The Birthday Gift Part II
By Shadowdancer

DISCLAIMER: I didn't create the characters in this story, though I do admit to using them without Universal's Knowledge. Then again, all of us Bards are so there you have it. The story is entirely mine, and some of the characters you've never heard of before will be mine. With that said and done, enjoy.

Note: By the way, feedback would be appreciated: (Don't ask)

Genre: Alternative Fan Fiction

Xena, and Gabrielle had planned on going to Pagasae for a few days before moving on but this thing with Alti had changed all that. They would have to get to the Amazon village now and get ready for Alti. As they approached the village, Ephiny called out to her fellow Amazons In the trees, and they were allowed to pass. When they entered the village, Danalia came from Ephiny's hut to greet them. "My Queen, welcome home" Danalia said as she knelt and put her right closed fist to her chest and bowed her head. "Rise Second and Regent" Danalia rose. "Xena, Gabrielle, this is Danalia, my Second and Regent, and my Bond-Mate. I know that you are the true Queen Gabrielle, but when you aren't here, I have to have someone command the tribe when I'm gone". "Of course you do, and as far as I'm concerned you're still Queen Ephiny. After all, you're here all the time, I'm only here when Xena and I are in the area; a true queen needs to be here all the time, not just now and then". "Danalia, please have Karinna prepare Queen Gabrielle's hut, and inform the others that she has come" "Yes my Queen" Danalia saluted her again, and took off. "How long have you and Danalia been together now Ephiny?" Xena asked, it was uncharacteristic of Xena to ask such a thing, but she had.

"We've been together for two seasons now, she's wonderful" Ephiny answered as she looked after Danalia with obvious love and desire in her eyes. "That's great" Gabrielle said, happy for Ephiny, happy that she had found someone to love and who loved her. "She's the best archer in the village, and one of the swiftest runners. Not to mention she has a sharp eye and hand when it comes to hunting" Ephiny went on as she escorted Xena and Gabrielle to their hut. They would have thought Ephiny was Danalia's proud mother rather than her bond mate. "Not to mention the tallest Amazon I've ever seen" Gabrielle remarked as she they watched Danalia speaking to who must have been Karinna. "You haven't seen Brenna yet" Ephiny remarked. "Brenna's taller than Danalia, and Danalia stands six foot or so. Then there's Corin, Corin stands about six four, and she's the tallest in the tribe". "Gods Eph, are you guys eating special vegetables or something to be raising such tall warriors?" Xena asked as they stepped up into the hut. Ephiny laughed as Gabrielle sat on the bed wearily, and Xena sat their packs down on it. "Nope, they came that size. You should see Brenna, and Corin's mothers, if you did, you'd understand why their daughters are so tall. Corin's an exact double of her mother, and Brenna favors Danalia in a lot of ways even though they're in no way related"

"Whose Danalia's mother? Is she here? Can we meet her?" Ephiny got sad suddenly, "No, Danalia's mother was killed in battle three seasons ago, knife to the stomach. The blade hit a vital organ and she died before anyone realized she'd been wounded. Danalia grieved for months. She and her mother were extremely close. Danalia didn't rest until she hunted down and avenged her mother's death. Let me assure you, the woman who killed her mother died a horrid death; I should know, I was there when she killed her. Danalia is a very gently woman, but she can also be extremely vicious when the circumstances merit it. She's one of the fiercest warriors in the tribe. But mind you, she never kills unless it's unavoidable, even in battle, she normally only wounds unless she has no choice, or if we're being attacked by overwhelming odds and there's just too many coming all at once". Xena and Gabrielle were impressed; she seemed to be quite a warrior. "She sounds like a magnificent warrior and friend Ephiny" Xena replied. "She is, she really is. You'll get to meet her later, but for now, I'll leave you two alone so that you can unpack and rest up. We'll have the meeting about Alti, and make plans when you're ready".

"Great" Xena said to Ephiny just before she left them alone. Plopping down on the bed, Gabrielle fell backwards on to it and reveled in its softness. "You know, Xena there are some advantages to being the Queen of the tribe" "Yeah, like this nice, soft bed for a change". "And not having to eat rabbit for awhile", " And the company of good friends like Ephiny, and the others". "I think Ephiny's found her true love in Danalia, did you see how she looked at her when Danalia came out to meet us? And the look in her eyes when she talked about her to us? She couldn't praise her enough, though she did give it a darn good try". " I know, I'm happy for her. She deserves to be happy". "She does. What are we gonna do about Alti Xena? How do you destroy a Shamaness who can't be destroyed?" "I don't know Gabrielle, but we have to find out, or we'll all be destroyed instead of her". "And Ephiny and the other Amazons with us" Gabrielle's face turned grave as ducked her head down as she often did when she was thinking deep thoughts, or had gone into her head where not even Xena could reach her

Getting up from the bed Xena walked over to Gabrielle, and took her into her arms, holding her comfortingly. Gabrielle had such a look of pain and loss on her face, and Xena knew she was remembering Perdicus, and Hope. Yes, Hope had been the very incarnation of evil itself, but nonetheless, she still been Gabrielle's daughter regardless of all that she had done. Thinking of Hope as she stood there holding Gabrielle, made Xena remember Solan, and her heart began to ache again for her lost son who Gabrielle's daughter had killed. She could never forgive Hope for killing Solan, but she should never have blamed Gabrielle for his death. It hadn't been Gabrielle's fault; it had been Hope's fault. True, if Gabrielle had listened to her and let her kill Hope when she was born, Solan would be alive now; but Gabrielle had been protecting her on daughter, her own flesh and blood. Hope had come from her body; she had only been protecting her own child. Xena couldn't, by rights, blame her for that.

"Well, that's all in the past now" Xena thought to herself; "It's gonna be alright Gabrielle, we won't let them get hurt. We'll stop Alti somehow, we did it before, we can do it again". "Yeah but how Xena?' Gabrielle asked, snuggling into Xena's comforting embrace. "We'll find away Gabrielle, don't worry, we'll find away" she reassured her, but in truth, Xena had no idea how they were going to stop Alti. If scattering her spirit to the winds hadn't stopped her, what on earth could?. "Hmmm…" Xena thought to herself, "On earth, what, "On earth" could stop her. Maybe nothing "on earth' could stop Alti, but something, or someone below earth could. Hades, lord or the underworld. He had a way to trap a soul in the underworld forever. If there were someway she could get Alti to Tartarus where Lord Hades could entrap her, she would never bother them again. "Maybe the chains of Hephaestus could hold her, no mortal could break free of them" Xena thought to herself with new hope arising in her.

Meanwhile: In Ephiny and Danalia's hut:

Danalia kissed Ephiny's throat, and chest, and both breasts in turn, suckling at each nipple, causing Ephiny to shiver in ecstasy, her right hand lay in the small of Ephiny's back, urging her closer to her as her left hand caressed Ephiny's warm, moist center. With four of her fingers, Danalia thrust in and out, in and out repeatedly, eliciting a moan of utter pleasure from Ephiny. Moving down from Ephiny's small, firm breasts, Danalia kissed her way down to Ephiny's womanhood, and kissed it, then bit it, not hard, but hard enough for Ephiny to know she'd been bitten there. "Danalia!!!!! Ohhhhh Danalia!" Ephiny shouted in ecstasy, then "Heart" her nickname for her, "Hearrrrrrtttt…" she purred. Getting the response she had been striving for, that excited her in turn, Danalia moved inside of Ephiny with her tongue, tickling Ephiny in the way she knew would cause her to climax quickly. She began biting again, again eliciting another "mmmmm Heart, Oh heart! My heart! I love you so" from Ephiny.who had arched her back as much as was humanly possible. Ephiny began clawing at the skins on the bed, nearly out of her mind with pleasure; so she would climax soon or explode.

Feeling Ephiny about to climax, Danalia returned to kissing the outside of Ephiny's center, taking the delicate skin there in her teeth and applying small bites repeatedly as she ate at it like an apple. Panting hard as she climaxed, Ephiny moaned one last time, and sank to the bed, exhausted, and Danalia released her wet center from her teeth. "Had enough yet Cat?" Danalia asked as she lay beside Ephiny, resting. "Not on your life Heart, but please, give me a moment to recover. I swear you're gonna kill me one of these days Heart". "Yeah, but what a way to go huh?" Ephiny chuckled just as they heard and explosion outside. "What the Tartarus was that? Ephiny asked. "I have no idea" Danalia responded as she got up from the bed and hurriedly dressed, as did Ephiny. "Mother! Mother! The village is being attacked by some crazed woman, she's dressed like a Shamaness" Selene called from outside, keeping her eyes averted as she stood near the lodge. As they had no doors on their huts, it was a general understanding that when you approached a lodge where the occupants were inside, you called out to announce yourself, and then averted your eyes out of politenes

"Alti" Ephiny and Danalia said in one breathe, both now fully dressed. "Send Serene go to warn Xena and Gabrielle, and then you and Lia and the other children get to the caves and stay there until someone comes for you". "Yes mother" Selene said, and hurried off to do as her mother had commanded. Ephiny had sponsored Selene when she'd been very young, and then had adopted her; Selene was now Ephiny's heir. Danalia had done like wise with Lia, and like Ephiny with Selene, had adopted her as her daughter; now Lia was Danalia's heir. Lia would become Second in command and Regent to Selene when their mother's died naturally, or were killed in battle. If Danalia died, but Ephiny lived, then Ephiny was free to appoint another Second in Regent if Danalia died without giving her rite of cast to Lia "officially" until Lia was of age depending of course, on what age she was when Danalia died. If Ephiny died before Danalia, then Danalia would inherit automatically as her Second and Regent, or she could give the rite of cast to Selene if she didn't want the title for some reason and either retain her title as Second and Regent, or abdicate her title to Lia and "retire".

Danalia and Ephiny grabbed their scabbards, slung them onto their backs, Ephiny grabbed her bow, Danalia her daggers, strapping one onto both legs on the outside, and with Ephiny's help, one to each outer forearm, and they took off into battle, coming out the same exact time as Xena and Gabrielle, Xena with her sword in one hand, and chakram in the other, Gabrielle with her staff ready for battle. "Ahhhh, Xena" Alti purred, "Nice to see you again… I missed you my dear". Stopping a few feet in front of her former mentor, Xena hissed, "I wish I could say the same Alti. What do you want here?" "Oh I just came by to see how my Amazon friends and you and your little Bitch are doing before I head up to Olympus to say Hello to the gods". Ephiny and Danalia got as close to the Shamaness as they could, Ephiny ready with her bow, Danalia with a throwing dagger in either hand; Alti was surrounded by Amazons from behind and the sides, she wasn't getting away unless she vanished magically.

"How do you propose to get to Olympus Alti?" Gabrielle ventured. "I have my methods Little One, don't you worry. But enough talk for now, now its time for play" with that Alti threw a fire ball at Danalia and Ephiny, both diving to the ground just in time, and then at Xena and Gabrielle, they doing like wise. "Oh this is NOT gonna be easy" Gabrielle said as she lay in the dust. "Not by a long shot" Xena said as she got to her feet and threw her chakram at its target. Alti caught the chakram, and held it, laughing her evil laugh. "Still have your favorite weapon of choice I see " she said in her deep throated, sensuous voice, and then sent it flying back at Xena who just barely caught it in time. Gabrielle threw one of her sais at Alti, then the other, only to have her catch and return them to her, at full speed headed for her head. With an "Aaaahhh!" she just barely ducked in time, to have them stab two Amazons behind her. "Ha! I have great aim. Always did" "Well, it's been fun girls, but I gotta run. I have gods to kill" and with that, Alti vanished in a tower of flame, her evil laugh echoing.


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