Lovers Lament part2

by indigo

~Chapter 5~


[Xena and Gabrielle pass the Isthmus of Corinth, soon they come to the crossroad one to Corinth the other leading West. There the two part and begin traveling alone.]

Along the way Gabrielle's thoughts wandered back to Xena. The Amazon bard journeyed through her feelings for the warrior woman. There was no question, she felt a love for Xena that fed every fiber of her being. She mused. "Actually, I love her so much more than *that!* Yeah. I love her." The bard searched herself, wanting to find the most eloquent summation. "I love her more than the star's in the night's sky, more than the power of *all* the gods on Olympus! Hmmm....that reminds me of a love poem." Gabrielle recited the poem aloud, entertaining herself.

Equal to the gods appears that one,
the man sitting close by you now,
who hears the sound of your sweet voice
from so close by
and drinks in your charm and laugh. That sight,
I swear,
sets my heart racing;
the briefest glance at you renders me
My tongue looses it's moorings, a delicate flame burns
all under my skin,
My eyes no longer see, they are blinded,
my ears ring, pulsate,
a cold sweat overcomes me,
fear grips my heart.
Paler than the grass in the meadow,
I feel myself nearly dead.


"Oh that is *so* beautiful, so *romantic.*" Gabrielle gushed. I'd love to write something like that; maybe someday I can meet its brilliant author. Sigh. I know how she feels." The bard's brows suddenly became crossed, her poetic prose interrupted. "What if the temple is no longer active?" Gabrielle realized that much time had passed since that maiden had pleaded for the completeness of her love. True, many of the lesser gods had been retired to mere myth in a matter of seasons. She huffed, talking herself through the new concern. "Okay, even *if* the temple is no longer a place of active worship, I can *still* use it as a source for that 'focus' stuff Xena is always talking about."

"Besides," the bard thought. I'm *really* not into the gods *or* their rituals of appeasement. Things will be as they are supposed to be," she concluded. Dismissing the worries, Gabrielle resumed the trek. Her eyes scanned the countryside around her, recording within her heart every site of wonder and beauty she passed. The white rock trail was in pretty good condition, probably because the area was one of the most populated due to the nearby commerce. In a relatively short time she had passed several farms and what looked like a temple that was barely visible through the foliage. What god it had once honored was anybody's guess. Although it was a beautiful day, Gabrielle was in high spirits with the knowledge that she was on a mission for love. That thought alone made her feel more like a warrior than she ever had. She thought, this is just a stretch of the legs compared to the distance Xena and I had just traveled. Rounding a bend in the foot trail she noticed an upright stone with a inscription on it. Gabrielle brushed away the dirt and white dust to reveal the sign to the temple.

"Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito."

Gabrielle had to stumble through her language skill to read the inscription. In broken syllables she read:

"Yei-ld not to ad-vers-ity, but press on the more br-ave-ly"

"Hmm. A very good way of looking at things. I'd say it is definitely a signal for me to forge on with my mission." The bard smiled, pleased with what she felt was a personalized message. Below the proverb read another inscription. "Oh, what's that one?"

"Herein lies the Aspects of Love"

Gabrielle's innards suddenly whoosh'd, much like Xena's chakram. This was the place. She noticed the modest path was hand laid with stones; stones that were not from this area. Upon further Inspection, Gabrielle thought. Hmm, that marble, it's beautiful, but very unusual marble. Hmm. I've seen it before; but where? She thought deeply, trying to draw upon the many things she had read about the regional history.

"Where is this marble from?" Her eyes suddenly widened as she spoke aloud. "Of *course* the stories of *Paphos*. The most ornate of temple to Aphrodite is there. The legend says..... Hera, being discontented with Zeus commanded a rod of fire at him. Zeus, being the father of the gods of course diverted the assault. The molten ball fell from Olympus and hit the island of Cyprus. The intensity of the flaming ball turned the area to marble; *this* special marble." Gabrielle chuckled aloud, impressed with her knowledge and very entertained at her own story. Then she glanced far up the footpath noticing there was a pattern to the hue in each stone. Blinking her eyes, Gabrielle loosened her focus. The shades on each pallet of rock formed the outlines of a swan, a tree and a dove. Hmmm, I guess it's an offering of some kind to the god that is worshipped here.

The cherubic bard sprang down the path to her destination. Soon she began to make out the beginning of a structure. With each measured pace the site emerged, revealing its splendor. "Wow!" Gabrielle exclaimed, "by the gods!" Before her loomed what surely was once a very impressive monument. If the bard had not walked right into it, she wouldn't have believed such a huge temple could be hidden amidst the rocky terrain and foliage. It had white marble walls with gray and pink veins racing in all directions. This temple was without question pristine. Six columns stretched up like Herculean arms to brace its entrance. Two huge urns stood guard at the entry's path. Amazing, Gabrielle thought to herself. I think even Xena would appreciate such beauty, even *if * it was built for a god. She stood for an unknown time in total awe at the temple's grandeur.

Noticing the current placement of the sun, she regained her focus. As she walked towards the hall of the sanctum, the bard realized she was feeling a little pristine and royal herself. She laughed inwardly. Ha! I *am* royal. *I'm an Amazon Queen!* A gloating grin crossed the blonde's expression as she respectfully leaned her war staff at the temple's door. The hall of worship was absolutely unworldly inside, to say the least. Huge arches canopied the stone panels, some of which had stories written in Greek. Each carving beheld an inlay of gold. The supporting columns in the long hall were imposed with lit torches. Well, it's obviously an *active* temple, the bard sighed. The end of the hall birthed a cavernous room with an equally high dome. She noted to herself that the top must be at least ten Xena's high. The room formed a sphere supported by six columns. Hand partisan art and writings filled the surrounding panels. Gabrielle notice three female statutes that stood before a bluish marbled altar. Hmmm, I like that! I guess the god is a female. That'll be good for Xena and I. Then reconsidering, she thought, Well there *is* Hera who's not the... Gabrielle suddenly aborted her thought, realizing it would not be good to offend any god *especially* Hera. She had rather leave Hera on Hercules ass, not hers. Yes, the bard decided it best *not* to go there, even though she wasn't a *real believer.* Before the altar there were two rows of benches made of hand cut stone. Intricately grooved designs swirled like dancers across the ornate seat tops.

Gabrielle unconsciously bowed her head towards the altar as she sat at a bench to gather her thoughts. Okay Gabrielle. You're finally here; you don't know what god this is for; what prayer to pray; or what offering to leave, what now? A sudden movement to her right startled the bard and caused her to jump instantly. "Oh!" Remembering where she was Gabrielle slapped her hand over her mouth. That scared the Tartarus outta me, she thought, noticing some maidens. The women were bowed in some kind of reflective meditation, dressed in soft white linen tunics. One slowly stood and began walking towards the temple entry. Taking the opportunity, Gabrielle jumped to her feet and quickly followed.

"Excuse me," Gabrielle whispered as she neared the young woman.

"Yes? May I help you?" The woman turned to face the bard and hit her with the most stunning golden brown eyes and silky brown hair.

"Ya.... yu.... Yeah. Hi, I'm new here; I've come for meditation and prayer about my love. I. I'm not sure what I should do exactly to appease and honor your goddess." The bard was puzzled as to why, all the sudden, she was having an unusually hard time articulating herself. Must be those eyes, those Xena eyes, she thought.

"Well, it is really quite simple here. In order to have grace with your love you must leave an offering of something that is also close to your heart and write down your desire's in the 'Great Book of Love'." The youthful maiden's words, so soft, sounded almost like a song as they parted her lips.

Gabrielle was disappointed, her voice dropped swiftly. "That's it?"

"Yes, alot of the other gods make mortals run in ridiculous circles to appease them, but here it is as simple as love itself."

Gabrielle thought, Yeah love's simple all right. That's exactly why I'm here instead of with Xena!

Voices sprang from behind the blonde Amazon, it was two lovely maidens. "I see, we have a friend with us today?" One of the approaching women said to the worshiper with Gabrielle. "Yes, this sweet young woman is here for her love." The other answered.

"Really, that's why we're here!" The homely girl giggled delightfully.

Oh, how rude, Gabrielle. Remembering her manners the bard extended her hand to each of the women. "Hi, I'm Gabrielle."

"Hi Gabrielle." The third of the worshippers, a buxom raven reached out with both hands to hold the young guest. The bard felt excited; she always loved meeting new people. She learned so much about others and it always gave her more stories.

"So Gab-ri-elle? Right? What is his name?" one maiden inquired.

"Excuse me?" The 'his' had caught Gabrielle off guard.

"His name? You know your love? "

"Oh, my love. Umm....Yeah." Gabrielle fumbled for a delicate way of disclosing the identity of her heart's desire. She decided to throw it all to the wind and just blurted it out. "Well, actually it's Xena!"

"Xena!" The brunette's pitch raised suddenly. "The Warrior Princess?"

"Yeah, the very one!" Gabrielle eyes nervously darted between the girls, trying to read how the news was received by each of the women.

All at once the trio began to chatter. "Really, that's fantastic.".. "How sweet".. "I'd heard ya'll already...." "Wow." "So you're the bard that's with Xena!" "We can help you," the raven-haired woman offered through the fading ruckus.

Gabrielle moved her weight from one hip to the other in excited nervousness.
"Really!? ... I would appreciate it a lot. I'm supposed to meet her and friends near Corinth by nightfall."

The real young looking woman took Gabrielle by the hand, and whisked her to a side room while the other two followed.

"Now, what is dear to your heart that you are willing to offer in return?" The older woman with the midnight hair took over as mentor to the love bitten bard, while the others stood observing.

"The only thing I have of sentimental value is this quill. My sister, Lila, gave it to me on a visit to Potedeaia. She sold her favorite hairpin and had it made for me. It means alot to me. Before she gave this too me I feared she hated me for leaving our village and her behind. My sister then encouraged me to stay with Xena and see the world. It was then I knew she still loved me." Gabrielle's words slowed as the memory touched her deeply. That day freed her, to just be who she was.

"You can see the meaning in your eyes, Gabrielle. It will do nicely. Now, come on you must also write you pleadings in the Great Book of Love. You have to write three things in this order: What you fear; what you truly feel; and what you want."

Gabrielle was a bit overwhelmed, not expecting such a rush to her deeds. "But."

"Trust us," the dark woman assured the seeking bard. "We know what we're talking about, that's why we're here."

Gabrielle inhaled and released, centering her confidence and looked to the older woman. "Okay, where *is* this book?"

Go back to the altar and leave the quill in the altar's basin. The book is placed on your right. Take this torch with you, and follow the remainder of the measures exactly as I say them to you."

"Okay, I can do that." Gabrielle was getting a bit anxious for time, not expecting such pomp. "I think!" Gabrielle mumbled to herself.

"Listen. There will be five sacred candles all in a row and a quill above the Great Book."

"First, light the center one; then scribe 'what you truly fear'. Second, light the candle on the immediate left of the centre one. Then you will scribe 'what you truly feel'. Third, light the candle to the immediate right of the centre; again scribe 'what you truly want'."

"There will be two candles remaining; both on the outside, both unlit. In the centre of the altar itself will be a small dagger and a second writing instrument. Take the dagger and pierce the flesh over your heart, allowing it to flow amply. This represents the love between you and Xena. It is known as the 'Sanctifier of Love'. With the second quill draw upon it this 'blood of sanctification'. Next scribe your name over Xena's in the Great Book. Now, take the two candles on each side of the centre. You will light the remaining two candles with them; two separate times."

"The first time it is left hand flame to left candle and right to right. Then cross the candles; lighting this time left to right candle, and right one to the left. This will bind up the 'anxieties of love', with the 'truth of love' and the 'desire's of love'. Signing your name over that of Xena's, will bind her anxieties; just as it will bind yours." It is written and promised to those who follow and obey this offering they will have fruition in five days."

Gabrielle's head swam furiously. This was heavy. The meaning behind the ritual also excited Gabrielle. The impulse hit her to hurry things just to be by Xena's side once again. Fortunately, Gabrielle was excellent at memory. She had to be; she's a bard; its part of the job. You see, there was no way she could carry around *all* the scrolls she had written through the years. They were scribed for historical reasons, but they were also committed to her memory and her heart. "Okay I understand, will you stay til I'm done? You've helped so much, I'd be lost without the three of you."

"Yes Gabrielle, we'll stay and yes, you would be." The Blonde spoke up, playfully grinning.

Gabrielle stood, taking in a definitive breath through her nostrils, releasing it with a soft blow. Gabrielle thought to herself as she marched slowly back into the great room of the temple. Oh by the gods, I do love her and I really hope this works.

Standing before the altar, she noted that all things were exactly as instructed. Gabrielle felt safe and calm. She could sense the three maidens standing behind her. "I wonder if this is what Xena feels like when she does that mind stuff of Lao Ma's?" Gabrielle was so desperate for wholeness in her love with Xena. She could think of nothing but the Warrior Princess. Closing her eyes, Gabrielle again drew in the air. It's cool sweetness curled up her nose and into the hollow below her eyes. She could feel and taste the air's movement, flipping down the back of her throat and pooling completely in her chest. Her chest seemed to release it's momentary captive directly from her breasts, almost exhaling from her pores. From head to toe her body felt aloft, yes, a tingling lightness all about her being. The bard, now turned spiritualist, opened her eyes. She was jolted by the feelings of want, of fear, of truth. Her legs and feet were one with the earth, and anchored down like the roots of a Century tree. Out of her pouch she retrieved the quill. It was beautiful, threaded with silk and glass beads. Never had Gabrielle seen one so exquisite. She drew the soft feathery tip to her lips and smiled; almost stealing from it the sentiments it held. Gabrielle lovingly placed it in the Altar's basin and then turned to retrieve the torch from its holder. Gabrielle lifted the torch lighting the middle candle then replaced the torch in the holder. Subconscious words flew from the quill's tip as she pressed it to the parchment.


I fear that Xena will forever remain alone, without me, in her fiery tormented passions. Never knowing her completely and her never completely knowing me. I fear that Xena will be with me and still not let me exist in her heart.

I fear that Xena will forever remain alone, without me, in her fiery tormented passions. I fear never knowing her completely and her never completely knowing me. I fear that Xena will be with me and still not truly let me exist in her heart.

Holding the quill Gabrielle hypnotically retrieves the flame and lit the second candle.

With all my heart, I love Xena. I hunger, to comfort her in her most primal times. I ache, to feed her heart and starve her pain. I am incomplete without all of her, it is as if I have nothing. My heart overflows with love for herand I feel unworthy and rejected when she shuns me.

With all my heart, I love Xena. I hunger, to comfort her in her most primal times. I ache, to feed her heart and starve her pain. I am incomplete without all of her; it is as if I have nothing. My heart overflows with love for her and I feel unworthy and rejected when she shuns me.

Gabrielle lights the third candle and inscribes in the Great Book:

I want Xena to feel the completeness of my love, my passions, my unlocked desires. I want to feel the core of fury that drives her and bathe in it. I want our hearts to know the other so completely

"I want Xena to feel the completeness of my love, my passions, my unlocked desires, and I to feel hers. I want to feel the core of fury that drives her and bathe in it. I want our hearts to know the other so completely that they are the same, bound, never to be alone again."

Gabrielle's face was bathed in the salt of her passion, the tears flowing down the young lover's face in true surrender. Her guilt of the past now revealed, along with the hurt and hope was getting a needed release. Softness shone in her eyes. Not from the reflective glow of the nearby flames, but illuminating solely from the joyous love in her soul. Undaunted in her act of love, Gabrielle regained focus. The bard gracefully replaced the quill on the altar and held the dagger before her. In the flesh of her bosom she mined the well of love's blood. The crimson life fell sweetly into the altar cup and spread like burgundy wine. Feeling the intensity of her love for the warrior, Gabrielle took the new quill in hand and drew her love into it, every drop.

She scribed the letters of Xena's name in the Great Book as if she were making the most passionate love to her beloved warrior. Then, as gentle as her softest kiss she wrote the letters of her name directly atop Xena's. Each pen-stroke solidified their love. The cross strokes of their letters were now bound into one. Nothing remained to distinguish the mark of one name from the other. Instead, two names had become one name, one symbol, much like Gabrielle hoped she and Xena would become. A small droplet fell from her left cheek onto the altar's book, leaving a salty mark. With the poise of a true lady, she recovered the second and third candles; lighting the two that symbolized she and Xena. Then crossing her wrists, she lit them again. Fire to fire they were to be one, to finally be of a whole love. Gabrielle had never felt so full before, so strong. She returned the two candles to the pedestal that held them. Suddenly, a rush of excitement moved behind her. Gabrielle realized, she was so immersed in her rite; that she'd forgotten all about the young temple followers. The bard turned, only to find company with the three statutes. "Strange? I know I heard something, but where did they go?" Gabrielle thought it odd, but was more intent on meeting up with her love and companion Xena. Walking toward the temple entrance she again passed the chiseled beauties, this time noticing names at each base.

"Pothos, Peitho and Himeros."

The bard paused, shaking her head lightly not recognizing the names. "Hmm. Never heard of any of them." She smirked without a care and exited the temple. Outside the three women stood, smiling knowingly at Xena's Amazon lover.

"Here Gabrielle, we prepared this for you and your love; a gift of herb tea. Before the next time you consummate, steep this and both partake of it. Be mindful. It is an intoxicant, drink it equally. It will defy any inhibitions either of you may have. There will be no part of Xena that she can conceal or control, nor any part of you, Gabrielle." They handed the bard a beautiful cloth sack tied with a fine ribbon.

"No really. You have all been help enough, I couldn't possibly." The bard, almost embarrassed, started to refuse their gesture. The brunette nymph spoke up. "We insist Gabrielle. We've heard the rumors, that there existed a profound love between you and the Warrior Princess. We are *so* delighted that we could be a part of your love's genesis into wholeness."

Gabrielle stammered. "Well, thank you, from both of us. Your kindness is appreciated." Gabrielle had a moment of modesty, especially about her relationship being described as *profound.* She thought so, but that was so private.

Great Zeus, I wonder if *all* of Greece knows about us? Or, the entire known world? Oh. That's embarrassing. I thought we were being so discreet. The Bard stood with a puzzled look, rolling her tongue in her cheek. It quickly changed to a sheepish smirk as her thoughts continued. Well, we *were* 'caught in the bush' so to speak, on more than a few occasions during our many travels. Hmm., then of course; there were the tavern's we quartered in from time to time. Zeus!, they were doubly hard to play ourselves off as mere companions. Yeah, when you usually go to one's quarters side by side, never do so with a man and make alot of ruckus behind thin closed doors? And, I can't help if I'm noisy, that's Xena's fault anyway for driving me to madness. Yup. What else *could* the neighbor's think. Hmm, I guess we've been fooling ourselves.

When she heard one of the maiden's speak, Gabrielle shook her head once to snap herself back from her carnal thoughts.

"Remember, before your consummation."

Gabrielle's eye's focus once again on the three women. "I do; I mean I will." Gabrielle caught the slip that revealed her subconscious thoughts, and laughed inwardly. This had happened before, and it amused her completely. Hmmm, there has *got* to be some kind of term for that, when you say something but it has a double meaning that is sexually based that comes from your subconscious thought. Then, for the sake of time Gabrielle decided to delve into the nature of *that* psyche later.

"Again, thank you all, good-bye." She beamed her girlish smile; the same one that had won over Xena's heart long ago.

"Good-bye, Gabrielle." The three spoke in harmony as Gabrielle turned and walked away. "Oh, wait! Your staff!" The dark maiden yelled.

The bard sheepishly grinned. "Thanks. You know, I am always forgetting especially when I'm in a hurry and there are no baddies around!"

Hmmm. I feel different inside. Huh! I *even* feel taller! *I can't wait* to see Xena. Something incredible just happened, I feel so sure I just know that all will be well. The pace on any other day would have put a cramp in Gabrielle for sure, but not today. She was so light on her feet and in her heart. Almost wanting her feet to leave the path below them and soar like Hermes himself.

Great, the sun has a quarter remaining. I'll be on time, just like I promised. Once Gabrielle reached the main footpath again, it would only be a brief hike before she reached the crossroad to Kronakus.

She started humming her song again.

When you touch me with your eyes
When you hold me til I'm free
It is your love that inspires
All the woman there is in me....


Chapter 4 & 5 Lyrical Poem excerpt from "The Woman in Me", by Lisa Lunsford, Copyright 1998.
Chapter 5 Poem written by Sappho of Lesbos.


~Chapter 6~

The path to Kronakus was not as developed as the one around Corinth. The trail quickly lost all resemblance to a path worthy of human travels to more that of a goat's trail. The path was now an interrupted puzzle of stones strewn carelessly on the side of a steeply graded hill. Some stones were pointed and useless, others smooth and offered a stable footing for Gabrielle. Her staff offered a triad type balance as the bard attacked the terrain. Nothing but *nothing* was going to keep her from Xena. Mountains would definitely move before *this* amazon went without *another* night. As soon as the rocky hill relented to a more graceful ground; Gabrielle could spot the makings of a town below at the hill's base. That must be Kronakus, great, with time to spare. Knowing her destination was in sight the bard began to feel the rubbery sensation in her legs.

The added force of walking down the steep hill only added to the sensation. Gabrielle noted aloud, "Gods, my legs feel like a drunken chicken. What happened? They felt like cords of metal before! Oh, I do hope they have a hotspring to bathe in. I sure could use about; oh, I'd say one warrior's worth of bathing right about now."

Even though the town appeared close, it took the bard a while to manage her way down the incline. Once at the bottom it was just a short hike through a wooded area to the small village. "Ha, ha!" Gabrielle grinned like a vixen. "It's getting close to the time I will start my play for Xena's complete love and understanding."

Gabrielle gave herself a few long breaths before breaking through the final layer of brush. Now it was time to begin her plans. My plans! I forgot to figure out my plans. What am I gonna do after we drink have some tea and relax once and for all. Oh gods, what now? The blonde gave a paused stare then resumed. Okay Gabrielle, get a grip. Find that centre thing you did at the temple, then you'll know what to do. Yeah, that's the parchment! Gabrielle smiled to herself as she settled down from her anxious excitement. She could hear laughter off in the still far distance, unable determine its source. The bard had learned many tricks from the warrior, but she knew she'd never compare to Xena's immortal-like hearing. Walking further into the township she was able to determine the voices were definitely coming from somewhere on the right. "Probably the last dwelling in the courtyard," Gabrielle chortled to herself. Then the bard nailed the location when she heard Xena's low gruff. "Yep, last one's it." Gabrielle stood looking at the gated entrance; which harbored a larger than average dwelling. The gate was made of hand cut stones that arched over the walk through. A wall of rock continued around the house from the gate and connected in the back to some kind of building.

"Gods, Xena never told me they were rolling in Dinars here. They must've had Hercules himself lift that stone up onto that arch." Gabrielle was truly impressed, she promised herself to take advantage of the refined nature of the getaway.

Of course, it wasn't really a getaway. Miatus and Xena had known each other since they were kids in Amphipolis. He had left Amphipolis the summer before Cortese and his army came and changed Xena's life forever. His brother too had died in the fighting, like Lyceus. In spite of his loss he had never looked back and quickly made a reasonable living trading silver and copper with the east. There were very few who had won such favor with the east, as Miatus had.

Gabrielle walked under the entry's arch and through the portico. Sounds of jubilation carried through the air. She followed them, her eyes were eager to affix onto Xena. When she turned the corner Xena's eyes were staring right where Gabrielle made her entry. Gabrielle noticed a stunningly tall man and a woman standing next to the warrior.


Xena shot Gabrielle 'the look' which send a lovely faint feeling through the bard. There was a mischievous curl to Xena's grin, cueing the bard to festive times in the near future.

"Gabrielle. I want you to meet Miatus and Thelania." Xena looked a Miatus in a proud manner. "Miatus, Thalania, this is Gabrielle." Xena's eyes betrayed her feeling for the woman, but that's what she intended. The dark woman looked so sultry at that moment, Gabrielle just wanted to take her right there. Time for that later, the bard grinned to herself.

"Hi Miatus. Xena has talked alot of you and your pranks when you both were growing up."

"Ahh, I doubt she told you who the real prankster was in Amphipolis." Miatus cut a ribbing look to the warrior and laughed. Miatus was at least a hand taller than Xena and had long brown ringlets of hair; longer than David's hair. Being one for detail, the bard studied him over as Xena continued the introductions. His smile was so big and kind and his hands evidenced the lack of hard labor. They were soft like silk and well manicured. His tunic was long and white with fine thread stitched around the collar and sleeves. Thelania was pale with soft brown eyes and light brown hair. She wore a long chiton that had a gathering held by a round pin above her chest bone. The fabric tiered gracefully down her bodice from a gold pin. It's so beautiful. Gabrielle admired.

This is Thelania, his wife. Thelania reached for Gabrielle's free hand and welcome her to their home. Her voice was as sweet as a siren's song. These two were truly the most charming people she's ever met through Xena.

"Pleasure to meet you both, finally!" Gabrielle responded.

Pleased with how easily the two hosts accepted her, Gabrielle mused to herself. I *do* have a way with, except for the occasional dumb Cyclops or evil warlord that is; and then again, there is the Amazon Queen wannabe-turned-stalking-god. Oh, and don't forget the traumatized-child-turned-psychotic-kid-killing god, Callisto! But... you gotta admit, I am such a hot item that the Priest of Morpheus kidnapped me to be the Bride of Morpheus! Well, the ratio wasn't too bad, but the power differential was way off.

The four sat at the beautiful Gazebo with the sweetest of honeysuckle as its canopy. Its sweet aroma mingled with the many foods that were brought out to fulfill the two guests. Gabrielle looked around, enjoying the peaceful and inspiring view. The house had white stucco walls and stone floors. A statute stood in the centre of the front portico and laurel grew along the stone wall that chased the dwelling's boundary. The side portice was specked with manicured fruit trees and was home to the gazebo. From where Gabrielle sat she could barely see the makings of a much higher wall in the distance. It appeared to be bordered by dense cover and beyond that likely more rock. The bard concluded this was a well-planned lot. It would definitely be most discouraging to anyone wishing to impose an unwelcome visit. Along the side of the Gazebo was another building which she took to be the servants' quarters.

"So Gabrielle, Xena tells us you are quite the thespian," Miatus smiled at the bard.

Gabrielle's eyes popped, and head jumped slightly backward when his words hit her ear. A mild sweat caressed her now pink face.

"That you even went to the Academy in Athens!" He added.

The panic slipped from her face slowly as Gabrielle finally snapped to what he was referring. She laughed nervously, "Oh yeah. I did… and I am. A Thes-pian, that is.... I...mean." Gabrielle rambled nervously while chiding herself. Okay Gabrielle, if you don't shut up he WILL know more than he needs to. "I love to tell stories and play in the theatre which I don't get to do, and actually I was *at* the Academy but did not go *to* the Academy. I just tell stories. Xena and I, are never anywhere long enough to rehearse, so I don't act in the Athenian theatres." Gabrielle, hands on her hip, nodded her head as if agreeing with herself. Okay you got yourself out of that one, she thought while glancing at Xena. Gabrielle was wondering if Xena was enjoying watching her squirm. She was.

Xena silently watched Gabrielle, soaking in every bubbly gesture the bard made. Xena had obviously settled in, her scabbard was removed along with her chakram, which lay at her feet. Gabrielle wasn't sure if that indicated there was need to be on standby; or if Xena was just enjoying her visit, not wanting to stop long enough to put them away. The warrior sat with her old friend listening to stories of his travels while eating grapes, fine cheese and drinking wine. For once, Xena and Gabrielle didn't have to drink their wine from wineskin, as they usually did. They instead were treated to finely painted drinking urns. The wine reserve was kept in a silver Rhyton sitting in a stand on the table. The Rhyton was a horn shaped vase for drink. It was shaped like a ram's horn, the long curve of the horn was sculpted into the head of an animal. A boar's head adorned the one at the table. In the boars mouth was a glass plug which was removed when pouring the drink into the drinking urn. Most of the ones the bard saw regularly were simple peasant versions... far from these ornate urns. Wonderful pieces of art themselves it's almost a shame to drink from them, Gabrielle thought.

Gabrielle cautiously avoided the wine, knowing that later that eve her lips would favor the tea of the maiden's. Soon, the sun would fall away to the night's star. Gabrielle wanted time to freshen up; that hot bath would be nice right about now. She thought as she decided to drop a hint.

"Miatus, do you have a hot spring around here? I sure could use a long soak." Gabrielle looked at Miatus but then flashed a glance over to Xena catching the warrior's eye. Of course for Gabrielle's benefit, Xena posed unaffected with deep long eyes and an innocent face.

"Yes, we do. Please I insist. How thoughtless of us both." Miatus offered looking at Thelania. "In your quarters is a hot spring well. Please go! Enjoy! You will find some fresh tunics there as well and I will have Santyre deliver more food and drink, in case you desire more this evening. I'm sure both, you and Xena, are looking forward to a hot bath together." Miatus smiled knowingly at the bard and then Xena.

"Xena as I told you earlier, I will be gone to Corinth most of the day tomorrow to meet with a merchants ship. If you or Gabrielle have any needs please advise Santyre. He will see to it all of your request are tended to."

Taking the opportunity Xena stood. "Thanks Miatus! Your generosity is much appreciated. I'm just glad to have a few days relief with a good friend." Xena looked over at the now red-faced bard and flashed a naughty smirk.



"Come on Gabrielle." Xena commanded, walking to the other side of the gazebo. Gabrielle stepped slightly backwards as she stammered, "Thank you both, very much." Then turned to follow Xena into the rather large dwelling.

Once they entered Gabrielle quickly interrogated the warrior.
"Xena! It is that obvious that we're together?"

"Why?" Xena turned around and gave Gabrielle a 'what's the problem' look.

"Well, I was thinking about it on the way here from the temple. That everyone... that it's obvious we're, you know." Gabrielle quickly stopped the direction of her explanation not wanting to tell Xena of the temple follower's she met and the rumors of their affection.

"Yes Gabrielle, it is." Gabrielle swallowed hard as Xena paused for a long moment. Casually, the warrior then turned back around and declared, "Especially when I told him."

"You told him?" Oh gods Xena, I can't believe you! You really had me going, why, I could...." Shaking her head Gabrielle threw her hand into the air [Whoosh] as she put her staff by the quarters entrance.

"You could WHAT!" Xena turned, challenging the bard. Her tone was a playful one, more like an 'and what do you think you can do about it?'

"Oh, nothing." Gabrielle was not to be underestimated. She would have her time eventually. It was a game they both played, and played well. Xena had taught the bard this one early on in their travels together. Gabrielle caught on quickly as a means of survival with the warrior woman.

Santyre entered bringing a rhyton of wine, roasted mutton, vegetables, bread and more cheese. A large bowl of fruit already adorned the table inside the room. He didn't utter one word as he brought the feast to them once all was delivered he turned and bowing his head addressed Xena.

"Maiden Xena, is there anything else that you wish tonight for your pleasure?"

Gabrielle started to roll in a snickering laughter hearing Xena addressed as 'maiden'. Xena shot the bard a glare, that was as sharp and quick as her chakram, then turned to softly address the servant.

Her voice dropped to her sultry controlled warlord growl. "No thank. There is nothing more that can please me that isn't already here." Xena looked at Gabrielle with a smirk when she said 'already here', cueing her to the warrior's playful truce.

"Enjoy your evening, Maiden Xena." Santyre bowed again and left the room as quick as Mercury. Xena looked up again at Gabrielle to catch her snickering again, this time inwardly but her face gave it away.

"Something funny Gab-ri-elle?" That bard is gonna change her demeanor real quick, Xena thought.

"No not at all maiden Xena." Gabrielle bowed, mocking the servant.

"Gab-ri-elle!" Xena warned she was on testy ground. The ex-warlord stood with arms outstretched, awaiting her companions help in removing the breastplate, arm cuffs and bracers. "So how was your temple?" Xena wasn't really interested, but asked anyway. She did this alot with Gabrielle, inquiring on subjects she cared nothing about, just to amuse the bard.

"Great. It was beautiful. You really would have liked it I think," the bard replied.

"Oh, yeah. I'm sure it was more fun than Olympus itself." Xena was a master at dry delivery. Most of the time Gabrielle just ignored it, but every now and then the warrior could still provoke the bard and snare her in warrior sarcasm.

Walking up to the warrior with a cocky gait the small blonde snapped the spring pin on the breastplate releasing it to fall into her hands. Then she removed the cuffs and bracers. Xena sat beside the fresh hot pool opening her legs slightly. It was a tease intended for the bard and to allow her to remove the guards and boots.

Gabrielle cleared her throat in euphoric tension and then piled the armor neatly beside Xena's scabbard and chakram.

Gabrielle stood and gathered about seven candles and lit them with the torch that illuminated the hot pool. Xena meanwhile removed her bustier and shift, preparing herself for the inviting waters.

"Xena wait. I want some of that water to steep with before we get in." Gabrielle spoke up, realizing Xena was about to embark on the fun without her. The woman then grabbed a vase to collect the steaming waters.

"What are you saying? That I'll taint it?" Xena took the chance for a playful tiff.

"No. I just wanted to.." Realizing she did want the water fresh Gabrielle looked right into Xena's eyes. "Yes, actually I guess that *is* what I meant." She gave a half chuckle.

Xena rolled her tongue in her cheek like she was fighting back a response but she couldn't think of one so instead she just sneered at the bard. After Gabrielle retrieved enough hot water for the tea, Xena slipped into the natural pool right up to her neck. Meanwhile Gabrielle dropped tea leafs into the hot urn and set it aside for steeping. Smiling, the bard consciously turned towards Xena to give her a view. The hot young amazon unlaced her top she moved to a more casual conversation.

Being a bard, her timing was impeccable. Every other syllable was accented with lace flinging from its cloth portal.

[Whoop, whoop] "So Xena... [Whoop, whoop]…who really… [Whoop, whoop]

…did the... [Whoop, whoop]…pranking… [Whoop, whoop]…in Amphipolis?"

'Amphipolis' passed the bard's lips in unison with the complete release of her garments, dropping in a thud at her feet.

Xena was moved, though the warrior tried to look unaffected. Oh but she could not conceal it. Her interests became apparent to the plotting bard when Xena dryly leaned her arms back onto the wall of the pool, in an admiring leer.

Hmmm, I will have my way with her tonight, Gabrielle thought to herself, then girlishly jumped into the hot liquid, splashing Xena in the face.

"Thanks Gabrielle." Xena, unmoved, shot a disapproving look to her love. She was far too controlled to even wipe the water from her face, instead leaving it to stream off naturally.

"Oh, Xena I'm sorry," Gabrielle said innocently; then coyly added, "Did I get you wet?" The word wet was definitely light and meaningful coming from Gabrielle's lips and the wanton look affirmed it even more.

Xena just looked at her lover with a dare, drawing her lips together but consciously offering a slightly naughty smile.

"Come over here and I'll give you more," Gabrielle challenged.

"Hmmm, you will huh?" Xena reached over and brushed Gabrielle's face sweetly with the tips of her fingers. "Not if *I* give it to you first."

Blue heaven spilled out of Xena's eyes only to be captured in Gabrielle's. Actually, the eyes of both women burned with passions that even Eros envied. This was truly a natural passion; one that needed no flaming from the gods, though they seemed to approve. Quickly, Xena scooped into her hand a sponge that had been conveniently placed at the water's edge. Pulling the golden amazon towards her, Xena wrapped her free arm around her. The bard's legs wrapped themselves around Xena's waist in acknowledgment, while her nails found leverage in the warrior's shoulders. Settled, Xena gently held her lover with a single, confident arm, now face to face. They kissed.

Xena was herself again, open, loving, tender. Her face trembled with each kiss upon Gabrielle's lips, Xena's love dripping from the gaze in her eyes. Barely opening her lips Xena caught the Amazons upper lip repeatedly, only to pull at the kiss, taunting her lover further. Slowly and sensually, with each kiss Xena made love. Each stroke she made on Gabrielle's back were unspoken promises of the comfort to come. The midnight beauty's teeth met with Gabrielle's chin and jaw, biting gently. Then the warrior lover thought to trail the tip of her tongue down Gabrielle's throat, stopping to suck lightly across the hollow at the base of the blonde's throat.

Gabrielle could feel the rush of blood to her loin. "Ahhh. It feels so good to be pressed against you." She thought. "Uhmm."

Every little movement generated by Xena's kisses caused Gabrielle's hardened nub to bump against the warrior's waist, encouraging its growing need.

"Oh gods, Xena. It still amazes me; you make me so weak every time, every touch." In euphoric pleasure her eyes rolled back into her lids. Slipping further the bard let her head fall back, feeling the electric pleasure Xena was now delivering to her body. The sensations enhanced further by the gaseous bubbles that rose rapidly from the vented holes beneath. The light tickle on her legs along with the rising passion and need within, gave Gabrielle a sense of complete powerlessness.

Xena took the sponge and started massaging her lover's back as she continued the delicate kisses. Often she stopped to drink in the dew-like water from Gabrielle's body. Their breasts merged and brushed against one another with the releasing of each kiss.

"Xena, I can't stand this. Gods, you're torturing me!" Gabrielle leaned toward Xena's mouth, her tongue searching to join with her lover and when it finally did their bodies became intensely one. Xena tilted her head into the deep penetrating kiss, meeting her love's anxious tongue. Gabrielle wanted to feel every sensation. She loved the feel of velvety lather on Xena's tongue as it forced itself over her teeth and down her throat. "Ohhh." Gabrielle gurgled from her depth, twisting, searching. She felt pure bliss in their lingual dance. She would give in to her dark lover's expert kiss only to combat it into retreat moments later.

Gabrielle had many kisses before, but none felt like Xena's kisses. The satiny fluids in the kisses of other's had felt foreign in her mouth, but not Xena's they felt completing.

"Oh, deny the gods." Gabrielle relented, breaking the kiss. "I can't help myself, I simply adore you Xena." Brushing her lover's hair away from their captive lips she kissed Xena delicately once more on the mouth. The pure joy of the moment was about to turn with the tides.

Gabrielle nuzzled into her lover's shoulder until Xena found confidence in their embrace. Suddenly static pleasure shot through the warrior's long body from all directions, collecting in a painful burn between her legs. Gasping, the warrior noticed her lover's teeth bearing down sweetly upon soft flesh in the curve of her own neck.

"Ohhh, Gab-RI-Elle?! That is so unfair!"

Gabrielle lifted her teeth just enough to whisper, "Are you complaining? Really, I can stop, just as quickly."

"No, but. Ohhh." It was rare for the warrior to whimper in need, but she was delicately close at the moment. The sensation of Gabrielle's teeth pressed into her shoulder, keeping the warrior on an edge of ecstasy. "Oh. No, Gab-ri-elle." Xena's body was stilled; her face asleep in surrender, inviting Gabrielle to lash her fire upon some more. "Oh, Gabrielle, you still *everything in me* that wants to fight." Xena sighed as a pleasured smile broke across her face, flashing her sexy white teeth.

Xena began to think of the events a few days before when she shut down, disallowing her lover's warmth to cover her. Her heart sank. It was the warrior's greatest torment the struggle between opening herself completely to her life's love, all the while containing the molten fury that often welled inside her. Xena knew what would happen if she ever allowed that darkness to fall upon Gabrielle. It would be over between them. All past hurts, misunderstandings and flat out disagreements couldn't compare to the fissure that would be made if that ever happened. Before Xena's second chance with her life she had torn through many lovers with this blackened fury. Some were surely unwilling participants, Xena thought. Ironically at that time, she felt she was doing them all a great favor. If it hadn't been for Hercules faith in her, Xena would still be that warlord. She could have never changed or attempted to face her past wrongs; never loved like she did right now. Since Gabrielle came into her life on that unlikely day, Xena felt even more of an obligation to control that darkness. Many times though it won, sweeping her away and taking with it Gabrielle's love, like when she fought the Horde. The warrior accepted that would occasionally happen. What she wouldn't accept was the manner with which she used to soothe that fury down after battle. No, Xena vowed the day that happened she would walk away in shame from her only true love, Gabrielle.

Gabrielle slid her lips down Xena's body reaching for a nipple with her tongue. "I want you Xena." "You are *Mine* tonight, my love." Gabrielle's golden hair trailed down her back, darkened from the moisture of the water. Delicately she placed her hands on Xena's shoulders as she smiled into her lover's eyes. "First, I think we should have a little tea to simmer our mood."

Gabrielle turned reaching for the side and pushed herself up out of the waters. Her buttocks shook sweetly as if taunting the warrior once more, as a trail of water followed her. "I'll be right back princess," Gabrielle assured her lover-warrior.

Xena didn't even hear her lover's words, she was lost in the enchantment of Gabrielle's physique. A thought passed through Xena's mind, leaving her woozy; as if her stomach had flipped upside down. Oh, how I love the power in that little body of hers. The gods only know what of my passions remain unleashed. Xena savored the fantasy instead, knowing that to *actually* go there would probably also take her to that dark place inside as well.

The voluptuous bard returned and shamelessly stood in her nakedness before her lover. With her, the scheming lover brought the urn and two cups. Pouring the tea equally as she sat beside the pool. She handed one to Xena then slipped back into the water before retrieving her own cup.

"You know Xena this is a pretty nice set up. I could get use to this." The strawberry blonde paused briefly. "How long did you say we were staying?" Gabrielle gave a playful eye to the woman and licked the edge of her upper lip innocently. Xena smiled, intentionally ignoring the suggestion in Gabrielle's look. The blonde turned towards Xena to allow her to see Gabrielle stirring the warm sweet tea with her finger. A nearby flame caught the gleam in the scheming bard's eyes.

Gabrielle drew her chin down and tilted her head in a matter of fact way. "You know Xena, this just might be the time *you* get to find out a little more about *me.*" Gabrielle spoke each word deliberately and softly. Her lips and tongue rolled sensually over each other, causing Xena to stare there. Knowing she had the warrior's attention the blonde took her steeping finger and brushed it across Xena's lower lip. Before the reserved warrior had time to respond, Gabrielle poured her mouth into Xena's and snaked in a flick from her tongue.

"Mmmm." Xena replied, "You promise?" Xena's voice growled in a way that sent shivers through Gabrielle.

Gabrielle pulled her head back just enough to focus her eyes into Xena's. Her lips turned to a crooked grin as she flirted. "Oh yes, I do promise my dark warrior." Just as quickly a delicious smile panned Gabrielle's face; she was in complete delight toying with her love.

"Oh yeeaahh. It is certain to be a bit more...hmmm, what would be the right word?" Gabrielle excited herself with her teasing. "Maybe decadent, very different from that Centurion/Warlord game I made up." Gabrielle thought, finally for once my fantasies can be unleashed without fear of being pushed away. If this works I'll really owe that goddess *and* her following. Again her words fell from her lips in sensual play. "But this time it will be *no* game." One thing Gabrielle had going for her she was very skilled with her words. The bard could talk up quite a lather in Xena before anything ever got started and it was sometimes most of her foreplay. Once again the bard looked into her lover's eyes. This time however, she tilted her chin down and looked through the top of her eyes at Xena in a very dominating kind of way. Xena felt a rush of excitement at the promise. Xena thought, 'how very sweet Gabrielle wanted to please her that way.' The warrior sighed, knowing just how lucky she was to have Gabrielle in her life.

It was a true and completed fate that Xena allowed Gabrielle to join her, after the failed reunion in Amphipolis. The warrior never really told the bard, but it wasn't because the blonde had 'saved' Xena from her kinsmen's hatred. Even when she commanded an army of hundreds, the Warrior Princess allowed no one in. Truthfully, Xena didn't really need saving that day, but she let Gabrielle have that credit anyway.

Since Lyceus' death Xena had chosen her road to be a solo one. However, that day on the way to Amphipolis was very different. Something inside told her it was time. A seventh sense struck the warrior hard when she saw the young Potedaeian on the trail. A seemingly innocent girl transformed instantly into _________ to defend the other women. It was then that Xena felt that a ghost had walked right through her, she recognized something in the young fire that made her feel. Her unselfish courage, her boldness yet still innocent.

Xena's thoughts drifted. She's beautiful; intelligent; compassionate; when it comes to people she sees the bigger picture, when I tend to be narrow in sight. She such an innocent tease, too. Mmmm, my favorite part! The more I ignore her coy ways, the more she pours it on. No doubt about it, she is my heart and the only the woman for me!

Xena gave Gabrielle a challenging look. Gabrielle took her cue pulling Xena in front of her in order to washing the warrior's back. From behind her eyes gently caressed the darker woman, while squeezing water over her lover's hair. Oh, how she loved playing with Xena's wet hair. The trails of the water that fell off the warrior's body, mesmerized her. Uh huh. Xena has underestimated my passion *and* experience for the very last time, Gabrielle mused.

"Drink your tea while I finish washing your back, then I'll rub your shoulders a little." Xena turned her head halfway around, "A little?" Xena sounded disappointed, but it was all part of the game. "Yes a little, so don't get any ideas, Xena. If *you* think I'm going to have you go to sleep on me *tonight* your sadly mistaken."

"Al-right! Stop it! I *told* you I was *sorry* about that night. I was *tired* and I couldn't *help* it. Besides you have such a good touch." Xena flirted. Deciding she was no longer interested in slow seductions, Xena gulped the remaining tea down. At her last slurp she slapped the empty cup on the floor, hoping to get the point across to Gabrielle.

Gabrielle had been slowly washing Xena's back and had just began to grab into the warrior's shoulder muscles, when Xena put the cup down with a noticeable force. Gabrielle's only response was a slight movement of her eyes. Xena of course could not see Gabrielle, so she wasn't sure if the bard had gotten the hint. She was just about to say something when the pleasure of her companion's deep kneading encouraged the warrior to wait. Gabrielle leaned into Xena's scented hair and gently inhaled, alerting her lover to even more sensual possibilities.

Gabrielle put the sponge to the side of the hot well and put her arms around Xena from behind. "Xena?" she said dreamily.

"Yes, Gabrielle?"

Gabrielle's voice lowered, "I want you to trust me tonight."

"Wha?" Xena began to question just what she meant by that when Gabrielle continued.

"It is important to me. I need to show you a part of myself that I've been afraid to."

"What are you talking about?" Xena finally blurted.

"I'm asking you 'not to laugh' or 'turn me away'. This is ... look, I *just* need you to *trust* me. Will you?"

" Gabrielle I *do* trust you." Xena was a little puzzled by her lover's request. "It's not that kind of trust, not like counting on me or being reliable. I mean being open to new things ... you know; between us." Gabrielle raised her eyebrows to help convey the intimate nature of her request.

The analytical look in Xena's eyes were evidence that she was still digesting things. In a matter of moments the warrior safely concluded that the proposal *was* of a physical nature and it still puzzled her. Although Gabrielle didn't know the specifics, the warrior felt sure that her lover knew there wasn't much she had not done, or would be shocked by. However, there were numerous one she wouldn't even consider proposing with Gabrielle.

Once reassured, Gabrielle finished her tea then dove underwater. Xena's face went weak when she felt Gabrielle's hands on her thighs. Gabrielle positioned herself between Xena's legs and delicately bit at the tender underside to a knee. Xena's face jumped suddenly, almost jolting her from the water. Xena took a slow breath, trying to enjoy the inebriating sensations. Gabrielle traced her hands across her love's body as she arose to the surface. In an instant her smiling face broke the surface. Gabrielle took in a huge breath of air and wrapped her arms around Xena as she entered the warrior's mouth with a kiss. From the back of her head Xena felt a flow of desire rush down her back and up her torso passing her heart only to stall at her throat. She sank into her desire. Opening her eyes, Xena knew what Gabrielle had said earlier was true. She witnessed in the eyes of her lover, a fire of determination and almost a steely look of mastery. Xena gazed at her, feeling Gabrielle's nakedness pressed against hers. Seductively, the reddish-blonde threaded the fingers of her hands through Xena's dark mane; then pulled the warrior's head back, exposing her neck. As her lover began kissing her, Xena had no desire to fight surrender. Slow, thoughtful Gabrielle-kisses began at Xena's collarbone and journeyed up her neck.

Gabrielle paused, looking over every aspect of Xena's face. Her eyes gleamed with glory of the love she felt inside for this woman known as Xena. The warrior knew the look well. Gabrielle was getting ready to share some revelation of the heart. Sometimes these revelations gave Xena a warmth and joy she could never put words to, causing her soul to soar. Other times they made her uneasy along with a mixture of emotions Xena had rather not explore. When she did allow a moment's thought about the discomfort, Xena knew it came from her belief that she was somehow unworthy of this depth of love. When it did happened, the warrior did her best to ignore the thoughts. Their effects though, often lingered and affected her demeanor.

Gabrielle still clutched at Xena's hair with a loving but firm tenderness. Her nose scrunched as she broke into a smile of awe. "Xena. I want to be yours, all of me for all of you. Whenever I look at you I see all of my hope and strength. I see the beauty of your soul and it makes me tremble sometimes." She giggled as she released her left hand and began brushing the reeds of wet hair that draped across Xena's brow.

Xena knew what Gabrielle was saying was true. She had felt much the same on many occasions while looking at Gabrielle. In a spontaneous moment Xena was ready to reveal the depths of her own splendid love. Shaking her head side to side she opened her mouth. "Gab ri."

Gabrielle quickly brushed two fingers across Xena's lips to quiet her lover. "Xena I need you. We have faced some incredibly close calls together and somehow we always pull through. I've been thinking about that." Gabrielle's eyes reached into Xena's, connecting their souls. "Just when tragedy strikes at us and the reality of a life without the other is impaled into our hearts, something always happens and we come out okay. I've begun to take that good fortune for granted. Almost every time I see you spring into battle, my gut twists inside for fear that it will be your last fight. Then I tell myself that you can never die, that you defy your destruction and death. In my heart I know I am foolish. I want to start over. I am going to appreciate every moment we have alone together, starting tonight."

Gabrielle held her gaze for a few more seconds drinking in the heaven before her eyes, then kissed Xena on the lips. Gabrielle then reached below the water to find the warrior's hand. Her fingers laced themselves in between Xena's long fingers, binding them together. A brilliance of golden hair was beginning to halo around Gabrielle's face, as it began to dry. Xena, speechless, looked into Gabrielle's eyes. The bard pulled their clasped hands out of the water, resting their united fist between them; then ended her summations with a passionate kiss. Pulling Xena's head down to meet her own, their lips met. Their kiss fully revealed their love and shameless passion for one another. Gabrielle felt Xena's free arm move around her waist, pulling her closer still. It made the blonde weak *and* strong all at the same time. Gabrielle slipped her free hand behind Xena's neck as she groaned, related her womanly needs. Pulling away her lips from Xena's, Gabrielle planted a few pending kisses on Xena's mouth.

Xena, I think our bath is over, what do you think?" She said blowing away the moisture beading on her face. Her eyes smiled as the words left her lips. "I mean if you really want to stay, you can. I'm not saying you *have* to get out. I just sorta thought you'd *like* to get out. I'm mean you taught me pretty good about holding my breath underwater and all but... you know, I have *other* plans." Gabrielle winked at the warrior woman as she beamed a big smirk.

"Xena returned the smile then said teasingly, "I think you've *got* me where you *want* me."

The blonde satisfied with Xena's response sweetly puckered her lips to one side cutting a slanted grin. "Well then, I think you ought to follow me." Gabrielle then let go of Xena's hand just long enough to jump out of the hot well. She then reached again for Xena's hand pulling her out of the water then she walked away. Gabrielle returned to Xena's side, with drying linen in hand. "First let me dry you off," she said playfully. Xena just looked up at her, indulging the bard by letting her lead.

A rumble came from outside getting louder for a few seconds. "What was that?" Gabrielle looked at Xena. "Oh, I'd say it was probably Zeus throwing lightning, fighting with Hera." Xena was not concerned in the least.

"It sounds like an army charging, like the Persians did when we were in the armory. Hmm?" the bard mused to herself.

"Xena offered playfully, "Well we *can* wait to find out *if* it's that important to you."

"No, no." Gabrielle quickly replied. "Your gonna need your own army in here. It's a shame that I was dying and you had to be my warrior-nurse, the loft in the armory could have been alot of fun."

"Come on!" Gabrielle held the cloth out to wrap it around the naked warrior. Xena could see Gabrielle's intense desire to please and her nervousness. Facing her love Xena leaned down and kissed her slowly on the lips. She put one hand on Gabrielle's shoulder. " Gabrielle I love you," Xena said softly.

Gabrielle was briefly stunned. She had never heard Xena say 'I love you' to her in such an emotional way, at least not when neither one of them was near meeting Charon. The younger woman shook off the unexpected distraction and refocused, drying off her lover. "I've got a matte over here for you to lie on. I'm actually not finished massaging you *but*," she paused. "Don't get too comfortable," Gabrielle teasingly grinned as she led Xena to the matte. Once Xena was lying down the blonde bard rolled her lover onto her stomach exposing her backside.

The matte was soft enough that she could put alot of pressure on Xena and it would gently give just enough. Gabrielle had planned thoughtfully most every detail. Turning, Gabrielle picked up a piece of fabric off the floor and hung it from the base of the torch holder mounted to the wall. The other end was attached to another from a column in the room. Even without using those two particular torches the area was aglow with several candles. Two candles sat on the stone edge that followed along the wall. A third candle sat in a recess of the stone column. Xena lay motionless on the matte, doing her best to allow Gabrielle the lead. A rumble rolled through the air louder than before. The seductress bard though of Zeus's timing. Hmmm, maybe even Olympus is aware of my conquest. Nice touch, she smiled.

Gabrielle's body glistened in the glow of the candles. Her shoulders were strong and threaded with muscle definition and the curve of her back dipped into a sensual arc. She was petite in many ways but by no means a small woman. She nearly had the upper body strength of Xena and a stomach so hard, you could bounce dinars off it. Her intensely muscled stomach was the brute force behind her jabbing kicks. At the moment, there were no thoughts of fighting. Her power and strength was reserved for another type of conquest; a battle of love and of trust. Tonight a new level would be initiated between the two. The candlelight flickered across the walls and threw shadows from side to side of objects in their way. One was a shadow of the new whip Gabrielle had recently bought for Xena. Sort of an amends for swapping the warrior's other whip for Minya's frying pan. Unbeknownst to Xena, Gabrielle's eyes glimmered at the thought of playing with the new whip. Later maybe, she thought as she knelt down to straddle the prostrate woman. Her firm, caring palms glided slowly up Xena's back. "How is that? Is the pressure alright?"

Xena turned her head slightly and groaned. "Oh, yeah. That's real good."

Her hands were strong and had no problem penetrating deeply into Xena's muscles when need be. Tonight however she wanted it to be relaxing not therapeutic and certainly NOT sedating. Gabrielle continued the rubdown using her knuckles occasionally to encourage the muscles to release quickly. As she worked her way down Xena's back to the buttocks and legs, she made sure certain parts of her naked body touched Xena's. She even made sure that when her hands glided up Xena's back the next time her knee rested suggestively between Xena's legs. A quizzing groan crept up from below. Ok that's enough, Gabrielle thought to herself. I want to spoil you in a *different* way tonight my naughty warlord. Leaning across Xena's back, the bard kissed her lovingly on an exposed cheek.

Xena stirred, "What? Is that it?"

"I told you, just a little." Gabrielle sucked in her cheeks and looked very sultry when she said it. With her back to the bard Xena didn't notice, but she heard something in Gabrielle's voice that sent chills through her.

"Now!" Gabrielle said firmly. "Sit up; and lean against that column!" Xena snickered in amusement, at Gabrielle's attempt to command her. She fought her desire to bust out laughing; making sure by the time she faced the bard, the grin was gone from her face. Wise decision, Xena, she thought. Don't want to blow this one.

Xena complied. Once the warrior settled against the column, Gabrielle went around to the other side of the stone support. Xena felt her hand getting grabbed, then felt something soft, along with Gabrielle's caressing hand. Just as abruptly Xena's other hand was taken captive to Gabrielle's whim.

"Gabrielle? What are you? You know I.."

"Hold on Xena." She said reassuringly, "Trust me my love."

Xena was a bit unsure of this whole thing now. Well I did promise to trust her, she thought.

"Okay Gabrielle, but you know me...? I'm trying. Just don't go overboard." What *am* I saying? Xena thought. This is Gabrielle I'm talking about, of course she gonna go overboard.

Gabrielle continued securing Xena's hands to one another with a soft fabric tie, anchoring them behind the warrior with the column. The bard gave the binding a good yank, to test its hold. Now confident Xena was truly under her mercy; Gabrielle knelt on her knees, curling around to Xena's cheek. Kissing her, the bard whispered, "I'll be right back so don't panic. I love you, my little warrior hostage."
Xena let out short laugh. "I love you too, but that doesn't mean you can disappear on me now!"

The thought of being left naked tied to a column, in a friend's guest quarters, was not an appealing one to say the least. Not to the cool Warrior Princess at least. Xena noticed she felt strange. The sensation came from inside; she felt slightly loose, like she had enjoyed more than just a few drinks. It wasn't the wine, she thought. I didn't drink that much! This is very strange.

"Right back. I promise." Gabrielle said.

Gabrielle turned to the area where they slept and started digging through her satchel. Finding what she was looking for, the blonde pulled two scarves from the leather pouch. She shook one out and held it up. It was a beautiful sky blue and very sheer indeed. She smiled crookedly and quickly wrapped it around her hips twisting it several times before tucking it into her waist. The cloth draped beautifully down her thighs stopping just above her knees. The second scarf was 'wanton red', as Gabrielle called it. The bard tied this one over her face the same way the Middle-Eastern women wore them. This version however, was not intended for modestly but for seduction. The scarves bottom edge barely covered the bard's breasts as it trailed down. Perfect! Gabrielle thought. The bard had earlier come across some beautiful body jewelry, when she had undressed for the hot well. Retrieving them from a rolled up cloth, Gabrielle put the three pieces of chain on. One hung around her bare waist the other two around her ankles. Each of the chains, adorned with numerous pieces of brass that hung from each of the chains. A flash of light reflected into their dwelling, lighting up the inner wall. Moments later, another low rumble slowly roared, shaking the ground.

"Gabrielle?" Xena was getting impatient.

Gabrielle was beginning to feel quite confident. Everything she had wanted to try but was afraid to ask, would soon be embarked upon. Oh yeah, the tea was starting to take affect nicely and the timing could not have been better. She turned to walk back into the little lair she had setup for her warrior. As she walked the brass on her ankles chimed rhythmically. "I'm coming Xena."

"Sure you are!" Xena spouted, then she giggled under her breath.

Xena's mouth dropped dead open upon seeing Gabrielle walk around the corner. Her eyes bulged in disbelief. "By the gods! Gabri-elle!" Seeing her lover in such a sensual costume threw the warrior off guard. Gabrielle was always beautiful to Xena, but at the moment dressed in nothing but two sheer scarves? Mmmm, Xena was dumbstruck by the Amazon's womanly beauty.

Gabrielle just smiled subserviently and nodded. Gabrielle's hips began to rotate in a small circle. As she gyrated, the spherical movement got wider and more rhythmic. The brass on her waist chain jingled to each sway of the blonde's hips making its own music, in a 1-2-3 tempo. Xena was speechless as she watched Gabrielle move. Gabrielle's reddish blonde hair tossed itself wildly as she whirled about. Her arms waving above her head in slithering motion. The warrior begged inside to touch the warmth that now raced to her sex. The strength of the gods seemed to chase itself through Xena's veins. A dark image danced wickedly across the wall adding to the sensuality of the dance. The bard's reflection on the wall only added to the eroticism of the dance. Gabrielle discreetly removed the facial scarf. While admiring the view from behind, Xena realized the red scarf was now in Gabrielle's left hand flowing through the air. The realization made the warrior hurt with desire and she began to struggle to unleash her binding. Xena stopped trying to wriggle out of the tie as soon as Gabrielle turned towards her. Xena's body still throbbed madly. She wanted to scream aloud to release the tension of desire but held herself back. Beautiful honey-colored hair danced across Gabrielle's shoulders and breasts, occasionally covering up her erect nipples in a tease. She danced as if she had done it all her life; her whole heart and being was to please Xena with every move. The chiming of the brass began to get louder, more furious. Her hips began to snake forward and back as Gabrielle pulled from her waist the final cover. Even Gabrielle herself was getting quite involved with the motion of the dervish and was very aroused. Meanwhile green gems lit up Gabrielle's eyes while her seductive desire did it's magic on the warrior princess.

Xena could stand no more, she pulled hard against the binding trying to tear it loose. After all, Gabrielle had made the knot. It shouldn't be that difficult to break. The force of Xena's heave slightly rocked the column causing the candle in the inset to tip over. Xena stopped not wanting to break the column then have to explain to her host what happened. She knew she would have to remain there until Gabrielle released her. In defeat, Xena's shoulders fell back against the stone, again causing a slight movement. This time bringing the spilled wax to drop down and land on a breast. "Eeowww!" Xena gasped.

Gabrielle stopped dancing abruptly and she kneeled down beside her lover. "Xena, are you alright?"

Xena looked into Gabrielle's emerald eyes, searching in amazement. Her breathing short and shallow. "Yess. That wax!" Her panting softened.

Gabrielle began to peel the wax off, "Here let me put something on that."

"No Gabrielle, the warmth from the wax. It nearly sent me over the edge! I never knew how... how great that felt."

"Really?" Gabrielle said with a question in her voice, unsure she was hearing this right. "You mean the wax didn't scold you? It made you excited?" The bard curled her eyebrows, surely she was wrong.

"Gabrielle, that's *exactly* what I'm saying." Stunned herself, Xena smiled at the revelation.

Gabrielle smiled and looked into Xena's eyes. "Xena," she giggled. "You truly amaze me sometimes." She grabbed her lover and gave her a big kiss on the lips. Gabrielle's tongue briefly ran wildly over Xena's lips and into her mouth. The blonde stopped suddenly and looked dead into Xena's eyes. "I'm not done you know!"

Xena groaned in agony. There was almost no need to go further. It would only take a little more than a soft blow from Gabrielle's lips onto Xena's skin to send the princess to Elysia. Gabrielle stood again and began to sway her hips in and out, just inches away from the dark woman's face. Each thrust forward sent a waif of sweetness through the air; the sweetness Xena knew as Gabrielle.

Xena was erect from all the teasing, throbbing hard inside. The bard's hand began to caress its way across her abdomen, down to the soft curls of hair as her left hand tracing across her breasts, while her right moved further down into her amber patch with each thrust of her hips.

"Gods, Gabrielle, I can't stand it….. pleeease!" Xena's face had changed from lust and desire to raw need. The wind outside began to moan and howl, almost in mockery of the warrior's plight. Suddenly, the downpour hit hard, the lightning and thunder offering a symphonic percussion for its arrival.

Gabrielle looked so sultry as she stared through the top of her eyes down at her lover. Her intention was obvious; driving Xena insane *was* an option. Xena watched intently, mesmerized by the bard's right hand as it came to rest on her mound of hair.; her fingers combing through her loose curly hair.

Gabrielle thought to herself, *I* can't wait much longer. I have got to have her soon. She then began sliding two fingers gently inside her, then out again; repeating over and over. The wetness on her fingers glistened like sugared candy, when the candlelight hit them just right. She then twirled three times dipping in front of her warlord with each pass. Then raising her hands above her head Gabrielle quickly stomped her heels two times and posed, ending her seductive love play.

Xena didn't move. With the exception of the aching need within her, she had pretty much forgotten her predicament. Xena had surrendered resting her head against the stone. Taking the cue of her love's submission, Gabrielle moved onto the matte and parted Xena's legs. Her thumbs resting on the inside of each thigh while her short nailed fingers clung to the warrior's well-muscled legs. The sweat glowed on Xena's face. She licked at her parched lips just as Gabrielle leaned down and ran her tongue over Xena's swollen love. "Ohmm." The groan came deep from within the warrior. A flood of juice spilled from Xena as Gabrielle parted her lips the second time.

"Oh, nice. Mmmm, sweet cream. Now this is my ambrosia! Oh yeah, food of the Amazon Princess!" Gabrielle spoke through each lingual journey across Xena's erection. Breaking from her commanding posture she added, "I, I love you; I always have." The dominating bard straddled Xena's left leg while lifting the warrior, opening her lover further. She then shifted, placing her own wetness over Xena's knee, who lifted it slightly to return the pleasure.

"No." Gabrielle chided. "Don't move, Xena." Gabrielle was feeling very secure with herself by the effect of the tea. So she gently grabbed at Xena's pubic hair and proclaimed, *this* is mine, YOU are mine."

Xena raised her brows. The force in Gabrielle's raspy voice sent a wave of heat through Xena. A small part of her wanted to resist it all, but she was far too weak with desire. Xena wanted to lift her hips to meet with Gabrielle's hand, which now was lightly fingering Xena's dark velvet hair. She did not. The rain slowed to a drip outside as Gabrielle cupped her hand upwards and entered the warrior. Her hand was quickly sheathed with the lubricious fluid allowing her a deep and smooth access. Xena began to lift her hips slightly with the increasing desire. She was near climax. Gabrielle, sensing Xena's increasing need, leaned in between her lover's legs and began sucking lightly. Occasionally, she would break her focus long enough to twirl her tongue in circles over the hard nub. With her face still down, Gabrielle could hear Xena's breathing get slower and deeper. Time was precious. Gabrielle reentered Xena with two fingers as she continued to lick and suck her lover. Her fingers curled upward inside, resting pressure upon the inner wall, giving Xena a 'sense fullness'. A loud burst clapped outside as the torrential rain returned in a sensual applause.

"Ohh ha! Ohmm." Xena struggled to keep her breathing even and deep.

[Inhale slow-ly] "Uhhhhh" [exhale] "whhhhuu" [inhale slow-ly] "Uhhhhh" [exhale] "whhhhuu"

Gabrielle began to wiggle the ends of her fingers almost like a vibration against Xena's inner wall.

"Oh, Gab-ri-elle! I. I can't. Ohhh." Xena was nearing Gabrielle's prize. Suddenly Gabrielle's mouth was filled with cream as sweet as custard. She frenzied to drink it all. "Ohh. Ooh, gods. Whhhhhu." Xena exhaled as she raised her hips wanting Gabrielle in her as deep as she could be. Taking the hint Gabrielle removed her fingers and tunneled her tongue down into Xena's sex. Soon Xena had convulsed again in orgasm; the bard slowly stopped, allowing her lover to recover.

Xena was completely had, but felt a surge of energy that left her still in need. She was in need of Gabrielle. "Gabrielle, please untie me. I want my arms around you."

Gabrielle's eyes met Xena's. A gentle fire poured endlessly; sweeping a searing love across the warrior-lover. The nude Amazon's hand brushed across Xena's cheek. "Thank you, Xena. I love you more than you could ever possibly know."

Quickly, Gabrielle moved behind the restraining column and released the binding around Xena's wrists. She looked over her wrists, making sure there were no marks or burns from the rope. No marks good, I did it right, she thought.

Once released Xena made her move. A bard's hand swiftly rose in defiance, halting Xena's advance. The warrior wouldn't hear of it, she was not going to be detained any longer. "Whaaaat!" she said, in whining frustration. Her face sulking slightly.

Gabrielle's lips got real close to Xena's. While looking at the warrior's lips she began to speak. "On." Gabrielle wrapped her lips around Xena's with a smooth licking kiss. "One condition." Kissing her again she pulled the binding from behind her back. Lifting it before Xena's eyes she added, "You have to *promise* to use this on me *before* I agree to anything."

Xena's eyes bulged with shock. Her mouth held the look of bewilderment then smoothly changed to a pleasant recognition. A hardened look of desire swam across her face. She could feel the comfort in her belly, the comfort that let her feel free to be anything, right then with her lover. Sensing her lover's trust, the warrior strangely felt free to trust herself. Blue eyes stared into Gabrielle's hazel palettes. They gave her chills of passion.

Gabrielle looked down to meet with Xena's eyes. "Xena, take me."

For a moment the warrior battled within herself. "I can't Gabrielle, not like that." Xena said looking up at her love. Oh, she wanted to. She dreamt of it, but the warrior vowed to never go there; she thought so much of her lover. The ex-warlord's past dominations brought her an image she just couldn't impose onto Gabrielle. Xena tingled from the warmth in her body. The tea was nearing its full effect. The warrior searched Gabrielle's eyes noticing how eagerly the bard embraced the idea of confinement.

"Now!" A determined sternness came from behind Gabrielle's throat, then more softly added, "If you do love me, I need you to; like you wouldn't have me *any other way.*" Gabrielle's eyes radiated both her salacious desire and the sincerity of her plea. "Please?"

Xena's heart wavered. Realizing her lover truly wanted what she was demanding. In her love for Gabrielle, she submitted to the request of dominance, understanding Gabrielle's need completely. "Alright!" Xena looked deeper yet, one brow raised in a crook. Looking at the cord, "Once *that* is in my hand I am in control, understand? You either accept everything or nothing!"

Brilliant shining hair swayed across her chest as Gabrielle smiled. "I am counting on it." The bard watched as Xena assumed her role of the moment. Silently she commanded her. She looked absolutely evil; a very, very, nice evil.

Grabbing the braided cloth binding from her 'unwilling conquest,' Xena began to walk away. "Fine then. Get dressed!" The warlord's foot hit the flooring and pivoted back towards Gabrielle. Xena caught the bard's eye and smiled sweetly. Gab, I love you, she thought. The warrior turned again and gathered a number of things in a woven basket. When she returned Gabrielle had fully dressed and was awaiting her patiently.

Without a word, a strong dark hand tugged at the bard's skirting then lifted to her face. Long and gentle fingers braced the bard's chin in Xena's palm, her lips pressed lightly in a kiss. The regular Xena was back momentarily, her eyes smiled as she smirked. "You can lose the boots Gab. I'm not one who's into boots!" The amazon smiled then quickly sat to remove them.

Xena slowly laid Gabrielle on the awaiting matte. The warrior's new conquest obediently lay on her back while her partner quickly secured the bindings. The amazon's well-muscled arm's extended to the sides of the stone support to which they were bound. Outside Zeus and Hera continued to pummel the village with their fury. Lighting rapidly flashed, accented by the cracking bass of the thunder. The rains slapped against the stone structure with such a force, that all other sounds were drowned out. This was good for the two lovers, no possibilities of their private delight being compromised.

The warlord wasted no time, pulling out the two scarves for her own uses this time. Tenderly she wrapped them around the bard's eyes and whispered, "I want your senses to be keen, to be aware of everything but sight."

"Mmmm." Gabrielle's lips slightly turned to a delightful grin in acknowledgement. Even with her eyes open Gabrielle was in total blackness. The air caressed her body, her skin sensing the warmth of candles nearby. Just knowing her warrior was looking at her excited her. Smooth elongated finger's loosened the lace on Gabrielle's top, eyes glancing to the nearby basket.

"Are you thirsty? This is your only chance you have to quench your thirst," Xena warned. The warrior looked down upon her. The gold in her hair danced in the radiance of the candlelight, lips slightly parched. She bit at her lip, as she thought, Oh, I thirst all right.

"Yes, please."

The cup of wine soon leaned against her lips, her head struggled to lift so as not to choke. Her throat gulped down the wine. "Ahh. Thank you."

Xena had changed into a short shift and pulled the basket to the side of the matte. "Gabrielle, breathe slowly. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Feel the air draw all the way through your body before you release it." She obeyed. Xena grabbed a plum from the basket and quickly peeled the bittersweet skin with her teeth, leaving the sweet pulp. She smiled softly. "Gabrielle lick." She then held the skinless plum to her lover's lips. She obeyed. The meat of the fruit oozed its nectar slightly. Enough to give a faint sweet taste. "Mhhmm!" The bard expressed. "Now flick it." Again she obeyed. The tip of the bard's tongue lightly flickered across the fruit, cool and wet. The image stirred the warlord's hunger causing her to moan, "Ughh." The sight was stunning; Gabrielle's essence, was that of a woman with a carnal knowledge. The young Amazon knew exactly how to play with the warlord. "Auhh." A moan escaped, as the bard attempted to grab at the fruit with her lips. "No!" Her captor/lover pulled it away abruptly. "You must resist your desires, and only submit to mine." Gabrielle felt a weakness swoon inside her. This was better than she could hope for. Again, she felt the wet fruit brushing against her lips. "Suck it." In her darkness Gabrielle's lips searched out the fruit. She had become acutely aware of its scent. Lips puckered onto its meat, sucking hard like a Bacchae in heat. Juices streamed from the crease of her mouth. She let the nectar drip down her chin, not wanting to disappoint her commanding warrior. The warlord watched. "You want me to have you don't you?"

"Yes." Her increasing excitement forced the amazon into shallow breaths of air.
"Breathe slow. Don't lose your focus on your breathing; it's what pleases me. The warrior pulled the fruit away and bit into its flesh. Leaning, her hand searching the basket while her wet sweet lips met her captive lover's in a lambent kiss. The hidden fruit passed from her mouth as they kissed. "We will share everything, understand?"

"Yes, I do." Gabrielle breathed the words. The warlord's sensual command made her shudder to her core with desire.

"Open your mouth and whatever you do, don't swallow!" Gabrielle nodded in affirmation. Xena began plucking one grape after another and squeezing the juice into Gabrielle's awaiting mouth. Xena watched every drop fall into her mouth. Gabrielle held her throat shut and began to breathe through her nose while she collected the juices. Each used grape got tossed quickly into the warrior's own mouth. No sense in wasting things, she thought. A hand moved behind the bard's head supporting her, holding her up. The warrior whispered, "Kiss me and give me your fruit." Lips moved toward the blindfolded woman. Xena's lips quickly covered her lover's mouth in a taunting kiss. "Give me your fruit." Positioning the fluid in her mouth, Gabrielle obeyed. In the first onset of a kiss, Gabrielle poured her juice into Xena's lingual vessel. Nectar, sweet and dark escaped their lips; both gulping, licking, kissing. A voice of sensual velvet moved towards the bard's ear. "Mmm, my love, I *liked* that!" Gabrielle smiled; then Xena kissed her again.

Xena resumed her command, unlacing Gabrielle's top completely. She decided to leave it open, just enough to reveal her lover's hardened nipples. A cool hand reached for a small chain. The ends were each adorned with a metal ring. The warrior tested the rings to make sure they were not to constrictive. Each ring had two flat metal ends, which made the opening even bigger, when pressed towards each other. The spring action had a soft give to the slightest pressure. This was going to be just right for what the warlord had in mind. Leaning over Warlord Xena captured Gabrielle's left nipple in the ring, then swiftly the right one with the other end of the chain. The pressure was very light, making the bard's nipples maintain their erect state. Caught off guard by the cold metal and the sudden tweak on her breast, Gabrielle initially flinched. At first she sensed a slight pinch, but soon it changed to an electric pulse cycling between each nipple through the chain. "Breathe. More." Xena lay alongside her bound lover. Her hand slid down the leather belting of the skirt, finding Gabrielle's moist hair. The warrior's long hand rested, allowing her middle finger to slightly touch Gabrielle's tender inside. Its tip dipped slightly into the opening of Gabrielle's love. Xena stilled her hand, stopping to just watch her captive bard breath.

The enraptured Amazon felt a swell of desire at the touch of her lover's hand; wanting it all over her body, in her body. It was not to be. Instead she obeyed and breathed. The slight pressure of Xena's hand against her growing need felt good. The Amazon pulled at the bindings, wanting to thrust herself against Xena's hand.

"No!" You will only breath or I will not feed your needs. You will not struggle.
You can only resist me passively, inside, with your will. Breathe. You will know when you can finally struggle." Xena smiled. "I promise you." The warrior enjoyed the warm wetness at her fingertip. She wanted to kiss Gabrielle deeply, look into her eyes and just hold her. Not now; she wants this, she'll get this. A hard throb hit the warrior's finger. Again, another. Gabrielle had begun to intentionally contract, stimulating herself against the warrior's lone, stilled finger. Xena pulled her hand up but kept it in the skirting. "One thing! That is *all* you have until I say otherwise." Xena was beginning to get into this, in a fun kind of way. She found it was still quite different from her past; their love made it so. Xena tugged lightly on the chain sending rods of pleasure through her lover.

"Ohhh." She sighed. Gabrielle thought as she again focused on her breathing. What is this 'fight it inside' game all about? Why doesn't she want me to get excited? She thought deeply about it, not understanding at all. Flash, the bulb went off. Oh, if I don't *act* turned on and with my mind fight *getting* turned on then it is more of a challenge for her to seduce me. Then we both get aroused even more and then I can really resist...til….. Oh! Mmm, She is *So* good to me. Once she had some inkling as to the why's and how's, she was more willing to do this 'resistance with the mind' stuff. She regained focus; breathe Gabrielle.

The sultry warrior began to kiss Gabrielle across her left shoulder, then her neck. Her long dark hair splayed across Gabrielle each time the loving warrior bowed to kiss her. Finding the tender underside of Gabrielle's arm, Xena made a trail with her lips. At the elbow's bend she bit at the soft sweet flesh, then began to suckle it lightly.

Xena's lover lay intensely motionless on the floor, totally relaxed, absorbing every sensation. Her golden red hair was ablaze from the candle's illuminations. Gabrielle had never before been so aware of the flux of desires that besieged her body, the focused breathing attuning her to the hundreds of sensations. She drank in every single pleasure through her pores, contented with the totality of Xena's presence. She didn't move. She tried to resist from inside. The roar of the storm outside made her feel sensual and excited. The pounding of the rain and the bolt's of Zeus were scored melodically to the churning emotions inside her. Gabrielle wondered, Is this ambience of nature a gift from the unknown god I had so earnestly embraced this morning. Her lover's kisses danced on her neck and chest. Rushing waves tingled as they rolled up Gabrielle's legs, causing them to become slightly rigid. She relaxed them again. A slow breath drew into her nostrils, sending chills of ecstasy even further into her torso and loins. Again she separated herself from the ravenous desires building. She closed her eyes. She could sense Xena's position; even in the few rare moments their bodies were apart. Something in her was so in tune with everything Xena was feeling and giving. Gabrielle sensed that each orchestrated lick and bite were so much more that the ordinary ministrations of any lover; even the Xena she knew. The restrained woman was beginning to weaken as Xena feasted on her navel and breasts. She wanted to struggle against the ties, forcing her blood to rage with her excitement, She needed her muscles to strain and pump. Gabrielle continued breathing, feeling each touch, kiss and lick. She resolved not to succumb to the many pleasures she was feeling, but the growing need was no longer a simple passion. Raging furiously inside was a desperate hunger for this sustenance to her soul. It was so hard to resist. The Amazon wanted to relent to the yearning in her body. Breathe Gabrielle. It was of no use; she was maddened with desire. Her arms pulled down finding pleasant resistance in her bindings. The corded muscles in her neck fanned outward as she lifted her head in an attempt to gain more pressure against her lover.

Xena, noticing Gabrielle was near her breaking point, untied the scarves. Released from the darkness their eyes connected for the first time. Gabrielle's eyes were brilliant with green and blue fire; she smiled blissfully at her warrior. She breathed hard, her gut panting deeply. She felt Xena's hand slid lightly down her torso, stopping to toy with the curls of her hair. What a sweet tease, she thought. Her loving captor lay half way atop the muscled blonde. Xena whispered, "Now." The warlord put most of her weight on her enslaved lover; then caressed her, sucking wherever her lips desired. Hard she sucked, occasionally flicking her tongue over her lover's sensitive skin. Gabrielle began to bear down on the binding, increasing resistance, increasing her arousal. Her sinewy muscles in her shoulders and arms danced as she pulled them taut. Sweet warrior lip's pressed deeply upon the woman's mouth, Xena's jaw opening full and passionately with each exploration. The warrior's emotions whirl about her, giving her a sense of intoxication. Her lips again expelled a rapture of fire upon her bound lover. Gabrielle reciprocated, opening herself further to her lover as she struggled and bucked. Her skin burned with a passion that was finally being quenched by Xena's uninhibited love.

Pure unadulterated love moved throughout the warrior. Xena realized how much her lover truly wanted her, striking something deep inside her. Stopping briefly, she reached around the column and released the binding. Xena's long, firm hand then reached down into her lover's need. A glowing sweat shone on Gabrielle's fawn skin. I love her more than my own existence, Xena thought; and I want her to feel it. With a carnal heat the warrior eye's lovingly caressed the Amazon. Everything the warrior's heart had once held onto was now released. Her passionate inclinations realized, shared. It was not the act of love itself that bound them in this moment, but the unabashed giving from Xena's open heart. The warrior felt an indescribable power inside her; a force like no other. All of her will had stopped, suspended. It was then she understood the paradox of Lao Ma's teachings. Upon ceasing attempts to control, she gained it; in her vulnerability she found strength. Xena's heart, released a pure love that was the true force behind the intensity. It was not just desire, nor a physical maelstrom. All was present in this act of love. The warrior's soul was more exposed than it had ever been. Xena's selfless passion, her devotion, her need, her fearless innocence, all had joined together in this moment. Her complete heart finally knew the utter joy of it's own expression.

Xena pulled Gabrielle towards her. Lifting her gently with one arm, Xena continued pleasuring her partner. "Gabrielle, I want you to hold onto me, okay? If you need to pull, then pull." Cobalt blue eyes melted the impassioned Amazon. She nodded, as she hooked her arm around the warrior's neck. Gabrielle pulled herself closer to the Warrior Princess, sending sweat trickling down her neck and cleavage. Her hair stuck to her face, highlighting the amorous glow, illuminated her skin. Xena held Gabrielle firmly, as the warrior made the most passionate love to her. Her head felt light, near spinning, but it was not Gabrielle. It was Xena. She began to tremble, which she had not done for so long, during the intensities of their lovemaking. Entrenched in a deep penetrating kiss, Gabrielle and Xena both clutched to one another as the Amazon exploded in orgasm. They scrambled to hold one another tighter, closer; the warrior still slowly making love. Not one word was needed; neither of them knowing of any language that could related what just happened. Ghostly tears lay on both their faces, simply appearing, glimmering with the love that had force them out. An immortal passion finally realized. Completely spent, the two lovers soon fell into a deep blissful sleep. Their bodies entangled, holding one another near, they slept.

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