Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.
NOTE: All works remain the © copyright of the original author. These may not be republished without the author's consent.
VIOLENCE WARNING/DISCLAIMER: Yep. Not a whole lot though.
SEXUAL DISCLAIMER: This story is Alt-Xena in nature; in other words, it depicts scenes of sex between two mature women. So, for those of you who are under the age of18 or it is illegal in your state or state of mind then please do not continue.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I wanted to try something a little different but I don't want to give anything away. I'm hoping that I can make this an ongoing series. I hope you enjoy.
Please send any comments (and be nice) to email@example.com
The sounds of swords clashing with wood and metal echoed through the evening. Men screaming and yelling as their lives are being stolen in one fell swoop. Throats slit with daggers. Midsections ripped apart with swords. Hearts pierced by arrows. Quickly, men of the small village were falling to their deaths as their families and friends watched in horror.
In the midst of it all, one lone female warrior sat tall on a black as night colored mare observing and smiling at the very scene before her. She wore black leather pants with silver studs aligning the outer seams. Her black boots came only up to the middle of her legs. She wore a sleeveless black V-neck vest that allowed the top of her breast to be seen. Silver studs aligned the seams of the shoulders and the outer seams of the vest. One lone armband is worn on her upper left arm with patterns of swirls all around. The wristbands she wore had the same pattern. A sword hung in its scabbard on her left side, which signified that she was right-handed. However, the warrior learned how to use the sword with her left as well. A small dagger was attached sideways to her pants in the back and she also had two daggers that was affix to the inside of her boots on the inside of her legs. Her face was partially covered with a deep dark red scarf so that only her medium brown eyes could be seen. She also wore black leather gloves with silver studs. Her hair was of the same color as her eyes, straight and about neck length and ties into a small ponytail. Her skin was that of a light brown complexion and she had a small scar under her right eye.
Gareth, her 1st lieutenant, was approaching her. He watched as she dismounted from her mare. His mouth curved into a seductive smile as he admired her body. She was tall and her body showed a strong muscular physic. She deliberately wore clothing that did now show this strength except in her biceps and only then when she would flex involuntarily.
The warrior saw the seductive smile across Gareth's face and she herself smiled underneath her red mask. Gareth was about an inch taller than she was with short black hair that was nearly trimmed. His face bore no scars or hair as he prided himself on being clean-shaven. For her, Gareth was simply her bed-warmer and nothing more. They're all assembled, my lady, Gareth said upon reaching her.
The female warrior stood in front of Gareth and without a word, she pulled her scarf down, reached behind his neck and roughly pulled him forward. Her lips met his and her kiss was demanding and forceful. Just as quickly as it started she pulled away leaving him breathless. Very good, Garth, she said in a low voice. She turned and walked away.
She made her way to the high back chair that was now situated in the middle of the village. Her soldiers located it in one of the buildings. She begins to circle the chair admiring it. It had a dark blue velvety type cushion in the seat, on the back and on the arms. A single emerald stone was embedded on the back of the chair. The warrior removed one of her daggers from her boots and worked the stone from the chair. As she was studying the stone, she heard Gareth walk up behind her. She took a seat in the chair, held up the stone and stated, See this stone? Beautiful, isn't it. These simpletons have hidden treasures, Gareth. Tell the soldiers to take what they want but Gareth; make sure that they find my possession. I want it back. And without a moment's hesitation, Gareth turned on his heels to pass the order on to the warriors. The female sat studying the stone, smiled then slipped it between her breasts.
Xena opened the door and guided a blindfolded Gabrielle to the center of the room. Stopping Gabrielle, she closed the door behind her, stepped behind Gabrielle and slowly removed the blindfold. Gabrielle opened her eyes trying to focus.
By the Gods, Xena. she whispered.
Surprised? Xena asked placing her hands on the bard's shoulders. Speechless, Gabrielle simply nodded her answer as she slowly surveyed the room.
The bed was large and was covered with animal furs. Five large pillows were arranged on the bed with one white and yellow rose, crossing each other, settled in the middle. There was a stand on both sides of the bed with a candle burning. The fireplace illuminated a soft glow to the room and animal furs were on the floor in front of it. To the left of the fireplace was a large tub filled with warm water and had several candles around the edge of it. To the right of Gabrielle was a table for two with a single candle burning.
Slowly and lightly, Xena was rubbing Gabrielle's upper arms and waited for her bard to say something. When Gabrielle put her both hands to her mouth and closed her eyes, Xena lightly pressed herself into her back. Folding her arms around her bard, her love, she whispered, Happy Anniversary, my love.
Gabrielle turned, facing her wife. With tears in her eyes she asked quietly, How did you When did you ? Xena smiled and leaned in to kiss those lips. It was slow and gentle and it took every ounce of Gabrielle's resolve to pull away. Looking into the beautiful blue eyes of her warrior, she asked again.
Xena? How when in Tartarus did you do this? You've been with me all day in town during the festival. When did you get this room and how much did you spend? And ?
All right, all right, Xena stated as she quickly cupped Gabrielle's face into her hands and put both thumbs to her wife's lips stopping her in mid-sentence. She led Gabrielle to the bed, sat her down and then sat next to her. Holding her love's hand she began to explain.
Remember, when I received a message from a friend asking for my help? It was around the third moon of our bonding in Amazonian.
Yes, I remember. I wanted to go but you insisted that I stay there.
Well. There was no message. Trycas holds an annual festival in honor of Aphrodite and I thought that it would be a nice anniversary present from me to you, she stated kissing the back of Gabrielle's hands.
You mean that you came here to secure a room for us that far in advance?
Mm hmm. Then looking seriously but loving into Gabrielle's eyes, Xena said, I wanted us you to have a special day. So when I got here I came to this particular inn and told Mavis what I wanted to do. She immediately showed me this room and was kind enough to hold it for me. Gabrielle shook her head almost not believing what she was hearing. Her love for Xena grew stronger and deeper at that very moment and a single tear began to fall as she closed her eyes.
Xena scooted close to her, put her hand to Gabrielle's face and gently wiped away the tear then kissed both eyelids. Gabrielle opened her eyes as Xena finished speaking almost in a whisper. Gabrielle, I wanted needed to do something that would show my love for you. I needed to make this day special. My love for you never wavers or falters. I love you. I'm in love with you. Stronger and stronger every day.
Xena, I love you so much. Gabrielle began kissing Xena slowly and sensually. After a few moments, both women broke away just to catch their breaths. Still looking into each other eyes as if under a spell, it was Gabrielle who finally broke it.
Ok. You explained how you got this room. But when did you do all of this? stroking the furs on the bed.
Oh. Well, I sent a message to Eponin and Solari to meet me here today. They were the ones who set up the rooms.
Eponin and Solari.
They were in on this?
Looking down, Gabrielle smiled at the idea that her two Amazon sisters and friends would take the time to help her warrior make this day unforgettable.
What? Xena asked seeing the smile on Gabrielle's face.
We have good friends, don't we?
Yeah, we do." Looking down, Xena was still holding Gabrielle's hands. She brought the left hand up and kissed the back of it then turned it over to kiss the inside. Then she did the same to the right hand. Gabrielle closed her eyes and felt the sensation of her wife's lips. A small sigh escaped her lips as she was trying to control her breathing, her heart beating just a little faster.
Looking up and seeing Gabrielle's closed eyes Xena smiled to herself. She was enjoying the softness of her lover's hands that was caressing her lips. She slowly made her way up Gabrielle's arm until she was sucking lightly unto her neck. She then took Gabrielle's earlobe and was nibbling on it. Gabrielle was completely spellbound with her warriors touch and let a throaty moan.
Xena suddenly stopped all movement and whispered in her ear, Don't move.
Gabrielle opened her eyes quickly and saw the smile that Xena gave her. Xena got up and walked over to the chair at the table retrieving a package. She walked back to the bed, sat back down and put the package into Gabrielle's lap.
Gabrielle was shaking her head as she stated, Xena? No. The festival, this room and you are more than enough. You didn't have to do anything else.
Like I said, love. I needed to do something special. So please, open it."
Gabrielle gave Xena a small peck on the lips and opened the package. She stopped, looked at Xena with her mouth slightly open as if she wanted to say something. Instead, she pulled out the garment, stood up, raised the garment up and was simply staring at it with no expression.
It was a silk robe that shined in the light. The color was that of emerald. It was nothing fancy just a simple robe. But Gabrielle just stared at it lightly shaking her head.
Xena stood up and looked at Gabrielle noting the non-expression on her face. I know that it's not fancy or regal but the color just reminded me of your eyes so I got it for you.
She waited for Gabrielle to say something, do something. Gabrielle face broke out into a big grin and then she started to laugh. Xena looked at her bewildered and wondered what was so funny.
You don't like it. Xena stated in a low whisper. It was more of a statement than a question.
Gabrielle did not here the last comment made by Xena. She turned to Xena, put the robe down and said, I'll be right back." And with that she abruptly left the room. Xena sat down on the bed, looked at the robe and said in another quiet voice, She doesn't like it."
Gabrielle came back into the room after only a few moments and saw Xena sitting on the bed with her head down. When Xena looked up at her, Gabrielle could see the hurt in her eyes. Gabrielle stood there for only a moment when she quickly thought of what happened earlier. 'Oh. How could I be so in sensitive? She probably thinks I don't like the robe. Well, wait till she sees this.' With a smile on her face, Gabrielle walked over to Xena and sat next to her.
Xena, I love the robe. Here, open your present. She settled the package into Xena's lap.
Xena slowly began to unravel the paper. She stopped when she saw the item. A smile broke out on her face as she looked up to Gabrielle. Now she understood what Gabrielle was laughing. Xena stood up, held the garment up and just slowly shook her head.
It was a long silk robe, the same as Gabrielle's except in sapphire blue. Now it was Xena's turn to laugh. Gabrielle stood next to Xena. When I saw it, it reminded me of your eyes. I guess we really are soul mates, huh?
It looks that way. She put the robe down on the bed and pulled Gabrielle to her. The kiss was sultry and demanding as Xena's tongue began to probe the inside of her lover's mouth savoring the texture. Both women were enjoying the sensations of each other and this time it was Xena who had pulled away.
With a wicked glint in her eye, she said in a low, seductive voice, Why don't we see if our . She was stopped in mid sentence as she took in to what Gabrielle was already doing.
Gabrielle did not have to wait for the question as she had already began to undress her warrior smiling ever so seductively. 'Oooo I get to unwrap my second present.'
'Mmmm I like unwrapping small packages,' Xena thought as she started removing Gabrielle's top.
AHHHGGG the female warrior was screaming at the top of her lungs. She was throwing anything and everything in her tent, as her anger was uncontrollable. She could not believe that she spent all of the time wasted in that village and still came back empty-handed. She wanted her medallion back and was going to get it if she had to kill every single person Greece.
"Those simpletons have no idea how close they all came to death!" She screamed. Instead she opted to tie them up in the stable and burn the village to the ground. But the smell of death was still in her and she had to gratify it.
GARETH! GARETH! GET IN HERE NOW! Gareth entered the tent slowly knowing that with her anger and fury, death was eminent for someone and it sure wasn't going to be him.
Without entering all the way into the tent, Gareth said in a low voice, What is your request, my lady?
The warrior spun around and looked at him. What were once beautiful medium brown eyes were now black including the whites of her eyes. Gareth himself recoiled somewhat and had to look down so that he would not waver at her fury.
Bring me the idiots that stated that we should to that village NOW! And with that Gareth bowed slightly and left her tent.
The female sat down on her chair and began to rub her temples.
'You might as well give it up. The longer you are without it, the stronger I get.'
'SHUTUP. I will find it and put you back in place where you belong. I AM IN CONTROL. NOT YOU.'
'No. Without the medallion you are losing control and you will become weaker and weaker.'
'I AM NOT WEAK. YOU ARE. After all, it was I who saved you. REMEMBER.'
'Yes. I remember. But now you trust the medallion to make you strong. It won't last much longer. I will be in control again.'
No. No. NOOO! she screamed.
My lady? The female looked up trying to focus. She looked at Gareth standing in front of her. Are you okay? Do you need something? There was obvious concern in his voice; one she chose to ignore.
Sometime ago, Gareth no longer wished to be just the warriors' bed warmer. He wanted more. He had slowly begun to fall in love with her and wanted her to return it. But deep down he knew that that was not the case and since she has been without the medallion all her focus was just on retrieving it and nothing more. He had no idea what type of spell it had on her but he was willing to get it back just to show her his love. And hopefully, once she had it she would begin to love him.
Where are they, she spewed as she stood up.
Outside. They're bound and waiting. She stormed pass Gareth and made her way out of the tent. Gareth simply lowered his head and followed.
The three warriors were all on their knees in the middle of camp, arms tied behind their backs at the wrists. Her entire army had heard their leader screaming earlier and made circle around the three men. Death was in the air.
She entered the circle and slowly strode over to the three. She stopped in front of them and was rolling her head slowly from side to side; her right shoulder slightly twitching slightly as she tried to control the anger that was consuming her. She wanted to thrust her sword in each one of them but needed to get some answers from them first.
'They don't deserve to die.'
'They will.' Then she silenced the voice.
It seems we have a problem. You three were told to find the boy and my medallion. You were ordered to report back to me when it was accomplish. Is that not correct? The three men looked up at her, looked at each other then looked to the ground. She waited for an answer her back teeth grinding hard. When there was no answer, she unsheathed her sword quickly and without hesitation, she plunged it deep into the chest into the man on her right. She pushed him off of her sword and he fell backwards dead before he reached the ground.
Is that not correct? she asked again. The two remaining warriors looked at the dead man and answered solemnly, Yes.
Two soldiers grabbed the dead man's arms and pulled him away. The female handed her sword to Gareth who was standing behind her. As he began to wipe the blood off she started to circle the other two kneeling men.
Yeesss. Stopping behind the warrior who was originally in the middle, she leaned downed to his ear. And is it not correct that YOU were the one who reported to ME that he was in that village?
The warrior swallowed hard and barely audible, answered, Yes, my lady. She immediately grabbed the man's hair, pulled it back and sliced his throat with her dagger that she had retrieved from the back of her pants. She wiped off the blood from her dagger onto the man's tunic and let him slowly fall forward to the ground.
The remaining warrior, who saw out of the corner of his eye his leader slicing the man's throat, closed his eyes tightly. She walked around to the front of the remaining man and watched him for a few moments. His eyes were tightly closed, his breathing was rapid and shallow and sweat was forming on his brow and upper lip. And if she listened very closely she could almost hear his heart beating very rapidly. After a few moments, she leaned down and put the tip of the dagger underneath his chin.
Then explain to me why is it that when I get there the boy is gone and you did not see him leave? she asked in a semi-controlled voice.
The warrior was a young man no more that 20 years old. He slowly opened his eyes only to stare into the black ones that was his leader. Not knowing how to answer, he began to stammer. I uh we uh The young man stopped, closed his eyes again and slowly shook his head. The female waited.
'Might as well get this over with and tell her. I'm going to die anyway,' he thought gravely.
Taking a deep breath, he was finally able to control his breathing. He opened his eyes and without so much of a flinch of fear but a knowing look of death he stated in a controlled voice, My lady. Crissus, Balin, and I had been searching for the boy for days with very little rest. When we finally tracked him to the village, Balin and I kept watched while Crissus reported back to you. You asked 'why we did not see the boy leave?' Simply put my lady we were tired and fell asleep.
She stared at the young man for a few moments without moving the dagger. After awhile, she began to chuckle softly. You fell asleep. Is that your answer?
Yes. he simply answered never taking his eyes off of her. I have failed you and am ready to accept my fate at your hands.
'You cannot kill him. Look into his eyes. He reminds you of someone,' The voice within stated. The female continued to stare into the eyes of the young man. 'He does. But who?' she asked herself. She slowly lowered her dagger and stood up.
Looking at the two warriors standing behind him, she stated calmly, Untie him. And then looked back down at the young warrior. The two men looked at each other with surprised faces and then looked back at her.
NOW! One of the warriors quickly cut the ropes from the wrists of the bound man.
Stand up. The warrior quickly got to his feet while rubbing his wrists.
As she replaced the dagger to the back of the pants, she said, I like your honesty, Lynius. The fact that you spoke the truth and were ready to accept your death says a lot. That's why you are not speaking with Hades right now. Therefore, you get a second chance.
The warrior could not believe what he was hearing. A second chance? No one in her army received second chances. No one. If you fouled up and failed her, death was the punishment: pure, plain, simple and quick.
The female could see the confusion in Lynius's eyes. Don't look so confused, Lynius. You are, as of right now, one of my best trackers. Take the two behind you and find him. GO.
Yes, my lady. I will not fail you this time. He quickly turned and motioned to the other two to follow. The rest of her army began to disband and return to their tasks.
She watched him from behind. Without thinking she called out, Lyceus. Everyone stopped in the tracks and looked at her, bewilderment evident on their faces.
'Lyceus? Where did that come from', she thought. Lynius was staring at his leader. My lady? She was brought back from her thoughts and looked at him. Lynius. She walked to him until she was nose to nose with him.
Do not come back here until he is found Again.
Yes, my lady.
And Lynius. You will NOT get a THIRD chance. Understand?
Understood, my lady. And with that, all three warriors mounted their horses and set off into the night.
Gareth was standing behind his leader watching the whole scenario, deep in thought. 'Lyceus? I wonder who he is. Someone from her past most likely. Oh, well. At least she hasn't mentioned the other. Good for me though. If she ever found out what ' He was quickly brought back to realty when he felt lips crushing into his.
The female was rubbing her body against his as she growled and moaned into his mouth. As she felt Gareth's member getting hard, she herself was getting wet and her throbbing bud was aching to be touched.
She pulled away from him. Gareth could see that her eyes had changed from black to a smoldering brown. 'Lust', he thought. 'Pure lust. Gods, how I wish she would let me love her.'
The female could tell that Gareth was somewhat lost in his thoughts. But what about, she didn't care. She grabbed his vest and pulled him to her tent.
Xena was slowly washing Gabrielle's back, lost in thought. 'When? When did I fall in love with you? Better question; WHY would YOU fall in love with ME? I'm an ex-warlord, Destroyer of Nations. A woman warrior with so much darkness. And a past so horrific that even I have a hard time forgiving myself. Why ?'
I love you, Xena. Xena was aroused from her thoughts. Gabrielle turned around to face her lover. She looked at the startled expression on Xena's face.
Was I talking out-loud or something, Xena asked.
Gabrielle smiled and shook her head. No. I just felt you. I don't know what it was but I could sense you questioning my love for you.
Xena lowered her head not meeting her lover's eyes. I was just thinking why...
Xena, don't. Don't do this. Gabrielle lifted Xena's chin until the warrior was looking into her bard's loving and tender eyes. Don't ever question my love or why I fell in love with you. Just know that I do. That I will always love you.
Gabrielle brought her lips to Xena's. She began kissing her as if she was trying to erase all doubts from Xena's mind. Xena began to return the kiss as she pulled her lover closer to her. A moan escaped from Gabrielle as Xena worked her way down her neck, cupping one of Gabrielle's breasts, slowly caressing the erect nipple.
Aaahhhh Xena, Gabrielle whispered.
Xena worked her way back up to her earlobe and was sucking and nibbling on it. In a low throaty voice, I need you Please.
Xena and Gabrielle made their way to the furs in front of the fireplace. Neither one cared about the fact that they were both still wet from the bath. They only cared about how they needed each other. Standing face to face, Xena slowly lowered Gabrielle down to her knees all the while kissing and probing with her tongue. Gabrielle knew that tonight, Xena was going to be in control of the lovemaking and so she allowed herself to give into Xena's passion.
Xena wanted to make this day special for her lover and making love to her was going to be more than that, if possible. As she began to lay Gabrielle down onto her back she felt Gabrielle's body relax. Xena knew then that her lover was giving her complete control.
As Gabrielle lay on her back, Xena pulled back and sat up on her knees in between Gabrielle's legs. Gabrielle looked up at her warrior with passion and need in her eyes. But Xena wasn't looking into her eyes. Instead she was staring and admiring her lover's body. The taut muscles of her abdomen. The firm round breasts. The slender neck. Xena looked deeply into her lover's eyes and could see the need within them. Xena slowly lowered herself back down, supporting her weight with her arms. She lightly brushed her lips and tongue across Gabrielle's.
Gabrielle let out a small sigh; her breathing just a little ragged. Xena then took her wife's mouth into her own and rocked forward, just enough for her breasts too lightly graze against Gabrielle's breasts.
Both women moaned as their breasts made contact causing the nipples to become hard and erect. Xena then took one of Gabrielle's breasts and was gently caressing it as she made her way to her neck, sucking and moaning.
Feeling Xena's mouth on her and her hand kneading her breast was making Gabrielle's head sway. She felt Xena's hand leave her breast and was lightly and gradually rubbing the sides of her breasts, waist and hip. She unconsciously arched her back when Xena's mouth came down onto her breast. Aaahhh Xe, unable to complete her comment.
Xena barely heard her, as she was now caught up into her lover's body. The feel, the texture, the softness of Gabrielle was intoxicating to the former warlord. Xena was methodically running her tongue around Gabrielle's breast until she came to the erect nipple. Without hesitation or thought, she quickly but gently took the hardened nipple into her mouth and began sucking on it, a throaty moan leaving her lips.
Xe na, Gabrielle whispered. She felt herself getting wetter and wetter by the moment. She began to rock herself into Xena as she found her hands into jet-black hair of her warrior. Gods.
Xena was also rocking into Gabrielle as she began sucking on the other nipple. She slightly raised herself up so that she could slip her hand onto Gabrielle's mound. Without disconnecting herself from her, she began to gradually rubbing her. Xena separated the folds slowly and was now stoking her sex back to front slightly grazing Gabrielle's engorged clit. Gods Gabri
As soon as Gabrielle experienced Xena's fingers touching her swollen bud, her hips involuntarily left the floor and suspended for a moment before returning back down. She started rocking and bucking again as Xena continued her ministrations with her fingers, never entering her and only flicking the hard clit.
Xena, Please. Oh Gods, please, Gabrielle cried as she was uncontrollably writhing beneath her.
Xena carefully slithered her way down to her lover's essence. As she lays flat on her stomach she made contact with her tongue to Gabrielle's clit. A sudden light shock went through both women and all contact stop but for only for a moment. Xena moaning loudly and her mouth began to suck delicately to her lover's hard bud.
Ohhhh, Gabrielle exclaimed in a slightly raised voice. She started rocking a little harder and faster as her hands clasped and unclasped the furs. Xena pleeasse, Gabrielle begged.
When Xena first felt the shock, moans and whimpers were now escaping her. As soon as she heard Gabrielle's please she took two fingers and entered her. She began to move in and out of her slowly. But as Gabrielle rocked faster, Xena found that she had to keep up and started moving her fingers at a fast tempo.
Oh Gods, yesss. Gabrielle was rocking and writhing faster as Xena entered a third finger into her. Gabrielle was now climbing higher and higher as knew that she was at her limit.
Xena was doing everything in her power to maintain self-control as she was getting wetter and wetter. Gabrielle had no idea that her pleas, her wet sex, and her movement were causing Xena to escalate to the point of no return. She tried to maintain her focus on Gabrielle's satisfaction and release but was finding it more difficult. Still she knew that nothing was going to stop her from pleasing her lover.
As she continued her ministrations she felt Gabrielle beginning to tremble. Xena now began to suck and nip a little hard onto Gabrielle's clit. She stopped moving her fingers in and out but instead she found the soft spot that would bring Gabrielle to her release.
Gabrielle grasped Xena's hair and cried out, Xena Ohhh sweet Gods. She continued to buck harder and faster onto Xena and with on final cry of her lover's name, Gabrielle climaxed sending wave after wave onto Xena's fingers and mouth.
Gabrielle was trying to get her breathing under control as her body slightly jerked with the aftershocks that was coursing through her. Her senses seemed lost for a moment as she tried to figure out what was happening to her. When she finally regained control, she found herself wrapped in strong arm her head on a strong shoulder.
By the Gods. What was that? It it felt like like.
Love? Xena asked.
Yeah, but in its purest form if that makes sense. I don't know. I can't explain it.
I can't either but I felt it too. Did you feel as if you disappeared or felt suspended?
Yes. I I did.
So did I. I climaxed with you, Gabrielle.
Really? Gabrielle asked looking into blue eyes. That's never happened before.
I know. I I felt light and lost at the same time but yet I kind of knew where I was. When I finally got my senses back I simply crawled up here next to you. Xena tightened her hold onto her lover.
Gabrielle laid her head back down onto Xena's shoulder. Must have been the shock I felt.
You felt that too? Xena asked in a surprised voice.
Yeah, I did. Gabrielle whispered.
Both women became quiet lost in their thoughts. After a few moments, Xena began to untangle herself from Gabrielle.
What's wrong? Gabrielle asked as she watched Xena rise to her feet.
Nothing. I just thought that we would be more comfortable on the bed. Don't you. Xena reached out her hand, which Gabrielle gladly accepted. Once on her feet, Xena lifted her into her arms. As she was kissing her she strode over to the bed and laid Gabrielle down. Xena then settled herself next to her bard.
In a small whisper and looking deep into green eyes, Xena said, I love you, my Queen.
I love you my warrior, Gabrielle responded just before she took Xena's breast into her mouth eliciting a soft moan from Xena.
The female warrior was abruptly awakened from her sleep. She immediately grabbed her temples and began to massage them. The voice was relentless. She sat up on the side of the pallet and put her head into her hands as she began to rock back and forth.
'I'm getting stronger and will be in control again.'
'No. I won't allow it.'
'You can't stop it.'
"My lady?" The female was startled. She quickly turned around trying to focus. Gareth was still in her tent lying on the pallet.
"Are you all right? Is there something that I can get for you?"
"Gareth, why are you still here?" she snapped.
"I just figured I mean I thought that it would be "
Turning back around she put her head back into her hands. "Don't think, Gareth. Just leave. Go check on the men. Find out if anyone has returned with a report. GO!"
Gareth got off of the pallet. He pulled on his trousers, grabbed his tunic, vest and boots and made his way to the entrance of the tent. He stopped and turned to look at her.
'Gods, I love you. What I wouldn't do for you. I just wish you would love me back.' He stared at her for a few more moments and then exited the tent.
When she heard him leave she allowed herself to moan out-loud. She then slowly got off of the pallet and stumbled her way to the table located at the back of the tent. Still trying to focus, she began mixing herbs to relieve the throbbing pain. She quickly drunk the entire mugful of medicine and made her way back to the pallet to lie down.
A half hour later, she quickly opened her eyes and looked up to the leather-clad man standing beside her pallet.
"What do you want, Ares?" she asked, closing her eyes and putting her arm over them.
"I want it back!" he growled.
She opened her eyes, her brows knitted together. "Want what back?" she asked. She still had no idea what he was talking about. Ares had been to her on several occasions demanding that she give something back to him. Problem was he wouldn't tell her what IT was. He just assumed that she knew what he was talking about.
"I AM NOT GOING TO PLAY GAMES WITH YOU!" he bellowed. She kept staring at him still trying to figure out what he was talking about. She got off of the pallet and stood in front of him.
Looking at him straight in the eyes, she said calmly "Ares, you have been here more times than I care demanding that I give something whatever it is back to you. But you won't tell me what IT is. Since you won't tell me then how am I supposed to know? And as of right now, I really don't care what IT is. The only thing I care about is retrieving my medallion. That's all that matters. Now leave."
She turned away from and walked over to a table aligned with maps of the region. Ares quickly followed her. Grabbing her by the arms he spun her around to him.
"Your medallion? What about what YOU'VE STOLEN FROM ME?" he yelled.
"I HAVEN'T STOLEN ANYTHING FROM YOU ARES! NOW LEAVE!" she yelled back.
Ares stared into her eyes for a few moments as he watched them change from brown to black. The female stared back, not flinching, knowing that at any moment, he could easily toss her across her tent. She waited.
He finally let go of her and backed away. "This is NOT over," he stated as he slowly vanished away.
She stared at the space where he stood confused at why his disappearing act was sluggish. She shook her head and called for Gareth.
Gabrielle gradually opened her eyes as the sunlight coming in through the window welcomed her to a beautiful day. She unconsciously reached for her lover only to find an empty space. She sat up in the bed looking around the room. 'Now, where did she go', she questioned.
She got out of the bed and grabbed her robe smiling to herself as she once again admired it. As she put the robe on, her mind wandered back to last night. She looked around the room, the furs in front of the fireplace, the tub, the bed and back to the robe.
Then her brows creased as she remembered what Xena said to her, 'I needed to do something special.'
'Gods, Xena. You did make it special, didn't you? The festival, this room, the robe. You made everything so perfect. And now I need to do something for you. I just don't know what it is yet.' She walked over to the tub. It was already filled with water that was now at a nice temperature for her bath. 'How do you do it?' She smiled, removed her robe and got in.
An hour later, Gabrielle was dressed and standing in front of the mirror brushing her hair when a knock was at the door. "Come in."
The door opened and a woman about 50 years old walked in with a tray of food. She was slightly shorter than Gabrielle but was plumper. The color of her hair was completely silver and wavy. Because her hair came down to the middle of her back, she wore it as a ponytail. She had beautiful hazel colored eyes. She had a scar about the length of Gabrielle's small finger that ran straight down the side of her face near her left ear.
According to Xena, some lowlife did not want to pay for his room. Mavis and the man got into an argument. He pulled out a small dagger and lunged at her face. Mavis was able to move but not before the dagger made contact to her skin causing the scar. She pulled out her own dagger, killed the man and then searched his pockets retrieving several dinars that not only paid for his stay but for her trouble. Xena said from that moment she liked Mavis.
Gabrielle could definitely understand why Xena like her because Gabrielle liked her the first time Xena introduced her to Mavis. Gabrielle reflected on the first day they arrived in Trycas.
Xena had suggested, for the first time, the she take their things their room while Gabrielle stabled Argo. When Gabrielle finally went into the inn Xena introduced her to the owner, Mavis. Immediately, Mavis wrapped her arms around Gabrielle in a bear hug and had literally picked her up off the ground, swinging her around all the while laughing. When she had set Gabrielle back down, Mavis and Xena were both laughing as Gabrielle was trying to catch her breathe. She could not believe how strong the shorter woman was.
"Any friend of Xena's is a friend of mine. Welcome to mine inn, little bard," she exclaimed.
"Ah. I see you are up, little bard," she stated as she put the tray down onto the table smiling.
"Good morning, Mavis," she said as she walked over to her and the table.
"Good morning to you. Xena said that you would be hungry so I bring you food. We need to put more meat on you. You are to skinny," she said laughing.
Gabrielle laughed right with her. Mavis had a jubilant spirit that couldn't be ignore. "Mavis, do you know where Xena is?"
"No but she asked me to give this to you," as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a folded parchment, handing it to Gabrielle. "She left just before sunrise. She told me to tell you not to worry. Did you enjoy your bath?"
"Yes, I did. Thank you."
"Ahh good." She grabbed Gabrielle into a bear hug and kissed her on the cheek. She cupped Gabrielle's face into her hands. "You are good for her. Love her," she stated seriously.
"She's good for me, Mavis. I will always love her," Gabrielle said smiling.
"Good. Good. If you need anything, you come see Mavis, little bard. Enjoy." She walked over to the door opening it.
"I will. Thank you, Mavis."
"No, little bard. Thank you," Mavis responded speaking softly. She smiled at Gabrielle and walked out of the room, closing the door behind.
Gabrielle sat down at the table and unfolded the parchment.
I'm sorry that I did not get to see your beautiful eyes as you woke this morning. A friend sent a message to me. He asked that I would come to his village that is about five hours from here. The trouble has passed but he needed to talk to me. I won't be long and should be back before sunset. I miss you. Love you.
Gabrielle's face broke out into a huge grin. "love you too, m warrior." She re-folded the parchment and set it on the table. Eyeing the food, she suddenly realized that Xena was right. She was hungry.
Gabrielle stepped out of the inn into the bright sunshine. She
looked up into the cloudless beautiful blue sky. She had finished her breakfast
and since Xena was going to be gone for the day, she figured that she would
continue to enjoy the festival and maybe even catch a Sappho reading. And hopefully,
she'll be able to find another present for her warrior, too.
The festival honoring Aphrodite was still going strong. The festival usually lasted for eight days. There was music and dancing day and night and the booths aligned the sides of the road selling anything from food to clothing to jewelry. The only thing that wasn't sold, and only during the festival, was weaponry as love, not war, was the theme. Gabrielle walked along the path stopping at different booths trying to decide what else she could get for Xena.
Mavis had mentioned to Gabrielle that Sappho was here at the festival just for the day. Since, it was now midday and after browsing at different items still unable to decide what to get, Gabrielle resolved that she would attend the reading. She figured that she could look for a present later on after the reading.
Gabrielle walked along the path heading towards the building where Sappho is to be. 'I wish you were with me, warrior. I wonder what was so important that your friend had to speak with you about? Then again, you maybe up to something. After all, the last time you said a friend needed you, you ended up here to '
"Something for your mate?" Gabrielle, startled out of her thoughts, halted her steps. She turned to the voice, looking at the young woman standing behind a booth.
"Were you talking to me?" Gabrielle asked pointing to herself.
"Yes. Would you like something for your mate?" The young woman asked again, smiling.
Gabrielle stared at her as she move headed for the booth. The young woman's hair was reddish-brown, short and straight. Her eyes were the opposite color of brownish-red. She was the same height as Gabrielle but smaller. She wore a simple light green tunic and dark green skirt. She also had a several bracelets on both wrists.
"Yes. I would like to " Gabrielle didn't finish her statement as she was drawn to her eyes. Gabrielle gazed into the young woman's soft and tender eyes.
The young woman maintained eye contact with her deliberately and slowly drawing Gabrielle to her. When Gabrielle finally reached the booth, the young woman handed her a bracelet. Gabrielle took the bracelet as the eye contact was finally broken.
Gabrielle began studying the bracelet. It was silver about two fingers wide. Gabrielle looked intently at the design. It was a figure of a chakram with a single white gemstone in the middle. Gabrielle looked back up to the young woman.
"You will give it to her," the young woman stated, smiling. The statement was more of a command than a suggestion.
"Yes. She she'll love it? How much?"
"It is a gift." The young woman handed her a box and lid.
Gabrielle smiled at her then turned to leave when she thought of something. Turning back around to face her, Gabrielle asked, "Where did you " She was now looking into an empty booth, as the woman was no longer there.
"Hello? Helllooo?" Gabrielle called out.
An older man stepped from behind a curtain. "Can I help you, miss?"
"Yes. I'm looking for the girl that was just here?"
"Yes. Reddish-brown hair, brownish-red eyes, about my height. She was just here".
"I'm sorry, miss but I'm the only one running this booth."
"Really?" The man nodded. Gabrielle looked at him for a few moments with a confused look. "Well, sorry to bother you. Thanks."
Gabrielle turned and started down the road, deep in thought, when she suddenly found herself flat on the ground. She quickly got to her feet and began to brush the dirt off of her. Without looking at the person who knocked her down, she said angrily. "You could say excuse me."
"Maybe, it's you who should say it!
Gabrielle stopped what she was doing abruptly. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Here she was picking herself up off the group and this rude, obnoxious man was telling her that she should apologize. 'How dare he', she thought angrily.
As she looked up to correct his error she completely froze, fear gripping her as she stared into black eyes. She momentarily looked down and saw something like a black illumination surrounding an object that he was wearing.
What are you staring at? he snapped.
Gabrielle looked back up into his eyes unable to move. Nnnothing nothing, she stuttered.
The young man looked at her, anger evident on his face. After a few moments, he started walking away, deliberately bumping into her to get by.
Gabrielle stood there tying to calm her rapidly beating heart. She turned to watch him from behind as he was forcefully pushing people out of his way.
Well, that was rude. Are you okay? Someone asked.
Gabrielle was still watching the young man as he faded into the crowd. Yeah. Yeah. I'm fine. It's just that Gabrielle stopped in mid-sentence as she turned and stared at the young woman. Saranen? she asked in a surprised voice.
Gabrielle? By the gods, Gabrielle! Saranen exclaimed as she quickly hugged her. She pulled back from Gabrielle but was still holding onto her arms. Oh, it's so good to see you.
It's good to see you too, Saranen. Gods, how long has it been? Four, five?
Try almost six.
Six? Has it been that long? Saranen simply nodded. What happened to you, Saranen? You just left with no word? Gabrielle asked with a frown.
It's a long story, Gabrielle. But what about you? Why are you here in Trycas?
Weell. I'm here for my anniversary. Gabrielle responded somewhat hesitant.
Anniversary? You're married?
Saranen slightly shook her head. I don't believe it. Gabrielle, when we were younger, we both said that we did not want to marry a farmer and become a farmer's wife. And now you're married? Well, where is he? I would love to meet him, Saranen said as she was searching in the crowd.
Gabrielle grabbed Saranen's hands from her arms and held them into hers. First of all, I'm not a farmer's wife. And second, it's not a him it's a her. Gabrielle stated calmly.
Saranen's eyebrows rose in a surprise gesture. A her? Gabrielle nodded slowly. You married a woman? Gabrielle nodded her answer waiting for Saranen's reaction.
Saranen looked away for a moment then looked back at Gabrielle, slowly smiling at her. Three questions: Do you love her? Does she love you? And are you happy?
Yes. Yes. And oh, yes. Gabrielle stated smiling back.
Well then, we have a lot to talk about. Come on. Saranen wrapped her arm into Gabrielle's leading her away.
Xena had been in the village for about three hours. Valin, an old friend, was able to get a message to her pleading for her help. When she first arrived, she couldn't believe the devastation. At least all of the homes and building were burned to the ground, save one or two, excluding the stables.
She had just finished helping the surviving villages bury their dead and was not sitting on a log with Valin.
What happened, Valin? Who did this? Xena asked evenly.
An army, warrior army. Their leader is after my cousin, Draconus. Valin responded sadly as he once again looked around at the burnt buildings.
Tell me everything, Valin. Take your time.
Valin took in a slow, deep breath and began.
My cousin, Draconus arrived here night before last. I could tell something was wrong. He hadn't ate or slept in days. He told me that a warlord was after him and then he showed me this medallion that he was wearing.
Does this thing belong to this warlord?
Draconus, why don't you give it back?
Because I can't get it off!
What does that mean? All you to do is removed it from around your neck.
DO YOU THINK I'M STUPID, VALIN! I CAN'T GET THE HADES OF THE THING OFF OF ME!
It was weird, Xena. It seemed like as soon as he became angry, that thing began to glow, giving off some sort of black illumination. And then his eyes changed. They became completely black.
Yeah. Draconus eyes are hazel. But they changed. Becoming black as night even covering most of the white of his eyes.
"Go on Valin.
Calm down, Draconus. Maybe it's stuck on a piece of cloth or something?
Stuck on a piece of CLOTH. IT'S NOT STUCK ON A PIECE OF CLOTH, VALIN. THIS THING IS STUCK ON ME!!!
Maybe you just need some help. Here let me try.
I reached for it to help get it off of him. When I touched it, the thing let off some type of lightening bolt. It threw me clear across the room. I was dazed for a few moments and when I was able to focus, Draconus was bent over me. His eyes were back to normal and the medallion was no longer glowing. He told me that when he gets angry, the medallion takes control of him and that he doesn't know how to stop it other than trying hard to get his anger under control. And even then it's becoming more difficult for him to do that. I told him that he could rest here for a few days and that we would help.
If I stay, the army will tear this village apart. They want me and will do anything to get me.
We'll protect you.
You can't, Valin. You just can't. I need to leave.
Draconus. At least, eat something and stay the night. We'll talk in the morning.
By the next morning, Draconus was ready to leave. I showed him an escape route that the villagers use for their children whenever we are raided. Later that evening and true enough, the warrior army came. We fought as hard as we could but were no match for them. Most of the men were killed. The rest of us including the women and children were grouped together in the middle of the village with her men surrounding us.
"Her?" Xena asked.
"Yes. The warlord is a female. She approached us asking if we had seen a young boy with a medallion. Draconus kind of grew up in this village even though he didn't live here so everyone knew him. When she described him no one said anything. She grabbed one of our council elders asking him had he seen him. When he didn't answer her she she stabbed him. She killed my father, Xena," Valin stated as he broke down in tears.
Xena stared straight ahead her thoughts overcoming her. How many villages had she burnt to the ground? How many fathers had she killed? How many sons had wept for them? After awhile Xena pushed the thoughts away and waited patiently for Valin to continue.
Valin wiped the tears from his face. "I'm sorry, Xena."
"Why?" She questioned as she turned to him.
"For breaking down like that."
"You have ever reason to Valin." Xena put her hand upon his shoulder to comfort him. "Tell me the rest."
"After she killed my father she then grabbed one of the young girls, Traska. She forced Traska on her knees and put a knife to her throat."
"Normally, I don't like asking questions over and over again. But maybe you all didn't hear me the first time. I'm looking for a young man, about 17, 18 years old. He has short, curly blonde hair. His eyes are hazel. He has a medallion that belongs to me. Where is he? WHERE IS HE?"
placed the sword on the side of my neck."
"He left this MORNING!"
"You're lying. My men were watching this village. They didn't see him leave. SO WHERE IS HE!"
"I'm telling the truth. He left this morning. You can check the entire village."
"We did. Unfortunately, for you: your life if forfeited. GARETH."
"She had her men tie us all up. I thought that we were
dead, Xena. The look in her and the sound of her voice just made me realized
that we all were going to die. When her men finished bonding all of us, I saw
her talking to the one she called Gareth. After a few moments, he approached
us and told her men to put us all into the stables. Next thing we knew, we began
to smell smoke. I was able to free the others and myself but by the time we
left the stables, most of the village was burning. There was nothing we could
do, Xena. We just watched our homes, businesses, everything burn to the ground.
What you see is what's left." Valin put his head into his hands and began
Xena sat straight, maintaining her stoic expression, thoughts running together. 'Who would do this? Who is this female warlord? Can't be Callisto, she's in that lava pit with Velasca? And there hasn't been another female warlord since her? Unless '
Turning back to Valin, Xena asked, "Valin, did you hear any of her men call her name?"
Valin lifted his head, thinking. "Yeah, I heard Gareth call her, Lady Warrior, I think."
"Other than that, did you hear her name?"
"No. Her men either addressed her as 'my lady' or 'Lady Warrior'. That's all I heard."
Xena did not want to ask the next question for fear that it may lead to her suspicions. "Valin, can you describe her?"
"Well, like I said earlier, her eyes are medium brown and her hair was of the same color. It was straight, about neck length and it was tied into a ponytail. She was slightly shorter than you. And she was black."
"Black?" Xena asked somewhat taken back.
"Yes. I mean she wasn't dark-skinned. In fact, her skin color was more of a light brown complexion. Almost like a bronze tan color.
Xena's eyes narrowed as her suspicions grew. If Valin answered the next question correctly then she will know for sure. "Valin. By any chance, did she have a scar on her face?"
Valin hesitated as he tried to remember. Xena waited hoping that his answer would be a no.
"Yeah. A small one under her right eye."
Xena closed her eyes. 'It can't be. It just can't be.' She thought.
Valin stared at Xena, as her eyes remained closed, different expressions upon her face. Xena? Are you ok?
Xena opened her eyes, her brows creased together. She turned to Valin asking, Valin, what do you need from me?
Protection, Xena. This warlord is intent on getting her medallion back. If she finds Draconus, she'll kill him as sure as you are sitting here. Xena. Please. Find him. Protect him. Don't let her kill him. Please?
Xena looked into Valin's pleading eyes. She remembered the time where he found her wounded from battle. He bandaged and tended to her wounds, took care of her even though he knew who she was. He never acted like his was afraid. He was the one person during her warlord days that cared about her and hoped that they would be friends. She told him that being her friend would definitely end his life by those who wanted her dead. When she was back to full strength, she told Valin that if he ever needed her to get a message to her and she would help in anyway possible. And now, here it was six years later, Valin asking for that help.
Xena stood up with Valin. Consider it done, my friend. She extended her arm and Valin grabbed it giving her a hearty shake. Xena saw the relief across his face and smiled at him.
Thank you, Xena. Valin stated.
Can you show me which way he left the village? Maybe, I can still track him? Valin had Xena follow him to where he last saw Draconus.
Gabrielle had spent the entire afternoon with Saranen. Saranen had explained to Gabrielle of why they left Potedia in such a hurry and Gabrielle told her about Xena. The both of them were so enthralled into each other that Gabrielle did not realize how late it was. She bid Saranen a fond farewell and headed off to the inn. She had missed her warrior deeply and desperately wanted to be in her arms.
When Gabrielle arrived at the inn, Mavis told her that Xena had been back for over an hour and was waiting for her in their room. Gabrielle strode quickly down the hallway to the room. She swung the door swiftly open exclaiming, Xena. You wouldn't believe who I Gabrielle stopped. Her mouth hung open, eyes wide and her hand was still on the open door handle.
There in front of her was Xena, completely nude. She was sitting up I the bed with her arms spread wide and one leg slightly bent at the knee. Gabrielle was plainly gawking at her beautiful warrior. Tall, slender, gorgeous round firm breast, long lean legs.
Close the door, Gabrielle, Xena said seductively. Gabrielle slowly closed the door behind still eyeing her mate.
Xena leisurely got off of the bead and purposely walked lightly and slowly towards Gabrielle, her breast swaying with each step. Gabrielle was totally mesmerized by Xena's beauty. She continued to stare at her body as Xena made her way to her. When Xena was finally in front of her, Gabrielle looked up into blue eyes.
Gabrielle. You had me waiting. I almost started without you. You know how I don't like to wait, Xena stated in a husky voice. She reached for Gabrielle's top and gradually began to unlace it. She removed the top, allowing it to fall off of her shoulders and to the floor, revealing Gabrielle's breasts. She bent down and began sucking delicately on Gabrielle's neck.
Gabrielle had to clear her throat before responding "I'm sor sorry uh Xena. It's just uh that I uh bumped into um an old girlfriend." Gabrielle breathing became slightly ragged but deep.
Xena had now removed the belt and skirt and was pleased that Gabrielle opted not to wear her breeches. "An old girlfriend?" Xena said softly as she moved to the other side of her neck while caressing an erect nipple with her thumb.
"Uh huh." Gabrielle responded in a whimper like voice. She was slowly losing the strength in her legs as was doing everything possible not to slide down the door.
Xena felt Gabrielle getting weak and grabbed her by the waist to support her while pulling back to look into green eyes.
"Tell you what. Why don't we go over to the bed and you can tell me all about your friend. Okay?" Gabrielle simply nodded not trusting her voice. Xena caught this and gave her a crooked smile and a cocked eyebrow.
She took Gabrielle's hands and guided her to the bed. She sat Gabrielle down and then got on her knees. Maintaining eye contact with her, Xena began to unlace her right boot, sliding it off and then tossing it aside. She then unlaced the left boot, taking it off and throwing it aside as well. She lightly rubbed Gabrielle's legs working her way up her thighs. Xena wanted to take her lover right then and there as her hands and face were so close to the beautiful blond triangle that hid Gabrielle's sex.
Xena brought her hands back down to Gabrielle's knees and parted her legs so that she could move in closer. She gently licked her tongue over one of Gabrielle's nipple eliciting a small hiss and moan from her. She switched over to the other breast repeating the same movement still receiving small moans and sighs from Gabrielle.
Gabrielle had been watching Xena as she had removed her boots. Once Xena began licking her aching nipple, Gabrielle lost focus and closed her eyes. When she opened them, Xena was gazing at her breast.
Without looking up to Gabrielle, Xena said in a low voice, "Gabrielle?"
"Yes?" She responded in her own whispered voice.
Xena then looked up at her lover. "You're supposed to be telling me your story."
"Story?" Gabrielle countered inquisitively.
"About your girlfriend?"
"Oh, yeah. Girlfriend." Gabrielle repeated. Even though she heard Xena her mind was on touching, caressing, nibbling, sucking all of Xena. She leaned in to kiss those luscious lips while bringing her hand up to fondle a breast. Xena leaned away from Gabrielle, putting her hands on her shoulders to stop Gabrielle from kissing her.
"Uh, uh, uh. Story first."
"Uh, uh. Story later. You first." Gabrielle started leaning in for those lips again and once again Xena pushed her back lightly.
"Gabrielle. I want to hear the story about you and your girlfriend."
Gabrielle sat back and raised her eyebrows in question. "Really?"
"Uhh, huh." she stated Gabrielle her most innocent and sincere smile. "But first, why don't you lie back. You'll be more comfortable as you're telling it to me. Okay?"
Gabrielle began to wonder what Xena was up to. Here she was all hot and ready and her warrior wants to hear a story NOW? Gabrielle narrowed her eyes at Xena, shook her head and simply said, "Okay."
"Good." Xena watched and waited patiently as Gabrielle settled herself onto the bed, lying back, fingers interlaced across her stomach. Xena crawled into the bed next to her lying on her side, propped up on her elbow. She was still trying to figure out which way Xena was going with this.
"So, tell me about your friend." Xena spoke softly.
"Well. I was on the road heading back towards the inn "
"Mm, hmm." Xena replied leaning into a breast but stopping short.
" And this boy bumps into me knocking me down."
"You weren't hurt, were you?" Xena asked as she edged towards the erect nipple.
"No. No. Not at all." Gabrielle watched as Xena kept inching her way to her breast.
"Good." Xena stopped near the nipple. She looked up into Gabrielle's face and she looked down into Xena's. Both women were waiting for the other to continue. After a few agonizing moments, especially for Gabrielle, Xena broke the standoff. "Gabrielle? Your story?
"Anyway, when I got up, my friend, Saranen, was standing right there."
"Saranen. That's a nice name." Xena said softly. She still had not made a move but noticed that Gabrielle's chest was rising and falling rapidly. "And?"
Gabrielle stared into her lover's blue eyes. "Xena. Do you really want to hear this now? I mean it could wait till later. Much much later."
With one eyebrow cocked and giving her an intense and serious look, Xena responded, "No, no Gabrielle. I want to hear about you and your friend. Please, continue." And then she smiled at her.
"Okaayy. Where was I?" Gabrielle was really hoping that Xena wasn't paying any attention. This way she could say anything just to get started with other thing that was clouding her mind. Of course, she was surprised when Xena answered her.
"Saranen was standing right there."
Gabrielle cleared her throat as if she was preparing for an audience. In her bardic and controlled voice, she began. "Right. Anyway, I was completely shocked to see her. I mean, I hadn't seen her for a long time."
"How long?" Xena asked. Waiting for the right time to make her move. Unbeknownst to Gabrielle, Xena was also having a difficult time keeping her composure. She had wanted to grab the pink nipple that so close to her. To take it in her mouth. To suck and tease it. But she needed to maintain self-control.
'She's actually listening. Will you forget this story and just take me.' Gabrielle thought. Instead she settled to answer.
"About five, almost six years."
"Wow. That's a very " licking around the nipple, " long " licking the opposite way, " time," finally licking the hardened nipple itself.
Gabrielle hissed and moaned as she watched Xena lick around and over her breast sending shivers down her spine, involuntarily arching her back.
Xena pulled back and looked up to her. Smiling, she asked "What happened next?"
Gabrielle's mind was totally unfocused. Xena was definitely up to something, playing some sort of game but she just couldn't figure it out.
"We decided to head back to her home so that we ohhh." Xena now had Gabrielle's breast in her mouth, lightly sucking it. Gabrielle closed her eyes, as her center of attention was now on Xena's hot mouth and tongue on her breast. Then Xena stopped, lifting her head.
"Xena?" Gabrielle whispered. When she opened her eyes, Xena saw the pleas in them.
"Rule number one, Gabrielle. If you stop telling the story, then I stop. Understand"?
Gabrielle narrowed her eyes, as she now understood the game. She re-settled herself onto the bed, looked straight into Xena's eye and simply answered, "Understood."
Xena saw the stubborn set onto Gabrielle's face and knew that the game has started. A Battle of Wills. Will Gabrielle be able to finish her story? Or Will Xena bring her to an orgasm first.
"Xena. One question."
"Who's going to continue first?"
Without hesitation, Xena quickly took the breast into her mouth. Gabrielle took a quick deep breath and started.
"I hadn't seen Saranen in almost six years."
"Mmm hmm." Still sucking.
"We grew up together in Potedia. We oh we became best friends." Gabrielle breathing was now becoming somewhat rapid.
"Mmm friends." Xena muttered as she switched to the other breast.
We both had the same ah, Xe same dreams...ahhh." Gabrielle breathing was more shallow and ragged as Xena reached down and began to rub the golden mound. The sensation of Xena's sucking and rubbing was taking her focus away. She needed to maintain her concentration but was finding it increasingly difficult.
"We both dreamed of of seeing the world and and "
"And what, Gabrielle?" Xena was licking over and around the nipple, her hands continuingly massaging Gabrielle's mound, edging closer to the source of her wetness as Gabrielle unconsciously spread her legs in anticipation.
" had decided that we would ohhhh Xena ple please?" Gabrielle pleaded as she began rocking her hips, clasping the furs beneath her.
Xena removed her hand and reach underneath one of the pillows retrieving a phallus. She moved back to the other breast and at the same time started stroking the phallus on Gabrielle's mound.
Gabrielle had her eyes closed. As soon as Gabrielle felt the phallus her hips jerked forward, spreading her legs wider. She began to buck more into the phallus trying to guide it into her all the while moaning even louder.
Xena lifted her head from Gabrielle and stopped all motions with the phallus when she realized that Gabrielle wasn't continuing with the story. When she no longer felt Xena or the phallus, she quickly opened her eyes. "Xena?"
Xena gave her a crooked smile then maneuvered her way until she was on her knees between Gabrielle's legs, holding up the phallus.
Gabrielle suddenly remembered the one rule. She continued. "We decided that we would leave Potedia when we were old enough."
Xena smiled and started stroking Gabrielle again. "Go on." This time Gabrielle forced her eyes to remain open concentrating on finishing the story.
"Her father died one summer. The healer said that uhh his heart stopped. Her mother couldn't mmm take care of the hou house and the ffff ohhhh farm Gods, Xena."
Xena had taken the phallus and entered Gabrielle slowly. She began to move it in and out. "And?"
"The next summer, heerr her mo.mother ohhhh, Xena, please?" Gabrielle lost all concentration as soon as she felt Xena's finger stroking her swollen bud. All she wanted to do was to focus on Xena's ministrations and her release as she was rocking her hips faster to the phallus.
Xena started slowing down with the phallus and had begun to remove her fingers from Gabrielle's hardened clit.
"No. No. Her mother had had suddenly oh Gods decided to sell the farm. Saranen didn't' know that she was ahhhh ahhh selling it. Once the farm was sold they packed and left XENA, please, Gods, please!" Gabrielle's words were running together as she felt herself trembling.
"Finish, Gabrielle!" Xena was now rocking her hips into her hand that was moving the phallus. She felt herself and Gabrielle trembling knowing that both would climax soon. "Finish it!" Xena closed her eyes, head falling back.
Gabrielle was clasping and unclasping the furs, head thrashing. "Saranen and her mother moved here to Trycas. Her mother died ten ohhhh months later.
Saranen ahhhhh moved in with her mother's sister working in her sho shop. Today is the first GODS first day that that I've seen her since she left left POTEXXXEEENNNAAAA!" Gabrielle screamed out, arching her body upwards.
"GABRIEEELLLE!" Xena screamed as her body fell backwards. Both women yelled each other's name as wave after wave of hot liquid disbursed from their bodies.
Once Gabrielle was finally able to get her body under control, she opened her eyes and saw blue one's looking down at her, smiling. Xena slowly removed the phallus from Gabrielle sending small aftershocks thru her.
Xena moved her body next to Gabrielle settling her head onto Gabrielle's shoulder. Gabrielle began to rub lightly onto Xena's shoulder and arm and Xena was caressing Gabrielle's stomach. After a few moments, Xena lifted her head and lightly kissed her mate. "I love you, my queen." She stated softly.
"I love you too, my warrior." Both women fell into a restful deep sleep.
"So you're saying that the boy that bumped into yesterday is the same one we're tracking?" Gabrielle asked.
"Yes. Your story only confirms what Valin told me."
"And the warrior, this female warlord is after him because of that thing he's wearing?"
"Yes. According to Valin, she's been after him for a while. That's why he asked that I find him. He fears that this warlord will kill Draconus for the medallion."
"How were you able to find him this morning?"
"I was able to track him to Trycas last evening. I found out that he had secured a room so I figured I would get to him this morning. Unfortunately, he left before sunrise. He already has a four-hour lead. But at least his tracks are still fresh." Xena responded. They had been tracking Draconus for about five hours. Instead of riding, Xena had decided to walk. The path that Draconus has taken was leading them into the dense part of the woods making it difficult to ride, slowing the pace down.
"And the villagers? Did they lose everything?" Gabrielle asked.
"All of the homes and businesses were destroyed." Xena said sullen.
Gabrielle shook her head, almost in tears. "Those poor villagers. To lose everything you've built just to be destroyed by someone so set on retrieving a piece of jewelry. This medallion must really be important to her."
Xena did not respond to Gabrielle as she had been thinking the same thing. She was trying to concentrate on Draconus's trail. She needed to locate him as soon as possible. If Valin is right, the warlord will kill Draconus just to get the medallion back. But Xena was hoping that it would not come to that.
'What would I do if I saw you again. It's been so long. Would I have to fight you? Is there anyway I can stop you without hurting you?' Xena thought.
"Xena. Have you ever fought her? I mean...do you know her?"
Xena and Gabrielle had finally cleared the woods. Xena stopped and turned to Gabrielle. "Come on. I need to talk to you." Xena took Argo's reins and walked over to a fallen tree. Gabrielle creased her eyebrows in wonderment and followed Xena. This is one of the few occasions where Xena actually wanted to talk about something. Usually, Gabrielle would have to drag out whatever was bothering Xena. But this time, Xena really need to talk and Gabrielle was not going to miss this opportunity.
Gabrielle took one of the water skins from Argo's saddle and sat next to Xena. She handed her the water skin. Xena accepted the water-skin and took a long drink from it. She smiled when she handed back to Gabrielle. "Thanks."
"You're welcome. This sounds serious. Don't want your throat to get dry." Gabrielle said. She saw the tension in Xena's face and wanted to ease whatever was on her mind.
Xena gave a small chuckle. "To answer your questions: no, I've never fought her and, yes, I know her."
Gabrielle thought for a moment then asked, "Xena. You've fought warlords in the past. Callisto, Draco, Krykus. Why is it that you've never fought this one?"
"Number one, our paths never crossed. And two she's was my best friend."
"You're best friend?"
Xena looked straight ahead, remembering. "Her name is Taelias. Like you and Saranen, her and I were best friends. We grew up together in Amphibolis. Her family had moved just on the outskirts of the village when she was about eight. She's a couple of years younger than me. Lyceus and I met her one-day and ever since, the three of us became un-separable. More or less, her and I became un-separable. Even though I considered Lyceus my best friend, she became mine also."
"What was she like?"
"Carefree, easy-going, out-going. The girl could make a friend in a snap. I mean, look at me Gabrielle. I never had friends growing up. The other girls always thought that I was strange, out of place. But Taelias, I don't know. She just accepted me for me. Other than Lyceus she was the only one. That's probably why her and I got along so well." Xena stopped as she continued to remember.
Gabrielle waited patiently for Xena. She saw Xena get that far-away look on her face. She did not want to say anything that would break Xena's train of thought. Then after a few moments, Xena continued.
"She had this genuine smile, this light that would show. She was always cracking jokes or pulling some type of prank. She even pulled a few on Lyceus. He was so gullible. I think she had a serious crush on him. She was always making me smile or laugh. She was definitely a jokester." Gabrielle was smiling as she watched Xena smile at her memories. Then she saw the frown that came across Xena's face.
"Then some things happened. Things she had no control over. The smile and light slowly began to fade. She didn't become withdrawn or anything like that but she just lost her carefree mentality. She was angry, quick tempered. Sometimes she could control it, most of the time she wouldn't. She knew that she was changing. She even told me that she couldn't stop it and that if I didn't want to be around her anymore that she understood. But I told that I would always be her best friend, no matter what. To prove it, her and I took a blood oath."
Xena nodded. "See this scar?" Xena opened up her right hand showing a barely seen scar just near the edge of the palm. Gabrielle nodded when she saw the scar. "I cut my hand then cut hers the same way. We put our hands together and swore that we would always protect each other, be loyal to each other, watch out for each other and be best friends and blood sisters till the end of time. Kind of silly, huh?" Xena asked looking at Gabrielle.
"No, Xena. I think it's a good thing that you had someone like that. But I always thought that it was just you and Lyceus. You never mentioned Taelias. Why? What happened between you and her? Why didn't she stay with you?"
"She did stay with me, for awhile. After Cortese's army came and Lyceus was killed, she was right there when I took the men from my village and formed an army. I wanted to make her my second in command but she refused. She said that it would be more difficult to control the men if two women were in charge. So she suggested that she stay in the background. That way, she could watch my back. Check to make sure that the men behave without them seeing her. I have to admit it worked. She was with me for four years until Alti came."
"Yes. You remember the story about Borias?"
"Yes. Solon's father."
"Alti was a shamaness. She dealt in black magic, power. Borias and Taelias didn't like each other, neither trusting the other. But when Alti came, the two of them set their differences aside. They both realized that Alti was dangerous. Taelias especially didn't like Alti and made a point of telling me that I needed to get rid of her. But I couldn't. Alti was offering what I wanted, what I needed at the time. Power. Borias even tried to talk to me about letting Alti go but I just couldn't. One day, Taelias and I got into a huge argument about Alti. I demanded that she pack her things and leave. She did. She didn't look back and I never went to get her. I haven't seen or heard from her since and that's been about nine, ten years now. And now, she's a warlord."
Gabrielle was still holding onto Xena's hand when she first looked at the scar. She had her had down listening intently to Xena's story about Taelias. When she realized that Xena was done, she looked up at Xena and saw tears welling in her lover's eyes.
"Maybe we can help her Xena. You've changed. Maybe we can help her change, too."
"I changed because of you Gabrielle." Xena said matter-of-factly.
"No, Xena. You changed because you wanted too. I was just an added bonus package." Gabrielle said smiling. "You can help her change Xena. You're still her best friend."
Xena was looking at Gabrielle amazed at her mate. Gabrielle believed that anyone could change with help. She had such an optimistic attitude. Xena, however, did not. "I don't know Gabrielle. Lady warrior has been known to be ruthless, unforgiving. She may not even want my help."
"That is lady warrior that you're talking about. Not your friend Taelias. We'll help her Xena."
"You think so?"
"I know so."
Xena bent down and kissed Gabrielle passionately. The response she received was expected as Gabrielle parted her lips allowing Xena's tongue to explore. After a few moments, both women broke away.
"We should get started. I don't want to lose Draconus's trail."
"Ok." Gabrielle watched as Xena went to retrieve Argo. She sat there, thinking, 'I'll help get your friend back, Xena. We both will.' She stood up and walked over to Xena and Argo just as Xena was to mount the horse. "Oh, Xena wait."
Xena stopped and turned to watch Gabrielle as she reached into one of the saddlebags. Gabrielle turned to Xena and handed her the small box. "I know that this may not be the right time but well open it."
Xena looked at her quizzically but went on to open the box. After the lid was remove, Xena pulled out the bracelet. A smile slowly crept across Xena's face as she admired the item.
"Gabrielle. This is beautiful but why?"
"Xena, you have done so much to make our anniversary special. And I know that the robe would have been enough for you but I wanted needed to do something else."
Xena looked deeply into emerald eyes. "Using my own words against me, huh?
"No. I'm using your words to convey my feelings too. Do you like it? See, it has the design of your chakram on it."
"It's absolutely lovely, just like you, my love." Xena removed her wrists bands and tried the bracelet on. "Amazing, it fits too." Xena smile broadly and then pulled Gabrielle to her kissing her passionately.
"Then you like?" Gabrielle asked as she pulled away.
"Yes, my love. I love it. I love you." She kissed Gabrielle on her forehead.
"Do you think that it will fit under your bracers?"
"Hmm. Don't know." Xena put the wristband back on. The bracelet fitted perfectly underneath. But to make sure that it would not interfere with Xena's ability to fight, she stepped back and unsheathed her sword. With a few maneuvers she was satisfied that it would be fine for her to leave it on.
"Well, it doesn't seem to get in the way if I need to fight. For now, I'll leave it on but when we get back to Amazon land, I would like to put it up. Is that ok with you?"
"Of course it is." Gabrielle pushed herself into Xena wrapping her arms around her waist. "As long as I know that you like it."
"I do." Xena kissed Gabrielle one more time. "Woman, do you know what you do to me?"
"Yep." Gabrielle stated as she crinkled her nose.
Xena couldn't help but laugh whenever Gabrielle did that. "Come on. We should get going." Xena began to mount Argo. She stopped as one last thought crept in her mind. 'I am so sorry Taelias. I should have never let this happen. I hope I can get you back my friend.' Xena mounted Argo and then helped Gabrielle up. "Let's go, Argo."
Taelias watched from her atop her horse as her men were fighting the villagers. She received word from Lyneus that the boy was here. She continually scanned the village looking for signs of the Draconus but was not pleased to see him as of yet. However, what did amuse her was the fact that the men of the village were putting up a much better defense than the last one.
'These village peasants are pretty good. Maybe, I should recruit them for my army. If they don't die first.' With the last statement to herself, Taelias chuckled out-loud.
She dismounted from her horse when she realized that the villagers were really putting up a much better defense. Her own men were beginning to fatigue and were showing signs of defending themselves instead of attacking. She unsheathed her sword and readied herself.
As she started making her way through the village, one of the villagers was running towards her with a shovel raised high above his head. Taelias was still walking towards him, twirling her sword. 'You are a fool, aren't you'? She did a spinning back kick to his face sending him sprawling to the ground. She continued her trek when she heard another man to her left. Without stopping or turning toward him, she quickly dispatched him with a fist hit to the face. The man fell unconscious. Taelias stopped long enough to look down at him. "Idiot!" She began to look around the village when she spotted her target.
Gareth approached Taelias. "We can't seem to locate him, my lady."
Without taking her eyes off of Draconus, she stated, "I have." She nodded in Draconus's direction. Gareth followed Taelias gaze until he also spotted the boy.
Gareth grabbed to warrior closest to him. "Get some more men and GET HIM!!" The warrior grabbed four other men and ran toward Draconus. As Draconus saw the men coming towards him he came from in between the buildings and began to run in the opposite direction only to have his path cut off by two other warriors. Seven warriors now surrounded Draconus as they were beginning to close in on him.
A wicked grin crossed Taelias face. Soon her medallion will be back in her hands and Draconus head will be on her platter. She first looked behind her and was pleased that her men were finally able to control the village peasants as they were now grouped together. She turned back around and started making her way toward the boy when she was stopped in mid-stride as she heard the battle cry. She looked past her warriors and saw the golden mare galloping towards the village with two riders. 'No. It can't be.'
Xena did an aerial flip from Argo, before the horse come to a complete stop, lading in the middle of the circle that surrounded Draconus, sword in hand. The warriors all look at each other not sure of what to do.
"Hey boys. Can I join in?" Xena stated with a smirk, twirling the sword.
From behind Taelias, Gareth screamed, "GET HER. KILL HER AND THE BOY!!"
With a wicked laugh, Xena did not waste time as she quickly went on the offense. Four of the warriors began to fight only to realize that they were not going to be able to win against the Warrior Princess.
Xena slashed, kicked, hit, parried and thrust the warriors cutting them down one by one. Taelias stood and watched Xena fighting her warriors, no expression her face. Her attention was diverted when she spotted a golden hair woman with a staff easily taken down the remaining three warriors. 'Xena has a new friend. She's good too.'
As Gabrielle fought with the warriors, she screamed at Draconus, "GET OUT OF HERE! RUN!" Draconus looked back at Taelias and quickly started running away from the village.
"NOOOO!!" Taelias screamed as she saw Draconus running away. "GARETH! GET HIM! BRING HIM BACK! Gareth quickly dispatched two warriors who began to give chase. Taelias watched as her warriors started running after Draconus. Her attention was switched back to Xena as she heard one of her men scream in agony, Xena's sword deep in his chest. Xena looked up at Taelias. Without removing her gaze from her, Xena put her foot to the last warrior she was fighting and pushed him off of her sword.
Both women stood, staring at each other both holding their faces expressionless. Taelias slowly sheathed her sword and started walking towards Xena.
Xena also sheathed her sword and started making her way towards Taelias. Both women stopped when they were about an arms length from each other.
"Why are you here, Xena?"
"I heard you were having a party, so I thought that I would come."
"Ah, but Xena, you weren't invited."
"But you know me Taelias. You know how I like to crash parties." Xena said with a smirk and a cocked eyebrow.
Gareth was watching the entire scenario. He looked past the Warrior Princess and saw Gabrielle. He took two warriors that was standing next to him and slowly pulled them to the front of him as he snuck past them.
"Yes, Xena. I do know you. At least I used to know you. But this is one party you shouldn't have attended." Taelias continued to stare at Xena. She saw Gareth out the corner of her eye, as he was move stealthily behind Gabrielle.
Gareth quietly moved behind Gabrielle and with a quick kick to her back, Gabrielle screamed falling to the ground. Before Xena could remove her chakram she turned to see Gareth with a dagger to Gabrielle throat right at the main vein. Taelias, as soon as Xena turned, unsheathed her dagger, kicked Xena in the back, causing her to fall to her knees. Taelias was behind Xena in an instance, her dagger at Xena's throat.
"Ah, ah, ah, Xena. You move and she's dead. Or you." Taelias slowly reached down and removed Xena's chakram. She handed it to one of her men and then pulled the sword from its scabbard also handing it to the warrior. She motioned for another one of her men to bring rope. She quickly tied Xena's hands behind her back, making sure that it was nice and tight knowing that Xena can escape from any type of bonding given the chance. When she finished, she looked over at Gareth. "Tie her up Gareth and then bring her here."
As Taelias was busy tying up Xena, she watched as Gareth was pressing the dagger to Gabrielle neck. 'There is no way for me to get to her. I might as well see where Taelias is going with this.' When Gareth was done he picked her up and pushed her towards the group.
Gabrielle slightly stumbled when Gareth pushed her causing Xena to flinch. Taelias was still standing behind Xena and noticed the slight movement that Xena showed as her friend was being pushed towards them. As Gareth and Gabrielle got closer, one of the warriors pulled Xena to her feet and spun her around to face Taelias. Gabrielle was soon at Xena's side.
"Xena, you have interfered into something that is none of your business." Taelias said quietly as she stood directly in front of Xena.
"Killing an innocent boy is my business, Taelias." Xena stated as she stared into medium brown eyes.
"That boy has a possession of mine. And if killing him means getting it back, then so be it." Taelias confirmed thru clenched teeth.
Xena looked deeply into Taelias's eyes. She knew that Taelias had anger but this was different. There was literally hatred in her eyes. A hatred that even Xena didn't understand.
"Taelias, you have never outright killed anyone in your life. Especially an innocent."
"That was the old Taelias, Xena. The one you knew from years past. This is the new and improved version. Don't you like it?" Taelias said, giving a small smile.
Softening her look, Xena replied softly, "No. I don't. I want the old Taelias back. I want my best friend back. Please Taelias, let me help you."
Taelias looked at Xena and saw the sincerity in Xena's eyes. As she looked away from Xena, she started to remember her past and their friendship.
Gabrielle was watching the entire exchange from both women. When she heard Xena utter the last statement, she looked at Taelias and for a moment, she thought she saw a softening and recognition go across Taelias's face.
Xena did not miss the expressions on Taelias's face. She saw the hardness and hatred that was evident in Taelias's eyes leave momentarily. She hoped that she had gotten to her if just for a moment.
Taelias looked back up to Xena and then glance at Gabrielle. When she turned her attention back to Xena, she straightened up and said, "Okay Xena. I'll let you help me." She motioned at Gareth who was standing behind Xena and Gabrielle. With a quick blunt to the back of their necks with the hilt of his dagger, both women fell to the ground unconscious. Gareth removed his sword and stood over the hapless body of Xena. He raised it, ready to drive it into Xena's back.
Taelias looked down at the helpless Xena. For a moment, her heart went out to her ex-friend. When she realized what Gareth was doing, she exclaimed, "NO." Gareth looked up at Taelias with a puzzled look on his face, sword still raised. "No, Gareth. I have need of her." Gareth lowered his sword and re-sheathed it, his face still looking confused.
"Put them on the horses. We're taking them back to camp. And have someone find those idiots that went after Draconus and tell them to get back to camp." Taelias turned and started back to her horse. Gareth caught up with her asking, "What about the villagers?"
Taelias stopped and with turning around, she stated calmly. "Tie them and put them somewhere. Burn the village but not where they are."
"But my lady "
"Do as I command, Gareth." she quickly snapped.
Gareth stood there for a moment. He wanted to express his concerns about the villagers and Xena. Instead he simply stated, "Yes, my lady." He turned to carry out her orders.
Taelias did not move from where she was standing. "I want my best friend back. Please Taelias, let me help you." Taelias stood there as she thought of what Xena said to her. She closed her eyes briefly and said to herself, 'you will help me Xena. More than you think.'
Xena was slowly waking up but did not open her eyes. She started thinking about the last thing that happened. 'Village, Taelias, hands tied, knocked out. Gabrielle. Where's Gabrielle?' She silenced herself long enough to begin assessing her situation. 'Hmm. Hands are not tied. I'm lying down, something soft. Breathing. People are near.'
"I know that you're awake Xena. You might as well open your eyes."
Xena heard Taelias's voice but it sounded different. Not as harsh as earlier. Almost ragged, hurt like. She slowly opened her eyes. She realized that she was lying on some type of bench covered with plush blankets. As she surveyed the tent, she saw Taelias sitting on the pallet, head in her left hand, elbow on the knee, eyes closed. She looked behind Taelias and saw one of her men with a bow strung and pointing at something. She followed the direction of the arrow and saw it pointing directly at Gabrielle's who was tied up, hands over her head, standing, wide awake looking directly at Xena. The arrow was aimed for her heart. Xena immediately jumped up reaching for her chakram.
Just as Taelias heard Xena move and without looking up at her, she picked up the chakram that was sitting next to her on the pallet. She raised it for Xena to see. "Is this what you looking for?" When Taelias did not receive an answer, she looked up at Xena.
Without losing her expression, Xena looked at Taelias. Her face seemed to have aged. There were dark circles now forming under her eyes and her eyes seemed to have sunk in. She also looked a little weaker. This is definitely not the same Taelias that she saw earlier in the day.
Taelias put the chakram back down onto the bed. She looked back up to Xena, stating, "I'm sorry Gareth hit you so hard. You've been out for a while."
"How long is 'a while'?"
"About three hours." Taelias put her head back into her hand and closed her eyes. Xena looked over to Gabrielle who just shrugged.
"Taelias. What do you need from me?"
Taelias raised her head again and put her hand onto her chin. 'What do I need? What do I need? I need to die Xena. But how do I tell you this. I need to stop the chaos, the destruction. I'm tired Xena. I'm tired of fighting the dark side. I'm tired of the path that she leaves behind. I'm tired of death. I need to leave. But how do I tell you? I wish I could tell you.'
Taelias was so deep in thought that she did not hear Xena making her way towards her. However, when the warrior behind her strung the bow tighter it woke her from her reverie and she immediately looked up at Xena. She noticed that Xena had gotten closer to her.
Xena was waiting patiently when she asked Taelias the question. She watched as an array of emotions crossed Taelias's face. She became concerned and started towards her. When the warrior strung the bow tighter she stopped in her tracks just as Taelias looked up at her.
"I want you to find Draconus and bring him and the medallion back to me." She stated in a soft but ragged, tired voice.
"And if I refuse." Xena was trying to buy some time so that she could get to Gabrielle and get them both out of there. But at the same time, Xena saw the tiredness in Taelias face and wanted to help her too.
Taelias heard the question but did not answer right away. She finally glanced over to Gabrielle and said sadly and with conviction, "I know who you friend is Xena. If you refuse, Gabrielle dies." Taelias did not look back at Xena when she made the statement. Her heart was breaking as she realized that she was once again hurting her best friend.
Even though Xena heard the words come from Taelias she thought that she heard the underlying tone, like conviction. 'Something is definitely not right here. But what is it?'
"You have three hours Xena. Bring the boy " Taelias stopped as she thought about what Xena said to her earlier. "Taelias, you have never outright killed anyone in your life. Especially an innocent." " Just bring back the medallion." Taelias still had not looked up at Xena, as she did not want to see the hurt in Xena's eyes.
Xena, on the other hand, wanted to just grab Taelias and hug her as she saw the hurt that was on Taelias's face. Instead she turned and started towards the exit of the tent. She stopped and turned when she heard Taelias call out to her.
"Xena. I know you. At least I used too. Don't think about circling around to free Gabrielle. My men will just as soon try to kill you and her." Taelias closed her eyes as she made the last statement.
Xena looked over to Gabrielle and then walked back to Taelias. When the warrior raised his arrow and pointed at Gabrielle, Xena raised her hands to show that she would not try anything. She finally got in front of Taelias and knelt down.
Taelias slowly opened her eyes and looked at Xena. Xena could see the hurt, the tiredness, and the weakness across Taelias's face. "I will get my friend back." She stated matter-of-factly.
"I know that you will get Gabrielle back. I expect no less."
"I'm not talking about Gabrielle." With that Xena stood up and walked back towards the exit. She stopped and looked at Gabrielle, "Don't worry. I'll be back soon." She gave Gabrielle a small smile, which she returned, and Xena left.
Taelias watched the tent flap that Xena just exited. After a few moments she told the warrior that he was excused. When he left the tent. Taelias looked at Gabrielle and then lied down on her pallet. Gabrielle gave a heavy sigh and just waited.
Xena had Argo in a full gallop, heading back towards the village where she last saw Draconus. 'What am I going to do if I can't find Draconus? Will she actually kill Gabrielle? No. She wouldn't. Something is not right here. Taelias looked almost like her old self. Almost like she did years ago. Except for the fact she looked as if she aged overnight. What is going on?'
Xena finally realized that she had made it back to the village in record time. She slowed Argo to a trot, as she got closer. She could smell the after effects of a now simmering village. She did not want to be seen so she circled around to the back end where her and Gabrielle made their entrance.
As she got closer to the back end of the village, she got off of Argo. "Stay here, girl." She slowly walked over and bent down to see if she can find Draconus's tracks. She began to follow them for a while when she suddenly stopped. She continued to stare at the ground. The tracks seemed to have disappeared. She looked around trying to see if she missed anything. But still it was the same. The tracks go so far and then they disappear. 'As if he vanished into thin air. All right. I wonder who's involve with this.' She looked around at the surrounding area. No hills or mountains, just flat land. 'So where did you go?' She ran back to Argo and jumped on. She moved Argo to where the tracks ended and looked up at the land again. "Well. I guess I go straight ahead. Maybe I'll get lucky." She then kicked Argo into another gallop.
Taelias had been sleeping and woke up abruptly. She quickly sat on the side of the pallet. She looked over at Gabrielle. "How long?"
"What?" Gabrielle responded.
"How long have I been sleeping."
Gabrielle stared at Taelias and realized that Taelias was actually looking even weaker. "About 2 hours."
Taelias closed her eyes and rubbed the back of her neck. "It won't be long now."
"Excuse me?" Gabrielle asked.
"Nothing, Gabrielle. I was talking to myself." Gabrielle gave her a slight nod and then winced at the pain in her shoulders and arms.
Taelias heard the wince and saw the pain in Gabrielle's face. 'Oh Gods. I let this girl stayed tied up too long.' Taelias got off of the pallet and slowly walked towards the tent flap. She straightened herself up, rolled her shoulders and head. "GARETH. GET IN HERE!"
Gareth walked into the tent. "Yes my lady."
Looking straight into Gareth's eyes, Taelias stated in a commanding voice, "Gareth. Under no circumstances do I wish to be disturbed unless Xena comes back."
Gareth looked at his leader then looked at Gabrielle. With his eyes he could tell that she was tied tightly to the pole. "But my lady, what if "
"What if nothing, Gareth. Until Xena returns, do not disturb me for any reasons. Is that clear?" Taelias tried to give him the iciest stare she could muster.
Evidently, the stare worked as Gareth quickly bowed his head. "Yes my lady."
"Good. Leave." Gareth left the tent. As soon as he was gone, Taelias immediately fell down to her knees as her strength left her.
Gabrielle had watched Taelias when she first got up off the pallet. She noticed that Taelias seemed to not have any strength. When Taelias had gotten to the entrance of the tent flap, she could tell that Taelias was conjuring up any last remaining strength that she had to give the order to Gareth. She moved forward when she saw Taelias fall to her knees only to be stopped by the restraints around her wrists.
"Taelias? Should I call Gareth back in?" Gabrielle asked in a concern voice.
Taelias simply raised her hand to Gabrielle to stop her from calling out. After a few moments, Taelias rose to her feet. She walked over to Gabrielle and pulled out her dagger that was attached to the back of her leather pants.
Once Gabrielle saw the dagger, she slightly flinched. Taelias saw Gabrielle's body jerk. "Relax. I'm not going to hurt you. It's just that you've been in that position way too long. Your shoulders must be killing you." Taelias gave a small smile to Gabrielle then reached up and cut the rope bringing Gabrielle's arms down slowly. Once they were down, she then cut the ropes around her wrists.
Gabrielle removed the ropes and began to massage her aching shoulders and wrists. When Taelias finished cutting the ropes she made her way back to the pallet, stumbling along the way. Once there, she fell down onto the pallet lying on her back.
Gabrielle watched her and then looked around the tent. Taelias had a feeling of what Gabrielle may be up to. With her eyes closed, she said weakly "Gabrielle, don't think about leaving. My men will kill you instantly without a single thought. Your best bet is to stay here until Xena returns."
Gabrielle looked around again. She finally made her way to the pallet and sat down on it. "What difference does it make? You told Xena, that if she didn't return that you would kill me anyway."
Taelias opened her eyes and looked at the petite blonde. "I wasn't and am not going to kill you. I only said that so that Xena would have some type of motive to go searching for Draconus. I needed for her to leave. I didn't want her to see me like this."
Gabrielle stared down at Taelias. She seemed too weak and vulnerable. "Is there anything I can get for you?"
Taelias closed her eyes and said softly, "No but thanks."
"Taelias, what's happening to you? In the past five, six hours you seem to be getting weaker?"
"It's quite simple, Gabrielle." She opened her brown eyes to look at green one's. "I'm dying."
Xena stopped Argo in the middle of the road. She had no idea where to go or what to do. As she dismounted Argo, she looked up into the sky as the sun began to set. "There is no time left. I'm not going to be able to find him."
"Oh, I wouldn't say that."
Xena turned around to see the goddess Hecate materialize. "Hecate. What are you doing here?"
"I've come to help, Xena." She stated in her most sincere voice.
"Look Hecate. I know that you're my mother. But you promised that you would not interfere in my life. So please, leave." Xena was beginning to mount Argo.
"But I'm not here to interfere with you Xena. I'm here to help Taelias."
Xena stopped and turned to Hecate. Narrowing her eyes, she asked, "Why?"
"Because Taelias is dying and right now she needs both our help."
Xena creased her brows together, her eyes widening. "Dying?" Hecate simply nodded with a very seriously look. "How?"
"There's not a whole lot of time to explain but suffice it to say the medallion is the key."
"That's why I'm here. I need to find the boy and get the medallion back to her. If I don't...she'll kill Gabrielle."
"No, she won't." Hecate stated simply.
"What?" Xena asked.
"She won't kill Gabrielle. It's a plan Xena. A plan formed by her to allow herself to die. She knows the medallion can save her but she doesn't want it." Hecate looked at Xena's confusion. "Xena, there's not much time left. I have the boy and the medallion. I'll explain what I can but we have to hurry and I need your help. Taelias needs your help. Are you ready?"
Xena looked up to Hecate, straightened her tall form up and gave slight nod of yes. Hecate touched Xena's shoulder and both women de-materialized.
Gabrielle watched, as Taelias was getting weaker and weaker by the moment. "Taelias. Is there anything that I can do? Do you have a healer? Maybe I can call him or her in here?" Gabrielle started to get up when a hand grabbed her by the arm, stopping her.
"No. Gabrielle, stop. There's nothing that can be done." Taelias whispered.
"How? Why?" Gabrielle asked. She was completely lost for words and did not know how to ask the question.
Taelias looked at Gabrielle's concerned face and gave a faint smile. "Well. I guess I should try to explain what I can."
"The medallion has a spell on it. It has caused and as weird as this sound it has caused my soul to split into two, literally."
Gabrielle stared down at Taelias, a puzzled look on her face. "Split in two?"
"Yes. Every person has two distinct personalities, souls. Good and bad. But the two are always intertwined. One will always outweigh the other but the other is always there just hidden. In my case and because the medallion has a spell on it, it has caused my soul to split. Separated but still connected. The medallion intensifies or enhances my dark side and weakens the good side." Taelias paused as she felt her strength waning. She closed her eyes for a moment. When she opened them again, Gabrielle had taken Taelias's hand and held it in her own giving her a small smile. Taelias smiled back at her.
Taelias continued. "The problem is if I have the medallion on too long, my good side will continue to weaken and will eventually die so I have to take it off so the my good side can regain strength without taking over. If I leave it off too long then my dark side get weaker and it will eventually die. One cannot live without the other. If one dies "
"Then the other dies." Gabrielle stated completing the sentence. Taelias simply nodded. "I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. That's why there is nothing you can do."
"Taelias, if the medallion is the key then Xena will be back soon with it. You can put it back on and "
"And live? No, Gabrielle. I don't want that. There is no way that I will allow her to take control again. I won't allow her to leave a path of death and destruction. The killing of the innocent, of women and children has to stop. And my death is the only way to stop her." Taelias closed her eyes as a single tear marked its way down her cheek.
Gabrielle felt tears welling up in her eyes as she listened to Taelias's sacrifice. She began to stroke Taelias's hand that was still in hers. "Taelias, please. Let me do something, anything for you."
It was getting harder and harder for Taelias to keep her eyes open. She thought for a moment and then answered Gabrielle without opening her eyes, "There are three things that I would like for you to do, Gabrielle."
"Ok. What are they?"
Taelias opened her eyes as much as she could. In a whispered voice, "Forgive me? I'm so sorry for treating the way that she I did. I would understand if you don't "
"I forgive you, Taelias." Gabrielle simply stated in a controlled voice. She saw the light on Taelias face fading and she did not want Taelias to die without forgiving her.
"Thank you. I see why Xena loves you. You're very kind and compassionate. Keep those."
Tears were now streaming down Gabrielle's face, as she could no longer stop them. "You're kind and compassionate too, Taelias."
"No, I'm not. Even before the spell, I was just as ruthless and uncaring. I didn't care about anyone or anything."
"Did you kill women and children or those that could not defend themselves?" Gabrielle asked.
"Then you did care." Gabrielle stated forcefully. She watched as Taelias closed her eyes again. "What's the second thing, Taelias?"
"When Xena returns and if she has it, don't let her put it on me. I can't let her kill again Gabrielle. She has to be stopped. Promise me. Pleeasse?"
Gabrielle turned away from Taelias as she pondered this request. Taelias opened her eyes. "Please, Gabrielle. Promise that you won't let Xena put that medallion back on me."
Gabrielle looked back at Taelias and saw the strain of her face. "I promise."
Taelias closed her eyes unable to keep them open any longer. "The third?"
"Tell Xena that if I could do it all over again when we separated I would change everything. Tell her that I'm sorry. And that I love her. Tell her tell her that she is still my best friend and sister."
Gabrielle had to lean in closer to hear Taelias's final request. "I'll tell her."
All of Taelias's strength was gone as she simply mouthed the words 'Thank You' to Gabrielle. "Taelias? Taelias." Gabrielle put her fingers to Taelias's neck feeling for a pulse. It was faint and very weak. "Taelias. Please, don't die. Oh, Xena where are you? She needs you."
"I'm right here, Gabrielle." Gabrielle looked up to see two forms beginning to materialize.
Xena and Hecate materialized before Gabrielle. In two long strides, Xena was next to the pallet and was sitting down. She looked down at her now motionless friend. She reached for her neck feeling for a pulse. She found it but it was becoming very faint.
"Xena, she's dying."
"I know, Gabrielle."
"Xena. Get behind her and put them around her neck." Hecate stated.
Xena raised Taelias up and propped herself behind her with Taelias head falling back onto Xena's shoulder. Xena removed two medallions from her pouch attached to her side and began to put them around her neck.
"Xena don't." Gabrielle said as she reached to stop Xena from putting the medallions on. "She made me promise that you would not put that on her."
"Gabrielle, I understand that you want to keep your promise but I have to do this." She went to put them on when she felt Gabrielle's strong hold on her arm. "Trust me."
Gabrielle looked into Xena's eyes and then looked down at Taelias's still form. "I'm sorry for breaking my promise to you, Taelias but I trust Xena." She looked back up at her mate and let go. Xena smiled saying, "Thank you."
Xena finally put both medallions around Taelias's neck. "Two medallions?" Gabrielle asked confusion evident on her face. Xena looked up at her Gabrielle. "I promise. I'll explain everything later." Gabrielle nodded to her.
"What about her army?" Gabrielle inquired.
"They won't be any problem." Hecate responded as she made her way over to the pallet. She got down on both knees placing her left hand on the medallions and her right hand on Taelias's forehead.
Gabrielle quickly got up and moved swiftly to the front of the tent. She opened the flap expecting to see guards. What she saw was nothing. No guards. No army. No tents, fires or horses. Not even Gareth. Everyone and everything was gone. 'I guess they won't be a problem.' She turned when she heard a moan and walked back over to the pallet sitting back down.
Taelias was moaning lightly under her breath as she was begun to twitch. Gabrielle looked at Hecate who still had one hand on Taelias's chest covering the medallions and one hand on her forehead, eyes closed.
"Xena, hold her and talk to her." Hecate said softly.
Xena wrapped her arms around Taelias as Taelias moaning became louder and twitching was now turning into convulsions.
Xena whispered in her ear. "I'm here Taelias. Everything is going to be ok. I'm here. I'm not letting you go."
"Take it off. Get it off of me." Taelias voiced loudly, eyes closed. Her convulsions were becoming stronger causing Xena to hold on tighter. "Gabrielle, you promised."
Gabrielle looked into Xena's face not know what to say or do. "I know I promised. But you have to trust Xena."
"XENA! GET IT OFF! PLEASE!" Taelias screamed.
"No. Taelias please. Trust me." Xena said softly in her ear. All of sudden, the convulsions stopped and Taelias fell silent again.
Gabrielle looked at Xena. "Xena." Xena just shook her head and looked at Hecate who still hadn't moved and was concentrating.
After a few moments, Hecate said without moving or opening her eyes, "Gabrielle, grab her legs and hold on tight."
"Do it. Quickly." Gabrielle went to the end of the pallet and pressed down on Taelias's ankles. "Xena, hold onto her tightly." Xena increased her hold onto Taelias. They waited.
Taelias sprang upright so quickly that Xena almost let her go. With her eyes still closed, Taelias immediately began to fight against Xena's strong hold on her. She began to push against Xena's arms that were wrapped around her. "LET ME GO." Taelias bellowed.
"No. I'm not letting you go, Taelias."
Taelias pushed and strained against both Xena and Gabrielle as both women used every amount of strength to keep her restrained. "LET ME GO, XENA."
The battle went on for a while as all three women struggled against each other. Taelias was fighting against the two women keeping her restrained. Xena and Gabrielle fighting against her to keep her restrained. When it seemed as if Gabrielle and Xena were no longer able to stop Taelias, she suddenly stopped fighting and slowly fell back into Xena. All during this, Hecate never moved, maintaining her concentration. When Hecate felt Taelias go unconscious, she opened her eyes, removed her hands and slowly stood up. "You both can let her go now."
Gabrielle let go of Taelias's ankles and stood upright. Xena raised her forward and untangled herself from Taelias. She slowly lowered Taelias back onto the pallet.
Gabrielle looked at where the medallions should have been. "What happened to the medallions?"
"They're within her. The two sides are struggling for control." Hecate responded.
"What do we do now?" Gabrielle asked.
"We wait." Xena said. She walked to Gabrielle and stood in front of her. Gabrielle looked up into sapphire eyes that held concern. "How did you get loose?"
"She untied me. Xena, can you tell what's going on?"
Xena guided Gabrielle to the bench and sat her down. She sat down next to her and pulled Gabrielle into her. Gabrielle laid her head onto Xena shoulders. Xena looked over to the pallet and saw Hecate now sitting on the side of the pallet with a basin of water and wet rag applying it to Taelias's face, wiping the sweat from her.
"Hecate appeared and told me that Taelias was dying. She transported me to a cave where she hid Draconus. She had put a sleeping spell on him and I was able to get the medallion. Hecate then handed me a second medallion and explained that I needed to put both of them on Taelias. The medallion that Draconus had had a spell on it."
"I know. Taelias explained that the spell caused her soul to split into two with her dark side in control."
"Then she explained to you that if one dies "
"The other dies? Yes. But how were you able to remove the medallion from Draconus. You told me that your friend, Valin tried to remove it and it sent a bolt thru him. So how were you able to get it?"
"The bracelet you gave me protected me."
"The bracelet? How?"
"By me, Gabrielle." Hecate was listening to the entire conversation when she interjected. "I knew that Xena would not accept the bracelet from me. So I transformed myself and gave the bracelet to you, knowing that you would give it to her."
"You mean you're the young lady that gave me the bracelet?"
Hecate turned and smiled at Gabrielle. "The one and only. I knew what was happening to Taelias but I needed Xena's help."
"So the bracelet protected you long enough to get the medallion?"
"Mmm, hmm. Once I secured it, Hecate gave me the second medallion. She then transported Draconus back home and then brought us here."
"How did she come in contact with the medallion in the first place? And who put the spell on it?"
"According to Hecate, a friend of hers gave her the medallion a long time ago. A sorceress, shamaness name Adriana joined her army not too long ago. Adriana fell in love with Taelias but Taelias never returned the affection. Somewhere along the line, her and Ares became lovers."
"Ares? Oh Gods. Don't tell me he's involved." Gabrielle protested.
"In some ways, he is. He had been watching Taelias for a long time ever since she left me. Once she started her army, he thought that she had potential. So he finally revealed himself to her, coaching her. Once I renounced him, he began to focus more on her. He figured that he could coax her into fighting me in hoping that that would lure me back to him. So he used sex to get to her. Adriana did not like the fact that Ares and Taelias were lovers. One day, she did something that ticked off Taelias and she kicked Adriana out of her army. Adriana swore revenge on both her and Ares and cast a spell on the medallion. The spell was two-fold. Not only did it split Taelias's soul into two but also it began to drain Ares of his Godhood. In other words, Ares is dying also."
"Xena, that doesn't make sense. I mean, even if Ares Godhood is drained he simply becomes mortal. So how could he be dying also?"
Hecate answered Gabrielle's question. "Not only would the medallion drained Ares power but once he became mortal it also started draining his strength. Therefore, he's dying."
Gabrielle let this entire information sink in before asking the next question. "So how do we help Taelias?"
Hecate had gotten off of the pallet and walked over to where Xena and Gabrielle were and sat down next to them. "It's up to her, Gabrielle. If her good side is able to regain control then both medallions will appear. If not " Hecate stopped not wanting to continue as she turned to look at the still form on the pallet.
Gabrielle looked to Xena who put on her stoic mask. "We are not going to let anything happen to her Xena. She wanted me to tell you something."
"What?" Xena asked not turning her eyes away from Taelias.
Gabrielle turned Xena's face to her and cupped her face into her hands. "She wanted you to know that if she could do it all over again when you and her separated, she would change everything. She wanted you to know that she was sorry. That she love you. And that she still sees you as her best friend and sister."
Tears welled up into Xena's eyes and threatened to escape. Gabrielle saw the tears and brought Xena's head down to her shoulder allowing Xena to cry quietly. "She still loves you, Xena and you're still her best friend."
About an hour later, Gabrielle and Xena were lying down on the blankets asleep. Hecate was lying on the bench eyes closed but fully awake. A loud, piercing, high-pitched scream escaped from Taelias. Xena, Gabrielle and Hecate were up and at the pallet in no time as Taelias was sitting upright but her eyes were close. Xena sat directly behind Taelias and held onto her. Gabrielle and Hecate were both sitting on opposite sides of the pallet. Taelias began to have convulsions again as she continued to scream. A black illumination appeared from her chest as the medallion materialized dropping into Hecate's hand. When the medallion appeared, Taelias fell back into Xena twitching, moaning and her breathing was labored.
Xena was slowly stroking Taelias arms. "Taelias. I'm here. You can do this. Fight it. Please. Fight it." Xena said desperately. All three women looked at each other and waited. Within a few moments, Taelias let out another yell and lurched forward in another convulsion. A bright light appeared this time and the second medallion materialized falling into Hecate's hand.
"Xena. Take your fists and pump her stomach four times. Gabrielle, find a bucket or pail or something that she can throw up in." Hecate commanded.
Gabrielle jumped of the pallet in search of a bucket. She found one and came back to the pallet. Xena closed one hand around the other making a fist. She pumped Taelias's stomach once. Black dust was expelled from Taelias's mouth. Xena pumped a second time and watched as more black dust was expelled. A third time and the last of the black dust were expelled from her system. Before Xena pumped the fourth and final time, Hecate instructed Gabrielle to be ready. On the fourth and final pump, Taelias began to vomit within the pail spewing out black liquid. After what a few moments, Taelias expelled the entire spell that was on her and fell back into Xena. Hecate had the medallions in her hand. By the time Taelias had finished, the medallions disintegrated into dust and blew away. Hecate had gotten a wet rag and began to wipe Taelias's forehead and face. She then gave the rag to Gabrielle and asked her to continue. Hecate stood up and was ready to leave.
Xena looked at Hecate. "Is that it?"
"Yes, Xena. The spell has been broken. She'll be fine. She'll be tired and will want to sleep but after she regains her strength, she'll be ok."
"Thank you, Hecate."
"No, Xena. Thank you." She was about to de-materialize when Gabrielle called out.
"Wait, Hecate. What about Ares?"
"Well. I'm touched that you're so concerned, bard." Ares stated as he appeared within the tent next to Hecate.
"Looks like you got your Godhood back." Gabrielle said frankly. She turned her attention back to Taelias as she re-wets the rag and continued to wipe her face.
Without looking up at Ares, she responded, "What Ares?"
"Thank you." and then he disappeared. Hecate looked at Taelias one more time. Xena looked up at her and gave her a small smile in which Hecate returned. Then she too vanished.
Taelias slowly opened her eyes and looked at Gabrielle. "Gabrielle?"
"Hi. Xena is here too."
"What happened?" Taelias asked weakly.
"I'll tell you everything later. Get some sleep. You need to regain your strength." Xena said softly.
Taelias closed her eyes again but before she fell asleep, she asked, "Are you staying?"
"I'm not going anywhere, Taelias. Gabrielle and I are going to stay right here." Xena said.
"Good." Taelias responded before she went into a deep sleep.
Xena and Gabrielle looked at each other, smiling. "Looks like you have your best friend back." Gabrielle said.
"We have our best friend back."
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