... and bring her back home to us. All the answers are
within you Warrior Babe. "
word, the goddess vanished. I turned back to the throne to see
a sight that stopped her heart. Gabrielle was still there,
Ephiny to her right. It was the sight to her left that knocked
the wind out of me. It was Ares. His greasy smile sickened me
as he chatted up my bard like they were old academy buddies. I
watched him lean over and give her a light kiss on the cheek,
which made my stomach turn. I closed my eyes and knew my time
was running out. If Ares could win her over I wasnít sure if
I could succeed.
The latest match
had come to an opening and a close without my knowledge.
Between my conversation with Aphrodite and watching Ares
consort with Gabrielle I hadnít taken the time to notice
that Callisto was gone. When I looked into the arena I watched
her give a wicked smile to me as she stood over the dead body
of Dagnine. Some things never changed in this other world and
with that thought I had a new hope. If that really was the
case then this Gabrielle could grow to love me as much as the
one from my world.
next," I heard one of the guards say as he pulled me to
my feet and pushed me into the arena. The sound of the crowd
was deafening, but I wouldnít let it distract me. I had just
one more battle to complete and then I could move on. I could
get closer to Gabrielle and perhaps take Callisto out of the
picture for good.
I closed my eyes
and took a few deep breaths to clear my mind, focus on my goal
to gain Gabrielle back. I heard nothing until it was too late,
I felt the sting of the dart grabbing my neck to find the
'Son of a Bacchae!'
I muttered while pulling the dart out then sniffing it.
Benzodiazepine root, great just what I needed. The stuff would
make my wits slower, maybe put me to sleep, but it wasnít
not fatal. Unless I get stuck by a sword because of its
Gothos wasted no
time with his attack, now my main problem was; which one of
the three I was seeing is attacking me? The middle one was
able to slice my left shoulder. What is it with thugs and
cutting that shoulder? I should know by now to protect that
I was doing my best
to block each sword strike, but the kick to my stomach doubled
me over. As I coiled up the beast within came out, my survival
instincts kicked in.
lass, I'll make it quick." My body could sense the death
blow and my sword arm on its own accord blocked it. I released
my battle cry, pushing him out of my way.
you are. I like that." Men like him have such arrogance,
and I sneered as he started his attack once more. I caught him
with a backhand to his face then kicked him in the stomach. I
needed to finish this quickly; my vision was growing darker.
I turned my back to
him trying to focus on where Gabrielle was, as my world became
more dizzy. I let out a yell, twirling my sword while dropping
to one knee, thrusting my blade behind me into Gothos's gut.
After that everything went dark, the root taking its effect on
I awoke in a room,
but it wasn't mine. A huge bed, fancy silk sheets with
beautiful tapestry all around. It didn't take me long to
understand I was in part of the Conqueror's chambers.
"I see you're
awake." I looked to my right trying to focus, and met
concerned green eyes.
please." The Conqueror poured some in a cup and supported
me while I drink.
"How long was
I out?" The cup was jerked from my lips and now the
concerned eyes grew angry. I realized I was talking to
Conqueror like she was my Gabrielle.
"Are you going
to tell me who poisoned you, or shall we continue to play this
game?" She asked, turning to set the cup on the table and
pulling a chair to the bed.
I-." I tried to continue, but I was halted again by her
"Explain to me
why you were calling out my name! No one, other then the few
who are close to me, know my name, Warrior. You had better
tell me the truth or I'll gut you where you lay."
Her eyes were so
cold. I couldnít find my voice.
found the dart wound on your neck, but no dart nearby. Najara
looked for one." I inwardly rolled my eyes while hers
grew colder. Najara didnít find it. Thatís a shock.
your first question, I'm not sure who poisoned me, but I have
an idea." The same person who wants you dead, Lord
Conqueror, I wanted to say, but I held back. "Secondly, I
heard your name spoken in error by Najara who quickly
corrected herself afterward. As for why I spoke it while under
the poisonís effects is because you have invaded my dreams
ever since I arrived here."
My last statement
seemed to have thrown her off, but not for long.
going to repeat your love speech for me you can save it."
I closed my eyes unable to hold back how much that hurt. I
opened my eyes to see the face of...'regret'? The Conqueror
seemed off-balanced then ever.
warrior, you'll need your strength since you now serve me in
my royal guard." She turned for the door.
I'm not sure if it
was the drug still in my system or I just gave up by throwing
caution into the wind.
"I love you,
Gabrielle." The words were out before I knew Iíd said
them, but I meant them with all my heart. She paused and I
closed my eyes once more making peace while preparing to meet
The door closed and she didn't make a sound. I laid back
against the bed in relief and exhaustion. Soon I fell into a
deep fitful sleep. A knock brought me out of my slumber.
whispered. "Come in!"
Ephiny popped her
head in, much to my surprise.
"How do you
feel, Xena?" I stared at my now unfamiliar friend of many
"I have my
wits back, but the shoulderís a bit sore." She smiled
and motioned for someone to come in. Cyrene appeared and
smiled at me holding a beautiful red gown.
"If you're up to it, the Conqueror requests your presence
at tonightís celebration." I would have bet dinars that
Ephiny could feel the power between Gabrielle and I.
"I'm up for
it, thank you."
Cyrene laid the
gown across the chair and came over giving me a peck on the
cheek before leaving.
in a couple candle marks, I'll have a bath brought for
you." Ephiny gave me a knowing smile and exited herself.
For the first time
since this all had been going on, I felt a glimmer of hope.
The servants under
Cyrene's supervision brought me a much needed bath with nice
smelling soaps and oils. I slid my aching body into the hot
"Gods, this feels
so good," I moaned grabbing a bar of soap and started to
scrubbing, my hearing picked up the sounds of two women
yelling. It was the Conqueror and Najara's voices.
"Why is that
warrior in our chamber?"
Gee, I guess her Djinn doesnít
help her with jealousy.
"She's in MY
chamber because she is part of my royal guard and someone has
tried to poison her." I could imagine the look on
"There was no
proof of that, Gabrielle."
discussion, Najara!" There was a loud slamming of the
door. I started to scrub once more, looking at my dress. Tonight
just might be interesting, I chuckled. Time to seduce
As I entered the
room in the red gown, my hair piled on my head with a few
wisps hanging down, everything came to a momentary stop. All
eyes seemed to turn to me in admiration. Even Callisto
appeared to take an interest. But I knew there was only one
set of eyes I was looking for in this room of strangers and
Ďnot so strangersí.
Gabrielle was in
the far corner chatting with Ephiny. Their conversation seemed
to faulter and I watched Gabrielle clinch her goblet a
little tighter so it didnít slip away. It looked
like it might be very interesting indeed.
Quickly, I scanned
the room and I saw Najara with a not so pleased look on her
face. Iíd deal with her soon enough. But for the moment I
made my way over to the Conqueror. To pay my respects, of
As I started to
walk, the conversations in the room picked back up and people
went on about their business. Except for Gabrielle and Ephiny;
they were talking softly as I approached and I thanked the
Gods for my sensitive hearing as I picked up bits of the
"God, I miss
Amazonia," Ephiny sighed to her leader.
think anything looked that good in Amazonia, Ephiny. No
I felt myself smile
as a result of Gabrielleís words, and I closed the distance
even more quickly. Once before them I gave a respectful nod to
both of them - Gabrielle first and then Ephiny.
Regent," I said politely before giving my full attention
"I wanted to
thank you personally, my Lady, for seeing to my bath and this
looks like itís a perfect fit," Gabrielle answered.
"I had to guess your size. Few women have your stature in
my court. Actually I can only think of one before you."
Ephiny nodded. "Alti. Pity she was so power hungry."
"We reap what
we sow." Gabrielle grinned.
With the mention of
that name, I wondered if I had yet another stumbling block Ares
tossed in my way. "Who is Alti?" I asked politely.
"Who was Alti,"
Ephiny corrected with a grin just as wicked as the conqueror.
Thebes now," Gabrielle replied.
Chin," Ephiny added.
"And a few
parts in Britannia if Iím not mistaken."
The two shared a
laugh and I give an uneasy smile. "I take it Alti
wasnít a friend to the republic?"
"At one point
she was my most trusted advisor," Gabrielle answered.
"But her obsessive desire to rule my kingdom overpowered
her good sense. Even her gift of prophecy couldnít foresee
what I had in store for her."
"Destiny is a
hard thing to fight," I added.
believe in destiny perhaps," Gabrielle offered.
didnít have plans of controlling the known world, my
"No, that was
the God of Warís idea," she answered honestly.
I begin to wonder
if perhaps Gabrielle was a tad intoxicated. It was the lowest
I had seen her guard since we had met. Perhaps it was Ephiny,
too. It was obvious the two of them had a close relationship
and Gabrielle seemed quite at ease in her company.
Judging by the way
Ephiny looked at Gabrielle, I knew if I had any allies in this
world - she would be one. She was an excellent choice as a
right hand - loyal, giving, dependable. I felt mildly
surprised that they werenít ruling together as bondmates.
Ephiny cleared her
throat. "Well, I should be heading to the gates. I want to
be sure to greet Solari on her arrival this evening."
"I know you
two have a lot of... catching up to do... but youíre invited
back here, of course," Gabrielle offered her Regent.
"Yes my Lady. We will be returning here before retiring
for the night. It would be impolite not to. However I canít
say that it will last for more than a quick hello."
She actually chuckled? Oh yes, it must be the wine.
"Take care, my
friend," she told Ephiny. "Iíll see you
Ephiny gave me a
polite nod, which I returned in kind as she slipped away.
I wanted to press
her for information about Ares, but decided against it. Causal
conversation was best.
"I assume her lover lives
away," I began.
Sheís a guard in Queen Melosaís court," Gabrielle
Now that was a name
I hadnít heard in years. I wonder...
heard of an Amazon named Velaska?"
power hungry female. How do you know of her?"
"I knew a few
Amazons in my time," I answered vaguely. "I heard
she could be a real troublemaker."
cause trouble any longer. Sheís deceased. My Regent took
care of that matter years ago," her matter of fact
statement left more questions in my head. "Care for some
wine? Youíre not officially on duty yet." She grinned.
"That would be
wonderful, my Conqueror," I answered respectfully.
she called out. A young man came over with a tray of goblets.
She took one and handed it to me. Carefully, I took the glass,
making sure to let my fingers lingered against hers for a
"Thank you, my Lady." I nodded before taking a sip.
welcome," she replied before looking around the room.
I realized what she
was doing - she was on edge, making sure everything was in its
proper place with nothing suspicious going on. I remember what
that felt like, to always be on guard. It could be maddening.
"May I ask you
a question, my Lady?"
"Certainly - I
canít guarantee an answer, but you may ask."
"Are you happy
with your life?"
The question seemed
to throw her off, as if it was something she hadnít
considered for a very long time. She took a nervous drink and
looked at her sandals. It was such a showing statement. The
mighty conqueror feeling small with just a simple question.
She raised her hand high as she addressed me.
people are fed for the most part. The majority can read and
write from statesmen to simple farmers-."
disrespect, my Lady. Those are all wonderful things. Youíve
accomplished quite a bit. But what about you? Are you
into her goblet. "Is this about your declaration earlier
in my bed chamber? Realize your answer could cost you your
"If you had it
in your heart to kill me, you could. But I donít believe you
her head giving me a feral grin. "You donít know
respect, my Lady, I think there are places deep inside yourself
that you donít know. Youíve had many chances to kill me
already and havenít taken them."
pushing for yet another?" Her words were firm, but I kept
my cool and I found myself smiling against her frown.
"No, my Lady," I answered honestly. "Iím just trying to
figure out why a woman who feels itís important that her
people be fed and educated has to put up such walls against
those that would love her endlessly."
said, I have a bond-mate."
"And as Iíve
said, I love you more." The words made Gabrielle take
another nervous drink. "Someday Iím sure Iíll be
tested in regard to my depths of love. And I will pass."
"I know you
donít believe in the concept... but Iím your destiny. Our
souls are joined and I traveled a great distance to be
"You speak the
foolish words of poets and playwrights," she replied
"You speak the
words of a woman whoís never truly been in love," I
The blaze in her
eyes became an inferno. I know if sheíd had a sword on her
back at that moment it would be taking residence in my gut at
any moment. Before she could speak, however, Najara slid up to
her elbow, startling both of us.
tense, my dear," Najara said, pushing Gabrielleís hair
behind her ear. The urge to reach out and slap Najaraís hand
away was strong.
"Itís been a
long day," Gabrielle answered with a grin for her
bondmate. I could see through it. It was a grin strictly for
give you two your privacy," I told them, nodding to both.
"Thank you again, my Conqueror, for your generosity
today. Itís much appreciated."
Gabrielle gave me a
nod and I slowly turned my back to face the room. In the other
far corner I saw Callisto sitting at a small table, watching
the room. I slow walked up to the table putting my palms flat
on it. I leaned down to her, making sure I had her complete
"Word to the
wise. Donít try it tonight," I informed her. "Too
many witnesses. And suggestion number two... when you try to
kill me again. Make sure it works."
With that, I struck
out so quickly, she didnít see the jab coming to her nose.
The blood started to gush even before her back slammed into
the chair. Chatter in the room stopped again and just as
before I quietly make my way through the room. Once I left the
hall I could hear the party pick back up. If nothing else, I
still knew how to make an entrance and an exit.
The images of
Najara were strong in my mind as the hallway I walked down
closed in. The air just seemed rather thin and I was about
ready to jump out of my skin.
Xena? Looks like you swallowed your Chakram the wrong
Ares? I'm just not in the mood for your crap." I turned
and found him leaning against the wall.
"Tsk, Tsk, you
thought you would be dressed like this and Gabrielle would hop
right on you, huh?" He sauntered closer to me with his
hands behind his back, poking his bottom lip out. "Even
though you're tempting eye candy, right now she's in her
chamber giving her bedmate the ride of her life."
I heard Najara
calling out Gabrielle's name. I growled and threw a punch at
him, but this time he caught it.
"Not this time,
Xena." He smiled, ready to pop out of there.
beaten me yet, Ares, so remember that."
always the first time, Xena." He blew me a kiss and
I hate his laugh.
I slammed my fist
into the wall trying hard to tame the fire that was raging in
my soul. Aresí words helped my mind play tricks on me, with
visions of my wife and the nutcase.
small voice brought me out of my torment. I looked into those
pretty green eyes that were all too familiar. "Are you
alright?" Hope poked her lip out, just like her mother.
fine." I stroked her precious head. What if I had given
Hope half a chance in the beginning? She was half
My guilt was too
much and I pick her up holding her close to me.
Hope." I gave her one more squeeze and set her down.
"Why is a young one like yourself up so late?"
She gave me a cute
dimpled smile. "Grandma lets me stay up on days when I
have no schooling."
kitchen, like always." I followed the skipping youngster
towards the kitchen. For some reason I just felt the need for
my mother even though she had no idea who I really was.
She was bending
over a pot stirring it, adding any spice that was in reach. In
the background I could still hear the party in full swing.
Xena's here to see you." Mother set the spoon aside and
smiled at us both. After drying her hands she grabbed her
tablet and wrote something, handing it to Hope. The child got
a pout and bowed her head.
maíam," she said obediently, placing a kiss on my
"Night, Xena, I
have to wash and go to bed." I had to chuckle at the
seriousness of her tone.
Hope." I waved as she skipped towards the sleeping area.
Mother motioned for me to sit and started to write.
"I noticed you
left the party early and the manner you left it in. Is
everything alright?" I read her words.
everythingís fine." I assured her. "I feel a bit
closed in with crowds."
She wrote some
"Who was that
blonde you flattened?" I had to grin at the smirk she
I hung my head. "That's Callisto. The one I told you about. We
just had a misunderstanding I had to settle." She looked
at me and I knew my mother. She wasn't buying it.
"You know Xena, ever since you arrived here, I just have
this feeling that there's something more. Call it sixth sense
or mother's intuition."
The last part made
my chin hit the floor. I quickly recovered, but I realized the
time for games was over.
"I canít explain it, but...
Iím Xena. Your Xena." She grabbed the tablet back, her
"By the Gods!
I felt it in my heart. But how? I placed your body in the tomb
myself. Why would the Gods grace me with such a gift?"
Her hands were trembling and I was not sure what to say.
"We can't have
this conversation right now with a party going right outside
the door." All I needed was for someone to overhear. Her
eyes began to water and I felt myself slipping.
Cyrene." My voice was cut off by her hugging me tightly
to her, crying, making gasping sounds. I broke down. All of
this. Gabrielle. My mother weeping in my arms, it was too
I held her close to
me and whispered what was going on. Between Callisto, the
Conqueror, and the nutcase, the walls were sure to have ears.
understand?" I pulled back a bit to see her face, she
nodded and I wiped the tears from her face.
She stood pulling a
cloth out of her apron to clear her nose. For the first time
in longer then I care to remember, my mother had a glimmer in
her eye when she looked at me.
"I better get
back to the barracks. It'll be a busy day for us Royal
Guards." She cupped my face and brought it down for a
quick peck to the cheek.
Before I headed off
I turned and looked at her once more. Again she was stirring
the pot shaking her head in disbelief. I just prayed I didn't
put her in harmís way by telling her. One more problem to
Being in the
barracks meant being close to the Conqueror's chambers. Having
being born with sharp hearing, I picked up angry voice
streaming from the Conqueror's main bed chamber. I had to
smile, and I guessed all was not well with Narjara and
Gabrielle this evening. I sneaked closer to listen.
"I told you
Najara, I'm not in the mood!!" Gabrielle's voice boomed
can't be because of your drinking, youíve preformed well
before in spite of it." Najara bantered back. "Could
it be that warrior slut you were eyeing tonight?"
"Get off my
back." I could hear the tension in Gabrielle's voice.
she had to be in our guest bed...Thatís it, isn't it? You
want to bed that whore?" I heard a loud crashing sound
and I could picture Gabrielle's face in rage.
"Get out of
here before I break you in two." Her voice was low and
cold. Next thing I heard was a door slamming.
This could either
have been a blessing or a hindrance for me. Najara would be
aiming for me with full force, and also put Gabrielle in
harmís way even more.
I slipped more into
the shadows as Najara stormed past me. She had no look of pain
or sorrow, just utter anger. I followed her and to make my
nightmare worse, she ended up right outside Callisto's barrack
'This is bad,
this is really bad.' I think. Turning back, again I hear Gabrielle's voice and I drew
"I'm so sorry,
Lila." Oh Gods. The mead and fighting with the nut
brought out her demons again tonight.
I stood there for a
half of candle mark listening to her anguish. It tore at my
heart. Once again I found myself in tears for causing my love
'I'm the one who
should be sorry, my bard. All I seem to do is cause you
As much as I fought
it and saw my motherís words plain as day, I found myself
closing in on her room. This would mean my death for sure. I
stood frozen outside her chamber door trying to calm my
pounding heart before making an entrance. Next thing I know
the door opened and there was a sword at my throat with fiery
green eyes burning through me.
Lord." I barely got out as she pushed the sword a bit
more into me.
is wearing thin with you warrior," she hissed.
"I was on my
way to my room and I heard you cry out."
She eased the sword
"Isn't it my
duty to watch out for your safety?" She knew I was full
of it, and I'm not sure if it was the mead or what, but she
let the sword drop and walked back inside her chamber.
"You want a
drink, warrior?" Why not? I considered as I felt
my throat to be sure it was still intact.
door and have a seat, Xena." Making my way inside, I sat
in the closest chair by the door and watched her pour us some
"That was some
display at the party." She handed me my glass and stayed
standing in front of me. "Nice punch." She smirked.
"Let me guess. She's the one who hit you with the
I swallowed the
wine in one gulp. "I believe so."
She waved me over
to get more wine. While I did, she took my seat. "Is this
the same person you swear wants my head on a platter?" I
stopped in mid pour and glanced at her.
"Seems to me
sheíd much rather have your death then mine." In
another reality truer words were never spoken. Hades in this
reality truer words were never spoken.
feeling I'm a hurdle in her quest." I gulped another
glass and poured more. "Would you like more wine?"
say?" she laughed and held out her glass as I poured.
"Yes, but I'm
not aware that she knows of my love for you, Gabrielle.
However, she does know I'd rip her heart out if she laid a
finger on you." I raised my glass and gulped down that
I could see that
made her nervous because she got up and went to peer out the
balcony window. I retook my seat.
snapped my head up fast. She sounded just like my Gabrielle,
if only for a moment - the one who started out those
introspective conversations by calling out my name with a
"You ever wish
your life to be different?" She sounded so small.
"More then you
She looked at me
briefly. She was silent for much too long and it was making
the hairs on my neck stand. "Do you really believe in
She gave me an odd
look then turned back to peer at the stars. My heart was
breaking by her silence and I hung my head. Then she went on.
"Once, a long,
long time ago, all people had four legs and two heads. Then
the gods threw down thunderbolts and split everyone into two.
Each half then had two legs, two arms and one head. But the
separation left both sides with a desperate yearning to be
reunited, because they each shared the same soul. Ever since
then, all people have spent their lives searching for the
other half of their soul."
I dropped the glass
from my hand. The bard was inside the conqueror. She turned
back to me at the sound of the fallen goblet.
mouth, Xena. I might be the conquering bitch, but an educated
one at that." She walked over for another drink, but all
I could do was watch. "At one time I wanted to be a bard,
but that was torn away and this life was handed me
instead." She sounded disgusted, drinking more.
"You are my
soul, Gabrielle." I found my voice.
it." She was beyond drunk and stumbled to the bed losing
what drink she had left. She sprawled, almost falling over.
"They killed her, you know?" I wasnít sure who
Gabrielle was talking about, but she continued without
prompting. "Lila was so young. I was older; should've
been me, not her. There wasn't anything I could do to stop it.
So how can you love that couldnít save her family?" she
My first thought
was of Lyceus. I couldn't stop my little brotherís death. My
whole village hated me and my own mother scorned that day I
was born. More then anything, I hated myself. Like this
Gabrielle I had many skills, but I wasnít worth spit.
But this was not
the time; I had to think of her. I clenched my jaw shut and
walked to her on the bed. I could see that she was drunk, but
she still could strike me if she felt threatened. So I knelt
in front of her slowly.
"You like to
play with death, don't you?" She looked me in the eyes.
I took her hand and
placed in on my heart.
This is yours." I pushed her hand harder to my chest.
"I am yours, heart, body and soul." My eyes never
left hers. "I love you so much." I leaned in to kiss
her. She didnít resist so I proceeded to her lips. It was a
very tender kiss to let her know how fragile I thought she
truly was, but I didnít return it for a second.
Instead, I began to
pull away. At least I tried to. Gabrielle snaked her arm out
and her hand cupped the back of my head pulling me closer
again. She kissed me with a great degree of passion. Much like
my Gabrielle did after a battle.
Itís a wonderful
feeling - knowing youíre alive and sharing that life with
someone. But I knew now is not the time or the place. If I had
allowed her to continue sheíd have me undressed and by
morning it could mean my death sentence, especially if Najara
happened into the room at the inopportune moment.
She issued a
mumbled protest as I pulled back to stand beside the bed.
"I thought you
loved me," she said in a drunken slur.
"I do," I
told her. "And thatís why Iím leaving. Youíll have
little memory of tonight, if any, with as much as wine
youíve consumed. I want you to know the love we make
together - not just bits and pieces."
"I order you
back to this bed now!"
I had to make a
decision. I knew I only had one in the end. "Iím sorry,
my Conqueror. My job is to protect you. And youíre not ready
for me in your bed. It could be very dangerous for you and
many people in your kingdom. I will not take that risk."
I knew I had to
leave that instant. If I stayed any longer she would talk me
into it. She always did. Against my better judgment, my
Gabrielle had managed to seduce me in the most inappropriate
of places - from the small kisses weíd shared I knew this
one was no different.
The voice was small again and it made me stop. "Tell me
the truth - why are you really here?"
"Thatís simple. Iím gonna help you become the bard
you always knew you should be. And Iíll take away your pain.
Goodnight my Con- Gabrielle."
I sat in the
banquet hall a few feet from the Conquerorís table occupied
by her consort and her Regent. The morning meal was brought in
to us and I could see the Amazons whispering conspiratorially
just as they always did with small chuckles here and there.
Solari sat next to
Ephiny and both women looked extremely happy, feeding each
other from time to time. Najara for her part looked cold. Not
a word between she and Gabrielle was exchanged. I listened
close to try to hear the conversation between ruler and
Regent, especially after Najara excused herself. Even more so
when I saw Gabrielle and Ephiny both look in my direction.
okay," I heard Ephiny remark.
okay?" Gabrielle replied.
"Well as far
as Iím concerned I already have the most beautiful woman in
the known world on my arm." Solari smiled and slipped a
grape into Ephinyís mouth, letting her finger linger.
"Are you considering trading Consorts my queen?"
"No, I... I
love Najara," Gabrielle answered.
"Najara is a
beautiful woman - no doubt. But she doesnít have those
killer blue eyes of the new protector. Najara never looked
that damn good in the dress we saw last night either."
saying itís lust? What if I were in love with both of
"What do you
want me to say?"
Regent - advise me."
ruler of the world, Gabrielle. I think itís your call.
Behead Najara or just shack up with the new warrior. Itís
"Ahh... now as your friend, Iíd tell you to keep the
bondmate, but fool around on the side with tall, dark and
And that answer got a playful slap from Solari who joined the
conversation. "Should I be worried while Iíve been
immediately answered starting to rise. "Oh no, Solari.
Trust me. Thereís not a more pussy whipped woman in this
kingdom than Ephiny."
Ephiny whinnied in protest as her bond-mate laughed.
it like it is, Ephí."
eyes with me and I quickly went back to eating my goose eggs.
I tried at least until I felt her at my side. Quickly, I stood
up and bowed respectfully to her.
"My Conqueror." I nodded. "How may I be of
"I need to
spar. After your meal make sure to join me on the practice
Conqueror." I nodded again. As she left, I wondered
silently if sheíd take Ephinyís advice.
As I made my way to
the practice field, the eggs I had eaten seemed like boulders
in my quivering stomach. I had to wonder if the Conqueror
would be impressed if I lost my breakfast on her boots.
"Hello, Xena." I jumped slightly at the voice, too distracted to
notice I was being followed. I turned to see Callisto leaning
against the stone wall.
bruise," I taunted.
She had a great
shiner on her face where my fist met it last night. I had to
"Yes it is.
I'll return the favor soon." She smirked "I've been
watching you lately and you know what I've seen?"
I just raised an
over the conqueror. How pathetic you are, or so I
thought." She walked closer to me and tapped her finger
to her chin. "I was wracking my brains wondering why a
person from Amphipolis would go out of their way to kiss that
bitchís ass, especially when she torched their whole
village." She looked at me closer.
occurred to me, the reason why you want so badly in her
britches is because she'll be more vulnerable to kill."
She squealed and clapped. "Bravo, hitting the Conqueror
right in the libido."
I got right in her
face. "Let me tell you something. The Conqueror's men
were responsible for razing both of our villages and the
Conqueror handled those men. And if you think for an instant
I'll let any harm come to her, you'll have a short life span.
Got me?" I towered over the crazed blonde.
believe after the Conquerorís history, she really had no
idea? If you do, you're a fool."
We were close to
"Is there a
problem here?" We jumped at her voice. We both looked and
saw very cold, green eyes.
She was dressed in
a white shirt with black pants. Two swords strapped to her
hips. She was very impressive, though it was obvious she was
not happy with either Callisto or myself.
"Do I have to
make you two children stand in separate corners?" She
circled us both. My eyes focused back on Callisto. You could
tell by the way she was twitching she wanted to strike
"No, my Lord." We said in unison.
isn't there some place you need to be Callisto?"
The glare Callisto
gave Gabrielle was deadly. "Yes, I do Lord
Conqueror," she said through clenched teeth, looking at
me once more.
suggest you go." Gabrielle got in her face. I was ready
for anything, but Callisto wisely bowed and turned to leave. I
could still pick up her saying, "Your time is coming to
I wonder if she
meant mine or Gabrielle's? As I considered it, I was sure she
was convinced to destroy both of us.
"Ready to spar
I nodded letting
her lead the way.
The field was set
up for sparring. There were staves, chobos, and a variety of
swords to choose from. I watched as she began to stretch and
do a few defensive moves.
weapon, Xena." I completed a couple stretches of my own
walking towards the weapons. I grabbed a staff, throwing one
towards her, and she snatched it smirking at me.
Then my chin nearly
hit the dirt as she started a few staff drills. She was moving
so fast, I couldn't see the damn wood. It was a blur. I was
even more aware that this wasn't my Gabrielle; this was a
We stood opposite
from each other, until she bowed her head in signal for me to
start. And start I did, not holding back in the least. She
blocked each blow and kick I had to offer, then it was her
turn to attack.
I was tiring,
struggling to hold onto the piece of wood that was stung each
time she struck it. My advantage was my height and power, she
had speed with perfect center of gravity.
In a sick strange
way, I found this arousing. Our movements were like a
warrior's poetry, a perfect dance.
I was able to get a
roundhouse kick to the side of her face and that pissed her
off. When I looked into her eyes. I froze. The look she had
made me shudder.
'Is this what I
look like when the beast is free?' I had to wonder as she
struck her staff into mine, shattering it. That threw me off
balance and left my middle open to her kick. As I doubled over
she brought her knee up to my face. I landed in a painful thud
on my back.
She landed on top
of me, snarling. I found my heart pounding, I was... scared, but
extremely turned on. I closed my eyes waiting for her next
move, but nothing happened.
I opened them
slightly, she was breathing hard. She then leaned over and
gave me a kiss that melted me down to the bottom of my boots.
"If you love
me as you say, warrior," she paused to catch her breath,
"meet me by the southern gates tonight. I have a place to
show you." She gave me one more kiss then got off of me.
As she walked away
she turned. "Thanks for the best sparring I've had in
ages." Then she was gone while I was still flat on my
'By the Gods,
I'll never survive this.' My mind told me. I laid there,
letting my brain catch up with my now aching body, when I
Making their way
towards me was Ephiny and her mate. "Sparred with staffs,
I sat up cracking
my neck into place. "Yeah, how did you know." I
groaned as I got up and the both laughed at me more.
all land like that after she kicks our asses with the
staff." She and Solari laughed harder.
warn me, will ya?" I growled at them as me and my damaged
warrior's pride limped off the field.
I recognized it as
Ephinyís voice and turned around to face her. She and Solari
close the distance between us. "I gotta say... Youíve
lasted longer than anyone yet. I respect that. I think the
conqueror might have met her match."
more ways than one," I tell her with a slight grin before
beginning my departure again.
from earlier in the day were healed as I stood at the south
gate with an over inquisitive guard. He was beginning to annoy
me and I wondered how much longer I could manage to wait for
"So where will
you be going?" he asked.
know, and even if I did, being part of the royal guard, I
could tell you, but then Iíd have to kill you."
He began to
chuckle. I didnít. And soon that chuckle became a nervous
He knew I was very
serious. I would kill him in a heartbeat to protect Gabrielle.
When he finally shut up for a moment, my mind went back to the
kiss of earlier in that day, as well as the ass kicking I had
gotten. I had to admit; it was quite stimulating to see
Gabrielle in action like that. I can only imagine what the
battle lust would feel like if we ever had to engage anyone
side by side in combat. Iím sure Iíd spontaneously combust
from the magnitude of it.
At that moment,
Gabrielle approached on horseback and reached out for me as
the gates opened.
"Where are we
going?" I asked.
questions," was the short retort.
I did as I was
commanded and climbed behind her.
We left the safety
of the city and traveled for what seemed like candle marks out
of the kingdomís light, where the only thing we saw were the
shadows of a few trees and the star light in the full moonís
Soon we were by a
river. One I knew very well. My Gabrielle always loved to stop
here and make camp when we were in the area. I was a bit
surprised to see that things hadnít changed.
here," I told her.
She seems to avoid
the comment and threw her leg over the horseís head and
hopped down. "Grab the saddlebags."
I paused a moment.
The sharpness of her words reminded me yet again that this was
not my Gabrielle. Not wanting her to get out of sorts, I
didnít dwell on it long. I pulled the saddlebags off as
requested once I hopped down. She was sitting by the shore
looking out at the water as I made my way over. She reached
out and I handed her the bags as she moved to her feet.
I watched her reach
inside and pull out a set of shackles. Those quick reflexes of
hers returned and she fastened one on my hand while tossing
the other one through the tree. On pure instinct I reached out
and grabbed her by the throat to stop her, but she used the
opportunity to shackle my other wrist.
Son of a bitch.
She caught me.
And there wasnít
a damn thing I could do about it.
She pulled away
with a devilish laugh. She reached between her cleavage and
pulled out a breast dagger, running it down my cheek and to my
throat. I didnít move. I didnít even breathe.
"You said you
loved me," she began. "And at the first opportunity
you tried to strangle me?"
Oh shit. This is
gonna take some explaining.
"It was a
reaction. I thought you were going to try to kill me, my
wasnít my intention in bringing you out here... I just
Gabrielle." I felt the point of the knife press deeper
into my throat at the use of her given name and quickly made
up for it. "My Conqueror. Honest. I thought you brought
me here to kill me."
"Then why come
until you shackled me, my Conqueror."
"Then why did
you originally agree to come here?"
I asked so you came?" She paused and put the knife back
in her cleavage and I gave a sigh of relief, but tried not to
make it sound too loud. "Did you think I offered you the
chance to steal away from the castle so we could spar some
I saw where she was
going. She wanted me to tell her why. She knew why already. I
desired her beyond words. But she wanted to hear me say it.
"Then tell me
are the sexist thing the gods ever put on this earth and Iíd
forfeit my life for one night with you."
wouldnít be the first," she said casually, taking the
sword off her back and letting it fall to the ground.
"But I hope to
be the last."
Gabrielle gave a
chuckle. "Yes, well... Najara hoped to be the last. Turns
out she was wrong."
Her lips seized
mine and she pushed me against the rough tree bark. Her tongue
broke through my lips and when I tried to return the gesture
she pulled back and slapped me so hard my face stung.
"I kiss you.
You donít kiss me. Understand?"
I would have rubbed
my cheek to ease the pain if I could have, but I couldnít
reach it. My hands were suspended too high above me. I could
only give a nod, which she accepted. With that she stepped
back and I watched as her armor and battledress fell to the
ground. Sheís scarred in places I didnít recognize and I
silently wondered what story each scar tells. I would have
like to reach out and touch each one, memorizing the feel of
her body. But despite the battle riddled body, there was a
hunger there. Perhaps more now than ever and she could sense
The question almost
went unanswered in my admiration of Gabrielle.
Conqueror - far more tantalizing. If you release me-."
kill me. And I want to enjoy one evening with you before I
She returned and in
a few minutes my armor was stripped away and britches pulled
to my ankles. She stayed on her knees and pulled up my skirt.
She studied me closely and licked her lips and I could feel
myself grow wetter in response. My legs seemed to
"This from a
woman who just tried to choke me to death," she chuckled
as she rubbed her hands up my legs, tantalizing me even
please," I found myself whispering and pulling on the
again at my reaction. "Be honest. You donít really want
me to let you go. You love this." I watched her rise to
her full height, her fingers immediately finding my soaked
center. "Oh, you really love this. Not many people have
bested you Xena, and you love the feel of it, donít you? I
know you do because weíre very much alike. No one has lasted
that long on the practice field against me. And I must admit
it excited me to no end. Almost as much as your excitement
Iím gonna die. Strung up in a tree and dripping wet. Her
fingers toyed with me, brushing past the nub that desperately
needed attention. I groaned my frustration.
"Are we having
fun yet, Xena?"
"I want to
The words just
spilled naturally from my mouth and she chuckled again.
"Whereís the warrior focus Iíve seen you display so
"All I can
focus on is your hand, my Conqueror."
"You want the
Conqueror to take you, do you?"
I was so aroused at
that point I didnít care what she might think or do. I
grabbed the chains of the shackles and pulled myself up. My
legs snaked out and grabbed her around the waist. I tried
desperately to grind my sex into her hip. At first I saw anger
in her eyes, but I didnít care. I wanted her. I wanted her so
badly I could taste it. A moment later however, she realized I
was not a threat. I made no attempt to escape from her. In
fact, I wanted her closer and I watched as desire glazed over
in her own eyes.
She didnít remove
me. Instead her hand came up and I felt three fingers plunge
inside while her thumb found the nub aching for release.
"You like it
hard and fast, huh warrior?"
All I could do was
grunt out my approval. She was so warm and I was sure by the
look in her eye she was totally wet too.
on," she whispered as she got quicker. I watched her
pause for a moment to pull her drenched finger out to suck on.
YOU are my guard. I OWN you. Body and soul."
"You own me.
You own me. Do what you want with me."
She pulled out the
breast dagger and held it to my throat again as her fingers
went back to their earlier task.
"What if I
wanted to kill you, huh?"
"Kill me, but
let me come first."
I meant ever word.
It didnít matter if I died in the end, as long as she took
me over the top. I heard her chuckle.
"I believe you
want it that bad."
"I want it.
Please Iím begging. Donít... deny... me."
My passion overrode
my ability to form words.
warrior. I'll give you what you want. Iíll give it to you.
Hard and fast. Hard and fast."
echoed over and over. Her breathing was strained as well, and
I felt myself slipping over the edge as my release gripped me.
My hips shook and I howled out in my passion. Spent, she let
my legs fall to the ground and I could barely stand. My arms
were sore and my hands seemed to be locked around the chains.
It was difficult to move my fingers, but I managed to let go.
She pulled away,
licking her fingers and my arousal was renewed. I was not
nearly as spent as I first thought. Suddenly, I couldnít
help myself and the words slipped past my lips.
"Gods, I love
She looked at me
with bit of indifference. "Youíre a decent lay."
turned her back to me. My head dropped. This wasnít want I
wanted. I wanted to make love to her. In truth, I wanted her
to love me. I realized in that instant. All we did was fuck
and I felt shallow and hollow inside. She turned back to face
me. My emotions must have been written on my face. Or maybe
this Gabrielle, like the old one, could tell my moods.
Casually she walked
up and unlocked the shackles. "Should I lie?" I
didnít answer her and she continued. "I could appease
you. I could tell you I love you too. That youíre everything
to me. I could, if thatís what youíd like, Xena."
want you to appease me, my Conqueror. I realize my
Maybe if I turned
the tables. Maybe I could get a reaction that way.
place is that?"
more than a royal guard. Here to serve you in anyway you see
fit. As you said, you own me body and soul... I realize my
saddened? It was a new emotion - one I hadnít seen from this
new Gabrielle. The desire to retract my words was strong, but
perhaps this was the push she needed. I said nothing. But
neither did she and I knew one of us should speak.
your guard, we should return you soon. Iím sure your consort
will be wondering where you are."
I handed her the
shackles before I went to retrieve her clothing and her armor.
I helped dress her in silence. I then handed her the sword,
which she returned to her back. Only then did I reach for my
own armor. She moved to help, but I respectfully declined.
"With all due
respect, my Conqueror. You should not be doing a menial task
like helping your guard with their armor. Thank you for the
offer, but you are above such duties."
She was speechless.
Wordless, she walked away and climbed upon the horse. Once I
was set, I joined her, taking my place behind her. I realized
I was spreading it on a bit thick and she might not return to
me, so I gave her the option.
Conqueror - I am always available to serve you... day or
remember, Xena... and so should you."
There was no need
for further words... We traveled in silence for about a league
when she brought her mare to a stop. We both heard it.
"Yes, two men
talking back in the woods," I whispered. "They
she answered. "Letís check it out."