Shadowdancer ™



Category: Hints at alternative fiction, nothing explicit.

Violence: We're talking Xena here, expect the usual amount.

Yet another town was going up in flames around her as Callisto slowly walked down the center of the town surveying the damage she and her men had done. As Callisto walked through the town with an evil smirk on her face, a devastated, terrified young sixteen-year-old girl watched from what had once been her home. As she saw Callisto coming closer and closer to where she was hiding, Thalissia Anthropos cautiously moved further into the blackened ruins of her home, out of sight of the destroyer of the only home she had ever known.

As she listened, Thalissia heard her say; "Pity, it was such a quaint little village, so full of life. Now it’s dead, nothing but a blackened ruin. Just like my village was, after Xena was through with it". Callisto paused just in front of Thalissia’s hiding place, and appeared to be listening as though she couldn’t quite figure out what she had heard if anything at all. Thalissia knelt in the shadows as still as death itself, knowing better than to move, and too terrified to breathe for fear that Callisto would hear, and find her. Moving one of her feet back a fraction of an inch, it touched the hand of her dead younger brother Dannen. As a jolt of horror, and fear ran through her like lightening, Thalissia nearly screamed, but caught herself in time. Continuing to hold as still as she could, Thalissia turned her gaze back to watch her tormentor’s actions once again to find Callisto gone.

Her heart stopping in fear and panic, Thalissia’s deep blue eyes frantically searched for Callisto; daring to move into the light enough to look out of the door and yet still remain mostly hidden, Thalissia found Callisto to be further down the street, and exhaled heavily. Having gone as far as she wished to go, Callisto turned around, looked one last time at her destruction, shrugged and stated, "Oh well, onward", and vanished with a burst of flames and her signature scream that echoed as if she had been in a cave. That sound had sent a chill through Thalissia that had gone all the way to her bones and through them. Only when she was sure that Callisto was gone, did Thalissia allow herself to collapse to the floor of the hovel, and cry for her lost family. She was the only survivor, the last of the Anthropos family.

As she lay there crying in the ashes, she intentionally reached out for the ice-cold hand of her brother Dannen, and held it. He’d only been eight seasons old. Either Callisto, or one or more of her men had attacked, and brutally killed her entire family. If she had been there at the time, she too would be laying there dead, that she didn’t doubt. From the looks of all the blood on the bodies, it would have been an extremely gruesome death. She cursed the fact that she had gone down to the nearby stream to bathe and had not been there to die with her family; her loyalty to them was so great that she would rather to have died by their side than to be alive to mourn them alone.  Half a candle mark later, Thalissia heard horses’ hooves trotting towards her, then slow to a walk. She sat bolt upright, terrified that someone had come to finish off anything that Callisto may have left behind. She reached for and found her staff that she always carried with her for support and protection, and got into a crouch, holding her staff in both hands ready for a fight.

She had been taught to use the staff as a weapon since she was old enough to walk, and could fight with it as skillfully as if it were an extension of her own hand and arm. Believing that both boys and girls should be able to fight, Mario Anthropos had taught both Thalissia and her brother to fight with staff, knife, and sword, as well as with no weapon at all.

 For this reason, Thalissia did not fear for her own safety in the least, she knew that she could fight well, and defend herself against any number of attackers regardless of their weapons. She heard voices coming closer, and listened intently; two women’s voices, one younger, the other older, deeper. "It looks like Callisto beat us to it again Xena, why can’t we catch her? She usually knows when we’re nearby". "I don’t know Gabrielle, she doesn’t seem to know that we’re following her. It’s strange, she doesn’t seem to be as alert to my, our, presence as she normally is. She seems to be distracted for some reason".

Suddenly, as they neared the hovel where Thalissia hid, Xena stopped dead in her tracks and stood still, listening intently. Seeing Xena’s body language, Gabrielle also stopped, cocked her head, and concentrated, trying to hear the slightest sound, ready for danger. Hearing nothing, Gabrielle inquired; "What is it Xena? Trouble?" Xena didn’t answer, but continued to listen, and slowly turned her head in the direction of the hovel, having zeroed in on the location of the sound she’d heard. She released Argo’s reigns, and walked slowly towards Thalissia’s hiding place, more curious than wary of danger. Just as a precaution however; she drew her sword, and held it at the ready; she didn’t sense any real danger, but she knew someone was hiding in the darkness of the burnt out ruins. She was just drawing breath to call out, when Thalissia jumped out with her staff in a defensive position emitting a yell not unlike Xena’s. Upon facing her "foe" Thalissia swung her staff aiming at Xena’s head, not really paying attention to who she was attacking. Xena reacted instantly, and naturally, and put her sword up to block the swing, and halt the staff in mid decent. It was during this attack, that the two women locked eyes, and the reality that they looked identical sunk in to both of them at the same time.

Both stunned by their resemblance to one another, they stood there as if frozen in time for what seemed like half a candle mark, and then lowered their weapons, Thalissia first. Xena returned her sword to it’s scabbard and was careful to hold her hands open and away from her body so that Thalissia would know that she had no intention of attacking her. Regaining her senses, Thalissia held her staff by her side more as a walking stick now as her father had taught her to do to show that she didn’t pose a threat. Gabrielle walked over to the "twins" and looked from one to the other. "Another one, another Xena. Xena, how many "twins" do you have? Meg, Leah, Diana, and now this one". "You’re Xena, Xena the Warrior Princess" "Yes, I am, this is Gabrielle, and what’s your name?". "I’m Thalissia, Thalissia Anthropos. I live, I used to live here" she said, half-turning to gesture back towards the burnt out hovel. "With my family. My mother, father, and younger brother Dannen, before Callisto killed them, now I'm the last of the Anthropos".

"You have no other relatives Thalissia?" Xena questioned. "No, not that I know of " "There’s no where for you to go?" "No, no where" "You have to have family somewhere" as she stood their talking to them, Thalissia pushed her long dark hair from her shoulder onto her back, exposing a birthmark that was very familiar to Xena. "That mark, on your neck, were you born with it?" "This?" Thalissia asked, pointing to the mark on the base of her throat just to the right. "Yes, why?" Xena took four steps closer to Thalissia to look more closely at it, Thalissia stood still, and allowed the Warrior Princess to examine it closely."Xena, what is it? " Gabrielle inquired. "I know that mark, my Amazon sister, Thalinna who’s now queen of her tribe bears the same mark. When an Amazon gives birth to a daughter, that daughter is tattooed with the same mark as her mother; that’s how they identify the child in case anything should happen to that daughter and she should be lost."

"You do have family. You are an Amazon, and not just any Amazon, you are an Amazon Princess". Thalissia looked at Xena in disbelief, but idolizing Xena, Thalissia took it as the truth, if Xena said it, it had to be the truth ". Xena looked mostly at Gabrielle as she said this, now she addressed Thalissia." You are the daughter of Thalinna, and heir to her throne". Seeing the disbelief in Thalissia’s face, Xena went on to explain. "Not two days after you were born, you were taken from her by an enemy tribe of Amazons. Thalinna and I searched for you for days and days, but there was no sign of you. It was impossible to search every home in every village, though we did try, we never found you and counted you as dead, thinking they would never allow you to live being Thalinna’s daughter. She mourned your loss for a very, very long time, I don’t think she ever really got over it. You have no idea how happy she will be to see you again"

Half a candle mark later as they traveled along the roads on their way to Thalinna's village of Amazons, Xena rode at a leisurely walking pace, Thalissia and Gabrielle walking behind her. Thalissia was thinking about her newfound friends, and family. How could she possibly be related to Xena? The most well known, and in many places, most feared Warrior known by all. Xena’s fame and deeds, both before and since her reform, preceded her wherever she went; and now to find out that she was the niece of such a powerful, Warrior frightened Thalissia. She was afraid of Xena’s renowned anger more than anythingelse; she vowed to do whatever Xena said no matter what it was. After all, she was Xena, the Warrior Princess, surely she knew what was best. She had after all, survived countless battles, protecting and saving both herself and Gabrielle.

As they walked along the dirt road, they approached woods, and Gabrielle noticed that Xena had suddenly tensed, and had begun to look around, listening for the slightest sound, watching for the slightest movement. She knew that Xena only did this when she sensed danger nearby and was and was preparing herself for the attack. Gabrielle took her staff in both hands, and tuned her senses as well; settling herself for whatever attack was coming. She trusted her companion's instincts completely, she had been right far too many times to ignore the signs. As they got closer to the woods, about thirty yards off, three Amazon warriors came running at them yelling their war cries, spears ready to throw in an instant. Xena pulled Argo to a halt, and dismounted quickly; she faced the oncoming Amazons and held her hands clasped above her head as did Gabrielle. Not understanding their actions, but seeing the oncoming Amazons slowing their pace to a trot and then a walk as they neared them, Thalissia copied their stance..

The Amazons still held their spears at the ready, but lowered them in non-threatening positions. The lead Amazon spoke first in a soft, feminine, yet firm voice, "I am called Sirasi, Second and Regent to Queen Thalinna". She motioned with her free right hand, "This is my sister, Jenara, and our Amazon sister, Shantar, she said motioning to the woman who stood just to her left and a bit behind her with her head. " I am..." Xena began. "Xena" Sirasi said finishing the sentence for her then looked at Gabrielle. "You are Gabrielle, her bard and bond mate". At this assumption, Gabrielle took a breath to protest, but was silenced by a look from Xena, knowing Xena had a reason for the look, Gabrielle held her tongue. Xena took Thalissia by the wrist gently, but firmly and pulled her forward to stand in front of her. "This is Thalissia, my niece, and Thalinna's lost daughter, Xenthia, lost to her at birth". The Amazons looked at each other in disbelief. They had heard of the loss of a daughter to Thalinna, but they had been told that she had been killed. "You are welcome in our village. Please, follow us".

Jenara and Shantar stepped aside to allow their leader to walk ahead of them, then allowed Xena, Gabrielle, and Thalissia to preceded them as well, falling in step behind them. The mere fact that the two rather tall, muscular, formidable Amazons allowed her to walk directly behind Sirasi with her sword and chakrum in her possession told Xena that she was trusted enough to be allowed to do this. All though in truth, the one called Jenara walked too closely behind her for her to be able to pull her sword out and attack Sirasi without being stopped. Xena could sense the bond between Sirasi and Jenara even though they made no such indication other than the occasional glance as they walked to their village to assure themselves that the other was all right. She could tell that the two were very close sisters. Sirasi, walking ahead confidently, knowing that her companions would not allow her to be harmed, would occasionally glance back to where she knew her sister was, and would "cluck" her tongue twice, and an identical signal would be returned to her from Jenara.

Xena noted this and understood it to be a signal from one to the other that the one receiving the signal was all right. When they had entered the village, and Jenara moved to stand in her sister's line of sight, the signals ceased. Evidently, they only signaled one another, when they couldn't see each other. When Sirasi wished her sister to stand beside her; as Xena, Gabrielle, and Thalissia stood in front of them waiting for the queen to step up to the dais; she "clucked" her tongue to her three times. Jenara responded with one click of her tongue, and walked over to stand beside Sirasi. Xena made a note to ask the sisters about this non-verbal method of communication at a later time, curious as to how and why they came up with it. As Xena and Gabrielle stood in front of the dais, Thalinna walked up onto it and moved to the front, her two guards to either side of her protectively. Sirasi and Jenara stood behind Xena and Gabrielle: Sirasi behind Gabrielle, and Jenara behind Xena.

Upon seeing their queen standing before them, the Amazons knelt to one knee, bowed their heads, and held their right fists over their hearts, and then stood, simultaneously. Because of her rank in the tribe, Sirasi was the one to address the Queen. "My Queen, we bring before you Xena, Gabrielle, and one who is said to be your long lost daughter Xenthia, now called "Thalissia". Thalinna stared at Thalissia as if she had been frozen in time, not moving or saying a word, and when she did speak, it was in a whisper. "Xenthia? My.... Daughter? Tears of long years of grief, pain, and lost hope at ever seeing her daughter again came to Thalinna eyes, only to be quickly wiped away, and suppressed. They touched Thalissia, seeing the tears, and her trembling, terrified heart was softened. Thalinna straightened her shoulders. And put on her "Regal Amazon Queen" face again.

"Bring her here to me" "Yes my Queen" Sirasi answered, and directed Thalissia to move towards the far side of the dais where they climbed the steps that took them to where Thalinna stood on the dais. Meanwhile, Thalinna addressed Xena. "Xena, old friend, you are welcome in my village" "Thank you Queen Thalinna" "You need not address me as "Queen", we are more than friends, we are Amazon sisters". Xena favored the Queen with a smile, an expression seldom seen on her face except by close friends "Here she is my queen" Sirasi said as she presented a very nervous young girl to her queen. Thalinna turned to regard her lost daughter, barely able to contain her desire to hug the girl, and hold her in her arms again. Despite the cool, calm, controlled exterior that everyone saw, Xena could tell that Thalinna was thrilled at seeing her daughter again.

Hard pressed to control the emotion in her voice, Thalinna formally welcomed Thalissia to tribe. "Welcome to my village Xenthia", then in a softer, emotion filled voice, "Welcome home". She turned to her Amazons and announced; "LET US CELEBRATE! MY DAUGHTER AND YOUR NEXT QUEEN HAS COME HOME AT LAST! PRINCESS XENTHIA IS HOME!".. All the Amazons raised a cheer, drums sounded, and a celebration began. Quietly Thalissia asked the queen, "Your Highness, could you please call me Thalissia? I know you named me Xenthia when I was born, but I was raised as Thalissia, and I would like to honor the family who raised me by keeping my name". "Yes, if you wish my dear" the queen answered and returned her attention to Xena and Gabrielle standing below and in front of her.

Thalissia could tell that the queen was bothered by her rejection of the name she had given her at birth, and tried to remedy the situation. "Maybe in time I'll choose to be called Xenthia as you named me, but for now, I wish to use Thalissia. You understand don't you? Mother?" and she touched the woman gently on the arm. This stopped the Queen dead in her tracks for a moment, and brought tears to her eyes. This girl who had no reason to believe anything she'd been told, had just called her "Mother", and had even reached out and touched her gently, in a show of willingness to accept a new life. Seeing this, Xena and Gabrielle smiled, this young girl who looked exactly like Xena was attempting to accept a new life, with a new family, and the Amazons had accepted her, in turn. "Yes, my daughter, I understand. You have the Amazon sense of honor, and loyalty even though you were not raised as an Amazon".

"She can fight like an Amazon too your highness" Gabrielle speaking for the first time in a very long time, which for her was odd. "Yes, she fights equally well with staff, and sword, and is even better at hand to hand combat. She can match me strike for strike" Xena said. Embarrassed by such praise by the Warrior Princess caused Thalissia to blush. "She lives up to her name then, her given name that is" turning to Thalissia, Thalinna asked, "Do you know why you were named Xenthia when you were born?". "No Your Highness" "You were named for both Xena and myself; your name is half my name and half her's" Thalinna stated gesturing to Xena with her left hand. "You were nearly named "Xenthalinna, but I decided that name was too long for such a small baby". Thalissia again blushed, despite her strength, and fighting ability, she was a very modest young girl.

"Well, enough talk" Thalinna stated to all the Amazons and her guests, let's eat, drink, and celebrate. Sirasi, please take Thalissia to be dressed in proper Amazon attire befitting the Princess of the tribe".. "Yes my Queen" Sirasi answered as she bowed her head, and pressed fist to heart once again saluting her Queen. As she stepped back to allow Thalissia to precede her, Sirasi clicked a signal to her sister, who had not moved from her guard position to the left and behind Xena since they had arrived. Jenara responded with the same signal that Xena recognized as her having given her sister earlier as they had been walking to the village. The one Sirasi had "sent" to her sister, had been different than before; four clicks, "click click" pause, "click click". Jenara had responded with "click, click". This caused Xena to wonder what Sirasi's signal had meant. "Xena, you and Gabrielle won't leave will you?" Thalissia asked in an almost pleading tone as she turned to go with Sirasi. "No, we'll stay for awhile. Thalinna and I have some catching up to do" Xena answered, easing the girl's mind considerably.

 As Thalissia was guided off by Sirasi, Thalinna dismissed her guards releasing them to join in the celebration, and jumped down off the dais to greet Xena more personally, offering her the warrior's hand shake. While Xena and Thalinna began to talk about old times, Gabrielle was coaxed away by two Amazon warriors, being encouraged to join in the celebration. "Queen Gabrielle, will you come with us to the dinning lodge and share food and drink with us? "Yes, of course. Coming Xena?" Right behind you Gabrielle".

As she allowed two Amazon warriors to dress her appropriately, Thalissia asked Sirasi why she and her sister made that clicking sound to each other. "We do that because my sister can not speak. Her throat was cut in battle once and her vocal chords were severed. She nearly died". Thalissia now understood Sirasi's devotion and loyalty to her sister, and was touched by the love between the two of them.

 One of the Amazons dressing Thalissia spoke; "Sirasi almost never left her sister's side. She fed her and washed her, attended to her wounds personally". The other Amazon chimed in, "She even slept by her side. They are inseparable, where one goes, the other goes, always, or nearly so. If they cannot be together for some reason, they aren't far from each other. They stay within hearing distance of each other.". "If you were to call your sister now, she would come?" Thalissia asked. "Yes. Watch". Sirasi moved to the door of the lodge and clicked her tongue three times; within moments, Jenara was there, spear in hand, looking as though she were ready for a fight. Jenara raised her right hand to her mouth, palm facing away, and made a short throwing motion, then tapped her own chest with the flat of her hand twice. "Yes, I did. I was showing Thalissia that you were within calling distance, and that you would come to me if I called". Jenara formed a fist with her right hand, with only her smallest finger, and her thumb raised, held it to her chest, and moved it a way in one short motion so that the palm of the hand faced up.

"Because she asked why we signaled one another as we do". Satisfied by this answer, Jenara made a few other hand signs, then repeated the hand to chest with thumb and smallest finger extended, and made a sweeping down and away motion. "Yes, go" Sirasi responded, "I'll see you later" Jenara nodded and left. When Jenara had gone, Thalissia asked Sirasi, "Can the two of you communicate anything to each other like this? " "Yes, very nearly so. What we can not communicate to one another with hand signs, she either writes down, or she shows me what she wants me to understand. Such as someone being hurt; for that she must take me to where the person is, or write down who it is who is hurt". As they talked, fighting could be heard in the distance, and the distinctive sound of Xena's "YIYIYIYIYIYIY!" Sirasi and Thalissia's heads snapped towards the sound.

The two Amazons, who had finished dressing Thalissia, ran off to join the battle. Sirasi's Amazon blood began to boil at the thought of battle. Her muscles began to flex repeatedly at the very thought of battle, but she didn't dare disobey the Queen. Her mind was more on the battle outside than on her assigned duty of guarding Thalissia. Sirasi began to pace anxiously like a tiger in a cage; yearning to run into battle. Thalissia herself longed to join her new found Aunt in battle, but was unsure what this tall, muscular Amazon would do if she even thought of going to join the battle. As the two women fought their impulses, Shantar appeared at the door of the hut; "Sirasi, are you coming? The warlord Darius and his men have had the nerve to attack our village". "I can't, the Queen commanded me to stay and guard Thalissia".

"She told you to see that I was properly dressed, she didn't say you had to stay and guard me; I can protect myself. Besides, I want to fight too". "Oh no, if you think I'm gonna let anything happen to the Queen's daughter, you're crazy. As much as I want to join the fight, it's safer for us to stay here away from it". "Sirasi, she's right; besides, she was traveling with Xena, she must be able to fight if Xena allowed her to travel with her" Shantar intoned on Thalissia's behalf. Xena would never allow a helpless girl to travel with her". "Yeah, but you know as well as I do that if anything happens to her while she's under my guard, I'm as good as dead". "So keep an eye on her, you're the best warrior we have next to the Queen herself, you have to be there, and as her Second and Regent, it's expected". Sirasi mulled this over for a few moments, and then made her mind up. "All right, we fight, but if you get in over your head, you yell for me, understand Thalissia? I won't have you hurt or worse under my guard".

"Yes, I understand Sirasi" Thalissia responded as she took up her staff which lay against the wall near at hand. She knew by the tone of the Warrior Woman's voice to do as she was told. Sirasi was too tall, lean, strong, and hard muscled to argue with. She carried herself with a dignity befitting her position in the tribe; and with a confidence that told all those who saw her that she knew who she was and what she was capable of. No one fought Sirasi unless they were suicidal. Sirasi stood out among her fellow Amazons simply do to the fact that she stood about six foot two, as did Jenara, and Shantar, and like them, she has a long, lean, hard, muscled body.

Sirasi jogged off to join the fight, not having to run because her long legs carried her quickly enough in a jog without having to run. When she did run, she was really fast; this being the reason that she, her sister, and Shantar are Thalinna 's three, "primary" warriors. Sirasi and her Bondmate trotted ahead, and Thalissia followed, having to run to keep up with the long legged warriors, her legs being much shorter. Five foot eight inch Thalissia thought to herself as she followed them; "What am I? Crazy? I can't even begin to match these strong Amazon Warriors in fighting skill. Look how tall, strong, and beautiful they are, I was kidding myself. I don't have a choice now that I all ready said I wanted to fight. Now I have to prove myself in battle, and try not to embarrass Xena and Gabrielle".

Thalissia didn't have much time to mull her decision over however, as they had come upon the battle to see Amazons fighting with all their skill, Gabrielle and Xena in their midst. Darius and his men were fighting with all the skill, and savagery they knew, but with Xena in the middle of the fracas, they didn't have a chance. Xena had just backhand punched one warrior, and double kicked two more coming heads on at her, when Sirasi and her comrades in arms joined in the battle. Thirty to one odds were not good, but then again, when one had Xena fighting for them on their sides, the odds were greatly improved. As Sirasi, Shantar, and Thalissia began punching, kicking, and slashing the odds seemed to worsen, more warriors came out of the surrounding woods and attacked; the Amazons, Xena, Gabrielle, and Thalissia not giving up the fight, continued to fight their hardest, though they were tiring.

Thalissia swung her staff into the legs of one warrior toppling him to his feet. She jabbed her staff into the stomach of the warrior who had come up behind her, reversed the position of the staff, and swung it down on the man on the ground's chest like a club. She clubbed the warrior behind her on the head, then brought it down in the same position, and clubbed the one on the ground on the head. She was fighting with the ability of a younger Xena, but she didn't quite have the stamina of the original. In fact, if not for the clothing difference, she could have easily been mistaken for Xena. Around her, Xena, Gabrielle, and their new Amazon friends were swinging sword, and staff fighting like tigers, and it was paying off, their attackers were loosing the fight. As she finished off yet another attacker, Thalissia happened to glance over in the direction of Shantar just in time to see her receive a sword slash to the right arm, and to hear her cry out in pain.

Hearing her Bond Mate's cry, Sirasi rushed to her side, and fought off her attacker, subduing, and then killing him. Not thinking, she turned her attention away from any further attackers, to look at Shantar's cut, and nearly paid the price. Luckily, Sirasi's sister was keeping an eye on her, and saw a warrior coming at her, sword held high yelling a battle cry as he came on. Before Sirasi could get her sword up to fend off the attack, he was nearly on her, but luckily, Jenara appeared out of no where seemingly, and rammed herself into him bodily, knocking him away from her just in time. Having landed on top of him, Jenara pulled out her dagger and slashed him across the throat. Wiping her blood-covered dagger across his tunic with one hand, Jenara straightened a bit, looked him in the eyes, and spit in his face. Seeing her sister's contempt, Sirasi smiled, and when Jenara looked up at her, she said, "Good, you are a true warrior".

She extended her arm down to help Jenara to her feet, but just as Jenara had straightened, she was hit in the back by a spear, and thrust into her sister's arms. The momentum thrust Sirasi into Shantar's arms, and the double weight and the momentum carried both to the ground; Shantar unable to support their weight with her injured arm. Bye this time the fighting had stopped the warlord and his men either killed, or run off, and the amazons attending to their wounded. "Oh Gods, Jenara, no, no...." Sirasi cried as she cradled her sister in her arms while Shantar prepared to pull the long spear from her friend's back. "Brace her, if she's still alive, this is gonna hurt like Tartarus". Sirasi did as instructed and braced her sister as Shantar got a hold of the spear, and yanked it out.

Jenara's entire body jerked at the retraction of the spear, and caused Sirasi to gasp at the pain her sister would have felt had she been conscious. Sirasi undid the headband she wore with one hand while vainly attempting to staunch the blood with her other hand, and quickly placed it over the gash in her sister's back. "HEALER!" Sirasi shouted in a desperate panic to save her sister's life as it ebbed from her body like a river. "HEALER! " Shantar had removed her headband as well, and was also holding it over the wound, applying pressure, though she well knew that it would never even begin to staunch the massive amount of blood Jenara was loosing. The Healer came running and began to work on Jenara immediately. "We have to get her into my Hut and stop this bleeding. Or she'll bleed to death."

"I'll carry her" Sirasi responded without a moment's hesitation as she gently flipped her sister over on her back in order to carry her, then up into a sitting position, slipping one arm under her sister's legs, and another behind her back. "Here, let me help" Shantar offered, moving to help her carry Jenara, only to have her hand pushed away rather roughly. Shantar was totally taken aback by this rejection from her Bond Mate; she had never before been rebuffed by Sirasi, and it was shocking and outright painful being rebuffed now. Again she tried to take Jenara into her arms, at least partially, and again, Sirasi pushed her hand away, more roughly, sharply saying, "NO, I said I would carry her". With that, she easily lifted her sister in her arms, and walked off towards the Healer's hut, paying no attention to Shantar standing there alone, staring after her in shock.

A few feet away Gabrielle and Xena, attending to the wounded, noticed the rift, Sirasi's yell for the Healer having gotten pretty much everyone's attention and the action there after had held it. They watched as Shantar stared after her Bond Mate in disbelief, and then turn and walk in the opposite direction. As Xena continued to work on the wounded, who weren't very bad off, Gabrielle watched Sirasi hurry into the Healer's Hut with her sister in her arms, her Bond Mate not even so much as a brief thought in her mind. "Gabrielle!" Xena called for the second time, Gabrielle had been so engrossed in what was going on with the Amazons that she hadn't noticed what she was supposed to have been doing. At Xena's prodding, Gabrielle returned to bandaging arms, and sewing; even Thalissia was helping, doing so as if it were perfectly natural.



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