Conversion

by Warriorjudge

 

OWNERSHIP DISCLAIMER

The characters of Xena and Gabrielle belong in their entirety to Universal/MCA, Renaissance Pictures, and all the other powers that beÖYadayadayada. No copyright infringement is intended. I wrote this story at the urging of my muse; it should never be used for profit.

VIOLENCE

Well, this is Xena weíre talking about here Ė violence is inevitable, nothing graphic though and a very low body count.

LOVE/SEX WARNING/DISCLAIMER:

This story involves both love and sex between two consenting adult women. If you donít know who Alexis Morel Carrington Colby Daxter was (in other words, if youíre under 18) or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something else or FREE YOUR MIND.

RELIGION DISCLAIMER

Since the plot takes place in a Benedictine convent and involves love and some carnal sins (yeah, I mean - sex) between two of its residents (guess who!), some people might find it offensive - so - beware!

THANKS

To my BETA readers mentors and guides:

1. CJ Wells (You are the greatest) - A brilliant bard, in my humble opinion. Check out her installments FREEDOM and THE EMBRACE. They are amazing and had been a tremendous inspiration to me. Thanks, dear, for making the time and the effort for me.

2. Noa (Iím proud to be your friend) - For being there for me, putting up with my whining, for all your help.

3.CB - Thank you for your hard work in mending my story. Youíre the best.

Comments & Feedback: Please! Pretty please, with sugar on top!

warriorjudge@hotmail


From Gabrielleís Diary

Baden, Germany Monday 30/11/1750

I was twenty years of age when I first joined "Our Lady Of Sorrows" Convent in Baden.

I was born and raised in Stuttgart by poor, humble Catholic parents. I was their only child. My mother had some complications during labor and it left her sterile. My father always used to tell me that my birth was a miracle and that I was a gift from God. My parents believed that one must always return a favor with a favor. So, ever since I was a little girl my parents decided they would dedicate me to God. My parents taught and educated me to love and worship God and his son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. They taught me well and I did grow to love and worship God and so becoming a nun was only natural. Since my puberty I have dedicated myself to God and saved my body pure for the Lord, allowing no one touch it. It wasnít an easy task, especially since the neighborsí boys started noticing me and sniffing around me. I was very proud of myself for maintaining my virginity.

When I was eighteen I attended the "Exelsis Dei" Convent here in Stuttgart, but since I disobeyed the Prioress, I was expelled and sent to a less prestigious convent, the one in Baden.

The day I arrived at "Our Lady Of Sorrows" Convent in Baden was a cold and rainy one. I remember standing outside its huge, heavy wooden door, rubbing my palms against each other for heat. With a frozen and numb fist, I knocked on the door. By the time the nuns opened the door I was already soaking wet and had lost sensation in my toes.

"Pax vobis, Sister Gabrielle, weíve been expecting you." The nun who opened the door said to me and cleared the path for me to enter. I walked in.

"Et cum spiritu tu." I returned the greeting.

"Iím Sister Anna, welcome to our convent." Without even a breath she rapidly went on:

"Youíll be given a dry hood and a dry habit and be shown to the Dormitorium. You will be sleeping in the bed next to Sister Agnes. After you are dry, you will be taken to the Prioress for interview." She said and we began walking through a very long corridor with naked walls, save the monumental cross that was hung on the wall to my right.

At the end of the corridor, a staircase awaited us. Silently we climbed up the stairs to the second floor of the convent. I was shown to the Dormitorium. The Dormitorium was huge and had only several small windows with dark brown curtains and about forty beds with white sheets neatly tucked in. A heavy wooden desk and a large closet also occupied the Dormitorium. Next to each bed, there was a small dresser with candles, a pack of matches and a copy of the bible. Crosses with the image of the crucified were nailed to the wall above the heads of the beds. In our order, the Benedictine order, young nuns and elderly nuns slept in the same Dormitorium together. Aside from that, the Dormitorium is to be lit with candle light throughout the night. The reason for these rules is to prevent abominations such as copulation between nuns. As I was walking further into the Dormitorium I could hear the squeaking of the floorboards and the odor of dust greeted my nostrils.

"The left bed is yours. In the closet you will find a clean and dry hood and habit." She said briefly and pointed her index finger first to the bed and then to the closet. " After you are all dried and changed, Iíll take you to the Prioress for an interview." She said and then turned her very full figure, exited the room and closed the door behind her.

I put down my small gray suitcase, opened it and took out a towel that my mother sewed my initials on. I took off my hood and dried my damped blond hair. I then took off my habit and dried my body, which was cold and had goose bumps all over. I opened the closet, took out the hood and habit I found there and wore them as instructed. I exited the Dormitorium and saw Sister Anna waiting for me in the corridor. She escorted me to the Prioressí study room, which was back on the first floor. Once I was in, Sister Anna left the study and I was left alone with the Prioress.

"Sit down, my child." She said with a soft, soothing alto voice. I sat down in front of her. A wide desk made of oak filled the space between us. The wall to her left was covered with many shelves that were loaded with books. She was sitting on a high back chair. Finally, my gaze met hers.

"Iím Sister Maria and Iím the Prioress of the "Our Lady of Sorrows" Convent." She introduced herself. She had magnificent ocean blue eyes, strong high cheekbones and beautiful red lips. She had the most stunning face I have ever seen in my life. For a minute there I was afraid I would lose track of what she was saying. I couldnít see her hair because the hood she was wearing covered it. But I knew the color of it was raven black, because that was the color of her eyebrows. The Prioress had a necklace with a cross hanging on it. The cross that was resting on her chest was made of gold and was very large for a pendent. It was at least five times the size of the average. She looked at the papers that she held before her eyes.

"You are Sister Gabrielle, correct?" She asked and raised her glance to me.

"Correct, Prioress." I answered.

"I understand you had a run in with the Prioress in the previous convent you attended, "Exelsis Dei" wasnít it?" She inquired, but I could tell by her tone that she already knew the answer.

"Yes, Prioress." I said quietly, shyly.

"So, having difficulties with obeying the rules...a bit of a rabble, are we?" I didnít detect any harshness in her voice. But rather the opposite, she sounded almost amused. " Out of curiosity, what did you do, my child?" She raised an eyebrow and I saw a shadow of a smile at the corner of her lips. When she didnít hear me uttering a single word, she placed down the documents she held slowly onto the table. "Well?" she finally urged me.

"My sisters from "Exelsis Dei", and I went to visit demented people in a mental asylum back in Stuttgart. The Prioress asked us to pray for their souls, for their salvation. She forbade us to touch them and explained to us that they were at the grasp of Satan. Those demons possessed their deformed bodies and in order to remain pure for God, we must not get too close to them, or touch them. A small child at the corner of the hall captured my sight. He was small and was trembling terribly, apparently from hours of crying." As I was reminiscing, the vision of that poor little boy appeared before my mindís eye and I felt a big lump swelling in my throat. I was afraid I wouldnít be able to carry my voice and break down in tears. "He was crying for his mother who had probably abandoned him there that day...His cries tore my heart. I couldnít resist it anymore and against my better judgment I went to him. I held him tight in my arms and comforted him." As I was finishing the tale, I saw a small smile forming for a brief moment at the corner of the Prioress lips. Alas, after a short while, she resumed her stoic expression.

"Well, my child, if you do not wish to be expelled from this convent, you must understand that I will tolerate nothing less than absolute obedience and total discipline." She informed me. She didnít use a harsh tone, yet she left no room for misunderstandings. I heard her message loud and clear.

"Yes, Prioress." I humbly retorted and bowed my head in acceptance.

"The conventís bells strike at first light. All the sisters gather in the chapel for morning prayers. Afterwards we all have breakfast in the dining hall. During the mornings we all work at the vivarium and the vegetable garden. We grow carrots, onions and peas. Lunch is served precisely at noon. In the afternoon we all gather in the main hall, which is a library, for service and studying. We pray again in the evening and then return to the Dormitorium. I have deliberately placed you next to Sister Agnesí bed. She is most obedient and devoted. Since you obviously have a discipline problem, I strongly advise you to learn from her. Sheíll set a perfect example for you, Sister Gabrielle." The Prioress rose to her feet and so did I. It was at that moment that I realized how very tall she was. She was impressive and I looked at her in awe.

"Any questions?" She asked and looked into my eyes as if she was searching my soul.

"None, Prioress." I promptly answered.

"Very well, then. Follow the rules and we will get along just fine, I assure you." She paused for a moment and then added, "Welcome, Sister Gabrielle." She smiled a toothy smile accompanied by a pair of glaring blue eyes. I lowered my head, paying her respect and left her study. Finding the vivarium was no trouble at all and soon enough I joined my fellow sisters.

Upon my arrival, I saw a few sisters whispering in each otherís ears and pointing at me. One of the sisters approached me.

"Pax Vobis,"

"Et cum spiritu tu."

"Iím Sister Agatha."

"Iím Sister Gabrielle." I said and smiled.

"And how was your interview with the Prioress?"

"Just fine, I guess."

"She is a holy woman in the truest sense of the word. She wasnít like that all her life though, word is she used to be quite promiscuous." She whispered.

"I see." I answered and heavily blushed. I was contemplating Sister Agathaís remarks regarding the Prioress. She seemed to be so pure and virtuous that I couldnít picture her in my mindís eye any other way.

"You must follow the rules. The Prioress is very strict and nothing evades her. She knows everything that goes on around here...and I do mean everything." Sister Agatha, who seemed to be around my age, gave me an intense look that spooked me a little. I didnít know whether to take her words seriously or not. For one, it is hard to believe that the Prioress had a questionable reputation and yet became the Prioress of a convent at quite a young age. She seemed as if she is no older than 30 years. Moreover, I sensed that Sister Agatha gave the Prioress characteristics that only the lord possesses...knowing EVERYTHING that goes on in the convent...really...

"Come now, let us join our sisters in labor." She said. We both strode towards the vivarium.

At lunchtime, Sisters Agnes and Agatha and all the others entered the dining hall. It had long rolls of wooden benches and tables. We entered the line and waited our turn to get our food. After we got it, we sat down at the table. After all the other sisters had their plates in front of them on the table, there was silence. All of my fellow sisters stood up.

"What are we waiting for?" I whispered in Sister Agnesí ear.

"For the Prioress, of-course." She retorted rather harshly.

Then I saw the Prioress enter the hall. She was indeed very tall and amazingly beautiful. There was this aura about her...She looked like an angel that came down from heaven. She is by far more righteous than I, I thought, for she knew carnal lust and pleasures of the flesh. Yet she cast it away, waved it, for the love of our lord Jesus Christ. I, on the other hand, knew none Ė Therefore, her sacrifice is by far greater than mine. She was walking slowly toward her place at the head of the long table and I couldnít help but look at her almost with veneration.

"You may sit." She announced once she had reached her destination. We all sat. I saw her searching for something with her blue eyes.

"Sister Gabrielle." She called.

"Yes, Prioress." I gasped for she startled me.

"How is your Latin?" She questioned. I hesitated for a moment and then coughed:

"Fairly well, Prioress."

"Good, please do us the honor and say Benedicite." She ordered politely and smiled as if to encourage me. All the sisters bowed their heads, entwining their fingers on the tables before their chests. I said Benedictine in Latin while praying a silent prayer in my heart that no one noticed the trembling of voice. After the last word had been uttered from my mouth, the sisters said "Amen" in union and began to eat. I looked at the Prioress. The reason for staring at her eluded me, but still I did and I saw her looking back at me. She smiled and then looked down at her plate and began eating as well. The fact that she caught my gaze made me feel somewhat uncomfortable.

I learned that it was a custom in the convent to bathe after lunch and before studying in the library. Back at "Exelsis Dei", I never took a bath with the rest of the sisters in the communal bathroom. I guess it was because I was too shy and embarrassed to reveal my naked form to anyone but myself. I realize it was not rational; after all, we were all women. But still, I couldnít bring myself to expose my body this way. I had decided to do what I did in the previous convent I attended; I would bathe at night, when everyone was asleep.

After all the sisters came back from their bath we went to the main hall to study. The Prioress had already waited for us in the hall. We all took our places and sat down quickly so as not to make the Prioress wait for us for too long. The Prioress stood on a high podium so that all of us could see her. We all sat around the podium, which forced her to turn every now and then to show her face to all of her audience. She began her preaching. I hate to admit this but the way she moved the power and conviction with which she spoke captured me and I couldnít concentrate on what she was actually saying. I couldnít make out the words, but I distinctly noticed the tone of a question coming out of her mouth. To my great misfortune it was directed to me.

"Your answer, Sister Gabrielle..." She was piercing me with her eyes.

"Iím sorry, what was the question, Prioress?" My voice barely registered above a whisper. I was amazed that she heard me at all. She must have acute hearing, I acknowledged.

"Youíll be fined with five ĎHail Maryísí Sister Gabrielle, and donít let me catch you next time. I wonít be so merciful. Not even ten "Hail Maryís" will be of salvation to you." She raised her voice at me and I felt the blood leaving my body. I could not help feeling extremely humiliated for being reprimanded by her in front of my peers even after I bowed my head, as a fruitless attempt to avoid her wrath. I could still feel her angered narrowed eyes piercing me. At that moment, I made a resolution - I would never provide her with a reason to reprimand me again. Just in time, she resumed her lecture and I memorized every word she said.

The long study session went on and on and at one point it seemed it would never end. The bells, which announced the end of the day, were like saviors to me. We all went to the chapel that was at the right wing of the convent. The chapel was lovely in spite of its rather petite dimensions. What really caught my sight was the relatively large organ it had. When Sister Agatha saw me eyeing the instrument she simply muttered,

"The Prioress occasionally plays it."

As I was walking into the chapel, I tilted my head and observed the breathtaking vitreous and statues that decorated its interior. Right after each had found her place the prayer began. Since I was so very tired and hungry, I was only too happy when the evening prayer was finally over and that soon I would be able to retire to the Dormitorium on the second floor. During supper the Prioress didnít skip the opportunity to tantalize me some more and asked of me yet again to say "Benedicite" in Latin.

When the day was finally over, I could barely drag my feet up the stairs. Once I entered the Dormitorium I walked towards my bed in haste. I took off the black hood and ran my fingers though my short blond hair, feeling it breathing the fresh air. I lay on my bed, fully dressed minus the hood and shoes and pulled the covers over my body. As I rested my head on the pillow, I heard myself ask Sister Agnes, who was in the bed next to me:

"Isnít the Prioress sleeping in the Dormitorium with us?"

"Of course not!" She cried as if she was appalled by the notion of it. "She sleeps in her own chamber, which is located at the end of the corridor, near the bath-chamber." She explained after she had calmed down a little.

"What made Our Prioress repent?" I asked after a few moments of silence.

"What is it to you, Sister Gabrielle?" She murmured.

"Curiosity, I guess." I answered nonchalantly and turned my head on the pillow in order to face her.

"The Prioress was a talented physician before she joined our order. She used to treat nobility. She had a weird name before she became a nun...I forget what it was..." She trailed off then she shook her head as if to enable her to get back on track. " They say both her mother and her brother died in freakish accidents the same year. To be more precise, her brother was kicked in the head by a horse and there was nothing the Prioress could have done for him His injuries were too severe, he died in her arms. Two months after the death of her brother, the Prioress operated on her mother. It was suppose to be a common procedure, but her mother died under the Prioressís scalpel in a most bizarre way. Prior to their deaths, the Prioress, so they say, use to copulate with both men and women like the Devilís bitch in heat. They say the Prioress believed it was Godís way of punishing her for her ghastly carnal sins and indiscretions, and so she decided to become a nun."

I was so shocked by all the things she told me about the Prioress. In her tone of voice I could almost detect joy and eagerness to deliver that information on the Prioress to me. Sister Agnes sounded like she was almost happy that the Prioress wasnít virtuous before she joined the convent. That in fact she was quite the opposite, nothing more than Satanís concubine. During the past day, a lot of other sisters in the convent approached me and told me that the Prioress has a kind and merciful heart and that she is practically a saint. And yet, Sister Agnes is saying all these dreadful things about her. Who was it that gave sister Agnes those dirty little secrets regarding the Prioress...dirty little secrets...is that all they were?! Is there truth behind those words?! Can it be that our Prioress indulged herself in lustful fornication with women as well?

It was very hard to keep my eyes open and not give in to slumber. I almost surrendered to my fatigue and was about to give up bathing today. Thank God I was so smelly that skipping bathing ceased being an option. I waited for about an hour, until I was sure all the other sisters were sound asleep. Then, on the tip of my toes, with a towel in my hand and without breathing, I sneaked out of the Dormitorium. I walked as quietly as a thief along the corridor. I was barefoot and the cold floor that was made out of stone, unlike the floor in the Dormitorium, ruthlessly bit at my feet.

I finally arrived at the bath-chamber. It was dimly lit and so quiet I could hear my heart beating in my chest. Alongside the right wall I saw a huge round wooden bathtub, which didnít contain any water. I strode a few steps further, past the partition and on to the next bathtub, which reassembled the first one. It also didnít contain any water. Empty also was the third and the forth and so on. I finally reached the partition before the last round bathtub. I prayed to God that it would be filled with water, any water, even freezing cold water. I advanced one step forward and looked at the bathtub. I was startled and gasped for air at the sight that greeted my disbelieving eyes. I didnít expect to find the Prioress descending her naked body into the tub.

"Sweet Jesus!" The words escaped my mouth without going through any cognitive process.

"Hush, child, disobedience is one thing, but I simply wonít tolerate blasphemy. Is that clear?"

"Yes, Prioress." I mumbled. I saw the Prioress settle herself in the tub, for some reason I couldnít look away even though I knew I should have.

"What are you doing here so late anyway?" The Prioress inquired and looked at me. I kept still and didnít answer her for I didnít know what to say. I was afraid she would send me packing.

"Well, since youíre holding a towel in your hand, youíre not wearing your hood, and youíre in the bath-chamber, the most logical deduction would be that you are here in order to wash yourself. Am I right?" She said with a low jesting voice. I guess she just wanted to ease my mind and enable me to relax. I nodded.

"May I ask why you didnít take a bath when scheduled?" For a second she ducked under the surface and wetted her long, smooth, thick, raven-black hair. She then took her arms from under the water and placed them spread open on the edge of the tub. She had strong muscular arms and shoulders, and her skin was glistening as the light from the candles illuminated her.

"Well," I stopped evading her astonishing blue eyes and I dared look directly into them. "It just that...umm...wellÖ" I began to stammer like an imbecile and mentally kicked myself for that.

"You donít wish to expose your body before the others..." She answered for me. She took the soap in her hand and began washing her chest, all without breaking eye contact with me. "Whatís the matter, my child, is your body deformed?" She said and I can swear I heard pain in her voice as if she were suffering for me.

"Not at all, Prioress, Iím just extremely shy." I muttered.

"Do you feel shame now? Are you embarrassed in my presence as well?" She asked and I sensed such confidence and reassurance in her voice, that I realized I wasnít feeling neither shame nor embarrassment in her presence.

"Strangely enough, no." Came my muffled reply.

"Then climb into the tub and join me." She said and smiled. "Unless you want to fill another tub with hot water." I took off my habit and undergarments with agile hands. In a blink of an eye I was naked like the day I was born with the faintest feel of shame in my heart. I saw her passing a few quick glances over my body. I know Iím not supposed to feel pride but humility like our Lord did, but the fact is Iím proud of my body. It was well toned, firm and feminine. I entered the hot water and sat opposite her, facing her. The water soothed my tired body and I closed my eyes succumbing to the sensation and the lilac fragrance of the steamy water.

"How was your first day in the convent, my child?" She asked with the sweetest of voices.

"Interesting." I responded.

"And what was so interesting about it?" I saw her coaxing an eyebrow.

"New place, new people..." For the next few momentsí silence ruled the hall. I observed the Prioress. She was slowly and somewhat distractedly soaping her body. It looked as if something was troubling her. She was staring at no particular object and it seemed her mind was far away. She wasnít mantling her stoic mask as usual.

"You know, my child, it is by no means an easy task being a Prioress." She finally said.

"I never believed it to be an easy task," I said and took a chunk of soap, rubbed it against my palm and then ran my hands over my body, scrubbing the dirt away.

"It gets lonely." She uttered in a small voice. The moment her words struck my ears I ceased all manual activities to my body and looked at her, searching for something, a clarification, perhaps. Oh...and how quickly Sister Agathaís words about the Prioressí sexual perversions began swirling in my head...

"How so, Prioress?" I asked, my hands remaining still.

"I canít be a friend with any of the sisters. If I did theyíd lose respect and the loss of discipline is bound to follow." She still looked distant and kept staring at that evasive spot she had been previously staring at.

"I can be your friend if you like, I promise I wonít lose respect and discipline." I sincerely suggested. I was eagerly hoping she would accept my offer, but her outburst of laughter sobered me from my ridiculous wishes.

"Dear child...you of all nuns...you can not possibly lose discipline... because you didnít possess any to begin with." She managed to utter in between laughs. I couldnít resist the urge to insolently show the Prioress how offended I was by her words and laughter. So I plastered the right expression on my face. After she managed to stifle her laughter she turned to me and said:

"You shouldnít take offense."

"None taken." I assured her.

"You probably donít know it, but the Prioress of the former convent you attended wrote to me that she also found out you engaged yourself in writing adventure stories...since it had nothing to do with our religion, she didnít approve of it. Even though forbidden, she didnít confront you with it so as not to embarrass you. She said she thought you have the potential of becoming a very devoted nun. But because she dreads your possible bad influence on the other nuns, she had to expel you."

"I wonít write my stories anymore, Prioress." I lowered my head.

"I will allow you to write your stories, my child, just donít tell the other nuns. After all, we wouldnít want anarchy in here, now, would we?" She smiled. As much as her consent to my writing amazed me, it was her next sentence that overwhelmed me and left me speechless. I saw her face wearing a somewhat serious expression and heard her say, " It would be a sin to capture and restrict a liberated and wonderful spirit such as yours."

"Thank you, Prioress." I muttered once I regained control over my voice. She cleaned the soap from her body. Once she was done, she rose to her full height. She exposed to me to her glorious form, which was accented by the candlelight and had small droplets sliding down its length. She carefully exited the tub and dried herself. I was too embarrassed to look at her and so I pretended to be busy with cleaning myself up. I got out of the tub as well. A freezing draft invaded the bath-chamber and brushed my body, causing it to tremble uncontrollably. My upper set of teeth clang to the lower so tight I couldnít even speak my distress. I wrapped my arms around my body, modestly concealing my hardened nipples from the Prioressí eyes. The Prioress took my towel and enveloped my body, embracing my shoulders. She rubbed my biceps with her hands, hard and fast, in order to generate some heat.

"Thank you, Prioress." I said. She stepped back away from me and reached for her habit.

After she was fully dressed the heavy, golden cross, rested on her chest once again. She turned to me and asked, " Will you be my friend, Sister Gabrielle?"

"Iíd be honored, Prioress." I tried my best to convince her of my sincerity.

"I appreciate it." She smiled, quite in relief I believe.

She began strolling towards the bath-chamber door and just before she vanished behind it, she turned to me once more and said,

"You are welcome to bathe with me tomorrow as well. I will enjoy your company, Sister Gabrielle."

"Thank you, Prioress, I will." I couldnít contain the wide grin that plastered across my face. She nodded and bid me good night...in Latin.

I dressed as quickly as possible, for I was very cold and wished to keep the time of exposure to a minimum. I sneaked back into the Dormitorium and awaited slumber to take me. I wonder what friendship with the Prioress would yield? It was the last thought that had occupied my mind before I succumbed to slumber.

*********

1/12/1750 Tuesday

With great effort I managed to get out of my bed when the conventís bells announced the morningís arrival. Getting up at the crack of dawn was the hardest thing about being a nun...yes, even harder than celibacy. At least it wasnít as cold as it was the previous day, quite the opposite. It was a shiny day outside. I anticipated the moment we would all go outside and work in the vegetable garden. I was in desperate need of some fresh air for the air inside the convent was dusty and mossy. I also longed for the bright light of the sun beyond the conventís walls, which was dimly lit by candles alone. The scent of ancient air, along with the poor and pale illumination of the convent, gave it a grim and gloomy atmosphere that was difficult for me to get used to.

Finally the time arrived. The back doors of the convent opened and all the nuns went outside to work in the vivarium and the garden. To my amazement, the Prioress was among the workers. In "Exelsis Dei," the Prioress never worked the garden with us because physical labor such as this was beneath a nun of her stature. However, in "Our lady of Sorrow" the Prioress worked hard like the rest of us. As a matter of fact, it seemed to me like she was working harder than the rest of us. She demonstrated immense strength in labor, which explained her ever so beautiful muscular body.

I could barely wait until darkness would envelope the sky. I longed for the intimate moments with the Prioress. Throughout the day the Prioress didnít pay me any special attention. As a matter of fact she didnít exchange so much as a single word with me. She didnít even ask me to say the "Benedicite" before the meals. Thank God a nunís day in the "Our lady of Sorrows" convent was so full and hectic that the day passed fast enough.

After the last prayer in the chapel, we all retired to the Dormitorium. I waited for about an hour and then sneaked out of the large chamber.

The Prioress was already waiting for me in the bath-chamber. By the looks of the steam I could tell that the tub had already been filled with hot water. When she saw me, the Prioress began to undress. I had reached the final partition. For some reason I thought it would be more appropriate tonight if I turned my back to her while I undress, and so I did. I rid myself of all my clothing in absolute silence. I tried to take off the necklace with the cross, but I couldnít get it. I found myself struggling with it with nervous fingers for a few long moments.

"Would you like me to help you with that?" The Prioress said and stood behind me. She stood close enough for me to sense the heat radiating from her body. I felt her long, evidently skillful fingers on the back of my neck, working the challenge my necklace posed, and her warm breath on my hair. I felt a shiver rushing through my naked body, which I couldnít account for. Nevertheless, I was hoping it would escape the Prioress, alas it didnít.

"Are you cold?" She asked with concern.

"No." I answered stupidly enough. She finally managed to open it and took it off me. She stepped back and entered the tub and so did I, seating myself in front of her.

"How was your day, my child?" she inquired.

"Long." I chuckled and she smiled. She began soaping her muscular and feminine body.

"So, What have you heard about me?" She suddenly asked. I was shocked.

"Wha...what are you t...talking about, Prioress?" My tongue grew heavy and tangled in my mouth. I lowered my head so as not to disclose the fact that I knew, only too well, what was she talking about.

"Have you been told...all sorts of things about me?" She coaxed an eyebrow and examined my face carefully.

"Is that why you wanted me to be your friend...so that I would spy for you and report to you what the nuns say about you behind your back?" I didnít know why really but I was very hurt by her. I didnít really know her. She wasnít even truly my friend, yet in some strange way she had this power over me.

"I donít need you as a friend in order to know what the nuns are saying behind my back, I already know that. I was wondering whether youíve been exposed to it yet or not." She immediately defended herself and seemed rather offended.

"They told me some things." I finally said, fixing my gaze on her icy blue eyes.

"And what did *they* say?" She asked. For a few moments I dared not say a word. I didnít know what to say.

"I was told you were good and merciful, Prioress." I answered. I donít know what made me think I could avoid her question with that kind of answer.

"Thatís not what I meant and you know it." She smirked because she saw right through my pathetic attempt to avoid her question, and so I giggled. Soon after that she resumed her serious expression. I told her everything that sister Agnes said about her losing her mother and brother. About her old ways, and about her belief that God punished her for it. Hence, it was her decision to become a nun. I felt great embarrassment and bashfulness as I was telling her about her "old ways". I tried my best to find the most subtle words I could possibly find in order to sublimate things. When I finished I resumed eye contact with her.

"Do you think itís true?" She asked.

"I donít know, Prioress." I answered. At this point we both sat still in the tub, facing each other. The conversation was too intense so we werenít engaging in actual bathing.

"Well, all of it is true...Yes, even everything *they* told you about my "misconduct" - as you so eloquently put it - with both men and women. All asides from my belief that God punished me for it. I didnít join the order for redemption or salvation."

"Then why?"

"Emptiness" Was the single word she uttered.

"Emptiness?" I repeated.

"Exactly so, my child." She said. "When my mother and brother were alive, I had love in my life. I have never loved any of the people with whom I have been. None of them seemed to deserve my life. Most of the people I have had were nobility. They were conniving, petty and corrupted people. I never thought, for a moment, that God was punishing me for my promiscuity. For I have met worse people than me, yet I havenít seen God bringing down his wrath on them. After my mother and brother died, the love in my heart died and I have found the love of God and it filled me."

"Who introduced you to God?" I asked.

"A priest of one of my lovers." She said shortly and dryly. After a moment of silence she asked, "Have *they* told you anything else?"

"No, honestly...Prioress." I retorted and hoped I sounded sincere enough.

"*They* have big noses and even bigger mouths. Donít they, Sister Gabrielle? I know the informer is Sister Agnes." She sighed.

"She seemed almost too eager to slander you, Prioress."

"I know, she is upset that I was nominated to be this conventís Prioress and she wasnít, even though she has been living here longer than me."

"So, how come you got to be Prioress and she didnít?" I inquired with a small voice. I thought I was a little out of line...curiosity got the better of me.

"Letís just say that I have friends in high places. I was a loyal physician and lover, donít forget." She washed her long tresses, lifting her arms and delving her long fingers into her raven hair. Her lifted arms made her breasts emerge to the surface.

"What was your name before you joined the order?" I asked, somewhat distracted.

"Xena." She said and then continued. "My mother named me after a great warrior woman from ancient Greece...she even sent me to study fencing." She chuckled. She lowered her hands beneath the water line in order to wash the soap from them.

"Itís very unusual and interesting."

"Interesting? How so?"

"In those stories I write...I tell of a warrior woman who fights for good." I smiled.

"You should tell me about them sometime." She said softly and smiled back. Then she ducked under the surface to wash the soap from her hair. When she reappeared I said:

"Iíd be delighted!" The Prioress began to move towards me and then she settled herself to my right. A shiver ran throughout my body as a result of her proximity. I didnít understand why. She sat very close to me yet our bodies werenít touching.

"What was your name before you became a nun?"

"I was always Gabrielle. It resembles the Angel Gabriel, so they let me keep my name"

"And why have you joined the order?"

I told the Prioress of my parents and my birth. She looked very interested in the things I told her. After I finished she said,

"I insist that we call each other by our given names when we are in private." She also said she can not have a friend calling her "Prioress." I naturally agreed.

We finally exited the bath. She handed me the towel, and dried herself as well. Then she sat on a stool, after she was dressed, and began combing her long hair with long strokes . I dried my body too and dressed, first my habit then my hood. At some point she struggled with some tangle in her hair.

"Would you like me to do that for you, Xena?" I offered with a faint voice, hoping that I wasnít crossing any boundaries that I shouldnít cross.

"Please." She sighed and handed me the comb. I went and stood behind her. She tilted her head up towards me in order to make my task easier. I gently combed her hair, one soft stroke succeeding another. The Prioress closed her eyes. We didnít exchange words between us. It was so quiet that I could hear my somewhat ragged breathing.

"All done." I suddenly announced.

"Thank you, Gabrielle." She said and stood up, facing me, wearing her hood. "I enjoyed our conversation a great deal. Can I count on you being here tomorrow?"

"Wouldnít miss it for the world, Xena." I smiled.

"Itís settled then. Good night Gabrielle"

"Good night, Xena."

She left.

*********

4/12/1750 Friday

Waking up at first light every morning is getting harder every day, because each night my bath-time conversations with the Prioress are getting longer. Iím not complaining, however. I enjoyed them tremendously and I wouldnít miss them for anything. Not even a good nights sleep. As a matter of fact, I eagerly anticipated them.

Last night I read to her a story of mine. She thoroughly enjoyed it. She even suggested that maybe the warrior woman in my stories should have a traveling companion, a Bard of some sort. I thought it was a great idea and thanked the Prioress for it.

We talked about religion and philosophy. She told me about her passion for music. She also told me that she plays the organ. She plays the music that a good friend of hers composes. She said that his music is the closest thing to God. She said he was a Protestant, lived in Leipzig and had twenty children...a man by the name of Bach. Conversing with her is fascinating. She is a brilliant and highly intelligent woman.

Later on, I told her about myself and she told me about her past. With each word she spoke, with each syllable she uttered, she took another piece of my heart. When talking to her, I felt like I was conversing with someone whom I have known for years. It felt warm, familiar and safe...it felt like home. At that point we had already finished bathing so she suggested we continue our conversation in her bedchamber. I was surprised at how small it was and how modest. It contained only a bed, a few candles and some books.

She went on telling me about her past, her feelings, thoughts and sins. She told me that aside from her countless lovers, she had had even greater transgressions - her pride and vanity. She was a physician for the wrong reason, not for helping people, but for the purposes of fame, possessions and station. I felt like I was her priest. No, not a priest, for contrary to a priest, I didnít offer her absolution, I offered her comfort. She opened up to me like she never did with another soul. She knew I wouldnít judge her, but understand her and I did. We were so caught up in the conversation that we didnít notice it was already two hours before dawn.

During the day I was very sleepy and could barely keep my eyes open. All the other sisters didnít pay much attention to me and thought nothing of it. All but one, Sister Agnes. She came to me during lunchtime and asked me if I was coming down with something. I told her that I didnít think so. She said to me that if I didnít feel well I should approach the Prioress in her study after lunch and let her examine me, being that she is a skillful physician. I thought to myself that that could be a great opportunity to spend some time alone with the Prioress. I just couldnít wait until the day was over.

When lunch was finally over I walked to the Prioressí study and knocked on the door.

"Enter." I heard her invitation. As soon as she saw my head peeking into her study she smiled. "Come in, Sister Gabrielle." Once I was inside she asked, "What can I do for you, Gabrielle?" I was amazed at how quickly and efficiently she managed to put on, and take off, the stoic, cold and detached mask of "the Prioress".

"Iím not feeling so well." I said and sat on the chair before her large desk. She stood up and walked around the desk until she reached me. She placed a soft palm against my forehead.

"I donít sense fever, where exactly does it hurt?" I was afraid if I told her I was pretending to be ill in order to be with her sheíd be angry with me. That and hopefully she would allow me to retire to the Dormitorium for a nap.

"Itís my stomach." I placed my hand on my belly and put on the most agonized expression I could muster.

"Come with me to the second floor. The conventís infirmary is there. I founded it myself." She said, rather proudly I thought.

"Thank you, Xena." I said with a strained voice, demonstrating just how much in "pain" I was. She was leading me upstairs supporting me as we were climbing the staircase. She had one arm wrapped around my waist and the other securing mine on her shoulder. As I detected her concern for me, which was evident on her face, I felt awful about the whole charade. But at this point, it was too late to do anything about it. We finally reached the infirmary. It was indeed a small chamber. There was a small white desk and a chair. It also had a very high examining bed with white curtain surrounding it for privacy. The prioress assisted me in sitting down on the examining bed.

"Do you need help with taking off your dress or would you rather do it yourself?" She gently asked and went to take her stethoscope.

"Iíll manage." I said. I took off my dress, exposing my naked form to her blue eyes. For some reason I was unbelievably nervous. Maybe because I knew she would touch me.

I lay down, having nothing on my body, save my hood and undergarments. Nevertheless, I never felt more naked in my life. She put the stethoscope in her ears and placed its metallic cold end on my chest.

"Breathe deeply, Gabrielle." She ordered, and I did just that. After she finished, she took the stethoscope out of her ears and placed it on the back of her neck. She then gently placed her hands on my naked stomach, occasionally pressing it with her fingertips in sporadic places. My skin burned beneath her touch...there was no denying it anymore.

"Get dressed," She said. " I canít find anything wrong with you and if I didnít know any better, Iíd say you are playing hooky from your responsibilities."

"As a matter of fact I am just so very tired that I was hoping that you would excuse me..." At that point she cut through my speech and harshly said:

"If our gatherings at night are so much of a burden, Gabrielle, that you canít handle both it and your responsibilities in the convent, then I wonít have you meeting me past bed time anymore. You are a nun first and foremost and only somewhere down the line you are my friend as well. Am I making myself clear?"

"Yes, Prioress." I said, fighting back the tears that welled up in my eyes. I sat up on the examining bed and put my habit back on.

"Further more, young lady, you lied to me. You pretended to be ill and got me worried about you. If there is one thing I hate, itís people pretending and lying. If you want to remain my friend then I suggest you never do that again!" I could see disappointment and anger in her eyes.

"Yes, Prioress." I bowed my head.

"Now go to the Main-hall for studying, Gabrielle." She ordered and raised her index finger in the direction of the door. I stood up and headed towards the door. Just before I exited the room I turned to her and asked with a pleading voice:

"Can I come tonight, Xena?" I hesitated a bit before pronouncing her name.

"Only if you are up to it." She smiled and I saw the anger leaving her.

Needless to say by the time darkness fell, I was most alert and went to have my visit with the Prioress.

 

*********

5/12/1750 Saturday

Today, the Boys Choir that is supposed to sing in the Sunday mass, arrived at our Convent shortly after breakfast for rehearsal. The Prioress allowed me to be present in chapel during it. She accompanied them with the organ. Indeed she played divinely and they sang with angelic voices. She mastered both the huge instrument and the music completely and perfectly. After the rehearsal was over, she urged me to stay in the church a little longer. She wanted me to listen to her play Bachís Passacgalia. It didnít take much convincing, for I wanted to stay. And when she played that piece my eyes became moist and soon after, my cheeks were wet with tears. She made me feel good. She touched my soul.

The boys of the choir joined us nuns for lunch. They were very skinny and pale. When their food was placed on the table before them they and devoured it as if they werenít fed in months. Sister Anne told me their church is very poor and that the boys werenít eating regularly. After lunch was over I took some of the boys with me and sneaked them into the kitchen. I gave them some poached eggs, bread, vegetables and honey to take with them.

 

Up to that point I had no idea how correct Sister Agatha was about the Prioress. Nothing escaped her eyes. After the boys left she summoned me to her study and gave me a piece of her mind regarding the food I gave the boys. She said our convent was poor as well and that our food is being measured carefully. She told me that the food I gave them means no food for us. I tried to defend myself, saying they were just young boys and that it tore at my heart witnessing their condition, but it was no use. She said she knew I had a good heart and a merciful soul but I had to learn to obey the rules. She said sheíd have to punish me and so she did. Later she assured me she wasnít angry with me. She cupped my cheek with a warm palm and smiled a beautiful smile at me.

Words cannot describe how I longed for our meeting in the bath-chamber that night. My heart was hurting from yearning and anticipation. The Prioress conquered me heart and soul. I needed to see her that night like I needed air for breathing. Throughout the day, I was daydreaming about Xena kissing my forehead, my cheeks and my lips. I craved for her to touch me. It possessed my thoughts. I cannot believe it. I know itís a sin. I donít know if Iím strong enough to beat it. There is nothing I can do besides pray to the Lord for help and guidance. She is the Prioress for heaven sakes. How can I even conceive such abomination? The Prioress and I kissing, itís hopeless, for she wouldnít touch me. This I know, she is a holy woman, she is the Prioress and she is a *woman* so help me God. After dinner I went to chapel. I knelt before the altar and prayed to God for strength, for ability to fight temptations. I asked of God to eradicate the evil, sinful and lustful thoughts and desires I had within me. After I was done, I crossed myself, stood up and left. In my heart a new resolution formed - I wouldnít meet with the Prioress in private again, for it was tormenting my soul. I have realized I am in love with her...in love. Am I going crazy? What am I saying...

Darkness enveloped the night. I was contemplating in my head whether I should go to the bath chamber or stay in bed and try to get some sleep. I wished I were bound to the bed so I wouldnít have to choose. It was already three hours before midnight. Usually, at this time I was already taking my clothes off and joining Xena in the tub. But here I was, just lying in my bed, listening to Sister Agnesí snoring and fighting images of Xenaís naked body on top of mine. I tried to fixate my gaze upon the cross on the wall, thinking salvation will come from him. Alas, Xenaís naked form is more attractive than his. Indeed it felt as if all hell broke loose and my soul was in the stormís eyes. I never thought I would be tortured like this by my flesh. I began mouthing with no sound a "Hail Mary." I thought the chanting would take my mind off Xena. Pretty soon "Hail Mary" became "Hail Xena." The battle was wearing out my soul. I tried to smite the Devil from within me. I was exhausted yet I was restless. No doubt - righteousness is tiring to the soul. I knew it was cold outside and yet sweat began to bead on my forehead. Slumber was out of my grasp tonight. Another hour passed and I was wondering whether she was still taking her bath, or if she finished already. Was she aware of my absence? Did she miss me?

The Dormitoriumís door was opened and the Prioress entered. I immediately closed my eyes and calmed my breathing so that she would think I was asleep. I was wondering whether she would wake me or not, whether she would touch me in order to do so. Obviously, I was ecstatic that she came for me after all. I sensed her approaching my bed, kneeling next to it and hovering above me.

"Enough with your games, Gabrielle, I know youíre awake. You have fresh sweat on your forehead on such a cold night...What have you been up to?" She whispered in my ear so as not to wake up the other nuns. I opened one eye, followed by the other. She rose to her feet. She signaled me to be quiet by planting her index finger on her lips, then she motioned me with her hand to come with her. She walked in front of me with soundless steps and I obediently followed her.

Once we were out and away from the Dormitorium, she turned to face me.

"Why didnít you come? Iíve been waiting for you for over an hour!" She hissed.

"Iím sorry, Xena. I guess I forgot." I mumbled, filled with guilt.

"No you didnít. Whatís the matter, are you angry with me for punishing you? You know I had no choice. What would the other nuns think? I wonít have them thinking that you are receiving special treatment from me."

"Itís not that."

"Then what is it, for crying out loud?"

"Let's just leave it be, Xena."

"As you wish, Gabrielle." She finally gave up. What else could I have done, tell her I was completely, insanely and hopelessly in love with her?

We bathed in silence. I was occupied with my thoughts and she - with hers. There was an unexplainable awkwardness that neither one of us succeeded in shaking off or understanding its origin. When we finished bathing she broke the silence.

"Come with me, I have something I have been wanting to show you for quite some time." We were both fully dressed. She led me to a back, side door on the second floor. She drew out a key from above the door. She opened it, saying she is the only one who passes through that door. Then we began climbing up an endless staircase that left me breathless and my muscles aching. Soon after I maintained normal breathing rhythm, I noticed where we were. We were standing in the bell tower. Only the full moon illuminated it and to its right I examined the pair of old large metallic bells. They had some cracks here and there but I loved the sound they made. The heavy bells were so dirty that they did not return the moonís light. I averted my look to the opposite direction of the bells and I saw a huge arched window that began almost from the floor and ended close to the top of the tower. It was so high that I got a little dizzy. The Prioress caught me just in time before I fell to my knees. She grabbed me by my arm and chuckled.

"Isnít it beautiful?" She looked at the horizon line and inhaled lungs full of fresh and chilly night air. The wind was stroking her damp hair.

"Itís amazing." I gasped.

"This is where I take refuge. This is the place I come to in order to think. This is where I spend my summer nights. I come here to sleep." She moved her hand to a niche in the wall and a small hidden door to a cabin opened. She took out two big thick blankets from behind it and spread them on the cold stony floor. She sat down on one of the blankets and invited me to join her. I sat down next to her.

"Whatís going on with you lately? You seem so distracted." She said in a motherly tone and innocently placed her hand on my thigh. I could feel the fire raging in my body. Fruitlessly, I failed to control the sinful fire of hell. It took me a few moments to acknowledge the fact that the Prioress was still waiting for an answer.

"I donít wish to lie to you Xena, you are my best and only friend, but I can not tell you the truth either. " I was looking out the arced window, watching Baden wearing its black cloak.

"Gabrielle, I was hoping that you would trust me by now. I am here for you, both as your Prioress and your friend. You can feel free to tell me anything thatís in your heart and Iíll do my up- most to help you"

"You canít help me...no one can." I said with such conviction.

"Have you committed a sin of the flesh?" She delicately asked.

"No," I said in haste. "I havenít *done* anything, yet." I said more calmly and played with my fingers, evading her crystal blue eyes. Nevertheless, I could feel her eyes upon me. I felt ashamed.

"Maybe I can be of some help after all. Sometimes talking about whatís troubling your soul can be a relief."

"I seriously doubt that." I said in disbelief. "Maybe I should wait until tomorrowís confession." I suggested.

"Iíd rather you didnít. That is to say, I want you to see me as your confidant just as I see one in you." She seemed almost appalled by the idea of me going to confession.

"You have to promise me you wonít think any less of me."

"Gabrielle, you know itís not possible. You have the purest heart I have ever..."

"Promise me." I insisted more firmly.

"I promise." She finally surrendered. I took a deep breath.

"Itís about you." I began. I felt a wave of heat wash over my face. The cold night air failed to chill me. I still wasnít looking at her.

"What about me?" She sounded surprised. Since she wasnít getting any response from me she held my chin between her index finger and thumb and tilted my head up forcing me to look at her. I began to regret I hadnít lied to her.

"I think Iím in love with you." I heard myself say. I closed my eyes, for I feared her reaction. I was afraid she would be disgusted, accusing, and appalled. I couldnít bear to see any of those things in her eyes.

"Dear child, you are confused, thatís all. You are a nun who never tasted sexual pleasures in her life, but you are also a young woman with needs and desires. Itís only natural that you have these...thoughts. You picked me of all people simply because we bathe together every night and not because itís me you really want. I was just there so it was easy for you to..."

Rudely I cut her off. "Donít do this!" I said angrily, almost yelling at her. "Donít cheapen my feelings for you this way. Although not as mature and experienced in such matters as you, I know the difference between love and lust and I know I love you."

"My child, youíve only known me for barely six days. How can you possibly..." She cupped my cheek but I pulled back, ripping my face from her touch I wonít let her weaken me this way I thought. At that point I could see something inside her shatter and crumble.

"Gabrielle. My name is Gabrielle. Stop calling me "my child", Xena." My fists were tight and my knuckles whitened.

"I donít think you know what youíre saying." She tried

"I know what Iím saying, but I donít know why am I saying it." I sighed. "I know weíve only known each other for six days but I feel like I have known you my entire life. You have this balance between darkness and lightness, between your past and present, between who you were and who you are. You know so much and I love listening to you. During those six days youíve allowed me into your soul with everything you said and did. I have seen your soul. You impress me, Xena...and God help me, I want you." I was at the brink of tears and I felt excruciating pain in my chest like my heart was about to explode.

"There is nothing I can do for you, Gabrielle, nothing at all. You must understand I am the Prioress...we both are nuns...as much as I would...we just canít..." She fought with the words as another wave of chilling air brushed my face. This time it wasnít the wind, it was my life being sucked out of my body. I knew she was right. We canít be lovers because of our beliefs and because of God. It would be against our oath and it would be an abomination in Godís eyes.

I hoisted myself from the ground, accompanied by her agonized gaze. I turned to leave.

"I shall bother you no more, Prioress." I said and lowered my head. I knew she understood what I was saying.

"Donít you dare ĎPrioressí me, Gabrielle!" I heard her yell from behind me. She grabbed my arm and turned me around with one powerful and swift motion. Once I was facing her she wrapped her other arm around my waist and pressed my body hard into hers. She glanced at my lips for a brief moment and then she pierced my eyes with hers.

"I love you too, Gabrielle." She sighed painfully. She leaned down towards my lips and claimed them with her own. It was a furious and passionate kiss that left me breathless and hungry. Her lips and tongue demanded and I gave them what they were seeking - entrance. She tasted sweetly like stolen water. My heart overflowed with love and desire for her and I sent my hand behind her head and rid her of her hood. Then I delved my fingers into her damp black tresses and lowered her down harder onto me, increasing the pressure she placed on my lips. She kissed wonderfully, her tongue was stroking mine. Her warm sensuous lips were caressing and nibbling, first my lower lip then my upper one. Never in my life have I felt so elated. When she felt my distress for lack of air she broke the kiss and descended down to my neck. Licking her trail, gently yet passionately biting my flesh. Sending shivers through my spine, sending my body ablaze with fire.

"Itís madness, weíve got to stop." I breathed heavily. I clenched a fist full of her raven hair and pushed her head even farther into me, burying her face into my neck.

"Weíll stop in a moment." She gasped and pulled down my hood. I felt the fingers of both of her hands running through my short blond hair. A few moments passed and we were still standing, kissing and sucking each otherís exposed flesh.

"Xena...itís a sin." A sharp intake of air made the words come out muffled from my mouth.

"I know...just...a little longer." She moaned aloud in between kisses. I felt her hands skillfully stripping me of my dress. In almost no time at all only my undergarments were left on my body. I was burning up. I needed her badly. I felt throbbing and warm slippery wetness between my thighs. Standing up became a burden for my shaking legs. I wanted to lie down. She read my body and supported me as she lay me down on the blankets. Once I was lying on them I looked at her. She slowly stripped me from my undergarments. Once I was totally exposed to her, she stood back up on her feet and hovered above me.

"Damn you Gabrielle, you are so beautiful...You make me want you so much...help me stop it!" She wailed in anguish and I knew that her need for me and her faith in the Lord were tearing her to pieces.

"Xena, itís impossible for me to fight it. Itís stronger than I am." The absence of her touch made me insane.

"We have to, Gabrielle."

"I know...I know...we shouldnít be doing this." My body was flushed and its heat peaked. She was still standing near my feet as I was lying down. She examined my naked body with her eyes. I was guided by desire, not by experience, as I began swaying my body for her, like a snake. I was seductively moving my hips, spreading my legs as wide as they allowed, showing her glazed eyes my forbidden fruit. Exposing the fruit of the Garden of Eden, inviting her to take a bite and taste it. My green eyes never left her blue ones. I knew she lusted for me. I could see it in her hooded and desirous eyes. I was guided by love, not by shame.

"I just want to know the feel of your naked body against mine...then weíll stop." She said.

"Yes, then weíll stop." I knew once our bodies met, we wouldnít be able to stop. We wouldnít be able to separate, not till we each found release. I knew she knew it as well. She slowly took off her dress and cross. Then she peeled her body from its undergarments. Behold, her magnificent and glorious body was revealed before my eyes. I saw her descending towards the ground. As she got closer to me I felt shy and bashful and so I closed my legs. She knelt on the ground at my feet.

"I love you more than life, Gabrielle, You are my angel." She said with a tormented voice. Tears began to stream down her face and upon her bosom.

"I love you, Xena, with all my heart and soul." I tried to comfort her but all I could muster was a poor excuse for a smile. I knew that for what we were about to do, making love to each other, we were dooming our souls to hell. But I loved her and with that love came the inevitable want. I needed her like I needed air. I began a silent prayer in my heart for God to forgive us Dominus, miserere nobis (God have mercy on us). Small kisses that she rained on my feet and toes pulled me from my thoughts and prayer. Xena made me forget God. She was my goddess.

"There is another Protestant composer named Ditrich Buxtehude, he lived in Lubek. Have you heard of him, Gabrielle?" She asked me as she continued to kiss my feet, licking between my toes and slowly sucking them. I was so aroused that her asking me about some composer during our lovemaking didnít even strike me as strange at the time. I just nodded, while praying to God to make her kiss me a little northward on my body, where I needed her the most.

"He composed a piece thatís called "Membra Jesu Nostri" (To Jesusí body) which is basically a cycle of seven cantatas. Each cantata is an homage to a different part of Jesusí body." Now she raised her head from my feet and looked at me. "The first one is "Ad pedes" (Upon the feet). She began to sing with that amazing angelic alto voice of hers:

"Cirumplector cum affectu" (I embrace with deep emotion)

"Tuo pavens in aspectu" (Fearful of thy glance)

Then she lowered her head again and resumed her gentle ministrations to my feet, not neglecting any toe. She then kissed her way up my legs.

"The second cantata is "Ad genua" (Upon the knees)." She lovingly licked my knees. In between kisses and licks she went on singing to me:

"Quid rependam amatori" (How may I repay the lover)

"Oui elegit prome mori" (Who chose to die for me)

"Ne dupla morte morerer" (Lest I die a double death)

My solicitude for her rose to a fever pitch. As she kissed and loved me, I felt as if I was flying in heaven amongst angels. Surrounded by warmth, light and divine bliss. I felt as if I was floating on their soft wings. There was nothing on this damned earth that equaled such sensations. The desire in my heart and between my legs went higher.

"The third is: "Ad manus" (Upon the hands)" She said. She moved to kneel at my side. Then, she began her soft assault on my left hand, occasionally hovering over my body with her torso in order to attend to my right hand, mindlessly grazing her warm breasts on my stomach. She sang:

"Et gemendo condelector" (With groans take delight in ye)

"Dans lacrimas cum osculis" (Mingling tears with my kisses)

As she was kissing and ravishing my body, I felt her boiling tears dripping on my hands. I knew her torment was tearing up her soul and soon tears were streaming down my face as well. My heart was aching with blasted love, forbidden love, but there was nothing I could do. With a hoarse and cracked voice she went on:

"The forth one is: "Ad latus" (Upon the side)". She positioned her knees on the ground between my legs. Then, she began to ravish my waist, raining tender kisses, occasionally sucking and biting my flesh. Her lips were leaving trails of fire on my body. I desired her like Iíd never desired anything in my life before. Her loving me was worth an eternity in hell. Not even God is powerful enough to extinct the love and passion I feel for my Xena. Her sorrow was my sorrow and I knew she needed my encouragement. I gave it to her by placing my hand on her head, pressing her harder against me. Throughout her worshiping me, my eyes never left her. I wasnít tempted to close them not even when she sucked my waist so hard that she drew blood.

"Salve latus salvatoris" (Hail, side of the Savior)

"In quo latet mel dulcoris" (In which lies hidden the honey of sweetness)

"In quo patet vis amoris" (In which lies open the power of love)

"Ex quo scatet fons cruoris" (From which gushes the fount of blood)

"Qui corda lavat sordida" (Wherewith filthy hearts are washed)

With a husky and tortured voice she went on:

"The fifth cantata is: "Ad pectus" (Upon the breast)"

Ad pectus...finally she will feast on my breasts that long her loving dainty mouth I thought to myself. I first felt her body fully lay on top of mine, then her flaming breath on my nipples, which hardened immediately. She swirled her tongue around my swollen aureole before claiming my nipple. Then she licked her fingers and clasped my other nipple, giving it the same ministrations. She suckled my breasts like a famished infant, occasionally biting the nipples, gently, without breaking the skin. Waves of arousal went through my body, from my breasts straight to my loins.

"Salve, pectus reverendum" (Hail, O breast we must revere)

"Cum tremore contingendum" (to be touched with trembling)

"Amoris domicilium" (As the dwelling place of love)

As she sang I moaned loudly. My ardent desire between my thighs began to drench the blankets beneath me. I needed release and prayed to God that my Xena would satisfy my unquenchable craving that nested inside me.

"The sixth cantata is: "Ad cor" (Upon the heart) she howled.

My body was swaying beneath her. I needed to feel as much of her as possible. Her fire and love were consuming me. She abandoned my breasts and went beneath them, placing her ear against my body and listening to the beating of my heart.

"It beats for you, my love." I cried in between my panting.

"OhÖGabrielle." She groaned, her face stained with tears. Hearing her uttering my name with such devotion made my body tremble. I smiled in order to ease her suffering, but it only made her cry more loudly this time. I gathered her in my arms, squeezing her shaky body to me. I was grateful to her being such a gentle lover. She took her time with me. She didnít rush things. She took the time to bring pleasure to every part of my body. I knew she was trying desperately to control herself. I knew it wasnít easy for her. Everything she did, she did with passion. I could see her fire when she prayed, when she lectured us...even when she worked at the garden. Iíve noticed her fire. I could tell she was holding back. She desired to take me hard and fast but she didnít. She restrained herself for me. But I was beyond ready for her at that point.

"Love me Xena, pleaseÖitís what I want." I begged.

"Vulnerasti cor meum, soror mea, sousa" (Thou hast wounded my heart, my sister, my spouse)

She fought her crying so that she could continue to sing her love to me. Her voice enveloped and pampered me.

"Ad faciem" (Upon the face) is the last cantata." She said. By now her whole body covered me. The feel of her weight on my body and her soft breasts against mine excited me to no end. Her luscious lips caressed my eyelids, my wet cheeks, my nose and my chin leaving no place untouched, save my lips. She was saving the best for last.

"O amator amplectende" (Lover whose embrace I long for)

"Temet ipsum tunc ostende" (Show me then thy very self)

And with these last words of singing she descended southward to the core of my desire. She stroked the length of my center, flicking her expert tongue on my labia. She drank the essence of my desire. Finally she reached the exact place where I needed her most. Xena licked and sucked my swollen nub of passion furiously, taking me to heights I never dreamed existed. The more she devoured my engorged nub the higher she took me. I wanted to tell her how much I loved her, but all I could do was moan. For a minute, I thought that any moment now I would touch God. Before she entered me, knowing I was a virgin, she sent a finger to my opening and checked to see if I was ready for her. And I was beyond ready for her, all wet and wide to accept her into me, deep inside. After she touched my opening, she plunged two long and skillful fingers inside my soaked and slippery sanctum. At that point all thoughts of God, of heaven and hell were completely erased from my mind. Only the goddess, whose face was buried in my forbidden fruit, existed. She built a steady rhythm with her tongue and fingers, a primal pace of lovemaking.

I felt the waves of release approaching, on the verge of claiming me. I involuntary arched my back, pushing Xenaís head farther into my throbbing swollen core. I was afraid of succumbing to the climax. I tried to hold back. Xena felt it and said to me with the softest of voice,

"Donít fight itÖlet goÖplease...come."

I came hard, my entire body shaking and quivering.

"XENA!" I shouted her name as climax crashed into me. She rode the waves with me, continuing her assault, bringing upon me the bliss of yet another climax and another and another.

"I canít take anymore." I cried. Only then did she stop. She licked my core clean from the great quantity of wetness that poured from it. She climbed back up to me, while sporadically leaving warm loving kisses along the way. My skin was flushed, wet and sensitive and while she placed those kisses, it convulsed. Our lips met again. I could taste myself upon her lips and on her tongue.

A new desire arose in me. The desire to please her, to love her passionately, to worship her body as she did mine. I embraced her and rolled with her on the blankets. Now she was on her back.

"Tell me Iím what you need." I begged.

"GabrielleÖ" She moaned. "I need you to love me."

All of a sudden a tremendous fear attacked my heart and I blushed.

"Iíve never done this beforeÖIím not sure how." I stammered.

"Do what you please, my love, just touch meÖIíll be pleased with anything youíll give me." She smiled to assure me. And with that I took her lips with mine. The kiss started as a gentle one, but soon became deep and passionate. I could sense her hunger for me. My lips left hers and went to her throat, kneading her flesh, caressing her soft skin. I planted kisses on her collarbone as my hand went lower to her womanhood. By the wetness I found there, I knew I was pleasing her tremendously. I gathered some of her juices and smeared it on her swollen nub. I gently stroked her erection. I tarried for a while. I didnít want to release her so soon. My hungry mouth found her breasts. I suckled her nipples to hardness. At that point I couldnít decide whether I loved her singing more or her passionate moaning and groaning.

"Gabrielle." She purred my name repeatedly. I let my hands cup her breasts, replacing my mouth. My mouth descended to her well-toned abdomen. While I treated her belly, her sexual aroma tickled my nostrils like incense. I couldnít resist it any more and delved my tongue into her sexual core, frantically baptizing my tongue with her wetness, tasting the forbidden fruit of heaven. She did have the taste of heaven. While I was licking her hardened nub, I penetrated her with my fingers, pumping her in and out. I felt her slick inner muscles clench and unclench around my fingers. I venerated her sex with everything I had. I felt her body stiffen and I knew Xena was done for. Upon her powerful climax she screamed:

"JESUS CHRISTÖ. GABRIELLE!"

I kept on licking her center till the convulsions subsided. I lay beside her, my head on her shoulder.

"Didnít you tell me you just wouldnít tolerate blasphemy?" I smirked. She laughed at my comment.

"I knew it would happenÖ.there goes your respect and subordination..." We were both laughing now. A few more silent moments had past during which I lazily drew circles on Xenaís sweaty abdomen with my fingers.

"What happens now?" I asked with a small voice, terrified of what she was going to say.

"Regarding what?" She asked.

"Regarding us." I retorted with a smaller voice than before.

"I thought you would know by now...after everything that happened between us tonight." She sounded offended and hurt. She misunderstood me.

"We are lovers, my Xena." I concluded and smiled. In return, she embraced me tight to her body. She covered both our bodies with a blanket, making sure my back was well and fully covered. She placed a gentle kiss on my forehead.

"I wish we could sleep in each others arms and wake up together in the morning." I sighed. She didnít respond to my comment. There was no point in responding, really. There was nothing either of us could do about it. One cannot make things happen just by wishing.

"I want to hold you for just a few more minutes, then Iíll take you back to the Dormitorium." She said dryly but I knew she was concealing the grief that our separation tonight would yield.

********

She escorted me to the Dormitorium and conveyed her sorrow for not being able to wake up with me in her arms. I smiled. I stood on the tip of my toes, threw my arms behind her neck and claimed her crimson lips with mine. When we separated she whispered in my ear:

"Will you come to me tomorrow?"

"Yes, my love." I assured her. I entered the Dormitorium and she retired to her own chamber. Once inside I lay on my bed and awaited blissful sleep. But it didnít come. Instead, awful thoughts about what the Prioress and I did tonight haunted me. I was ashamed of myself for having such a weak and wretched body that failed to resist temptation, a body that failed Godís test. I wanted my body to be punished for being so lustful. I knew the Prioress, being the saintly woman that she was wouldnít expect any less from me. I knew she would be proud of what I was about to do. I pulled up my habit, exposing my back and then rubbed it hard against the stony wall and the cross that was hanging there. That treatment covered my back with scratches and blood dribbled from it. It hurt and burned but I didnít make a sound so as not to wake the other nuns. After I was done, after the pain became unbearable, I stopped. I rolled down my habit, covering my wounded back, and laid back down. At one point I fell asleep. I guess I was more tired than aching.

*********

6/12/1750 Sunday

The Mass was beautiful. The Prioress accompanied the boysí choir singing perfectly and it sounded as if angels were singing. It lifted my spirit. Well that, and the memory of the Prioress ravishing me from last night. A Franciscan Priest, by the name of Father Johann conducted the Mass, he was an elderly man. When it was time for communion all the nuns stood in one long line and waited their turn to get the sacrament of Christ from Father Johann. When my turn arrived I strode towards the priest and he placed the communion in my mouth and smiled at me. From the corner of my eye I noticed the Prioress watching me carefully. My heart skipped a beat. Sheís probably reminiscing about last night and wants to have me again. I thought to myself and just barely managed contain a giggle.

The Mass was finally over and confession time in the Confession booth had arrived. I looked around for the Prioress, hoping I would find her and we could sneak out of the chapel and into her bedchamber and make love again. Alas I didnít find her.

Before entering the booth, the priest approached me and said that since I was the newest nun in the convent I should be the last one to enter the booth. I bowed my head and went to sit on the one of the chapelís benches and waited my turn for confession. I have decided I would not tell him about the Prioress and me. Not because I was ashamed of our love, and not because I didnít want absolution. I didnít want the priest to report to his superiors about the Prioress - something that might cost her, her position. I thought it is best to keep it to myself.

Minutes passed by and my turn to enter the confession booth arrived. Just before I entered I noticed that all my sisters had left the chapel and went to the dining hall. I was touring with my eyes for my beloved Prioress in vain. I sat on the stool inside the booth. The priest opened the small partition revealing a wooden net that divested my ability to see his face clearly.

"Bless me father for I have sinned."

He asked me when my last confession was and I answered truthfully. I told him about the incident with giving the boys from the choir some food, which was a direct violation with the Prioressí orders. I knew that was a bad thing to do, but the priest sounded shocked and upset when I told him what I had done. He ordered me to get inside his section in the confession booth and kneel before him. I thought it was strange but I did as he asked for I didnít want to make the Prioress angry with me for disobeying the priest. I saw him rolling up his robe. I didnít understand what he was doing. I was just kneeling in front of him.

"What is your name, my child?" He asked and I could hear his breath quickening.

"Sister Gabrielle, father." I answered.

"Nuns are Godís brides, my child." He exposed his sex member to my widened astonished eyes.

"We priests are Godís messengers." He began rubbing his organ with his hands, making it bigger, thicker and harder. Sweat began beading on his forehead.

"You need to serve God as a wife serves her husband, my child, this is an important duty." I was shocked and scared. Though I am a naive nun, it was clear to me what the priest wanted.

"Open your mouth, my child, insert my manhood into your mouth and serve God through his messenger." I was paralyzed. This is Godís punishment for my making love with the Prioress. This is Godís wrath showered upon me for seducing the Prioress. I know that if I hadnít confessed my love for her, she would never have taken me. God is reclaiming his possession of me as his bride I thought. I looked at him. The priest didnít show any mercy. He smiled a dirty smile and drooled. He was holding his erection in one hand and with his other hand he pushed my head towards his organ

"Open up, my child, open wide. Be good and worship God. Blow the pipe, my child, this is your salvation." I saw his erection closing the gap between itself and my mouth. Silent tears were streaming down my eyes and I felt I didnít have the right to pray to God for help.

I didnít even hear the door of the confession booth open behind me. I tilted my head, looked up and saw the Prioress standing behind me. I saw rage in her eyes like I have never seen before. The priest was startled and frantically pushed down his robe, covering his nudity.

"You miserable pig." She hissed. She took the large pendent cross that she wore around her neck and pulled its lower stick and a sharp blade was drawn. She ripped her necklace from around her neck and with one powerful swift motion she slit the priestís throat. Blood burst out of the priestís arteries. He tried to cover his throat with his hands in hopes of stopping the raging river of blood pouring out of it, but he failed. I was stunned. I lost control over my body. It violently shook and it refused to stand upon its feet.

"Get out of here, Gabrielle!" The Prioress shouted. Without even thinking I stood up and ran out of the confession booth as if the Devil was on my trail. I ran to the safest place I knew - the bell tower. I was too excited to think any rational thoughts. Yet there was no escaping the truth. The Prioress murdered the priest. She killed him because he was about to molest me. She protected me from him. I wanted her to come up here and hold me. I wanted to hold her. I wanted her to explain things because understanding this madness was beyond a young nun like me.

I waited for her arrival for quite some time. I was afraid. I was afraid she would be caught. I was afraid she would be taken away from me. I prayed to the Mother of God that she would keep my Xena safe from harm and that she would bring her to me as quickly as possible. I wanted my Xena to be with me. I needed her to tell me she was fine.

I looked outside noticing it was late afternoon. I saw the Prioress dragging a huge heavy sack outside the convent and headed towards the garden. I saw her reaching a certain spot. She let go of the sack and opened it. She took out a shovel from the sack and began digging a hole in the ground. I knew there was something else in the sack. It looked way to heavy to contain a shovel alone. The reason for her digging a hole in the ground slowly sunk in. She went on digging deeper and deeper, till it was so deep that I lost the sight of her. Then I saw her hands sticking out of the hole and placing the shovel next to the rim. She got out, all dirty and sweaty. She dragged the sack and threw it down the pit. I could hear the thump it made at the point of impact. Once on the bottom of the pit, the Prioress covered the grave with dirt until it was covered neatly. She restored the earth back to its place so it didnít look suspicious, so it didnít look as if a person was just buried there. The Prioress wiped the sweat that beaded on her forehead and tilted her head up to the bell tower. She saw me standing there. We looked at each other for several short moments. She didnít wave to me, or signal to me in any way. She just stood there and looked at me. At some point she turned and went back into the convent.

By the time she returned, it was already evening. The sisters waited for her in chapel. The Prioress went first to the Bath-chamber in order to clean up the mess that Father Johannís murder left on her. She attended the chapel and afterwards the dining hall as was required of her, and when asked, said I was ill and resting in the infirmary.

After bedtime, when it was quiet again in the convent and the sisters were sleeping soundly in the Dormitorium, the Prioress went up to the bell tower. As she entered, I ran to her and hugged her tight in my arms. All the stress and horror that this day bore with it came crashing down on me and I wept like a little child in her protective arms. She soothed me. She removed my hood and was tenderly stroking my hair.

"Are you alright, sweetheart?" She gently asked.

"Iím fine." I assured her "Are you?"

"Iím fine too."

We embraced for a little while longer. Eventually, she set down on the blankets, pulling me down with her. She cradled me in her strong and loving arms as if I was a small child.

"You do realize there was nothing else I could have done." She began. She wasnít looking at me.

"Couldnít you take me out of there and once I was safe, file a complaint with his superiors?" I asked with an even tone. I did trust her, but I also knew her. She was a passionate woman. I suspected she used violence as a first resort.

"You are so naive, Gabrielle. You simply havenít the slightest idea about how things work in this world. A lot of his superiors were priests too at one point. Some of them attended convents and some of those raped some of the nuns in those convents. Filing a complaint is useless. All his superiors would have done was make sure I wouldnít breathe a word about those things to another living soul." She explained. "There was a Prioress I knew who complained about a priest who was touching her nuns...she was put in an asylum...I havenít heard a word from her since." She smiled as if to ease and lighten up the horrible truth she was revealing. She started gently rocking me.

"Still...killing him for..." I began. She didnít let me finish and snapped at me, ceasing rocking me.

"He had been raping my nuns for years now!" She was almost yelling, when she realized her anger was misplaced she continued with a softer voice while resuming the rocking. "He especially liked the young ones. I knew about it for a long time. A few years back I had noticed some of my nunsí behavior had changed. They became lifeless. There was no light or joy in their eyes. I had reckoned it had gotten worse after confession. I had being hiding during confessions very close to the booth. My worst fears were confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt. I urged my nuns to come forward and speak to me. A few of his victims came and talked to me about it eventually. Knowing how things work in the order I kept silent and did nothing about it. I tried my best to ease my nuns suffering and whenever I saw the priest grow too fond one particular nun, I would excuse her from mass on Sunday under the false pretense she was ill. Being a physician, he never questioned my discretion."

"There was nothing you could have done."

"Thatís where youíre wrong, Gabrielle. I should have gutted that stinking twisted pig years ago." She hissed. I got out of her cradling arms and sat opposite her.

"Then why didnít you?"

"I was in the belief...As a matter of fact I still believe so...That life and death should be only in the hands of God and not man." She replied. She sent one hesitating finger and moved a stray lock of hair from my eyes.

"So what made you kill him today?" I asked. I donít know why, but I suspected what the answer would be.

"Because of you...When I saw the way he placed communion in your mouth and the look he had on his face...I knew he was coming after you... I just couldnít allow him to touch you and taint you. I love you and I could not let you get hurt like that. You are so pure, so good and joyful Gabrielle, I couldnít let him take away your light. Besides, you are mine. I wouldnít allow anyone to touch you the way that is reserved only for me."

"Thank you, Xena." I whispered. "Are you alright, Xena? After all you killed a priest..."

"Iím fine."

"...Not such a saint as youíve been told, eh?" She sounded so bitter. "I killed him because I was selfish. I didnít kill him sooner because I hadnít been as motivated then as I was today." There was nothing I could have said that would have taken those feelings of guilt from her.

"Lets make a pact...Never to bring this subject up again...letís put it behind us...you buried him deep." I said thinking it would take away her pain.

"People will come looking for him." She said matter of fact.

"They wonít find him...Weíll tell them he left after confession and that was the last we saw him." I suggested.

"Very well." She concluded "God forbid I ever bring that subject up again."

We kept on sitting in the bell tower. I waited for her to kiss me and take me, but she didnít do anything. When it had gotten a little late she stood up. She offered me her hand and I grabbed it. She hoisted me to my feet and asked me:

"Would you like me to escort you back to the Dormitorium, love?" I looked at her with disappointed green eyes and said bashfully:

"Donít you want to take me tonight, Xena?" I thought to myself that maybe because the priest laid his hands on me she considered me damaged goods and didnít see me worthy of being her lover any more.

"You have no idea how much I want you, Gabrielle. I was afraid that after you were traumatized by that pig, you wouldnít want to be touched this way."

"I need you to touch me that way, especially tonight. I want you to cleanse my body from the filth he left on me...please Xena...donít make me beg..." I barely recognized my voice. It was so low, husky and heavy with desire. My nipples had grown so sensitive I could feel the fabric of my dress against them. I didnít wait for her to rid me of my nunís clothing. Tonight, I did it myself and in haste. With two quick steps I closed the gap between our two yearning bodies. I assaulted her, planting my right hand behind her head and my left arm wrapped around her strong shoulders. I pressed my lips hard against hers. I sucked her lips as hard as I could...I wanted to swallow her. The fact that she wasnít a part of my body, a flesh of my flesh, frustrated me. I pierced her lips with a thick hard tongue and penetrated the wet cavern of her mouth. Once our tongues touched the battle for control and maximum contact began. When we came up for air, I ordered her to take off her clothes as well. She neither argued nor gave me a comment to put me in place...she obeyed like a loyal disciple. I wanted to possess her, as she possessed me, and so I assaulted her again. Kissing her lips hard, with everything I had in me. I enveloped her naked body with mine. I walked foreword until I cornered her, pressing her against a wall with my body. She was surprised, yet I could tell my aggressiveness and assertiveness was setting her ardent desire on fire. My hand left her tresses and cupped her milky breasts, teasing her nipples with my fingers. She soon gained control over me.

She knelt before me. She cupped my buttocks with both of her hands and pulled my sexual core into her mouth. She licked my length long and hard. Again, she took her time with me, giving me a chance to enjoy each lick and each nibble. I heard her humming in delight as she suckled my juices from me. My body was weak and my legs were about to give out from under me as she went on stroking my erect hard nub with her tongue. So, I leaned foreword on the wall in front of me, placing my palms against it. Her slow and gentle ministrations, werenít enough, I needed more. I spread my legs further apart, and pushed my sexual inferno harder against her face till her head was against the wall. I pushed even harder to gain more friction to my sex. My desire inflamed her. She understood what I wanted and began licking sucking and chewing my clitoris frantically. Then she impaled my throbbing core with her fingers, circling them deep inside me. I came in a mad rush and screamed her name. My legs couldnít bear my weight any longer and I collapsed to the floor. Xenaís strong arms caught me as I fell. She embraced me and placed soft kisses on my wet forehead. After I had rested a little in Xenaís arms I made love to her as well.

20/03/1751 Monday

Itís been almost a year since the Prioress and I became lovers. Life couldnít have been better for me. She is my soulmate, my other half. She makes me whole, makes me feel alive. During the days she was the Prioress. She didnít pay me any special treatment, nor did she show any signs that gave away her love for me. During the days, amongst the other nuns, she behaved as though I was just another nun to her. I wasnít angry with her. I understood. But during the nights I playfully demanded from her that she make it up to me, to compensate for her alienation towards me. She was more than happy to oblige. We talked and loved every night. She was my life and I was hers.

A week after the unfortunate incident in the convent, three investigators came looking for Father Johann. The Prioress told them she hasnít seen him since he left the convent after confession. The investigators believed her and left, never to return again.

Tomorrow, the Prioress is traveling to Leipzig. Her friend, Bach, died last year and tomorrow is his Memorial Day.

21/3/1751 Tuesday

Last night, before she left, we made passionate love. If I had known that that was the last time she and I ever made love I would have stayed asleep in her arms and wouldnít return to the Dormitorium. I began to miss her even before she left. She promised me she would be back within three days only. "You wonít even know Iím gone." She said. Her absence was unbearable. I couldnít think of anything but her. I knew that this temporary separation wasnít easy for her either. I prayed to God to keep her safe on the roads and to bring her back to me as quickly as possible.

Then the disaster happened. A terrible storm struck Baden and the conventís garden was flooded. The body of Father Johann surfaced and was discovered by Sister Agnes. She sent for the investigators immediately. I was terrified. I decided not to talk to anyone till Xena gets back. She would know what to do. I had such a bad feeling about the whole thing.

Upon her return, she met with the investigators. In almost no time at all the Prioress confessed to the murder. She was shackled like a common criminal and was taken away to the penitentiary in Baden. Before she walked out of the conventís door she looked back as if searching for me. Her eyes met mine. She tried to smile and make me feel that it would soon blow over and that in no time at all Iíd be meeting her at the bell tower for a wonderful night of love. But I could read in her eyes that werenít going to happen.

22/3/1751 Wednesday

She faced trial the very next day. She said nothing in her defense. There was no point in her mind and I knew she was right. The magistrate sentenced her to death by hanging. The sentenced scheduled to be carried out the very next day. It didnít come as a surprise to me. After all that was a woman who killed a man, the ranks within the order donít matter at all. If the highest-ranking woman verses the lowest-ranking man. The man would be the one who would have prevailed. Thatís the way the world works. And all the love I had for my Xena couldnít have saved her.

Throughout her trail I wasnít allowed to see her alone in her cell. I had been with her during deliberations and during sentencing. I wouldnít have let her walk through that nightmare all alone. I showed her all the love I could during her trial. It was very difficult to maintain a cool-temper during Sister Agnesí testimony. She told the court that she knew the Prioress had been copulating with a certain nun in the convent. She said she wouldnít reveal her name for she was young and could be reformed. I had no idea Sister Agnes saw me with the Prioress.

Once she was sentenced I was permitted to visit her in her cell, but only for a little while. That was her last night on the face of the earth. She was to be executed the next day, at first light.

After I entered her cell we were left alone. She tried to smile at the sight of me but failed. She tried to look brave for me. She tried to make the impression that she wasnít afraid to die. Foolish Xena. She didnít have to pretend for me. I already knew that she was perfect. When I smiled at her she burst into tears and knelt before me, placing her head on my breasts. I held her tight and soothed her.

"I donít want you to be present during my execution...itís hideous and shouldnít be watched by a pure and gentle soul like yours." She wailed.

"I wonít leave you, Xena. I wonít let you die alone." I argued.

"No..."

"Xena, I want you to witness love when you breathe your last breath." I said softly and squeezed her tighter against me.

"Thank you, my love." She stood up, cupped my cheeks with both her hands and looked deep into my eyes. "I donít want you to feel any guilt as if you are responsible for my death...none of it was your fault. I made the decision to kill the pig, not you, and I would do it again to protect you. I want you to promise me you wonít feel guilty...come on, love, let me hear it."

"I promise, Xena." I eventually gave in.

"Promise me, sweet Gabrielle, that youíll go on living your life as if nothing happened. I want you to forget me. Live a happy life. Donít think about the loss of me. Donít think of me at all. Open your heart to God and love....promise me." She insisted.

"I canít promise you that."

"Please, Gabrielle...wonít you give me some peace of mind before Iím gone?" Her words broke my heart. How could I promise her Iíd forget her or stop loving her or keep living a happy life? How could I survive without her? She was my life. I knew what I had to do, and so I gave her my word that Iíd try to do my best and pretend she never existed.

"I promise, Xena." I lied.

"Kiss me one last time, my love." She pleaded.

I captured her lips with mine. It was a soul-searing kiss that went on for a long time and was deep. It was wet with salty tears. Our tongues visited each other for the last time, dancing and bathing each other, clinging to each other as if for dear life. Upon hearing the key in the lock of the cell we broke away from one another.

I exited her cell and left. During the night I wandered around the facility in which Xena was held.

 

23/3/1751 Thursday

At first light she was dragged out of her cell and into the cityís square where a scaffold awaited her. There were many people surrounding the area. They all came to see the murderous Prioress being executed. I elbowed my way in order to stand in the front row. I wanted to have a clear view of Xena and I wanted her to see me too. She refused to wear a blindfold. The executioner wrapped the noose around her neck. Our eyes were locked. I didnít cry. I just looked at her and smiled at her, beaming with all the love I had in myself for her. I knew she was grateful.

"I love you, Xena." I mouthed without a sound.

"I love you too, Gabrielle."

And then, she was gone.

There are no words to describe what I felt the moment she departed. Well, there is one word that comes to mind...Emptiness. I couldnít bring myself to cry then. The sorrow and pain were too great. I was empty and drained.

I went back to the convent. I learned that Sister Agnes became the Prioress of the convent.

At night, I exited the Dormitorium and went to the bath-chamber. I filled the bath, the one she and I used to share, with hot water. I took off my clothing and entered the bath. I closed my eyes and imagined her there, sitting with me inside the bath, talking to me, looking at me, washing my hair, soaping my back, laughing. I imagined the way she used to emerge out of the water like Venus when she was done. The Prioress was indeed the Goddess of Love. I loved the way she shielded me from the cold wind.

After I finished bathing I went to the bell tower. I spent the night there. I imagined she was up there with me, holding me, kissing me, touching me, making love to me. I could feel her hands running all over my body. I could feel her warm breath accompanying her passionate kisses. I could feel creamy breasts upon mine. I could feel her talented tongue loving my womanhood. I could see the love she had for me.

Only then I cried.

I cried loud. I screamed and wailed my pain and anguish. My soul never knew such sorrow, my heart never knew such loneliness. I never knew such emptiness. She was my life.

"May God reunite us in Heaven. Amen."

24/3/1751 Saturday

Dear Parents,

I am sorry to be the bearer of such terrible news but your daughter Sister Gabrielle was found dead this morning. It appears that she jumped off the conventís bell tower. I assumed she lost her will to live after her affair with the previous Prioress.

Since Gabrielle committed suicide, I wonít bury her in the conventís cemetery. You are required to come and take her body.

My condolences,

Sister Agnes, "Our Lady of Sorrows"í Prioress.

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