When Love Is Found part 4
Disclaimer: The following characters of Xena Warrior Princess are property of MCA/Universal. It is not meant to infringe on any copyrights whatsoever.
However this story is mine and mine alone.
WARNING! Subtext, YES!! There is graphic violence, some strong language as well. If this bothers you please leave. I write stories in ways that I see fit. I try to make it as real as possible, NOT for the ratings of television. So if youre NOT 18 or older, go read Barney or something.
NOTE: This story was started last year before the end of the 3rd season and never finished, until my soulmate read what I had and wanted to know how it ended. So here we go. Enjoy. Please let me know what you think. Thanks!
Voices shouted back at one another from the other side of the doors. Xena could hear the Inn was less then half full, more drunks at the bar then people who were staying at the Inn. Noone really notice Xena enter, or they were just too drunk to notice. Either way it was just fine to her, right now she only cared about was getting this evening over. Being with out Gabrielle was one thing, but staying in an Inn was another, the only reason the warrior stays at the Inns along the way was to give her friend a break from the outside weather.
Xena made her way down a couple of stair, move past some tables with people in light conversation. The bar was off to her right side, covering the length of the wall in a stretched horseshoe shape. Several tables lined the left wall, more round tables and benches were scattered around the rest of the bar, and a stone fireplace filled the back section. Xena took her chair at the end of the bar next to the wall to be able to see anyone the come through the doors. But then again she really didnt care.
"So watcha be drinkin?" The old hag asked. Xena slowly raised her head to the woman in front of her slightly lost in thought. "Hey .you alright?"
"Ye..Yes. Just a little tired, is all." Xena placed a bag of dinars on the bar. "Port will be fine. And what do I owe your for the stable and the room." She watched as the old hag filled her mug of port and returned.
"Thats 10 dinars for your horse, 5 dinars for you and the port is on me." Collecting the money from Xena she walks away. Xena didnt argue with her, the port was very good, almost as good as her mothers. The cool liquid went down very smooth. Too smooth. Xena caught the old hags eye and raised her mug.
"Ill just keep em coming if you want? You dumped that one down as if it were your last."
"Ive had a bad couple of weeks." Xena slowly began to revert into her own little world at the end of the bar. Gabrielle Once again her eyes grew dark with anger.
The stable was only half full. Stable hands attended to the horses and gathering supplies to be brought to the kitchen for dinner this evening. Men and women milling around were continuing with their normal routines for the day. One of the stable hands was nice enough to give her a good brushing before he left for his other duties. Argo was in a back stall quietly munching on fresh hay and oats. The horse in the stall next to her became agitated. Most of the other horse became alerted to the horses distress. Argo looked around her stall, nothing. Slowly she stepped forward and looked over the doors to see a silver wolf sitting in front of her door.
"Roo." Argo didnt even move. The other horse stated stamping their feet or bucking at the walls.
"What on Mount Olympus is going on in there?" Argo and Jasmine turned toward the voice, foots steps could be heard heading for the doors. Argo stepped back and let the wolf leap over the door. She landed, sneezed and walked over the Argo to let her know she was in no danger. Argo bent down and sniffed the wolf and snorted in approval. Slowly the wolf wondered into a far corner of the stall, curled up into a ball and was fast asleep in moments.
"What was all the racked about." Two men entered the stable only to find all the horses and animals were quiet. " I dont get it. They were all goin crazy a few moments ago. Honest!"
"Look. If you want to keep working here, you need to come to work sober old man. Now stop jerking around, I have too much to do without you hearing things."
"But .bu I swear I heard it." The man was beside himself. He slowly scratched his head and left the stables. Argo watches him leave, she slowly turned to look at her room mated then back to the door that he disappeared through.
On the other end of the town was know as the Pen, due to the fact that it was as filthy as a pig pen, hence the name. Many warlord, killers, thieves and bandits come here to unload stolen goods, look for assassins or for a good release. And if that is the case then you need to head over to Lady Laras. The brothel was the biggest building at the end of the street, and the most beautiful, if you can believe that. Most of the other buildings surrounds Laras place were run down, over grown, or empty. A small pack of dogs were milling around looking for scraps of food from the taverns that lined most of the back section of town.
Horses lined up out front, people entering and leaving. Sounds of music and laughter filter outside. Two large me sat just outside the doors asking people what was their business was, then they directed to their pleasure. Be it drink or lust, it was all there. Many woman to chose from, red heads, blondes, short, tall, skinny, fat, shy and of course kinky. Yes, Lara had them all for you to pick from, and then some. She always aimed to please. ;)
Several men sat at the bar drinking they mugs of Ale and watching the ladies dance on the stage. Drums played a seductive rhythm, the lights were low and conversations were light, this part of the building was all eye candy for all that entered.
" Hey Noah, here for a good roll?" One man called out as Noah dismounted from his horse and made his was to the doors.
" No. I need to see Verso. Is he here?"
"Yeah, is in the lounge getting his hands dirty." The other man slurred through his drunken state, while he itched himself. Noah nodded and entered. Walking down a narrow hallway, passing through a beaded curtain his eyes scanned the room for Verso. Many were engaged in sexual acts, a small group of men and woman were in the center of the room being watch by others as they engaged in an orgy. Another man was having one girl feed him, while another was giving him pleasure. Off in the corner Noah notices two Amazons enjoying each others company quite nicely. Hmm maybe Ill go and watch that later He thought to himself as he began to feel the heat in the room. Finally he spotted Verso with his regular whore as she sat on top of him bouncing away. He waited until he saw Verso expression change, knowing he was finished with the ride that he just took.
"Verso. I have some interesting news for you." Verso looked up as he finished the last of his wine.
" What could you possible tell me that could top my mood today." He answered almost daring him to do so, with a smile. Verso was a very handsome man and the entire woman knew him, very well. He loved to pillage, drink, kill and women. He really loved women, just a dog in heat some will say.
Verso jumped up from his sitting position and grabbed Noah by his shoulders.
"Xena?! Where! Where is she?" He asked in a low growling tone as his eyes light up and his blood danced with anticipation.
"The bitch is at Brodys." He said. " Want me to get the rest of the boys?" Grinning from ear to ear as he watched Verso almost drool with excitement. He nodded and Noah was gone. His skin was on fire, blood was racing in his veins and he was determined to get her, hoping to split her head like a melon. Verso sat back into his chair, reached over grabbing the back of the whores hair and directing her to his lap. "Xena, Im gonna hurt you."
Boots echoed off the walls as Luna came walking into the main room of her home. She walked around Gabrielles sleeping area, which at one time was her living area, to the main cooking fire. The table was kept in neat order, pots and pans in their spot, spices all labeled, and dishes in a small standing cabinet next to the table. Luna pulled several vegetables out of her basket, along with a very large rabbit.
"Is rabbit okay with you?" Luna calls into the air as she continues her tack of preparing a rather late lunch.
"Rabbit will be fine, thank you." Gabrielle was sitting on the steps of the spring rinsing out her hair. Chance sat at the edge just watching the whole situation unfold. Luna turns to look over to see how Gabrielle was doing; she walks over to the living area and removes her winter gear. First the heavy wool cloak is removes, and then her gloves and cotton pull over. Now dressed only in a light cotton short sleeve shirt, pants and boots makes her way over to Gabrielle. Her soft boots lightly echoed off the wall as she made her way to the spring. Gabrielle was having a little trouble brushing out her hair. Luna regarded the woman as she approached from behind feeling a bit uncomfortable with the fact she was naked and decided to gather up a light robe.
Without warning she lightly draped the robe over her shoulders giving Gabrielle a scare.
"Im sorry ..I didnt mean to spook ya." Luna quickly responded. She took a couple of steps into the water to get a good look at Gabrielle. Her eyes quickly scanned over the wounded area and noting no signs of bleeding, her heart began to slow down. "Im really sorry. Are you okay?"
Gabrielle slowly shook her head side to side. " My chest its cramping." The pain in her chest was agonizing; she was beginning to panic. Luna slowly saw the facial expression change to fear. Without stopping to think, Luna walking further into the water and carefully picked Gabrielle up and walked her over to her bed. Putting a few pillows behind her, the pain began to subside and she was able to relax.
"Wha What just happened? I thought my heart was attacking me?" Luna sat facing her on the edge of the bed making sure she wasnt going to pass out. Gabrielle still had her hand over her heart.
"I think when I spooked you, you tightened so quickly, you .cramped. Im really sorry about that." Green eyes looked at her, watching her, as if trying to look into her soul. Luna began to sweat; noone has looked into her eyes since before she was burned. Looking away she pulls up a brush to Gabrielle and gestures toward her.
"Why are you being so nice to me if you hate Xena so?" Gabrielle had to know. The sound of her voice when she says Xenas name has so much hate behind it, yet she knows that Gabrielle is her friend. Luna really has surprised her this far. Lunas eyes looked away, then studied the floor then finally back to her.
" You didnt do this." Luna holds up a dry shift then moves behind her to help. "She did. So what good would it have done me to kill you? That wouldnt have gotten me anywhere." She moved back to the front to begin to apply new bandages. After that task was done she disappeared back into one of the rooms off the spring for a moment and returned in some dry pants and boots, only to continue her work preparing lunch.
"But if it would have gotten you some where, would you?" Gabrielle watched Luna stop in the middle of her work and looked her dead in the eyes.
"What would Xena do?" Gabrielles blood ran cold. She knew with out a doubt that Xena would do what she had to, that scared her. She broke the stare first looking down at her injured knee, there would be no way possible to get out if she was in trouble. A noise cause her to stray from her thought, to see Luna was beginning to clean the rabbit for dinner. The silence was defening.No time like the present.
"Luna? Why did she burn you?" Gabrielle positioned herself further up the hill of pillows to have a comfortable spot to listen. The table was directly in her view, she could watch Luna prepare and cook lunch, but still have a clear view of Luna who looked over in her direction.
"Im sure you have heard your share of stories from her about her past, have you not?"
"Yes I have, but she still has trouble talking about them, even to me." Her voice drifted off in too silence.
"How long have you known her?" Sizzling noise snap the silence as she places the rabbit over the fire to cook.
"Ive been traveling with her for almost 4 years." Her heart skipped a beat just thinking about Xena, wishing she were here.
" Well then Okay you wanna know why I look like a burning at the stake gone bad. Are you familiar with Borias or China? Has she told you anything about them?" Luna began to move about her kitchen area, taking a look or two at Gabrielle for an answer to her question, which she received. "Then you heard her talk about Lao Ma then?"
" Yes, she told me she regretted what happened between then She.. We were recently there."
" Really. What for, that whole country has nothing but bad karma for her."
" Loa Ma sent for her."
" The dragon is dead huh?" The look in Gabrielles eyes told her, " Well I cant say he didnt deserve it, well anyway how do you like your rabbit, medium or done?" She waited for some type of answer from her less than happy roomy. " Medium then. Well lets see, if you know about Loa Ma then you know of her powers that helped Xena walk again. I joined up with Borias in a campaign to take out a warlord named Sung Lee, real nasty bastard, Xena joined us later." Gabrielle sat, sipped on some tea Luna provided and listened to a dark chapter in her friends life, a chapter she knew Xena would never talk about, she never did like talking about the past. Gabrielle closed her eyes to try to envision everything that Luna was talking about.
The rain pelted the camp as men hurried about their business making sure horses; weapons and supplies made it into their proper tents. Thunder echoed through the valley as Zeus lit up the skies with lighting. Within the center of the camp was the largest of the tents, possible the command tent and it was well guarded. Torches were placed throughout the camp lighting up small roadways throughout out the camp as well as the main tent. Voices could be heard inside in light seemingly friendly conversation.
Im not too sure if that is really the best idea to come up from down the river." The womans voice was gentle yet pulling a point that needed to be address seriously.
"What would be wrong that?" He snarled " It would give us good cover from being followed, and besides Sung Lee wouldnt except it."
" Borias come over here please." She bit off the end of her sentence as Borias pushed up from his chair and moved over to a large desk where she was seated. " Look here. The river would be a good idea yes, but its been raining to much to pull any type of war wagon along those roads. Borias looked at her then back to the map and shook his head in agreement.
"Ah those wagons would sink half way up the road. Damn it!" He turned toward another map that hung on the tent wall. "Luna, do you have an updated map of the area, showing any other small trails, road or anything that we might been able to use? You know this area best." The question hung in the air. Luna sat back in her chair and regarded Borias with a blank face.
"Your darling Xena was suppose to be bringing it and shes three days late. Her voice rising at the end to put her point across. Luna walks out from behind her desk and up to Borias. "Look. I refuse to work with a loose catapult. If you want my help to take that valley then you better make sure Xena does what she is suppose to do." She moves away before he could even reply. "Im still telling you Borias she is up to something."
"Of course she is. Shes trying to find a way to get under Sung Lees skin. Since he got under hers when he stopped us from taking the city of Milpitas." He slowly rubs his chin then turns back to Luna. "Dont worry about it, I can handle Xena."
Lunas eye brows shot up at the statement of fact. "Well then since you seem to be soo sure of yourself, I just assume that you keep the bitch inline."
Keep what bitch in line?" Luna and Borias turn toward the voice. A tall figure stood just inside the entrance out of reach from the light. Luna rolled her eyes and move back to her desk as Borias crossed over to the entrance.
"Well considering that bitch was I the sentence I guess we were talking about you Xena." Luna finished with a smile. Borias stepped in front of her as she headed toward Lunas desk.
"Thats enough! I will not have you two at each other. At least not until this valley is taken, then you two can beat each others brains in." Borias looked at Xena, then to Luna. Xena moved around him and made her self right at home in one of Lunas comfy chairs. Luna settled back into her chair, leans on her elbow and rests her chin in her hand watching Xenas every move. Borias could feel the sense of death in the air as both women began to think of ways to kill each other. Borias moved over and sat in a chair next to Xena.
"So did you have enough time to check out the area or were you too busy playing grab ass with you little Amazon Queenie?" Xenas eyes grew in anger at her comments. Xena rose from her sitting position, gave Borias a wet kiss and pulled out a piece of parchment tossing it at Luna. Quick reflexes allowed Luna to catch it before it smacked her in the face. She shot her a glare as Xena crossed the room with a devilish grin on her face.
Borias moved over to Luna to get a good look at the new information they need for their attack.
"Look here, we can get most of the wagons through this pass and then still be able to send troops up the river road as well. We can surprise him not from one side but both." Borias stated as he continues to point out other possibilities on the map. Nice job Xena. Since you have the heavy weapons, Ill take the rive road with Xena.
"Hold on here." Xena broke into the conversation. " What do you mean Im going with you? I just assume take my men up the main road in and kill them all."
"Xena were not here to destroy Sung Lees entire army. Once he is defeated those men know that they will be offered the chance to join us and live or if they refuse die." Luna was starting to lose her patience with Xenas lack of teamwork here. " If you cant help then go back and play with your Amazons."
" Who the hell do you think you are telling ME what to do. I was the one that got us out of Con Valley no thanks to you.
"If you remember correctly your stupidity over Ming Tzu and Lao Ma almost got us all killed, I would just have killed her in the camp." Luna growled as Xena continued to moves toward her, the anger that Xena was be consumed with was about to explode. "But then again she did kick your ass didnt she?" Borias stood by and watched for a moment until he noticed Xena pulling a dagger from its home.
Borias pounded his fists against the table jolting both women out of their heated exchange of words. "Alright. Enough of this." Borias looked over at Xena just as a guard entered. "What is it, I told you no interruptions."
" Yes Borias, but Josh is back and said its important that you two meet." Borias looked to Luna.
"Go on and see what he wants." Never taking her eyes off Xena. "Well finish the plans by the time you get back, or you can just go with your puppet master." Xena took a swing at her but was blocked. Remember Im just as good as you." Xena snarled and backed off.
"Fine. Xena when youre finished I want to see you in my tent Luna."
"Borias." He exited the tent and it was just then two very pissed of women under one roof. Xena slowly walked away as she noticed a tall bottle of some very good liqueur and decided helped herself.
"So how are you going to approach this valley. Her words were dripping with venom as if she was a cobra ready to strike. Xena kept eye contact with hers she continues the circle the room. Luna could tell that Xena was up to no good.
"As I said before, Im going to take the west road you found while you two continue up the river, is there a problem with that, or cant you take orders." Xena hissed as she tossed the mug of liquor into her face. Luna let out a yelp as the liquid began to burn her eyes.
"You fucking bitch!" She screamed and with only half of her vision working she lunged at Xena taking them both to the ground. Xena was able to push her off and get to her feet. Luna stumbled to her feet only to be pounded to the ground by Xena fist. Xena grabbed a torch, gave it a good hard look and a toothy smiled.
"Well Im sorry my dear but there is going to be a change the plans." Luna scrambled to her feet, still dripping with that liquid, trying to wipe off her eyes as heat fell upon her face. Luna let out a blood-curdling scream as Xena set her on fire. The liquid immediate helped spread the fire over Lunas body. The smell of burning flesh filled the air as Xena just stood and watch. "Well, I guess Ill have my way after all." She dropped the torch and walked out the back of the tent as soldiers could be heard running toward Lunas aid.
"I really cant tell you happened after that. All I know is I ended up in this hospice and I heard months later that the valley was never taken." Luna moved from around the table to hand Gabrielle a plated of pleasantly smelling food.
"Did you ever found out what happened?" Gabrielle picked at her food; she was finding it hard to look her in the eyes knowing what Xena did to her. "I mean did you ever find out why that valley wasnt taken? Gabrielle watched as Luna began to gather up a few items and placed them into a sack, then finally looked her way.
"Yes I did. She decided to use her ignorant plan and failed." Luna announced with a pleasure. " Then I didnt really care after that. I ended up over hearing that in a local tavern one night." She continued to move around the kitchen area. By the looks of it Gabrielle could tell she was taking inventory of all her supplies, Xena had the same scowl on her face when she did the same, her heart sank just a little.
" What are you looking for? Arent you going to eat? Anything?"
" No. Ive go to get to the market in the village before the snow gets any worse."
" Its snowing?" Gabrielle let off in an upbeat sound as a little kid getting a new toy for solstice.
"Yup, started just after I trapped lunch. Lunas moves back to the room just off the spring and returns with something in her hand, possible a staff from this angle, Gabrielle still could not get a good look. " Here, this is for you. You do know how to use a crutch dont you?"
Gabrielle gave her an annoyed look. " Do I look that helpless?"
"Well you travel with her so I guess not. Just dont get up anymore that you have too, got me?" Lunas eyes burned into her soul as she pointed a finger in her face.
"Sure no problem."
" Chance, noone comes in here. Got it." Chance looks at his mistress and snorts in agreement. "Be good and help Gabrielle is she need it." Luna walks over to a large chair and gathers up her gear, dresses, picks up her pack and heads to the door.
" What are you going to do if Jasmine finds Xena and brings her here?" The words came out before she knew what she was saying; her heartbeat began to quicken. Luna stopped in her tracks and adjusted her cloak, turned to answer.
"Ill cross that bridge when I get to it. Stay inside .No one Chance." Luna padded out with out speaking another word.
Gabrielle slowly she let her eyes scan the room, finally getting a really good look at it. This place was huge and actually beautiful now that she really thinks about it. Here eyes landed on a small desk off the side of the living area and forced herself up. Slowly did she make it to the desk, hobbling on her crutch that Luna so kindly provided, her ribs ached with each step which she agreed with herself was the worst pain of all. Her shoulder was tender and her knee was starting to throb, but finally she made it to the desk. She found some blank parchment, she needed to write about her experience so far. Her thoughts were of Luna, her fear for her friends life and the love she was feeling deep inside. Chance lay down at her feet as she began to unravel her memories and feelings.
Snow was falling at an incredible pace; roads, fields and homes were covered before the sun fell over the horizon. Horse hooves pounded at the ground, " Well Blue I think for once the village market was pleasant. Noone gave us any heart ache for the first time in .what 4 years? Now thats a new one." The mighty horse shook his head in agreement as they continued up the road.
" Blue what the hell am I going to do when she does get here?" Her voice trailed off as if expecting an answer.
" When who gets here." Luna froze at the remark trying to figure out how she was caught off guard so easily. Quickly she looked around and notices a total of 6 men, all armed with a club, swords and a mace or two.
" Emery what the hell do you want."
" You never answered my question, about that girl you have in your home. WHO IS SHE!" his voice echoed, eyes full of fire, Luna knew she was in real trouble. Blue was packed down with supplies so riding out of there was out of the question, the snow was too high to run and she didnt have any weapons. Great now Im gonna get my ass kick. That girl going to be the death of me. Shit.
" I want to know who she is Luna. To many are telling me its the bard that murdering whore travels with. So either you tell me what I want to know or well just beat it outta ya. Either way that girl is mine! "
Continue to Part 5
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