by Anita Louise
This takes place after Myth.
Ann Bounty returns in this story. Though Gabrielle and Sea are far apart a
strange vortex pulls Gabrielle into another world.
The powers that surround these two, will assure they meet again.
Hurt/Comfort Warning Disclaimer:
This story may be best classified as a Hurt/Comfort Story involving the
characters of Xena Warrior Princess. Readers who are disturbed by or
sensitive to this type of issue may wish to read something other than this
Love/Sex/ Disclaimer This story depicts a love/sexual relationship between
two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type
of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not
read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read
something other than this story.
The television series: Xena Warrior Princess belongs to MCA/Universal...
This is merely one fan's story.
Sea and the other characters that are penned are the sole property of the
The woman sat staring down at the small dwelling. She noticed the curl of
smoke seeking it's way toward the sky. Knowing the beautiful woman had
lived, albeit a miracle. Her mind drifted back to the day she had received
word from Terajin the Oracle.
Gabrielle, Xena and Ephiny had started back to the Amazon Village. She was
sad to see them go, but, she also knew they had things that needed to be
taken care of. Her heart went out to her sister, she had always tried to be
there for her, to shelter her from any harm and this time she was unable to.
Gabrielle had been so despondent over what happened at the falls. She blamed
herself for the death of her friend and no one could get her to see it any
When she and Xena had found a few moments to talk the woman had assured Lila
that she would try to find a way to help her sister. But, when the two women
said their good-bys, Lila wasn't sure anything would help Gabrielle. She had
never seen her in the mood she was in. They had been gone for several days
and it was late one evening when she heard a knock at the front door. Lila
was surprised to see Terajin looking at her. "It is good to see you again
friend but what brings you out so late?"
The woman brushed back the hood of her cloak and said, "I've come for you."
The words caused her to become leery as she said, "Come for me? Why would
you be coming for me and this late?"
Terajin whispered, "I didn't know what else to do. You must come there isn't
a lot of time."
Glancing back at the dim lit room, Lila closed the door and said, "All
right, lead the way. I know you wouldn't be asking me this unless you have a
good reason and I must say you have peaked my interest." Terajin was quiet
on their trip to her small hut and Lila was thankful to see the faint light
in the window. As they began their descent down the hill Lila said, "Now,
tell me what has caused you to come out so late? What are you up to?"
Approaching the door to the hut Terajin stopped and turned, facing Lila she
said, "You will find out as soon as we enter."
Lila was now starting to become angry as she said, "I'm not one for games,
and I hope you are not playing one!"
The oracle had opened the door and entered the small room. She motioned for
Lila to enter as she placed a finger over her lips and said, "Shh."
Lila brushed past the woman as she closed the door behind her. In the dim
light coming from several candles on the small table by a bed her eyes fell
on the form. Glancing at the oracle then turning her gaze back toward the
bed she said, "Gods! It's...it's..."
The oracle reached out and placed her right hand on Lila's left arm and
said, "Yes, it is what's left of Ann Bounty." Before the woman got the last
few words out, Lila had hurried to the bed and knelt on the floor beside it.
Her eyes staring at the still form, the last time she had seen Ann she was
full of life and her beauty was awesome. But, the woman that lay in front of
her was just a shell of what she had once been. Her beautiful red hair had
been draped to the right side of her head as it cascaded down upon her
shoulder. The face that was once full of vibrancy was still and pale except
for the many cuts and brusies that traveled it like a roadway. Her eyes
scanned the woman's body and it pained her to see the cuts and abrasions
that seemed to be pocketed into the silken skin. Terajin reached out and
placed her left hand on Lila's shoulder as she said, "I can see it pains
you, but understand I din't know what else to do."
Glancing up at the woman Lila said, "It is all right, you did the right
thing. Tell me how long has Ann been here? I need to know, from the looks of
her she has been and is going through a dark time."
Walking over to a hearth the woman removed a pot of hot water and said,
"I'll make us a cup of tea, then I will tell you all I know."
Shaking her head Lila answered, "No thanks, I just want to know..."
"It will do you no good to sit and stare at her, she can hear you that much
I know. So, come over here and sit down, have a cup of tea and I will tell
you all I know."
Lila gazed at the battered face as her eyes glanced down upon the woman's
chest. The thin blanket that was covering her was draped loosely and she
could see the soft full breasts moving with her labored breathing.
"Lila, I have poured you a mug, come over, she will still be there when you
Realizing she has been staring she stammered, "I...I'll be right there."
Carefully reaching out her right hand she could feel it tremor as it softly
touched Sea's forehead. She whispered, "Sea, I'm here."
For a moment she could see some eye movement but they never opened as the
words, "Gab...rie...lle." was repeated several times."
Lila said, "No, it's Lila."
There was no indication the woman even heard her as she got to her feet and
walked over to the small table. Sitting down on the chair, that Terajin was
pointing to, she stared across at the woman and said, "I want to know
Handing her a mug of warm liquid the woman leaned back in her chair and
said, "Everyone knew about the battle and most knew of the bravery of this
woman. They had searched the area for days with no sign and all had given up
including your sister. I had gone down to the large mouth of the river
getting ready to do some laundry. As you know, this is a far piece from the
falls and I never expected to find what I did. I had just set down the
basket when my dog started carrying on something awful. He was bound and
determined something was in the thicket so I called out over and over but
there was no answer.
Lila took a sip and then asked, "That was when you found her?"
Nodding her head the woman continued, "When no one answered and the dog was
getting worse I grabbed my courage and started for there. I slowly moved the
bulrushes back and there laying amongst them was Miss Ann. It didn't take me
long to pull her up onto the shore. She was a sight, pale and cold to the
touch. I worked on her body for sometime trying to breath life back into it.
It didn't take me long to make it back here and get the horse. I made a
litter and was able to get her onto it. I was beside myself as I stared down
at the woman all the commotion had recently been about.
Lila turned to gaze back at the bed as she said, "She looks pretty bad now I
can imagine what a sight she must have been then. Why didn't you let anyone
The woman sighed as she said, "Poor soul did come around several times and
all she could say was your sister's name. She was delirous and her wounds
were many. She was lucky the water was cool because it stopped the deep
wound from bleeding too much. I have done all I know how, the rest is up to
her. I haven't had much sleep for sometime and was hoping you might tend to
her while I try to get some rest. I didn't know who else to contact,
Gabrielle had already left."
Getting to her feet Lila answered, "I will do what I can, I've never taken
care of a wounded person but I have tended animals. Show me what you want me
to do and I will."
The two walked back over to the bed as Terajin placed her left hand on
Lila's she said, "It is plain to see in your eyes child, this one has
captured your heart."
Lila's eyes lit up as she turned to face the woman she said, "No, she is a
close friend of Gabrielle's and she helped others and me when we were
captives of Satanic. I owe her my life."
Smiling Terajin said, "I am an oracle after all and it will do you no good
to deny, it is all right, it won't go any further than this room. Now, let
me show you this and tell you how to dress it."
Lila was not prepared for the woman to remove the blanket and as the
beautiful body of Ann lay exposed, her mouth fell open. Terajin said, "Even
with all her wounds, she has a body only few could ever dream of. Now, you
must get over your aparant surprise and get on with seeing she is taken care
Lila watched as the woman removed the dressing exposing the jagged cut that
had been sewn. It was swollen and the skin had discolored around the area.
Terajin replaced the dressing as she said, "I will give you a list of things
you need to see to and you will also need to bathe her body using a sponge."
Turning away, Lila walked back over to the table and said, "I'm not a
healer, I would never forgive myself if while under my care she was to get
The woman pulled the cover back over Ann then turned and followed Lila. She
stepped up to her and wrapped her arms around the woman's waist as she said,
"We have all grown up together, you, Gabrielle and me. The devilish three we
were called, and now it is time to put some of your training to work. Gods
know this woman needs all the care she can get."
Lila patted her friend's left hand and said, "You know, you always did like
to creep up on me and I always loved it the most when you would leap out and
grasp me. But, we are not children anymore and sad to say Gabrielle is not
here. This is where she should be."
Terajin edged closer as she could feel Lila's back, she brought her head
down and let it rest beside the woman's. "The three of us so long ago took
the blood oath and I have never forgotten. Makes no difference whether we
are children or adults, I will never forget what we had."
Lila stood silent for a moment then she turned in the woman's embrace and
stood facing her as she said, "I long for..."
Terajin grinned as she said, "I know, for some knight to come riding in and
take you off to a castle. It will never happen but, if fates are right, I
believe that the woman laying there, can be the one you have longed to
Pulling away Lila huffed, "Sure, and there will be white doves and fields of
gold. You may be an oracle now but you were not always. Terajin my friend,
Ann Bounty is but a pirate and a friend."
Terajin approached her as she leaned over and placed a light kiss on Lila's
forehead she said, "I still believe in love and fields of gold. Mark my
words, this woman has enough courage and love in her heart to topple all the
Gods on Olmypus. I'm going to lie down, I feel I leave Miss Ann Bounty in
good hands." Before Lila could say anything the woman had picked up a
leather pack and left the room.
The days had been long and she had stayed by Ann's bedside, tending to her
many wounds. She carried water from the river to the hut each day and each
day she warmed water and bathed the woman. The first time she removed the
blanket she stared for a long period just taking in the perfection of the
woman. Even all the bruises couldn't detract from her enchanting appearance.
As her right hand began to gently wipe the signs of dried blood from her
body she swallowed hard and her pulse began to quicken. She had to admit to
herself she was taken by the woman. As her hand traced a path over Sea's
body, her mind would drift occasionally to her sister. She could see
Gabrielle and couldn't help but wonder just what kind of friendship these
two shared. If she was in her sisters shoes how would she handle the
situation? There was Xena, a woman like no other then along comes Ann Bounty
a woman who would be a match for the Warrior Princess. Gods her sister must
have been in celestial heaven.
Her hand was gently tending to the woman's left leg when Ann began to groan.
She immediately stopped and placed the cover back over the woman. Gently
pressing the wet sponge along her face as she said, "Ann, it's all right,
it's just you and me here."
She could see the woman was shaking as she said, "Are you cold?"
It wasn't long before Ann's eyelids began to flutter and she slowly opened
her eyes. At first things were blurry then they started to become clearer as
she said, "Where am I?"
Lila smiled down at the marvelous green eyes that shone up at her and said,
"You are at Terajin's, a good friend of mine."
Sea tried to move as she cried and fell back down, "Who are you?"
Lila seemed perplexed as she said, "Lila, Gabrielle's sister, remember we
were in the cave together?"
Slowly shaking her head the woman said, "Don't remember, Hades in Tartarus,
my body aches, who did this?"
Lila reached down and placed her hands on the woman's shoulders as she said,
"You have no memory of the battle?" She could tell from the confused look in
the woman's eyes it was apparent she had lost some of her memory.
Blinking her eyes the woman said, "Who is this Gabrielle? You talk like I
should know you and her. Tell me what am I doing here and what happened?"
Lila started to remove her right hand and Sea reached up and grasped it as
she said, "I have had some pleasant dreams, I have felt these soft and
tender hands tracing my body."
Feeling the warmth of Ann's hand on hers she searched for words as they came
tumbling out, "I... I was just.."
Ann smiled and when she did Lila felt as if her knees would buckle under
her, the weakness and warm sensation she was receiving in the pit of her
stomach was something she had never experienced before.
Even though her face still held traces of bruises the smile reached out and
touched every fiber of Lila's body. "It was not a dream, from the look on
your face it was you. Surely a pretty one such as you is not embarrased. I
feel by now, you may know my body better than I."
Lila tried to move but Ann would not release her hand and she said, "I was
just tending to your wounds. Don't be angry."
"Angry, never. It is evident I was not able to tend to myself. Thank you
Lila. Now, sit beside me and tell me what happened, how I come to be here
and who is Gabrielle and your other friend. I want to know all about you."
Lila had just sat beside the woman and started to say something when she
realized Ann had passed out. She reached out and carressed the woman's face
with her right hand as she whispered, "Before I am through, you will
remember it all."
She heard the door close and looked up to see Terajin enter the room. She
laid the pack on the floor and walked toward Lila who was standing and said,
"Maybe you shouldn't be so rash. What would it hurt if the woman doesn't
remember the deep love she has for your sister?"
Lila gazed at her and said, "I could never do that, she deserves to remember
Terajin replied, "Even if it will cause her more pain in the long run."
Lila glanced down at Ann then she turned and followed Terajin toward the
hearth. "I don't know what you mean, the love the two of them share is not a
love to be forgotten." Terajin was looking for hot water as she said, "The
hurt would be a love she can never have. Let her get to know you before you
go blabbing about Gabrielle."
Sitting she leaned back in the chair and said, "I don't know if I could but
what she needs right now is plenty of rest and nourishment."
Terajin poured a cup of tea and said, "After I have eaten something, I will
check her. But if she has regained consciousness it is a good sign. She is
not out of the woods yet."
Lila sighed as she said, "Though I have fought it each day, I fear you may
be right. I am starting to feel things for her I shouldn't."
Her friend smiled as she said, "Who is the one to say what is right and what
isn't. I believe if you find a love that is all consuming it makes no
matter. Just take it one day at a time."
Lila smiled as she said, "If you don't mind, I am tired and will go lie down
Terajin smiled and said, "Go, from the looks of Ann I would say you have
been busy. Get some rest."
She pulled her knees to her chest as she continued to stare at the hut. The
time had passed and she as well as Terajin had nursed Ann Bounty to health.
Though she still was not ready to do a bounding leap into the air the woman
had recovered. Terajin thought it was a miracle of some sort but Lila knew
it was because Ann Bounty just did not want to leave this mortal world when
she still had someone like her sister in her life. If it had to take an act
of faith it was the woman's deep desire to reunite with Gabrielle. Although
she said she didn't remember the bard, Terajin told her that when Ann was
unconscious all she could mutter was her sister's name. And now, Lila had
told her everything she knew about Gabrielle. Though Ann's memory had not
fully returned she seemed anxious to meet the sister that Lila raved about.
The door to the hut opened and she could see the tall figure walk out. As
the sunlight reached down and grasped the flowing red hair she knew it was
Ann. She remembered the time in Satanic's cave, and later, seeing Ann Bounty
high on that cliff. She was a dashing figure to behold in her leather pants
and laced shirt. Once you have seen this woman you would never forget her.
This was the problem Lila was having at the moment. During the days she had
cared for the woman, she spent hours seeing to her every need. The woman's
first steps were taken while she leaned against Lila. Her friend Terajin had
taken her aside and told her that she had become attached to Ann. She
remembered scoffing at her and now she had to admit it was true. Ann Bounty
had slowly crept into her life and now she looked forward to each new day
with the woman. What would she do when Ann decided to leave?
She watched as Ann limped toward the corral, then she got to her feet and
started down the path to the bottom of the hill.
Ann had been leaning against the corral fence staring at the horse munch on
it's morning meal. She had surveyed the area before closing her eyes and
letting her mind drift. The sound of footsteps brought her back as she
turned putting her body into a battle mode. Lila raised her hands and said,
"It's just me."
Realizing the stance she had taken, Ann relaxed as she said, "I wondered if
you were even coming today."
Approaching the woman, Lila managed a smile as she answered, "I had some
things I had to do at the house. You look refreshed and I must say ready to
Ann realized Lila was staring at her hands which were still prepared to
strike out. She smiled and reached out grasping the woman's in hers as she
said, "Battle, I think not and I don't understand why I held them so. I'm
sorry if I frightened you."
Lila stared at her hands and felt the warmth of Ann's as she said, "I know I
would rather see you like you are now. But it is plain to see you are almost
well and ready to rejoin your crew."
"Gods woman, are you trying to be rid of me?"
Lila walked up to the corral fence and pulled her hands away from Ann's as
she said, "I am a selfish person and these days with you have made me feel
things I shouldn't. If I had my way, I would never want to see you leave,
but, I know you have a life outside of here."
Sea approached and her body was now touching Lila as she said, "A life you
keep telling me about but right now, you and Terajin are all the life I
know. You would send me away?"
Lila felt a tear run down her cheek as she turned to face the woman and
said, "No, but it must be. When you are ready to go we will both know. I
want you to come to the village with me today. I drew a likeness of Xena and
Gabrielle and maybe if you see it, it will bring back memories."
Ann hesitated then she said, "Maybe tonight, that way no one will see me but
it will do no good."
Lila walked away then turned and said, "You never know, now, how about
coming in and having a cup of tea with me."
The woman's lips turned up as a smile traced her face she said, "I'm right
Terajin was standing at the hearth when the two walked into the room. They
were laughing and the light that shone from their faces was moving. She
looked at them and said, "I can definitely see Miss Ann is much better and I
have never seen a light so bright shine out of your face Lila."
Lila walked over to the pot of water and took it from the hearth as she
poured two mugs of tea. Handing one to Ann she sat and said, "Join me."
Ann stared at Terajin and the woman said, "Pay no mind to me, I have to go
check on a few traps. You sit down and enjoy the company."
They watched her leave the room then Ann turned her attention to Lila and
said, "If I haven't said it before, thank you for taking time out of your
life to care for me."
Seeming embarrassed Lila said, "I was happy I was able to help, but it was
Terajin who saved your life."
Ann took a sip as she stared across the table at Lila. Finally she said,
"You're right if she had not pulled me from there and breathed life into my
body, as well as mend it, I know I would not be staring into your lovely
Lila was playing with her mug as she said, "Gabrielle certainly was never
wrong when she said you had a way with words. I'm just happy to know you are
healing and soon will be able to..."
Sea got to her feet as she said, "I'll not hear anymore about my leaving.
Let me just enjoy what time I have here, in your company."
Lila had stood and was walking around the table. She stared at Ann as she
walked past her then said, "I feel it is gratitude you are offering and when
you are fully well and back at the helm of your ship then, will I know how
you really feel."
Ann grinned as she turned to follow and as she was near she whispered in
Lila's left ear, "Will you hate me, if the feelings are not the same?"
Biting her lower lip she turned to face the woman and said, "No, I will be
happy you have rediscovered your life."
Ann brushed past her and said, "Even if I do, you will remain a part of it
and the rest will be up to you. Now I'm going to go take a dip in the
Smiling Lila called out, "Be careful."
Ann called back, "If it is worrying, you will do, there is room for the two
Before Lila could answer, Ann was gone and she walked back over to the table
and pulled out a chair and sat.
Ann had been gone for sometime, Terajin had returned and was preparing their
meal. Lila had offered to help but her friend told her that she could manage
and told her to go check on Ann. Lila hesitated then she said, "I know what
you are trying to do, it won't work. Ann has another life a life I know
little of and I can't see myself in it. So, quit your match making and just
let things be."
Terajin scowled as she said, "Always the hard head, It is plain to see she
Lila shrugged her shoulders and said, "Before you say it, I know a little
about like and there is a big step from there to love."
Her friend motioned with her hands as she said, "Someone has to take the
first step wouldn't hurt if you tried it. Now go see if Ann is all right."
Making a face at the woman she turned and left the room. It was a beautiful
day and as she walked toward the mouth of the river she began to hum. She
quickly drew silent when she came upon Ann's clothes laying on a bush but
there was no sight of the woman. Running to the water's edge she began to
call out, "Ann! Where are you! Ann!"
The lyrical voice rang out behind her, "Is it really fear that something has
happened to me that has you in such an uproar?"
Turning she found herself staring at Ann. The woman was smiling at her and
was paying no mind to the fact she was without clothes. The water was still
rippling down her body. And drops were falling from her erect nipples like a
Lila stood as if frozen all except her eyes which had taken in every inch of
the woman. Ann walked over and picked up the cotton shirt and slipped it on
over her head as she said, "I wasn't expecting your company since you didn't
come down before. Sorry if I have caused you any embarrassment."
Lila walked over and picked up the cotton pants and handed them to the woman
as she said, "No need to apologize, Gods, were you born that beautiful?"
Suddenly realizing what she had said she turned her head away.
Ann quickly stepped into the pants. She reached up and brushed her hair back
off her forehead as it found its way down upon her shoulders. She slowly
approached Lila as she reached out and placed her left hand on the woman's
shoulder she said, "I have always looked as I do, never had a thought one
way or the other. Beauty is in the eye of the watcher and when I watch you,
I see an untouched flower, perfection in all you do and say. I guess I might
ask, have you always been this lovely?"
Tears forming in her eyes Lila brushed past the woman and ran up the path.
Ann scratched her head as she muttered, "A dashing pirate Ann Bounty, more
like a klutz, nothing like speaking before you should." She turned as she
called out several times, Lila, Lila!" There was no answer and she feared
she would have the wrath of Terajin waiting for her when she returned to the
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
Terajin stopped what she was doing when she saw Lila run into the room from
outside. The woman was crying and had fallen on the bed. She dried her hands
and walked over to her, kneeling she reached out and placed her right hand
on Lila and said, "What is the matter? Did something happen to Ann?"
Sitting up she turned to gaze at the woman and uttered, "No, nothing."
With a caring look on her face the woman said, "If nothing happened to Ann,
then why are you crying?" She thought for a second then continued, "Surely
she hasn't done anything to hurt you, if she has then there will be..."
Lila reached out and grasped her left hand as she said, "It's just me, she
did nothing wrong."
Terajin got to her feet and stared down at the woman as she shook her head
and said, "If nothing happened, then why are you crying?"
It was at this time the door opened and Ann came bounding into the room. She
stopped as her eyes caught sight of Terajin and Lila.
Terajin turned her attention to the woman as she watched her walk toward
them. Her clothes were clinging to the woman's body and she could see the
signs of water seeping through. "From the looks of your garments I would say
you put them on over a wet body. Maybe you can tell me what happened out
Ann glanced at her and then at Lila as she said, "Lila, if I said anything
to upset you, I'm sorry, forgive me."
Terajin shrugged her shoulders and walked back over to the hearth. Lila
stood and turned to face Ann. The minute her eyes met the woman's she hung
her head and stared at the floor as she said, "You did nothing, it's just
me. Certain times of the month I tend to get easily upset and will cry at
the drop of a feather."
Ann reached out and cupped the woman's chin in her right-hand as she slowly
raised her head and said, "Look at me, I know I have been sick but I am not
a blithering idiot. I know I said something to hurt you and if you will just
tell me what I did, it won't happen again."
Lila reached up and grasped the hand with her left one as she said, "It's
just me, I guess I'm not used to being complimented and you caught me by
Ann smiled as she said, "I meant it and I cannot believe that someone like
you is not used to compliments. You have been kind to me and I don't want to
hurt you." She brought Lila's hand up as she bend down and placed a soft
kiss on it. Then slowly raised her head and stopped as their eyes met.
Lila pulled her hand away and said, "I am the one to ask for your
forgiveness, I am going to go help Terajin with the meal. Why don't you take
this towel and dry off."
Ann looked down as she said, "The clothes will dry and it is nothing you
haven't seen many times. I would love to help."
Terajin yelled out, "No one is helping, you two go out and bring in some
wood, be useful. That is if you are through?"
Lila smiled as she said, "If you want us, we will be outside."
Terajin waved them off as she said, "I'll call you when the food is ready.
And, no more tears, life is too short."
Lila had walked over to a tree stump and sat as she looked up at the amazing
woman that was approaching her. Ann stepped close then slowly dropped to the
ground and sat beside Lila's feet. Taking a deep breath of the fresh air she
said, "It's wonderful here, you and Terajin have been friends for sometime?"
Lila brought her gaze down toward Ann who was staring up at her and nodded
as she answered, "Since we were children. And yes, it is beautiful here."
They set in silence for awhile each taking in the beauty of the area. Ann
brought her knees to her chest as she wrapped her arms around them and
finally broke the silence as she said, "You have told me so much about your
sister and it is plain to see you admire and love her. It would have been
easy for you to never even tell me about her, why did you?"
Gazing down at the striking redhead, Lila said, "I do care about her and I
could never lie about the two of you knowing one another."
Turning her head and looking up Ann said, "Maybe you are just too caring
would she do the same for you?"
Nodding her head she replied, "In a heartbeat, I know Gabrielle."
A faint smile crossed the woman's lips as she said, "Then I shall have to
meet this sister you speak of so gloriously."
Getting to her feet Lila said, "If you want, I could take you to their
Ann slowly got to her feet as she said, "No, I don't know if I am able to
take a long trip yet and there will be time after all you did tell me she
has someone, a woman named Xena. It is an unusual name."
Lila grinned as she said, "Well Xena is an unusual person and like you, once
you meet her, a person never forgets."
Ann walked past her heading toward a pile of wood as she said, "Sounds like
an amicable challenge."
Lila ran to catch up to the woman as she said, "What do you mean?
Challenge...I don't understand."
Ann had gathered several pieces of wood in her arms as she said, "Just
making conversation because I almost said something that would have probably
gotten you mad at me once more."
Lila smiled as she reached down and piled several more pieces of wood in the
stack Ann already carried. "If you were getting ready to compliment me
again, you are probably right, now go on take the wood into Terajin."
Sea's green eyes twinkled at her as the said, "Aye, Aye Captain."
Lila ran to open the door as Ann brushed past her then she went back and got
an armload of wood and headed to the house. As she neared the door she could
hear Ann and Terajin in conversation. Pausing she listened as she heard Ann
say, "You're right, and I don't mind doing my share of the work, that is, as
long as no one objects."
Her friend's voice cheerfully rang out, "I'm glad to see color has returned
and you are feeling much better, will you be taking Lila with you when you
Clearing her throat Lila entered the room as she said, "Brought some more
wood, now there should be plenty." She set the wood down then turned to
stare at Terajin and said, "If Ann will excuse us, I need to have a word
Ann Walked over to the bed and sat as she said, "Pay no mind to me, I'll
just lay back and rest."
The two women left the building and when they were outside, Terajin looked
at her and said, "I take it you heard us talking?"
Fire seemed to shoot from her dark eyes as Lila spout, "Gods! Why don't you
just give me to the woman! What is the matter with you? How could you even
ask if she was taking me with her?"
Terajin looked away then her eyes fell back on Lila as she answered,
"Someone had to, it seems you run at everything the woman tells you. I know
in your heart, you care for her and there is nothing holding you here. It
would do you good to get out and see a different part of the world."
Lila was now tapping her right foot as she said, "Then it should be my
decision and Ann's not yours. Placing yourself into our lives is wrong." She
brought her left-hand up and tapped her forehead with it as she said, "If
she were to ask me now, I would refuse because I would feel she was only
asking because you pushed her into it."
Terajin softly said, "I'm sorry, I will talk to Ann and tell her it was all
my doing and to just ignore what I said."
Lila replied, "You just don't get it do you? The damage has been done and I
will refuse her whatever she might ask. I will never know if it is because
that is what she wants or if it's just gratitude. I'm going back in."
Terajin followed her and when they entered they could see that Ann was
laying on the bed and it looked like she had fallen asleep. Terajin
whispered in her right ear, "Though she wants so badly to be well, it will
still be a battle. Tiring easily is something she must get used to at least
until her body has fully recovered."
Lila walked over to the bed and stared down at the woman. She was breathing
easily, her two arms were crossing her chest and she looked at peace with
the world. Turning she walked over to the table, pulled out a chair and sat.
Terajin poured a cup of tea and handed it to her as she said, "I am thankful
she has lived. Have you sent word to Gabrielle?"
Shaking her head Lila answered, "No, I have been so involved with Ann's
recuperation I forgot, but, I will now."
Terajin sat as she said, "Are you ready to start something with Xena and
Lila quickly answered, "Nothing to start I think they will both be happy to
know that Ann is all right."
Terajin smiled as she said, "Well, Gabrielle will be but Xena, I don't know.
She could be a little thankful she is alive but at the same time she will
become a threat to their relationship."
Lila laughed as she said, "Don't think so, their relationship is solid. I
will send a carrier pigeon tomorrow."
Terajin had gotten to her feet and walked over to the hearth as she said,
"The stew is ready, want me to pour you a bowl?"
Lila shook her head and said, "Not hungry but you go ahead and eat."
Terajin did just that and as she sat back down she said, "I would wake Ann
but she needs her rest and she can eat later."
When Ann finally woke, she moaned several times as she stretched out her
arms and sat up. Terajin and Lila were both staring at her as she got to her
feet and walked toward them. "Sorry for going out like that."
Lila smiled up at her as she said, "You needed the rest, probably those few
extra pieces of wood I piled on you."
Ann walked over to a chair and pulled it out, then she reached over and
touched Lila's nose with a finger as she said, "Such a tease, just like
Lila's eyes widened as she said, "You remember Gabrielle!"
Sitting she gazed at Lila and said, "The words came but I don't remember
her, you have told me so much I guess that is why I said that."
Terajin got to her feet as she said, "Let me get you some stew. As soon as
you eat the two of you can take the horse and go into Potidaea."
"I am hungry, sleeping sure builds up the appetite." She gazed at Lila and
asked, "Have you eaten?"
Lila shook her head and replied, "No, not hungry. I'll go saddle the horse
and when you are though we can go."
Ann watched Lila leave the room and was unaware that Terajin had placed the
stew in front of her until the woman said, "Better eat while it is still
Ann smiled at the woman as she began to tackle the steaming fare. She had
just finished making a last swipe in the bowl with a piece of bread when
Terajin said, "I'm glad you like my cooking. Ann, if I say something will
you promise me not to get offended?"
Turning her full attention to the woman Ann leaned back in the chair as she
said, "Go ahead, nothing you say will offend me, after all I owe this shell
of a life to you."
Terajin's face grew serious as she said, "I can see that you have feelings
for my friend and I know she cares for you, but, maybe things are getting
out of hand."
Ann seemed perplexed but didn't say anything as Terajin continued, "I have
stuck my nose in where I shouldn't."
Ann cut in as she said, "And I suppose that Lila has chewed you out good."
Nodding her head the woman said, "That she did, she feels that whatever you
do and say it is because you are doing it out of gratitude."
Ann shook her head as she said, "Not true, I do have my own mind what little
of it there seems to be. If I am giving praise or even a compliment it is
because I want to." Changing the subject she asked, "You don't mind our
taking the horse?"
Terajin answered, "No, it isn't that far but this way the two of you should
be able to save your strength. It is uphill for a ways and you really don't
need to tax yourself."
Getting to her feet Ann said, "I will do the dishes first."
Terajin shook her head and said, "No need, I need something to do, after all
it will be pretty lonely with the two of you gone."
"Well, if you won't accept my offer to do the dishes then I will go find
Lila. Don't worry I won't mention our talk to her."
As Ann stepped outside she could see Lila standing at the corral. She had
the horse saddled and bridled and the woman turned when she heard her
approach. "Are you sure you feel up to going in tonight? We can wait and do
this another time."
Ann nodded as she said, "I'm as ready as I ever will be. I am curious to see
Lila led the horse out and tossed the reins over it's head then she said,
"You rein, I'll sit behind you. The place is just that, a place nothing
It didn't take Ann long to mount as she leaned over and said, "Grab my
Lila looked up at the outstretched arm and grasped the hand, within seconds
the woman had pulled her up. Ann called back, "Just give me directions, are
you all right?"
Smiling Lila answered, "Oh, I've never been better, just let the horse go,
and take the path up the hill." She felt her body touching Ann's and wrapped
her arms around the woman's waist as the horse began to steadily move."
There was a slight breeze and it was starting to get dusk as the horse began
it's climb. Lila held on tighter as Ann said, "You can come up here and sit
in front of me, if you are uncomfortable."
Lila laid her head against the woman's left shoulder and without thinking
she said, "I'm very comfortable, I fear if I found myself there, I would be
Ann reached down and patted the woman's hands with her left-hand as she
said, "That is all I want, for you to be comfortable. I still don't see what
this is going to do but I am enjoying the outing, it's a very comforting
feeling you know, to have you close."
Ann barely got the last word out as Lila released her hold and fell off the
back of the horse. Ann reined it in as she hopped down and ran back to where
Lila was now getting up. "What happened?"
Brushing off her pants, she looked at Ann and said, "Just lost my balance."
Ann plopped down on the ground and said, "I did it again, I said something
that offended you."
Lila walked up to her and said, "Take my hand and get up, you didn't offend
me, take my word for that."
Ann grasped Lila's left-hand and as she started to get up lost her balance
and fell back pulling Lila down on top of her. Their faces were almost
touching and for a moment their lips slightly brushed one another's as Lila
rolled onto the ground. She sat very still as Ann said, "Sorry, I'm still
not full strength. Hope the fall didn't hurt you."
Lila turned to gaze at the woman and said, "I hope I didn't hurt you, your
Ann got to her feet as she said, "It's all healed nothing there but a scar.
If you are all right, we can go on."
Nodding the woman said, "I'm ready."
Ann handed the reins to her and said, "I'll ride behind and you rein, I
promise to behave myself."
Lila frowned as she said, "I could walk."
Ann was becoming irritated as she said, "Look, we are adults, there is no
problem unless you make one, now, either you get up into the saddle or by
the Gods, I will throw you over my shoulder and walk you there myself."
Lila's dark eyes widened as she stuttered, "I...I'll rein." After she had
mounted, Ann pulled herself up behind the woman and held onto the side of
the saddle as Lila prodded the horse on. It was dark when they finally could
see dim lights coming from the village and Lila stopped the horse as she
said, "We can walk the rest of the way. I think if we go in the back no one
will see us since that seems to be your desire."
Ann pushed herself off the back of the animal and as her feet touched ground
she said, "I just don't want a lot of fuss and I don't want you to have to
explain where you have been and what you have been doing. If your villagers
are anything like you, they will have us pledged before I can even say my
Lila nervously bit her lower lip as she said, "Wouldn't want that now would
we. Let's go."
As they neared the dwellings she tied the horse's reins to a tree branch and
started for the back door. Ann followed as she continued to look around.
Once the two were inside, Lila found a candle and lit it. The glow from it
allowed them to see where they were going. She walked up to the wooden table
and lit several more candles then said, "If you are tired, sit, I'll get a
fire going in the hearth and fix some tea."
Shaking her head Ann said, "No, I would rather see the image's."
Lila motioned with her right-hand and said, "Follow me to the bedroom." Ann
glanced around the area then followed her. As they entered the room, Lila
held the candle high and said, "It's over by the bed." She pointed with her
left hand as Ann brushed past and walked toward the bed. She stopped and
turned as she said, "Is it on the parchment setting there?"
Lila walked toward her and said, "Yes, take your time, maybe something will
come back to you."
Ann sat down on the bed as her eyes fell on the images of the two women. It
was obvious the way they were imaged one had dark hair but they were
strangers to her. Lila stood and watched as she asked, "Anything?"
Glancing up at her Ann shook her head and said, "The images are good, but
I'm sorry they bring back nothing."
Lila sighed as she said, "I had hoped if you saw them, you would remember."
Ann had been tracing the image of Gabrielle with her forefinger as she said,
"Why is it so important I remember these two?"
Lila answered, "I just thought it might help you to regain your memory
that's all. If you want to stay in here, I'm going to go fix something to
Ann stood as she said, "Lead on, I have seen what I came to. Something to
drink sounds good."
They left the room and entered the main room. The candles on the wooden
table had now lit up the interior and Sea walked over to the table and sat.
"I would offer to help but you would just tell me no, so I will set here
until you finish and come join me."
Lila smiled as she turned and walked back to the hearth.
Ann watched the woman as she got a fire going then she got up and said, "I'm
going to go out for a bit, call me when its ready."
Lila nodded and went back to what she was doing. Ann opened the back door
and went outside. She walked over to the corral and stood watching an animal
pacing the area as it brayed pathetically. She leaned on the fence and
reached over as she said, "Come here, fella, what seems to be your problem?
Surely you are not like me, no memory. It's all right, Lila is inside and I
won't take her away from you again."
The words were soft as they drifted to her from behind, "It's not me Tobias
misses, it's Gabrielle."
Ann turned and could see Lila walking toward her, she glanced at the animal
then back at Lila and said, "You heard that?"
Nodding, the woman walked past her and leaned against the fence as she said,
"I take it you are leaving?"
Joining her, Ann answered, "I think soon, but I was just trying to comfort
Turning to stare up into the green eyes that were holding the moons rays in
them she said, "I understand, I am just happy to have had the opportunity to
know you. I only wish it had been different and you were not fighting for
Ann reached out and grasped Lila's right-hand in hers as she said, "You are
one of a kind, and whether you wish it or not, you are and always will be a
part of my life. I do have a request."
Lila answered, "Anything, what is it?"
"Take me to the falls."
Lila pulled her hand away as she turned and stepped back. "Gods no! Are you
insane? Why would you want to go back to that place of destruction and
death? I would think it would be the last place you would ever want to go!"
Ann's eyes gazed at Tobias as her voice quivered, "It's not what I want, but
I feel I need to see where all this happened."
Lila had approached her once more as she said, "What good would it do? You
will be in that spot once more and what if something were to happen to you?"
Ann managed a smile as she said, "I am in a quandry at the moment, I need to
see it and I need to know. Even if my memory returns at this spot it will be
all right for I have lived through it and I will not be alone. You will go
with me, won't you?"
"I will go with you, even it it does bring back bad memories. Maybe you are
right, it could help, when do you want to go?"
Ann answered, "After we rest and I have that cup of tea, if it is all right
Lila replied, "Then let's go in, there are a few things I need to do before
we can leave."
Ann followed the woman into the building and as they entered the room she
said, "It is a lot warmer in here now, looks like you have been busy in the
Smiling Lila answered, "Sit, I'll bring you some tea along with some cheese
Walking toward a chair Ann said, "Do you have anything stronger to put in
the tea? It is going to be a cool night and my insides need warming."
Lila called back, "We'll take some blankets that should keep you warm
Sitting down, Ann smiled as she watched Lila bustling around the hearth. She
was not looking forward to this trek but she also knew she had to face what
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
It was a long trek to the falls and they had to stop many times while Ann
caught her breath. Lila tried to get the woman to turn back but she refused.
Lila carried a torch and was holding it out in front as they began the last
portion of the walk. "Get ready, we are getting close and the sound you have
been listening to will become much louder."
Ann reached out and placed her right hand on Lila's right shoulder as she
said, "If it is all the same with you, I don't really want to get lost out
Lila called back, "You won't, and from the noise, we are almost there." As
they rounded a bend in the path they were met with the roaring of the falls.
Ann had moved up and was standing beside her as she said, "You were right,
it is loud! What now?"
Lila answered, "Let's go sit over there."
She was pointing to a large round rock. Walking with her Ann said, "I assume
the leather pack contains the blankets."
Sitting down, she laid the leather pack on the ground and said, "Among other
Ann slowly sat as she said, "My legs feel like rubber. I certainly am out of
Lila had placed the torch into the ground and was now laying back on the
rock as she said, "If you are anything, it is not out of shape."
Ann leaned back against the rock as she said, "From the signs my body is
making, definitely out of shape. Lila, you are a puzzlement to me."
Sitting up, Lila looked at the woman and said, "Why, what do you mean?"
Shrugging her shoulder, Ann replied, "Nothing, I'm going to go take a look
at the falls. There is a bright moon tonight and things are fairly clear."
Reaching out she grabbed Ann by her right shoulder and said, "No! I'm afraid
something will happen."
Ann reached up and patted Lila's hand as she said, "Nothing to be worried
over. I'm just going to look, come show me where it happened."
Lila stood and as she went to pick up the torch Ann said, "No need, it is
bright enough." She started to walk toward the falls and Lila ran to catch
up to her. "Be careful, it is not far and a long drop, but then you should
Ann stopped as she neared the edge, she stared down at the water as it
cascaded sending its billowing white mist into the air. Lila reached out and
touched her left arm as she said, "It happened right here." She could feel
Ann's arm tense up and said, "Why don't we step back a little."
Ann turned and said, "All right, I don't relish falling down into that." She
had just taken several steps toward Lila when she suddenly doubled over. Her
hands shot to her stomach as she cried out in pain. Lila ran and grabbed Ann
at the same time the woman collapsed.
When Ann opened her eyes she found herself laying on a blanket. Another was
laying over her and she could feel warmth against her back. Slowly moving
she felt the hand that was now draped over her waist as it grasped her
tighter she heard Lila say, "You scared me to death, I don't know what
happened back there but I am glad you have finally come around."
Turning onto her back she looked up at the face of the woman she had come to
know so well. Lila was now on one elbow and her face held a very concerned
look. Ann reached out and placed her right-hand on Lila's as she said, "I
don't remember anything except the falls and you saying to step back. What
Lila gazed down at Ann's hand on hers and replied, "I don't know, it was as
if you were being run through again. It was scary."
Ann seemed disoriented as she said, "I don't know what happened but I do
remember something of what you just said."
Lila sat up as she reached out and brushed Ann's hair back from her face.
Reaching up with her right-hand Ann grasped Lila's hand and brought it down
to her lips. Lila tried to pull it away but Ann wouldn't release it as she
said, "Don't, I feel so vulnerable, please just stay by me."
Lila smiled as she said, "I would not go anywhere and leave you alone. Now,
try to get some rest. The falls will be there in the morning and it will be
less eerie and you can see more."
Ann stretched out her left arm as she said, "Lay on my shoulder, I need to
know you are here."
Lila started to say no when she noticed Ann was shaking. Without another
thought she pulled herself close and rested her head on the shoulder. She
could feel the woman's body shaking as she held her tighter. The two went to
sleep like that, close in one another's embrace, leaving the roar of the
The next morning Lila woke slowly, she held a pleasing smile on her face as
she moaned then slowly stretched. Her eyes flew open and she realized Ann
was gone. Quickly getting to her feet she looked around and began to call
out the woman's name. It was then that she realized a campfire had been
built and it was sending out a pleasant flame. She walked over to it and
looked down, there was a pot sitting close and from the steam coming out she
assumed it was ready for tea. She removed it and then went to search for the
When Ann awoke she decided to make a search of the area. She had traveled
the path for quite a ways. It seemed that with each step she took, she found
herself faced with visions. She didn't know why she took the path into the
forest but she had and now she stood beside a tree and stared around at the
beauty of the area.
She never knew where they came from but she suddenly heard the words, "I
always feel safe and secure in your arms. But, we can't have Xena see this."
She shook her head but the words were becoming clearer and so was the vision
of the beautiful blonde that gazed into her eyes with a look of love. Ann
dropped to her knees as she softly said, Gabrielle?"
Closing her eyes she could see the woman start to pull away from her and she
could see herself mouthing the words, "If I am to go into a battle I may not
return from, at least let me feel your body against mine once more." She
could sense several tears finding their way from her eyes.
The sounds of someone calling her name brought her back to the present. She
reached up and brushed the tears away as she got to her feet. Starting
toward the sounds, she stopped and glanced back then hurried away.
Lila was happy when she saw the woman walking from among a crop of trees.
She waved and hurried toward her and as she neared she said, "I woke and you
were gone, it worried me. Has something happened, are you all right?"
Ann smiled as she stepped up to Lila and said, "I am fine, just been doing
Lila's eyes were glistening as she said, "Did it bring back any memories?"
Glancing back then turning her attention to the woman she answered, "It is
beautiful, hard to believe there was such a horrific battle fought here."
Lila had watched and wondered why Ann was staring back but she thought
better of prying as she said, "The fire you built is nice and the water is
hot, let's go have something to drink. I brought a few staples in the pack
if you are hungry."
Ann shook her head as she said, "Not hungry, but, something to drink sounds
Lila laughed and the woman stared at her and asked, "What is so funny?"
She had started toward the campfire as she called back, "You, Xena uses the
same word for most things, they are good."
Ann ran to catch up with her as she said, "Well, I'm not this Xena and if
that is all we have in common..."
Lila cut in as she said, "Not all, you both seem to desire my sister."
As the two women sat near the fire, Lila poured Ann a mug of tea and handed
it to her. She thanked the woman and watched her pour herself a mug of the
steaming beverage. After the two leaned back against a wall of rock she
turned to gaze at Lila and said, "There is something I need to tell you."
Leaning forward and staring wide eyed at the woman, Lila asked, "What?
Something did happen when you were out there didn't it?"
She nodded as she said, "I had a few visions and I can only assume they had
something to do with the battle. But, it was the one I had in the forest
before you found me. I believe the vision I had was of your sister."
Lila seemed to be on edge as she said, "Gabrielle, you saw her, tell me what
Ann took a drink of the tea then answered, "It didn't last long, she was
talking to me and I saw myself speaking to her. The person I saw in the
vision is the same one in your drawing."
Lila reached out and touched Ann's left hand as she said, "That is good! It
is a start maybe the rest will come back now."
Shaking her head the woman said, "I hope so, but it was all gone so fast and
I can't seem to bring out anything else. I want to know what is in my past
and I want to know your sister."
Lila lowered her head as she said, "It has been the same all through our
life, everyone always wants to know Gabrielle."
Ann patted the woman's hand as she said, "You have been trying to get me to
remember and now that a few things are coming back, you seen to be
depressed, have I done something to cause you distress?"
Lila looked up at her and said, "No, I am happy you have remembered
something. You are right, I do want you to get your full memory back. I
guess I am fearful that when you do, there will be no place for me in it."
Emptying the mug as she took a long drink, Ann set it down and said, "I
would never forget you, I owe my life to you and to your friend."
Lila got to her feet as she said, "Is there anything else you want to do up
here? If not, we can head back down."
Ann slowly got to her feet and said, "No, my body senses an eerie element
here and I am ready to go back."
After they had put the fire out and Lila had packed the supplies once more
the two began their trek back to the bottom.
The two were quiet on their journey down and when they were within sight of
Lila's home she stopped. Ann caught up to her and said, "What is the matter?
Why are we stopping?"
Pointing toward the house she said, "Looks like the family is back."
Ann gazed in the direction and could see the smoke finding its way toward
the sky. She glanced around and said, "That is good, isn't it?"
Shrugging her shoulders the woman answered, "They will be full of questions
and I don't think you feel like trying to answer them at the moment."
Ann smiled as she said, "You are right, I don't feel ready to meet people
and the one thing I cannot answer at this moment is questions of any kind."
Lila started walking once more as she said, "Maybe I will go in and get the
horse, meet you up here and we can go to Terajin's."
Ann walked over and sat down on the ground as she called out, "I'll be right
Turning to stare at the woman she said, "I won't be long." Ann watched her
until she was out of sight, then she go to her feet and began to pace the
It didn't take Lila very long to make it to the back of the house. She went
into the corral and bridled the horse they had left there. Tying the reins
to a corral post she turned and went into the dwelling. Her parents were
happy to see the woman and wanted to know where she had been. She told them
that she had been visiting with Terajin and had just come back from the
falls. They couldn't help themselves as they lectured her on the evil of the
area but when they were finished, they were happy to know she had been
visiting her friend.
Ann heard the horse whinny and looked up to see the animal heading her way.
Lila was waving to her as she quickly strode toward them.
Reining the horse in, Lila dismounted and said, "They asked a lot of
questions, but, I did not mention you. I told them I have been visiting
Terajin and had gone up to the falls."
Ann nodded a thank you as she said, "I hope your friend doesn't mind my
going back there."
Lila handed the woman the reins and said, "She won't, you rein, I'll set
Throwing the reins over the animals head she quickly found her way into the
saddle and reached down to help Lila up. Before she urged the animal forward
she turned her head and said, "You can put your hands around my waist, I
Lila smiled and said, "I really don't think that you would and if you did,
it would be something to remember. "Ann felt the woman's arms wrap around
her waist as she said, "Like I have said before, sometimes you puzzle me."
The short trip back to her friend's hut was uneventful and Ann was pleased
that Lila didn't pull away from her again. They were now starting down the
path and could see Terajin standing at the doorway, she was waving at them
as Lila waved back.
Lila's friend hurried to meet them and reached up to touch the horse's neck
as she said, "Good to see you both made it back in one piece."
Ann had dismounted and was reaching up to help Lila. Once she was on the
ground she walked over and gave Terajin a warm hug and said, "We are both
glad to be back. I'll put the horse up for you."
Terajin smiled and said, "You two go on in, I'll do it. There is some water
for tea on the hearth and you know where the food is."
Smiling, the woman nodded as the two turned and walked toward the dwelling.
Once they were inside, Lila poured Ann some tea and asked, "Are you hungry
yet? I can fix you something."
Ann had pulled a wooden chair away from the table and was setting as she
shook her head and said, "No, how about you? Aren't you hungry?"
Walking over to the table she set the mug of tea in front of the woman and
said, "Not really to much has happened."
Ann watched her as she sat then said, "I really have to decide what I am
going to do, I can't live off your friend forever."
Lila leaned forward in her chair as she said, "She wouldn't mind and neither
would I but maybe I have a solution for you."
Ann seemed intrigued as she asked, "What?"
"Well, Terajin has a small cabin not far from here, it was built to house
someone who works for her from time to time. I know she has a lot of things
that need to be done there and maybe you could do that at least for awhile."
Ann leaned back in her chair as she took a drink from the mug. Finally she
said, "Well, I would be out of sight and it might be a way to get my
Lila smiled as she said, "Then it's settled?
Smiling, the woman asked, "What about Terajin, doesn't she have any say in
Lila nodded as she said, "She does, but she will agree with us." She raised
her mug and took a sip and as she set it on the table a warm smile radiated
When Lila told Terajin of their plans, the woman was ecstatic. She relished
having someone see to the place and she definitely needed to get a few
It was Ann that decided there was no time like the present and insited they
go there in what was left of the daylight. Lila assured her friend she would
go along and make sure Ann found the place. Terajin had pulled her to one
side and whispered into her right ear, "This is your chance, nothing but the
two of you alone in the cabin."
Lila smiled to herself as she followed the path toward the dwelling that set
among a group of trees. She was thinking how she had pulled away from her
friend and had tried to set the woman straight. It was at this time, she
heard Ann's breathing behind her and felt a warmth as she thought to
herself, maybe Terajin was right, after all, there would only be the two of
them in the cabin and no one else.
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
The woman had been pacing the room, stopping from time to time to stare at
her surroundings. Finally she walked over to a wooden trunk setting against
the rock wall. Falling to her knees she fumbled with the lock and finally
removed it. Slowly opening the lid her eyes fell on the contents as she
reached in and began to riffle through the items. It didn't take her long to
withdraw a pair of brown leather pants, a leather blouse and a cutlass from
the trunk. Her hands caressed the clothes as she softly mumbled to herself,
"I can't take it any longer."
Xena had been gone for several moons and being alone with nothing to do was
making her irritable as well as depressed. When the two of them returned to
the cave she had been in celestial heaven. Xena never was a person to show
her emotions outright but on the trip back and after they returned the woman
was different. Gabrielle loved it, finally seeing her friend actually
respond to their love was marvelous. Xena had been protective and gave
anyone who dared to look at Gabrielle the evil eye. At first Gabrielle
welcomed the attention but she could see how jealous the woman was becoming
and this gave her an uneasy feeling.
Xena had been so attentive and loving. Gabrielle smiled to herself as she
thought about their trip back home. She had never seen the woman so
demonstrative and they stopped many times and in many places. She wasn't
sure they would ever get home but she didn't really care because she had
Xena and the woman definitely had her.
They hadn't been back long when the message came for Xena, Princess Diana
needed her. Gabrielle had been surprised at the woman's immediate reaction,
she didn't even think about it before she sent the message that she would be
Thinking back she remembered how hurt she had been when Xena told her to
stay, that whatever was taking place she just might foil it because they
knew she traveled with Xena. She was hurt but accepted it and Xena promised
to return as soon as she could. It seemed like an eternity and through word
of mouth she now knew that Xena had finished helping Diana and had since
gone to assist Ulysses and his people.
She had endeavored to keep a level head, and attempted to understand the
woman's reasoning. But, try as hard as she could, it all came down to the
fact that she was alone and couldn't take the silence and not doing anything
The sound of footsteps brought her attention to the cavern opening as she
got to her feet and turned to face whoever was entering. It didn't take long
for a young woman to enter the chamber, her eyes caught sight of Gabrielle
as she hurried toward her. "You must be Gabrielle, Xena's friend, I must
speak to her!"
Gabrielle walked toward her as she said, "Yes, I am Gabrielle but Xena is
Stopping in front of her the woman nervously looked around then asked,
"Where is she? Will she be back soon?"
Gabrielle smiled warmly as she said, "No, she has been gone for sometime.
Tell me what is the matter, maybe I can help?"
Shaking her head the woman began to cry as she stammered, "Only someone with
the Warrior Princess's strength and courage can help even then I don't
Gabrielle pointed toward the small fire and said, "Come, sit by the fire,
I'll get you a cup of tea."
The woman followed her and sat down beside Gabrielle and said, "Thank you, I
am thirsty and tired. I have been traveling for days."
Handing the woman a cup of steaming tea she said, "Where do you come from
and tell me what has happened, why do you seek Xena's help?"
Her right hand was shaking as she took the cup, staring down at its contents
for several seconds before she spoke, "People are disappearing mysteriously
ever since it appeared."
Leaning back on her hands, Gabrielle looked at her and said, "Start at the
beginning, and tell me what has happened."
Several tears ran down the woman's face as she said, "Why? There is no one
that can help us."
"Well, I'm not an invalid and have been known to help with a few things.
Just take your time and tell me, you might be surprised, I do have a few
When the woman had finished her story, Gabrielle stared at her as she said,
"Sounds like handiwork of the Gods." Taking a sip of the warm liquid the
woman turned her attention toward Gabrielle as she said, "If it is, it is
unlike anything I have ever encountered or heard of." She held out her right
hand and said, "My name is Liljah, if you will permit me to rest, I will
leave and be on my way back."
Taking the woman's hand in hers Gabrielle pursed her lips and said, "Pleased
to make your acquaintance and you can lay down over there." She pointed to a
pallet stretched out on the floor then she continued, "And, when you are
ready to start back, I will go with you. Maybe I can't do anything but maybe
I can. Anyway, I have been getting claustrophobic shut up here and need to
stretch my legs and breath some of that wonderful air once again."
Liljah smiled as she said, "I welcome your company and you can call me Lil."
Getting to her feet she stared down at the woman and replied, "I'll pack a
few things, when you are ready to start for home, just let me know."
The two women had been traveling for sometime and Gabrielle was beginning to
wonder if this was all a wild goose chase. They had stopped on a hill
overlooking the fertile plains and in the distance the blue waters of the
ocean. Gabrielle sat down and laid back on the warm ground and said, "It has
been a long journey and I just hope this isn't some kind of plot."
Lil had sat and was staring down at Gabrielle as she said, "Plot? Oh no, if
I have given you any reason to think this, I am sorry."
Sitting up she reached for the water skin and took a long drink. Turning to
set her gaze on the woman's brown eyes she replied, "There are many who
would like to capture Xena and I apologize if I have upset you but one has
to be leery. How long before we reach your village?"
Lil looked around as she said, "Not very, after we descend it is a day's
walk to the village of Larissa and our village is not far from there."
Gabrielle took a deep breath as she said, "I can sense the ocean air clear
Lil smiled as she said, "You seem to thrive on it, I have not seen that
glint in your eyes until now."
Pondering the woman's words then slowly nodding she said, "I hadn't realized
it until now, but, you are right, I do miss it."
Lil gazed down at the never-ending water as she said, "Well, you won't be
missing it for long, we are almost there."
After they had rested substantially they began their trek down. Lil had to
stop several times to call back to Gabrielle who had paused to stare at
ships that were bobbing in the water. She would smile and pick up her step
and with each one, her body seemed to soar with the feeling of excitement.
It was getting dusk when they found themselves walking through the village
of Larissa. Gabrielle seemed to enjoy the hubbub that was going on. People
were milling in the square, the sounds of hawkers selling their wares and
the voices of the people gave her a warm feeling. She had been cooped up so
long in the cave that this was a welcome sight.
Lil had stopped as she turned to face Gabrielle. The woman spoke softly, "We
have traveled a long way and it will take another day to get to the village,
we must stop here tonight. I have a cousin, Lazarith, who lives on the
outskirts we can stay there tonight."
Shrugging her shoulders Gabrielle said, "That's fine with me as long as it
is with him. Lead on, I'll follow."
As they walked through the streets, Gabrielle found herself surveying
everything, she realized she missed the bustle and the excitement of a port.
There was a slight breeze blowing in off the water. She could feel her body
longing for the open bounds of the ocean and a ship called, "The Bounty" The
darkness had set in by the time they reached the small dwelling. The sounds
of cows communicating with one another and the smell of smoke rising from
the roof was welcome to them. She stood behind Lil as the woman knocked on
the door and before long it opened as a kindly looking man beamed at the
woman, Lil, girl you have returned!" His eyes gazed at Gabrielle as he
continued, "But, where is Xena? This is not the Warrior Princess!"
Lil smiled as she said, "Cousin, this is Gabrielle, she is a friend of
Xena's and she has come to help."
The man reached out his right arm as she said, "Then come in child, you both
look spent. I have food, drink and a place to lay your heads."
Gabrielle reached out and clasped the man's arm in friendship as she said,
"Thank you for your hospitality."
Once they were inside and seated around a wooden table the man went to pour
several bowls of soup. It didn't take him long to return and place the
steaming liquid before them along with fresh bread. Smiling down at the two
women he said, "Go ahead, eat, I'll go get you something to drink." He
looked at Gabrielle and said, "Tea or something stronger?"
She looked at Lil then back at him as she said, "If you have something
stronger, I could use it."
He nodded then walked away. Lil had picked up a wooden spoon and had began
to sample the soup. Gabrielle watched the woman then she said, "I hope my
asking for something stronger didn't cause you any alarm."
The woman gazed at Gabrielle and answered, "You are a friend of Xena's and
it does not bother me that you chose to drink something stronger than tea. I
don't taste the drink but I have my own reasons. So please, do not mind me."
The man had returned and placed a goblet of port in front of Gabrielle. She
thanked him as she began to savor the meal. The man sat and watched the two
and when they were finished he leaned back in his chair and said, "Now, that
you both are fed, tell me how are you going to help the village, Gabrielle?"
She glanced at Lil then she said, "I don't know, I plan on talking to a few
people and going to the spot where this is all occurring."
He smirked as he said, "Talk is cheap but people are disappearing not to
show up again, and this thing seems to be the culprit. I'm sure the Warrior
Princess could figure out how to stop what's happening and bring the people
Gabrielle got to her feet as she said, "I'm sure that Xena would try, I know
she would do all she could to help but not even Xena can perform miracles. I
will do my best and I will try not to let Lil and the villagers down. Now,
if you will both excuse me, I have need of the outside and I need to visit a
certain place. Don't worry, I will meet you here bright and early and we can
go on to your village. Thank you for the meal and drink, I bid you both good
night." She turned and walked from the room.
It didn't take her long to make it down to the port and she gazed at the
dimly lit lights placed strategically around the area. The ships lanterns
were glowing in the darkness and she felt with each one she sighted, a
welcoming feeling. Finding a protruding rock she sat and leaned back. There
was a slight chill in the air but for some reason she felt warm. With each
sound emitting from the darkness she was beginning to feel more at home.
Finally getting to her feet she began to walk the lengthy boardwalk. There
were a few men milling about, some drinking and some tending to supplies.
Each stopped what they were doing to stare at the vibrant beauty that
sauntered past without hesitation. They marveled at the way she carried the
cutlass at her waist and many ran into one another as she walked by. The
skin tight leather pants and low necked leather shirt brought out the
magnificent form of this woman. Two men who had watched her walk past
decided to follow the woman. The burly man in front yelled out, "Say, pretty
lady, want to take a tour with us? My friend and I will be happy to show you
something you haven't seen before. It's not good for someone like you to be
walking out here alone, you need the company!"
Stopping, she slowly turned and faced them as she said, "I prefer being
alone at the present. So you two can go back to whatever it was you were
doing." The man had stepped close to her, his foul breath almost caused her
to heave and she turned walking away from them.
The man growled as he ran after her, in an instant his right-hand shot out
and grabbed her right shoulder and before he knew what was happening, he
found himself plummeting to the boardwalk. He felt the air being knocked
from his body as he gasped, "Please don't hurt me, I was just trying to be
She had drawn her cutlass and turned to stare at the other man and said, "If
you want what he got or worse, just keep coming!"
He threw up his hands and said, "Not me, I'm getting out of here!" He turned
and ran away.
She turned around and was staring down at his partner. she reached out and
grabbed his right hand as she said, "Come on, get to your feet and take my
advice, have them take you far away from me."
The man got to his feet as his eyes stared at the moonlight ricocheting from
the blade, he stammered, "I'm going, I'm going." He edged past her and she
smiled at the sounds of his boots hitting the boardwalk as he hurried away.
Placing the cutlass back into the sheath she began walking forward once
She hesitated when she heard the sounds of oars pulling through the water.
Soon a longboat came into view and there were several men rowing in her
direction. She stood, with her hands on her hips as they neared. A familiar
voice rang out, "Don't just stand there, give us a hand." She saw the rope
being tossed as her right hand shot out and grasped it, and before long she
had secured it to the anchor by the walk. Watching the men as they stepped
onto the walk she sighed. The last man had his back to her and was now
turning as he stepped onto the boardwalk. His smile was so familiar as he
said, "My old eyes must be deceiving me, could it be? Little one, it is
Tears forming in her eyes she hurried to the man as she said, "Saxton! Gods
it is good to see you!"
He reached out and hugged the woman as she laid her head on his left
shoulder he whispered, "And I you, I have missed you something terrible."
They stood like that for sometime, it was a tearful reunion and finally
Saxton gently pushed her back as he said, "Let me have a look at you."
She managed a smile as he said, "You look like you could use a good meal
She interrupted and said, "Well, you are a sight for tired eyes also. I do
miss your meals." He seemed to be disappointed as she continued, "But, most
of all I miss you and "The Bounty."
His eyes sparkled as they seemed to catch the moon's rays in them he said,
"Then come on down to the Inn with me, let's hoist a few, I want to know how
you have been."
She looked around at the ships and said, "All right, I would welcome the
company, it has been lonely."
Walking side by side he said, "Where is this friend of yours, the one you
left us for?"
"Long story, and I really don't want to talk about Xena, I want to know how
you have been and..."
He smiled as he said, "Mary is fine, you certainly made a changed woman of
her, and Kiera is doing well."
Swallowing hard, she asked, "And Sea, have you no word about her?"
He stopped as he turned to face her and said, "No, nothing, I feel she is
alive but I have no proof of that."
Gabrielle began to walk forward as she said, "She is, the question now
becomes, where is she?"
He hurried to catch up to her as he replied, "If a person is to find the
captain, it will be you. The two of you share a closeness that I have never
seen in any other."
She laughed as she said, "If I didn't know you so well, I would think you
were up to something."
He laughed with her as they stepped off the boardwalk onto the dirt paths.
Pointing toward the end of the street and the dim lit building he said,
"Let's go in, I could use a drink and a chance to visit with you again warms
She followed the man and as the two walked through the swinging wooden
doors. The boisterous crowd inside stopped to stare at the two. Saxton
looked at her and said, "Well, it's not me they be staring at. There is a
table toward the back, we can take it." He started off and she followed,
they hadn't taken many steps when several men got up from their table and
blocked their path. Saxton looked at them as he said, "We want no trouble,
just move and let us pass, all we are looking for is a drink and our own
The shorter of the two stepped forward as he said, "Who is your lady friend,
Gabrielle stepped forward as Saxton held out his right hand and said, "It's
none of your concern, Liam, go back to your drink and let us be on our way."
The man sneered as he said, "Can't really do that, now, pretty lady, why
don't you come join us, leave this cantankerous old mate to his own doing."
Saxton struck out so fast the man never even saw his fist, but he felt it as
he fell backwards and hit the floor. The other man drew his sword as he
pointed it at Saxton and said, "There was no need to strike Liam, he was
just funning, now, I think I will have to teach you a lesson."
Saxton smiled, starting to draw his cutlass and finding Gabrielle's hand on
his at the same time. She spoke softly, "Let me, it has been a long time."
He glanced at her as he said, "Sorry, this here is my fight."
The man smiled wickedly as he said, "Surely don't want some wench defending
your honor now do you Saxton?"
She brushed past Saxton and faced him as she said, "The name's Gabrielle and
I don't like your tone."
He laughed as he struck out nicking her left-arm. She jerked back and drew
her cutlass. Saxton tried to get her to back off but she ignored his words
as she glanced at the red that was seeping through her shirt. Turning her
attention to the man she said, "Not many get a second chance at that, now,
throw down the sword and get back to your drink."
The man stared around the room as he smirked, "A woman dares to give me
orders? Before I am through, I'll be the one giving you the orders."
Saxton was getting ready to intercede when he felt a knife touching his back
and heard the words, "Leave it be, let the woman get what she is asking
Tables had been pushed back and people had moved, leaving a large circle.
Gabrielle watched the man take several steps back then she raised her sword
to her lips and placed a kiss on the blade after which she took several
swipes through the air. The man guffawed, "Say little lady, takes more than
kissing the blade and swiping at the air to make me stop! Don't waste those
pretty lips on metal." He puckered his lips and blew a kiss to her as he
struck out at the woman.
Her blade met his before it made it's mark on her flesh, the sound of metal
on metal was shattering. He grimaced as he tried to bring his blade down on
her but she had more strength than he thought. The woman was holding her own
and try as hard as he could, his blade was going nowhere, except dancing
with hers. Finally he pulled it back and stepped to the right, then lashed
out once more, his blade causing a swirling sound as it cut through the air.
Gabrielle had dropped to her knees and she felt the air above her head as
the blade passed. Immediately she threw herself to the left and somersaulted
several times before she landed on her feet. He smiled as he slowly walked
the circle stepping closer each time. Saxton called out, "You two stop this,
it is not worth someone getting hurt over. Gabrielle!"
She glanced at the man and winked as she said, "It's all right, I really
The man sighed as he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Liam, tell your
friend to stop, he is dealing with the Captain of "The Bounty," and Second
in Command to the Pirate Capital of Celicia. She is no novice."
Gabrielle gave the man the look then turned her gaze to the man that was
licking his lips as he neared. It didn't take him long to thrust at her
several times and each time she met the attack. He seemed amazed that she
was able to block his blows with her parries. They had been parrying back
and forth for sometime when one of her thrusts made contact. He stood
staring at his right arm and the blood that was running down it as he glared
at the woman who seemed to be playing him like a harp. She seemed to know
what move he was going to make and was way ahead of him. He cursed, "Why
don't you stand an fight like a..."
Gabrielle laughed as she said, "Because I am not a man and I will fight my
way, if you wish to stop you've but to say, I have something I would rather
He glanced around at the people that were staring at him as he said, "Hades
me damned and you too!"
He charged toward her and as he neared, he fell to the floor and rolled to
the side, his feet struck out and caught Gabrielle around her ankles and in
that moment all she could see was the floor coming up to meet her.
She hit the floor with a resounding blow and for a second the breath was
knocked from her. He grabbed that moment to scramble to where she lay and as
he raised his sword he said, "Now who is going to beg for mercy!"
Gabrielle quickly rolled away as his sword crashed into the wooden floor.
She flipped to her feet and leaped into the air, swirling as her left leg
struck the man's face and he fell back. She stood over the still body, then
she dropped to her knees and felt for a pulse. Saxton had made his way to
her as he reached down and touched her shoulder and said, "Come on little
one, there is no helping him now." He turned to stare at the room as he
shouted, "It was a fair fight, you all have witnessed it." He turned to her
as he reached out and took her cutlass he said, "Let's go find that table
She let the man take the cutlass as she walked with him to the other end of
the room and a vacant table. They watched the men carry the body away and
place the tables back and soon the room was full of talking and drinking
once more it was as if the fight had not been.
He had laid the cutlass on the table and welcomed the mugs of ale that had
been placed in front of them. Smiling he raised his toward her and said, "To
you, little one, spirit I haven't seen in a long time."
She met his toast as she said, "And to a dear friend."
After he had taken several drinks he leaned back in his chair and said, "I'm
sorry to have placed you in that situation but before you say anything I
want to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Seeing the fire in those eyes
and watching your body come to life again made a tired old man's eyes happy.
I can still see you and Annie standing side by side as you fended off
boarders. Ahh, there never will be an equal to you and..."
Gabrielle raised her mug as she smiled, "Then raise a toast to Sea."
He reached out and met her mug with his and said, "Aye a toast to the
greatest woman to ever set sail."
Gabrielle watched the man down the entire drink as she raised hers to her
mouth. He smiled as he watched her drink the contents and when she set the
mug on the table he smiled, "You still love her don't you?"
"You are so keen, what am I doing wearing it on my forehead?"
He laughed as he said, "You forget, I have known you both for sometime and I
can see what is in your eyes and in your heart. I told you a long time ago,
that one day you would realize who it is you really love. Tell me, am I
wrong? Do you not want to ever see Ann again?"
Slowly shaking her head she said, "No, you are not wrong. I will always
carry Sea with me and I will always care for her. I would give my life to
have her back."
He called for more drinks as he reached across the table and patted her left
hand with his right one and said, "You love her, I always knew it and so
does Ann, she will be back and when you least expect it. I will tell you
that after all this time, she will be looking to you for completion."
Seeming nervous, Gabrielle looked away as she said, "If it's all the same to
you, it is hard for me to express my feelings toward Sea and I know that she
understands how I feel. For now, that is all I need to know. Don't worry
Saxton, I won't ever hurt Sea, this I promise you."
Their new drinks had arrived and he said, "Then let's drink to old times and
old friends with a new beginning." They touched their mugs as he reached out
and grasped her left hand in his right.
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
It was nearing the dawn of a new day when they left the Inn. Gabrielle was
feeling no pain and Saxton had tried many times to get her to go with him to
the ship. She walked with the man to the longboat and before he followed the
men on board he said, "Why don't you change your mind. Come with us, give
you a chance to straighten out a few things in your mind."
She smiled at the man as she answered, "Not this time, but maybe soon. I
promised to help the people in a nearby village and I will not go back on
He smiled at her as he said, "Then at least promise me you will not go and
get yourself into anymore fights." She nodded as she said, "I promise I will
not start any but I can't promise I will not defend myself."
He stepped down into the boat and looked up as he said, "Can't ask for
anything more than that, we'll be anchored here for several days, if you
change your mind..."
She smiled as she said, "I will, if I change my mind, you take care of
As the boat disappeared from sight she found herself still waving. Finally
turning she started back down the boardwalk. Her step was not as careful as
it had been before but she still managed to stay out of the water. She
wasn't feeling very well and didn't know how she even made it to the stable.
There wasn't anyone around and it didn't take her long to find a soft bed of
hay and lay down. She passed out before her head even touched it.
It was the sounds of people talking that aroused her at first but it was the
cold water that drenched her face that brought the woman wide awake. She was
gasping as she uttered, "What in Hades!" It was at this time she saw the
sword that was within inches of her throat. She looked up at the man that
held it as she said, "What is the matter? If it is because I slept here, I
will pay the owner."
The man laughed as he asked, "Is this the woman?"
The man she recognized at Liam stepped forward and glowered at her as he
answered, "That's her all right. She is the one that killed my brother!"
Gabrielle stared at the man as she said, "It was a fair fight, he would have
killed me if given the chance."
Liam stepped forward and said, "You and the pirate Saxton, probably came in
looking for some blood lust."
Gabrielle started to move and the man holding the sword quickly said, "Don't
move!" He called back, "Men, she is to be taken prisoner. Like anyone else,
she will get a trial." Looking down at the woman he said, "Now, slowly get
to your knees, hold your hands high above your head and don't try any of
that fancy foot stuff. Because, if you should happen to take me down, one of
my men will get you that is a promise."
She nodded as she said, "You're making a mistake."
He watched her and when she got to her knees he said, "Place your hands
behind your head and clasp them there." He gestured to one of his men as the
man walked behind Gabrielle. It didn't take him long to reach out and place
manacles on her wrists. Gabrielle stared up at the man who seemed to be
giving orders as she said, "What now? I am supposed to be somewhere this
Liam stepped forward and said, "You think my brothers life is worthless,
well you are the worthless one and I will see you pay for his death!" She
knew it was going to happen but couldn't move out of the way fast enough as
the man's right fist slamed into her face knocking her backwards. "Get up
you whore, I have more where that came from!"
Gabrielle didn't move, her jaw throbbed and she could feel the warmth
trickling from her lip. She heard the man, as he fell on his knees, his hand
reaching out and grasping the front of her shirt. Through the pounding in
her head she felt him raise her off the floor as he said, "You will regret
what you did!"
He had raised his fist once more and at that time she brought her legs up
and wrapped her feet around his neck. Pulling the man back and taking him to
the floor as he gasped for breath. She had enjoyed taking him down but
stopped when the other man's sword touched her throat as he said, "Release
Liam, and I will let you live!" Glaring at the man she did as he said and
Liam rolled away coughing and grabbing at his throat. The man who seemed to
have control over her at that moment gestured to his men as he said, "Get
her up and take her to the jail. Leave the manacles on." She felt the hands
on her arms as they pulled her to her feet. The men stopped as their leader
reached out and removed the cutlass from its sheath as he said, "You will
not be needing this any time soon. Get her out of my sight!"
Gabrielle was fully awake by now and the pain that was shooting through her
face made her curse under her breath. There were a few people standing
around when the soldiers dragged her through the village and before long she
found herself thrown into a small room. They laughed as they locked the door
and Gabrielle said, "The least you could do is take these things off me,
where can I go in here?"
They ignored her and she could still hear them laughing as their voices
faded. Staring around at the cell she conceived it was barren and at that
moment she thought the cave looked pretty good. She had been in cells before
and though it wasn't anything new, it was not where she wanted to be at that
moment. What must Lil be thinking? She paced the room several times before
she sat down on the cold floor. She had been feeling the iron on her wrists
as she slowly brought her arms under her derriere and with much maneuvering
she managed to bring them up and pull her legs through. She was now staring
at her bloody wrists and the manacles that adorned them. Her body ached but
she was glad that she had kept in shape. Having never tried the trick, she
was glad to know it did work. Now all she had to do was try to figure out
how she was going to get out of the mess she was in.
Slowly getting to her feet she staggered and fell against the wall. Leaning
against it she rested her head against the cool rock. Her head ached and she
was feeling sick to her stomach as she took several deep gasps of air.
Bringing her hands up to her face she gently touched her lip, it had been
cut and she could feel the dried blood. As she touched her face she
grimaced, the man carried quite a blow and at that moment all she could
think about was paying him back for his hospitality.
She closed her eyes and listened to the sounds that were filtering in
through a small window that set into the high rock. The light from the
morning sun was making its way into the room as she walked toward the middle
of the floor. Carefully raising her head she gazed up at the window. Her
eyes took in the room and she could now see a small bench and one wooden
chair. Her mind was working overtime as she began to decide how she was
going to make it up to the opening.
The sound of footsteps approaching the outer door brought her attention to
the door as she waited to see who was going to enter the room. As the door
swung open she could see Liam and another man enter the room. His eyes
immediately fell on her hands as he said, "Seems we have a magician of
sorts, I thought your hands were behind you?"
She didn't say a word as he stepped close while the other man walked behind.
Liam reached down and grasped the chain that connected the manacles to her
wrists. He jerked the chain and pulled her down to the floor. She had fallen
on her knees and waited to see just what the man was up to as he said, "Just
wanted you to know that blow to your face was in payment not only because
you killed my brother but also because your friend, Saxton felt the need to
hit me. I have been told that your trial will start tomorrow and don't look
for anyone to step forward and aid your cause. It won't happen!" He reached
down and ran the back of his right hand along the side of her face and
seemed to derive pleasure at the pain it was causing.
"We will meet again, and I will not be in a cell nor will I be chained like
some animal." Her words were soft but the connotation was chilling. He
stepped back and for a moment his face showed signs of fear. Then he caught
himself as he smirked, "You may as well talk because that is all the good it
will do you. Enjoy the day, I plan on your trial being a very short one."
Gabrielle raised her head and stared at the man as she said, "It was self
defense and you know it."
He laughed as he replied, "They will have but your word and what good is the
word of a pirate. There is surely a price on your head. until tomorrow, I
bid you good-by." He turned and left the room followed by the other man.
After he was gone she got to her feet and began to pace the room. Saxton
thought that by telling the man she was Captain of The Bounty and Second in
Command of the pirate capital he was helping but it seemed to have only
given Liam more fuel to use against her in trial.
Her mind drifted back to the plateau.
As the golden palomino halted, the crop of trees could now be seen as Xena
raised her right-hand and placed it on Gabrielle's. The Bard had positioned
her body against Xena's back and her arms around the woman's waist. Xena had
removed her sheath and sword and it now hung from one side of the saddle.
Gabrielle seemed to be in heaven as she hugged the woman closer and sighed.
Xena smiled as she called back, "Best feeling in the world, never want to
see it change."
Gabrielle smiled as she asked, "What feeling are you talking about Xena?"
The woman had reined Argo to a stop and in seconds she had done an about
face in the saddle and was now staring down into the blue green eyes of her
friend. Before Gabrielle could say anything she lowered her head as her lips
sought the Bard's.
Argo stood still as she listened to the two women and felt the movement of
their bodies. The horse knew something had changed, for this was the
strangest trip she had ever been on with the two women.
Their lips seemed to be made for one another as they caressed and
tantalized. Xena had pulled the woman even closer as her arms encircled the
Bard's waist. The kiss that started out soft was now flaming with desire.
Argo nickered as Xena gently drew back and stared at her friend. It took her
a moment then she said, "The feeling we are both having at this time.
Looking at each day knowing you will be in it, it is a sensation like no
Gabrielle's face was full of emotion and longing. The Bard reached out and
placed her right-hand on Xena's left cheek as she traced it with her
forefinger. "I must say, you always surprise me Xena. I guess you know I was
having a hard time feeling you this close but now, Tartarus, I feel like a
volcano about to explode."
Xena leaned away as she reached up and grasped Gabrielle's right-hand and
said, "Good, because the fire that is between my thighs at this moment won't
wait till we get to the cave, I want to take you so bad it hurts."
Stuttering Gabrielle said, "Xe...Xena this is so unlike you." It was at this
time she felt the woman's left hand as it began to slide up her thigh and
she cried in rapture, "Gods! I don't care where we are, I take it all back,
Loud voices from the square were filtering into the room and the sounds
bought her back to the present. Muttering to herself she began to walk
around the room, "Now, what are you going to do?" Xena was so ambidextrous
that day and many days after. She never wondered how it was done in the
saddle anymore or anywhere else for that fact. The Warrior Princess had
given her a whole new outlook on love and life. Smiling as the intense
feeling between her legs brought back pleasant memories, she whispered, "We
wasted so much time and all we both wanted was within reach always." Then in
desperation she loudly said, "Xena, where are you? Why have you done this to
me? How could you just leave like that?"
She found herself pounding her fists into the wall as she slowly fell to the
floor and cried.
She had remained in the position for sometime before she decided to attempt
to make it to the window. She had just moved the bench and was getting ready
to set the chair on top of it when she heard someone coming. She quickly
moved the bench and had just sat on the chair when the door opened. The
guard spoke to the man in front and said, "You have a short amount of time,
so make the visit count." The man that was bent over nodded and walked
carefully into the room and the other one closed and locked the door behind
him. Gabrielle stood as she said, "And who are you? Or maybe I should ask
what are you doing here?"
The man shuffled toward her, he was wearing a dark cloak and his hair was
long and very silvery. As he approached her she seemed irritated as she
said, "I asked, who are you?"
He slowly raised his head and smiled as he said, "Shh, it's me."
Her eyes widened as he stood upright, the eyes were the same but he had
shaven and it was obvious a long wig adorned his head as she said, "Saxton,
what are you doing here? If you are not careful. you will find yourself next
He winked at her as he said, "You're welcome. Now, we need to get our heads
together and figure out a way to get you out of this mess."
She bit her lip as she said, "I was just getting ready to check something
out when you came in here."
He looked up at the window she was pointing to as he said, "Might work, but
what of your wrists?"
She held out her hands and said, "Since when did anything like this ever
stop us? Besides, I have learned from past experiences."
Cocking his head to one side he said, "What do you mean?"
"I thought that Xena standing trial once was the right thing to do, you
know, everything will come out right. Well it didn't not the way I thought
it would and I found the justice system leaves a lot to be desired. So, if I
get the chance I will leave."
He had been pacing off the cell as he turned to gaze at her and said, "I
take it, you have no love for the system anymore. You must think about what
you are planning, if you succeed, you will be a hunted person. This could
have a lot to do with your present life."
Walking over to the man she said, "It seems like the deck is stacked and I
don't want to be the one that topples. I prefer to take my chances out
there." She pointed toward the window.
He reached out and placed his hands on her shoulders as he stared into her
eyes and said, "All right, I just needed to hear you say the words." He
raised the cloak and reached down as he brought out a coil of rope. "I want
you to take this."
She stared at him as she said, "What am I going to do with that?"
He smiled as he said, "I will have the bars on the window pulled out tonight
and when it happens there will not be much time for you to get out. I want
you to throw one end out the opening and hold on tight."
She smiled as she said, "Breaking out a prisoner is against the law and it
will make you wanted just like me."
He laughed as he said, "I'm a pirate, it's a life I am used to. As long as
there is a breath in my body, I will not see any harm come to you if I can
Gabrielle heard the sound of someone approaching the door as she said,
"Someone is coming, I will be ready, you take care of yourself."
He bend over and winked at her as he turned and faced the door.
She had paced the room so many times she felt she had made a permanent path
into the floor. There were no more visitors that day and she had not even
been given any water much less food. She could tell it was getting dusk as
the light that was coming through the window was beginning to dim. She had
placed the bench under the window and now had set the chair on top of it.
Carefully she climbed onto the chair, stood and maintained her balance as it
moved slightly under her weight. Even standing she found the window was
still higher as she tried to reach up and grasp the bars. After several
tries she decided to get down and move the chair. She took it to the other
side of the room and sat, staring at the far wall and the fading light
filtering through the window. She had placed the rope near her feet and
leaned back in the chair trying to relax. It seemed so much had happened in
such a short span of time and she was having difficulty trying to take it
The room was in darkness now and she had heard nothing from outside. Feeling
frustrated she began to pace the room once more and as she went to make a
second pass she heard Saxton's whistle. She found her way to the far wall
and searched around the ground for the rope. Her eyes staring at the spot
where the window was. There was a clink and then the sounds of mortar being
ripped out as the window along with part of the wall was pulled loose. It
didn't take her long to leap onto the bench and toss the rope out the
opening. Grabbing the rope with both hands she waited and in the wink of an
eye, she felt her self being drawn upward. Her hands found the open space as
she grabbed at the opening and pulled her body onto it. Without hesitation
she fell forward and flipped backward. Gabrielle stared up at the two men
who had caught her fall as they held her in their arms. She thanked them as
they set her down and Saxton ran up to her saying, "Get on the horse and
head for the port, jump in the longboat and we will take you out to the
ship. Don't argue, just do it!"
The sounds of people yelling and running were getting louder as she turned
and mounted the horse, it didn't take long before all that was left was a
lot of dust but no evidence of the prisoner or anyone else.
Reining the horse to a sudden stop she quickly dismounted and hurried toward
the port. She had grabbed a towel and was holding it over her wrists as she
hurried past the few people that were on the walk. It wasn't long before she
saw the boat and immediately jumped into it. Saxton reached up and pushed
her down as he threw a blanket over her and said, "Stay there, no one needs
to see you leave with us. I'll let you know when you can get up, are you all
She was laying on her right side as she answered, "Shook up but I am fine,
As she lay listening to the sound of the boat moving through the water she
realized she could also hear the beating of her heart. There had been so
much noise and commotion she hadn't realized the effect it was having on
Saxton reached down and touched her as he said, "Coming about, you can get
He moved the blanket as she slowly got to her feet. Faltering once, she
found his strong hands steadying her. The men had tied off the boat and were
waiting for her to climb the ladder to the deck. Saxton followed closely as
he said, "It's all right, if you slip, I'll catch you." It didn't take her
long to make it to the deck and she was relieved when her boots touched it.
Saxton hurried over to her as he said, "The sight of you once more on "The
Bounty" is pleasing to my eyes, come, let's get you down to the hold and get
those things off your wrists."
She turned and followed the man, leaving only the sound of water lapping
against the hull behind.
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
Gabrielle was relieved to see the last manacle fall to the floor as she
said, "I can't believe I let that happen."
Saxton looked at her and said, "Wasn't your fault, it would have happened
regardless. But now you have to think about a change. They will be looking
for you and this ship is one of the first places they will come."
She had been setting and as she got to her feet she said, "I know you are
right, I have to leave the ship. I will not have any trouble come to you and
Smiling he said, "Time for that later, for now, the cabin is still there and
no one has entered it except to make sure it is cleaned. Go, rest, we will
talk about your plans later. I will have some cool water taken there and a
She looked at him questioningly as he continued, "Your face, cool water may
help the swelling and the ointment I will also send will help to mend the
Thanking him she turned to climb the stairs topside. Once there she walked
up to the helm and gazed around. It didn't take the man long to join her as
he said, "Feels right at home doesn't it little one?"
She turned to gaze at him and said, "It is home, I'll leave you for now, let
me know if there are any signs of trouble?"
He nodded as he watched her walk away.
Once she had entered the cabin, Gabrielle was met with a feeling of peace.
She walked over to the bed and laid down. Her body ached and the throbbing
that was coming from her face made her wish she could close her eyes and the
hurt would just go away. There was a knock at the door as a man's voice
said, "I've brought the water and ointment."
She got to her feet walked over and opened the door and said, "Set it on the
desk, tell Saxton I said thanks."
He smiled and nodded as he left the room. She walked over to the basin, held
her breath as she submerged her face in the water then she took the cloth
and gently pressed it against the swollen side. Staring down at the water
she could see it now had a pinkish coloring to it, and she held the cloth to
her lip tighter. Pulling out the chair she sat and gazed at the desk.
Thoughts running through her mind as she reached for the music box and
placed a hand on the lid.
Finally she removed the cloth and applied the ointment to the cut, wrung out
the cloth and walked back over to the bed and laid down. Placing the cloth
above her right eye and on her cheek she closed her eyes and drifted into a
Saxton was standing at the bulwark when he saw the woman heading his way. He
smiled and waved as he said, "Feel better I hope."
Her stride was swift and it wasn't long before she was standing beside the
man and answered, "Somewhat, thank you."
His eyes were staring toward the shore as he said, "There is no need to
thank me, I know you would do the same. I will have several of the men take
you ashore on the other side of the village. You must stay there until I can
send someone to tell you that the coast is clear."
She had placed her hands on her hips as she said, "Guess that is what I have
to do. Anyway, I have something I need to attend to."
He seemed concerned as he said, "You must remember to keep a low profile or
you might find yourself in a cell again or worse."
She reached out and patted the man's right hand as she said, "Don't worry, I
will not let that happen."
He had walked over to a wooden crate and came back carrying a leather pack
and a water skin. Handing them to her he said, "I want you to take these,
there are some provisions and water for you to drink. I promise to send
someone for you when all seems clear or, we could just set sail now and you
can stay aboard."
She shook her head as she said, "No, then they will know that you were
involved, wouldn't want that to happen. I can do with the time and take care
of some business."
He smiled and said, "Then there is no time like the present, the longboat
has been readied and the men wait for you to get aboard. Take care."
She took the supplies and said, "Then I am ready." She followed the man and
stopped when he pointed to the rope ladder. Turning she said, "I would give
you a hug but wouldn't want the crew to give you a hard time over it." Her
eyes twinkled at him as she blew a kiss then turned and climbed down the
ladder to the waiting boat. He watched as they rowed away then turned and
walked back to the helm.
Gabrielle waved to the men as they pushed the longboat off. She then turned
and looked at her surroundings. It was a beach, no different than any she
had ever set foot on. Placing the leather pack over her left shoulder she
started to walk toward the crop of trees that didn't seem to be far from
where she was standing. For the first time, she had no idea where she was
but at least she wasn't in that cell any longer. She began to pace toward
the distant foliage. Stopping once in awhile to take a drink of water and
get her bearings. It was further than she had thought and it was late
afternoon by the time she reached the trees.
Turning to look back she could see her tracks in the sand and they seemed to
go on forever as she mumbled, "No wonder my feet hurt." She surveyed the
area and could see it was heavily wooded and dark. The trees were so
gigantic and their branches seemed to cover the area like a huge umbrella,
there was little light filtering down through them. She walked up to a
fallen tree and sat down laying the pack to one side. It didn't take her
long to remove the boots and check her feet. She was setting with her left
leg laying over her right knee rubbing her foot when she heard the snap of a
twig. Jumping to her feet she called out, "Show yourself!"
She was amazed to see Lil step out of the foliage. The woman stared at her
bare feet and said, "I thought you were going to meet me outside my cousins?
Gabrielle sat back down as she said, "Long story, I am surprised to see
The woman walked up to her and sat as she continued to stare at Gabrielle's
feet. Seeming perturbed the Bard said, "What is the problem, haven't you
ever seen bare feet before?"
Lil raised her eyes and looked into Gabrielle's as she said, "I'm sorry,
it's just they are so red."
"Boots are a little tight, got really wet once but if I continue to wear
them, it will stretch the leather back out. I have walked too long today in
them and I now have sore feet."
The woman dropped to her knees as she said, "I would be happy to rub them
Gabrielle stood up and limped away from her as she said, "Thanks but I can
manage. Tell me where is this thing you told me about?"
Lil got to her feet as she pointed toward some large boulders and said,
"Just past them, you must be careful, no one has ever returned from the
Gabrielle sat back down, seeming to struggle as she pulled her boots back
on. Lil walked up to her and said, "I heard what happened in the village, it
surprised me, I really didn't think you..."
Getting to her feet Gabrielle said, "That's all right, looks can be
deceiving and I am innocent of their charges."
Lil watched the woman throw the pack over her right shoulder and grasp the
water skin as she said, "Promise me you will be careful. I'm sure you have a
loved one that would miss you if something were to happen to you."
Gabrielle looked up at the trees as she said, "Doubtful, don't worry I care
enough that I will be very careful."
It was at this time the sound of horses could be heard. And as the two women
looked toward the group of trees, they could see soldiers heading toward
Gabrielle quickly said, "I'm out of here."
Lil answered, "Be careful, I will try to detain them."
Gabrielle ran toward the boulders leaving the sounds of men yelling behind.
When she was past the boulders she leaned back against one trying to catch
her breath. She was trying to figure out how they knew to find her there of
all places and it was during these thoughts, she heard the whirring sounds.
It was coming from behind the large rock formation just up ahead as she
slowly walked toward the noise. Stepping into the open, she froze, there it
was exactly like Lil had told her. A gigantic circular mass that seemed to
be moving, with a large cavity in the center. And there were many colors
running throughout the thing. She found herself moving toward it against her
will, seeming to be mesmerized at the sound it was making.
"There she is! Get her!"
She turned to see men on horses heading toward her, their swords were drawn
and they didn't look like they wanted to talk as she turned back and ran
toward the vortex. The men stopped their horses as they watched the woman
disappear into the moving mass. They quickly turned and left the area. Lil
was standing as they galloped past and she yelled at the last man, "Did you
He stopped his horse and glanced back then looked down at her as he said,
"Yeah, crazy fool ran right into that thing back there!" He urged his horse
after the others. Lil stared at the area as she said, "May the Gods smile on
you Gabrielle. I wish you a safe journey." She turned and walked away.
Gabrielle felt her body being pulled as if a giant suction had grasped her.
Before she knew what was happening, she felt the coolness of the mass and
suddenly felt herself plummeting downward. She threw out her hands and held
her breath when she saw the water coming up to meet her. Finding her way
back to the surface she tread water and moved in a circle. She was not far
from the shore and immediately began to swim for it. Pulling herself onto
the land she sat up and stared back. There was no swirling mass only what
looked to be a man made lake surrounded by a beautiful forrest.
Getting to her feet she spied the leather pack near the shore and walked
over to retrieve it from the water. Glancing around she could see an old
tree stump, walked over and sat. It didn't take her long to remove her boots
and empty the water from them. After she did this she decided to see what
Saxton had sent in the pack and was delighted to see the food. It was as she
moved the items around the dinars fell into place. She smiled, as she
thought of him.
The fire was crackling as it warmed the area. Gabrielle had made a bed of
soft grass and leafs and was sitting on this as she tackled some of the food
in the pack. Her clothes hung nearby and she had placed the boots near her.
The heat from the fire was ridding her of any signs of the water and she was
feeling better. When she finished eating she laid back on the makeshift bed
and pulled several branches covered with leafs over her body.
She didn't know how long she had laid there but the fire was dieing out and
she got up to throw some more wood on it. The sound of someone singing, not
far from where she was standing, made every nerve in her body come alive.
Before she could make it to her clothes the tall figure of a woman walked
into view and she grabbed a leafed branch and held it in front of her.
The woman stopped when she saw the fire but it was the beautiful blond woman
that stood by it holding a leafed tree branch in front of her that brought
about the smile she was now giving her.
Nervously Gabrielle said, "I, I'm just passing through."
The woman was carrying a basket full of clothes that she set down as she
said, "I don't see too many strangers around here, are you lost?"
It was as she neared Gabrielle her mouth fell open. The woman's shoulder
length hair, nearly black, was a contrast to her startling blue eyes.
The woman flashed a smile as she said, "What is the matter?"
Gabrielle took a step back as she answered, "Xe...Xena, what, where did you
Seeming perplexed the woman replied, "I live near here, but, I don't know
you. How do you come to know my name?"
Gabrielle had made it to where her clothes were laying as she said, "Come on
Xena, I know I left the cave but you had not returned and you didn't even
send me a word."
Seeming to be enjoying the predicament this stranger was having she said, "I
know of no cave and believe me, if I had left you in a cave I think I would
have needed to have my head examined."
Dropping the branch she stood in front of the woman and reached for her
pants as she said, "I don't think this is very funny and as soon as I am
dressed..." Xena had turned around as Gabrielle hopped from one end to the
other trying to get the pants on. After accomplishing this she pulled the
leather shirt down over her head. Having done this she walked up to Xena's
back and said, "You can let me in on the joke, why are you doing this to
The woman turned to gaze down at her as she answered, "I merely turned to
give you time to dress."
Her blue green eyes twinkled up at the woman as she laughed, "I get it, this
must be teach Gabrielle a lesson day. I have never known you to turn away
from me, especially like I was."
Xena's eyes had surveyed the woman as she said, "I don't know what kind of
game you are trying to play, but I have never met you in my life."
Gabrielle reached out and touched Xena's right-hand as she said, "You and I
are friends, don't tell me you have lost your memory?"
Xena pointed to the fallen tree and said, "Let's sit, you can tell me all
about yourself." As she walked away from Gabrielle she called back, "Believe
me when I say if you were my friend, I would know it."
Gabrielle turned and ran after her. She sat down beside the woman and said,
"What did you do with your leathers? Your warrior outfit, did you hide it
Xena cocked her head to one side as she said, Leathers? I never wear leather
and a warrior outfit, well, that is for men."
Gabrielle reached up and touched the woman's forehead as she said, "No
fever, but something is definitely wrong with you. Everyone knows of the
exploits of Xena the Warrior Princess."
Xena laughed as she stared down at that blouse and long skirt she was
wearing, then said, "Never heard of a Warrior Princess and I think that
maybe the sun has teched your head."
Gabrielle got to her feet and began to pace the area and finally stopped
directly in front of the woman as she said, "You are Xena, and I can prove
The woman grinned as she said, "I already told you that was my name but I
still don't understand how a stranger comes to know it."
Gabrielle smiled wickedly as she said, "All right, let's play your little
game, if I don't know you then tell me how come I know where an unusual
freckle is on your body."
Xena got to her feet and walked up to the woman. She reached out and placed
her hands on Gabrielle's shoulders and said, "Unusal freckle? And if I tell
you I have none."
Reaching up and placing her hands on Xena's she answered, "You will have to
prove it to me, because I am very familiar with it."
Walking away from her Xena said, "I remove my clothes for no one and
especially a stranger."
Gabrielle followed as she reached out and touched the woman's back with her
left hand and said, "It is the cutest freckle." She stood on her tip toes
and whispered into the woman's right ear and when she was finished Xena
turned to stare down at her in amazement. She quickly said, "You must be a
sorcerer or even something worse to have known that."
Gabrielle grinned impishly as she walked back over to the fallen tree and
sat. She gazed up at the woman as she said, "I am not a sorcer nor do I have
anything to do with black magic. I am a woman who has traveled with you. We
have become much more than friends, Xena I have pressed my lips on that
The woman seemed to redden as she said, "Don't ever let anyone hear you say
a thing like that around here, they will nail you to a cross and worse."
Gabrielle had put her boots back on and was limping around the area as she
said, "I don't understand what has happened, I don't understand why you are
giving me such a hard time. Xena, don't you even remember our pledge?"
The woman shook her head and said, "The only pledge I ever made was when I
was much younger and it was to a young Amazon. I'm sorry if you think I am
someone I am not." She walked over to the basket of clothes as she
continued, "If you will excuse me, I have a washing to do."
Gabrielle watched the woman take the clothes to the lake and begin to wash
them. Without thinking she said, "The name is Gabrielle." She had never seen
Xena do anything like that, the woman hated to do womanly chores. Listening
to the lovely voice of her friend, her mind went back to the vortex, could
it be possible, when she went through it, did she land in an alternate
universe. Maybe the woman was telling the truth, maybe this Xena really
didn't know who she was. The thought was giving her chills, as she tried to
come to some sort of understanding.
Finally she walked over to the shore and knelt beside Xena, reached into the
basket, took out a white blouse and began to wash it. Xena stared over at
her and said, "You don't need to do that."
She smiled as she said, "It is the least I can do for staying on your
property, I assume this is yours?"
The woman nodded as she said, "Familie's actually." She stopped what she was
doing as she asked, "What happened to your face?"
Gabrielle had been rinsing the blouse in the water as she said, "Ran into
something, Tell me, are your two brothers here?"
She raised her head as she turned and stared into Gabrielle's eyes, her face
shown of surprise as she said, "I suppose you know them also?"
"Actually, yes, I do, did. It is a long story and I don't know if you will
believe me or not but I have something to tell you."
She seemed interested as she stopped what she was doing and said, "I'm all
ears, tell me, I would certainly like to know how a stranger is so well
acquainted with my family."
It was at this time three men walked into the area and spying the women they
started to head toward them. They looked like they had been in a battle,
they were wearing clothes that were torn and their bodies showed signs of
violence. A large man walked up to the women as they stood and faced them.
His eyes looked up and down their forms as he said, "Fancy meeting the two
of you here, my friends and I are in need of a little relaxation."
Gabrielle glowered at the man as she said, "Then why don't you go jump in
Xena reached out and grabbed the woman by her right shoulder as she said,
"Gabrielle, do...don't make him mad."
The man chuckled as he said, "Yeah girly take your friends advice, come on
over and be friendly."
Gabrielle turned her back to him and stared up into Xena's pale blue eyes as
she said, "What is the matter with you, you would never let anyone talk to
us like that."
Xena stared at the men then back at Gabrielle as she said, "Maybe you had
better leave, I will try to talk to them."
The man reached out and pushed Gabrielle out of the way as he said, "Your
friend has the right idea, but no talking, come here!" He reached out to
grab Xena, the woman froze as Gabrielle struck out at the man's arm knocking
it back. Xena's face was horrified as she cried, "Now look what you have
The man stepped back cursing as he yelled, "Get them!"
Gabrielle yelled, "Xena, do something!" The woman didn't move and she
shrugged her shoulders and flipped over their heads. Landing behind the men,
she jumped into the air and her feet shot out connecting with two of them
sending them to the ground. The large man who had approached Xena had drawn
his sword and was running toward her as he yelled, "I'll kill you!"
She jumped to the right and came around behind the man as her left hand
chopped across the back of his neck. As the sword hit the ground he
staggered and turned facing her as he growled, "What is this, you some sort
She shook her head as she said, "Nope, just a woman that values her body.
Get your friends up and get out of here before you really make me angry!"
He limped over to the men as he said, "Get up, let's get out of here, the
woman is not normal!"
Gabrielle grinned as she watched the men staggering from the area, then she
turned to look at Xena. Her face was ashen and she seemed to be in shock.
She reached out and grasped the woman's right-hand as she said, "You are not
the Xena I know are you? Come sit down."
The woman walked with her to the fallen tree as she sat and muttered,
"Yo...You have to get out of here. They will tell someone what happened and
you will not be safe."
Gabrielle sat down beside her and said, "Xena, what I just did is something
you, I mean the Xena I know could do easily. I have to tell you something."
She stared at her as she asked, "What?"
When Gabrielle had finished telling the woman what had happened to her, Xena
stared at her in disbelievement as she said, "That is a lot for a person to
believe. But if what you say is true, I have not seen any strangers around
this area except for you."
Gabrielle pondered the woman's words then she said, "If you will permit me
to stay here, it would give me time to check out the area, ask a few
Xena seemed concerned as she said, "All right, I saw what you just did to
those men and I don't think it will be too safe for you to stay here. I have
a nice dwelling not far from here and you are welcome to stay with me, if
Gabrielle smiled as she answered, "I would like that, and in case you are
wondering, you're just as beautiful here as you were there." She reached
down and grasped her leather pack threw it over her shoulder and sauntered
Xena stared after the woman, she had never seen a woman like this one and
she couldn't help but wonder just what it would be like to really know her.
She called out, "Wait for me, I need to get the clothes!"
Continued in Chapter Seven
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