An Amazon's Honor
"Yeah, you're right."
Within seconds Gabrielle was laying beside Xena. A place she longed to be. Not for warmth from a freezing night air but for warmth and comfort from the woman she loved.
Xena who was lying on her side welcomed her. She put an arm under her neck and the other over her waist and pulled her close. Xena had to keep concentrating on the fact that her bard was only there because she was cold.
Gabrielle lay tight against Xena she wanted to turn and face her, tell her how she felt. "Why is this so difficult?" she said to herself.
Gabrielle continued to marvel in the comfort and joy she felt from being held like this. 'Gods this is wonderful' she thought as she drifted off into a contented sleep.
Xena, as usual, was awake for most of the night; her restlessness was not due to the usual reasons. She finally had Gabriele in her arms and was to afraid to move. She feared Gabrielle moving away from her if she woke up.
Tomorrow they would be at the amazon village for a few days. When Gabrielle got a message from Queen Melosa to attend her wedding she was thrilled. It took some talking to get Xena to agree to go but a well placed Please in the middle of an argument and she knew the warrior would crumble.
As the sun began to rise and peek its self over the mountain, the night air began to warm. It would take most of the day for it to be a comfortable temperature but it would be worth the wait.
When Gabrielle woke, Xena's hand covered one of her breast. She lay there thinking about how good that felt even though Xena was snoring softly behind her. Gabrielle reached up with her hand and covered Xena's. She pressed Xena's into her breast. Xena's eyes flew open at this small jester. Even though Gabrielle was dressed she could feel her nipple harden under her hand. Xena moved slightly and Gabrielle jumped to her feet. To embarrassed to look at Xena she picked up the last two pieces of wood and through them on the fire to get it going again to cook breakfast and warm them selves.
They both sat in silence eating the fish they caught the night before. Gabrielle could feel those blue eyes burning into her but felt to uneasy to look in Xena's direction.
Finally Xena stood and began packing camp. The silence between them was uncomfortable. They both wanted to reach out for the other but there own fears prevented that small pleasure.
Unable to take the silence any longer Xena walked over to Gabrielle placing a hand on her arm. In a soft voice she said "Gabrielle, I don't like this silence between us. Can we please talk."
Gabrielle turned to face Xena for the first time that morning. "Xena .I am so sorry, please forgive me" she begged.
"Forgive you for what? For feeling the way I do?" Xena reached out her hand placing the palm on the bards flushed check. Gabrielle leaned into the gentle caress then placed a soft kiss in Xena's palm. A strong arm folded around her pulling her close. Xena traced her jaw line with her fingers then lifting her chin to look deep into the bards green eyes. Slowly the warrior lowered her lips to meet her bards as she brushed across them Xena said "Gabrielle". Her voice bearly above a whisper.
Gabrielle put her hand behind the warrior's neck pulling her closer. The kiss started off slow and tentative both taking their time to explore the other. As Xena's lips parted so did the bards. Xena gently slid her tongue inside the bard's mouth, moaning at the contact.
Just then the forest came alive with the sound of hoof beats. A woman wearing a dark hooded cloak jumped from a horse in front of Xena who already had her sword drawn on the intruder.
"Xena her breath short and gasping "Gabrielle, thank the gods I found you." The intruder said as she removed her hood.
"Epinon " Gabrielle gasped reaching her hands out to touch her arms "What's wrong?"
Breathlessly Epinon said. "It's Queen Melosa she has been taken prisoner by Marinos."
"Calm down" Xena touched Epinon on her shoulder "tell us what happened."
"Morinos and his men surrounded the village just before day break. When they attacked no one was ready for it. Queen Melosa ordered me to find you."
"Morinos, who is Morinos?" Xena asked
"A warlord who has been trying to take our lands. We defeated his army about a year ago. He swore he would get even. I found all of our look outs dead by poison dart and many of the Amazons are dead."
"Xena we have to help, what are we going to do? The three of us against an army?" Gabrielle squeaks out picturing the carnage that lies waiting before them.
"First we're going to get close enough to see what's going on. Epinon you come with me. Gabrielle "
"Oh no you don't, absolutely not. I am not staying here." Gabrielle begins to walk away. She looks over her shoulder "are you two coming?"
Epinon looks stunned. Someone talks to the warrior that way and gets away with it. She looks at Xena's reaction and is even more surprised when she sees her grinning watching the bard walk away.
Xena whistles for Argo who trots up to her warrior. "Come on girl we have a bard to catch."
Xena reaches her hand down for Gabrielle to take "come on ride with me, we don't have any time to waste." Knowing Xena is right she allows the warrior to pull her up behind her. No matter how often she has ridden with Xena she never has gotten use to the idea of herself so far off the ground. She folds her arms around Xena's waist in a tight embrace
Many times they have ridden together but Xena could never remember a time Gabrielle held her so tight. Xena placed her hand over the bards and felt her shiver behind her. "Hang on Gabrielle, we need to get there as soon as possible." She said rubbing her hand over the bards.
Epinon is leading them through the dense forest to the cavern she escaped through. By midday the trio is at the rear entrance. Epinon tied the horse's just inside so they would not be seen by a patrol. And replaced the underbrush covering the entrance.
"This tunnel winds around for about 500 yards. We need to be very quiet. Noise has a way of carrying through here." Epinon whispers to the others.
The three of them walk softly, not making a sound until they reach the mouth of the cavern. Xena sits and watches through the underbrush and camouflage the Amazons have built there. She sees Melosa tied to a tree with leather strapping. She looked badly beaten. Her eyes were fixed on the cavern. Xena sent her a signal with the end of her sword blade she turned it towards the sun so there was a small sparkle. Melosa saw it.
Marinos was sitting only about 5 feet from where Xena was with his back to her. She could see several of the Amazons had fallen in battle and still lay where they died. The rest of the Amazons were not within sight. Xena could see only a half dozen men and Marinos.
When Xena turned back to her companions she put her finger over her lips and motioned for them to follow her back to the other end of the cavern.
"What is it Xena. What did you see?" Gabrielle whispered when they were a safe distance away.
Xena relayed everything she saw except how badly beaten Melosa looked.
"What are we going to do?" Gabrielle said. "We can't let this go on any longer."
"Calm down Gabrielle. I have already thought of a plan. Timing will be everything so we need to get into position. Now, this is what we're going to do." Xena leans into them telling them of her plan.
Epinon and Xena leave the cavern the same way they came in. Epinon went to the left and Xena to the right. Gabrielle was to stay in the cavern until Xena and Epinon have time to get into position.
Xena and Epinon scouted the area from the treetops checking on other possible look outs for Marinos. Neither found any sign of them. When they met they just looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders.
Gabrielle was getting ready to leave the cavern and head into the Amazon camp. When she reached her destination she sucked in her breath when she saw Melosa. She put her hand over her mouth and remembered what Xena had said to her a hundred times. 'Focus Gabrielle, focus on the task at hand and always act don't react' with those thoughts in mind Gabrielle took a deep breath and began walking into camp humming a tune.
Marinos jumped to his feet "Grab her" he yelled to his men. Just then Xena and Epinon jumped from the trees swords in hand. They easily took out the first two guards by there surprising arrival. Gabrielle ran to Melosa and untied her. Melosa fell into her arms. Xena blocked the sword that was coming towards her; side stepped and kicked her attacker in the chest. He flew 10 feet before dropping to the ground unconscious. Epinon was pulling her sword from the chest of the forth soldier. The last two advanced on Melosa and Gabrielle. But before they could get there swords up and ready to attack Xena flipped and stood in front of them blocking there blows. She was playing with them paring and thrusting, pulling back laughing. As she tired of this game she struck the finally blew into the heart of the soldier closest to her while Epinon tapped the last on the back of the shoulder. When he turned to face her she slammed her fist into his face and fell hard to the ground. Xena and Epinon advanced on Marinos who was awe struck by what just happened. In a matter of seconds his control of the Amazons was gone.
"Look out" Gabrielle yelled as the last soldier raised off the ground throwing a dagger at Xena. Epinon turned shooting her cross bow hitting him in the neck. Xena caught the flying dagger and looked at Epinon "thanks" was all she said as Epinon nodded.
As Xena and Epinon got closer to Marinos who was backing up against a tree with sword in hand Melosa got to her feet. "NO" she yelled. "He's mine."
They moved to one side as Melosa struggled to pick up a sword of one of the dead Amazons. "You bastard, you killed my betrothed." Melosa said her voice filled with hate and anger. "I'm going to enjoy this." She growled
Melosa raised her sword and swung it at Marinos who blocked it with his own. She swung up cutting his stomach. Marinos moved to the side placing his hand on the cut. He felt warm thick liquid fill his hand. He looked down and Melosa ran her sword into his heart. She pulled it out with the little strength she had left and raised it above her head to give him one final blow.
Gabrielle ran over to her side putting her hand on Melosa's. "It's over Melosa, he's dead." The bard said looking at the man on the ground.
Melosa turned to looked at Gabrielle, tears streaming down her cheeks and slowly lowered her arms and handed the sword to Gabrielle. She turned to look at her fallen love. She stumbled over to her and lay down beside her pulling her close while the tears continued to fall.
Gabrielle watched fighting her own tears. Xena walked up to the bard and put a protective arm around her. Gabrielle turned and hugged the warrior unable to say a word.
Finally Gabrielle looked at Xena and said. "I've got to help her," Xena nodded her understanding.
Gabrielle kneeled down beside Melosa placing a gentle hand on her careful not to touch the whip slashes on her back. She gently pulled her to her feet. "Melosa, I am so sorry." The bard whispered in her ear as Melosa was unable to surpress the tears as she continued to weep in the bards shoulder.
"Melosa" Xena voice soft. "Where are the rest of the Amazons."
Melosa took a deep breath pulling herself together as she turned towards Xena and Epinon. "They were taken off to the east with the rest of Marinos men." She managed to say, all the while looking at her beloved.
"Epinon you come with me. Gabrielle you stay here with Melosa. Do what you can." Xena says squeezing the bards shoulder.
"No Xena I'm coming with you." Melosa grabs her side wincing in pain. "They are my Amazons." She states matter of factly.
Xena nods her understanding. "Let's go."
"Here, they went through here." Xena notices all the broken branches.
"It looks like they are headed towards the caves." Epinon observes.
"Gabrielle, you and Melosa stay put until Epinon and I can scout and find were they are and how many men there are with them. As soon as we find them I promise we will be back." Xena looks first to Gabrielle then to Melosa.
They head off towards the caves. When they arrive, Xena notices what looks like a recent rock side covering the mouth of the cave. Xena scouts closer seeing two of the soldiers laying half buried beneath the rocks. She continues to scout the area after sending Epinon back for Gabrielle and Melosa. There was no sign of an ambush so Xena returns to the cave and begins moving rocks.
When the others arrived Xena said, "We need to get them out before they suffocate in there."
All Four women began moving rocks. Xena and Epinon the larger ones. Gabrielle wouldn't let Melosa move anything but the smaller rocks for fear she would injure herself more so she stood by the Amazon Queen and helped her move the smaller rocks out of the way.
They dug for several candlemarks refusing to give up even the tiniest amount of hope they would find anybody alive. Then suddenly Xena tiredly said "Shhhhh I think I heard something." With her hand raised in the air to keep the others quiet Xena shouted, "Can anyone hear me?" There was no response as they kept digging deeper and deeper.
"Can anyone hear me?" Xena shouts again holding her hand up to keep her companions quiet. She turns to the others smiling. "We're almost there" she says relief evident in her voice. She then turns to the others "Hang on we'll have you out of there soon."
The four women find a new strength inside of them as they continue to move rock after rock. After another candlemark Xena spots a hand waving at them and grasps it to let the Amazons inside know they are almost there.
The Amazons inside the cave are moving rock carefully not to bring anymore down on them. Within minutes the first of several Amazons is crawling out of a hole just big enough for one person at a time.
Xena and Epinon are at the entrance pulling the women through as Gabrielle and Melosa are busy giving them water and checking for injures. Melosa has all but forgotten her own injuries as she sees to the needs of her Amazons.
Ephiny was the last to be pulled from the cave. She told the others the soldiers brought them there and after they were all inside that was when the rock slid happened, killing most of the soldiers and the others ran away.
Gabrielle hugged Ephiny and noticed how she favored her right leg. "Here, your hurt. Let me take a look at it." She said softly sitting her down to inspect the gash. "I'm going to have to put in a few stitches but I think it will be okay." Gabrielle said looking at her for her permission to do so. Ephiny simply nodded.
"You know Gabrielle, I was almost ready to give it up in there." She quietly confessed to her as Gabrielle was kneeling in front of her stitching her leg. "But I couldn't, I just kept thinking and knew somehow I needed to be everyone's strength."
Gabrielle finished and bandages her leg. Holding her hand in her own she helped Ephiny to her feet and embraced her. She whispered into her ear "I'm glad you didn't my friend."
Melosa stands "If everyone is alright let's get back to the village, there is a lot to do. First and most important is to honor our fallen sisters with proper funeral rights."
As the others turn to leave Xena walks up to Gabrielle and puts her arms around her waist pulling her close. "What's this for?" Gabrielle asks. "Just thought you could use it" Xena whispered softly to her. "Let's get back and help, what do you say?" Gabrielle nodded but did not want to leave the safety and comfort she always found when wrapped in the warrior's strong arms.
Upon the return to the village the Amazons began the tasks of preparing the bodies and building the funeral fires. Melosa walks up to the body of Marinos, spits on the corpse. She then turns to the body of her fallen lover. She instructs two of the Amazons to take her to her quarters. She wanted to prepare her body to send her to Artemis.
Xena and Epinon remove the bodies of the soldiers and Marinos. The drug them out into the forest and tied them to the trees facing Marinos encampment "There, that should do it if any of Marinos men decide to be brave and come back here maybe this will make them think twice." Xena states as her and Epinon walk back too the cavern to retrieve their horses.
"Xena, can I ask you a question?" Epinon enquires.
"Huh, huh." Xena says as she rubs Argo's nose.
"Are you and Gabrielle well, you know, lovers."
Xena looks at her companion with a fire in her eyes "why" she demands.
"I just see the love Gabrielle has in her eyes for you everytime she looks at you." Epinon says softly.
"You see that do you?" Xena turns to face her.
Epinon nods "yes my friend I also see the way you look at her."
"Oh, and how's that?"
"With a softness I never thought I would see in you."
"I have never told her how I feel." Xena's voice is shy unbelieving what she is saying to her.
"Tonight, you and Gabrielle take my house, I will bunk in with Ephiny. My gift of thanks to you both."
Xena smiles at her friend, squeezes her arm and simply says "thanks"
When they reached the village, what they saw surprised them. All the bodies had been prepared and placed on the pyres. The drums were beating the funeral dance was almost over, the fires were lit. Melosa kneeled beside the pyre of her lover until the heat drove her back.
Gabrielle stood in front of Xena who had her hands on her shoulders. Gabrielle turned to look at the warrior for an instant then back to Melosa. "Now will you let us treat your wounds." Gabrielle asked.
Melosa nodded and collapsed in their arms. Xena scooped her up and carried her to her hut. She gently laid her on her bed. Ephiny and Gabrielle gently removed her torn clothes and washed her wounds. Melosa had been whipped badly. Xena had to sew several of the gashes so they would heal properly. The rest she treated with suave.
"She took that beating for all of us." Gabrielle looked up at Ephiny. "Marinos threatened to kill several of us unless Melosa agreed to take that beating at his hand. She did it to save us all." Ephiny was on her knees at Melosa's side. "I'll stay here with her, you two go get some rest. We have the village protested if anyone should try to come this way again. Epinon will show you the way to her hut."
Xena and Gabrielle turned to leave. "Thank You" Ephiny said as she put her head down on Melosa's bed.
Epinon opens the door. I have had every thing prepared food, drink, and water warming on the fire. I hope everything is okay." Epinon says as she pulls the door shut.
Xena walks over to Gabrielle, puts her hand on her cheek and gently raises her head. "Gabrielle, I don't know if this is the right time or the right circumstances but I don't want to waste another moment of not telling you how I feel." Xena takes a deep breath. "I love you Gabrielle, I have for a long time. Many nights I close my eyes and pretend you are wrapped in my arms. It is so real sometimes my body trembles everytime you come near me. When you touch me my blood boils at the contact. I have wanted to make love to you for what has felt like an eternity." Xena stands motionless looking into Gabrielle's face praying she hasn't stepped over the bounds.
Gabrielle takes a long deep breath. "Everything you just said is how I feel. I love you too. After watching Melosa with her love I knew I could not go any longer without telling you of my feelings. I was so afraid you would walk out and leave me." A tear rolls down her cheek as she confesses her deepest emotions.
"I would never leave you" Xena whispers pulling her into her body for the warmth and comfort she knows Gabrielle feels. She leaned forward and kissed her. Gentle at first as their fires began to burn. Gabrielle pulled away first. Xena looked at her afraid. "Xena I want to make love to you. I want to please you. But I don't know how."
"I'll show you my love, but first, how about that bath." Xena holds her tight.
"Yeah" Gabrielle nods.
Xena removed her weapon and armor looked over at Gabrielle who was standing there watching the warrior undress. Xena slowly removed her leathers and boots never taking her eyes away from the green that was watching her. Slowly Xena moved and stretched for her love. Stepping closer to her Xena reached over and untied Gabrielle's top. As it fell to the floor she gently ran her thumbs over her nipples. Gabrielle moaned at the contact and for the first time realized Xena was standing in front of her. Xena continued to remove the rest of Gabrielle's clothing until she stood naked in front of the warrior. Xena's eyes moved from the top of her beautiful red hair to her toes and back again to look into those beautiful green eyes she adored. She kissed her as their body's met for the first time. They moaned into each other's mouths. Xena broke the kiss knowing if she didn't stop then that she wouldn't. She lead Gabrielle over to the tub, stepped in and helped Gabrielle in. Xena scooped her up into her arms gently sitting and placing the bard on her lap. "I don't know how long I can keep myself from taking you Gabrielle." Xena said breathlessly.
"What are you fighting it for?" Gabrielle said turning to straddle the warrior and face her.
Xena's whole body reacted she shuddered and closed her eyes. How many times had she dreamed of this very moment and now that it has arrived she wondered why she was so nervous.
"I love you Gabrielle. I want nothing more then to make love to you right here, right now but I want your first time to be special and I'm not sure taking you in the tub would qualify as special." Xena said softly never taking her eyes away from the bards.
"My first time will be special. It doesn't matter where we are just as long as it is with you. I love you warrior and want you to show me. Right here, right now."
Xena put her hand behind the bard's head and pulled her in for a long passionate kiss. When they broke, they both took a long deep breath. Xena put her hands in the water bringing water up to cascade over Gabrielle's shoulders. She watched as the water rolled down her chest, over her breast until there was only a drop left on her nipple. Xena leaned forward taking the nipple into her mouth. She felt her bard lean into the contact as she shuddered at the contact.
"Xena that feels so good" Gabrielle whispered
Xena pulled the nipple gently with her teeth. "I hope everything I do to love you feels like that."
Xena gently runs her fingers over both nipples feeling them harden in the palm of her hands. She breaths deep enjoying the sensations she feels. Unaware of how sensitive the center of her palm is. She then moves her hands down the bards sides and around to her buttocks. She firmly pulls her love closer to her spreading her legs farther apart. Xena kisses her passionately parting her lips with her tongue. She explores the bard's mouth. While she explores the body beneath her touch. Xena finally reaches her goal. She lets one finger slid between the folds of the bard's sex. Gabrielle straightens her body up placing a nipple in Xena's mouth. Xena gently strokes her with long slow strokes until Gabrielle's hips start to move with the age-old rhythm.
"Xena " Gabrielle tries to say, "Can we both do this? Can we both feel the same things? I want you to feel what I'm feeling right now."
"Oh yeah, we can do that, here, just straddle one leg." Xena puts her hands on the bards hips moving her to one side." Here, give me your hand." Xena takes the bards hand in her own and puts it between her own legs to her burning center. She covers two of Gabrielle's fingers with her own. "Feel that?" Xena smiles. "Rub your fingers right there. Do you feel the hardness in all the soft? That is were you rub. Just keep a rhythm to match mine." Xena gently replaces her hand where she wanted it the most, between Gabrielle's legs. "Oh, yeah, that's it." Xena whispers into her ear.
"Can you feel what I'm doing to you?" Xena continues her verbal encouragements. "I can feel every touch, every rub you give me. It feels so good. Gabrielle .I'm going to put my fingers inside of you. I want to feel all of you. Is that okay?" Gabrielle nods unable to say anything. "Oh, yeah, feels good huh. Here let me show you" Xena takes her other hand holding the bards buttocks and covers Gabrielle's hand that is between her legs. She places two fingers over hers and gently slides them done to her opening. "Right here Gabrielle. Just push them in. Yeah just like that." Xena's head falls forward to the bard's chest. "Move them in and out, feel what I'm doing to you? I can feel you getting close my love, close to climbing over the edge. I can feel how your muscles tighten around my fingers. Can you feel mine? I hope so love because I can't hold it much longer. Do what I do, yeah rub right there, faster my love, I'm going to come with you, yes my love, just as you wanted." Moans of equal force fill the air. Neither woman is able to make any coherent sound. They grab onto each other, rubbing faster until they both stop at the same time, while quakes shatter their bodies. They clutch to each other until their breathing begins to return to normal.
"Xena .. I ..I .." Gabrielle tries to express how she is feeling.
"It's okay, my love, I know" Xena holds her tight and whispers into her ear. Several heartbeats later Xena asks "Are you ready to finish this bath?"
"Oh huh yeah" the bard answers forgetting she is sitting in the tub.
They slowly watch and soap each other all the while exploring each other's bodies. As the water begins to cool Xena stands taking the bard with her. Lifting her out then stepping out herself she reaches for a towel only to have it taken from her. Gabrielle gently pats her lover dry then hands her a silk robe to put on. She pats herself dry and put the other robe on that Epinon left for them. They walk over to where their dinner is. Xena pours two glasses of wine, hands one to the bard and simply says, "To a new beginning"
With out a word Gabrielle stands and moves to Xena extending her hand. Xena silently takes it and is lead to the bed. Gabrielle removes her own robe then the one Xena is wearing. She sits her down and reaches into the saddlebags on the floor and pulls out a small bottle of oil. She puts a few drops into her hands and slowly rubs it over Xena's shoulders down to her chest. Gabrielle kneels in front of Xena cupping her breast feeling her nipples harden in the palms of her hands. Xena spreads her legs farther apart grabbing two hand fulls of hair she begins to slowly pull Gabrielle to where she wants her the most. "Xena?" Gabrielle says. "Your tongue where I showed you .please" Xena rocked back and forth trying hard to maintain her composure. "Mmmmmm" Gabrielle moaned leaning forward.
Gabrielle was tentative when she first touched Xena with her tongue. She had read stories of women loving one another in this way but was unsure of what it was like. She gently licked her warrior. Tasting her for the first time. To her amazement she liked what she felt and tasted. She ran her tongue between the folds only lightly brushing the swollen nub causing Xena to moan her name and beg her for more. She loved this newfound power she had over her warrior.
"Do you know what you're doing to me?" Xena husked.
"Yeah I do." Gabrielle responded moving her fingers over the area her tongue just left.
Xena guided her lover's head back between her legs. Gabrielle covered her swollen nub with her mouth flicking her tongue across it then gently sucking. She loved all the sounds coming from Xena. The words, the moans of pleasure. All created by her and what she was doing to her lover. Gabrielle took the same two fingers soaked with her lover's juices and placed them between her own legs. Xena started to buck unable to take any more of this loving torture. Gabrielle rubbed herself faster and harder. She felt herself coming. Her body went stiff; her mouth clamped down on Xena. Who's own body was ridged with release.
Heartbeats later Gabrielle looked up at Xena. A small amount of blood on her lower lip. Xena reached over with her thumb to wipe it off. When Gabrielle saw it she covered her mouth with her hands. "Oh Xena, I broke you." The bard said horrified.
Xena laughs "You didn't break me, you bit me." She continued to chuckle
Gabrielle immediately examines the area to see what damage she done.
"Everything okay down there." An amused warrior asked.
'Xena, I'm so sorry." The bard's voice broke.
"Hay, come here" Xena said pulling the bard up to her. "It's okay, you didn't hurt me. I'll just bite you back." Xena said seriously until she started to laugh. Hoping to lighten her lover's mood. It worked, within seconds the bard was laughing with her.
Xena traced the outline of her jaw with a tender caress. "That's what I like to see. It still works. Trust me." Xena spoke softly at a smiling bard. "How did you know .."
"How to please you?" Gabrielle continued the sentence. "I'm a bard, a bard with an imagination."
Xena puts her arms around her bard, turned her around and layed herself on top. "Now my little bard, lets see what kind of an imagination I have." She growled nipping on the bard's earlobe.
The next morning as the sun was becoming high in the sky Xena opened her eyes. 'It must be almost noon' she thought to herself. "Oh well, that's what happens when you make love until sun rise.' She grinned to herself looking at her bard nestled into her arms sound asleep.
Xena gently rolled the bard over extracting herself from the warmth and love she had been wrapped in all night. She got up, washed, dressed and came back to the bed. She knelt beside it moving a stray strand of hair out of the bard's face and leaned over and gently kissed her cheek. "I love you Gabrielle" she whispered softly. "I love you too" came a sleepy voice. "Go back to sleep, I'm going to check on Melosa and get some food. I'll be back soon my love." Xena kissed her on the lips as she stood to turn she heard the soft snoring of the bard.
As Xena crossed the village to Melosa's hut she ran into Epinon who just looked at her. Xena smiled a 'thank you' and continued on her way.
Xena kneeled beside Melosa's bed. She lifted a bandage to check for any signs of infection. "They have been cleaned and dressings reapplied just a candlemark ago" Ephiny said standing in the doorway. "We can't thank you and Gabrielle enough for what you did for us. Is there anything we can do for the two of you?"
Xena turns to look at Ephiny, "I don't know yet, I need to ask Gabrielle something first." Xena feels a little embarrassed as Ephiny smiles a lop sided grin. "You are welcome to stay as long as you like. Epinon will stay with me."
After Xena gets a tray of food for herself and Gabrielle she returns where she left her sleeping bard. Xena gently kicked open the door. Gabrielle was awake and dressed. She had been carrying around a blue silk shift with her for awhile waiting for just the right time to wear it. Xena stops in mid step looking at the radiant beauty before her. She starts to set the tray down thinking she is over the table. Gabrielle jumps forward and grabs the tray just as Xena was about to let it go and places it on the table.
Xena couldn't take her eyes off her "By the gods my love you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen."
Xena knelt before her taking her hands in her own. "Gabrielle, I can't bare another day, another hour, another moment, no more doubts, no more fears. I guess what I'm trying to say is ..Will you join with me?" Xena holds her breath unsure of what gave her the courage she needed to ask.
Gabrielle knelt with Xena. Took her cheeks in her hands and kissed her passionately "yes, my love" Xena wrapped her arms around her pulling her as close as she could and whispered into her ear. "I love you with all my heart."
A knock on the door startles them as they both got to their feet. "Come in" Xena growls not liking the interruption.
"Queen Melosa would like to see you both." Epinon says smiling, looking first to Gabrielle then to Xena.
Melosa is sitting in a chair next to her bed. Obviously in pain but would not have anyone wait on her. "Please come in and sit down. I am thankful to the both of you for all you have done for us. We surly would have died if it weren't for you. Thank you Xena, Gabrielle. Tell me, is there anything I can do for you."
"Yes, there is" Xena stands extending a hand out to Gabrielle to join her. "In two nights there will be a full moon. Will you join Gabrielle and myself that night in front of the Amazon nation and Artemis the Moon Goddess?"
Melosa looks at Ephiny. "Prepare the ceremony." Ephiny nods leaving the hut.
"Xena, Gabrielle come here." Queen Melosa extends her arms out to them quenching with pain that small jester made. "There are two task you both must do before the ceremony to declare your love for each other. You will be instructed."
Ephiny returns to lead Xena and Gabrielle back to Epinon's house. "Ephiny, what happens now." Gabrielle asked not comfortable with her lack of Amazon knowledge.
"The night of Artemis Moon you and Xena will be required by Amazon Joining Rights to declare your love for each other in front of everyone. You will be seated on one side of Melosa and Xena on the other side. When you are asked to state your love you must keep eye contact with Melosa. You may address Xena with your final statement, then and only then are you allowed to look at her. Then take your place beside Queen Melosa."
"Queen Melosa said there was a second task, what is it?" Gabrielle asked questionably.
"You and Xena must dance the dance of love. But don't worry, I will instruct you and Epinon will instruct Xena. Speaking of Epinon, Xena you will stay here with her and Gabrielle you must come with me until the ceremony,"
"But .but" Gabrielle's confusion showing.
I'm sorry I should have told you" Xena said softly putting her arms around Gabrielle. "Once we asked to be joined by Amazon rights we cannot see each other again until the ceremony" Xena leaned forward and kissed her love. "A moment won't pass without my thoughts on you. I love you bard."
"I love you warrior. These two days will seem like forever. I will miss you but my love for you will only grow stronger." Gabrielle kisses Xena and a tear falls from her eye. Xena wipes it away with her fingertip and is lead away by Epinon.
Xena turned to take one last look at her bard. She clamped her teeth together smiling. Gabrielle turned a beet red. Ephiny with a wicked grin leaned into Gabrielle and said, "bite her, did you?" then she laughed watching the colors on Gabrielle's face change.
Gabrielle and Xena have been preparing for the ceremony all day for tonight they would say what was in their hearts and dance. Gabrielle signed at the thought of dancing in front of everyone. She always felt she had two left feet but she had been working hard with Ephiny on the steps.
Xena and Gabrielle were both being dressed for their joining. They would both wear brown leather. The top would come to their necks and leave the shoulders bare. Extending from the leather that went around their necks was a strap of leather and brass rings that extended down to connect the thin leather armbands. Their skirts were made of the same soft leather cut into wide strips and adorned with brass ringlets. Both would be bare footed.
Ephiny looked at Gabrielle. "It's time princess."
Gabrielle clasps her hand over her heart, takes a deep breath and lets Ephiny lead her to the circle.
Queen Melosa is already seated with Xena beside her. She motions to the princess to take the other seat beside her.
"We have gathered here tonight to began the joining ceremony of Xena and Gabrielle. Tonight by Amazon custom they will declare their love for each other in front of the Amazon Nation and Artemis. Xena, you will speak first." Melosa states with the air of authority she holds.
Xena stands and faces Queen Melosa. "My name is Xena. I am here to declare my love for Gabrielle, Amazon Princess. I have loved her from the first time she found her way to my camp. I saw in her, her bravery and sense of adventure, her innocents and passion. My heart touched hers that night as I watched her sleep. Over the next two years Gabrielle taught me what it was like to feel again, what it was like to have a best friend." Xena turned to Gabrielle and smiled seeing a tear on her cheek. "Gabrielle my love for you runs deep. I love you more today than I did yesterday and less then I will tomorrow. This my love." Xena places her hand over her heart. "Is yours"
Xena quickly turns back to Queen Melosa, slightly bows her head and returns to her seat.
Melosa turns to Gabrielle; motions for her to began.
"My name is Gabrielle. I am here today to declare my love for Xena Warrior Princess. Her courage and passions is what first attracted me to her. When I first met her she looked lost, she looked sad and I wanted to bring some joy back into her life any way I could. I never expected to fall in love with her but I did. She has taught me many lessons in the last two years but none as important as what it feels like to love another with a love that touches my soul. My love for this woman is pure." Gabrielle turns to Xena. "Xena, I couldn't imagine how empty my life would be without you for I love you more then life its self. This my love belongs to you." Gabrielle touches her heart and extends her arm out palm facing Xena. "I love you."
Gabrielle had only seen a tear once on Xena's cheek but tonight she knew that tear was one of happiness and love for her.
Melosa rises to her feet. "Xena, Gabrielle I have one final gift for you. I would be honored if you both would except the joining masks of my beloved and myself." Melosa extends her arm, two amazon's approach carrying the two very colorful masks.
Xena and Gabrielle stand and step before the queen. They kneel before her. She hands each a mask. They stand turn towards the Amazons and raise the mask above their heads. They slowly put the masks on. The drums began to beat. Xena and Gabrielle face each other and began to dance. The dance for all the love they have for the other. For all their dreams and hopes for their future. Their movements are slow and fluid. They move to the beat of the drums with a grace and power in each step. The drums stop. Xena takes Gabrielle's hand and leads her to knell in front of Queen Melosa.
"Xena, Gabrielle tonight we stand here in the presents of Artemis the moon goddess, high in the night sky. Melosa stands looking at the two lovers:
I have heard it said
For everyone there is another
Halves in search of the other
Fulfilling the need of being whole.
Many search, unending is their quest.
For in the grand scheme
How easily two lives can be lost.
Longing, in search of the other
For a moment is all we have to touch the other
For one soul to dare sense the heart of the other
One moment, If lost
Only fate may beget another chance.
Two hearts aching for the caress
To quiet the beating of their pain
The touch of the soul that is theirs
The touch of peace and love
Reserved for the joining of the special two.
Two hearts entwined together
Synchronized to the beating of time.
Two souls adrift in time
Two lives lost in a lifetime
In a moment their hearts join
Two Lives One Heart
Xena, repeat my words"
Xena holds Gabrielle's hands in hers. "Gabrielle. I proclaim my unending love for you in front of Artemis, forever in this life." Xena's touch is light, her voice soft and passionate.
"Gabrielle, repeat my words." Queen Melosa says for all to hear.
"Xena, I proclaim my unending love for you in front of Artemis, forever in this life." Gabrielle's voice quivers as a tear falls.
"I Queen Melosa standing before you and Artemis on this night proclaim Xena and Gabrielle as one."
Xena and Gabrielle stand, turn to face the amazons. They remove their masks and hold them high above their heads. The amazons cheer their approval. Xena and Gabrielle are taken from the circle and rushed into a hut that has been decorated in the same bright colors as their masks. Ephiny grabs the door after they enter and simply says. "I couldn't be happier for you." As she closes the door and leaves.
Xena takes Gabrielle into her arms: I love you" she purrs, soft eyes looking into soft eyes.
"I love you too," Gabrielle says as she steps into Xena's embrace kissing her passionately.
When they pulled apart Gabrielle looked around the hut. The smell of flowers is everywhere. There is a large tub in the corner with steaming water. A small table with food and drink. A large bed with a white comforter embroidered with small pink and yellow flowers. Gabrielle touches the flowers and says "someone worked a long time on this."
"Yes" Xena says looking at her love. "It was a joining present from the woman Queen Melosa was to join with tonight."
Gabrielle carefully folded it and sat it in the chair beside the bed. "It should stay as it is for Melosa" Gabrielle says with a small voice.
"This hut was built by the amazons as a gift to Melosa. She gave it to us. This is our place now." Xena takes Gabrielle in her arms and holds her tight.
"Xena, while we were apart for the last couple of days I wrote a poem for you." Gabrielle says stepping back.
Xena holds the bard's hands and looks deep into those green eyes she always gets lost in.
Your kiss melts into my lips
My blood boils at your touch
Your gentle caress glides over my body
Leaving no part untouched.
You touch my very essence
Until my ecstasy explodes into flowing lava
Our love transcends all
Time has no hold on us
Our hearts joined in love forever
Our souls joined in journey through eternity
Gabrielle looks into Xena's eye and sees a small tear. She kisses it away. Xena puts her arms around Gabrielle, picks her up and carries her to the bed. Xena gently sets her down as they start to undress each other. Gabrielle pulls Xena down on top of her. They make love with a passion neither knew they had.
As they lay next to each other Xena raises on one elbow, looks at her beloved bard and whispers. "I proclaim my unending love for you in front of Artemis. Forever in this life."
Gabrielle reaches up as her tears of love for this woman began to fall.
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