The Black Wolf

by xenia

O.K.. You know all the stuff about Xena, Gabrielle and MCA. So I don't have to tell you all again.

This is my first story. There are some pretty love scences between adults of the same sex. So if you don't get along with it, run away or take a long hot bath.I would love to hear feedback that I can use to make my next story even better.
And now enjoy the story.

Chapter One

As usual Gabrielle’s stomach started to grumble even though it was only two hours ago they stopped and ate.

"How can you possibly be hungry so soon after having eaten two rabbits and three apples." Xena asked her eyebrow raised at the bard "Anymore and you would of started nibbling on my armor."

"What do you want from me? For three days I Had only a handful of nuts and berries while we were in that cave fighting that monster of Hera’s." Gabrielle’s voice was edging on anger.

"You could of went on to the next village or tried some hunting yourself." Xena said flatly.

"The next village was two days away." With her hands on her hips Gabrielle stopped "And besides you know I can’t hunt. So my dear warrior princess I had to survive on what I could find. Its like sucking on stones."

Xena stopped abruptly and turned to face the bard.

"You did what? Sucked on stones?" Both eyebrows raised and a smile crept across her face as she thought about her doing such a thing.

"No, I didn’t, It was a joke okay. But to answer your question, No, I’m not hungry anymore, all right?" Gabrielle abruptly started walking again. As she passed Xena and Argo she smiled to herself.

Xena shook her head, something she seems to do a lot at the bard. But loves her just the same.

The road was getting long and hot. Gabrielle needed a distraction so she began daydreaming about one of there adventures. Her favorite. Back to when she got her staff. It was a gift from Ephiny after she and Xena helped the Amazons defeat the warlord that killed Terreis the Amazon Princess and tried to take there land. Gabrielle remembers how she felt when Terreis fell from the tree with an arrow in her chest. She knew she had to do something to protect her so she ran to her and covered her body with her own. Unable to save the Amazon Gabrielle scooped her up in her arms. Terreis last words to her was "will you take my right of cast." Words the bard will never forget. From the moment Terreis took her last breath Gabrielle then became the Amazon Princess.

"Gabrielle……..GABRIELLE" Xena shouted still unable to get the bards attention.

"GABRIELLE" Xena again shouted as she laid her hand on her shoulder and pulled her to a stop.

"What?" Gabrielle spun around readying her staff.

"Calm down, I was just trying to get your attention. You should be careful not to get so lost in thought that you don’t know what’s going on around you. It could get you killed." Xena scolded unable to understand why she would do such a thing.

"I’m sorry, I was just thinking." Gabrielle’s head hung low.

Xena stepped closer to her, put her hand on her cheek. Her fingers traced Gabrielle’s jaw line and stopped at her chin. Xena raised Gabrielle’s face to look into her eye’s. "I’m sorry too, I just worry about you that’s all." Xena smiled and Gabrielle wrapped her arms around Xena’s waist resting her head on her chest.

She loved this closeness and took every opportunity she could to hold Xena like this. Long moments passed but a life time of thought held them together. ‘Oh Xena if only I could tell you how much I love you, If I did would you still be here tomorrow? Do you feel as I do? Everytime I look into your eyes I think I see love but I’m afraid it might only be what I want to see.’

Xena broke the silence. "There’s a village just over this ridge, what do you say we get a room, hot bath and if we’re lucky the beds will be soft."

Gabrielle nodded thinking ‘bed my dear warrior princess, not beds.’

As the pair entered the village Xena stopped and looked around "Gabrielle" Xena whispered "do you notice anything?"

"Yeah, the village seems deserted. What do you think happened here?"

"I don’t know………shhhhh…..listen" Xena’s voice just bearably audible.

Suddenly Xena heard something. It was coming from behind a stand of trees. She motioned for Gabrielle to take cover and stay put while she ran into the forest in the opposite direction. She circled the village to come up behind the spot where she heard the noise. As she closed in, she pulled her sword from its sheath, held it with both hands and walked without making a noise. When she stepped out from the underbrush she saw a very frightened young boy, maybe 10 years old. When he turned and saw Xena with her sword in hand he began screaming. Xena put her sword away and cautiously approached the boy with her hands up. "Its okay, I’m not going to hurt you, calm down."

Xena kept her distance and knelt down, talking calmly to the boy, "I want to help you. I’m your friend."

"Are you really my friend" the boy asked wiping away tears.

"Yes" she said softly.

The boy threw himself into Xena’s arms and cried. Xena wasn’t sure what to do so she scooped him up, held him tight until his tears stopped. He was unaware Xena had been walking back towards Gabrielle and the village.

Gabrielle’s eyes were soft as she watched her warrior carry the frightened child. Xena had a way of making bad things go away. Another reason why she loved this woman she thought.

Xena sat the boy down on the ground, her and Gabrielle both knelt beside him. "Everything is going to be all right. What’s your name?" Xena softly asked touching his arm for comfort.

"My name is Xanthis."

"Why were you so scared?"

"I was afraid of the wolf. He is around this valley and attack villages. He even can speak." The boy trembled

Xena and Gabrielle looked at each other puzzled, they both at the same time shrugged there shoulders.

"It is true. Talk to my mother. She knows a little more than I. What’s your name?"

Softly Xena spoke. "My name is Xena and this is Gabrielle. Will you take us to your mother, maybe we can help." She said smiling at the child.


Chapter 2

Xena and Gabrielle are sitting at a table talking with Xanthis’s mother who insisted on feeding them, thankful they found her son and brought him home. As Xena chews on an apple Urania tells them about the wolf.

"All began one month ago. My husband Epidemais and I were sitting in the evening outside. It was a wonderful and warm night. Epidemais went to get something to drink, as we heard that noise. It was a roar but it wasn’t bestial neither human. My husband tell me that I should go back to the house. But through a window I saw everything. From the forest came running a big wolf. His coat was black like the night, you could hear and see his breath. He saw my husband and went after him. And than he began to speak. What do you want, you little individual? Do you think you can beat me? Your sword can’t kill me. I’m invincible. I have to say I like this village. I think I’m going to visit you more. My husband was very angry, he said, you will leave here, because I don’t scare you. It was the first and last time you come here. While he speak this words, he pulled his sword out and rushed against the wolf. I scream that he should come back, but he didn’t hear me."

Urania stopped, visibly shaken. Gabrielle leaned over and touched her hand. If you don’t want to talk any more its all right. We have a good idea what’s happened to your husband."

Urania smiled at the gentleness of the bard.

"No…No, Its all right. You should know the whole story. You are right, Epidemais pushed his sword in the heart of the beast. Or better he tried it. Because before he could push his sword forward the beast caught it with his mouth and throw it away. My husband stand frozen in front of the wolf. The wolf looked at him and said, I’ve told you, I’m invincible. That you attack me is your death sentence. Because now you made me mad. You will never see the sunrise again. Do you have some last words before you die? Yes my husband said bravely, that someone is coming to kill you, you last scum. After that he took my husband in his paws and broke his neck. I screamed, the wolf looked at me and I saw this ice-cold in his eyes. The beast said to me, If you wanna die next, go on screaming. I have no doughts to kill women too. As fast as the wolf was here, so fast he was gone. But since then he comes everynight at midnight to attack us. And I heard from other villages that these were attacked by the wolf too. There he killed humans, too. It is like he is a killing machine from the Tartarus."

Urania stood to get some wine. Gabrielle looked at Xena then to Xanthis who was playing with a wooden sword. Xanthis thought he heard a noise and ran to the far corner of the house. Urania returned with the wine, poured Xena a mug and continued her story.

"I don’t know what to do with Xanthis. He had looked too how brutal his father was killed. Since then he changed. At all little noises he went to a corner. We all have changed. I thought about to move to another village. I just live here in fear. Not about me, I’ve lived my life. But I’m scared about my son. My poor Xanthis."

Gabrielle poked Xena in the side trying to get her to say something.

"Urania, you’ve said the wolf shows after midnight. Is he coming from the same place everynight? Could you show me the place?"

"Yes, it is as if he is living in the forest just outside the village. Man’s from our village search the whole forest after him, but find nothing. Do you wanna say you search for the monster? Do you want to be killed too?"

"It will be all right. Will you show me?" Xena’s patients beginning to wear thin.

"As you wish, I will take you there. But I think he is no longer there."


"he said, he had enough from our town and go to the next village."

"We’ll see, Now will you take me there while we still have time."

Xena looked over at Gabrielle fearing for her safety. She spoke softly, "I need you to take care of Xanthis, While Urania and I go to the forest. Will you do that for me?"

"Of course, take care of yourself. I want to see you alive again, not in pieces. Do you hear me Xena?"

Xena smiled. It was a winner smile Gabrielle knew well. As they closed the door Gabrielle just stood looking at the door. She signed and went to Xanthis. She prayed to the gods that nothing would happen to Xena. For the first time she was afraid for Xena.

Chapter 3

It was just before midnight when Urania and Xena started to look for the wolf. Xena’s thoughts were on Gabrielle and how much she had to keep her save, no matter what happened. She couldn’t bear it again if something happened to the only person in the world that she loved.

"Xena, we are here."

Xena tensed up at the voice. She was so lost in thought about her bard that she forgot what she was doing. This angered the warrior, that she couldn’t keep her mind on what she was doing.

Xena had no trouble finding the tracks in the dirt, there was several footprints and tracks left from what appeared to be a wolf, a very large wolf she thought.

"Urania, how big was this wolf" Xena said measuring the print with her hand.

"He was big like two wolves together. It was spooky. His paws were so big that my husband could block it with his arm."

"Yeah, I thought so, But I don’t think the wolf is gone. The footprints aren’t but a couple hours old."

Urania swallowed. It meant that it wasn’t over yet.

Urania’s hand went up to her mouth as she said "Xanthis."

"Urania, don’t worry, I’ll take care that nothing happens to you, Xanthis or the other villagers. We’ll find the wolf and a way to kill it. I promise." Xena said matter of factly.

"Will you die too? Aren’t there enough victims?
Don’t do this to us. I don’t want any more bloodshed."

Xena answered soft but determined "Leave that problem to me. I’m not ready to die yet."

In the meantime Gabrielle and Xanthis fell asleep. Xenthis’ head laying in her lap. Gabrielle had a protective arm around the boys shoulder. Suddenly she jumped frightening the boy. He ran to the back of the house and crouched in the corner. Gabrielle quietly walked over to the door with her staff in her hand.

"Who’s there? Xena is that you?"

There was only a growl, a sound not bestial nor human.

"No, its me. The big bad black wolf. Are you coming out, or have I to get you out?"

Gabrielle didn’t know what to do. Sweat rolled down her face. She opened the door clutching her staff ready for anything. The wolf she saw was gigantic. Urania was right in her description. Gabrielle thought.

"Ah, I’ve never seen you here before. Who are you pretty girl? I want to know your name before I kill you."

Gabrielle swallowed hard. "My name is Gabrielle, you will not get past me. They say you are invincible but there is always a way to kill a monster. Gabrielle swallowed hard. Her courage surprised even her.

"oh but you will be surprised. Because there is absolutely no way to kill me. I’m invincible. You’re also thoughtless like a stupid man I killed here. And now I’m going to kill you."

Gabrielle readied her staff as the beast approached. Suddenly he stopped.

"No. Stop it. Isn’t it enough that you killed my father? Have you to kill her too?"

The wolf looked at Xanthis with cold eyes. A laugh came from his throat "You want to say me what I have to do? Are you insane? For this you have to die after I kill your friend."

Gabrielle shouted to Xanthis "Get back inside." The boy ran to her and put his arms around her waist.

Xena was following the tracks back towards the village when suddenly she stopped and studied the ground.

"What can you recognized?"

Xena held the torch she took with her and tried to explain what happened here. "there was a fight here" She pointed to the ground where the grass and branches were crushed. She continued "It looks like it was one strong person, Not big but strong. The victim was thrown to the ground, here," she points "you can see a print of the whole body, and there, footprints of a man, that turn into the tracks of the wolfffff." Xena shakes her head, unable or unwilling to understand what her eyes are telling her.

Xena looks at Urania who has fallen to knees and began to prey.

"The footprints head away from the village. I’ll follow them……" Xena snapped her head up when she heard a scream. "Gabrielle" she said to herself. "Nooooooo" Xena screamed as she started running as fast as she could to the village.

"X-E-N-A! Help.I need you" came a desperate cry from the bard, her bard.

Chapter 4

Xena ran as fast as she could. She didn’t care about the branches hitting her in the face. She only wanted to get to Gabrielle.

The wolf stepped closer to Gabrielle. She could feel his breath on her skin. He raised his paw to her, Just then Xanthis broke from clinging on to Gabrielle and ran into the house. Gabrielle went into her fighting stance, rotating her staff in her hands. They circled each other as Gabrielle’s muscles became tense. She was ready to fight for her and Xanthis life even if it meant her death. She twirled her staff faster, her nerves on edge. The wolf growled deep. The hairs in his back stood up, with his backpaws he went into a crouch. He was ready to jump.

"Right away it is over, my girl. I promise it’s going to be fast. Or maybe not. HaHa."

Gabrielle swallowed. If he really was invincible she was about to find out quickly.

"I’ll say it again. I know how to defend myself."

The wolf roared, he jumped towards Gabrielle. Suddenly he was stopped in mid air. Gabrielle had hit him in his stomach with her staff. He gasped and fell back. Gabrielle stepped forward to look at the wolf. He was unconscious from only her one blow. As it laid there Gabrielle said "I knew you couldn’t be invincible. I was right, and you didn’t kill me."

In that moment the wolf opened his eyes and laughed at her.

"I wouldn’t be so sure. Now I got you were I want you."

Gabrielle was so surprised she froze and her staff fell from her hand. The wolf caught it and tossed it into the bushes. He stood to his full height and pulled his paws up. This time he knew there was nothing to stop him.

"Now the playing part is over. Let’s go over to the serious part."

Gabrielle stood frozen to her spot. She closed her eyes. What is it Xena always tells her. "Act don’t react". It was as if she could hear Xena voice. She turned and began running towards the forest. The wolf jumped and followed her.

"You can run, but you can’t hide. I’m going to find you everywhere. You can’t escape."

As Gabrielle ran she turned to see where the wolf was and stumbled over a root. The wolf was suddenly upon her. She screamed Xena’s name.

"You see? I just say you can’t hide. If I choose my victims then I followed them till the end of my life, if I have to be3. That’s your end. Its bad, isn’t it?"

"XENA. XENA." She screamed at the top of her lungs.

The wolf looked at her and she could hear his laugh.

"Do you think your friend can help you now? You will be dead before she gets here."

"I wouldn’t be so sure of that. Get your paws off my friend. If you’ve hurt her you will die."

Xena stood in front of him with both hands on the hilt of her sword. She looked at him with that ice cold stare that always frightened Gabrielle.

"You surprise me Xena. You’re courage, that impress me. But nothing will change. Because you gonna die too. And if you want I kill you first. I don’t have a problem with the order."

"Come on, big words from a coward."

Xena began to slowly back up. Her rage was becoming unmanageable as she thought about what could of happened to Gabrielle if she wasn’t there. She raised her sword and went into position. She knew she was going to kill him.

"This will be the last time you attack anybody. I’m going to kill you."

The wolf roared and jumped at Xena. She fell over, but kept her sword pointed to the wolf and rammed it into his chest as he fell on her. He grabbed his chest and fell to the ground. Xena removed her sword wiping the blood on the wolfs fur.

Xena ran to Gabrielle. "Are you all right? Did he hurt you?"

As Xena stroked Gabrielle’s hair she thought she saw love in her eyes. Her heart nearly beat its was out of her chest. How long I have waited for this look she thought, but I need to be sure. Gabrielle held her feeling in. In a moments time she finally found her voice. "Yes, I’m okay just a little scared. I prayed you would get here when you did. Is he dead?"

She pointed to the wolf and tried to stand. Her knees buckled and Xena grabbed her and held her tight. "You sure your okay?" Gabrielle nodded.

They stepped over to where the wolf laid. "Yeah, I think he’s dead. But it was just to easy. Something’s not right. Lets move it into the forest."

"How is Xanthis? Xena asked

"He is okay. He ran into the house and I lead the wolf away form there." Gabrielle spoke softly. Her heart was just starting to return to normal.

Urania came running out of the forest. "Xanthis……Xanthis" she yelled. He came running to her and throw himself into her arms.

"Mother. Xena killed the monster. Now everything is over."

Urania turned to Xena. "Xena, I thank you with all my heart. Now we can live in peace. Thanks."

Xena looked at Gabrielle with questioning eyes. Gabrielle knew what she wanted to ask but shook her head no. She wasn’t sure if this was the right time to tell Urania what she was thinking about how easily the wolf died.

"There is nothing to thank me for but I sure could use a mug of wine." She grinned

"All the wine you want my friend." Urania smiled back.

"You go ahead Gabrielle and I will be there in a few minutes"

Urania nodded and went on home with Xanthis wrapped around her waist.

Xena turned to Gabrielle after they were out of ear shot. "Are you sure your okay?"

"Yeah" She said embarassing her warrior.

They walked to Urine’s house arm in arm.

Several hours later the bushed began to move. It was the wolf. It was alive. His wound was completely healed. He stood looking on the direction of Urine’s house and said "Xena, tonight you win but we see again. And then you will die." He turned and went in the opposite direction deeper into the woods.


Chapter 5

After Xena drank two mugs of wine she stood and looked at Gabrielle. "How about some fresh air and a walk. Besides, I would really like to talk to you."

"Okay, let Urania and Xanthis sleep. It is the first time in awhile they could sleep in peace."

They both stood and quietly walked outside. As they started to walk through the village and to the edge of town Gabrielle could sense something had Xena on edge. After awhile of silence and they were standing next to a tree Xena put her hands on Gabrielle’s shoulders, and looked into her eyes. She was the first to break the silence.

"I’m very proud of you. You were very courageous against that wolf." Xena said holding her gaze.

There was nothing else I could of done. I couldn’t ask him to wait until you got there. He didn’t seem the understanding type." Gabrielle and Xena both smiled at the thought of that happening.

Xena continued to look softly into Gabrielle’s eyes. "As I came to help you and saw the wolf on top of you I thought for a moment that you were dead. I couldn’t stand to loose you without saying how much I……."

Xena broke the sentence unsure of how to continue. Gabrielle looked at her and finished the sentence.

"Without telling me that you love me? Is that what you wanted you say?"

Xena looked at Gabrielle, relieved it was finally out.

"Yes. That’s what I wanted to say. I have loved you for so long Gabrielle. But I didn’t know how to tell you or how you would react to it. I don’t want to loose you. So I decided not to tell you and keep my wished to myself."

"What wishes?"

"To hold you, kiss you, make love to you."

"Oh Xena I have waited for so long to hear those words. I love you too, with all my heart."

Xena could not remember a time she felt happier then in this moment. She took Gabrielle into her arms and pulled her close. Her chin resting on Gabrielle’s head. Xena then took Gabrielle’s face into her hands and looked deep into her eyes. Ever so slowly Xena came nearer to her lips. Gabrielle thought she would pass out if Xena didn’t hurry and kiss her. Their lips touched. There first kiss was long and sweet. Xena opened her lips. Gabrielle followed her guide and opened her lips too. Their tongues touched. Gabrielle thought she would explode. She thought she would never get enough of Xena’s kisses Xena kissed her jaws and slowly moved to her neck. Xena’s passion overwhelmed her. She wanted nothing more then to love Gabrielle, to show her how much she loved her. She kissed her neck again and went in the direction of her ear. She nibbled on her ear and whispered
"I love you."

Gabrielle felt a happeness she had never felt before. She reached down to take her clothes off.

"Please, let me do that." Xena’s voice was husky and full of passion.

Gabrielle nodded. Xena’s hand went under Gabrielle’s top. Slowly she pulled it up. Every inch she pulled the top up she kissed the bear skin. Finally the top was lifted off and she saw those delicious breast she long to touch. Gabrielle guided Xena’s hands to her breast . Xena thought she had never touched anything so soft and wonderful before. As she messaged and squeezed Gabrielle’s breast a soft moan escaped Gabrielle’s throat. Xena kissed her not moving her hands from her breast. Xena finally removed her hand and began moving them down to undo Gabrielle’s skirt. When it fell to the ground Xena stood back and admired her bard. She then began removing her own clothes but not without Gabrielle’s help. Gabrielle moved behind Xena to undo her leathers. As they opened she kissed all exposed skin. Xena groaned. He hands trembled and she felt her knees go weak. Finally her clothes fell to the ground Xena turned and kissed Gabrielle. Without breaking the kiss she pulled Gabrielle to the ground, which was covered with a soft moss. She laid on top of the bard. Only now did she break the kiss.

Out of breath she asked Gabrielle "Are you sure you want this? I’m not sure I could stop once we began, I have wanted this far to long."

"Yes, I’m sure. I to have wanted this for a long time."

That was all Xena needed to hear. She kissed Gabrielle again. Gabrielle twined her fingers into Xena hair. There tongues met again, There passion rising. Xena kissing her neck, her shoulders and arms. Gabrielle moaned softly and whispered Xena’s name. Xena’s mouth moved to Gabrielle’s breast. She kissed her nipples and took her breast onto her warm mouth. She sucked on it as her free hand went to the other breast. Gabrielle’s nipple hardened at her touch. Xena moved to take her other breast into her mouth and kissed and sucked on it. Giving it the same attention the other one just received. Xena’s hand moved down the bards body and came to rest between her legs. Gabrielle moaned louder at the touch. She put her hands on Xena’s shoulders and gently pushed her down. Xena Smiled.

"Patients my little bard. We will get there soon enough" Xena growled

Gabrielle whimpered in frustration. She wanted nothing more then to feel Xena inside of her. Xena wondered down slowly kissing her on the way. At her stomach Xena stopped. Her tongue circled her navel and dipped into it. Gabrielle felt as if she was going to climax. Xena stopped.

"Oh no. Gabrielle not now."

"Xena, don’t stop."

Xena kissed the triangle of hair that longed for attention. Xena’s hand that was laying between her legs began to move. Her fingers glided over Gabrielle’s clit. Gabrielle begged.


Xena couldn’t hold it back any longer. She waited far to long for this moment. Her tongue took the place of her fingers on Gabrielle’s clit . Xena’s fingers continued its journey to stop at Gabrielle’s opening. Very gently she slid her waiting fingers into her. Gabrielle jerked but soon relaxed. Slowly Xena trust her fingers in and out of Gabrielle at the same speed her tongue worked. Her free hand rested on Gabrielle’s stomach. Gabrielle couldn’t hold back any longer. She increased her grip on Xena’s shoulders. Her hips moved faster. Then finally she reached her climax as wave after wave over took her. Her back arched as she fell back onto the ground gasping for air. Xena would not stop. Gabrielle could not take any more.

"Xena" she whimpered, "Stop…..I can’t take anymore. Come here."

Xena smiled releasing Gabrielle and kissing her way back up her body. She gently moved Gabrielle’s hands that still rested on her shoulders. Xena looked deep into her bards eyes and said.

"I love you so much, I am the luckiest Warrior Princess in the world."

As Xena once again kissed her she could smell herself on Xena’s lips. Gabrielle broke their kiss.

"Xena I love you too. I…I want …….But I don’t know how."

Xena smiled and said. "Give me your hand."

Gabrielle nodded and placed her hand in Xena’s. Xena took it and laid it between her legs. She then moved so Gabrielle laid on top of her. Gabrielle was uncertain what to do but she thought about the please Xena had just brought her. She moved her fingers over Xena’s clit. Xena groaned as her hips moved to the rythum of Gabrielle’s strokes. Gabrielle moved her fingers faster. Xena felt her climax coming, With a loud "Gabrielle" she fell back, exhausted.

Gabrielle had never felt such happiness. All her wishes were coming true. Happily she laid her head on Xena’s chest and said. "I love you Xena."

Xena smiled and kissed the bard.

"I love you too."

As Xena held Gabrielle in her arms they both fell asleep.

Chapter 6

When Xena woke up she looked down at her bard who was resting her head on Xena’s breast.

" So, it wasn’t a dream. It was to wonderful to be a dream"

Xena smiled as she held Gabrielle tighter. Several moments later Gabrielle opened her eyes and looked deep into her lovers eyes. They both smiled. Xena lifted Gabrielle’s face to met her own. She kissed her lightly at first soon the kiss turned into a long sweet kiss.

When the kiss ended Gabrielle looked at her lover and softly said "I love you so much. I never thought this dream would ever become reality. If it’s not then please don’t tell me. I couldn’t stand that."

Xena smiled and kissed her bard. "No, everything is real. I love you too." She said softly then continued But its time we get back to Urania’s house. So let’s get dressed." She said as she kissed her one last time.

As Gabrielle was gathering up her clothes she remembered the conversation the night before about the wolf. Puzzled she asked "Xena, what did you mean when you said that something was wrong with the wolf."

Xena paused wanting to pick the right words "It was to easy. I’ve killed a lot of people before but never anyone so stupid as to run into my sword. It was like it was planned, like that is what it wanted to do. I’m not to sure that we won’t see the wolf again." She stated as she was adjusting her armor over her breast. Gabrielle looked on amazed at the warrior standing in front of her.

Gabrielle raised her eyebrows and startled said "I’m not sure what you mean. You killed him right! I don’t think he could rise from the dead. Do you?"

Xena stepped closer to her bard. She placed her hands on her shoulders and said "No. your probably right." She said doughtiness every word. "Now come on get dressed before I undress." She smiled at her , gave her a quick kiss on the tip of her nose and stood back to watch Gabrielle dress. She found it as exciting as when she helped her undress the night before.

As the lovers were walking back to Urania’s house Gabrielle couldn’t help but think about what Xena had said before about the wolf being part human ? Can’t be she thought and shook her head.

When they reached the door Xena heard a strange noise in the forest. She looked a Gabrielle "I know, I know I wait here and you go see what that noise was." Gabrielle stated flatly not wanting to be left behind again.

Finally as she watched Xena running towards the forest she kicked the dirt, mumbled a few choice words at always being left behind and went on into the house.

Chapter 7

Xena walked slowly when she arrived at the place she thought the noise came from. She checked to be sure her weapons were ready. Her sword was sharp and her chakram was fast as an arrow. She approached slowly, all her senses ready to detect even the smallest of movement. Her first thought was of the wolf but she kept telling herself he was dead and even by some reason he wasn’t he only came out at night.

Xena continued deeper into the forest always circling to be sure nothing could up behind her. As the noise got louder she got quieter. Her foot steps could not be heard on the forest floor. She stopped and ducked behind a tree to wait. The noise wasn’t moving and she smelled smoke from a campfire. She could not hear any voices so she knew who ever it was was alone.

Xena thought she would approach whoever it was and warn them about the wolf. Just as she was getting up she felt a sword against her back. "What do you want? I haven’t anything worth your life if you plan on robbing me." The stranger spoke in a determined commanding voice.

Xena raised her eyebrow at a women’s voice. She turned around slowly. She looked at this warriors armor. Xena didn’t recognize it but knew this women was well trained, after all she did get behind her without Xena hearing her and that wasn’t easy to do.

"My name is Xena. I didn’t come here to rob you or to hurt you I only came to warn you that there is a wolf in these woods and you should be careful."

The woman looked at Xena not sure whether to believe her or not. "So, a wolf huh. I’m not afraid of a wolf. I know how to defend myself and besides as soon as I eat I’ll be on my way."

Xena smiled her crocked smile, thought she should be friendly no matter how much she hated to do that. "My friend and I are staying in a village just through those trees. If you like you can join us for some breakfast."

The woman looked Xena up and down. It sure would be nice to eat something beside rabbit for a change she thought. "Okay. Lead the way" she said smiling

"What’s your name friend?"

"My name is Sonja. Sorry about being so short with you but you make your experience with the people you meet."

Xena knew what she meant and nodded. "Ready to go." She asked

Sonja finished gathering her stuff, kicked out the fire and loaded her belongings on her mare.

Chapter 8

As Xena returned Gabrielle was surprised to see Xena had another woman with her, a warrior woman. Gabrielle looked from Sonja to Xena and back. Sonja was about the same height as Gabrielle with brown and brown eyes, She was quiet muscular for her size Gabrielle thought. She carried a sword on her back, a dagger hung from her left side. In her forehead she wore a metal frontlet. Her armor resembled Xena’s .

Urania brought the pair some wine. Gabrielle sat with them at the table and drank her cider. Xena introduced Sonja to everyone and told Gabrielle where she found her. Gabrielle sat for a minute studying Sonja when her curiosity got the best of her. "So Sonja, where do you come from? What are you doing here?" Gabrielle questioned.

As Sonja looked at Gabrielle annoyed she thought it best to answer. "My home land is Hyrkania it lays beyond the water to the east. Why am I here. I don’t know maybe I just wanted to see what laid beyond my home."

Xena didn’t believe what Sonja was saying but decided to let it go for now.

Gabrielle continued. "I never have heard of Hyrkania is it a big place.?"

"Yeah, it is" Sonja said thinking about it. "There is a lot of violence there. I had to learn to fight to survive. I lost my entire family in the last war. I was very young and couldn’t stop the man who slattered my family. He left me for dead but somehow I survived.

Sonja stopped to take a drink of her wine hoping she was done. But she didn’t know about Gabrielle’s unquenchable thirst for information. "What happened then?"

Sonja contemplated how much she was willing to share with this stranger. "Well, after I learned to fight I went back to kill the man that killed my family but I couldn’t. Several years had passed and this man was old. I thought that if I killed him it would ease his own suffering and I wanted him to suffer more then anything else I ever wanted so I decided to let him live and I left Hyrkania."

Xena sat listening to this story but did not believe a word of it. She couldn’t put her finger on it but somehow she knew she wasn’t being completely honest.

Sonja looked over at Xena and thought a change in conversation was in order. "So, your the famous Warrior Princess. I have heard a lot about you in my travels. I hope your not going to kill me." Sonja smiled at Gabrielle who smiled back. Xena just stared at Sonja not liking the comment but Gabrielle started to laugh. "I see you have a sense of humor too." Gabrielle said.

"Xena is no longer like that, she’s changed, she only fights for the greater good." Gabrielle stated. Looking at Xena with all the pride she felt for her warrior.

"Yeah, I heard that too. So tell me what turned you around" Sonja Questioned the warrior.

Xena smiled, not at Sonja just the memories. "That would be Hercules."

Sonja’s mouth dropped as she interrupted Xena "Hercules? The half god Hercules? He’s the one that changed you?"

"Yeah, he showed me it is better to fight on the side of good."

Sonja studied Xena for a moment surprised at what she just said. By the look Xena was giving her she knew the conversation was over. So she thought it best to change the subject again. She looked at Xena and said "You told me about a wolf who attracts people. Where is it exactly I’d like to see it."

Xena nudged Sonja and whispered. "Don’t talk about it in this house , I will try to explain later."

Louder Xena said, "its okay, the wolf is dead." She wanted the boy to hear what she just said.

Sonja nodded understanding what was going on so she looked at Gabrielle. "Tell me about yourself. You are obviously the traveling bard I have heard about. Are you a warrior too?"

Gabrielle smiled, "No I’m no warrior I’m an Amazon Princess and a bard."

Sonja looked puzzled. "An Amazon Princess"

"Yes" Gabrielle said sitting up straight. "It’s a long story."

"I would really like to hear it" Sonja stated

Xena raised her eyebrows and thought to herself ‘Oh gods not again’ She looked at Sonja then to Gabrielle. Standing she said "I’ll go get some meat for dinner." As she made her way to the door happy to find a way out of there.

"I’ll be back in a few minutes Sonja" Gabrielle stated while following her warrior out the door.

Once outside Gabrielle hooked arms with Xena and guided her around the back of the house. "Gabrielle what’s going on" Xena said teasing her bard.

"I just wanted to tell you that I love you and to please be careful."

Xena took the bard in her arms and kissed her passionately. "Have you ever known me not to be careful?" She whispered into her ear as she drew her in for another kiss. Long moments passed as the kiss got deeper and even more passionately if that were possible. A deep desire started to take over there bodies Xena broke the kiss. Hoarsely she whispered "Not now my love but soon, I promise." Xena was holding her bard tight. "You go tell your story and I’ll be back soon with dinner." She said letting the bard go. "And Gabrielle, I love you too."

Gabrielle watched her go thinking ‘No, you were never careless my love.’

Sonja was still sitting at the table when Gabrielle went back inside to join her. Gabrielle took a long drink of her cider and began her story. Two hours later when she finished Sonja smiled with relief thinking to herself ‘wow, I never heard anyone talk for that long without a break. For the first time she understood why Xena left. Just as Sonja started to say something Xena entered the house caring a deer over her shoulder. She looked in Sonja’s direction and recognized the look of relief and smiled. She loved her bard with all her heart but knew how long her stories could get.

Gabrielle jumped to her feet when Xena arrived to give her a hand. "Deer meat that will be good tonight for a change. We can dry some and there will be plenty left for Urania and Xanthis." Xena said.

Gabrielle licking her lips "Oh good, telling stories always makes me hungry"

Xena raised an eyebrow looking at her bard. "Gabrielle, everything makes you hungry."

An hour later Urania had dinner on the table. Besides deer there was potatoes that Xena seemed to really enjoy. Gabrielle took mental note to fix them for her sometime soon. As the last bite was eaten Xanthis and Gabrielle went outside where Xanthis begged Gabrielle to teach him how to use a staff. Gabrielle couldn’t refuse a chance to show off so she began twirling her staff in a circular motion like she was fighting an invisible enemy. She lounged and sweep the staff low. Sonja watched with interest "she’s very good, did you teach her that." She said to Xena as they also walked outside with Urania.

"Not all, the ground technology she learned from her amazon sister Ephiny, I just exercise with her and showed her some tactics. But, you are right, she really is very good." Xena said smiling not taking her eyes of the bard.

Sonja noticed the long look Xena was giving Gabrielle. "You think a lot of her, don’t you?"

"Yeah, if it wasn’t for her I couldn’t go on the way I do. It is because of her I keep fighting for the good. She has helped me see things with other eyes. Through her I learned it is sometimes better to talk than to fight." Xena said with pride.

Sonja looked over at Xena "You love her, am I right? You two are lovers? I can see it the way you look at her and how you soften when you smile at her."

Xena snapped her head around to look at Sonja with a cold hard stare. "Yes, I love her with all my heart and we are lovers. Is that a problem for you?"

Sonja raised her hands to Xena "No, no I never said it was a problem. You both look happy, I was just wondering is all."

Urania started to laugh bringing the two warriors out of there conversation. "What’s so funny" Xena asked, her voice much lighter then when she spoke to Sonja

Laughing Urania said "Gabrielle was telling Xanthis that not everyone could do a special move she was demonstrating and hit herself in the head"

As Xena and Sonja watched Gabrielle then Urania who was still in a fit of laughter they both began laughing . Gabrielle stopped her practice, put her hands on her hips and tried to look menacing. Xena laughed louder and had to turn and go back inside. Gabrielle followed her. As she looked at her warrior laughing she couldn’t help but laugh herself. How she loved to see the warrior laugh. It was so rare she would give or do anything to have this happen more often.

It was getting late and Urania and Xanthis headed off to bed but not before making sure there guest were comfortable. Xena laid down next to Gabrielle drawing her into her arms. She said to Sonja "We will be getting up early to head to Athens, your welcome to come along if you like."

Sonja nodded "Thank You, I think I will." She said turning away from the lovers.

"Goodnight Gabrielle" Xena whispered in her bards ear. "I love you"

"I love you too." Gabrielle said yawning

Sonja laid awake for a long time. She finally thought maybe if she got some air she would feel better. She looked at Xena and Gabrielle for a long moment until she was sure they were both asleep. She carefully got up and opened the door. As she stepped out she took a long deep breath then suddenly heard a howl. For some strange reason Sonja felt an attraction to the noise. Then she stiffened and moved like she was in a trance. She headed towards the howl, suddenly there was a scream it did not sound like animal or like human. The wolf was back.


Chapter 9

Xena sat straight up with a start. She heard the scream. ‘Could it be that the wolf is back to challenge her? But I killed the wolf she said. ‘Or was there another, perhaps a mate?’ All these questions began floating through Xena’s mind.

Xena looked down at Gabrielle who was still sleeping. She was glad her sudden movement didn’t wake her. She bent over and carefully kissed her on the forehead not wanting to wake her but she had to go see what that noise was. She carefully got up and headed for the door.

As Xena neared the forest the hairs on her neck raised. There was absolutely no noise of any kind, no animal or bird noise, even the wind was still. Xena walked slowly and carefully not making a sound. She couldn’t find a trace of where the scream came from. She continued to walk slowly all her senses on alert.

"It’s got to be the wolf" she said to herself, "there is no other explanation for it. I guess I didn’t kill it after all. I thought it was to easy. /but there has to be some kind of tracks, why can’t I find them." She puzzled to herself. She didn’t know if she could defeat the wolf a second time. She thought the first time was just luck. Xena pulled her sword from its sheath as she finally heard a noise.

Finally, the tracks, she thought. They were just like those she found the night before. First human footprints changing into animal footprints. Xena kneeled beside the footprints to study them. The wolf prints were very big . It had to be the same wolf. Suddenly there was another scream, Xena bolted in the direction of the scream hoping it wasn’t to late. She couldn’t find anything, frustrated she headed back to the village.

The sun was rising as she entered the village. The birds were singing. The rooster crowed waking every one up Gabrielle hated that noise and it woke her out of a wonderful dream about her and Xena. Gabrielle reached over to touch her warrior. "Xena," she said turning around missing her for the first time that morning.

"Where is she" she wondered. "Did something happen last night and she went to check on it and once again not waking me up. I hate being left out, I always get the short version of what is going on and then I have to drag it out of her." Gabrielle said talking to no one but herself. Xena was smiling leaning against the door jam, arms crossed across her chest listening to her bard an amused look on her face. Gabrielle turned around and saw Xena standing there listening to her ramblings. She blushed, somewhat embarrassed but somewhat angry for not waking her. "Okay, what’s going on? Where were you? "

Xena walked to where her bard stood with her hands on her hips and sweep her up in her arms and kissed her. "Good morning love, your up early"

"Yeah, that damn rooster out there" she pointed to the hen house. Xena laughed. "So all I need to do to wake you is get a rooster?" Xena teased. Gabrielle poked her in the ribs. "Better not warrior" Xena grabbed her tight and kissed her again before the others came into the room.

"Where were you?" Gabrielle asked again "When I woke up and you was gone I got scared." She confessed

"I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you but I heard a scream and went to find out were it came from"

"I’m sorry too. " Gabrielle said "I just worry about you sometimes. That’s all."

Xena took her into her arms and hugged her close. And continued. "I also heard a roar" she stated.

Gabrielle’s eyes went wide "A roar? Was it the wolf? But we killed him, right"

Xena raised an eyebrow. "We?"

"Okay, okay you killed him, but it doesn’t really matter now. What happened?"

Xena took a deep breath. "It looked like it was the some wolf. I found the same kind of traces, half human and half animal. I don’t know what that means exactly . For the first time I feel helpless to understand." Xena knew she wasn’t telling her everything, after all where was Sonja?

After another moments thought Xena said, " We need to go to the other villages around here and see if they know anything."

Gabrielle nodded and turned around "Where’s Sonja, did she go with you?"

"I’m right here" Sonja said standing in the door way. "I couldn’t sleep so I took a walk"

Xena turned and look at Sonja knowing she was lying but "Why"

The two warriors stood there staring at each other for what seemed long moments. Sonja stepped forward and whispered to Xena "I heard a scream last night and didn’t want to wake you." Xena just nodded as Urania and Xanthis entered the room.

Urania got breakfast on the table. Gabrielle thought she really over did it until she took the last bite of biscuit and noticed the plates were empty.

"Urania, thank you very much for your hospitality but its time we left. I would like to be in Athens in the next few days." Xena said

Gabrielle hugged her hostess and her new friend Xanthis while Xena and Sonja went to get there horses ready. Xena came out of the stable with Argo in tow. "Ready Gabrielle?"

Chapter 10

The road was fairly quiet. Our three travelers had not met anyone on the road. Suddenly all of Xena’s senses went on alert. She whispered to Gabrielle who was sitting behind her with her arms wrapped tightly around her waist. "We’re being watched. Be careful." Gabrielle sat straight up listening and watching the way Xena had taught her. A little louder Xena said to Sonja "theirs some one out there." Sonja’s voice was ;low. "I know" she said.

"So, you know we’re here." Said a voice coming out from the underbrush. "We’ll just relieve you of your horses and anything else we care to take." The man in front said waving his hand at the men standing behind him.

"You really think we are going to give up our horses. You must be dreaming." Xena’s voice almost teasing.

Sonja smiled as she looked at Xena then at the men who were drawing there swords.

"You three want to fight with the ten of us. Do you really think your little swords can hurt us?"

Xena laughed and look at Sonja. "No, I think just the two of us." She said nodding towards Sonja.

The bandits laughed. "Get them" the leader hissed annoyed at Xena’s arrogance.

Xena let out her war cry "YIYIYIYIYIY" as she bolted off Argo, somersaulting in mid air landing behind the bandits. "Here I am boys." She said laughing.

Sonja followed suit. She bolted off her mount and landed in front of the men with her warcry

Xena looked at Sonja unable to do anything but fight off the bandits who were charging at them. Xena knew the sound of Sonja’s war cry she wouldn’t let herself think about it right now but was unable to shake off the feeling. Gabrielle sat straight up in the saddle and only looked at Sonja. They both knew this sound. Could it be what they had heard in the forest the night before?"

Once again "YIYIYIYIYIY" before her fist went forward and hit the bandit squarely in the face. With a back somersault from the force of the hit he landed on the ground unconscious. Xena smiled but had no thime to rest . With a roundhouse kick she mad contact with at least four other heads watching them all drop to the ground. Two more men towards her from the back. She just shook her head flipped over them and jumped kicking them both in the face with the toes of her boots. The first of the bandits to attack was conscious. Xena stepped towards him he ran. With a smile on her lips Xena said." Nothing like an ambush to get the old juices flowing Huh. "

Sonja was still engaged in battle with the last remaining three bandits. Xena asked "Do you need any help?"

Sonja smiled "Oh, your ready? Okay then I will stop playing. And no, I don’t need help but thanks for the offer."

With a warcry Sonja rushed to the get closer to the bandits. She jumped to the ground with a split hitting the first one in the groin. Then swept her foot over her head and with a wipe move she kicked the second to the ground. She jumped on his chest hitting him uncouncious. She swung her leg backwards and knocked the third on to his stomach.

Xena was impressed, this women could fight. She thought

Sonja stood and looked at the men laying on the ground either unconscious or moaning in pain. "Well, it looks like we won. After a fight like that I sure get hungry, what you say we stop up ahead and get some lunch."

Sounds good to me Gabrielle popped up licking her lips. Xena only laughed thinking every thing makes you hungry my little bard. Xena shrugged "Sure why not?"

As Gabrielle and Xena dismounted and grabbed the water skin and there food stuff Gabrielle said to Sonja "With the exception of Xena I have never seen a woman fight that well before. It was great"

"Yeah well thanks" was all Sonja said a little embarrassed.

Gabrielle noticed her visible embarrassment and decided to let it drop. After there meal of fruit, cheese and bread they mounted and wanted to put some distance behind them.


Chapter 11

As night was slowly creeping upon them Xena thought it best to find a suitable camp sight. "How about over there" Xena pointed to a nice grassy area.

"Looks good to me, how about you Sonja" the bard asked. Sonja nodded her approval.

Xena and Sonja attended to there mounts being sure they were fed, watered, and brushed. Gabrielle gathered enough firewood to last the rest of the night. "I’ll get something to eat" Xena started to say but Sonja stopped her in mid sentence "No let me" and with that she was gone.

After dinner of quill stew and bread Sonja stood up and said. "I guess I’m not use to all this travel I’m going to turn in and by the way, I always sleep with my horse, so if you don’t mind I’ll see you in the morning."

"Goodnight" Xena and Gabrielle said in unison.

Xena watched Sonja walk off then she turned to Gabrielle. "We need to talk"

Gabrielle raised her hand to silence Xena "I know, I heard it to, Do you think?" the bard searching for answers

"Well, when she said she didn’t kill the man who had killed her father I think she was lying. I also think she was lying when she said she came here just to see another land. I think she has something to hid, something bad and I’m going to find out what it is."

Gabrielle looked towards the direction that Sonja had gone. She was out of sight, Gabrielle wasn’t sure if that was a good thing because of being alone with Xena or if it was a bad thing wondering what or who she was. "Do you think I should go talk with her?" She asked nervously.

Xena shook her head. "I’ll do it"

Gabrielle looked at her usually quiet warrior. "You, your going to talk with her your not always the most diplomatic person you know."

"Am to"

"Are not"

"Am to" Gabrielle could only laugh, Xena had a very special kind of sense of humor that she loved when it showed. "Okay" Gabrielle smiled "If your sure I won’t stand in your way"

"Gabrielle, you never stand in my way, I think we better get some sleep, its getting late and I be rolling you out of the bedroll before you know it." Xena kissed her on the forehead.

"Good night Xena" Gabrielle said as she was trying to make herself comfortable on the blanket wondering why Xena wasn’t there beside her. She felt a little sad, missing her already. She took a couple long deep breathes and closed her eyes. After a few short moments Gabrielle felt familiar hands on her arm moving to her breast. She loved the way Xena felt and what she felt like everytime Xena touched her. Slowly, her lips took over where her hands were. She nibbled her way to the bards shoulders, to her neck then finally to her ear "Do you know how much I love you?" The warrior whispered.

Gabrielle turned on her side and met blue eyes. "No, but I hope you’ll show me"

Xena smiled "I intend too my little bard."

Xena bent over and kissed Gabrielle softly on the lips. There kiss became long and passionate. Xena opened her lips and Gabrielle followed her lead letting her warrior explore her mouth, letting tongue met tongue.

Gabrielle gently pulled away "Please, take off your leather, I want, no I need to feel you completely."

They both sat up and stripped off there clothes. Xena took the bard in her arms and gently laid her back on the blanket. "Gods you are beautiful" Xena whispered.

Xena was on her knees and crawled over the bard spreading her thighs with her own so she could lay between the bard legs. She kissed Gabrielle again, first her lips then her neck and finally her breast. Gabrielle moaned as she felt how Xena caressed one nipple with her tongue and the other with her hand. Xena smiled at the feel of the bards nipples hardening under her touch, her own passion rising to unbelievable heights She raised herself up to lay completely on Gabrielle again. While see looked deep into those green eyes she loved her hip began to move. She could feel Gabrielle’s sex on her labia. Gabrielle moved her hands down to Xena’s buttocks. She squeezed them and pushed Xena harder into her. "Please……Don’t stop" Gabrielle whispered into her ear.

That was all Xena needed to hear. Gabrielle wrapped her legs around the warriors hips to press her into her. Xena moaned as she felt more of her bard. She kissed Gabrielle passionately, there tongues dancing against each other slowly. The kiss never breaking Xena increased the speed of her hips. Gabrielle felt her impending climax coming. Xena pushed herself harder into her lover, with a loud "I love you Gabrielle" she screamed into the night Gabrielle let her own climax take over her body in unison with her warrior, how she loved it when they both felt there pleasure together. Xena laid her head on the bards chest listening to her heartbeat slowly return to normal. When she raised to look her love in the eyes she saw tears streaking down her cheeks. "Oh gods" Xena say straight up "did I hurt you?"

Gabrielle took Xena’s head in her hand and kissed her. "No. You would never hurt me, it’s just that I’m so happy, Xena, I love you more and more everyday."

Xena smiled and looked at her with soft eyes, "You make me so happy, I love you with all my heart."

Xena took her bard into her arms. Gabrielle rested her head on Xena’s chest and threw an arm over her waist. With a whispered "I love you" they both fell asleep in a lovers embarrass

As They slept contentedly neither heard the noise that came from the brush. It was the wolf. He looked with cold hard eyes at The lovers. "Tonight you won’t die but it will be soon. You are going to be mine Xena."

In the morning Xena woke up first as usual, she looked down to her love and smiled, Gods how she loved this woman. She kissed her on the check and stood pulling on her clothes. She was headed into the woods to hunt breakfast but thought she should check on Sonja first. Sonja slept deep and Xena wondered "Can I be wrong about her?"

A short while later Xena returned with two rabbits. Gabrielle had awoken missing her warrior and knowing Xena went for breakfast she stoked up the fire and put water on for the tea Xena always enjoyed first thing in the morning. "Rabbits again, If I have to eat any more rabbit I’m going to turn into one." Gabrielle said smiling

Xena started laughing at the thought of that happening.

"Ha Ha" Gabrielle said putting her hands on her hips

Xena walked over to her and quickly wrapped her arms around her for a quick kiss. "That will get you no where" she quipped

Xena pulled her tighter kissed her deep and passionately. "That…that works for me" Gabrielle said holding her warrior,

"I’m sorry love but there wasn’t anything better this morning. Is Sonja awake yet?"

"Yeah, she’ll be right back"

"Goodmorning Xena, I see you already have breakfast. I guess I slept a little to long" Sonja said "I trust you two slept well" she said winking at Xena

"I slept better then I have in awhile" Xena said ignoring the wink

"I didn’t" confessed Gabrielle. Xena looked at her with concern. "I slept on a stone, why does that always happen to me?"

Xena teasing her bard "Well, after sucking on stones I guess you just draw towards them"

"Very funny" Gabrielle said poking Xena in the ribs.

Sonja looked totally confused but decided it best to let it all pass.

With breakfast done and camp packed out travelers headed east once again.


Chapter 12

As they continued to travel, they ate while riding not wanting to break. It was already late afternoon, Xena looked up into the sky and commented "I think we better find some shelter soon, It looks like those clouds could let loose anytime and I don’t relish getting soaked. I know of a cave near by"

"I guess you know the area pretty well, huh" said Sonja

"Yeah, some years ago my army and I came this way and I needed a place to hid the men who were hurt. Come on, this way" she said

Once in the cave and out of the rain that had began, much to the warriors dismay they dismounted. Xena turned to Gabrielle, you stay here, I’m going to get us some wood before its to wet, okay" She quickly placed a kiss on the bards lips and ran into the forest.

"She sure takes good care of you" Sonja said looking out the entrance of the cave.

"Yeah, she does." Gabrielle answered dreamily. Snapping herself out of it she turned to Sonja. She thought she would have that little talk with her instead of Xena. "You said you didn’t kill the man who had killed your family, what happened to him? Did you ever see him again?" Gabrielle questioned

Sonja swallowed never wanting to give the bard or Xena any information about herself. "Yes, I saw him three years later. He was a broken man, old and weak. All the wealth he had stolen from others was gone. Most of it drank up the rest gambled away. I just left then for him to wallow in his own misery, after all killing him would not bring bask my family". She finally finished.

Gabrielle was just about to ask her another question when she heard Xena calling for them to help her bring in the wood. It was starting to rain hard now and the warrior was soaked to the bone.

"I’ll get the fire started" Sonja offered

"And I’ll help you out of those clothes and get you dried off." Gabrielle stated matter of factly knowing Xena might argue with her.

"Okay" Xena said sheepishly

The bard and Sonja just looked at each other. "What" says Xena "I hate it when I get wet like this. Do you know what wet leather feels like" Xena exclaimed

Gabrielle grabbed a towel and a clean dry shift for Xena to change into, then gathered up the leathers and laid them by the fire to dry out.

Xena said drying herself off. "I don’t think we will be traveling any farther today. I don’t think the rain is going to let up anytime soon."

"Yeah, I think you’re probably right, How about if I fix dinner tonight?" Sonja said while stoking the fire.

"Sure" Gabrielle said ready for someone’s else’s cooking. Xena tries sometimes but it is easier if she just takes on the cooking chore, She smiles to herself thinking, at least it’s eatable.

Sonja took out the leftover rabbit and some berries she had picked earlier. There wasn’t much there so she thought she would make a stew out of it. She rubbed the berries over the rabbit meat and put a small quantity of port she had been carrying on her saddle in the water. She thickened the broth with some bread crumbs and served it with pieces of bread.

Smells good " They said together, then looking at each other laughing "Mmmmmm, this is great" Gabrielle said then looked over to Xena who was holding her plate out for another serving. "That means she likes it" Gabrielle told Sonja while Xena finished chewing.

With dinner finally finished the three thought they should get some sleep and start out first thing in the morning, hopefully the rain will of stopped and things will start to dry out some.

"Ill see you to in the morning, I’ll sleep as always by my horse." Sonja said

"Yeah, I better check on Argo" Xena started to get up.

"Don’t worry Xena, I’ll check on her" Sonja stopped her and walked away.

"its okay Xena, let her , We both know Argo is just fine" Gabrielle said while stroking her warriors back.

"Yeah, I guess your right, Come here you" Xena said playfully

Xena scooped her bard up in her arms and kissed her soundly taking the bard breath away. Gabrielle began to respond to the warriors advances. "Xena suddenly stopped, she looked at Gabrielle, "I don’t think we should do this tonight, Sonja is only a few feet away and I still don’t trust her’

They talked quietly for a time. Xena telling her why she doesn’t trust Sonja and Gabrielle telling her about there little talk. Xena kept a tight hold on her bard "I love you more then my own life." She felt the need to tell her.

"And I you" Gabrielle said snuggling deeper into those strong arms holding her.

"You get some sleep" Xena told her. "I want to stay awake and follow Sonja if she leaves the cave"

"I’m going to stay awake with you" Gabrielle said while yawning.

"Okay my bard, you stay awake with me and we will both go see what Sonja may be up too." Xena looked down at he and only smiled. "Well, maybe after you wake up." As she cradled her precious bard in her arms.


Chapter 13

The moon was high in the sky when Sonja woke sweating profusely. She sat straight up looking around but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Sonja took a deep breath and wiped the sweat from her forehead. Suddenly, she heard a wolf howling. Her eyes sparkled and she stood walking towards the cave exit. She stopped to look at Xena and What she could see of Gabrielle. Thinking they were both sleeping she moved with out making a sound out of the cave and into the forest.

Xena opened her eyes watching Sonja leave. She quickly and quietly moved the bard over and untangled herself from her. Satisfied the bard was still asleep she gently leaned over her and kissed her forehead thinking to herself ‘gods she can sleep’ Xena then turned and grabbed her sword and chakram and went out into the night.

Xena crouched behind a fallen tree when she heard the sound of a wolf. She began thinking ‘everytime the wolf makes an appearance Sonja is no where around. Could it be, that there was a connection between her and the wolf? Did she know the wolf?’ As she continued to think about it she heard the roar again and ran towards the sound. Once again she couldn’t find anything but footprints in the mud As she followed them backwards to see where they started she saw Sonja’s prints then a few steps farther the prints gradually turned into those of the wolf. Xena puzzled looked at them again, half human and half animal prints ‘could it be?’ Xena shook her head. That would be a little exaggeration but she did remember a man telling her once a story once like this but she just shook it off to his drunken state. Xena followed the tracks for about 20 paces and they just seemed to disappear just like the last ones she tried to find. Moments later still unable to locate anymore tracks she returned to the cave, convinced she had better tell Gabrielle everything.

Xena kneeled beside her lover "Gabrielle, Gabrielle" she said shaking her gently. No response. Xena leaned over and began kissing her on her cheek then her forehead over the bridge of her nose and finally on her lips. Gabrielle stirred "Hummmm goodmorning"
she said to her kissing warrior.

"All this time and all I had to do to wake you was to kiss you?" Xena said smiling "Come on love sit up, its not morning yet but I think we need to talk"

"What’s wrong?"

"Its about Sonja, have you noticed that when she is around there is no sign of the wolf and when she is not here with use we can hear the wolf in the woods." Xena rushed trying to get it all said in case Sonja came back into the cave.

"Well, yeah, but she said she was going to hunt the wolf"

"I don’t believe that. I followed her tonight, it was almost like she was in some kind of trance as she went into the forest, then moments later, I heard the roar." Xena said looking to the bard.

"Xena what are you saying?" Gabrielle looked at Xena with her eyebrows raised.

"A long time ago I heard a story about a man that transformed into a wolf everytime Artemis was high in the sky in all her glory. The story goes that at a full moon the wolf appears and will attack anything in its path, man or beast.

Gabrielle thought about what she just heard. If it was coming from anyone else she wouldn’t believe a word of it but it was Xena who was telling her this story. "But you said they said that the wolf only appeared when the moon is full, we still have a few more nights for that and the wolf was there tonight. How do we explain that?"

Xena raised her eyebrow "I don’t know, I just know that the footprints I saw was from Sonja and they transferred into wolf prints I’m not sure what is going on but we need to find out and soon."

Xena put her hands on Gabrielle’s shoulders "I have to do something that you may not like but I have to be absolutely sure. Do you understand? Please don’t get angry, Okay"

Gabrielle looked her deep in those beautiful blue eyes, "Xena I know you will do what you have to and don’t worry about me. I trust you"

Xena then took her bard in her arms and held her tight. "I love you so much"


Chapter 14

It was long after sunrise when Sonja returned. Gabrielle had already made tea as her and Xena was enjoying the first cup of the morning.

"Did you sleep well" Gabrielle asked Sonja

"Yes, I did. I was just at the river washing up. Is there anymore tea?" Sonja asked

Gabrielle handed her a cup of the fresh brew. "How about some breakfast? We have some bread and cheese left and a few berries"

"Sounds good" Sonja said taking a small amount of each sitting on the ground beside the fire.

"I see your clothes dried okay" looking at Xena

"Yeah, I was just getting ready to go outside and do some practicing before we hit the road. Want to come, maybe we can spare together" Xena asked

"Sure I can always use some practice myself, What about you Gabrielle, do you practice with your staff in the mornings?"

"Sometimes but I prefer to practice in the afternoon" the bard said smiling. "You two go ahead and I’ll start getting things together" Gabrielle put up her hand to stop any protest "Go on now"

Sonja nodded, Xena stood and took the bard into her arms kissing her and thanking her for understanding .

Outside the cave entrance Gabrielle watched as her warrior was in her element. Xena twirled her sword making a number of complicated moves. She marveled at the strength of her warrior.

"If you don’t mind Sonja, I want to try something new" Xena said circling her twisting her sword in a different pattern.

"Be my guest" Sonja said watching every move

Xena suddenly ran to the nearest tree , ran up the trunk about half way up and pushed away making herself go into a backward somersault. As she arrived back on the ground she pushed again from the ground to make another backwards somersault. As her feet hit the ground again she shot her sword in Sonja direction. Sonja was so confused at Xena quick movements she didn’t see the sword coming at her and it left a rather deep gash on her left arm.

"I’m sorry" Xena said softly "I guess I miss judged your distance. Let me have a look at that."

"No, its okay. Its not to bad, I’ve had worse"

"Its not all right, it could get infected now let me see it" demanded Xena

"I think its deeper then you think. Come on lets go back to the cave where I have some medicines and can take care of it."

Sonja nodded thinking there was no use in arguing.

Gabrielle looked up when she heard them returning. She gasped when she saw Xena holding onto Sonja’s arm putting pressure on it. The warriors hand was covered in blood
"What happened" Gabrielle looking at Xena. Sonja answered. "Xena tried something new and I guess it just didn’t work out the way she wanted it to and her sword caught my elbow. Its okay though"

"Sit down over here while I get the bandages and suave"

Sonja did as she was told with Xena helping her down.

"There, how’s that" Gabrielle asked tying off the bandage.

Sonja smiled and nodded "Thanks, it feels better"

Gabrielle had everything packed by the time they got back and asked "Okay, who’s coming with me" as she smiled at both of them leading Argo out of the cave.

"I guess we better catch up." Xena said to Sonja taking long stride to catch her bard while Sonja went to get her mount.

"Gabrielle, I’m sorry that had to happen, but I saw no other way. I need proof and I hope its coming tonight."

Gabrielle wrapped her arms around the warriors waist " I understand. I hope we get our proof" Gabrielle looked up at Xena who was lowering her head to meet the bards. "I love you" she said.

"Hum" Sonja tried to clear her throat "If you two love birds are ready?"

Xena broke the kiss but not the embarrass "Yes, we’re ready"

Xena jumped on Argo and lifted the bard up behind her.

Chapter 15

The day was long and the trail hot and muggy. The travelers decided to look for a shady place to fix lunch and rest from the heat.

"Well my love, as much as I would love to stay here we really need to get going" Xena said extending her hand out to pull the bard to her feet.

Hours later, when the sun began to set the warrior wanted to find a place to camp. She looked for a place where nothing could come up behind them. She finally found a place that was defensible from the front and nothing could get to them other wise. "We’ll camp over here" she said pointing to the spot.

When camp was set Xena turned to Sonja "Let me see that cut" As she unwrapped the bandage and cleaned it and put more suave on it she said. "It will heal just fine but there will be a small scar"

"A scar more or less doesn’t matter. I will go and get dinner."

"Are you sure, I mean with your arm and all?" Xena asked trying to sound concerned.

"Its just a little cut, I’m dying" Sonja said walking into the woods.

Xena turned and looked at Gabrielle, She held her arms out and Gabrielle stepped into them. "Don’t worry love, tonight we should find out for sure." Xena whispered in her ear,

"I’m going to stay up with you.And there will be no arguing about it. Got that" She looked up at her smiling warrior "As you wish my Queen, maybe I could really use your help."

Sonja returned shortly with two rabbits thrown over her shoulder. Gabrielle made a face. "Sorry Gabrielle but I couldn’t find anything else.

With dinner finished and dished cleaned and put away Sonja stood and announced she was off to bed. It had been a long hot tiring day. "Good night all see you in the morning" With that she was off to sleep near her horse as usual.

"Good night Sonja" Gabrielle said yawning

"Xena please don’t let me fall asleep, I really want to help" Gabrielle said snuggling into the warriors arms.

"Sleep now love and I promise I will wake you if anything happens" Xena said trailing kisses down her neck towards her mouth to capture a kiss. But it was to late, the bard had already fallen asleep. ‘how does she do that’ Xena wondered watching the slow rise and fall of her chest. Xena laid back keeping her bard in her arms and held her tight. About two hours had passed when she saw Sonja stand, her eyes were glazed over, almost trance like.

"Gabrielle, Gabrielle" Xena whispered trying to wake her but not make any nose as it may startle Sonja. Xena couldn’t wait any longer she moved her bard over to the side and got up to follow Sonja.

Xena wanted to find the wolf, she ran in the direction Sonja went. She stopped dead in her tracks when she heard the roar. It was close but she couldn’t find or see anything. "Damn, this can’t be happening the wolf has got to be here." The bushes moved and Xena grabbed her sword and spun around.

"Yes Xena, you are right. I’m here. Nice to see you again, did you miss me?"

Xena walked towards the wolf slowly and carefully tightening her grip on her sword. "Yeah, I missed you" she spat sarcastically.

Xena was close enough to see the left front paw. ‘a wound exactly where I put that one on Sonja’ she thought, eyes narrowed ‘I knew I was right , the wolf is Sonja’

The wolf followed Xena’s eyes to his left paw, Xena rushed forward lunging her sword directly into the wolfs heart. The wolf cried out a blood curdling scream and fell forward. "Tonight, I hold you back but Sonja has some explaining when she returns to camp."

As Xena stepped through the brush Gabrielle rushed into her arms. "I heard that scream, I was so afraid" Xena holds her tight trying to comfort her lover "Its okay, calm down and I’ll tell you everything" Xena said softly stroking the bards hair.

"You said you would wake me" Gabrielle demanding and explanation

"I tried but I couldn’t make any nose, I didn’t want Sonja to hear" Xena said smoothing Gabrielle’s ruffles feathers. "you know how sound you sleep"

Gabrielle knowing she could not win this argument she quickly changed the subject. "What happened."

"I found proof. Sit down and I’ll tell you everything"

As Xena finished telling her story, careful not to leave out any details Gabrielle looked at Xena "So you were right. Sonja changes into the wolf at night but I don’t understand something."

"What is it my love"

"Why every night and not only when there is a full moon?" Gabrielle looked at her warrior for those answers.

"I don’t know, but we will very soon. When the sun rises Sonja will be back at least she was the last time I ran my sword into her chest when she turned into the wolf and we will get some answers, one way or another" Xena said staring out into the forest.

Gabrielle shuddered not liking the last part of her statement.

Chapter 16

Xena stayed awake all night waiting for Sonja to return. She sat close to the bard and had a protective arm around her. As the sun began to rise Sonja strolled back into camp. She had two rabbits thrown over her shoulder. Xena stood as soon as she saw her. Sonja tried to smile at her as Xena looked at her with that cold hard look.

Sonja stared at Xena then looked away. "What's wrong with you? Didn't you sleep well?"

Xena raised one eyebrow and in a cold hard voice. "Where have you been?"

"I don't see where it is any of your business" Sonja retorted walking past Xena to the campfire.

"I think it is, every night you seem to just disappear into the forest. The howling begins and you are no were to be found."

"Yeah, so, what are you trying to say. That I'm the wolf? That's ridiculous.

"Yes, I think you are the wolf. I followed you the last two nights. I found your footprints in the dirt then they gradually turned into the wolf prints. And" Xena continued glaring at Sonja. " Let's not forget the wound I made on your arm. I did put it there on purpose in case you didn't know. Well, the wolf I saw last night had the same wound exactly where I put that one." Xena pointing to the wound. "I needed proof and there it is."

Sonja sat down on the ground and put her head in her hands. "Okay, okay, I guess it is time I get this all out. Sit down and I'll tell you."

Gabrielle woke some time ago but did not move. She wanted Xena to finish her questioning before anyone knew she was awake in case Sonja didn't want to talk in front of her.

"Gabrielle, I know you're awake too, you might as well hear this to" Sonja said not taking her eyes off Xena.

Sonja took a long deep breath. "After my family was killed I decided I should learn to fight. I attended a school of sorts in my homeland that was designed to provide in depth training in a variety of techniques. I was there learning for three years. When there was no more for me to learn I went in search of the man who killed my family. It turned out he was very young, he was only fifteen summers old when he and his men raided our village and killed my family. I knew I couldn't go up against an army alone so I slowly started to build my own army. At first we just attacked small villages and only took what we needed to survive then something came over me and before I knew what was happening I had build a rather large arm. My men called me Sonja the Merciless. Bloodlust over took all my senses I raided larger and larger villages but for all I could take from them. Seldom did we leave anything standing or anyone standing. I would not allow my soldiers to kill the innocent but we always killed any men that stood in our way." Sonja stopped and looked at the ground. She picked up a small twig lying beside her and began to turn it in her fingers.

Xena eyes softened knowing all to well what she was saying. She squeezed Gabrielle's hand in her own, not knowing if she needed the contact for support from her own memories or she need to comfort the bard.

Sonja watched as the lovers shared that small moment then continued. " I still don't know what it was that changed me but one day as we were raiding a village. I sat back and watched as my men butchered one right after another. I just turned my horse around and rode as fast as I could out of that village. I just couldn't go back. I changed my looks some so I wouldn't be quite so recognizable and I started to help some people that had problems with raiders or just needed to get there crops in. It felt good to feel like that again, like I was someone worth while."

Xena nodded her head in understanding. This time Gabrielle squeezed Xena's hand knowing she needed the contact and needed to tell her she loved her. Xena turned and smiled at her bard saying thank you with out needing to say it.

"Let's eat then you can continue this Sonja" Gabrielle spoke up as she put water on to warm for tea and put the rabbits on a spit to cook. But as the three of them sat and watched the rabbits cook Sonja felt the need to continue.

"I roamed around for about a year and a half. I found Kalibos. He was poor broken man by then, he lost everything. Kalibos did recognize me. I remember the conversation well. He said. So Sonja, after all this time we meet again. Look at me, I'm poor as a pauper I am with out honor or fame. I lost all in my last battle. I lost most of my men, the others deserted me. I'm sorry for what I did to you and your family but you need to know I was under a spell put on me by my own mother. Her orders were carried out with out discussion. I didn't know I was doing all those things. I never meant to kill anyone especially women and children. Free me Sonja, please kill me and put this misery to an end. I didn't know what to do. I wanted this man dead for so long for what he did to me but seeing him this way, begging me to kill him I just……" Sonja shook her head at the thought. I actually felt sorry for him. I pulled my sword and walked towards him as I stood in front of him I knew I could no longer kill. I started to lower my sword and Kalibos lunged forward and impelled himself on my sword. His dying words were "thank you Sonja."

Sonja stopped and excepted the plat of rabbit; fruit and bread Gabrielle handed to her. Silence over took the camp, as they all were lost in there own thoughts. When Sonja finally finished her plate after nibbling for what seemed an eternity she sat her plate down, drank her now cold tea and continued.

"Those words were his last" Sonja looked up at Xena and Gabrielle with a small tear in her eye. " He breathed one last time and died. In some strange way I felt the relief of all the past years and what I had become because of him. I saw a bright light. A light brighter then that of the sun. And Kalibos' mother Aurelia stood before me. Aurelia was a mighty sorceress. When she saw her son lying at my feet, my sword in my hand with his blood on it I tried to tell her what just happened but she would not listen. You killed my only son. You will pay for this. Is what she said to me just before three of her soldiers surrounded me. I refused to fight anymore so I threw my sword to the ground and the men grabbed me and took me to Aurelia's castle where they chained me in the dungeon and took turns beating me."

Sonja stopped to take a refreshing drink from the cup Gabrielle handed her. The bard's curiosity got the better of her. "What happened to you? How did you get out of there?" she questioned.

Sonja looked at the inquisitive bard "be patient, all you questions will be answered." She said smiling at the bard.

"Just as I was about to give up and ask the gods to take me one of her soldiers took pity on me and helped me escape. He hid me out for a few days while some of my wounds healed. I asked him once why he was doing this and he told me he knew who I was and he also knew I had changed. He packed me food and gave me a horse. He told me to go north and leave this land because I would never be safe from Aurelia. I rode as fast and as far as I could that day and into most of the night. I couldn't go any farther and neither could my horse so I made camp. I fell asleep and didn't wake until mid day. When I opened my eyes Aurelia was sitting on a log looking at me. She said you would never forget what you did to my son. From this moment on I curse you. You will turn into a wolf every night. You will attack any village you come across and kill all that you see. It will be no use fighting it. You will forever remember everything you do. You will have to live with the guilt. No human can kill you. The curse can only be broke by one. The one who accepts you for the person you were before. I just don't know what that means. I tried and tried to figure it out but…..Everybody who knew me before is dead. I thought if I left my homeland that maybe the curse would go away but instead I brought it here with me and continue to kill. I can't do it any more. Xena, please do something for me?" Sonja looked into Xena's eyes pleading.

"What." Xena said looking at Sonja knowing she was not going to like what she was going to say.

"When it happens tonight will you try and kill me. I know you can't kill me but if you stick your sword into me at the moments I change I won't be able to hurt anyone else because it takes me the rest of the night to recover."

Xena stood and walked over to where Sonja sat on the ground. She kneeled beside her and laid a hand on her shoulder. "If that will stop you from killing again I will do it every night for you."

Sonja smiled at her and placed her own hand on top of Xena's. "Gabrielle, I must ask you to do something for me as well."

"What is it?" the bard asked wondering what she could do.

"If I do manage to change before Xena can stab me with her sword I want you to be safe. I want you to promise me you will climb one of those trees to hid from me. As a wolf I can't climb so you will be safe, okay, promise you will do that."

Gabrielle smiled her understanding and nodding she said, "I promise "

Sonja smiled at Xena again and looked at her with questioning eyes. Xena looked at her and said softly " I told you I will help and I'm going to do just that so go my friend and try to get some sleep. We have a long night ahead of us."

Xena and Gabrielle sat talking quietly for hours after Sonja turned in. "What do you think she meant when Aurelia said the curse can only be broke by the one that accepts the person you were before." Gabrielle asked searching her lover's face for the answer.

Xena shook her head "I don't know. Let's get some rest."

Chapter 17

Xena suddenly sat straight up. "Damn, I dozed off" she scolded herself. She turned to look over to were Sonja was. 'Good' she thought 'Sonja is still here sleeping' Xena shook Gabrielle awake. She put her finger to the bard's lips before she could say anything. "Now listen to me," she said. "I want you to come with me. I am going to hid you in that tree over there and no matter what I want you to either stay there until I come to get you or until the sun rises. If that happens it means something went wrong and I want you to get as far away from here as you can get." Gabrielle started to protest but Xena put her hand up to stop her protest. "Promise me. I love you and want you safe. Now promise me" Gabrielle looked at her lover and agreed. She said "Xena I love you too. Please, be careful"

"Don't worry, I plan on coming back to you." Xena took the bard in her strong arms and kissed her passionately. "I will be back to finish what I just started my love." With that Xena hoisted Gabrielle up into the tree and watched as she climbed a safe distance.

Xena blew her a kiss and turned and ran back over to the camp.'please be careful my love' Gabrielle thought her heart would beat its way out of her chest.

Xena sat back down and waited. An hour later Sonja woke and walked past Xena not even knowing she was there. Her eyes only stared straight ahead like she was in some sort of a trance. Xena stood to follow her. She thought it best to keep a safe distance so she took to the trees. Sonja stopped in a clearing about a quarter mile away from there camp. She carefully removed her clothes and laid them to the side. She screamed and the forest went cold and quiet. She reached her arms towards the sky the fell in a ball on the ground. Her body started to change. First her feet and arms became wolf paws then her body was covered with fur. Her face was the last to change. Xena stood in the tree above her watching in disbelief at what she was seeing. It was quiet obvious that Sonja suffered tremendous pain as she changed. Probably something Aurelia wanted to be sure she felt. She clutched at her chest like a sword was impaling her. The same kind of pain one would have from being stuck by a sword. Sonja screamed again and again bringing Xena out of her thoughts. Her face had finished changing then the screams turned into the cries of the wolf.

"Well Sonja, you asked for my help so here goes." Xena drew her sword and summersault out of the tree directly in front of Sonja.

"Xena, you came to me. Good I always like to see the eyes of the person I am about to kill." The wolf growled at her.

"I don't think so" she growled back at her. Xena turned and started to run wanting the wolf to follow her. She needed to find a more defensive area.

"I'm right behind you Xena. You can't out run me." The wolf reached out and dug a claw into Xena's right leg. It was painful and Xena took the nearest tree knowing now that the stand would have to be here since she couldn't out run the wolf. She looked briefly at her wound and decided it could wait until later.

The wolf looked up at Xena. "You can't defeat me human. You will have to come down from that tree and when you do I will be here." The wolf growled in anger as she went around the tree again and again.

"Sonja, I know you can hear me. You are somewhere in there, I know you are and I think I finally figured it out." Xena shouted at the wolf who looked totally confused.

"You really think you can help her you little human. You don't have a chance against me."

"No, I can't help her but Sonja can do it herself. Sonja listen to me. You said you still have to bear the past. That is your answer. Only you can ward off the curse. Accept who you are and all that you have done in the past fight for a better future. Do it Sonja, fight."
Xena jumped down from the tree clutching her right leg feeling the pain.

"She'll never be able to do it. She is too weak. No one can defeat me." Just then the wolf reached out a paw to take a swipe at Xena.

Xena rolled to the left out of reach. The wolf started to jump at her but something stopped it. The wolf screamed "No, you can't defeat me. I will kill you Xena then I will find Gabrielle. You haven't a chance."

"Yes, Sonja, FIGHT, FIGHT, you can do this." Xena yelled in turn.

The wolf roared and fell to the ground clutching his chest in pain. "No. I don't want to die no one can kill me. No one." But the wolf knew it was far to late he kept becoming weaker and weaker as Xena stood near and watched. Xena said softly "Come on Sonja fight. This is your last battle with your past.

The wolf swept out a paw trying to hit Xena but she easily stepped aside as the wolfs paw grabbed nothing but empty air. There was total silence. Nothing was making any noise not the birds, not the crickets anything. A few moments later the wolf lay dead. Xena watched a few more moments before kneeling beside it. Sonja hadn't changed back yet. She wondered what was wrong or if she would change. Was Sonja dead as well? She continued to think.

Xena felt the wolfs nose for breath. There was none. She placed her hand on the wolfs heart to feel for a beat. There was none. Xena shook her head. "Come on down now Gabrielle." She said with out looking up " I don't know how you got over here but I can use your help now." Gabrielle jumped out of the tree landing with a thud on the ground.

Xena picked up the wolfs head and cradled it in her hands. "You don't get Sonja. Sonja fight. Use all your strength, all your power to defeat the rest of this evil in you. Fight Sonja Fight."

Suddenly there was a long deep breath from the wolfs body. Xena stood and stepped in front of the bard to protect her. The wolf started to change back into the woman they had gotten to know and now called friend. Sonja still lay on the ground after she was completely changed back into herself she looked up at Xena standing over her. "Thank you Xena. I owe you my life."

"You owe me nothing come on lets get you back to camp." She extended her had out for Sonja to take.

When Sonja stood she suddenly realized she had nothing on. "Come on. Your clothes are right over here." Gabrielle smiled at her and lead the way helping Xena as she went.

When they got back to camp Gabrielle sat Xena down and started washing her leg. She wanted to see what was under all that dried blood.

"It's okay," Xena said softly

"I'll be the judge of that" Gabrielle retorted then smiled at her warrior.

"I'm sorry Xena" Sonja said with her head bowed. "I never meant to hurt you."

"I know. Besides, it was that creature not you. So don't worry about it okay."

"It's going to need a few stitches to keep it closed but it should be okay after that." Gabrielle said.

"You're the doctor my love." Xena saying putting all her faith in the bards hands

"There, all done. Now I'll put these herbs on it and bandage it."

They both looked over to where Sonja was sitting. She was fast asleep. Gabrielle said mostly to herself but was not out of earshot of Xena who smiled at her. "Sleep well our friend. It's over now you can go on your way without fear."

Xena nodded. "Yes my love you are right. What do you say we go for a walk?"

"What about your leg. You might tear the stitches."

"It's alright. Come on." Xena extended her hand and Gabrielle accepted letting the warrior pull her to her feet.

"See that tree" Xena looked down at her bard who was hanging her head. "I put you in that tree and you promised you would stay put."

Gabrielle put her finger to the warrior's lips before she could go on. "I know I promised I would stay in the tree. But I didn't promise what tree." She smiled her most innocent smile at her.

"The Amazons taught you that?" Xena asked while pulling the bard closer to her.

"The Amazons" Gabrielle agreed.

Xena looked at her and felt her heart trying to beat its way out of her chest. She couldn't help herself any longer she kissed her love with passion and hunger. She pulled her down to her knees and gently laid her back.

"Gabrielle I need to tell you something" Xena whispered softly into the bard's ear. "Everyday that passes I love you more. Everytime you look at me or smile at me its like the sun is shining on me. I feel I could loose myself in your love."

Gabrielle looked up at Xena with her eyes full of tears. She never knew she could be so happy. But before she could say a word Xena said "Gabrielle, please hold me, just hold me tight."

Gabrielle put her arms around Xena and held her tight. She whispered into her ear "My love. I want to love you forever and I will. I love you more then my own life."

Xena raised herself up to look into Gabrielle's eyes and saw the love. She slowly lowered her lips to meet the bards. The kiss showed all the love they had for each other and all the passion they felt. Gabrielle opened her mouth and slowly put her tongue into Xena's mouth not until she felt Xena's tongue play with her own did she moan.

She rolled Xena over to lay on top of her then "Ouch" the bard said "By Gaia's sake. I hate that breastplate."

Xena couldn't help but laugh. She kissed Gabrielle once more and rolled her over onto her back. The she sat up straddling the bard looking down at that wonderful face that she wanted to see the rest of her life.

With quickness and skill Xena undid the buckles and sat the breastplate aside. Gabrielle watched waiting "Aren't you going to take off the rest of your clothes?' She asked in wonderment.

"I thought I would save that for you to do." Gabrielle squirmed out from under Xena and untied the laces in the back. She dropped the leathers on the ground next to the breastplate. She looked at the magnificent body that stood before her. Xena slowly reached for Gabrielle and proceeded to take her clothes off. Piece by piece they were tossed in the same pile. When they were both naked they just stood for long moments looking at each other both thinking the same thought 'gods you are beautiful'.

Xena once again scooped her love up and laid her down on the soft grass that grew around the tree. Xena gently lowered her own body on top of the bards moaning at the contact of skin on skin. "I love you Gabrielle."

"I love you too."

A soft passionate kissed followed. Xena traced Gabrielle's lips with her tongue thinking she had never felt anything so soft before, Tenderly she parted Gabrielle's lips and pushed her tongue inside. The kiss lasted an eternity they both thought but knew it was only long passionate moments. Xena broke the kiss and moved to softly kiss the neck she was hungry for. She kissed it from one side to the other as Gabrielle moaned in passion. Xena looked at her love and whispered. "We need to be quiet tonight. Sonja is just a few yards away."

Gabrielle smiled at her and rolled her over kissing her neck during the roll. Xena moaned and held her bard tight. "So tell me mighty warrior how can one be so quiet when the other is doing this."

"Ohhhh, your right. It is difficult but I can handle it. Ohhhhhhh please, don't stop."

Gabrielle caressed Xena's face in her hands and lowered herself for another kiss. Her lips trailed down to Xena's chest and finally found a breast. She took one nipple in her mouth and sucked gently on it. Xena tried to be quiet she pressed her lips together to suffocate a moan. Gabrielle smiled at the effort and kissed her way over to the other breast. Both nipples hardened on contact. As she continued to kiss and suck on one nipple then the other Gabrielle's hands began to roam down Xena's sides and to her hips then down to her thigh where she held them in place and raised herself to look into her lovers face.

Xena nodded and just said, "do it."

Gabrielle moved her hand and placed it on Xena's curly hairs. At the same moment she kissed her to help her surpress a moan. She was learning everything that the warrior liked and all her sounds of passion. Gabrielle slowly moved her fingers down to the spot she sot she gently ran her finger over Xena's already wet clit. She caressed her with all the tenderness she possessed. Xena looked at Gabrielle and pulled her down to her waiting lips. The kiss was hungry but soft. Their tongues did a slow dance in Xena's mouth.

Xena pulled away "I want to feel you inside of me, please."

Slowly she lowered her fingers to Xena's opening. She kissed her and slowly slid two fingers inside of her. She held her fingers still for a few moments until she felt Xena's heart rate return to semi normal. Then Gabrielle began thrusting her fingers in and out faster and faster. Xena's breath now came in gasps, as was Gabrielle's. She quickened her pace as she sucked on a very hard erect nipple. She could feel Xena getting close.

Xena put her hands of her lover's shoulders. "I'm coming and I don't think I can be quiet. So if you're going to do anything. Do it now" "Ohhhhhhhhhh"

Without breaking the speed of her fingers she moved herself up a little to kiss Xena. Xena continued to moan in the bard's mouth until so felt that wonderful release. She ten went limp. Gabrielle continued to massage her swollen nub as she laid her head on Xena's chest listening to her strong heartbeat.

Xena took a couple of long deep breaths "My love. I love you so much everyday I thank the gods for bringing you into my life."

"I love you too."

Xena rolled Gabrielle over and made love to her. After both were exhausted they lay together embraced by the other on the soft grass. Gabrielle rested her head on Xena's chest. With a mumble "I love you warrior" she said before falling asleep. Xena kissed the top of her head and softly said "I love you bard."

Chapter 18

Sonja slept until late the next day. She looked over to see Xena and Gabrielle sitting there talking about the night they just spent together. Sonja tried to clear her throat. "Sorry to interrupt the party but I'm starving."

Gabrielle smiled at her and said "Ah, finally decided to wake up huh sleepyhead. Here is some rabbit and tea that should hold you over."

"Sounds great" she said standing to dress and move closer to where Xena and Gabrielle sat.

After Sonja finished her meal Xena asked, "What do you want to do now?"

Sonja lowered her head "I don't know yet. I'm not sure how to live free of the curse. It has been so long. Maybe someday I will return to my homeland. But for now I will travel around the world and maybe help others the way you helped me. I thank you again with all my heart Xena."

Xena smiled ands nodded. " You don't have to thank me. That's the tings you do for friends."

"You mean even after everything and trying to kill you and Gabrielle you still call me a friend."

Gabrielle popped in then. "You bet we do. All those things weren't you. It was that beast that lived inside you. Sonja, if someday you return to Greece please promise you will come see us."

Sonja's eyes filled with tears as she first looked from one to the other. "I promise my friends and thank you. May your lives always be filled with the love you have for each other.

Gabrielle looked at Xena and kissed her quickly. Xena placed a loving arm around her shoulder and held her close.

They talked for another couple of hours and decided they would like to get away form this place that caused Sonja so much pain. With camp packed and the horses ready the headed down the road. An hour later they came to a fork in the road. "Your welcome to join us all the way to Athens if you like." Xena said looking at Sonja.

"Thanks friends but its time I find my own way." With that she waved at the lovers and headed down the other fork. She wasn't happy about spending this night alone but it was time to say good-by so she could find her own path."

Xena yelled, "I wish you luck Sonja"

Sonja smiled and with a loud "hey" Sonja galloped away.

"Xena do you think we will see her again?"

Xena took Gabrielle into her arms and held her close. "Not for awhile. Sonja has a hard road ahead of her. There will be plenty of temptations in her way. She doesn't have a bard to help her go the right way. She has to do it alone, but she's strong. I think someday we will see her again. I'm almost sure of it."

Gabrielle nodded her agreement and raised her head for a kiss. " Yes, You are right I think we will see her again someday."

Xena smiled and kissed her bard again. The kiss started to deepen and passion began surfacing in both women. Gabrielle started to release the breastplate when she felt a hand over hers. She pulled back questionably.

"Not now my love. Tonight. You will get anything you want but for now if we are going to get to Athens this year we had better be on our way. If we both ride we can get there quicker." Xena said looking at Argo

"Oh no you don't. I think it would be better if I walked." Gabrielle said backing away from Argo.

Xena smiled and took Gabrielle's hand in her own. Together they walked down the road hand in hand.


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